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Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/6/20 8:20 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/6/20 2:34 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Papa Che Dusko 7/6/20 9:10 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 7/6/20 11:23 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/6/20 2:33 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/7/20 5:10 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/7/20 5:08 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Pepe 7/7/20 8:04 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/7/20 1:01 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/7/20 1:06 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 7/7/20 1:23 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Papa Che Dusko 7/7/20 1:35 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/7/20 6:08 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/8/20 3:20 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/8/20 5:19 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/8/20 11:49 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Papa Che Dusko 7/8/20 12:07 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 7/8/20 12:10 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/9/20 2:52 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/8/20 4:53 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/9/20 5:27 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/9/20 12:56 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 7/9/20 1:03 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 1:34 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 2:45 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Papa Che Dusko 7/10/20 3:00 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 5:02 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 5:08 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Papa Che Dusko 7/10/20 5:48 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 8:24 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/10/20 12:33 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/11/20 4:02 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/18/20 4:16 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/16/20 1:12 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/18/20 4:17 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/18/20 5:53 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/18/20 1:33 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/19/20 5:58 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/21/20 8:27 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/21/20 10:15 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/23/20 11:26 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/24/20 4:24 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/24/20 12:32 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/24/20 12:35 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/26/20 12:01 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Pepe 7/26/20 12:56 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/27/20 5:51 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/27/20 1:36 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/28/20 10:52 AM
RE: Niels's practice log agnostic 7/28/20 12:25 PM
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RE: Niels's practice log shargrol 7/29/20 7:18 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log SushiK 7/30/20 2:31 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/30/20 2:47 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/31/20 8:19 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 7/31/20 3:26 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/1/20 4:23 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 8/1/20 11:58 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Olivier 8/1/20 12:38 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 8/1/20 1:01 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/1/20 5:45 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/1/20 5:49 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/2/20 9:52 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/2/20 12:58 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/3/20 6:48 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/3/20 12:55 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Sam Gentile 8/3/20 12:59 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/3/20 2:56 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/4/20 2:49 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/4/20 6:08 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/4/20 12:16 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/4/20 6:05 PM
RE: Niels's practice log a my les 8/4/20 8:12 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/5/20 4:27 AM
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RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/5/20 5:16 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/6/20 4:21 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/6/20 8:01 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/6/20 1:48 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/7/20 3:34 AM
RE: Niels's practice log shargrol 8/7/20 6:32 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/7/20 10:19 AM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/7/20 4:47 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/8/20 1:50 AM
RE: Niels's practice log shargrol 8/8/20 5:00 PM
RE: Niels's practice log Niels Lyngsø 8/9/20 1:51 PM
Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 8:20 AM
Hello everyone, I've decided to start a practice log. This first post is going to be quite long, providing some background info. The following posts will be sitting reports, and I will try to keep them concise emoticon.

Theoretical understanding
As most people on this forum, I am a huge fan of Daniel Ingram and his MCTB. I’ve seen every video and listened to every podcast episode with Mr. Ingram and sympathize with his approach and pragmatic dharma in general. Apart from that, I’ve read around 40 dharma books, mainly from the (modern American interpretation of the) theravada tradition. Among my favorites are Brasington’s Right Concentration, Catherine’s Focused and Fearless, Culadasa’s The Mind Illuminated, Gunarata’s Mindfulness in Plain English, Kornfield’s A Path with a Heart, Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught, and Wallace’s The Attention Revolution. I’ve skimmed through Mahasi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight, but found it too try, except for the excellent chapter with specific instructions. I’ve read Ron Crouch’s and Kenneth Folk’s articles on The Stages of Insight and several other online descriptions of this subject. And I’ve spent days and days reading old threads here on DhO, especially practice logs written by yogis who seem to be about the same place as me on the path and also have a similar personality (striving, insecure over-achiever). This is where I have found the most useful information and the best advice regarding practice. Especially Shargrol’s advice on how to navigate from DN through EQ to SE has resonated with me and been a huge help.
 
 
Practice so far
I am 52 years old and discovered meditation relatively late in life: I got initiated to the practice in October 2017 on a Goenka retreat. Since then I’ve been meditating regularly, doing two daily hours of sitting and so far four Goenka-retreats plus some private 4-6 day retreats, so all in all about 2500 hours. The first two years it was mainly anapanasati and body scanning with the occasional metta and the occasional fire kasina. After about six months of practice I discovered Culadasas TMI and integrated that into my Goenka style practice. As of January 2020 I switched to noting (or just noticing, check my set-up below).
         Each of my retreats have had the same general course: I have hit the A&P, usually around day 3 or 4, and then gone into DN territory and back to really weird A&P: Immense clarity in the sensory field, including the 6th sense door (very few verbalized thoughts and each one with a lot of ”space” around), amazing visuals, some times even with open eyes, i.e. CGI-level hallucinations, sense of dead people being present, violent and super weird body sensations, ultra vivid dreams etc. Even though there have been some pleasant absorption-like states, I have never reach stable EQ on a retreat. On my last Goenka retreat in November 2019, my striving mind pushed too hard and I ended up in a spiritual emergency, interpreted by the surroundings as a psychotic breakdown. I wrote about it here:
 
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16879352
 
Luckily it was a very brief incident with no bad after effects except exhaustion for a couple of weeks. My practice since then has been very gentle. The first two months afterwards I only did metta 20-60 minutes a day. In January 2020 I cautiously returned to vipassana, this time noting practice, and gradually bumped back up to two hours a day. From February onwards I have, when schedule allowed it, been doing 3-5 hours a day (this happens on average 5-7 days a month). In January I was mostly in DN territory, tough but mangeable, and in February I had my first tastes of eq during a week where I sat 4 hours a day. From April onwards I would say that I am in EQ in 90 percent of my sittings: Panoramic awareness, nothing much happening, a general sense of okayness, neutral feeling tone, usually with a slightly pleasant tint (the effortlessness is pleasant), sometimes with a slightly unpleasant tint (due to boredom and craving for ”special experiences”, SE, deep jhana etc.). The last 10 percent of the sittings I interpret as a slide back to ReObs due to striving – it is not too bad, though, sort of filtered through eq or experienced with some distance. Also off cushion I am generally chilled and balanced, not overly joyful, just content. Frustration, anger, sadness and anxiety/worries can still arise, provoqued by outer events, but are milder and subside much more quickly than before.
         So that’s where I’m at now. Of course I am dreaming about SE, reading a lot about the stages of insight. And even though I know I can’t make it happen, that it happens by itself when the time is right, and that striving is a hindrance, there still is some striving in my mind. But also patience, since the practice mostly is nice or at worst a bit boring. The challenge now seems to be to find the balance between effort and relaxation, determination and faith.
 
My set-up for one hour of practice
First I recite some inner words about my motivation and intention (”may I wake up to the benefit of all beings, may I be full of acceptance, may I surrender” etc.). Then I do some samatha to calm the mind, which usually only takes around five minutes: I do anapanasati with the spot above the upper lip and under the nostrils as object. After some minutes I gradually expand the object to include the face, head, arms, torso and legs. Then I try to include sound and visuals as well, everything that is here and now. Then I do some structured noting, inspired by Shargrol 1) a minute or two I note sensations, 2) a minute or two I note emotions and feelingtones, 3) a minute or two I note thoughts. And finally, after about 15 minutes, I switch to vipassana: If the mind is quiet and has sufficient energy, I don’t do noting, but noticing aka ”Do nothing” or ”Open awareness”. If the mind is (or get) too agitated or too dull, I do freestyle noting to keep the mindfulness steady. I call this set-up SamVip 1.1.
 
Comments and advice are more than welcome. Thank you for reading.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 2:34 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 6th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mind a bit agitated, lots of thougts, mainly practice- and map-related, and some tensions in the chest, so I noted all the way through, except for the last 10-12 minutes where thought activity suddenly dropped to almost zero, chest tensions also subsided a bit, so I just sat with open awareness. Then suddenly some remarkable activity in the visual field, which so far had been quite dull: Some bright shining blueish white figures slightly to the right, they seemed like letters, but were hazy and constantly changing so I couldn’t read them. Several minutes after the sitting there were a flickering in the right side of my (open eyes) visual field. When I turned my gaze to look directly at the flickering, it disappared and then reappeared in the perifery. General feeling of the sitting: a bit more agitation than usual, but no biggie, calm, content, a bit impatient. After sitting: content, a bit excited, perhaps due to the visual disturbance, and the eagerness to write my first posts here emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 9:10 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Nice to see you logging mate! emoticon 

It provides others with inspiration and you get feedback. You will also have more things to note like "planning thoughts" during your meditation thinking about what to log about emoticon but that is no big issue and is only food for the noting apparatus. 

I'm subbed to your log! 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 11:23 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Nice to see you logging mate! emoticon 

It provides others with inspiration and you get feedback. You will also have more things to note like "planning thoughts" during your meditation thinking about what to log about emoticon but that is no big issue and is only food for the noting apparatus. 

I'm subbed to your log! 

I agree. Nice to see you logging. I'm also subbed to your log!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 2:33 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Thank you, guys! Good to have you here emoticon


6th of July 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

In my introductory inner words of intention and motivation, I addressed my striving mind: ”Thank you for your work, striving, you have helped me a lot. I’m good now, and you deserve a break, so just take it easy, everything is fine.” Then, as usual, samatha, structured noting and then vipassana.

A bit agitation in the beginning, but after a few minutes of freestyle noting, things calmed down, mindfulness was strong and continuous, so I switched to just sitting with open awareness, observing with no verbal notes. There was calm and the last 10-15 minutes even peacefullness.

Thoughts were few and clearly seen. Bodily sensations dominated, visual field and sounds were equally represented. Bodily sensations: The legs were not very present. The rest felt as if made by a heavy liquid with some slow wobly movements in the torso, and some bubbling and pulsations in the face and scull, especially around the mouth and nose. Also from time to time a slight tension in the skin of the face, scull, neck and arms. These bodily sensations were mostly experienced as neutral, some of them a bit painful, but there was zero reactivity. Sounds: during most of the sitting a high pitched tone in the left ear, and at a certain point a pulsating noise in the right ear (pulse not related to heartbeat, I checked). Visual field: foggy formations of weak white and yellowish light in the middle, dark in the perifery. At the beginning of the sitting some flashes of distorted faces, expressing anger, fear, revolt. There was no reactivity with regard to these images, no emotions, just disinterested observing.

Only rarely did something (a thought, a slight pain, an exterior sound) step forward to become a foreground figure, everything was mostly going on in the background. Only "big" event: At some point it was as if the visual field turned to the left, as if I had turned my head, but the proprioceptive sensations told me that my head was still facing forward. Mind managed to maintain this paradoxical self experience for about a minute, and it was examined with gentle curiousity.

The last 10-15 minutes when things got very calm, posture slowly sank, the spine was bending, face almost tilting ninety degrees forward. Since I was in do nothing mode I chose not to correct the posture. After some minutes, there was an intention to sit up straight, I did not experience it as ”my” intention, so I let it unfold, sat up straight, felt the calm and peacefullness rising to a mild joy, felt a slight smile. Then the bell rang.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/6/20 3:35 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Hi Niels! Good stuff, very interesting! I'm somewhere in the same territory, working on samatha and investigating how visuals and verbal thoughts are created. When the session seems flat/even, boring, both Nikolai and Shargrol proposed to challenge that bringing in some tough memories or thoughts. I'm working on metta/gratitude, as a related way to practice that. Other possibility I play with every now and then is to verbalize out-loud "I, Me, Mine" (a la Kim Katami) and check what happens in my head, if any tensions arise, where are they located, how long do they stay, even send then metta. Do you have other methods to share for this situation? 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 5:10 AM as a reply to Pepe.
Sounds like interesting strategies you are trying out, Pepe! Nice, now I have them in my tool box emoticon.

To answer your question: Self inquiry can be interesting. Let me quote Shargrol: ”
... In EQ it can be very helpful to very gently inquire: "who/what is experiencing all of this?". Not looking for a verbal answer, but rather to see what blindspots/resistances are left when we're in a state with almost no blindspots/resistances.” (From this excellent source: 
https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html).

Most of us have this sense of an ”I” somewhere behind the eyes. I have tried to locate the exact position of this ”I” using precision body scanning (which can only be done when the mind is quiet): I locate my ”anapana spot” below the nostrils, this is experienced as ”in front of me”. Then I locate a point at the back of my head, this is experienced as ”behind me”. Then I let attention travel back and forth between these two points in order to find ”the middle”, where the ”I” or ”me” should be. Spoiler alert: I have never found it emoticon. But as Shargrol says, there can be some interesting non-verbal answers. For instance the proprioceptive experience of the head can be disturbed, for instance your face and your neck can suddenly seem to be at the same place, which of course is impossible. So this is a very conrete way of trying to chase the ”I” out of the system.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 5:08 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 7th, first sitting, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Usual intro-stuff (see first post), including the same calming words to my striving mind as yesterday. Then vipassana: Mind was very calm and quiet and clear, so I just sat there, noticing everything. Nothing much happened.

Thoughts
were very few. One or two minutes would pass without anything recognized as thought activity, whereby I mean verbalized thougt + preverbalized thought (the sense of a voice saying something which is not articulate, and you might or might not understand it) + image thoughts (recognizable figurative images in the visual field) + pre-image thoughts (the vague sense of a figurative image that you don’t really see). Then a thought, usually practice related, or a slight craving for SE, came up, was seen and vanished.

Bodily sensations, sounds and visual field were almost equally present (bodily sensation dominating a bit). Bodily sensations: Body was soft, liquid, held itself upright (only three or four minor corrections of posture during the entire hour), no pains or tensions, no pleasurable tingling or buzzing, just this syrupy feeling of a heavy, thick liquid with some slow and gentle, wavelike movements. The border between body and surroundings was blurred, but not entirely gone. It was a bit like sitting at the bottom of the ocean: very calm and quiet and a slight, wobly pressure all over. Sounds: The few external sounds (I live in a quiet place) were noticed. Otherwise a high pitched note in my left ear, and at some point a slighly deeper high pitched note in my right ear, pulsating, around two beats per second. Visual field: A few times a flickering, vibrating net-like pattern in the bottom of the field. Otherwise just some foggy or smokelike formations of weak whitish light in the middle of the field, dark in the perifery. At some point it reversed and it was dark in the center and vague foggy light around the perifery, tunnel like, ”I” was moving forward through the tunnel. Toward the end of the sitting, it happened a couple of times that an image of candle flame popped out in the middle of the field (I have done a little fire kasina), which the mind interpreted as a sign that it should concentrate or center a bit more, so I – intentionally – focused on the flame, but it disappeared within ten seconds (no frustration or other reactivity).

”Biggest” event: At some point a thought about all my striving in the past came up, striving in meditation and in general, and there was a feeling of compassion for this striving old me. I had just a little bit of tears, even, which really stood out, since the rest of the sitting had this very stable equanimous feeling tone of neutral pleasure or slightly pleasurable neutrality.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 8:04 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Glad that you like Shargrol's compilation. Though I included that quote "who/what is experiencing all of this?" in the compilation, actually I find it fruitless right now. Instead, I found more useful pointing an imaginary finger from the chin up to the center of the head. Or imagining that my eyes are ears (as ears don't make any effort to hear sounds, while we usually strain the eyes, as that's closely related to thoughts/conceptual mind).

Also, the "I, Me, Mine" points you to a tense spot in the middle of the brain, along the vertical axis where the Crown Chakra is (a the top). I usually find that tense spot somewhere along the segment that starts right behind the eyes and ends at the Crown Chakra. The thing is that (in my case), the dissolving of that tense spot doesn't trigger SE or an unknow event or else. So there's more work to be done in my case.

Another unusual Self-Inquiry method comes from Shinzen Young, where you spot shallow/deep vanishings (in body, sounds and visuals) and abide in it. It's similar to seeing between frames usually mentioned in Theravada or spoting gaps in the vibrational perception of the subtle mindstream (Shargrol mentions that too in his posts). Though Shinzen offers this method for the whole ñana arc, it makes more sense in High EQ (a place I'm not there yet). 

I'm following your log, so I'll chime in if I find something useful to say. Best wishes! 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 1:01 PM as a reply to Pepe.
Thanks for your comments, Pepe. Interesting emoticon. I totally forgot that it was you who compiled the Shargrol comments. Thanks for that, that was very helpful to me. I was actually sifting through his responses to different yogis when you chose to do that, so we were in sync with our needs. I am following your log as well and will chime in there if I think I have something useful to say. Best wishes to you too!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 1:06 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 7th, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Usual intro-stuff (see first post), still with some calming words to my striving. Then vipassana: Mindfulness was weak due to dullness, lots of thoughts (just random shit with no emotional charge), so I chose to freestyle note.

After maybe fifteen minutes, dullness was getting worse, so I opened my eyes to bring up the energy. I stared at the little thumbtack I have placed in the white wall in front of me as a kasina, and mind was very interested in this new visual input, energy went up, curiosity came. There were some colorshifts in the white wall, it was shimmering, and shortly after there was a flickering or vibratory quality to most of the visual field. The dot in the middle disappeared and reappeared just after, and then suddenly seemed to move a couple of centimeters upwards. It was a stroboscopic, insect-like way of moving, and there was a weak fear response, felt in the stomach. Now the energy seemed too high, there was agitation, noting was getting hectic, couldn’t keep up, so I chose to stop noting and just sit with open awareness. A couple of minutes later I closed my eyes again. Visual field at first chaotic, then calmed down, got dark and amorphous. Sound
: When the energy was high, the usual high pitched tone in my ear was also vibrating, although not in sync with the vibrations in the visual field. Bodily sensations: All the way through body was soft and like a heavy liquid with some slightly unpleasant pressure in the surface (no reactivity to the unpleasantness). The pressure was bubbling or pulsating here and there at different speeds. It could be compared to sitting on the bottom of the ocean with a bit of turbulence or bypassing gentle undercurrents in the water, heterogeneous as oppposed to the homogenous feeling of the first sitting today, but still far from violent or chaotic. Things never got quite calm and still, though, and even though thoughts subsided a bit towards the end, they were present all the way through.

When the bell rang, there was a slight disappointment that the sitting had not been as peacefull as the first one today. And then disappointment about the disappointment – since it was a sign of striving. There was nothing unpleasant worth mentioning about this sitting, I told myself, the general feeling was still calm and okayness, but the striving yogi had apparently wished for a different experience emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 1:23 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:
July 7th, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Usual intro-stuff (see first post), still with some calming words to my striving. Then vipassana: Mindfulness was weak due to dullness, lots of thoughts (just random shit with no emotional charge), so I chose to freestyle note.

After maybe fifteen minutes, dullness was getting worse, so I opened my eyes to bring up the energy. I stared at the little thumbtack I have placed in the white wall in front of me as a kasina, and mind was very interested in this new visual input, energy went up, curiosity came. There were some colorshifts in the white wall, it was shimmering, and shortly after there was a flickering or vibratory quality to most of the visual field. The dot in the middle disappeared and reappeared just after, and then suddenly seemed to move a couple of centimeters upwards. It was a stroboscopic, insect-like way of moving, and there was a weak fear response, felt in the stomach. Now the energy seemed too high, there was agitation, noting was getting hectic, couldn’t keep up, so I chose to stop noting and just sit with open awareness. A couple of minutes later I closed my eyes again. Visual field at first chaotic, then calmed down, got dark and amorphous. Sound
: When the energy was high, the usual high pitched tone in my ear was also vibrating, although not in sync with the vibrations in the visual field. Bodily sensations: All the way through body was soft and like a heavy liquid with some slightly unpleasant pressure in the surface (no reactivity to the unpleasantness). The pressure was bubbling or pulsating here and there at different speeds. It could be compared to sitting on the bottom of the ocean with a bit of turbulence or bypassing gentle undercurrents in the water, heterogeneous as oppposed to the homogenous feeling of the first sitting today, but still far from violent or chaotic. Things never got quite calm and still, though, and even though thoughts subsided a bit towards the end, they were present all the way through.

When the bell rang, there was a slight disappointment that the sitting had not been as peacefull as the first one today. And then disappointment about the disappointment – since it was a sign of striving. There was nothing unpleasant worth mentioning about this sitting, I told myself, the general feeling was still calm and okayness, but the striving yogi had apparently wished for a different experience emoticon.

Another brilliant post with such attention to detail. My teacher wanted me to up the specifity of my log so I must admit I stole a few of your ideas emoticon You're welcome to look at my latest post and offer any feedback

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 1:35 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
This is awesome stuff Niels emoticon love the way you shift those gears to adjust the energy, eyes closed then open etc ... inspiring read! So many tools on our disposal emoticon use what ever works just to keep the stream of noticing unbroken. Im now using your tip with standing meditation when sitting brings the energy way too low and in tandem restlessness kicks in. Standing up just for a few minutes usually works great and then I sit down again. 

That thing with how we prefer (desire) one experience and dislike (aversion) another experience etc is an interesting thing to watch also. I ask myself often off the cushion "why do I prefer/value one expereince over another one ?" , without going for an answer but rather just having an open wonder like curiosity. There is also on cushion the pull/desire/seeking towards Jhana absorptions and even here I can ask "why is THIS (what ever this might be) not enough, why desire for jhanic absorption?"

Be well!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/7/20 6:08 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
7/7 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, sat without timer for 70 minutes.

