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Melissa practise log

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Melissa practise log
Answer
9/20/20 9:04 PM
33 year old female starting her practise few months ago. 

started with breath meditation and now doing breath +noting (eg 20-30 mins breath meditation and 30 mins noting)

due to circumstances hard to get a teacher and difficult to travel for retreat. Hope this log will keep me accountable and dhamma overground well practised friends will be able to help when difficulty arises. 

practise reason : eliminate / reduce suffering. 

❤️May you be well and happy. 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/22/20 11:33 AM as a reply to Melissa.
22 Sept. 

Had a few one hour sits that make it up to about 6 hours. 

1st sit : experience waves from head to bottom after noting for awhile. I wonder what was that? 

2nd sit : body started shaking left to right and shook more when I pay started noting the movements, it gradually slowed down. No idea why. 

Afternoon sit : I use a systematic way of noting, from body sensation, vedana, emotions and then thoughts. I am not able to note "Thoughts" and "Emotions" that well as compared to sensation and "pleasant, unpleasant, neutral". I took some time to focus on noting "thoughts" only and it makes it slightly easier to concentrate. I wonder if anyone has methods to improve on picking up thoughts and not let thoughts go under the radar?

Sometimes i feel there is a thought coming up but I am not sure what is it and I note it immediately and it goes away, is that the right way? 

Emotions is the hardest part. I tend to note only "calm" "calm" .. and couldn't really uncover my emotions. I wonder if it will improve after some practise. We shall see. 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/22/20 12:10 PM as a reply to Melissa.
Welcome to DhO Melissa! 
Im sure you will find inspiration and support in this community. 

May you practice well emoticon

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/22/20 8:56 PM as a reply to Melissa.
Hi Melissa,

I am not able to note "Thoughts" and "Emotions" that well as compared to sensation and "pleasant, unpleasant, neutral". I took some time to focus on noting "thoughts" only and it makes it slightly easier to concentrate. I wonder if anyone has methods to improve on picking up thoughts and not let thoughts go under the radar?


Shinzen Young has a set of techniques for noting/noticing subjective experience that he calls Focus In techniques (In refers to inside, meaning subjective). His See In and Hear In techniques are specifically for noting thoughts. See In refers to noting mental images, and Hear In refers to noting mental talks. Another technique in Focus In family is Feel In, that is for noting physcial sensations of emotions.

He has another technique called Auto Think which uses both See In and Hear In, and if one is interested in these techniques, I think Auto Think (specially its first step) is a good way to become familiar with both techniques and noting thoughts.

He has a day long retreat on Auto Think on SoundCloud (the links below), that described the technique in detail and has guided meditations and Q&As.

https://soundcloud.com/monasticacademy/shinzen-young-day-long-1

https://soundcloud.com/monasticacademy/shinzen-young-day-long

https://soundcloud.com/monasticacademy/shinzen-young-day-long-retreat

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/22/20 9:02 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Thanks Siavash! I will definitely check it out ;) 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/23/20 7:58 PM as a reply to Melissa.
23 sept 

2 hours sit in the morning. 

Somehow got very anxious and down after that. 

went to the gym and went to work. 

try to sit another hour at night but work issue is pulling my mind away so I will try to sit more tmr

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/23/20 9:08 PM as a reply to Melissa.
Hi Melissa, welcome to DhO. You probably already know that thoughts are just a bundle of sensations too (see, hear, feel, etc) so when you are noticing physical sensations on hands, arms and the face in general, that's pointing to a conscious or unconscious thoughts. So far, for what you report, it seems like you're trying to stablish a meditation routine, so you shouldn't worry if thoughts can't be labelled yet. You've got multiple physical sensations to make your practice get a steady pace.

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/23/20 10:38 PM as a reply to Pepe.
Thanks Pepe for your encouragement. Yes I always go back to noting body sensation when emotions and thoughts are few and far in between(I think I just couldn't pick it up not that it's few). 
emoticon

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/24/20 10:53 AM as a reply to Melissa.
24 September 2020. 

Hours : 6 

Trying to hold my mind on "thoughts and emotions" today as that's my weak category. 

The last 2 hours of practise in the evening, I can feel so many flickerings especially in my hands, my breaths are made up of choppy flickering sensation.. and even the attention is flickering. I could even feel it after practise. Strange ! 


got a little tip from MCTB for noting thoughts - by observing its sensations, size, taste, smell, sounds. I will do that tmr or the weekend. 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/26/20 7:58 PM as a reply to Melissa.
26 September 

I had a good day of practising today. 

a few one hour sittings, made in to about 7.5 hours in total. 

I can see that my concentration and mindfulness become stronger. I can note thoughts clearly now. So is emotions. Practise really results in progress, now amazing. 

At one point, my whole field of experience started pulsing in and out, like a hammering rhythm, throbbing and pulsing, even when I stop meditating I can still feel it gently. 

Some one hour sits are really pleasant and I could sit up to 75 minutes. Some sits I struggled to make it up to 30'mins. 

Some questions I have for advance practitioners 

1) when I note body sensations, do I let them come to my awareness before I note them or do I go towards them? Does that matter? I don't know if I will be "creating experience" if I go towards the sensations eg touch where the bum hits the sofa, touch between two palms, touch between my back and sofa, sometimes my attention automatically move between these places and it sort of become rhythmic. Is that ok to do? 

