Announcements Announcements

DhO Hacked and Upgrade

General

ATTENTION!: It appears that our server has been hacked through this version of Liferay, meaning it is no longer secure, and so expect instability as we deal with this and attempt to upgrade to Liferay 7, which we failed to be able to do last year the last time the team attempted it, but we have no choice at this point, so bear with us as we try again. Save any long posts in a text file before posting them. You can follow me on Twitter at @danielmingram for updates if the site is down. Apologies for any complexity this causes. We will work as fast as we can. We have backups of the database, so hopefully nothing will be lost. Thanks to all helping with this complex process.

 

 

 

Message Boards Message Boards

Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log

Toggle
Hi there, it was suggested that I make a practice log. I don't practice meditation, as 1) it would only destabilize me and 2) I am already meditative in daily life, but I want to make a log (and get more attention of course s/o Chris)
what happened today was I was feeling like absolute SHIT even in my therapy appointment (which are usually great opportunities to grieve) and I went home and my mom was shouting at me that I'm not taking care of myself etc and she said "there is a way out" and I cried and it was the most love I'd felt in a long time. I went to volleyball after that and it was the happiest I'd felt in weeks really. Felt a ton lighter. I hate that every morning this fear/trauma loop hits me and empties my heart but I hope I can enjoy this for awhile.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 4:18 AM as a reply to es pro.
Hey Sarah. I don't know your situation very well, but I have a suggestion anyway.. Love comes to you from time to time, and it did today in a small way. The idea that you must surrender to possess love or be possessed by love, that's not not really surrender, and it's not really love either. Grasping for something so intensely, even if it's love, is just like any other kind of greed. And love, if it's real, can't be grasped that way.

Love does come to you. Why don't you just let it? And when nothing grandiose and glorious is happening, simple friendship and good will are always there too.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 2:37 AM as a reply to es pro.
Well done Sarah. This is a big step.

Much love to you

Malcolm

P.S. Isn't Tim F great? Is his own weird foolish unrelenting authentic way that is.  

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 4:29 AM as a reply to es pro.
Dhammapada, Chapter 2, Heedfulness

21. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.
 
22. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness, the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.
 
23. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering, alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.
 
24. Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct, discerning and self-controlled, righteous and heedful.
 
25. By effort and heedfulness, discipline and self-mastery, let the wise one make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
 
26. The foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness, but the wise one keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.
 
27. Do not give way to heedlessness. Do not indulge in sensual pleasures. Only the heedful and meditative attain great happiness.
 
28. Just as one upon the summit of a mountain beholds the groundlings, even so when the wise man casts away heedlessness by heedfulness and ascends the high tower of wisdom, this sorrowless sage beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude.
 
29. Heedful among the heedless, wide-awake among the sleepy, the wise man advances like a swift horse leaving behind a weak jade.
 
30. By Heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the gods. Heedfulness is ever praised, and heedlessness ever despised.
 
31. The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks with fear at heedlessness advances like fire, burning all fetters, small and large.
 
32. The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks with fear at heedlessness will not fall. He is close to Nibbana.
PRACTICAL INSIGHT MEDITATION

 
BASIC PRACTICE

 
The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
 
 
PREFACE
 
It is a truism to say that nobody likes suffering and everybody seeks happiness. In this world of ours, human beings are making all possible efforts for prevention and alleviation of suffering, and enjoyment of happiness. Nevertheless, their efforts are mainly directed towards physical well-being by material means. Happiness is, after all, conditioned by attitudes of mind, and yet only a few persons give real thought to mental development, fewer still practice mind training in earnest.
 
To illustrate this point, attention may be drawn to the commonplace habits of cleaning and tidying up one's body, the endless pursuits of food, clothing and shelter, and the tremendous technological progress achieved for raising the material standard of living, for improving the means of transport and communications, and for prevention and cure of diseases and ailments. All these efforts are, in the main, concerned with the care and nourishment of the body. It must be recognized that they are essential. However, these human efforts and achievements cannot possibly bring about the alleviation or eradication of suffering associated with old age and disease, domestic infelicity and economic troubles, in short, with non-satisfaction of wants and desires. Sufferings of this nature are not overcome by material means; they can be overcome only mind training and mental development.
 
Then, it becomes clear that the right way must be sought for training, stabilizing and purifying the mind.
 
[...]
 
If one were asked whether he wished to overcome sorrow and lamentation, he would surely say, "Yes." Then he, nay everybody, should practise the four foundations of mindfulness.
 
If one were asked whether he wishes to destroy pain and grief, he would not hesitate to reply in the affirmative. Then he, nay everybody, should practise the four foundations of mindfulness
 
[...]
 
As a result of insight, a brilliant light will appear to the meditator. There arises also in him rapture, causing “goose-flesh,” falling of tears, tremor in the limbs. It produces in him a subtle thrill and exhilaration. He feels as if on a swing. He even wonders whether he is just giddy. Then there arises tranquillity of mind and along with it appears mental agility, etc. When sitting, lying, walking, or standing, he feels quite at ease. Both body and mind are agile in functioning swiftly; they are pliant in being able to attend to any object desired; they are wieldy in being able to attend to an object for any length of time desired. One is free from stiffness, heat, or pain. Insight penetrates objects with ease. Mind becomes sound and straight, and one wishes to avoid all evil. Through firm faith, mind is very bright. At times, when there is no object to be noticed, the mind remains tranquil for a long time.
 