Sat around midnight, dark out, silence in the house. Very quiet mind, strong and stable mindfulness, so after the intro (see first post), I went directly to open awareness-practice.

Body
sensations: Body soon became very still, self-held, almost like a mild paralysis, and liquid-like. I had no experience of doing anything or making any effort to keep it upright and still, it was floating by itself, again as if sitting on the bottom of the ocean. Slight pressure in the perifery of the entire body, weakest in the legs, strongest in the face and head. A little slow paced bubbling and pulsating here and there. Feeling tone totally neutral. No change in this from around five minutes in and during the rest of the sitting. Sound: High pitched note in both ears. Slight movements in volume. Visual field: Dark with some amorphuos movements. From time to time flashes of distorted faces, some of them my own, expressing terror, grief, madness. Also some skulls and fragments of faces, especially nostrils and mouths, mainly my own. There was zero emotional reactivity to these horror movie-images, mind saw them, but did not become involved at all, except maybe twice (see below). Thoughts: Apart from these image thoughts, there were very little activity in the mental sense door. No mumbling or chatter, but from time to time, minutes apart, a very clearly articulated sentence: ”The center cannot hold!”, for instance. Or (spoken with Shinzen Young’s voice) ”You are the only one not getting the joke!”. Biggest events: A couple of times the mind by itself made some sort of self inquiery, i.e. tried to find the ”I” or ”me” spot in the middle of the head. A focused attention moved around inside the head, and that created some strong pulsations in the back of the head, just around the surface of the skull, maybe 8-10 centimeters below the crown. Each time this happened, there were also scary faces in the visual field, and twice a weak sense of fear that I could not locate in any sensation.

I could easily have sat another hour when I decided to stop and get some sleep. I estimated that I had sat for around 45 minutes, but it turned out to be 70, so there was some time distortion as well. After the sitting: very calm, neutral, not really sleepy, but very relaxed.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 3:20 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Off cushion:

This morning I kept wondering where the phrase "The center cannot hold!" came from. I thought it might be Shakespeare, so I googled it. It wasn't, it was William Butler Yeats, a famous poem. I don't recall having read it, but I very well might have some thirty years ago when I studied comparative literature and devoured lots and lots of poetry. Here it is:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 5:19 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
8th of July 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Off cushion remark: Had difficulty falling asleep after my midnight sitting. First couple of hours were like very light sleep or continuation of the meditation. Woke up with a slight fear/anxiety in the system, couldn’t figure out what I was afraid of.

The sitting: Fear disappeared during the samatha warm up, but mind was slightly agitated all the way through. Thoughts
were present almost all the time, now and then maybe ten seconds without thoughts. They never got hectic or loopy and were seen clearly. Most of them were related to pratice and logging. There was a slight aversion towards them, the striving yogi wanted silence. Bodily sensations: As usual the dominant sense modality. Body felt again like heavy liquid, a pressure in its surface building slowly the first twenty minutes or so and then stabilizing. Pressure was experienced as neutral or sometimes slightly unpleasant, but there was no reactivity towards it. A little bubbling and pulsations, especially in the face and head, mouth area in particular. One time there was a sudden pulsation in the middle of the chest, remarkable since everything else was quite still, beating 3-4 times a second for maybe half a minute. This was happening while there was also some tactile activity in the middle of the head, interpreted as mind searching for the ”I” or ”me” spot. Sort of redirecting attention to the heart region, as if saying ”perhaps this is where ’I’ is at”. Visual field: Most of the time only amorphous background activity, nothing much stood out as foreground. Sometimes a little bright flickering or some sparks. Mind was not interested in the visuals, they were just noticed. Sound: high pitched notes in both ears, one slightly higher tuned than the other. Sometimes a little pulsation or change of volume. No reactivity to these sensations either, no interest. Biggest event: Several times mind seemed to try to coordinate visual field and proprioceptive sensations of the head, resulting in the experience that the visual field as a whole turned and tilted a bit, and then moved closer to ”me”, so that it was no longer placed ”at the end of the eyes” as usual, but more in the middle of the head or almost behind it. Also it got bigger, as if I was not just seeing with my eyes, but with my entire face. General feeling: ease, calm, slight but steady agitation due to thoughts and the mild aversion towards them. Also some boredom now and then. At bit ”meh”, but at the same time totally okay.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 11:49 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
8th of July 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Off cushion remark: Had some anger in the system (for no good reason) just before the sitting.

The sitting started out with a wellknown combo of dullness and agitation/restlessness, mindfulness was weak, and so there were distractions during the introductory samatha and some aversion to the distractions (striving yogi, once again). I freestyle noted, energy was still low, got even lower after 5-7 minutes, so I opened my eyes to energize the system, stared at my little kasina dot. Pretty soon there was shimmering and fast colorshifts of the white wall (to blueish white and to a quite intens pinkish red that stabilized for half a minut). Mind was interested, energy went up, I dropped the noting, went to open awareness. Mind started craving more fancy visuals, so I shut the eyes again. Still some agitation, so I resumed noting. Some irritation, a wish for the bell to ring. Aversion against thoughts. The last ten minutes or so, things quite suddenly settled down, thoughts subsided, there was contentment, okayness. Sound
: All the way through high pitched notes in both ears with some variations in volume. Biggest event: Towards the end when things were quiet, some self inquiery began, the question ”where are you?” arose. As a sort of answer, the visual field turned to the left, almos ninety degrees, as if I really turned my head. Which I didn’t. Mind worked on compromising between the conflicting input as to how my head was situated, and there was pulsation at the back of my head. Now, the striving yogi was satisfied, this was good practice! Then the bell rang, and I almost gave in to the striving yogi who wanted to continue, but I stopped and wrote this log in stead.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 12:07 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Nice one emoticon it's funny how we get content when silence kicks in and concentration is strong and not really the other way around emoticon Ha! How come? Who is this preferring one experience over another ? emoticon The same can be applied off the cushion. That urge to push away what caused aversion and cling to that which I desire. That constant push and pull of our lifeing. emoticon 

That is worth investigating (just watching with gentle curiosity). 

Great stuff min ven! 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 12:10 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Nice one again! Nice level of detail. You ROCK! emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 1:13 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Niel,

I have a question to ask you based on your experiences in this log. You write this about searching for the "I": "A couple of times the mind by itself made some sort of self inquiery, i.e. tried to find the ”I” or ”me” spot in the middle of the head. A focused attention moved around inside the head, and that created some strong pulsations in the back of the head, just around the surface of the skull, maybe 8-10 centimeters below the crown"

The reason why I ask the following question is because I use the Waking Up meditation app by Sam Harris and in his 20 minute daily meditation that I use at night he very often asks the meditator to briefly "look back at what's looking" or "finding the center" or "see if you can find the thinker." Can you help me with these types of self-inquiry based on what you wrote above? Thanks.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/9/20 2:52 AM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Hey Sam

When there's an itch on your thigh, you probably instinctively experience it as "down there on the thigh". If there is a pulsation on the top of your head, it's "up there on the head". The question is: Where is this centerpoint located, from which all other places in the body and world are defined? For some people it's somewhere in the chest, but for most people it's somewhere in the middle of the head. Try to use bodyscan technique and locate a point between your eyes and a point at the back of your head. Switch the attention from one point to the other and back. Try to drive attention through your head from front to back and see if you can locate the middle, i.e. the place in the "control tower" from where everything seems to be observed. Please let me know if you find this point – a point that is not observed, but observing. Can you observe the observing point? My guess is you wont find it, but the interesting thing is the nonverbal answers that this little exercise produces. You can also search from the crown chakra and downwards. Have a playful, curious attitude, have fun with it, experiment, search, see what happens – and report, if you like emoticon Good luck! - Niels.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/8/20 4:53 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
8th of July 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Off cushion remark: Began at 22:30 with low energy.

This sitting was characterized by massive dullness from the get go, so I freestyle noted – or tried to – all the way through. Around half of the notes were ”dullness”. After maybe 20 minutes I opened my eyes due to the dullness, and after 30 minutes I also stood up and and did standing meditation for the remaining approximately 30 minutes. But in spite of these measures I took to counteract the dullness, it was unusually strong, I literally fought to keep my eyes open, forgot to note again and again, lost mindfulness completely for several seconds, even when standing with open eyes – don’t think this has ever happened to me before. There were very few thoughts and no frustration, no aversion against this massive hindrance. Nothing particular going on in the visual field, the usual highpitched notes in the ears and some uninteresting external sounds, both sounds and visuals were in the far background, not pulling attention at all, attention was with dullness. There were seveal dropouts of mindfulness, but around 90 percent of the time, I observed dullness through a heavy haze, I was calm and kind to myself, had this sort of clear awareness behind the dullness, watching these heavy eyelids slid down, and the meditator pushing them up again, watching the open eyes lose focus, watching the body being mostly comfortable, although with a bit of backpain and a pressure in the surface of the body that sometimes bordered on unpleasant. General feeling tone all the way through: neutral, okayness. I was and am surprised that there was no aversion present – maybe the striving yogi was asleep?

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/9/20 5:27 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 9th, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Energy high and stable all the way through, effortless and continuous mindfulness, so I did freestyle noting for some minutes, then switched to open awareness, calmly just noticing, only interfering now and then.

Body
was pleasantly soft and painfree, again like a heavy liquid or gel, with some soft wobly movements here and there. Some pressure at the upper parts of the arms and in the face and head + pulsations mainly in the face, particularly the mouth area. Thoughts: During the introductory samatha, where there were still a gentle stream of thoughts, the noting voice suddenly by itself went off and said ”thougts-thoughts-thoughts…” very rapidly and mechanically, and then the thoughts disappeared, but the noting voice just continued. I tried to stop it by having another voice saying ”stop!” Now the two voices were fighting, and awareness apparently decided to let these idiots fight it out by themselves and kind of left them behind, and then everything got very quiet. There were still some thougts now and then, almost all of them practice- or logging-related. Visual field: Nothing particular happened in the visual field this time, some foggy whitish light, mind was not interested. Sound: About ten minutes in, mind discovered an unevenly pulsating high pitched note in the left ear, it sounded like Morse code on a radio, and mind got quite interested (I don’t understand Morse code), that sensation continued all the way and pulled attention many times during the sitting. Each time, I let attention investigate, observed it investigating. And some point there was a continuous external sound, and some questions arose: Why is the Morse code ”inside” my head and that other sound ”outside”? How do I know? What is the difference, where is the borderline between inside and outside? etc. Events: 1) At some point there was an investigation of the relationship between the visual field and the proprioceptive experience of the head. The head shortly felt totally transparent, as if it was floating in the visual field, or as if the visual field was floating somewhere in the middle of the head. At some point it was as if I was seeing with the entire left side of my face. There was a mild interest in these investigations, but not as much as the Morse code. At some point during these investigations, there was a remarkable pulse right at the crown, helicopter rotorblade-like, 3-4 beats per second. Mind found that very interesting and sent attention there, but then it disappeared. 2) At the end of sitting the thought came (inspired by remarks by Papa Che, so thank you, Papa!): Why are these slightly odd experiences interesting? Why are some sensations more interesting than others? Am I clinging, grasping for them? Can I find something which is not interesting? So, I looked around, did a quick bodyscan, investigated the visual field, and it turned out that everything I looked at, seemed to be equally interesting. A few minutes later, the bell rang. General feeling of the entire sitting: somewhere between mildly pleasant and neutral, calm, but not entirely peaceful. I think the interest created a tiny urge, a microscopic sense that some little thing was not quite right, which sort of hindered a feeling of deep peacefulness. But very calm and quiet it was.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/9/20 12:56 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 9th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Energy was between medium and high and went a little up and down during the sitting, so I switched between freestyle noting when it was lower and just open awareness when it was high enough to maintain decently continuous mindfulness. A couple of times there was a sneaky drop in energy when I was sitting with open awareness, I didn’t lose mindfulness entirely, but there were some dreamlike dialogue and images going on, and I sort of pulled my self up so as to not fall asleep and began noting.

Body
was overall easy, although there was a little backpain at some point, otherwise the (these days) usual liquid or gel like body with some pressure in the surface, neutral in tone. Also, in this sitting, some pleasant tingling in the top of the head, sometimes entire scull and face. A few corrections of posture as body was not entirely comfortable all the way (back pain, lower back). Visual field: Nothing much happened, dark and amorphous, 3-4 times a scary face popped out of the dark haze, but there was zero reactivity and no interest. Sound: a quite loud highpitched note in the left ear, slight variations in volume. ”Biggest” event: At some point I remembered this thing about interest that I wrote about in the log of this morning’s sitting, so I compared the sound in the ear (which the mind was slighly drawn to and liked) and the back pain (which the mind had a little aversion to). I switched attention back and forth between these to objects, but mind didn’t change its mind (sic), it still preferred the ”interesting” sound, and I couldn’t localize this interest or preference or craving/aversion. Overall feeling: chill and okay and a little meh.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/9/20 1:03 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:
July 9th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Energy was between medium and high and went a little up and down during the sitting, so I switched between freestyle noting when it was lower and just open awareness when it was high enough to maintain decently continuous mindfulness. A couple of times there was a sneaky drop in energy when I was sitting with open awareness, I didn’t lose mindfulness entirely, but there were some dreamlike dialogue and images going on, and I sort of pulled my self up so as to not fall asleep and began noting.

Body
was overall easy, although there was a little backpain at some point, otherwise the (these days) usual liquid or gel like body with some pressure in the surface, neutral in tone. Also, in this sitting, some pleasant tingling in the top of the head, sometimes entire scull and face. A few corrections of posture as body was not entirely comfortable all the way (back pain, lower back). Visual field: Nothing much happened, dark and amorphous, 3-4 times a scary face popped out of the dark haze, but there was zero reactivity and no interest. Sound: a quite loud highpitched note in the left ear, slight variations in volume. ”Biggest” event: At some point I remembered this thing about interest that I wrote about in the log of this morning’s sitting, so I compared the sound in the ear (which the mind was slighly drawn to and liked) and the back pain (which the mind had a little aversion to). I switched attention back and forth between these to objects, but mind didn’t change its mind (sic), it still preferred the ”interesting” sound, and I couldn’t localize this interest or preference or craving/aversion. Overall feeling: chill and okay and a little meh.

Nice! emoticon I've had two straight days of complete utter wanting to leap off the cushion. Do you have any experience with Dukka Nana 10? Could you give me some feedback on my log?

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 1:34 AM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Dear Sam, I am not very experienced, definitely pre-stream entry, but I think I know the 10th nana a little, and I will give you feedback as best I can emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 2:45 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 9th 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 40 minutes without a timer (I sat after midnight and went straight to bed so I am logging the next morning).

Strong, stable and continuous mindfulness, so I went straight to open awareness after the intro stuff (see first post).

Body
was very calm and relaxed, painfree, slightly wobly as a gel and at the same time felt "held" or "locked" as if it sat upright completely by itself. Thoughts almost absent, a wispy preverbal thought now and then, and a few practice related, more clear thoughts, but otherwise really quiet. Visual field quite dark and amorphous. At some point I opened my eyes, the room was dark, and I live in the countryside, so there was almost no difference between closed and open eyes. Visual field got sort of more clear when I opened my eyes, but was still dark, almost pitch black. After a few seconds, a steady and symmetrical pattern of dark grey roses grew up in the lower half of the field. Mind got interested, found them beautiful, they had this otherworldly quality. I let mind examine the pattern for about a minute, then decided to close my eyes again, as to not give in to the minds interest aka grasping. The pattern disappeared. Some minutes went by with very little happening. Then the only sound I heard, a highpitched note in my left ear, slowly began to vibrate slightly. It was almost a steady tone, only if I listened as attentively as I could, could I hear the vibration. Mind was interested in the vibration, so again, I backed attention off, tried to ”do nothing”, not control attention, keep awareness entirely open. Still the vibration could be heard, but it was unclear to me if it was in the periferal awareness or if there was some sort of focused attention on it. Some minutes later I felt a slight drop in energy and decided to stop meditating since it was late. Could easily have sat much longer.

General feeling: Eventless, peaceful, calm, mild contentment and some sort of steady or stable high intensity. Felt like a very ”deep” meditation, but since I don’t have much experience with absorption states, I hesitate to categorize it.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 3:00 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
"After a few seconds, a steady and symmetrical pattern of dark grey roses grew up in the lower half of the field. Mind got interested, found them beautiful, they had this otherworldly quality. I let mind examine the pattern for about a minute, then decided to close my eyes again, as to not give in to the minds interest aka grasping."

Let me suggest a different approach which you can feel free to ignore of course. 
You say "as to not give into the minds interest aka grasping". 

Mind being interested is a good thing. It gives energy and focus, curiosity, wonder ... 
I don't say you should desire to get these roses each sit emoticon and if you do then keep watching that desire instead. 
When absorption starts developing in the visuals be interested in it but also note any other aspect while seeing the roses being dynamic. If they are beautiful then where in the body is this sense and feeling. Also these visuals are supporting Samatha and yet there still is knowing of any other experience that's arising like numbness in lower back, some itch on the head, dry lips, swallowing of the spit, rise and fall of the abdomen , hearing a noise etc ... 

Let the image space absorption present itself, do watch it but also while it's happening keep noting other arising experiences too. It's all there, I prefer none of those but I welcome and accept them all. 

Don't worry about which number this Jhana has. Look at it the same way you look at an itch. As that is the Awakening part and the rest is Aboutism and Lost in Content.

Here is another spin;
Who is this one that desires to know what number Jhana this is? There is this meditator/sense of self/striver/achiever that keeps snatching at things, wanting then not wanting etc ... I guess we all must go through the important faze of "burning out" this Striving Dancer and come to the point of being sick and tired of it ALL and just be with what Is, be it a bliss or an itch. 

But practice makes perfect so please ignore all I've said and just keep at it emoticon 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 5:02 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks for your remarks, mate! They are very helpful! You are absolutely right that I should distinguish between interest/curiosity, which is a good and energizing thing in itself, and desire/craving for specific experiences, even for curiousity emoticon Good point, I'll try to keep that in mind. And I actually don't care too much which jhana it might be, if any, I don't feel that that's important right now. But at some point I would like to find out and become better at categorizing absorption states, among other things because I might one day want to write another book about meditation, and when – if! – I do, it would be nice to be able to be precise. But that's in the future, I don't worry too much about that now. Thanks again for you comment, awesome to have some feedback! emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 5:08 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 10th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness steady all the way through, no drops into dullness, energy went up to quite clear mindfulness the last twenty minutes or so. I had doubts whether I should note or just do open awareness, so I switched back and forth between the two. Sometimes when I sat in open awareness (i.e. with the intention to do nothing), noting started by itself, sporadicly, noting mainly thougts and interests, and I let that happen, although I probably could have stopped it.

Thoughts
: This sporadic thought activity (mainly practice related thoughts) and the ”negotiations” with it – note or just notice? – dominated the first half hour or so. Vibration: Then things got more quiet. And then mind discovered a very very subtle vibration and took a lot of interest in it. I have read about vibrations in (high) EQ, so it might be my striving mind being interested in this ”good sign of good practice”, it might even be scripting, but what’s the difference between imagining that you sense a very subtle vibration and actually sensing it? (These thoughts were also present in the sitting). Anyway, I’ll try to describe the vibration: It was extremely subtle and it took all my attention power to detect it, it was at the limit of detection. It had the quality of a very very distant helicopter rotorblade or tumble dryer or earth quake, a sort of trembling, at a rate of about 15-20 herz/ beats per second, maybe faster (I could try to compare to some YouTube metronomes to determine it more precisely). It was unclear to me if it was a tactile or auditory experience or both (visual field did not seem to vibrate), and it was located somewhere behind me, I felt it at the upper part of the back, the back of the head and especially the backside of the ears. This vibration was intensely examined for many minutes. At some point a highpitched note arose in my left ear, low volume but undoubtedly there, and also with a very subtle vibration at about the same rate. Sounded like glass jingling or clinking or chinking (not sure what the right english word is), as it can do when a heavy vehicle drives by your house. This sound was also thoroughly examined for several minutes. Then the bell rang.

General feeling: ease, contentment, okayness, and then this quite intense but still somehow calm interest, as if mind knew that if it got too excited it would not be able to examine.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 5:48 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
"it might even be scripting, but what’s the difference between imagining that you sense a very subtle vibration and actually sensing it? (These thoughts were also present in the sitting). "

I find it's very easy to remove any doubt by using word Certainty. I note Hearing-certainty, eyesight blip-uncertainty, touching-certainty, ear frequency-certainty, etc ... 

I usually throw low tumbling drumming frequencies into the DN bin emoticon Not sure how to track ear frequency through stages/states. 

What did you read about frequencies in EQ? I'm interested. 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 8:24 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Vibrations, not frequencies! It is Ron Crouch in his excellent article on the stages of insight:

"In high equanimity the meditator moves from 'just sitting' to noticing a subtle and pervasive sense that the objects of meditation are vibrating. For example, you notice an itch on your cheek and it seems as if it is composed of thousands of fizzing bubbles rather than a single thing called an 'itch' […] As this experience matures another important shift occurs, and it is a very subtle one: it no longer seems as if the objects alone are vibrating, but rather that the entire field of awareness itself is vibrating."

