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Brandon's Practice Log

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Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 1/22/20 11:31 AM
Dissolution of Craving Brandon Dayton 1/24/20 12:10 PM
Metta and Concentration Brandon Dayton 1/27/20 2:25 PM
Discovering the POI Brandon Dayton 2/5/20 1:03 PM
Back to Basics Brandon Dayton 2/7/20 9:26 AM
RE: Back to Basics Che Guebuddha 2/7/20 10:02 AM
RE: Back to Basics Brandon Dayton 2/8/20 10:04 AM
RE: Back to Basics Che Guebuddha 2/8/20 10:21 AM
RE: Back to Basics Brandon Dayton 2/8/20 10:34 AM
RE: Back to Basics Brandon Dayton 2/9/20 10:18 AM
RE: Back to Basics Brandon Dayton 2/10/20 11:01 AM
experiencing piti? Brandon Dayton 2/16/20 12:56 PM
RE: experiencing piti? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/20 1:08 PM
Just Concentration Brandon Dayton 2/24/20 10:31 AM
The Grind Brandon Dayton 2/25/20 9:14 AM
Vipassana Time Brandon Dayton 2/26/20 9:38 AM
RE: Vipassana Time Brandon Dayton 2/29/20 10:30 AM
RE: Vipassana Time Brandon Dayton 3/1/20 4:24 PM
Was that First Jhana? Brandon Dayton 3/2/20 10:38 AM
RE: Was that First Jhana? J W 3/2/20 10:56 AM
RE: Was that First Jhana? Brandon Dayton 3/2/20 11:20 AM
RE: Was that First Jhana? J W 3/2/20 2:32 PM
Flirting with First Jhana Brandon Dayton 3/5/20 10:06 AM
Playing ping-pong with Practice Brandon Dayton 3/30/20 10:13 AM
Making Adjustments Brandon Dayton 4/5/20 10:36 AM
Boring Boringness Brandon Dayton 4/6/20 12:51 PM
Ok, something is happening Brandon Dayton 4/7/20 9:46 AM
RE: Ok, something is happening Papa Che Dusko 4/9/20 9:46 AM
RE: Ok, something is happening Brandon Dayton 4/9/20 10:06 AM
RE: Ok, something is happening Papa Che Dusko 4/9/20 1:05 PM
RE: Ok, something is happening Brandon Dayton 4/9/20 6:35 PM
meh Brandon Dayton 4/9/20 6:34 PM
Jhana Comes A Callin' Brandon Dayton 5/4/20 2:41 PM
RE: Jhana Comes A Callin' Papa Che Dusko 4/10/20 10:30 AM
RE: Jhana Comes A Callin' Tim Farrington 4/10/20 12:44 PM
RE: Jhana Comes A Callin' Brandon Dayton 4/10/20 1:02 PM
RE: Jhana Comes A Callin' Chris Marti 4/10/20 1:08 PM
RE: Jhana Comes A Callin' Tim Farrington 4/10/20 1:12 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 4/13/20 3:19 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 4/13/20 4:24 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 4/16/20 10:00 AM
Feelin' Groovy Brandon Dayton 4/16/20 10:41 AM
RE: Feelin' Groovy Tim Farrington 4/16/20 10:43 AM
Aversion to Fear Brandon Dayton 4/25/20 1:59 PM
Lost in the Wilderness (but at least its a pleasant journey) Brandon Dayton 4/25/20 2:00 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 4/27/20 9:29 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 4/27/20 9:47 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 4/28/20 10:12 AM
Yup Brandon Dayton 4/29/20 9:02 AM
RE: Yup Papa Che Dusko 4/29/20 2:36 PM
RE: Yup Chris Marti 4/29/20 2:47 PM
RE: Yup Papa Che Dusko 4/29/20 4:28 PM
RE: Yup Brandon Dayton 4/29/20 3:44 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/7/20 10:30 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/7/20 12:08 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/10/20 9:39 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log J W 5/7/20 12:24 PM
Things feel good Brandon Dayton 5/10/20 10:06 PM
RE: Things feel good Tim Farrington 5/11/20 2:54 AM
RE: Things feel good Brandon Dayton 5/11/20 9:17 AM
RE: Things feel good Brandon Dayton 5/17/20 10:50 AM
RE: Things feel good Tim Farrington 5/17/20 10:57 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/17/20 6:01 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/17/20 7:57 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/18/20 3:11 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/18/20 4:22 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/18/20 3:52 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Olivier 5/18/20 1:24 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/18/20 5:03 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/19/20 2:30 AM
The Last Two Days Brandon Dayton 5/12/20 3:07 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/12/20 9:55 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/12/20 10:37 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/13/20 3:31 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/13/20 8:54 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/14/20 7:36 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/14/20 7:53 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/14/20 8:47 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/14/20 9:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/27/20 4:23 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/14/20 8:50 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/14/20 10:10 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 5/14/20 10:26 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/14/20 10:29 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/14/20 10:31 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/13/20 3:02 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/13/20 10:31 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 5/13/20 10:37 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/14/20 3:40 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/14/20 10:15 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 5/16/20 5:49 AM
A pattern? Brandon Dayton 5/23/20 3:04 PM
RE: A pattern? J W 5/20/20 11:17 AM
RE: A pattern? Brandon Dayton 5/20/20 11:27 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/21/20 8:58 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/21/20 12:45 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/23/20 2:53 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/23/20 3:03 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/23/20 4:02 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/23/20 8:20 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/24/20 10:15 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 5/24/20 12:19 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/24/20 9:38 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 5/25/20 8:32 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/25/20 9:41 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/25/20 9:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 5/25/20 4:07 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/25/20 6:06 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/24/20 10:23 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 5/24/20 10:46 AM
Practice Continues Brandon Dayton 6/5/20 2:24 PM
RE: Practice Continues Sam Gentile 6/5/20 2:36 PM
RE: Practice Continues Brandon Dayton 6/5/20 3:05 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/5/20 4:22 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/5/20 8:15 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/5/20 8:56 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/6/20 2:12 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/6/20 8:05 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 6/6/20 11:17 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/6/20 4:59 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/6/20 6:02 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/6/20 8:03 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 6/7/20 9:10 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Steph S 6/9/20 7:39 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/9/20 7:55 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Steph S 6/9/20 8:01 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/9/20 8:31 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 6:39 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/10/20 1:08 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/10/20 1:10 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/10/20 6:46 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 8:17 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/10/20 9:08 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 9:37 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Steph S 6/10/20 9:49 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 12:08 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Steph S 6/10/20 12:11 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/10/20 1:16 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Steph S 6/10/20 9:46 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Freeling 6/19/20 4:35 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 6/20/20 11:17 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/7/20 5:26 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/7/20 7:38 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Siavash 6/7/20 8:51 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/7/20 8:57 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Siavash 6/7/20 9:00 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/7/20 10:48 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/7/20 10:50 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 10:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Siavash 6/7/20 11:24 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 11:02 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/8/20 11:10 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 11:25 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 11:26 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/8/20 11:56 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 12:16 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/8/20 12:24 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 2:00 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/8/20 1:33 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 1:58 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/8/20 3:03 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/8/20 3:28 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 4:25 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/8/20 4:26 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/9/20 7:19 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/9/20 7:39 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/9/20 10:39 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/9/20 3:41 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/9/20 3:54 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/9/20 4:05 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/10/20 12:00 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 6:27 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/10/20 6:44 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/10/20 12:02 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/7/20 9:18 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/7/20 9:22 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/6/20 1:16 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 6/6/20 8:02 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/7/20 5:26 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/7/20 8:45 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/10/20 12:32 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Chris Marti 6/10/20 12:40 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/10/20 1:33 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/10/20 6:03 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/10/20 11:04 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/11/20 8:28 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/19/20 4:59 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/19/20 4:30 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/19/20 10:46 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/20/20 2:35 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/20/20 2:47 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/20/20 2:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Siavash 6/20/20 3:19 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/20/20 4:34 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Siavash 6/20/20 12:11 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/21/20 12:27 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/19/20 8:19 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/20/20 2:54 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/24/20 4:09 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/24/20 4:32 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/25/20 3:04 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 6/25/20 3:47 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/26/20 10:49 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 6/26/20 11:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 6/26/20 1:47 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 6/29/20 3:07 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 7/9/20 10:02 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Hibiscus Kid 7/9/20 10:08 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 7/9/20 10:13 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 7/9/20 11:40 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 7/10/20 10:48 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 7/24/20 1:32 PM
Shhh Brandon Dayton 7/24/20 1:47 PM
RE: Shhh Chris Marti 7/24/20 4:58 PM
RE: Shhh Tim Farrington 7/25/20 7:28 AM
Be Careful What You Ask For Brandon Dayton 9/2/20 8:58 PM
RE: Be Careful What You Ask For Papa Che Dusko 9/4/20 2:29 AM
RE: Be Careful What You Ask For Brandon Dayton 9/4/20 5:42 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/6/20 10:23 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Sam Gentile 9/6/20 11:56 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/7/20 9:45 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/7/20 9:47 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/12/20 5:40 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/13/20 11:54 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Tim Farrington 9/14/20 1:12 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/14/20 7:54 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/14/20 7:56 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 9/17/20 4:59 AM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Brandon Dayton 9/17/20 1:09 PM
RE: Brandon's Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 9/17/20 4:26 PM
Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
1/22/20 11:31 AM
I've been considering starting a practice log for awhile. I've decided to make it a mix of posts on this forum that go into a bit more phenomenology that Dhoers will appreciate, and links to my personal blog where I am going to writing about my experiences for a broader audience. Although I'm trying to exercise restratint, you'll notice a certain evangelical tone in the writing.

To start I wanted to share my account of my A&P experience, and how it has seemed to alleviate most of my symptoms of depression. In a future post I'll talk about how the experience led me to discover MCTB, the POI and DhO.

https://brandondayton.com/blog/2020/1/22/crossing-the-threshold

Dissolution of Craving
Answer
1/24/20 12:10 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I experienced for the first time what appeared to be the dissolution of a craving or compulsion. I was putting my son to bed, and I usually sit on the floor as he is falling asleep and do some noting. I had been playing a video game on his 2DS for the past few weeks and it had become a bit of a compulsion. A common pattern for me is to have a compulsion, to know it's not a good idea to follow it and to either resist it succesfully or to just accept that I am going to give in to it. The third alternative that I had experienced through meditation was to sit with a compulsion until it just eventually faded way. That night, however, I had basically accepted that I would give into the compulsion. 

As I was sitting, I paid attention to what I felt in my body as the compulsion arose. I felt a tightness and ache in my chest. The more closely I paid attention to it, the more it felt like a deep, aching sadness. I started to well with emotion, and just as the tears were about to flow I could feel this aching sadness break apart and dissolve. After that, the compulsion was gone and I just went to bed.

It's the first time I've felt anything like this. It felt very much like the metaphor I've heard before of suffering being like a hot coal that you're holding on to, but as soon as you recognize that, you just drop it. It has also given me some insight into how seemingly harmless activities can have suffering at their core. Even when you are doing something that is "not hurting anybody else" you can still be hurting yourself in subtle but problematic ways.

It's also started to make me much more interested and aware of emotions arising in my body. That's something that is very new to me. I've become very familiar with gross body sensations, and I'm starting to gain some skill with picking apart thoughts, but I am little by little starting to become aware of the manifestations of my emotional world. The heart area seems to be the center of lots of activity lately. Mostly a feeling of tightness or aching. This is interesting to me, since the heart area is where all the fireworks were happening during my A&P experience and my meditation teacher afterwards admonished me to pay attention to where I felt it. I honestly had not given that area of my body much attention since then, but I'm starting to see more and more happening there.

Metta and Concentration
Answer
1/27/20 2:25 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
For the most part my practice of late has been less focused, more restless and in general more difficult. Post A&P, I was getting up at 5:30 almost every morning for an hour of practice. I'm still committed to an hour a day, but it has been bumpier. From what the maps say and what others have observed, it seems like I'm squarely within dissolution. If the length of my A&P window is any indicator, its likely to last quite a while, unless I've dropped down to a pre A&P state. That's still a part of the maps I don't understand. Clearly, it is common to cycle up the POI, miss Stream Entry and fall back down, but I haven't found good information on the details of how and when "dropping down" happens (a good question for a dedicated thread). Nonetheless, practice is what it is. Sometimes it feels focused and energetic, other times it doesn't. I can work on equanimity either way.

On advice of the teacher at the last weekend retreat I did, I'm trying to integrate more metta into my practice to keep my insight practice from being too dry. At first I was gung-ho about metta, and I was feeling some really powerful, warm feelings at first, but I've noticed the feelings lately aren't as strong, metta feels more like a chore, and its harder to keep my focus. Perhaps just part of a maturing metta practice. I did pick up Salzberg's Loving-Kindness as a reference. Hopefully that will be a helpful guide.

I'm also adding in more concetration work, just working on breath. This morning's session was all concentration and it felt like the right place to be. I'm thinking I'll spend the rest of this week with a bit of metta to start, followed by concentration. Many sources here and elsewhere have recommended concentration and metta as a good fit for the DN. I guess its time to start taking that advice seriously.

Discovering the POI
Answer
2/5/20 1:03 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
My account of discovering MCTB and the POI. 

https://brandondayton.com/blog/2020/2/5/wtf-just-happened

Back to Basics
Answer
2/7/20 9:26 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Just spent a week on vacation with family. It ended up being the biggest stretch of time I've gone without meditation in the last 6 months. I was a bit frustrated by that. I wish I had made more effort to do some everyday, even if it was a little bit. It leaves me feeling a bit concerned about keeping a steady commitment.

Now trying to get practice back up and going again. Did an hour of concentration practice this morning that began with some metta. Maybe its the time off the cushion by my concentration felt soft. Lots of getting lost in thought. It feels a bit like being a beginner again, although clearly the ability to sit for an hour whether with good concentration or not shows I haven't lost as much ability as I thought. Nonetheless, the beginner feeling is kind of fun. I feel a bit like I'm in meditation lab and testing the practice again. Let's see how it goes to start from a place of weak concentration and work back up to something stronger. 

I'm thinking of spending a few weeks to a month on concentration, maybe with additional noting sessions here and there, and then flip the balance back to an emphasis on noting. 

I'm still making my way through Salzberg's Loving-Kindness and doing a little bit of work every day on metta. I've had a really good experience with mudita practice and need to remember to tie that in to my daily metta practice.

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/7/20 10:02 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Have you ever considered to find a technique to practice off the cushion? A non formal practice you do instead of sitting on the computer or at least 10 minutes before you go into the computer (or TV time). 

yes getting lost in meditation is a common thing if one has not found a way to keep at it non-stop easier. 
I used to get lost into narratives when doing concentration practice or even more so in simple Calm abiding Shamata. 

ive found that Noting Aloud worked really good in destroying hindrances and keeping me 99-100% in the present moment , noting sensation after sensation without breaking the noticing stream of awareness or what ever you wanna call it. 

looking in an honest way it is likely that we are actually mindful during a sitting formal practice only 10-50% and lost the rest of the time. And this 10-50% might be chopped up into small portions of actual determined mindfulness. This like trying to dig a water whole 10 meters deep but we dug 10 holes 1 meter deep and yet we haven't reached the water. 

maybe of more benefit to keep a steady stream of awareness for 10 minutes but actually being mindful of all the sensations arising and passing. 
Noting Aloud seems to do exactly this for me. 

such 10 minutes invested will be more fruitful than 60 minutes of on and off being lost and distracted or even just resting in certain experiences. 
sitting on a chair in front of the computer is as good of a place as any. 

this is my experience of course. Just sharing a possibility. 

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/8/20 10:04 AM as a reply to Che Guebuddha.
Thanks for the ideas. I try to do as much informal practice throughout the day as I can, and my success varies from day to day. My general approach is to ask myself throughout the day if what I am doing requires me to actively think, or if I can use that mental bandwidth to do some noting instead.

I've also done a bit of vocal noting, per instructions from Shinzen Young's See Hear Feel, but that is something I could really do more of. I certainly feel like I am in a phase of practice that requires more commitment, and in general it seems like I need to bring in more energy to make that happen. Some vocal noting could be a good fit. Today is a Saturday too, so a good opportunity to do some informal practice with all the household chores!

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/8/20 10:21 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Thanks for the ideas. I try to do as much informal practice throughout the day as I can, and my success varies from day to day. My general approach is to ask myself throughout the day if what I am doing requires me to actively think, or if I can use that mental bandwidth to do some noting instead.

I've also done a bit of vocal noting, per instructions from Shinzen Young's See Hear Feel, but that is something I could really do more of. I certainly feel like I am in a phase of practice that requires more commitment, and in general it seems like I need to bring in more energy to make that happen. Some vocal noting could be a good fit. Today is a Saturday too, so a good opportunity to do some informal practice with all the household chores!
Yeah that sounds fantastic. You seem to have a very clear sense of dirrection and some fine practice for it all. I like you mentioning that "mental bandwidth" emoticon so true. Good stuff! 

Im now trying to look at that "energy" we need to invest the same as what I need to get up my lazy ars and start that hoover to clean up our home emoticon I mean to get up and take into my hands and keep at it for the duration of the entire cleaning. Seems to give good results. So determination and resolve will inevitably get some energy fired up. I find that energy comes out of actually doing Noting. At some stage its on Fire how much energy there is but thats to the cycles Dissolution will come about with its cooling effect , ahhhhhhh lovely emoticon 

My opinion is that you are onto somthing of benefit here. Maybe others might add more to this thread in case Im gone astray as some might have more clarity about this than I. The only reason I responded to your thread is that there were so many views and no one replied. I wish someone with more wisdom would chime in.

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/8/20 10:34 AM as a reply to Che Guebuddha.
I appreciate the response. That's the main reason I am blogging about my practice and keeping a log here -- to gain support from others in my practice (if it can help others too, that's cool). Being a lone practicioner can only take you so far, and I find great benefit from support of the Sangha in whatever form it takes. I've got a local group I meet with weekly, they are a fantastic group, but they are a more standard IMS/Spirit Rock type of group, so not so much nitty gritty discussion about practice. I actually shared a segment from Deconstructing Yourself at our last sit where Kenneth Folk and Michael Taft were talking about mindfulness with the group and there were some strong negative reactions (although they were all very gracious to me about it.). So this forum plays an important role for me as a place where I can really get into the details of practice with a group that is on board with the POI model of things.

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/9/20 10:18 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
More metta followed by concentration practice this morning, with a bit of a diversion mid-practice to pay attention to the sensations in my chest. Been paying much more attention to the heart center lately. Listened to John Prendergast on Deconstructing Yourself talking about doing heart work. Much of it was over my head, but I feel a strong pull to pay attention to this area.

I had another moment of awareness of the connection between complulsion and the heart center. I was getting ready to do some dishes and was about to turn on some music. I felt a tightness and ache that was very similar to what I felt working with my video game compulsion. There was something that just felt painful in my heart about listening to music, and I ended up listening to a podcast instead. It don't really understand what was going on, but it is becoming an increasingly compelling area of investigation.

RE: Back to Basics
Answer
2/10/20 11:01 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Practice feels very ordinary lately. The feeling of being a beginner seems to persist. I listened to the Guru Viking interview with Stephen Snyder yesterday and he talked about how the arc of practice has a quality of expansion and contraction. He likened it to an accordion. It's interesting to think of how that concept jives with the POI. I'm certainly feeling a contraction of late. Much more aversion to practice and a much stronger feeling of dukkha off the cushion -- just more uneasy, tense, skin crawly feelings, which of course I'm feeling in the heart area as well.

I'm trying to use it as an opportunity, and thinking of it as if I was lifting weights at the gym. The difficulty is just like an increase in the weight. I'm practicing staying calm and relaxing through restlessness. Fortunately the challenge is not too large, and the increase in difficulty seems manageable. Still doing a solid hour of practice per day, plus opportunistic practice throughout the day -- primarily as I'm sitting in my son's room waiting for him to fall asleep.

experiencing piti?
Answer
2/16/20 12:56 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I've been listening to dharma talks from Tina Rasumussen and Stephen Snyder lately. It's a good fit since I am working on the Brahmaviharas and concentration and most of their talks are on the Brahmaviharas and Jhanas. This week I've adopted their metta phrases in my practice, and I've just been working on directing the metta to myself. The general phrasing they use is:

May I be safe
May I be healthy
May I be happy
May my mind be at ease
May I be liberated

As they describe it, this order follows up the chakras, which I really like. Before hearing their dharma talk on the topic, I found myself stumbling on to this pattern a bit naturally. I was ending my metta with "may I be safe" and in a moment of mind blip I switched it to "may I be free" and it just felt better. After finding their phrase order, it clicked why ending with "may I be free" felt better.

