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Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/23/11 10:04 PM
RE: brian's practice observations Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/19/11 5:05 PM
RE: brian's practice observations John H 7/19/11 9:09 PM
RE: brian's practice observations Nikolai . 7/19/11 9:50 PM
RE: brian's practice observations John H 7/19/11 9:39 PM
RE: brian's practice observations Nikolai . 7/19/11 9:57 PM
RE: brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/20/11 10:01 PM
RE: brian's practice observations John H 7/24/11 1:29 AM
RE: brian's practice observations Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/21/11 9:06 AM
RE: brian's practice observations John H 7/24/11 1:32 AM
RE: brian's practice observations Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/25/11 1:40 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/26/11 9:47 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/4/11 7:40 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/9/11 5:13 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Eran G 8/9/11 6:09 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/9/11 6:45 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Eran G 8/9/11 9:49 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/21/11 11:33 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/22/11 4:53 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/23/11 12:32 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations John H 8/24/11 5:11 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/27/11 9:01 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/27/11 12:17 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Nikolai . 8/27/11 1:40 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/30/11 11:16 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/30/11 12:05 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/31/11 11:08 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/4/11 5:51 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/6/11 4:57 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/6/11 9:43 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/8/11 10:55 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/10/11 2:32 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/11/11 11:04 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/19/11 5:00 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/28/11 2:51 PM
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RE: Brian's practice observations Andrew . 6/3/12 4:04 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 6/12/12 10:48 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/23/11 1:21 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 11/11/11 10:21 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 12/4/11 4:53 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Tommy M 12/4/11 5:01 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 12/26/11 9:56 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 3/23/12 8:48 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 5/12/12 9:18 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Jane Laurel Carrington 5/15/12 1:40 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Brian Eleven 5/29/12 9:03 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Adam . . 5/30/12 6:53 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Brian Eleven 5/30/12 5:37 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Andrew . 5/30/12 9:43 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Brian Eleven 6/3/12 12:14 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body Andrew . 6/3/12 3:59 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 6/20/12 8:50 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Nikolai . 6/20/12 9:12 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Nikolai . 6/20/12 9:15 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 6/20/12 9:58 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/18/12 9:42 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/29/12 4:55 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 7/30/12 11:36 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/5/12 6:21 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/7/12 9:30 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/13/12 9:57 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Simon Ekstrand 8/14/12 1:42 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Pål S. 8/14/12 4:16 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/15/12 7:48 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/16/12 6:26 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/27/12 4:52 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/9/12 9:49 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations N A 9/9/12 11:10 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/11/12 9:17 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/29/12 8:20 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Simon Ekstrand 9/30/12 7:23 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 9/30/12 3:44 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Simon Ekstrand 9/30/12 4:27 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/5/12 7:31 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Adam . . 10/5/12 9:48 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/6/12 4:19 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/8/12 4:21 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/18/12 9:47 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Simon Ekstrand 10/19/12 1:30 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/26/12 7:59 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Simon Ekstrand 10/31/12 5:29 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Adam . . 10/31/12 9:58 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 12/1/12 9:18 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 1/6/13 10:57 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 4/1/13 2:20 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 5/2/13 3:40 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 6/15/13 9:58 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 8/31/13 3:11 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Richard Zen 9/1/13 10:02 AM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/1/13 5:48 PM
RE: Brian's practice observations Brian Eleven 10/31/13 2:40 PM
Brian's practice observations
Answer
7/23/11 10:04 PM
Hello, I'm starting this thread as a place to post my meditation practice experiences. My current practice is following the 6R method as described here:
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/books.htm
It is referred to as "Tranquil Wisdom Meditation". I'm no expert when it comes to Buddhism, or any practice, but this feels like the right practice for me to be following currently. Perhaps others are familiar with it.
I have been on the KFD forum for almost a year, but I don't note, so the fit seems to be less and less natural. By that I mean that my experiences don't seem to align with that of other yogis on the site. I have nothing but good things to say about the community, and Kenneth, however, as I have gotten some very good advice in the past.
A couple post 4th path yogis suggested that I "entered the stream" in early March. This was based on my descriptions of my practice. I didn't experience a noticeable cessation at the time, but believe I had a fruition in May. I was uncertain, but I do now agree that I did get stream entry at that time. I was essentially just remaining mindful of whatever sensations arose as much as possible, which I still am. I should also note that my experience of the stages and paths do not match up especially well with MCTB and others who I have been in contact with. I don't know why.
So, I guess I'm between first and second, although my practice changed in mid June. I've become much better able to observe mental and physical sensations without getting drawn into them. The distance between "me" and sensations has grown, it's great enough I can decide how to deal with the sensations before acting, not 100% of the time, but about 80%. Also my practice is much more focused on letting go and surrendering to the moment as it arises and passes., this is what caused the change in my practice to occur, I think. Oh yeah, I began meditating in June 2010, so I'm certainly new to this.
Hi to everyone!! And please jump in with questions, comments, or suggestions at anytime!

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/19/11 5:05 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
Hello, I'm starting this thread as a place to post my meditation practice experiences. My current practice is following the 6R method as described here:
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/books.htm
It is referred to as "Tranquil Wisdom Meditation". I'm no expert when it comes to Buddhism, or any practice, but this feels like the right practice for me to be following currently. Perhaps others are familiar with it.
I have been on the KFD forum for almost a year, but I don't note, so the fit seems to be less and less natural. By that I mean that my experiences don't seem to align with that of other yogis on the site.
...
I should also note that my experience of the stages and paths do not match up especially well with MCTB and others who I have been in contact with. I don't know why.


hey, this just reminded me of an interesting post by Culdasa (linked by Nick in the comments of this post):

Questioner:
Lately, I've been curious about the path of insight knowledges as compared to the path of mahamudra. I have two questions:

1. Do the insight knowledges always happen in that order? I suspect not *always*, but maybe they tend to, or they may happen in that general order.

2. The insight knowledges involve some pretty uncomfortable and downright horrible phases (e.g. bhanga, terror, misery, disgust). On the other hand, Mahamudra has been described as the path of bliss... So my question is, who in their right mind would choose to do the insight knowledges and spend considerable time in abject misery rather than taking a blissful path?


Culdasa:
1. Whether or not the Insight Knowledges occur in the same order depends very much upon the method of practice.
They occur in the order given in the Vissudhimagga and in Mahasi's Progress of Insight if a) one is practicing "vipassana (Insight) before samatha (tranquility)" (cf. the Yuganaddha Sutta, AN 4.170), and if b) one is using a method that is designed to make Insight into anicca (impermanence) the first to arise while Insight into anatta (emptiness of Self) is left to the very end.
[For those who might be puzzled about the Samatha that follows what they may have thought of as a "pure" Vipassana practice, please note that the Knowledge of Equanimity Towards Formations is Samatha.]

With regard to a):
If one practices "samatha before vipassana", then the Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away and the Knowledge and Vision of Path and Not-Path will come before the Purification of View and Overcoming Doubt rather than after it. But the View and Overcoming Doubt must obviously still precede the Insight Knowledges themselves.
And if one practices "samatha together with vipassana", then even more variability in the order is possible.

With regard to b):
Knowledge of Dissolution followed by the Dukkha Knowledges is an order that is quite specific to a practice geared towards anicca as the first Insight. Knowledge of Dissolution is the entry into actual Insight with Insight into anicca being the first, and Insight into dukkha being the second. Practices oriented towards a different "entry" into Insight will, of course, not follow this order at all.

2. Insight into Dukkha is a miserable experience if a) one launches into Insight without the "lubricating moisture", i.e. piti (joy), passadhi (tranquility), and upekha (equanimity) of Samatha; and if b) Insights into anicca, sunyatta, and dukkha precede insight into anatta. Deepening Insight into impermanence by someone who still has a strong intuitive sense of being a real, separate Self can be a terrifyingly miserable experience. A "Self" in a world of impermanent and empty "things" to which that Self tries to cling is the very definition of dukkha.

With regard to a):
A mind imbued with piti, passadhi, and equanimity can navigate this voyage of discovery with far more... well..., joy, tranquility and equanimity to mitigate the fear misery and disgust of confronting the reality of the way things are.

And with regard to b):
Of course, to the degree to which the emptiness of Self has been both intellectually realized and intuitively assimilated, to that degree one is effectively immunized against the experience of dukkha during the process of further deepening of Insight into the nature of dukkha.

So to restate your question, "Who in their right mind would follow a method that broaches Insight without first cultivating Samatha, or plunge into the Knowledge of Dissolution and Insight into Impermanence without first properly addressing the issue of emptiness with regard to the perceived Self?"

Here are a few answers that come immediately to mind:
With regard to why someone would not first cultivate Samatha;
- Someone might be unaware that there is any other approach.
- Someone might have been taught that Samatha practices are useless or difficult or dangerous or are to be avoided for some other reason or combination of reasons. eg. "Concentration practices are a waste of time. The only real Buddhist meditation is Vipassana."
- Someone might have been unsuccessful in Samatha practice due to lack of proper instruction, and so has abandoned it in frustration.
- Someone might have practiced Samatha incorrectly in a way that has led to dullness, and so has abandoned the practice as fruitless.

With regard to why someone would pursue Insight into anicca before anatta;
- Anyone who is resistant to and cannot accept the idea that what the Buddha meant by anatta is that there really is not, never has been, and never will be a separate Self other than these conditioned, impermanent, suffering aggregates. This is part of what makes anatta so much more inaccessible than anicca. There are countless Buddhists, Western and Eastern alike, who think, "Buddha just meant that the Self was not in the aggregates, not that there is no Self at all." They feel like they are a Self, and they fully expect to have the mystery of the doctrine of anatta solved and their "True" Self revealed through the practice. You know the one they are thinking of: the Self who has lived countless previous lives, the one that accumulates merit and kamma, the one that is going to be reborn in the future. These are the closet "eternalists".
- Anyone who craves non-existence, who embraces the Dhamma as the path to an ultimate end to the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth, but who can only conceive of liberation in terms of oblivion. The rebirth they wish to escape is, of course, that of a Self that for them does exist, although admittedly in a mysteriously relative and mind-dependent way, but a Self that is all too painfully and undeniably real none-the-less. Since this Self exists in some mysteriously mind-dependent way, it is the mind that must put an end to it. Insights into impermanence and suffering are seen as the path by which the Self will be destroyed and become a No-Self that will not be reborn. These are the closet "anihilationists".
- Anyone who is aware that Insight into anicca is in fact much more readily attained than Insight into anatta. This is quite true and is perhaps the best of all possible reasons for seeking Insight into Impermanence.

