Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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There is still this odd mix of on the one hand control-freaky yet unfocused racey and frantic mind, with parallell thought processes and parallell earworms going on, and tensing tourette-ticcing body, and on the other hand this calm space in the midst of it, around it and through it. The dukkha is as obvious as it could ever be but it doesn't really bother that space. There is habitual clenching but also automatic unclenching. There is recurring activity at the top of the head, almost like a gentle breeze. Things pop open behind the nose. There are those melting or raindroppy sensations from my left cheek bone and downward. There's a feeling that meditation is always going on in the background, with sensations of movement dancing around itself (?) and infrastructure refiguring itself (in a gentler way than before). Some instances of agencylessness.Took a nap during the day and stayed lucid for at least part of it. Happy. Something is exhausted but it doesn't feel like me.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Formal meditation 80 minutes, phenomenology similar to yesterday both on and off cushion.

Fractal cycling is getting more clear. In this reobservation-equanimity-A&P cycling loop, the dominating nana seems to be the subnana of A&P to the reobservation nana. What's that in numbers... 10.4? I recognize this from before SE, but I didn't identify the subnanas back then. It is frantic. Happy-happy but easily distracted and reactive and with lots of tics. If I ever were to develop mania, it would probably be in 10.4. This is why I developed the habit of reclining meditation. I sat for 50 minutes tonight and then lay down, not because I was uncomfortable but because my mind was going heywire. So f-ing hyper! Lying down helps with that. Lying down in my bed, jhanic factors showed up almost immediately. I think I was somewhere inbetween third vipassana jhana and third shamatha jhana. I could then see the subnanas develop. 10.5 was where it was most like shamatha jhana. In 10.6 there was a surge of adrenaline that pulled me up from that depth of still clear water and stirred it around. In 10.7 it was as if that sirring around had also stirred up some mud. In 10.8 there was energetic activity with more fierce vibrations. Then the bell rang. I'm expecting a partner arriving from Stockholm any minute now. I feel a bit guilty (but not that much) because I would really want to continue to meditate. 

After leaving the formal practice, it feels like 10.4 is the default nana again. It is an utterly unstable nana, though, so it fluctuates.

I think that before SE when I used to have severe pain in reobservation, this was during the 10.3. That explains why it was piti that took the pain away. The pain disappeared already in 10.4, not in equanimity as I thought. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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The subnanas continue to unfold off cushion. I recognize it now. It's amazingly fast. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Crossposting for the sake of keeping track:

I had a stubborn spiritosomatic headache today. It seems to arise when I feel the urge to meditate more but choose to prioritize differently. I used to think of this as stagnated energy (Kundalini or whatever), which I think in one sense is true but also misleading if I associate that with some power separated from ”me” or within ”me” and yet different from the rest of ”me”. So I asked myself ”Do I really have a headache because energies stagnated as a consequence of not practicing more, or is it because I think I should have practiced more?” After all, energy is intentions and/or beliefs manifesting themselves through the attentional system, or something like that. Thus, the energetic pain is basically a mental blueball phenomenon. That’s just stupid.

I knew this and still couldn’t transcend the pain. That is, until a conversation triggered a memory of when a baby hare mistook one of my cats for its mum and clinged to him for food and comfort. At first he was confused and backed away, which looked very funny. However, later I found the little leveret torn to pieces in my patio. The thought that maybe it thought that it was its mum that did this to it... It breaks my heart. Thinking about this, I felt the kind of nausea that usually means that an insight needs to happen. It was like poisoned mud being stirred up and moving about. I know exactly what to do with that. I deal with it on a strict sensate level. There it is just bubbles arising and popping. So I did, and it dissolved. And what do you know - it took the headache too! Just like that. Just a moment before, the headache was very dense. I could feel the sore points very tangibly, and I could feel it radiating from other points that were stiff. After this dissolving, which took maybe a few seconds, there were no sore points and no stiff points there. It was as if there hadn’t even been any pain there to begin with. The nausea lingered a little while, moving about, and then dissolved too. Then there were lots of clickings and snappings and poppings in my head, making it easier to breath, and that gentle breeze.

It is all so illusory.

