Erik´s Practices Log

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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
So I guess this is the place I should start...

Hi, my name is Erik I am 27 years old male from Argentina. My 10 days Vipassana retreat (Goenka) was cancelled due to the pandemic, so I started reading Ingram´s book. My sessions are  2-4x15minutes-30minutes long since I am building up the concentration focusing on the breath. First I started focusing on the raising and falling of the stomach now I focus on the nostrails. 
I thought this was easy and simple, "just sit and meditate" but since my concentration started getting stronger I understand that "lot of things" are happening "over here", like weird indescribable stuff so I needed some help and thats why I am here. So all of you "out there" can help me with your wisdom on this path.
The first "thing" that appear was a "void". When I was focusing on my breath I could tell that there was a gap between the end of the out breath and before the next breath in. So I was pulled to investigate that gap and felt like a void I also felt waves of anxiety and fear. And everytime I concentrate on my breath there is this "gap" that appear and it "shakes" my focus every time, its weird.
Should I ignore this void? Should I keep focusing on the breath even though I feel it as two separate things "breath in" and "breath out" ? Should I keep investigating this scary void?
Thanks, I will keep this as my journal because I guess all this "stuff" will keep happening.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
I focused on the void and made me feel scary, anxious and frustrated and even when the meditation was over I was feeling frustrated. I guess this is not a good sing.
So I did a 30 mins session but without "too much effort" on focusing on every single second of the breath. Like not a sniper kind of attention. Maybe I am not ready for that so I tried a "loose" focus attetion on the breath. I was aware of everything that was going on like sounds and sensations or body postures or numbing of my leg but my main focus of attention remain on the breath.
Even though I could perceive thoughts, those thoughts or ideas popping were like the other stuff going on like the sound of a passing car or someone dropping something. I didnt gave those thoughts more attention than any other thing going on. My main focus of attention remained in the breath.
I think this was more productive than investigate on the void. Because the void I could also found it in the end of the in breath and if I focused more it was every moment present and that was too much.
I also started reading "The Mind Illuminated", finally I understand what was that TMI level everyone was talking about.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
The TMI book recommend reaching 45 mins of meditation so today I will do 2x 30 mins session and adding 5 minutes every 5 days or a week. Today I did my first session and I realize that I clinge to keep my focused attention "more focused". For example, I can feel for like 10 seconds that my attention is like 80% focused on the sensation of breath in the nostrails and 20% in priphereal awareness and then my attetion "lose it strenght" and that makes me frustrated because I want to "keep" that stronger attention. 
Sound so silly but that happend.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
2nd Session of the day:
Wow TMI is such a great book, I love how he goes into details explaning everything. So I found the solution about my "problem" of the morning session in the book.
I dont know in what Stage I am, I guess I am at Stage 3 but I carry "bad habits" of my pratices without knowing it.  It awesome how this is a new world for me, its amaze me how every word has its own meaning and if you cant name the experience you dont know exactly whats going on. 
The solution of my morning session was this: 
"In Stages One through Three, you train the mind so that by Stage Four
the meditation object is never completely lost from attention. But at this
Stage, it doesn’t matter if the breath is at the center of attention or
somewhere in the background
. Always feel satisfied with any stretch of
time where the meditation object remains in the field of conscious
awareness.

This is awesome advice. In the afternoon meditation I chilled and relaxed knowing that I can keep the attention on the breath for the whole session, not in the center of my attetntion THE WHOLE time but most of it and cero mind wandering or daydreaming so I am beyond Stage two emoticon.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
Even though I am using techniques of Stage 2 and 3 my attention is in the Stage 4 because I never lose the focus of the breath. TMI says:
"You can stay focused on the breath more or less continuously, but
attention still shifts rapidly back and forth between the breath and
various distractions.
Whenever a distraction becomes the primary focus
of your attention, it pushes the meditation object into the background.
This is called gross distraction. But when the mind grows calm, there
tends to be another problem, strong dullness. To deal with both of
these challenges, you develop continuous introspective awareness to
alert you to their presence."

So, yes, my biggest issue right now is sounds.But not every sound, the more gross ones like someone having a loud conversation in the window so everyone in the building can hear it or someone whistling (I find it really annoying). This sounds when they appear became the primary focus of my attention but the mediation object ramin in the background.
No problem with dullness right now.
I am "follwing the breath" and finding the begginings and endings of each breath and the pauses between (Stage 2 technique).
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
Can´t believe how mad and angry I got over today practice. I hear so many sounds and so loud that it drives me insane. 
I never daydream or mindwander. Sometimes I can focus on sensations on my breath and sometimes I just can focus on "breathing in the nose" without even noticing the beggings and endings this is due to sounds and noises all over the place that take my attention away. 
I dont know why I got so angry, I wanted to stand up and punch a wall or something.
In Stage 4 the books says: 
"As long as the meditation object remains your primary
focus, they are only subtle distractions. But often, one of these
competing objects can become your primary focus. When this
happens, the sensations of the breath seem to fade. They continue
as an object of alternating attention, but are perceived much less
clearly.** This is gross distraction, the first major obstacle to
overcome in this Stage."
So I am around Stage 4 dealing with this gross distraction which are sounds.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
I guess this is "progress"..
After my morning session a "mundane insight" of an event with my mom being verbally aggresive and noisy when I was young came up and everything connected. The same feeling of dubt, "I cant do this I dont have the ability", the frustration and anger and not worthly came up from noises during my practices. Those feelings appeared from the noises during the practice. And all those feelings were the same feelings I felt when that event happened when I was young, suddenly everything became clear, this was a mild trauma coming to surface because of my practice.
I guess this is kind of progress. I cryed and re-live the situation and "solve it " in my imagination as a way to heal it. 
I hope someone could join me in this log.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
I was talking with  a friend (who also meditates) about this experience and I realize that I a "prefer" (like everyone else) states of calm, peace or joy but why can´t I accept and keep calm when angry and frustration appear?. Emotions are only "bad" If I think they are bad. Emotions are just emotions. So I think this is progress realizing that when this emotions appear, accept them, accept myself that I am practicing, I am not perfect nor I will never be as good as I want to be there will always be a higher challenge wanting for me If I want to.
Even reaching enlightment isnt going to be enough. So I have to accept this, accept myself, my path, my process and enjoy the journey, laught at my frustration and angry because my attention isnt as sharp when a distraction appear (kind of obvious) and eventually the emotions will not come again.
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
Well today practices I made a Thread to get some help.       


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/20083902   
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Erik - Aellen, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Erik´s Practices Log

Posts: 15 Join Date: 4/9/20 Recent Posts
On 15/04 I took the day of to reflect on my practices and let go a little bit.
Yesterday I did my 2 session of 35mins.
During my second session a mundane insight appeared, I took note and let it pass but it was interesting and wanted to write about it. Its kind of difficult to put into words but lets see...
I have an insight like I was trying to do a "good practice" or "really understand the concept and do it right" but there is no such a thing. Even if I get frustrated or angry I can practice equanimity and separate the emotion from the trigger and this is really helpful beacuse I saw a reduction of this emotions. I also observe that I was controlling my breath and that was annoying but then after reading in the reddit forum of TMI I realize this was another thing to practice. So my awareness is increasing so I am able to percive things and "work" on those things.
So my second practice yesterday I realize I was observing the process of breathing instead of observing the sensations of breathing passing and this subtle change made the practice different, the focus of attention was different. This little things are so amazing to me that I am starting to like meditation like its kind of an adventure or game.

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