[...]
 
He wishes to advise others to practice meditation. Free from sloth and torpor, his energy is neither lax nor tense. There also arises in him equanimity associated with insight. His happiness exceeds his former experiences. So he wishes to communicate his feelings and experiences to others. There arises further a subtle attachment of a calm nature that enjoys the insight associated with the brilliant light, mindfulness, and rapture. He comes to believe it to be just the bliss of meditation.
 
[...]
 
One must recognize the fact that cherishing an inclination towards such phenomena, like a brilliant light, etc., and being attached to them, is a wrong attitude. The correct response that is in conformity with the path of insight is to notice these objects mindfully and with detachment until they disappear.
 
[...]
 
When the meditator continues to apply mindfulness to body-and-mind, his insight will grow in clarity. He will come to perceive more distinctly the arising and disappearing of the bodily and mental process. He will come to know that each object arises at one place and in that very place it disappears. He will know that the previous occurrence is one thing and the succeeding occurrence is another. So at every act of noticing, he comprehends the characteristics of impermanence, painfulness, and egolessness. After thus contemplating for a considerable time, he may come to believe: “This is surely the best that can be attained. It can’t be better,” and he becomes so satisfied with his progress that he is likely to pause and relax. He should, however, not relax at this stage, but go ahead with his practice of noticing the bodily and mental processes continuously for a still longer time.
 
[...]
 
When engaged in noticing continuously both the dissolution of the objects and the act of knowing, he reflects: “Even for the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning nothing lasts. One did not realize this before. As things ceased and vanished in the past, so will they cease and vanish in the future.” One must notice such a reflection.

Besides, in the midst of contemplation, the meditator is likely to have an awareness of fearfulness. He reflects: “One enjoys life, not knowing the truth. Now that one knows the truth of continuous dissolution it is truly fearful. At every moment of dissolution one may die. The beginning of this life itself is fearful. So are the endless repetitions of the arisings. Fearful it is to feel that in the absence of real features and forms the arisings appear to be real. So are the efforts to arrest the changing phenomena for the sake of well-being and happiness. To be reborn is fearful in that it will be a recurrence of objects that are ceasing and vanishing always. Fearful indeed it is to be old, to die, to experience sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.” Such a reflection should be noticed and then dismissed.
 
Then the meditator sees nothing to depend on and becomes as it were weakened in mind as well as in body. He is seized with dejection. He is no longer bright and spirited. But he should not despair. This condition of his is a sign of the progress of insight. It is nothing more than being unhappy at the awareness of fearfulness. He must notice such a reflection, and as he continues to notice objects as they arise, one after another, this unhappy feeling will disappear soon.

However, if he fails to contemplate for some time, then grief will assert itself and fear will overpower him. This kind of fear is not associated with insight. Therefore care must be taken to prevent the oncoming of such undesirable fear, by energetic contemplation.

Again, in the midst of noticing objects, he is likely to find faults, in this manner: “This body-and-mind process, being impermanent, is unsatisfactory. It was not a good thing to have been born. It is not good either to continue in existence. It is disappointing to see the appearance of seemingly definite features and forms of objects while in fact they are not realities. It is in vain that one makes efforts to seek well-being and happiness. Birth is not desirable. Dreadful are old age, death, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.” A reflection of this nature must likewise be noticed.

Then one tends to feel that body-and-mind as the object, and the consciousness noticing it, are very crude, low, or worthless. By noticing their arising and disappearing he gets sick of them. He might see his own body decaying and decomposing. He looks upon it as being very fragile. At this stage, while the meditator is noticing all that arises in his body-and-mind, he is getting disgusted with it. Although he cognizes clearly their dissolution by a series of good noticings he is no longer alert and bright. His contemplation is associated with disgust. So he becomes lazy to contemplate. But nevertheless he cannot refrain from contemplating.

For example, it is like one who feels disgusted at every step when he has to walk on a muddy and dirty path and yet he cannot stop going. He cannot help but go on. At this time, he sees the human abode as being subject to the process of dissolution, and he does not relish the prospect of being reborn as a human being, man or woman, king or multimillionaire. He has the same feelings towards the celestial abodes.
 
When through this knowledge he feels disgusted with regard to every formation noticed, there will arise in him a desire to forsake these formations or be delivered from them.Seeing, hearing, touching, reflecting, standing, sitting, bending, stretching, noticing—he wishes to get rid of them all. He should notice this wishing.
 
He now longs for the liberation from bodily and mental processes. He reflects: “Every time I notice them, I am meeting with repetitions, which are all bad. I had better stop noticing them.” He should take notice of such a reflection.
 
