Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Starting a new log for the time period of attending Michael Taft's six months long course "Reversing the stack".

My practice is very uneven for the moment. I practice consistently every day, but sometimes it's restless, sometimes dull, sometimes both, and on rare occasions incredibly focused with visuals in perfect screen 2, with sacred geometry in color. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm a mess right now, which tells me exactly how much I still have to work with. I suppose I should be happy to know that, but the circumstances around it are breaking me. I let somebody under my skin who is reactive in an unpredictable way and that makes me reactive. I'm back to having dissociative seizures for the first time since I started my daily practice. They do no longer build up to anything big as I know what they are (kundalini burning away these new hindrances), but they are very recognizable. Now they just look like large kriyas, but it is very obvious what triggers them and it has nothing to do with meditation. It has to do with an old trauma, built up over a lifetime, that has been laid bare several times during this relationship. Unintentionally - there is no question about that, as this is a very warmhearted person who loves me very much - but repeatedly. I don't know if there is a way for me to move beyond this reaction through my practice. I hope so. 
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Not two, not one, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Dunno if you can feel it, but lots of love just washing over in wave after wave from down here. 

<heart>

Malcolm
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Thanks! <3 I really needed that. I think usually I would have felt it, but now I'm cut off. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Survival plan: more space for practice in solitude, just being, and sleep. It has never been more clear to me that those things are what keeps me alive. I just came back from what very recently was my favorite yoga class. It was torture. I could barely do half of it. If it goes on like this, I'll be back in chronic fatigue in no time. My health and stamina have steadily been decreasing the last few weeks. I must take my autistic wiring seriously. Not doing so kills this mammal, or at least any spark in it. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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My Metta force is on the weak side as I'm no Jedi and all I can do is send it over Öresund as far as Malmö emoticon  But I can send you this new tune that sprang from my 3C's stage of mind. Hang in there and don't give into the "content". 
https://youtu.be/m2EA7g3StDs
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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That's very sweet of you. Thankyou! I like your sound. 

As for the content, you are right, of course, but I still want to add the nuances that sometimes relationships face severe challenges without it being anyone's fault. It's just possibly incompatible wiring even though the people involved love each other very much.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm a mess right now, which tells me exactly how much I still have to work with.

If it's any consolation, we all go through these periods and we always will. Our human lives are very human. No practice can relieve us of that. It's the deal we get when we're born. This is the beauty we are blessed with, even when it's hard to bear.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
I'm a mess right now, which tells me exactly how much I still have to work with.

If it's any consolation, we all go through these periods and we always will. Our human lives are very human. No practice can relieve us of that. It's the deal we get when we're born. This is the beauty we are blessed with, even when it's hard to bear.

Thankyou Chris! I guess it is both a consolation and something that I need to grieve. I appreciate you being upfront with this, because there are plenty of voices out there - both within and outside of spiritual contexts - that suggest that I should somehow be able to rise above and beyond being limited by my hardwiring. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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... there are plenty of voices out there - both within and outside of spiritual contexts - that suggest that I should somehow be able to rise above and beyond being limited by my hardwiring. 

Yes, I know. Those voices are full of shit.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Amen to that! 

They are often (albeit not always) wellmeaning, but they cause so much harm. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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Actually, this relationship turns out to be a veritable goldmine for awakening and for growing as a human being. I'm learning so much about my reaction patterns, and the learning curve for us together is the most impressive thing ever. We are acing this thing. I don't think I have ever learned how to deal with some new discovery of my own shit as quickly before in my entire life. Not that I have any illusions whatsoever that I won't find new ways to mess things up or relapse, but now I know how much of a difference can be done with ease by just not grabbing onto that trigger. Working together with triggers and one's personal sets of very human limitations can really be incredibly powerful and helpful once you treat it as a blessing rather than as a threat. 

(The autism thing still stands, in case somebody were to interpret this as a change of stance with regard to that. That's not what this is about.)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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There is some kind of unexpected mercy showing up, revealing the illusory nature of stuff. For instance, this morning I woke up in despair after barely no sleep and with pain here and there and everywhere. Then I let go of the stories that were paining me, because I couldn't afford to hold on to them. My body still felt like shit, but I took my medicines and some painkillers and had something to eat and had some positive interaction, and it put things into perspective. It was so obvious that the same "facts" have very different implications depending on the stories putting them together or not putting them together. Cycling can't be ignored in social interaction anymore. It's parodic. Conditions affecting the mammalian body are deeply intertwined with it. Like, not sleeping leads to very unnecessary crankiness that doesn't make anyone happy. Duh. Lots of the cycling could really be dealt with by actually realizing my limitations and taking responsibility for them. 

There is a whole bunch of life situations for me right now that make it clear that I can't afford anything but letting go of identity stories and selfing patterns that are so deeply embedded that it hurts. Letting go is possible but so challenging. 

During yoga class today I noticed how much clarity there is in total exhaustion and confusion. Detailed clarity. I could see the actual happening of missing out on the arisings and only being able to see the passing away. That was interesting. I could let go of having to see the arisings. That entailed a sense of deep stillness in the rapid falling away of everything. I could be with the awareness of that. 

Despite sleep deprivation the yoga class went really well. I was able to adjust to a pace where I could maintain precision. I learned a number of ways that I often use my muscles wrong and damage weak points, and how to do instead. There was still a point of the spine that hurt so much that I thought I had damaged it. I was about to ask the teacher about it. Then during the rest I had insights about letting go of ego stuff. Then suddenly the sore point was all gone, as if there had never been any pain. I realized that the point had marked the navel chakra. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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Forgot to write earlier: much comes down to how much of an asshole you are willing to be just to be right about something.

