Bill's Practice Journal 02

Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 4/20/20 7:30 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 4/20/20 7:30 AM

Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Starting a new thread as I've noticed long threads crash Safari Mobile (where I mostly read this forum). See the previous journal here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18148761
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:42 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:40 AM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
A few notes from recent sits:


"Take a break from your bullshit mind
With samatha meditation!
Secluded from the 5 hindrances / kleshas / afflictions "

---

Tried for textbook Leigh Brasington jhanas today - focusing on piti in body after a couple of rounds of focusing -on -light and after image. Worked really well. Good to see more distinct 4 stages as I went through. 3rd is a tricky one but clearer this time. 

Feel very clear after. Innocent like a child? Well, innocent as a man can be. Mind very still. What a gift. 

--


slower starts, earlier sits. Bit dreamy so been going back to that light fairly regular. Helps. 90 minutes or so today, over an hour yesterday. Took an hour to get to what felt like 4th. Veto different vibe from later in the day after a coffee. Anyhow, aftermath Feels great! such clarity for the whole morning, if I could bottle this I'd be a rich man. 

Also did a short sit before bed which went surprisingly deep in a short time. It's very interesting - adding a kasina to any sit is like cranking up the concentration, dropping down the dreamy-ness. Feel like I spent much  of my Vipassana retreats drifting in and out of dreamt states. 
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:43 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:43 AM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
20 min yesterday (no time before new job, early start)

Much deeper 30min session today - family doing PE on YouTube next door so noisy, played masking waterfall sound and went for it. Remarkable how much space and time you can cover. Feel like I've been out on a placid lake for an hour.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 5/9/20 12:50 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:43 AM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Very busy mind this morning, full of songs, work thoughts and trouble. Still managed to go pretty deep and feel loads better afterwards! Labelling feels less important. Jhanic state. Session was about an hour. Feel great now, all things considered!

It's funny seeing so many on here having trouble with their insight meditation. I just want to say - learn the jhanas! What an amazing, healing balm - and a source of power and stability for anything else you want to do.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:43 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 5/8/20 9:43 AM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Focusing more on just samadhi than jhana now I guess. Not trying to count the levels so much, but noticing shifts for sure. Lately I've been troubled by random songs playing in my head, and other thoughts, even in deep states of absorption, but they haven't bothered me that much. In fact the more I embrace them, the easier it is.

Didn't manage to sit at all yesterday with early work schedule. So glad I could today.

It's remarkable how meditation 'takes away' all the junk. It's like a stress eraser. Nothing else seems to come close in terms of this functionality. They all 'add stuff' rather than take it away.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 5/9/20 12:51 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 5/9/20 12:51 PM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Birthday jhana. About an hour. Only returning to the light when focus not so strong. Mostly going with 'full body awareness' that I noticed someone on here talking about - rather than a breath focus.

Wow. So easy to forget how profound this is when in yer average mundane life states. It's such a different state of consciousness, it's almost like default mode ignores it on purpose. Feeling the urge to do a retreat but very tricky right now with lockdown! Sigh.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 6/6/20 1:09 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 6/6/20 1:01 PM

RE: Bill's Practice Journal 02

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Very intermittent posting here as this forum just doesn't play well with my phone (or copy and paste, TBH). Ah well, hope it's of interest to someone! I've been finding it useful to take notes on meditation every day, at least.

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05/04


Meditation is doing it's thing. It's grand, and I'm grateful for it. -- This is how I imagine my log most days, so I don't bother writing it emoticon

It's so good. Physically my body can't handle too much floor sitting right now, and I don't have a suitable place to sit with a comfy chair, so 30-45 mins seems to be about the optimimum for morning sit. Can't seem to get it together to sit much more later in the day. Need to find a time and build a habit I guess. Going to try for an 11:30 addition today.


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07/04
.......... ....... ....... ....... ..... ....... . . . . . .....   .      .   . . . .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
What a gift...
So grateful to all my teachers. It's just beautiful, and I wish I could share it with everyone. Honestly, the world would be so much better a place if everyone could just dig into the experience of being alive like this. GLORIOUS. Halleluja!