And yet one may need to resolve suffering with suffering, just like one needs to resolve a fatty stain with fat, because just letting go is too easy for it to feel possible.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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I treated myself to a two hour long digital gong bath (praise the universe for youtube and headphones) and found that the body knew exactly what to do to dissolve tensions. I could feel it disentangling in a very physical way while also sleep-breathing. There were some dream visions, and each time I identified them as dreams there was this strong light. Tissues connecting muscles and bones relaxed and opened up. Muscle knots dissolved. My hands opened up; they usually close themselves when I think they are relaxed, but now it seems that whatever tissue it is that closes them is starting to relax. Now my left hand crackles when I move it and I feel that blood is flowing more freely. It is the tendon running to the fingers that are crackling. They stand out on the backs of both my hands in a way that I haven't seen before. I could feel that seeping along a line in my face, and when I centered my focus instead of attending to that particular side, the seeping spread. I could feel a similar seeping along my lower arms, and now there are lines there as well, on both arms. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Apart from the gong bath yesterday I did some regular vipassana, yoga, and - when I remembered to do so (it will take patience and diligent work to make this the default approach) - pictured both myself and everyone and everything else as energetic and thus illusory manifestations of the divine (or whatever one wants to call it), and tried to be aware of changes in the screen as I fell asleep in the night and also when I woke up this morning. There were patterns, grainy ones but definitely something along the spectrum of sacred geometry. No lucidity during the night sleep.

The energetic headache revisited a few times. The first time I noticed the though "Why do I still have this headache?", but I rerouted that thought into "Why do I still believe in this headache?" (as something that is solid and mine). That allowed me to see the flow of it and how illusory it is, and it stopped bothering me. I applied that thought every time the headache popped up as something solid, and it worked. 

I'm looking into possibilities of going on retreat within Europe. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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This morning I have practiced the five point position, focusing on stillness, dedication of merit, and the nine breathings of purification as taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. That tradition seems to be a reasonable framework for lucid sleep practices and illusory body practices, as well as for understanding my energetic exoeriences, and the Rinpoche seems very approachable and teaches online. If I practice the basics of his teachings, more advanced courses will then be available. I have listened to teachings by him for a while and tried out some of his methods. The symbolic language resonates fairly well with me. Visualization is not my strong suit, though. Thankfully, I think I may actually be feeling the energy channels, at least partly. I know that there are different versions of them, and I find that somewhat confusing, especially sine I also do yoga and some qigong. Mixing the frameworks can be tricky, but I choose to think of it as a reminder that they are all constructions and that all manifestations are illusory (basically magickal creations) - something that I believe applies to medical frameworks as well (those are widely consensual and therefore very solidified). One additional practical adavantage of this framework is that it fits pretty well with other Ribetan practices that I have taken an interest in, such as the teachings of Lama Lena (who talks in a way that I understand), Ken McLeod, Catherine McGee, and also with Michael Taft's nondual teachings, which in turn combine the nondual practice with both vipassana and shamatha.

I still feel like Michael Taft is my teacher, although it was only 10 lessons, so compatibilty with his teachings will probably continue to be a great plus. One of the many reasons I wanted to work with him was that he ties together many different traditions and methods. I want to be able to combine and modify methods in an eclectic way. I want to know what each method does and how it relates to the other ones so that I use every tool for its right purpose. I also want to be able to play with the tools, just not in a way that resembles using a screwdriver as a hammer. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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During the part of the nine breathings of purification that is supposed to breath out attachment and desire, I sensed a taste and smell on the outbreath. It was the same one as I also sensed during Kundalini yoga exercises the other day. The taste and smell was subtle but felt slightly unhealthy. 

This is probably my way of visualizing.

It smelled pretty much like fear.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
During the part of the nine breathings of purification that is supposed to breath out attachment and desire, I sensed a taste and smell on the outbreath. It was the same one as I also sensed during Kundalini yoga exercises the other day. The taste and smell was subtle but felt slightly unhealthy. 

This is probably my way of visualizing.

It smelled pretty much like fear.

Just to be clear: I don't plan to get rid of feelings or preferences. I don't think it is possible while staying alive as a mammal. However, I do think that disentangling some hooks in them is a good thing, as it frees up energy that can be better spent.

---

At yoga class today I felt that energetic breeze at the crown chakra again. It seems to appear at the end of the outbreath. The idea of breathing out throught the central channel and through the crown chakra thus seems to correspond with phenomenology. 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:


Just to be clear: I don't plan to get rid of feelings or preferences. I don't think it is possible while staying alive as a mammal. However, I do think that disentangling some hooks in them is a good thing, as it frees up energy that can be better spent.


