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DhO Hacked and Upgrade

General

ATTENTION!: It appears that our server has been hacked through this version of Liferay, meaning it is no longer secure, and so expect instability as we deal with this and attempt to upgrade to Liferay 7, which we failed to be able to do last year the last time the team attempted it, but we have no choice at this point, so bear with us as we try again. Save any long posts in a text file before posting them. You can follow me on Twitter at @danielmingram for updates if the site is down. Apologies for any complexity this causes. We will work as fast as we can. We have backups of the database, so hopefully nothing will be lost. Thanks to all helping with this complex process.

 

 

 

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Practice Logs

Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)

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Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/26/20 9:21 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 4/26/20 8:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/26/20 8:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 4/26/20 9:00 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/26/20 9:07 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/26/20 9:17 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 4/27/20 2:18 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/27/20 5:41 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 4/27/20 6:15 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/27/20 5:54 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 4/27/20 6:17 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/28/20 4:32 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 4/29/20 3:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/29/20 9:06 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/30/20 12:16 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 4/29/20 6:21 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/30/20 8:33 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 4/30/20 8:35 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 4/30/20 9:12 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Lars 5/1/20 2:32 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/1/20 2:46 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 5:11 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 6:55 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/1/20 7:02 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 4:48 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/1/20 6:20 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 6:28 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/1/20 6:30 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/1/20 6:31 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 6:41 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/1/20 6:35 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/1/20 7:51 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/1/20 9:25 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/1/20 10:00 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 5:44 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/2/20 5:59 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 6:34 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 6:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/2/20 7:04 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 7:25 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/2/20 7:35 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 7:49 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/2/20 7:55 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/2/20 8:25 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/2/20 8:40 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/2/20 8:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/2/20 8:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/2/20 9:02 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/2/20 10:09 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 11:36 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/2/20 11:42 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/2/20 1:56 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/3/20 10:38 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/3/20 3:56 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/3/20 4:35 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/3/20 10:04 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/3/20 9:40 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/3/20 9:49 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/3/20 10:00 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Gregor 5/3/20 10:07 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/3/20 8:53 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/4/20 2:27 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/4/20 2:31 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/4/20 4:55 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/4/20 6:54 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/4/20 9:20 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/4/20 10:12 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/4/20 1:00 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/4/20 5:14 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/5/20 6:44 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/5/20 3:38 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/6/20 6:47 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 6:53 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 7:06 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 7:16 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 7:20 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 7:29 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 7:22 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 7:40 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 7:40 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 7:45 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 7:49 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 7:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 7:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 7:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 7:52 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 7:54 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 7:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 8:07 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 8:15 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 8:18 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/6/20 8:19 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 8:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 8:59 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 9:11 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/6/20 9:22 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/6/20 9:32 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 9:47 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/6/20 4:09 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/6/20 8:18 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 8:29 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/6/20 7:19 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/6/20 9:35 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 8:11 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/6/20 3:39 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/6/20 7:05 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/6/20 7:58 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/7/20 5:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/7/20 5:37 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 5/7/20 6:07 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/7/20 9:12 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/7/20 10:09 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/8/20 6:10 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/8/20 6:13 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/8/20 6:13 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/8/20 6:35 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/8/20 6:52 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/8/20 7:16 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/8/20 8:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/10/20 3:58 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/10/20 4:47 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/14/20 8:37 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/15/20 2:47 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/15/20 11:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/15/20 10:28 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/16/20 1:43 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/16/20 6:48 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Olivier 5/17/20 2:34 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/16/20 1:29 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/16/20 9:17 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/16/20 11:05 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/17/20 6:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/17/20 9:36 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/17/20 2:08 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/17/20 2:37 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/17/20 9:18 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/18/20 12:48 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/18/20 9:41 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Nicky2 5/18/20 10:39 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/19/20 4:33 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/19/20 7:10 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/19/20 9:48 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/19/20 10:09 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/19/20 1:41 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/19/20 3:18 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/19/20 4:00 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/19/20 5:23 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/19/20 5:33 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/20/20 10:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/20/20 10:37 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 5/20/20 10:52 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/20/20 6:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/20/20 7:11 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/20/20 9:07 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/20/20 9:22 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/22/20 3:59 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/22/20 7:21 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/22/20 5:42 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/22/20 6:30 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/22/20 10:06 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/23/20 1:08 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/23/20 9:41 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/23/20 7:27 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/24/20 11:10 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/24/20 10:54 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/25/20 3:00 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/25/20 7:15 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/25/20 8:29 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/25/20 8:17 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/25/20 5:02 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 5/25/20 5:13 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/25/20 9:03 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/25/20 11:03 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/26/20 6:28 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/25/20 10:59 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/26/20 6:46 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/28/20 6:10 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/29/20 6:45 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 5/29/20 6:56 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/29/20 11:34 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/30/20 12:06 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/30/20 6:05 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/30/20 6:16 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/30/20 6:24 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/30/20 6:44 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 5/31/20 12:16 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 5/31/20 1:14 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/1/20 7:22 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/2/20 2:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/6/20 3:06 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/6/20 4:16 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/7/20 9:26 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/2/20 2:42 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/6/20 2:33 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/10/20 4:26 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/12/20 10:04 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/12/20 10:05 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/12/20 10:05 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/13/20 4:30 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/14/20 12:34 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Papa Che Dusko 6/14/20 7:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/14/20 9:07 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/14/20 11:04 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/16/20 11:42 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/17/20 4:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/17/20 4:36 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/15/20 9:24 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/16/20 6:09 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 6/16/20 7:43 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/17/20 4:42 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/17/20 3:10 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/17/20 3:56 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Chris Marti 6/17/20 4:02 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/17/20 10:21 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/18/20 1:56 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 6/18/20 6:24 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 6/19/20 4:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 7/14/20 7:35 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 7/14/20 8:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/14/20 8:58 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) T 7/14/20 12:03 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 7/14/20 2:25 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/16/20 10:03 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Sam Gentile 7/16/20 11:20 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/16/20 11:54 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/16/20 11:52 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/16/20 12:31 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/16/20 12:54 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/16/20 1:51 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Smiling Stone 7/20/20 9:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 7/20/20 10:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 12:13 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 12:05 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 12:26 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/19/20 11:44 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 1:25 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 2:46 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 4:09 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/23/20 4:39 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/24/20 7:47 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/24/20 12:47 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/24/20 3:02 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 7/25/20 7:30 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Zachary 7/25/20 10:54 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/25/20 11:51 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/28/20 11:50 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/28/20 1:27 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 7/29/20 12:33 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/29/20 11:00 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 7/29/20 11:15 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/5/20 1:56 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/6/20 2:58 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/6/20 10:25 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/7/20 11:57 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/8/20 9:33 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/9/20 1:38 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/9/20 1:47 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/7/20 9:35 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Siavash 8/7/20 10:19 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/8/20 9:35 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Zachary 8/10/20 12:46 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/10/20 1:07 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Zachary 8/10/20 4:11 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/11/20 6:08 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/12/20 3:34 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/14/20 4:55 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/14/20 5:14 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/14/20 12:01 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/10/20 11:25 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/14/20 5:20 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/14/20 5:34 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/14/20 6:19 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/14/20 5:05 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/16/20 9:57 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/16/20 4:28 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Smiling Stone 8/17/20 3:51 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/18/20 6:48 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/28/20 10:19 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/18/20 6:49 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/20/20 9:42 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/20/20 10:00 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/22/20 8:02 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/23/20 12:56 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/23/20 9:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/23/20 2:33 PM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) Tim Farrington 8/24/20 1:01 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/27/20 6:53 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/27/20 7:05 AM
RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride) agnostic 8/27/20 2:36 PM
Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/26/20 9:21 AM
[Link to previous log]

It seems like as good a place as any to start a new log, now I’ve gotten “the joke” and am no longer seeking to become enlightened. This log is dedicated to “smoothing the ride” – practicing the jhanas and working with whatever subconscious material and latent hindrances are causing the bumps. The last log was dedicated to exploring my narcissism and that ended with me becoming no one (a.k.a. “the one” lol), so maybe this one too will be successful just not in the way I expect.

Here’s my ill-advised dharma self-DDx (Differential Diagnosis), a new term which I learnt from Daniel and is probably 98% wrong. I'm reasonably confident that I am either pre-SE, post-3rd or post-4th. Pre-SE because I haven’t experienced clear and repeatable MCTB/Mahasi-style momentary fruitions. Post-3rd because I did experience possible fruitions coinciding with path-like moments in practice – clear first glimpse of anatta (there’s no one here) and feeling of being sucked into the Dharma stream (SE), clearest fruition was possible 2nd path, possible 3rd path was extended depersonalization episodes which caused anxiety but were also recognized as reality (functioning can continue even if there’s no on here). Post-4th because of the realization (not just an intellectual idea) that 4th is not a personal attainment (“the joke”) because it’s the end of the personal perspective on life.

Just to give an example of what the end of the personal perspective means to me. Obviously the future still appears to be happening, but I’m not thinking like I used to “what do I want out of the rest of my life”, it’s more like “what does life want out of me”. And the past still appears to have happened, but it’s more like “what’s the best way to let the past conditioning dissipate skillfully in the present” rather than “I am so messed up because of my past”.

At this point for me maps and paths, while interesting, seem more like a source of attachment/suffering and an impediment to good practice (observing what arises without expectation or desire to get somewhere). But that could just be a reflection of my denial, narcissism or low practice standards.

Anyway, let’s see what comes up …

I went to bed early at 8:30pm with a powerful headache which seemed to arise as a result of new energy channels opened up by deepening meditation earlier in the day. I wake up a couple of times feeling depersonalized but the fear is manageable.

I wake up more clearly at 1:30am and start meditating. I’m expecting to get deeper and calmer but instead I’m mostly flailing around with poor concentration. Every time the samadhi deepens I get derailed by thoughts  and feelings and switch to trying to debug them with a half-hearted vipassana attempt. Several times I feel like either a nimitta or fruition is coming, but it’s not happening. Every time I start to settle in equanimity the mind throws up old memories of people and places. I’m reminded how meditation itself can seem like the source of suffering, although clearly this material is already in there so maybe it’s causing unconscious suffering even if I don’t meditate. But I’m still able to keep track of the sense that this is “not me” suffering, it’s just a computer defragging its hard drive to clean up all the old data files lying scattered about in different places.

I give up after 4 hours and fall into a light sleep. I have a dream where I’m revisiting various haunts of 15-20 years ago. I’m trying to get away to catch a train, but I keep getting delayed by people I used to know. I wake up suddenly with a feeling of being punched in the stomach and that I’m about to vomit.

Clearly the desire for jhana is a source of suffering (frustration at not attaining jhana). It’s just not clear to me if this suffering is unnecessary or was going to arise anyway because the mind will always be unsatisfied on some level if it can’t access its peaceful home in jhana. If it is necessary suffering then I would rather take the pain now as quickly as possible. If it’s unnecessary suffering then clearly I should stop practicing. My gut tells me that it is necessary. Actually logic tells me that too, since there’s no free will and yet here I am still practicing! The best way I can put it is that practice is just what seems to be happening at the moment.

Oh, there’s one other motivation. I lot of the distracting thoughts in my jhana practice are me trying to verbalize and explain what’s going on as if I was trying to teach it. I don’t actually want to be a teacher, but I do like figuring stuff out and explaining it. The process of finding the right formulation and writing it down releases the distracting thought pattern so I can keep making progress in practice. So I’m making some notes as I go and if I get anywhere interesting I will share them on here. A kind of “Hacker’s Guide to Jhana” if you like for people with spotty karma, poor concentration and limited time for practice/retreats. So, please feel free to comment with your own insights and jhana hacks. Let’s make this a collaborative effort!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/26/20 8:51 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Out of courtesy, I locked your last log so nobody can post there. If you don't want that just let me know.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/26/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks, but I'd prefer to keep it unlocked in case any new readers have specific questions and I might want to add something at the end as well.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/26/20 9:00 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Unlocked.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/26/20 9:07 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/26/20 9:17 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Spent a lot of time lying on my back this afternoon in the face of strong energy blockages. Relaxing, trying to feel into openings. The spine arches occasionally and there is some movement, but it's very slow progress.

Later a post on noting catches my eye and I reply. I haven't actually done much noting for ages, but afterwards I open my attention to the headache in a kind of diffuse vipassana way rather than the solid shamatha attention coming from breath jhana practice. Wow quickly the headache falls apart into delightful little particles and I'm in a very pleasurable vj2 and quickly down into vj3. For hours I was struggling to focus on the breath because the blockages were so strong, and this vipassana jhana method seems to solve the problem immediately. I guess sometimes the mind is more suited for shamatha and sometimes vipassana. But the net result seems to be the same in terms of progress through piti-sukha to equanimity. That's my second jhana hack now: if your concentration is fragmented/distracted then go the path of least resistance and do vipassana jhana.

Goal now is to spend longer in equanimity (either pc.j4 or vj4), increasing likelihood of nimitta or indeed fruitions (would be nice to get more clarity around those). Damn 12 hours ago I was giving up on mapping and now look at me ...

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/27/20 2:18 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I will follow your journey here. Interesting stuff how path can become unclear at some stage when applying Map of Insights to it. 

Im now in some mixture of pre A&P, post A&P and Jhana dropping the practice from Noting into Absorption. 

I basically don't care where this experience is on the Map as stuff seems to change rather fast and on its own anyway. Anicca all the way I guess. 

I happened to come across shargrol's quote saying that he let the mind go into Jhana when it was inclined for it or if dropping into more dull mind states and proliferation he would use gentle Noting. 

This seems to really be where my practice is right now. I have noticed this mind dropping into Jhana on its own even though I have decided to do full on Noting Aloud. So I just go with the flow and let the Jhana unfold. 
At first I was unsure about this as I trust Noting more than Jhanas. But reading shargrol's experience on this I'm now confident that mind knows where to go. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/27/20 5:41 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for reading and responding Papa Che. Do you happen to have the link to shargrol's post?

Yeah it seems like noting is better able to absorb the fractured energy of a distracted mind. I also noticed/was reminded that going through the vipassana jhanas the nanas are more compressed and the dark night is easier to handle in vj3. It can be just a quick spooky trip and I found myself sort of grooving to the spookiness of it and actually enjoying it in a slightly sinister way. I think I knew some of this stuff a few months ago but must have forgotten/suppressed it when I went off-piste in "3rd path" and my practice went much broader and intellectual/metaphysical and away from straight noting practice. Good to be getting back to basics!

You also reminded me of some stuff in Ajahn Brahm's book where he addresses this point. It's funny, I had forgotten about it and in my mind assumed that his approach was perfect samatha every time, no vipassana. But re-reading I see he includes this in a manner of speaking. I'm just gonna quote some passages here for my own benefit and anyone else reading cause it's good stuff.

From Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook by Ajahn Brahm

Letting-be meditation can become quite powerful. If your breath meditation or mettā meditation or any other type of meditation isn’t working, very often it’s because the foundation is incorrect. So just do the letting-be meditation. You can “sit out in the garden” and just let things be. Whatever is happening, that’s OK. Whatever you’re experiencing is fine—no preference, no choice, no good or bad, no argument, and no commentary. Just let things be. You can have a little bit of a inner speech, but only a commentary about “letting be.” Just be with what is. Just be with thoughts concerned with the meditation subject, but not about anything else. That way the meditation comes close to complete silent awareness of the present moment.
...
Master meditators who are about to begin meditating will first examine the state of mind that they are to work with. If they have been very busy, they know that they will be starting out with quite a coarse mind. So they may start with a simple letting-be meditation. Perhaps they see that their body is stiff, so they choose to do some walking meditation. When they see that their mind is not so rough, they take up present-moment awareness and then silent present-moment awareness. Master meditators know from experience when their mind is able to watch the breath or ready to begin mettā meditation. They know when to apply the finer tools such as full sustained awareness of the breath or of the beautiful breath. Meditation masters become so proficient in their craft that they know the right time to turn to the nimitta and how to polish it deftly until the mind enters jhāna. Thus a coarse mind straight from the busy office is transformed by the master meditator into the most beautiful, smooth, and radiant mind.
...
Foolish carpenters, in a mad rush, take a coarse piece of wood and begin rubbing it with a polishing cloth! They waste much time and destroy many fine cloths. In the same way, inept meditators, in a rush of arrogance, don’t even take time to notice the coarseness of their mind and try to use mindfulness of the breathing from the very beginning. They waste much time and create many problems for themselves.
So, please become familiar with the various types of meditation until you know when and how they should be used. Then every time you meditate, begin by examining the mind you have to work with, and you will understand which meditation method to use. You will become a doctor of meditation, diagnosing accurately before treating effectively.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/27/20 5:54 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Another thing I forgot to mention yesterday. I was lying on my back in the afternoon surfing the wake/sleep boundary, my mind was descending into a random jumble of thoughts and I the phrase "the way things might be" started playing on a loop in my head. Suddenly my awareness shifted a notch deeper and I woke up with a louder more assertive voice saying "the way things must be". I didn't get any more information than that, but it felt like I was tapping into a deeper level of mind where the future is "already known", I guess the area of subconscious drives which ultimately determine more of our behavior. I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it was quite striking. It reminded me of a similar hypnagogic experience 6 months ago when the voice said “there is no path, there is no path, there is no path, 100%”, which looking back on it now was quite prescient given where my practice went after that (non-dual, depersonalization).

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/27/20 6:15 AM as a reply to agnostic.
The link is posted in that very thread you linked to above. Brandon's thread. That link is posted by John W in that thread. Follow your link above ... follow the bread crumbs back to where you've already been ... emoticon 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/27/20 6:17 AM as a reply to agnostic.
When I get repeating phrases or images it's usually in the Re-observation and has Mysery+Disgust written all over it and Desire for Deliverance to make it bloody stop! emoticon Yours migh be something else. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/28/20 4:32 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Falling asleep again after early morning meditation, I heard the phrase “you will not marry Teresa Adams”. I understood it to be a portmanteau of St Teresa and Robert Adams, meaning I should not be wed either to ecstatic pain or dondualism.

In the last 24 hours I seem to have been in a mild dark night, which hasn’t happened for 2 months. Partly it’s a function of coronavirus fatigue returning and having to go back to bed. But there’s also been a hint of the thought “this shouldn’t be happening now I’m done”. I quickly realize that’s absurd, it’s not me that’s done and there’s nothing that shouldn’t be happening. I won’t be done until I’m dead because “I” is just an ongoing process and the only variable is the degree of objectification.

In mediation I’m becoming aware again of my aversion to equanimity. I don’t let myself enjoy it before finding fault with it. I find it “too calm”, like there’s something wrong with it or something missing or even that something bad will happen. I find myself bouncing back up to the higher jhanas or nanas on thoughts or energy spikes. It’s a physical habit due to my aversive conditioning, hardly conscious. So my current goal is consciously to remain for longer periods in equanimity and relax into the bounces.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/29/20 3:01 AM as a reply to agnostic.
When you say EQ "too calm" , could you try next time and feel if it's "too boring" instead? 
I find it has this "status-quo" like quality where all is just ok and there is no need to do anything. Not even move out of the way of an incoming stampede. 
There is a good reason why EQ is not the final stage to attain to. 
I don't find there is any compassion, altruistic joy and loving-kindness in this EQ stage. 
EQ in and of itself doesn't care about anything. It's all just ok. Status-quo. 

I prefer to treat it like DN = acceptance and just be with it, let it do its thing and inevitably Vanish. 

I might also be totally wrong on this as on your level that EQ stage might require some other understanding of it. 
Any way sharing is caring emoticon 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/29/20 6:21 AM as a reply to agnostic.
 So my current goal is consciously to remain for longer periods in equanimity and relax into the bounces.

Playing devil's advocate for a moment here: this is not something someone who has ended the involuntary seeking treadmill on the spiritual quest would say. I'm not picking a fight with you, agnostic, but I am wondering. Maybe you've had a really deep, long-lasting experience of non-duality or not-self that has caused this "done-ness" to enter into your self-assessment. I'm genuinely curious about what you think.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/29/20 9:06 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
When you say EQ "too calm" , could you try next time and feel if it's "too boring" instead?

Hah you read my mind! Yeah I find EQ too boring. Good bullshit detector :-)

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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4/30/20 8:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 So my current goal is consciously to remain for longer periods in equanimity and relax into the bounces.

Playing devil's advocate for a moment here: this is not something someone who has ended the involuntary seeking treadmill on the spiritual quest would say. I'm not picking a fight with you, agnostic, but I am wondering. Maybe you've had a really deep, long-lasting experience of non-duality or not-self that has caused this "done-ness" to enter into your self-assessment. I'm genuinely curious about what you think.