30 minutes of fire kasina:
clear persistent dot with great detail. Rapid changes. Layers of rings. Black dot. Murk very much alive: textures, movement, layers, tiny colored dots rapidly arising and passing away, sometimes forming some kind of pattern; grey smoke, subtle images, lots of morphing, wide visual field. While watching the flame the peripheral visual field was vibrational. Taste of spaciousness. Things cracked open behind the nose. Sense of stillness and presence in the midst of everything being vibrational. The joyous curiosity of the practice is back. A ring around the dot started to disconnect from the dot. Elemental qualities. Loud nada sound.

Early this morning before I went to sleep I saw lots of faces in the murk, sort of overlapping each other while replacing each other sequentially. 

Nothing seems quite solid today.

Happy, calm, connected. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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I was unable to publish this entry yesterday due to technical issues:

I'm lagging behind with my logging but not with my practice. I'll start with today's practice and then add a few lines about recent practice for which I have neglected the logging.

About 75 minutes of reclining shamatha. I'm a bit rusty there so I was focusing on a combination of breath, nada sound and inner light, all at the same time, and probably never reached beyond first jhana. I had a partner sleeping next to me, sort of (the hedges pertain to "next to me", not to "partner" or "sleeping") and I'm still not used to doing shamatha without being alone, but I think this was more about me being rusty than having company, because I didn't feel disturbed at all, which is a great development. There were instances of the murk coagulating into interesting textures and shapes, but it never developed into any clear image. Kinesthetically everything felt vibrational, but I could still distinguish outer sounds and have occasional discursive thoughts. Eventually I stopped because my hands and feet were getting stiff and rigid and it felt like that blocked the flowing of energy. It seems like there is an energetic development with blockages moving further out in the periphery. They started out at the center of my body in my early practice and then moved outward. For quite some time now I have had issues with blockages in my ankles and wrists, and now it seems to have moved to the back of my hands and the upper side of my feet, especially on the left side. I have no idea whether this is a common development or not. The development isn’t entirely consistent, as I very recently had a blockage at a vertebra of the spine at the navel level.

I have been doing fire kasina. It dawned on me that fire kasina actually accomplishes what the course is about. The course is called "Reversing the stack". It is based on Michael's map for insight, which maps the degree of deconstruction rather than chronology. The map is not so much about getting from a starting point to the end point as much as it is about covering the whole ground. The idea for the course is that vipassana tends to drill down from concept level via phenomenon level and vibrational lever to awareness level. Mahayana practices, on the other hand, start out from the other direction. The course is for practicioners who have done the drilling down already and want to go the other direction. I realized that fire kasina already does that in a way. The murk is like awareness of awareness and then it gets all vibrational before it coalesces into phenomena that are distinguishable at a concept level. That means that I can easily combine the fire kasina practice with the course.

I have started to have the feeling that during fire kasina there is someone there in the candle flame, relating to me. That’s probably just me reflecting back to myself since the distinction inside vs outside is an illusion, but still... It doesn’t feel trippy. It just feels natural to relate to the flame as a person.

In my yoga practice I have found a new stability. I think at least part of the lack of flow recently was that developmental step. It had to get more clunky before I could reach that new level of precision. I'm developing some muscles that have never been very developed before and learning how to use them properly, for more purposes than I have previously realized. Triceps, new parts of the upper back, the sides of the core, and the upper part of the butt. Also, my wrists are getting much stronger and more stable. Sitting in some version of the full lotus position is getting rather comfortable. My thighs are too fleshy for my feet to go all the way up, though. The muscles there hurt from that kind of pressure, and it might hurt the knees.



Late night: I did Michael Taft’s latest guided meditation, https://youtu.be/J0AGfM7tH2o, World and self as dream. I was able to maintain focus throughout it. Then I remember being space before falling to sleep.
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hae1en, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I have been doing fire kasina. It dawned on me that fire kasina actually accomplishes what the course is about. The course is called "Reversing the stack". It is based on Michael's map for insight, which maps the degree of deconstruction rather than chronology. The map is not so much about getting from a starting point to the end point as much as it is about covering the whole ground. The idea for the course is that vipassana tends to drill down from concept level via phenomenon level and vibrational lever to awareness level. Mahayana practices, on the other hand, start out from the other direction. The course is for practicioners who have done the drilling down already and want to go the other direction. I realized that fire kasina already does that in a way.

The murk is like awareness of awareness and then it gets all vibrational before it coalesces into phenomena that are distinguishable at a concept level. That means that I can easily combine the fire kasina practice with the course.

I have started to have the feeling that during fire kasina there is someone there in the candle flame, relating to me. That’s probably just me reflecting back to myself.

since the distinction inside vs outside is an illusion, but still... It doesn’t feel trippy. It just feels natural to relate to the flame as a person.


I start to comprehend why you conceptualize fractals and other sacred geometry visuals as a result of vipassanizing the murk or any substrate of experience. After some digging it turned out that in dzogchen the basic cells of experience are dots/drops and rays/lines/contours. It does corespond to the first phase of construction of meaningful objects in visual cotrex. 

My doubt is - why does one find awareness at the bottom as if it's subtlest support wasnt constructed? What happened for me - I think - after vipassanizing objectless pure awareness was a discovery that there was only a collection of luminous or spacious or seemingly empty objects filling uniformly the formless realms and pretending to be a Big Self/Mind. Then the fractals appeared. What's your current take on this?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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My current take on it is that all experience is constructed, but some experience involves fewer layers of construction. "Pure awareness" is as minimal as it gets, but it's important to see the emptiness of that as well. Striving to become like a vegetable that does nothing but being aware of itself for the rest of our lives is hardly the point of it all. We need to construct, but we can choose to construct wisely and compassionately. I don't know if that answered your question?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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Fire kasina, first about 75 minutes with the flame, then another half an hour reclining after I had put it out. It had finally started to get trippy. In the beginning of the session I could have sworn that I saw one of my cats watching me from the other end of the room. Then I realized that they were all outside. One of my previous cats maybe? The flame felt like a friend, or a lover. The murk was sparkling with life already from start, around the flame. Lots of colored dots arising and passing away rapidly. When looking at the flame, there were bright colors playing around it. The nada sound was loud. I felt high. At least I think so; I have never tried drugs apart from alcohol. Sometimes the dot was flat with sharp contours around it, in bluegreen, and with a reddish haze around that. Sometimes it alternated between red and black, as layers shifting sides. Sometimes the dot was like a cigar-shaped glowing object with thin spirals all around it, of golden threads. Sometimes there were like tentacles around it. There were vivid details. Sometimes it was like a vagina-shaped opening to a cave that was glowing in deep red.