(I don't note with an anchor like the breath. Mainly because once I have an anchor I realised my mindfulness towards other sensations drop significantly) 

2) I might need to start looking for a teacher in the near future should things become more rough. Is that a good idea? If so, if there any teachers here who is well versed with POI or any recommendations? 

thanks all. Your practice gives me inspiration and motivation. 

today I will be practising at a higher volume again to keep the momentum going(busy week next week), main goal is to note consistently at at least one note per second pace or faster, and objectify more thoughts and emotions. I won't let any phenomena derails me today (been getting lots of pulsing, tingling, etc ) 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/27/20 2:27 AM as a reply to Melissa.
"when I note body sensations, do I let them come to my awareness before I note them or do I go towards them? Does that matter? I don't know if I will be "creating experience" if I go towards the sensations eg touch where the bum hits the sofa, touch between two palms, touch between my back and sofa, sometimes my attention automatically move between these places and it sort of become rhythmic. Is that ok to do? "

I will try and answer in case that advanced practitioner never shows up emoticon 

Yes. It's ok to "look for sensations" and this very activity is to be noted too as either ; Curiousity, wonder, looking, scanning, urge/panic to find something quickly, inability to find sensations, doubt if I'm doing this right , etc ... recognize the mind state an feeling tone of that very intention to look for something. You do that, you are doing it right. 

Btw, try and be sensitive to that very gesture of Looking (for something, or even Listening). Note it but also don't rush into sensations but rather "feel and observe" that very Looking. What's its size, is it narrow or wide, contracted or expansive, wonderous and open, or tensed and closed etc ... 

I hope this is of help. 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/29/20 11:59 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thanks Papa. I have since then used your way to practise and realise it works very well. At least, I have less doubts about my practise.

Since the last I checked in, I have been practising up to 5-6 hours a day, 1-2 hours sits starting off with 20 mins breath med and then noting.

3 days ago, i experienced quite dramatic pulsations/throbbing all over my body, at one point my hand and head shakes involuntarily as though I was having a seizure. I was slightly frightened but know  I am ok because i am still clearly aware. 

My subsequent few sits culminate in shaking/ throbbing again when i start noting faster and note 'touch hands, touch bum, touch back, hearing... " It became rhythmic and I find myself sometimes trying to catch up and it does get tiring. (who says meditation is easy work?!)
It is awhile before the rhythm changes to faster and it became a buzz. then it slows down again. 

I also experience energy going up and down my body strongest 3 days ago and it was very pleasant. I try to read about A&P but not really sure whether I am there or not. 

Last night, after strong pulsations, it slowly stops and my awareness became slow and it was hard to note especially middle of my body. I couldnt note the usual touch on my hands, my thighs, and can only feel my back and sounds in the periphery. It feels like walking in the water where resistance is high. 

After continuously few days of practise like that, I feel abit "roughened up". I don't know if this is the DN ppl talks about or whether it's just too much practise ( is there such thing?!). I realise I am becoming "weird" by normal people standard, irritated, and easily angered. Even off cushion I can feel the throbbing, pulsations.. even trying to sleep at night it is still pulsating.

I am easing back on today's practise. Will go to the gym, clean up my place, and see my parents. 

If anyone has any suggestions at all, I thank you in advance as I need some directions- don't we all!

Also, I find great inspiration in this site. I wouldn't have been able to practise confidently because I would be deemed super strange by normal humans standard! Thanks guys!

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/30/20 3:37 AM as a reply to Melissa.
"I am easing back on today's practise. Will go to the gym, clean up my place, and see my parents."

I think this sounds really good emoticon 

I'm not good at telling where people are on the map but one thing I can tell you; Ingram keeps repeating one word through the ENTIRE book of his -  Acceptance, of all matter of fact phenomena arising in This moment. 

It is a very wholesome intention which will help you all the way. Acceptance and intimate curiosity of your momentary experience is what does the work. Thinking about the Map will just cause frustration. 

Map is helpful in a sense of telling us "if shit hits the fan, do not freak out, it's progress, it's part of the cycle". 
Map is a general pointer but does not cover the very unik aspects of our mind terrain which is the very thing we are awakening to. Here, acceptance and intimate curiosity of the matter of fact experience goes a long way.

I think it's great you are going to the gym and doing stuff in your daily life. I have to kick my ars into doing the same as right now I'm in a stage that's rather heavy on the body and I feel utterly unbalanced and stiff. 

BTW, only you can say if 5 hours a day is too much. Folks do sit even longer, and some of even shorter emoticon I was never big into sitting many hours a day except when I was in A&P, stage known for this. It's enjoyable to sit often and long. Once in DN things get a bit heavier and sitting might not be as enjoyable. Reducing to 1-2 times 45-60 minutes a day is ok. Keep noting 1-5 sensations per second depending on clarity and energy and don't beat yourself up for not being as good at it as before. All stuff is impermanent and so is clarity and energy etc. Acceptance and curious perseverance. Important is not to give up. Better less sitting hours per day than stopping entirely. It's always darkest before the dawn. 

Did I say it's good you are going to the gym and staying in contact with your every day off cushion life emoticon 

I hope my writing is not confusing you but helping instead. 

RE: Melissa practise log
Answer
9/30/20 8:30 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thank you Papa! Your words and my time off cushion today have lifted my spirits to continue walking the dhamma path. 

I will remember your words for my next practise - acceptance. This is a season for me to learn acceptance , both in my meditation and in my life. I am a go big or go home person so this is an important lesson. emoticon