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Shri's Log Shri 5/6/20 6:00 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 3/23/20 9:13 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 3/23/20 9:13 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 3/20/20 1:10 PM
March 20, 2020 Shri 3/21/20 4:48 PM
RE: Shri's Log shargrol 3/22/20 6:08 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 3/22/20 1:49 PM
March 22, 2020 Shri 3/22/20 1:51 PM
March 23, 2020 Shri 3/23/20 11:21 AM
March 23, 2020 PM Shri 3/23/20 9:14 PM
March 26, 2020 Shri 3/26/20 3:35 PM
March 28 Shri 3/28/20 3:44 PM
March 28, 2020 Shri 3/30/20 5:14 PM
April 1, 2020 Shri 4/1/20 4:07 PM
April 6 Shri 4/6/20 9:38 PM
April 20, 2020 Shri 4/20/20 12:50 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 4/29/20 4:28 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/6/20 6:05 PM
RE: Shri's Log agnostic 5/6/20 9:42 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/8/20 5:23 PM
Rupa Shri 5/12/20 10:28 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/13/20 6:22 PM
RE: Shri's Log agnostic 5/16/20 9:42 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/21/20 11:08 AM
RE: Shri's Log agnostic 5/21/20 7:57 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/21/20 11:11 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 5/30/20 2:09 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/10/20 2:27 PM
RE: Shri's Log Martin 7/16/20 12:41 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/17/20 4:45 PM
RE: Shri's Log Martin 7/17/20 9:09 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/12/20 11:13 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/16/20 12:25 PM
RE: Shri's Log shargrol 7/18/20 6:14 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/20/20 10:05 PM
RE: Shri's Log Sam Gentile 7/21/20 11:24 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/23/20 4:52 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/22/20 10:04 PM
RE: Shri's Log SushiK 7/23/20 2:29 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/23/20 4:59 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 7/28/20 11:16 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/2/20 12:55 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/6/20 5:48 PM
RE: Shri's Log Sam Gentile 8/8/20 11:40 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/9/20 11:11 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/9/20 11:05 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/10/20 8:37 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/11/20 11:07 AM
RE: Shri's Log Sam Gentile 8/11/20 12:50 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/11/20 8:32 PM
RE: Shri's Log SushiK 8/11/20 9:28 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/12/20 1:22 PM
RE: Shri's Log Sam Gentile 8/12/20 1:39 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/14/20 12:40 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/17/20 11:26 AM
RE: Shri's Log Sam Gentile 8/17/20 12:12 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/19/20 9:55 PM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 8/21/20 5:03 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/22/20 3:06 PM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 8/22/20 4:23 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/26/20 8:57 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/22/20 3:07 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/26/20 8:58 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/30/20 11:07 AM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 8/30/20 3:28 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 8/31/20 8:20 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/8/20 5:37 PM
RE: Shri's Log agnostic 9/9/20 4:48 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/10/20 8:42 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/11/20 8:40 PM
RE: Shri's Log Nav 9/13/20 5:53 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/15/20 11:32 AM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/13/20 2:19 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/15/20 8:52 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/16/20 1:31 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/18/20 12:47 PM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 9/18/20 1:09 PM
RE: Shri's Log Shri 9/18/20 7:04 PM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 9/19/20 1:41 PM
RE: Shri's Log Papa Che Dusko 9/20/20 3:01 AM
Shri's Log
Answer
5/6/20 6:00 PM
Intro
I am 28 years old normal guy who recently got interested in dhamma. I seriously started meditating since September 2019, but very dilligently since January 2020. I have attended one Goenka 10-day course where I spent most of the time stressing about why I am not able to get to the subtle sensations, purifications, etc.

Motivation
Goal is freedom from suffering. Daily motivation comes from the already gathered momentum (steady practice since 2-3 months). Also I have faith in the teaching.

Current Practice
Noting, 1 hour session, twice a day.

Motivation To Log
To have something to track how practice changes over time. I also tend to have weak memory of what happens in a sit, writing it down helps me compare current experience. I pubish this on Dho to seek feedback.



RE: Shri's Log
Answer
3/23/20 9:13 PM as a reply to Shri.
Recent logs in reverse order -

March 17, 2020
  • 50 minutes @ 11:00 AM
  • Started out with a lot of negative feelings or what I currently understand as ill-will.
  • But the session was to the point, very alert, felt that corrections were made whenever there were distractions, detecting loss of equanimity etc.
  • Lots of thoughts coming and going, of different weight/force. Proliferation happened only for a few.
  • At one point breath was very very subtle, for around 2 minutes.
  • Overall there is a general sense of the body and background awareness of sensations but attention/awareness tends to be more interested in thoughts or mental objects. 

March 16, 2020
  • 50 minutes @ 8:00 AM
  • 50 minutes @ 12:30 PM
  • 35 minutes @ 6:00 PM
  • Morning and afternoon sessions were focused, attention seldom leaving sensations.
  • Noting thoughts & sounds was quick and non-verbal, helping with distractions
  • Got stuck in a loop of finding the self for a while, which proliferated but not too far away from breath.
  • Evening session noticed that sometimes I do intentional breathing when I am trying to go for sensation clarity. Will watch out for this in next sessions.

March 15, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 6:00 PM
  • Started the times after the pre-practice routine which took 8 minutes.
  • The sit felt very different, and felt better quality of concentration and clarity.
  • It was easy to stay on the breath even without counting.
  • The breath often did not remain the only object of attention, but it was always close, and clear.
  • Noted a lot of thoughts at early stages, but still felt I was missing a lot more.
  • Balance between awareness and attention (introspective) still needs stability, but it feels that I have at least something to work with.
  • When the attention was stable on the breath, trying to find the joy, generating feeling, it felt a little weird and forced.
  • The sit was kind of enjoyable and interesting since it was new.

March 15, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 9:45 AM
  • First third of the sit had an energetic mind, but also vigilant noting and correction of distractions but not continuous attention on breath sensations.
  • Tried to fine tune attention and awareness, always tended to over attend or under attend breath in order to balance.
  • Last third felt continuous but forced focus on breath. Was able to note hindrance of restlessness and aversion to sitting.
  • Thought proliferation was very limited.
March 14, 2020
  • 51 minutes @ 8:50 AM
  • Very little dullness and almost no mind wandering.
  • Small intervals where breath sensations were very detailed.
  • Mind felt very nimble yet never left the breath sensations, although sensation clarity varied.
  • Ended session with doing nothing for 6 minutes. Felt little weird doing nothing and also I realized how little I know about the mind without relying on second hand information. Doing nothing was almost like noting without labeling, as my attention kept switching between sensations thoughts and feelings and little mind proliferation and then realizing it.
  • Although alert the mind did not seem calm.
March 13, 2020
  • 48 minutes @ 11:45 AM
  • Practiced TMI + noting distractions.
  • Memory of early practice is weak but felt it went well.
  • Attention to breath sensations and counting and very quick in noting distractions and restarting counting. It was sort of fun. No time to feel bad about anything because everything can be noted.
  • Most notes were ‘thought’ or ‘thought proliferation’ or ‘doubt in method’.
  • Started seeing outside light through closed eyelids, and tension building in the upper body, chest, shoulders, eyes. Noted anticipation/secretly wishing for something to happen.
  • After the above, I switched to only note and not be attentive to breath sensations for around 5 minutes.
  • Very soon mind went into complete scatter mode with some noting in between. From then on I switched back to breath + noting, but thought distractions were very strong.
  • After the last bell, just sat and observed everything without any set method. Did this for 3 minutes.
March 13, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 8:45 AM
  • Started with Metta for self. Set intention to let any feeling to come and go without me trying to change it.
  • Very interesting for 30 minutes, without any forgetting at all.
  • Very sharp perception for distractions and could recognize how thought always accompanies sensation and is giving constant commentary.
  • Penetrating sensation and looking at it in detail was done better than most of the sessions overall.
  • Was constantly looking for things I could log in this journal which might be a hindrance.
  • I find myself noting a lot recently.

March 12, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 5:00 PM
  • Although explicit attention to sensation was divided, the session felt very good for the first 25 minutes.
  • Required less effort than usual. I had an unacknowledged intention to try this.
  • Was able to catch the looking at what it was doing, example was able see the mind catch itself being distracted by some thought or some sensation at a earlier than normal.
  • Also was able to not indulge in negatively reacting to state of meditation.
  • Last part of meditation was full of distractions Attempted to notice the feeling of being restless and craving to hear the end bell.
March 12, 2020
  • 49 minutes @ 9:00 AM
  • Sensation not sharp.
  • First half of the session was able to remember before wandering started.
  • Last half had mind wandering and dullness.
  • Last 5 minutes were good, and had the feeling of being able to hold attention (even though sensations were muddy) without too much effort or will.
  • Noticed my approach is very ad hoc. Need more structure to it. Will take notes from TMI and stick to them for a few sessions.
March 11, 2020
  • 33 minutes @ 5:30 PM
  • Sensation very muddy, probably due to dullness.
  • Lots of distractions, counting was becoming mechanical. But still helped.
  • Able to remember to note hindrances.
  • Discomfort due to leg falling asleep.
  • Ended due to phone call.
March 11, 2020
  • 35 minutes @ 12:00 PM
  • Practiced in the office.
  • Sensations of breath were sharper than usual.
  • The attention was resting well on the sensations, although there were gross distractions making the breath go in the background.
  • Used counting to aid attention, this seemed useful and also it was tricky to not force counting or stop it from being mechanical.
  • Ended session to pee.
March 11, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 7.15 AM
  • Practiced attention on sensation of breath.
  • Goal is to minimize gross distractions (when breath goes into the background).
  • Duration and clarity of attention on the breath better than yesterday but still fragile.
  • Fairly quick to notice wandering and correct.
  • Remembered to make sure attention is on actual sensation when correcting.
  • Time went quickly, and there is a very weak memory of the practice itself.
  • Mild discomfort in lower back at the start 5 minutes, leg fell asleep at the last 5 minutes.

March 10, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 5.00 PM
  • Practiced attention on sensations of breath.
  • Spent most of the sit half asleep. Attention not clear and very fragile, very easily distracted into day-dreaming.
  • Time went quickly, and there is a very weak memory of the practice itself.
  • Guilt due to indulging in weed and stuff.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
3/23/20 9:13 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 19, 2020
  • 50 minutes @ 10:50 AM
  • Started out with very little resistance from the mind.
  • Concentration was continuous and clear for about 20 minutes, with the sensations of breath, and also noticing all the other stimuli.
  • Then suddenly I noticed I had some tension built up in the face area which I allowed to relax. This led to a super comfortable state, which also led to thought distraction for around 5-10 minutes. Remembered to just remain equanimous but could not really settle in.
  • Keep noticing the thread in mind that the observer is looking at everything (aka noticing the observer trap). Not actually looking at the observer, but since every other object in experience is being objectified as thought, sensation etc, the only thing left is the objectifier. This particular noticing feels like a thought + feeling (+ optional emotion).
  • Last few minutes were back to regular concentration on breath and noticing distractions etc.

March 18, 2020
  • Morning and evening sessions were tough.
  • Concentration was weak and I ended the evening session 2-3 minutes short.
  • This led to the rest of the day being a little under stress, not too bad, but I felt I had to be vigilant not to get give into feelings of anger, depression, confusion etc.
  • Sleepiness throughout the day took a lot of attention.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
3/20/20 1:10 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 20, 2020
  • 50 minutes @ 9.45 AM
  • Mind could not calm down for concentration to be steady on the breath.
  • Gave up after 30 minutes and switched to noting with short labels.
  • This helped a lot to limit thought proliferation and awareness started to become sharp and noticing a lot of subtle movements: sensations, sounds, patterns and depth in the visual field, and occasionally emotions of fear (during the visual patterns) and anticipation.
  • Perception of certain types of objects seems slow and weak as compared to speed of noting. Example it takes 4-5 seconds to actually break down a thought/signal of a sensation into actual sensations, but it is very easy to note that there is some sensation there.
  • This delay is significantly short for thoughts, emotions, sounds and sights.