Good question!

The "I'm done" was an error of thinking, because the big insight was that the sense of I is an illusion. The illusory I will never feel like it’s done, but in reality nothing “needs” to be done.

It definitely wasn't an experience of non-duality or not-self. In my view experience is dualistic (requires an assumed self), whereas this was the absence of the experience of self. It’s still there (or rather not there), so long as I don’t start looking for it!

So why am I still practicing and trying to spend longer in equanimity?

One reason is that I'm looking for a smoother ride. But I accept that the ride is just a function of my aversive conditioning and the bumps are manageable, so thinking it needs to be smoother is just a source of dissatisfaction. Probably the ride will get smoother over time, but that’s not something I need to force in order to get somewhere.

Probably the real reason is that being on DhO surrounded by more skillful practitioners, I feel the need to match their attainments (fruitions and jhana) in order to be able to defend non-duality better, otherwise I’m open to the criticism that I'm just copping out. It's clearly just vanity, because non-duality is reality as I see it and doesn't need any defense. I'm also curious about whether having clearer fruitions will reveal some insight that I've missed. And hard jhana just sounds cool.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/30/20 12:16 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
When you say EQ "too calm" , could you try next time and feel if it's "too boring" instead? 
I find it has this "status-quo" like quality where all is just ok and there is no need to do anything.

Thanks Papa Che, you really nailed it with this one! I thought there was something wrong with me for finding EQ boring, but having someone else point it out for me helped me to accept it. Now when I find myself getting dissatisfied in EQ I just note 'boring, boring, boring' and the feeling passes emoticon 
Thanks again,
agnostic

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/30/20 8:35 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I was reading a post of shargrol about DN->SE and I realized that this recent DN is having a lot to do with the self-induced stress of self-diagnosis and fixating on paths and attainments. Without clear and repeatable fruitions it’s hard to know if I actually have SE. Maybe in my desire to believe I was making progress I just misdiagnosed a bunch of A&P type experiences as SE. The fact that I haven’t spent much time in EQ must be a red flag. The fact that kundalini is still so dominant must be another. Maybe depersonalization experiences were just psychological unfoldings. And maybe that whole non-dual metaphysical mind-fuck over the last few weeks was just a back-hand way of me trying to convince myself I’m done without saying “I’m done”. I feel stupid now, but opening up to this possibility seems to have shifted something inside, made me feel more human and vulnerable, and created a new opening into EQ. I’m just going to sit with that for now.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
4/30/20 9:12 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
I was reading a post of shargrol about DN->SE and I realized that this recent DN is having a lot to do with the self-induced stress of self-diagnosis and fixating on paths and attainments. Without clear and repeatable fruitions it’s hard to know if I actually have SE. Maybe in my desire to believe I was making progress I just misdiagnosed a bunch of A&P type experiences as SE. The fact that I haven’t spent much time in EQ must be a red flag. The fact that kundalini is still so dominant must be another. Maybe depersonalization experiences were just psychological unfoldings. And maybe that whole non-dual metaphysical mind-fuck over the last few weeks was just a back-hand way of me trying to convince myself I’m done without saying “I’m done”. I feel stupid now, but opening up to this possibility seems to have shifted something inside, made me feel more human and vulnerable, and created a new opening into EQ. I’m just going to sit with that for now.


Glad to read this post. Really.
Thanks for setting a good example for the rest of us "seekers" by the honesty and questioning in this post.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 2:32 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:

Glad to read this post. Really.
Thanks for setting a good example for the rest of us "seekers" by the honesty and questioning in this post.

Agreed.  emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 2:46 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
I was reading a post of shargrol about DN->SE and I realized that this recent DN is having a lot to do with the self-induced stress of self-diagnosis and fixating on paths and attainments. Without clear and repeatable fruitions it’s hard to know if I actually have SE. Maybe in my desire to believe I was making progress I just misdiagnosed a bunch of A&P type experiences as SE. The fact that I haven’t spent much time in EQ must be a red flag. The fact that kundalini is still so dominant must be another. Maybe depersonalization experiences were just psychological unfoldings. And maybe that whole non-dual metaphysical mind-fuck over the last few weeks was just a back-hand way of me trying to convince myself I’m done without saying “I’m done”. I feel stupid now, but opening up to this possibility seems to have shifted something inside, made me feel more human and vulnerable, and created a new opening into EQ. I’m just going to sit with that for now.

Nice one. I 2nd what siavash said. Here is something I found from shargrol which all of us will find useful and a good DAILY reminder to have really (print it out and place it close to the cushion) emoticon 
"

Not enough honesty, not enough investigation, not enough acceptance. Meditation basically has three aspects: an honest experience of one's condition and balancing the effort/investigation and the relaxation/acceptance of that condition. 


Not enough honesty and it becomes fantasy/spiritual bypassing.

Not enough investigation and it becomes indulgent daydreaming.

Not enough acceptance and it becomes aversive manipulation"

 It also helps to see ALL Experience as equal. SE or Itch at the nose, when these are actually here they are here and liberating, and as soon they become a story (Aboutism) they become part of the not-so-liberating self-validating proliferation. 
I know this can sound strange to compare Stream Entry to the Itch on my head but really emoticon at the end that's all they are; momentary experiences. 

What does help is ; when in such state then Noting those self-validating thoughts and views about maps and practice and Label them. Like 1-10 sensations/mental states/feeling per second. There could be: Uncertainty, doubt, insecurity, disappointment, self-pitty, wishful thinking, scenario spinning ... and lock these in with the feeling tone and body sensation and you are back in the game; honesty, acceptance, investigation. emoticon 

Try focus on the daily practice as if you had never practiced before and tomorrow might never come. Be curious about today's practice. Today Only. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 5:11 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for your kind words Siavash, Lars and Papa Che.

It's quite shocking to me how quickly I went from what seemed to me like an honest realization and acceptance of there being no one here and life happening by itself to positioning myself on here as some kind of mini-authority on something. I can see why self-diagnosis is ill-advised, it snowballs very easily. Even a few carefully placed "modest" and "wise" words of advice is enough to start positioning yourself as some kind of mini-expert.

I shouldn't bet that surprised, it's a classic narcissistic pattern - needing to be the best and if not the best then the worst, so long as I still get the attention. Sitting with that as well.

Thankfully none of this spiritual status-mongering is invested in my "real life", which still seems to be pretty good by my standards at least (I hope I'm not asking for trouble by saying that). I can see how things can get much more complicated if you have some kind of public spiritual presence. Yay for the ability to remain anonymous on the internet! Spiritual pride, watch that one ...

Meditation-wise, apart from watching the psychobabble, the main thing is this early equanimity recognition of the sukha-dukkha pairing. It seems I can't have one without the other, sukha in the form of pleasant afterglow from the strong piti bursts, dukkha in the form of facial pain also connected with the strong piti. I guess that's the point of equanimity, accepting you can't have one without the other and just being ok with that, watching them arise and pass.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 6:20 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
I was reading a post of shargrol about DN->SE and I realized that this recent DN is having a lot to do with the self-induced stress of self-diagnosis and fixating on paths and attainments. Without clear and repeatable fruitions it’s hard to know if I actually have SE. Maybe in my desire to believe I was making progress I just misdiagnosed a bunch of A&P type experiences as SE. The fact that I haven’t spent much time in EQ must be a red flag. The fact that kundalini is still so dominant must be another. Maybe depersonalization experiences were just psychological unfoldings. And maybe that whole non-dual metaphysical mind-fuck over the last few weeks was just a back-hand way of me trying to convince myself I’m done without saying “I’m done”. I feel stupid now, but opening up to this possibility seems to have shifted something inside, made me feel more human and vulnerable, and created a new opening into EQ. I’m just going to sit with that for now.
damn, i love you, agnostic.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:28 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
I love you too. Just be careful you don't fall for my narcissistic self-pity play!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:30 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
I love you too. Just be careful you don't fall for my narcissistic self-pity play!
unless you get better at it, no danger there.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:31 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I'm impressed, agnostic. Highest congrats, deepest sympathies. Seriously - I've been there, done that, been super embarrassed. It is HARD to come down from that. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:35 AM as a reply to agnostic.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm impressed, agnostic. Highest congrats, deepest sympathies. Seriously - I've been there, done that, been super embarrassed. It is HARD to come down from that. 

Thanks Chris. It's actually a weight off my shoulders.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 6:55 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I would like to apologize to anyone whose practice I affected by pretending to be something I’m not.

I’m also sorry for acting in a conceited and hostile way (often thinly disguised as humor or expertise).

Please do me and everyone else a favor and call me out any time you see me doing any of this stuff again.

If it would help you, feel free to let me know how I upset you or affected your practice. You can post it on here or send me a message, as you prefer.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/1/20 7:02 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Even if it is only on a forum with your virtual friends and peers, it takes some courage to bear the underbelly like this. Bravo, sir. 

Regarding your offer of apology or whatever. For my part, I thoroughly enjoy our good-natured sparring about these things. I find it helps my practice to sit with your ideas, try to poke holes in them in our posts, etc. 

Thank you for setting a good example (mostly), regardless of what's actually occurring. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 4:48 PM as a reply to T.
T:
Even if it is only on a forum with your virtual friends and peers, it takes some courage to bear the underbelly like this. Bravo, sir. 

Regarding your offer of apology or whatever. For my part, I thoroughly enjoy our good-natured sparring about these things. I find it helps my practice to sit with your ideas, try to poke holes in them in our posts, etc. 

Thank you for setting a good example (mostly), regardless of what's actually occurring. 

Thanks T.

I enjoyed our discussions as well, but I've got a much more reserved attitude towards such non-dual ideas/arguments now. I still think they probably point to the ultimate reality, but that can be intoxicating. Even if there is no ultimate meaning to anything or free will, 90% of the time I have to act like there is and short-circuiting that was just creating tension and suffering. I'm switching things around and going to spend 90% of my time on "mundane" practice again and just reserve 10% of my mental space for ultimate reality. I'll be interested to see how those proportions change over time if my practice progresses at all ...

Cheers
agnostic

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 7:51 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I’ve been reading the compilation of shargrol’s posts which is a real goldmine. I realize that I’ve been using too much effort to try to keep the mind on the breath, which just creates tension. That’s probably the reason for the headache I’ve been experiencing, which lessens when I relax more and let the mind follow the breath by itself. It really works, I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out! The difference is the change in attitude –  not getting annoyed when the mind wanders but accepting it and relaxing so that the mind comes back by itself. The process has a certain rhythm to it and feels like building a muscle memory. Most of the time I can only manage a few breaths unbroken, but even that is enough to deepen the concentration significantly.

I started using Kenneth Folk’s method of counting 10 breaths and noting any distractions. I kind of turned my nose up at it before because it sounded “too basic”, I thought I was after more important insights. But again it really works to dispel distractions efficiently, rather than letting the mind wander with them for ages.

One significant distraction I notice is thoughts about how I’m going to describe my experiences here on DhO. It’s like I want to describe the experience before I’ve given it a chance to really happen. It's due to vanity and greed. I read about other people’s experiences and think why don’t I have that, I want that. This creates a greedy mindset for having certain preconceived experiences, which is just a source of frustration and prevents the actual experience from unfolding. I’m noting that too.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 9:25 PM as a reply to agnostic.
One significant distraction I notice is thoughts about how I’m going to describe my experiences here on DhO. It’s like I want to describe the experience before I’ve given it a chance to really happen

A very good description for this narration in mind! I have it most times, on and off the cushion. It's not entirely new though, I had it before this practice too I think, since I used to record my dreams and some of my experiences. But it's a good mind virus. At least for me it has a benefit, and help with improving my English!

I don't know about Folk's method, but Leigh Brasington uses a counting method too which has gotten from Pa Auk sayadaw, and it was very helpful for me too. It's up to 8, not 10, which I think 8 works better for me than 10.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/1/20 10:00 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
One significant distraction I notice is thoughts about how I’m going to describe my experiences here on DhO. It’s like I want to describe the experience before I’ve given it a chance to really happen

A very good description for this narration in mind! I have it most times, on and off the cushion. It's not entirely new though, I had it before this practice too I think, since I used to record my dreams and some of my experiences. But it's a good mind virus. At least for me it has a benefit, and help with improving my English!

I don't know about Folk's method, but Leigh Brasington uses a counting method too which has gotten from Pa Auk sayadaw, and it was very helpful for me too. It's up to 8, not 10, which I think 8 works better for me than 10.

Richard Moss once told me that he would often catch himself in meditation sort of working up his experiences as they arose for presentation later in his teaching. He said it a little sheepishly. But it's sort of hard to imagine not doing something of that kind of rehearsal once in a while in our minds. We formulate and articulate to undertand and communicate our experiences, with an implied audience of people with a common language and experiences in the same neighborhood of reality; the mind does that; the mind is working on the stuff from the get-go and knows what it wants to do with the stuff. So let the mind do its work, and you do yours, which is to get free of identifying with the mind doing that work.

agnostic, quit giving yourself shit over this stuff, mate! That's what the rest of us are here for, to give you shit.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/2/20 5:44 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
It's good to know that I'm not the only one doing it! I don't feel bad about it, but it's a real distraction from keeping the mind on the breath. The fact that the mind thinks it knows what it wants to do with it is an extra layer of mental activity on top of the bare experience of breathing. I used to step back and let the story develop, which felt good, almost as if the story itself had become the meditation object. But that's definitely not keeping the mind on the breath any more, it's more discursive and the mind is less unified. I stopped identifying with the discursive mind as much, but concentration deepens much more quickly when I drop it altogether.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/2/20 5:59 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
It's good to know that I'm not the only one doing it! I don't feel bad about it, but it's a real distraction from keeping the mind on the breath. The fact that the mind thinks it knows what it wants to do with it is an extra layer of mental activity on top of the bare experience of breathing. I used to step back and let the story develop, which felt good, almost as if the story itself had become the meditation object. But that's definitely not keeping the mind on the breath any more, it's more discursive and the mind is less unified. I stopped identifying with the discursive mind as much, but concentration deepens much more quickly when I drop it altogether.

I think it helps to see yourself, in mediation at this point, as simply performing a Sisyphean task of interminable damnation, pushing a rock up a hill time after endless time, only to see it roll right back down to the bottom again. Reset. Le Bodhisattva Camus said, "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Why? Because he's got something to do to pass the time in hell, until all beings are saved. What's a little bit of mind blab, compared to the priceless gift of that rock? Body hauls the breath up to the top on the in-breath, fucking rock rolls all the way down on the outbreath. It keeps us off the streets, mate, where we might be a danger to ourselves or others.

damn, i love you. This arc of your through the last couple months will be studied like astronomers study the first pass of a new comet.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 6:34 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
I'm noticing that there is a critical point about a second after each distraction or thought arises, before "story mind" picks up the ball and starts running with it. That's the window of opportunity to relax and let the mind fall back onto the breath. I don't restart counting after that because it feels like a natural precursor to the  "jhana wobble" which Ajahn Brahm talks about. But I do restart counting once I've noticed that story mind has gotten going.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 6:51 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Part of the problem is that each time the concentration deepens through an unbroken run of breaths, then the stories become more inviting because the mind is more unified and can get into the story better. If I can manage a run of just 10 breaths then the concentration deepens noticeably, piti-sukha starts coursing and then it's really easy to get into a nice story for 10 minutes and think I'm having a successful mediation just because the mind is a bit more concentrated than normal and I feel so good. So I'm trying to make 10 breaths the baseline and then extend it from there.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/2/20 7:04 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:


One significant distraction I notice is thoughts about how I’m going to describe my experiences here on DhO (note; planning thought and even imagining if you see the forum in your mind). It’s like I want to describe (note; planning thought) the experience before I’ve given it a chance to really happen (note; expectation, guilt, anticipation, unpleasant). It's due to vanity and greed (Note; judging thoughts, self-pity). I read about other people’s experiences and think why don’t I have that, I want that (Note; judging thoght, guilt, self-pity, unpleasant, desire, urge to get) . This creates a greedy mindset for having certain preconceived experiences, which is just a source of frustration and prevents the actual experience from unfolding. I’m noting that too (are you really? )

I 2nd Siavash and think its very normal for thoughts to pop out here and there about this or that, and yes it happens to me too and I treat them like the ITCH on my nose! emoticon 
You say it yourself above, that you failed to give it chance to really happen and yet YOU ARE NOTICING THAT VERY MIND STATE without really knowing it  emoticon  (I've marked my commentaries in Bold above)
I dont want to push on you a certain method but I think you need something tat really keeps you away from pending time inside the hindrances like "guit thinking, and self-pity thinking and feeling" and see them for what they are and move on.
You mentioned KF above and his counting method, well he has some other tools which could actually be of more benefit to you at this time.
But we are talking about your mind here and you have all the right to do with it as you please of course. 

emoticon  

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 7:25 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks Papa Che, that is some very accurate analysis/noting.

Actually at this pont it seems like the breath is working now for samatha. After about 10 breaths I start to get into the "beautiful breath" as Ajahn Brahm calls it and the counting falls away. I'm just going to enjoy that for a bit while I can!

But this whole discussion about DhO storytelling has been very helpful for me. I felt like it was my "guilty secret" and now it's out in the open I can laugh about it and it's lost its hold on me emoticon 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 7:35 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Good man emoticon  

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 7:49 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
It's funny, after our interaction I found myself slipping into vipassana on some kind of interpersonal mind stratum on quite an objective basis. I was just watching feelings around "should" and "shouldn't" in relation to other people, thoughts around wanting to impress them or being afraid of disappointing them or annoying or upsetting them. It wasn't in relation to you or anyone else specifically, it was just watching the underlying mechanics at play in a clunky and transparent way. Thanks again!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 7:55 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Thanks Papa Che, that is some very accurate analysis/noting.

Actually at this pont it seems like the breath is working now for samatha. After about 10 breaths I start to get into the "beautiful breath" as Ajahn Brahm calls it and the counting falls away. I'm just going to enjoy that for a bit while I can!

But this whole discussion about DhO storytelling has been very helpful for me. I felt like it was my "guilty secret" and now it's out in the open I can laugh about it and it's lost its hold on me emoticon 
Papa Che taught me almost everything i know about learning vipassana language of noting, using that amazingly simple and effective technique of marking in bold the ways in which you are already noting in current practice.

Interesting that the "beautiful breath" is happening spontaneously for you now. That's what we in the siddha yoga dham used to call "auspicious." lol. (If all sentient beings are to be saved, then every fucking godawful step of the way is, of course, auspicious. Some of the steps are just so much less painful than others. Beautiful breath is close to as painless as it gets.)

Glad we outed you on your guilty secret. I think i missed what it was. Could you endure another round of humiliation and public shame and tell me, or at least refresh my memory? I mean, I missed it. I think you came out with it while I thought you were pissed at me and was lying low.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 8:25 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Agnostic, we all harbor a desire to be special and have special experiences. That's the Quest mentality, the seeking mentality. It has to be ridden, tired out, captured, hogtied, and tamed. In a way, that's the whole path, right there. (You've seen the Ten Oxherding Pictures?) That takes a long time. Eventually, what that mentality truly is will be revealed. Maybe every time you can catch yourself in that thought process, take a brief pause and ponder it. What, and why, is it?

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 8:40 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Agnostic, we all harbor a desire to be special and have special experiences. That's the Quest mentality, the seeking mentality. It has to be ridden, tired out, captured, hogtied, and tamed. In a way, that's the whole path, right there. (You've seen the Ten Oxherding Pictures?) That takes a long time. Eventually, what that mentality truly is will be revealed. Maybe every time you can catch yourself in that thought process, take a brief pause and ponder it. What, and why, is it?

Quit fucking with the guy, he's doing shamatha. He's got the beautiful fucking breath!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 8:50 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
He can handle it. Just look at what he's been through the past few months!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
He can handle it. Just look at what he's been through the past few months!
Well, yeah, clearly, the fucker's indestructible, beginning with that bulletproof ego. But he's got the beautiful breath, man! It's like he got R-and-R from Nam! Let him fuck the locals and drink until he pukes, apply, lather, rinse, repeat. He'll be under that heavy fire again soon enough. We don't want that combat fatigue to get worse. He's already started APOLOGIZING to people.

sorry for the caps, i know you HATE THAT shit.

but i know you can handle it. 

emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 9:02 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Have you been drinking coffee again? I can see your raised hackle from out here in the midwest.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 10:09 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
i might have had a cup or two.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 11:36 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim, the "guilty secret" was the desire to present my experience in a certain way to conform to an expected ideal of what should be happening in practice based on other people's experiences. I wasn't pissed with you at all, I learnt a lot from you prompting me to think about the story mind - thanks.