For a while the flame seemed to follow my intentions. That happened last time too but I didn’t write it because I thought I must have just imagined it, but this time it was so striking. The flame was tilted toward one side the whole time and I felt the urge to straighten it up, and so it straightened itself. I tried elongating it, and it stretched itself out. I imagined it being short and chubby, and lo and behold, so it was. I kept this going for a while but then it stopped responding. I don’t know if I was just predicting its movement or if it was indeed responding.

Then I saw my nose through my eyelids, as if watching it through an infra red camera. I checked if my eyelids were slightly opened but they weren’t. I lifted up my hands in front of my closed eyes. I couldn’t see them as clearly as my nose but I could see them vaguely. This was after I had put out the flame so they weren’t blocking a light source.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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I have never really gotten into the habit of doing morning sits, but I had a very nice short reclining session this morning that wasn't dull at all, but very spacious and bright. Someone pointed out to me that I'm just to vain and too macho to do morning sits because I have this idea that my sessions nowadays are supposed to be long. That's a really good point. It's basically what I would say to others. I'll try to start doing short morning sits every morning, to set the baseline.

Then I had yoga. It was challenging and I hated parts of it (such as standing split!) but it felt good and it didn't wear me out (partly because I was gentle with myself and allowed myself to rest a bit). I'm getting healthier again. 

This morning I woke up from a nightmare, but as soon as I told a partner what it was about, he immediately saw that it was a blessing rather than a nightmare, as it was dharma related and was about losing my social identities or my sense of self. In the dream I couldn't access any social media account because I couldn't prove that they were me. I culdn't even access profile images of me. It felt very Kafkaesque. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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More fire kasina, yesterday 30 minutes, today an hour. New today was an intense heat wave in the beginning of the sit and an instance of the dot being a vertical line of dots in all colors of the rainbow, similar to those chakra jewels that are popular with a certain population. More of the golden thread spiralling around the cigar-shaped dot. Distracting thoughts concerned with life changes and turbulence. Loud nada sound. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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1h 40 min reclining meditation in the afternoon: lucid dreamless sleep. When about to fall into sleep, I seem to go through at least some of the aspects of the elements falling apart just like described with regard to the dying process. It starts with the earth element as the limbs feel heavy and will no longer move. Ken McLeod also describes how the consciousness is like a shimmering mirage. I don't know exactly what he refers to, but I experience the onset of hypnagogic swirls like flourescent violet veils and I always felt like it was my consciousness that was swirling around like that. Then it turns into a smokey haze, which according to McLeod is the water element dissolving. Then there is a strong heat wave - fire element. In this case I managed to move my limbs after all, to remove the quilt, before I descended again. I don't recall whether there were sparks and fireflies this time, but I know that it usually is. Then my breath changed into sleeping breath. Maybe that qualifies as the air element, I don't know. I never arrived at the dissolution of sense faculties, which would be space, and the dissolution of sense of self with different kinds of brilliance (although I recognize those descriptions from previous experiences). Instead I found myself dealing with the direction of energy in the breath. I noticed that they tend to take a wrong turn on the outbreath when I sleep. I have learned from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche that from the crown chakra you are supposed to let the energies rise through the crown chakra and out that way, through the top of the head, while the air goes out through the nose. When I don't do that, an obstruction arises that makes a snoring sound, especially now since my nose was a bit swollen from allergies. As I noticed that, I redirected the energies upward. I don't know how that even works physically, but it made it much easier for the air to come out. It took away the snoring. I think I may have changed the angle of the air slightly too. It felt like there was a passage slightly behind the obstruction. I continued with this for quite a while, until I felt the urge to breath more deeply and stretch my body.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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I have a hard time focusing right now due to what might be either reobservation or 3C nana. There are some weird energetics going on with my head, with what feels like pressure changes and small electrical surges, and the back of the head is hot for some strange reason. Yet I feel that things are slowly getting back to normal after a long period of energetic turbulence. Daniel helped me get through it. I didn't take notes, so all I can say about it is that I'm grateful for his help. He knows what he is doing, in many respects. 

I have some practice notes from June 18th that I didn't have the energy to transcribe from paper. Here goes:

I did an hour long meditation based on the latest "Reversing the stack" class with Michael Taft (from the night to June 17th). The meditation was divided into four sections according to the following:

Section 1 was shamatha with an object, and the object was visualization of a bright white full moon on a dark night skye. It didn't have to be projected on a screen but was allowed to just be where it was, without effort and with eyes relaxed, and if it faded, we were instructed to just let it re-arise again. Then we should let awareness rest in the full moon. 

Section 2 was a mix between shamatha with an object and shamatha without an object, sort of an expansion-contraction variant. During the inbreath I was instructed to continue with the visualization. During the outbreath I was to let go of it and of everything else and let it all dissolve into vaste spacious awareness. 

Section 3 was about letting go of the object entirely and let my mind be space, or vaste spacious awareness - boundaryless and timeless.

Section 4 was about letting that boundaryless, timeless awareness notice whatever would come up; letting it investigate the core of it to see that there was nothing there; letting it follow it to its source to see that there was no source. Letting it look deeply into that something and find that there's nothing there, regardless of what sense phenomenon and even with regard to the sense of a meditator. Noticing that awareness itself is unfindable. 

