Rich's Practice Thread

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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 64 Join Date: 1/12/11 Recent Posts
I suppose some sort of Introduction would be the expected place to begin. But unfortunately I'm pressed for time and I really wanted to start this thing today to make sure that it actually happened. So the intro/background will have to wait, and in the mean-time I'm just going to get right into a zippy 45 minute sit right now, and then speil down my observations, maybe with some general "overall thoughts" afterwards. I'm litterally doing this RIGHT NOW.

Thoughts before I begin... feeling quite positive about noting practice which I started relatively recently. The type I've been concentrating on recently is only noting inner sensations. That is mental images, thoughts, sounds, background noise of the mind (subtle processing), emotions (mainly reactions to thoughts)... and also I occasionally note "feel" when physical feel seems to have an emotional element and I can't distinguish it. Why am I excluding external sight, sound and touch? Because frankly it seems to be there almost all the time and it's so fast that I can't tell when it's there and when it's not... I do think there's something to be gained for me from practice just noting those specific things... but right now I want to focus on inner things because they are the sensations I'm most likely to "get side-tracked by" or "identify with" or become attached to, etc... and also they are the ones which I mix up and mis-identify the most. I'm not trying to focus on anything particularly, the only effort I'm trying to apply is in maintaining awareness of the areas I'm noting.

Right so here we go... see you in 45.

Ok that was... a little weak to be honest. I spent a lot of time battleing tiredness... which isn't a normal problem of mine so don't really know what happened there.

Began with lots of thought "about my meditation". Seeing this post in my head... hearing my mind say parts of it... then saying the post I'm "about to write" when I finish... a lot of nonsense in other words. These thoughts I see as quite obvious and easy to spot.

Then for about 30 minutes I started to nod off... what would normally happen is that I'd note a few images or mental talk... think I'm doing alright... then catch myself in a massive wave of "tired feel" enveloping my entire head - sometimes my head actually had dipped forward and I'd started to lose consciousness. To be honest it reminded me of early morning University lectures.

During this period my mind was wild with images and talk and I found it quite difficult to make sense of any of it. All kinds of things... desires, memories, random thoughts. Actually I haven't had a meditation quite this messy in some time.

But on the other hand there wasn't much pain. Throughout the whole meditation I was aware of a "fuzzy body shape" which I was only noting as "feel" when some other kind of emotional feel (such as anxiety about work starting soonish/later) went through my body and interacted with it - as it did noticeably at least once a minute.

On only one occasion I seemed to catch a big wave of sleep feeling before it actually took hold of me, and on that time it felt much more "fuzzy and spaced out" and I didn't need to make an effort to not fall asleep (as with the other times), it was kind of just like a big ball of fluffy fuzz exploding from my head through my body, and then it vanished.

Occasionally I noticed images which were extremely fast images of myself... such as facial expressions, body position, etc... often they are attached to a subtle feeling of "my current mood" which I am unable to break down further. They are so fast that sometimes I wonder if I just imagined them... but then surely that's what I am doing? Don't know, they have me confused even though I have heard people like Shinzen Young talking in detail about them.

The one other note-worthy thing was that I noticed that sometimes I would feel like I'd "missed an image" and then I would see it, and THEN note it. I'm not sure if I was actually missing sensations, presumably yes. But this seems a little strange because now I'm meditating... missing things... realising I'd missed them and therefore bringing them up again, and THEN noting them formally. I suppose that what I should be doing is noting all that as something like "Missed" "Coming back" "Image" or something, and maybe I will in the future.

Ok... that was a little different from normal and I'm somewhat worried that it's just because I was tired and sloppy. I'll post another one sooner or later which hopefully will be more like the standard meditation experiences I've been having recently.
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Some basic notes about my informal practice aswell...

Basically often when walking, and almost always when waiting, I will do some kind of meditation. Albeit, I am well aware that I don't maintain as high a quality of meditation as in formal sitting.

I just choose something and then meditate on it. Normally the visual field and I try to see the "framerate" of human vision. Strangely enough I think that recently I've started to get close to it, either that or I'm deluding myself in someway. But I think I can almost see each set of light pixels "arrive" in the mind and then the next set... the overall effect is a flicker. Originally it just looked like a TV screen flickering, but now I can see it more clearly... but like everything in meditation I'm not that confident that I'm not deluding myself.