A little extract from one of my favourite suttas on this point, with some notes.  This is Dhammadinnah schooling her ex-husband, who abandoned her to follow the dharma.  She thought, damn it, I will too then.  And then totally outpaced him  ...

Culavedalla: "Is passion-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all pleasant feeling? Is resistance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all painful feeling? Is ignorance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

So do you have to be become completley passionless and totally accepting? The answer is, as you already know ...

Dhammadinnah: "No... There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With that he abandons passion. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there. There is the case where a monk considers, 'O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?' And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there. There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. With that he abandons ignorance. No ignorance-obsession gets obsessed there."

In other words, you only have to get these insights once. To know for yourself once that jhanas are taints - to have that insight -  and to make the effort to completely deconstruct resistance obsession once, out of yearning for progress in the dharma (I did it at the dentist, I read of a monk doing it by offering his arm to all the mosquitos without resistence), and then to truly see the way the world is, to have knowledge and vision.

Before you can stabilise knowledge and vision you may have to complete the other two steps - clearly seeing the process by which resistance obsession is generated, and seeing through the jhanas to understand that they are a taint. The buddha gives explicit instructions for seeing through the jhanas and achieving third path in the Malunkya sutta.  ANY JHANA WILL DO.  Here is an example from the first Jhana (emphasia mine)

https://suttacentral.net/mn64/en/horner

"Whatever is there of material shape, feeling, perception, the habitual tendencies, consciousness—he beholds these things as impermanent, suffering, as a disease, an imposthume, a dart, a misfortune, an affliction, as other, as decay, empty, not-self. He turns his mind from these things; and when he has turned his mind from these things he focuses his mind on the deathless element, thinking: ‘This is the real, this the excellent, that is to say the tranquillising of all the activities, the casting out of all clinging, the destruction of craving, dispassion, stopping, nibbāna. If he is steadfast therein, he achieves destruction of the cankers; if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers, then through his attachment to Dhamma, his delight in Dhamma, through his utter destruction of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbāna there, not liable to return from that world"

Apply this teaching to the jhana factors - the piti and ratpure, or to space without boundary, and see what you find.

:-)

Malcolm
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Thankyou Malcolm! I will try, as soon as I feel like doing shamatha again. For some reason, I'm not particularly motivated for that kind of practice at the moment. Your advice usually works for me so I'll bear it in mind. Inclinations tend to change anyway, so opportunities will arise. 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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Weirdly enough, I found I didn't actually have to do shamatha for this. Rather, the insight just came on me as I was walking along, and was applied to my memory of jhana factors.  I suddently understood what Uncle Sid was on about.  I kind of knew it already intellectually, but hadn't really seen it directly for myself.  Luckily I knew enough by then to really wallow in the insight and follow it to related matters as far as I could - to "squeeze the honey out of it".  

So just be open to this insight if it arrives.  Why are piti and sukkha "suffering ... a disease, an imposthume, a dart, a misfortune, an affliction"
T, modified 1 Year ago.

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I did it at the dentist

As in... you were focusing on this as a means of being aware of these things in the moment - which led to a realization?
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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T:
I did it at the dentist

As in... you were focusing on this as a means of being aware of these things in the moment - which led to a realization?

Not exactly, I refused novocaine, and as the dentist drilled into the dentine, I deconstructed the sensations to see separately the initial twinkling sparks (the arising and passing away of the base sense quanta), the negative vedana, the resistance obsession, the physical tightness - the whole sensate reality of the pain. And I relaxed into that, gave up the resistance obsession, saw the emptiness of pain, and just dwelt in an expanded place in which the twinkling of nerve sensations in the tooth were just one part of the space.  This required a lot of concentration, and it was only love and yearning for the dharma that provided the motivation to do it.

The other example was an account I read from the Thai forest tradition, where out of love for all sentient beings a monk offerred up his arm for all the very many mosquitos to feast on. To me, this corresponds exactly with what Dhammadinnah was saying (and what I describe above) about giving up resistance obsession out of yearning for the dharma.  But the old words need a bit of modern interpretation to be made clear - which is why we have buddha - dharma - sangha.  The sangha can explain the dharma, despite drifts in expression and cultural and literary style over thousands of years.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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curious:

I refused novocaine, and as the dentist drilled into the dentine, I deconstructed the sensations to see separately the initial twinkling sparks (the arising and passing away of the base sense quanta), the negative vedana, the resistance obsession, the physical tightness - the whole sensate reality of the pain. And I relaxed into that, gave up the resistance obsession, saw the emptiness of pain, and just dwelt in an expanded place in which the twinkling of nerve sensations in the tooth were just one part of the space.  This required a lot of concentration, and it was only love and yearning for the dharma that provided the motivation to do it.