Practice notes from June 18th:

Section 1 - some distracting thoughts. Visualizing is getting easier. Not disturbed by the murk or the "pre-murk" anymore. Can switch to mental imagery.

Section 2 - focusing on the full moon started to make me nauseous for some reason, and switching focus back and forth didn't help. Motion sickness. Soon skipped to section 3.

Section 3 - It took some time to let go of the tension of the eyes and the coagulation of a "self" behind them. When it worked, it was such a relief. Dropped into flow. Mainly kinesthetic. The murk was also flowy. Managed to switch sound to flow, but not always. Some sounds came through as distinct. There were instances of everything commapsing into... I don't know... like flatness but with closed eyelids? No viewpoint. Pended back and forth between flow and awareness level. Such a relief.

Section 4 - Wow, the clunkiness of manifestations! So grainy, so unstable! I thought I knew that, but coming from the other direction like this and staying on that level for a while rather than getting back straight to "normality" gives a new perspective. 

---

After Daniel helped me, among other things I have been reconnecting to the elements of nature and to the spaciousness. I so need the space and the silence. I need to spend time just being, without communicating. I need to transcend the selfing, and that needs to happen on its own without forcing it by neglecting personal needs and boundaries. I require more alonetime than most people. That's just how it is. Without that freedom I wither and die. That can be hurtful for others, but I can't do much about it, except gradually dying, and that doesn't exactly make anyone happy either. Luckily I have a selected bunch of people in my life that love me just as I am and who don't take it personally when I need space. Those who can't live with my boundaries are better off without me. Now that the balance has been restored, the process talks to me again, somewhat hesitantly. Some perceptual shifts occur now and then, with vision and hearing sort of lacking viewpoint. At least I finally understand why people need retreats. I hadn't realized to what extent I had turned my daily life into a retreat. Not until there was no room for it anymore, as I compromised it away. Never again. Never ever again. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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Yeah, something like that. I need to tap into the source, and I need my alonetime to be able to do that. Otherwise I have my tentacles out in the relative world. Even though I realize that nibbana is always there in the midst of samsara, I can't access it the way I need to. Maybe I will eventually learn, maybe not. This mammal will continue to be autistic, after all, and I'm autistic in a way that involves an abundance of sensitive tentacles rather than a lack thereof (something that I share with my many autistic friends, even though it might be possible that the stereotype is also true for some). 

---

Today so far I have done an hour of shamatha. I was planning on doing Michael Taft's latest guided meditation for SF Dharma Collective, which only started with shamatha and then went on to see through the sense of self and so forth. However, I'm having a stress reaction in my body today, caused by a number of current challenges in daily life including the loss of my job, and when I accessed jhana it felt so healing that I stayed with that. It was light jhana and I'm not sure which one(s), as I find it hard to distinguish between the light ones. I think it was mostly first jhana and then a shorter period of second jhana before the intention got lost. I have booked a yoga class for the evening. At 2:30 in the morning it is time for my meditation class again. I haven't decided whether to try to sleep early or stay awake until the class starts. I'll let my body decide. If I can't sleep early enough, I'll spend the night meditating in the nature until it's time for class. I did that in the midsummer night and it was astonishingly beautiful. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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The yoga was lovely. It was the kind of teacher that starts with thorough breath exercises before warming up the body. That was exactly what I needed now that my body is recovering. I noticed that directing the energy out through the crown chakra on the outbreath, as I have been practicing according to the Bön tradition, is not just imagery; it means directing the air up to the paranasal cavities behind the forehead and letting it turn around there as it hits the "ceiling" and then seep out through the nose. 

Note to (not)self: Kundalini as spiritual antabuse
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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I managed to fall asleep early. Waking up in time for class at 2:30 in the morning was initially challenging, but this time I maintained relaxed alertness throughout the whole class instead of struggling with staying awake. I think this is the way to go. 

The methods used today worked really well for me: starting out with a mantra (the great compassion mantra), then letting go of the mantra (shamatha without an object), then letting sounds be where they were, sort of, and then letting go of the sounds to just let awareness be aware of itself, and finally investigating stuff from that vaste awareness. There was an oscillation back and forth between emptiness and form that was... exquisite. The walls between senses fell apart. It all got very synesthetic, and the mind's construction of sensory information according to different sense gates appeared very arbitrary. This isn't exactly news to me, but I got to notice the falling apart and coming back more gradually. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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This evening I did Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga on a wooden deck overlooking a bay and then immersed myself into the warm water and lay there floating for a long time. Then I sat on the sun-warmed stone in the golden evening light and read about elements practice according to Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and did the shamanic practice of the raw natural elements, which is pretty much what I have done throughout my life, except for times when I have been disconnected. Merging with the elements is the best thing I know. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

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The day before yesterday was exquisitly equanimous and pleasantly serene, but I think I may have dropped down to another round of dissolution. Both last night and today my meditation ended up in lucid dreamless sleep. Today there were brief glimpses of centerlessness, though, and those were staggering in a new way. So vaste, so clear - and so short. 

Starting my practice with a silent mantra and then letting go of the mantra seems to be fruitful. Mantras are less sensitive to allergy season than the breath, too. I heard the mantra in two parallell tracks, with a harmony in perfect fourth. 