You mentioned Mahamudra. First, the actual practice of Mahamudra meditation as such is not to be taken up until one has already achieved Shamata. If one enters into a traditional program of training in Mahamudra by a qualified teacher, the first thing to be introduced is the "ordinary" practice, which is Shamata, the mastery of which precedes the "uncommon" practice, which is Mahamudra per se. If you refer to any of the classic texts on Mahamudra that have been translated into English, you will see that almost half of any given volume is devoted to Shamata practice. Second, Mahamudra is meditation on the emptiness of mind, and mind is the primary locus of our attachment to the false view of separate Self-hood. Therefore, Insight into anatman, the emptiness of Self, is an integral part of the process from the first.
I will provide a caveat for those who might be drawn to Mahamudra. There are some teachers of Mahamudra, many of them Tibetan, who are quite willing to fill a "market demand" by impatient Westerners who want instruction in "Mahamudra" but don't want to bother with the preliminary training in Shamata. The practice becomes a sort of pseudo-Zen where one just "empties the mind" and tries to do nothing at all in a silent non-meditation. I have serious doubts that anything of value can be accomplished through this kind of practice.
If you are seriously interested in Mahamudra, get a book like "Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation" by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal. Familiarize yourself with its contents, and then go shopping for a qualified teacher who teaches according to the traditional system beginning with the meditation on Tranquility and Insight.

In the spirit of service,
culadasa


i'm not familiar with your practice, but if it differs from noting in some of the ways outlined above that might explain your different experiences.

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/19/11 9:09 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I didn't actually know that this approach existed until very recently and sometimes wonder if it might have been a morepleasant way of doing things. I'll look forward to seeing how this practice develops for you.


Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Culdasa:
1. Whether or not the Insight Knowledges occur in the same order depends very much upon the method of practice.
They occur in the order given in the Vissudhimagga and in Mahasi's Progress of Insight if a) one is practicing "vipassana (Insight) before samatha (tranquility)" (cf. the Yuganaddha Sutta, AN 4.170), and if b) one is using a method that is designed to make Insight into anicca (impermanence) the first to arise while Insight into anatta (emptiness of Self) is left to the very end.
[For those who might be puzzled about the Samatha that follows what they may have thought of as a "pure" Vipassana practice, please note that the Knowledge of Equanimity Towards Formations is Samatha.]



Ehhh? Is he simply inferring that to get path you'll need to get your samatha chops nailed down? Surely he's not saying that 11th Nana is samatha alone?

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/19/11 9:50 PM as a reply to John H.
John H:
I didn't actually know that this approach existed until very recently and sometimes wonder if it might have been a morepleasant way of doing things. I'll look forward to seeing how this practice develops for you.


Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Culdasa:
1. Whether or not the Insight Knowledges occur in the same order depends very much upon the method of practice.
They occur in the order given in the Vissudhimagga and in Mahasi's Progress of Insight if a) one is practicing "vipassana (Insight) before samatha (tranquility)" (cf. the Yuganaddha Sutta, AN 4.170), and if b) one is using a method that is designed to make Insight into anicca (impermanence) the first to arise while Insight into anatta (emptiness of Self) is left to the very end.
[For those who might be puzzled about the Samatha that follows what they may have thought of as a "pure" Vipassana practice, please note that the Knowledge of Equanimity Towards Formations is Samatha.]



Ehhh? Is he simply inferring that to get path you'll need to get your samatha chops nailed down? Surely he's not saying that 11th Nana is samatha alone?


I would have to agree with culadasa. But I don't think he means that discernment can't be practiced in it. In my experience the 11th nana, especially high E, is very much absorption territory. Lots of inherent pleasantness in it. Got so absorbed at one time that I just found myself in 4th jhana for the 1st time ever. They are the same strata of mind in my opinion and experience.

:-)

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/19/11 9:39 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai:

I would have to agree with culadasa. But I don't think he means that discernment can't be practiced in it. In my experience the 11th nana, especially high E, is very much absorption territory. Lost of inherent pleasantness in it. Got so absorbed at one time that I just found myself in 4th jhana for the 1st time ever. They are the same strata of mind in my opinion and experience.

:-)


Ahhh, ok. I've been getting to equanimity in my sits regularly recently and was wondering if I could use Culdasa's statement to adjust my practice (to make it more samatha-like or something). But I see the meaning now, High E is more absorbed with investigation of the truth being more subtle in this stage.

Thanks,

John

P.s. sorry if I'm clogging your practice thread Brian!

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/19/11 9:57 PM as a reply to John H.
John H:
Nikolai:

I would have to agree with culadasa. But I don't think he means that discernment can't be practiced in it. In my experience the 11th nana, especially high E, is very much absorption territory. Lost of inherent pleasantness in it. Got so absorbed at one time that I just found myself in 4th jhana for the 1st time ever. They are the same strata of mind in my opinion and experience.

:-)


Ahhh, ok. I've been getting to equanimity in my sits regularly recently and was wondering if I could use Culdasa's statement to adjust my practice (to make it more samatha-like or something). But I see the meaning now, High E is more absorbed with investigation of the truth being more subtle in this stage.


You could stop discerning for a bit and just ride that inherent pleasantness of the 11th nana into a more absorbed 4th jhana, and then continue to practice discernment at that level. You may be able to discern more. Pay attention to the pleasantness and then let the mind get absorbed in it. You could also do some deep slow anapana to go deeper. as well.

:-)

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/20/11 10:01 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
John, No problem, feel free to post as much as you like.
Practice:
I'm really losing interest in the maps, and paths, and stages etc. I'm not really into a hierarchy of experience, I have been and may be again, but it just seems like something to "acheive". I just don't feel like that's what is needed for me now. I may be way off, and deluded, but it just feels like I'm good right here. It reminds me of the Taoist story of the man collapsing from exhaustion trying to run away from his shadow, when he could have just relaxed in the shade of a tree. This feels like a part of me/my life, not something I have to "do" anymore. I'm a little worried I'm just getting lazy though.
emoticon
On the cushion, still doing my 2X45 minutes per day. My concentration seems to be increasing, the body fades at times. The built in Release/Relax/Re-smile aspect is really working well for me right now.

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/21/11 9:06 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
I would have to agree with culadasa. But I don't think he means that discernment can't be practiced in it. In my experience the 11th nana, especially high E, is very much absorption territory. Lots of inherent pleasantness in it. Got so absorbed at one time that I just found myself in 4th jhana for the 1st time ever. They are the same strata of mind in my opinion and experience.


/agree as well. i've remarked that, when in equanimity, i often just need a little more 'push' to get to the fruition. i didn't make the connection to samatha until reading culdasa's comment, and it makes a lot of sense in that light.

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/24/11 1:29 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

You could stop discerning for a bit and just ride that inherent pleasantness of the 11th nana into a more absorbed 4th jhana, and then continue to practice discernment at that level. You may be able to discern more. Pay attention to the pleasantness and then let the mind get absorbed in it. You could also do some deep slow anapana to go deeper. as well.
:-)


I tried what you suggested and began to pay attention to the pleasantness and used the breath to go deeper and found myself in 4th samatha jhana. This only took a minute or two and I was quite surprised how easy it was to move from vipassana jhana to samatha jhana. I found that the samatha energised me and would be especially useful at times when the mind becomes dull or concentration begins to lapse. Nice to have another tool in the toolbox, definitely something I'm going to experiment with a bit more!

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/24/11 1:32 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

/agree as well. i've remarked that, when in equanimity, i often just need a little more 'push' to get to the fruition. i didn't make the connection to samatha until reading culdasa's comment, and it makes a lot of sense in that light.


When you say that you need a bit more 'push' do you mean that you need to put more energy into the practice (a la the 7 factors of enlightenment) or that you needed to become more absorbed? Or something else?

RE: brian's practice observations
Answer
7/25/11 1:40 PM as a reply to John H.
John H:
When you say that you need a bit more 'push' do you mean that you need to put more energy into the practice (a la the 7 factors of enlightenment) or that you needed to become more absorbed? Or something else?

yes, that: more energy, more concentration, more mindfulness .. equanimity + tranquility are already occurring, and what is needed (insight) seems to happen as a result of more of the first three.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
7/26/11 9:47 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I'm finding this practice to be quite effective in easing my ridiculous "drive" to achieve. Although I'm uncertain where I may be map wise, my stress level is dropping fairly rapidly. Practice is making me happier, instead of being another source of stress in my life.
I suspect that I'm working through new territory, or working through old territory in a new way. Pre- or post second path, I don't know, and don't know how to tell either. Not that it really makes any difference to my practice or experience of daily life
This method of dropping tension as soon as it arrives is keeping me in a much happier and easy going frame of mind. It's also allowing me to notice much more subtle levels of tension, that have previously gone unnoticed. Actually dropping the tension and relaxing just makes so much more sense to me then just noting it, I always found that stress built up as a result of that practice. But, that's just me, apparently it works wonders for a lot of people.
This method also seems to lead to similar results as the "Mahamudra Noting" on KFD, from what I've read of practitioners results their.
I've become aware of an often present, and subtle, underlying tension that is present for no apparent reason. When I notice tension I can almost always trace it back to a thought. This tension doesn't seem related to a thought though, or I'm not seeing the connection yet. It also isn't always noticed, not sure if it's not their, or I'm unable to detect it because of it's subtlety. I've found that if I just keep my awareness on the tension, it relaxes and eventually untangles itself (taking up to a 1/2 a day), but I don't have a clue as to its origins.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/4/11 7:40 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I've noticed over the past week that my ability to see thoughts and emotions arise in real time, and release them before I become entangled in them, has really increased. It is a matter of noticing the tension in the body before I even know what thought or emotion it will become.
I've also realized that without thinking I react to situations the way I always have, even though the emotion/passion that used to motivate the action is missing. For instance, I react as though I'm frustrated with my gf leaving the lid off the toothpaste, even though the frustration isn't really there. I see it begin to arise let it go, then "I" react the same as if it(frustration) was there anyway. Weird. I guess that's just something else to be mindful of, or maybe this will fade away as I watch it, like the emotions seem to be doing.
My over all feeling is much more relaxed and open then it has been. The past month or so I've re-focused my meditation with very good results. Happiness is steadily increasing, hard for it not too when most tension is released as it arises and I return my mind to a light and open state. If I'm able to stay on top of the arising tension, everything is very pleasant. If some tension slips by my awareness and it becomes an emotion I've found an easy way to release it. I simply ask "who is angry(sad, frustrated etc.)" and the tension and emotion just drop away, like a hot potato held by no one.
At work I'm happier then I was at home only a few months ago. I don't know what it was, but I believe this is part of the fallout of a change I experienced in June.
Let Go

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/9/11 5:13 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
On and off the cushion I'm experiencing much more physical tension. This tension is also more often becoming thoughts or emotions. These thoughts/emotions are also more "sticky", much harder to release. The increase in this tension is resulting in my trying to control my experience so I can get back to a more pleasant mode of being. Which of course increases the tension, which increase the desire/attempt to control...Silly, I know.
I've noticed that I seem to be in a rather confrontational frame of mind lately. Some of this is caused by my creating and maintaining psychologically healthy boundaries within some of my relationships. This is putting me in a position that, from a relative point of view, "I'm right". These thoughts are Very seductive for me. Self righteous indignation really pleases a part of me.
Creating and maintaining these boundaries has also put a spot light on the paradox(seemingly) of trying to take care of a "me" that I'm simultaneously trying to dismantle because it's an illusion.
I'm curious if this may also be a dark night period which I'm going through, or just different things to experience.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/9/11 6:09 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:

I'm curious if this may also be a dark night period which I'm going through, or just different things to experience.


I'm curious as to why you think that would that matter if it's one or the other?