I highly recommend this article if you haven't read it already. emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 9:19 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Oh ok my bad sorry emoticon for some reason I thought about the ear frequency. 

I guess all this perceiving of EQ stage experience can be rather personal. Or maybe depending on the depth of concentration and personal sensitivity. I find that image space just flattens out after the murk is gone and diffused focus is all inclusive. All feeling tone is either neutral or borderline. Sense of "self" moves away from the usual "head space" and can't be really placed in any particular body part. 

But I never mastered this stuff nor did I ever aspire to master this. I just desire the awakening part and have a funky feeling it's possible without mastering all this. I might be wrong of course. 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 11:44 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
Oh ok my bad sorry emoticon for some reason I thought about the ear frequency. 

I guess all this perceiving of EQ stage experience can be rather personal. Or maybe depending on the depth of concentration and personal sensitivity. I find that image space just flattens out after the murk is gone and diffused focus is all inclusive. All feeling tone is either neutral or borderline. Sense of "self" moves away from the usual "head space" and can't be really placed in any particular body part. 

But I never mastered this stuff nor did I ever aspire to master this. I just desire the awakening part and have a funky feeling it's possible without mastering all this. I might be wrong of course. 
You two are talking over my head but its good to see you both supporting each other this way emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 12:33 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
July 10th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Energy was very low. Already during the initial samatha, I lost mindfulness several times due to dullness. Freestyle noting was difficult due to more and more dullness, sleepiness, I forgot to note, drifted off. Opened my eyes, they shut again by them selves. Did not have the energy to put in sufficient effort to counteract the dullness. After maybe 45 minutes the thought finally came that I should get up and do standing meditation, which I usually do when dullness fucks with the mindfulness, so I got up, energy went up, sensations got clearer, noting stabilized. I switched to open awareness, energy still seemed okay. I sat down again, energy began to tank again, then the bell rang. No frustration to this very dull and insignificant sitting, though. Generel feeling still a-okay.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 2:08 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:

 Vibration: It was extremely subtle and it took all my attention power to detect it, it was at the limit of detection. It had the quality of a very very distant helicopter rotorblade or tumble dryer or earth quake, a sort of trembling, at a rate of about 15-20 herz/ beats per second, maybe faster ... It was unclear to me if it was a tactile or auditory experience or both (visual field did not seem to vibrate), and it was located somewhere behind me, I felt it at the upper part of the back, the back of the head and especially the backside of the ears ... At some point a highpitched note arose in my left ear, low volume but undoubtedly there, and also with a very subtle vibration at about the same rate. Sounded like glass jingling or clinking or chinking ... 

That looks like Kundalini. It matches my experience. In my case there was also a very long frequency vibration that circled all the body (instead of up and down, as in Taoist Macrocosmic Orbit, it was a left to right orbit). Check if your neck isn't straight enough, so as to let the energy flow freely. That may be causing the glass jingling thing. Before meditation, massage the area where the column touches the Occipital Bone. 

That energy rise would probably fire another A&P Event and though it may be amazing or even educational, it's not what is suggested to be done in EQ. All in all, It shouldn't be a problem, unless you have been going back to Re-Orbservation lately. 

Instead, you should be trying to see gaps in that vibration (see Shargrol's On Vibrations and EQ, the floating peanut & mindstream of thoughts). You may be interested in Kenneth Folk's "The Wheel". It's about perceiving vibrations in the Third Eye and then lower slowly the attention towards the horizon until a sweet spot is found where vibrations can still be felt, but without effort. Is getting absorbed into the vibration and looking for the big vanishings (see Shinzen Young's Gone pages 95-99) in the random vibrations. Added: In my case, I need more concentration power to spot those gaps, and for that I need more acceptance, thus I'm working on Metta emoticon 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/10/20 1:55 PM as a reply to Pepe.
Pepe:
Niels Lyngsø:

 Vibration: It was extremely subtle and it took all my attention power to detect it, it was at the limit of detection. It had the quality of a very very distant helicopter rotorblade or tumble dryer or earth quake, a sort of trembling, at a rate of about 15-20 herz/ beats per second, maybe faster ... It was unclear to me if it was a tactile or auditory experience or both (visual field did not seem to vibrate), and it was located somewhere behind me, I felt it at the upper part of the back, the back of the head and especially the backside of the ears ... At some point a highpitched note arose in my left ear, low volume but undoubtedly there, and also with a very subtle vibration at about the same rate. Sounded like glass jingling or clinking or chinking ... 

That looks like Kundalini. It matches my experience. In my case there was also a very long frequency vibration that circled all the body (instead of up and down, as in Taoist Macrocosmic Orbit, it was a left to right orbit). Check if your neck isn't straight enough, so as to let the energy flow freely. That may be causing the glass jingling thing. Before meditation, massage the area where the column touches the Occipital Bone. 

That energy rise would probably fire another A&P Event and though it may be amazing or even educational, it's not what is suggested to be done in EQ. All in all, It shouldn't be a problem, unless you have been going back to Re-Orbservation lately. 

Instead, you should be trying to see gaps in that vibration (see Shargrol's On Vibrations and EQ, the floating peanut & mindstream of thoughts). You may be interested in Kenneth Folk's "The Wheel". It's about perceiving vibrations in the Third Eye and then lower slowly the attention towards the horizon until a sweet spot is found where vibrations can still be felt, but without effort. Is getting absorbed into the vibration and looking for the big vanishings (see Shinzen Young's Gone) in the random vibrations. 

I just starting using Shizen's Gone technique (checck out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-7LXHjGHfM&feature=youtu.be)

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/11/20 4:02 AM as a reply to Pepe.
Thanks Pepe, that's very helpful! emoticon I read the Shargrol stuff, but didn't know about the other things. I will try the massage and read the Folk and Shinzen stuff.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/11/20 4:06 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
11th of July 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable all the way through, so I did open awareness. From time to time a sporadic note arose by itself.

Thoughts
: only a few, almost all of them practice-, theory- and logging-related, which was noted as ”dhamma babbling”. I also noted ”interest”. Body: Soft, liquid or gel-like, painfree, slight pressure in the surface, light pulsations here and there now and then. Vibrations: a couple of times I sensed this rotorblade or tumble drier-like vibration, very very subtle and impossible to place in a specific sense modality, although it seemed mostly tactile/proprioceptive or auditory. It was not as clear as yesterday. Also some uneven vibrations in the highpitched note in my left ear. Sound otherwise: For a long stretch in the beginning, there was a highpitched note that did not seem to be in either of the ears or perhaps equally in both. It was experienced as slightly behind me. Visual field: Nothing much happening. From time to time I noticed that it tended to be brighter in the middle, but all in all it was quite amorphous and dull, apart from a few sparkles now and then.

General feeling: Calm, spacious, clear. Attention seemed a little bit restless, though, going here and there, checking the visual field, the highpitched note, the subtle vibration, back to visual field, then the pressure in the face. Everything was background, nothing stood out as foreground. Attention just strolled around inside this huge and calm clarity, slightly restless, but content. Okayness, even niceness. emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/11/20 11:10 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:
11th of July 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable all the way through, so I did open awareness. From time to time a sporadic note arose by itself.

Thoughts
: only a few, almost all of them practice-, theory- and logging-related, which was noted as ”dhamma babbling”. I also noted ”interest”. Body: Soft, liquid or gel-like, painfree, slight pressure in the surface, light pulsations here and there now and then. Vibrations: a couple of times I sensed this rotorblade or tumble drier-like vibration, very very subtle and impossible to place in a specific sense modality, although it seemed mostly tactile/proprioceptive or auditory. It was not as clear as yesterday. Also some uneven vibrations in the highpitched note in my left ear. Sound otherwise: For a long stretch in the beginning, there was a highpitched note that did not seem to be in either of the ears or perhaps equally in both. It was experienced as slightly behind me. Visual field: Nothing much happening. From time to time I noticed that it tended to be brighter in the middle, but all in all it was quite amorphous and dull, apart from a few sparkles now and then.

General feeling: Calm, spacious, clear. Attention seemed a little bit restless, though, going here and there, checking the visual field, the highpitched note, the subtle vibration, back to visual field, then the pressure in the face. Everything was background, nothing stood out as foreground. Attention just strolled around inside this huge and calm clarity, slightly restless, but content. Okayness, even niceness. emoticon


Nice sit! emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/12/20 4:44 AM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
12th of July 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes, meditating outside at the edge of a little forrest.

Mindfulness was fairly good, perhaps not super strong, but steady, so I chose to freestyle note all the way, also because there were so many external stimuli.

Visual field
most of the time very little happening, just some amorphous light. About twenty minutes in, some slow wavy movements experienced as beautiful and peaceful, but mind wasn’t very interested and they disappeared. From time to time also faces and fragments of faces, scared, surprised eyes, mouths screaming in pain or fear. As usual with these images, there was zero reactivity to them and no interest. Like glimpses of an old silent movie horror film. Sound: Wind, birds, some distant plane and church bells. No internally generated sounds were hearable. Body: Generally relaxed and at ease, self held and painfree, BUT: There were insects, probably ants or something even smaller, crawling on my hands and in my face. Especially one little fellow, who spent around half an hour moving around on my right eyelid. It tingled like crazy, and in the beginning there was aversion to it, but no aversion to the aversion, not this chain reaction that I have experienced so many times before, so I noted ”TINGLING, AVERSION”, then the bug stopped, and I noted ”FEELING” since I could still feel it there and perhaps ”COLD” since it felt cold. This pattern was repeated lots and lots of times. The sensation and then the reaction, both clearly experienced, and that’s it. When the bug was still, attention went elsewhere, and little by little the aversion got weaker. After half an hour, I just noted ”TINGLING” – there was no aversion. The striving yogi was proud, and I noted ”PRIDE; STRIVING”.

General feeling: Okayness, no biggie, a little more agitation than usual due to the stimuli, especially the bug on my eyelid, but definetely general contentment.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/12/20 11:49 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:
12th of July 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes, meditating outside at the edge of a little forrest.

Mindfulness was fairly good, perhaps not super strong, but steady, so I chose to freestyle note all the way, also because there were so many external stimuli.

Visual field
most of the time very little happening, just some amorphous light. About twenty minutes in, some slow wavy movements experienced as beautiful and peaceful, but mind wasn’t very interested and they disappeared. From time to time also faces and fragments of faces, scared, surprised eyes, mouths screaming in pain or fear. As usual with these images, there was zero reactivity to them and no interest. Like glimpses of an old silent movie horror film. Sound: Wind, birds, some distant plane and church bells. No internally generated sounds were hearable. Body: Generally relaxed and at ease, self held and painfree, BUT: There were insects, probably ants or something even smaller, crawling on my hands and in my face. Especially one little fellow, who spent around half an hour moving around on my right eyelid. It tingled like crazy, and in the beginning there was aversion to it, but no aversion to the aversion, not this chain reaction that I have experienced so many times before, so I noted ”TINGLING, AVERSION”, then the bug stopped, and I noted ”FEELING” since I could still feel it there and perhaps ”COLD” since it felt cold. This pattern was repeated lots and lots of times. The sensation and then the reaction, both clearly experienced, and that’s it. When the bug was still, attention went elsewhere, and little by little the aversion got weaker. After half an hour, I just noted ”TINGLING” – there was no aversion. The striving yogi was proud, and I noted ”PRIDE; STRIVING”.

General feeling: Okayness, no biggie, a little more agitation than usual due to the stimuli, especially the bug on my eyelid, but definetely general contentment.


I don't think I could have sit even a minute with a bug on my eyelid never mind 30 minutes! Major points to you!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/12/20 4:10 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
12th of July 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Energy was low, so mindfulness was not that strong. I freestylenoted most of the way, but from time to time the noting got sloppy due to dullness. Mindfulness continued, though, and was never entirely gone.

Body
was relaxed and at ease, there was a quite intense pressure in the surface of the body, especially face and head and upper arms and chest; there were som wavy, bubbly movements in the pressure, and it was experienced as somewhere between neutral and slightly pleasant. Thoughts: Some mumbling preverbalized thoughts that were not seen clearly and hence became a noise that made the entire experience unclear. Visual field: From time to time I had open eyes to get more energy, and there was a shimmering, perhaps slightly flickering quality to the entire visual field when the eyes were open. Mind got interested, there were thoughts about vibrations, but soon after energy dropped and mind went elsewhere. With closed eyes nothing much happened. Sound: External sounds from the house dominated (visitors today), so the internally generated sounds were difficult to hear, but the usual highpitched note in left ear was there and had from time to time a jingling quality to it.

Generel feeling: calm intensity (intense due to the pressure), okayness, slight disappointment that the energy wasn’t higher, since there was curiosity to investigate more vigorously.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/13/20 8:00 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 13th 2020, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Energy was medium, so I freestyle noted most of the time. A few times I took a minute or two with just open awareness, but then mindfulness dropped, so I resumed noting.

Thoughts
: a lot of mumbling thoughts in the background, due to the dullness, difficult to detect and see clearly. Body: At ease and comfortable, a bit tired, a little back pain, which caused some minor corrections of posture. A pressure (as if sitting under water) covered most of the surface of the body, most noticable in the face and head. There were pulsations in this pressure field. Sound: Highpitched notes in both ears, going up and down in volume, sometimes almost gone, sometimes with a slight noisily jingling quality to it. Mind was interested in this vibratory thing, but energy was not high enough to do a thorough investigation. Visual field: Several times I opened the eyes to energize the system and stared at my little kasina dot. There was a shimmering i.e. vibratory quality to the white light of the wall, there were some moderate colour shifts of the white wall and som bright blue stars or sparkles, and energy went up due to curiosity. Every time I closed my eyes, energy slowly dropped again. When the eyes were closed, nothing much happened. Vibrations: A few time I sensed this very subtle rotorlike vibration, impossible to pinpoint sense modality or position.

General feeling: Okayness, contentment, curiosity, calm (but not quiet), a bit aversion to the dullness.

Question: I didn’t know if I should just go with the low energy and investigate the daydreamy quality of the dullness and the mumbling nonsense thoughts (with the danger of losing mindfulness), or if I should keep energizing the system so as to have enough mindfulness to investigate the vibratory phenomena (with the danger of striving)???

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/13/20 9:31 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
"Question: I didn’t know if I should just go with the low energy and investigate the daydreamy quality of the dullness and the mumbling nonsense thoughts (with the danger of losing mindfulness), or if I should keep energizing the system so as to have enough mindfulness to investigate the vibratory phenomena (with the danger of striving)???"

I can't see how one can investigate anything if not mindful. 
One can certainly let go of effort and just hang on the "edge" of dreamy-ness and not doze off. 
Investigate the calm states and urges that might arise from that still point. 

There is no danger in striving. That is the best place to be to investigate that striving or look for the one that is striving. What is it made of, what senses does it occupy, how do these feel etc ... 

Try it all out and see. If dreamy ness arises then look at it. By knowing it's dreamyness you ARE mindful of it. By not knowing you are in dreamyness you are not mindful. 

Watch the mind terrain as it presents itself. Drop effort if it feels right or engage effort if it feel right. 

Ive had dreamy stages during my past Shamatha days and I would just rest in those. Not sure how much awakening was taking place there but it sure was relaxing. 

Test and see for yourself. You can always pull back into your usual practice. 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/13/20 12:27 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
July 13th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Energy was again medium, so I noted almost all the way, except a few times where I tested if I could do open awareness without mindfulness dropping, which I couldn’t. Also sat with open eyes maybe half of the time to keep energy up.

Thoughts
were present almost all the way through, except for a few quiet periods when energy was high. Body: relaxed, at ease. Pressure in the surface, especially face and head, quite strong, neutral in feeling tone, sometimes unpleasantish. Some bubbly movements in this pressurized surface. Visual field: With closed eyes nothing much, just some diffuse light. With open eyes some slight colour shifts in the white wall, a bit of shimmering when energy was high. Sound: very weak highpitched sound in left ear, most of the time with a jingling or noisily vibratory quality. General feeling: Some aversion to the dullness, a little craving for higher energy, but the overall feeling was not of frustration, but of okayness, meh, slight disappointment, but nevermind, it’s all quite okay.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/14/20 2:44 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Just a thought;

I remember back in my Shamatha years, I would sit first thing in the morning, immediately from the bed, while still in that sleepy mode (I would likely go and urinate first but did not wash my face with cold water so to remain in that dreamy mode). That dreamy aspect was in the sit throughout but also gentle awakeness and ease of seeing what was there. The "striver" would not be there because sleepiness was still there. I guess the sense of the striver was still asleep. 

Maybe have the first morning sit like this and second later sit noting when fully awake and alert. 

This way you get 2 different terrains to watch and 2 different approaches. 

Just a thought. 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/14/20 5:04 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Interesting thought, Papa! I'll give it a, eh, thought. emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/14/20 5:08 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 14th 2020, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable all the way through, so I did a couple of minutes of freestyle noting, then switched to open awareness aka do nothing. A couple of times during the sit I freestyle noted briefly just to test if it made a difference. The experience was that the noting (finding the right label) took a little effort or energy, so that I was actually noticing slightly less when noting verbally, compared to just sitting.

Body
at ease and comfortable, painfree, self held. Only a slight pressure in the surface of it, as usual mostly in the face and head, a more even pressure in this sitting, not that much bubbling and pulsating. Some tightness or tension in the middle of the chest, in the area where the heart chakra is supposed to be, it was felt clearly and at a point gently examinated. It was neutral, sometimes slightly unpleasant, but there was no aversion to it. Thoughts were almost absent, and those that came were seen clearly and let go of with no effort. Sound: Highpitched note in left ear, went up and down in volume, almost gone from time to time. It was even at the beginning, slightly but fast and noisily pulsating towards the end. Another highpitched, slightly noisy note in right ear, only from time to time, a low steady pulse in it, 1-2 beats per second, not related to heart beat as far as I could tell. Visual field: Nothing much going on. At some point I opened the eyes, not because energy was low, it wasn’t, but to check what the difference would be. There was a slight disappointment (i.e. aversion) just after opening them: The outer world seemed more boring and ”cold” than the intimate, slightly exciting murky and ”warm” inner world. Shortly after opening the eyes there was a slight vibration in the lower part of the visual field for a couple of seconds, mind got interested, but it disappeared. There were no shimmerings or colourshifts, which the mind found disappointing, so I closed my eyes again. Event: Towards the end when things were very quiet and uneventful, some self inquiery questions arose: Who is seeing the visual field? Can you stop seeing it? (I couldn’t). The old song ”Return to sender (address unknown)” had popped up a couple of times, now it was heard as ”return to centre, address unknown”, and there was a search for the centre, and indeed: The address was unknown. This made me smile slightly. I then really focused on doing absolutely nothing, tried to catch any effort, any aversion or craving, any intention experienced as "mine", any movement of mind. But there still was this sense of an ”I”, a centerpoint of some sort, located in the middle of the head, even though the sensate clarity was high and ”I” could sense that there was nothing but pulsations in there, especially in the back of the head, 5-7 centimeters below the crown, 2-4 centimeters from the scull. General feeling: Contentment, curiosity, energy, even a slight joy (unusual for me).

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/14/20 12:36 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 14th 2020, Second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong from the beginning, so I did open awareness. After about 20-25 minutes it dropped, and I began noting and shortly thereafter opened my eyes. Lots of things happening in the visual field (see below), so mind got curious, energized, I switched from noting to just noticing, energy still went up, curiosity turned into excitement, eagerness, a form of striving, so the agitation got to high for me to be able to notice properly, and I closed my eyes again. A few minutes later I also bent my spine and thus purposefully made a more sloppy posture as to lower the energy more. Then energy got a little too low, dullness was there, so I sat up straight again and noted again the rest of the sitting.

Body
: at ease and comfortable, slight pressure in the surface, especially the face and head. From time to time even tingling in the face and head, experienced as pleasant, but no reactivity to the pleasure (I used to have lots of excitement and craving for more when I got pleasant sensations in my meditation, since it happens very rarely to me). From time to time som tightness in the chest, around the heart chakra area, and in the upper back, sort the back side of this chakra. The tightness was neutral or slightly unpleasant, but there was no reactivity to it. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, didn’t distract, except a couple of times when I slid into subtle dullness, and there were a few seconds of mumbling nonsense thoughts before mindfulness got back up. Sound: highpitched note in my left ear, most of time noisily vibrating very fast and unevenly, low volume. Visual field: Nothing much happened when my eyes were closed, but when I opened them there were vibrations unevenly spread in the visual field, mostly in the perifery. There was shimmering and slight but quick colorshifts of the white wall I was looking at, and my little kasina dot faded and came back many times, switched to its negative colour and sort of pulsated a little. Mind was very curious about all this and investigated it. There was excitement, then agitation. Vibrations: Three or four times the rotorblade like vibration appeared and stayed for a minute or two, as usual very very subtle, almost undetectable. It seemed to be placed behind my back, at the hight of my solar plexus. At one point it seemed lower, around the root chakra, but still behind me. Also, as mentioned, vibrations in the visual field and in the internally generated sound. Mind is very drawn to these vibrations. General feeling: Totally okay, even pleasant now and then, curiosity, contentment, slight joy.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/15/20 5:38 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 15th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness very strong and stable, so I did open awareness all the way through. Ocassionally a spontaneous note would arise, though.