In daily life I find that my eyes often relax into an unfocused mode without having a bad effect on my vision. It feels like my right eye squints a bit. This comes together with a subtle sense of thinning out and spreading. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I had the idea today that I'd do my formal meditation by the lake, as it is a hot day and I'm fascinated by the elements anyway and reading about different takes on Tibetan practices with the elements (only some of them work with the external elements in nature, but still - I enjoy feeling connected to those physically). Then, facing the conditions here by the lake, I had the idea that I wouldn't be able to do formal practice here. The sun is too bright, the water too cool, and the horseflies seem particularly hungry today which makes it really hard to relax (yes, I'm aware of the dukkha in anticipating and remembering the pain when it's not really there in the moment), and so I find myself in constant movement between water and land and flapping my arms to avoid nasty bites. Then I laughed inwardly. What an idealized notion of meditation! All I have to do is stay aware of all these experiences and of how they arise and pass away and how none of it is independent and how it is all related to dukkha. Easy peasy. It may not be the most pleasant meditation ever, but it is the present, and when I let go of my expectations about what the present should be like, I might actually enjoy it the way it is. Also, I don't have to sit still. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I woke up in severe frustration about itching itching ITCHING (insect bites, pine needles inside my clothes, itching notes with washing recommendations in the seams of clothes) and felt like I was ready to crawl out of my skin. Then I read someone else's practice log and saw that they might need to rest in the space around their negative experiences. Of course that applies to me as well. It rings a bell. emoticon It's probably time to work with chanting the warrior seed syllable A again, focusing on the crown chakra and the feeling of space. That is usually helpful for me. I feel better already, just remembering that there is space around and within the sensations.
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Not two, not one, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Just thought I'd let you know that I am still here, and still reading (supportively).  Nothing to say, other than that.  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I appreciate that. Thankyou!

I'm a bit freaked out today. I'm not sure what scares me the most - the possibility that we are all just nuts, or the possibility that we aren't. And if it's the latter, I'm not sure whether it is because of what awakening is or because of what it is not. I'm not even sure if I am scared. It might just be a hormone thing and an ego that looks for a story behind it. That actually seems very likely. But that's kind of creepy too, not being able to distinguish... whatever from whatever... but I guess that's just how it is. Dependent origination. The intertwined-ness of everything, and the stories we weave to make it all seem coherent and linear. It's not like there is a separate me that is affected by the hormones. I'm an ecosystem, not a separate entity. 

I have been able to find empty space in spite of all the entanglement. Even where the knots seems tight, solid and dense, it's there. Sometimes when I find it, I get confused. I feel like I have forgotten something, and I'm not sure how I got there. 

My head has been popping today while resting and listening to some meditation music with a gong and some singing bowls and a rattle. I heard myself stop breathing for a while and then snore, which seems odd. If I knew that I wasn't breathing, why didn't I do something about it? Maybe I just recognized not breathing in retrospect. Maybe I was just aware but not aware of something. 

I feel less freaked out now that I have written this down. I can't help but seeing the humor in how crazy I sound, and as long as I can laugh at it, I'm probably not entirely screwed. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I appreciate that. Thankyou!

I'm a bit freaked out today. I'm not sure what scares me the most - the possibility that we are all just nuts, or the possibility that we aren't. And if it's the latter, I'm not sure whether it is because of what awakening is or because of what it is not. I'm not even sure if I am scared. It might just be a hormone thing and an ego that looks for a story behind it. That actually seems very likely. But that's kind of creepy too, not being able to distinguish... whatever from whatever... but I guess that's just how it is. Dependent origination. The intertwined-ness of everything, and the stories we weave to make it all seem coherent and linear. It's not like there is a separate me that is affected by the hormones. I'm an ecosystem, not a separate entity. 

I have been able to find empty space in spite of all the entanglement. Even where the knots seems tight, solid and dense, it's there. Sometimes when I find it, I get confused. I feel like I have forgotten something, and I'm not sure how I got there. 

My head has been popping today while resting and listening to some meditation music with a gong and some singing bowls and a rattle. I heard myself stop breathing for a while and then snore, which seems odd. If I knew that I wasn't breathing, why didn't I do something about it? Maybe I just recognized not breathing in retrospect. Maybe I was just aware but not aware of something. 

I feel less freaked out now that I have written this down. I can't help but seeing the humor in how crazy I sound, and as long as I can laugh at it, I'm probably not entirely screwed. 


Linda, 

I think entirely screwed is the best place. But laughing at it is even better, whatever degree of screwed we happen to believe ourselves to be at any given moment. Humor is the antithesis of crazy. You're good, sweetheart.
love, tim
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Aaw, thankyou Tim! <3

I have been faking normality fairly well today. After cleaning the apartment together with my housing support, I rearranged the furniture to make more room for both meditation and online meetings in my living room, and then I had an online meeting with an administrator at an institute that helps people who have become redundant after being employed by the state (they have surprisingly much to offer, and for a longer time than I expected, so maybe I'll actually find a job eventually). She will set me up with a job coach. Now I'm exhausted. That's enough normality for one day. 

---

I started the day with a short yoga stretch, nine breathings of purification, 20 minutes of Dzogchen, and dedication of merit. I would like to cultivate that as a habit, in addition to the meditation that I normally do either in the afternoon or the evening or both. Over time I would like to increase the time for morning meditation, but first I need to set the baseline. I also want to cultivate the habit of starting with an aspiration prayer and strengthen the habit of ending with dedication of merit (which I remember to do much more often than the aspiration prayer), and add some Bön tradition rituals such as offerings and chanting. I'm hoping that it might support me in getting started with the day and in searching for jobs and writing that book. I think that if I plan the rest of the day with short breaks for meditation too, it may be less overwhelming, maybe even fun (except for filling in forms; expecting that to be fun is just unrealistic). My practice will be the pillar that supports me through the day.

I have one other thing planned today: Vinyasa yoga. And then meditation, of course.  

It doesn't really matter that much that it is sometimes a bit scary to think of the implications of the awakening process. I still need the practice to get by. I can't live without it. 