I tried that too early in my practice. It did not work. emoticon
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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Poor Polly! It doesn't have to be such challenging pain - anything that provokes resistance obsession will do, as long as you observe it closely enough to see what is happening, and then let it continue to happen but without the resistance obsession.  Maybe cleaning up cat vomit would do the trick if you found that particularly unpleasant, for example - spot the emotion and the contraction, and let them continue to happen without solidifying into an anguished reaction.  That will still require strong concentration - to observe and let some parts of the process happen, without leading to resistance obsession.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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I think I may slowly and gradually be on the right track with the intense headache that keeps coming back.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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curious:
Weirdly enough, I found I didn't actually have to do shamatha for this. Rather, the insight just came on me as I was walking along, and was applied to my memory of jhana factors.  I suddently understood what Uncle Sid was on about.  I kind of knew it already intellectually, but hadn't really seen it directly for myself.  Luckily I knew enough by then to really wallow in the insight and follow it to related matters as far as I could - to "squeeze the honey out of it".  

So just be open to this insight if it arrives.  Why are piti and sukkha "suffering ... a disease, an imposthume, a dart, a misfortune, an affliction"
Good. I think I might be doing that. Right now, piti and sukkha feel like an effort. Like... I don't know if you have ever been in a relationships where cuddling leading up to sex feels so predictable and effortful that one rather just avoids it (it's not like that for me now but I remember it too well many years later). Like one knows the drill too well and knows that it will be over soon (too soon for it to give any release) and then one needs to get washed and it just isn't worth getting excited about it. Shamatha feels like that right now. Except I also remember the time the jhanas just unfolded over and over again until I was so drained that I had to interrupt it by watching netflix, and I really don't feel like going there either, even though it did lead to release, over and over again until it was completely bizarre. It was just too frantic. I know that kind of relationship as well. I said no to that this weekend because I feel the need to be alone and silent and meditate in stillness. Thus I'd rather not do the kind of meditation that would basically be the same stuff. Sorry if I'm being too outspoken. That was the only way I could think of that would explain what I mean.

Right now I prefer the simplicity of just giving awareness the space to be lucid, without doing anything with it. It feels fresh, clean and simple and at the same time so very alive. And so ridiculously familiar. 

I did this guided meditation by Michael Taft, which was very much about that. https://youtu.be/Wi1XqTlCQXY

There were a couple of showers of piti, but they weren't appealing at all. It felt like freezing. 

I'll probably get motivated to do jhanas again, maybe sooner than it feels like. I really do think that awareness enjoys playing once in a while. Not that I think that awareness is some entity with a history and personality. It seems to be born anew in every given moment. The inclination  to explore is just inherent in awareness. I guess if that weren't the case, there would be no awareness. 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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And on the piti - sounds like your subconscious has figured it out, but you conscious hasn't spotted the underlying reason yet.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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curious:
And on the piti - sounds like your subconscious has figured it out, but you conscious hasn't spotted the underlying reason yet.

Apart from everything being the same non-thing, that is, the dance of creation, which is also samsara?
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
curious:
And on the piti - sounds like your subconscious has figured it out, but you conscious hasn't spotted the underlying reason yet.

Apart from everything being the same non-thing, that is, the dance of creation, which is also samsara?

Bzzt!  Thank you playing. Wrong.  It's actually something to do with the flip side of that.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Okay, good. Because if this was it, I'd be disappointed.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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curious:
And on the piti - sounds like your subconscious has figured it out, but you conscious hasn't spotted the underlying reason yet.


Maybe it feels like freezing because it is freezing, that is, freezing the moment and the flow of phenomena.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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curious:

To know for yourself once that jhanas are taints - to have that insight -  and to make the effort to completely deconstruct resistance obsession once, out of yearning for progress in the dharma (I did it at the dentist, I read of a monk doing it by offering his arm to all the mosquitos without resistence), and then to truly see the way the world is, to have knowledge and vision.

Before you can stabilise knowledge and vision you may have to complete the other two steps - clearly seeing the process by which resistance obsession is generated, and seeing through the jhanas to understand that they are a taint. The buddha gives explicit instructions for seeing through the jhanas and achieving third path in the Malunkya sutta. 