March 20, 2020
Answer
3/21/20 4:48 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 20, 2020
  • 55 minutes @ 11:30 AM
  • There were short stretches of solid attention on breath, and the rest of the time went noticing distractions and also mind wandering due to interesting insightful thoughts which seemed important for practice.
  • Spent a lot of time contemplating this idea: mindfulness/observation/attention/awareness whatever cannot be done without a self. That is to say: if there is an observation there has to be an observer. And if something is being observed it cannot be self, it is just an object of observation. And mindfulness is a remembrance of this idea.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
3/22/20 6:08 AM as a reply to Shri.
Just wanted to say that this sounds like good practice Shri!  It seems like the combination of both breath awareness/relaxation and gentle use of noting is working for you.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
3/22/20 1:49 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for the encouragement shargrol. In fact, I have adjusted my practice & attitude based on the tips from your postsemoticon

March 22, 2020
Answer
3/22/20 1:51 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 22, 2020
  • 60 minutes @ 9:40 AM
  • First 45 minutes were full of thoughts and I could not stick to more than 5 breaths in a row. Mind felt energetic and restless.
  • Last 15 minutes switched to noting. Which was started out with very quick short notes, around 2 per second I think. The contact with the actual objects of noting was very shallow, but attention kept switching quickly.
  • In the last 5 minutes settled into a more calmer noting (1 per 2 seconds), which felt more natural.
  • Overall an unusually distracted session, but happy that I did not get frustrated and was very interested and willing to work with the experience.

March 23, 2020
Answer
3/23/20 11:21 AM as a reply to Shri.
March 23, 2020
  • 60 minutes 8:00 AM
  • Started out with heavy dullness.
  • Concentration was weak throughout the hour, but some short stretches with good clarity of sensations and general awareness.
  • Could notice aversion for distractions and mind proliferation, and made corrections.
  • Realized that my usual self-talk is very strict and harsh and leads to frustration.
  • Is low self-esteem and not liking self the reason for interest in meditation since it promises transformation of self and questions its importance.

March 23, 2020 PM
Answer
3/23/20 9:14 PM as a reply to Shri.
  • 60 minutes @ 5:00 PM
  • A lot of thought activity related to a busy day. Disconnected to actual sensations. This went for around 15 minutes.
  • Following breathing sensations calmed the mind activity, and as clarity increased kept relaxing the tensions held in the body, mostly face, forehead & eyes.
  • At one point concentration became very smooth and easy, and there was very clear awareness of lots of stuff going on. Body feels light. There are very lightweight thoughts which come  and go very very quickly, and a lot of it like a narration, or labelling of stuff going on. Tried to notice more and drop effort lost into this narration for some time. This went on for I guess 10-20 minutes maybe more..
  • Concentration dropped in the last 5 - 10 minutes switched to just sitting and not doing anything.

March 26, 2020
Answer
3/26/20 3:35 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 24, 2020
  • 35 minutes @ 9:00 AM
  • Lots of frustration and craving for practice to progress.
  • Kept chasing intellectual insights and going in directions which lead to mind wandering and loss of awareness.
  • This reminded me of the mini version of the state I was at the Goenka course, the difference is that nowadays I am able to notice this state as just a state of mind and not roll in it.
  • It seems that practice has regressed in terms of focus and mind wandering is happening again. Will go over tips in TMI to counter this before the coming sits.
  • 45 minutes @ 4:00 PM
  • Started out with an explicit resolve to not forget and keep gently being with the breath and whatever comes up. This was to make sure I keep the session going into mind wandering.
  • This seemed to work.
  • Went into a state of good concentration again where the body feels light and full / inflated, especially arms and upper body, the state is pleasant. It is easy to keep at the breath, and be aware.
  • I am not 100% sure about the level of dullness, will check next time. TMI talks about pleasurable dullness at this stage.
  • When this happens the body is absolutely still, and movement of breath, heart beat , abdomen etc is detectable. Breath is never out of awareness.
  • I am not what effect moving the body will have on this state, will try next time.
  • This continues for 10-15 minutes and the unusual sensation in the body fades away, but the concentration and awareness remains.

March 26, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 8.30 AM
  • Fairly good attention and wide awareness. In the last 5-10 minutes went into exploration.
  • There were many distractions but not a lot of mind wandering. The breath sensations were always close.
  • Could notice visual parts of awareness and attention, and how they are always so difficult to detach from, in the sense, it is easy to distance from / observe sensations, sounds, even thoughts but how I have always missed the visual field. It is still extremely difficult to stabilize attention to be able to discern this part of experience. For example when attending sensation of breath there is always this visual field which is accompanied / modified, but not really noticed unless it is very flashy.
  • This also seems to be related to the sense of space, shape of the body, my location within the body, the direction of attention.

March 28
Answer
3/28/20 3:44 PM as a reply to Shri.
March 27, 2020
  • 45 minutes @ 10:30 AM
  • New standards set for concentration in terms of clarity of sensation and exclusive attention, although not 100% continuous.
  • Very low level of effort went into this session.
  • Was really able to be with the sensations and ignore everything else.
  • Did not give into intellectualization and interesting thoughts.

March 28, 2020
  • The depth of feeling the breath sensation has improved (same as the last two sessions). Feels more exclusive and having a more clear discernment between sensation and everything else.
  • Sat for 30 minutes resolving to maintain this level of attention on the breath.
  • Last 10 minutes completely switched to noting with a short label. This felt great overall, relaxed, clear and non-sticky attention

March 28, 2020
Answer
3/30/20 5:14 PM as a reply to Shri.
Last 2-3 sessions (45 minutes each) I have spent 5 minutes on relaxing and breath concentration, and the rest of the session noting stuff that comes up. I start by noting the easy stuff, like sounds and gross body sensations and keep noticing more and more subtle things. I attempt to directly experience the things, and not intellectualize / interpreted experience.
I see the session going in phases, within some of which I am able to notice very subtle phenomena like very short lived thoughts, interesting body sensations, constant sounds (I might have developed Tinnitus emoticon ). But also phases where there was mind wandering, but those are short. I will continue to dedicate fixed time to noting for a few sessions.
In general, off-cusion life feels much calmer internally. I am able to recover from indulging in disruptive emotions and thoughts much quicker. It also feels that I am more self-honest and able to chill and not take myself too seriously; still working on this though.


April 1, 2020
Answer
4/1/20 4:07 PM as a reply to Shri.
Following structured noting as described here. It feels relaxed, silent and sensitive. Noting verbally seems a lot of action and I drop verbal noting at 40 minutes in. The subtlety of perception varies. Mental chatter is very sparse and low volume. The general mood is almost always very close to neutral almost pleasant. It was easy to be physically still, but intentional movement (got up to pee) did not disturb the zone. 60 minutes go by quickly. Catch urge to do something when it becomes quiet.

Tinnitus continues. It is not annoying yet, actually a little interesting.

Read:
https://unfetteredmind.org/six-ways-not-to-approach-meditation/
  Found it useful for noting various states of mind during a session.
 
https://www.hillsidehermitage.org/appearance-and-existence/

April 6
Answer
4/6/20 9:38 PM as a reply to Shri.
Not a lot changes from sit to sit, so I have decided to not log every session. I have increased the duration to 60 minutes, but do not make it till the end bell every time. The sessions are relaxed but feel lacking structure. The practice feels natural but also more susceptible to mind wandering than practicing concentration on breathing sensation. 90% of the times loss of mindfulness is due to intellectualization, i.e. thoughts that put sensations / mind states into some sort of framework and then proliferate on it, thoughts trying to understand practice. There is aversion to these thoughts, or craving for a perfect session.

April 20, 2020
Answer
4/20/20 12:50 PM as a reply to Shri.
I have been incorporanting Ken Mcleod’s suggestions emphasis on relaxing in the experience while being attentive. It is working for me in terms of being equanimous and not maintaining ill-will towards phenomena that arise.

In terms of structure, I am dividing each session into 1. breathing relaxing 2. noting sensations, 3. noting feelings and urges, 4. noting thoughts, 5. freeform noting. I seem to do well on relaxing and noting sensations, but feelings-urges and thoughts are very slippery. Urges are detectable but I tend to get lost is thought frequently. For feelings, I am able to discern broad moods and the occasional fear, anxiety, pleasantness.

For thoughts, I seem to never note “I am thinking x”, it is always “I just was thinking x”. The closest I can imagine I can come is knowing thinking is happening, noting is too disruptive. If someone reading this has some thoughts about this please let me know.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
4/29/20 4:28 PM as a reply to Shri.
April 26, 2020
Able to maintain steady practice twice a day, but giving up before the end bell a a few times. Sometimes the session just seems pointless even though it starts out ok. No clear signs of improvement or deterioration in noting ability. Most sessions have periods of calm mind with a sense of space and it is very easy to note a lot of subtle things, and some periods of overwhelming thoughts. Some sessions never settle into a smooth period and I end up giving up, but I will set an intention to not preempt the session no matter how lame the session seems. Noticing the urge to give up and trying to recognize the domain of it often leads to calming the thoughts.
The urges to do something i.e. move, open eyes, or interesting thoughts are quite interesting at the moment and is a major blind spot, i.e. I do not seem to note a lot of these urges.
Earlier thoughts about the practice itself and trying to figure out intellectually have decreased. There is humbleness and acceptance that my usual tool (thinking) for solving challenges is only a phenomena. I still find myself subscribing to certain models but become aware that all understanding is subject to change.

Reading:


April 28, 2020
I started out the last few sessions with an intention to not drop the verbal noting, because I was settling into non-verbal noting and it seems that I was getting into this state where attention would not seem alert and a bit too relaxed and eventually losing it. Keeping up the verbal noting worked well for the energy level and did not feel boring. The rate of noting varied, but if left alone I tended to note at every out breath.
The sessions have become almost easy. Morale fluctuates, but it is not too bad. The overall mood towards practice is on the darkside, but it is not too unpleasant.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/6/20 6:05 PM as a reply to Shri.
  • Sessions feel far less mechanical than before and I am able to appreciate how the noting method automatically keeps me grounded and prevents mind wandering.
  • Each session I am trying to keep the stream of notes continuous and recognizing how the stuff comes and goes on its own. This is my attempt at noticing the 3C nature of things. I do not see the dukkha in most of it yet.
  • During the rest of the day, I frequently remember to be grounded and aware of moods, feelings and motivations. Frequently there is a mistrust of these moods, feelings and motivations which sometimes becomes disorienting and demotivating.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/6/20 9:42 PM as a reply to Shri.
Hi Shri,

Good detailed log thanks, it seems to me that you are noting all the right kinds of stuff.

Sleepiness can be noted. Sometimes it is actually just disatisfaction (anger) with the meditation and noting will cause it to vanish. Sometimes it is due to lack of sleep, in which case you can stop fighting it and try to accept it/relax into it. It's actually a very valuable exercise to watch the mind falling asleep and see how the ego starts to dissolve and oberseve what the subconscious throws up as the ego loses its grip. Sometimes you will get a power nap or hypnagogic bounce and go back to meditating with more awareness.

Feeling disorientated and demotivated can feel like practice is not going well, but it's the opposite - your practice is going well because you are noticing these now. Same with fluctuations in mood. Keep it up!

