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Nick Lande's Practice Log

Nick Lande's Practice Log
3/28/20 1:52 PM
Hello guys! 

I'm a 23 yo foreign student at a Beijing univeristy from Stavropol, Russia.  I remember getting an account here a while ago, but apparently I haven't been too active of a member xD I've been experimenting with a number of meditation techniques during the last 2 years, mostly focusing on anapanasati, Goenka's body scan and the kasinas.  I've never made it even to the 1st jhana, but I did get into a state when my body collapsed into a bunch of vibrating particles rushing throughout my body at a high speed when I was on a Goenka's retreat. Apart from that, there were a couple times when I got a euphoric feeling that started in my chest and then spread further covering a bigger area of my body, but both times I was so struck by the sudden change in my sensations that I opened my eyes and the feeling faded after a few minutes. 
These days I'm sitting home and have plenty of time to spend on whatever I want due to the qurantine in chinese universities and hence my inability to return to China in the nearest future. So I've decided to incorporate metta and fire kasina into my daily practice. I know that both belong to the samadhi type and can help in acquiring concentration needed in the later stages of the insight practices. The thing is, It seems to me that I might freak out if I do "dry insight" because that's exactly what happened when my body shattered into pieces during the retreat xD I've done metta as well as fire and color disc kasinas before but never brought it to a serious level.
Alright, metta and kasina then. It's been 6 days or so since I started. Today I've decided that I'll be keeping a diary here.

May everyone attain innumerable fruits of the Practice

RE: Nick Lande's Practice Log
3/29/20 1:22 PM as a reply to Nick Lande.
Morning metta (20 min):
Thich Nhat Hanh's gatha for sitting meditation, then chanted Karaniya Metta Sutta in Pali. Started by recalling benefits of metta (I will sleep easily, wake up easily, etc.) and tried to think about the lightness of positive mind states. Didn't feel anything. After a few minutes, moved on to repeating metta phrases (in my mind) towards self: 1)May I be safe from any danger. 2) May I be strong and healthy. 3) May I be calm and peaceful 4) May I go through my day with a smile. After one cycle I felt like switching to a benefactor. After deciding on one, I repeated the phrases for a couple more cycles but this time adding something like:  "Just as I want to be safe from danger, so do you. May you be safe". Still not feeling much. Back to self. This time, I started feeling a trace of sentimentality arising form within me on the phrase "May I be strong and healthy". Chanted "Bhavatu sabba mangalan" at the end.

Evening fire kasina (30 min)
The weird thing about my experience with kasina is..well..there are actually two things: 
1) It is significantly easier for me to get an afterimage from starring at a colored disk for a couple of seconds than starring at a candle flame even for a few minutes.
2) The first time I close my eyes is when the afterimage is the strongest. It can stay for 3-5 min and moves and transforms a lot. After that, it's much easier to get the afterimage with my eyes OPEN. This is what happens: I stare at the flame for a while, then feel like closing my eyes, which is what I do only to find out that there's barely any distinguishable afterimage. So I open my eyes and voila - here it is, right on top of the flame. Maybe I should switch back to a colored disk? 
I got kinda drowsy towards the end of the session today. I couldn't stay focused and stick to the afterimage once I closed my eyes. My mind would just scatter and my zone of vision expand to include everything that there is instead of just following the afterimage. But when I was able to track down the purple spot, I could see how it drifts back and forth, that it consists of a purple background and a darker front layer. It came like an impulse, as if of low frame rate xD When the distraction was in its strongest, I chanted Ohm to stay focused. 

May all beings be strong and healthy 

RE: Nick Lande's Practice Log
3/30/20 2:37 PM as a reply to Nick Lande.
Morning metta (20 min):
Remembering good in me for the first few minutes. Then repeating the metta phrases towards myself. After that switching to today's benefactor.  No strong feelings, but an elevated mood overall. It just felt nice to be focused on something good. Had to move my legs a bit because of the numbness. I sit on a bed and lean against a pillow but still get back pains and numb legs occasionally. Can't wait until I'm 80 xD

Evening fire kasina (30 min):
Something exceedingly unexpected happened: I sat through the first 10 min as usual and then started feeling kinda transfixed, a bit like sleepy but not really. Then a whole array of discouraging thoughts arose in my mind and almost convinced me to stop the session and never return to the kasinas again.  But I decided to close my eyes and focus on the stiffnes in my mind and body that I experienced at that moment instead. Immediately I felt that my hands are really warm and kinda vibrating a little bit. So I tried to locate all the sensations in my body and tried to amplify them. As a result, a barely visible rainbow-colored flower appeared in front of me. It occupied the whole visible space and was slowly drifting around. Just like when I got unexpected changes in perception before, my heart started racing and I gasped. The sensations and the vision subsided... The reason I said it was unexpected is that the state came when I was kinda distracted and was caused not by starring at the afterimage but by focusing on the bodily sensations. Maybe I really better go back to breath and body techniques...

RE: Nick Lande's Practice Log
4/1/20 12:46 AM as a reply to Nick Lande.
March 31

Morning Metta (18min):
Alright, I'm not sure if this is gonna be an appropriate thing to say, but it is directly related to my mediatation practice. I've noticed this before and I proved it one more time today: jerking off before meditation isn't gonna help you in any way xD Quite the opposite, I became rather passive, couldn't direct my mind towards loving-kindness (or anything else) and my energy levels ran low.  So i could only endure for 18 min instead of 20 and didn't derive much benefit from the session.

Evening Kasina (30min):
The evevning kasina practice went as usual. No altered states of mind or anything. 

RE: Nick Lande's Practice Log
4/2/20 2:53 PM as a reply to Nick Lande.
April 2

I was too lazy to write here yesterday plus nothing special happened during my morning metta session (no kasina yesterday)

Morning metta (around 20 min, no timer):
Usual sequence "good in me + phrases to self + phrases to the benefactor". Gonna add more elements to it tomorrow. 

Evening kasina (about 25 min, no timer): Only one closed eyes afterimage during the whole session. Maybe I should just keep my eyes open? xD DIdn't feel tired during the sitting as before, but it was rather boring since there was not much to observe. Ohh.. Should I really invest more time in it or just switch back to more "conventional" practices?

I'm gradually going through Karaniya Metta Sutta with a dictionary so later I can chant it while focusing on the meaning. Gonna go read some suttas now.