I started my meditation this morning with metta, based on this pattern, and found myself getting into a very deeply concentrated and pleasant state. I was wondering if I had veered out of metta territory into mantra. Not sure if that's a diversion or not.

After some time with the metta, I switched to concentration on the breath.  Rasmussen and Snyder recommend doing a strict anapanasati where you focus on the area under the nose. Snyder has described the practice as not focusing on the sensations on the skin, but on the movement of the breath through the area, as if you are a toll collector on a road. I don't think I quite understand how to do this, as I felt like I had a hard time finding what to focus on. Finally, I just directed my focus to the sensations of the breathing that I could clearly perceive, and again found myself getting into a deeply pleasent and concentrated state. I'm wondering if what I am feeling is piti. I found it to be very pleasent and energizing, which sounds similar to how I've heard it described. The concentration actually lingered for about 10 minutes after the sit, and even now I find it fairly easy to drop into.

Maybe all this metta and concentration practice is paying off.

Also discussing commitment on another thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18771890

I think it's time to make a new resolve to practice, based on suggestions from the thread. This is the form my resolve will take:

I will resolve to practice a mimimum of 30 minutes per day, but will schedule my practice in such a way that I will have the option to do an hour or more at one time. If I do not practice in the morning, I will practice in the evening as I put my children to bed. There is never a good reason to skip practice.

When not on the cushion, I will find as many activities during the day where I can practice noting -- dishes, laundry, cooking, exercise, showering ect. Throughout the day I will ask myself, "What is happening right now?" I will pay attention to what is happening, I will notice any resistance and surrender to whatever is happening in the moment.

I will keep a log of my practice and attend weekly meditation sessions with my local sangha.

RE: experiencing piti?
Answer
2/16/20 1:08 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Sounds great. I look forward to reading you log. 

Just Concentration
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2/24/20 10:31 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Just worked on concentration yesterday. No Metta. Was able to do almost a full hour. Concentration was pretty good. Did quite a bit of counting the breaths and there were micro mind wanderings, but not for more than a breath or two. Over the last few days I've noticed that mind-wandering gets more frequent the longer I'm sitting. I guess this has to do with the exhaustion of sitting. It's been interesting to work on bringing my focus back towards the end of the session. I conceptualize this like doing those last couple of reps at the gym, except without the striving effort. I wonder if it works in a similar way -- the work done in the second half of my sit, when concentration is harder, does more to improve my concentration than the easy stuff I do at the beginning.

I also just finished Braun's The Birth of Insight which traces the origins of modern Insight practice back to the innovations of Ledi Sayadaw. The first 3/4 of the book or more is about his scholarly work and his translations of the Abbidhamma for the laity that preceded his later emphasis on lay meditation. The book is pretty dry and scholarly itself, but gets most interesting when it gets into meditation territory and starts to explore the tradtition of meditation among the monastics and how Ledi began to decouple concentration practice from insight, which was later continued by Mahasi Sayadaw and has continued in contemporary approaches. Oddly enough, it ended up being a nice confirmation of the work I'm doing with concentration. I'd been wondering exactly how to interface concentration practice with vipassana and I felt like the descriptions of the practices he taught were helpful. He also recommded 3-4 hours of practice today. Not sure I'll be able to fit that in any time soon.

It also made me curious to delve a bit into the abbidhamma, as the practices he recommended were very deeply rooted in the Abbidhamma. In particular he used the basis of the four elements for vipassana practice where he noted the quality of fire (temperature), wind (movement), earth (direct contact) and water (integrity) in every sensation. I played with this a bit in my evening vipassana sit. I wonder if there are any contemporary practicioners that use a similar method. I see the value in the simplification of the Mahasi method and the even further simplification of Shizen's method, but I like having the tools to get more granular and specific. It seems that even in noting, the language used can determine what you are able to perceive and how your perceive.

I'm gonna continue with concentration and metta for a bit more, but I'm excited to start focusing more on vipassana again. I'll have to think through how to keep a finger on concentration and metta once I make that transition.

The Grind
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2/25/20 9:14 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Sat for an hour last night during my daughter's ballet class and another hour this morning. Both sits felt like a grind. I know that's not the best terminology to use to describe meditation, but that's how they felt -- they were tough. The sit last night was tough. Just focused on concentration and had to relax through a lot of bodily discomfort. This may have to do with the fact that I was doing my sit in an unusual spot -- an alcove bench in the corner of a university building. At the very least, I felt proud of being able to sit calmly through all of it. Well, almost. I finallly fidgeted with about four minutes to go. Had some moments of good concentration here and there, but I was very happy to be done.

This morning, I might have just been sleepy, but I felt like I had big lapses in concentration. I started with metta and transitioned into concentration. I feel almost like my body is pulling me to vipassana. Maybe its time to switch back, or to let my mind meditate itself more. I was listening to a dharma talk the other day where Joseph Goldstein recommends flowing back and forth between concentration on breath and broader noting practice as you feel inclined in a single practice. Maybe there is too much effort in my practice and I need to ease up and let it be what it wants to be.

Where am I on the Progress of Insight, by the way? I have no idea.

Vipassana Time
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2/26/20 9:38 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Did the same drill this morning: metta then concentration. Practice was erratic. Lots of mind wandering. With 22 minutes do go I decided to switch to vipassana and only did that for another 10 minutes before I got so restless I quit.

Kind of grumpy and irritable afterwards. I'm feeling like my diversion into metta and concentration has come to an end for now and I'm feeling drawn back to having a bigger focus on vipassana. Maybe I'll find time for another sit for today.

Reading through Travis's log right now https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/14271890

I
'm finding it inspiring and encouraging to return to vipassana. Practice has been erratic and difficult for quite a while now and I am continually focusing on relaxing into what it is, but I have to admit that it is challenging. 

RE: Vipassana Time
Answer
2/29/20 10:30 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I keep saying I'm gonna switch back to noting practice, but I've been sticking with concentration for the last couple of days. I picked up Leigh Braisington's Right Concentration book and I've realized that my concentration is actually making good progress. While its not totally consistent I have frequent sessions where my concetration matches his description of Access Concentration. I've had a least a couple of sessions where I've had a strong upwelling of piti, but I'm not sure if I would call it First Jhana. I think I need to keep my attention with the piti a bit longer to get there.

This morning was an hour with probably the first 10 minutes dedicated to metta and the rest on concentration. Concentration seems to be a much more fragile practice and requires a different approach than noting. This morning I was very comfortable and relaxed and the practice seemed to come much easier.

I still want to find some time for noting. I'll see if I can fit an hour in this afternoon. There should be plenty of opportunity for informal practice today as well.

RE: Vipassana Time
Answer
3/1/20 4:24 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I keep saying I'm gonna switch back to noting, but the concentration practice is starting to get stronger and stronger. I had a restless night of sleep last night and ended up waking up around 4am, and finally decided to get out of bed around 5:30. I sat, but my mind was racing and I was restless. I was trying to do concentration, but kept losing my focus.

I experimented with switching between noting and metta, to see if one of them was a better fit for my mind-set. The restlessness was still there. Finally, I thought I'd try doing a Do Nothing sit. I just dropped everything, and suddenly got super relaxed and alert. I stayed there for awhile, but found my attention naturally sliding to the breath. It made me realize that there was a tension to my focus before that was making me restless. It's one of those things where I had heard others describe the idea of tightness around a thought, or tightness in the concentration itself, but this is the first time I think I really could feel that. As soon as I was able to relax my mind and my focus everything got much easier and my concentration became very tranquil and continuous. As I noticed distractions arising in my mind, I could sense a tightness around them and could consciously let them go by relaxing the space around the thoughts and impressions. It felt like I discovered a new little trick to concentration.

A very interesting discovery. More and more I am finding my practice in a place where the right approach is to not try and make the practice something but to relax and let the practice emerge. Very fun to start to gain these subtle insights into the mind as well.

I've been reading quite a few logs lately, and it's interesting to read the more advanced logs and how bizarre they can sound, but then to also read others at an earlier stage working through many of the same issues I am. I can start to see how the two ends connect. How, little by little small insights into the nature of the mind can lead to dramatic perceptual changes.

Honestly, all the bizarre stuff sounds pretty cool. The idea that I can increasingly have access to those types of experiences is one of the things that keeps me motivated. Reading all the very regular stuff is also a great motivator. It's encouraging to see that there are others working their way through the path.

  

Was that First Jhana?
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3/2/20 10:38 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Doing concentration practice today. Concentration was okay, not amazing, but I was def. feeling some pleasent feelings in the midst of it. I was thinking about the instructions from Right Concentration on turning the attention to the piti to get to First Jhana. I was holding off because I kept telling myself my concentration wasn't strong enough yet, but for whatever reason I felt confidence in swithching to the piti and finally made the jump. 

I felt like I was able to stick with it pretty well and I could feel the piti slowly surging as I kept the concentration. At one point, I think I realized that I was mostly focusing on the sukkha (the happy feeling) and tried to and tried to narrow in on the giddiness of the piti. As I did so I could feel it really swell and I had a giant grin break out on my face, which was actually broke my concentration a bit. I was also getting sexually aroused, which was distracting because of the physical senstations but also the confusion about whether or not that should be happenning.

The piti died down and a returned to my breath. When I switch to piti, the breath always feels very soft and pleasent afterwards and my concentration is stronger. So maybe making these jumps to piti is not a bad way to reinforce the concentration. I did a bit of back and forth from breath to piti to wrap up the session. 

Somehow I was able to maintain the concentration while my cat was scratching at the door, but I got up super mindfully, let her in and decided to do a bit of walking meditation with noting.

As promised, the high level of concentration made the vipassana work very clear and sharp. Faces almost seemed to pop out of the the wood grain, and visually everything seemed very crisp, almost like I was on a micro-dose of mushrooms. I slowly walked down to my basement, all of my perceptions feeling super sensitive. I crossed the floor of my basement and on the opposite side of the room. I felt the piti welling again. I returned my attention to the piti and this time it was explosive. I got a huge surge of euphoria that felt orgasmic. In my mind, I'm like "This is it! This is it! First Jhana baby! It was super energetic and I felt my breathing get fast and shallow and the sexual arousal again. It peaked and then dissipated.

I think the noveltly of it and being distracted by all of the sensations might have made me lose my concentration, but I was mostly just super excited about it.

Now I'm left kind of concerned that the intensity of the experience will lead to too much craving or expectation, but maybe it'll also just be a good motivator to get back on the cushion.

RE: Was that First Jhana?
Answer
3/2/20 10:56 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hey Brandon enjoyed reading some of your logs. Sounds like we're going through some similar experiences. I too have notice the ebb and flow or cycling between periods of increased concentration/positive feeling vs. distraction/unpleasant feeling. For me it seems that these cycle every 1-2 weeks.  
Something I am trying this go-round is to be less concerned with the highs (the blissful states etc), letting them happen but not get too sucked into them (even though it can be fun as hell!).  I think this might help get through the negative states and make real progress vs. continued cycling.

To me what you describe here sounds like more of an A&P event, I think of 1st Jhana as being a calm concentration state where it's just easier to focus on an object.  I could be wrong there.

RE: Was that First Jhana?
Answer
3/2/20 11:20 AM as a reply to J W.
Thanks John,

I suspected A&P too, since it was so unstable. Hitting a second A&P would a be a good sign as it would mean I am not stuck in some endless dissolution, as I suspected before, but hopefully can get moving through more frequent cycles and getting a better sense of the territory. Also, it does feel good, which is nice relief.

At the same time, it was the result of following the specific instructions that are suppossed to lead you to First Jhana. Leigh Braisingtion does describe it as being a euphoric and intense feeling, sometimes so intense that it can be uncomfortable. His description of it actually has a lot of overlap with descritptions of the A&P. That's what makes me wonder. 

RE: Was that First Jhana?
Answer
3/2/20 2:32 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Ah, nice... I'll have to check out that book. I did have an experience like that a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was A&P since it was intense and unstable.
I've been thinking 1st Jhana is a much more subtle state that you can access more predictably but may also have undertones of euphoria and calm. A&P being more of the "yes, this is it!" type feeling. But again I might be way off-base.
I think they can be overlapping sometimes which makes it even more confusing. If it's anything like what I experienced I felt pretty subdued for the next few days after that...

Flirting with First Jhana
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3/5/20 10:06 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
My sits that last couple of days have been very similar -- concentration on breath, I start sensing piti, then I move my attention on to the piti.

Oddly enough, it seems like jumping to piti early and then coming back to the breath really supercharges my concentration. I find the second half of my sits to mostly be jumping back and forth from piti to breath and trying to sort out the varying senstations, and how I relate to them effects their quality. Mostly just trying to relax and keep my concentration on the piti, but it's not always a stable sensation, and I'm not always sure if I'm concentrating on the right thing or not. Is it that pleasent tingling in my face, or the subtle sense of giddiness attached to the tingling? Trying to see if I can be aware of the sukha in all of this too.

Can't say I've really hit First Jhana in the last few sessions, but it seems inevitable.

My sits are also going much longer. I can do an hour plus with ease.

I'm interested in my motivations at this point. I was struggling with noting, frustrated by trying to see what, if any progress was happenning, and now I've turned my attention to concentration where, after a month's time, I'm seeing results. I'm really enjoying the practice and the fun of the concentration and piti is winning out on noting right now. Maybe I'll naturally return to noting when the time is right. I still try to find time to note off the cushion, but it really isn't the same.

Am I avoiding opening up to all the hard stuff that you have to face with noting? Not sure. Learning to acceptance an equanimity is a big part of what I want from meditation, but I'm curious to see the role that Jhana might play in all of this.

On a side note, a spot opened to do some coaching with Michael Taft and I'm wondering if this would be a good time to check in with a teacher.

Playing ping-pong with Practice
Answer
3/30/20 10:13 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
A bit longer of a log as the change in routine has been a bit disruptive. Hope to get back to more regular entries.

I've been happy with the decision to focus on concentration for the past two months. I'm finding the benefits as advertised:

A. Concentration just feels really good, and really good in lots of different ways. Still dont' know if I've landed any Jhanas, but just gaining some familiarity with piti and learning how to cultivate it is fun and sustainable.

I'm also discovering another state that I think is Jhana related. I have one state in particular that I landed in the past week, but that I know I've landed 5 or 6 times in the past (but didn't have the Jhana terminology at the time to recognize it). While concentrating on breath, the breath suddenly gets very quiet and perceptually "small". Things get very tranquil and my visual field opens up and fills my attention. My body and breath are still there but they feel like they drop down underneath my attention space. It's maybe almost like I'm floating a bit above the sensations of my body. It feels fairly easy to just hang out in this state for awhile until it seems to naturally unwind.

B. I feel more confidence as I return to noting practice. Not that the practice even feels that great. I had quite a bit of discomfort last night as I was noting, but I feel like the concentration I bring to the practice allows me to sit through it with greater calm and openess. Oddly, after doing some noting, when I switch back to concentration mid-practice, it feels like getting shot out of cannon -- my concentration surges back and is very smooth, strong and pleasant. If find myself increasingly switching back and forth mid practice and playing with what happens.

Other interesting notes from recent practice:

I'm playing more and more with a trick that becomes helpful when I'm getting lost in thought. There is a specific type of getting-lost-in-thought that happens as I try to count breaths. I get very concentrated on the breath, almost in a way that is too tight, and it leads to restlessness and mind wandering. I find if I stop trying to follow the breath and just do a Do Nothing sit for a bit that my concentration relaxes, my attention opens up and after a few minutes I can ease back into the breath. I think it helps because of how it helps me to keep my concentration broader and more relaxed. If I can take in the periphery and gently follow the breath in the center of it all, things seem to go better.

I recently found Kenneth Folk's book-in-progress due to the recommendations of others on DhO and started digging into it. Reading Kenneth's life story was a particularly good reminder of the path I have taken -- that they end goal is awakening, and in my particular phase the proximate goal is Stream Entry. I've been a bit pouty over the last few months that as a married guy with kids that I don't have the bandwidth to do the retreat time I would like to but something about reading Kenneth's story emboldened me that I can do it. I have to remember people like Dipa Ma that demonstrated that you could make progress in the midst of regular life, but it does take dedication and commitment. This is the path I'm on. The second I crossed the A&P it was a fata compli. Part of walking the path is accepting the path as it presents itself in my life and embracing it for what it is. Along those lines I've decided to try and start doing two 45 minute sessions a day and work from there. The morning session would be a concentration session and the evening would be noting, but I would allow for fluidity and experimentation.

I'm starting to think that I've been mapping my noting practice wrong. I had a big glorious A&P that was luxuriously and generously long, and it put me in the mind state of thinking that I would then have these long drawn-out nanas in succession. I've been frustrated watching my practice and not seeing the  Dissolution and Fear I expected after the A&P. I now think that what is really happenning is that I am returning to 0 with every sit and working my way up the ladder. Last night I sat down, was having fun with noting and then things got painful and restless. I've realized that I've experienced a lot of this pain in my noting over the last several months and that it might actually be the 3C's stage of things. With the practice I've put into concentration I feel like I was able to relax much more into the pain that I have in the past. After a while the pain started to dissipate and things startred to feel good again, I felt like it was potentially building up to another A&P. My timer went off, and I ended up lying on floor doing concentration for a few few minutes.

It's now my working theory (holding it lightly) that I might be seeing the beginnings of cycles with each sit. I'm going to use this as my working model and see how it matches up to things as I keep moving forward. A review of Contemplative Fitness and MCTB on the first 3 might be good at this point. 

Making Adjustments
Answer
4/5/20 10:36 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Well, the 45/45 thing didn't really work this past week. I just ended up sitting less than normal. I've decided for this week to do my regular hour sits in the morning and then try and find another time during the day that can be any length, but I do want to keep track of how much time 2nd sit is.

Did noting practice this morning. I can tell that concentration practice has helped me with relaxing into my noting practice and keeping things smooth and loving. I'm much more gentle when I get lost in thought. Otherwise fairly uneventful, just noting lots of things happening.

The uneventulness did make a doubt emerge. I have already been doing noting for several months without a sense of any change or "progress". It has basically felt the same most of the time. I've gotten better at sitting through unpleasent stuff, but other than that I don't get a sense of progressing through any of the ñanas. Maybe its just a matter of putting in more time and having some patience, but there is the lingering doubt that maybe there is a better approach that I could be taking. 

Boring Boringness
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4/6/20 12:51 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
An hour of noting this morning. Did some noting aloud and I feel like I got a sense for how to make that work. I did find that with noting aloud I miss some of the granularity of what is going on. I would switch back and forth, noting aloud when attention wavered and switching back to silent when concentration increased.

Concentration and tranquility are pretty good. There is a sense of "Is this it?" There isn't the same easy pay-off as there is with pure concentration. It feels pretty boring and uneventful.

Ok, something is happening
Answer
4/7/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Did an additional 45 minutes after dinner last night and probably 10 to 15 minutes while putting my son to bed. For whatever reason, my motivation has increased. Maybe it's the benefits of concentration and metta. I feel much more capable of relaxing and concentrating. It could also be reading Contemplative Fitness and Saints and Psychopaths. There is matter-of-fact quality to their descriptions of awakening that is emboldening.

Did another hour this morning. I had a sense again of an imminent coming-up of some sort. As soon as I noticed it it kind of dissipated. Maybe an A&P  on the horizon. Dunno.

Noting is certainly more taxing than pure concentration. I have to be intentional about relaxing and opening up to keep from getting too tense or rattled by the exhaustion. As advertised, the noting out-loud has also proven to be good at working through the defilements. I like to go to it when I’m getting too spacey, drowsy, restless or confused.

RE: Ok, something is happening
Answer
4/9/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Yes, Noting is more taxing only because you are more Gaining. emoticon 

Btw, in my experience strong samadhi arises at times during noting. Noting Aloud also acts as a Mantra really. Using calm voice , as Shinzen is suggesting can help get into a more calm and concentrated state but at time this will not happen no matter what you do emoticon In that case there is only Note fast and Acceptance of what is. That too shall pass (unless I cling to it with aversion or desire). 

RE: Ok, something is happening
Answer
4/9/20 10:06 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Do you change the pace of your noting or do you keep a pretty steady pace as you go? Sometimes I notice I get aware of a rush of quick sensations, and I start noting them all quickly in succession, and then kind of lose the thread.

meh
Answer
4/9/20 6:34 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Did an hour in the afternoon yesterday. Afternoons are usually a guarantee of lots of drowsiness and spaciness, this time was no different, but it felt different. I noted the drowsiness and spaciness, and let it runs its course without fighting it. I felt like I was falling into some hypnogogic states but I was able to stay aware and concentrated through all of it.