Along with MCTB, if you haven't already read it you might benefit from Chapter 5 of Mahasi Sayadaw's Manual of Insight which can be found here. Chapter 5 is called "Practical Instructions" and is very similar to the booklet which is published separately called Progress of Insight I think. I found it a very inspiring personal account of what noting feels like and where it leads ...

Cheers
agnostic

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/8/20 5:23 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Hi agnostic, thank you for the tips!

I ususally note very large "states" like sleepy, foggy mind, clear mind etc. but never noticed an associated emotion. I very recently read about meditating before sleep to observe the mind just as you say, I will try it out.

I am currently reading MCTB  and will checkout Manual of Insight Ch 5 as well. I was avoiding getting too deep into these books because I noticed some time back that a lot of thoughts were about matching my experience to the accounts in these books emoticon. But I think it is time to continue reading them.

Rupa
Answer
5/12/20 10:28 PM as a reply to Shri.
Spent some time noting intentions. This is a blind spot, goes unnoticed all the time. There is always a subtle agenda, and something feels like a momentum about many situations in a session. For instance, the intention to notice 3Cs of phenomena, or intention to relax.

I read something which was quite mind blowing yet so simple and obvious: What I consider as body is an inaccurate assumption. I have only know how the body looks, feels, etc. But these senses are limited to their domains. My mind automatically creates an object which connects all the information from these 6Ss. It is an assumption that there is a body, this assumption may be true or not does not matter. The mind is very clever at covering this up. This idea is fascinating and at the same time gives a feeling of vulnerability (fear). That there is this thing, body, and I am subjected to the million bad things that can happen to it. Yikes! Anicca..

And not only that, these mind concepts make up my entire world and life, such an elaborate illusion. My entire world in a way inside me. It also feels lonely, as people in my life are also part of this illusion. This is maya?...

This cleared up my understanding of nama-rupa. Rupa is transalted as form, and by form I understood the material, as in matter. But then according to the above, there is absolutely no access to matter, we can only access stuff at the 6Ss. So it seems my understanding that rupa is matter is totally wrong. And now that I check the definition of form - the way something appears, this seems to make sense, as form is only the way of appearance, and not the thing that appears.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/13/20 6:22 PM as a reply to Shri.
An unusual state comes in meditation 30-40 minutes in which is tough to describe but I will give it a shot:
  1. Is mildly pleasant.
  2. Body has a lot of super fine buzzing, it feels full of “energy”.
  3. No dullness, very alert, distractions seem impossible.
  4. No effort goes into being centred. The usual “doing” has almost stopped or volume has been turned down. Only short bits of thoughts now and then come.
  5. Labeling seems silly and mechanical.
  6. Aches and pains do not have the usual pull.
  7. This lasts for 5-10 minutes maybe.

This is followed by a sense of "dropping into the body", this happens rather quickly, within 2 minutes. Start feeling the unpleasantness of pains and aches again. Feel the weight of the body. Feels unpleasant, but not too bad. There is a tendency to indulge distractions.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/16/20 9:42 PM as a reply to Shri.
Hi Shri,

Nice insights on mind-body, senses and anicca. Definitely can feel a bit disorienting at first, but it settles and you find yourself able to live in both worlds - both real and not-real ("I know this is not real but I can play along with it").

Buzziness is pretty common, if you can find the more relaxed pleasure beneath it that can be a pretty nice place to hang out and take a rest from the strains of insight (& life!)

All the best
agnostic

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/21/20 11:08 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Hi agnostic,

"find the more relaxed pleasure beneath", is this related to Jhana? I had given a similar instruction a half-assed attempt some time back. I will try it out again.

Thank you!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/21/20 11:11 AM as a reply to Shri.
  • Sessions continue to feel fresh and natural.
  • From time to time I suddenly am aware of my point of view from which I notice and acknowledge stuff. Sometimes it is the feeler of the sensations in the chest, throat, sometimes it is the thinker of a thought. Sometimes it is the listener of the thought. Noticing it clears this. But with every note, the head pops up again but from different places.
  • I am also very unclear about the memory or context of any given moment. There seems to also be a little working memory (not long term) which at every moment is available and provides me the context of what is going on. Is this just another category of thought, but just that it is not as unpredictable as other thoughts?

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/21/20 7:57 PM as a reply to Shri.
Shri:
Hi agnostic,

"find the more relaxed pleasure beneath", is this related to Jhana? I had given a similar instruction a half-assed attempt some time back. I will try it out again.

Thank you!

Yes, these are the jhana factors of piti (rapture) & sukha (pleasure/happiness), but they arise long before jhana, when the mind starts to get concentrated.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
5/30/20 2:09 PM as a reply to Shri.
May 30
Morning
  • For the first 20 minutes practiced with eyes open and gaze on the floor. It felt a little confusing but interesting to see how vision goes into the background while attention switches between sounds, sensations etc.
  • Mind wandering still was the theme of the sit.
  • There were patches where attention was nimble and alert to the movement of the mind.
  • Was able to notice large blocks of states: worrying, work thoughts, practice thoughts etc.
  • I am not able to describe what has changed recently but sits do not feel correct. It seems I have forgotten how to practice and I am just fumbling and catching myself lost in some mechanical noting or mind wandering.

May 29
Morning
  • Lots of mind wandering. Missing to note emotions of worry, depression.
  • Recent trend of thoughts around doubt in the self of being capable of practicing rightly and not just fooling myself.
Evening
  • Lots of wandering probably had attentive noting for 20 minutes out of the hour.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/10/20 2:27 PM as a reply to Shri.
Logging after a long time, but I have practiced consistently. I have been trying to keep things simple and be close to the noting method for the morning 1 hr. Sticking with noting in the domains of sensations, feelings, moods (mind states) and thoughts. And dedicating set time for each domain.This has vastly helped with the mind wandering and intellectualizing. In terms of phenomena I am able to observe the 3Cs at the surface level:
  • Phenomena come and go on their own. In a sense I am subjected to them and conditions can change anytime. Everything is unreliable.
  • There is assumed ownership of certain thoughts, moods, feelings. This sense of ownership vanishes when seen calmly.
  • I do not really see dukkha in everything. Only when there is an investment due to the above ownership.

The mental image of the solid body becomes secondary during formal sits. Primarily there are these sensations, some solid, some vibrations, and there is this perceived position in space and the sum total of everything is the body.

In the evening sits for 1 hr I am practicing the full body breathing / energy body practice using Rob Burbea Jhana practice instructions. I am getting some piti 5-6 instances of <5 seconds in the form of electric buzz in back near knees, back of neck. It feels like goosebumps and I get that sometimes when hearing some good music or having an exciting thought. It is relatively easy for me to stay with the whole body while breathing than staying at the tip of the nose or the stomach. I get this piti although much shorter and infrequent during noting as well. I always feel it building up one second before it starts and always gets going at the end of the in breath.

I have reduced the amount of Dharma talks obsessions a little. I feel a little humble and settled down, almost a little depressed by some standards. I also contemplate the spiritual bypassing aspect of my practice and have been considering formal therapy to go along this. Humbling also means that I am not being irritating to my family and friends about taking up meditation and using the dharma approach to every problem and conversation. Self-talk has been vastly gentle since I started all this, and calming down the negative loops that start spinning now and then.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/12/20 11:13 AM as a reply to Shri.
July 11
Morning (noting):
1 hour
Mind felt sharp and accurate in dissecting the experience into the domains.

Evening (breath):
Unusually difficult to settle the mind. Might be due to late and heavy lunch and lack of sleep. Tea is having little effect nowadays.Many thoughts were about the mobile game I played in the morning. Doubt also came in now and then about different definitions of Jhana. Repeatedly broadened the awareness, tried counting breath, but it was one of those sessions which just drags. Did not get frustrated. A few times attempted to really explore the state of the mind which is just out of distraction; it feels pretty close to the mindful state. It was a pleasant surprise to find just 4 minutes left when I checked the timer.

July 12
Morning (noting)
  • Shallow mindfulness for ~25 minutes on surface level gross objects.
  • Did not note every second as intended. I often forget to note every second and end up noting as things come up. It does not feel a problem as such.
  • Tried to look for dukkha. This felt interesting and got the energy levels at a good spot.
  • Noticed how I fumble to get rid of them or feel tightness in my chest and throat, which is not always unpleasant.
  • Noticed how I consider objects (touch, smell, thought) to be out there, and feelings (pleasant unpleasant etc) to be within me or behind me.
  • Last 15 minutes noting 'thoughts' was very charged, energetic. Mind was very quick to process stuff. Noticed the automatic perceptions that arise with 6S input.
  • Tried to see that these perceptions / ideas / concepts are not solid, just images created out of its tendencies and habits. Basically 3Cs.
  • Longer and stronger waves (piti?) while doing the above. Once this was almost unpleasant in the head, so maybe not really piti. But other than that mostly pleasant and interesting.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/16/20 12:25 PM as a reply to Shri.
July 13, 2020
Morning (noting)
  • Stayed with a lot of unpleasant sensations, anxiety about work, doubts about practice etc. in the first half.
  • Played with intentions of good will for self and unpleasant phenomena.
  • Noting of mind states started to bring a lot of equanimity, which brought things to a calm and clear state with noting of thoughts.
  • Multiple waves of strongish buzzing, originating at different places in quick succession, dissolved tension in the body.
  • There is some craving when this happens to make it last longer and an inclination to play with it.
  • Noting perceptions (thoughts) brought energy to the practice and seems to trigger some piti. The section that I read yesterday in Seeing That Frees which talks about the idea of being with phenomena just the way they are which implicitly assumes that there is a perception of things which is accurate and true. Acknowledging that what I am noting is just a perception and fabricated seems interesting right now.
Evening (breath)
  • Very distracted trance like sit.
  • Ended session 6 minutes early.
  • Started out a
July 14, 2020
Morning (noting)
  • More than usual effort was required to keep away from mind wandering.
  • A heavy feeling of weight in the body, large solid sensation, but not a lot of dullness.
  • Sensation seemed far away in comparison to this heavy sensation.

July 15, 2020
  • Looked at the delay between a sensation and it’s acknowledgement. Noticing the delay felt interesting and fresh.
  • Noticed states of mind: intentions to notice fast, open and receptive mind, wanting a sensation, wanting to stop the craving, concentrated mind, spread out mind, looking for the next thing to note, etc.
  • Noticed all notes have a perception, a certain way of looking at it.
  • Get into a state where it feels like attention is solid, very much connected with the body (can feel the whole body). Can detect tiny movements like small thoughts, intentions etc.
  • Get into a state where the body is allowed to rest, and breathe through it, surveying it to see where I am holding the tension (in head, mouth area, neck mostly). After a while like a field of sensations. It feels amazing how I can “move” it and control it and how I take this ability for granted.
  • Include simple breathing and sensitive to the whole body and relaxing in between when it starts feeling a little mechanical and tight.
  • A sense of good will naturally developed a couple of times in practice. Subtle but it felt different.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/16/20 12:41 PM as a reply to Shri.
Hi Shri,

You mentioned using "Rob Burbea Jhana practice instructions." Can I ask where you found those instructions?