I have no idea whether what I described above counts as part of the process you were talking about. It seems too simple. And I wasn't deconstructing any jhana. I just completely forgot about it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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That energetic headache turns out to be a pretty helpful meditation object. It pops up now and then, and I tune into the sensate level of it. First  it becomes less solid, as the phenomenon of it is ungraspable. The story of sore spots have been stripped away. Instead there is the feeling that I have been calling nausea, which is more like filthy mud being stirred up. Then I strip away the stories about that, and the vedana. Then what is left is vibrations. Then a new story is often linked together about the pleasantness of vibrations, but that is just as much a construction.  There can be attachment to the pleasantness, and that can cause pain too. I try to let it come, let it be and let it go. There's a freedom in that. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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I don't believe the brain fog to be a bad thing anymore. It's just ignorance being stirred up so that it can be aware. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Whaaaaat... writing the above resulted in a huge shower of piti that dissolved the knots in my muscles leading to headache and now I'm f-ing freezing.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Morning: nine breathings of purification.

Day: an hour of just resting, being in awareness. Head shook itself, hands moved and unclenched, mouth opened itself, and so forth. Lots of unclenching going on.

Evening: about an hour of zhine as taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, focusing on the stillness of the body. This feels broader than I usually picture shamatha, but the Rinpoche says that it is a form of shamatha. If so, I have been doing much more shamatha than I have realized. This is exactly what I have been doing all along as one of my default practices. Now that I have been doing some Dzogchen for a while (a beginner's version anyway), this feels very dense in comparison. Broad and dense at the same time. Coming out of it, I almost couldn't see. Focusing my eyes was impossible. During the session, there was a phase when I could not think verbally. There were thoughts going on that I could notice but I could not translate them into language. They were more like textures. I think they had sounds, like talk, but it wasn't recognizable as words. 

Throughout the day I have come back to inclining towards just allowing awareness to be aware of itself and to trying to approach everything as a dream. The latter is hard, though. I really do think that the mind is creating our reality just like in dreams, but there sure is more consensus about the daytime dreams so it feels much more solid. Still I know that it can be surprisingly unsolid. Very dense pain can go away just like that. This reminds me of that experiment I used to do as a child: if someone holds up a pencil in both ends, one can easily split it with one finger if one looks beyond it, to the floor. If one looks at the pencil, on the other hand, the pencil becomes solid and the finger can't go through it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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This night lucidity has appeared now and then during the night sleep. It seems to be during phases of light sleep, because excitement about it tends to wake me up. In one of the instances I remember it happening after dreaming that I was meditating. Some screen is involved. The grainy one. The murk chrystallizes into pixels that then form a pattern of sacred geometry. So... hypnopomp lucidity? It has happened several times. Maybe the intention of maintaining lucidity interferes with my sleep.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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And now I noticed myself making active decisions about the plot in my dream, which made it lucid of sorts. Then I got lost in content again but got lucidity back when I noticed that. I decided to write about it here, but I was too tired to actually wake up so I dreamt that I did, but I noticed that I didn't so I woke myself up to do it. 

No skillful usage of the semi-lucidity. I was too caught up in content. I only remember fragments of the content. It had rivalry in it. Weird dream. I wasn't me and the content was very atypical. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Now I'm not sure whether I just a moment ago dreamt that I woke up and checked the time and noticed that the alarm was to ring five minutes later, or if I just dreamt that I actually woke up and checked. Regardless of which, I was right. 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Now I'm not sure whether I just a moment ago dreamt that I woke up and checked the time and noticed that the alarm was to ring five minutes later, or if I just dreamt that I actually woke up and checked. Regardless of which, I was right. 
Sorry, but which simulation is the real one? Asking for a friend! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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I don't think there is a real one, but I guess I'm still treating the consensual reality as more real out of habit.

---

Morning: a short session of nine breathings of purification, resting in stillness, warrior seed syllable A, and dedications of merit to all sentient beings. Soon I'll go to a yoga class, focusing on one of the elements. The schedule doesn't say which one.
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don't think there is a real one, but I guess I'm still treating the consensual reality as more real out of habit
Consensual reality? "We both have truths. Are yours the same as mine?" - Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ Superstar

Also, refer to mind training - see the world as a dream, or as the fourth screen of the fire kasina. It is the greatest siddhi of them all. :-)

(Edit: by 'it' I mean consensual reality ...)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Of course there is no full consensus on anything, but still most people take some extent of intersubjectivity for granted. Social interaction is dependent on it. Pyschosis or confabulation in dementia challenge it and makes people insecure about how to interact. Consensual reality or intersubjectivity can be seen as very powerful magick as it is so consensual that it becomes almost solid, like you said. I wrote that in Siavash's log yesterday. This is actually my research area, although I leave out the magickal framework, at least explicitly. We (the research group) do treat reality as we know it as constantly constructed in social interaction, though. I see no contradiction with the dharma there. 