Today there is that weird combination of contractions (with lots of tics) and spaciousness alternately or even simultaneously. That's much more bearable than yesterday's more contracted state - even though when I looked for it I noticed that the space was there even in the midst of the contractions, the feeling tone yesterday was contracted. The feeling tone today is more like rather spacious - definitely not on any top list, but there is an okayness and an openness - but with many contractions interspersed in it. I can hear the nada sound, and the energy channels are clear. Breathing is easy. I do my check-ins with tawa. My posture supports itself. I'm centered enough to feel some centerlessness. I'm mindful of body and mind, and I have some vague sense of not having to be restricted to the limitations of this body and this mind, but having awareness that encompasses more. For instance that what I see and hear "externally" is really a 3D-reality that is created by that same awareness that is aware of my body and mind. That is, what I can access of it (which partly overlaps with what other individuals can access, and thereby it's of course not an individual creation). When I write this, it comes out as a story, a view, and I use story components that I have come across in the dharma in order to put it together like a story. That's not how I experience it. As I said, it's more of a vague feeling. It actually doesn't feel like I'm processing all sensory expressions in my sense organs and in my brain. It feels like the awareness of the billowing wind in the tree's foliage is there, in the wind and in the tree, which is basically how I experienced the world as the autistic child I once was, before I was forced to unlearn it. How I have missed that! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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The morning routine today (which was a bit too late to be called morning routine, to be honest) involved distractive thoughts, but I did walk that road in spite of the hard weather and difficult terrain. I believe in the routine. I'm really not a morning person, but that is one of several reasons for meditating in the morning too. During the day I did many brief check-ins with tawa (the Dharmakaya nature of mind). It's getting more reliable. During the night a had a brief period of lucid sleep, which woke me up. There was a huge space that opened up.
[edited to add: ]
Sort of a wow-feeling arose from what was only entailing a minimal amount of distinction before that. 

I also did an hour of reclining meditation during the day that was pretty unremarkable but not entirely bad. I was actually sort of hoping to fall asleep while doing it, because I needed the sleep. In a couple of hours, at 2:30 in the morning, my meditation class starts, and then I have a busy day coming up as I need to register at the unemployment service among other things. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I meditated some more before the class and was reminded that something new has started to show up lately, as it did again. My awareness of awareness is getting interspersed with sudden very clear visuals of a perfectly round black disc, like in fire kasina third jhana. If I'm not mixing things up in my memory, which is possible, I think this also happens during lucid sleep. 

At meditation class today I learned that having dream visions while meditating is supposedly a deep stage of meditation and qualifies as dream yoga. I used to believe that was dullness. Apparently I have been doing dream yoga much longer than I thought. I remember that Shargrol once tried to tell me that, but I dismissed it because since I had no control over what happened in the dream visions at all, I thought it was rather the opposite of lucid dreaming. 

In the class we got to do what is one of my very favorite things to do in daily life: playing with going back and forth between emptiness and form in different sense gates. That's basically how I make meetings bearable. I love to do it while walking - it has done miracles for my safety in traffic, as counterintuitive as that might sound - and especially in the nature. The latter is what charges my batteries. So - my homework is to do what I usually do. That shouldn't be to hard. 

I also got the advice to play with that black disc if it is available. Maybe I should take up fire kasina again to enhance that. I sort of had myself a little scare about magick recently, which is why I stopped. However, it doesn't seem like I screwed anything up that couldn't be fixed. Fixing it hurt quite a lot, but it would have done that without the magick too, and I never really understood the idea of refraining from experiences because they couldn't last anyway. I mean, nothing lasts. What am I going to do, just withdraw from reality and hope to die? Nah. I learned a lesson about hubris and getting energetically intertwined with somebody else, though. I'll be more careful in future, at least in that regard. What scared me the most was the prospect of harming somebody that I care about if the energetic connection would be too complicated to disentangle. If I read the situation correctly, thankfully I didn't make things worse. I was scared about my own health too, because things really got energetically weird for me. I'm sensitive that way. I'm grateful to Daniel for giving me the courage to perform a ritual to heal that, in the mildest possible way for the healing to actually occur (which was still too abrupt to really be mild). Anyway, my hubris was a bigger problem than the magick per se, and magick doesn't go away just because I avoid looking at it, so there really is no point in avoiding fire kasina. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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The rhythm of the day is divergent today because of the meditation class during the night/early morning, and I had to register myself for unemployment service first thing, but at about lunch time I managed to do the morning routine with a brief yoga session and 20 minutes of Dzogchen. It felt good. I was mindful of distractive thoughts (mainly planning and keeping track of what I have to do) and got back to awareness. There were visuals, colorful hypnagogic swirls. Breathing was easy although I forgot to do the nine breathings of purification. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I woke up late today, with brain fog and a headache. That's what dissolution used to be like for me most of the time earlier in my practice and before I started my practice, so I'm guessing it was dissolution today too and that I'm currently in a bad shape. Then I got to think about everything I need to do, and fear arose. I did the morning routine, although it was midday, with a very short yoga session, dedication, nine breathings of purification, aspiration prayer, 20 minutes of Dzogchen, and dedication. I felt disconnected but I sat through it. As I started preparing for the complicated stuff I need to do, fear increased and turned into panic, and then I felt completely worthless (misery). I took a break to watch some netflix but couldn't even understand what was happening in the episode. I comtinued to look into the stuff that I ned to do, such as looking for jobs, and felt more worthless. It took me a while to realize that I was following the typical dukkha nana sequence, but when I did, I felt some relief. It reminded me that the situation isn't inherently as bad as it feels (not self) and that the feeling will pass (impermanence). I went to a yoga class in the evening, 75 minutes of Hatha yoga. I had to work hard, and I reacted with a very mild nausea (disgust?). On my way home from class I got a bit mappy and thought about how to get through to EQ (desire for deliverance). I played with shifting back and forth between different degrees of form and emptiness in sensory experience. I was starting to feel a bit confused. The mantra that has been stuck as an earworm for more than a week now ("Om mani padme hum" with a complex melody) felt like a disturbance and I was annoyed and wanted it to just shut up (reobservation?). Part of me feels like a three-year-old who needs to sleep but doesn't want to, although it's more like the opposite: I would love to just sleep, but I have to do grown-up things. At least the nanas are progressing while I'm regressing. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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There have been snaps or clicks in my head today, rather fierce ones. 