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/17/20 4:45 PM as a reply to Martin.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/17/20 9:09 PM as a reply to Shri.
Thanks so much, Shri!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/18/20 6:14 AM as a reply to Shri.
Good practice Shri!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/20/20 10:05 PM as a reply to Shri.
July 16, 2020
Off cushion
  • Mood of disgust since a few days.
  • This mood is an old friend visiting after a long time. I used to call this depression.
  • Disgust about the job situation, in relationships, about the usual narrative pattern in the head, about listening to my goto youtube/podcasts.
  • Motivation to practice is good though. There is inclination to remain in seclusion and being silent, doing simple things.
  • Noticing the narrative in which ego is inflated and feeling disgust. Looking at past behavior and noticing the same thing. Past conversations with family and friends.
  • Noticing conflict between "doing the right thing" vs "being authentic".
  • Noticing how quickly I snap to some or the other view.
July 20, 2020
Off cushion (past 2-3 days)
  • More than usual mood swings.
  • Feeling dread of daily life responsibilities.
  • Noticing less 'religious' approach to practice.
  • Seeing tendency to follow rules (some self-made), like practicing every day, not doing something, making some resolution, and torturing myself about it.
  • I have become very sensitive to unpleasant mind states and emotions; and dive right into it to see the mischief. Even when I fail to stop the reaction I am mindful of what is happening.
Morning (noting)
Don't remember much since it has been 12 hours.
  • Intended to label for each note if possible. Was suspecting if I was getting lazy about it.
  • Labeling fails for thoughts, and little images, inner voice that come to mind, resorted to non-verbal for those.

Evening (breath)
  • Very few distractions and mind easily staying with the breath and also with the overall experience.
  • Same buzzing a few times, starts out shy and then intensifies, and then dissipates throughout the body, leaving the mild subtle buzz throughout.
  • Try to switch from breath to this buzzing sensation but it does not last that long.
  • In the last 15 minutes, stretches (3-4 mins) of mind happily riding the breath, feeling of satisfaction, enjoying the rhythm. This gets interrupted by the acknowledging mind, but it is not too hard to get back into the rhythm.
  • Doubt popped up here and there, but did not stay around long. There seemed to be momentum which pushed away the doubt. "Finding the joy in the practice", although I used to consider fabrication, certainly works.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/21/20 11:24 AM as a reply to Shri.
Have just started reading your log and you're doing a great job! I especially like how you integrate and log your off the cushion activities, moods, feelings, etc too. Keep going!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/22/20 10:04 PM as a reply to Shri.
July 21, 2020
Off cushion
  • Work related stress is lower than average overall. And recovery from stressful times is much quicker. I know that stressful thoughts are because of unhealthy investment in the situation.
  • Noticing tendency to copying traits, habits of my people I idolize.

Morning (noting)
  • Tried to keep a steady stream of labels again.
  • Stuff happening at a much higher rate than I could label.
  • Mindfulness felt a little shallow, it seemed there was a lot happening but my attention was not quick and accurate enough to see it.
  • A loud sound instantly creates a sensation of fear in the chest, like a drop of ink falling into a bucket of water, diffusing and then vanishing.
  • Mind created a few stories and intentions that I noticed I had already bought into. The shift from being mindful to taking ownership of a story was so short that it was quite amazing.
  • ~90% sensations are neutral. And after a while it feels like even 99% are neutral. Even aches and pains start to feel neutral.
  • A solid sense of self felt unpleasant. This comes into notice once I start noting feelings. There is always this feeler of the feelings, always a different one even.

Evening (breath, noting)
  • Stayed with breath. Kept it simple.
  • Allowed anything to come and go of awareness, also allowed a little room for attention to become wide and narrow based on what felt 'better'.
  • Greed for piti, and doubt one in a while.
  • Light buzz throughout the body.
  • Last few minutes, I was detecting distractions very early on. And correcting, almost watching myself do it.
  • Noticed subtle anger at one point. Not the usual explosive one. It is the kind of energy one has when one is typing very fast. Maybe it's not really anger but has that same 'productive energy'
  • Tried to see if I could let the thoughts come but still be with the breath. Just loosen the grip on the attention a little. Not sure if attention works this way.
  • Practiced 12' noting after the final bell since I had energy.
  • Very quick sharp mind.
  • Investigated if phenomena are really empty. This felt interesting but could not keep it up for a good amount of time.
  • Investigating mood put in a weird perception: the eye, the one looking flipped and fell inside the body, somewhere in the torso, and then was looking in the upward direction seeing/feeling the sensation of tightness in mouth etc in my head.
July 22, 2020
Off cushion
  • Feeling calm and cool when I am alone.
  • Shift into a mindful state very easily at will, aware of the field of body sensation, the mood, the current story that I am playing a part of.
  • I can see the momentum of restlessness, how in it's pressure I do harsh things, cannot stop myself, have to retreat to calm down.

Morning (noting)
  • Solid start, attention was steady wherever it moved or I moved it in the 6S.
  • Resolution was high as well, sharp. Pulsing, throbbing itches. Fast vibrating sensations were clearly noticed.
  • Investigated what really makes the sensation of thirst unpleasant. Seems to be a basic property of the sensation.
  • When looking very closely at a sensation there does not seem to be a pleasant/unpleasant side of it.
  • At one point there were too many phenomena in the 6S and attention was not switching from one to the other semi-automatically like it usually does. Felt overwhelmed and noting seemed impossible and effortful. There was awareness and phenomena could be observed as  distinct but all seemed to be at the same resolution.
  • Almost negligible mind wandering.
  • From time to time awareness of the state of the mind.
  • Negligible mind wandering.
  • Awareness of thoughts from time to time.

Eventing (breath + noting)
  • Was able to stay with the breath for 10-15 minutes with minor distractions.
  • Then got intense anger. Anger flared when sounds of speaking came from outside.
  • Tried to calm down by long breathing etc.
  • Tried to let the anger be and started to investigate.
  • Investigation turned into noting quickly.
  • Anger vanished pretty quickly once I got into the noting rhythm,
  • Noticed the actual sensation and its note/ack there is some delay.
  • Felt like there is another attention which I access once in a while that is receiving the sensations in real-time. And when I note and investigate I am working with a copy, which is a thought.
  • Tried to 'sync' with this 'real' attention.
  • After doing this, sensations came at a high frequency.
  • The direction in which the inner eye looks kept changing. As if the camera is suspended in space and there are small particles which collide with it one at a time changing its orientation at a fast rate.
  • Flickering, like seeing a movie reel but frames are not adding up to create a smooth picture.
  • Mostly neutral sensations.
  • The speed dropped here and there when the mind paid attention to some thought.
  • Resolution was pretty low and maybe a little lagging too. As if the sensation were not perceived.
  • A couple of times the  mind zoomed out a little and it felt like I am "fabricating" the experience to be fast.
  • When things slowed down, noticed eyelids were flickering at a steady frequency 5-10 Hz.
  • The usual buzzing waves in back and arms.
  • The usual tinnitus was quite loud whenever I was noting it. It usually becomes loud during sits and at times multiple frequencies.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/23/20 2:29 AM as a reply to Shri.
Hi Shri.

I'm amazed by the precision of your log.
How many minutes for your morning and your evening sit usually?
Do you make mental notes during the sit for what would be worth of including in your log or do you do it right after from memory?

Have a nice day

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/23/20 4:52 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Thank you for the encouragement Sam emoticon

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/23/20 4:59 PM as a reply to SushiK.
Hi Sushi, each of my sit is 1 hour. During the sit I don't think about logging intentionaly, but sometimes thoughts about logging come to mind, if I am mindful I just mentally note it. If I write the log right after the sit, I can ususally put in more detail than if I write it later.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
7/28/20 11:16 AM as a reply to Shri.
July 27
Morning (noting)
  • Trying to really feel the solid sensations makes them fuzzy or sometimes diluted, or change their center.
  • Noticed that I try to fit the experience with my current mental model. Like, I was trying to notice how phenomena appear and disappear out of nothing.
  • Lot of body pain and unpleasant sounds in the last 20 minutes.
  • Felt like these sensations are "beating" me up and I am sitting through it, almost getting a weird subtle contentment out of it.
  • More than usual thoughts pulling attention.
  • Felt very "close" to the phenomena.
July 28
Morning (noting)
  • Revised practice instructions.
  • Started with simple breathing for some time to settle down.
  • Steady pace of notes throughout.
  • Not a lot of time between phenomena and also felt sensations are very close to me.
  • Mind building up stories and notes breaking them down, resetting mindfulness.
  • Noting a sensation and noting the thought around/about the sensation.
  • Investigating a piercing itch changes the perception of its "size".

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/2/20 12:55 PM as a reply to Shri.
July 29
Off cushion
  • Reading mctb2 7 factors of awakening section. Found it very useful.
Morning (noting)
  • Mind was interested in practice.
  • Noting at a steady pace.
  • Trying to investigate thoughts and the state of the mind and any other accompanying  sensations.
  • (had an early morning meeting in which I presented. I have stage fear and noted the following)
  • Tried to investigate the feeling of nervousness, anxiety.
  • Felt like the sensations in the chest obstructing the flow of the breath.
  • Felt like the body is independent and doing it's thing.
  • Tried to really experience the reactions in the body, but they faded.
  • It was quite interesting to see the mind-body system react to a situation on its own and I am just looking at it and having little say in it.
  • (sat another 30 min after the meeting)
  • Observed body and mind calming down from the excited state earlier.
  • Tried to work on improving the resolution of noting, and noticing the mental echo each sensation makes (tips from mctb2 section).
  • I have a tendency to hunt for "insights", which leads me to verbalize certain thoughts, pursue them, and try to lock them down. This breaks the flow of notes and I end up psychologizing for a few minutes. Including this idea which came to me during the sit emoticon. This habit seems to affect my behavior off cushion.
July 31
Morning (noting)
  • Structured for 15-20 minutes.
  • Notes lagging after sensations.
  • Lots going on in the mind in all domains.
  • Mind settled down. Opened up into space.
  • Lag in the notes very small.
  • Felt I occupy a large space.
  • Things really settled down and felt very present with the body.
  • Equanimity, but also uninteresting, but a little pleasant. A feeling of what do I do now?
  • Felt quite stable, thoughts and urges were dropped very quickly if they came.
  • Became aware of the "background", a sort of point of view, a little vague. Perceived a drift in the point of view.
  • Resumed noting again.
  • Body started to feel extremely heavy, mildly unpleasant but interesting.
  • Switched to noting thoughts and sensations that change (breath, itches, etc). Had heard this in a talk about noticing different elements.
  • Rumbling and pulsing within the body, 4-5 Hz.
  • Bright visual field.
August 2
Off cushion
  • Work related stress.
  • Mild shitty feeling.
  • Giving into impulse to game and binge TV.
Morning (noting)
  • Set intention to be in sync with sensations, reduce the lag.
  • Started with breath for 5 minutes.
  • Followed structure.
  • Mind got into sync. Jumping from sensation to sensation, felt natural, quick, non-sticky, no time to think.
  • Attention jumped from sensations on its own.
  • Let the mind do its thing but lightly hold on to being mindful. I usually (have to?) put more effort.
  • Intentionally directing attention also worked.
  • Focusing on the visual field was quite nice, weird patterns, flashes, not very colorful and unrecognizable.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/6/20 5:48 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 6
Off cushion

Morning
  • I used the frequency in my ear instead of the usual breath as the anchor for attention.
  • Off cushion energy and mood has been poor but mood during sit has been even.
  • Noting whatever is not the frequency felt quite interesting.
  • There was some piti after a long time for a short duration.
  • Using the auditory attention anchor also made noting the verbal narration very effective. Many times this narration goes undetected especially at the start of the sit.
  • There is not obvious identification with this sound and there is no sense of a possibility to control it. Tried to see that all other phenomena are just like that.
  • This session, noting thoughts was quite good. I am playing with letting thoughts do its thing recently.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/8/20 11:40 AM as a reply to Shri.
I'm still reading and you're doing a good job. May I sugest a couple of dmall things? I suggesut having a time for each sit (how long you meditated and what style). I would suggest focusing on your bodily sensations in your noting and list those too. HTH. May you practice diligently.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/9/20 11:05 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 9
On Friday after a late morning sit took the day off and sat multiple times through the day, also did a couple of walking meditations for 15 minutes in between sits. Yesterday and today I sat many times as I had a lot of energy and motivation emoticon. Worked on the following inspired by the MCTB: The Seven Factors of Awakening:

Mindfulness

Usually during the start of the sit, my mental label clearly lags from the 'actual sensation' and is actually attending the mental impression of the sensation. This also happens mid session accompanied by dullness. Intentionally being in sync tuning in to the sensation available in attention in real time gets rid of this dullness. The mind is a bit jumpy and there is no investigation of sensation when this happens, but it increases the energy levels.
Notes: itch, sound, ringing, swallowing, saliva, tension behind eyes, release tension, pulsing, chirping, sight, saying.Frequency: 1-3 labels per second 

Investigation

After doing the above a while mind gets into a stable state, there is balance, mind is quick to switch and focus on different objects, but not jumpy. At this point I am able to see how almost all seemingly solid sensations are vague, pulsating, waves, flickering etc. See how the perception & feeling (pleasant, unpleasant) that comes with sensations.