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/9/11 6:45 PM as a reply to Eran G.
I don't think it would make any difference. My practice will be the same. It's just (idle) curiosity as I haven't felt anything like the nanas(or how I interpret the nanas feeling) since I've been doing this 6R practice shortly after stream entry.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/9/11 9:49 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I wouldn't expect to see ñanas arising through samatha practice and to the best of my understanding Bhante V's 6R practice is pure samatha. BTW, what are you using as an object?

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/21/11 11:33 AM as a reply to Eran G.
Eran, I've been using the breath as my object. Since my last post however my practice has naturally moved back to a focus on the body as a whole. Not sure if following intuition in this way is good or not, but it's what I've always done with my practice.
As a result in this change I seem to be experiencing nanas again Flashes in A&P, distracting thoughts in dukkha nanas, and peace in equanimity. EQ is also showing me some eyelid flickering, light flashes and moving energy. Or, I'm mistaken about it all. But, it sure feels similar to the lead up to first path.
Wednesday I ran HAIETMOBA through my mind as I was walking home, and it had an effect for the first time. I seemed to get pulled forward and experienced my surroundings in a significantly more direct way. It was like I was out meeting life instead of sitting and waiting for it to come to me. It only lasted about 5 seconds, but I did it 4 times. Previously whenever I asked the question the result has been the same as if I asked "what is the boiling point of water?" Nothing happened. It still changes the way I perceive my surroundings, it brings me to the present and lets me relax and smile and enjoy now.
For some reason it seems to be clicking, the idea of naivety also makes sense. All the AF practices have really rung hollow for me, now they seem to make sense and I can relate them to my practice. Apparently some change has occurred which has aligned me with the practice.
I have no intention to stop meditating, but it feels like some new methods are suddenly available to me to work with.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/22/11 4:53 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
So, I tried using HAIETMOBA throughout my day with good results. I've been maintaining a pretty constant awareness of my body throughout my day already so this felt like only a subtle change. The difference between body awareness and HAIETMOBA, for me, seems to be a greater feeling of openness and relaxation. I assume this is due to a more outward focus, awareness of the body seems to be a contraction of my awareness(limiting it to the relatively small body) in comparison. This increased openess seems to be a source of pleasantness, and a way of releasing thoughts and emotions which may be termed "negative". This pleasantness is very spiky currently, it arises and passes quickly.
A couple times I experienced a sort of "sweet spot" in which my awareness felt perfectly balanced to both internal and external. I've noticed this a few times on the cushion in the past week as well. Almost like I'm equally aware of everything at once.
I've noticed, yesterday and today, that I really seem to be limiting myself by trying to intellectually understand my experiences. When I feel that pleasant openness, right away the mind intrudes and tries to label it, and figure it out so it can be re-produced.
I also noticed today some resistance to this new practice, I'm apparently identifying as a Buddhist practitioner far more then I ever would have guessed. It comes up as a fear that I'll lose everything I've gained from my meditation practice thus far.
Just based on all the stuff coming up I'd say this is definitely worth pursuing.
Or I'm completely delusional. emoticon

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/23/11 12:32 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I'm finding that HAIETMOBA can become a source of stress and am looking for any advice on limiting it.
The stress arises because when I ask the question, I sometimes get the answer back "wrongly" instead of being drawn back into the world around me. I just wind up harshly judging the state I find myself in when I ask the question, which I assume has the opposite of the intended effect. This is a common personality trait(harsh self judgement) for me and I've been working on relaxing about the whole thing, but part of me is really uptight and results driven.
I'm just trying to notice it, let it go, and return the wonder around me. If anyone has any further suggestions for dealing with this I would greatly appreciate your input.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/24/11 5:11 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hi Brian,

I've only been practicing the actualism method for a few weeks and have found myself in a similar situation occasionally. To get around this, when I ask HAIETMOBA, I'm basically asking how I am feeling in this moment. What I have discovered is that there isn't a wrong answer to this question. If I don't feel good then I investigate and see if it is sensible or silly. I.e. is it worth giving up this moment's happiness. The answer to that is always 'no'. I then begin feel better and can apply HAIETMOBA again. When I am feeling ok, or good I then go to attentiveness to sensuousness.

So maybe, rather than answering it with 'wrongly', you should maybe answer with the way you're feeling, i.e. 'stressed' or 'frustrated' and from there you can ask whether it's sensible or silly. Then you can ask yourself whether it's worth giving up your happiness in this moment?

Hope that helps,

John

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/27/11 9:01 AM as a reply to John H.
John,
Thanks for the tip, it's helping. I (almost)always need to relax with practice so I appreciate your simple and effective advice.
I've really been noticing the similarity between HAIETMOBA and the open body mindfulness that I've been practicing for some time. I'm just inclining my mind toward felicitous feelings, which is so much more pleasant then the somewhat grim awareness I have been applying. The grimness is all me, not the method, I just obviously really prefer going through my day smiling, happy and harmless(to the best of my ability).
I'm still meditating 90 minutes per day. Personally, I've found it to be essential for this AF practice to be possible, but that's just me. It has greatly quieted the mind and allowed me to bring a good level of concentration to the practice.

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/27/11 12:17 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I've been doing some reading here and on the AF site and...I don't think I fully understand the "I am my feelings. My feelings are "me" idea. Is this suggesting that the "I" is equivalent to any emotion? "I" is an affective feeling in the same way as frustration or happiness is? "I" is constantly changing because the emotions are changing? Coming from a Vippassana background this one is a little odd to me. Any comments or links are appreciated.
Thanks.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/27/11 1:40 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
I've been doing some reading here and on the AF site and...I don't think I fully understand the "I am my feelings. My feelings are "me" idea. Is this suggesting that the "I" is equivalent to any emotion? "I" is an affective feeling in the same way as frustration or happiness is? "I" is constantly changing because the emotions are changing? Coming from a Vippassana background this one is a little odd to me. Any comments or links are appreciated.
Thanks.


Hi Brian,

The "I" in quotation marks is the illusory felt sense of self/being/location/presence/becoming/me-ness/inner world/instinctual passions/affective feelings or whatever you wish to term it. Any affective feeling / emotion that arises is essentially the very same thing as all of those mentioned terms, at least in my experience. An affective happiness and frustration are just two possible manifestations for all these mentioned terms.

"I" can manifest as quite a number of varying pleasant, unpleasant or neutral states at any given time when there is still craving and clinging for phenomena of mind and body. Thus "I" is constantly in a flux and flow, constantly changing, manifesting as this or that in each moment, taking birth again and again, over and over.

Coming from a Vipassana background you may be aware of the Buddha's approach to ending the flow of becoming. It might be beneficial to read Thanissaro's The Paradox of Becoming. If you equate "I" to 'becoming', then it might make more sense. When I made this connection, it did make more sense to me, also coming from a Vipassana background. 'I' am becoming and becoming is 'me'. 'Becoming' is any affective feeling, and any affective feeling is 'becoming'.

Nick

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/30/11 11:16 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai,
Thanks for the response, very helpful. I'm about half way through "The Paradox of Becoming", which is helping to clarify things for me. I see this as a book I'll be re-reading occasionally as I experientially begin to understand more and more of it.

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/30/11 12:05 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
As someone who has been practicing the 6R method (The Anapanasati Sutta : A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation by Ven. U Vimalaramsi. http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/books.html) I've been looking at AF practice in comparison to what I'm already doing. This may not be best, but it's difficult not too. I've found that there seem to be some similarities in the two practices. I'd like to write my understanding of the two and ask for any critique of my understanding so that I, and hopefully others, may learn from it. I'll emphasize I am no expert in either and am only presenting my current limited understanding. I'll present each "R" and in brackets place what I think is the similar AF practice, this specifically applies to HAIETMOBA.
6R begins with concentration on the breath, I focus on the breath in the entire body(attentiveness to sensuousness)
1. Recognize, when the mind has moved from the breath. (application of the question, HAIETMOBA)
2. Release, whatever the mind has moved to and is now focused on. Don't push it way, just stop feeding it with attention. Let go. (neither express nor repress feelings)
3. Relax, The mind creates tension within the body by focusing on thoughts, images or emotions. Relax this physical tension wherever it is felt.
4. Re-smile, Put a slight smile on your face, this helps to lighten the mind and maintain alertness and mindfulness.(Relax and Re-smile seems to spontaneously return me to felicitous feelings.)
5. Return, to awareness of the breath. (attentiveness to sensuousness).
6. Repeat, this process over and over. (same)

I use this as my daily meditation, twice a day for 45 minutes, which I know isn't a part of AF. {This practice can also be done throughout the day.} My suffering has decreased so dramatically as a result of daily meditation practice however, it's difficult to see me giving it up. Although, my motivation to practice has decreased in the last couple of days rather significantly. I just want to sit in a comfy chair and be happy. haha.
The biggest difference I see between the two practices(from a technical perspective) is the AF questioning of what has caused the felicitous feelings to be lost. With 6R, whatever arises is just released. With AF it seems to require the investigation of the cause of arising.
Which leads me to a question. How deeply should this be investigated at the moment it is recognized? I'll try to clarify with an example. Walking to work I pass someone coming toward me, smile and say "good morning" They do not respond in any way.
I notice felicitous feelings to have left me. Is it enough to recognize that this occurred because my friendly greeting was ignored? Or, should I dig deeper and recognize that my feeling of self worth has taken a hit. Perhaps it was an attractive woman, and I now feel rejected. I may be able to continue and see that this is related to feelings of rejection I created at the death of my mother from cancer when I was an adolescent.
I'm a little obsessive about this stuff and could dig for hours, which is why I'm asking. Would it be best to just notice patterns and deal with the larger patterns at a later time. If I'm already am aware of this stuff (feelings of rejection and it's probable cause) is a simple acknowledgment adequate?
Again, please feel free to critique the above, or question anything I've written.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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8/31/11 11:08 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
So, that last post should clearly indicate the confusion that I find myself in.
Is it possible, or advisable, to continue a meditation practice while trying to use AF methods? Would I be best served focusing on one?

The last 3 or 4 days my feeling of happiness and effortlessness have been steadily increasing, despite my confusion. I have no idea if this is the result of AF practice or if I may be in nana 11 (equanimity) before 2nd or 3rd path, not sure where I am. It's really feeling very similar to my post first path honeymoon, everything is perfect as it is. I can see that there is no reason at all not to be happy right now, even though several things in my life would have made me very unhappy a short time(1 year) ago. I'm also much more aware of my senses, and what they are perceiving.