After I came home from yoga, I lay down to meditate. I got into jhanic territory, or close to it, but my cats kept interrupting. After half an hour I gave up and decided to have something to eat.
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I woke up late today, with brain fog and a headache. That's what dissolution used to be like for me most of the time earlier in my practice and before I started my practice, so I'm guessing it was dissolution today too and that I'm currently in a bad shape. Then I got to think about everything I need to do, and fear arose. I did the morning routine, although it was midday, with a very short yoga session, dedication, nine breathings of purification, aspiration prayer, 20 minutes of Dzogchen, and dedication. I felt disconnected but I sat through it. As I started preparing for the complicated stuff I need to do, fear increased and turned into panic, and then I felt completely worthless (misery). I took a break to watch some netflix but couldn't even understand what was happening in the episode. I comtinued to look into the stuff that I ned to do, such as looking for jobs, and felt more worthless. It took me a while to realize that I was following the typical dukkha nana sequence, but when I did, I felt some relief. It reminded me that the situation isn't inherently as bad as it feels (not self) and that the feeling will pass (impermanence). I went to a yoga class in the evening, 75 minutes of Hatha yoga. I had to work hard, and I reacted with a very mild nausea (disgust?). On my way home from class I got a bit mappy and thought about how to get through to EQ (desire for deliverance). I played with shifting back and forth between different degrees of form and emptiness in sensory experience. I was starting to feel a bit confused. The mantra that has been stuck as an earworm for more than a week now ("Om mani padme hum" with a complex melody) felt like a disturbance and I was annoyed and wanted it to just shut up (reobservation?). Part of me feels like a three-year-old who needs to sleep but doesn't want to, although it's more like the opposite: I would love to just sleep, but I have to do grown-up things. At least the nanas are progressing while I'm regressing. 

Note: patient's sense of humor intact.

Prognosis: real good.

love, tim
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Thanks Tim, that's sweet.

---

I did the morning routine - in the morning this time -  but I changed to only 10 minutes of Dzogchen after the few minutes of yoga and aspiration prayer and breathings of purification. There was a shortage of time before my housing support was to arrive. In the evening I did Michael Taft's latest SFDC guided meditation, https://youtu.be/oiXuIkIQCRw, which would have been great if I wasn't totally stressed out by my unemployment situation. Doing all the stuff that needs to be done to search for a new job and get unemployment funding takes more time than working, because I don't know how to do it and I feel so utterly stupid. How the hell am I supposed to write a book while doing this?! It is really hard not to get caught up by all those thoughts. In spite of that, there was a nice smooth silky piti. I could enhance it and spread it, but was interrupted over and over again by those fearful thoughts. I missed some of the instructions because of the thoughts. In the end I was still able to do the emptiness part. I would like to do this meditation again with a better focus, because I think I'd love it. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks Tim, that's sweet.

---

I did the morning routine - in the morning this time -  but I changed to only 10 minutes of Dzogchen after the few minutes of yoga and aspiration prayer and breathings of purification. There was a shortage of time before my housing support was to arrive. In the evening I did Michael Taft's latest SFDC guided meditation, https://youtu.be/oiXuIkIQCRw, which would have been great if I wasn't totally stressed out by my unemployment situation. Doing all the stuff that needs to be done to search for a new job and get unemployment funding takes more time than working, because I don't know how to do it and I feel so utterly stupid. How the hell am I supposed to write a book while doing this?! It is really hard not to get caught up by all those thoughts. In spite of that, there was a nice smooth silky piti. I could enhance it and spread it, but was interrupted over and over again by those fearful thoughts. I missed some of the instructions because of the thoughts. In the end I was still able to do the emptiness part. I would like to do this meditation again with a better focus, because I think I'd love it. 

hey Linda,

acceptance is the fruit of grief--- you are grieved over being overloaded with Mundane Necessities right now, and know those necessities are compelling and real. They take time and--- crucially--- energy. To push hard to keep up your "normal" (by which i mean, extraordinarily intense and time-devoted) practice as well is just not realistic. Grieve that, and accept it in the end as the way irt is. ESPECIALLY with the book, which requires just about everything you've got, as you well know. Let the book ripen, right now. Let yourself let that be. It's not going anywhere. I've written a shitload of books, and every one of them just sat there inertly like a pile of shit until i was done with them. They never got an inch away. They were there when i was able to address them again (usually after recovering from a nervous breakdown, but i digress . . .)

Not that your book is a pile of shit, dear, lol.

Baby steps: mundane baby steps right njow, one practical, real, true, solid, banal check-list task after another, are heroic karma yoga right now. And so, dhaarma yoga as well. Just do it. Put on your pink and blue Nikes and just fucking do it, one baby step at a time. And rest, when you've done the baby steps. Watch Netflix, take a good bath. Your fucking practice isn't going anywhere either. This is a flood, quit trying to hang out your laundry to dry just because of what day of the week it is. You know this. Karma yoga, karma yoga. Baby steps. Take them, and rejoice at each one taken. And let this pace now be your dharma pace.

love, tim
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Yeah, I know, but I'm not going to pretend that I like it. That would be dishonest and hence counterproductive. 

---

I just did that guided meditation again and was able to sink into it, after a whole day of taking care of myself, and I did love it. I popped out of it a moment before the bell, as the body felt like stretching after being still for so long. Actually, I really do need to be able to do this even when life is hectic. This is how I survive it. This is healing. I didn't keep my eyes open this time, because I needed rest more than experimenting.