Another hour this morning. Switching back and forth between noting aloud and noting silently. I feel like noting aloud makes me more aware of the stream-of-consciousness succession of sensations, and tends to be broader and coarser while with silent noting my attention gets more granular and I can see more details. Lots of getting spacey during both modes. Starting to note the spaciness along with things like boredom, urges (particularly to check the clock or quit), doubts, frustration ect. That stuff is much more subtle. I am aware it's there, but its so fleeting that I can't really perceive many details such as location in my body or shape before it's gone.

Gonna try and get in another session this afternoon. Maybe 45 minutes or so.

RE: Ok, something is happening
Answer
4/9/20 1:05 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
"Anicca never takes a day off and has no lunch break" is a good reminder to have emoticon seriously all is changing. I never try to control the pace, I just do it and also Note this very intention I might have to start with. 

You will see that in the start there will always be some C&E in form of a jerky interplay between Intention and Object/s. This is usually the stage of trying to find a "proper" pace emoticon You cant. Just keep noting all that jerkiness and its utter unpleasantness. You are not in control any way. You are here to watch a teatre show!

That being said, NOTING PACE will change and get either very fast or maybe even very slow. Now, interesting is that when Noting Aloud is very slow and calm there is much more silent noticing going on inbetween the Aloud Noting. Or if there is fast noting aloud then the voice becomes more of a Fast Mantra-like and can be more of a whisper aloud noting even during the inbreath (try it this is possible when you whisper while breathing in. I find this to take place in A&P and then suddenly drops down into slow and chilled out Dissolution. Here you relax again and Noting pace gets slower.

I see our job to be in the very present. If there is expectation about certain stuff then NOTE "EXPECTATION" as this is PRESENT. "should I keep a same pace?" Note either "uncertainty" or "doubt" even if that is the case.

When thigs get WAY TOO confusing ALWAYS re-start the practice by returning back to the Body Sensations. Stop, take a deep breath and ask "Am I mindful right now? Let me see ... " and Noting goes on again; coolness, heat, itching, vibrations ...

Sorry if Im rubbling too much. Hope I've answered your question.

RE: Ok, something is happening
Answer
4/9/20 6:35 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
That's helpful. Starting to see more and more ways that I'm over-thinking it and lots of subtle stuff going on that I wasn't aware of. Trying to settle in to paying attention to what's there, whatever it is.

Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
5/4/20 2:41 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hour-long noting sesh this morning, but sat down with an energetic feeling of faith to start. I thinik that's mostly from reading through Chris Marti's logs yesterday. Nothing like reading an account of Stream Entry to 4th path in the course of eight months to make the path feel very real and wide open.

Doing mostly verbal noting. Switching between eyes closed, eyes open and testing out silent noting v. verbal. About twenty minutes in I start to feel a sense of rest, quiet and tranquility between sensations. I start noting the tranquility and after a few notes in sequence the feeling expands to fill my awareness.

I don't have enough experiences with Jhanas to know this definitively, but this feels like a Jhana. My body is suffused with quiet and peace and there is a sense of open tranquil space expanding in front of me in my field of view.

This is a state I've experienced now maybe 7 times in the last 8 months. I had it happen four or five times the 2 months after my A&P experience, and it's happened now a few times since I started working on concentration, but this is the first time I've had it happen while noting.

I continued to note, although the sensations were very fuzzy and vague -- not much detail.

As I focused on the pleasent pressure sensations in my face, I could feel a welling of pleasure in the face and through the body. It's funny how the sensations in my face can feel so heavy and intense, but still pleasurable. It reminds me of the pressure and intensity I felt when I had an ear infection, but with a pleasant tone rather than the raw aversive tone from the infection. I cycled between pleasure and tranquility through the rest of the session. I kept waiting for a come-down but the tranquility was stable. Even as I'm sitting writing this now, it is still permeating everything. I'm looking out the window and it looks God-damn beautiful outside. 

I mostly kept with the noting but did take some detours and just watched the breath or settled into the tranquility. In the last 10 minutes or so I just chilled out in the good vibes. A little built of guilt that I should be noting when I was Jhanaing, but I spent the lion share of the experience noting, so not too much guilt.

Interesting note was being aware of the attachment, wanting and disatisfaction throughout the whole experience. It was subtle, but there was an urge for more -- to turn up the dial -- to become totally immersed in the feeling and to hold on to it. 

Feeling good vibes is great, but it feels like a victory to see the dukkha there too.

I like to think that there is a little magic when you read the accounts of others walking the path. I think about what I've been reading over the past few months and how I can trace the transmission of the dharma through the different accounts. Ledi to Mahasi to Hamilton to Folk/Ingram to Chris (recognizing that its not totally linear like that). I feel like I am opening a conduit to the awakening of others and feeling the flow of the dharma into my own practice. Maybe there is some truth to the Guru concept and the idea of Shaktipat in that sense. I think Chris even mentions somethings along those lines in his log.

Dunno if I will advance as far as others in this lifetime, but I feel the pull nonetheless. It feels like something I can place faith in. I don't need to try so hard. I can open up and let it unfold.

RE: Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
4/10/20 10:30 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
"Feeling good vibes is great, but it feels like a victory to see the dukkha there too."

yes emoticon being Awake really is liberating no matter what the experience is. And there is this rush from realizing this. Hence being Awake to This-ness becomes the home run! All else is just self-validating garbage that also is This-ness. All is equal under the hat of Noting.  

Nice one sais I emoticon 

 Btw, don't be disappointed if you don't awaken as Chris in 8 month time! You could awaken suddenly instead emoticon 


(I hope Chris doesn't notice me using smileys) 

RE: Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
4/10/20 12:44 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Hour-long noting sesh this morning, but sat down with an energetic feeling of faith to start. I thinik that's mostly from reading through Chris Marti's logs yesterday. . . . 

I like to think that there is a little magic when you read the accounts of others walking the path. I think about what I've been reading over the past few months and how I can trace the transmission of the dharma through the different accounts. Ledi to Mahasi to Hamilton to Folk/Ingram to Chris (recognizing that its not totally linear like that). I feel like I am opening a conduit to the awakening of others and feeling the flow of the dharma into my own practice. Maybe there is some truth to the Guru concept and the idea of Shaktipat in that sense. I think Chris even mentions somethings along those lines in his log.

Dunno if I will advance as far others in this lifetime, but I feel the pull nonetheless. It feels like something I can place faith in. I don't need to try so hard. I can open up and let it unfold.

I spent time in a Siddha Yoga Dham in the early 80s, and shakipat from the guru was big-time there, like pentecostal-level bop-them-on-the-forehead-with-a-peacock-feather-and-they- be-gate-gate-gate. You grew up in that that LSD cult in Utah, you said, Brandon, so you know the power of set and setting in altered states, it's mama's milk to you and the whole Joe Smith bunch out there, and all their wives too. (My first wife, whom I married twice, was a Mormon, and I lived in Logan, Utah for a number of years.) I think faith is where you find it, and that, as advertsied, a mustard-seed-sized dose will do for practice, but like you say, the occasional recognizable wave of inspiration is truly sweet. The fact that whatever Mama Shakti gave you, and however it was transmitted, moved you to feel that much more deeply that your practice is trustworthy, and that you can relax a degree or two, open up, and let it unfold---- that speaks for itself.

You were talking about pace up higher there, and for what it's worth, I have found that pace in the iteration of your technique can make a huge difference, and that it is often counterintuitive--- i.e., when it is most overwhelming and the obvious move is pedal to the metal, it sometimes happens that easing off on the gas is what does the trick. Like music, too, the tempo can change the song in qualitative ways, same notes, different beat.

RE: Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
4/10/20 1:02 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
(My first wife, whom I married twice, was a Mormon, and I lived in Logan, Utah for a number of years.) 

Lol, it's all connected. Is there an X-file emoji?

Thanks for the thought on pace. I've noticed it kind of shifts naturally, but I'll play a bit with making intentional adjustments and see how it goes.

RE: Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
4/10/20 1:08 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
(My first wife, whom I married twice, was a Mormon, and I lived in Logan, Utah for a number of years.) 

Damnit, this is unsettling.

Logan, UT is a beautiful place. I lived in Brigham City, a very small, desert-y little town west of Logan (and not in the mountains) that has one major claim to fame: it's close to the Golden Spike Monument, where the east met the west, railroad style.

RE: Jhana Comes A Callin'
Answer
4/10/20 1:12 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:


Thanks for the thought on pace. I've noticed it kind of shifts naturally, but I'll play a bit with making intentional adjustments and see how it goes.

The pace thing has meant the most to me in the dukha nanas, and most especially when i am close to panic and inclined to flood the engine with gas. It is especially good the worse it gets, and in Disgust it leads to the kind of thing you were noticing, of being more at peace with the goddamned practice's learning curve slope going obviously beyond one lifetime. If it's going to take eons, somehow, even mythologically speaking, there is no real sense in hurrying. I mean, an eon here, an eon there, pretty soon it starts to add up to some real long time. The practice of this moment, this iteration of the technique, this bit of reinvested faith in the 1-2-3 of your state of the art, body, breath, word/logos/ algorithm fractaling into uncountable time, sure, but also, this, and only this mustard seed of iteration. With that, you're already at Desire for Liberation, for that iteration, and often EQ comes like the next breath, so quiet that you may not even notice it for a while. And EQ is foot off the gas all the way.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/13/20 3:19 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
An hour of noting practice before lunch. 

Trying to hunt down the subtle things more and more. Trying to pay attention to my attitudes about practice and things like urges. Starting to catch the urge to open my eyes or to check the time. Interesting to follow the connection from the pain in my back to the urge to get up.

Got drowsy and spacy for a bit. About 45 minutes in I got a little tired with the noting and just dropped it all. Focused on the pleasant sensation of drowsiness which ended up escalating into a surging pleasureable experience. I grabbed on to that poured on the gas and it seemed to surge upwards into my forehead creating kind of a painful pressure until it subsided.

Felt like I was trying to replicate the tranquility that emerged the other day, like I was actively searching between sensations to find it. Didn't really catch it but I did get another surge of pleasure putting pressure on the forehead like before. Jhana? A&P? Not sure, but at the very least I noted the mapping, analyzing and confusion.

Finished off by chilling out with the breath then returned to noting.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/13/20 4:24 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Nice one!

Yeah that urge to check the timer emoticon and how noting cuts it down in its roots only to leave behind the Imagining of the timer in the mind. I place my phone a bit behind me so Im not able to see it as I practice with eyes open. At times there is this urge to check "how much" time and usually is accompanied with some preassure in the solar plexus and an image in my mind of the phone. So it goes quick, preassue in plexus, urge, unpleasant, imagining, and then attention moves to something else like itch or coolness or what ever. Practice goes on without the hindrance called restlessness. Works same with Ill will, Doubt and Sleepiness etc ... Noting really is a Plow for plowing through the hindrances emoticon Love this stuff!

And then the feeling of joy that comes up from realising that this shit works if one is on top it, tap, tap, tap, one after the other they arise and pass away ay ay ayyy emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/16/20 10:00 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
At times there is this urge to check "how much" time and usually is accompanied with some preassure in the solar plexus and an image in my mind of the phone.

That pretty much describes it. I'm pretty amazed by all the emotional stuff happening at the heart center. It seems to always ping or tighten any time there is something difficult, and to soften when good stuff happens.

Sometimes it's also just gas.

Feelin' Groovy
Answer
4/16/20 10:41 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Practice over the last few days has been solid. Some persistent themes:

1. Practice has been feeling easy and sustainable. I went into my sit on Monday deciding to act as if I was in equanimity and practice accordingly. Mostly sat quietly, doing nothing with some very slow and gentle and occasional noting.

2. I have no idea where I am on the maps, and I feel okay about that. I analyze or wonder when I practice, then I note it and move one.

3. I’m feeling more “space” in my life. I am more frequently seeing a gap between when I feel something and when I react. I’m able to watch the urges and decide what to do from there. I mostly just watch without doing anything. Last night I made a resolution to arise early to meditate even though I had stayed up a bit later. The resolution was very gentle and soft, much in contrast to “plans” I had made in the past that were always wrapped with tension, doubt and anxiety. I basically made the resolution with a “let’s see what happens.” attitude. I rose early as intended.

4. I can reliably drop into altered states. If I sit still I can quickly and intentionally open up to states of tranquility and pleasure and am able to turn the dial between the two. Not sure if that is jhana or what, but it’s there.

5. I am hopeful and enthusiastic about practice. I feel like I can see my mind changing. I still feel very normal and have up and down days, but I can see subtle differences throughout all of it.

RE: Feelin' Groovy
Answer
4/16/20 10:43 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Practice over the last few days has been solid. Some persistent themes:

1. Practice has been feeling easy and sustainable. I went into my sit on Monday deciding to act as if I was in equanimity and practice accordingly. Mostly sat quietly, doing nothing with some very slow and gentle and occasional noting.

2. I have no idea where I am on the maps, and I feel okay about that. I analyze or wonder when I practice, then I note it and move one.

3. I’m feeling more “space” in my life. I am more frequently seeing a gap between when I feel something and when I react. I’m able to watch the urges and decide what to do from there. I mostly just watch without doing anything. Last night I made a resolution to arise early to meditate even though I had stayed up a bit later. The resolution was very gentle and soft, much in contrast to “plans” I had made in the past that were always wrapped with tension, doubt and anxiety. I basically made the resolution with a “let’s see what happens.” attitude. I rose early as intended.

4. I can reliably drop into altered states. If I sit still I can quickly and intentionally open up to states of tranquility and pleasure and am able to turn the dial between the two. Not sure if that is jhana or what, but it’s there.

5. I am hopeful and enthusiastic about practice. I feel like I can see my mind changing. I still feel very normal and have up and down days, but I can see subtle differences throughout all of it.


Wow!

Aversion to Fear
Answer
4/25/20 1:59 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Have done a couple of sessions while putting the kids to bed over the last few days. The first night I was feeling lots of pain/pressure on the ridge of my nose and center of my eyebrows. That discomfort made me start to wonder if I was in the 3 characteristics phase, so I thought I'd focus on the 3 characteristics. I seemed to check things off pretty quicklly -- yup, that's impermanence, yup that's dukkha, yup that's not meeeeewhooaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAA!

Things started dissolving and getting very creepy and energetic. had a few surges of terror as things dissolved and images began emerging in my field of view. One of the things that I have been dreading has been the scary aspect of practice. I am heavily aversive to fear and am concerned about how I will navigate that particular challenge. Not suprisingly, it was tough to sit still with. I sat with it for a bit but finally tapped out at around 30 minutes and had a horrible night's sleep.

Same thing the next night. I was able to sit more calmly through some of the creepy sensations but eventually decided to call it a night. 

I did quite a bit of practice earlier in the day on the second day and had no issue with it, so I'm wondering if it's just me dipping into 3 characteristics within the context of meditating in a dark room at night. It could also be entering into the Fear phase of the POI (duh). Who the fuck knows? I see evidence of both things. I'll need more time and experience with this stuff to discern things better.

Lots of mixed feelings. Worrying about the fear. Excited about learning equanimity in the midst of fear. Excited about the scary stuff as a sign of progress. Feeling like crap 'cause I haven't slept well in the last 3 nights and I feel like garbage.

Lost in the Wilderness (but at least its a pleasant journey)
Answer
4/25/20 2:00 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Still haven't hit any landmarks that would indicate a difinitive place on the POI. Generally feeling like I could be somewhere pre A&P again or still slooooowly sliding through dissolution. 3C's and dissolution sound the most accurate. In contrast I don't think I've experienced anything yet that would fit the description of any of the dukka ñanas. Don't know where I am, but it certainlly still feels like I am progressing. It's rare for me to have a session where something interesting doesn't happen.

Practice today was very chill and sustainable. Taking a cue from Contemplative Fitness I tried a pre-A&P practice where I investigaged a single spot. I ended up observing the sensations on and around the bridge of my nose for about 30 minutes. Lots of flux and shifting between sensations of pressure and pulling. Some subtle pinching, pulsing, folding, and dissolving. Ocassionally I would feel smaller sensations of rattling or shivering. Just seeing it for what it is and trying not to force a particular perception.

As practice progressed I got more and more tranquil and focusing on the nose area got harder. I felt like I could have sat for a very long time. My visual field started to get much more active. This is becoming more and more common in my practice. It is still mostly the dark screen you would associate with closed eyes, but I'm seeing a lot of motion and depth within the subtle variations of dark. I get the impression of complex forms, like you would get the impression of a body part while meditating. Nothing in full folor or defined contrast, but the forms nonetheless are fascinating and complex. As an artist I feel I could easily make a representation of them. They are organic and phantasmagoric -- faces and anatomies that are constantly shifting and recombining. Practicing in the middle of the day, there is nothing scary about them, but there is certainly a part of me that is wary of how things will unfold as practice gets darker.

The last 30 minutes was just open noting. After I was done I found myself in a very tranquil state with pleasant sensations accompanying the breath. I decided to hang out with that for about 10 minutes and just stay with the breath. I wouldn't have expected it, but it seems like an hour of vipassana makes my concentration stronger.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/27/20 9:29 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
It seems like I was going through a period for awhile where something interesting was happening every time I sat down. Lately, it has felt very uneventful. Lots of dozing off which leads to standing up or walking meditation. Generally very lethargic in the rest of life too.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/27/20 9:47 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
It seems like I was going through a period for awhile where something interesting was happening every time I sat down. Lately, it has felt very uneventful. Lots of dozing off which leads to standing up or walking meditation. Generally very lethargic in the rest of life too.


That's the ticket!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
4/28/20 10:12 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
That's the ticket!

It probably wouldn't be much of a sign of progress if practice was always one thing or another. 

More of the same today. Drowsiness, spaciness, fogginess.

Yup
Answer
4/29/20 9:02 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Okay. More of the same. Drowsiness, spaciness, restlessness. Mind wandering. wanting to get up. I thought it might be that I was not sleeping well, but I've now been having similar sessions regardless of sleep or time of day. I've practiced in the evening, in the afternoon and the morning and it seems like anything less than Papa Che recommended noting-aloud-with-eyes-open is the only thing that will keep me on track. 

This is all starting to feel very similar to how my practice was a going a few months ago. I was quite discouraged at the time, but seeing this return to such familiar attributes feels like this is a natural part of the process. I don't regret the diversion I took into concentration, but it does seem like I kinda started from 0 and worked my way back up to this.

Did I hit another A&P again, just something much less energetic then the first time? My practice previous to this was feeling pretty pleasurable and effortless, but the I can't say the phenomenology matches what MCTB or Contemplative Fitness describe. I'm not perceiving sensations breaking up into tiny little pieces or getting any sense of a literal arising and passing of things. It continues to be mostly just a lava lamp like flow of sensations.

RE: Yup
Answer
4/29/20 2:36 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Dont worry about the Mapping. Kenneth Folk told me when I worked with him on my practice that he found it difficult to map me but even thats ok and one should not worry much about the maps as the maps are not the terrain. The only thing I ever needed from the Maps is the heads up on the possibility of the Dark Night after having some nice concentrated blissful meditation thinking thats all to it and that bliss is the goal. Before the knowledge of the Maps I had no idea what this practice can lead into. Its so much easier to practice and cntinue to do so when you know shit can really hit the fan at some stage emoticon and that, that too, will pass away if you really keep at it.

Keep noting that feeling tone you experience and mind states like Unpleasant, Misery, Sadness, Boredom, Restlessness, Doubt, Urge, Preassures in the body etc ... its ok if these get repetitive a lot and you think you should maybe change the words by looking at something else. Do that as well but NOTE that as well, note as Escaping, Desire, Aversion, ... and return to what is there even if that be repetitive leading into some Miserable state.

Its all food for the practice! 

Im in a very much similar state at the moment with some mixture of Jhana absorption leading me into a more laid back state and Noting Vipassana. Off the cushion (right now while writing this) I feel sadness (tearing sensation around the eys), emotional irritation which feels unpleasant, high pitch in the ears (neutral), pulsating in the head and heat (pleasant), vibrations in the hands and feet (pleasant), slight stiffness in the neck (slightly unpleasant), eye sight slightly defocused, a bit hard to follow what people tell me (need to ask them to repeat what they said). 

Practice keeps on even when its a blistering snow storm inside emoticon " Its always darkest before the dawn"

RE: Yup
Answer
4/29/20 2:47 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Kenneth Folk told me...

Four words for the ages.

emoticon

RE: Yup
Answer
4/29/20 3:44 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for the reminder. There is always this nagging thought that there might be some subtle change to my practice that would clear the way forward if I only I could clearly identify where I was on the map.

Honestly, I don't think mapping gets too much in the way of my practice. I mostly just keep noting. I could try and fit some more sessions in during the day, but other than that...

RE: Yup
Answer
4/29/20 4:28 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Kenneth Folk told me...