I could babble for a while, but I'm just trying to work this all out, sorry for doing it in public. But, I know it will become more clear as time passes. Suffering is decreasing, happiness increasing, becoming more harmless. Something is working for me, just not sure what it is. emoticon

Edit: I had the experience today of a surge of happiness/energy/vibrancy that seemed to "blow a fuse" in me somehow. It happened 3 times today and has before occasionally over the past couple weeks. It's like the positive energy surge is to great for me to be able to handle, so something just stops it, and I return to a more normal/neutral state.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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9/4/11 5:51 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Well...That bubble burst. lol
The past two days I've been very tense, struggling with practice. Possibly dukkha nanas, although I suspect that it's me forcing my practice...again. Step one. be felicitous. So I try to force myself to feel it. Ggrrrrr, not quite, a little harder, almost got it! Damn lost it! Then I wonder why I'm stressed, lol. Oh well, live and learn.
"I" want to control this. Let go, surrender, give up, and find peace and happiness. I used to need to remind myself of this several times a day, now it's Much less often, progress.
I'm finding that sensuousness is a better method for me to feel felicity. Being present where I am, in this body, aware of what my senses are noticing arising and passing away is pleasant in and of itself. The breath in the body, sun on the face, wind in my hair, pressure on my foot as I walk. It's all exactly as it should be and I can be happy in the awareness of it.
Perhaps this is going about it half ass backwards, but it seems to work.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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9/6/11 4:57 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I've definitely mellowed from my last post. Just working on being present in the moment, in this body, aware of what it is perceiving.
Yesterday and today I've had an odd heavy feeling in the body. I feel more present in this body then I ever have, almost strangely so. It's sort of like being aware of how much weight there is to the body. I'm used to dwelling in my thoughts, which are physically weightless, and lately I seem much more aware of the heaviness of being a 200 lb body. That doesn't exactly describe it, but kind of. "I" feel more physically present in this bag o' bones then ever before.
I can drop into this way of perceiving at will, or I can "be my thoughts". This is a really poor description, I can't quite figure it out. Does this sound familiar to anyone? or just of those momentary changes of little to no significance.
Just noticed how much "I" want this to be a big deal so that "I' can be a big deal. Seeking validation in others...again. Haha silly rabbit!! emoticon

Edit:Seem able to be almost constantly attentive/aware/mindful of my body/sensations/thoughts, I've noticed a significant increase yesterday and today, even at work. Apparently very forgetful today: Had what I'd describe as a pressure wave move top to bottom through my head(brain) during both sits yesterday. That was new for me.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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9/6/11 9:43 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Doing some reading on the AF site, got me thinking about what is the biggest "thing" keeping me from being happy now. It's easy to see, I just have to figure out why it's there at all.
"If I don't get my way I become angry"
That's it! easy, but it explains almost everything, and is so childish.
For me it covers: minor irritations(not making it through an intersection before the light changes), relationship issues(my gf isn't meeting my needs...(a hundred examples fit here), career(I'm better then this job/deserve a better job), family issues(not enough attention from a parent), personal(I should be in better shape), spiritual(I should be further along the path by now). The list is almost endless and covers seemingly tiny to huge issues, but they are just manifestations of the same one issue.
Everything comes down to being childish and whiny about it. I have temper tantrums, how sad is that for a grown man? The crazy thing is I have a lot of proof that I really don't know what is best for me. So much of my misery is just fighting what is, because it's not what I wanted it to be.
I guess the up side is, solving one issue would hugely improve all aspects of my life. Seeing this I realize that I could be so much happier.
Now, to watch this in real time and try to root it out. Let the Games Begin!!

Edit: Or is this just based on the false assumption I know what is best, always?

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/8/11 10:55 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Reading the AF site, another realization.
I've really been noticing that my standard "mode of being" is often just blah... very neutral. Not good or bad, just alive, but bored. Often I find myself unable to pin point any specific feeling at all, I'm just going through the motions of being an adult, going to work, paying bills, being in a relationship, blah, blah, blah. This has always been mildly disturbing to me, like I'm a zombie. I suspect this may be fairly common, which is why I'm posting.
I realized today that this is because I'm not really taking seriously that "this is the only moment I have to be alive". I intellectually know this of course, but I'm not living as though it's true. I waste this moment by being disinterested in my experience, because there will always be another. I wait for the conditions to be "better", out with friends, enjoying a good meal, whatever it may be. So the time I spend at work, or the Dr's waiting room, or the grocery store, I just kind of shut down and wait for conditions to become more favorable to what I consider a "good time". In the process of doing this I'm missing this moment of being alive, and wasting my life. I'm wasting the opportunity to be happy and harmless now, here. I'm so ridiculously dependent on external conditions being just so in order for me to be happy.
This has, partly, become apparent to me as I become more sensuous and see just how much pleasure can be derived from vividly experiencing the most common sensations.
Some where along the way I picked up the idea waiting in line at the bank shouldn't be an enjoyable experience, how silly if that's the only experience I'm having right now.
I've also noticed how little effort I've spent in my life to be happy. I've tried to be good, polite, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, caring, compassionate, fair, honest, nice, etc, etc, etc. But I've honestly put almost no effort into being happy, what the hell is up with that?
I sense I'm babbling again, haha. Take Care!

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/10/11 2:32 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Thursday night woke up screaming. Scared the hell out of my girlfriend, and cat. No memory of a dream, no feeling of being emotionally upset. I was very calm afterwards.
Yesterday felt like I was doing this wrong, everything felt off, practice wise.
Today drowning in anxiety, no reason for it that I can find.
Sounds like DN to me. I wonder which path it's leading to?

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/11/11 11:04 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Heavy anxiety yesterday. I found myself turning towards it though. Usually I avoid unpleasant emotions, out of habit, a life time of aversion.
I've been feeling emotions as part physical sensation and part thought for a few months, but still find them forming an "emotion" unless I'm very diligent about maintaining awareness of the components. Yesterday it seemed much more natural to see them as separate components.
Turning towards the physical sensation of tension in my lower chest the feeling changed to almost an ache, similar to a muscle worked a little to hard. I also experienced a feeling of compassion and sadness directed towards myself. I feel compassion for others, but almost never feel it directed at me. It changed from a feeling of tense/nervous/anxiety to one of tender caring.
I don't know if this is indicative of any progress(paths) but it was a welcome change to how I have been dealing with unpleasant emotions, and my feelings toward myself.
I'm curious now to see if this is something that remains, and if I can use it when I feel unpleasant emotions towards others. It would be a great step for me if I could transform anger into compassion on a regular basis.
Today I'm feeling much happier then yesterday, even after a pretty poor sleep. My morning sit was quite distracted though. A lot of thoughts arising, and weak focus.

Be Well.
Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/19/11 5:00 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Still meditating, but I'm using HAIETMOBA constantly throughout my day, with great results. Mental chatter is almost completely gone, high levels of contentment/equanimity.
Sense input seems slightly clearer and definitely simpler, all that is there(perceived) is what I see. My mind isn't adding thoughts or judgments to every sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.
Meditating I'm noticing much more subtle levels of tension in my head that slightly proceed any thought or mental image. I'm releasing these and relaxing around the tension, returning to the breath with a smile.
I'd sum it up simply as much greater contentment/equanimity in my life as a result. This experiment with AF practices is certainly proving to be very fruitful. Thanks to all those out there who have help spread these practices.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/28/11 2:51 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Using HAIETMOBA regularly, base line felicity is increasing to the point others have commented on it. I've begun using Nick's 'hack the vedana' technique, it worked very well yesterday on my first attempt.
Meditation is strictly concentration practice.
All is Very Well.
Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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10/14/11 5:01 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I've taken a couple of weeks to try and just 'relax and enjoy' my practice. I find that I tend to get too uptight about practice, and results. So...working on more of a lifestyle approach, doing what makes me happy and harmless. I found my desire to meditate dropped to almost nothing, I still sat 1-1 1/2 hours per day, but the motivation was very weak.
The last couple days I've been re-incorporating a bit more of a focused practice into the lifestyle attitude. It has been a challenge. I tend to be full throttle or full brake, no pleasant cruising for me!!
My more detailed journal is on The Hamilton Project forum.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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10/23/11 1:21 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Still sitting, and practicing as close to constantly as I can. The past several days I've felt like I'm back in the Dukkha Nanas, which has surprised me. Most of my experiences have not matched up very well with the "map" so I've stopped trying to place myself on it.
I've found myself, once again, caught up in all the practices of other yogis. I end up trying to do to many things at once, becoming too serious, and trying to force results. This stalls progress and causes frustration, which causes me to apply more force to my practice.
I'm going to, once again..., try to stay with the breath, relax, and enjoy the moment. This just always feels like laziness to me, which I was raised to avoid at all costs. So a chance to learn a little about my conditioning as well.
Sitting yesterday and today, I've had flashing in the visual field, after about 1/2 hr, at 5-10 hz. It lasts several minutes and arises as I relax more and begin to fell closer to the breath. Maybe A&P, or not. My best guess is I got 2nd path in June.

More to come, at a leisurely pace.
Brian.emoticon

RE: Brian's practice observations
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11/11/11 10:21 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I've been applying my efforts towards practicing Bhante Vimalaramsi's TWIM, with great results. Much more relaxed, open and happy. Since this is one yardstick of my progress, I guess I be makin' some!
The method for cutting the chain of dependent origination is clear, simple, and easy to apply throughout the day.
More posts, whenever. emoticon

Metta,
Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
12/4/11 4:53 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Continuing using TWIM 1-2 hrs per day. One thing I've noticed lately is that the results don't seem as "peaky". No real highs and lows, it just feels like a slow and steady improvement.
I'm becoming much better able to release and relax my tension. This was initially Very difficult, I was trying to push it away, or eliminate craving with more craving. I was so used to suppressing everything that it took a while to learn how to not do it. I've realized that I spent every waking moment suppressing what was(the truth). Habitual tendencies can be a real bitch!
I'm becoming aware of more subtle levels of tension, which has been interesting as it is both pleasant and unpleasant. The tension itself feels more unpleasant, but relaxing it leads to much more pleasantness and happiness. I'm also beginning to see this tension in my daily life, so now the challenge is to relax it even when not meditating. Patience has been helpful, and smiling rocks!

Metta,
Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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12/4/11 5:01 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Excellent! I meant to stop by and say thanks for bringing the TWIM stuff up, it's been a total change in my own practice and it's great to see you're making more progress and becoming happier with this.

Hope all's goin' well mate.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
12/26/11 9:56 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy,
Glad you found it useful. After all the help and support I've gotten from you, and others, I'm glad I could offer something(a link, lol) that you many find beneficial. I'd be interested in hearing your recent experiences with it.

My experience with TWIM has been good, thought tough at times. The initial experience was wonderful, permission to just relax and enjoy my practice was great. But soon enough my old pattern of trying to force my practice re-emerged. It was interesting, using TWIM, to be able to see just how much tension/stress/suffering this approach was causing me.
It has also become clear to me that a lot of the happiness I had during my time posting at KFD was based on suppression of unpleasantness. A constant level of tension was present to maintain the "right" state of mind. It was similar to maintaining a low level of alcohol in the body in order to not feel unhappy, effective in the short term only.
The past week has been a joy for my practice. I reached a point where it was suggested(on the Dhamma Suka yahoo group) I cut down my meditation to 15 minutes per day. I decided to take 2 days off from any formal practice, in the previous year and a half I had only missed 1 day. I felt guilty about it, but it was obvious that whatever I was doing with my practice wasn't working. I slept, read, listened to music, but did no practice. When I came back to it, for 15 minutes per day, it was a very different experience. I wasn't pushing, just watching. I'm back up to 35 minutes twice per day, and I think I've actually got the hang of it.
My practice now is so much more relaxed, which seems to be leading to noticing things(mostly about D.O.) I was too tense to even see before.
Be Well!

