Everything looks different today

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Melody Wilson, modified 10 Years ago.

Everything looks different today

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/18/11 Recent Posts
Hi, first time poster emoticon I don’t talk about my meditation experiences much (don’t have a teacher apart from all the brilliant books I’ve read) but thought after my experience this morning it might be interesting to get others perspective especially in relation to Daniel’s map (I haven’t read his book yet but watched him talking on vimeo.com)

Have been meditating consistently daily for about 4 months, around 30 minutes each morning and I practice Kundalini yoga every morning beforehand (latter for about a year).

In the beginning experienced the usual struggles quietening the chattering mind, but was mostly a pleasing calming experience.

By around the 6 or 7 week mark had developed a practice I really looked forward to. Then bam out of nowhere it all went quite pear shaped. Distressing 3 week period followed. Felt gut wrenching despair, lots of tears, thought I was going mad and needed therapy emoticon Thought my relationship with husband was the cause.Then thought problems at work were. Then thought maybe I really am crazy (there are a few fruit loops in my family tree!) Then...well you know your head just goes batty trying to figure out why you’re suddenly walking around feeling like your chest is being ripped open and laid bare. Gritted teeth and kept myself together quietly, just kept sitting every morning and making it through each day. Very tough period. Would not wish on worst enemy.

Around 10 week mark the despair started to lift. Was reading lots of Dhamma books while working and studying. Then one day it was gone. If you’ve ever had a bad migraine it was like that intense pain suddenly lifted. Felt exhausted by the experience but suddenly noticed an absence of the stomach wrenching pain/misery. Phew! Life marched on, no permanent damage incurred! Kept on sitting every morning.

Now I’m at around the 13 week mark I guess, and over the last week my meditation practice has shifted into another gear altogether, and this morning especially. After about 10 minutes of following the breath steadily and quietly, something clicks into place. It’s like hmmm hard to explain but suddenly I’m aware of everything going on –noises around me, my breath, aches or sensations in my body and I feel sublimely happy. And most importantly I feel like anything could happen at that moment and I wouldn’t be phased or distracted. It’s like my concentration and awareness has suddenly clicked and locked in. It feels rock solid. Feels brilliant, bathed in calm tranquility and at ease with whatever is happening. I often see flashes of light, sometimes they flicker, sometimes they rush at then over me. I feel like I’m in a room and can sense everything around me at once. It is a pretty bloody fantastic feeling it has to be said emoticon Unfortunately at that moment my 30 minute timer goes off and because I’ve got other stuff to do I come out of it. But today after my practice everything looks and feels different. I’ve got a smile on the inside that won’t go away (I know, how cheesy that sounds!). It’s like the world has slowed down and no longer feels like it’s dragging me along. I’m at complete ease with everything going on. There’s a complete absence of restlessness, worry, boredom, frustration, distraction etc. I don’t feel giddy, well maybe a teeny bit emoticon just calm and totally at ease with whatever task I’m engaged in.

So I do hope writing this down doesn’t jinx my practice! Trying not to hold onto any expectations about what tomorrow will bring, and the day after...

If anyone has experienced similar I would be interested to hear how your practice progressed from that point onwards or any advice how I might consider progressing. Thanks for reading, if you got this far emoticon

Melody
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
(really looked forward to) A&P

(3 weeks sucked) Dark Night

(can be with everything at once, tranquility) equanimity

Almost there... go for stream entry emoticon

The way to do it is to take that spacious panoramic quality and investigate that. Notice spacious, notice equanimous, notice tranquility, notice background, notice time, notice space, notice silence, notice peace, notice everything at once without leaving any stone unturned, consistently, enjoying...

Then there'll be a *blip* followed by a bliss wave --- that's called fruition or nirvana.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
Almost there... go for stream entry emoticon

The way to do it is to take that spacious panoramic quality and investigate that. Notice spacious, notice equanimous, notice tranquility, notice background, notice time, notice space, notice silence, notice peace, notice everything at once without leaving any stone unturned, consistently, enjoying...