Chris, yes we all have a desire to be special but for a narcissist it is a much stronger need because it is compensating for feelings of shame and worthlessness. But it's ok, I can see it for what it is now. It's just a protection mechanism which has long outgrown its original purpose.

Actually, just having this conversation this morning in a mindful way, I feel like there is some rewiring going on in my social brain. For the narcissist mindset, every interaction is a minefield loaded with risks of self-abasement and opportunities for self-aggrandization. It’s powerful to be able to watch those emotions at play from a distance as it were, without identifying and getting involved so much.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 11:42 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Chris, yes we all have a desire to be special but for a narcissist it is a much stronger need because it is compensating for feelings of shame and worthlessness. But it's ok, I can see it for what it is now. It's just a protection mechanism which has long outgrown its original purpose.

I think I get that. But what I was referring to is something different, and it applies to all yogis and meditators (even those who are narcissists). I was talking about the innate assumption that there is a specialness to the "I/me/mine" thing we all experience. That assumption is what has to be seen through - or as I said earlier, wrestled to the ground.

<Gotta go, before Tim catches me here again...>

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/2/20 1:56 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Oh yes that special story, you're right. I feel like I might have exhausted mine, or at least a good chunk of it. I was going over some old threads last night and realized that it's the same story that's played out before. I think J C put it really well in this thread:

My theory is that thinking you're done is an essential step in the process because if you think you're done, and then you realize you're not, it helps you let go of your attachment to being enlightened and your identification as enlightened.

I came here looking to learn, but there was also a feeling that somehow my story must be different or more special, like I was going to be the "the one". I stopped learning because I ended up defending my sense of how special I was. Probably that's the real reason I came on - to confirm my sense of how special I must be - and I  wasn't learning anything very significant. The outcome of this last few weeks has been by far the greatest learning experience. It's nice that we can all learn from each other like this in a safe and accessible environment without having to go off and join monasteries!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/3/20 9:40 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Yesterday morning I was in EQ with a calm stable focus on the breath. In the afternoon I tried to focus on the breath again but couldn’t due to the usual painful energy in the third eye and brilliant mind which demanded my attention. Presumably this is A&P. I know it’s not about me being special, but it still feels special. After while I got tired of being transfixed by the brilliance and my energy crashed, so I lay down to rest and went through a mild DN.

DN/Reobs revolved around watching my thoughts to do with enlightenment. I never actually thought I was enlightened, I thought that enlightenment is the realization that the individual does not really exist (apart from the khandhas). But I certainly felt special about this realization, so maybe that’s effectively the same thing as a “premature claim to enlightenment”. I realize that thoughts about enlightenment are just escapism; the reality is that I’m still cycling and only just learning to stay in EQ. Not that there’s anything wrong with A&P or DN per se, but EQ is certainly a smoother ride so why avoid it by obsessing about enlightenment? It’s just a loaded word which I’ve been fantasizing about on and off for 25 years.

It’s funny how I wasn’t aware of the nanas at all during the last 6 months, whilst in the 6 months before that I had been very aware of them. Looking back it seems what I was probably still cycling, but the cycles were longer because I wasn’t aware of them. I was in an intellectual space trying to achieve some kind of Grand Unified Theory of Enlightenment. Now I’m out of that it feels like coming back to being human again and processing emotions and psychological mind strata. I feel much more vulnerable right now and my emotions are tender and immediate.

In the evening I expected to be back in EQ, but it was A&P again. I couldn’t settle it, so I went to bed and in the early morning awoke from a disturbing dream (next post) which seemed to mark the DN. Once I processed the dream I was back in EQ. Instead of grasping after EQ as somewhere to get to, I feel that it’s more helpful to see EQ as the reward for processing my DN stuff.

Here’s a trick I’ve learnt to avoid getting lost in “reporting mind” if the thoughts are too compelling: write them down as you go so you can avoid trying to warehouse them while you meditate. It’s better to spend 2 minutes writing the thought down and then 8 minutes meditating thought-free, than 10 minutes meditating with the thought still circling around in your mind.

I was struggling to string together more than 2 or 3 breaths without the mind wandering and I discovered a better way than trying to count to 10 and restarting the whole time and getting frustrated. JUST SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE CURRENT BREATH WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED. That’s a much more attainable goal! And once you’ve done that, then try to make it to the end the next breath. And the next one. The beauty of this method is you’re not constantly trying to decide whether to restart counting when distractions arise, you just automatically come back to the current breath. And because you’re not trying to keep count and worried about making it to 10, you are free to really appreciate the unique quality of each and every breath.

This method removes the performance anxiety associated with trying to make it to 10, because you only have to make it to the end of the current breath and as soon as you notice you are distracted then you are right back on track again, trying to make it to the end of the current breath. With this method I find that a distracting thought might start to emerge and I think “let me make it to the end of the current breath before giving this thought my attention”. What seems to happen then is that the thought somehow gets processed without fully coming into awareness. And then when I get to the end of the breath I’m more relaxed and it’s easier to say “well I got this far why not see if I can make it to the end of the next breath?” rather than thinking “I’m only on 3 and I’ve got 7 more to go, how long before I lose it?”.

The current breath method also allows you to relax more in the gaps between the breaths, which can get really long and peaceful. Then it becomes “can I make it to the end of the pause without getting distracted?” A lot of the progressive relaxation seems to happen after the outbreath and before the next inbreath. With the 10 breath method I worry about losing count and try to keep the number in mind and end up starting the next breath early in order to keep count. Also, as the concentration deepens, there can be a lot of variation in the breathing due to the energetic shifts and releases. The current breath method really allows you to let those unfold according to their own natural rhythm, whereas the 10 breath method give rise to anxiety about losing count which disturbs the rhythm.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/3/20 9:49 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Today's Dream
I’m a junior reporter for the Times in the 70s interviewing an alcoholic bully who is accused of abusing his niece and 2 nephews who live with him after something happened to their parents. He is very controlling and makes us sit in different parts of the room away from him to ask questions. Often he has his back to us. His bottles of alcohol are arranged very neatly and spaced apart. He lives in a sparse modern apartment at the top of a skyscraper which I looks like it’s in Manhattan but is actually Charlotte NC, so he informs us. He is single and a thoroughly unpleasant man, who is not ashamed of what he is doing but whose only concern is to avoid being convicted by the authorities he looks down upon. I wake up feeling disturbed and wonder if he is me or my father, but he reminds me more of my grandfather, who was an alcoholic but not an abuser so far as I know (although there was a history of abuse in my grandmother’s family). Probably he is just a creation of my mind representing my worst fears about myself.

After waking up, processing the dream and meditating to EQ, I go back to bed and have a very restful sleep and a nice dream where I am talking with my sister and guess that she is pregnant.

Yesterday's Dream
I had a familiar dream about being back in my old work environment, where I was very messed up. Usually I feel stuck in these dreams and threatened by the people/environment, and I wake up with a feeling of dread in my stomach because haven’t moved on from that time in my life. In this dream the people seemed less threatening and more human, I felt some genuine concern and even affection for them. The environment felt more neutral and whilst I still felt a little unpleasant on waking up, I feel that something has “moved on” a bit in my subconscious. I feel like it’s connected with dropping my “front” here on DhO, because I had to maintain a massive front to survive in that work environment.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/3/20 10:00 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Yesterday morning I was in EQ with a calm stable focus on the breath. In the afternoon I tried to focus on the breath again but couldn’t due to the usual painful energy in the third eye and brilliant mind which demanded my attention. Presumably this is A&P. I know it’s not about me being special, but it still feels special. After while I got tired of being transfixed by the brilliance and my energy crashed, so I lay down to rest and went through a mild DN.

DN/Reobs revolved around watching my thoughts to do with enlightenment. I never actually thought I was enlightened, I thought that enlightenment is the realization that the individual does not really exist (apart from the khandhas). But I certainly felt special about this realization, so maybe that’s effectively the same thing as a “premature claim to enlightenment”. I realize that thoughts about enlightenment are just escapism; the reality is that I’m still cycling and only just learning to stay in EQ. Not that there’s anything wrong with A&P or DN per se, but EQ is certainly a smoother ride so why avoid it by obsessing about enlightenment? It’s just a loaded word which I’ve been fantasizing about on and off for 25 years.

It’s funny how I wasn’t aware of the nanas at all during the last 6 months, whilst in the 6 months before that I had been very aware of them. Looking back it seems what I was probably still cycling, but the cycles were longer because I wasn’t aware of them. I was in an intellectual space trying to achieve some kind of Grand Unified Theory of Enlightenment. Now I’m out of that it feels like coming back to being human again and processing emotions and psychological mind strata. I feel much more vulnerable right now and my emotions are tender and immediate.

In the evening I expected to be back in EQ, but it was A&P again. I couldn’t settle it, so I went to bed and in the early morning awoke from a disturbing dream (next post) which seemed to mark the DN. Once I processed the dream I was back in EQ. Instead of grasping after EQ as somewhere to get to, I feel that it’s more helpful to see EQ as the reward for processing my DN stuff.

Here’s a trick I’ve learnt to avoid getting lost in “reporting mind” if the thoughts are too compelling: write them down as you go so you can avoid trying to warehouse them while you meditate. It’s better to spend 2 minutes writing the thought down and then 8 minutes meditating thought-free, than 10 minutes meditating with the thought still circling around in your mind.

I was struggling to string together more than 2 or 3 breaths without the mind wandering and I discovered a better way than trying to count to 10 and restarting the whole time and getting frustrated. JUST SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE CURRENT BREATH WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED. That’s a much more attainable goal! And once you’ve done that, then try to make it to the end the next breath. And the next one. The beauty of this method is you’re not constantly trying to decide whether to restart counting when distractions arise, you just automatically come back to the current breath. And because you’re not trying to keep count and worried about making it to 10, you are free to really appreciate the unique quality of each and every breath.

This method removes the performance anxiety associated with trying to make it to 10, because you only have to make it to the end of the current breath and as soon as you notice you are distracted then you are right back on track again, trying to make it to the end of the current breath. With this method I find that a distracting thought might start to emerge and I think “let me make it to the end of the current breath before giving this thought my attention”. What seems to happen then is that the thought somehow gets processed without fully coming into awareness. And then when I get to the end of the breath I’m more relaxed and it’s easier to say “well I got this far why not see if I can make it to the end of the next breath?” rather than thinking “I’m only on 3 and I’ve got 7 more to go, how long before I lose it?”.

The current breath method also allows you to relax more in the gaps between the breaths, which can get really long and peaceful. Then it becomes “can I make it to the end of the pause without getting distracted?” A lot of the progressive relaxation seems to happen after the outbreath and before the next inbreath. With the 10 breath method I worry about losing count and try to keep the number in mind and end up starting the next breath early in order to keep count. Also, as the concentration deepens, there can be a lot of variation in the breathing due to the energetic shifts and releases. The current breath method really allows you to let those unfold according to their own natural rhythm, whereas the 10 breath method give rise to anxiety about losing count which disturbs the rhythm.

"JUST SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE CURRENT BREATH WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED. " --- The One

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/3/20 10:04 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Chris, yes we all have a desire to be special but for a narcissist it is a much stronger need because it is compensating for feelings of shame and worthlessness. But it's ok, I can see it for what it is now. It's just a protection mechanism which has long outgrown its original purpose.

I think I get that. But what I was referring to is something different, and it applies to all yogis and meditators (even those who are narcissists). I was talking about the innate assumption that there is a specialness to the "I/me/mine" thing we all experience. That assumption is what has to be seen through - or as I said earlier, wrestled to the ground.

<Gotta go, before Tim catches me here again...>

"JUST SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE CURRENT BREATH WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED." --- The One

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/3/20 10:07 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Hey Agnostic, 

I just saw this and skipped through it, you are very reflected and it's a lot of fun following your journey. Thanks a lot for the help and the good read!(:
All the best! 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/3/20 10:38 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Wow, I seem to have missed a lot happening on this forum lately. Great development, agnostic! Premature claims of attainment - or of non-attainment in your case - is a very human thing, but lots of people are unwilling to see through it, and if they eventually do, many are too embarrassed to admit to it. Being able to handle this kind of deflating of an air castle is tough for anyone, and you are dealing with it very gracefully and learning from the experience. I think that is much more impressive than a fast ride. 

You haven't affected my practice negatively in any way. Your helping me through a fear reaction was real. The discussions about attainments and no self and so forth helped me to see some things I need to work with. I hope and believe that the future holds a more thorough relief for you, with much less tension and pain, and I hope I'll get to follow it when it happens.

A&P experiences can seem like The Shit indeed. I seem to be going through a set of strong A&P:s now, and Jeeze, do they feel like utter miracles. I can relate to basically everything you have written about feeling special or non-special too, including dictating reports while in the midst of meditating (I'm working hard to let go of that). 

One good thing in this is that the rest of us seekers get to continuosly enjoy your company in the seeking. I like that, because you are good company. 

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5/3/20 3:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks for your kind words Linda. I like following your journey too and have more appreciation now for your gentle style.

It seems like my intellect decided it had THE ANSWER because it lost patience with the process that was still going on in my body/mind. Who knows whether that process has an end or not, but no amount of theorizing is going to make it go away (even if it's not ultimately "real").

For anyone else who is reading and might be wondering if they are in a similar situation, if you are honest with yourself you know if you are still suffering. It's scary thinking about opening up about it, but as you can see people are supportive and you will feel much better afterwards when you get back in touch with what's really going on.

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5/3/20 4:35 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:

For anyone else who is reading and might be wondering if they are in a similar situation, if you are honest with yourself you know if you are still suffering. It's scary thinking about opening up about it, but as you can see people are supportive and you will feel much better afterwards when you get back in touch with what's really going on.

I think it is worthwhile to put this by Daniel Ingram, "The Isolation of Blowing It" up again, for "anyone else. . ."

For all of us, kids. Agnostic is different only in his scathing-self-abusive honesty. Most of us just let the big fart rip and then hope the stench goes away fast.

The Isolation of Blowing it":

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4462226

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5/3/20 8:53 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Another thing I just had to re-learn: it's normal for the attention to get more diffuse in DN. I was getting frustrated about not being able to focus well and eventually I remembered - that's the way it's supposed to be. Once I relaxed and accepted that the focus is a bit off - stopped resisting it - then I found I was back on the breath fine and quickly moving towards EQ again.

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5/4/20 2:27 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Dissolution can have an a EQ feel to it when there is acceptance there. That wide peripheral attention and that chilled out feel, like it's all "ok". 

If you can try and catch that "urge" that's saying "I'm in EQ now, I'm ok now" get into it some more. Note that urge, that yearning to get to EQ. Try and find a body sensation associated with it, some feeling tone. Get really into.
Try not to rush. 

But then again you just might be in EQ stage and you can ignore the above emoticon 

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5/4/20 2:31 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Dissolution can have an a EQ feel to it when there is acceptance there. That wide peripheral attention and that chilled out feel, like it's all "ok". 

If you can try and catch that "urge" that's saying "I'm in EQ now, I'm ok now" get into it some more. Note that urge, that yearning to get to EQ. Try and find a body sensation associated with it, some feeling tone. Get really into.
Try not to rush. 

But then again you just might be in EQ stage and you can ignore the above emoticon 

I'm in Re-Observation and agnostic is nowehere in sight, upstream or downstream.

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5/4/20 4:55 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che, you're reading my mind again!

I seem to be more broadly in EQ now and cycling through fractal cycles EQ.A&P->EQ.DN rather than top level A&P->DN, which is easier and faster. Before I was in A&P/DN for hours at a time on/off the cusion, whereas these fractal cycles are a few minutes each on the cushion. The cycles are triggered by energy/piti bursts, which I relax into and watch integrating through my body in pressure waves. There is some pain associated with the feeling of the body being “worked on”, although it feels very therapeutic and healing.

I had dream about being critical of people here on DhO and upsetting them through aggressive practice suggestions. I woke up feeling slightly unpleasant and it was very clear to me how criticism is just a subtle form of anger.

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5/4/20 5:14 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Dissolution can have an a EQ feel to it when there is acceptance there. That wide peripheral attention and that chilled out feel, like it's all "ok". 

If you can try and catch that "urge" that's saying "I'm in EQ now, I'm ok now" get into it some more. Note that urge, that yearning to get to EQ. Try and find a body sensation associated with it, some feeling tone. Get really into.
Try not to rush. 

But then again you just might be in EQ stage and you can ignore the above emoticon 

I forgot to say thanks - that's a really nice and helpful way to describe the process.

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5/4/20 6:54 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I admit it's not easy to navigate through all this as the self-validation process is very normal for us. 

It is so easy to slip into it especially when those self-validating thoughts/perceptions are about this practice. 

Part of me is practicing noting while another part is anticipating and desiring attainment of sorts emoticon 

One can either choke this one with full on noting 1-10 sensations a second in case of not much clarity or if there is clarity to it have a more laid back attitude and keep noticing that sense of sub-self desiring a certain attainment and watch it to death emoticon 

I like how Shinzen talks about changing gears depending on the terrain. This really asks for being grownup and really look. Do I want to wallow in self pity or do I want to do insight practice? What is this terrain? Is it clear? Is it muddy? Is it lovely? Is it foggy? ... adjusting the gears accordingly. 

sorry for unleashing this train of thoughts. I might be telling this to myself really emoticon 

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5/4/20 9:20 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Don't worry, telling it to yourself telling it to me is as good for me as it is for you. emoticon 

Yeah I think it's very common (for me at least) to think a lot about your practice as you are practicing. It can feel like practice itself. It's not if you are not aware of it, but once you become aware of it (as you clearly are) then it's grist for the mill. I think over time we can start to take our practice so seriously that it takes over a big part of the identity we had before. Untangling that is really important (talking to myself here as well).

As I was trying to fall back asleep, my mind felt clear but there was some tension in my body. I realized it was anxiety over a submerged thought that someone might be competing with or judging my practice (which I don’t actually think you are). As soon as I became aware of that thought, the anxiety vanished and was replaced by a warm feeling of gratitude for having someone who cares about and is supporting my practice. emoticon 

Oh yeah, of course you know, anticipating or desiring attainment is the one thing guaranteed to make sure it doesn't happen. I do that all the time too. We just have to find that nice place in our practice where we are happy doing it for its own sake. As a wise man once said to me:

That wide peripheral attention and that chilled out feel, like it's all "ok" ... Try and find a body sensation associated with it, some feeling tone. Get really into.
Try not to rush. 


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5/4/20 10:12 AM as a reply to agnostic.
No competition on this side mate. 

Im in a spot where practice is realization and realization is practice. 

Within this vast ocean of samsara only that raft is really worth holding onto.

Allthough,
I will keep my distance if that is the feeling you get when engaging with me. Competition is of No interest to me. Pass.

emoticon 

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5/4/20 1:00 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
No competition at all, we're good. emoticon

I was just being honest about some of the thoughts and feelings that come up. It's more a function of my narcissistic personality than anything to do with you.

Please don't keep your distance, I really appreciate your help. emoticon 

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5/5/20 6:44 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Spent most of yesterday in EQ then sat through another DN in the evening. It was a powerful one, a lot of painful energy flowing down from the face and then the neck cricking and the spine re-aligning. Nothing personal about it though, it's happening now whether I like it or not and the only thing I can do is get out of the way and let it happen, otherwise it's just attempts at control and resistance prolonging what has to happen. At a certain point I felt like Lieutenant Dan in the storm - is this all you got?  The energy/pain was so strong that I couldn't focus on anything else so I was just genuinely curious how strong it could get. That kind of marked the peak and then I was subsiding into early EQ and tired to bed.

I'm consciously meditating more at night now, to release subconscious material. There are three main techniques. 1) Letting myself fall asleep meditating and watching the ego stream dissolve. 2) Lying on my back in bed and watching myself fall asleep, which often generates anxiety or depersonalization as ego dissolves, so just getting more comfortable with that process. 3) Waking up during the night every 2-3 hours (I drink water before sleeping to wake me up for a pee) to write down dreams and meditate for a bit before falling asleep again. The ego anxiety is less then and it’s more about letting the “clear natural light” of the mind shine through and watching myself asleep.