Metta,
Brian.
emoticon

RE: Brian's practice observations
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3/23/12 8:48 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Been a while since my last post. I'm still practicing TWIM, 1.5 - 2 hrs per day. In the 6 months I've been at it I've made much better progress then the 1.5 years of my previous practice. My mindfulness occurs naturally and is more constant. Equanimity has increased greatly, I'm relaxed and I smile much more. My mind is calming down, there is space between thoughts. When I want to, I am able to inhabit the present moment in this body, which is a wonderful experience. Doing so allows joy to arise from within. It feels like I've lived my entire life in a fog.
I have no idea where I am on any map, nor is it a concern to try to figure it out. I post to the Dhammasukha yahoo group every 2 or 3 weeks to get practice advice from Sister Khema. Without question TWIM is exactly the practice I need to be doing now.
My reason for not posting here is simple, I have nothing to say. I think a lot of my motivation for posting so often previously was to try to elicit praise for my hard work. I would try to fit my experiences into someones map, so others could tell me what a good job I've done. It's really very sad now that I look at it.
As far as helping others, I wish that I could. I don't see myself able to add to what is already available however. My only advice would be: Stop reading and start meditating.
Let go of everything, and smile.

If anyone is interested Bhante Vimalaramsi has a new book available for free download:
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/books.htm
or it can be purchased through amazon.

Be Well,
Metta.

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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5/12/12 9:18 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Since I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd toss out an update, but reading my last post I see I'm really just continuing in the same direction. Still TWIM practice 1.5 hrs per day. Still no concern about any maps or stages or states.
Tension is decreasing with a few interesting results. I'm a substitute teacher and occasionally have to raise my voice and appear angry to get students attention. I'm finding this incredibly unpleasant, but in a funny sort of way. A year(or even 6 months ago) this would have been my natural reaction to frustration at not being respected/listened to. Now I just experience a physical tension arise, which I can release and relax, but no significant "emotional" reaction. This lack of emotion has been a little odd, it feels like a piece is missing from my day, but in a good way.
I've also found myself having lost interest in some things. I haven't turned my TV on in weeks(never watched much) I'm also reading and listening to music less. I just seem to enjoy sitting quietly not really doing anything. Damn, I hope I'm not a zombie!!emoticon No craving for brains though...
I've also had a few experiences of "me" just dropping away for a short time(~5 seconds). My appreciation of the beauty of mundane things is also increasing. Driving to work in wonder at how lovely the traffic lights are, just seems odd to a part of me, yet natural to another part. I really no longer believe in "me" as a real thing, It just comes in handy when dealing with others so I don't seem like too much of a freak.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
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5/15/12 1:40 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Glad you're doing well and have found a practice that works for you. Consider this sympathetic joy, not praise for all your hard work. emoticon

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
5/29/12 9:03 PM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Laurel, Thanks. And, congratulations on your recent path!

I guess things can't always go smoothly. The last couple of weeks I've been experiencing tension in my forehead. I wake up in the morning, nothing. But as I go through my day it builds, it may just be from work though it seems like it appears when I'm under little stress as well as higher levels of stress. If it was my back or elbow, I wouldn't care, but I have a recurring pattern of striving which presents as...tension in my forehead. And once it appears I start to focus on it, which amplifies the tension. Then I try to relax it...which amplifies the tension. I try to allow it, and allow my awareness to encompass the whole body...which amplifies the tension. I end up manipulating and 'trying' to get a certain result...which amplifies the tension, but it's like trying to not think about elephants(which is comparatively easy).
If my practice wasn't to release hindrances, and relax, it would be slightly less annoying I suppose. I'm considering changing practices, but that's what I did the last time I experienced this type of tension, so it seems likely that it's 'me' and not the practice. I've always been pretty high strung so perhaps this is just one of my larger hurdles I need to work through.

Metta

Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
5/30/12 6:53 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
hey brian check out this tip posted by TJ brocoli:

CAUSE: (a shadow side of insight mentioned above) being fixated on knowing that certain sensations are tensions, thus creating a mental processing of "i'm tense/i'm too tense/i'm still tense", an unsatisfactory evaluation/negative judgement which can keep subtly feeding and compounding the tensions more.
REMEDY: impose some more innocence, or what i like to call "unknowing" or "unknowifying" to every step of paying attention. also called "naivete", "curiosity", or "observing objectively" in my understanding. observe things as if you're an alien consciousness visiting this earth realm to observe what it's like to operate through the human body and its senses. the alien knows nothing about what anything is, but it has been sent to perceive everything possible in the most detail (otherwise it will get banished by the mothership). there is nothing wrong with knowing too little, but "knowing" too much can be a hindrance to effective investigation.


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3007184

I think you are deviating slightly from the 6Rs instructions, in the same way that I did. You are getting fixated on the relax step, and you are trying to relax something isn't ready to be relaxed. The instructions call for noticing a distraction and releasing that distraction from attention, quickly, then also quickly relaxing the tension directly tied to that distraction in the head. This instruction is different from "relax all tension in the head." Because it tells you only to relax the "low hanging fruit" which can very easily and quickly be relaxed. The tension which is tied to distracting thoughts, and thus has no more sustenance once you stop thinking those thoughts can be easily relaxed, the background tension not so much. So i'd suggest you stop labeling it tension and simply be aware of it, not focused on it necessarily. You have to drop even the slightest, subtle attempts to relax this background tension, and only relax the low hanging fruit which can be relaxed in just a few seconds. If you try to control something which is outside the realm of conscious intention, like "background" tension, your trying just manifests as desire or aversion and makes things worse.

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
5/30/12 5:37 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam,
Thanks for the input! I suspect you hit the nail on the head! I'm constantly amazed at how good I am at over complicating the simplest of instructions. I think I may start my own blog with ridiculously complicated instructions, so that people like me can skip the step of buggering them up and get right down to making a mess of practice.

metta,

Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
5/30/12 9:43 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
hi Brian,

I was wondering how you are going. glad you are still around.

i do the same thing on the relax step that Adam talks about, it is the natural reaction to jump straight to the most obvious unpleasantness and try to 'relax' it. doesn't really work. i really like the explanation by Adam, picking the 'low hanging fruit' is great. Eventually i suspect it all will be within reach.

a little thing from my world yesterday regarding practice instructions and words in general; I was busy trying to get a noting session going when I realised that there was no words that could actually encapsulate experience. None. i can't transmit anything about the sensations in my body. If I say 'itchy' it contains nothing of the precise feeling at all. words don't cut it.

this was very freeing as words are the most 'identified with' thing for me. I am words. So I stopped talking for a while! It's like what they say, once you have seen it, you can drop it.

Words are simulacra. They neither simulate reality or have a substantial reality of their own. So practice instructions are meant to be messed up. The have to be messed up, chopped up, and rehashed until somewhere in it all you come across the experience. I suspect that all of this practice stuff, the repetitions is just to distill this one basic thing. jill put so well 'unknowing'. unknowingness is ok, infact better than ok. really ok.

They are not even a finger pointing at the moon. that is giving words too much importance.

http://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/uma/~adgore/misc/Baudrillard__Simulacra_Simulations.pdf

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
6/3/12 12:14 AM as a reply to Andrew ..
Andrew,
Thanks for the comment about words. It seems I get hung up on "instructions" and miss what they are pointing at. Then I'm chasing my tail with my thoughts. I'd never considered the role that "words" play in that situation.
I'm still around, for some reason I just didn't have anything to say for a while. I'm feeling a bit more talkative lately, just phases or cycles I guess.
TWIM, self inquiry a la AEN(thanks for the great book), and some return to Zen. Right now trying to "do" nothing more then breathe and smile. 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

metta,

Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations focus on the whole body
Answer
6/3/12 3:59 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
Right now trying to "do" nothing more then breathe and smile.


A particularly noble quest that I would recommend to anyone. The smiling has an automatic effect on mood, and is an excellent discipline, thought the face will ache after 2 weeks. (Tried it recently as a practice experiment -continual smiling. I return to a smile as often as I remember now)

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/3/12 4:04 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:

4. Re-smile, Put a slight smile on your face, this helps to lighten the mind and maintain alertness and mindfulness.(Relax and Re-smile seems to spontaneously return me to felicitous feelings.)


I see you have tried it before too. Have you ever tried it in isolation (not mixed with any other practice pursuits?) It is great to have it reflexively become a default, even if it gets forgotten as a practice, out of the blue it occurs that smiling will help.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/12/12 10:48 PM as a reply to Andrew ..
Sitting this evening, hearing a crow outside my window. It seemed like no 'one' was hearing, but some 'one' was watching the hearing occur. "In the hearing, just the heard" and that guy watching.?
If no 'one' is seeing, hearing, feeling... then who is it that is choosing to meditate in order to end suffering?
A little low on sleep, hopefully this confusion will clear in the morning.

Andrew,
Funny story about smiling. I'm a substitute teacher and I had a student in a grade 5 class who counted how often the subs smiled to determine how nice they were(probably not very scientifically sound). Apparently I broke the record of 160 smiles within the first couple hours, at which point she stopped counting. I'm smiley, and pretty happy, just a little confused about practice and trying to experience what other yogis do

metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/20/12 8:50 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
My pattern seems to be that what ever I update, causes my practice to immediately switch to the opposite, so at some risk to my well being, I have a pleasant report.
I'm still sticking with TWIM, not that I even think about the R's anymore, I just follow the instructions automatically now. I've found this to have really helped my mind to quiet down, which has allowed me to observe the arising and passing of thoughts without getting caught up in the content of the thoughts. It's been very nice to have the option to pursue a thought or feeling instead of being tossed around by them.
I'm also still working through AEN's book and have been really trying to see what he's talking about in my own experience, and I've had some luck with it. For the first time this made sense to me:

"Seeing scenery, there is no mind seeing scenery... scenery is the seeing/mind itself, pure luminous cognizance.
Hearing music, there is no mind hearing the music... mind is music itself, pure luminous cognizance."

Sitting in bed last night reading the above lines I stopped to listen to sirens in the distance, and it was as if I was the sound of the sirens. It made me laugh. It(the understanding) feels pretty shaky, but as I said this has never made any real sense to me at all. I've struggled with this intellectually, let alone experientialy so this feels like good progress.
I was outside for most of the day and again it seemed like there was no distance between sounds and "me". It seems most clear with hearing for me right now, I'm guessing though that if I really "get" one of the senses the others will fall into place. Noticing this also brings a significant feeling of lightness to me, like I've lost a burden I've been carrying.

This raises a question for me however. The well know: "In the seeing, only the seen" isn't there still a split? Doesn't that suggest that there is seeing and seen? A duality that isn't really present.
If mind is seeing, and the seen is the mind seeing itself, isn't there just mind experiencing itself in different ways(sound, thought, smell...)? Now I assume I'm just missing something but it seems like there is still a duality in that phrase, "In the seeing, only the seen."

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/20/12 9:12 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:


This raises a question for me however. The well know: "In the seeing, only the seen" isn't there still a split? Doesn't that suggest that there is seeing and seen? A duality that isn't really present.
If mind is seeing, and the seen is the mind seeing itself, isn't there just mind experiencing itself in different ways(sound, thought, smell...)? Now I assume I'm just missing something but it seems like there is still a duality in that phrase, "In the seeing, only the seen."