This morning I skipped the morning routine because I had an early yoga class that covered it. It was a pretty tough class, for me anyway, but it felt good. When I relaxed on the mat before the class started, I experimented with the visual field as I usually do. The depth disappeared a few times. During the day the hearing has been funny. Sometimes it sort of seeped out from the ears. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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emoticon
Yeah, I know, but I'm not going to pretend that I like it. That would be dishonest and hence counterproductive. 
 
dear linda,
 
the first rule of improv comedy is called, in shorthand, “YES! And . . .” 

I don’t know the second rule. there may not be one. if there is, i haven’t needed it yet. (Probably it is “Keep your language suitable to your audience.” If so, fuck that.)
 
I recently went through two distinct waves of Robin Williams grief. (cf this on Wayne Brady’s own struggle with depression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MJo5EPBZaA )
 
And so I watched a lot of the master at work. YouTube is a sub-bardo of heaven, in that way, and i have a visitng scholar’s pass. And i found this treasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ar42_PDOs&list=PL5C4AD9BBC1B42490 (anything you can watch from this episode is gold)
 
Your own improv technique is similar, i note. It is “Yeah, I know. But . . .”
 
I don’t think that’s as funny.
 
love, tim
 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Tim Farrington:
Your own improv technique is similar, i note. It is “Yeah, I know. But . . .” 


I’ve got to admit that you spotted a pattern there. AND I’ll be mindful about it.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I did something that could have been really stupid today, but I trusted that it wouldn't be stupid, and it wasn't. I went out late at night to meditate on a little rocky hill close to the woods, reclining on the rock in the rain. I was properly dressed, but the rain cooled down my body temperature anyway, and the meditation did too, because I was so still and so relaxed. I did zhine without an object and then shifted to the Dharmakaya nature of mind. I sometimes had my eyes open, sometimes had them closed. My body started trembling from the cold but I was so relaxed that I had no motivation to move it. I had sort of melted. Although I was aware of the temperature drop in my body, I didn't mind, because I wasn't the body anymore than I was the rock and the skye. If I had fallen asleep like that it might have been dangerous. I knew that. I had set the intention of identifying with my body again after an hour, because then I would have to take care of that body - move it, take it home, get something warm to drink. I kept monitoring the state of the body to some extent, because I know how fast a too low body temperature takes away all your judgement and I didn't have a death wish, but it was really cool to actually feel that I'm not my body. It really was just one of many things going on. 

When the bell rang I got back into my body. Thankfully I have learned the hard way how to get back into my body, because I used to dissociate. I know how to cut through that. All it takes is a very minimal amount of movement. One finger, or the toes. Whatever feels most available. Taking control over the whole body at once is just too much to grasp. That feels impossible. But a toe or a finger is usually doable. That's all it takes. It sends signals through the nervous system that moving with intention is possible. From there I can get back in the driver's seat very fast nowadays. And so I stood up, started to get my body temperature back up, and walked home. By then I was troubled by the cold. The delusion of being the body was back online. That's okay. I find that healthy. It means that the egoic judgement is still working, which is good for survival. 

I had an experience of centerlessness. It was still a separate mindstate, or so it seems (although I know in theory that it really isn't), so not the real deal yet. However, now I know that it is possible to feel that the body is just one of many things going on, not the center. That can't be unfelt. Yay!

I didn't do this as some macho thing. I did it because I needed to merge with the rock and the skye. It's a healing thing. 
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Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I did it because I needed to merge with the rock and the skye. It's a healing thing. 

Nature - there's nothing else like it!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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It is what keeps me sane and healthy and motivated to stay alive. I once took part in a workshop where all participants were to work in pairs to describe what is restorative for them. I heard everyone around me describe all sorts of situations with people in them. All I could think of was nature experiences, alone. And cats.

---

This evening I did an hour of zhine without an object. It was rather effortless but not much to report. Earlier in the evening I did 75 minutes of Ashtanga yoga. Either the teacher took it unusually slow today or I'm back to being in better shape. Honestly, I think it's the first case, or maybe a bit of both. In daily life I have tried a technique for breathing out reactions. It worked rather well, once applied. I should have tried it sooner and spared myself some draining irritation. Oh, and my props came with the mail today. I'll try some smudging and some smoke offerings. There are chrystals too. For some reason, they make me shiver, and I kind of like that. Most of them are supposed to be for psychic protection. It just happened to be so. I chose the ones that felt right, before I read up on what they are supposed to do. Coincidence? I really don't know. Regardless, they are beautiful and provide tactile pleasure. That's very much an autistic thing. I can totally merge with a chrystal. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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Morning (well, lunch actually, but I had a meditation class at 2:30-4:00 in the morning, so...): 
- earth element qigong out in the patio with bare feet
- nine breathings of purification 
- setting the intention for all negative influence to be washed away while letting only those remain that serve my highest good for the benefit of all sentient beings
- 15 minutes of Dzogchen

Now I feel grounded. This was a good one. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 9

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I seem to be in that wired up state of nana reobservation with subnana A&P. Body contracting and clenching, mind being all over the place, and yet there is clarity if I could just be still enough to let it. An unstable and easily distracted good mood that keeps contracting into worries and obsessions but without the heaviness. Lots of energetics. Lots of colors - strong, bright ones. Lots of detailed texture. Very obvious kinesthetics of contracting and expanding as I go back and forth between picking up thoughts and letting them go. 

At least I feel energetically more healthy. It really seems to be true that by maintaining the bodily posture of feeling well and secure, the energetics follow along. That makes me feel safe. 

I have fallen in love with Goloka gum dammar resin incense, and I have found a way to balance a coconut coal brick on top of a metal thingie over a candle with resin on it so that it burns without having to buy an incense burner. It's a very fresh smell, not heavy and sticky. Like a pleasant mix of pine tree and eucalyptus and lemon. It just so happens that the incense is said to clear negative energies and heal, balance and protect both the physical body and the energetic body. I don't know about that, but I love the smell. 

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