The thing which pulls me out of EQ most is the urge to find something to do with it. Like wow this feels so good I should write a post or find a post to respond to. There is still some anxiety about losing it so I want to try to try to capture it in some way, which of course is what makes me lose it. As it becomes more baseline it will be easier to enjoy it for what it is.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/5/20 3:38 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I had some slightly manic energy this morning and then some dissatisfaction and irritation, but still felt equanimous underneath, so seems like EQ.A&P and EQ.DN. Sat after lunch in a powerful EQ.DN. Piti/pain was probably stronger than yesterday’s top-level DN but I actually felt good about being worked over, like getting a very strong massage. There was none of that “oh I can’t wait for this to end and get to EQ”, it was more like “keep going, I’ve got as long as you need”.

I had some more thoughts about how attention varies through the nanas/vipassana jhanas, which are close to MCTB but with a slightly different spin:

- Pre-A&P/VJ1 it feels like you need to use effort to put the mind onto the object.

- In A&P/VJ2 the object becomes so exciting that you lose track of the mind.

- In DN/VJ3  the object feels like it is disappearing and the focus has gone. What is actually happening is that the center of attention has gone from being outside the object to inside the object, hence it can no longer be seen with an external perspective.

- In EQ/VJ4 it feels like the object is filling or pervading the mind, which becomes saturated or absorbed in the object. The object and the mind have fused.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 6:47 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I was back in A&P yesterday evening, waking from sad dreams in DN and then meditating into EQ again. It’s becoming a familiar cycle.

I got a new psychological perspective on cycling and control:

- In A&P one feels in control of one’s experience, producing it through selective use of attention. Control seems to be working and experience is buzzy and exciting.

- The flipside of control is exposed in DN. Experience loses its luster and we feel like we are to blame for making things bad.

- Eventually we realize that the problem is not experience itself, it is the assumption of control which causes the cycle of positive and negative feelings towards sense objects. We realize that there is in fact no controlling entity, sense objects are just arising and passing by themselves. We surrender the illusion of control and are now content to watch pleasant and unpleasant objects arise and pass, without feelings of elation and despair. Equanimity reigns and experience is fine just the way it is.

One can observe the same cycle play out over a lifetime. As a child we are faced with a confusing world over which we have limited control. Over time we learn to have some degree of control over the world and feel like masters of our own destiny to a certain extent. When things go well we feel great and reward ourselves. When things go bad we feel bad and punish ourselves. Life being what it is, eventually enough bad things happen that are beyond our control and we get depressed, realizing that we can never have enough control over our lives to make our experience satisfactory enough. If we are lucky we see this and surrender the illusion of control and then life is ok whatever happens, which will increasingly include the inevitabilities of aging, disease and death.

Meditating in EQ this morning and watching experience get increasingly grainy, I felt feel like I finally understood the connection between attention and dependent origination. I understood that dependent origination was the process by which one sense object “gives rise” to another. I understood that the process of placing attention on one object after another was also a causal chain which “just happens” (i.e. there is no homunculus deciding to direct attention). But I didn’t realize that they are the same thing, because I thought that DO was creating objects whereas attention was selecting from among pre-existing objects. But no, DO is that very same process of selecting one object after another from the sense field of all possible objects (including ideas) of which once could be aware at any point in time. The process of selection is what creates the mind stream and the narrative of being an individual.

Anyone care to critique?

The analogy which came to mind is going shopping in a supermarket, where the products are the sense objects (including ideas) and the shopping cart is the mind. As we go through the supermarket, we are driven to select certain products and reject others based on our preferences and aversions. Selecting a product is like placing our attention on a sense object. When we put it in the cart then it becomes part of our memory. The contents of the cart define our identity, everything that we have experienced up to that point in time. The contents of the cart could equally well be defined by what we have selected or what we have rejected. By selecting certain products (focusing our attention) we automatically avoid a lot of the other stuff in the vicinity. By avoiding certain products we are driven towards others (“denial” or “escapism”). In this analogy, nibbana would be wheeling the cart through the store and scanning every product but neither selecting nor rejecting anything, ending up at the checkout with a completely empty cart.

I felt the mind inclining towards cessation a couple of times, but it doesn't seem ready to let go yet.

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5/6/20 6:53 AM as a reply to agnostic.
DO is that very same process of selecting one object after another from the sense field of all possible objects (including ideas) of which once could be aware at any point in time. The process of selection is what creates the mind stream and the narrative of being an individual.

So experience the result of a selection process? I think I need to hear more about your theory.


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5/6/20 7:05 AM as a reply to agnostic.
emoticon
But I didn’t realize that [DO and attention] are the same thing
well, they're not.

love, tim

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5/6/20 7:06 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I have a question too (No answer on my side):

Is there such a things as mind separate from sense objects?
If we remove all sense objects, do we still have something called mind?
What about attention?
Is attention separate from sense objects?
If we remove all sense objects, do we still have something as attention?

Thanks.

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5/6/20 7:16 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash, in my experience there is no consciousness (or attention) without both a subject and an object.

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5/6/20 7:19 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
I have a question too (No answer on my side):

Is there such a things as mind separate from sense objects?
If we remove all sense objects, do we still have something called mind?
What about attention?
Is attention separate from sense objects?
If we remove all sense objects, do we still have something as attention?

Thanks.
ooh! Great questions. I've been trying to figure this out myself! 

I hope someone whose experience would give them an inclination will chime in with an answer. 

From my investigations so far: No, there is no such thing as mind separate from sense objects in experience. It can't be shown, anyway. When not perceiving any of the six sense objects a'tall, one is....? dead? in cessation? Parinibbana? Attention is a feature of awareness/mind, so... I don't know. ha! My investigation continues. 

The second two questions are super interesting, also!

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5/6/20 7:20 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Siavash, in my experience there is no consciousness (or attention) without both a subject and an object.


so succint. 

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5/6/20 7:22 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Siavash, in my experience there is no consciousness (or attention) without both a subject and an object.


Thanks Chris. With my limited experience, I think that's my understanding too, that attention is not separate from sense objects.

But,
What you mean with subject and object?
If we have a sense object, like a sensation in body, or the mental image of that sensation, or a mental talk, if we take this as a sense object, what is the subject here?

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5/6/20 7:29 AM as a reply to T.
T:
Chris Marti:
Siavash, in my experience there is no consciousness (or attention) without both a subject and an object.


so succint. 
Chris, what about Franklin Merrell-Wolff and his bone-breaking tome on The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object? You said you read it as a young geek.

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5/6/20 7:40 AM as a reply to Siavash.
If we have a sense object, like a sensation in body, or the mental image of that sensation, or a mental talk, if we take this as a sense object, what is the subject here?

Siavash, I'll answer your question with a question: what is it that's always the subject? What is that thing that all of our experience is processed through?

Tim, I certainly did read that book, but poor Franklin Merrill-Wolff didn't get the process of perception part right. Neat book, though.


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5/6/20 7:40 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon
Tim, I certainly did read that book, but poor Franklin Merrill-Wolff . . .
I must respectfully inform you, beloved friend, that them's fightin words.

didn't get the process of perception part right. Neat book, though.
By "get the process of perception right", do you mean philosophically, as in the language game of his book, or are you talking about his process of perception as read between the lines of his book, or in reports of his experience in the book?

love, tim

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5/6/20 7:45 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
By "get the process of perception right", do you mean philosophically, as in the language game of his book, or are you talking about his process of perception as read between the lines of his book, or in reports of his experience in the book?

I mean dependent origination - how the mind processes incoming sensory information. He didn't seem to have investigated that in great depth. He was speaking from another, different set of realizations, which can be valid in and of themselves.

I'm not picking a fight. Please stand down.

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5/6/20 7:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
By "get the process of perception right", do you mean philosophically, as in the language game of his book, or are you talking about his process of perception as read between the lines of his book, or in reports of his experience in the book?

I mean dependent origination - how the mind processes incoming sensory information. He didn't seem to have investigated that in great depth. He was speaking from another, different set of realizations, which can be valid in and of themselves.

I'm not picking a fight. Please stand down.
Sometimes the fight picks us.

Thank you for that "please."

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5/6/20 7:50 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Siavash, I'll answer your question with a question: what is it that's always the subject? What is that thing that all of our experience is processed through?

On my part..., well I don't know.
There is this sensation in my finger, that I feel it, and see image of my hand, and have mental image of that sensation in the mind including mental images of this space and the location of sensation, but how that feeling, seeing, knowing happens, I don't know. How I see this mental image of my hand, does it know itself, or something perceives it or not, I don't know.

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5/6/20 7:51 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
I try to be polite - at least as much as I can. I used the "stand down" language on purpose. You know... military jargon and stuff.

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5/6/20 7:52 AM as a reply to Siavash.
There is this sensation in my finger, that I feel it, and see image of my hand, and have mental image of that sensation in the mind including mental images of this space and the location of sensation, but how that feeling, seeing, knowing happens, I don't know. How I see this mental image of my hand, does it know itself, or something perceives it or not, I don't know.

This is perfect!

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5/6/20 7:54 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
Chris Marti:
Siavash, in my experience there is no consciousness (or attention) without both a subject and an object.


Thanks Chris. With my limited experience, I think that's my understanding too, that attention is not separate from sense objects.

But,
What you mean with subject and object?
If we have a sense object, like a sensation in body, or the mental image of that sensation, or a mental talk, if we take this as a sense object, what is the subject here?
The one taking the object

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5/6/20 7:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon
yeah, i know, i almost used some military jargon too. With all due respect, if you know what I mean, Sir.

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5/6/20 7:57 AM as a reply to T.
The one taking the object

Thanks T,
I refer to my above post, that I explained how I don't know what is that thing that takes the object, or is there any taking in the first place or not.

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5/6/20 8:07 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
The one taking the object

Thanks T,
I refer to my above post, that I explained how I don't know what is that thing that takes the object, or is there any taking in the first place or not.

I completely understand what you're saying about that. Sorry, I should have been more thorough - the subject is the assumed point of the "viewer" perceiving the thing taken as the object, as far as I can tell. The subject is an assumption - awareness consists of the senses doing their thing. Without either - neither happen and therefore neither "exist." Without senses there is no awareness; without awareness there is no sense of assumed subject; without assumed subject, there is no you. Only, there never was a you in the first place - there was only the senses acting as awareness taken to be a subject perceiving objects - as opposed to all sensations sensing. edit--> and nothing more.

In my experience and understanding, sir. I know very little. 

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5/6/20 8:15 AM as a reply to T.
If I understand correctly what you are saying, then:

the subject is the assumed point of the "viewer" perceiving the thing taken as the object
This above things, is only a mental image, or a set of mental images, forming the space, direction, size, speed and etc.

consists
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

doing their thing
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

happen
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

"exist."
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).


Thanks.

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5/6/20 8:18 AM as a reply to T.
I thought there can still be Awareness even if all senses vanish like in Samatha Jhana. 

I might be totally off on this as I never managed to pass 5th Jhana (back in 2009). 

One thing seems certain (seems is a key word here) for Awareness to be there must be Consciousness. Or maybe these are one and the same. 

Matters little. Insight will Shmack when ready. 

Thinking, thinking, thinking, scenario spinning, itching, itching .... 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 8:18 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
If I understand correctly what you are saying, then:

the subject is the assumed point of the "viewer" perceiving the thing taken as the object
This above things, is only a mental image, or a set of mental images, forming the space, direction, size, speed and etc.

consists
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

doing their thing
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

happen
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

"exist."
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).


Thanks.
I think so. All sensations. Bupkis. 

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5/6/20 8:19 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
If I understand correctly what you are saying, then:

the subject is the assumed point of the "viewer" perceiving the thing taken as the object
This above things, is only a mental image, or a set of mental images, forming the space, direction, size, speed and etc.

consists
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

doing their thing
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

happen
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

"exist."
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).


Thanks.

Nice one emoticon 

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5/6/20 8:29 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
I thought there can still be Awareness even if all senses vanish like in Samatha Jhana. 

I might be totally off on this as I never managed to pass 5th Jhana (back in 2009). 

One thing seems certain (seems is a key word here) for Awareness to be there must be Consciousness. Or maybe these are one and the same. 

Matters little. Insight will Shmack when ready. 

Thinking, thinking, thinking, scenario spinning, itching, itching .... 
I don't know shit, PCD. I'm just highlighting my understanding of it, which is clearly super limited to... this mind over here. 

In jhana awareness is happening, at least until it isn't. Right?

Once it's not, is there much difference between the likely experience of being dead, totally unconscious, or the deepest darkest sleep you've ever had?

I don't have any idea. My guess is there's little difference. The problem is that my very limited experience of this body and limited access to... big mind or whatever...tells me I've never been dead yet. I have been in super deep sleep and knocked unconscious. The only part that sucked about the latter is coming to and having a very sore face/head, whatever. Being without those sensations was totally fine (I think) since "I" didn't know it. 

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5/6/20 8:50 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Siavash:
If I understand correctly what you are saying, then:

the subject is the assumed point of the "viewer" perceiving the thing taken as the object
This above things, is only a mental image, or a set of mental images, forming the space, direction, size, speed and etc.

consists
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

doing their thing
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

happen
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).

"exist."
Another set of mental images (and or mental talks and or mental bodily sensations).


Thanks.

Nice one emoticon 
I think I'm lost on the subtext here.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 8:59 AM as a reply to T.
I think I'm lost on the subtext here.

Can you clarify a little more?
I didn't get that it was about my post or Papa Che's post.


-- Sorry agnostic for kidnapping your log.

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5/6/20 9:11 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
I think I'm lost on the subtext here.

Can you clarify a little more?
I didn't get that it was about my post or Papa Che's post.


-- Sorry agnostic for kidnapping your log.
Both? That's what I'm lost about. I wasn't sure if you were trying to point something out to me that I'm missing in your reply. Then I had no idea what Papa Che meant but it seemed like you were on to something in his mind. Which means I'm missing something and lost. 

edit: the idea that it's all sensations (including mental activity/thoughts) is what I was getting at and you seem to have underscored. Maybe I'm not lost...? 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 9:22 AM as a reply to T.
I don't know what was in Papa Che's mind emoticon
But I think you get my point. I just meant that the sense of me (subject) standing here watching a tree (sense object) over there, is just a set of sensations similar to the image of that tree. Only that, the image of the tree seems to be (or coming from) outside, but the image of me looking at tree is (or coming from) inside, and that the concepts that we have of these, like inside/outside/seeing/coming/etc, are also some similar images that are forming such concepts.

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5/6/20 9:32 AM as a reply to Siavash.
nice

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5/6/20 9:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
DO is that very same process of selecting one object after another from the sense field of all possible objects (including ideas) of which once could be aware at any point in time. The process of selection is what creates the mind stream and the narrative of being an individual.

So experience the result of a selection process? I think I need to hear more about your theory.


Just to be clear, I'm not trying to make a new theory, I'm trying to understand DO as it relates to the sense that I have of moving my attention around to create the stream of experience which I conventionally think of as "being me". Maybe selecting is the wrong word, I don't mean that there is someone doing the selecting. I probably should have used "clinging", although again that doesn’t mean there is someone doing the clinging. Let’s say attention is on a particular object, that object is felt as the object of “my experience” (clinging). That object then leads to the next object via DO. Eg the object is a rumble in the tummy which then leads to the next object which is the thought “what shall I have for breakfast?”

Actually “attention” is just a proxy for what’s going on. DO is just one thing being a condition for another, no self implied. There’s no one paying attention and there’s no attention without an object, there’s just objects arising in succession according to DO. The clinging (“this is my experience”) is what sustains the whole process. No clinging, nibbana, just objects arising and passing without the unsatisfactory sense that this is “my experience".

Even in formless jhanas there are objects (space, consciousness, nothingness, even 8th jhana seems to be something), although I’ve only had shallow experience of these.

Thanks for the inputs and discussions everyone. Sorry for the slow response time, I'm in the middle of home schooling!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 9:47 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
I don't know what was in Papa Che's mind emoticon
But I think you get my point. I just meant that the sense of me (subject) standing here watching a tree (sense object) over there, is just a set of sensations similar to the image of that tree. Only that, the image of the tree seems to be (or coming from) outside, but the image of me looking at tree is (or coming from) inside, and that the concepts that we have of these, like inside/outside/seeing/coming/etc, are also some similar images that are forming such concepts.
Yea!


Or it least it seems that way to me. 


Finding what's inside or outside is very difficult. Perhaps it's all actually in the same place.  

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 8:11 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Chris Marti:
DO is that very same process of selecting one object after another from the sense field of all possible objects (including ideas) of which once could be aware at any point in time. The process of selection is what creates the mind stream and the narrative of being an individual.

So experience the result of a selection process? I think I need to hear more about your theory.


Just to be clear, I'm not trying to make a new theory, I'm trying to understand DO as it relates to the sense that I have of moving my attention around to create the stream of experience which I conventionally think of as "being me". 
In light of anatta, who is "moving the attention around"? I'm not word-quibbling no self language here, because i think you're dead wrong on this and that attention is something other than any of its contents, any of what may seem to be its manipulable or movable or directable elements. Have you never experienced the attention actually and spontaneously moving as if on its own? Or even counter-intuitively, or against your intention? There is something more than a tool going on here, user or no user.

Actually “attention” is just a proxy for what’s going on. DO is just one thing being a condition for another, no self implied. There’s no one paying attention and there’s no attention without an object, there’s just objects arising in succession according to DO. The clinging (“this is my experience”) is what sustains the whole process. No clinging, nibbana, just objects arising and passing without the unsatisfactory sense that this is “my experience".
 Again, i simply think from my mown experience that you're just plain wrong on this. Attention is a proxy for nothing. It is the condition for Do, but causally independent of it.
Even in formless jhanas there are objects (space, consciousness, nothingness, even 8th jhana seems to be something), although I’ve only had shallow experience of these.
well then slow down on making theories based on them emoticon

Thanks for the inputs and discussions everyone. Sorry for the slow response time, I'm in the middle of home schooling!

now that is dharma pragmatic!

love, t

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 3:39 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Actually “attention” is just a proxy for what’s going on. DO is just one thing being a condition for another, no self implied. There’s no one paying attention and there’s no attention without an object, there’s just objects arising in succession according to DO. The clinging (“this is my experience”) is what sustains the whole process. No clinging, nibbana, just objects arising and passing without the unsatisfactory sense that this is “my experience".

Agnostic, this hard for me to understand as you're throwing out so many terms, and I'm not sure accurately. I feel like you're kinda flailing around without actually just sitting down and observing these things with the speed and the level of detail at which they will eventually reveal themselves.


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5/6/20 4:09 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash:
I don't know what was in Papa Che's mind emoticon


I don't know either really hence observing it intently emoticon itching, itching, planning thoughts, uncertainty, itching ... (I can't even remember getting myself involved in this discussion! Mindfulness lapsed I'm guessing emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/6/20 7:58 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I was hit by post-viral fatigue again this afternoon and spent several hours in bed just watching physical and mental phenomena: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts and memories. It seemed like just an unending stream of phenomena, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, and everything subject to the three characteristics. My mind seemed to be looking for a way out, but there was none. I couldn’t maintain focus on the breath, so eventually I gave in and took up noting because that was the only thing I could do. As I noted the more complex phenomena lost their “objectness” and disintegrated into sensory “quanta”. I think Daniel calls them vibrations, and their do seem to be overlapping vibration patterns, but it’s so chaotic I prefer to think of it as Brownian motion where the sensory particles are just being randomly buffeted around as they collide with each other. It felt overwhelming at times but not particularly distressing, just the way things are.

The sukha/dukkha dichotomy is really apparent in the relaxation process. I’m “trying to relax” by looking for points of physical tension or mental blocking, which cause dukkha. When I find a blockage I relax into it, which releases it, and sukha flows. But the new level of relaxation just reveals deeper levels of blockage. And so the process continues, seemingly without end. But applying the more precise noting tends to dissolve the sukkha/dukkha phenomena into particles, which lose their pleasant/unpleasant properties and meld into the unified sense field.

And so on it goes, an intense flow of sensory particles. Not bad, not good, just the way it is. It feels like there should be a cessation in there somewhere, but that’s just another thought to note and let pass.

Maybe, just maybe, there is some kind of watcher or overarching awareness there, but noting tends to make even that vanish. A lot of the time there's hardly anything to note apart from very fast blips which can't be accurately noted. There seems to be "a sense of the mind itself" which is light and radiant, but that is more like the jhana aspect which I can hang out in for a while before the fast and tiring vipassana starts up again.