Perhaps a different translation of those phrases will help:


Ettha ca te māluṅkyaputta diṭṭhasutamutaviññātabbesu dhammesu diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati. Yato kho te māluṅkyaputta diṭṭhasutamutaviññātabbesu dhammesu diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati. Tato tvaṃ māluṅkyaputta na tena, yato tvaṃ māluṅkaputta na tena, tato tvaṃ māluṅkyaputta na tattha, yato tvaṃ māluṅkyaputta na tattha, tato tvaṃ māluṅakyaputta nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena esevanto dukkhassāti.



THANISSARO: "Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.095.than.html



WALSHE: "Well then, Maalu"nkyaputta, in things seen, heard, sensed,[1] cognized: in the seen there will only be the seen, in the heard only the heard, in the sensed only the sensed, in the cognized only the cognized... Then, Maalu"nkyaputta, there will be no 'thereby' for you.[2] Having no 'thereby' you have no 'there.'[3] Having no 'there,' Maalu"nkyaputta, there is for you neither this world, nor the next, nor anywhere in between.[4] That in itself is the end of suffering." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.095.wlsh.html



Seeing in the seen = in reference to the seen, just the seen (but I can understand the confusion.)

Edit: another exposition on the Bahiya instructions (same as the malankyaputa instructions): http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/bahiyas-bodhi/

And Malankyaputa: http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/malunkyaputtas-vipassana-instruction/

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/20/12 9:15 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
http://www.aimwell.org/assets/A%20Discourse%20on%20the%20Malukyaputta%20Sutta.pdf

Mahasi''s commentary on the Malankyaputta sutta:

If you fail to note seeing as it happens, you are dwelling in the conceptual
realm. For ease of understanding, let me summarize the four stages of the
process that I have explained.

1. First, adverting reflects as the object enters the mind door.

2. That moment of reflection constitutes the first thought process, which
tries to gain cognition through consciousness.

3. Then concept is formed in the next thought process.

4. Finally the nature of the object is known by its name or concept.

Mind and matter in the ultimate sense can been known through
meditation on the nature of phenomena as soon as they arise. If one knows
instantly what is actually happening one gains insight into the three
characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self. The
following four points should also be noted.

1. Seize the first moment in the act of seeing.
2. Arrest the flow of consciousness at the first thought process (to conform
to the exhortation: “diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati.”)
3. Differentiate mind and matter, noting that they are distinct phenomena.
4. Recognise the three characteristics

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/20/12 9:58 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nik,
Thanks, that does help to clarify it.
I think part of the problem is just my old habit of over-complicating things. I suspect I'd be better off just sitting with the experience and not trying to put it into words or "thoughts".


Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
7/18/12 9:42 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Continuing...
I've had some very pleasant experiences in which "I" fade out and am left with impersonal sensations. This is happening almost at will when I have the time and inclination. It has made it easier to just allow all sensations from any of the 6 doors to just come and go unhindered, or at least less hindered.
Still working with "Who am I" off the cushion, and sitting 2 or 3 times per day for 45 minutes each. My first sit is almost always Very pleasant . I'm relaxing and experiencing a level of stillness I never have before. By the end of the day I find a great deal of tension accumulated in my mind, which then takes me 30-45 minutes to release. Probably a good indication that I need to pay more attention to letting go of tension throughout my day. My current situation is rather stressful and not very conducive to an easy going and light attitude, all the better to learn to recognize and release tension! Oh ya, and smile!
emoticon



Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
7/29/12 4:55 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Just another of my occasional updates.
I felt like I had some sort of shift about a week ago, it's kind of mellowed so I'm not entirely sure if was an actual shift or not. My ability to just be present and allow experience to be has increased noticeably. I feel this body much more clearly and constantly, also with a level of ...vibrancy, energy, dynamism. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it feels like a lot of energy has been freed up in me. And it is unusual and pleasant. I'm finding that I can sit and just feel the senses experiencing sensations arise and pass and this brings a level of happiness that surprises me. I don't really "meditate" right now, I just sit and watch and enjoy. I can do this walking down the street just as easily as in formal practice.
As I said this has mellowed, the feeling of energy is not as strong, though it does fluctuate. It seems stronger when I'm still and diminished at times of stress, though still present. After formal sitting I've found myself almost buzzing on a couple of occasions. Also, formal practice flies by in no time 1 hr feels like 15 minutes.
Just another experience, and still have further to go, but I certainly appreciate these respites from some of the more difficult times.


Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
7/30/12 11:36 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Looking at some old threads I re-read this:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3171915
and realized that it sounds almost exactly like what I've been doing this past little while(attentiveness). Thanks Tommy!

Finally becoming actively engaged with this moment just as it is. "I" seem to fight it though. It's definitely pleasant but a part of me just wants to return to auto-pilot and not be involved in this life. Perhaps to avoid what is unpleasant, which makes sense considering my past.
It's like I'm a stone that's been skipped across the surface of life, and now I've begun to sink. It's great to see the depth of life, but it's also scary because it's new. This also fit's because to sink I really only need to rest and allow the momentum to run out.
I forgot to mention just how much energetic activity this attentiveness seems to create in my head. Mostly at the crown, points and globs of energy moving around.
This feels like a pretty important realization in my practice, hoorraayy!

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/5/12 6:21 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Well...that didn't last long! lol!
My day to day experience is pretty much back to normal, though "I" seem to be a bit more still. The active engagement is no longer my default, though I get a glimpse or two every day. This is not a real concern for me as I didn't expect it to last, it would have been nice, but wha' you can do? huh?
I spent a couple days "trying" to get back to that pleasant state, but gave up when I just found myself becoming caught up in thoughts because I was too busy, trying to manipulate my perceptions, to be mindful of the present. So back to just allowing, and "Who am I?", for now.
Formal practice is noticeably more still as well. It seems like a loud part of my inner dialogue has been switched off and I can now notice much more subtle thoughts/tension and release them. I mentioned to someone yesterday that this is the first time since I began sitting over two years ago that it feels like I'm meditating. Which probably says as much about my preconceptions as it does about anything else. But, it does feel like a step in the right direction.emoticon

metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/7/12 9:30 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
This happens to fit my life today so I thought I'd share it as I'm sure I'm not alone:

3. To you who are totally exhausted from fighting with your spouse

The question isn’t who’s right. You’re simply seeing things from different points of view.

Stop trying to be something special – and just be what you are. Hold fire. Just sit!

It all begins when we say, “I”. Everything that follows is illusion.

Everyone imagines that their ego is something unchangeable, some immovable center-point which everything revolves around. There once was a man who said, “Look, everyone is dying except me!” He’s been dead for a long time now.

Everybody talks about marrying for love, but isn’t it really just marrying for sex? In the end isn’t it really only about a penis and a vagina? Why doesn’t anybody simply say that he’s fallen in love with a vagina?

Take a look sometime at the face of a dog who’s just had sex. He just stares into space with strangely empty eyes. It’s exactly the same with people – in the beginning they work themselves up into a frenzy, and in the end there’s nothing at all.

A man who understands nothing marries a woman who understands nothing, and everyone says, “Congratulations!” Now that’s something I cannot understand.

Family is the place where parents and children, husband and wife simultaneously all get on each other’s nerves.

When a child is defiant, the parents curse, “You don’t understand anything!” But what are the parents like? Isn’t it also true that they don’t understand anything either? Everyone is lost in ignorance.

Everyone is talking about education, but what are we being educated to be? Ordinary citizens, that’s all.

Even funnier than watching the monkeys at the zoo is observing these humans on the loose.
--------------------------------------

from: Excerpts from "To you" by Sawaki Kôdô Rôshi http://www.antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/kodo-sawaki-to-you.shtml
italics mine.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/13/12 9:57 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
I'm considering the possibility I've stumbled into the dukkha nanas. The Last 3 or 4 days:

I'm very frustrated with practice, feel like I've accomplished nothing, should be "further along".
Concentration is absolute garbage, thoughts constantly arising, and I'm getting tangled up in them instantly.
Almost constant tension in my forehead, as soon as I get up until I fall asleep. Very unpleasant while sitting, mild the rest of the time.
Questioning technique, doubting everything about it. "Should I switch? This obviously isn't working."

And on top of all that good stuff, I'm being an ass to all my loved ones.
emoticon
Hopefully this little rant will help blow off some steam.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/14/12 1:42 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hi Brian,

I have nothing useful to contribute, but I'd just like to say that I enjoy reading your updates.

Thanks,
Simon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/14/12 4:16 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:

Almost constant tension in my forehead, as soon as I get up until I fall asleep. Very unpleasant while sitting, mild the rest of the time.


Can't help you with DN but the following may help with the tension: Take 5 or more minutes and contemplate "what can I do for other people?". By this I don't mean metta or compassion; you're not trying to cultivate warm and cozy feelings. Just try to come up with practical, actual things you can do to help others.

Hang in there! emoticon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/15/12 7:48 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Simon and Pal,
Thanks for the comments, I sometimes wonder if anyone actually reads this. Hehe.

So I've been looking at this recent DN like feeling that I've had and noticed a few things about my practice.
I think I tend toward a definite dullness in practice, and my life in general. By this I mean specifically that I suppress, depress and repress emotions and energy. {In my early teen years I experienced 2 deaths of people close to me(my mother, and a best friend). At the age of 13 I was unable to cope, so I just shut down. As I got older I realized how many ways society provides one to do just this(alcohol etc.)This also led me to many years of depression.}
Anyway...it's become very clear that I am still carrying several of these habits. My meditation lately has been very "cramped" (I suspect it's always been like this, I'm just now noticing it). My focus is very internalized and energetically dull. It is often peaceful but lacking in alertness.
The past couple days I've been trying to push my attention outwards with interesting results. I'm feeling much lighter and more open, as well as having much more energy. It seems like I've become aware of a constant flow of energy within me. It almost feels as though I'm only recently aware that I'm a living being. It feels like I'm aware of the animating energy within this body for the first time.(This is very similar to the 3 days I had recently in which I spoke of a feeling of vibrancy, though that was constant and automatic, this requires me to turn my attention towards the feeling of energy)
I'd appreciate any comments on this "energy", does it feel like something someone else has experienced? or heard about? I'm completely open to the possibility I'm projecting or just making shit up in an attempt to avoid unpleasant feelings. Though considering my past it seems possible that I've suppressed a part of my self to avoid unpleasant, and overwhelming, sensations.
Maybe this is getting cracked open finally via meditation.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/16/12 6:26 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Today when I do my usual "who am I?" questioning this new energetic sense of being pops up with a great deal of clarity. It seems to be an answer, "I am this sense of being". Curious to see how this plays out, it's definitely new. It's a little odd in that the feeling is becoming more subtle, but also more clear. "I am this" not a big deal, but a big deal.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/27/12 4:52 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Continuing with practice it appears that I wasn't experiencing any DN stuff, but more of a withdrawal from a couple of "I AM" experiences(http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.ca/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html). I chatted with AEN on his forum and that seems to be what a couple of my previous posts were describing. By withdrawal I mean just trying overly hard to get back to the pleasantness of the experience, which resulted in a lot of tension and unpleasantness. I would guess similar to someone who has a PCE and then "tries" to re-create it.
My practice seems to be settling back into a normal routine of TWIM on the cushion, with the alteration of using the sense of being as the object instead of the breath. Off the cushion:
"feel this energy and aliveness in a relaxed way until total and complete oneness. Work on the view later. Total oneness means there is no gap between him and this sensation of energetic aliveness. And understand what exactly led to the separation"
These are his instructions to me, and they seem good. Though I still find myself "trying" too hard, which prevents the "relaxed" part, but I get glimpses, and it's coming along. Heading in the right direction at least. The amount of energy really seems to fluctuate depending on the day. Not sure if this is significant or not, still doing the same practice regardless.
Also still asking"Who am I" when I have time to allow some silence after it, walking around between tasks mostly. This almost always brings me back to this sense of being, if I ask and then remain silent after. It's like a finger pointing at the moon, and "I AM" the moon.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/9/12 9:49 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Just to update my progress...It feels like I'm going backwards, lol.