Body
was very very comfortable and at ease and sat very still, only two or three minor corrections to the posture. Visual field: Nothing much going on, some vague light, calmly moving in a soft darkness. Sound: Highpitched note in my left ear, even most of the time, but ocasionnally noisily vibratory or Morse like. Thoughts: There were two mental activities going on in parallel: 1) there was a distant, but very persistent earworm of an old pop song. 2) There was a mostly preverbalized (although sometimes fully articulated) thought stream of practice thoughts. Both of these had aversion attached to them. I wanted this almost quiet experience to be totally quiet, I wanted the popsong to go away, and I wanted all these ”clever” thoughts to stop. It was as if attention itself was restless, because there was really almost no stimuli coming from sound, visual or body, or emotion for that matter, all these fields were very neutral and uneventfull, so attention didn’t know where to go. And of course some of the thoughts told attention that it did not have to go anywhere, that it could go nowhere, and that that would actually be a good thing, and then attention went searching for ”nowhere” but immediately gave up and found it silly, etc etc. Thoughts about the self or ”I” (”who is thinking, who is seeing etc”) often produced a weak thumbing pulsation in the back of my head.

General feeling: A slight restlessness or discontent in the midst of this otherwise unusually calm and quiet and comfortable experience. No dullness at all, mindfulness was clear and crisp, energy high and stable. For some reason I just couldn’t find out how to just hang out in this totally okay and uneventful experience.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/15/20 10:00 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 15th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness started out strong and stable, but I chose to do freestyle noting anyway to examine this restlessness that I experienced in the last sitting. After about 30 minutes I dropped the notes and just noticed, to test if it made a difference. It did: the noting had kept the mind just slightly agitated or busy, and when I dropped them, things got really calm and quiet for a while. Then energy became to low, subtle dullness arose, and I resumed noting.

Body
: Relaxed, comfortable, at ease, self held. Maybe four or five small corrections of posture. Several times, especially the first twenty minutes or so, there was a sudden sharp very tiny itch, point of a needle-like, in the face, on the neck, the chest, it lasted may 30-40 seconds and then faded. This hasn’t happened at all lately. Each time it was met with aversion for about a second, then curiousity. Thoughts: few or perhaps more than few, but unclearly seen, distant mumbling or sort of mental noise that I only become aware of now as I write this. Sound: highpitched note in left ear, sometimes another note in the right ear, slight variations in volume, sometimes slightly jingling. Visual field: Nothing much happening, softly moving vague light, some sparks now and then. Of no interest to the mind. Event: At one point there was a feeling that the visual field was flat, 2D, and that there was some other, empty space behind it. Vibration: the rotorlike vibration appeared five or six times, hung around for a minute or two and then faded. Again it was located behind me at the hight of the solar plexus. Mind is still very interested in this vibration.

General feeling: Comfort and ease, no biggie, a bit meh, and still this tiny sense that something is missing or not quite right, a slight restlessness, I guess.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/15/20 4:20 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 15th 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness clear and strong all the way, so I sat with open awareness, although I decided to verbally note ”aversion” and ”craving” each time they were detected, as to really make sure I notice these. I also decided to ”reward” myself every time I noticed them by ”relaxing and re-smiling” (as it is phrased in a book I am presently reading: ”Buddha’s Map: His Original Teachings on Awakening …”).

Body
was comfortable and at ease, a slight pressure in the surface as usual, lots of micro movements in this pressure, bubbly and pulsating movements, neutral to slightly pleasant in tone. Twice there was a sort of sharp itch, point of a needle-like, neutral in tone, it felt fizzling, like one of those swaying columns of micro bubbles you see in mineral water. Visual field: Nothing much going on. I opened my eyes for a minute or two to see if that changed anything. I didn’t (the visual content was of course different: my room in darkness, but no colour shifts, vibrations or the like, and no aversion, no change in feeling tone or curiosity). Sound: A high pitched note in my left ear all the time, most of the time noisily vibratory like very fast Morse code or jingling glass. Some times also a high pitched note in the right ear, this one with a slower pulse (1-2 beats per minute). Thoughts were there most of the time, wispy and in the background and were rarely met with aversion, except when they fantazised about SE or other ”special experiences”. Then I relaxed and re-smiled, and the fantasy subsided. Vibrations: the rotorblade-like or distance tumble drier-like vibrations were present almost all the time. Seemed to be located behind me, at one point, though, they seemed to be inside my spine at the hight of the solar plexus. Still difficult to tell if its tactile or auditory or both, it doesn’t seem to belong to one specific sense door. Observation: The different vibratory phenomena – fizzling ”itch”, bubbly body surface, Morse like sound, rotorblade feel – seemed to mingle or sort of exist in the same ”space”, actually visual, auditory and bodily sensations some times seemed to be slightly integrated into one field. Thoughts and other mental phenomena appear to be outside this ”common space”.

General feeling: plesant, comfortable, calm, much more curiosity than aversion, almost joy at times.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 4:16 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 16th 2020, first sitting of the day SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable, so I did open awareness all the way through. From time to time a spontaneous note arose and was not distinguishable from other thoughts.

Body
: Calm, at ease, painfree, self held, felt like an aquatic plant on the ocean floor, with slight currents passing by and through, bubbling and pulsating in the surface here and there, sometimes some cool airy tingling in the skull, some light pressure in the face. Thoughts were there moderately and clearly seen, most of them in the background, not drawing attention to them selves. An exception was some self inquiery thoughts: Why is this highpitched note inside my head and that external sound outside? They are perceived in the same way, as the note is perceived as about 10-15 centimeter from my left ear i.e. ”outside”. Where is the border between inside and outside? Where is the point from where the listening takes place? etc. Sound: Highpitched note in the left ear all the way, often also another note in the right ear, both of them with small changes in volume, slighly pulsating from time to time. Visual field: Nothing much going on, vague amorphous light softly moving, some more brigt shimmering now and then, and 4-5 times a flash of a (fragment of a) face. Vibration: The rotorblade like vibration came by maybe five times, stayed for a minute or so, then disappeared. Located behind me and/or in my back, maybe spine, at the hight of the solar plexus. Also seemed to be located to the right of me. Slower in pulse this time.

General feeling: A quite uneventful sitting, contentment, calm, but I wouldn’t call it peacefull since there were curious thoughts and gentle investigations going on. Sense of spaciousness, everything seen clearly and calmly. No boredom or impatience, just a sort of neutral niceness.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/16/20 11:45 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
This is perfectly described and written. I see where you fit in the "percieved as.." suggestion you made to me too. I tried to incorporate it in today.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/16/20 1:12 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
July 16th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was medium, from time to time even low, so I chose to freestyle note all the way. Also to keep the energy up, I opened my eyes after about 30 minutes, and they stayed open for the rest of the sitting. Towards the end, energy went up and became almost strong.

Body
mostly at ease, but for a period a bit uncomfortable due to some stiffness and/or tension in the middel and upper back, and in the middle of the chest, a cucumbershaped semi-hard object in the midst of an otherwise soft body. It was perceived as neutral to slightly unpleasant. No aversion to it, though, it was just observed. Thoughts were mainly in the background, except a few times when there was a sudden drop into subtle dullness, then thoughts were cranked up and took centre stage with some dreamy nonsense logic, 3-5 very quick steps like a fragment of a dream (while the rest of experience sort of contracted and disappeared), all this happend in less than a second, then mindfulness detected the dullness and energy got back up. Sound: the ususal highpitched note in my left ear, from time to time also a note in the right ear, and at a certin point a third highpitched note that seemed to be located behind me and above me. Visual field: Nothing much happened before I opened my eyes. Then there was some shimmering, some vibrations in the perifery, some slight colourshifts, and my kasina dot faded, almost disappeared and reappeared several times. I also noted a fly on the wall, moving in the mid perifery of sight (I was staring non stop at the kasina dot); what I noticed was, that it disappeared from sight when it did not move, and the reappeared when it moved again (as far as I know, there is bad resolution in the perifery of human eyesight, but efficient motion detection; this only strikes me know as I write this, the thought didn’t occur during the sitting). Another observation was that when I blinked, there was a subtle short vibration in the visual field, like when you throw a pepple into a pond and there are ripples for a second or two. Vibrations: The distant tumble drier or rotorblade vibrations arose four or five times and hung around for half a minute or so each time, located behind me and/or in my spine at the middle of the back.

General feeling: Okayness, curiousity, a bit meh due to the low energy, but a sort of neutral contentment.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/16/20 5:00 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Yeah those open eyes visuals can be rather engaging and curious too emoticon I used to believe in the past that meditation was something about sitting cross legged and with closed eyes emoticon Ha! No wonder Zen dudes prefer to have open gaze. Apparently Shargrol used to meditate with open eyes too (something to do with him being into marshal arts if I remember well). 

Watch those mind states arising in connection to the visual/image space stuff like; anticipation, desire to get particular image space experience again, etc ... Also try and investigate the length of both your in and outbreath depending on the different visuals. Also skin-body temperature (cool or hot). It's all interdependent it seems, like a puzzle image. Be genuinely curious (in a laid back 3rd person way) about all the body-mind just like a good scientist watching how this leads to that and that to this etc ...  Good science is good observation. Be like Alice in Wonderland emoticon 

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/18/20 4:17 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
July 17th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable all the way through. I freestyle noted for 5-10 minutes, then switched to open awareness.

Thoughts
: There was again an earworm of a popsong, it was there maybe 60-70 percent of the time in the background, but didn’t cause aversion. In addition to that some practice thoughts now and then, a couple of times identification with them, until mindulness kicked in and saw them as just thoughts. Body at ease and comfortable. A very liquid feeling, as if the body was this wobbly, gelly-like organism at the bottom of the sea, the spine was felt very clearly as more firm of stiff in this soft or liquid evironment. Boundaries between body and surroundings were blurred, but could be found if I looked for them. Visual field: Nothing much going as to content of the visual field, i.e. light, images, but some weird experiences of the field in its entirety (see below). Sound: Highpitched notes in both ears, stable most of the time, some times slightly vibratory.  Vibration: The distant rotorblade or tumble drier-vibrations payed a visit a couple of times, it was not as low in frequency, more like a toy helicopter than a real one. Again located behind me and/or in the upper part of my spine.

Events: Especially the last twenty minutes, when things had gotten very quiet, there was a lot of ”self investigation” going on, happening all by itself, ”I” just witnessed it with calm curiousity: The tactile sensations of what was going on in the face, on the skull and inside the head got very predominant – at one point I could feel my breath very clearly inside the head, especially just below the crown. At the same time, the visual field seemed to float around a bit as if disconnected from the eyes. At some point it was as if I was seeing with the left part of my face, at some other point I was seeing with the upper part of my forehead. The shape of the visual field also seemed asymmetrical at one point, as if it had melted in one side, and at another point, it felt as if my head had turned 45 degrees to the left and I was looking in that direction, and then the tactile or proprioceptive sensory data was examined, and my head was still facing forward, but for a fraction of a second, it was as if an ”inner” face turned so as to adjust to the experience of where the visual field was. Also a couple times the tactile or proprioceptive experience of especially the face and head, but also the rest of the body, seemed to be dissolved into just free floating (very clearily perceived) sensations, this happend when I was involuntarily just at bit zoned out, and when I ”zoned in” – or rather: was zoned in – again, the bodyparts, especially the different parts of the face, sort of snapped back to the usual proprioceptive experience. But for some moments the body was disintegrated. I tried to find this ”zoned out” way of attention or awareness, but that was difficult, and I backed off as to not distrub the process unfolding. Several other similar things happened, this went on for about 15 minutes until the bell rang.

General feeling: Contentment, curiosity even a calm joy (not at all excitement or ”wow!”) due to these spontaneous investigations, ease, niceness, could have sat for another hour.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/17/20 3:25 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 17th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was quite weak due to dullness, so I freestyle noted most of the time, except for a few times where I either forgot to note due to the dullness or decided not to, since I thought energy was high enough to just sit with open awareness, but dullness came back. I was even switching to standing meditation for about ten minutes toward the end to get energy up, and that seemed to help more.

Body
was okay, but not totally at ease. There was some stiffness in the upper back and neck, and in addition to that some tightness in the chest, both perceived as unpleasant. Thoughts were present most of the time, preverbalized and unclearly perceived, I got dragged into them for a few seconds due to the dullness, and then mindfullness pulled me out again, this happened maybe ten or fifteen times. Sound: highpitched sound in both ears, disappeared from time to time, were mostly even in texture, but some times Morse code like. Visual field: A few flashes of distorted faces, especially in the beginning. I had open eyes almost half of the time due to dullness, and stared at my kasina dot (while it was getting dark outside, so it got increasingly harder to distinguish). It vanished completely and reappeared 3-4 seconds later several times. Also some colourshifts in the white wall. When I did standing meditation, I also stared at the wall, but at a random spot about the hight of my chest, and even though I don’t have a kasina this high on the wall, an kasina look-a-like was perceived for 15-20 seconds, perhaps a sort of retinal burn from staring at the actual kasina when I sat. Vibrations: The distant tumble drier-vibration came a few times, quite distinct this time, again located behind me and/or in my back.

General feeling: slight boredom (i.e. aversion) due to the dullness, a bit reactivity to the bodily discomfort as well, but overall just fine, okayness, no biggie.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/17/20 9:39 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Neils, you're in a very good place with your practice right now. Definitely on track and definitely keep doing what you are doing.

My advice would be to:

* take away all performance anxiety about meditation. no one knows when stream entry will happen, no one knows how to "make" stream entry happen (otherwise we would tell you!), and no one is aware that stream entry happened until afterwards --- so there is no pressure, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to make it happen. only the mind itself figures out what to do, it really isn't up to us.

* a great attitude to have is knowing that you are going to meditate after SE, so this is just another day of sitting, who cares if it's pre or post, it really doesn't matter.

* the essence of this stage of meditation is to sit down, let the body and mind settle, and then see what naturally arises. trust that the mind is going where it needs to go and go along on the ride.

* it can be helpful to realize that after we've developed a foundation of mindfulness (which you have), awareness is already aware, so very little effort is needed. notice how awareness is already aware. And so try experimenting with using less intentional effort, less intentional investigation (don't try to understand, penetrate, see clearly), which means letting the mind go where _it_ wants, and let be drifty, dreamy, or even dull -- but keep verifying that you are aware of being drifty, dreamy, or dull by simply noting it. If you can note it, then you have enough energy of awareness.

* slowly play with dropping the distinction between I AM observing THAT and almost try to "be" what you observe. It's all your mind, so let go of a sense of someone observing the mind. Be the mind.

* those rotor like sounds are very very promising. A perfect balance of Sam & Vip. Sometimes nibbana is found in the gap between those pulses, betwen those vibrations.There can be something interesting about that drum-like, rotor-like beating. And be curious about those gaps in the rotor ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta sound. How do we hear those silences? So the next time those show up --- and no need to "make" them show up, let them show up naturally --- when they show up, let yourself "be" the vibrations. Let your sense of self be the same as those pulses. Let your mind be the sound and be the gaps in the sound. 

* it's okay to feel goofy or scared or confused. it's okay to smile at times. emoticon


(this is all somewhat cryptic, I know, but just enjoy playing with it. A playful mind is a very good thing. A playful mind gets so interested in the moment, that it can discover something that's been right under our nose all this time. )

 Hope this helps. Don't get serious, don't get fancy, just keep doing what your doing and allow yourself to play. 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 5:53 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Another idea : also experiment with evening sits, when the mind is kinda tired and calm, when the "yang" energy of the day has already played itself out and the "yin" energy of the evening is here. Practicing while the mind is on the edge of sleep can be interesting.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 5:53 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Dear shargrol

Thank you so much for chiming in! I am very grateful that you took the time to give me such an elaborate answer. It is both helpful and very encouraging.

– Niels

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 5:57 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 18th 2020, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable, so I did a few minutes of freestyle noting, then switched to Open awareness.

Body
was very calm, comfortable and at ease. About ten minutes before the bell, there was a slight stiffness or soreness in the back, I interpreted it as a result of a subtle striving, sitting up at bit too straight to be a good and alert yogi, so I decided to relax and ”collapse” the spine, and sat like that, face downwards, for five minutes or so and then sat up straight again. Thougths were present most of the time, but in the background and mostly preverbal. Almost all of them practice related. A few times met with aversion, otherwise just accepted there as part of the ”show” (it wasn’t much of a show, in fact very uneventful). Visual field: Nothing much going on, closed eyes all the way through, some dim light, softly moving in the center of the field, dark in the perifery, drew no attention to it self. Sound: Highpitched notes in both ears, sometime an interference between them was perceived, also from time to time some slight pulsating in one of them. ”Events”: Nothing much happening in the foreground, only rarely did attention zoom in on an ”event”, everything seemed to be background. Still a feeling of ”self” or center, located in the head. From time to time it was almost gone, but I didn’t notice until it was back (I am not talking about cessation, but of a sort of zoning out). That paradox made me smile slightly. There was a sense of a subtle integration between the various sense modalities, although thoughts still appeared to be outside this common space. Speaking of space: There was a sense of spaciousness, and then contraction into the inside of the head, especially a column shaped part of the interior of the head, located under the crown, was predominating. Some spontaneous self investigations going on, very subtle, difficult to put into words, except one thing: at a certain point there was a continuous external sound which was ”compared” to the hight pitched internally generated sound in my left ear, and again this question: in which sense is the first one ”outside” and the other one ”inside”? The nonverbal answer was almos like a bad joke: There was a sense that my left ear and the surrounding part of the scull sort of stretched cartoon-like as to reach and encompass the high pitched sound, which was experienced as located about 10 centimeters to the left of the ear (or the observer). As if the bodymind in a comically literal sense tried to wrap the head around the sound as to make ”inside” the head. I smiled at this.

General feeling: Calm, at ease, curious, even joyful – joy seem to be subtly entering my practice, which is a new thing.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 1:33 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 18th 2020, Second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and stable, so I did a few minutes of freestyle noting, then switched to Open awareness.

Body
was very calm, comfortable and at ease. This sitting was similar to today’s first sitting, again I chose to ”collapse” my spine towards the end as to relax even more. Then energy became slightly low and I sat up straight again. Body was perceived in a very detailed way, especially the head, at one point I could clearly follow the breath in an area inside my head, below the crown, in the middle. Thougts: 1) an earworm of an old pop song was there most of the time, it didn’t cause any aversion. 2) and then there were halfway verbalized, mumbling practice thoughts, sort of the mind just talking to itself, I didn’t feel involved, and this also did not cause aversion. I examined both these ”voices”, they seemed to be located inside my head, at the back, maybe the back of the mouth. Thoughts still seem more like ”me” than the rest and sort of outside the rest of the experience. Visual field: Nothing much going on, dim light in the middle of the field, a bit brighter towards the end when things got even more quiet. Sound: highpitched note in left ear, some times also in right ear, stable most of the time, sometimes slightly jingling. Vibration: the tumbledrier-like vibration came by several times and was examined, a voice (that felt like the noting voice) tried to follow it: da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, there were like series of these da-da-da, the voice going up and down in pitch rollercoaster like or swing like, and I discoverede that the rotorblade vibration seemed to follow the breath for a while, in that it almost subsided during (especially the end of) the inbreath, and then came back with more force during (especially the beginning of) the outbreath.

General feeling: Calm, contentment, slight wonder and curiosity, calm amazement that the mind was able so see this level of detail while at the same time it felt so effortless.

Consideration: I have noticed that the last 15 minutes or so seem to be the most quiet or ”deep”, so I am considerating prolonging my sits.

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/18/20 4:37 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 18th 2020, third sitting of the day, in the evening from around 21:20. I did not do my usual routine but sat without a timer and went more or less straight into open awareness, at first with open eyes, and then closed, then open again. When I was interrupted, I was surprised to see that 55 minutes had passed, I would have guessed only half an hour had gone by.

Body
was very calm and comfortable, almost statue-like unmovable. Sound: The usual highpitched note in left and sometimes also right ear. Visual field: With open eyes even from the first minute of the sitting several sudden colorshifts (mint green, pinkish orange, greyish white), as if concentration and/or mindfulness was just THERE. With closed eyes nothing much happened in the visual field, and then attention turned to … Thoughts: They were spontaneously investigated in several ways, very hard to describe. There were some verbalized thoughts (earworm + self inquiery), and there was an investigative listening to the sound of these voices: Were they whispering or talking at normal volume, for instance? And they were again and again located in the middle of the head, somewhere at the back of the mouth, where simultaneously it was felt that they could not possibly be, since there was just tactile pulsations. And from where were they heard? Lots of such subtle stuff went on.

General feeling: Extremely calm and clear and effortless. No sense of me doing much, everything just unfolded. In a way, very very little happened, and it was very very interesting. A joy and playfulness was there. I could easily have sat much longer.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/18/20 4:39 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
definitely extend the sits. you might even want to try sitting without any timer for your evening sit. Just sit until you've nodded off a few times and then mindfully crawl into bed.

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/19/20 5:58 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Great, I'll try that. emoticon Even try meditating all the way into sleep, just to see how far in to lala-land I can keep up the mindfulness. I haven't really explored these dull and dreamy low energy states before, always fought the dullness. But I guess my mindfulness is getting stable enough to try it out. 

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/19/20 6:05 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 19th 2020.