Then there'll be a *blip* followed by a bliss wave --- that's called fruition or nirvana.

here's a nice thread about someone in equanimity territory leading up to stream entry. pretty technical but i find it has nice detailed descriptions of what is going on in Equanimity
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Melody Wilson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/18/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
[here's a nice thread about someone in equanimity territory leading up to stream entry. pretty technical but i find it has nice detailed descriptions of what is going on in Equanimity


thank you!
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Melody Wilson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/18/11 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:

The way to do it is to take that spacious panoramic quality and investigate that. Notice spacious, notice equanimous, notice tranquility, notice background, notice time, notice space, notice silence, notice peace, notice everything at once without leaving any stone unturned, consistently, enjoying...

Then there'll be a *blip* followed by a bliss wave --- that's called fruition or nirvana.


Thanks Bruno. There's a little temptation inside to 'guard' or protect this great feeling but I know trying to hold onto it isn't quite the right approach and will probably just lead to a fear of loss. So noticing everything... okay, I'm just going to kind of sink into it, stay open to whatever's happening, keep enquiring without rushing at it. That's roughly what I did this week in meditation when my state started to change - didn't question it, just went hmm that's interesting and let it run it's course, and whoosh off it went! Who knew you could gain so much by letting go emoticon

So what's the *blip*? Good lord I hope it's not like that Dark Night stuff. That was not a great experience, to put it mildy.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Melody Wilson:
Thanks Bruno. There's a little temptation inside to 'guard' or protect this great feeling but I know trying to hold onto it isn't quite the right approach and will probably just lead to a fear of loss. So noticing everything... okay, I'm just going to kind of sink into it, stay open to whatever's happening, keep enquiring without rushing at it. That's roughly what I did this week in meditation when my state started to change - didn't question it, just went hmm that's interesting and let it run it's course, and whoosh off it went! Who knew you could gain so much by letting go emoticon

ya, don't hold anything back. another quote:
Daniel Ingram:
1) Equanimity, real equanimity, can take it, whatever it is, be it effort, doubt, or whatever, but the thing is to not be afraid to be with it, really go into it, stay with it, as has been stated well above. Imagine that you are standing up to your waist in a pond and the ripples are calming down after a big storm, and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to keep your hand on the surface of the water so that the back of your hand stays dry and the palm stays in the water, regardless of how the ripples go. If you slack off, you miss a lot and the back of your hand gets wet, and if you try too hard, you create more ripples and the back of your hand gets wet, so the trick is to just stay on it, whatever it is, however attention moves, however things present, just on it, clearly and as continuously as possible, without trying to stabilize things particularly, or make them any special way, except just to stay the heck on it, just on it, no more and no less, second after second, realizing that you will likely have many periods of either spacing out or trying too hard, but that's ok, and how we figure the thing out.


you might also want to read the sections from "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" on the progress of insight, particularly re-observation and equanimity.
TJ Broccoli, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 93 Join Date: 3/1/10 Recent Posts
hi Melody,

welcome to the dho!
sounds like things are moving along for you. would you mind sharing with us some of your practice techniques? what have you found to work or not work for you? when you meditate (I assume you mean sitting), what do you do besides "following the breath steadily and quietly"?

jill
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Melody Wilson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/18/11 Recent Posts
TJ Broccoli:
hi Melody,

welcome to the dho!
sounds like things are moving along for you. would you mind sharing with us some of your practice techniques? what have you found to work or not work for you? when you meditate (I assume you mean sitting), what do you do besides "following the breath steadily and quietly"?

jill


Hi jill, happy to share anything that might help. I'll post back some notes this evening after work and dinner, when I've got more time to dedicate... emoticon
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Melody Wilson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/18/11 Recent Posts
TJ Broccoli:
hi Melody,

welcome to the dho!
sounds like things are moving along for you. would you mind sharing with us some of your practice techniques? what have you found to work or not work for you? when you meditate (I assume you mean sitting), what do you do besides "following the breath steadily and quietly"?

jill


Hi jill

Thought I’d put notes into bullet points, it might keep my writing more succinct (er after writing below I can see I have failed on that account! Apologies. Points put in bold, perhaps that will help lol)

I don’t think my practice is complex and it’s pretty lightly structured. I don’t overthink stuff but I do read a lot and slowly incorporate new techniques. I don't try and memorise and incorporate it all at once, rather gradually develop the structure and content of my practice at a gentle pace. It seems to be working but hasn't been all plain sailing.