Interesting idea in MCTB is that seeing thoughts also can be deconstructed into 6S sensations. So noted stuff within thoughts, although this was not done in real-time since the thought breaks when I start noting it, so this is more of an investigation quality than mindfulness. But deconstructing them also seemed to touch the investment of the self in the thoughts.

Noticing 3Cs still feels a little unnatural. It is like "using insight as a method" from Seeing that Frees book.
  • Noticing sensations as impermanent is obvious in a way, like sensations are changing, flickering etc. Also noticing the apparatus that makes the experience of a sensation is impermanent, so that feels a little more significant.
  • Anatta makes little sense for almost all sensations. But sensations of tension in face, behind eyes, clenching of mouth, sensations in the chest and tummy accompanied with emotions, seeing anatta is effective. Anatta in thoughts and urges is cutting edge at this point.
  • Dukkha is the most vague amongst the three, it does not apply most of the time. Seeing dukhha in pain is obvious but does not do anything for me. Seeing urges in the mind as propelled by dukkha seems to disarm the urge. Like seeing the urge to open eyes and look at the clock, or the thought to get up early since the mind is not at cutting edge etc. Doing this brings compassion for the self looking at these little urges trying to make things better in their own way and not knowing anything better.
Equanimity
Recently sits have not suffered from too many hindrances. There is greed for fireworks and aversion from time to time but not a nuisance. Seeing dukkha helps sometimes. But in general things are pretty equanimous, maybe I am not reaching the tough parts of the mind? I am playing with loosening the control and letting things happen.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/9/20 11:11 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Thanks for the tip and the kind words Sam, will do emoticon 

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/10/20 8:37 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 10
Morning, noting, 60'
  • Lot of anxiety and related thought proliferation. Mind never got settled in the practice.
  • Lot of doubt on my ability to practice.
  • Noted only breath, body sensation & sounds to keep grounded, but probably did not sustain more than a 10-15 seconds, before papanca.
  • Thoughts about work, fellow practitioner's logs, comparison, lack of progress in practice, sense of being phoney in practice, thoughts about logging.
  • Body sensations, itches, pulse in torso and hands, weird vibrating which if paid attention to superficially felt like a higher frequency (5-10Hz), but when focused on seemed a lower frequency (3-4 Hz).
  • Sensed the self in the anxiety and the depression, it felt like a large block of stone, and sensations in the chest, and restricted breath flow.
  • Recognized the suffering I am creating to get rid of it. Let the aversion be there as I was just making things worse by trying to dispel it.
  • The end bell brought some joy emoticon

Evening, noting, 60’
  • Some frustration and anxiety off cushion so came to the sit in such a state. Cranky mood.
  • Resolved to keep it simple and follow basic instructions
  • Started with following breath and freestyle noting at each out breath or so, mainly body sensations and sounds.
  • Mind restlessness and anxiety slowly came down.
  • Notes: itch, sounds of people outside, tinnitus in left side, thoughts about practice, thoughts about work, restlessness, bubble-like sensations in lips, hands and elbows, pain in back, tension in facial muscles, heart beat pulse in hands and torso, buzzing
  • Lot of involuntary micro movements.
  • Investigated irritation mind state when people were talking outside.
  • Mindfulness became a somewhat autopilot and required far less effort than before, almost cutting edge just the mind was still a little edgy.
  • Dropped verbal labelling and let the attention experience phenomena on its own.
  • Sit became a enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Twice got the nice electric goosebumps, I sensation were prominent in knees, back, upper neck front. The second time it happened a lot more body parts got the sensations.
  • Relaxed and dropped the effort and enjoyed the feeling of calm state of body and mind, this must have lasted 3-4 minutes.
  • Resumed labeling again and it felt level of mindfulness dropped a little. But attention became solid again quickly.
  • The papanca party in the mind was not too bad most of the time but still far from the cutting edge.


RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/11/20 11:07 AM as a reply to Shri.
August 11
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Settled the mind with gentle noting and breath following.
  • Kept it simple throughout and just noted the most obvious thing at bit fast rate 2 per second.
  • Mostly body sensations, sounds and thoughts.
  • Mind wandering was very low.
  • Some practice related thoughts and work related thoughts here and there.
  • Catching intellectualization early. At this point felt like attention is half-assing noting and thinking.
  • Noting fast felt a little fun.
  • Noted watching myself note in an unmindful way.
  • At the very end attention was breaking down solid phenomena on its own, ususally I linger on a sensation a bit for this to happen.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/11/20 12:50 PM as a reply to Shri.
Shri:
August 11
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Settled the mind with gentle noting and breath following.
  • Kept it simple throughout and just noted the most obvious thing at bit fast rate 2 per second.
  • Mostly body sensations, sounds and thoughts.
  • Mind wandering was very low.
  • Some practice related thoughts and work related thoughts here and there.
  • Catching intellectualization early. At this point felt like attention is half-assing noting and thinking.
  • Noting fast felt a little fun.
  • Noted watching myself note in an unmindful way.
  • At the very end attention was breaking down solid phenomena on its own, ususally I linger on a sensation a bit for this to happen.
Very good! You may want to list those bodily sensations, sounds and thoughts if you remember them

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/11/20 8:32 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 11
Evening, noting, 60’
  • Started out with deep longer than usual breath.
  • Noted: children sounds outside, tinnitus, pulse here and there, itches, stuff in the visual field, work thoughts, micro thoughts, unpleasant building of saliva, sensation of swallowing saliva, tension in facial muscles, pleasant sensation of releasing that tension, intention to focus, sound of mental labelling, etc.
  • Attention prefered sounds when left alone.
  • Dropping into body sensations felt nice and soft.
  • Mindfulness did not get stable, frequent short mind wandering, but did not go too far.
  • Reverted to follow the breath with gentle noting.
  • Tried to see the start of body sensation clearly, it was always weird as a sensation would come from the background but the starting point not clear. Was very slippery to sustain.
  • Start and end of sounds is relatively easy.
  • Pulsing in right half of body, lower back, elbow, there was a auditory aspect to the pusling.
  • Breath became discontinuous and lost the usual flow.
  • Eyelids flickering, eyeballs flickering tiny bit.
  • Tried to see what sensations are there in real-time. Stuff happens way too quickly and labeling or even clearly perceiving and distinguishing one sensation from the other felt absurd.
  • Dropped noting and just tried to keep the balance.
  • For some time felt energy building up, felt like posture straightening and stretching with each in and out breath.
  • Shortly some piti washed from the back through the body. 5-10 seconds, maybe longer not sure. Not exactly pleasant, mind kind of freaks out and tries to “do something” about it. I always see piti coming, and it feels like I trigger it with a deep in breath and it starts at the end of it.
  • Buzzing in the body after the wave, the pulsing, tinnitus became more prominent, overall pleasant.
  • Got up to pee. Rest of the sit mind wandered and a lot of logging thoughts, just followed the breath again and calmed down.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/11/20 9:28 PM as a reply to Shri.
Interesting the way you keep your practice flexible: dropping the noting, getting back to it, exploring some sensations, ect.

I should try that sometimes emoticon

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/12/20 1:22 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 12
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Started with following breath, but mind did not settle down, heavy thoughts.
  • Started noting and clarifying the experience of thoughts, noted physical sensations aspect, clenching of lips, or some tension somewhere in the head, these sensations linger after the thought has ended, mental voice.
  • Volume of thoughts came down and started doing free-style noting, but mainly hung out with body sensations.
  • Noting sounds clearly is easier than clearly noting body sensations, it feels sounds need less energy / focus.
  • Notes: pain in head, pressure behind eyes, sounds, itches, heart beat, pulse, buzzing in hands lips elbows, swallowing, anticipation, practice thoughts, logging thoughts, some mind wandering, intellectualization, calm mental state....
  • Short gentle piti waves came 2 times, the lingering buzzing after felt nice.
  • Felt like “energy” built up in the top part of body, chest and above, pressure in head, pulling up, both unpleasant and pleasant. The headache I was having faded diluted and became buried in this sensation.
  • Sensed the selfing a bunch of times, in thoughts, intentions, craving, aversion

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/12/20 1:39 PM as a reply to Shri.
Shri:
August 12
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Started with following breath, but mind did not settle down, heavy thoughts.
  • Started noting and clarifying the experience of thoughts, noted physical sensations aspect, clenching of lips, or some tension somewhere in the head, these sensations linger after the thought has ended, mental voice.
  • Volume of thoughts came down and started doing free-style noting, but mainly hung out with body sensations.
  • Noting sounds clearly is easier than clearly noting body sensations, it feels sounds need less energy / focus.
  • Notes: pain in head, pressure behind eyes, sounds, itches, heart beat, pulse, buzzing in hands lips elbows, swallowing, anticipation, practice thoughts, logging thoughts, some mind wandering, intellectualization, calm mental state....
  • Short gentle piti waves came 2 times, the lingering buzzing after felt nice.
  • Felt like “energy” built up in the top part of body, chest and above, pressure in head, pulling up, both unpleasant and pleasant. The headache I was having faded diluted and became buried in this sensation.
  • Sensed the selfing a bunch of times, in thoughts, intentions, craving, aversion
Perfect! Keep going!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/14/20 12:40 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 14
Morning, noting, 60’
  • 20’ only breathing and feeling for tension physical/mental and relaxing. Felt nice.
  • Mindfulness got quite good and easy and 80% of the sit did not put labels.
  • The whole sit felt like I sat back and kept an eye on the level of mindfulness and just let things happen. Level of mindfulness did not seem to drop.
  • Early on attention was with some body sensations of the breath, breath felt soft and quite pleasant for some time, at one point was very little movement of air only the slight rhythm of the breath.
  • Papanca was very low if at all (since the last couple of sits actually).
  • Last 20-25’ a lot of attention was with thoughts and intentions. A lot of thoughts and intentions came and went though, most seen very very quickly and some took a second or two to zoom out from.
  • The content of intention and thoughts did not stick but just the feeling of them coming (from behind or below I think, will check next time).
  • Mainly thoughts about practice, logging and intentions about practice.
  • Some replays of memories (I label memories as thoughts) arose from the dhamma talks and posts.
  • But a definite leaning towards thoughts and intentions, I also find the most selfing in that domain.
  • Could have spent another 30’.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/17/20 11:26 AM as a reply to Shri.
August 17
Could not practice the usual two hours this weekend due to poor health, but was able to sit 1 hour. Lot of doubt in myself and thinking if I have made any progress or just fooling myself. Generally in a gloomy mood about other things in life as well.