Off cushion remark: general mindfulness seems to have been cranked up quite suddenly. I am more aware of lots of little details just walking around, talking etc., and often when the opportunity is there – when I am reading or lying in bed just after waking up, for instance – a quite thorough meditation goes off all by it self and I watch it unfold with curiosity.

First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes. Mindfulness was not quite strong, some subtle dullness there all the way through (didn't get much sleep last night). At one point I was just about to open my eyes to get some more energy, but then I decided, encouraged by shargrol's remark, to just sit with this subtle dullness. When necessary, I simply noted ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to confirm that I was still being somewhat mindful. Mindfulness was never totally gone for more than maybe a second (dropped in to some very dream-like thoughts), and when it came back online, it wasn’t with the usual little jerk, but more smoothly.

Body
was a bit uneasy, tired, stiffness at the upper back, it wanted to lie down. There was a bit aversion to these uncomfortable sensations, but not much, and the aversion was clearly seen. Thoughts were there almost all of the time, but indistinct, mumbling, moving a bit grumpily about like an uneasily sleeping child. Visual field: Nothing much going on, actually I don’t recall anything happening there. Sound: high pitched note in left ear, didn’t receive much attention, but I think it was there most of the time. Vibrations: My old friend, the subtle, hard to detect tumble drier-rotorblade, came by a couple of times, stayed only shortly, this was when energy was slightly higher, and when I dropped in to subtle dullness again, it disappeared.

General feeling: uneventful, calm but a bit meh, a bit uncomfortable but at the same time totally okay. Weirdly enough also some joy, that’s so unusual for me, and for it to show up in this quite ”mediocre” sitting is surprising.

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/19/20 6:49 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
perfect approach! just let the mind do what it does and note "yes" -- that's a really cool technique. 

definitely don't fight dullness, dreamyness, vagueness, or confusion at this stage, simply say yes to those mindstates. If you can recognize them as mindstates, you are mindful enough.

(This obviously isn't the standard meditation advice that's given to complete beginners. This is why the maps are so important. When someone is regularly getting to EQ, when they can experience "joy in seclusion" during their sits, then they can let go of controlling the mind and allow the mind to take them beyond what they "know" to do.)

One word of caution: the Equanimity Nana is vast. There are lots of subtle nuances to it. So really this is just a matter of maintaining regular practice, not havling a lot of expectations or ambitions, and having faith that the mind that got us from where we started is the same mind that will move us through SE and to awakening. So a lot of trust is involved too. Doubt may come up. But usually at this point people understand that practice is the only thing that will make a difference and that "advancing" is really beyond our control.

People that come from religious backgrounds are often a little better at "keeping the faith" at this stage. emoticon  But it's also okay to have faith in "buddha (awake) nature" or the "nature of mind" or "innate intelligence". 

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/19/20 12:35 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for following up, shargrol. I will keep your advice in mind. I have never had problems with motivation in meditation: From the very beginning (a 10 day Goenka retreat) I felt the indisputable effects of practice, and a mix of relief of suffering and intense curiosity easily keeps me returning to the cushion every day. emoticon So even though I've never been religious, based on experience I have a strong belief in the idea and techniques of vipassana.  

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/19/20 12:39 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 19th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was weak and unstable, lots of dullness, so in order to stay with this dreamlike mindstate, I tried to note ”yes” at the end of each outbreath. Energy went up and down between low (almost mindless spacing out) and ”just okay” (i.e. enough to do the yes-note).

Body
was at ease, quite comfortable. Sounds: Highpitched note in the left ear, not sure if it disappeared now and then, due to dullness I wasn’t aware. When it was there, it was mostly jingling. Visual field: Almost no activity, apart from some ”image thoughts” (see below). Thoughts and mindstates: When energy was ”just okay”, it was very quiet, almost no thoughts, lots of space, a mildly pleasant feeling tone. When energy was low, the feeling tone was more neutral, and I dipped into what appeared to be fragments of dreams: a line or two of dialogue with no context (”Not now, I’m skyping with Hansie!” – I have no idea who Hansie is) or a couple of seconds with moving images with no sound (nature, people). It’s hard to tell, but I don’t think I was gone for more than a couple of seconds, and when mindfulness came fully back online, I remembered where I had been – which must mean that I wasn’t completely mindless. Usually mindfulness came back smoothly, but one time I jerked and even opened my eyes. Vibrations: Almost every time energy was ”just okay”, the rotor-like vibrations were there and were investigated with curiosity. At some point they seemed to be located at bit higher than usual, at the back of my neck and head.

General feeling: Quite nice, even pleasant, no aversion to the dullness, mind seemed interested in getting to know these low energy states and learn how to surf them. Some joy was there as well – and is here, more and more often, off cushion emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/20/20 8:43 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 20th, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 + 17 minutes (I kept sitting after the bell rang).

Mindfulness was over medium, not super strong, but strong enough to sit with just open awareness, except for a few moment some 45-50 minutes in when energy dropped a little and I noted ”yes” on every outbreath to make sure I did not drift to much off.

Body
was very comfortable, very still, self held, as if floating. At some point a slight tension in the surface of the chest, neutral in tone. Sensations of the inside of the head were predominant, especially the area below the crown down to the back of the mouth: pulsations, wavelike movements, breath related sensations. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, far in the background, not articulate, mostly practice related. A few times came a fully verbalized thought, for instance ”Let me wake up gently!” And then the thought: ”Am I afraid right now?” Didn’t feel any fear, though, and the thought and the question was dropped and did not return. At one point there was the thought: ”It’s actually true, I really don’t have to do anything! Oh, finally I can relax!” I was touched by that, a slight compassion with my striving self. I mention this (very subtle) emotional reaction because my sittings these days otherwise are emotionally very very neutral. Sound: highpitched note in left ear, sometimes also in right ear, sometimes even a third note, mainly in the left ear. The note in the right ear was gently pulsating 1-2 beats per second, the one in the left ear was kind of noisily jingling like very fast Morse code. Visual field: quite bright, but amorphous, some shimmering. Two or three time flashes of an image of my nostrils (immediately the tactile sensations of the breath became predominant). One time a distorted image of a candle flame lingered for some 20 seconds (this caused me to focus more, the mind was slightly agitated at that point). I smiled at the fact that these images seemed to function like meditation instructions. Vibration: Rotorlike vibration came by twice and lingered for half a minute or so. ”Events”: Most of what went on is difficult to put into words, because it seems to be beyond any specific sense modality. If I was forced to categorize it, it would be in an overlap between proprioception and thought. One example: I had been slightly zoned out for some seconds, and when I was ”zoned in” again, I just managed to notice, for a fraction of a second, that all the sensations that made up my face and scull were sort of scattered or just free floating in some abstract space, and then, in the next fraction of a second, they sort of snapped together and formed the familiar experience of having a head. There were manys such ”negotiations” of internal body experience, if that phrase makes sense.

General feeling: Calm, ease, quiet, ligth curiousity, some joy or jollyness just watching what went on.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/20/20 3:55 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 20th, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was strong and very, very stable, I freestyle noted for a minute or so, then just sat with open awareness.

Body
: Overall just very very comfortable and neutral, nothing even remotely painful or uncomfortable, nothing even remotely pleasurable, just deep tranquility, almost no movement at all the entire hour. Thoughts: Remote and a bit agitated thoughts the first 10-15 minutes, clearly seen. Then things got unusually quiet. Visual field: Nothing much going on, some dim light, mind not interested. Sound: The usual highpitched note in the left ear. At some point mind got a bit interested in it, but didn’t really do anything with it, didn’t analyze or compare or tried to locate, just observed it. ”Events”: The word "events" is not quite right, but again stuff ”happened” that is really difficult to put into words. It was related to proprioception and the sense of a center or self or space. I had no experience of doing anything at all, but there were some subtle shifts or movements in space and location and proportions, if that makes sense. For instance, at one point I noticed that for a while I hadn’t really sensed what/where was ”up”, and what/where was ”down”, it took me about a second to sort of reconstruct that vertical axis defined by gravity, starting with the sensations of pressure against my butt: Okay, so this must be down … This reconstruction was done very calmly, there was no reactivity, no fear or surprise, just a very matter-of-fact ascertainment. The same with the sensations that made up my face and scull; this time they didn’t snap together to form a head the instant I discovered them free floating (like this morning), this time they just kept floating in a sort of abstract but very clearly perceived space, a space without coordinates, so to speak. And then slowly, over 2-3, perhaps 4 seconds, the coordinates came back online, and my head was reconstructed. Again zero emotional reaction to this.

General feeling: deep tranquility. I have never experienced anything so tranquil and stable and neutral and – in a very cool and matter-of-fact way – nice as this mindstate, not even on retreat. Due to practicalities I could not stay on the cushion, but had I had the time, it felt as if I could have sat there for much much longer. No dullness, no agitation, no effort. Balance.

RE: Niels's practice log
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7/21/20 3:47 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 20th, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 80 minutes. Sat without timer, started half an hour after midnight.

"Practising while the mind is on the edge of sleep can be interesting." – Indeed emoticon.

I find it hard to assess the strength of mindfulness. It was medium, I guess, maybe even weak, but very stable – no sudden dips in energy, no nodding off and jerking back. Sort of a panoramic dim flood light – standby power apparatus.

Thoughts
almost absent, except from a few spontaneous ”logging notes”: Oh, gotta remember this. Otherwise really quiet. And weird. Like a dream realm, except
in this dream there were (almost) no people, no beings, no entities, certainly no storyline what so ever, not even fragments. Hardly a scenery. Just a very abstract and mostly empty mind state. Like being wide awake inside David Lynch's head when he's in deep dreamless sleep. Visual field was very dark, almost pitch black, but with some amorphous movements and a few very sudden and bright flashes of high resolution 3D figures: 1) At some point, it was as if I turned my head to the right (I’m quite sure my physical head didn’t move) and saw a flash of a young woman sitting next to me, just a hand’s breadth away, dark long hair, red dress, naked arms, she was meditating too. I had a subtle and short, but very distinct fear reaction to that. 2) At another point I opened my eyes, it didn’t make much of a difference since the room I sad in was pitch dark. I had a metacognitive thought that this was really weird and foreign, and then I wondered how I would look if I looked at my self in the mirror right now (there’s a mirror in the room, but it wasn’t visible). Immediately there was a flash of an image that felt like a reflection of me: A male figure sitting on his knees like me, but naked, with long thin arms waving in the air and an insect like head. That too caused a fear reaction. There were a couple of other similar flashes, also to the scarry side, they caused only very subtle fear reactions, but they left a slightly disturbing tint to the otherwise very very tranquil experience.

General feeling: Calm, still, weird, otherworldly. I have no experience in categorizing jhanas, but to me this was some sort of absorption state. I was surprised to see that 80 minutes had gone by, I would have guessed maybe 45-50, so there was some time distortion.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/21/20 8:27 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 21st 2020.

Off cushion remark: I woke after only four hours of sleep, felt quit refreshed, sat up in bed and after a minute or two dozed off a bit. Slid very gently into the hypnagogic state, and for the next hour or so I spend several minutes on end in this state, very gently hovering down into light sleep and back up to having awareness of the hypnagogic state. Only a few times in my life have I spent that much time in this state, I have usually either just passed right down through it to sleep or been immediately bobbed up to waking state again. Needless to say, this happened all by it self, I didn’t do anything. In the hypnagogic state this morning: Light, lightness, joy, pleasure, wonder.

First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, sat with open awareness.

Body
calm, at ease, painfree, self held, aquatic plant-like, some wobly and wavelike pulsations here and there, especially in the face and head, neutral or slightly pleasant in tone. Sensations of the inside of the head, under the crown, were predominant now and then, pulsations, breath related expansion-contraction. Sound: Hightpitched notes, often two or more at the time, both ears, some times stable, some times vibratory. Visual field: Quite active this time, mosty dim or semibrigth lights, curtains or smoke, yellowish white, soft movements. Thoughts were present almost all the way through, mostly practice thoughts, logging-planning thoughts, self inquiery thoughts, meta thoughts, thoughts that were sort logging in real time. There was a mild aversion to all these thoughts, a craving for quiet, and then immediately a thought how futile and silly that craving and aversion were. On and on it went, but I was never lost in these thoughts or the reactivity to them, mind was watching it all unfold in its sillyness. Sometimes the thought voice sssslllooooooowwwweed down, and mind really listened to it. And then, a couple of minutes before the bell rang, all of a sudden thoughts just stopped by them selves.

General feeling: totally okay, no biggie, a mildly humouristic attitude to this silly thought show.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/21/20 10:15 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
21st of July 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was weak, but very stable. Subtle dullness most of the time.

Body
comfortable, at ease, at bit tired. Twice I ”collapsed” the spine and sat face down for some minutes before sitting up straight again. Wavy bubbly pressure in the surface of the body, especially face and head, inside of head again more predominant than the rest of the body, but didn’t catch much attention. Sounds: low volume hightpitched notes in both ears. Visual field: semi-bright and quite active, especially in the first 20 minutes or so, softly moving yellowish white light. Thoughts were few and clearly seen. A couple of times mind was sort halfway sucked into some dream-like nonsense dialogue and then almost physically felt the contraction, the narrowing down of space (which otherwise was quite, eh, spacious and clear) and then pulled out by itself. No aversion to thoughts this time. Vibrations: the rotorblade like vibration came by several times, was present mayb 25 percent of the time, located behind me at or in the spine, at the height of the solar plexus, some times higher, once even in the head.

General feeling: Ease, quiet, low but smooth energy, nothing much happening, and that was totally okay.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/21/20 11:28 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Just wanted to let you know that I was still reading and still being inspired by what you are logging. You've gone into amazing territory. May you continue to practice well.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/22/20 6:50 AM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
July 22nd 2020, First sitting of the day, 60 + 13 minutes (kept sitting a bit after the bell rang).

Mindfulness strong and stable, sat with open awareness.

Body
quite comfortable, the first twenty minutes clearly perceived with soft wobly and wavelike sensations, neutral to slightly unplesant in tone. For the rest of the sit more unclearly perceived, some stiffness and soreness in the back, neutral to slightly unpleasant. At one point I ”collapsed” the spine as to rest the back for some minutes, and that softened the body somewhat again. Some quite strong tics at the left side of the neck in series of 5-10 seconds, returning maybe a dozen times through the sit. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, about half of them were practice related. Visual field: semi bright and amorphous, nothing much going on. Sound: highpitched note in left ear, also from time to time in right ear, mind was not interested. Event: For about thirty minutes there were some external sounds. I am used to sitting in rather quiet surroundings, so these sounds (voices having a conversation) drew a lot of attention, and there was aversion to them. The striving yogi craved his silence so that he could go deep.emoticon The aversion was clearly seen, it didn’t multiply (aversion against the aversion), but it didn’t subside either.

General feeling: Comfort, ease, this persistent but sort of low level or eq-filteret aversion, no biggie, just another day on the cushion.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/22/20 12:07 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 22nd 2020, Second sitting of the day, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness a bit weak, subtle dullness was there almost all the way. To begin with I sat with open awareness, then when I noticed the dullness, switched to noting ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to monitor mindfulness. A couple of times I forgot to note ”yes” for maybe ten seconds, then mindfulness resumed and so did noting.

Body
was okay, a bit of backpain, which was met with subtle aversion. Once I ”collapsed” the spine and sat face downwards to rest. Thoughts: When I noted, there were very few thoughts. When I didn’t, I would often dip in to these dream-like nonsense-dialogues (fragments, no context, and by the way no emotional charge). Sound: hightpitched sound in left ear, sometimes slightly vibratory. Visual field: Most of the time pretty inactive, but now and then some bursts of bright, concentric blueish white light. This caught attention and made mindfulness go op. Also some flashes of faces. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibrations came by (even when mindfulness seemed low, which surprised me) maybe ten times, but stayed only shortly.

General feeling: A subtle aversion to the dullness was probably there all the way, but didn’t become conscious before a couple of minutes before the bell rang; I was able to let go of the aversion, and that made some joy arise. Otherwise quite comfortable, no biggie, yet another day on the cushion.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/22/20 6:12 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 22nd 2020, third sitting of the day, 85 minutes, sat outdoors around midnight without a timer.

Mindfulness medium, but very stable.

Body
generally comfortable, sometimes a little stiffness in the back. Thougts were few and clearly seen, mostly in the background, preverbal. Sound: Only rarely did I hear the internally generated highpitched note in the left ear, due to the external sounds: wind in the leaves, birds, distant cars and planes. Visual field: not much activity, some dim light softly moving. At one point I sat with open eyes a couple of minutes and played with the stars: I stared at one, and shortly after it disappeared, I the moved my gaze, and it reappeared. A bit after when I stared at a star, it was the neighbour star that disappeared. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration appeared several times, and a couple of times it seemed to interact with the sound of the wind in the leaves which also seemed to sort of staccato chopped up.

General feeling: There was a subtle fear the first 20 minutes or so, a little reactivity to the nocturnal sounds. After that just quiet, calm, a bit boredom, a bit aversion to the uneventfulness. Some time distortion: I thought I had sat an hour or so.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/23/20 5:50 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 23rd 2020, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, sat with Open awareness all the way.

Body
uneasy, pressure covering most of the torso and the entire head and face, tensions and heaviness in the mid and upper back and neck. All these sensations were somewhere between neutral and slightly unpleasant, but there wasn’t much aversion to them, I didn’t struggle to be the perfect still body yogi (which I have done a lot before), but adjusted posture several times, gently tried to make this uneasy body more comfortable. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, mostly in the background (preverbal), about half of them practice related. Visual field: Nothing much going on, amorphous dim light with soft movements. At one point, thoug, the light sort of gathered to a semi-round figure in the middle of the field, this lasted less than a minute. Sound: the usual highpitched note in the left ear was very low volume this time, mostly vibratory, Morse code like. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration was there a few times, very indistinct. At one point it sort of interacted with the heaviness or stiffness in the upper back, which started vibrating at the same speed.

General feeling: Okayness, slight aversion to the physical discomfort, but mostly acceptance.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/23/20 11:26 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 23rd 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness at first okay, but there was agitation due to external events, so I freestyle noted. Agitation subsided after maybe ten minutes, then energy quite suddenly got low, so I switched to noting ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to monitor mindfulness. Then all of a sudden after another maybe 15 minutes, energy jumped up to over medium, so I switched to Open awareness.

Body
was at first tense, then got heavy during the dullness fase, and then quite comfortable and soft when energy went up. Thoughts were many at first, but then subsided. Visual field: nothing much happened. Sound: This time I meditated in a barn building with tin roof, and it was raining, so that was the dominant sound. The reason the energy suddenly went up was that I thought I heard somebody cry incosolably outside in the rain. That was improbable, and the sound was weak, and even though it was there for a couple of minutes, I was never quite sure if was outside my head or a product of my mind. Vibrations: the rotorlike vibration came by a couple of times. Once it sort of mingled with the sound of rain.

General feeling: As mentioned, it shifted during the sitting, but generally okayness, and the last twenty minutes even calm, contentment, ease.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/24/20 4:24 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 24th 2020, first sitting of the day, 120 minutes (with a halfway bell at 60 minutes).

Mindfulness went up and down several times, so I adjusted the techinique accordingly: When energy was high (maybe 20 percent of the time) I sat with Open awareness; when it was medium (around 20 percent of the time), I freestyle noted, and when it was low (60 percent of the time, most of which was in the last hour), I noted ”yes” at the end of the outbreath to monitor mindfulness.

Body
was generally comfortable and at ease, a little back pain, I adjusted posture several times. Thoughts were present almost constantly the first 40-45 minutes, then subsided when dullness kicked in and from then on almost only showed up in the form of dreamlike nonsense dialogue for 2-3 seconds when I dipped from subtle to strong dullness. Visual field: Most of the time just some dim light softly moving, during the first hour some flashes of faces and scenery, poor image quality, foggy, dim. Now and then some more bright shimmering. Last hour I don’t recall anything going on there. Sound: Highpitched notes in both ears, going up and down in volume, most of the time noisily vibratory. Vibration: The rotorlike vibration appeared a dozen times or so and stayed for 0,5-2 minutes each time. I used to think that it only showed up when enery was high, but that is not the case: It came several times during the final hour of mostly dullness, still located behind me and/or in the or at the spine. Now I sense that it requires stable, but not necessarily high energy, and some sort of zoning out or relaxion of attention, that I am not able to produce at will.

Consideration: Exploring dullness is still new to me (I used to fight it), and I still sometimes find it boring with the ”low visibility” of the sensory input, not much going on-ness, but I am beginning to be better able to enjoy the calm. I guess it is a question of stabilizing the low energy so that there is not this subtle restlessnes, aversion, fight due to the worry that I might lose mindfulness completely and nod off. Why am I afraid of nodding of? What’s the big deal if I did? Fear of losing control? Probably. Solution: Nod off next time!

General feeling: Calm, especially the last hour, comfortable, a bit boredom now and then, a bit physical discomfort now and then, but overall contentment, okayness, no biggie-ness.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/24/20 5:31 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
One way to find the balance of being with the rotor sounds is to gently ponder while listening: "are these sounds inside me or outside me? no one else can hear them, so they are inside me, but the sounds seem to happen to me which makes them seem like outside of me. what would these sounds sound like if they were nether inside nor outside me and what would "listening" mean in this case?" Experiment with different versions of that kind of curious and playful and yet serious attitude.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/24/20 12:32 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for the comment. As you can see in my report below, it had impact emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/24/20 12:35 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 24th 2020, second sitting of the day, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness medium, sometimes a bit lower than that. I sat with open awareness all the time.