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5/7/20 5:01 AM as a reply to agnostic.
The investigation into the 5 khandhas and 3 Cs continues almost on autodrive it seems, waking me up in the middle of the night for hours of meditation. It's intense but the body and mind seem to know what they are doing so I trust in the process, what else can be done. The minds seems to switch between vipassana and samatha according to the needs of the moment. It's hard to do while in lockdown with the family, but the viral fatigue gives me the cover I need. Or maybe it's just meditation fatigue and I'm selfishly isolating myself for an impromptu home retreat. Chicken and egg, can't tell which. There's just a strong inner sense of this is the way things are and this is the way they have to be.

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5/7/20 5:37 AM as a reply to agnostic.
It's amazing the stuff that's stored in the brain. I was just surfing the sleep-wake border and a detailed image popped into my head of a random food store I once went into 25 years ago. Really, at a time like this, that's what's important to be processing?! Maybe it's not so surprising - the ability to remember a specific animal's tracks from 25 years ago could have been the difference between life and death for most of human history. Kind of makes you realize that for all that importance we place on fancy metaphysics and music, that's probably only 1% of the brain, the rest being some mix of hunter-gatherer, mammal and reptile (19%, 30% and 50%?)

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/7/20 6:07 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
It's amazing the stuff that's stored in the brain. I was just surfing the sleep-wake border and a detailed image popped into my head of a random food store I once went into 25 years ago. Really, at a time like this, that's what's important to be processing?! Maybe it's not so surprising - the ability to remember a specific animal's tracks from 25 years ago could have been the difference between life and death for most of human history. Kind of makes you realize that for all that importance we place on fancy metaphysics and music, that's probably only 1% of the brain, the rest being some mix of hunter-gatherer, mammal and reptile (19%, 30% and 50%?)


I notice this a lot when doing Shinzen's techniques for working with mind. Namely See In, Hear In, and Auto Think. One image leads to another image that seems to be totally unrelated, to parts of memory that if I wanted to intentionally think about them, I wouldn't find them or remember that they had happened.

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5/7/20 9:12 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Yeah it's an interesting insight into the how memories are constructed and maintained, this watching yourself falling asleep business. It's like there's a massive software program running in the background which you are mostly unaware of and have no idea how it works. And yet these memories are conditiong everything in your experience all day long.

EDIT: It's also mostly image processing, after the initial burst of random word processing. It makes you realize how much of your sensate memories (including thoughts) is stored as visual representation. Just like in dreams, mostly visual, even thoughts and communications are just "known" in dreams without verbal expression most of the time (for me at least).

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5/7/20 10:09 AM as a reply to agnostic.
It's surprising how unhinged the mind can become, in a controlled way, due to insight meditation. I was sitting on the toilet staring at my black flip-flops on the bathroom floor and felt them morphing into sinister living entities. Then I go back to helping my kids and no one is any the wiser. I only tried a strong dose of LSD once and it was too much to handle; this is a natural high but it's the same kind of trippiness. The synapses are firing more slowly and observably, going off in different directions at times. It makes you realize that normal everyday reality is just a more tightly controlled trip. The mind can create anything it wants out of pretty much anything else it seems.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/8/20 6:10 AM as a reply to agnostic.
At times like this of high intensity in my practice, there seems to be a tension between “pushing the envelope" vs "letting it settle". In favor of pushing the envelope, I don’t have a lot of time for practice (kids, no retreats) so I want to deepen insight while I have the opportunity. I’m afraid of letting it pass and my practice stagnating. In favor of letting it settle, the deepening insight feels harsh and has some slightly spooky psychological effects. Not that this really puts me off, maybe I’m actually drawn to it because I feel that this is the way deepening insight is “supposed to feel” so it’s a “sign of progress”. But I don’t know if that’s really true or just masochism. Then I hear the voice in my head saying “let it settle”, and I wonder if that’s good advice or a cop out.

Not that I feel I really have much choice in the matter. Practice just seems to be happening by itself in fluctuating cycles of intensity according to some inner dynamics I don’t really see. Also the type of practice varies in cycles: insight vs serenity (often within sits, although the overall focus varies over time) as well as periods of more intellectual/metaphysical investigation. And then I wonder whether this is “good practice” because I’m following my gut and trusting that the body/mind knows what to do, or “bad practice” because I’m just wallowing around and I should be more structured and maybe have a teacher.

Maybe these are all just things to be noted: feelings of should vs shouldn’t, ideas about choice, autonomy, practice and purpose. Ultimately I know there’s nowhere to get to but right here in present experience and there is no one really making these choices, and yet experience seems to be shaped by choices of practice …

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/8/20 6:13 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Maybe the answer is just to devote the intensity towards letting it settle.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/8/20 6:13 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
At times like this of high intensity in my practice, there seems to be a tension between “pushing the envelope" vs "letting it settle". In favor of pushing the envelope, I don’t have a lot of time for practice (kids, no retreats) so I want to deepen insight while I have the opportunity. I’m afraid of letting it pass and my practice stagnating. In favor of letting it settle, the deepening insight feels harsh and has some slightly spooky psychological effects. Not that this really puts me off, maybe I’m actually drawn to it because I feel that this is the way deepening insight is “supposed to feel” so it’s a “sign of progress”. But I don’t know if that’s really true or just masochism. Then I hear the voice in my head saying “let it settle”, and I wonder if that’s good advice or a cop out.

Not that I feel I really have much choice in the matter. Practice just seems to be happening by itself in fluctuating cycles of intensity according to some inner dynamics I don’t really see. Also the type of practice varies in cycles: insight vs serenity (often within sits, although the overall focus varies over time) as well as periods of more intellectual/metaphysical investigation. And then I wonder whether this is “good practice” because I’m following my gut and trusting that the body/mind knows what to do, or “bad practice” because I’m just wallowing around and I should be more structured and maybe have a teacher.

Maybe these are all just things to be noted: feelings of should vs shouldn’t, ideas about choice, autonomy, practice and purpose. Ultimately I know there’s nowhere to get to but right here in present experience and there is no one really making these choices, and yet experience seems to be shaped by choices of practice …
I'm doing a one-trick-pony thing today, mate!

I believe this wisdom applies to Every Fucking Moment on the Path, Any Path.
 
Shargrol
"A gentler approach is to have the intention to stay on the breath, allow for both success and failure to happen, and when failure eventually happens (which of course it will, that's built into the practice, no big deal) --- then the important part of practice happens: noting what was so seductive to the mind. The important thing isn't to get a A+ in class for staying on the breath, it's to learn about how your own mind works. It's learning directly what seduces the mind, and once we know, we can't be very confused anymore. Over time, with the gentler approach, the mind will follow the intention and stay on the breath and it will be a much more sustainable. It won't require effort because your practice didn't require effort with the gentler approach. The mind can hold breathing in awareness without a big struggle".

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5/8/20 6:35 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Thanks Tim, that's a very relevant quote from shargrol.

While you were posting I meditated on this apparent choice about practice for a bit and recognized it as a macro level version of the interplay between tension and relaxation which is happening at every moment in practice. It feels like the same thing as vitakka and vicara (applied and sustained attention on the meditation object). It’s  “pushing practice” vs “riding practice”. It’s dukkha vs sukha. And I guess the goal if there is one is equanimity, just watching dukkha and sukha arise and pass without identifying with either.

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5/8/20 6:52 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Thanks Tim, that's a very relevant quote from shargrol.

While you were posting I meditated on this apparent choice about practice for a bit and recognized it as a macro level version of the interplay between tension and relaxation which is happening at every moment in practice. It feels like the same thing as vitakka and vicara (applied and sustained attention on the meditation object). It’s  “pushing practice” vs “riding practice”. It’s dukkha vs sukha. And I guess the goal if there is one is equanimity, just watching dukkha and sukha arise and pass without identifying with either.
O Noble One, Is it not said in the sutras that dukha sucks-a, and sukha is just deep doo-dookha?

Your practice is an inspiration to me, and to all feeble-minded nut jobs everywhere. It is a benefit and a blessing on us, the lowest of the low, and it also makes the angels sing.

love, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/8/20 7:16 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Don't put yourself down mate, your practice is just fine just as it is, even when it sucks - especially when it sucks - that's when you're "earning your wages" as Ajahn Brahm puts it.

And suddenly just like that I’m in deep equanimity and everything is ok with life and practice. I feel like I could sit for hours and now I have to school the kids. Amazing how the mind can switch from angst to equanimity so quickly. Paraphrasing Maha Bua here, everything seems to point back to a subtle fluctuation in the citta between dukkha and sukha. One minute the mind is bright and inviting, the next it is slightly tarnished and dissatisfactory. One day practice sucks and the next it is perfect. This fluctuation is all relative to an assumed reference point – me – that is making the judgement between good and bad. In reality the mind is probably perfect and that’s all that’s going on here.

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5/8/20 8:51 AM as a reply to agnostic.
The only unsatisfactory thing about equanimity as far as I can see is the fear of losing it, the knowledge that it can't last forever. Is this why we need to "let go of equanimity" itself? Just like everything else, it comes, it goes, no problem?

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/10/20 3:58 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I went to bed early last night and woke up after 2 hours, having been somewhat lucidly thinking about emptiness during my sleep. I felt depersonalized but less anxious than usual and meditated through it. There was strong 3rd eye energy/pain as usual in A&P and then quick DN and into EQ and back to sleep. I’ve started trying Linda’s suggestion of using my nada sound as meditation object, and it seems quite powerful. It is less physical than the breath so it keeps the mind away from the body, which seems to allow the energy process to work faster without me tracking it every step and somehow getting involved or trying to control it.

It’s harder to keep the mind on the nada sound and it caused some anxiety at first because I’ve conditioned myself over 25 years to think of “my tinnitus” as being a scary problem, but it seems to be working. I looked at a tinnitus self-help book I had (Rewiring Tinnitus by Glenn Schweitzer) and he basically says the same thing:- meditate on the sound so that you habituate yourself to it and associate it with relaxation to change your framing of the sound. It’s amazing to think that here is another “medical/psychological problem” which is basically just a framing issue with a natural body-mind phenomenon (the others for me were depression->DN and DP/DR->anatta). Schweitzer mentions an experiment where people without tinnitus were given headphones and told they were going to be played sounds and to report what they heard. Nothing was played through the headphones but 95% of people reported hearing tinnitus-like sounds.  So basically it seems that “people with tinnitus” are just people with an adverse reaction to something that everybody has.

I basically cycle between A&P, DN and EQ every 12-24 hours now if I’m not meditating and as soon as I get a chance to sit I can get from to EQ if I start in A&P/DN or if I start in EQ then I usually trigger an A&P in the form of new and deeper 3rd eye energy/pain. I’m accepting the cycling more now as something that just needs to happen and there’s less desire to get to EQ or fear of losing EQ. It seems that the body/mind knows just about how much energy/pain can be safely released at a time and my job is just to be patient and let it play out.

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5/10/20 4:47 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Just reading this allowed me to suddenly hear the nada sound, which I've never noticed before. 

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5/14/20 8:37 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Having been through a few more cycles and thinking about dependent origination, it's becoming clear how craving (tanha) pulls me out of equanimity. Either I crave excitement/interest off the cushion or I focus on piti/energy in meditation, which tends to send me back to A&P/VJ2. Or else I resist unpleasant sensations/feelings, which knocks me back into DN/VJ3. Just seeing that lessens the craving a little, giving me space to think do I really want to go through another cycle?

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5/15/20 2:47 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Just a little suggestion; for those interested to read you in a more phenomenological way emoticon I know you know it but we don't and for the sake of letting us follow you could you log in a way you write as above After you first mention something like;

Sat once for 45 minutes. Practice Speed Noting/Shamatha/self-inquiry/Metta/whatever. 

Strong stiffness in the lower back. Effort was easy. Lots of scenario spinning thoughts. Concentration was strong. Mostly pleasant. Lots of restlessness. Lots of doubt. Was joyful. Lots of itching. The itching felt sharp then it turned into a massaging warble ... 

and then include all you mentioned above. 

This is up to you of course. It might keep people more interested in following you and giving better tips and suggestions. 

Dunno emoticon I might be just talking gibberish as I'm experiencing bad case of stiff neck today. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/15/20 11:57 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Ok I'll try it for a bit. My practice is pretty haphazard depending on conditions, but maybe it's helpful for me and others.

Sat for 10 minutes before lunch after spending 1 hour preparing a detailed post on dependent origination. Experiencing strong warm feelings of bliss in the solar plexus area, also some painful energy sensation in the face maybe related to anxiety over posting in detail about DO. But even the pain feels quite nice, like a warm pulsating energy massaging my face. Some nice feelings about Papa Che taking interest in my practice, as well as some hope/expectation that being more disciplined might result in "progress". Then thoughts questioning the relevance of progress. Feel I would like to sit for longer because the feelings are so nice, but need to make lunch for kids, but maybe if I had more time the feelings wouldn't be so nice and I'm deluding myself about how nice it all is. Probably just overthinking this intial detailed post. More to follow later ...

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5/15/20 10:28 PM as a reply to agnostic.
The pleasant feelings and satisfaction persisted throughout the afternoon and evening meditation, which hasn’t happened for a while.  Something seems to have crystallized around my recent study/meditations on dependent origination – seeing clinging really clearly as the central source of dissatisfaction, both on and off cushion – and listening to this interview with Dhammarato. I realized that my recent fixation on enlightenment, paths, lack of fruitions and depth of jhana is just a source of dissatisfaction. It smacked me in the face - the central goal of Buddhism is reduction in dissatisfaction and so the only metric which matters in practice is one’s own subjective assessment of relative dissatisfaction levels. My dissatisfaction levels have decreased very significantly compared with two years ago and that’s much more important than whatever path I think I might be on.

I prefer dissatisfaction as a translation of dukkha rather than suffering because elimination of suffering sounds so unattainable, like you are supposed to be ok with getting cancer, whereas eliminating dissatisfaction is about not getting upset when things don’t quite go your way or you have a disagreement with someone – much more attainable. Seriously unpleasant stuff is still going to happen from time to time, but in my experience one adapts surprisingly quickly to that since you don’t have a choice whereas it’s the day in, day out levels of dissatisfaction which really determine one's happiness.

Evening meditation was only 30 minutes but it was less painful than usual. Although the third eye energy is still strong, I seem to be more accepting of it so maybe more aware of the pleasant sensations and less of the painful. My meditation technique at the moment is really just focusing on the breath, relaxing and allowing a happy, calm, peaceful disposition to settle. If that’s not happening then I investigate whatever hindrances are in the way. Tonight there were a lot of thoughts about describing on here where my practice is at, but I didn’t feel like they were a hindrance, they just seemed to be some kind of unfolding “practice review” which was rolling through my mind. It felt a bit like when my mind was doing “psychological chunking” a few months ago, like a sort of self-administered deep therapy and I could really feel the mental plates shifting. This time the plates are all about practice and purpose. I’m kind of just coming to a much less ambitious acceptance about practice – that it’s fine just to cultivate a pleasant equanimous mental state. Maybe one can get attached to that, but given I’m working off such an aversive personality base it seems like decent enough mid-term objective.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/16/20 1:43 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Those thoughts are hindrances if they babble for more than a moment or two! Note (aloud if necessary) and return to the safest objects = body sensations. Mind States is were scenario proliferation happens and is doing no good as it gets Easily Justified as being OK , because I ponder about this very Noble Path it must be ok. 

In your case I would suggest the Zen attitude; 
"while practicing Zazen, if you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha!" meaning ALL ideas/thoughts/scenarios concerned with the Dhamma are best to be cut down with the sharp sword of Noting/Labeling and move on towards the much safer investigation of body sensations. 

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5/16/20 6:48 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Good advice thanks Papa Che, only saw it after my morning meditation which is much more psychobabble than body sensations.

Woke up this morning from a dream where I had gone back to my childhood home to shelter from a stray nuclear missile that was detected heading for southern england. No one else was there and I wondered why everyone was being so blas
é about it. Then I heard on the radio that the missile was coming and I looked out of the window to see it flying low overhead. I ran to the back of the house and saw it coming down a few fields away, then swooping up at the last minute and crashing back down about half a mile away. I woke up as the first reverberations from the explosion hit the house. Possibly the dream has something to do with inserting myself into the Bhikkhu Analayo Mindfulness thread.

I meditated for 30 minutes upon waking. I felt slightly unsettled from the dream, but that passed quickly and there were warm pleasant feelings originating from the third eye energy field. Frequency of waves is about one per second, each one expands out mostly horizontally from temple to temple but also some vertical dilation from forehead to cheeks. Still a bit painful but with a pleasant undercurrent. Strong though, so quite a distraction.

Lots of thoughts about the Mindfulness thread and dependent origination. Realized that I'm clinging to the ideas of DO, even although it's all about reducing clinging, which is ironic. I still want to get my long DO post out to see what people think, or am I just looking for confirmation of my interpretation?

I heard my son waking up just after I started meditating, which meant that I was aware "the clock was ticking". Generally I have feelings of guilt around meditating unless the kids are in bed, because it feels selfish to be ignoring my family.

Didn't investigate body sensations much more than that. Was only able to focus on the breath for a few seconds at a time at most, but every time I did that I felt like I was tapping into a deep pool of satisfaction and wellbeing. There's still some anxiety about losing it and a feeling of not deserving it, but I tell myself I didn't ask to be born and I suffered enough even if my life conditions were generally good and a lot of the suffering was of my own making.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/16/20 1:29 PM as a reply to agnostic.
This morning off cushion there were some slight feelings of disatisfaction and irritation around the thought of "should I be noting more and thinking less".

Sat for 45 mins after lunch. Disatisfaciton faded quickly and pleasantness arose. Then got tired (not enough sleep). Didn't fight tiredness (hindrance of aversion), let myself nod off a few times and jerk back with deeper concentration. Got really deep and calm with a big lighter visual ball starting to appear, then 3rd eye energy started up again. Every time I ignored it just got more powerful. Ended up playing the familiar game of how much can I ignore it before it gets so strong I can't ignore it any more. Towards the end started abandoning caution and thinking let it rip, got some big energy waves and brighter light but "the big one" never comes, or at least not on my meditation doses of 1-2 hours. 

Thoughts were mostly a 3-way between how much meditation/energy rip I could take vs taking a nap vs rejoining the family.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/16/20 9:17 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Sat for an hour before bed. Felt much calmer and more settled (napped in the afternoon). Still adjusting to coming out of post-viral fatigue, sometimes having usual energy and sometimes crashing and needing more rest.

Meditation was mostly analyzing how attachment to thoughts arises and becomes an identity and creates dissatisfaction (i.e. dependent origination). Thoughts like "I should do this", "my practice should be more like this", "I should be more like this" etc. Trying to slow down that process and really watch how it grows link by link, also recognizing that "I" is just a placeholder, a feeling of contraction, which holds the whole chain together but doesn't refer to anything beyond that.

Found myself dipping into samatha a few times, grooving on the breath and getting some quick pleasure bursts, offset by some pain in the forehead. Then back to noting/insighting thought processes. There just doesn't seem to be much appetite at the moment for fine noting of bodily sensations. I've done it in the past and may do again, but right now the body sensations feel pretty pleasant and blissful all over and it is thoughts which are creating disatissfaction. Trying to stop the thoughts by forcing the focus onto the breath/body just creates tension, the natural way seems to be watch them arise, try to create a little space and avoid getting wrapped up in the storyline.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/16/20 11:05 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Read the Mindfulness of Breathing Sutta for the first time in a while before bed and got sucked into meditating for another hour, initially to test it out again and then getting into drawn into the self energy work/reiki or whatever it is. It's just really powerful and it feels like it has to work through, no way round it. I can sleep or give it a few days or whatever but when I sit there it is again. Energy practice is just feeling for the resistance points and trying to relax them so the waves can flow more freely. There's quite a bit of heavy breathing and moans and groans etc. Nothing really planned, just spontaneous surfing energy that is already arising as soon as I focus on the breath. I am getting tired of it though, like I want this thing to be done already. Equanimity is so much calmer, but unless I'm missing a trick it seems I just have to accept it and let it happen.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 6:57 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Went to be later than I wanted because high energy made it hard to fall asleep. Eventually resorted to masturbating to calm me down. Meditating was just making me more buzzed up. Woke up feeling tired and a bit grouchy due to lack of sleep, meditated for 45 mins and felt aggrieved had to cut short so I could write this damned post.

Very strong bliss feelings and sensations of light from forehead and chest. Forehead energy waves have slowed from 1 per second to 5 per second. Feels like a more stable form of energy radiation. Half expect to look in mirror and see light radiating from me.

Concentration was very weak, wasn't able to string more than 5 breaths together. Even just 2-3 breaths would send the bliss to almost overwhelming levels, like I would be swallowed by it.