On my way to the yoga class I was fascinated by how rich the wakeful dream construct is in detail and texture and how believable it is. It really is a miracle. It dawned on me that when I say that I'm a poor visualizer, that is simply not true, as my mind can make out all this from vibrant superstrings that do not have any material qualities as far as I know. I suppose the vibrant superstrings are also mind constructions, but you get the picture. There really isn't anything solid there, and yet - all of this. So if I can visualize all that by "seeing" it, it should be available in what we commonly refer to as fantasies and dreams as well. There is no tangible difference, really. That's just beliefs holding "me" back. I took in the details and the richness of it and was amazed by the mind. I usually do not pay that much of attention to visuals, but now when I did, they felt familiar. I probably have seen them but just shut the door to those manifestations for some reason. It sure helped that I have new glasses through which I can actually see more than rough contours. The fact that I'm trying out progressive lenses for the first time added to the experience, as it rendered things less solid and more dreamy - and yet much more solid than last Thursday when they were brand new, which illustrates very tangibly how much of what we see is a construct. 

I lay down to rest about 15 minutes before the yoga class, and I started to melt. The face flattened and melted down, with lots of sensations especially in and around the lips; I suppose that is what people often describe as having enlargened lips. I haven't thought of it like that before. I tend to think of it more like the lips and the area around them are dissolved into an energy field that sort of takes on a life of its own. The yoga class focused on the air element. It was challenging. Sometimes my visual field was pixelated bacause of the strain and because of temporary dizziness. Sometimes there were like bright starts burst out in the murk. Sometimes there was a colored dot/spot in front of me, red or blackish blue. Sometimes it was like a teal haze, sometimes a glowing warm reddish orb, sometimes both in combination. In shavasana at the end, there were purple swirls and some grainy flat patterns. 

It felt like the exercises of the class stirred up and eventually dissolved (?) some mud. That was probably well needed. I didn't feel any smell coming out this time. Maybe I was just more visually tuned this time. 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

On my way to the yoga class I was fascinated by how rich the wakeful dream construct is in detail and texture and how believable it is. It really is a miracle. It dawned on me that when I say that I'm a poor visualizer, that is simply not true, as my mind can make out all this from vibrant superstrings that do not have any material qualities as far as I know. I suppose the vibrant superstrings are also mind constructions, but you get the picture. There really isn't anything solid there, and yet - all of this. So if I can visualize all that by "seeing" it, it should be available in what we commonly refer to as fantasies and dreams as well. There is no tangible difference, really. 
Exactly!  This is not to deny that there is an underlying reality - something is generating the sense data packets, after all. But it's fascinating to see how our being is contracted around one particular method of intepretating this sense data. And this is not a skilful contraction, because it is inextricably tied up with dukkha/suffering/inherent unsatisfactoriness (or that nagging sense of original sin, if you are a Catholic).

We strive endlessly towards ownership of the 'other', when it is just a phantasm of our minds. Our lives are spent grapsing at smoke. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Once again my eyes were so relaxed during an hour of Dzogchen-type meditation (Michal Taft) that I don't remember how to focus them. Everything is just a blur despite my new glasses. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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I decided to give earth kasina another try and to be less bothered by ideas about what a learning image should look like and what should happen. I sat for 30 minutes, alternating between looking at the clay tray and closing my eyes to focus on the after image. Then I lay down for 30 minutes to just pay attention to what happened in the visual field, bearing in mind that my mind does know how to visualize since it visualizes stuff everyday in the wakeful dream reality. I could rather easily smooth out the clay tray in my looking at it so that diverging details of the surface were sort of photoshopped away. The after image was beautiful, a blue or indogo-colored disk with a bright golden halo. It looked just like an eclipse. To my surprise it actually did transform into something that reminded of the claytray - a terracotta/apricot disc. It wasn't as distinct as I know the red dot of the fire kasina to be, and it never reached that richly detailed version that I have seen in fire kasina during jhana either, and it didn't last nearly as long. However, as I refreshed my gaze at the kasina, a black disc showed up. At least that trajectory was familiar. After the black disc the imagery was less distinct. It was shimmery and vague but at least the murk was alive. In the latter part of the session, when I was lying down, there were the usual flourescent violet swirls but with an overlay of apricot swirling. When that calmed down, I found that I could visualize the claytray pretty well without being disturbed by the murk. I was very relaxed and got into somewhat dreamy territory, and sometimes there was this flash of solidifying that is hard to explain. Like I could have reached out and touched the claytray hovering over me, even though I didn't see it that clearly. Kinesthetically I believed in it being there. 