Four words for the ages.

emoticon

It could have been "Chris Marti told me ..." but you didnt advertise yourself that well mate! To be honest I was looking far and wide for a teacher I could work with and it fell down on Kenneth who kindly excepted to be of help.
If I knew last year that you existed and that you will do it then I would certainly try as I guess you would do it for free emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/7/20 10:30 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I had a moment two nights ago where I was making myself a snack before bed time. I was thinking about Buddhist cosmology (as I understand it) and how it can be seen as a permanent end of any type of experience. There was a part of me that thought, "Yeah, but even extinction is impermanent. It's a cycle and it'll all happen again and again off into infinity."

Thinking that way suddenly brought up this feeling of terror that I have had regularly throughout my life anytime I thought about the idea of infinite experience. It was a common thing I would feel as a child anytime I was being taught about "families being together forever" as taught in LDS Mormonism. I would have this image of hanging out on some heavenly grassy lawn all dressed in white with my family, and then what? It goes on forever and ever and ever and ever. And there is this horror of being trapped in the crushing fact of neverending existence. 

I guess it's a realization of samsara, but anyway, I had this feeling the other night, and it came on really strong, like panic attack level with my heart racing. In the midst of it I had the impression to accept it in some way, but by that time the feeling had passed and I just sat there, bracing myself agains the kitchen counter as my breathing came back to normal. There was a part of me that was like, "Let's feel that again! I can take it" It's always been a feeling that I have just wanted to avoid at all costs and now suddenly I am seeing it as this thing I can look at directly and learn to accept. I can't remember who said it, but someone compared insight to jumping out of an airplane and realizing you have no parachute. It's terrifying, until you realize that there is also no ground. This felt similar.

I can't remember when, but at some point between then and the next morning there was a moment, some type of opening where I had a glimpse of something. It was so brief, so my abilities at descriptive phenomenology seem totally incompetent. It was a sense of some sort of detachment or space, or sense of emptiness. Not a cessastion, as I was looking out the window when it happened (I think, mabye it was a dream).

The next morning just felt deeply tranquil and optimistic. I got up to meditate and sat effortlessly for an hour. I did some noting without labels, some noting with internal labels, noting out-loud with eyes open and some half assed attempts at concentration. At the end of it, I felt like I could have gone much longer. I did another half an hour while I was sitting on the couch later in the day. I am also starting to notice an occasional strobing in my visual field. 

There is a strong sense of optimism and I find myself fantisizing about Stream Entry. It's a reocurring fantasy that pops up as I am practicing. it's mostly just, "what if it happens right now?" I am trying not to take that too seriously and just note it, but I am feeling confident about practice. I've been through some ups and downs (nothing too epic, yet) and my practice has stayed consistent. I am getting a clear sense that my way of perceiving is changing bit by bit through the process. 

I was reading through the Shargol compilation last night and was feeling emboldened. Urges, craving, emotion are coming more clearly. Thoughts I can pick out, but I have a sense that there is more subtle stuff going on too. The acceptance and equanimity part seem like the place to get more practice. Also Shargol's affirmation that progress comes through consistent, ordinary practice.

We'll see how today goes.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/7/20 12:08 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I will say something which might be of help or not. 

If we choose to believe that I have attained to SE then let me share one Maybe important aspect of my last years journey;

I NEVER , not even for a second assumed that out of that practice of mine SE will happen. Maybe because I believed such "serious" attainment might need decades of practice and many months of serious retreat time or even many lives of returning back to practice and then Maybe somewhere down the line in some other life that might happen. 

So. My only motivation was End of that DN Suffering. I've had enough of it and I knew deep into my bones that there was no way back and I must plow on forwards even if this makes me explode. 
From the old fall from EQ to Re-observation I knew I'm not to cling to the EQ if I ever get there again
But I Never, not even for a tiny second considered what this might lead to emoticon I was way too focused on that Suffering and not to fall back into it by clinging to EQ. This recipe somehow was the Key to enter SE. It happened when I least expected. Actually I did not even expect it. I guess I was stupid. Truth. 

What I'm trying to say emoticon is , maybe it's good to shift the focus from (as it is your mind after all) SE as it will happen in some other lives who knows when, and instead focus on not clinging to EQ but accepting all it has to offer and look at it until EQ becomes unsatisfactory (boring status-quo like). 

This is of course only if we choose to believe that this really was the case of SE for me and not some delusional stuff emoticon 

Any way, I think you are doing great by Noting those mind states connected to the desire to attain SE (or anything else) as that urge really is behind most (if not all) of Becoming. 

Im at the moment in a really Confusing state of mind, nothing much is clear, stiff neck, jaw is kind of clenching, ear frequency is high pitch, emotional irritation, hard to see where attention is ... but there is still this Awareness of all that I've just written above (I mean the confusion, non-clarity, stiff neck, jaw issues etc) Noting and Acceptance of this aspect will help see and let pass the mentioned nasties. It's not pleasant holding this Acceptance but it really brings fruits of purification. 

Ok I probably wrote too much already emoticon In case I missed the Mark feel free to ignore my rumbling emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/7/20 12:24 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I had a moment two nights ago where I was making myself a snack before bed time. I was thinking about Buddhist cosmology (as I understand it) and how it can be seen as a permanent end of any type of experience. There was a part of me that thought, "Yeah, but even extinction is impermanent. It's a cycle and it'll all happen again and again off into infinity."

Thinking that way suddenly brought up this feeling of terror that I have had regularly throughout my life anytime I thought about the idea of infinite experience. It was a common thing I would feel as a child anytime I was being taught about "families being together forever" as taught in LDS Mormonism. I would have this image of hanging out on some heavenly grassy lawn all dressed in white with my family, and then what? It goes on forever and ever and ever and ever. And there is this horror of being trapped in the crushing fact of neverending existence. 
This quote has helped me when faced with these thoughts.  Also my wife deals with similar anxiety related to this concept. We generally think about eternity as a concept of time, but really, what is time?  It doesn't really exist, at least not the way we think it does.  It's really more of a human measurement, meant to measure human things. Infinity, on the other hand, is outside of our human concepts of time, and outside of existence and outside of reality itself, at least as we understand it.

“Eternity has nothing to do with time. Time is what shuts you out from eternity. Eternity is now. It is the transcendent dimension of the now to which myth refers.” -Joseph Campbell

Hope it helps...
Cheers,
John

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/10/20 9:39 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
What I'm trying to say emoticon is , maybe it's good to shift the focus from (as it is your mind after all) SE as it will happen in some other lives who knows when, and instead focus on not clinging to EQ but accepting all it has to offer and look at it until EQ becomes unsatisfactory (boring status-quo like). 

I appreciate this direction. Trying to stay gentle and open about practice. I'd love to stick the landing on the first go, but at the end of the day I have to process what I have to process to awaken. If it means a few cycles, so be it. Whatever happens, this journey has been far superior to how I was experienceing life before. 

“Eternity has nothing to do with time. Time is what shuts you out from eternity. Eternity is now. It is the transcendent dimension of the now to which myth refers.” -Joseph Campbell

Thanks for the thought John. The trick now is to move a truth like this from the conceptual realm to the perceptual. Back to work!


Things feel good
Answer
5/10/20 10:06 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I remember Daniel saying on another thread that traversing the terrain of the POI is a bit like climbing a mountain. The territory may follow a predictable trajectory, but day to day conditions may vary. There are some ups and down in practice. Sometimes I don't sleep well, sometimes I have an anxiety I am trying to resolve and sometimes I get sleeply.  I was watching the Space Invader Zim movie with my kids the other night and just feeling headachey and irritable. I ended up getting impatient with my son and yelling at him when he wasn't getting ready for bed. I felt shitty about it and fell into some habitual avoidance patterns. 

And yet, even with the ups and downs, it seems to be in a territory that is mostly tranquil and pleasant.

The last two sitting sessions I felt inclined to samatha and just let myself go there, and then returned to noting, but in a very open, broad way. I am still getting fatigue towards the end of sits, so I don't feel like I've got any super power equanimity, but the tranquility is very high.

I'm reading through Seeing That Frees, and am in the section in particular about samadhi. I was following some of his direction on cultivating samadhi after my sit today (similar, but subtely different from Braisington's directions for cultivating piti in Right Concentration). I sat on a lawn chair in my back yard. The weather, for my taste, was perfect -- overcast and comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts. The mindfulness of my sensations was very good and pleasurable. I sat and savored the exeprience and it turned into another meditation session, but I dropped intentions and just let mindfulness do its thing. I saw all the same stuff I would if noting, but just without the notes. It was all clear. Sounds, cravings, doubts, thoughts, sensations and visuals. Perceptions would merge together. Visuals and sound would seem to flow and connect. Lots of perceiving different sensations in unison. There seems to be a return to the wonder I felt post A&P, but with much more resolution and less attachment. About halfway through I transitioned to walking meditation and had a walking meditation unlike any I've had before. The effort and deliberateness were gone, and I just let myself walk and soak in all the myriad sensations. No noting "lifting, moving, stepping" just walking and sensing whatever I sensed.

It feels a little scary. I am feeling a sudden intensity in perception that feels a bit overwhelming. I feel a more rapid sense of things changing than I have in a long time.  A bit like, "oh my god, what have I done to my mind?" There is a sense like I just want to take a break from it, but it's exciting at the same time.

I need a good night's sleep then we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

RE: Things feel good
Answer
5/11/20 2:54 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I remember Daniel saying on another thread that traversing the terrain of the POI is a bit like climbing a mountain. The territory may follow a predictable trajectory, but day to day conditions may vary. There are some ups and down in practice. Sometimes I don't sleep well, sometimes I have an anxiety I am trying to resolve and sometimes I get sleeply.  I was watching the Space Invader Zim movie with my kids the other night and just feeling headachey and irritable. I ended up getting impatient with my son and yelling at him when he wasn't getting ready for bed. I felt shitty about it and fell into some habitual avoidance patterns. 

And yet, even with the ups and downs, it seems to be in a territory that is mostly tranquil and pleasant.

The last two sitting sessions I felt inclined to samatha and just let myself go there, and then returned to noting, but in a very open, broad way. I am still getting fatigue towards the end of sits, so I don't feel like I've got any super power equanimity, but the tranquility is very high.

I'm reading through Seeing That Frees, and am in the section in particular about samadhi. I was following some of his direction on cultivating samadhi after my sit today (similar, but subtely different from Braisington's directions for cultivating piti in Right Concentration). I sat on a lawn chair in my back yard. The weather, for my taste, was perfect -- overcast and comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts. The mindfulness of my sensations was very good and pleasurable. I sat and savored the exeprience and it turned into another meditation session, but I dropped intentions and just let mindfulness do its thing. I saw all the same stuff I would if noting, but just without the notes. It was all clear. Sounds, cravings, doubts, thoughts, sensations and visuals. Perceptions would merge together. Visuals and sound would seem to flow and connect. Lots of perceiving different sensations in unison. There seems to be a return to the wonder I felt post A&P, but with much more resolution and less attachment. About halfway through I transitioned to walking meditation and had a walking meditation unlike any I've had before. The effort and deliberateness were gone, and I just let myself walk and soak in all the myriad sensations. No noting "lifting, moving, stepping" just walking and sensing whatever I sensed.

It feels a little scary. I am feeling a sudden intensity in perception that feels a bit overwhelming. I feel a more rapid sense of things changing than I have in a long time.  A bit like, "oh my god, what have I done to my mind?" There is a sense like I just want to take a break from it, but it's exciting at the same time.

I need a good night's sleep then we'll see how I feel tomorrow.
It feels a little scary. I am feeling a sudden intensity in perception that feels a bit overwhelming. I feel a more rapid sense of things changing than I have in a long time.  A bit like, "oh my god, what have I done to my mind?" There is a sense like I just want to take a break from it, but it's exciting at the same time.
This is one of the most interesting things about the occasional quantum jumps that occur in practice: we recognize abruptly that This Shit Is REAL, that what sometimes can settle into rote dogged plodding is actually quietly revolutionizing us, and then, when the right pebble at the right time sets of the more or less inevitable landslide and the earth starts moving away beneath of feet, we get of glimpse of the power of the forces we have been blithely dabbling in, and see that it's real real real and serious as a heart attack. But then it is so way too late, that the best thing we can do is read more Shargrol on MOre Surrender and Gentleness and Slow Is Fine.

Because suddenly it doesn't seem slow at all, it is happening very very fast. But it is precisely in the times sensed as Very Very Fast that the long patient dry and grueling training without any apparent effect in Slow Is Fine is revealed for the priceless labor-intensive deep cultivation of better habits that it is. Because the best paradoxical counter-intuitive thing to do with Fast is to Go Slower Still, just as the best way to handle a car in a skid is to steer with it, and the best route out of a burning house is usually straight through the worst of the heat toward the exit, and not retreat to a briefly cooler, quickly disappearing place where the fire hasn't reached yet.
I need a good night's sleep then we'll see how I feel tomorrow.
Perfect. One day at a time, come what may; one sit at a time, come what may; one breath at a time within the sit, come what may. This is also the way through the terror of infinity you discussed in another reflection above, on this thread. There is no eternity, if you go one breath a time. There is only the next breath, which none of us living has experienced as anything but ever renewed, by the gift of a spontaneously arising new inbreath. And if our worst fears come true and that next in-breath doesn't come, no big deal, we realize: it ain't a mormon picnic, where you find yourself, once the out-breath has evaporated and the in-breath hasn't arisen. That is a whole new place, there. Eternity takes on a whole new meaning, in that.

love, tim

RE: Things feel good
Answer
5/11/20 9:17 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Slow Is Fine is revealed for the priceless labor-intensive deep cultivation of better habits that it is. Because the best paradoxical counter-intuitive thing to do with Fast is to Go Slower Still,

thanks man.

The Last Two Days
Answer
5/12/20 3:07 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
After the events of the previous post I noticed quite a bit of craving to get back there again the next day. The next day's sit was fairly uneventful but smooth. Quiet, slow noting. There was some discomfort and restlessness and it seemed like I spent some decent amount of time experimenting with the balance between restlessness and drowsiness. Opening and relaxing when restlessness emerged and breathing more energetically and noting out loud when drowsiness kicked in. The hour seemed to go by quickly which is very uncommon for me.

Today's sit there was lots of fansizing about SE again. Lots of "What if it happens now?" thoughts and strategizing about how to do EQ "right". Started with doing some metta directed at the chest area. Lots of feelings of craving which usually includes a tightness and ache in the chest. I noticed the tightness loosen up pretty quickly. With what remained I switched my approach to loving it “as it is” which loosened it up more.

Taking an approach of curiosity today as well, per advice from the Shargol Comp. Lots of investigating and looking at things. More playful approach. Investigating the sensations that make up the feeling of self. Noticing how my sense of space opened when I heard my daughter singing down the hallway. Noticed ordinariness and a feeling of ill will towards the ordinariness. Tried to observe attention and noticed the tension I felt when I tried to control it. I stopped trying to control it and it naturally started flowing between sensations.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/12/20 9:55 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hey Brandon,

First off, thank you for the encouragement you have provided on my logs! I'll provide an opinion on yours...

Reading your log, you seem to be rather focused on SE as a goal, is this fair to say? Have you considered getting a teacher in the short term?

Obviously nothing wrong with goals in meditation, but sometimes it's really helpful to talk to someone who understands the territory and has a few different students as everyone experiences these stages differently. As an example, my teacher has a student who does not really experience the dukkha nanas beyond dullness (so no existential crisis or any of that). She's mentioned some other students who have had some difficulty integrating their insights so this process runs the spectrum. 

Here's the self indulgent part of my post on your log, but hopefully it illustrates the point: I've had some good convos with my teacher lately after showing her my practice log based on phenomenology of my recent sits - basically trouble shooting where I get caught up (off track) in my sessions and helping me understand where this ship is headed (which I see now is mostly my fault for taking so long as my teacher has been giving me good instructions the last few months, but some part of me has been too stubborn/pig-headed with regards to following through).
Getting to ask her about certain nanas and what I might be able to expect has been helpful considering everything I've read from MCTB (2) and shargrol and such... sometimes that missing perspective helps put all the other puzzle pieces together. I hate to call out the nanas for myself as I am such a skeptic, but after talking to my teacher last night, I have some confidence related to where I am. Time and practice will tell, but at least I know that my sits are productive based on my reporting, you know? A teacher could do the same for you!

The above is said with the understanding that I've made less of a big deal about tracking the nanas in my practice, but I see that you're quite enthusiastic in terms of trying to conceptualize where you are... but maybe the right answer to that issue is to notice "This right here... and now this... and now this...."

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/12/20 10:37 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
I would honestly love to work with a teacher, for the exact reasons you've mentioned. A spot opened to work with Michael Taft a few months ago, but the finances weren't quite aligned at that time.

I feel like I'm constantly just throwing up my hands when trying to map. It's been almost a year since my A&P experience and I can't really say I've felt anything like the dukka ñanas (knock on wood), and now I'm in a place that seems to match all the descriptions of EQ pretty well. Maybe I'm just one of those. Maybe decades of depression already wrung some of that bullshit out of me, or maybe I've got it all wrong. A bit of work with a teacher would be nice give some perspective, but at the end of the day, like you say, it's just about what is happening from moment to moment.

I feel like what we are part of right now is an embryonic version of something that will hopefully become a much wider more integrated part of our culture some day. It doesn't seem optimal that the only support we have for our practice are other lone adventurers strung across the globe. And yet, at least we do have this community, we do share this practice, and we can make some sense out of all this. I'm not sure what I would have done with my A&P experience had I not found MCTB. It would have felt like a sick joke from God. 

All of that is just to say, that it would be nice if it wasn't so damn hard to get support to do this thing that should be a normal part of every human's spiritual development. 

If you ever wanted to make a referral I'd be interested in info about your teacher. I think it's always good to have as many options as possible when it comes to teachers.

OK! enough "stuff". Let's see if I can get in a bit more practice in before bed.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/13/20 3:02 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Hey Brandon,

First off, thank you for the encouragement you have provided on my logs! I'll provide an opinion on yours...


Brandon is a guy who keeps an eye on his friends.
Obviously nothing wrong with goals in meditation, but sometimes it's really helpful to talk to someone who understands the territory and has a few different students as everyone experiences these stages differently. As an example, my teacher has a student who does not really experience the dukkha nanas beyond dullness (so no existential crisis or any of that). She's mentioned some other students who have had some difficulty integrating their insights so this process runs the spectrum. 

Last night my teacher taught me the lesson of poverty,

having nothing and wanting nothing.


I am a naked man standing inside a mine of rubies,

clothed in red silk.


I absorb the shining and now I see the ocean,

billions of simultaneous motions moving in me.


A circle of lovely, quiet people

becomes the ring on my finger.


Then wind, and the thunder of rain on the way.

I have such a teacher.

Rumi

Here's the self indulgent part of my post on your log, but hopefully it illustrates the point: I've had some good convos with my teacher lately after showing her my practice log based on phenomenology of my recent sits - basically trouble shooting where I get caught up (off track) in my sessions and helping me understand where this ship is headed (which I see now is mostly my fault for taking so long as my teacher has been giving me good instructions the last few months, but some part of me has been too stubborn/pig-headed with regards to following through).
Getting to ask her about certain nanas and what I might be able to expect has been helpful considering everything I've read from MCTB (2) and shargrol and such... sometimes that missing perspective helps put all the other puzzle pieces together. I hate to call out the nanas for myself as I am such a skeptic, but after talking to my teacher last night, I have some confidence related to where I am. Time and practice will tell, but at least I know that my sits are productive based on my reporting, you know? A teacher could do the same for you!

And when the student is ready . . .
The above is said with the understanding that I've made less of a big deal about tracking the nanas in my practice, but I see that you're quite enthusiastic in terms of trying to conceptualize where you are... but maybe the right answer to that issue is to notice "This right here... and now this... and now this...."

"Waiter, I'll have what The Kid is having, please."

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/13/20 3:31 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I would honestly love to work with a teacher, for the exact reasons you've mentioned. A spot opened to work with Michael Taft a few months ago, but the finances weren't quite aligned at that time.


see above: When the student is ready . . . Sometimes without bankrupting you (as my jaunts to Richard Msss retreats contributed to, once upon a time when i had credit).

I feel like I'm constantly just throwing up my hands when trying to map. It's been almost a year since my A&P experience and I can't really say I've felt anything like the dukka ñanas (knock on wood), and now I'm in a place that seems to match all the descriptions of EQ pretty well. Maybe I'm just one of those. Maybe decades of depression already wrung some of that bullshit out of me, or maybe I've got it all wrong. 
You are suggesting that depression accomplished a lot of dark night work in advance for you with more than a little self-deprecating humor, so i will echo that, more than a little seriously. I think it did burn a lot of the bullshit out, which is, as John of the Cross says (it sounds better in the Castilian Spanish) one the the first benefits of the dark night, right after bringing us to a realistic humility as to the actual shittiness of our selves and our life.