Body
was okay, a little back pain, I adjusted posture a couple of times, otherwise comfortable. Thoughts were few, or perhaps a bit more than few, nearly all of them about the vibration (see below). Sound: highpitched notes in boths ears, mind didn’t pay much attention to them. Visual field: dim light, 5-6 times a flash of my own face, distorted, fearful, maybe in pain, one of them vomited light. All were there for just a fraction of a second, were clearly seen, not reacted to emotionally at all, and immediately let go of. Vibration: The whole sitting was completely dominated by the rotorlike vibration. It actually started a couple of minutes before I began meditating! I was preparing my self, re-reading shargrol’s latest comment, and as I was reading, I realized that the vibrations were already there (I have had them off cushion a couple of times before, very shortly). Attention immediately attached it self to the vibrations, and I remained mindful of them while I sort of rushed through the initial part of my set-up, through the samatha part, no need for that, the mind was sufficiently settled, so I quickly went to Open awareness, and the vibrations stayed during the entire sitting. Sometimes more distinct, some times less, a few times almost gone or perhaps gone for a couple of seconds. Attention was very much drawn to them, and I tried to follow shargrol’s advice and investigated them. I used questions: ”Are they inside or outside? What if they are neither? From where do I experience them?” etc – No clear answers, of course, but maybe a couple of times some sort of quick change of the, eh, quality or scope (?) of attention, difficult to describe. I also used vipassana techiques, i.e. tried to locate, delimit, penetrate etc. The vibrations moved a bit around, sometimes they definitely felt like ”inside” around the solar plexus and between the shoulder blades, at other times they definitely felt external, behind my back or to the right of me. I still can’t quite tell if the vibrations are auditory or tactile, I tried to determine if they could be some sort of tics of slight muscular trembling, but the muscles didn’t seem tight or tense or cramped at all. So it must be a trembling in the mind, I thought. It occured to me that the highpitched sound in my ears in a similar way are both inside and outside or neither, I investigated them for a couple of seconds, but mind was drawn back to the vibrations. Interestlingly, mindfulness wasn’t super strong, I even had one or to dips into subtle (or not so subtle) dullness, but that didn’t seem to matter at all, mind just smoothly pulled back up and continued the investigation.

General feeling: curiousity, calm, excitement. I can still sense the vibrations as I write this.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/24/20 5:03 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 24th 2020, third sitting of the day, 72 minutes, late evening, sat without a timer.

Mindfulness first strong and unstable, there was agitation, then it dropped to dullnes, even strong dullness, and I decided to stop and go to bed (after about half an hour), but the minute the decision was made, energy went up, so I changed my mind and kept sitting. I did Open awareness all the way.

Body
: comfortable all the way through, very still, only few minor corrections to posture. The last half hour or so body was as almost frozen or paralyzed, held upright all by it self, it would have taken some considerable effort to get it out of the posture. It was sort of tense in the surface, as if held in a magnetic field. These body sensations were neutral to slightly unpleasant, but there was zero aversion to them. Sound: highpitched sounds in both ears as usual. Visual field: In the beginning, during agitation, very chaotic, fast pace of image fragments, mainly faces. When energy got high and stable, almost all activity in the visual field disappeared. Vibrations: I was looking for them, craving them, and they only showed up in glimpses – I was striving too much, and I knew it, but couldn’t help myself. Then I got tired and as mentioned almost gave up, and THEN they came! The second I stopped completely looking for them, they were there, and energy got stable. After that they were there on and off for the rest of the sitting, mind got preoccupied with other stuff, they were no longer the only important thing.

Event: There was a strange phase of about five-seven minutes (cirka 50-60 minutes in) where the ”inner” experience of the body more or less disappeared. It took me a while to figure out what had happened. The first thing I noticed was that my eyes were open (visually it only made a little difference since I was sitting in a quite dark room). I had no recollection of the eyelids sliding up, this must have happened by it self, and there had been no dullness for a long time (I have never experienced this before). I closed the eyes, but shortly thereafter, they slid up again, this time mindfulness caught them in the very act, but I decided to follow along and let them remain open. For maybe ten seconds the visual field sort of detached itself from the rest of the experience. It wasn’t seen from the body’s position, from a place behind the eyes, as usual – it was just there. There was a reaction of wonder and surprise, and so I closed my eyes again so as not to get to excited. A little later I noticed that the body sensations were also just there, sort of free floating in space (as was the hight pitched note in my ear, it was no longer in my ear, just there). There was no longer the automatic construction of the body, and I could sort of navigate the pulsations, heaviness, wavy movements, tightness etc. and ”see” that, ah, this must be the forehead, this must be the arms, but I didn’t feel the forehead or the arms, not in the usual way. The body sensations had detached them selves from (the usual experience of) the body. The vibrations were also there, just there, not inside or outside. This lasted some minutes, I think (I suspect the experience of time might have been distorted, since this was quiet weird). Then things slowly warped back to normal. Still immense sensate clarity, calm, ease.

General feeling: Clarity, calm, curiousity, weirdness, wonder.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/25/20 7:24 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 25th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 + 17 minutes (kept sitting a bit after the bell rang).

Mindfulness went a bit up and down around medium level, never got superstrong, never sank in to real dullness. Some subtle dullness or slight zoning out, though, especially towards the end, but no aversion to it, no attempts to fight it. Body
was very comfortable, slight back pain, otherwise fine, at ease.

Thougts were mostly distant/preverbal, it got more quiet towards the end. Visual field: some times quite active with asymmetrical patterns of bright blueish white blops, fast moving, and with a lot of semi-figurative stuff as well, faces mostly. Mind was interested in this. Sound: highpitched sound was there, but not as prevalent as it usually is. Vibrations: the rotorvibes came by around a dozen times, but didn’t hang out very long. There was a slight craving for them, a grasping for them when they came, I couldn’t help myself.

General feeling: quite uneventful sitting, comfortable, calm, a bit boring, a bit aversion to the craving for ”special experiences”, not enough mindfulness energy to investigate this subtle dukkha properly.

Consideration: It strikes me that these last weeks and months, an "interesting" sitting – a sitting that feels like "good progress" – nearly always is followed by a sitting that is either uneventful or even difficult and thus "uninteresting", "not progress". Apparently I still need to be reminded that I am not in control of this process. I have known that for a long time, and at an intellectual level I totally get it, even rejoice in it, but at a deeper level there is still clinging, grasping, aversion, refusal to let go.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/25/20 12:29 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 25th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 + 29 minutes (kept sitting after the bell rang).

Mindfulness at first strong, then some (sort of) dullness came, but I didn’t nod off, didn’t drop down into these dream fragments, it was a sort of steady low energy or perhaps a different kind of (high) energy, so dullness is perhaps not the right word: I was aware, but I am not so sure I was aware that I was aware, this metacognitive awareness – that I have practiced to strengthen since I read about in Culadas book two years ago – seemed absent or changed. Yet things were very clear with a slight otherworldly tint. Perhaps it would be most precise to say that awareness was there, but I was not that present.

Thoughts
were more or less absent, happening in the far background if at all. Body was comfortable but sort of transparent, in a way not really there, but it – and the body parts – could easily be found if I looked for them. It happened several times that I became aware of for instance the head, and then there was this sense that a fraction of a second before I became aware, the head wasn’t there, there were just pulsations, pressure, sensation etc. that hastily assembled into a head just before awareness – or rather: attention (I use Culadasa’s defintion of these to words here) – arrived. Same with other bodyparts and body as a whole. Visual field most of the time quite passive, now and then a bit of dim light moving. Apart from the first 15 minutes or so, no faces or other figurative images. Sound: highpitched notes as usual, mind was not very interested. Vibration: the rotorvibe was there on and off, going up and down in speed. Mind was less clingy towards it this time, I tried very gently tuning into it, sort of sideways with attention, looking, but not really looking. I used questions the way shargrol suggested, and vipassanesque examination (it was difficult to locate and penetrate the vibrations). I had the thought that I would try to sense each ”da” of the dadadadada … as if it was the last. That was very difficult. A few times the vibrations sort of attached themselves to the outbreath that very vaguely became highspeed staccato. From after about 55 minutes, shortly before the bell rang, the rotorlike vibrations stayed there more or less constantly until I stopped meditating – and some minutes after, while I started writing this log.

General feeling: Comfortable, content, curiousity, clarity, but in an abstract way.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/26/20 5:47 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 26th 2020, first sitting of the day, 78 minutes (sat without a timer).

Off
cushion remark: There were some very stressfull events in my external life yesterday evening and this morning, so I was quite agitated when I hit the cushion around noon. I didn’t write ”SamVip 1.1” in the headline of this post, because the sitting didn’t follow my usual set-up, but was quite messy, in that I shifted several times between samatha to calm the system, vipassana to objectify thoughts and feelings (anger, sadness) and even metta.

Mindfulness was okay strong and stable, but there was restless and agitation a lot of the time. Though also some periods with calm. Body was surprisingly calm and (almost) painfree. Thoughts were there a lot, loops of imagined dialogue etc. and thoughts about which meditation technique to use. Visual field: Nothing much happening. Sound: Didn’t pay much attention to sound this time, probably the highpitched note was there as usual. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibrations came by a few times when things were quiet, but then agitation and restlessness showed up again, and they were gone.

General feeling: Some aversion to the agitation and restlessness, craving for the calm and quiet that is usually there. But also acceptance. Then aversion again, then acceptance, etc. No physical discomfort, though, and after all a sense that the meditation calmed the system down (no agitation or restlessness left as I write this). And I got yet another opportunity to watch how the mind reacts to strong emotion. emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/26/20 12:01 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 26th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 85 minutes (sat without a timer).

Off
cushion remark: Still turbulence in external life.

Mindfulness was strong, I freestyle noted the first 45 minutes or so due to agitation. Then things got calm and I switched to open awarenss.

I’ll make it a short report this time: There were agitation and restlessness and anger and despair the first half hour or so, I noted as fast as I could, that seemed like the best strategy, and eventually things calmed down and became suprisingly peaceful for the last half hour or so. Quite a contrast from beginning to end of this sitting. Felt gratitute that I have meditation in my life.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/26/20 12:56 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
 Hi Niels, the frame of the thread is going out of bounds. For future posts, please press "reply" to the (first) original post, just like I did in this one, not to your last  one.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/27/20 5:51 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 27th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 60 + 32 minutes (kept sitting after the bell).

Off
cushion remark: Still very turbulent events and emotions in my off cushion life.

Mindfulness was very strong and stable, there was agitation for the first five or ten minutes, during my initial samatha, and then, much to my surprise, things really calmed down, so I did a few minutes of freestyle noting to make sure I wasn’t surpressing or overlooking something, but as things still seemed very calm and quiet, I switched to Open awareness.

Thoughts were busy the first few minutes, related to external events, but mind by itself (so it seemed) quickly found out that there was no point in rehearsing and looping and repeating, that right now the best thing to do was to just rest and recharge the batteries. There was even a verbal thought saying ”You can take this sitting of, just take a break. Don’t even do nothing!” This made me smile, and the rest of sitting did indeed turn out to be very very quiet and calm, almost no thoughts, and the current events in my life only turned up three or four times, each time immediately disappearing again. Body was very comfortable and at ease, self held, relaxed. A little pressure and pulsations in the torso and face and head, neutral in tone, didn’t draw any attention to itself. Visual field: Dim light softly moving. I don’t recall a single figurative element such as a fragment of a face. Sound: Quite loud highpitched notes in both ears, not very vibratory this time. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibrations turned up many times, not very distinct, still apparently located behind me or in my spine, at one point at the back of my head. All in all they were present maybe a third of the time, but mind didn’t pay much attention to them.

General feeling: Much more samatha than vipassana this time, no real investigation of phenomena, no self inquiery. Calm, even peace, quiet, much clarity, a tint of gratitude, a tint of wonder. No joy (and a thought that joy perhaps ought to have been there). It felt healing, and my mood is much better now than before.

PS: Thanks for the tip, Pepe!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/27/20 1:36 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 27th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 60 minutes.

Mindfulness first strong, then slowly slipping down to medium, but most of the time very stable (meaning not suddenly dipping). Open awareness all the way.

Body
comfortable, at ease, at bit back pain just to the left of the spine, middle of the back. I ”collapsed” the spine and sat face down two or three times to see if I could change this slight imbalance. I couldn’t. Thoughts were few and mostly clearly seen, except once or twice when mindfulness suddenly dipped, and I fel into a dream fragment for a second or two, before mindfulness all by itself pulled up and stabilized. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears, did not draw attention. Visual field: most of the time just dim light softly moving. For a minute or so the light gathered in a more or less symmetrical fog in the middle of the field. A few flashes of faces, most of them dim, poor image quality, but one of them was totally sharp, photorealistic, a middleaged woman’s face, she was wearing a head scarf, and her mouth was open in a silent scream of fear. This caused a slight fear reaction in an otherwise emotionally extremely neutral sitting. Vibration: Rotor like vibration was there a little less than half of the time, it was more distinct in the first half of the sitting where energy was higher, located behind me, moving amorphously up and down, at one point it was behind both ears. A sort of dull or hollow ”thud” in, or in between, each ”da” in the dadadada was felt fysically, tactily (if that's a word) at the back side of the ears.

General feeling: Calm, ease, clarity, spaciousness, curiousity, slight dullness towards the end, contentment.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/28/20 9:08 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
28th of July 2020. Freestyle noting in reclining position cirka 90 + 60 minutes.

Off
cushion remark: Due to life circumstances it was impossible to do formal sitting this morning, but I had the chance to meditate twice while lying in bed.

Mindfullness was weak in the first session and medium in the second.

Body totally at ease and comfortable. Thoughts: At the beginning of each session some agitation (worries, anger, thought loops), but that subsided after a few minutes, and much to my surprise thing became quiet and calm. Visual field: Nothing much happening. Sound: External sounds dominated. Some passing cars were met with slight aversion. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibrations only showed up once, very indistinct and disappeared after maybe 10-15 seconds. Perhaps they don’t manifest when I’m lying down? Or when energy is low? Hypnagogic events: There were some familiar dips into dream like fragments and short passages of lucid dreaming. But at one point a thing happened that I haven’t experienced before: There was an itch on my forehead, and my hand was just about to go up automatically and scratch it, but mindfulness kicked in the split second before the hand moved, I noted ”itching” and had the feeling that I – with eyes closed – in a flash saw my hand (and arm) rising to scratch the forehead, as I would have seen it, had my eyes been open, and had I indeed liftet the hand (which I didn’t). The hand (and arm) were made of light and moved through a hazy darkness, black and white, no colours, like an X-ray image. The thought came: I just saw a visual expression of intention – was this my subtle body I saw? (I am not sure what a subtle body is). Mind thought that was cool.

General feeling: Apart from the initial agitation calm and quiet, comfortable. Most of the first session and a good part of the second were spend in the hypnagogic borderland, which is new territory for me. In the second session there was a slight aversion to the low energy, mind disliked the lack of clarity, the dull, hazy, foggy feel. The ”hypnagogic events” were experienced as interesting, though. I guess I will have to explore these low energy mindstates some more.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/28/20 10:52 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
28th of July 2020, First formal sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, I did Open awareness all the way.

Thoughts
were almost absent, especially the last 10-15 minutes, the few ones there were, were in the far background and clearly seen. Mind totally uninterested, let go of them immediately. Body comfortable and at ease, self held, liquid like, as if sitting on the bottom of the ocean with gentle bubbly and wavy movements in and around and through the body – the boundaries of wich, especially the last ten minutes, seem to disintegrate somewhat, even though there was lots of sensate clarity. What was effected was the mind’s ”construction” of the body as this specific shape in space. I could easily find my forehead, my belly, my thigh etc., but if I didn’t specifically look for them, they – and the body as a whole – were just a bunch of shapeless but very clear sensations. Visual field: Nothing much happening here. At one point, though, the dim and softly moving light seemed to gather to a more or less circular fog with a small black hole in the middle. Mind got quite interested in this and dwelled on it until it went away after maybe half a minute. Sound: The usual highpitched notes in both ears. Vibrations: the rotorlike vibrations were there on and off, maybe twenty percent of the time, very indistinct and sort of scattered, difficult to investigate or do self inquiery with since the ”signal” was so weak.

General feeling: Calm, maybe even peaceful (had it not been for a sporadic boredom), ease, gentle curiousity (most of the time). Contentment, neutral pleasantness. No joy.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/28/20 12:25 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Hi Niels,

I just started reading your nice detailed log. I notice that you mention boredom a few times. I often find that boredom is a symptom of a deeper aversion to, or anger about, some aspect of experience that I would rather ignore. However that could just be me the angry guy projecting!

All the best,
George

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/28/20 3:41 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
28th of July 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable from the beginning, dropped to medium after 30-40 minutes. I did Open awareness all the way.

Thoughts
were very few and became fewer and fewer. The last half hour or so was very very quiet. Body: Very still, almost as if paralysed, tightly held. Quite powerful ”fluid” tensions or pressure in the surface of the face and head and front of torso and arms, on the edge of being unpleasant, but met with zero aversion. Slowly this pressure got a little less intense, but there was still some of it left when the bell ring. A feeling of sitting on the ocean floor, deep ocean, almost no movement in the water, just this pressure from being deep down below the surface. Visual field: Chaotic the first ten minutes or so, fragments of images, faces, abstract stuff, extremely fast moving and/or changing. Then the intensity wore off, and the last half hour or so almost nothing happened there. Sound: the usual highpitched notes, didn’t draw attention. Vibrations: the rotorlike vibrations were there a few times, but didn’t stay long.

Consideration: Perhaps there was some subtle dullness I didn’t detect, because five or ten minutes before the bell rang, a rare fully articulated thought suddenly came: ”Be curious! What is this place?” I realized that I hadn’t really investigated it much. When I did, I found it a bit weird, even slightly spooky. The visual field came alive again when curiousity came online with some dim horror faces, sculls etc., and the sense of space became more clear. Definitely seemed like an absorbtion state, but since I don’t have any real experience with jhanas, I hestitate to diagnose it more specifically.

General feeling: Very still and quiet, quite uneventfull, no joy, very neutral, otherworldly.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/29/20 7:01 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 29th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable. It took less than ten minutes to reach cutting edge level of mindfulness and concentration, and it stayed there for the rest of sit (could easily have sat longer).

Thoughts
were there very often, but were clearly seen, mind wasn’t very interested in them, found them trivial (so, yes, a slight aversion to the thoughts, I guess), looked elsewhere. Body was very comfortable and at ease, self held, fluid, sitting on the bottom of the ocean-like, very still, only few and minor corrections to posture. Visual field: Nothing much going on here. Sound: Highpitched notes, especially in the left ear. Vibrations: The rotor like vibrations came by occassionally, were not very distinct and did not hang out long, were there maybe fifteen percent of the time.

Consideration: There was some boredom and restlessness, that is to say some form of aversion, maybe especially to the thoughts, and to the lack of (special) events. The Mighty Meditator Ego wanted Deep Silence (or at least interesting thoughts) and weird meditative experiences. It still felt like an absorbtion state, though, with the body very still, zero emotion (apart from the slight aversion), and mindfulness very strong and stable. There was clarity, space, a bit like sitting in a big, but dimly lit cathedral, and I could go to this corner and examine the pulsations below the nose and above the upper lip, or I could go to that corner and examine the highpitched note or the softly moving dim light, everything was clearly seen with lots of fine detail, but mind was restless, dissatisfied, looking for something, not necessarily a (new) object, but a new perspective, and new way of perceiving the cathedral. Thoughts, or the way thoughts are perceived, seem to be the problem. They seem to be slightly outside the rest of experience, not integrated, even though I usually can place them in space.

General feeling: Totally comfortable and okay, very easy to sit, some curiosity, but this slight restlessness or aversion or boredom or dukkha, a pebble in the shoe, and so: I wouldn’t use the word peaceful or the word joy for this sitting.

Question: I am not sure if I should try to turn more to the vipassana side, jack up curiosity, effort, investigation, or if I should try to turn it more to the samatha side, just rest, do absolutely nothing, try to enjoy the calm and ease, even doze off or zone out a bit?

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/29/20 7:04 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Hey George, I think you are absolutely right: Boredom is a subtle form of aversion. And it can be difficult to see what the aversion is about. A counter measure could be curiosity. Or deep acceptance of the boredom. As you can see, I am trying to work these things out my self at the moment emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/29/20 7:18 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:

Question: I am not sure if I should try to turn more to the vipassana side, jack up curiosity, effort, investigation, or if I should try to turn it more to the samatha side, just rest, do absolutely nothing, try to enjoy the calm and ease, even doze off or zone out a bit?
What you are doing is really good. Equanimity is a balance of vipassina and shamatha, in fact it's so much of a balance that they sort of become the same thing. So not strong investigation and yet not no effort, but rather stay somewhat calm and at ease and casually look around for subtle pockets of resistance or discomfort. Don't try to make resistance or discomfort go away, but rather make friends with it and see if it tells you it's story. And if it doesn't talk, just hold it gently in attention like a comforting hug and get used to the feeling of subtle resistance or discomfort.