Thought trains were strong. Tried to apply Dependent Orgination to debug the thought trains and see how they were creating suffering. Here's an example of what's running through my mind:

"Damn this meditation is no blissful, I wish I could do it all day, now I feel aggrieved that I have to look after kids and do cleaning and cooking. Ok that's creating a suffering identity, let's unpick it. The thought that looking after uncontrollable kid energy is hard is fine. Don't need to cling to that and turn it into an identity of 'I need more time to meditate' though, which creates dissatisfaction. Valid thought the virus quarantine leaves less alone time. Don't need to turn that into 'I need more time alone' though" etc.

It feels frustrating that the thought trains seem more powerful and sticky than three months ago. Partly that is a function of the lockdown situation and having less alone time. But it's also because I recognize more clearly how the I-making thought trains are leading to dissatisfaction, like any thought that basically involves me and my perceived needs is creating suffering. Here's another one.

"Is meditation making things worse or better? Sometimes it makes me calmer and more content to flow with off cushion life. Sometimes it generates new energy and bliss and makes me resentful of life. Ok, unpack that. Calm arises, energy arises, bliss arises, anger rises. Fine, no problem. Stop right there. Don't cling to "I need more of this or less of that", it's just stuff that's arising and passing".

Gotta run now and get the show on the road.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 9:36 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Taking a quick bliss break "to wait for the floors to dry" after doing the cleaning. The cleaning itself is actually fine once you get into it, quite therapeutic really to make the living space nice for everyone. The only problem is the mind which says "I don't like this, this is not my job, I would rather be meditating for world peace". At a certain point it became quite funny really watching how childish and petulant the mind can be - "I don't like this, I don't like that, I want this, I want that". Most days the objects of like/dislike are interpretations of dependent origination or meditation techniques, today it's housework. But it's the same child mind at work, only just more obvious today LOL.

There's definitely a bit of a power struggle going on between me and my wife at the moment. While I was sick she had to do everything, which was very hard for her, but also empowering. Now it's hard for her to cede control again, and she also wants to let me know how hard it was for her me being sick. Not that it was my fault, but all I had to do was lie in bed immersed in nondualism. So there's some feelings of guilt on my side and worthlessness, as well as a desire to "get back to work". Ah mammals, power struggles, protecting our turf etc. etc. etc. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 2:08 PM as a reply to agnostic.
30 minute mini-sit. Ridculously strong bliss waves, putting me into a state of near unconsciousness at times. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, there is still some disatisfaction though. The energy is unstable - will it be too strong? will I lose it? There's some clinging - this feels so special, so much like some kind of spiritual progress. I try to keep shargrol's words in mind - kundalini is just the brain farting - but it's hard to distance yourself from such powerful ecstatsy. I'm getting tired of it and yearn for the gentler underlying more stable pleasure/happiness and then equanimity, but if I had a button would I turn it off right now? I think so, but on some level there is attachment here and it's probably prolonging or maybe intensifying the bliss. Anyone willing to tell me what to do? A year ago someone posted on my log and told me kundalini was just like water wings and eventually you take them off, but here I am a year later apparently still in the same place ...

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 2:34 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Those thoughts are hindrances if they babble for more than a moment or two! Note (aloud if necessary) and return to the safest objects = body sensations. Mind States is were scenario proliferation happens and is doing no good as it gets Easily Justified as being OK , because I ponder about this very Noble Path it must be ok. 

In your case I would suggest the Zen attitude; 
"while practicing Zazen, if you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha!" meaning ALL ideas/thoughts/scenarios concerned with the Dhamma are best to be cut down with the sharp sword of Noting/Labeling and move on towards the much safer investigation of body sensations. 
I haven't read all the posts here, but just as a potential counterpoint to that, I'd say that sometimes it can make more sense to go with the psychobubble if that's what really wants to happen, who knows, perhaps there is some alignment to be reached which will allow you to then go back to noting with no problems anymore. That's been my experience at times anyways : if noting doesn't happen naturally, should I force it to happen ? I've never found this to be a good option. Just my 2cts

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 2:37 PM as a reply to agnostic.
It made me laugh when I've heard Kenneth Folk saying "4 hours in Jhanic bliss is the same as 4 hours infront of TV. Its like being 4 hours closer to death" or something like that emoticon emoticon 

Basically what you want to do is Noticing/Investigating. Is it pleasant or not, how wide or narrow it is, noticing other mind states, thoughts, body sensations like hearing outside noise or ear frequency, tactile sensations present etc ..

Basically screw the Bliss and do Noting while in the Jhana emoticon If you dont do Objective Investigation you will be easily dragged into the Subjectivness of the Experience. 

Its basically same as Dark Night, just on the other side of the Moon emoticon if I let into the subjective side of it Im basically screwed but if I keep noticing and investigating it I will get to know it and "awaken" to it. Same in the Jhana.

Basically 2nd Noble Truth; Clinging Leads To Suffering

So, best is to not cling to it by enoying it or by falling into some scenario spinning thoughts/impressions.

I find it very easy to do this when I say to myself that I need to keep noting non-stop (in jhana or not in jhana) ONLY for the duration of my sit. After that I get time off and if mindfull ok and if not mindfull also ok. But on the cushion its hard core. 

This is only my view based on my exerience so far and is subject to change and critique.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/17/20 9:18 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Thanks for your comments Olivier and Papa Che.

Fast noting seems to make the energy stronger and harsher. Gentle noting seems helpful to avoid getting wrapped up in the state. 

The basic "problem", if there is one seems to be a lack of acceptance of the way things are. It's either "I like the ecstasy and I want more" or "I don't like the pain and I want less". Clinging 101. Getting attached to the ecstasy then has the knock on effect of making me irritable when I'm not meditating. 

The excessive thinking is just me trying to think myself out of an imaginary box I've put myself into. Gentle wide open acceptance is what I should be shooting for I think.

One extraneous factor is that I'm probably getting delayed lockdown frustration because I was so sick for 2 months I didn't care about being locked up inside, but now my energy is coming back I'm starting to chafe at the bit. I guess people on retreat have to deal with this as well.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/18/20 12:48 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I woke up from a dream about kitesurfing feeling very dissatisfied. I haven’t been for 10 years and it was a time in my life when I could do pretty much whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, although in retrospect I wasn’t happy.

I meditated for 30 minutes focusing on the breath to calm the mind. I watched how nostalgia (clinging to memories) was creating dissatisfaction, and ignoring the mental activity (focusing on the breath) created pleasure. I decided I need to try and spread the pleasure around, i.e. put a smile on my face and actually act happy rather than keeping the bliss to myself and being grumpy.

I thought (!) about thinking vs noting in meditation. Fast noting for me is observing the sankhara (preconscious physical and mental activity) really closely. That’s one step of liberation, seeing that experience is just made up of sankhara (blips and vibrations). But sankhara is only the second link of dependent origination, there are ten more steps to “death” and dissatisfaction (dukkha).

Noting slows down the mind enough to get a good look at the sankhara, but for me at least it’s a mental activity to understand how the sankhara are turned into dukkha. There preconscious feeling (vedana) and perception (sanna) molding the stream of consciousness (vinnana). Then there’s a whole bunch of mental & physical phenomena (namarupa) meditating between consciousness and contact with sense objects. That arouses feelings, which ignites craving for the pleasant and absence of the unpleasant, which leads to clinging (attachment to the feelings/objects), which leads to becoming (turning the craving into an identity or action), which leads to “birth” (“I am …” or “I do …”) and finally “death” (“I am no longer …” or “I am done with …”) and dissatisfaction (dukkha).

Maybe I’m overcomplicating things, but to really understand and see dependent origination at work is a pretty mental activity for me. Just taking noting off the cushion and walking around seeing everyone and everything as vibrations doesn’t really help me to feel less dissatisfied with life. But understanding the process by which the mind creates dissatisfaction out of those vibrations does seem to have a better shot at reducing dissatisfaction ...

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/18/20 9:41 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Most of my practice today was thinking about posts on dependent origination, which helped me clarify it to myself.

Meditated for 30 mins tonight and consciously followed the Anapanasat Sutta (MN 118, Mindfulness of Breathing).

Basically the answer I'm looking for is in there:- breathe experiencing the whole body and calming bodily activity (kaya sankhara) and mental activity (citta sankhara). In simple terms, allow the breath to relax the body and mind.

This kudalini stuff - there was a part of me that liked the excitement even it if was painful. If I just focus on relaxation like some very basic 101 meditation lesson and forget all about spiritual nonsense - that's all there is to it.

Another realization is the dissatisfaction that comes from comparing the present moment or meditation with previous ones. Is it more painful or more blissful? It's the judgmental mind which is never satisfied. Once I understand and let go of that then there's just simple appreciation and gratitude for being alive and breathing in the present moment.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/18/20 10:39 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Anapanasat Sutta (MN 118, Mindfulness of Breathing).

Basically the answer I'm looking for is in there:- breathe experiencing the whole body and calming bodily activity (kaya sankhara) and mental activity (citta sankhara). In simple terms, allow the breath to relax the body and mind.

MN 44 kaya sankhara = breathing. Calming kaya sankhara = calming breathing 

MN 44 citta sankhara = feeling. Calming citta sankhara = calming feelings of rapture & happiness 

emoticon

PTS Pali English Dictionary

saṅkhāra


...requisite for act, speech, thought: kāya˚, vacī˚ citta˚, described respectively as “respiration,” “attention and consideration,” “percepts and feelings,” “because these are (respectively) bound up with,” or “precede” those

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 4:33 AM as a reply to Nicky2.
Nicky2:
Anapanasat Sutta (MN 118, Mindfulness of Breathing).

Basically the answer I'm looking for is in there:- breathe experiencing the whole body and calming bodily activity (kaya sankhara) and mental activity (citta sankhara). In simple terms, allow the breath to relax the body and mind.

MN 44 kaya sankhara = breathing. Calming kaya sankhara = calming breathing 

MN 44 citta sankhara = feeling. Calming citta sankhara = calming feelings of rapture & happiness 

emoticon

PTS Pali English Dictionary

saṅkhāra


...requisite for act, speech, thought: kāya˚, vacī˚ citta˚, described respectively as “respiration,” “attention and consideration,” “percepts and feelings,” “because these are (respectively) bound up with,” or “precede” those
Love this.

tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 7:10 AM as a reply to Nicky2.
I guess it comes down to your translation of MN 44 - is breathing given as just one example of a kayasankhara or it's the only kayasankhara?

Sujato:

“There are these three processes. Physical, verbal, and mental processes.”

“But ma’am, what is the physical process? What’s the verbal process? What’s the mental process?”

“Breathing is a physical process. Placing the mind and keeping it connected are verbal processes. Perception and feeling are mental processes.”

“But ma’am, why is breathing a physical process? Why are placing the mind and keeping it connected verbal processes? Why are perception and feeling mental processes?”

“Breathing is physical. It’s tied up with the body, that’s why breathing is a physical process. First you place the mind and keep it connected, then you break into speech. That’s why placing the mind and keeping it connected are verbal processes. Perception and feeling are mental. They’re tied up with the mind, that’s why perception and feeling are mental processes.”


Maybe in practice it doesn't matter? You calm the breathing and then the "whole body" gets calm as well and the breath has "become the body", which seems to be my experience ...

Thanks for pointing out that the exercise is to calm the piti-sukha, which seems to be the stage that I'm stuck at.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 9:48 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I haven't read that sutta before, but I have read a number of guides on anapanasati. That's my preferred meditation and the one I use pretty much all the time. 

I follow the sensation at the nose to hone focus. Then I start noticing how one can feel the breath in essentially the entire body and seek out the places that don't appear that way. At some point, one feels kind of like a jellyfish. 

It's as relaxing as that sounds. 

Sometimes you totally lose everything. 

I find, before that, in the jellyfish stage - it's simply divine. I try not to cling to its divinity. It's not always easy. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 10:09 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Back in 2010 my main practice was "with each outbreath calming the entire body, with each inbreath calming the entire body". I was enjoying it, had some nice wow insights,  then shit storm hit me and I had no idea what happened. All the wow-ness bliss, joy, concentration, calm went to shit. I was in panic. 

After that a friend told me about Ingrams Map of Insight. He said my experience sounds like Dark Night mentioned in the MCTB. 

I'm just giving you heads up in case your calm goes to shit one lovely sunny day emoticon you can always go back to dry Noting if Jhana turns to smelly poop. 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks T, that's a nice description. What happens if you do cling to the divine feeling? Do you get any side effects? Or you just get stuck there?

Papa Che, I was in the shit from age 5-45 until I started meditating and since then it's been a lot less shitty, bar the odd disorienting shift. There's still some shit clinging to my nervous system, which is taking a while to clean off, but hopefully the trend continues.

On a day like today looking after high energy kids in lockdown, I do wonder though how the Buddha would have fared if he hadn't skipped out on his wife and kid.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 3:18 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Long time no talk! 

Thanks T, that's a nice description. What happens if you do cling to the divine feeling? Do you get any side effects? Or you just get stuck there?

So that comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek! I try and learn to cling to nothing - isn't that the idea? :-P 

What I mean by it, aside from that, is that if I worry too much about getting deep into jellyfish or beyond, it's harder to do and often doesn't happen; it also makes it more obvious what samsara is all about when I can't 'get back to it.' Regular life, in comparison, kinda blows.

                                                                          ^correct word?


Therefore, when I botch it so to speak, it results in switching to some form of noting or just open awareness in those instances. I'm getting better at not grasping at it or having that expectation when I sit, sort of faking myself out by doing body awareness with WHM breathing beforehand. 
On a day like today looking after high energy kids in lockdown, I do wonder though how the Buddha would have fared if he hadn't skipped out on his wife and kid.

I have to say - I respect this comment a lot. 

Of course, you answered your own pondering (I assume it was rhetorical).

Life is an illusion; no problema.
Wife and children are an illusion; no problema.
Even more of an illusion if you walked away from them. 
He ditched.


RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 4:00 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:


On a day like today looking after high energy kids in lockdown, I do wonder though how the Buddha would have fared if he hadn't skipped out on his wife and kid.
Ha! emoticon That a good one! I have been playing with my lively 4 yo son with his Lego and Playmobil for 6 weeks emoticon Im done lemme tell ya that! .D Off to the forest I go! (well we do have a nice 5000 sqaure meters forest on our land where I could make a small meditation hut)

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 5:23 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
That forest sounds might fine. I'm trapped in my "luxury" apartment LOL serves me right :-)

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/19/20 5:33 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Thanks T, that's a nice description. What happens if you do cling to the divine feeling? Do you get any side effects? Or you just get stuck there?


you are a sly one, agnostic. wicked, even. and dead-pan too. nicely done.

and T, what can i say. I'm a divinity clinger from way back. I'll be sitting there gazing at the face of the Lord while you guys are snuffed long since and feeling no pain. Call me clingy, but that Face is enough for me.
Papa Che, I was in the shit from age 5-45 until I started meditating and since then it's been a lot less shitty, bar the odd disorienting shift. There's still some shit clinging to my nervous system, which is taking a while to clean off, but hopefully the trend continues.
what, aggie? You think that eventually you're shit free? You're going to stop eating until your bowels are empty? You'll still shit digested juices, man, don't bother. And that shit will never smell like roses, no matter what the scriptures may imply. Shit is shit. Humans got some. Then you die and you're all shit. Gate gate gate.
On a day like today looking after high energy kids in lockdown, I do wonder though how the Buddha would have fared if he hadn't skipped out on his wife and kid.
there's a story that his wife tracked him down after he was enlightened and told him, "You could have done all this without skipping out on us, you know." And he said, i believe, something along the lines of "No way, Jose, those kids are 24/7." I forget which sutra.


love, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/20/20 6:57 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I woke up from a long tedious semi-lucid dream about Bob Dylan being in hospital dying slowly of something. There were a lot of details and the feeling tone on waking was pretty neutral. The main thing that struck me was:- do I really want Bob Dylan to be occupying my thoughts while I'm sleeping?! I really like his music and everything and I'm not being a puritan about renunciation here, but the cause & effect is pretty obvious - I spend enough time digging something and it becomes a part of my mental landscape to the point of disturbing my sleep and on balance I'm not sure it's worth it.

I started working off Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's Mindfulness With Breathing book now to really get the steps of Anapanasati down. I realize now that there's a lot in those 12 steps, maybe even everything. I glossed over all this stuff when I started meditating, looking to get to the exciting stuff and reading too widely from all over the place. Oh well, better late than never to get started at the beginning, learning to walk before trying to run.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/20/20 7:11 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
I woke up from a long tedious semi-lucid dream about Bob Dylan being in hospital dying slowly of something. There were a lot of details and the feeling tone on waking was pretty neutral. The main thing that struck me was:- do I really want Bob Dylan to be occupying my thoughts while I'm sleeping?! 


i'm a bit shocked, i confess, that you find Bob Dylan's death tedious, and unworthy of your high mind's workings. First Bob Dylan; who's next?

 I really like his music and everything and I'm not being a puritan about renunciation here, but the cause & effect is pretty obvious - I spend enough time digging something and it becomes a part of my mental landscape to the point of disturbing my sleep and on balance I'm not sure it's worth it.

actually, a puritan about renunciation is precisely what you are being here.


I started working off Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's Mindfulness With Breathing book now to really get the steps of Anapanasati down. I realize now that there's a lot in those 12 steps, maybe even everything. I glossed over all this stuff when I started meditating, looking to get to the exciting stuff and reading too widely from all over the place. Oh well, better late than never to get started at the beginning, learning to walk before trying to run.
oh, you're running, all right. i'd slow down, breathe right, and check the direction and the goal.

love, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/20/20 9:07 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

actually, a puritan about renunciation is precisely what you are being here.

I don't know, I thought that puritans believed in sin and an afterlife. I'm just observing that attachment to certain things disturbs my mind.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/20/20 9:22 AM as a reply to agnostic.
emoticon

quibbling. you know exactly what i mean.

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5/20/20 10:01 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
you are a sly one, agnostic. wicked, even. and dead-pan too. nicely done.


Maybe... but what I meant by divine is simply a pretentious adjective, not what I think he's inferring. I may as well have said... sumptuous or something. 

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5/20/20 10:37 AM as a reply to T.
No worries, I wasn't trying to infer anything, just curious about how you handle those "special" feelings. It was really helpful for me to see that they are not so special after all :-)

I think I'm getting better at observing how unsettling the piti really is and honing in on the more peaceful underlying sukha:

Bhikkhu Buddhadasa - Mindfulness With Breathing

PITI IS NOT PEACEFUL

Next, we observe that there are different levels to piti, such as contentment, satisfaction, and rapture. We must know these energetic gradations of piti. Most importantly, we should be aware that piti is not peaceful. There is a kind of excitement or disturbance in piti; only when it becomes sukha is it tranquil. Piti has varying levels, but all are characterized as stimulating, as causing the citta to tremble and shake. Sukha is the opposite; it calms and soothes the mind. This is how piti and sukha differ.

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5/20/20 10:52 AM as a reply to agnostic.
That's a great excerpt. Jellyfish is just after Piti - take a right. 


I find it uncomfortable, too, and have had to work on not being aversive to it simply so I could find the Sukha (which may equate to jellyfish...?). 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/22/20 3:59 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Woke up after 5 hours feeling physically uncomfortable and mentally dissatisfied. Meditated for 1 hour doing anapanasati. Wasn't really able to feel and relax the entire body, couldn't feel much below the stomach. Felt a little disappointed not to be able to rouse much piti after several "more successful" sessions in the last few days. Mind was generally dissatisfied and grasping after sensual and mental objects. But it's fine, just observing the way the mind creates expectations and dissatisfaction by comparing one session with another. Tends to happen each time I go deeper, two steps forward one step back kind of thing. Back to sleep if I can.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/22/20 7:21 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Sat for 15 mins on waking and immediately sank into a deeper experience of connection between breath and body, despite headache pain and distracting thoughts. If often seems to happen that when I have a long time to meditate I have a "disappointing" session with a lot of mind wandering, whereas when time is limited it is more "satisfactory" and concentration deepens faster. It's probably due to placing expectations on the session. When I have a long time I sit down thinking "great, I have 2 hours, this is going to be really good". Whereas when I only have 15 minutes I'm like "whatever, just gonna take a quick break here, not expecting anything much."

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5/22/20 5:42 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I had a low level of anger simmering all day, seemingly due to resentment at not having had time to capitalize on breaking through to a deeper calmer place in short meditation this morning. I.e. I was angry that I wasn't calmer! I'm actually laughing now I put it like that and realize how ridiculous it is :-)

My energy was also low due to post-viral fatigue and I ended up going back to bed after lunch. My covid antibody test actually came back negative, but it's only 90 something % reliable. It really felt like I was fighting a virus, though I wonder how much the kundalini is complicating my recovery/energy levels.