Recently I've been starying aware from using the visual field as an object of insight meditation, and instead chooseing other things. I even did a bit with the breath for a wild... which ended up being my prefered object for Samadhi practice... but that's another story.

So today I was just waiting around at the Doc's and I decided to observe mental image and feel. Mental image because I think it's the sensory experience that I most often "miss" or "get misled by", and feel because I think anyone will agree that it is the most gripping of all the sensations (and thus the most dangerous, no?)

What I noticed mainly was tons of images of facial expresions, and several overlapping feel experiences. Some feel experiences were instantaeous... others where more like a bloom... they would bloom up... and then fade gradually.... whereas some were just a flash... I actually noted that almost all images seem to come with an instanteous sense of feel. Some images are so fast I can't really see them and when I note them sometimes they appeared again in my mind, although I'm not sure how accurate these "reflections of mental image" are... and again this seems to be my meditation practice actually affecting my thought, which I'm not sure is ideal.

My practice is feeling a little bit "Heisenberg's uncertainty principle" at the moment. In that I suspect that my practice is actullay affecting my natural thought. Could anyone comment on this? Is it necesarily undesireable, or doesn't it really matter?

I presume the latter to be honest. Just note and continue right?
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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My practice today was murky, not too much to say about it.

A few notable experiences though...

I was meditating with my eyes closed and paying particular attention to feel sensations. I started by notating "feel, feel, feel" but shortly this became extremely tiring so I just observed instead, trying to keep observing without becoming involved with anything in particular.

I noticed at one point that the lay on my lap-top shut-off and even with my eyes closed I noticed the feeling of "being plunged into darkness" which, strangely, was followed by a feeling of complete terror which I noticed growing. I think it would have conitnued growing except that I was surprised at noticing this and the feeling of surprise and my own noting distracted me from the feeling. When I regained mindfulness the feeling was gone.

The end of my meditation I started to get frustrated with a constant feeling of "being me" which seemed to arise every moment before I could notice it objectively and I started to try and attack it by examing right at it. But I was pretty unsuccessful and my meditation ended with me feeling trapped, frustrated, and discontent.
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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1 hour sit today which seemed much more clear.

Spenth the whole hour just looking at "What I am in this moment" and noting any sense of identify as "me". The experience was quite insightful. I noticed multiple flavours of "me" and multiple levels. There was the one which I've noticed several times before - the image of the faceial expression and different flavours of my moods...

But there were others too. There was one sense of "me" identified with a mental observer and decision maker. So as I meditate I'd ocassionally notice myself making observations and identifying with the person making those observations. This includes the system which continuously propels my awareness back into the present moment.. I noticed several times that this very system has a sense of "me" attached to it... that in some moments I think of myself as this thing that is meditating and noting other self sensations.

My meditation is not clear enough to define what this sense of me is actually made up of... I can taste (for want of a better word) its various flavours.. but not clearly define where they are.. if they are infact anywhere.

Occasionally I felt very sick during my sit. I'm not sure if that's related to the fact I haven't had a chance to have breakfast today, but it's not something I've noticed very much before. At one point I almost felt like I was going to throw up. But the feeling went away completely afterwards.

After the sit I feel light, a little dizzy, and my mind feels relatively clouded (surprisingly).
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Today I decided to look inwards and just note things which appeared to happen "in the mind". So I ignored sight, sound and touch, and noted only feel, thoughts, reactions, images, talk, things like that.

At first my noting seemed slow. I would note an image and a feel and a talk... and then it would seem like nothing for almost a second...

Later things speeded up a lot. At one point it seemed like I was noting 5 or 6 various things every second, and things would come in groups. So if I noticed a sense of me and an image of me... that would then come up another 5 or 6 times in different forms.. then something random would jump in then it'd jump back...

I noticed that I felt much more equanimity doing this "exploration of the mind" than I do when I do insight mediation which focuses on physical sensations - which actually tends to leave me feeling annoyed and agitated and can be quite unpleasent.

This too was unpleasent... but in a more abstract way. The challenges were less feelings of suffering, but instead ideas of suffering (even when I was noting feel... although the feelings were just tiny sensations in the mind and seemed to disapear the moment I noted them).