I haven't had anything close to my previous "experiences", they are just a distant memory. Instead, I now seem to be struggling with tension in my forehead whenever I meditate(how original for me) I had been experiencing frequent moments of stillness and openness, but now it seems as though my attention has collapsed back to a contracted and cramped and unpleasant point. My attention seems focused in my forehead instead of my entire body. Oddly when I meditate the tension is focused at my left eyebrow(?)

I'm frustrated at this current situation, but not as much as I would have been 6-12 months ago, so I do seem to be lightening up at least.


Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/9/12 11:10 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Cool, I seem to be going through pretty much the same stuff as you at pretty much the same time.

My guesses:


7/18
I've had some very pleasant experiences in which "I" fade out and am left with impersonal sensations. This is happening almost at will when I have the time and inclination. It has made it easier to just allow all sensations from any of the 6 doors to just come and go unhindered, or at least less hindered.

Mind and Body

7/29
My ability to just be present and allow experience to be has increased noticeably. I feel this body much more clearly and constantly, also with a level of ...vibrancy, energy, dynamism. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it feels like a lot of energy has been freed up in me. And it is unusual and pleasant. I'm finding that I can sit and just feel the senses experiencing sensations arise and pass and this brings a level of happiness that surprises me. I don't really "meditate" right now, I just sit and watch and enjoy. I can do this walking down the street just as easily as in formal practice.

Also Mind and Body

compare with MCTB
There is this sudden shift, and mental phenomena shift out away
from the illusory sense of “the watcher” and are just out there in the
world with the sensations of the other five sense doors. This is an
important insight, as it shows us clearly and directly that we are not
“our” mind or “our” body. It is also a really nice, clear and unitive-
feeling state (it really is still more state-like than stage-like), and people
can try to hold on to it just as with the first jhana and get stuck. Reality
can seem just a bit more brilliant the first time one chances into Mind
and Body. We may feel more alive and connected to the world.


8/13
I'm very frustrated with practice, feel like I've accomplished nothing, should be "further along".
Concentration is absolute garbage, thoughts constantly arising, and I'm getting tangled up in them instantly.
Almost constant tension in my forehead, as soon as I get up until I fall asleep. Very unpleasant while sitting, mild the rest of the time.

Three Characteristics

compare with MCTB
This unpleasantness tends to be mostly physical, though this stage
can also cause numerous dark feelings and a sense of wanting to
renounce the world and practice.
[...]
There may be odd bodily twistings, obsession with posture, and
painful tensions or strange other sensations, particularly in the back,
neck, jaw and shoulders. These tensions may persist when not
meditating and be quite irritating and even debilitating.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/11/12 9:17 PM as a reply to N A.
N A
Thanks for the comments. I haven't looked at MCTB in a while, and I've stopped referring to the maps in it as well so I hadn't even considered that. I'll have to take a look at it again.
I've taken a couple days off from practice, just relaxing and smiling, and it feels good. I was directed to a Shinzen Young videoDo Nothing.
I gave it a shot today, and although I had a bloody awful headache as soon as I closed my eyes, it wasn't really bothersome. That's another interesting thing about my recent practice, the moment I close my eyes to meditate...pressure in the forehead. I'm assuming this is because I've got some entrenched ideas about what I "should do" when I meditate and try to steer it that way. I'm hoping the Do Nothing instructions will be helpful, but I seem to be able to find a way to derive stress from rainbows and cotton candy so who the hell knows.
Or maybe not. I've also got work and relationship stress grinding on my skull, so maybe just a happy combo of everything.
emoticon
Not a big deal though, just more shit to shovel. haha!

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/29/12 8:20 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Still using the "do nothing" technique with good results. I've lightened up... a LOT, about my practice. Tension in the head has been gone for about 2 weeks.
This technique feels similar to the TWIM I was practicing earlier. Shinzen says to "drop the intention to control attention" In TWIM one is to relax and drop anything that causes tension to arise, my experience has been that "the intention to control attention" is what causes the tension to arise. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding both sets of instructions.
I've come to realize how much effort I've put into my attempt to control life. And, I'm beginning to see how much peace and happiness is available just by dropping that need/desire to be in control, which is impossible anyway.
I haven't had another significant "I AM" experience, though I do have the feeling of presence often, just in a more subtle way then my previous two experiences.
I'm also having a slightly paradoxical experience regarding my emotions: I've had a lot of sadness appear in the last week, it feels as though it's present because I'm no longer attempting to control my emotions. I did, unconsciously, suppress sadness and anger as being inappropriate or "bad" emotions. Giving up control(trying to) and allowing whatever arises to do so has been very freeing. Though this sadness is occasionally pretty strong, I'm often on the verge of tears throughout an average day, it is not really upsetting. This has also left me physically relaxed, like I just got out of a hot tub and my muscles are like noodles.
The paradox is that it seems just as often I'm quite emotionless. I can sit and stare out the window for long periods of time with no significant thoughts or feelings of any kind appearing. According to others, who know me, I'm losing some inflection in my voice and becoming a little monotone. This seems to be the result of being in a very neutral state of being(or so it seems). Perhaps this is just my way of dealing with the exhaustion of dealing with the arising of sadness that has possibly been held in my body for some time.
My seated meditation time has also decreased somewhat lately, it just doesn't feel as vital to do so right now.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/30/12 7:23 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hi Brian,

I've been thinking lately about how easy it is, for me anyway, that the 'release' step of the 6Rs in TWIM turns into an emotional suppression of sorts. I wonder if the wording isn't partially to blame, when you release something it's supposed to be gone, so you subconsciously, subtly, try to make the emotion go away so you can get back to the object of meditation. I remember Bhante mentioning something about this in one of his talks, how the 6Rs shouldn't be used as a club to ward of emotions, but it's not something that's highlighted in the texts to any particular degree from what I can recall.

I wonder perhaps if the release wording wouldn't do better as an 'accept and stop focusing' or something similar. But I supposed that using the '5Rs, 1A' method doesn't have a very good ring to it. emoticon

Have you ever looked at the forgiveness meditation instructions they have at Dhammasukha? They're very TWIM-ish, using the 6Rs and all, but what they basically boil down to in my experience is facing any negative emotions head on and actually learning to accept them/transform them rather than suppressing them. That's also something I've seen to be very effective from my brief forays into the Faster EFT method.

Anyway, just a few thoughts that are perhaps semi-related.
Simon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/30/12 3:44 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon,

I'd agree about the release step. For me it is also an activity that often turns into a pushing away(suppressing) of what arises. Perhaps if I'd gone to a retreat with Bhante I may have avoided this confusion.
Interesting you came up with 5R's and an A, I did as well, but my A was for allow(what ever arise to be).
I hadn't heard of the EFT method, I just googled it and will take a look at it when I get a chance this week. Thanks for the tip about it though, I need all the help I can get! emoticon

Metta

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/30/12 4:27 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hi Brian,

Regarding Faster EFT, I saw it mentioned in some thread here at the DhO as useful for dealing with kriyas/body movement, which was something that had started to become an issue in my own practice. A few days of tapping and the the kriyas were gone and haven't been back since, just like that, I thought it was pretty cool.

I think it's a good method for dealing with emotional (conscious and not) issues, I know it has been for me. So if that's something you feel might be useful for you, give it a look. I'm sure many people here are long past dealing with plain old emotional junk, but for me it's something that hinders my practice in a number of different ways, and Faster EFT has been more effective in dealing with stuff like that than anything else I've tried, on and off the bench.

The "Quickstart Course" here http://www.fastereft.com/ wasn't a bad way to get the basics down.

Simon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/5/12 7:31 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Still haven't had a chance to really dig into the EFT thing yet...

But, this past week formal practice has gotten kind of weird. I'm having a lot of trouble staying on the cushion for more then about 20-25 minutes. I just feel like getting up. Which may be OK, but I've still got the earlier mindset of grinding out 45-60 minute sits no matter what.
This may well be a good sign, as I'm trying to lighten up about my practice. Which seems to be working, but the fear that I'll lose what I've gained over the past 30 months is present. My locked in mindfulness seems to be slipping as well, but when I am present it seems more open and clear, and I'm a little more relaxed overall. My practice is currently to try to see clearly all the ways I attempt to control stuff and just release it.
I've also come down with a cold, which has presented itself as an almost constant source of aversion. "I don't want to feel like this!" Which gives me a chance to watch the aversion come and go, and see how my perception changes as a result. And I obviously can't control how I feel with a cold so any attempts to do so are clearly going to fail.


Any ideas about how to tell if it's OK to ease up with formal practice? I'm sure there is no hard and fast rule but I know some people here have gone for stretches with little formal practice. I suppose it's probably just a result of the change in practice, or a phase, but any feed back would be appreciated.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/5/12 9:48 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hey brian I havent done formal practice for around 20 days and it has been working very well... not that what i am doing is incompatible with formal practice, you could do formal sits + what i am doing. I talked about it in this thread:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3547500

I would say the main difference with this practice is that I for some reason have been TOTALLY not worried about getting enlightened and after like the 5th day of doing this seemed to lose all neurotic thought loops about practicing wrongly. I really can't account for this, I don't think this practice is that much better... i am very relaxed a lot of the time and I passed through a DN while on one level remaining 100% calm in a way that has never happened before at all.

I also should add that I had a special experience with a Dzogchen guy doing a cool pointing-out thing (which I didn't even know was happening, thought it was a native american ceremony) he just told me and the kids I was with to lay down close our eyes and he gave us some 'relaxing oils' which we put on our heads and chest and he played all these instruments in a weird cacophonous way that undercut some aspect of dualism and conceptual overlay... afterwards I talked to him and he said that was the intent... but ANYWAY... I'd suggest that practice if you are having difficulty lightening up on yourself, as it doesn't ask of you any effort really, there is no way to judge yourself as practicing wrongly because you don't have to experience anything special and you don't even have to be mindful. I only mention that whole story so that you don't get hard on yourself for being hard on yourself, if that still happens despite this easygoing practice.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/6/12 4:19 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam. .
Thanks for the pointer. I've been doing part of this practice already. I come back to my body and release any tension I'm feeling for a few seconds many times throughout my day.
Bentinho adds the step of releasing the focus, while I was focused on the tension in my mind and body that I'm releasing. I can see how this extra step would make a significant difference in the practice.
In the video he talks about becoming aware of the aliveness and spontaneity of the moment, doing this now it feels the same as my "I AM" experiences from a month or two ago. Which makes me tend to think this is worth trying. So, thanks again.
Tommy,
Thanks for the heads up on the link that Adam. . provided.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/8/12 4:21 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Last night I had a short (2 hrs.) "I Am' experience, it was late and I went to sleep with it. Having spent some time reading up on it and looking back at my previous experiences I was able to notice a few things this time.
The difference between my present experience and the "I Am" experience is very subtle, it's like turning my head a half degree and everything is different. Similar to looking at those 3D pictures that are just dots, until you change your focus a little, then wham... a choo-choo train with Bob Marley the engineer.
It seems to be a matter of releasing/letting go of enough "ideas/thoughts/judgments/opinions/etc"and allowing my focus/attention to be very wide open. When this occurs there is much less "me" and the base/ground (I Am) suddenly becomes apparent. This explains why any attempt to cause it to occur will always fail "I" am what prevents it, so "I" can't cause it to arise unless "I" disappear.
I was also surprised, again, at the level of vibrancy/energy that becomes apparent. In the thread that End in Sight(Stuff I Learned Recently has going regarding this I realized that the term "luminosity" is often used to refer to this aspect of the experience/realization. This doesn't, in my experience, capture the dynamism of it however. Though this may only appear to be the case since it is still new for me.
Glad to have had another taste of it, and gotten, I think, a better idea of how to allow it to occur(allow being the key).