A few years back some woman doing an article on depression and evolutionary psychology called me up, for some reason (hellamercy, i guess) to ask for a quote for the article from the "spiritual" perspective. I told her to call somebody else, then; she laughed, and we had two long, delightful, wide-ranging conversations, from which in the end, as she had told me from the start, she culled a single sentence quote from me, which wasn't "spiritual" at all.

The evopsychos basically tell evolutionary-flavored Just So stories, according to their biases, but the biases of some of the guys in the article did align nicely with my own biases. Several of them were making a case that depression, so pandemic in human beings, must have some evolutionary value, and they were making up nifty Just So stories to explain it. I tended to agree, given that Evolution is a ruthless bitch and murderous false idol: willing to sacrifice any number of Bartleby the Scriveners driving a steel-tipped clerk's quill through their left eyeball and mopey bipolar artists hanging themselves in their seedy garrets to produce one Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchhill, with his notorious "black dog" of depression.

The quote I insisted the woman use in the article, since i was only going to get to say one thing, was, addressing the depressives themselves: "Don't bother worrying about any of this shit until you've gotten job 1 clear: don't fucking kill yourself." Suitably edited, and on an eight-second delay.
A bit of work with a teacher would be nice give some perspective, but at the end of the day, like you say, it's just about what is happening from moment to moment.
you two guys should start a cult on this notion and rake in the big bucks.

I feel like what we are part of right now is an embryonic version of something that will hopefully become a much wider more integrated part of our culture some day. It doesn't seem optimal that the only support we have for our practice are other lone adventurers strung across the globe. And yet, at least we do have this community, we do share this practice, and we can make some sense out of all this.
amen.
I'm not sure what I would have done with my A&P experience had I not found MCTB. It would have felt like a sick joke from God. 

Brandon, I love you, and i hate to say this, but . . . man, it WAS a sick joke from God, that Motherfucker with His patently perverse sense of humor, killing babies and innocents and loved ones left and right, just to help a few elite assholes realize that this shit goes deep, man, real deep.
All of that is just to say, that it would be nice if it wasn't so damn hard to get support to do this thing that should be a normal part of every human's spiritual development. 

i don't know if it can ever be otherwise. You did your depression early, but i did mine early and often, and what John of the Cross says about the darkest parts of the dark night is true: "The soul finds no solace or support in any doctrine or spiritual teacher. This dark night brings solitude and desolation with it. . . . Rather than being consoled [by the efforts of spiritual guides], the soul's suffering is intensified. She knows there is no hope, no cure, no release from affliction." (DK, II, 7:3)
If you ever wanted to make a referral I'd be interested in info about your teacher. I think it's always good to have as many options as possible when it comes to teachers.

OK! enough "stuff". Let's see if I can get in a bit more practice in before bed.

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/13/20 8:54 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Ooph, yeah I have a friend who is a big fan of Michael Taft, but the upfront cost is pretty crazy high. 

Here are some teachers:

https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/resources-teachers

http://noahsmonthlyupdate.blogspot.com/2017/12/links.html

You can also reach out to one of these teachers and ask them if they have any successful students or friends who teach. Sometimes teachers are too busy to take on more students or they charge a lot of money. Best to get someone who will have time for you and get to know your practice more intimately.  

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/13/20 10:31 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Tim and HK,

Thanks for the responses. I had a bit of a non-meditative insight about this last night that I'll post about elsewhere.

Tiim -- I'd like to hear it in the original Castellano.

HK -- I've been thinking a lot about your post since last night. Looking seriously into this. Thanks for the referrals. Noah's page also seems to be a resource that contains everything I've clawed and scratched to find over the last 10 months. I'll have to bookmark it.

Didn't you say he's got a good log too? Is that on the same site?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/13/20 10:37 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Yeah his log is on his blog, but I like the way it is formatted on here: https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/logs/noah_il_matto

The reddit stream entry page is also a great resource. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 3:40 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Tim and HK,

Thanks for the responses. I had a bit of a non-meditative insight about this last night that I'll post about elsewhere.

Tiim -- I'd like to hear it in the original Castellano.



https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/h3iweeurzz6dxwe/nocheoscura.mp3

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 7:36 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Ooph, yeah I have a friend who is a big fan of Michael Taft, but the upfront cost is pretty crazy high. 

Here are some teachers:

https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/resources-teachers

http://noahsmonthlyupdate.blogspot.com/2017/12/links.html

You can also reach out to one of these teachers and ask them if they have any successful students or friends who teach. Sometimes teachers are too busy to take on more students or they charge a lot of money. Best to get someone who will have time for you and get to know your practice more intimately.  

I couldn't find Taft's price for teaching. How much is it? K. Folk's price is 125 US for a 45min over Skype. This is for one meeting and no commitments. You stop when you want to stop. I could afford only one meeting per month at that time. 

I wonder if one is motivated to practice more when money is involved? I think this could be the case as well as having that feeling of accountability to the teacher next time you meet.

HK do you pay your teacher or is it for free? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 7:53 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Michael Taft charges 195 USD for an hour, but a person can sign up for 10 sessions at a rate of 1650 USD or 50 sessions at a rate of 7550 USD. 

Yes my teacher charges on a sliding scale and I contribute based on how I feel that day. Having paid for counseling sessions and taken piano lessons in the past, it is not an unreasonable amount in my opinion - certainly less than Kenneth and Michael Taft's fees.

Yes, the money aspect keeps me practicing, but also, I don't want to waste their time by showing up every two weeks without anything to report - that accountability has been really important. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 8:47 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
I hope all the teachers who charge so much (which is fine) do at times some pro-bono work with those who have no money or those from countries known to have monetary issues. I prefer to believe they do, as compassion ought to be part of the enlightened ones (I assume). 
Rich and poor deserve to receive Dharma if they seek it. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 8:50 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Michael Taft charges 195 USD for an hour, but a person can sign up for 10 sessions at a rate of 1650 USD or 50 sessions at a rate of 7550 USD. 

Yes my teacher charges on a sliding scale and I contribute based on how I feel that day. Having paid for counseling sessions and taken piano lessons in the past, it is not an unreasonable amount in my opinion - certainly less than Kenneth and Michael Taft's fees.

Yes, the money aspect keeps me practicing, but also, I don't want to waste their time by showing up every two weeks without anything to report - that accountability has been really important. 

i actually think fairly viscerally that charging for the dharma is just plain wrong. if you can't walk around with a begging bowl and sleep in the forest, you should never have done this shit in the first place.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 9:59 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Most that I've seen have some scholarships open. I know that's the case for Michael Taft.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 10:10 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
i actually think fairly viscerally that charging for the dharma is just plain wrong. if you can't walk around with a begging bowl and sleep in the forest, you should never have done this shit in the first place.
I have similar feelings, but I'm not sure what the best answer is. I certainly don't like that good instruction seems only available to the wealthy.

Teachers need to have their basic needs met and a cost is a good way to filter out students who aren't serious, but the two things don't necessarily have to be coupled together. We need to innovate some alternatives and I think it's a super interesting issue.

Maybe I'll start a thread about the topic.






RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 10:15 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Brandon Dayton:
Tim and HK,

Thanks for the responses. I had a bit of a non-meditative insight about this last night that I'll post about elsewhere.

Tiim -- I'd like to hear it in the original Castellano.



https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/h3iweeurzz6dxwe/nocheoscura.mp3


That's pretty sick. Is that you reading?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 10:26 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon, can you re-use one the many existing threads about dharma teachers and income? Here's one:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5859590#_19_message_5859590

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 10:29 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I shoulda known. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/14/20 10:31 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Yeah, this is an old topic that is not going to get 'figured out' soon. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/16/20 5:49 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Tim Farrington:
Brandon Dayton:
Tim and HK,

Thanks for the responses. I had a bit of a non-meditative insight about this last night that I'll post about elsewhere.

Tiim -- I'd like to hear it in the original Castellano.



https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/h3iweeurzz6dxwe/nocheoscura.mp3


That's pretty sick. Is that you reading?
emoticon

RE: Things feel good
Answer
5/17/20 10:50 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
After my experience where I thought I was in EQ (post with subject "Things feel good") things have come back down to earth -- a good indication it was probably not EQ but another A&P. I had a vivid dream the other night, the kind with the level of detail and clarity that only comes from doing lots of insight practice (I wouldn't call it lucid, as I couldn't control anything, but it felt orders of magnitude more real and detailed than regular dreams, and I've only experience these types of dreams since meditating. Is there a technical name for this?). It started out as banal and ordinary as a dream can be and suddenly became apocalyptic. I woke from the dream in a state of panic and terror. We had recently experienced 6.3 earthquake, which at the time I oddly found amusing, but now the memory of the quake reinforced a sense of impending, inevitable doom. I suddennly saw through the illusion of safety and felt a sureness of the death of myself and my family. There was nothing stable or safe. I thoughtfully calmed myself with some breathing and metta and eventually came out of the panic. After it passed I felt a surge of love and gratitude for my family and sense of soberness for how intense things can get on the path and a deep sense of humility. (kinda 6th ñana, no?)

That was basically the day when I got serious about finding some sort of teacher. It also gave me a deep sense of how important the support of others is on the path. Daniel makes the recommendation in MCTB that you have the right people on speed dial. I don't have anyone on speed dial. Once again, I am taking on a massively difficult project and not being humble enough to ask for the help I need in the process.

(For any other DhOers that are reading this, I should probably take this moment to express my gratitude that I have others that I can speak with about this stuff who will understand the experience. We all have to do this work on our own. I have to do this work on my own, but I can see how deeply I need the help of others to stay sane in the process. Thank you for any of you that are reading, and know that I humbly acknowledge how little I know and how much I rely on your support and wisdom.)

Fortunately, a few nights later I had another vivid dream, but it was a mix of tranquil and fantastical. When they're good, the dreams are really good.

Practice since then has been consistent, but less blissful, with a decent amount of craving, noticing dissatisfaction, aches in the chest, frustration, and boredom. I've been playing with things such as asking "who is experienceing this?" and paying attention to thought. I am noticing the pre-thought bubblings and pre-thought emotions. 

A very common experience lately is to be looking for thoughts and for thoughts to be happening and not realizing it until I notice a few seconds later! Very subtle stuff, much of which I am struggling to label. I feel something, and I am like "that was a thing, but I don't know what it was". I think much of that is probably emotion. I feel lots of subtle reactions, impulses, anxieties all leading from one to the other where I know where they are headed, but I don't give them time to emerge fully formed. I am paying attention to bodily sensations and mental impressions trying to sort out their order, but it's not clear enough to me. I can sit and note when I see a mental impression and when I am clearly feeling a sensation but the moments when I can unambiguously know it is one or the other come erratically.

Lots of spontaneous noting and awareness throughout the day. I am starting to see that it takes quite a bit of experience to really get a sense of the patterns. In life my interest in other things has dropped. I want to exercise, go hiking, meditate, work in the yard and write.

One thing this insight work is making clear is how many things in my life are driven by the achey craving feeling that is becoming so much more clear in my meditation. I can see this at the center of big ambitions and small past times and I just want to drop anything associated with that feeling. I think I've decided to drop Jiu-Jitsu for this reason -- It makes the decision easier with the gym being temporarily closed -- I have also lost interest in drawing for the same reason, which is tougher since this has been at the center of my ambitions for the duration of my professional career. It has been so ingrained in me that it was something I must do all the time, that I am having a hard time from detaching the ambition and tightness away from any pure enjoyment I once felt doing it. 

It's left me in a place now where I am very cautious about my motivations, and unsure how to judge and value my intentions, plans, goals and aspirations. Whatever plans I make in the future, I want to come from the right place (Right Livelihood much?) I want to take care of my family and anything on top of that I want to be driven by love and curiosity, not anxiety and ill-will. I clearly do not have the answer, but my priorities are quite radically shifting with practice. An emphasis on well being NOW does much to unravel unhealthy ambition.

RE: Things feel good
Answer
5/17/20 10:57 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
After my experience where I thought I was in EQ (post with subject "Things feel good") things have come back down to earth -- a good indication it was probably not EQ but another A&P. I had a vivid dream the other night, the kind with the level of detail and clarity that only comes from doing lots of insight practice (I wouldn't call it lucid, as I couldn't control anything, but it felt orders of magnitude more real and detailed than regular dreams, and I've only experience these types of dreams since meditating. Is there a technical name for this?). It started out as banal and ordinary as a dream can be and suddenly became apocalyptic. I woke from the dream in a state of panic and terror. We had recently experienced 6.3 earthquake, which at the time I oddly found amusing, but now the memory of the quake reinforced a sense of impending, inevitable doom. I suddennly saw through the illusion of safety and felt a sureness of the death of myself and my family. There was nothing stable or safe. I thoughtfully calmed myself with some breathing and metta and eventually came out of the panic. After it passed I felt a surge of love and gratitude for my family and sense of soberness for how intense things can get on the path and a deep sense of humility. (kinda 6th ñana, no?)

That was basically the day when I got serious about finding some sort of teacher. It also gave me a deep sense of how important the support of others is on the path. Daniel makes the recommendation in MCTB that you have the right people on speed dial. I don't have anyone on speed dial. Once again, I am taking on a massively difficult project and not being humble enough to ask for the help I need in the process.

(For any other DhOers that are reading this, I should probably take this moment to express my gratitude that I have others that I can speak with about this stuff who will understand the experience. We all have to do this work on our own. I have to do this work on my own, but I can see how deeply I need the help of others to stay sane in the process. Thank you for any of you that are reading, and know that I humbly acknowledge how little I know and how much I rely on your support and wisdom.)

Fortunately, a few nights later I had another vivid dream, but it was a mix of tranquil and fantastical. When they're good, the dreams are really good.

Practice since then has been consistent, but less blissful, with a decent amount of craving, noticing dissatisfaction, aches in the chest, frustration, and boredom. I've been playing with things such as asking "who is experienceing this?" and paying attention to thought. I am noticing the pre-thought bubblings and pre-thought emotions. 

A very common experience lately is to be looking for thoughts and for thoughts to be happening and not realizing it until I notice a few seconds later! Very subtle stuff, much of which I am struggling to label. I feel something, and I am like "that was a thing, but I don't know what it was". I think much of that is probably emotion. I feel lots of subtle reactions, impulses, anxieties all leading from one to the other where I know where they are headed, but I don't give them time to emerge fully formed. I am paying attention to bodily sensations and mental impressions trying to sort out their order, but it's not clear enough to me. I can sit and note when I see a mental impression and when I am clearly feeling a sensation but the moments when I can unambiguously know it is one or the other come erratically.

Lots of spontaneous noting and awareness throughout the day. I am starting to see that it takes quite a bit of experience to really get a sense of the patterns. In life my interest in other things has dropped. I want to exercise, go hiking, meditate, work in the yard and write.

One thing this insight work is making clear is how many things in my life are driven by the achey craving feeling that is becoming so much more clear in my meditation. I can see this at the center of big ambitions and small past times and I just want to drop anything associated with that feeling. I think I've decided to drop Jiu-Jitsu for this reason -- It makes the decision easier with the gym being temporarily closed -- I have also lost interest in drawing for the same reason, which is tougher since this has been at the center of my ambitions for the duration of my professional career. It has been so ingrained in me that it was something I must do all the time, that I am having a hard time from detaching the ambition and tightness away from any pure enjoyment I once felt doing it. 




Brandon, you are perfect right now. The more you can slow down and trust your instincts here, no matter how quirky or idiosyncratic or far-fetched or unlikely, the better you'll be. Easy, now, very easy: one thing at a time, starting with the breath, in she comes, arising on her own; out she goes, departing without a thought. You seem beyond haste and fear, or intermittently so, right now. Do nothing to try to stabilize that, but love the fuck out of it when it comes, and watch it without messing with it.


It's left me in a place now where I am very cautious about my motivations, and unsure how to judge and value my intentions, plans, goals and aspirations. Whatever plans I make in the future, I want to come from the right place (Right Livelihood much?) I want to take care of my family and anything on top of that I want to be driven by love and curiosity, not anxiety and ill-will. I clearly do not have the answer, but my priorities are quite radically shifting with practice. An emphasis on well being NOW does much to unravel unhealthy ambition.
You're moving so fast right now without effort. If possible, without effort, let it slow even more, sink in, sink, easy.

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/17/20 6:01 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon, how do you think EQ is supposed to 'feel' or be experienced? What 'landmarks' are you looking for to clue you in? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/17/20 7:57 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Equanimous? I dunno.

I've read descriptions recently from a few sources -- MCTB, Contemplative Fitness and the Shargol comp. Stuff there seemed to really be describing my experience for a few days. I was experiencing what seemed like formations, I was feeling tranquil, practice seemed to go into autopilot. It was just happening without me trying. I could just sit and soak up experience. That's the stuff that seemd like EQ to me.

On the flip side, it seemed like I had some big highs and lows. I had a really nice experience the other day that felt very EQ. It culminated in an intense pleasurable experience followed by the panic dream I just descriped, which kind of sounds to me like A&P into DN. I also am not putting in crazy hours of practice as I've heard happens with EQ.

Now I feel pretty good honestly. The last few days have been nice, but not over the top. Maybe that's an indicator of a good direction. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/18/20 3:11 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
When you say "I dunno", it raises flag: to me, you're not really sure what EQ really means AND ALSO you think it looks a certain way... we all have projections about the stages, but you may not know you're getting into a stage until someone points it out to you and then your realize your projections are off the mark... (this has personally happened to me).

What do you personally mean by "equanimous"?

What is going on exactly in your practice that makes you say that you're experiencing formations? How do you personally experience and define formations?

Instead of relying on books and posts by people here, how would you describe your actual, moment to moment experience in meditation (or life)? 

Can you describe your experience without relying on the nanas? Not to call you out, but you talk about the nanas all the time. It's not helpful because you're not talking about your actual meditation sits and what is going on. We read what you have to say about what nana you're aparently in, but if I ask you "what is EQ like?" you respond with, "I dunno". Also, you're describing your dreams now, but is the point of awakening to have good or vivid dreams? You say "I'm experiencing formations", but you don't elaborate. 

The most productive thing that you could possibly do: report about your sits each day. What technique did your practice? How long? What material cropped up? Were you able to stay with the object of meditation or technique the entire time or not? If not, what hindrances crop up during meditation? What throws you off, personally? How do those hindrances get in the way of your ability to be continually mindful? How do you adjust your practice/technique as to respond to those hindrances appropriately to keep attention/awarness constant throughout your practice session?

Meditation is about developing the mind. It's not about the stages of insight. People 'wake up' in different contemplative traditions without knowing about the Progress of Insight... You know why? Because good practice is what leads to progress, not 'knowing where you are on the maps'. Drop the maps for now if you can. The maps are only so helpful as they help to normalize difficult territory. Meditation isn't always about bliss or calm - it's about a mind that can surf the waves and navigate moment to moment life.

Not to come off as a jerk, but I've been reading your log for weeks. I've also been formulating this response for weeks. I've thought about whether I wanted to post this at all. I've considered whether this would be hurtful, or helpful... maybe I've missed the mark in how I presented it, but the core truth of the message stands.

I'm sorry if it's harsh. If it's any consolation, I talked to an active member on this forum over Skype and (at that point in time I wasn't sitting daily) this person basically laughed in my face and told me I wouldn't amount to anything if I didn't practiced consistently. It rubbed me the wrong way, but I knew they were correct, deep down.

Don't overcomplicate the practice: it simply comes down to "Be here, now". Daniel likes to talk about the maps, sure, but if you listen to his most recent interviews, he literally says that "realization is not beyond the sensations occuring now". I've gotten to meet Daniel (my idol at the time) and I vented to him about how I thought I had (maybe) achieved streamentry two years before and he turned to me, grabbed my shoulder, shook me, and said "make this moment the basis of all inquiry". Forget my apparent attainment. So basically, practice well. It doesn't matter where you are on the PoI if you don't know how to practice. It doesn't matter if you have a path under your belt and then get your ass kicked by whatever content is arising...

We are here to develop our minds - not to collect boyscout badges ("I'm second path, etc."). Get a teacher to ask smart questions about the nanas, but the most important thing is to practice properly and stop trying to map all the time. Maybe you achieve stream entry and it doesn't help fix the issue that has caused you to meditate in the first place, what then? Would you rather be a miserable stream enterer or a satisfied meditator without a label? To me, the answer is easy. It's not about the label or level or level of realization, but about the 'well being' that springs from good quality practice. 

Practice to develop your mind (and mental skills) properly - all else flows from there. If you need guidance, get a teacher. Everything else is beside the point. Keep it simple. Stop trying to map so much - it's passed the threshold of 'skillfulness' at this point. 