I didn't feel like I made any progress at all in this sit, but on the other hand it's something I've never really done before. As per usual I felt like my accuracy and speed were both not up to the real task of deconstructing my moment by moment experience, or of even being able to experience it accurately.

However I didn't once get noticably lost in any stories or even feelings of tiredness... which have been a constant theme ever since I started this thread (strange because I never used to have that problem ever... it's completely new after 4 years of meditating off and on...)
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Today I meditated using noting. I didn't note sight and sound (too fast to keep up), but did everything else.

After 30 minutes I was noting fast and became extremely concentrated.. then started to get a massive build up of pleasure which, just as instantly as it started to build, went away. It was similiar to Samadhi, except that I thought I was doing insight meditation not concentration? Not sure what happend... but after that I specifically began targeting the sense of self and I droped the labels, just trying to note (without labels) as many experiences per second as possible and be as clear as possible about what sensations where present.

In some ways I feel extremely close to a breakthrough, but have no idea what to expect. Whatever the situation I feel like continued meditation is the solution. I have noticed a serious increase in my awareness recently... I think it's been growing for some time with practice, I mean I've been toying with meditation for almost 5 years now, but I've only recently noticed just how aware my everyday experience has become.

This seems like the right track.
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Haven't been doing much formal practice, but I do a lot of informal. Whenever walking, waiting, getting to sleep, showering etc...

Getting extremely frustrated, and a little upset. No matter how concentrated I become I can't nail down the moment of a single sensation. Every moment appears to be a mix of things... things still seem to be persistant to me even though they often flicker, move, etc...

Particularly mental images and feelings... once I spot one I struggle to find a conscious moment when it isn't there (if I focus on it).

I spent some time actually trying to focus on the act of focusing itself in an attempt to see the "me" hiding away in "intention". But I wasn't able to see it.

Experiences roughly appears to me along a line of automatic sensations, and things which "I" appear to "cause". Although I suspect I need to see the truth of the "I" sensations, the fact that I know certain sensations are just automatic without any intention (random thoughts, sight, sounds, pain, etc) I don't feel any freer from them than I am from anything else.

I am frustrated, I don't feel like I'm having any insights and I don't seem any closer to seeing things as they are than I've ever been.
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Rich N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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I noticed that my practice was getting quite intense and often would, for example, actually make me more stressed if I was stressed, or more annoyed if I was annoyed. I would be continuing to "observe the stress" or "annoyance" but the feelings would actually be even more devouring than ever.

So I've pulled back on the intensity and now I'm trying to focus on making the least ammount of effort, whilst noting as much subtlety in every feeling in every moment. I'm attempting to taste the moments which as much subtlety as possible, like developing a taste for the subtleties of wine (I imagine, I don't have such a taste emoticon ). That includes looking at the flavour of identity, memory, and even intention and action in the moment.

For now I'm dropping the labels.

What I'm trying to do is meditate more to "observe what's happening without affecting it"... whereas previously my meditation had begun to seriously affect my experience and infact create whole new "meditatative moods" which would be a little strange because I was then observing an state created by the observation itself...
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
8/2/11 9:24 AM: pre-A&P: Cause and Effect
8/3/11 5:12 AM: framerate stuff: A&P-ish
8/7/11 5:43 PM: might have been only laptop darkening, might have been entrance to Dissolution. either ending on dark night or 3 Chars.
8/7/11 5:43 PM: feeling sick - Disgust
8/10/11 3:27 PM: A&P-ish
8/28/11 5:09 PM: definitely A&P, right down to the fast noting, bliss, "This seems like the right track."
9/5/11 7:04 AM: definitely dark night, complete with frustration, upset, and "I am frustrated, I don't feel like I'm having any insights and I don't seem any closer to seeing things as they are than I've ever been."
9/26/11 2:33 PM: definitely Dark Night

You seem to be noticing stuff with every sit you make. Got to keep noticing more and more things. You're noticing them well enough to make progress in the nyanas, even if you feel like you aren't noticing them well. You might like to re-read those MCTB chapters. What might also help is to do noting practice - was helpful for me pre-stream entry.

Pulling back on the intensity might help, but make sure the noticing is persistent. A large dose of equanimity (the factor) will also probably make the dark night a lot easier and more speedy, and lead to Equanimity (the nyana) more easily. Maybe, when feeling really bad, try the phrase: "None of this is happening _to_ me", and take that approach, just observing things disinterestedly. Or read this felicity & dark night thread.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Thanks very much for that Beoman, that's very useful.