Morning, noting, 60’
  • Started with simple noting breath sensations.
  • Mind was distracted and I started general noting.
  • Mindfulness improved but dropped back again.
  • Moods were frustrated, irritated, calm, neutral, cranky, foggy, tired.
  • There was a lot of noise: land mover and the table fan which tested my equanimity.
  • A few times just sat there helplessly, not enough energy to put a label on the stuff happening.
  • Lots of practice thoughts.
  • Strong urge to get up early.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/17/20 12:12 PM as a reply to Shri.
Shri:
August 17
Could not practice the usual two hours this weekend due to poor health, but was able to sit 1 hour. Lot of doubt in myself and thinking if I have made any progress or just fooling myself. Generally in a gloomy mood about other things in life as well.

Morning, noting, 60’
  • Started with simple noting breath sensations.
  • Mind was distracted and I started general noting.
  • Mindfulness improved but dropped back again.
  • Moods were frustrated, irritated, calm, neutral, cranky, foggy, tired.
  • There was a lot of noise: land mover and the table fan which tested my equanimity.
  • A few times just sat there helplessly, not enough energy to put a label on the stuff happening.
  • Lots of practice thoughts.
  • Strong urge to get up early.
Could not practice the usual two hours this weekend due to poor health, but was able to sit 1 hour. Lot of doubt in myself and thinking if I have made any progress or just fooling myself. Generally in a gloomy mood about other things in life as well.
Your health is important. Its not your fault if you are sick to sit. There is absoluetly no need to have doubt in yourself and whether you have made progress. You have. I have seen it. Doubt is contagious and hinderance. Work it out of your mind.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/19/20 9:55 PM as a reply to Shri.
Thanks Sam emoticon

August 19
Nice pleasant sessions since last time I logged. I am noticing it takes ~3 minutes to get a shift and mindfulness stabilizes (although not cutting edge). Level of mindfulness has not been the best but there is joy and practice is feeling intimate and fresh emoticon.

Evening, noting, 60’
  • Started with settling with breath and noting at an easy pace.
  • Energy levels were good. Got a little fidgety in between but calmed down soon enough.
  • Many many thoughts noted.
  • Noted self-involvement in thoughts and ideas and intentions.
  • Mostly thoughts about how to tweak practice a little, or intention to try to do something, or some theory or model about what is happening.
  • Lot of thoughts were just like mumbling, too weak to know what they were.
  • There was an inclination to stay with sensations. How sounds feel like, how body sensations feels like, at what moment is the mind forming the perception and then knows what something is, what makes this sensation painful or itchy etc.
  • Tried to be attentive to the process of phenomena arising and how it becomes a mental note. Felt similar to the description of mind-body insight.
  • First wave of piti came. After it died down I felt exhausted for some time.
  • Continued noting and started to feel nice again.
  • Lots of piti waves nice overall.
  • Sudden urge to cry, tried to cry, cried a little, felt joy, felt a tiny bit forced but I may be wrong it was confusing. This is unusual for me, I usually have very emotionally flat sessions.
  • Just relaxed and tuned into the subtle buzzing till the end bell.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/21/20 5:03 AM as a reply to Shri.
I think you are doing really well emoticon joy to read. 

You might already know this but just in case; Mindfulness is also subject to Anicca. Everything is, even Piti, Jhana, attention, doubt, itch etc ... 

You noting-noticing that mindfulness was weak is the job well done. Now, if mindfulness is weak and there are some unpleasant feelings around it (aversion) not being noted-noticed that will lead to frustration. So what am I to do? I keep noting the train of causality. This leads to that etc... "I" seem to suffer only when embedded in some parts of the experience. Instead of falling prey to frustrations I look at that frustration. Where is it in the feelings, where in the body sensations, where in the mind state? I'm profoundly engaged with curiosity. The way of Satipatthana. I clearly see that most if not all objects that usually proliferate into suffering, pass away very fast when clearly perceived/known by noting-noticing. This is a big "a-ha" moment! When awake in This moment clinging-proliferation does not take place. When this is, that is not emoticon 

Keep up the good work! emoticon 

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/22/20 3:06 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
I think you are doing really well emoticon joy to read. 

You might already know this but just in case; Mindfulness is also subject to Anicca. Everything is, even Piti, Jhana, attention, doubt, itch etc ... 

You noting-noticing that mindfulness was weak is the job well done. Now, if mindfulness is weak and there are some unpleasant feelings around it (aversion) not being noted-noticed that will lead to frustration. So what am I to do? I keep noting the train of causality. This leads to that etc... "I" seem to suffer only when embedded in some parts of the experience. Instead of falling prey to frustrations I look at that frustration. Where is it in the feelings, where in the body sensations, where in the mind state? I'm profoundly engaged with curiosity. The way of Satipatthana. I clearly see that most if not all objects that usually proliferate into suffering, pass away very fast when clearly perceived/known by noting-noticing. This is a big "a-ha" moment! When awake in This moment clinging-proliferation does not take place. When this is, that is not emoticon 

Keep up the good work! emoticon 

Thanks Papa!

Noticing feelings emotions and dukhha seems to be a weak area for me but is also the most interesting part lately. Your comment on the "train of causality", "falling prey to frustration" and suffering only when embedded and no suffering when seen, became little familiar very recently coincidently, although the insight is vague at the moment. But this direction in the inclination of practice right now.

Also I was equating proliferation to mind wandering, but it seems proliferation means the domino effect of unpleasant sensation -> aversion -> aversion -> aversion .... ?

But very interesting indeed emoticon

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/22/20 3:07 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 20
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Practiced 1 hour after some stressful time in the morning.
  • Spent very less time with breath and started labeling.
  • Initially a lot of thoughts analyzing and planning about the morning event.
  • Noted embarrassment/disgust/sadness emotion behind the thoughts. Noticed aversion to the unpleasant emotion.
  • Did not label or note many body sensations this time as there was a lot of interest in noting emotional domain.
  • Mild piti wave once, triggered by thoughts of self-compassion.
  • Thoughts about practice, wanting to adjust, noted doubt/fear, noted restlessness.
  • Thoughts about logging, noted desire with it.
  • Lot of desire and aversion noted.
August 22
Morning, noting, 64’
  • It was quite hot and sat after having some tea, resulting in a lot of body heat.
  • Things felt more energetic than the usual relaxed mode.
  • Lot of internal ‘noise’ throughout the sit, like mental/visual noise, as if the stuff which is usually far away and doesn't disturb the attention was close.
  • Lot of heat and energy in the body, not unpleasant but drawing attention.
  • Lot of thoughts, very little mind wandering.
  • Last few practice sessions I have been interested in seeing feeling (pleasantness), and greed / aversion, desire and dukkha.
  • Noticing thoughts, noticed aversion to thoughts.
  • Noticing aversion, noticed aversion to aversion.
  • Noticed desire with the thoughts. 
  • Noticed desire to itch, noticed how there is both the greed for the pleasure of scratching, and the aversion to the unpleasant sensation of itch, the same thing in a way.
  • Aversion to unpleasant sounds, certain body sensations, aversion to tightness in mouth.
  • In logging/practice thoughts there is desire.
  • Lot of unpleasant phenomena without aversion.
  • Focusing on unpleasantness / aversion brings up more things that are unpleasant?
  • Noticed I have preconceived notions about what should not happen during meditation, so there is aversion when those things happen.
  • 2-3 times returned to just physical sensations as it felt I was spending too much time just with the feelings etc.
  • Did not keep a frequent awareness of mind states and emotions, but noted they were calm, cramped, spacey, excited, curious.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/22/20 4:23 PM as a reply to Shri.
Proliferation can go any way really (pleasant or unpleasant or neutral or any state really). I fall pray to it daily, we all do emoticon most of the time off cushion I kinda see it but fall pray to it especially in emotionally charged settings where we feel "attacked" etc ...

On cushion there will always be traces of proliferation in form of aversion or frustration or desire about a state or stage or breath or some sound etc ... I guess its safe to assume that all experience is mind proliferation emoticon there is only one thing that separates it into two categories;
1. Im utterly embebed in this proliferating mind and oblivious to the fact
2. Im awake/aware/paying attention/mindful/noting in this proliferating mind

I know (trust me) that certain mind states, feeling tones and sensations can be overwhelming and its just crazy hard to sit with it as it just seems rock solid and it has that sense that it moves through time, just doesnt want to let go.
From our previous experiences we do know that when we are mindful of something and note it, that very object passes away. It might reappear but it we know this too shall pass. If that is indeed so, then why some states like frustration or agony or else seem to "linger" in our sits? emoticon 
Its only because we are not seeing some main component of it! emoticon What is it thats missing to be seen? Im curious ... Im looking ... scaning the body ... tension in the chest/belly/arms ... something in the eyes ... as if tears are getting ready to show up ... unpleasant ... ... etc ... Im curious and Im investigating ... what else is there thats not been seen ... (Im not forgetting to relax the body and calm while doing this, I dont run infront of the chariot but on it or behind it depending on the clarity) ...

Its also good to remind one self that this is not a race. The truth is in THIS anyway so why aim anywhere but HERE. Im curious and I investigate ... what is here ... there is curiosity, there is frustration ... some stuff just seem to go through time and does not want to let go ... emoticon something seems to be claiming ownership over these unpleasant or pleasant states. Where is it located ... Im curious ... what ic clinging to it by feeling aversion and frustartion ... ust like in Jhana, there is this clinging to the pleasant state ... something there is also claiming ownership ... if I cant find the "owner" can I at least "snap out" of this mind proliferating into Jhana and look what else is around Here emoticon oh yeah, there is a bird singing and soe car passing sounds, coldness on the skin etc ... can I also "snap out" of that frustration in the same fashion? Not that I dont want to see it and observe it but do I want to proliferate in it? What else is Here in This but frustration and agony? Oh there is this preassure in the chest and sound of car passing by and birds chirping. Wait! When I snapped out of the frustration state, I have been noting other states and sensations and while in those I forgot to cling to frustration. Yes, mind can slide back into it but now I know that suffering has something to do with clinging/being embeded in a mind state which proliferates throuhg a sense of time. 

So I note Im in Jhana and I obsreve it and Im feeling pleasant and there are some cool visuals around but then I ask my self "what else is Here"´besides this Jhana stuff?" so I disembed and in a curious fashion look for something ... oh, hearing a car pass by, ...
Snapping out of Jhana mind state is same as snapping out of a frustration mind state. Same as snapping out of a good movie and look around your room. What else is there?

In certain stages fast noting pays off as it really teaches us this. Mind loves to glue itself into concepts and while we note fast (1 sensation a second is enough) mind has not much chance to cling for too long as it gets hammered by the constant noting-noticing matter of fact loop.
Relaxed body and adjust the speed according to the mind terrain at hand (more clarity speed up, less clarity slow down etc ...)

I just relalised that I proliferated into too much writing and hope Im not to confuse you more than Im trying to help emoticon 

No matter what I wrote here, you are already doing great! I salute you!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/26/20 8:57 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Haha emoticon not confusing, I really appreciate your help!

Noting practice is quite elegant. The meditator cannot complain at all, as it proves that they are not noting the frustration behind the complaint emoticon. It feels as if the mind is being pushed in the corner.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/26/20 8:58 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 26

Off cushion
Lots of resistance to working and noting aversion and self-critical thoughts. Frequent mindfulness happens through the day, as if there is a sensor that detects any sort of struggle and I start noting. Overall mood has been depressed and low energy, but energy levels and mood is good while meditating. Motivation to do anything else is low.