Many others seem better at analysing and articulating what they do. Maybe as my technical knowledge grows I will get better at it. For now here are some notes...hope you find them useful emoticon

BTW all simple stuff you’ve probably read a thousand times, but they’ve been significant for me so here they are...

- Yoga. Done immediately before meditation each morning. Before I began meditating I had been yoga’ing every day for quite a while. Taught me how to breath properly, control and concentrate on the breath, mindfulness, patience  Perfect foundation practice.

- Mindfulness in Plain English kicked me into daily meditation practice. First time I had read something with solid practice instructions, so follow them I did.

- Manageable timeframes – started with only 5 minutes seated meditation a day. Then each week added just 5 minutes more. Never pushed myself hard in terms of how long I sat. Did (still do) however push myself very hard to do it EVERY day no matter how I feel.

- Counting the breath. Initially used counting the breath to build concentration and stop my mind wandering, as it did all the time to begin with. Stopped counting a couple of weeks ago as it didn’t seem necessary anymore. Counting was becoming a distraction in itself. I just wanted to sit with the breath. Plus I kept losing count lol.

- Mindfulness in everyday life – started practicing mindfulness every day ala Thich Nhat Hanh ‘wash the dishes to wash the dishes’. Household chores have never been executed with so much care and attention emoticon.

- Posture – I guess because I can sit in lotus pose I thought I should sit like that, and lots of books say you should. But while I can sit in lotus for a few minutes, after 10 it becomes seriously uncomfortable. After 20 downright painful! Finally wised up a few weeks ago and changed to Burmese pose, and bought a proper zafu cushion. Now can sit indefinitely. Why didn’t I do this months ago dur!

- Mindfulness with Breathing (Buddhadasa Bhikku) – found this book a really useful read (step by step anapanasati). Discovered his books in Thailand on a recent trip (thanks BB!). Only finished it a little over a week ago but started putting into practice straight away.What did I put into practice from it? Lots of things but nothing earth shattering. What I recall most was the translators note that said don’t try and leap ahead. Just sit with each stage and be happy with where you’re at. And always start each sitting from the beginning. Reminds me of yoga practice e.g. being happy with whatever you can do on the day. The minute I start thinking about what I’d like to do/achieve but can’t seem to, I’ve just lost the essence and value of the practice - I’ve just lept into thinking and planning instead of just observing and enjoying being in the moment.

- Following/chasing the breath – this turbo boosted my concentration when I started paying complete attention to every single part of my breath including the pauses. It can be quite hypnotic. For some reason doing this slows my breath riiight down, especially the out breath, feels like it goes on foreeever sometimes, quite comically so. Sometimes after the out breath I seem to sit pausing, waiting, for what seems an eternity. I wonder hmm am I gonna start breathing again?! Suddenly the breath is incredibly interesting! No reason for the mind to wander when it’s intrigued and interested in what it’s watching. Once I got this level of concentration and focus going, things started to click.

Watching Daniel’s talk on vimeo helped. I was starting to think ‘I wonder where is this meditation stuff going?’. I’d read about stuff like stream entry and all that, but I assumed that was unattainable. On the one hand that may have helped – I had no lofty ambitions or expectations. On the other hand listening to Daniel recently opened me to possibilities I hadn’t seriously considered before. Thanks Daniel!

I should note that a year ago I was in a bad place. A stressful career (and mentally unhealthy work environment) nearly drove me to the edge and I bailed on it to save my sanity. Then I met someone who made a huge positive impression on me, who I soon after discovered was a practicing Buddhist and former Monk. Those two events kind of sealed the deal for me. I hit my threshold and was highly motivated to get my shit together. The thought of many more years suffering along the same vein, well I just couldn’t take it anymore. So my practice has rarely wavered.

Opps this was not quite as concise as I set out! Nevermind. Not sure if this is what you were looking for but I hope some of it was useful for you. All the very best

Melody
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Andrew Jones, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Everything looks different today

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Melody for the great post!

Mindfulness in Plain English is such a great book, I think it should be taught in schools!! I totally agree on being aware of the whole breath is better than a single spot. That locked in feeling is such a cool thing, I find it is quite predictable if I just keep following the whole breath and letting go of tension in the body especially. It doesn't seem to matter if I do daydream a bit as long as I continue to relax, 10 -15mins and my mind snaps to attention!

metta

Andrew