One lama had a saying "meditation isn't, getting used to is" which basically means meditation isn't about "doing meditation", it's about getting used to things which actually turns into all of the results that we thought "doing meditation" would get us. emoticon  Many times the challenge is too much activity or too little feeling the moment. We need to get used to feeling the moment.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/29/20 1:05 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 29th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 90 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, cutting edge (or at least 95 percent) reached within 5-7 minutes, last five percent only after 35-40 minutes (this has been the common pattern for the last several weeks).

Thoughts
were there now and then, came in mild showers with quiet intervals inbetween and were clearly seen. Not so much aversion to them this time (but still a little). Body comfortable, at ease, self held, sitting on the ocean floor-feel, slight pressure in the surface of the torso and arms; legs and feet not that clear, but could be found when looked for; stronger pressure in the face and head, lots of sensations inside the head: pressure, pulsation, heaviness, wavelike movements. Two times I ”collapsed” the spine and rested with face down for a minute or two before sitting up straight again. Several different distortions of the normal perception of having a head: At one point the face was gone and ”energy” (pressure, tension, streaming heaviness) was pouring through from the outside and in. At another point the face was drawn or pushed out and seemed to be maybe fifteen centimeter away, following a horisontal axis, from its usual position, giving me a non-human head form. Also some weird interactions with the visual field. Visual field in itself was quite uneventful, the usual dim light, softly moving, from time to time som blueish white shimmering. Very little figurative stuff. Sound: The usual highpitched notes in both ears, the one in the right ear often pulsating softly 1-2 hz. Vibration: The rotorlike vibration came maybe a dozen times and often stayed several minutes. The speed is going slightly up and down, mostly around 9-12 hz. Difficult to locate and delimit precisely in space, even when it is quite distinct.

General feeling: Calm and comfortable, this neutral pleasure or pleasant neutrality that seems to be the most common general feel these weeks (and months!), going a bit up and down in intensity. Ease, curiosity, slight boredom/aversion from time to time. Was suprised when the bell rang, would have estimated that I had been sitting for 65-70 minutes, but then 90 minutes had passed, and I could easily have sat longer, had practical circumstanses allowed it.

PS: Thanks, shargrol, for keeping an eye on me. emoticon Your remarks are very helpful and much appreciated.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/29/20 7:03 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 29th 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 54 minutes, sat without a timer, began half an hour after midnight.

Mindfulness strong and stable, cutting edge (or at least 95 percent) reached within 5-7 minutes, last five percent after perhaps 15 minutes, difficult to say.

Thoughts
were very few and clearly seen. No aversion to them, no interest either. Body comfortable, very still, self held, almost as if paralyzed. Pressure in the surface, especially the face and head. Visual field: Almost nothing going on here. I sat in a pitch dark room, and a couple of times I sat with open eyes a few minutes, but that did not make much of difference. Some vague shimmering, now and then a dim fragment of a face. Sound: noisy highpitched sound in left ear. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration was there three or four times, didn’t hang out for long, was not very distinct. ”Events”: All in all this was exceptionally uneventful – I don’t think I have ever spent a conscious hour in my life with so little happening before. The two most notable things were 1) The first ten minutes or so, there was a subtle fear, maybe due to the fear reactions last time I did a late night sitting. Especially when I opened my eyes the first time, there was a kind of daring (pre-verbalized) thought, wordlessly saying something like: ”Okay, show me what you’ve got” or ”You can’t scare me”. Nothing even remotely scarry happened. 2) I thought I had been sitting for half an hour and was very surprised to see that almost the double amount of time had passed. It was especially surprising since it was so utterly uneventfull – I would have thought that the time distortion would have been of the opposite kind. How did all that time pass so quickly with nothing happening, not even boredom (except for the last few minutes)? Was mindfulness not as strong as I think? Did I doze of or zone out without noticing it? Everything felt very clear and stable. No dullness detected, no dullness here afterwards. General feeling: Comfortable, calm, still, content, very neutral, slightly weird. Very absorption-like, but I have no idea which jhana, if any (and my analytical mind is a bit curious).

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/30/20 2:31 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Hi Niels,


What does SamVip 1.1 means exactly?
Splitting half your sitting time on Samatha and the other half on Vipassana?

Have a nice day,

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/30/20 2:47 AM as a reply to SushiK.
Hey Sushi, It is explained in the first post of the thread emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/30/20 4:58 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 30th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, 85-90 percent of cutting edge reached within ten minutes, the last bit maybe 40 minutes in.

Body
comfortable and at ease, bottom of the ocean-feel, soft, a slight pressure, pulsations and bubbly movements in the surface. Twice there was a period with lightly and coolly tingling sensations in the skull and face, experienced as slightly pleasant – I haven’t had those for a long time. Thougts were there quite often, but clearly seen, mostly in the background. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears, going slightly up and down in volume. Visual field: Nothing much going on, dim light softly moving. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibrations were there maybe 40-50 percent of the time, a couple of times they were investigated thoroughly, otherwise they were just there, met with interest and curiosity. At one point they definitely seemed to be in front of me, on or slightly inside the chest. This is new, since they hitherto have been experienced as behind me, in or at my spine.

Consideration: This time it struck me that there are lots of other vibratory phenomena than the rotor. In the tactile or proprioceptive field there are lots of smaller and bigger pulsations, bubbles etc. with different speeds and intensities and durations. The – I know: quite obvious – thought stroke me that the body was experienced as nothing but vibrations: There isn’t (necessarily) a face or a chest with vibrations and bubbly pressure in or on it, there are just vibrations and bubbly pressure – face and chest can be constructed as such, but they are in no way experienced as stable, solid, well defined. But the rotorlike vibration is different, though it is hard to say how. Somehow it doesn’t belong or cannot be integrated or feel foreign.

General feeling: Calm, ease, gentle curiousity, slight pleasure or joy. But still a tiny pebble in the shoe.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/30/20 4:36 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 30th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness at first strong and stable, 85-90 percent of cutting edge reached within ten minutes, 100 percent reached around 20-25 minutes, then energy dropped somewhat after around 45-50 minutes.

Thoughts
were there quite often, three or four times I got sucked into them for a few seconds and lost mindfulness. Body was comfortable and very very still, only a few minor corrections to posture. There was pressure in the surface of the body, especially upper arms, face and head, a quite intense and relatively stable, homogenous pressure that sort of held the body in a grip. The pressure was bordering on painful, but there was zero aversion to it, mind kind of liked it. A couple of times there was a pleasurable wave of warmth in the chest and face (it’s been a long time since I’ve had such sudden temperature changes). Visual field quite active, almost chaotic the first 15 minutes or so, the slowly subsided to almost no activity the last 15-20 minutes. Sound: the usual highpitched notes in both ears. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibe was there several times, especially the first half of the sitting, one time very distinct.

Consideration: There was a course of this sitting, as if the body mind system is trying to balance it self: First there was almost to much energy, strong pressure, chaotic visual field, but at the same time almost no thoughts and a very very still body. Then the energy evened out, visual field subsided, pressure got slightly less, clarity got really good; here there was almost perfect balance. But towards the end, I think energy dropped to medium or even lower, but I am not sure, because the absorption like feeling (pressure and very still body, sense of slightly altered state of consciousness) continued, but I got sleepy underneath it. I dropped into some dreamlike thoughts a couple of times, lost interest, actually forgot what I was doing at one point. I think I could have taken a nap and still have sat up straight and ”pressurized”, ”absorbed”. This seemed unbalanced, as if energy was (too) high in the body and (too) low in the mind.

General feeling: still, comfortable, intense, curiousity, content.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/31/20 8:19 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 31st 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1.

Off cushion remark: Some emtionally demanding stuff going on in my external life (I note it here since it might have affected this sitting).

Mindfulness okay strong and stable, maybe it dropped a bit towards the end. Don’t think I quite got to my cutting edge this time, reached maybe 90 percent after 35-40 minutes, stayed there maybe ten minutes, and the dropped a bit again.

Body
was comfortable, except from a little back pain, no biggie, overall there was this soft liquid bubbly feeling to the body, and a light pressure in the surface of it. Thoughts: There were thoughts almost constantly, they took up center stage this time, ten percent were just random shit, ten percent about my current life situation, and eighty percent were practice related thoughts along then lines of: ”What am I missing? Why is this not quite right? I mean, it’s comfortable and all, but there is this tiny dissatisfaction …” There was an occassional craving for SE, immediately followed by an aversion to that craving, immediately followed by a letting go of the question. There were thoughts about the restlessness of mind movements: Why is mind going to this flickering in the visual field, then this body sensation, then … What is it looking for? What are these micro cravings about? Why can’t I just accept everything as it is, I have come so far, things are just fine now, very bearable, where is it that the grass seem to be greener, why am I still striving? etc etc. Visual field: Light seemed to be a bit brighter than usual, especially when energy was at its highest. Several times there were flickerings. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears. Vibrations: The rotolike vibe came by a couple of times, never became really distinct.

General feeling: Comfortable and all, no problems as such, but this little dukkha, a tint of irritation, dissatisfaction, sadness even. A relief when the bell rang (and aversion to the relief, since it "shouldn't be there"). Slight disappointment, it felt like ”bad practice”, like sliding back.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
7/31/20 3:26 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
July 31st 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 82 minutes, sitting in a car on a parking lot, so conditions weren’t ideal.

Mindfulness was strong and stable, never reached cutting edge, though, agitation and aversion the first 45 minutes, then, quite suddenly, things calmed down and stayed more balanced for the rest of the sitting, reaching maybe 85 percent of cutting edge from then on.

Body
comfortable and at ease, some pressure in the surface, especially face and head. Thoughts were frequent, half of them practice related, other half life related. Maybe ten percent aversion and ninety percent acceptance to thoughts. Sound: Lots of noisy external sounds and strong aversion to them in the beginning, but that gradually subsided, and even though the noises continued, mind got quite calm the last half hour or so. Visual field: Nothing much happening.

General feel: From low level agitation and medium level aversion to calm and content. Physically comfortable all the way. No biggie, just another day at the (this time: mobile) office.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 4:23 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
1st of August 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, reached cutting edge after 10-12 minutes, stayed there, could easily have sat longer. Did open awareness all the way.

Body
was very comfortable, at ease, easily self held, liquid, bottom of the ocean-feel. The pressure in the surface of it was lighter than usual, very subtly bubbly. Experienced as neutral to slightly pleasurabl. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, mostly practice related. Visual field: Some amorphous activity, dim (and sometimes a bit brighter) light softly moving, some blueish white sparkles and stars. Only very little figurative stuff. Sound: Highpitched note in left ear all the way, in right ear on and off. The one in the left ear seemed ”thicker” or more full, with more overtones (usually it is very sine like). Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration was there three or four times, only briefly, there was a slight craving for more of it, it seemed that it ”ought” to come, since things were so calm and clear, and energy was high and stable.

Consideration: When I did my initial structured noting and did the senses (seeing, hearing, feeling), I noticed that I could note any of these three fields randomly, they were sort of equally clear all the time, it was only because I had to note, that I (or: attention) picked one rather than the other. When I switched to open awareness, mind investigated this a bit further, holding several things equally clear in attention (or awareness?), so for instance there was body sensation (pressure), and through that as if through a veil the visual field was seen (softly moving light), and through both of these, the internal note in the left ear was ”seen” (known), and through the ”sphere” (in the sense of medieval cosmology) where this sound was, external sound was heard. And while all these layers were known at the same time, there was also an image thought (a face of a person I saw in a tv show yesterday). I then wondered if all this really was there simultaneously, or if attention just switched very rapidly back and forth between then. I didn’t manage to detect such movements, but I noticed later on that mind sometimes got ”stuck” on one of the ”spheres” (the visual field, for instance), and when I noticed, it detached it self and floated more freely.

General feel: Comfortable, calm, still, half way through bordering on pleasurable, towards the end bordering on peaceful. Dominant feature: Clarity, curiousity, slight awe.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 11:58 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
I wanted to tell you for your support on my log. I also wanted to tell you that not only do I still read your log religously, it's the one that inspires me the most right now. I am so impressed by your diligence in sitting 3-4 hours a day. May you continue to practice well!

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 12:38 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Hey sam, as Niels suggested, it would probably be a really good idea to do full meditation days sometimes. It can really help you move into the territory that niels is in right now, a'd help build momentum, as daily sits seem much less daunting when you have gone through 8 sits in a row, say.

Niels, your practice right now is becoming really mature, it  is inspiring and a pleasure to read emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 1:01 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Hey sam, as Niels suggested, it would probably be a really good idea to do full meditation days sometimes. It can really help you move into the territory that niels is in right now, a'd help build momentum, as daily sits seem much less daunting when you have gone through 8 sits in a row, say.

I'll try. I have a weeklong IMS retreat for advanced meditators Sept 1st.

Niels, your practice right now is becoming really mature, it  is inspiring and a pleasure to read emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 5:45 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Thanks so much for the kind words, guys emoticon.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/1/20 5:49 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
1st of August 2020, second sitting of the day (beginning around 23:20, so a late night sitting), SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, reached cutting edge after 10-12 minutes. I did open awareness. After about 30 minutes there was a shift (see below), and I switched to noting ”yes” at the end of each outbreath.

Body
was very comfortable and at ease, soft, liquid, self held, bottom of the ocean-like. At first there was a quite strong pressure in the surface, neutral in feeling tone. Around the amentioned shift, the pressure became lighter and the body sort of floated and felt very light. Thoughts very few from the beginning, then there was a phase, just around the shift, where I dropped into dreamlike thought fragments for a second or two before mindfulness went up again. This happened maybe three-four times. After that thoughts were totally absent. Visual field: Nothing much going on. Sound: The usual highpitched notes. Vibration: the rotorlike vibration came by 4-5 times the first half hour, didn’t stay long, was very subtle.

Consideration: The shift half way through was a bit strange. I am not sure if energy suddenly just plummeted, so that I basically just dozed off and went into gross dullness, or if I entered a different mindstate: The thing is, I detected dullness, and began noting ”yes” at the end of the outbreaths. Then there were these 3-4 times where I dropped into dreamlike dullness and forgot to note. I have tried that lots of times before. After that it still happened again and again that I forgot to note, but now there were no dreamlike thoughts, no verbal, preverbal or visual thoughts at all. What I dropped into was something else. It was almost as if I was asleep, and mindfulness was very low, too low to note, but not totally gone. I was somehow still there, the head did not nod once, the body sat upright completely effortlessly and was soft and comfortable. Some sort of lucid sleep, if that is a thing? It was very pleasant. I didn’t think of going back to freestyle noting to get mindfulness back of – and I am not sure if that would have been the best thing to do?

General feeling: Calm, comfortable, pleasant. Felt like I could have continued for hours, but I had to go to sleep.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/2/20 9:52 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
August 2nd 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was low all the way (I was a bit sleep deprived), going from subtle to gross dullness, I never came near cutting edge. Did freestyle noting all the way.

Body
was in general okay, but tired, some tensions in the chest, moving to the back, back to the chest, at one point a sharply delimited pain, size of a fingertip, in the crown, lasted a minute or two. Also a sligth restlessness due to the dullness. Thoughts were many to begin with, but things became more quiet the last twenty minutes. Visual field: Nothing much going on. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears.

General feeling: There was some aversion to the dullness, especially the first half hour, more acceptance toward the end, even a little investigation of it. None of it was that bad, though, no escalation (aversion to the aversion), so: an ”uninspired” sitting experienced through an eq filter.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/2/20 12:58 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
August 2nd 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, reached 90 or 95 percent of cutting edge after maybe 15 minutes, never got quite to a hundred. Did open awareness.

Body
was comfortable, a bit back pain, but sat quite still. Thoughts: Practice related thoughts almost all the way through, aversise a la ”why is nothing happening? Why don’t I get deeper? What am I missing? What am I aversive to?” etc. Visual field: Nothing much happening. Sound: high pitched notes in bot ears. Vibrations: The rotor like vibe was there maybe 25 percent of the time, at one point behind my right ear, at another in the middle of the solar plexus, otherwise behind me. Still very subtle, hard to detect and delimit.

General feeling: Comfortable, clear, still, but this aversive thought stream about practice itself.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/3/20 6:48 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
3rd of August 2020, first two sittings of the day, SamVip 1.1, 76 + 72 minutes (done in a car seat in a parking lot without a timer, only interrupted by 15 minutes of conversation).

Mindfulness strong and stable through both sittings, but due to suboptimal conditions (not so much the noise and presence of other people near by as the lack of a ”freestanding”, fully erect spine), I never reached cutting edge, but within 10-12 minutes of each sitting reached somewhere around 85 percent, not really absorption like, but quite calm.

Body
very comfortable and at ease, but I missed the sense of balance and alertness that comes from a ”freestanding” erect spine. Thoughts were there frequently, all in all maybe half of the time, mostly practice related. No aversion to thoughts this time. Visual field much more active than usual due to the shiftig external light, gold and yellow and yellowish white chaotic patterns when the sun was out, sudden shifts to an almost monochrome lavender or purplish blue, when the sun crept behind a cloud (I assume). Sometimes more centralized or symmetrical patterns. Mind dwelled on all this from time to time, relaxed with it, found it beautiful, didn’t crave anything specific. Sound: External sounds dominated (cars, trains, birds, church bells, people walking by talking etc.), no internally generated sounds were detected. Vibrations: No rotorlike vibrations this time, even though mind was calm and body still. I think it might be due to the non erect spine and/or the fact that I didn’t reach my cutting edge.

Consideration: First sitting had less thoughts and more just calm relaxation than the second sitting, where practice related thoughts were there frequently, especially towards the end. They were not met with aversion, perhaps because they were slightly different than usual. It started off by the well known search for the self or the observer position. Then thoughts about background and foreground: A train passed by and the sound of it became foreground; I could pull attention – I use Culadasa definitions of attention (= focus, foreground) and awareness (= background) here – away and move it to something else, bodily sensation of my face, for instance, then the train sound became part of the background. An obvious thought (I might be a bit dense) suddenly occurred to me: The idea of background and foreground only makes sense if there is a third entity, namely the observer. I then began trying to pull attention back everytime it landed on something and thus made it ”foreground”. The goal was to see if I could make everything background. Because often, when I am in deeper absorption than I was in this sitting, that is how it feels: Almost no attention, only awareness. But all that pulling began creating agitation and thus less clear awareness. In stead I began working with the different sense fields as ”layers” and tried to see how many I could keep in awareness at the same time. So for instance: Okay, here is the tactile sensations of the crown of the head, that’s one layer, on top of that I put the visual field, and then a layer of external sound. All three layers seemed to be ”known” simultaneously. I added an image thought, a face (and discovered that I could move it around, place it to the left, to the right etc.). And the other layers were still there. So apparently I could keep almost everything and anything in mind at the same time. BUT: Tactile sensations of the body, especially the head, seemed to be the ”innermost” layer. The other layers were folded around that. I tried to make one of the other layers the ”innermost” (that is: most self like), but didn’t succeed.

General feeling: Comfortable, calm, curious, content, at ease.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/3/20 12:55 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
3rd of August 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness was weak during most of the sitting, but rose through medium towards strong during the last ten minutes or so. I did freestyle noting, then – when dullness was quite gross – I only managed to do a ”yes” towards the end of each outbreath, and finally, when mindfulness became strong, I did open awareness for the last couple of minutes. Never reached cutting edge, but the last couple of minutes were about 90 percent.

Body
was comfortable and at ease, though not very clear due to the dullness. Thoughts were present maybe 20 percent of the time, but only semi-clearly seen. When dullness was strong, I dipped into dream like nonsense thoughts a couple of times, each time lasting maybe one or two seconds. Visual field: Nothing much happening. Sound: Highpitched note in left ear. Vibration: The rotorlike vibration was absent for the first 50 minutes or so, but the suddenly appeared, and in that same moment, energy suddenly went up, and dullness disappeared. I am not sure if a spike in energy brought the vibrations along or vice versa.

General feeling: Totally okay, no aversion to the dullness, comfortable, contentment, no biggie.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/3/20 12:59 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
what do you  mean by "cutting edge"?

I guess it's in the first post, but you don't note the whole session right? You note in shargrol's style for some short periods and then move to open awareness/shamatha?

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/3/20 2:56 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Hey Sam, By "cutting edge", I mean my maximum level of mindfulness. Up until a couple of months ago, I wouldn't reach my cutting edge off retreat, but now it often happens in daily sittings. My set-up for practice is described in the first post, but a brief resumé could be that I warm up with som samatha and some structured noting a la shargrol, which takes some 5-10 minutes, and then I switch to Open awareness (aka noticing without labels aka "Do nothing") – unless mind is or gets either to agitated or to dull, in that case I do freestyle noting. emoticon

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/4/20 2:49 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
3rd of August 2020, fourth sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 40 minutes, beginning just after midnight.

Mindfulness at first strong, then after 25 minutes or so began degrading, ending very low. I reached cutting edge after ten minutes. Did Open awareness. Some thoughts
the first 5-10 minutes, after that thoughts were almost completely absent. Body was very comfortable, soft, self held, mild pressure in the surface, very very still and with a slightly pleasant feeling tone. Highpitched sound, high volume, in both ears. Almost no activity in the visual field. Course of the sitting: The first 20 minutes or so, mindfulness was very strong while virtually nothing happened. There was zero boredom, no forms of aversion, no investigation, it was just very peaceful. Then mindfulness gradually dropped. The last five minutes I was more or less sleeping, with the body still totally upright, soft, self held, no nodding off of the head, no desire to collapse the spine or lie down. Body was awake, mind almost asleep, with a bare minimum of mindfulness, even though I in a sense also seemed to be totally gone several minutes on end – and then a little flicker of mindfulness.