Brandon, you seem like a good guy. I want you to awaken. I want this practice to improve the quality of life and the lives of those close to you. I believe you can do it. I'm just trying to shake your usual conceptual views in the same way that others have done for me. Maybe I'm wrong, fine, but I think you can get the improvements you seek if you simply just adjust your focus to good quality practice and make an attempt at dropping some of these mapping habits. 


EDIT: Brandon, if you feel that anything I said above isn't true or unfair, I'll gladly remove the post from your log. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/18/20 3:52 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
emoticon

Equanimous? I dunno.

 I think you are in what is technically termed “un-fuck-with-ability,” in the Motherfucker tradition. I was introduced to this notion by an intense
lover, who was delighted to come into it, with a giant implication that I was the one who had been fucking with her the most, and that she was now immune. Her immunity to my bullshit was so beautiful that i forgot to be defensive; and in any case, I knew myself to be indefensible. You will always be blessed with all manner of well-intended advice and perspective, from people who love you, hoping to calibrate you properly to their own level of comprehensible misery. I am probably the worst offender here right now. May your enjoyment of un-fuck-with-ability begin with me, then. “Piss off, my man,” will do. 
I've read descriptions recently from a few sources -- MCTB, Contemplative Fitness and the Shargol comp. Stuff there seemed to really be
describing my experience for a few days. I was experiencing what seemed like formations, I was feeling tranquil, practice seemed to go into autopilot. It was just happening without me trying. I could just sit and soak up experience. That's the stuff that seemd like EQ to me. 

I still think that, in POI terms, it was EQ, but what my two cents are worth is slightly less than the value of the copper.  
On the flip side, it seemed like I had some big highs and lows. I had a really nice experience the other day that felt very EQ. It culminated in an intense pleasurable experience followed by the panic dream I just described, which kind of sounds to me like A&P into DN. I also am not putting in crazy hours of practice as I've heard happens with EQ. 

you lazy piece of shit! 
Now I feel pretty good honestly. The last few days have been nice, but not over the top. Maybe that's an indicator of a good direction. 

Yup. 

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/18/20 1:24 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hello guys,

My 2cts, just some hopefully respectful thoughts to think about, or not :

-Meditation methods are ways of keeping one curious and motivated to practice. It seems to me that Brandon is getting benefits from his practice, feeling generally good, more light and spacious and acceptant in daily life, and that his curiosity towards mapping stuff is giving him motivation to practice well and a sense of confidence in what he's doing. It doesn't sound like there is unhealthy attachment there, not in excess anyways. I think you can use that curiosity about maps skillfully : why not print out the detailed ñana table (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/5475825de4b0ac156d2453a4/1416987229931/Nanas+and+jhanas+tablep1.pdf) and really dive into your experience to figure out where you are, if that is a driving force for you ? Why would that not be skillfull ? What's the point of knowing about the stages if you don't try to grok them ? For me, 1st path was the time to do that (and afterwards too, actually), it gave meaning to my life and direction to my practice ; after that, it all started to unravel. It's not about attention anyways, attentional practices will break down eventually...

-Sure, this curiosity might at some point become a hindrance, but it doesn't seem to be that to me, right now. Rigid notions about what correct practice is, tight ideas around what is "being present", "being mindful", etc., will also inevitably unravel some day and create problems, IMO, but that's ok, all views will. When that happens, learning that needed to be learned will take place... Insight and meditation are not AT ALL just about being perfectly mindful about what occurs.

-About goals : dry practice that doesn't feel good but conforms to an idea of what practice should be, pursued not out of genuine moment-to-moment interest in said practice, but out of willpower, begs the question : what is the motivation to practice in that case ? Not the benefit of enjoying sitting and getting enough immediate rewards that the practice will propel itself onwards, but a notion of what practice does and where it leads to, right ? Otherwise, one wouldn't be sitting. And a serious commitment to that general direction, a faith in that, yes ? It seems logically necessary. That's great, very important, but then : who is more oriented towards an abstract goal here ?

It seems to me that Brandon is in touch with why he practices : he's experiencing the benefits, day to day, session after session, and excited about what else might be in store - keep that in check, but feeling good about meditation and motivated to keep going... sounds like the right direction to me.

-A note about noting : it's just one way to get really deep into experience. At some point it can become a hindrance too. Or not... Remember verbal noting is the Kazoo player. Not to be disparaging, but it's a quite gross tehcnique. In my experience, it was better to be silently observing things as precisely as possible. Brandon, you seem to have hit the "orchestra", the way you describe it, honestly if you can keep that level of subtelty without wandering off too far, I would say go for it. Attention and "noting consciousness" are part of something larger which is in a way ""more real", as you said, and that is the good stuff ! Personnally, during 1st path I was really curious about the maps and stages which acted as a strong motivation to pay subtler attention to the details of experience, and I never really used much verbal labeling, but got to SE, all the while being quite motivated to achieve SE. Why not. People are different. For instance, honestly, when I experimented with mahasi noting, quite seriously and intensly, I quickly realized it was preventing me from getting subtle...

-Willpower and discipline will only take one so far, and in the worst case, can actually damage one's practice long term, creating deep aversion and perhaps trauma, if one forces oneself to do something they are not enjoying for too long. I'm no psychologist, but I've experimented with both approaches and I know which was better. There's no formula. 

-Love is strong and flexible, willpower is rigid and brittle. IME, the single most important factor that propelled progress onwards, was learning how to finally love and accept myself and let go of guilt, and learn to do that with experience and love it. That was, for me, in retrospect, the key to 1st path. Then practice became easy. 

xox

edited


RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/18/20 4:22 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus --

First and foremost I just wanted to say that I totally appreciate your willingness to be direct and blunt with me about how you are perceiving my practice. We've got a scrappy little gang here and I don't take for granted anyone that is willing to walk the same path and offer support, encouragment or more importantly, the occasional slap in the face when it's needed. 

I do like to talk about maps a lot, and even reading back on my own logs, it gets very annoying. This is a quirk about the way I come to understand things -- I like to do a lot of speculating, and it tends to rub people the wrong way (ask my wife). It's messy, but I think it'll get me somewhere eventually. What happens in practice matters, but making sense of it matters too, and I think maps are part of that.

I understand the concern that it could lead to grasping or expectations, and it's a legitimate concern to keep in mind. When I look at it carefullly I don't think it's interfering with my actual practice, at least not right now. I think Olivier characterized it pretty accurately. Mapping is mostly an extracarricular activity that I find fun and motivating, but when it gets to practice, I'm all business. Not that I don't have mapping thoughts when I practice, but they don't account for much of my practice, and they are among the easiest to objectify.

What it will require to be awakened, I don't know, but I am doing what I can within the space I have right now. I'd love to do retreat time when it becomes possible again, but till then I feel good about my commitment. I have been practicing about hour a day, with few interruptions for the past 10 months. I remind myself of that every time I sit down to meditate.

There is a balance I think we all have to strike. As Grandma Dayton used to say, "It's nice to have something to look forward to." After half a lifetime of depression, I finally have hope and faith that life will getter via meditation. I want to awaken. I'm looking forward to it, and I have faith that the way to get there is THIS.

If I'm wrong, I take consolation knowing that you're willing to call me out. I say that with total sincerity and gratitude.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/18/20 5:03 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Tim -- You're a mensch. 
The more you can slow down and trust your instincts here, no matter how quirky or idiosyncratic or far-fetched or unlikely, the better you'll be. Easy, now, very easy: one thing at a time, starting with the breath, in she comes, arising on her own; out she goes, departing without a thought.
This has been running through my head lately when I practice. Thanks.

Olivier -- It's interesting to hear you're thoughts on noting. My A&P experience actually happened in the context of an unintentional "orchestra" style vipassana I had cobbled together over my first retreat. I was trying to stay focused on the breath, but my mind kept wandering, or I kept listening to sounds, or noticing sensations in my body. After the second day, I just kind of accepted that that was okay and relaxed into it. On the morning of the 3rd day -- KABOOM!

Noting, as Papa Che will attribute, turned out to be super useful in times when sitting still and consistently got tough.

To your point about the harshness of dry practice, I also found that taking a 2 month diversion into concentration and metta massively helped my insight work. I got deep enough into concentration that I learned how relaxed, effortless and pleasant practice could be. I came back to noting with a much better ability to still myself in the midst of restlessness. I now see how key finding the tranquility, love and curiousity is to making the process hum.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/19/20 2:30 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:

The more you can slow down and trust your instincts here, no matter how quirky or idiosyncratic or far-fetched or unlikely, the better you'll be. Easy, now, very easy: one thing at a time, starting with the breath, in she comes, arising on her own; out she goes, departing without a thought.
This has been running through my head lately when I practice. Thanks.

Olivier -- It's interesting to hear you're thoughts on noting. My A&P experience actually happened in the context of an unintentional "orchestra" style vipassana I had cobbled together over my first retreat. I was trying to stay focused on the breath, but my mind kept wandering, or I kept listening to sounds, or noticing sensations in my body. After the second day, I just kind of accepted that that was okay and relaxed into it. On the morning of the 3rd day -- KABOOM!

Noting, as Papa Che will attribute, turned out to be super useful in times when sitting still and consistently got tough.

To your point about the harshness of dry practice, I also found that taking a 2 month diversion into concentration and metta massively helped my insight work. I got deep enough into concentration that I learned how relaxed, effortless and pleasant practice could be. I came back to noting with a much better ability to still myself in the midst of restlessness. I now see how key finding the tranquility, love and curiousity is to making the process hum.

Olivier, +1 
Tim, you're a mensch
Brandon, i thought we were past the kind of overt anti-semitism that has plagued this site in the past.

A pattern?
Answer
5/23/20 3:04 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Practice soldiers on. Been doing the normal hour sits, but I've been able to fit in some extra practice over the last few days.

I'm seeing a little pattern. Sits feel normal, I note. I note out loud when hindrances crop up. I'm mostly noting the normal stuff, but I spend bits of time being curious about self, or just listening for thoughts (very slippery). I am starting to notice intentions to think and other vague intentions for my mind to go someplace that I can't quite even note accurately. I had one sit where I felt like I was seeing the pieces that made up my sense of self. I started to get emotional, as if greiving for the loss of self.

Then I have sits where awareness is happening without the noting. They get very pleasant and almost overwhelming. Two days ago I had one of these sits again while I was sitting outside. I was reading in Seeing that Frees that nature compliments samadhi, and it seems like just crossing the threshold from inside to back-yard is enough to get the juices flowing. I was practicing in the lawn chair again, just being open to sensation. It was very pleasant when I decided to tip my head back and look at the sky. 

It filled my entire field-of-view and sent me into a place that felt like I was on acid. It was the first time I think I've ever understood what the Trascendentalists meant by "the sublime". It was enormous, beautiful and terrifying (A bit like how I imagine falling into the face of Jupiter would feel). Anyone that would have happened to see me would have thought I was tripping balls. I was literally gesturing up at the sky with a big grin on my face saying, "The sky...The SKY!!!!" Eventually, the neighbors ended up coming into their backyard and chatting and I felt like I was eavesdropping, so I packed it in. I had a difficult time sleeping that night as the high energy of the experience was still running through me. Lots of flashes of images and such. It really does feel like my mind is being re-wired.

I did a big hike yesterday that gutted me for the rest of the day. I put off my sit till the end of the day and was doing lots of head bobbing.

This morning's sit felt quite ordinary. The first half hour was noting silently and out-loud. Mind wanering and restlessness increased after that. I switched between noting anchored by the breath and the noting out-loud as restlessness and mind wandering played tag-team.

So now I'm waiting to see if this pattern continues or how else it might develop.

Another thing I have been wondering about -- I've had a hard time identifying the Dark Night and this stuff I am calling EQ has felt very, very good. I wonder if this has to do with the baseline I entered into all of this. I was depressed for many, many years before I crossed the A&P, so that is my baseline for "normal". When I crossed the A&P, it was a HUGE positive change. The only way I have been able to describe it is to compare it to my experiences with MDMA. It was dramatic. What I potentially experienced as the Dark Night did not feel as bad as I expected because it just kind of felt like a return to the baseline of depression (When I read about Desire for Deliverance, that honestly sounds like the last few years of my life). Now I am in a place that feels good, but not as ecstatic as the A&P stuff (but also better in a way). I have been doubting it is EQ, since EQ is suppossed to feel neutral and I mostly feel either good or GRRRRRREAT. But considering that my baseline was so low to start with, it would make sense that neutral would be subjectively perceived as more than neutral.

Just a theory.

RE: A pattern?
Answer
5/20/20 11:17 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hey Brandon that sounds awesome man, seems like whatever/wherever you are, it's working, so keep it up!

I don't know if this is helpful but maybe it will inspire some thought- the 'sublime' you talked about- i wonder if this is a manifestation of Anatta/non-self/the Void/Voidness? 

RE: A pattern?
Answer
5/20/20 11:27 AM as a reply to J W.
Thanks for the encouragment.

This was very much an experience and a very big one, so I don't know if it would qualify as any sense of voidness. I have felt the rare moment of rest in between sensations, but I'm not ever sure that counts as a sense of rest is still a sense of something.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/21/20 8:58 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
45 minute slog this morning. Lots of hindrances. Didn't sleep well the night before and was nodding off a bunch. Noted dissatisfaction with practice and craving for it be like previous sessions. Otherwise the noting was mostly gross bodily sensations with some thoughts and urges here and there. Hoping to get another one in today.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/21/20 12:45 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
When shit hits the fan try and recollect that all beings suffer just like you. We all struggle with it hence it's in a way "ours". The suffering slaps you on one cheek, you offer it the other one. Note it. Slap! Unpleasant and acceptance. Slap! Unpleasant and acceptance. Slap! ... until timer goes off. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/23/20 2:53 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for the pep talk. Got in another hour session later that day after reading your response.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/23/20 3:03 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
40 minutes yesterday cut short to pick my brother up from the airport. Was able to get some more practice in will hiking later that day. It was much colder and windier that I expected so I did some noting aloud to stay present and not be miserable. It worked suprisingly well. Noted the sensations of the wind, whether coolness or pulling and pushing. Noted the anxiety, but also noted the craving to get around the next bend or to be done. The miserable sensations I would normally have grabbed on to during something like this evaporated as I noted them. A suprisingly calm experience, with some moments of actual enjoyment.

An hour this morning. Started with noting out-loud for about 15 min then switched to silent. Trying to work with hindrances on a subtler level. Used the breath as an anchor when my mind wandered or I got restless, or would drop intentions for a while to let my body drop into a deeper sense of samadhi. Spent some time noting without mental labels, just being awere of sensations in my mouth, the feeling of the carpet on my feet and the little mental urges and cravings that popped up. I still feel like I need mental notes to really catch the subtle stuff. Noted sensations of rest here and there, and spent some time doing Kenneth Folk's "thinking-not thinking" practice. Noted discomfort in the body as the sit drew to a close.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/23/20 4:02 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
"spent some time doing Kenneth Folk's "thinking-not thinking" practice"

Im not familiar with this! Can you tell me more? Cheers mate!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/23/20 8:20 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
It's meant to a be a practice for ferreting out slippery thoughts. It's binary noting, either you are thinking or you are not thinking. I check every breath. If am thinking during a breath I note "thinking", if I am not thinking during the next breath, "not thinking".

From this section of contemplative fitness:


https://eudoxos.github.io/cfitness/html/cfitness.html#mid-equanimity

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/24/20 10:15 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
How do I summon Chris Marti to help split a thread?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/24/20 10:23 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Oh ok I see. I do something similar when I get into a state thats unclear and just Uncertain all the time so I label "certain" when Im clear about a sensation and "uncertain" when unclear, but this usually turns to "certain" all the time and remedies the Uncertainty dull state. Then I just resume normal freestyle noting.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/24/20 10:46 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
I've also done the version "noisy-quiet" when I'm not sure if it's a thought, but it's...something.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/24/20 12:19 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
What thread do you want to split, Brandon?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/24/20 9:38 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Long enough to split this one?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/25/20 8:32 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I usually start thinking of splitting a thread when:

1. It gets so long it loads too slowly when I try to open it
2. It's well over 200 posts long

Neither is the case for this thread.

Why do you want to split it?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/25/20 9:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Ok. I wasn't aware of the protocol. I just didn't want it to be annoying for anyone to read. I can wait until there's a good reason to split it.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/25/20 9:59 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
On another note, the "Message Board Home" doesn't load correctly when I click on it. I see the index of various topics for a split second and then a random assortment of posts appears. I'm not able to create new posts.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/25/20 4:07 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon, you created the post on which you said you couldn't create posts. Do you mean you can't start a whole new topic?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/25/20 6:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Nm. I think I figured it out. I had somehow collapsed the menu.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
5/27/20 4:23 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Most that I've seen have some scholarships open. I know that's the case for Michael Taft.


true. Linda just got one.

Practice Continues
Answer
6/5/20 2:24 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Practice continues even when my log doesn't. I've started working with a meditation teacher, and I'm adapting to how that effects my practice. I've been recommended practicing in intervals of noting and concentration with specific 7 point breathing instructions on concentration (It sounds like other students of Abre on DhO are doing something similar). The 7 point breathing is tough for me to figure out. I'm giving it it's due, but I switch to other approaches when hindrances crop up.

Practice has felt bumpy lately. Lots of working with drowsiness and lethargy, which is just something that has not been much of an issue before. I feel like I am finding my way through it. In the past, my response would be to do very energetic things to react, such as switching to standing. I've experimented a lot with being absorbed by the sleepiness, and I find I can stay alert and still note, but it doesn't seem productive right now. Just a lot of dullness. I've had luck with subtle concentration. Not sure how it works, but I can intuit my way into a place that is concentrated and but also very calm and relaxed. Somehow this allows me to not be overwhelmed by the sleepiness.

I'm finding the bumpiness to be a valuable time to strengthen certain areas of my practice such as faith, commitment and equanimity. Not that I even have to try to work on those things, I just see them functioning more effectively each time I pass through a rough spot. The anxiety and doubt is harder to justify after you've put in a certain amount of time.  

I'm starting to gain a bit more confidence in identifying where I am in cycles, but things still feel uncertain. I was feeling some intense negative body feelings during my sit last night (pain, discomfort, sadness, heaviness, aversion), although I was happy with my equanimity throughout. Then, last night, I had a crackle of energy and a sensation like coming out of a waterslide that woke me up and made me immediately aware of all my body sensations followed by flashing,flowing, dissolving images that started to creep me out. It appeared to be a 3C's to A&P to Dissolution to Fear thing.

Practice this morning involved much more mind wandering then I am used to. I'm getting too wrapped up in current events and it made concentration a challenge. With time, things settled down. During noting I took a moment to break apart the chain of sensations leading to my anxiety - anticipation of mind bringing up stressful subject, image of a guy I'm having a dissgreement with on facebook, ache in my chest, urge to compose a response, and then it's all gone. By the end of the sit I was noting and my concentration felt very strong and calm.
 
 

RE: Practice Continues
Answer
6/5/20 2:36 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Practice continues even when my log doesn't. I've started working with a meditation teacher, and I'm adapting to how that effects my practice. I've been recommended practicing in intervals of noting and concentration with specific 7 point breathing instructions on concentration (It sounds like other students of Abre on DhO are doing something similar). The 7 point breathing is tough for me to figure out. I'm giving it it's due, but I switch to other approaches when hindrances crop up.

Practice has felt bumpy lately. Lots of working with drowsiness and lethargy, which is just something that has not been much of an issue before. I feel like I am finding my way through it. In the past, my response would be to do very energetic things to react, such as switching to standing. I've experimented a lot with being absorbed by the sleepiness, and I find I can stay alert and still note, but it doesn't seem productive right now. Just a lot of dullness. I've had luck with subtle concentration. Not sure how it works, but I can intuit my way into a place that is concentrated and but also very calm and relaxed. Somehow this allows me to not be overwhelmed by the sleepiness.

I'm finding the bumpiness to be a valuable time to strengthen certain areas of my practice such as faith, commitment and equanimity. Not that I even have to try to work on those things, I just see them functioning more effectively each time I pass through a rough spot. The anxiety and doubt is harder to justify after you've put in a certain amount of time.  

I'm starting to gain a bit more confidence in identifying where I am in cycles, but things still feel uncertain. I was feeling some intense negative body feelings during my sit last night (pain, discomfort, sadness, heaviness, aversion), although I was happy with my equanimity throughout. Then, last night, I had a crackle of energy and a sensation like coming out of a waterslide that woke me up and made me immediately aware of all my body sensations followed by flashing,flowing, dissolving images that started to creep me out. It appeared to be a 3C's to A&P to Dissolution to Fear thing.