I just meditated for an hour. I have a massive migraine which I couldn't ignore, so I ended up exploring it. I was playing with the breath, the body, the pain and the awareness, watching how they interacted with each other. I realized at a certain point that's there's no objective way of classifying how painful it is. Certainly not by comparison with anybody else's pain and not even with my pain yesterday. Maybe it's the same pain and I'm just more aware of it. Anyway, once I stopped shutting myself off to it with the label of "my headache", I realized that's it's actually a very rich array of sensations. I started to appreciate a kind of chromatic beauty to it. That seemed to break the floodgate and then awareness opened up in my lower body and piti started flowing and everything became more connected and harmonious.

I noticed that as soon as I "make progress" in my meditation I want to post about it on here, whereas when it's "going badly" I feel ashamed or not good enough and  want to keep it to myself. I don't let myself fully ride the wave of improvement as much as I could. It comes from insecurity. I've noticed the same pattern off cushion as well.

Anyway, this whole concept of progress in meditation is counterproductive. When you sit down you face whatever state of mind and body is happening and that's all you will ever have to work with. If you want to talk about progress, then at least recognize the fact that the worse the situation is the bigger the opportunity to make progress (talking to myself here).

Although nothing much has changed in my breath-watching technique, fitting it into the 16 stage framework of anapanasati is proving helpful. It puts more of a graded structure around it rather than that mindset of "will I ever reach jhana". That fact that it's exactly what the Buddha taught in the suttas gives me more confidence, so there's none of that doubt about whether it's the right technique and the temptation to switch. In Bhuddhadasa's book it's acknolwedged that jhana can arise as a byproduct of sati but it's just that, a byproduct rather than the main point of focus.

I also have a different perspective on nana cycling when I'm coming from a samatha (serenity) angle rather than vipassana (insight/noting). It could be exactly the same experience, but in samatha I'm framing it as working with the hindrances whereas in vipassana I tend to think "I'm in the dark night". I seem to identify more with hindrances in vipassana, rather than just seeing them as impersonal stuff that is arising. I'm thinking about what Nicky said about vipassana being a fruit of practice rather than practice itself. That seems to be the approach of the suttas and I'm coming to appreciate it more. In my experience progress of insight stages have a more scripted psychological angle, whereas simply “working with the breath” has less drama to it.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/22/20 6:30 PM as a reply to agnostic.
"but in samatha I'm framing it as working with the hindrances whereas in vipassana I tend to think "I'm in the dark night" "

emoticon I come from Shamatha as my first Buddhist practice. There is more chance to get lost in hindrances during calm-abiding. But that's ok. It's repetition in either case. Get lost dozing off, notice it and go back to the calm abiding breathing emoticon 

If you are getting lost in thoughts about DN then you are Not doing Noting Vipassana emoticon what you are doing is being lost in thinking believing that was Vipassana. If you apply Noting to 1-10 sensations a second there will be No Time for hindrances to set down their foot and take over emoticon 

But even if you get sidetracked you Notice it ,as with Shamatha, and go back to the object of practice (freestyle noting inclusive the breathing). Repetition. 

I think it's great you enjoy the Shamatha and are practicing daily. What I think is not so good is your making one practice "better" than the other emoticon 

Trust me, things can change where the Calmness of Shamatha can go to Hell one day and you sitting ducks unable to find it no matter what you do. In that case where do you turn to emoticon Dear dumbbell painting by numbers Vipassana emoticon 

No reason to talk yourself out of one practice to give another one a try. All this war between Theravada and Vipassana is just so petty. Both techniques obviously work. We are blessed to have this many tools to choose from depending on where we are at any given time. 




RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/22/20 10:06 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
You are right, I will probably be "doing vipassana" again tomorrow! I started out with a heavy noting/vipassana practice.

It's quite funny, Mahasi Sayadaw basically alludes to jhana without saying it - focus on the breath, note any distractions and come back to the breath, if you experience rapture or see a bright white light (wink wink) note it and come back to the breath.

Conversely, the point of samatha as I understand is to calm and sharpen the mind for vipassana into 3 C's. And following the breath is painting by numbers as well ;-)

I think Ajahn Chah said something about samatha and vipassana being like the front and back of the hand. There have definitely been times when I was starting with one or the other and got to a place where I couldn't tell which I was doing.

However there does seem to be some cultural and psycholgical differences depending on whether one starts out on the path of serenity or insight. I think Kenneth Folk said that in Burmese culture samatha came more naturally, hence more of a vipassana focus was needed to break those golden chains, whereas in the west it's the opposite - we tend to be overly analytical and find vipassana easy hence need samatha to counterbalance that tendency.This has been my experience at least - starting with vipassana got quite harsh, hence now working on "smoothing the ride". Let me know if it looks like I'm getting stuck in any golden chains though!

Not trying to say one is better than the other (or maybe I was!), just reflecting on my experience. However I think the suttas tend to focus on developing samatha first, unless I'm mistaken. You are right I was probably not doing vipassana correctly if I was overly thinking about being in the DN. I just find that the nanas are a bit more mappy and put me in that "where am I now state of mind", again maybe because I'm not doing it right.

You came the other way right? I think I heard you say somewhere you started with jhana and then got into noting. That seems like quite an unusal progression around these parts (not in a bad way at all).

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/23/20 7:27 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I meditated for an hour and a half on waking, getting probably as relaxed as I’ve ever been. The more I learn to relax, the more I realize how much tension there is stored in my body. Even when I wake up there is usually a certain level of physical tension and mental dissatisfaction due to dreams or other nighttime activity of the body and mind.

I explored the piti more today and realized that there is a low level of piti running around my body all the time, not just the intense bursts when I relax during meditation which feel like they are going to lift me off my seat. I’m coming to appreciate that simile in the suttas more which describes the piti as a kind of effervescence (the bathman kneading the powder and water).

I also realized that my migraine really is due to “stuck piti” to use Leigh Brasington’s phrase. When I first heard that I thought that can’t be right, there’s no way such a seemingly anodyne phrase could be related to such a massive painful headache. But relaxing enough and building awareness of the piti flowing all around my body, I can connect the dots now. It’s the same buzzy energy, somehow trapped in my head due to stressful contraction of the face or neck muscles it seems.

I also spent some time exploring the sukha beneath the piti and appreciating its coolness. I realized that’s also been present before. When I described that cool feeling like ice cream dripping down my face, that’s the sukha I think. Again the simile in the suttas comes to mind, of cool water welling up in a lake. Another analogy is like spraying one of those cool water mist thingies on your face on a hot day. I hadn’t realized before how much of a physical sense of pleasure there is associated with the sukha, rather than “just a feeling” of happiness.

Anyway, following the instructions exactly in Bhikkhu Buddhadasa’s book is proving something of a revelation, really observing in detail through relaxation how the breath conditions the body (kaya sankhara) which releases feelings (vedana) which condition the mind (citta sankhara).

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/23/20 1:08 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
You are right, I will probably be "doing vipassana" again tomorrow! I started out with a heavy noting/vipassana practice.

It's quite funny, Mahasi Sayadaw basically alludes to jhana without saying it - focus on the breath, note any distractions and come back to the breath, if you experience rapture or see a bright white light (wink wink) note it and come back to the breath.

Conversely, the point of samatha as I understand is to calm and sharpen the mind for vipassana into 3 C's. And following the breath is painting by numbers as well ;-)

I think Ajahn Chah said something about samatha and vipassana being like the front and back of the hand. There have definitely been times when I was starting with one or the other and got to a place where I couldn't tell which I was doing.

However there does seem to be some cultural and psycholgical differences depending on whether one starts out on the path of serenity or insight. I think Kenneth Folk said that in Burmese culture samatha came more naturally, hence more of a vipassana focus was needed to break those golden chains, whereas in the west it's the opposite - we tend to be overly analytical and find vipassana easy hence need samatha to counterbalance that tendency.This has been my experience at least - starting with vipassana got quite harsh, hence now working on "smoothing the ride". Let me know if it looks like I'm getting stuck in any golden chains though!

Not trying to say one is better than the other (or maybe I was!), just reflecting on my experience. However I think the suttas tend to focus on developing samatha first, unless I'm mistaken. You are right I was probably not doing vipassana correctly if I was overly thinking about being in the DN. I just find that the nanas are a bit more mappy and put me in that "where am I now state of mind", again maybe because I'm not doing it right.

You came the other way right? I think I heard you say somewhere you started with jhana and then got into noting. That seems like quite an unusal progression around these parts (not in a bad way at all).


Yes I totally got the other way around. Back in 2009 I was daily practicing Ki-Breathing as thought by a Aikido Master Koichi Tohei ! I practiced up to 3 times a day. Its a very loud way of practicing and one can hear the breathing well. Right now I find this was one of the reasons I didnt get lost in thinking much as I could hear myself well and I am guitar player so hearing in my case is of great benefit in practice (wink wink, noting ALOUD emoticon ).

Back then I knew NOTHING about Buddhism and its practices (well maybe I had some notion of those monks sitting in somthing called meditation but had no knowledge at all as what they were doing).
Just later on in 2011 have a found out that the state I was in at one stage was 5th Samatha Jhana. It was Nokolai from this forum that told me that. I just knew my body went gone into a vast dark space and there was a tiny sense of self in the middle of that huge and VERY SAFE vastness of that dark space. I have NEVER expereinces such safety in my entire life emoticon Yes, it was a WOW and I wanted it for myself which resulted in me not being able to hold it for long.

After that experince I kind of looked on for some other methods of self-help (as thats what I was doing, in hope to get myself rid of my own suffering in daily life, stress, paranoia, anger, agitation, misery ... ). Found a practice called Shamatha Calm-abiding and did daily meditation with it since May 2010 to 2012. Got me all the way to DN (had no idea what the heck happened with my calm and sharp shamatha concentration, all just went to hell ...ehm, had no idea about maps and what Dissolution was). I even continued with sitting and managed to get into early EQ which felt really good so I clinged to it in hope to stay there and guess what emoticon was catapulted streight into an even worse Re-observation which ended up in me quiting with any sort of practice since 2012 to February 2019 when I started working with Kenneth Folk (noting aloud) over Skype as I was just sick and tired of being stuck in the DN. It was either I plow through it all or die trying. 

Any way, Im now here on DhO writing this to you emoticon its 2020 and my journey goes on. 


Right now I can see both Noting and Jhana taking place in my practice. Even Jhana absorption is part of the Noting aparatus. It comes and goes at this stage. Its not there all the time. During my start up this year there was more absorption going on during the sit but all very Noticable and the sitting posture was always present. These are likely material jhanas. I care little what they are. Also I care little about what stage Im in but will notice certain things like extreme stiffness in the body or body jerks happening all the time emoticon Its kind of hard not to know where these belong Still all thinking during the practice is noted as "thinking" or "pondering" and then move on.

It really is helpful during the practice to assume that EVERYTHING is MAKYO and to be noted. The worst Maky are the ones about the Buddha, Sutras and Maps emoticon I would suggest rather sitting shorter sessions but do them hard core 1-10 sensations a second then sit long periods getting lost in some ponderings. Hence me not yet increasing my 45 minute daily practice until it catches fire on its own.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/23/20 9:41 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for sharing. I had some kind of infinite space/consciousness experience when I was about 5 and then was more or less in the DN for 40 years until I discovered MCTB and noted my way out of heavy depression. Since then things have generally been a lot better. There is still anxiety, fear and anger but on a much more physical level and less identification so life goes more smoothly. Sometimes it seems too good to be true!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/24/20 11:10 PM as a reply to agnostic.
For anyone following my current practice, here are the 16 steps of the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing Sutta, MN 118). In square brackets are my summary of Bhikkhu Bhuddhadas's instructions from his book Mindfulness With Breathing.

[FIRST TETRAD – Contemplation of the body (kaya)]

1. While breathing in long, he fully comprehends, 'I breathe in long.' While breathing out long, he fully comprehends, 'I breathe out long.’
[Observe how long breaths calm the body.]

2. While breathing in short, he fully comprehends, 'I breathe in short.' While breathing out short, he fully comprehends, 'I breathe out short.'
[Observe how short breaths agitate the body.]

3. He trains himself [sikkhati], 'Thoroughly experiencing the entire body [sabba kaya], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing the entire body, I shall breathe out.’
[Observe how the breath conditions the body.]

4. He trains himself, 'Calming the body-conditioner [kaya sankhara], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Calming the body-conditioner, I shall breathe out.'
[Focus on calming the body by calming the breath.] 

[SECOND TETRAD – Contemplation of feeling (vedana)]

5. He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing rapture [piti], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing piti, I shall breathe out.'
[As the body calms feel the buzzy energy which tends to excite the mind.]

6. He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing happiness [sukha], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing sukha, I shall breathe out.'
[Let the energy subside and feel the calmer happiness underneath which soothes the mind.]

7. He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing the mind-conditioner [citta sankhara], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing the mind-conditioner, I shall breathe out.’
[Observe how the feelings of piti and sukha condition the mind.]

8. He trains himself, 'Calming the mind-conditioner, I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Calming the mind-conditioner, I shall breathe out.’
[Calm the mind by calming the feelings of piti and sukha.] 

[THIRD TETRAD – Contemplation of mind (citta)]

9. He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing the mind [citta], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Thoroughly experiencing the mind, I shall breathe out.’
[Observe the mind (citta) for the following characteristics: desire (raga), aversion (dosa), confusion (moha), concentrated (sankhitta), superior (mahaggata), supreme (anuttara), absorbed (samahita) and liberated (vimutta).]

10. He trains himself, 'Gladdening [abhippamodati] the mind, I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Gladdening the mind, I shall breathe out.'
[Be satisfied that you have gained some ability to control the mind.]

11. He trains himself, 'Concentrating [samadahati] the mind, I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Concentrating the mind, I shall breathe out.'
[Allow the concentration to deepen.]

12. He trains himself, 'Liberating [vimocana] the mind, I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Liberating me mind, I shall breathe out.'
[Let go of anything to which the mind is clinging.] 

[FOURTH TETRAD – Contemplation of truth (dhamma)]

13. He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating impermanence [anicca], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating impermanence, I shall breathe out.'
[Repeat steps 1-12 and observe impermanence in every aspect of body, feeling and mind. Observe that impermanence also has the characterstics of dissatisfactoriness (dukkha), not-self (anatta), emptiness (sunnata), thusness (tathata) and conditionality (idappaccayata).]

14. He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating detachment [viraga], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating detachment, I shall breathe out.’
[Observe how realizing impermanence dissolves attachment when we see it causes dissatisfaction.]

15. He trains himself; 'Constantly contemplating quenching [nirodha], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating quenching, I shall breathe out.'
[Observe the quenching of attachment and dissatisfaction.]

16. He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating relinquishing [patinissagga], I shall breathe in.' He trains himself, 'Constantly contemplating relinquishing, I shall breathe out.'
[Relinquish everything which we have been attached to and has caused us dissatisfaction.]

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/24/20 10:54 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I had several hours to meditate today. In the morning I got through to step 8 (calming the sukha) and was starting to work with mental characteristics of desire and aversion. As usual when I get to a new level of relaxation, there was some blowback and it opened up new levels of pain. But I'm getting the hang of processing the piti pain within a single sit and finding some sukha underneath. It's becoming a pretty familiar routine. It seems like there's just a whole bunch of embodied pain I guess coming from whenever I repressed or avoided pain in the past and it's just a question of working through it. I don't even try to track the specific psychological origin of it any more, it just seems to be laid down in defined physical strata and at each step the body seems to know how much it can safely release. Over a few months of doing this I have more confidence that the body knows what it's doing and it's not going to damage anything or send me crazy. Being able to view it through the 16 step framework of anapanasati is helpful in giving me a sense of direction and progression, even if I have no idea how long it will take. Anyway, it's valuable for its own benefit (even if it takes a while to adjust to off cushion) and there doesn't seem to be anything else that can be done about it anyway. What went in, must come out ...

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/25/20 3:00 AM as a reply to agnostic.
From my Shamatha/calm-abiding/anapanasatti with the attention on the "whole" body breathing can lead through the whole stages of insights without the need of knowing them or thinking about them, even if Jhanic factors are present. 

Dissolution will happen anyway I think and here it's good to have the knowledge of Maps. Center focus has utterly dissolved. Can't be found anymore. Cool. You know it's nothing other than Dissolution. So where is the focus? Periffery. Good. Observe the periffery of whole body breathing (chilled skin, relaxation on the long outbreathing, heavy long outbreath, stuff in center vanishing). 

As long one doesn't freak out when Dissolution destroys the glory of the A&P it's all good and I see no reason in this technique not leading all the way to SE. (I can't talk about 2nd path as I don't know it but could work there as well. Why not?). 

Ah yes. In case the rest of DN opens up then making sure to recognize any clinging to EQ after Re-obs. is important and to let go of that. 

If I knew all this back in my Shamatha days when I had no knowledge of the Maps I'm almost certain I would hit the SE then. Well, it's never too late emoticon 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 7:15 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I dont know if this will "speak" to you but try and go to the end of this video where Kenneth Folk talks about the two focuses; 1. Experiental Focus and 2. Narrative Focus. We all know this by now but its refreshing to hear it again.  We really ought to cherish that Experiental Focus especially when Narratives about practice, God, Jhana, DN, Attainment, Stage, Maps ... takes over. Its good to be able to differentiate it this simple way (2 chategories). Give it a shot if you have time and interest. I really think this is the most important aspect of this path. What Ingram explains again and again in his book as "dont get lost in the content of the mind! Note it instead, ALL OF IT!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Agp8h8nJZA

Please excuse my babbling emoticon you can tell me to shut it anytime!

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 8:17 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Meditated for 1.5 hours on waking and felt much calmer, probably because I released so much pain yesterday. Before falling asleep last night I lay on my back in bed for another hour just observing waves of pain and tension doing their thing. This morning I basically stayed in anapanasati steps 1-4 for most of the session. I was getting more and more relaxed without any piti at all being released, which is pretty unusual for me. I haven't been in such a calm place since about a year ago when I possibly had a fruition/cessation.

I realized that you can go through the anapanasati steps at different depths. Buddhadasa's 1988 Mindfulness With Breathing book is subtitled A Manual for Serious Beginners and only briefly touches on jhana, whereas his 1976 book Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) has a much heavier jhana focus. Anyway, it's all good.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
Answer
5/25/20 8:29 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
I dont know if this will "speak" to you but try and go to the end of this video where Kenneth Folk talks about the two focuses; 1. Experiental Focus and 2. Narrative Focus. We all know this by now but its refreshing to hear it again.  We really ought to cherish that Experiental Focus especially when Narratives about practice, God, Jhana, DN, Attainment, Stage, Maps ... takes over. Its good to be able to differentiate it this simple way (2 chategories). Give it a shot if you have time and interest. I really think this is the most important aspect of this path. What Ingram explains again and again in his book as "dont get lost in the content of the mind! Note it instead, ALL OF IT!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Agp8h8nJZA

Please excuse my babbling emoticon you can tell me to shut it anytime!

No problem Papa Che, I really appreciate your insights. It's interesting to see different ways of getting to the same place. It seems that certain maps appeal to me more at different times. I think I maxed out on insight a bit and I'm in more of a physical processing stage at the moment. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I seem to keep arriving in this low equanimity place and there's like a go left/right sign. To the left is jhana, with the mind's light starting to flicker (nimitta?). To the right is fruition/cessation, with particles of experience (sankhara?) starting to slow right down and that "uh uh, here it comes feeling". And then I bounce myself out of it by thinking about it LOL. Worth noting I'm sure emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 5:02 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I'm back in pain processing mode. This time the pain focus seems to be in the neck. My head wants to roll around a bit and find a comfortable alignment of the vertebrae. I heard that the neck is important and headaches can be related to tension in the neck muscles. Piti seems to flow down from the head now rather than up to the head, so hopefully my energy is getting more balanced. When I start out meditating now I try to borrow a bit of the gladness from step 10 and start with a positive mental attitude - "I'm glad that I have this opportunity to experience now the pain that I have avoided for so long". That helps me to see that experiencing the pain has a purpose and makes it easier to process. I don't feel that I have to blast it all out in one sitting now, it goes in cycles and if the meditation session is not complete then processing will keep going off the and cushion into the next sitting.