My practice has been almost entirely informal since I last posted here, but I have been maintaining some kind of awareness as a part of my daily life. When walking, driving, travelling, eating, cleaning, doing manual tasks. These days I even do it often when communicating, talking, or teaching (my job).

Sometimes I do a bit when I'm lying in bed, but I never push myself too hard to stay focused because this has traditionally caused me to get insomnia.

Rather frustratingly the only results I seem to get from my meditation are negative and consist of the following:

1) Mild stress
2) Extreme stress (particularly when there are real world reasons to be stressed)
3) Depression without cause (a sense of doom, or a sense of overwhelming pointlessness. Normally coming in short bursts of feeling, but also can be like an "over-coat" of general gloom)
4) Extreme social aversion
5) Pains which can be in my chest, near my heart, in my head or face. They often feel as emotional as they are physical, but they are somewhat persistant. They do not "go" immediately, but remain. Sometimes for hours. Often they react to other negative things in an equally negative way.
7) None of the above but generally staying with the moment, being aware of arising thoughts, and normally "losing" focus when I have to do something more taxing.

What is surprising is the complete lack of positive states I get from directly meditating. I'm far past the point of meditating for pleasure, and now I do it just because it seems like the only way to save the "point" of existance at all.

I've started to actively learn some relaxation techniques because I'm somewhat concerned that my hard-core approach to life, in meditation and in other areas, is going to start having negative effects on my health unless I do something about it. I'm tentatively hoping that these practices will bleed positively into my meditation.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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I'm experiencing a lot of depression, and lots of challenging emotions (mainly which appear as actual physical feelings). These start of as tension, then as stress and pain, and later they feel like a wound.

How do I know this is actually dark night and not something else? I do not feel like a "dissolution of self" is taking place, actually I don't even know what self is actually.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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are you sure that they are just physical feelings? if so you are probably doing fine. but the way you talk about them as depression and your wondering about whether everything is going right or wrong would suggest that some degree of the emotions are being experienced as 'content' not just phenomena. keep on inclining towards experiencing them just as phenomena and you will make progress.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Following my recent "dark night" or whatever it may be, I'm switching my meditation practice to Metta until I feel that insight practice won't affect my day to day life in a negative way.

I have had some success with Metta in the past but haven't done it for some time. I started yesterday following these guidelines: http://www.buddhanet.net/metta03.htm

I sat for one hour. Concentration was pretty good at the start, but started to wane later when I wasn't able to cultivate much, if any, Metta. First I responded by trying different people and wishing different things, then I started to switch techniques (ie: just repeating "Loving Kindness" and thinking of someone etc...), which equally didn't help very much. In the end I was rather fidgidty and undisciplined and the practice wasn't very successful.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Second session of metta today. Only had 40 minutes due to work constraints.

Had trouble cultiving significant sensations of Metta again, and began to get frustrated after about 20 minutes. However towards the end of the sit started to experience some strong feelings of compassion, and afterwards I feel somewhat more "Metta"-ified.

I'm concerned about my lack of discipline with concentration, over a year ago I was either acheiving or close to achieving 1st Jhana, and I practice concentration daily with speed reading and daily mindfulness so I'm surprised at my lack of discipline on returning to daily formal practice.

Will continue daily practice of Metta and we'll see what happens.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
FWIW, I've had similar problems.. The metta instructions in Ajahn Brahms' Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond were helpful. There is a section in there on the relationship between metta and the jhanas, which you may find helpful. I also found it helpful to imagine the metta flowing between entities other than myself. This still cultivated connection with metta, and it avoided triggering some conditioned resistance to offering metta myself.

With the negative emotions you've already got coming up, casting distractions as failures of discipline in concentration probably isn't going to be very helpful. In the end, stable shamatha doesn't come from holding one's self to a form, but from a practice which the mind is drawn to because it's delightful. Metta practice is very useful for this. Making metta itself the object of concentration, as Ajahn Brahm suggests, has made for very stable concentration in my case. (Sometimes.)
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Thanks fivebells, I'll take a look at that beofre my next session.