Question: I stopped and went to bed because I felt I was just more or less sleeping in an upright sitting position. Would there be any point in doing a long sitting in this state of mind? I think I could have sat there all night. emoticon

General feeling: comfortable, very content, peaceful, relaxed.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/4/20 6:08 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
4th of August 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable, reached 90-95 percent of cutting edge after ten minutes, stayed there. Did Open awareness all the way.

Body
comfortable, at ease, slight back pain, but no aversion to it. Thoughts were there maybe half of the time, clearly seen, half of them practice related. Visual field: Nothing much going on. Sound: high pitched note in left ear, and on and off also in right ear. Vibrations: The rotor like vibration came by four or five times, not very distinct, didn’t stick around long.

General feeling: Comfortable, lots of clarity, ease, a slight restlessness, bit of a meh feeling, but totally okay, no biggie.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/4/20 12:16 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
4th of August 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Off cushion remark: Some emotionally challenging stuff in my external life, so I was exhausted when I hit the cushion.

Mindfulness began around middle, dropped to low, and then went up an down between these two. Never reached cutting edte. Switched between Freestyle noting and noting ”in”, ”out”, following the breath, when mindfulness was low. Lost mindfulness completely two or three times, little jerk in the body, head almost nodding off.

Body
okay, slightly restless, some back pain, no aversion to the discomfort. Thoughts were there most of the time, not very clearly seen due to dullnes. Visuael field: Nothing much goint on. Sound: Highpitched notes in both ears. Vibrations: The rotor like vibration came by twice when energy was at its highest, quite distinct, but only present maybe half a minute.

General feeling: Comfortable, okayness, no biggie, a bit meh due the dullness.


RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/4/20 6:05 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
4th of August 2020, third and fourth sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 36 + 56 minutes without timer, first one mid evening, second around midnight (I’m squeezing in sittings where I can these days and get interrupted by external reality – could have sat much longer both times).

Mindfulness strong and stable in mid evening sit, ditto at the beginning of midnight sit, but it slowly wore off from after 30-35 minutes. I reached cutting edge in both sittings after less than ten minutes, stayed there in the mid evening sit, but fell back from it in the midnight sit. Did Open awareness, except the last part of the midnight sit, where I noted ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to monitor mindfulness as it got lower and lower.

Body
very comfortable and very very still, soft, self held, slight pressure in the surface, bottom of the ocean-feel. In the mid evening sit, there was a lot of tactile acitivity inside the head: pressure, pulsations, wavelike movements. In the midnight sit there was some pleasant tingling in the scull and face a couple of times. Thoughts were very few, and after ten minutes of each sit almost absent. In the mignight sit, when energy dropped, thoughts returned in that I dropped into dream like dialogue fragments a couple of times. Sound: highpitched note in left ear. Visual field: In the mid evening sit, some faces the first ten minutes or so, after that almost no activity. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration came by several times, one time it changed speed up and down, at another point it was more like a drum roll. Still mainly located at or in the spine.

General feel: Calm, still, comfortable, peaceful, very little happening, no investigation or effort, only a tint of curiousity, a very passive, receptive feeling of ”just sitting”.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/4/20 8:12 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Dear Niels,

Just wanted to wish you well. I am also in a similar place in practice and sitting a similar amount of time as you, with similar set-up (thanks shargrol, I have read all your posts multiple times over), and comparable experiences on the cushion. May you enjoy your sits and get what you are seeking (by not seeking it, of course emoticon) !

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/5/20 4:27 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
5th of August, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 90 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable. A slight drop in energy the last 10-15 minutes. Reached cutting edge after about 15 minutes, stayed there, almost to the end. Did open awareness, and in the last 10-15 minutes noted a ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to maintain strong mindfulness, since I felt a suble dullness creeping in.

Body
was comfortable, soft, liquid, bottom of the ocean-like, slight pressure in the surface. Got a slight back pain after about one hour, collapsed the spine to rest for at few minutes, then sat up straight again. Thougts were few and clearly seen, about half of them practice related. The other half just random stuff with no emotional charge what so ever. At one point, though, there suddenly was the verbalized thought ”I am not of this world!” (referring to a childhood fantasy about being a foundling from outer space), followed by a reaction of sadness which hung around for maybe ten seconds. I mention this because my sittings these days usually are emotionally very very neutral, once the mind settles. Sound: The usual highpitched notes in both ears, going up and down in volume. Visual field: Nothing much going on, dim light softly moving. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration came by a few times, didn’t become very distinct, didn’t stay long. There was some doubt as to whether it was actually there – and ever had been there, if it was just something I imagined.

General feeling: Calm, quiet, comfortable, content. Apart from a slight boredome two or three times, I did not detect any aversion. Just a no biggie ”niceness”, this pleasant neutrality or neutral pleasure. Could easily have sat longer, had time allowed.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/5/20 10:06 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
5th of August, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Off cushion remark: some anger and sadness and worries going round the system, not clear if it is practice or life related or both. Even though this sitting was emotionally neutral, I think these emotions played a role in that they exhausted me and caused the energy to drop.

Mindfulness strong to begin with, but then dropped after 20-25 minutes and was low for the rest of the sitting. Never quite reached cutting edge or only touched it briefly in a short period when energy stabilized and before it dropped. Did Open awareness, then freestyle noting when energy went down, and when energy dropped further, I just noted ”in” and ”out” following the breath and opened my eyes. Eyes were closing by themselves several time when dullness was really gross.

Body
okay, a bit physical agitation the first ten minutes or so: strong, almost painful pressure in the surface, lots of tiny fast movements in the pressure, felt like ”agitated energy”. Thoughts: Almost monkey mind like activity – but emotionally quite neutral – at the beginning when the system was agitated, then it subsided and thoughts came infrequently and were not very clearly seen due to dullness. Sound: high pitched note in both ears. Visual field: Chaotic during the initial agitation, aggressive faces (human, semi-human and animal), horror film like frightened faces. Then it subsided, and nothing much happened. Vibration: Rotorlike vibration came by to or three times in the short period when energy stabilized and hadn’t dropped yet. Felt it at the spine and behind my ears.

Consideration: The first ten minutes or so was an unusual way of experiencing emotions. I didn’t feel angry or sad or scared in any normal sense of these words, there wasn’t this contraction or confusion to it, I just observed angry and sad and scared faces and agitated physical energy in the surface of the body, and the observer was completely neutral, uninvolved, didn’t even think words like ”angry”, ”sad” or ”scared”, didn’t feel aversion to what happened. A sort of virtual emotions.

General feeling: Comfortable, no biggie, a bit aversion to the dullness, but that was caught and corrected quite quickly all by itself, a bit meh, just another day on the cushion. Strong sense that I have very little control over how these sittings unfold, and acceptance of that.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/5/20 5:16 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
5th of August, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes, late night sitting (from cirka 23:00 to midnight).

Mindfulness at first strong, then after about half an hour dropped to low, and stayed there. Never quite reached cutting edge. Did open awareness first, then freestyle noting, when energy was low.

Body
was okay. The first 10-15 minutes, the pressure in the surface was intense bordering on painful, and there was some stiffness in the upper back, body was as if held in a tight grip. No aversion to this, though, just curiousity. Then the intensity of the pressure wore off, body became just self held and okay comfortable, althoug not entirely soft. Thoughts were not that frequent, at first clearly seen, but when the dullness kicked in, things got more hazy. Visual field: First 10-15 minutes quite bright blueish white light blobs disappearing towards and through the center, 3D feeling. Later on not so much activity. Sound: highpitched note in both ears.

General feeling: a bit aversion to the dullness, otherwise fine, ok comfortable, neutral, no biggie.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/6/20 4:21 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
6th of August 2020, First sitting of the day, intented to be SamVip 1.1, but it turned out differently, 60 minutes.

Since this sitting took an unusual course, I will skip the usual categories and describe it in one go: I am going through some emotionally difficult stuff in my external life these days and weeks, and 90-95 percent of the time I deal equanimously with it, but there is some anger and sadness in the system, which is hard to detect off cushion. This time, on cushion, these to emotions really turned up. The initial samatha, which usually only last 3-5 minutes, because then the mind is settled and ready for vipassana, took about half an hour, and still the mind wasn’t quite settled. Not that many thoughts, but a – these days – rare bodily discomfort: soreness in the back, restlessness and especially some pin of needle small areas in the face and neck with intense and unpleasant tingling. There was a lot of aversion to this discomfort, craving for the usual calm and interesting investigations. I freestyle noted for a while, mostly ”aversion”, ”sadness”, ”irritation”, ”tingling” and the like, and the decided to go back to samatha to calm the system. At one point, when it was most intense, there was the clear verbalized thought ”Where is my equanimity?!” (meaning both the stage and the state). This made my smile in the middle of all the agitation, because I immediately understood the premise behind that offended question: That there was an ”I” who was supposed to be in control and could "own" the equanimity.

General
feeling: discomfort, aversion, agitation, but mindfulness was strong, so this was all seen very clearly while it unfolded.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/6/20 8:01 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
6th of August 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and quite stable. Towards the end a very subtle dullness came, it made thoughts go away and reduced clarity somewhat, I think, but also gave a feeling of stability, peace. I reached 90-95 percent of cutting edge after around 15 minutes. Did Freestyle noting, and when things got clear and stable after 15 minutes, Open awareness.

Body
comfortable, but not quite still, several small corrections of posture. Last ten minutes or so it got very still, though. Thoughts came in short and clearly seen showers with quiet periods in between, thought activity maybe sixty percent of the time, but it got more and more quiet and was almost totally quiet the last ten minutes. Visual field: The light seemed a little brigter than usual. At one point it was as if the entire visual field expanded leftwards and lost connection with the tactile sense of the body. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears, quite loud this time, especially towards the end. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration came by three or four times, one time very distinct, felt inside the chest, slightly to the left (hear area) and at the same time behind both ears.

General feeling: Calm, comfortable, emotionally neutral, content.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/6/20 1:48 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
6th of August 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and quite stable. After 35-40 minutes, I think energy dropped a bit (like in the second sitting today), there was a subtle dullness, but mindfulness was still continuous. At first I did freestyle noting, since there was some physical agitation in the system, and when things calmed down, I switched to Open awarenes. When energy dropped and I detected the subtle dullness, I switched to noting ”yes” at the end of each outbreath to monitor mindfulness: It was very stable, but I am not sure if energy was low, middle or maybe even more than middle, because it was so stable, and I am not yet that used to very stable low/middle energy states.

Body
self held and comfortable all the way through, bottom of the ocean feeling with pressure in the surace. At first the pressure was quite intense and dynamic with upwardgoing wavelike movements in it, neutral in feeling tone, then it stabilized and gradually wore off and became quite mild and soft around the same time the subtle dullness kicked in. Thoughts were few and clearly seen, the last 20 minutes or so very few, almost absent, things got very calm, even peacefull. Visual field: semi bright light at the beginning, fading a bit later. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears, low volume.

General feeling: Comfortable and at ease all the way, gradually more calm, even peacefull towards the end. No aversion at any point. At first neutral in feeling tone, then even slightly pleasant (the peacefullness was plesant). A bit dream like or sleep like even though mindfulness was continuous.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/7/20 3:34 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
August 7th 2020, first sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable. There was some agitation at the beginning, so I started with Freestyle noting, then switched to Open awareness after maybe 25 minutes when things got calm and clear. Never quite reached my cutting edge, but the last 10-15 minutes were at perhaps 90 percent.

Body
: a bit discomfort, no biggie, a slight back pain (middle of the back), so I adjusted posture several times. A little aversion to the physical discomfort. Body got more still the last twenty minutes or so, though. Thoughts (and emotions such as sadness and anger) were constantly there the first ten minutes or so, relating to a difficult life situation, but they were clearly seen and noted, and after ten minutes they began subsiding. About twenty minutes in, things got quiet and calm and very clear, and from then on the system was emotionally neutral with very few and clearly seen thoughts. Visual field: Nothing much going on. Sound: highpitched note in both ears. Got higher in volume towards the end. Vibration: The rotorlike vibe was there shortly two or three times.

General feel: The course of the sit was from agitation to calm and clarity, ease.

Consideration: I am going through some tough times in my external life, and that of course influences my practice. As I interpret it, I am some times sliding down to Reobservation off cushion. This morning, for instance, I observed that I – in my thoughts and feelings – related to my life situation in a Reobservation like manner, shifting back and forth between sadness and hopelessness (Misery), anger and irritation (Disgust), and wanting to just get away, move to a monastery (Desire for deliverance). This was all seen very clearly, as if through a lense of equanimity, while I feeded the chicken and the ducks and the fish. And when I hit the cushion I sort of knew that I would work my way out of it, back up to equanimity, and that was exactly what happened. This gives me strong faith in practice. And gratitude.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/7/20 6:32 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
Niels Lyngsø:
shifting back and forth between sadness and hopelessness (Misery), anger and irritation (Disgust), and wanting to just get away, move to a monastery (Desire for deliverance). This was all seen very clearly, as if through a lense of equanimity, while I feeded the chicken and the ducks and the fish. And when I hit the cushion I sort of knew that I would work my way out of it, back up to equanimity, and that was exactly what happened. This gives me strong faith in practice. And gratitude.

Nice!

A lot of times life challenges will re-trigger our reactive patterns associated with the lower nanas... but definitely don't assume that's wrong or needs to be quickly noted away. This is part of the way the mind "figures out" external life. It will try reacting to the situation in a bunch of simplistic ways to see if it works, but eventually we figure out the core lesson of what external life is trying to teach us --- and then the simple reactions tend to go away. (And sometimes anger or getting away, etc is the right answer for specific situations -- so these nanas can be appropriate, which is another reason why we shouldn't be complete averse to having these experiences!) 

The interesting thing is by seeing how external life triggers these things we become more and more used to seeing them as simplistic patterns, possible hypothesis, rather than always believing them as real. And we'll move them very quickly in external life if they aren't appropriate, sometimes in 10 minutes, sometimes in a minute, sometimes in a second. So I doubt they ever complete go away, but they become quicker and looser. 

Some people want to skip to things becoming quicker and looser without fully allowing and experiencing the reactive patterns --- this never works. Ironically, when we really allow and accept the reactive patterns to hit us intimately and directly, then we start seeing their illusion even more clearly. Such is the paradox of meditation!
 

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/7/20 10:19 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
August 7th 2020, second sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 + 14 minutes (kept sitting after the bell rang).

Mindfulness strong and stable. Some light agitation during the initial samatha, but after five-seven minutes, mind settled at 90-95 percent of cutting edge. About twenty minutes in ot reached 100 percent cutting edge. Went with Open awareness all the way, since things were stable.

Body
: Calm, at ease, soft, bottom of the ocean feel. At first some currents and bubbles and wavelike movements, but then things got very still, only few and small and very slow corrections of posture. At one point, some 50 minutes in, I collapsed the spine to rest, due to a slight back pain. I had felt the impulse to do so several minutes earlier, but decided to ”listen” for an intention not experienced as ”my” intention, and when it came, I went with it and rested the back a few minutes before sitting up straight again. The last ten minutes or so, the body felt lighter, a part of it (the outer layer of the torso) almost disappeared, couldn't even be found if I looked for it, except if I moved. The first twenty minutes, thoughts were few and clearly seen, almost all of them practice related, and when things really settled, they became even fewer, far apart, only practice related, most of them non verbalized, very clearly seen. Visual field: At first not much activity, towards the end the (internally generated) light got a bit brigther and spread through almost the entire field. Sound: The usual highpitched notes in both ears, quite high in volume, and not so distinctly placed in or directly to the side of the ears as usual, but sort of above me and behind me to the left (left side always has most volume on the internally generated sounds).

Vibration: Curiously enough, the rotor like vibration only showed up briefly a couple of times. Mind kind of expected it to come when things got so very calm and quiet, and for some instants there was a craving for that particular sort of vibration, since it is associated with ”progress”. But the craving was quickly let go off, and mind realized that almost all of the sensations were vibratory in some sense: volume of the heard notes going steadily a little up and down, parts of the visual field shimmering or flickering now and then, every tactile sensation (mainly light pressure, tension and heavyness) had constantly changing, locally and momentarily semi regular patterns of repetition. Then mind went looking for something that was NOT vibrating and found only one thing: thought. Thought was not experienced as vibratory, but more stable or ”solid”, even though it at that point was pre- or semi verbalized thoughts in the far background.

General feel: Comfortable, content, very still, calm, much clarity, slight joy now and then, slight peacefulness now and then, strong faith/confindence in practice.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/7/20 4:47 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
August 7th 2020, third sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 + 33 minutes (kept sitting after the bell rang).

Mindfulness strong and stable. After about five minutes, mind settled at 90-95 percent of cutting edge. About twenty minutes in it reached 100 percent cutting edge. Sat with Open awareness all the way.

Body
was comfortable and calm, liquid, bottom of the ocean feeling, very still. Some back pain, so about 55 minutes in, I let the spine collapse very slowly (over more than a minute) and sat face down and rested for 5-7 minutes before slowly sitting up straight again. Thoughts were few and became even fewer when I reached cutting edge. After that there was thought activity maybe 10 percent of the time, almost all of it practice related, in the background, preverbalized and very clearly seen. At one point, suddenly in the midst of a long silence a fully verbalized thought in a firm voice came, the voice was not experienced as my own, it gave what I perceived as meditation instructions for about a minute: ”Let go of your face! It’s not yours, it’s not there! Now, let go of your eyes! They are there, but they don’t see! There is only the seen! Let go of your ears, there is only the heard! Let go of …” … here I think it was about to say ”your body”, but at that point, suddenly the voice felt as mine, I was saying this, I was making this up, and automatically my ”Do nothing” alarm (”when ever you discover that you are doing something, stop!”) went of, and so the voice stopped. Visual field: Nothing much going on. Sound: highpitched notes in both ears. Vibrations: The rotorlike vibration came by once, about 70 minutes in, quite distinct, lending it self to investigation for a minute or two. Otherwise there was a lot of these very hard to define movements of or in mind, space, awareness, sort zooming in and out, focusing and defocusing, comparing or layering of different sensations etc.

General feel: Comfortable, calm, quiet, content, very still, much clarity, emotionally very neutral, though now and then with a tint of pleasure and/or wonder.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/8/20 1:50 AM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
8th of August 2020, First sitting of the day, SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness strong and stable. Reached 90 percent of cutting edge about 10-12 minutes in, stayed there. Did Open Awareness.

Body
was comfortable, although not quite as fluid and soft as it usually is these days and weeks. Some back pain, but no biggie, slight aversion to it. Thoughts were there almost constantly, most of them just all sorts of random shit, no emotional charge, about a quarter of them practice related, among other things thoughts about SE, how it would be, when it would happen, how I would react. There was aversion to the thoughts, especially the SE thoughts, since I know they are at best pointless, and craving for silence in the head, but there was no aversion to the aversion, the chain reaction was stopped, thought and aversion to thought was seen clearly. Which didn’t stop thought – or aversion. emoticon Visual field and sound: Nothing much happening. Vibration: The rotorlike vibration came by twice, semi distinct, got investigated a bit, disappeared.

General feeling: Comfortable and calm (but not silent), mostly content, but some aversion, restlessness, boredom.

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/8/20 5:00 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
For thoughts - try to merge with the sound/tone of the thoughts. It can sometimes be a stream of pre-words, not completely formed words.

This is possible and interesting, but it's usually just something the mind can only dip in and out of. Trying to do it, usually shows up as thinking and, of course, as soon as you "think about it"  you are back to normal thought again. So it take a very delicate intention and that's about it, and either it happens or it doesn't. 

"where is the sound of my thinking...?"

RE: Niels's practice log
Answer
8/9/20 1:51 PM as a reply to Niels Lyngsø.
8th of August 2020, Second sitting of the day, Just samatha with breath at the anapana spot under the nostrils as object, 30 minutes.

I was tired, it was relaxing, nothing else to report (travelling).
         

9th of August 2020, First sitting of the day (in the evening, I’ve been traveling), SamVip 1.1, 60 minutes.

Mindfulness at first middel to low, then the last 10-15 minutes, it went up to strong. I did Freestyle noting at first, during a long phase of subtle dullness, then, when energy went up, I switched to Open awareness.

Body comfortable, liquid, bottom of the ocean-like feeling, slight pressure. The first 15-20 minutes a slight physical agitation, as if there were undercurrents, wobling and bubbling the liquid body. The last 10-15 minutes, the currents and bubbles subsided, and the body becam quite still. Neutral in feeling tone all the way. Thoughts were frequent and unclearly seen due to subtle dullness. The last 10-15 minutes the subsided, and things became quite calm, clear and quiet. No aversion to thoughts. Visual field and sound: Nothing much happening.

General feeling: comfortable and neutral all the way, a course from a bit agitation through a long stretch of subtle dullness with lack of clarity, ending in a calm, quiet, content clarity. Could easily have sat much longer, had time allowed.