I did lose my temper at my son today and was quite surprised how quickly I flew into a rage. I think it's the contrast between getting so calm in meditation and then dealing with a very provocative kid. I'm not complaining about him per se, this aspect of his character is mostly a reflection of me. It's like seeing the most unpleasant parts of myself thrust right in my face, which is what makes it so hard to deal with. It's always harder when I'm going through deep meditation transitions, which is one of the things which makes me think that meditation is a bit selfish. I do tend to come out of it a better father at the end, but there is a definite near-term cost which weighs on my mind at times like this. Afterwards I did apologize and we talked about it and laughed at how silly I was, so hopefully that helps him. My dad never did that which left me in constant fear of him, whereas with my son we have more jokey fun times when I'm not angry. Even so, I've been avoiding my kids a bit recently. Partly it's the post-viral fatigue, but I'm also being a bit squirrely with my meditation time, again another cost-benefit factor of meditating when you have youngish kids.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 5:13 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Them little buggers!!! emoticon 

I had my lil 4 yo tell me today "DADDY IF YOU DONT DO AS I SAY I WILL TAKE ALL YOUR GUITARS AWAY FROM YOU!!!" emoticon whooaa! 

Basically I fall short at times when he doesnt listen and Im running on low power mode telling him " If you dont listen I will take away all your Playmobil toys and give it to you when you are good again!" emoticon So yes, they certainly are copy-cats and do as we do. 

But hey, we do our best and its important to make up afterwards and give hugs and say "are we friends again emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 9:03 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Yeah low power mode + kids is a killer combo. They definitely know which buttons to push to get our ATTENTION ... there's probably a lesson in there for us emoticon 

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 10:59 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Them little buggers!!! emoticon 

I had my lil 4 yo tell me today "DADDY IF YOU DONT DO AS I SAY I WILL TAKE ALL YOUR GUITARS AWAY FROM YOU!!!" emoticon whooaa! 

Basically I fall short at times when he doesnt listen and Im running on low power mode telling him " If you dont listen I will take away all your Playmobil toys and give it to you when you are good again!" emoticon So yes, they certainly are copy-cats and do as we do. 

But hey, we do our best and its important to make up afterwards and give hugs and say "are we friends again emoticon
Your kid is learning from a master, anyway. emoticon  Let us know when he does his first smiley-face! Or gets stream entry.

hugs, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/25/20 11:03 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Yeah low power mode + kids is a killer combo. They definitely know which buttons to push to get our ATTENTION ... there's probably a lesson in there for us emoticon 

Attention is the manna-food from heaven that we give everyone--- that's all that guy who spent so much time with the bull in the zen oxherding series brings back to the city, in the end, after zero: bliss-bestowing hands overflowing with attention's touch.

Human kids in their almost demonic capacity to get and keep our attention are simply exercising their greedy little right to thrive if possible, and to survive in any case.

Lesson? . . . There will always be someone smarter than us who can push our buttons and get our attention? emoticon

love you, amigo, glad to see you hard at work here.

love, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/26/20 6:28 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

Human kids in their almost demonic capacity to get and keep our attention are simply exercising their greedy little right to thrive if possible, and to survive in any case.

So true my friend. Unless our parents happened to be tens, I think what a lot of us crave the most is a little attention, if only from ourselves at this point emoticon  

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/26/20 6:46 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I woke up feeling stressed from a familiar dream about having to go back to working in a high pressure office situation. I sat down to meditate and immediately noticed that my headache was simply related to the level of stress I was feeling. Nothing to do with piti, just simple activation of the sympathetic nervous system and levels of stress hormones (cortisol etc.) The giveaway was the fact that my facial headache "pulses" along with my heartbeat and there is a feeling of high blood pressure in the face, similar to when I get angry and my face flushes. I've noticed this in the past but never put two and two together before. I think it was just such a prevalent baseline of stress that I accepted it as normal.

Actually there was a time a few months ago when the facial headache went from being a fixed pain to starting to pulse a little. I guess that was the first time I started to develop some physical insight into it. Anyway, that's all it is, stress. I measured my blood pressure and heart rate while meditating and relaxing and it didn't seem to change much, so this is not a medically detectable level of stress (my heart rate and blood pressure are both pretty low anyway). But it's definitely something I can feel and play with as my breathing gets longer and calmer and the headache starts to soften up a little and "flow".

The intensity of the piti seems to be a coincidental rather than causal factor. It's like there's a certain relaxation baseline below which the piti is released. When I'm stressed that baseline is higher and the piti feels more painful and agitating. When I'm relaxed the baseline is lower and the piti is more subtle and doesn't feel so painful or disturb the mind so much.

It's kind of funny, after all these months spent thinking about kundalini process and spiritual pains, it all comes down to simple relaxation 101.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/28/20 6:10 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I woke up involuntarily at 3:30am yesterday and meditated for 3 hours, grinding through stress and frustration until falling back asleep and having a semi-lucid dream where I surfed on the edge of the harsh vibration zone. I relaxed into it but it didn't suck me in hard like it used to, the vibrations were less instense. Possibly this is a reflection of increasing levels of relaxation.

Yesterday I found very stressful because I started working again after several weeks off due to the virus. Objectively it was a moderately stressful day but now I've started to relax I think my stress tolerance is lower, or else I'm just more aware of it. It's like I'm more aware of just how much stress my body is carrying around on a daily basis and also how stressful certain day-to-day things are. I assume this is a normal reaction to deep relaxation?

It's reminds me of when I started to get in touch with my anger in meditation and had the feeling that I was actually getting more angry off cushion. Sometimes I was and sometimes I was just more aware of it.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/29/20 6:45 AM as a reply to agnostic.
My mind has been totally mired in stress and dissatisfaction the last 1-2 days. But recognizing and accepting that in meditation this morning brought some relief. Whether you call it passing through the dark night or recognizing and accepting the hindrances or defilements, I think it amounts to the same thing.

Comparing my mental state with how relaxed it was before was only making it worse. The good thing about being so stressed is that it brings the peace of letting go into sharper relief and makes you really appreciate - wow, this stress really causes me grief and the peace is so much cooler and nicer.

I think there was some disappointment that I was still so attached to external conditions, after making so much "progress" in meditation recently. But I can see that's a ridiculous thought. There is no one making any progress here, there are just varying degrees of identification and attachment with physical, mental and external conditions. The only constant is - whether it's grasping for more of the pleasant or less of the unpleasant - the greater the grasping the greater the dissatisfaction.

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5/29/20 6:56 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I don't know if this will help you at all, but you might think of this awakening thing as being in the moment. It's not something you can carry over from the past or into the future. It's an artifact of right now, You can be awake only in this moment no matter what happened before and no matter what you think might happen later.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/29/20 11:34 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris. I'm not looking to awaken at some point in the future - I think I got over that one! I know that there is nothing but the present moment. It's just that sometimes the present moment is more stressful. Even that's basically ok because the level of stress is ultimately due to my choices. I think I'm hoping that I will learn to relax/detach and find the conditions less stressful, rather than having to change the conditions. Maybe that's unrealistic, or at a certain point you just get tired of being stressed and give up whatever it is that is stressing you out. Of course, all this strategizing is just something else that's happening in the present moment ...

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/30/20 12:06 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Thanks Chris. I'm not looking to awaken at some point in the future - I think I got over that one! I know that there is nothing but the present moment. It's just that sometimes the present moment is more stressful. Even that's basically ok because the level of stress is ultimately due to my choices. I think I'm hoping that I will learn to relax/detach and find the conditions less stressful, rather than having to change the conditions. Maybe that's unrealistic, or at a certain point you just get tired of being stressed and give up whatever it is that is stressing you out. Of course, all this strategizing is just something else that's happening in the present moment ...

what, so you're never going to awaken, even though you already awakened, and the only time you can fucking awaken is NOW? Quit whining, Wogah! Wake the fuck up. Chris is just being gentle and respectful, as is his way. He's Christ Fucking Marti, a fucking arhant. Take it from me, a dumster diver: this breath, motherfucker. anything you canm't get done on this breath is useless. Love your family on the inbreath, wake the fuck up as you expire. Jesus, is this rocket science or something. You're actually BETTER at rocket science!

love, tim 

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5/30/20 6:05 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Thanks Tim, that's actually what I needed to hear!

There's nothing objectively wrong, the dissatisfaction is mind-made. I'm just being greedy and ungrateful.

Somebody should have told that to the Buddha before he walked out the door! Or maybe that's the point - he did it so we don't have to?

Cheers mate,
aggie

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5/30/20 6:16 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Thanks Tim, that's actually what I needed to hear!

There's nothing objectively wrong, the dissatisfaction is mind-made. I'm just being greedy and ungrateful.

Somebody should have told that to the Buddha before he walked out the door! Or maybe that's the point - he did it so we don't have to?

Cheers mate,
aggie

his wife actually DID tell him. and told him again many years later, after he Woke Up: you could have done all this at home, honey. He said, well, yes, honey, i know that NOW.

the point is, i think, he didn't have to do it either. as he said later that day, to his senior dsciples in a little known sutra, Oops, my bad.


love, tim

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5/30/20 6:24 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
LOL. And you're right about rocket science - it is easier than being satisfied with the present moment. Come to think of it, if we were all satisfied with the present moment then there wouldn't be any science ... and we would be living as nature intended emoticon

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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5/30/20 6:44 AM as a reply to agnostic.
emoticon

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5/31/20 12:16 AM as a reply to agnostic.
There is nowhere else to be but with this pain, right here, right now, reaping what I sowed.

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5/31/20 1:14 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
There is nowhere else to be but with this pain, right here, right now, reaping what I sowed.
I think we might be in very similar places. It seems like all my war birds are coming home to tear at my liver. It grows back overnight. More warbirds arrive, send out by me long ago, coming home. My prodigal fuckups, coming back around to fuck up the original up-fucker (technical term, there).

hang in there, mate. I love you.

tim

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6/1/20 7:22 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Yeah, it's amazing how every little thing is stored there somewhere in the back of the closet. Sorry mate I haven't been following your log recently (or anyone on DhO for that matter) cause I've been busy with life stuff and under the weather.

Sometimes it's hard to know if meditation is the solution or the problem. I've had two negative covid antibody tests and my other blood tests are all fine. So either I had some weird virus or else kundalini did a damn good job of impersonating a viral infection for 3 months. I was in bed most of this weekend with very depleted physical energy.

I woke up from a day nap yesterday with my whole head pumping and swaying, like some evil demon had taken control of it. It was a bit like those depersonalization experiences I used to have, except there was more of a sense of me being there and it was more of a sense of being physically taken over. Only lasted for a minute, but I was crying out for help at first.

Meditating right now is a joke. My headspace is such a mess that all I can do is watch it. I can't get calm, although there's a kind of calm in the eye of the storm where I'm just sitting tight watching it and knowing that basically everything is ok (barring any undiagnosed medical issues).

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6/2/20 2:42 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
There is nowhere else to be but with this pain, right here, right now, reaping what I sowed.

There's a mantra for us.

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6/2/20 2:51 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Yeah, it's amazing how every little thing is stored there somewhere in the back of the closet. Sorry mate I haven't been following your log recently (or anyone on DhO for that matter) cause I've been busy with life stuff and under the weather.

Sometimes it's hard to know if meditation is the solution or the problem. I've had two negative covid antibody tests and my other blood tests are all fine. So either I had some weird virus or else kundalini did a damn good job of impersonating a viral infection for 3 months. I was in bed most of this weekend with very depleted physical energy.

I woke up from a day nap yesterday with my whole head pumping and swaying, like some evil demon had taken control of it. It was a bit like those depersonalization experiences I used to have, except there was more of a sense of me being there and it was more of a sense of being physically taken over. Only lasted for a minute, but I was crying out for help at first.

Meditating right now is a joke. My headspace is such a mess that all I can do is watch it. I can't get calm, although there's a kind of calm in the eye of the storm where I'm just sitting tight watching it and knowing that basically everything is ok (barring any undiagnosed medical issues).


It's weird, mate. This "mania" of mine is a slam dunk diagnosis, and i'm violating every boundary in sight, a blizzard of yellow cards in my life, but it's fresh snow everywhere i look, no tracks. whatever is going on with me, it's new, though usually only in seeing all the habitual and compulsive mistakes i've been making my whole life, in brutal clarity. It has so often sounded to me, during this period, like your work has been similar, and almost comically so: dyed in the wool narcissist gets the covid virus and goes a bit over the top, yanking people's chains from a superior place just for the sheer graifying hell of it.

easy, that, a mini cosmic joke. and here we both are now, doing the real work that doesn't fill weekend seminars with paying customers because it's so godawful, seeing what our whirlwinds bring, just as the whirlwinds always bring it and will bring it and brought it. the only difference now, in this fresh snow, is what you said: we're seeing it, now, at least enough to grieve the waste and horror, and sit with it still. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but i might wish it on my best friends, when they are ready. This is where it gets done.

hang in there, my friend. i'll do the same. there'll be cold ones at the Bar of Last Resort, in Gotteszeit, in God's good time, and the ripeness of dependent origination.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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6/6/20 2:33 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I've been on a bit of a stress and anger binge this week. It felt like I was relapsing into an old addiction, just to see what it was like one more time. I see the pain it causes really clearly now, I know I'm going to give it up, and yet I'm still willing to indulge it a little more. I was working instead of meditating and I really missed being able to calm myself. I could see how the stress was feeding on itself and escalating. Nothing bad happened, but I felt like I was doing something bad, letting myself binge. I didn't completely lose control, I felt like I was testing the boundary, seeing how far I could let it run without blowing up. I sat down to meditate for the first time in a week and it was amazing to feel all that stress and tension locked in the body and mind. I think I'm more sensitive than I was before to the same levels of stress, so that it feels worse. But it's all ok, nothing is broken and there's just a certain satisfying grittiness in going through it and sitting with it.

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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6/6/20 3:06 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

It's weird, mate. This "mania" of mine is a slam dunk diagnosis, and i'm violating every boundary in sight, a blizzard of yellow cards in my life, but it's fresh snow everywhere i look, no tracks. whatever is going on with me, it's new, though usually only in seeing all the habitual and compulsive mistakes i've been making my whole life, in brutal clarity. It has so often sounded to me, during this period, like your work has been similar, and almost comically so: dyed in the wool narcissist gets the covid virus and goes a bit over the top, yanking people's chains from a superior place just for the sheer graifying hell of it.

easy, that, a mini cosmic joke. and here we both are now, doing the real work that doesn't fill weekend seminars with paying customers because it's so godawful, seeing what our whirlwinds bring, just as the whirlwinds always bring it and will bring it and brought it. the only difference now, in this fresh snow, is what you said: we're seeing it, now, at least enough to grieve the waste and horror, and sit with it still. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but i might wish it on my best friends, when they are ready. This is where it gets done.

Hey Tim,

Thanks for you support. Keep up the good work. I'm just going to post a couple of germane comments from shargrol (of course) from my first log, both for you and for me.

Cheers,
agnostic

shargrol

Focusing on the breath is fine, but its almost more important to stay interested in the hindrances themselves that are showing up. Those hindrances are actually the teacher. You don't need to silence hindrances by drowning it out with a focus on breath. In fact, a really good approach is to hold both the hindrances and the breath in the same awareness and get interested in both. People who do multi-week retreats don't have perfect minds with no hindrances, but rather they create a big enough space for the hindrances so that they arise and pass in awareness, like a tiny kid on a giant stage in a huge auditorium. And they don't need to ignore the kid either, but rather put a spotlight on the kid and really appreciate the kid's performance, so to speak.


Hope this helps in some way. I struggled with this stuff for a few decades before I realizing that getting interested in how the mind gets seduced by hindrances is actually the easy and interesting and wisdom-creating and fastest path forward. 
...

Self forgiveness is really the heart of this thing. Mediation get's described as some kind of "I'll get smarter and see reality" thing, but that's just the bait and hook. In fact, what meditation really becomes is "I knew I was fucking myself up, but I never understood how until I sat with myself for a while... and now I realize that I used to fuck myself up the same way that everyone else is fucking themselves up." That's where compassion really starts to become real and the idea of forgiving others becomes possible. 

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6/6/20 4:16 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Those comments from Shargrol are gold. Thanks, I needed that too.

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6/7/20 9:26 AM as a reply to agnostic.
emoticon

shargrol

Focusing on the breath is fine, but its almost more important to stay interested in the hindrances themselves that are showing up. Those hindrances are actually the teacher. You don't need to silence hindrances by drowning it out with a focus on breath. In fact, a really good approach is to hold both the hindrances and the breath in the same awareness and get interested in both. People who do multi-week retreats don't have perfect minds with no hindrances, but rather they create a big enough space for the hindrances so that they arise and pass in awareness, like a tiny kid on a giant stage in a huge auditorium. And they don't need to ignore the kid either, but rather put a spotlight on the kid and really appreciate the kid's performance, so to speak.


Hope this helps in some way. I struggled with this stuff for a few decades before I realizing that getting interested in how the mind gets seduced by hindrances is actually the easy and interesting and wisdom-creating and fastest path forward. 
...

Self forgiveness is really the heart of this thing. Mediation get's described as some kind of "I'll get smarter and see reality" thing, but that's just the bait and hook. In fact, what meditation really becomes is "I knew I was fucking myself up, but I never understood how until I sat with myself for a while... and now I realize that I used to fuck myself up the same way that everyone else is fucking themselves up." That's where compassion really starts to become real and the idea of forgiving others becomes possible. 

woger: you're right, and thanks for this, which is just the right note at the moment. Shargrol is always in good taste. His full name should be Shargrol Of Course.

love, tim

RE: Agnostic's Log 3 (Smoothing the Ride)
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6/10/20 4:26 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I've been indulging in stressful reactive work patterns the last few days. I feel like an alcoholic who knows that drinking is no longer what they really want but goes on a bender anyway, partly out of habit and partly to prove to themselves one more time through the pain of hangover that it really is not what they want any more. I'm surprised to find how strongly I'm still attached to work-status goals. I put all of that on the back burner while I was meditating hard and it seems I created a spiritual/enlightenment identity in my mind to replace the work identity. Stepping back from the spiritual identity a bit - nature abhors a vacum - back comes the old itentity. But I see really clearly that it's disatisfactory from the get go, even the fantasizing about it.

When I meditate I feel really strongly the stress pains in my body. They are so strong they basically become my meditation object in a perverse kind of way. I'm starting to feel how much tension there is in my neck and jaw. I read before how tension headaches can be caused by neck and jaw tension, but I could never see it. I was so used to being tense there that I couldn't tell it was tense. Not it's really obvious and is my primary focus of relaxation. It sounds silly talking about "trying" to relax or "focusing" on relaxing, but when the tension is so ingrained it's not obvious and I have to actively explore the areas to figure out just how tense it actually is.

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6/12/20 10:04 AM as a reply to agnostic.
It’s like none of my old reactive patterns really work or stick any more. I feel my mind getting pulled into ambition or stress or resentment or depression for a few hours or days, but I'm also aware that it's "not me" any more and I'm just doing it "for old times’ sake". I can avoid meditating for a while, but eventually the stress or dissatisfaction gets bad enough that I have to sit and drop the narrative, and then there's just the breath, the body, the feelings and a mind which is pulling or pushing or running in circles, but no past or future or real me story.

[Have to break into separate posts because of length limitation thing ...]

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6/12/20 10:05 AM as a reply to agnostic.
I'm getting pretty sick of cycling and sucked into old mental patterns at this point. A couple of years ago this probably would have been a serious depression, but now there's a sense that everything is basically ok underneath and it's just the old reactive mind trying to do its thing. I guess I just have to keep watching it play out until I've seen it inside and out from all angles and it's lost its power. Maybe the patterns/cycles will still keep on playing in more muted form for the rest of my life, but if current progress continues they should cause less trouble.

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6/12/20 10:05 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Once I can drop the thoughts in meditation then there’s some very nice physical feelings of pleasure in the body and some strong relaxation and energy/tension releases around the face and neck. I’m trying to create more of a sense of whole body awareness as I focus on the breath, rather than getting stuck focusing on particular pains or tensions. That seems to work better at getting the energy flowing freely and allowing the body to become just a more general sense of embodiment which is easier to drop, although I’m not quite there yet.

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6/13/20 4:30 PM as a reply to agnostic.
I just meditated my way back into equanimity for the first time in a couple of weeks. It feels extra nice, having put myself through a bunch of stress recently. I want to spend more just hanging out in equanimity and steeping myself in sukha. If I can make that more of a baseline then it should help me to avoid choosing stressful situations out of habit.