Something that I like about the earth kasina is how grounding it is. I have had many periods in my life when I have been spaced out and needed to ground myself in different ways. In such periods, I haven't even been able to hug a friend in a swimming pool without my whole body floating up all by itself, and if I have been standing up, my body has become like boiled spaghetti. I have often found myself unable to lift my arms as there was no connection to the body. This has been accompanied by a special form of anxiety that is ungrounded in its nature. Now I'm thinking of this as a tendency to have the earth element dissolved. Grounding really helps, and interestingly enough, even if one buys into the psychiatric framework of dissociation (as I used to do with self-diagnosis), the therapy recommendations are filled with grounding exercises. I find that making it into a ritual, as in some homebaked magick, actually works even better. I don't find that very surprising. Thinking of oneself as dissociative really doesn't help with the grounding. Thinking of oneself as someone who can tune into and work with the earth element, on the other hand, has exactly the right connotations. Stable, firm, grounded, steady, solid, stoic even. It does wonders for my posture and balance. Also, I don't think there is much of a risk that regular sessions of earth kasina will make me too earthy, unless I go for an intense retreat. 

I haven't found many resources on earth kasina. Maybe Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder describe it in their book? I should have a look. I assume that there may be descriptions in the old grimmoires as well, if one has the patience to read them. In the meantime, I'll just explore it empirically and hope that I don't dabble with it in any harmful way. 
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Lars, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I haven't found many resources on earth kasina. Maybe Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder describe it in their book? I should have a look. I assume that there may be descriptions in the old grimmoires as well, if one has the patience to read them. In the meantime, I'll just explore it empirically and hope that I don't dabble with it in any harmful way. 

Chapter 4 of the Visuddhimagga covers the earth kasina. As you mentioned, it's not exactly short but you might find it useful. You can find free PDF versions online. Don't remember where I found it unfortunately.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Practice today:

Day: one hour of noticing with all senses.
Evening: 75 minutes of yoga asanas + one hour of pranayama and meditation in a restorative yoga position.

I have booked an 8 day meditation retreat in May here in Sweden but with teachers from Gaia House in England and registered myself as a student at Ligmincha International.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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This morning before waking up I was convinced that I was doing energy work. It involved twisting the wrist of my left arm to remove energy blockages. When I woke up I remembered that I hadn't been able to do the same thing with my right wrist. Now, late afternoon, the same thing happened during meditation. There were lots of kriyas, including twisting my left wrist. It definitely felt like it took away a blockage. I tried to do the same thing intentionally with my right wrist, as it wouldn't happen on its own, but that didn't do the trick. Now my right wrist feels blocked. 

I have done the nine breathings of purification. I sure needed it. This has been a miserable day. I have been feeling completely worthless. It felt like nothing would ever help. I had been to a meeting with a children's psychologist who could no nothing to help my kid. It made me doubt  that meditation would ever do any good too. I wasn't motivated to even try. However, I recognized that as doubt, so I automatically started noting. Somehow, that cleared up the respiratory tract and made things literally click in my head. So I thought I might as well at least do that breathing exercise when I for once had all those feelings laid bare to work with. And so I did. It allowed for some peace to mix in with the remaining grief. Then I did 30 minutes of six different mini-slots. Then I lay down to relax and let the body unclench on its own and the energy body to do whatever it needed to do, which apparently involved lots of kriyas. They scared away one of my cats. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Being interrupted 30 times or so while trying to meditate on a night when everything feels like shit sure sheds light on aversions. It wasn't hard to find stuff to note. I even got angry because noting worked. It was like the universe was telling me that my kid's wellbeing wasn't important. So then I noted clinging to anger. And anger anger anger. It kept giving me signs that it is working and part of me is still pissed off because of that. 

At least awareness's recognition of itself is accessible. 