Today I attempted Metta meditation for an hour. Started to feel more metta, particularly in my heart area. Although it was easier to cultivate feelings of compassion than of love, this is the same experience I had when I last practiced Metta.

When I think of people and the suffering they have to go through then I find it much easier to cultivate compassion, whereas when I think of people being free and joyful I find it rather difficult to cultivate kindness.

Progress is slow but consistent so far. My negativity has passed and my everyday existence has returned to something more stable. I have started to practice noting in my informal practice (mainly just noting sight, image, feel when doing things. I try to keep it at least 3 notings per second, but when doing complex tasks that is not possible.)
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Sounds good. When I have found it difficult to experience metta for people, I have found it useful to cultivate it for other things. Icecream, Ithaca and the planet Earth all seemed to be effective.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Practice has been intermittent... when I practice insight meditation the same thing always tends to happen... that I start by getting more and more feelings of nerve tension which escalates into very negative feelings, combines with real-world negative feelings, and eventually becomes overwhelming doom and depressive feelings... it's not just dark night, it's real psiological shit that I do not get if I avoid insight practice altogether and allow my concentration to be naturally scattered by life.

I think what's happened is somehow my concentration has got intertwined with a "tensing up"... but if this is muscle tension I cannot detect it at all. I've tried muscle relaxation techniques and my muscles can feel completely relaxed but the "tense nerves" (or wose, burning painful nerves) do not ease up unless I completely distract myself from my insight practice (exercise, sleep, eat, anything which doesn't involve trying to focus or note).

I've been equally unsuccessful building metta, although I have noted it naturally arising at points in the day and then I pay attention to it deliberately. It particularly arises with animals, old toys (don't know why, when I think of some child loving that old toy I get strong feelings of sadness and compassion)...

Any suggestions on either of my practices?
Aman A., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Rich N:
....but the "tense nerves" (or wose, burning painful nerves) do not ease up unless I completely distract myself from my insight practice (exercise, sleep, eat, anything which doesn't involve trying to focus or note).


When you are able to completely distract yourself from insight practice while exercising, sleeping etc. and then if you suddenly focus, do you still notice "tense nerves"? Or does it take some time for the nerves to get tense after you start focusing?
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Sorry for the delay.

It happens gradually. It starts off with a little tension which I notice instantly when I begin meditating, builds and more practice I do... then it begins to get compounded by negative feelings etc and if I continue then it can reach the point where it takes hours or a whole night of sleeping to go.

Sometimes I've had it, slept, woke up and felt terrible and been unsure if even that is related or not.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Just can't seem to note fast enough to make progress...

I have tried just noting sight and I can note about 5/6 instances a second when I'm really going...

If I note everything with just a noise in my head "dep dep dep" or whatever, then I completely lose track, and also lose the ability to differentiate very well between senses... and then sometimes I suspect I just start saying "dep" over and over again without really having good cause to.

Continually frustrated by my practice.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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I've been practicing a zen-like awareness practice in my daily-life for months, since I stopped updating this thread. It's almost all been off-the-cushion stuff, unfortunately. However I regained my peace with the practice, as in it isn't causing (if it ever was... maybe I was just depressed?) the problems I had before.

Then recently for some reason I decided to shift all my attention to the arising of the self. Instantly I began to make quick progress in detecting this very familiar "taste of self" that I have known intimately my whole life, and see the pictures of self which arise almost instantly later... infact I was totally unable to note a moment when the self wasn't present in some way, although I knew that every observation (and still do know) was momentary. I noted everything with a taste of "self" as "self", and that became the entire purpose of my practice.

Then I had the most insightful or "significant" meditation moment I've had in recent memory. I suddenly, and for no apparent reason, became highly aware of the detail and deep blowing quality of the noise of my fan (which I was previously barely noticing), and the sense of self dropped right down. I can't say it dropped completely, but it dropped to a very low level. For some moments I just sat in relative complete peace, fixed on the sound of my fan.

Several seconds later I was back with the sense of self. Some of the sense of "peace" remained but the sense of self didn't drop away again.

Since then I've been noting "self" at every opportunity... walking, sitting... basically whenever I don't have to concentrate on doing something complex.

I am certain this type of event is significant and will be familiar to some people, could anyone explain to me it's possible significance?
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Accompanied with real world frustrations I am back to frustration and disillusion with my practice. When the world seems unhelpful I often turn to meditation, almost instrinctively, and most of the time this leads to a very difficult and intense place.