Morning, noting, 60’
  • Used labelling almost throughout the sit, there was a lot of mental chatter.
  • Quality and continuity mindfulness varied and noted the variation and aversion to certain states.
  • Noted anxiety, noted sensation in chest area. Noted aversion. Aversion and unpleasantness dissolved staying with the sensation. Sensation just lingered for a long time.
  • Similar in the throat area.
  • Noticed thoughts about practice, noticed struggling, very light unpleasant sensations.
  • Noticed brightness and a lot of stuff happening in the mental visual field, random noise and patterns.
  • Lots of variation in the sense of space the awareness occupied. It wrapped around a thought + body sensation feeling tightness and unpleasantness, when seen it loosens.
  • Overall clarity of sensations was much below average.
  • More than average thoughts and also some mind wandering.
  • Noted a lot of feeling tones and greed/aversion about the practice.

Evening, noting, 60’
  • Probably the initial 30’ of the sit spent in a turbulent state with a lot of thoughts, very quick and ‘close’ to the attention. Mind getting in and out of thoughts. Tried best to keep the streams of labels mostly body sensations and sounds.
  • Lot of random thoughts, aversion to the state of the mind.
  • Lot of fear due to sounds around me (there was a lot of wind outside).
  • Quality of mindfulness varied but the volume and stickiness of phenomena was more than the usual.
  • Last 10’ minutes went into the super still state, very low volume weak mental talk or non-verbal thoughts, soft breath, body posture holding shape on it’s own, very low effort. Kept noting the movement and then the piti waves showed up, tried to stay stable and stand ground. After the waves died down the calm state was still there but had a different quality. Continued noting and the calm deepened.
  • The usual brightness in the visual field.
  • The ringing in the ear changes pitch with some synchronicity with other body sensations.
  • Sensations were diffused, not a lot of clarity, body felt like a field of sensations with a few hot spots.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/30/20 11:07 AM as a reply to Shri.
August 29
Evening (1/2), noting, 60’
  • Sat back and let stuff happen. Practice felt a great retreat from the depressed mood.
  • Mini aversion to story making mind and intellectualization mind. Just following the instruction feels nice.
  • Clarity of physical sensation was low, but aversion/greed desire and emotion were noticed well.
  • Mindfulness came easy most of the sit except in the end for a few minutes.
  • For a few minutes attention locked into the visual field which had some confusing, gibberish stuff, continued noting physical sensations but attention snapped back to visual field again and again. Usually I am totally ignoring the visual field. 
  • Noticed non-verbal thought-images-sensation about the current situation a few times, it feels like detecting that attention is embedded in the situation and then stepping back, or popping out. Mostly around how I am practicing currently. 
  • Last few minutes were very dreamy but not dull, mindfulness quality and continuity dropped.

Evening (2/2), noting, 60’
  • Sat a second sit of the evening after a gap of 30-40 minutes.
  • Tried to note only 6S (so no feeling and emotions) and keep the stream of notes even, 1-2 every breath cycle.
  • Things for very contracted, usually I feel a lot of space in mind which varies from time to time, this session I found attention was focusing ‘hard’ on phenomena and awareness was narrow.
  • Lots of pain, solidity and heaviness in the body.
  • Last few minutes resumed noting feelings, emotions and mood, and things got a little relaxed.
August 30
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Lots of mind wandering and zoning in and out for 40’. Probably due to lack of good sleep last night.
  • Tried a lot of tricks to get the practice ‘right’, but in the end just sticking to simple labeling got things centred.
  • Labeled the mood and the emotions, frustration about mind wandering.
  • Noticed desire to find a special state in the experience.
  • Last 15’ mindfulness strong, good energy and relaxed.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/30/20 3:28 PM as a reply to Shri.
"
  • Tried a lot of tricks to get the practice ‘right’, but in the end just sticking to simple labeling got things centred."

Beautiful emoticon this is pure contemplative poetry emoticon 

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
8/31/20 8:20 PM as a reply to Shri.
August 31
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Had some anxiety in the morning and started the sit in that state.
  • Went straight to labelling 6S.
  • Very evident sensation in the left upper chest and throat area about the anxiety.
  • Although the anxiety mind state was unpleasant and there was aversion to it, the body sensation was not really unpleasant. There was a small amount of desire for it as it felt pleasurable in a way.
  • The actual thoughts related to anxiety died down pretty quickly.
  • The sensation in the chest faded out.
  • Continued labelling for a while and things got clear, quiet and spacious soon.
  • At this point start sensing a lot of pulsing in the limbs, rumbling within the torso, heart beat, and some unknown vibrations. Dropped labelling around this point.
  • A constant sound started outside of a pump or something very unpleasant.
  • Noticed the vibration in the body, aversion and discomfort. Aversion died down. Started noticing the buzzing in the body which seemed related to the noise outside. Waves of buzzing came and went at some point.
  • The body sensation of anxiety came back but on the right side this time. The thoughts of anxiety were absent. Again, they felt borderline pleasurable. Went away quickly this time.
  • In the middle felt there was some dullness, which went away by straightening the posture slightly and in the neck and a couple of longer breaths.
  • Overall the sit was very cool, calm, stable and pleasant. Did not get pulled into content too much.

Evening, noting + breath, 60’
  • Simple labeling led to a very calm state.
  • Could not find any aversion or greed, and soon piti built up.
  • Just felt like taking rest with the breath and I dropped the noting as it felt a little slightly unpleasant to break the nice whole body breath awareness.
  • Piti came in waves of buzzing and stayed for a good amount of time, once cycle every 3-4 seconds
  • For a short while I was able to be chill and notice the sensations. But attention soon “jumped into” the piti sensation.
  • Things settled down and noticed the desire.
  • Leftover buzzing was quite pleasant all over the body, except lower torso.
  • The piti came and went a few times later.
  • I tried best to follow the jhana instruction of “being with the pleasantness of the sensations” when piti came, but I was clearly sucked into the sensations and almost enchanted by them.
  • Brightness in the visual field, ignored it for most of the sit. Lots of mind chatter but mostly noticed as thoughts.
  • After the piti settled down, he got into a very calm state, and later got a little solid and unpleasant.
  • There was joy from the start in the sit. Enjoyed the quality of the mind emoticon.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/8/20 5:37 PM as a reply to Shri.

September 3
Evening, noting, 60’
  • Took a long time to get into the groove. I had a weird day and bad behavior off cushion that caused some expected shame emotions.
  • Noted my way into a more attentive zone, but mindfulness was not weak for most of the sit.
  • Physical sensations felt very distant and vague.
  • There were a lot of unpleasant body sensations usually but could not label the emotions into the usual suspects, just acknowledged their presence.
  • Thoughts were still sticky and I noticed my mind getting sucked into investigation, practice thoughts, etc. Just cut back to noting breath and label at each outbreath.
  • Last 20’ dropped the labelling and just noticed the most prominent. Nothing sped up and attention was clear about the latest phenomena random stuff, 6S minus thoughts mostly.

September 8
Off cushion
  • Addictions I have been working hit me hard. Guilt anger despair. Coincidently I heard Ken McLeod talk: “guilt is a kind of pride”, which has stopped some loops in the mind.
  • A little scary how thoughts and stories come up and create pressure.
  • Poor health and bad weather followed.
  • Time on the cushion has been about sitting through a restless mind and resetting back attention from mind wandering and sticking to simple breath + body sensation labels.

Morning, noting, 60’
  • Lots of mental talk.
  • Intervals of labelling interrupted by short mind wanderings.
  • Thoughts triggering anxiety pain in the chest.
  • Mindful of unclear mind, weak clarity of phenomena, too much happening and attention lagging.
  • Overall mostly unpleasant sensations but mood was neutral, letting unpleasant stuff come into experience.
  • A few times the transition from a wandered mind to a mindful mind feels like popping of a bubble, there is a tiny unpleasant sensation (short goosebump) during that transition.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/9/20 4:48 PM as a reply to Shri.
Great job Shri, keep going!

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/10/20 8:42 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 10
Evening, noting, 75’
  • Just like last few sits labelling was very even, 1-3 notes per breath cycle.
  • Mind not interested in content. Short non-descriptive labels.
  • Keep returnig to breath at the nostrils or whole body whenever feel like it.
  • Every noting event felt like new.
  • If lingered on a sensation, mental ‘echo’ was noticed, don’t notice the transition, just realize that attention is at the mental phenomena.
  • Thoughts are short mostly, like practice instructions or theories.
  • Awareness goes went though phases (similar pattern is last few sits). Starts with restricted mostly concentrated in the head area. Keenly aware of sounds.
  • After maybe 30’ felt very grounded in the body, very connected, felt as if I cannot actually move my limbs from this state. Overall pleasant and body full of awareness. Felt like this is a different body.
  • After that for the perception of body in space gets a little weird, sensations of hands feel alien, sense of where in space sensations are occuring gets weird.
  • Here noting fequency dropped, got into exploring the experience.
  • After maybe 40’ felt like body is in complete autopilot mode, very calm, breath pattern feels like that during sleep.
  • Some goosebump electric piti twice moderate.
  • Couple of times got intense sense of anticipation, excitement, do not remember the phenomena being noted, but body sensations were not too clear that time I think. Noted desire.
  • Each process of noting felt like resetting the mental context. No control, no time to think, no interest in looking back.
  • Emotions: calm, content, anticipation, energy, mechanical, stillness, curiosity, conflicted.
  • Good posture, very satisfying, mild pain at the end.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/11/20 8:40 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 11
Off cushion
  • Formal sitting feels calm and peacful but noticing irritable mood right after the sit, some discontent.
  • Desire for progress and questioning my motivation behind the practice.

Morning, noting, 68’
  • Woke up naturally at 4:30 in the morning and decided to sit.
  • Don’t remember things in detail but a few things.
  • Being present to what is happening was simple.
  • There was pleasantness and not much desire / aversion.
  • Attention sinked into trance. Noticed quickly for most instances.
  • Grounded in body, feeling of vulnerability.
  • Piti was just around the corner.
  • Slept after the sit.

Evening, noting, 58'
  • The recent usual start and then came to what I think is my current cutting edge.
  • The very calm and spacey almost, very present awareness spread out into the body.
  • Feels very vulnerable, spooked by sounds.
  • Curious and labeling is dropped.
  • Get a little bored and pick up noting again, doing that leads to sense of space contracting.
  • Pleasant buzzing and goosebumps.
  • There are thoughts which are not all noted as thoughts but not too many are missed.
  • There is very prominent body sensation in the throat and chest like what would happen at when you are about to cry. Tried to let go but the sensation was just stuck.
  • There is desire for progress in practice but it is seen clearly.
  • Sensation happening on their own is seen clearly.
  • In this state there is calm but also after a while discontent and boredom, wanting to squeeze out interesting state, weird pressure pulling body up showing effort in posture but not really intentional.
  • Investigated the desire but vanishes.
  • Didnt pay much attention to breath this time.
  • Body feels tired after the sit (like most sits).