I had a thought - it's like a crystal - like every part of the mind lines up, in alignment, becomes clear, shining. Light can pass through. Or a lake, shining water.
Unbelievable how deep one can go in this, in such a short time.

10/04
So, so awesome. I’m finishing every meditation feeling like it's Christmas day emoticon
This should be the fundamental teaching, not some esoteric thing for monks. It's the best thing to happen to me.

Such a fragile state, but what a state! Mind this clear and absorbed. Anything feels possible, from this starting point.

15/04


Seem to be getting hints of the 5th jhana in recent sessions. Boundless space. It's weird, reminds me of a VR experience in some way - body pretty much disappears. I was getting vertigo for a while but that doesn't seem to be happening now. It's not stable yet though - just hints of it, moments.

My son listening to a Harry Potter audiobook next door distracted me pretty well this morning! Cut session short at about 45 min.

It's funny, feels like all concentration points at these states, now. How did I miss them for so many years?

16/04

A little tired and distracted today. I think the sheer claustrophobia of lockdown  is getting to me. Need to get out more today.

Still. A great session, and I feel a ton better than when I started. Set a timer for 30min and reached 4th jhana just before it rang. Carried on anyway and was surprised to see I'd spent an hour when I finished. A bit drifty like I need a nap, but I went from feeling terrible to 'OK', which is a bonus. Back to work...

19/04
Maybe 90 minutes this morning,staying in the 4th for quite a while. Distractions round the home and changing noise levels broke me out of it but just carried on, no deadlines today. Such a deep state it almost feels pointless writing about it. Had little hints again at what I think might be the 5th - glassy shadows, glossy freedom of space feel, like a deeper thing welling up. Vertigo and rootless feeling for moments. Still not sure how to drop into that one,but I'm sure it'll work out.

Hah, thinking later - it's like being able to take a holiday, every day, any place. I'm sitting on balcony now with a coffee. The sun's come out. Feels like a million pound holiday. I could be on a tropical beach without a care in the world, but I'm right here in grimy east London, with big queues round the corner at the shops. Shut my eyes and boom - limitless glowing space. The sea at sunrise.

20/04
Interesting one this morning. Tried to make up with the missus - didn't go well. Decided to meditate anyway afterwards. Family out for a bit, but wasn't sure when they'd be back so I put a white noise generator on pretty loud so I wouldn't be distracted by their return. (Waterfall from mynoise.net).

Finished MCTB2 last night and was inspired to go a bit more 'kasina' focused so I returned to the light each time the afterimage faded. Previously I've just been doing this once and focusing on anything in the visual field to guide me into the jhanas. Resolved to return to the light at least 3 times. For some reason this practice resulted in a VERY intense session - had to breathe, really deep throughout just to stay alive (felt like) - just to deal with it. Was somewhere 2nd - 3rd jhana when it started kicking in, accompanied by twitches, pangs, occasional pins and needles feelings. Very odd! Felt almost A&P at times but in retrospect I don't think it was as no major after-effects. Very full on rushing thing going on, but less 'kunadalini'-ish this time, more undercurrent, intensity, deep breathing. Did return to the light 3 times, after half an hour I had to move (pain in leg) - dropped in intensity after this. Relaxed into it then, touched on something that was maybe 4th jhana after an hour, but all quite whirly, mostly not sure where I was except this intense power passing through me.

Tried running some metta practice in the latter half also which seemed to settle things a bit.

Typing this up a few hours later I feel a bit spacy, but cleared out also. I don't have anything like the emotional trauma I woke up with - curiously, seemed this morning went better with the wife too like she was more cheerful. I think the good weather and a walk might have a lot to do with it! But all feels synchronous.


30/04
20 min yesterday (no time before new job, early start)

Much deeper 30min session today - family doing PE on YouTube next door so noisy, played masking waterfall sound and went for it. Remarkable how much space and time you can cover. Feel like I've been out on a placid lake for an hour.


1/05
Very busy mind this morning, full of songs, work thoughts and trouble. Still managed to go pretty deep and feel rooms better afterwards! Labelling feels less important. Jhanic state. Session was about an hour. Feel great now, all things considered!

It's funny seeing so many on here having trouble with their insight meditation. I just want to say - learn the jhanas! What an amazing, healing balm - and a source of power and stability for anything else you want to do.