I am unable to pick out sensations seperately, everything appears together. Self/sight/sound/thought/image... in different variation but ALWAYS self. Self self self...

I am not focused enough to be able to note everything without losing track of everything for another second, so I don't note I just make as many observations as I can per second.

I'd guess I'm making about 5 observations / second at maximum.

Feel very tense inside and disillusioned. Very much so "want" to have experience without self or with a diminished self. Frustrated that I am unable to really observe self and see it for what it is without being involved in it.

UG.
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Rich N, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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The flicking of awareness is now more apparent than before. But meditation feels like extremely hard work and seems to make me feel exausted.

I almost see the flickering between the mind and the body. Sight, then an impression of self (an image and a feeling), a thought, and intention and sight again... but when I try to note them seperately it just seems way too fast and I either lose mindfulness or find myself noting when I'm not entirely sure if I'm really noting sensations or just pretending that I'm noting sensations.

The flickering nature of each sensation is obvious, although I seem to be completely incapable of saying when something is NOT there, I can only say when it is or recently has been.

Although with the feelings in the body I am able to perceive that the physical feeling of the body is very much an "incomplete shape", and that in any observed moment the feeling impression of the body is clearly quite imcomplete.

I still don't really know where I am on the maps, what I should be doing, and whether what I am doing is the best thing to do.
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Rich -, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

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Just sat for an hour observing the breath.

Had some pretty heavy distractions all the way through. My life is quite turbulent at the moment, and so I naturally have more emotional thoughts coming up. Additionally I am "trying not to try as hard" (if that makes sense) to focus, and better note what's happening rather than control it.

After about 15 minutes the sensations of the breath were very clear and large (as if they were magnified), and although I felt that if I let my guard down a little that some focus on the breath would remain, trying to see every single moment of sensation was tiring. The in breath is much clearer, as it's cold and the sensation of the cold passing through my nose is clear. The our breath is a lot more mixed and I feel my concentration straining to try to perceive it.

Then after another 15-20 minutes I started to perceive heavy waves of tired, and more interruptions.

Then I started to feel dizzy, at first (as usual when some unexpected change of state happens during meditation) I thought I was entering or experiencing some new depth of concentration or having insight (and I noted the "thought" of thinking that) and then I wrote it off as something else and just kept observing. It passed after about 5 minutes.

When I finished I opened my eyes and initially my vision was more pixelated and shaky than normal (whenever I meditate it starts to appear pixelated and shaky, that's pretty normal to me now, but this time it was more pronounced. I tried to stay focused for some time but it gradually returned to normal levels of shaky pixelatedness...)

As usual I had feelings of straining and tensing all over the area I was observing, I've had this for years.

I am gradually losing a want for anything other than to be free of self. I only have some fear that by doing so I could end up hurting people close to me.

Self is so slippery. I see images of myself all the time, but there's more to it than that. The very "intention" to see each sensation which is used in focusing contains a sense of "me" which I can't explain or clearly define... then the sensation immediately afterwards contains some overlapping sense of me... and then maybe there'll be a small arrisal of emotion in my body or head and that will immediately provoke a sense of me.

If I focus my attention of me then the amount of "me" that I perceive goes extremely high. Almost as if by targetting it it becomes more pronounced. Then I find it difficult to say what is the sense of "me" and what is "no self".

I don't think I've ever confidentially had a sense of "no self". I've had times when self seems not to be present, but I think I was just unaware of it's presence rather than actually having an experience without it.
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Rich -, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 64 Join Date: 1/12/11 Recent Posts
Been watching the ego raise up and down all day. It's possible I had a moment when it almost subsided completely... just for a few seconds I was watching the pavement and everything seemed completely tranquil... and then it came back.

Since then I've been noting when it's more present and less present. It hasn't gone away again, but I'm keeping an eye on it. I've noticed that doing certain things engages it, makes it uprise more... but doing other things makes it subside.

I also realised that the "image" of self which flashes up frequently is not actually "self" as I was labelling it. It's just an image, the "sense" of self comes afterwards. That's the first time I've perceived that. To be honest it happens so fast I don't even know how I perceived it.