Question
I am not able to judge if I should put in more effort (label at default pace) or just let the notice at a level what feels natural (open awareness) when the above stage comes. The natural inclination is just to sit back and have open awareness relaxed and notice, this feels spacey and interesting but seems like a dead-end, drops the energy level and after a while feels stale. Noting at my default rate (2-3 labels per breath cycle) seems contracted forced and seems to miss the big picture, like I am missing out noticing the quality of awareness: spacey, calm, whole body feeling tone which I am able to notice in open awareness.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/13/20 2:19 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 12
Afternoon, noting, 60'
  • Very calm and present throughout.
  • Mindfulness was stable and easy and stable.
  • Noted practicing mind, confused mind, bored mind.
  • Noted embarrassment and aversion to it.
  • Unpleasant sounds, aversion to sounds, aversion to body sensations.
  • Unpleasant sensation and tightness in body sensations in head and mouth.
  • Very subtle movements of mind.
  • Practice was simple, mind was fresh and careful and relaxed.
September 13
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Noting sensations in 6S never got into a stable state that I was expecting looking at last few sits.
  • It was confusing and overwhelming to keep noting going.
  • Used breath as the base, but mindfulness dropped and found myself in trance again and again.
  • Frustration, thoughts about podcasts, self-doubt, anxiety about progress, planning thoughts, attention seeking planning.
  • Some aversion to certain mind states, like judging when seeing certain thoughts.
  • Noted desire for the sit to feel ‘right’. Noting this was a satisfying moment.
  • Last 15’ just noticed the mind states, non-verbal thoughts. Doing this got things stable and pleasant.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/13/20 5:53 PM as a reply to Shri.
Hi Shri

I was struggling with similar doubts. My teacher basically said there is not one right answer and you have to go with what feels intuituve at the time. More importantly, "you" have to get out of your way during meditation and let the meditation manage itself. I do this by paying attention to whenever the sense of me or the "manager of the meditation" comes online. I keep doing this everytime  i feel like "i" need to make a decision during meditation or choose between technique styles, and observe this need to find an answer, until eventually this part recedes into the background. To the extent that this applies to any dilemma i am having during my sit, i try my best to let the noting flow as naturally as possible and take its own course. 

Like you, I find i generally move into more subtle states of bare awareness when highly concentrated and resort back to noting when the seas start getting rough. 

Hope that helps emoticon

Nav

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/15/20 11:32 AM as a reply to Nav.
Very helpful Nav, thank you emoticon

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/15/20 8:52 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 15
Evening, noting, 60’
  • Mind calm and even, equanimity was good. Did not take much time to get settled in.
  • Steady noting is 6S and mind states led into the spacious, soft, state. Brightness pulsing in the visual field, vague though no patterns, was just aware.
  • Mind went into that state more than once.
  • Noticed that I was aware of very quick half baked thoughts in many previous sits. This time I also noticed there is eyeball flickering accompanied with it.
  • Aversion when noticing that the mind has slipped into thoughts. Usually I do a “reset” of practice when I notice there has been thinking, a mental stepping back. This sit, tried not to disrupt the state of the mind in this situation.
  • Some weird flickery states came but difficult to accurately describe. Did not pay much attention as they passed by quickly. Short jolts of fear, excitement.
  • Not a lot of doubt or restlessness, there was some dullness.
  • Stayed close to the technique and did not wander too much off into exploration.
  • Overall quite pleasant.
  • Post sit there is a kind of a hangover: depressed mood and body fatigue.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/16/20 1:31 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 16
Morning, noting, 60’
  • Good, easy mindfulness for 40’, then there was some zoning out, then recovered in the last 10’.
  • Noted emotions + thoughts: mind wandering, I am doing X, there is anger, there is physical sensation.
  • Noted aversion / greed + thoughts.
  • Noted clinging to mind state: when there is state of clarity and when it feels like clarity is dropping, there is struggle to stop the change from happening. There is clinging to “stability” in the mind state.
  • Very frequent thoughts, but mostly seen as thoughts. Practice thoughts, noting thoughts, memory etc.
  • Minimal doubt, dullness. There was some restlessness and agitation but not much.
  • Physical sensation is face and abdomen very prominent. Did a couple of intentional body scans.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/18/20 12:47 PM as a reply to Shri.
September 18
Off cushion
  • Frequent feelings of insecurity and confusion about practice. 
  • Noticing attention grabbing ideas, drama queen tendencies: seek out teacher, come up with questions to ask here, etc.
  • Had my first session with a therapist this week. I have some relatively soft issues to deal with, but interested in any issues I might be unaware of.

Morning, noting, 60’
  • Heaviness, dullness, stuck in thoughts, but decent awareness of mind states.
  • In the mind most of the sit, not much in touch with the body. Tried to change this by body scanning and long breathing but let it happen.
  • Many emotions: aversion, insecurity, confusion, heaviness/disinterest, anger
  • A memory replayed/triggered an emotion, insecurity + anger. Emotion lingered for a long  time in the body.
  • There was subtle buzzing in the body a couple of times attention went there.
  • There was aversion to mind states of heaviness and concentrated and difficulty is having spaciousness. Had to let go of the struggle multiple times.
  • Last 10 minutes just sat with the heaviness and noted within it. Solid subtle aches in head and torso, not much aware of sensation in limbs.

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/18/20 1:09 PM as a reply to Shri.
"Confusion about practice" 

What is your practice? If you can give details please. 

I find this kind of doubt/confusion to be worse as practice is the very thing we need to develop to plow/sail through the deep waters of Samsara. Not being sure in your own Dharmic Raft is just plain unsettling. emoticon gotta fix that raft right now you hear! emoticon 

Share with us your doubts, concerned and confusions about your practice and we will try and fix those few holes in that raft of yours so you trust it will bring you to the far shore. 

May your practice be at ease. 

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/18/20 7:04 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
My practice:
I do formal sitting 2 times a day, 1 hour each sit. I primarily use the  noting technique: note stuff in experience at the 5 sense phenomena, greed, aversion, emotion, mind state or thoughts, 1-2 times each breath cycle. I try my best to keep things simple and stick to technique but also use open awareness + noticing or following full body breath based on the situation.

Concerns:
I just feel worried that I might be practicing incorrectly or missing out on something important because there is no 'obvious sign' of progress (PoI wise) and I feel stuck. I have been practicing for 9 months and a 10-day Goenka course and feel a little entitled and there is also a hint of shame (that was hard to admit :o). I am becoming more aware of this desire for progress and the suffering it is causing and dismiss it. The same desire for progress is also making me read books, follow podcasts and put in the effort, so it is not completely unskillful either. All I am doing about this worry is to put it in this log at the moment.

I dont feel confident about the technique and how it is working. Many times I feel practice is superficial: I sit, I feel calm and spacious and novel and that's it. It is funny since I used to be much more confident a few months back and had become the "Dharma agent" and irritating all my friends by talking about meditation, but as time passes I am being more humbled emoticon.

I do not feel the worry all the time of course. There are many days and weeks I feel satisfied and nurtured and I respect that this path is about exploration and things unfold when the conditions are right and all I can do is be honest about the experience and work with the techniques. I certainly feel drawn to practice and look forward to each sit.

I do not have specific questions at this point, but I would love some feedback on the above rant emoticon

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/19/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Shri.
Your practice looks fine to me from what you mention here. I see you mix TMI and Goenka Noting, or is it Mahasi style Noting? Seems like its more Mahasi as you dont mention scanning up and down the body. I know nothing about Goenka style so will not comment.

I find it helps to practice "just for today". As in drinking water "just for today" as I can't drink for tomorrow. Also breathing "just for this breath" as I cant breath for tomorrow. 

Maybe try and look at it that way. "I sit just for today".

What I do I treat the cushion time as gym time. Im there 45 minutes lifting weights. So I dont want to relax much or have much lapse in mindfulness. I set my intent on noting 1-3 sensations per second without lapse for 45 minutes. Once timer chimes in I let go into relaxation of sorts and even let into Open Awareness all day long baby emoticon emoticon which is alowed to lapse, get lost, come back online again ... whatever, but on the cushion its gym time for me, and it can be a tough time and good time depending on conditions. 

So to be as effective and having as little laps in mindfulness as possible during the sit, I note aloud throughout the entire session. I go after Shinzen's voice recommendations:
1. very loud voice if its hard and Im struggling to keep up or am very dull
2. normal calm voice to induce equanimity
3. whisper when Im in a very absorbed state and one is to give breathing more slackand let it 
... I will go on
4. fast noting if heavy emotions or thoughts are arising and even restlessness or sloth
5. slow noting in case the sensory clarity is not so sharp and things just seem too fast to note (I even use the words "There is ... (add note here, like itching, there is ... (hearing), there is ... etc)

I aslo use open eyes so to keep me as alert as possible as closed eyes can easier get me into la-la land and I dont feel like having too many lapses in mindfulness/paying attention. Shinzen also suggests this, not to break the stream of noting for the duration of the sit.
I usually find a spot 1,5-2 meters infront of me (usually a dirt spot on the floor or wall) and in case Im getting too lost in absorption I stare through the window noting seeing, and comprehanding what was seen and feelings associtated with it (branches moving in the wind, brids flying by, blue sky).
Also with open eyes there is much blinking to be noticed and even sensations of wetness or itchiness around the eyes, diffused of sharp focus and of course some intersting stuff taking place in image space as concentreation grows (grows means; gets wider and more diffused).

It helps to look at todays meditation as terrain. When you sit you dont know what terrain you will drive on. Is it bumpy, is it foggy, is it warm and shiny, storm or a summer breeze. I use all these different voices and different noting speeds and open eyes focused on a dot or out of the window just to keep me on task. While in the gym, I work out. Once finished Im off to walk my dog emoticon 

So before the sit say this to yourself;
Will I ever get any attainments or insights? I dont know. But I do know what is happening RIGHT NOW! emoticon start with noting the doubt, where in the body is it? ... seems somewhere in the lower belly and is kind of uneasy and sad, at loss, feels unpleasant, ... etc ... is doubt holding ground too hard ... speed note on body sensations mostly but anything else too ...

Work your yogi tool box of noting. What kind of voice and speed is suited well to this mind terrain right now. We all start someplace with practices that someone else suggests to us but in time we all will develope our own way of going about it and its a good thing.

I would suggest to decide either just Noting or just TMI. I would not mix many techniques but would rather suggest to have a good tool box for say Noting where you can pull out different voices, different speeds, just noting body sensations in case heavy emotions are too much to bear etc ... 

Ok, Im stopping here emoticon I have consumed too much sugar today hence my post being so sugar-rushy emoticon 

RE: Shri's Log
Answer
9/20/20 3:01 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Ha! emoticon let me add one more thing in case it resonates well with you.

I remember Kenneth Folk telling me about the 6 Realms and about Hell Realm being all about "I WANNA GET OUT OF HERE, CARE NOT HOW; JUST OUT OF IT!" emoticon This is usually the state of mind we are in when we aim to get out of THIS situation and get something else, some insight, attainment what ever, JUST NOT THIS as my ars has been frying in oil for 9 months now and I want out! emoticon 

This very activity of wanting out of THIS and go into some attainment or insight instead is like wiggling in a quick sand and sinking deeper so to speak.

So what to do then? 

I can grow still in the body, take the agony and misery and wrap it up in acceptance, and sit with it for the duration of my noting (aloud or silent) sit, 1-3 sensations a second for the whole duration. Then after wards I go and walk my dog and chop some wood and clean the house, play some guitar, hang out with friends ... then next sitting session, same as above, sit with what IS, misery, loss, fear, bliss, itch, joy, ... sitting just for today.

Try and focus, if at all possible, on bringing about non-discriminating acceptance, non-discriminating curiosity and wonder for any arising , be it body sensation, mind state or feeling tone. 
If you try and think about THIS moment always and ever being the same no matter what insight or attainment you have then it will be easier to sit with it. Matters little what practice you use to be with THIS as long you accept it and are curious and wonderous about it letting things arise and pass away moment by moment without laps. Use tools to keep you away from looosing the stream of noting. Shout out the labels if necessery. Its only for the 45-60 minutes anyway and you can do it emoticon then later chill out and do your every day activities and relax and let open awareness spread around the universe. 

This is my take on this and Im sure other members will have more to say or better things to say. Im limited to only my experience so far.
Last thing; maybe it would be good to get a teacher for a while?