07/05
Focusing more on just samadhi than jhana now I guess. Not trying to count the levels so much, but noticing shifts for sure. Lately I've been  troubled by random songs playing in my head, and other thoughts, even in deep states of absorption, but they haven't bothered me that much. In fact the more I embrace them, the easier it is.

Didn't manage to sit at all yesterday with early work schedule. So glad I could today.



12/05
Just beautiful this morning, but 30mins, so short! Work call in a minute. Got to make more time for meditation throughout the day! Never getting it together lately... So good. Such a relief. How do I forget, ignore my desire for this peace?

14/05
Decided to go for a vanilla fire kasina practice. Light, after image, fades, back to light, repeat. Felt a bit frustrated for first 30 min or so as didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Found something like a 1st jhana after this and hung out there. Still going back to light. Eventually after 45 min or so my fave thing happened, which is closest to a stasis I've ever been.. Bright light on visual field, no need to concentrate, no pleasure, no pain, nearly no body, nearly no sense of time. Amazing. I think it's the 4th, but not sure. Matches descriptions anyway. Who cares? It's amazing. Feel like I took a wash in the fountain of youth afterwards. Clarity, clarity... If only I could bottle this and hand it out.

Stuck around in this for 20min or so then had to wrap, unfortunately as work calls. 70 min or so total. Samatha-samadhi. The words begin to make sense.

15/05
What a relief. Feel about 30 years younger. Doesn't last, but what a great start to the day. Same process, still tricky dealing with songs, visions, other distractions. Perhaps key thing is not to see them as distractions. Back to the light. After 45 min or so was able to stay in the stable-ish place, mostly. Lots of light, like sitting in a calm lake with sunlight overhead. Day off work so no excuse not to come back here again today.

17/05
An hour and a half? Longest I've day off retreat. I don't know what it is but after 40 min or so hot this wonderful stasis - not stasis. Occasionally lost in visions of wide landscapes, so kept returning to the light.

Thinking sometimes about samatha Vipassana, and Culadasa's book. Must read it sometime.

Feel like I've been cruising down a waterslide that also happens to clean your mind. Must be the waterfall sound I have blasting in here to block out the Harry Potter next door!

Also a feeling like post-headache. A great weight lifted from my brows.


22/05
Kinda tough hour sit after two or 3 days off due to crappy work schedule. Been drinking in the evening to destress!

Mind feels flaccid and easily distracted. Still, got a taste of some peace and perhaps light 1st jhana. Feel much better and got a day off so might even manage a 2nd sit!

26/05
First sit after 3+ days of nothing. Work stress etc. Amazing to get in the zone for 20 minutes and rush of champagne piti. What a relief ... Grateful for the practice. Sure beats booze!


27/05
80 minute sit. Kind of easily distracted but kept coming back to light and found some cohesion after 30 min or so. Onwards!

29/05
Delicious, delightful. Harmonic and choral mantra. Feeling very inspired. Would stay longer, but dog needs walking! Will try again later.  

31/05
It's funny, the balance between striving in meditation and relaxing into it. Tried counting breaths as Brasington recommends today. Up to 8, with the number chucked into the gap after the outbreath. It's an amazingly effective way to see how distracted you are! My concentration went on a bell curve, dropping off sharply after relaxing posture towards the end. Some lovely states in there in the middle. 2nd, 3rd jhana? Very spacious and bright, a touch of the 4th perhaps. Also wondering if perhaps these states are all subjhanas of the first! But I do seem to go through a clear 1st - piti etc., that recedes, shift into 2nd etc. So I feel more confident these line up with Brasington's definitions at least (and by extension, the early suttas).

03/06
Beautiful. Slept a bit better, though not long enough. Ran upstairs to roof, a bit of exercise (stretches and my few capoeira moves).

Sat and was able to cycle through jhanas pretty quickly. Only had 30min to sit in, spent half of it in something very deep. Non - symbolic? 4th jhana? Who cares. What a refresher!


06/06
Back pain doesn't help, right? concentration a bit addled, but managed a pretty good hour - half of it lying down. Very tingly and 1st jhanaish, mostly. Feel much better after. Need to get to bed earlier!

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