So interesting question at this point... is it actually conductive to do thinks in daily life which keep self lower? In a way it's an "artificial lowering of ego"... my inclination is that it's not, because our aim here is the completely dropping away of ego, not finding some "lifestyle" which causes us to naturally have less of an ego, no?

For example, getting pissed off and thinking about things which are annoying naturally causes ego to engage more. Whereas relaxing and doing nothing causes the ego to subside somewhat (only coming up in bits as the mind starts to desire thought, and then think, and then engage with thought...)

So what's the action to take here? Attempt to live a life which causes ego to be naturally lower... or just keep going as normal and keep watching ego raise and fall?

In addition my head is now hurting on the verge of a headache and I feel extremely reactive to emotional situations. If someone did something to piss me off I feel like I'd react instantly and in a burst of rage. This kind of thing has happened before when I've aggressively examined self. Is it normal? Does anyone know what it means?
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Rich -, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 64 Join Date: 1/12/11 Recent Posts
Today I've been looking at thoughts and trying to not get distracted by feelings. Thoughts are really weird. They seem to almost always come with a feeling, I'm not sure which comes first. It seems like the feeling often does, but sometimes thoughts provoke feelings also.

Images are lightning fast, I'm not actually sure how we have the ability to "picture things in our head", because the pictures that arise are gone instantly. After that I think some sort of "shadow" of the original picture if you think too much about what it was (watching thought provoking more thought...)

Other times the mind is searching, thinking, or having many incoherent thoughts at once... and then come up ideas and suggestions, those often seem to be provoked by bodily feelings.

Intention I am really poor at seeing, I think I've only seen it a few times. As in the intention to "observe thought", to "move a muscle", to "get up and do something".

Going through a period of depression. Not sure if it's provoked by meditation, life, or a combination of the two. Trying to not allow it to seep into my daily life, nevertheless the experience is very unpleasant. As always, I am wishing for some insight to make everything more bearable.

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Another thing I've noticed occasionally is visual experience "popping" in a way I've never seen before. It happens very rarely, but it happens. There's sort of a "pop" in part of an experience, not all of it but just a small part of what I'm seeing. I don't know what it is, but it's definitely distinct from the normal "fizzing/buzzing/TV-out-of-tune" quality that visual experience has.
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Rich -, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 64 Join Date: 1/12/11 Recent Posts
Recently incorporated some of Ven. Bhante Vimalaramsi's TWIM approach into my technique and it was interesting.

Initially it felt like a welcome change to always trying to break down negative feelings by looking at them in great detail. In-fact this morning I found myself in very high levels of equanimity, at least that's what it seemed like but I'm not certain. It was easy to allow feelings or normally gripping thoughts to pass without grasping at them, even difficutl emotions. I felt like I was seeing the "grabbing on" process which the mind does and was able to release and relax fairly easily.

I even felt a lowered sense of self.

Then after some time, several hours of off-the-cushion practice, a background feeling of depression began to build. It started off very light, increased, and soon afterwards I felt tense and emotionally strained with the usual sharp feelings I associate with bad meditation experiences. Letting go was no longer easy and didn't seem to have an effect for longer than a very short time. Observation was much more difficult.

Now I feel depressed and low and I extremely opposed to meditating.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Hey rich those feelings come up and will keep coming up periodically, don't make a big deal over them emoticon they seem to be a huge problem in and of themselves but if you don't act like they are a big deal you will be alright. it's ok to feel some depression, see it as a purification.

When you say 'letting go was no longer easy' that's a dead give away that what you are trying to do isn't actually let go. What you are more likely trying to do is to push away certain thoughts and feelings, just don't worry about them so much, keep paying attention and things will take care of themselves even without you getting upset at them.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Rich's Practice Thread

Posts: 1624 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
You need to include the negative feelings as a part of your practice as well. That's how you consistently get to equanimity. The brain has to get used to letting go of clinging thoughts on likes and dislikes. When you let go enough so that you get more relief it's okay to smile. I would also look at your automatic reactions as being just that, automatic. If they are automatic then it isn't a "YOU", it's impersonal based on emotional habits. I get withdrawal symptoms sometimes but over time it's less and less. Notice also how the "self" that is obssessed with thoughts of likes and dislikes tends to zoom in on objects and checks you out of the present moment. It's like a veil of concepts. Just let the thoughts drop on their own. No need to stop them or add to them.