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/18/12 9:47 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
My head tension is back, but, I'm noticing a pattern in when it occurs which is leading me to the conclusion that it's a psychological/emotional issue that is the culprit. I suspect that it is the result of a very long held feeling of unworthiness, this creates tension when I'm in the presence of others. I unconsciously react to this by tensing up and "trying" very hard to be who I think others expect me to be. It really is a situation in which I'm in violent emotional conflict with myself, big surprise I feel a little tension!! lol. This is rooted in various childhood "stuff" that I won't get into.
But, hopefully having a better idea of the cause will allow me to deal with it directly. I think that it may be more effective to try to deal with this particular issue from a psychological perspective, while still maintaining my meditation practice and self inquiry.
I suspect that this has become apparent due to my meditation practice peeling back layers of "me", like brushing away the sand on an archaeological dig to find, not a treasure, but, some cat shit right in the middle of "me".
This also gives me a chance to try out the faster EFT stuff mentioned a few posts above, and the Gary Weber suggestions I posted here:http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3584023
It can only keep getting better.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/19/12 1:30 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hi Brian,

I hope you have fun with the Faster EFT stuff. Let me know if you have any questions, I'm certainly no expert but I've been at it for a few weeks now with good results. One fun and entirely unexpected point being that it seems to have gotten rid of a lower back pain that's been with me for the last two years. I've wondered if it was rooted in an injury that wasn't healing properly due to to much tension held in the area, and I'm fairly sure now that that was the case.

Anyway, good luck!
Simon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/26/12 7:59 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
My experience with faster EFT has been positive, though mixed. It has been surprisingly effective at reducing stress and tension throughout my day. I don't know how, but it seems to work pretty much as advertised. Compared to last week, there was almost no tension build up during my day. That's the positive part.

The mixed part is that I'm still experiencing tension in my head almost as soon as I sit down to meditate. I can feel very relaxed and happy, sit down to meditate and 30-60 seconds later I've got significant tension in my forehead. I try to just allow it to be there but I can't help but feel that I'm missing a step or adding one of my own somewhere along the way. It doesn't seem to matter what type of meditation I try to do...tension arises. I can try a new type, recently "Do Nothing" as taught by Shinzen Young, and it is very open and relaxed for a few days, then the tension is back.
I've been trying to treating it like a thought or sound and just let it be a part of my experience, but it has been present on and off for about a year. This extended time frame makes me question whether it is just a "phase" or part of a phase or just a shitty job on my part.
I'm considering stopping practice for a while to try to let my brain forget what it's doing when it meditates, but after almost three years of 1-2 hrs per day, that could take a while. That's probably just the frustration talking though, and I'll likely just keep trying to lighten the hell up!!
Hopefully keeping up with the EFT will continue to help and possibly there will be some benefit in my practice.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/31/12 5:29 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hey Brian,

Brian Eleven:
My experience with faster EFT has been positive, though mixed. It has been surprisingly effective at reducing stress and tension throughout my day. I don't know how, but it seems to work pretty much as advertised. Compared to last week, there was almost no tension build up during my day. That's the positive part.

The mixed part is that I'm still experiencing tension in my head almost as soon as I sit down to meditate.


Apart from using EFT for day to day stuff, have you tried to use it on old emotional junk? I've been working my way through piles and heaps of old emotional junk that has gathered over the course of my life and it's (for me) surprising how many memories still cause emotional reactions. I also have a few really big elephants that I've been tapping on that are really a lot of work.

For me, a lot of my recurring tensions seem to be cause by retained emotional responses to old events, and EFT has been very helpful in dealing with that.

Of course, I have tended in the past to be very suppressive with negative emotions which I think is a big part of the problem, so this may be a complete non-issue for other people.

Anyway, my two cents.

Simon

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/31/12 9:58 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Hey Brian, I'm not sure why you place so much emphasis on tension in your head but that likely plays a part in how much of it you have.

It isn't the same type of tension vimalaramsi talks about cus that is in the middle of the head and it is releasable on command. Just don't worry about the forehead thing. Even if you constantly say "I'm gonna do nothing to it" that's still a reaction. It really isn't that big a deal so just don't worry about it.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
12/1/12 9:18 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
The last month has seen some changes in my practice. So far they seem very positive.
I've moved much more toward Advaita/Non-duality inspired practice. It feels like a better fit with my personality, and the lack of stages, levels and attainments helps curb my goal oriented nature, which seemed to be causing me as much tension as my practice was releasing.
I sit twice a day, for 30 minutes each, with my attention gently on the feeling of being. I allow whatever comes to come and just rest in the sense of presence. Off the cushion I'm looking to see "Who am I?", "Who is hearing/seeing/smelling thinking?", "Who is dragging this corpse around?". And a new favorite, just reminding myself that "I AM", which instantly brings me back to that feeling of stillness and present awareness without effort.
I'm curently reading John Wheeler, Dr. Robert Saltzman and Nisrgadatta Maharaj as a source of pointers.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
1/6/13 10:57 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
The last few days I've been experiencing things as manifestations of consciousness. The sound of a car alarm is the same as the one meditating, no disturbance. Everything is impersonal, there is no "one" to do anything to anyone else. It comes and goes(the experience). Meditation is just sitting and watching perceptions arise. This is very nice.

Metta,

Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
4/1/13 2:20 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
It's been a while. Not much to say.
Sometimes I meditate and sometimes I don't. Though usually 30 minutes morning and night.
It seems that it is best if I use no technique or method. The less "I" do the better. "Trying to meditate" seems to have really buggered me up. The difference between practice and daily life is becoming mostly indistinguishable. Sensations and thoughts arise and pass whether I am sitting with my eyes closed or at work.
The previously mentioned tension is still present on occasion, though it doesn't bother me either way.
I seem to be doing less and less all the time. I like to sit and look out my window quite a bit now.
I would say that Brian is fading away, which is fine.

Metta

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
5/2/13 3:40 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
This past week I've begun meditating with my eyes open. This seems to have made a significant difference in my experience. The line between practice and non-practice has been further reduced. Also, the drop in thought/inner talk/judgement has decreased substantially.
I've been very surprised that such a small change has had such a large effect. The reason for my decision to change has been an investigation into Zen and its practice. I thought I'd give it a try for a week and see what difference eyes open may have. Needless to say it's gotten my attention and I will continue this way to see what may come of it.

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
6/15/13 9:58 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Still sit with my eyes open.

The vivid/presence/awareness feeling is here more often then not. It is often with me before I open my eyes in the morning, maybe becoming the new normal. I believe it may be a continuing "I Am" experience. It's here for a week then I slide back into thoughts and struggle to "let go". When I stop the struggle I am again present. I just keep falling into old patterns that have been with me for years. This seems like a significant shift, time will tell.

It seems so simple, all the division into levels and stages seems like unnecessary mental exercises.
This is right here in front of me to see, if I'd just stop looking so hard for it.

Brian

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
8/31/13 3:11 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Continuing with what I've been doing. Me-ing is winding down it seems, replaced by being. I still sit, but it's not what I would call meditation anymore. Just sitting with what is.
When I "practice" it is Maharshi's Self Inquiry.
I've lost interest in reading, music, or watching TV/movies. I enjoy sitting outside, or inside if the weather makes me uncomfortable.
All the best.

Metta,

Brian.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
9/1/13 10:02 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Paweł K:
I've lost interest in reading, music, or watching TV/movies. I enjoy sitting outside, or inside if the weather makes me uncomfortable.

Congratulations in your progress to become vegetable emoticon


Be careful. He might be less addicted so he can follow his priorities instead. I've seen people being addicted to TV/Movies/Music and would look like vegetables as well. Balance is preferred in my opinion and mindfulness while doing activities and increasing activities is my goal.

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/1/13 5:48 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
"AS: When I say, ‘Meditate on the Self’ I am asking you to be the Self, not think about it. Be aware of what remains when thoughts stop. Be aware of the consciousness that is the origin of all your thoughts. Be that consciousness. Feel that this is what you really are. If you do this you are meditating on the Self. But if you cannot stabilize in that consciousness because your vasanas are too strong and too active, it is beneficial to hold onto the thought, ‘I am the Self; I am everything.’ If you meditate in this way you will not be cooperating with the vasanas that are blocking your Self-awareness. If you don’t cooperate with them, sooner or later they are bound to leave you.
If this method doesn’t appeal to you, then just watch the mind with full attention. Whenever the mind wanders, become aware of it. See how thoughts connect with each other and watch how this ghost called mind catches hold of all your thoughts, saying,’ This is my thought. ‘ Watch the ways of the mind without identifying with them in any way. If you give your mind your full, detached attention, you begin to understand the futility of all mental activities. Watch the mind wandering here and there, seeking out useless and unnecessary things or ideas, which will ultimately only create misery for itself. Watching the mind gives us a knowledge of its inner processes. It gives us an incentive to stay detached from all our thoughts. Ultimately, if we try hard enough, it gives us the ability to remain as consciousness, unaffected by transient thoughts.

– ‘Living by the Words of Bhagavan’, p. 283"

RE: Brian's practice observations
Answer
10/31/13 2:40 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
It seems that my practice has become almost completely self sufficient. It appears it is the natural state with no one doing anything.
Bhante V's TWIM makes so much more sense lately, it just happens on its own. 6R's in one step. The dropping of any source of tension(those being craving and/or aversion). It has been a long road to get to a point where "I" stop "doing" practice and just allow what is to be.

It also feels very similar to Shinzen Young's "Do Nothing" meditation. Paraphrasing:
"Whenever you notice the intention to direct the attention, let it go"
Right now, however, it seems as though even the intention to let go is causing a subtle degree of tension/suffering. I suppose eventually intention just drops away all together:

When I say, ‘Meditate on the Self’ I am asking you to be the Self, not think about it. Be aware of what remains when thoughts stop. Be aware of the consciousness that is the origin of all your thoughts. Be that consciousness.
Allow the thoughts to stop, like a wind up toy that has used up all the tension stored in the spring.

Metta,

Brian.