I feel thoughts energetically before they have words. Every single one of them changes the energy field.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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I'm darknighting hard (potentially PMDD-related). I woke up too early this morning in deep misery, and there was no relief in the dharma. Emptiness seemed empty in a bad way. I would have wanted to die if I had believed that there were relief in dying. A couple of hours later I managed to lay down to meditate. It was hazy and slow but with peripheral clarity. No kriyas. I was cold. It felt like lying on the bottom of a very muddy and sticky pond, sort of, for about one and a half hour. Then suddenly things changed. I can't wrap my head around exactly what happened as it doesn't seem to fit the map, or maybe I just didn't notice the gradual progression of dukkha nanas as it was all just an abyss. Anyway, suddenly there was clarity and phenomena seemed to synch up. I could see inummerable dots of light flashing by, and the body temperature rised so I had to take away blankets. Then it returned to normal-shitty non-pathological low. I don't know if there was a short bounce up into equanimity or down to A&P or if it was just the relief of coming out from the depth of misery and disgust that jump-started me a bit. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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45 minutes basically comprising of depressive mindwandering and nausea with a few odd showers of freezingly cold piti. Occasional observations of how the mind contracted around stuff and created points that thought they were centers. Instances of spaciousness here and there, accompanied of reality appearing in multisensorial chunks. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Things brightened up during the day. It may have been the fact that I did the nine breathings of purification on public transports, holding up a napkin and pretending to blow my nose, that did the trick, or maybe the Tsa Lung exercises, or the prospect of getting to do two and a half hours of yoga in the evening. Whatever it was, space opened up and the breath was exquisite. Now I plan to meditate until I fall asleep.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Morning practice was rather dull. 30 minutes divided into sid slots. One observation was that when ideas pop up for me, they tend to do so in a non-discursive way, using a combination of kinesthetic and touch sensations, visuals and smells. A lot of my discursive thoughts are translations from sensorial ideas into discourse. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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I'm trying to summarize my practice after SE in a document. I started it several months ago and then life got in the way. When I reread the summary so far today, I recognized my current practice from the section that I named "stuck in newbie territory" which occurred after the late review phase. It was ridiculously similar. Thus I hypothesized that a narrow focus would work well again, so I decided to try focusing on my breath under the nose. I did so for about 70 minutes, part of which I spent in a light first jhana. Okay then. So maybe I'm not darknighting, but dealing with the 3C nana. That was always a tough one for me. That would also explain all the kriyas and the pain I have been dealing with lately. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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On the other hand... I'm watching teachings about how our sensory experiences are vibrational, and there are a bunch of people who can't even relate to that, which is clear from their questions and comments. I don't get how it is possible not to notice it. I mean, that's just obvious. So I guess newbie stage is a relative thing. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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I dreamt that I was meditating on the vibrational flow in all sense gates and then I woke up in a light fourth jhana which however faded away. I'm using conventional language with regard to sleep and wakefulness here although I don't really believe in those boundaries anymore. Apparently there are still unconscious thought patterns that believe in the difference, as there is such a difference with regard to what is accessble. Fourth jhana has been out of reach lately, but obviously the unconscious knows how to get there when some processes are asleep. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 7

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I dreamt that I was meditating on the vibrational flow in all sense gates and then I woke up in a light fourth jhana which however faded away. I'm using conventional language with regard to sleep and wakefulness here although I don't really believe in those boundaries anymore. Apparently there are still unconscious thought patterns that believe in the difference, as there is such a difference with regard to what is accessble. Fourth jhana has been out of reach lately, but obviously the unconscious knows how to get there when some processes are asleep. 

It was the fourth vipassana jhana, not shamatha jhana.

---

I followed Michael Taft's newest guided meditation today. I don't find them as frustrating nowadays as I did before. They used to "work" for me so well at times and then at other times I didn't get them at all. Now I understand that I'm not supposed to get them, not the way I thought anyway. They aren't designed to result in trips. During our last sessions he explained to me his view of the difference between vipassana and non-dual practice, and he said that the latter didn't involve the drilling that vipassana does. I'm starting to understand what he was pointing at. And in this session it was clear that I still cling to the drilling. I never thought of it as drilling because that's not how I would have put it, but I can see that there is "zooming in" on sensations going on, and that the zooming in does things to the experiences. Which is totally valid. Nothing wrong with that. But I suspect that it would be a good thing to stay mindful of what it is that I'm currently doing and not confuse methods with each other. Interesting. Different pathways lead to different phenomenology.