Practice this morning involved much more mind wandering then I am used to. I'm getting too wrapped up in current events and it made concentration a challenge. With time, things settled down. During noting I took a moment to break apart the chain of sensations leading to my anxiety - anticipation of mind bringing up stressful subject, image of a guy I'm having a dissgreement with on facebook, ache in my chest, urge to compose a response, and then it's all gone. By the end of the sit I was noting and my concentration felt very strong and calm.
 
 
Welcome back! I missed your posts. Abre hasn't introduced the 7-point breathing with me. We meet for the 2nd time next week,

RE: Practice Continues
Answer
6/5/20 3:05 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Sounds like you've spent your fair share of time with concentration practice, so you may not need such specific instructions. Still not sure if it works for me, honestly.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/5/20 4:22 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
What specifically is giving you issues? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/5/20 8:15 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
It's a different technique than I'm used to for concentration on the breath. Focusing on each segment of the breath breaks up the flow of sensations in a way that feels clunky for me, and I often end up getting lost in thought. Maybe I'm being too intentional with labeling each segment and it's making the concentration too tight and effortful, maybe it's meant to be kind of a hybrid concentration/vipassana technique, or maybe I just need time with it. I'll talk more about it with Abre when I have the chance.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/5/20 8:56 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Yeah I can see how it can be clunky, but she told me to 'ride the breath' which I found helpful. So yes, try to notice the individual points, but hold the breath close and be intimate with that. Skip awareness of the body if the next breath follows really closely behind.

Personally, I slow down my breathing during this exercise so I only do a few at a time before switching back to normal breathing, at which point I find the sensations a bit more vivid. 

How do you usually practice breath concentration? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 2:12 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
HK is Abre also your teacher? Was she Kenneth Folks student at some time? I remember reading something on DhO but forgot the name of that person. I think it might be her. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 8:05 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Yep, she is my teacher.

She was a student of Kenneth's: 

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/1037548918379347968

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 11:17 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Yep, she is my teacher.

She was a student of Kenneth's: 

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/1037548918379347968
She's my teacher too.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 1:16 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Yeah I can see how it can be clunky, but she told me to 'ride the breath' which I found helpful. So yes, try to notice the individual points, but hold the breath close and be intimate with that. Skip awareness of the body if the next breath follows really closely behind.

Personally, I slow down my breathing during this exercise so I only do a few at a time before switching back to normal breathing, at which point I find the sensations a bit more vivid. 

How do you usually practice breath concentration? 
That helps. I think I'm putting too much effort on marking the points and not on the riding the breath. I'm doing 70% noting the points and 30% riding the breath and I think that mix needs to flip.

I've got a few approaches to concentration. I usually start with counting breath to 8 and back down which usually gets me to the point where I can fly solo with the breath.

Other times, If my mind is in a good place, I can just remember how it felt before and just drop into it. It's like being in a new city where I'm still getting my bearings and suddenly recognizing a street I turned down before. I take it and suddenly the territory all seems familiar.

If I'm noticing my my mind is wandering, it's usually because my concentration is too tight. In this case it helps for me to drop all intentions for a bit, open up to the sense of space around me, relax and then find the breath again from that place of openess.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 4:59 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Yep, she is my teacher.

She was a student of Kenneth's: 

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/1037548918379347968

Good to know thanks! How is she as a teacher? I mean is she "my way or highway" or does she give the student the freedom to choose the practice from the tool box she offers? Is she from Europe? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 6:02 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
I've only done one session, but I got a good vibe from our first consultation. I think she's French.

HK would be able to say more.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 8:03 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
With regards to Abre as a teacher:

Yes she is from France, but lives in the US (EST). 

She has studied with Kenneth (obvs) and I believe he 'authorized' her to teach, if that means anything to prospective students. She is steeped in the Pragmatic Dharma world.

In her 20's, she invested a lot of time practicing according to the instructions in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is a concentration/siddhi based yogic system. Worth asking her about maybe.

She seems to have extensive knowledge of the Tibetan Elephant Path system as is laid out in "The Mind Illuminated", but (if my memory serves correctly) she felt that TMI missed the mark slightly in presenting that particular system accurately - but that's not to say TMI is somehow a bad resource. She's read it herself, but that's not how she practiced in that particular system.

I am sure she has waaayyyy more experience than what I laid out above (and she has revealed more than what I wrote above but I want to keep it somewhat brief). She has a lot of practical knowledge and has been very open to trying practices I've brought up to her. She is great as she has walked the fine line between being kind, understanding, but also strict and sometimes fed up with me when I'm being difficult (I mean, look at my previous logs and you'll see I like to complain and get angsty). She takes it all in stride. She simply wants students who are sincere and will put in the work, and besides that, I don't interact with her besides my biweekly video chats and the occasional intermittent email. It's funny - rereading what I just wrote above may not be a 'glowing review', but I think that's maybe how it should be... Like if she was just nice all the time, I'd get complacent and she hasn't allowed that to happen, you know? Yeah I pay her, but she isn't just boosting my self esteem all the time in the hope of a good contribution. Reminds me of my piano teacher in a way - takes no shit, won't accept half rate practice, but still wants the best for me. I think that's a productive balance. This is someone I'd never be able to worship and that's how it should be. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/6/20 8:02 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
With regards to the 7 point breathing:

It possibly sounds like you're being a bit rigid? 

I don't do labels during this exercise, but I take special care to notice the beginngs of the in-breath and the out-breath, and let myself notice various points during the breaths themselves. Maybe there's only one noticing or multiple noticings, or a stream during the breath itself, you know? But what I really want to focus on is the beginnings and endings and let the middles figure themselves out. 

Be easy about it and experiment a little. Based on your reports above, your concentration is probably better than mine, but taking a few (1-5) breaths to exclusively focus will help the mind stay a bit closer to the breath in general once you take the pressure off. I get the same thing though - focus too tightly and it's counter productive akin to trying to hold a beachball under water - it pops right back up.

Another point: Abre told me, if you can do this exercise succesfully for about 7 breaths, you're probably in access concentration.

It's certainly possible to notice all 7 points without forcing too much (then again, these are slow and deep breaths for me). Maybe I will be able to do the same without changing the rhythm of my breathing some day, but for now, it has been helpful.  

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 5:26 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Thanks HK. That was a clear introduction. Since she comes from Kenneth's flock I'm sure she is using Mahasi style too. Will consider her if time for a teacher arises. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 5:26 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Hibiscus Kid:
Yep, she is my teacher.

She was a student of Kenneth's: 

https://twitter.com/KennethFolk/status/1037548918379347968

Good to know thanks! How is she as a teacher? I mean is she "my way or highway" or does she give the student the freedom to choose the practice from the tool box she offers? Is she from Europe? 

also, could we get a link that is not this twitter shit?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 7:38 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
The link is Chris Marti's recommendations. First requirement is Noble Speech emoticon 
Edit; if you can pass that a Firewall you get the secret dharma password! 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 8:45 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
With regards to the 7 point breathing:

"It possibly sounds like you're being a bit rigid? "

"Another point: Abre told me, if you can do this exercise succesfully for about 7 breaths, you're probably in access concentration."


Lol, yeah I'm probably being too rigid. I can do this for seven breaths, so I should probalby just be taking it a bit easier -- like I'm really trying to nail down EXACTLY when each thing stops or starts.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
The link is Chris Marti's recommendations. 


I wonder why Kenneth mentions Daniel as one of his students in that tweet!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Siavash.
I wonder why Kenneth mentions Daniel as one of his students in that tweet!

If you read the twitter thread, he also acknowledges his own narcissism.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 9:00 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I wonder why Kenneth mentions Daniel as one of his students in that tweet!

If you read the twitter thread, he also acknowledges his own narcissism.


Yes I noticed that, but that should be enough to misrepresent facts, unless he really was Daniel's teacher.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 9:10 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
With regards to Abre as a teacher:

Yes she is from France, but lives in the US (EST). 

She has studied with Kenneth (obvs) and I believe he 'authorized' her to teach, if that means anything to prospective students. She is steeped in the Pragmatic Dharma world.

In her 20's, she invested a lot of time practicing according to the instructions in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is a concentration/siddhi based yogic system. Worth asking her about maybe.

She seems to have extensive knowledge of the Tibetan Elephant Path system as is laid out in "The Mind Illuminated", but (if my memory serves correctly) she felt that TMI missed the mark slightly in presenting that particular system accurately - but that's not to say TMI is somehow a bad resource. She's read it herself, but that's not how she practiced in that particular system.

I am sure she has waaayyyy more experience than what I laid out above (and she has revealed more than what I wrote above but I want to keep it somewhat brief). She has a lot of practical knowledge and has been very open to trying practices I've brought up to her. She is great as she has walked the fine line between being kind, understanding, but also strict and sometimes fed up with me when I'm being difficult (I mean, look at my previous logs and you'll see I like to complain and get angsty). She takes it all in stride. She simply wants students who are sincere and will put in the work, and besides that, I don't interact with her besides my biweekly video chats and the occasional intermittent email. It's funny - rereading what I just wrote above may not be a 'glowing review', but I think that's maybe how it should be... Like if she was just nice all the time, I'd get complacent and she hasn't allowed that to happen, you know? Yeah I pay her, but she isn't just boosting my self esteem all the time in the hope of a good contribution. Reminds me of my piano teacher in a way - takes no shit, won't accept half rate practice, but still wants the best for me. I think that's a productive balance. This is someone I'd never be able to worship and that's how it should be. 
Thanks for puttting this in here. She hasn't answered yet my questions on her background.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 9:18 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I'm sure its a bit of an intentional self-deprecation, but their might be some truth in it.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 9:22 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
The link is Chris Marti's recommendations. First requirement is Noble Speech emoticon 
Edit; if you can pass that a Firewall you get the secret dharma password! 


The password is SCHISM?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 10:48 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Yes I noticed that, but that should be enough to misrepresent facts, unless he really was Daniel's teacher.

Word has it, from the horse's mouth, of course, that Kenneth Folk introduced Daniel Ingram to the dharma, and to Bill Hamilton. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 10:50 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I'm going to tattle on ya'll to Abre for talking about her like this here  emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/7/20 11:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes I noticed that, but that should be enough to misrepresent facts, unless he really was Daniel's teacher.

Word has it, from the horse's mouth, of course, that Kenneth Folk introduced Daniel Ingram to the dharma, and to Bill Hamilton. 


Now I noticed a typo in my post. I actually meant "but that should NOT be enough to misrepresent facts,"! Anyway emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 10:59 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm going to tattle on ya'll to Abre for talking about her like this here  emoticon


I've just been trying to get some info on her more substantial than a tweet from a narcissist. I hate tweets. But some of my best friends are narcissists.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 11:02 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes I noticed that, but that should be enough to misrepresent facts, unless he really was Daniel's teacher.

Word has it, from the horse's mouth, of course, that Kenneth Folk introduced Daniel Ingram to the dharma, and to Bill Hamilton. 

Do we really want to go there, on the horse's mouth here? Are you, uh, crazy? By the time that horse stops being quoted, it's life in the Grand Canyon again, yes?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 11:10 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Sometimes we really do have to go there.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 11:25 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon
 yeah, but what time is this?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 11:26 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon

also, the tweet is from 2018. This is old narcissism.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 11:56 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
It seems to be a tweet for recordkeeping purposes. Personally, I don't think this lineage shit matters much, especially in regard to pragmatic dharma, wherein wisdom is passed along as much or more by internet osmosis as it is due to teachers.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 12:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon

I think that's true.

In the absence of armageddon here, on this peaceful day in samsara, i would like to say in my mildest possible tone that KF bleating about Daniel like that, as if KF laid that golden egg and hatched it too, is some lame ass bullshit of the very lowest order.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 12:24 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
We'll let the two of them hash it out. We can call it Dharma Lineage Combat. Or, like a twisted Abbott and Costello routine, we can call it "Who's There First?" Or it could appear in a version of Dharma Jeopardy, with a high point total, under the category "Pragmatic Icons."

emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 1:33 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
emoticon

I think that's true.

In the absence of armageddon here, on this peaceful day in samsara, i would like to say in my mildest possible tone that KF bleating about Daniel like that, as if KF laid that golden egg and hatched it too, is some lame ass bullshit of the very lowest order.

Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 1:58 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Tim Farrington:
emoticon

I think that's true.

In the absence of armageddon here, on this peaceful day in samsara, i would like to say in my mildest possible tone that KF bleating about Daniel like that, as if KF laid that golden egg and hatched it too, is some lame ass bullshit of the very lowest order.

Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

I believe i merely made the mildest possible remark about the quality of your teacher's bleat. emoticon

a thousand apologies, that your teacher appears to be a narcissistic [epithet deleted, per DhO forum rules.]

emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 2:00 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
We'll let the two of them hash it out. We can call it Dharma Lineage Combat. Or, like a twisted Abbott and Costello routine, we can call it "Who's There First?" Or it could appear in a version of Dharma Jeopardy, with a high point total, under the category "Pragmatic Icons."

emoticon

What? Second Base.

Alex, I'll take "Schism" for 500, please.

The answer is, "He was enlightened before anyone else."

Uh, who is---

I'm afraid your time is up. Other players? No. Game over.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 3:03 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

Don't rise to the bait!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 3:28 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

Don't rise to the bait!
emoticon That Farry F Timmington has stepped on my big toe!!! I demand justice!!! 






emoticon 


p.s. I mean seriously why dont all use smilies like all the time! emoticon I mean really emoticon emoticon emoticon Thats why we have them around emoticon emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 4:25 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Chris Marti:
Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

Don't rise to the bait!
emoticon That Farry F Timmington has stepped on my big toe!!! I demand justice!!! 






emoticon 


p.s. I mean seriously why dont all use smilies like all the time! emoticon I mean really emoticonemoticonemoticon Thats why we have them around emoticon emoticon

emoticon

i'm so sorry papa guedusko! emoticon i didn't mean to give you an ouchie! emoticon

emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/8/20 4:26 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Dude emoticon you badmouthing my teacher here! This aint the end of this! Im keeping my eyes on YOU! emoticon

Don't rise to the bait!

lol, yeah, right. Get real, Marti, lol.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 7:19 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 7:39 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:


RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 10:39 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Did you forget how hard and full of pitfalls it is, this journey to "get real" ? It's easy for you to say it! 
I'm trying! I'm trying real hard gawd damn it! 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 3:41 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Maybe you should...


RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 3:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I was just joking Chris. But I get it emoticon Che out. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 4:05 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
So you assumed I wasn't joking?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 7:39 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Is Abre a one who has got it done?

I basically never hear about women folk in the pragmatic dharma circles who are Arahantas. (Maybe she's not - correct me if I'm wrong). It is so heavy with men, with regards to people who are post 4th path that I read about. I'd love a list of non-binary and women post-4th pathers, that are alive today, who are ordinary laypeople and not ordained. WHO ARE THEY? I NEED TO KNOW. WHERE ARE THEY? Why aren't they here on DhO?

I'm gonna hijack the shit out of this conversation, and go all feminist on everybody's ass and I'm not even gonna apologize. Me & Linda are the only non-binary or women folk who post with any regularity in these modern times that I know of on DhO. 

emoticonemoticonemoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 7:55 PM as a reply to Steph S.
I know Abre, and my answer to your question, Steph, is yes.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 8:01 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Amazing. Too bad she doesn't post here. I don't know that I'm in the market for a formal teacher right now, but ya never know. It could be cool to talk to her. Would you PM me her info, Chris, if you think she'd be okay with that.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/9/20 8:31 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Hey Steph, Abre would be okay with it I'm sure (I spoke to her about this very topic 2 weeks ago). You're sincere and have a solid practice and Abre appreciates that. 

Also, another modern day person who was close when I spoke to them about it a few years ago is Shannon Stein from the fire kasina website. She is a lama in a Tibetan tradition and she has worked directly with Daniel as well as the lama in her lineage (located in Canada). I worked with her when I was young(er) & dumb(er). Also had opportunities to go on short retreats with her as the teacher - she is absolutely lovely. I'm not sure if she is still teaching via webchat anymore but you can always go to the Hermitage on Denman Island in Canada for retreat with her if that were to interest you.  

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:00 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So you assumed I wasn't joking?


after that heated sequence between the two of us, how could he possibly even suspect you were joking? Papa Che is a sensitive  and scrupulous man. He knows how to treat people with deference and respect. To him, "get real" means "Go do 10,000 hours of dry vipassana in a desert environment, living on locusts and wild honey."

I will have to go after him now and tell him you just have a very very, uh, dry, and deadpan sense of humor. The desert is no place for a 4-year-old, and the aridity will mess up his new amp. You can't even remember your name there, cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain. Papa Che needs us, to give him pain. Vipassana is dukha-driven, after all.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:02 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
I was just joking Chris. But I get it emoticon Che out. 

emoticon

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to Papa Che Actual, do you copy? Mistakes were made. Repeat, mistakes were made. Do you copy? Over.

emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 1:08 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Is Abre a one who has got it done?

I basically never hear about women folk in the pragmatic dharma circles who are Arahantas. (Maybe she's not - correct me if I'm wrong). It is so heavy with men, with regards to people who are post 4th path that I read about. I'd love a list of non-binary and women post-4th pathers, that are alive today, who are ordinary laypeople and not ordained. WHO ARE THEY? I NEED TO KNOW. WHERE ARE THEY? Why aren't they here on DhO?

I'm gonna hijack the shit out of this conversation, and go all feminist on everybody's ass and I'm not even gonna apologize. Me & Linda are the only non-binary or women folk who post with any regularity in these modern times that I know of on DhO. 

emoticonemoticonemoticon
you can't hijack an already hijacked conversation, Steph. Can you? Oh, I see. You just did!

nice move.

This is a better hijack, if so. If you can get more women like you and Linda around this macho, locker room, towel-snapping old boys shooting the privileged shit, then more power to you. I'm with this hijack now. Papa Che was driven off by Chris's grimness anyway.

Call me white hetero cis, worst possible thing as i understand it, redeemed only by my patent insanity, but don't we have enough de facto patriarchy in the religions we tried to abandon? We're like the Russian Revolution's secret police. We call each other "Comrade" while we shut the dissidents down. Fucking Tsar's secret police never called each other "Comrade," did they? So there IS progress, Comrade Steph. Now go get us another round of drinks.

oops, my bad. How patriarchal of ME.

Now go get us another round of drinks, PLEASE.

p.s. Brandon, if Steph is mean to me because of my male pig lapses, i will help you hijack the conversation back to your practice, and the Dharma talk that prevails here normally, or whatever you do on this thread during non-riot intervals. But act quickly, please, my friend, if she's riled. She is a tigress. Linda is a tigress. Two tigresses mad at me at the same time does not bode well for, uh, well . . . me.

Papa Che, save yourself! Leave me to hold the rear! keep running.

Chris, [obscenity deleted, per DhO forum rules and protocols].

p.s. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 1:10 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
All good here emoticon drinking my morning coffee. I guess we ARE getting off topic here in Brandon's log. My apologies mate! I'm Nobely out unless I have Noble speech to offer emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 6:27 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
You can't even remember your name there, cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.

This is in America, right?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 6:39 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Would you PM me her info, Chris, if you think she'd be okay with that.

PM sent.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 6:44 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
You can't even remember your name there, cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.

This is in America, right?

Horse with No Name, aka, Equine Anatta.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 6:46 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Is Abre a one who has got it done?

I basically never hear about women folk in the pragmatic dharma circles who are Arahantas. (Maybe she's not - correct me if I'm wrong). It is so heavy with men, with regards to people who are post 4th path that I read about. I'd love a list of non-binary and women post-4th pathers, that are alive today, who are ordinary laypeople and not ordained. WHO ARE THEY? I NEED TO KNOW. WHERE ARE THEY? Why aren't they here on DhO?

I'm gonna hijack the shit out of this conversation, and go all feminist on everybody's ass and I'm not even gonna apologize. Me & Linda are the only non-binary or women folk who post with any regularity in these modern times that I know of on DhO. 

emoticonemoticonemoticon

That difference stood out for me very clearly when I first entered the context of dharma. It seemed like the women and non-binary people who had had realizations didn't go around bragging about it because they realized that it isn't a personal accomplishment whereas there were plenty of men who were willing to talk about their enlightenment and for that reason were celebrated. I found one woman on youtube. She talked about it in an entirely different way than the men. Unfortunately she wasn't alive anymore, it turned out.

Mukti? Tina Rasmussen? Catherine McGee? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 8:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
My personal observation is that women can be found more in the Zen and Vajrayana traditions. This pragmatic dharma thing seems to attract testosterone more than estrogen. Not sure about the Thai Forest tradition or any others.

FYI - more contemporary awakened women - Emily Horn also comes to mind, and Kenneth Folk's wife Beth.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 9:08 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That makes sense. For some strange reason I have always been very comfortable in environments where soft nerds like to play macho. I think I may be a soft nerd playing macho myself, and since I don't look the part, I get away with not being consistent about it. 

Lol, realized women in no need of the spotlight, patiently watching their husbands standing at the center of it? 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 9:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
No, please don't get the wrong impression. Both of those women have advanced practices and they are both prominent teachers and coaches in their own right.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda & I over here being macho AF but not really.

I doubt if I get 4th path I'll really flaunt it and would be more low-key about it. I don't think that I'd want to keep it a secret, but I'm for sure not gonna go the route of the high profile/well-known personality that everyone's heard of. I'm definitely not starting a YouTube channel or somethign really public like that. Not a criticism, just not my style. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 9:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
No, please don't get the wrong impression. Both of those women have advanced practices and they are both prominent teachers and coaches in their own right.
The list is growing. I knew that Emily practiced and taught, didn't realize she was 4th path because I haven't kept up with "the scene" really (is there a "scene"?) I hadn't heard about Beth before, so that's cool.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:08 PM as a reply to Steph S.
We should add Laurel Carrington to this list, too. She's on Dho. She just posted here.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:11 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I just saw in the Recent Posts that she commented. I remember her from way-back-when I first joined DhO and haven't seen her post in a while. Excellent.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:32 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I feel like I just opened a door to a confessional and found all my friends having lunch inside.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 12:40 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
emoticon

Sorry, Brandon.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 1:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
No, please don't get the wrong impression. Both of those women have advanced practices and they are both prominent teachers and coaches in their own right.

Good to hear. I stand corrected. 

Sorry Brandon!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 1:33 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I feel like I just opened a door to a confessional and found all my friends having lunch inside.

Whats Brandon doing in here ??? emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 6:03 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
I'm just glad you all feel comfortable hanging out in my confessional. Drinks are on Tim, right?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/10/20 11:04 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I'm just glad you all feel comfortable hanging out in my confessional. Drinks are on Tim, right?

Absolutely. I've got a FaceBook fundraiser going to cover this.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/11/20 8:28 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Brandon Dayton:
I feel like I just opened a door to a confessional and found all my friends having lunch inside.

Whats Brandon doing in here ??? emoticon

Wasn't someone supposed to warn him about the wreckage? Tell him the party had not only gotten out of hand, but had been hijacked by feminist Bodhisattvas? Break it to him easy? Steph, I think, was going to do it. Or Linda, in her one binary facet. That selfless compassion thing.

I wouldn't trust the rest of these testosterone-driven arhant wannabes with such a delicate task as far as I could throw them uphill on that mountain Sisyphus pushes his rock up. Polly, this includes you, in your macho binary facet.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/19/20 4:59 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
For a few weeks now I've been feeling lots of blah, aversion, and lethargy off the cushion. It feels like "depression" which I haven't felt in a long, long time, but without the distress. Today it feels particularly heavy. Just writing this is more than I want to do. On the cushion practice usually feels very strong, sometimes even going longer than the timer, except for maybe once every two weeks I have a sit that is rough. I kinda feel like this is practice related as I can't see any reason in life for things to be rough. Speculating that I am hitting EQ on the cushion but dropping back into reobs the rest of the time. Just keep practicing, I guess.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/19/20 4:30 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Oh yeah, starting practice is always hard. Lots of resistance to it lately, but once I get going, it takes off.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/19/20 4:35 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
With regards to Abre as a teacher:

Yes she is from France, but lives in the US (EST). 

She has studied with Kenneth (obvs) and I believe he 'authorized' her to teach, if that means anything to prospective students. She is steeped in the Pragmatic Dharma world.

In her 20's, she invested a lot of time practicing according to the instructions in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is a concentration/siddhi based yogic system. Worth asking her about maybe.

She seems to have extensive knowledge of the Tibetan Elephant Path system as is laid out in "The Mind Illuminated", but (if my memory serves correctly) she felt that TMI missed the mark slightly in presenting that particular system accurately - but that's not to say TMI is somehow a bad resource. She's read it herself, but that's not how she practiced in that particular system.

I am sure she has waaayyyy more experience than what I laid out above (and she has revealed more than what I wrote above but I want to keep it somewhat brief). She has a lot of practical knowledge and has been very open to trying practices I've brought up to her. She is great as she has walked the fine line between being kind, understanding, but also strict and sometimes fed up with me when I'm being difficult (I mean, look at my previous logs and you'll see I like to complain and get angsty). She takes it all in stride. She simply wants students who are sincere and will put in the work, and besides that, I don't interact with her besides my biweekly video chats and the occasional intermittent email. It's funny - rereading what I just wrote above may not be a 'glowing review', but I think that's maybe how it should be... Like if she was just nice all the time, I'd get complacent and she hasn't allowed that to happen, you know? Yeah I pay her, but she isn't just boosting my self esteem all the time in the hope of a good contribution. Reminds me of my piano teacher in a way - takes no shit, won't accept half rate practice, but still wants the best for me. I think that's a productive balance. This is someone I'd never be able to worship and that's how it should be. 

Abre sounds awesome. Do you think you would be able to PM me her details, if she's comfortable with that? I can't see that she has a website. I've been looking for a woman meditation for awhile but haven't had much luck. Thanks!!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/19/20 8:19 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
27 minute practice today. Fell asleep while practicing. Gonna try for another 30 min sesh to finish off the day.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/19/20 10:46 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
For a few weeks now I've been feeling lots of blah, aversion, and lethargy off the cushion. It feels like "depression" which I haven't felt in a long, long time, but without the distress. Today it feels particularly heavy. Just writing this is more than I want to do. On the cushion practice usually feels very strong, sometimes even going longer than the timer, except for maybe once every two weeks I have a sit that is rough. I kinda feel like this is practice related as I can't see any reason in life for things to be rough. Speculating that I am hitting EQ on the cushion but dropping back into reobs the rest of the time. Just keep practicing, I guess.
This honestly is what i feel like i need right now, Brandon. I am so volatile, have been for endless months it seems. As a bipolar lifelong, i'm of course familiar with that ride, which is obviously this ride too; but there's something weird about this one. I should be locked up long since, and keep surving by the skin of my teeth. like Wile E. Coyote, falling off cliffs, and coming back in the next scene with another plan, curtesy of Acme Scheme Equipment. I long for some good dense shit, a working depression.

be careful what i wish for, i guess. gotta quit wishing entirely, as far as i can see.

hang in there, i think you're spot on right now.

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 2:35 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
You too man. One breath at a time, right?

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 2:47 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
But honestly, whatever I'm calling "depression" right now is a huge improvement over whatever I've experienced in the past. My working theory is that my personal mix of chemical imbalance and dark night is heavily weighted to the dark night stuff, which means meditation seems to go a long way in alleviating the symptoms.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 2:54 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Did another hour while the family started watching the first Lord of the Rings. Joined them after I was done and the movie still seemed to drag on forever.

Session seemed to be typified by stillness and quiet. 

I am going to try and get in some extra practice this weekend. We have the birth of a new baby that is imminent. There is kind of quiet before the storm as we have made preparations and my wife's responsibilities at work have wound down. There is some space here before things get chaotic.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 2:59 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
But honestly, whatever I'm calling "depression" right now is a huge improvement over whatever I've experienced in the past. My working theory is that my personal mix of chemical imbalance and dark night is heavily weighted to the dark night stuff, w

i actually sort of crave the symptoms right now, honestly, no lie. People respond to me so much better when i have a good depressed affect going. not humor, here, serious as a heart attack. Mania just scares the fuck out of most everyone, and no one ever takes a word i say seriously. I could be standing outside the Holocaust Museum saying this shit must never be forgotten and never be repeated, and they'd say, don't listen to him, he's just manic.

depressed, most people think i'm deep! lol. Chicks dig it.

which means meditation seems to go a long way in alleviating the symptoms.

meditation for me is just dying with every breath, in everything up to desire for liberation. I'm not sure what Re-Obsrevation actually is, to tell you the truth, i haven't really got anything obvious in my own vocabulary and experience that makes it an easy translation (lol, or offers the trap of an apparently easy translation). Shargrol Of Course once said he thought Re-Ob had an element of poignancy, and i sort of had a flash what he might be talking about from that, but basically, most people's phenomenology chops on DhO are de facto so far beyond my primitive God-language cloud of unknowing shit that it's just no go. My dark night in its reliable apparent perpetuity is simple and stupid:I'm over myself, over life, sick of fucking up and being fucked with and the whole fucking shit show, and i just get as gate gate gate as letting go into oblivion on each outbreath allows, and trying to not be too disappointed when the next inbreath comes on its own, despite my most cherished hopes to be done done stick a fork in me done.

and then the fucking timer rings and by the grace of God, sometimes my limbs don't weigh a ton and i go on with my day.

sometimes not.

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 3:19 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
and no one ever takes a word i say seriously.


Yeah. You can forgive their ignorance and cruelty.

I think this is one of the biggest crimes a person can do, when they are not taking someone seriously.
I've had a few different flavors of this, and what amazes me is how we people have high capacity for not understanding.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 4:34 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
and no one ever takes a word i say seriously.


Yeah. You can forgive their ignorance and cruelty.

I think this is one of the biggest crimes a person can do, when they are not taking someone seriously.
I've had a few different flavors of this, and what amazes me is how we people have high capacity for not understanding.
well, 

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.

T.S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton"

given that, the human mind eliminates as many possible sources of new information as survival allows, and sometimes more (lol). Insane people, black people, brown people, women, Catholics, Protestants, believers, non-believers--- use the old shut off valve before ever listening, and life seems so manageable.

until life bites you on the ass, of course, because the person trying to mention that fucking lion sneaking up on your ass was an Azerbhaijani, those well-known rascals, and you fucking ignored the warning. emoticon


love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 11:17 AM as a reply to Freeling.
Freeling:
Hibiscus Kid:
With regards to Abre as a teacher:

Yes she is from France, but lives in the US (EST). 

She has studied with Kenneth (obvs) and I believe he 'authorized' her to teach, if that means anything to prospective students. She is steeped in the Pragmatic Dharma world.

In her 20's, she invested a lot of time practicing according to the instructions in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is a concentration/siddhi based yogic system. Worth asking her about maybe.

She seems to have extensive knowledge of the Tibetan Elephant Path system as is laid out in "The Mind Illuminated", but (if my memory serves correctly) she felt that TMI missed the mark slightly in presenting that particular system accurately - but that's not to say TMI is somehow a bad resource. She's read it herself, but that's not how she practiced in that particular system.

I am sure she has waaayyyy more experience than what I laid out above (and she has revealed more than what I wrote above but I want to keep it somewhat brief). She has a lot of practical knowledge and has been very open to trying practices I've brought up to her. She is great as she has walked the fine line between being kind, understanding, but also strict and sometimes fed up with me when I'm being difficult (I mean, look at my previous logs and you'll see I like to complain and get angsty). She takes it all in stride. She simply wants students who are sincere and will put in the work, and besides that, I don't interact with her besides my biweekly video chats and the occasional intermittent email. It's funny - rereading what I just wrote above may not be a 'glowing review', but I think that's maybe how it should be... Like if she was just nice all the time, I'd get complacent and she hasn't allowed that to happen, you know? Yeah I pay her, but she isn't just boosting my self esteem all the time in the hope of a good contribution. Reminds me of my piano teacher in a way - takes no shit, won't accept half rate practice, but still wants the best for me. I think that's a productive balance. This is someone I'd never be able to worship and that's how it should be. 

Abre sounds awesome. Do you think you would be able to PM me her details, if she's comfortable with that? I can't see that she has a website. I've been looking for a woman meditation for awhile but haven't had much luck. Thanks!!

Abre is awesome! (but can be tough) Did you get details for HK? If not, you can PM me and I can send you her email.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/20/20 12:11 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
until life bites you on the ass, of course, because the person trying to mention that fucking lion sneaking up on your ass was an Azerbhaijani, those well-known rascals, and you fucking ignored the warning. emoticon


Sorry!


And sorry Brandon.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/21/20 12:27 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
until life bites you on the ass, of course, because the person trying to mention that fucking lion sneaking up on your ass was an Azerbhaijani, those well-known rascals, and you fucking ignored the warning. emoticon


Sorry!


And sorry Brandon.

There is an old tribe Motherfucker proverb that, loosely translated from the single word in Ur-Motherfucker, says something like, "But who will warn the Azerbhaijanis?"

srouwb, your apology for your good deeds is heard on high, and accepted at all places where major credit cards are used.

p.s. unless Brandon decides to give you shit, of course.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/24/20 4:09 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Just getting hammerred by sleepiness in my sits lately. That is all.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/24/20 4:32 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Just getting hammerred by sleepiness in my sits lately. That is all.

I have started a new job lately which is rather physical and being knackered tired after the job is my normal me now emoticon 
Turning up the noting voice's volume so I really hear myself does help and even standing meditation helps. 
There are times when putting extra effort is needed. This is such time emoticon 

Quiet meditation will just doze me off if physically tired. Daily meditation is paramount! Show must go on! That's why we have a Yogi Toolbox! Something in there for any situation. 

Speak out as loud as you can in your household so you really get that energy pumping. Also try and use word Certainty if certain that each note is matter of fact. This helps motivation. 

Give it a spin and see how it goes. If necessary bring the meditation time down a bit but keep the 45 minutes as absolute minimum. It's ok to note 1 sensation per second, but keep the stream of noting unbroken. 

Itching-Certainty, touching-certainty, tiredness-certainty, sleepiness-certain, low energy-certainty, inability to focus-certainty, itching-certainty ... ... 45 minutes rings. Well done! 

Better sit shorter but be awake throughout than sit longer but dozing off many times. Unbroken stream of noting. emoticon you can do it! 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/25/20 3:04 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
I've got a new baby on the way, so I'm sure I'll have to make use of this soon. Today I mostly solved the problem by taking a huge nap before I meditated.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/25/20 3:47 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
All the best with your new baby emoticon sleepless nights and diapers emoticon You will be ok mate! 

Be gentle on yourself.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/26/20 10:49 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks man.

This is #3, so not too many surprises, but yeah, I'm still getting prepped psyhcologically.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/26/20 11:59 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
Thanks man.

This is #3, so not too many surprises, but yeah, I'm still getting prepped psyhcologically.
Allow me also to express my best wishes to you and your family, Three is hndful but you got it!

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/26/20 1:47 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Thanks Sam.

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
6/29/20 3:07 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I've got a new baby on the way, so I'm sure I'll have to make use of this soon. Today I mostly solved the problem by taking a huge nap before I meditated.

way to nail the rocket science of meditation, amigo.

love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/9/20 10:02 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Still practicing. Now that I have a teacher, some of the need to log regularly is gone. I keep a seperate log for coaching which fulfills some of that role. Now I feel like logging is mostly just about staying in touch with the community which is still incredibly important to me. Sorry I've been away so much!

We've also got a new baby in the house which is amazing! I remember much more stress with my other two kids, but this new baby has been all upside. The labor and delivery was without drama, my wife is recovering beautifully and our new child is healthy and perfect. 

It's made me think about how meditation makes life better. Yeah, there are these discrete stages we are gunning for, but there is also incremental growth that happens with each sit. I look at where my life is now compared to where it was a couple of years ago and it is vastly better. I spent many years of my life sitting with the open question of whether or life was worth the misery, like, in the balance of things mostly life was unpleasant, and it was hard for me to justify that it was worth it (not that I was ever suicidal or anything, but it was still a sucky way to live). My greatest solace was a kind of nietzschean heroism, where I could ground myself in purpose and morality. That approach certainly had its benefits, but how my life is now beats the pants off of it. Now, at least the balance has shifted where life feels good enough to be worth it. 

Practice itself has been a bit irregular since the new baby, but I feel like I'm getting back into a groove. This morning's practice felt good which is probably why this log has such a cheery tone. Abre has me doing what she calls Mahayana style vipassana which is quite a bit more techincal than the noting practice I have become accustomed to (although noting is still a part of it). It first requires taking a few minutes to get into access concentration with the breath. I can do that as quickly as 10 minutes, but sometimes it takes longer. Today it took about half an hour to get there. From there the technique  involves methodically focusing on specific areas of attention, starting with breath, then the body, then sound, then the mental space and finally attention. After working your way up to attention, you start at the bottom again. From there you repeat the loop. It has the effect of working the mind up towards subtler and subtler states of awareness, which is meant to be conducive to the High Equanimity stage of the POI. Having good concentration seems to be very important to getting it to work right. Whith each stage I can feel my concentration getting stronger and stronger and I normally find myself on the verge of jhana many times throughout the practice. 

Planning on doing some additional sits today. 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/9/20 10:08 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
We've also got a new baby in the house which is amazing! I remember much more stress with my other two kids, but this new baby has been all upside. The labor and delivery was without drama, my wife is recovering beautifully and our new child is healthy and perfect. 


Congratulations Brandon! Glad to hear everything has been going smoothly! May you all be safe, happy, and healthy. emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/9/20 10:13 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Congrats papa Brandon !!!!!!!! emoticon all the best wishes to you and your family!!!!!!! emoticon 

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/9/20 11:40 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Congrats Brandon to you and your family. I'm happy to hear everything has been going so well. emoticon

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/10/20 10:48 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
emoticon

How wonderful, Brandon! A new life, a new era. Baby-practice will enlighten you as fast as anything except heroin (where you either get enightened fast or die; baby practice is delightfully time-sensitive, a new enlghtenment every time the kid learns something new). Blessings on the happy mother, father, and the beautiful wide eyed new soul.
love, tim

RE: Brandon's Practice Log
Answer
7/24/20 1:32 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
If this doesn't do the trick, I'll give heroin a shot. Thanks for the kinds words.

Shhh
Answer
7/24/20 1:47 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
I'm gonna bury this here, where only those who are gonna take the time to read my log will find this, but I've been recording episodes of a podcast over the last few months. It's mostly focused on art, but looking at art from a more philosophical, spiritual perspective. I'm gonna have some episodes that give more particular attention to meditation and I'll post those in the general threads when the come up. 

Still practicing BTW. I'll have to do a bigger update sometime.

Enjoy!


https://anchor.fm/h2bna

RE: Shhh
Answer
7/24/20 4:58 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Nice, Brandon!

RE: Shhh
Answer
7/25/20 7:28 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I'm gonna bury this here, where only those who are gonna take the time to read my log will find this, but I've been recording episodes of a podcast over the last few months. It's mostly focused on art, but looking at art from a more philosophical, spiritual perspective. I'm gonna have some episodes that give more particular attention to meditation and I'll post those in the general threads when the come up. 

Still practicing BTW. I'll have to do a bigger update sometime.

Enjoy!


https://anchor.fm/h2bna

why Brandon, you sly old dog, holding out on us . . .

love, tim

Be Careful What You Ask For
Answer
9/2/20 8:58 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Thought it was about time for an update.

Ever since getting my first big A&P experience and learning about the POI I've been anxiously anticipating when and it what form the Dark Night might manifest itself. There was a moment when I thought that I had skirted it, but now it seems I am likely passing through it. I wrote about some of my most recent experiences in the thread below.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21584140

I had another experience last night in the middle of the night. I was fast asleep when there was a sense of something flashing on and off rapidly. It wasn't visual or auditory and it had a snappy feel to it. My immediate reaction was that I was sensing some sort of impermanence and I was like, "oh shit, is this stream entry?!" And my heart started racing and I woke up. Everything had a soft feel to it, especially the visual impressions that filled in the gaps of what I wasn't directly sensing. The visual impressions of the structure of the room, my wife lying next to me and my own body had a soft cartoony feel to them. My consicous mind felt very thin and any sense that I was fading back to sleep felt like the potential of getting dumped down a waterslide straight to emptiness -- which was creepy.

As far as what my practice has looked like lately, I've started practicing again after taking two weeks off, but my practice has been less -- 30 minutes a day, and the practice has been irregular. I've also started a new job which has made it tough to fit in the practice. Trying to focus just on getting practice in regularly now.

My teacher has me focusing on a grounding meditation. I normally begin by spending about 10 minutes in concencentration then I turn to a visualization where I sink into the earth in 5 foot increments. The first time with the practice it felt more like bobbing on top of the earth as I would visualize, then my mind would revolt and pull me back up to the surface. I've been experimenting with where to focus to with the subterranean practice and I find that focusing on bodily sensations and doing it with minimum effort works best. I simply note, "sinking, sinking" and focus on sensations and that seems to do the trick.

The last couple of sits have been typified by mind wandering that never settles. I discussed this in a bit in my coaching session and Abre gave me some good things to try. Today was more focused, but I got sleepy.

RE: Be Careful What You Ask For
Answer
9/4/20 2:29 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Hi Brandon! How is the little one doing