Some meditators, when so reflecting, actually stop noticing the formations. Although they do so, the formations do not stop taking place, namely: rising, falling, bending, stretching, intending, and so on. They go on as ever. Noticing of the distinct formations also continues. So, reflecting thus, he feels pleased: “Although I stop noticing the body-and-mind, formations are taking place all the same. They are arising, and consciousness of them is there, by itself. So liberation from them cannot be achieved by merely stopping to notice them. They cannot be forsaken in this way. By noticing them as usual, the three characteristics of life will be fully comprehended and then, no heed being given to them, equanimity will be gained. The end of these formations, Nibbána, will be realized. Peace and bliss will come.” So reflecting with delight, he continues to notice the formations. In the case of those meditators who are not capable of reflecting in this way, they continue their meditation once they become satisfied with the explanation of their teachers.
 
Soon after continuing meditation they gain momentum, and at that time usually various painful feelings arise in some cases. This need not cause despair.
 
[...]
 
Not satisfied with his contemplation he changes his posture often. While sitting he thinks he will do better walking. While walking he wants to resume sitting. After he has sat down he changes the position of his limbs. He wants to go to another place; he wants to lie down. Although he makes these changes he cannot remain long in one particular position. Again, he becomes restless. But he should not despair. All this happens because he has come to realize the true nature of the formations, and also because he has not yet acquired the “knowledge of equanimity about formations.” He is doing well and yet he feels otherwise. He should try to adhere to one posture, and he will find that he is comfortable in that posture. Continuing to notice the formations energetically, his mind will gradually become composed and bright. In the end his restless feelings will disappear totally.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 4:17 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Daniel Ingram, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha 2, Part II, 24, From content to Insight
 
In the previous chapter I explained a method of cognitive restructuring designed to help us stop following distracting or unhelpful thoughts. As those sorts of techniques have an agenda for what happens, rather than an agenda for perceiving something fundamental about whatever happens, they are an aspect of training in morality or concentration. However, if we are willing to realize that we can also take an insight-oriented perspective on difficult or distracting thoughts, on the cushion or off, then we can begin to make the transition from content to insight. 

As you would expect, this method is grounded squarely in the three characteristics, as well as the other basic assumptions of insight practices, such as our current sensate experience being the gold standard for reality. This method is probably best shown by way of examples, in this case of a few people with a Big Issue who are on an insight meditation retreat and reporting their experiences.
 
The first example is of someone who is completely buying into the content. “So, in my practice I have been working through my Big Issue, you know, really trying to deal with it. It just seems to come back up again and again. Every time I sit on the cushion, I find myself thinking about my Big Issue. This Big Issue is such a big part of my life, such a huge issue. I am afraid that if I look too closely at my Big Issue it will overwhelm or destroy me. I wish my Big Issue would just go away. I have been doing so much practice, and yet I still have to deal with this darned Big Issue.”
 
Notice that the person assumes the permanence, solidity, and continuity of Big Issue. Also assumed is that all thoughts about the Big Issue are either self, the property of self, or separate from self. Further, this person is not working at a sensate level, trying to see the true nature of the thoughts and physical sensations that make up the Big Issue and the rest of his or her reality. In short, the “practice” is something other than insight practice. Let’s try again.
 
“I sat down on the cushion, and I had barely begun to practice noticing my breath when a thought about my Big Issue arose. I tried to ignore it, but then more thoughts about Big Issue arose, and my stomach began to feel queasy. I tried to focus on the breath again (which had quickened, as had my heart rate), but then I found myself thinking about the Big Issue again, thought after thought, mostly the same old thoughts repeating again and again.”
 
This person is already making progress towards using the thoughts and physical sensations around Big Issue as a basis for insight by beginning to apply the assumptions of insight practices to direct experience. He is trying to focus on a physical object, trying to notice the individual sensations that make up his thoughts and physical sensations. However, he has poor concentration and has not learned to see the true nature of the sensations that make these up.

 
“I sat down on the cushion and tried to see each of the sensations that make up the breath. Interspersed with these physical sensations were mental images of the breath. Interspersed with all these sensations were also thoughts about the Big Issue. They were quick and seemed to also involve some mildly painful or disconcerting physical sensations in the region of my stomach. I could see these come and go and that they were observed. I could feel as they arose that there was something irritating about these quick sensations.
 
“I noticed that most of my experience was made of sensations that didn’t seem to relate to that Big Issue. Sometimes I noticed the three characteristics of the sensations that seem to be related to the old Big Issue pattern of sensations, and sometimes I could stay with the sensations of breathing. However, regardless of which sensations arose, I was generally able to see some aspect of their true nature. Thus, I find that I can keep practicing and not get lost in old, circular thoughts about that Big Issue that do me little good and have caused me much pain.”
 
These are the sorts of descriptions that really light up a meditation teacher’s eyes. They can see that this is a person who is really getting a sense of what insight practice is and how it can be useful. The meditator not only understands the focus and assumptions of insight practices but is also actually able to do fairly consistent and strong practice. Even being able to do this when we are walking around and dealing with our stuff can be helpful. Shifting to the sensate level reveals things about our stuff that can be very helpful for keeping it in perspective and not getting overwhelmed or engulfed by it. It also develops habits that make it easier for us to shift to a sensate level when we do formal insight practice.
 
Thus, if you have an issue that keeps bugging, consuming, or overwhelming you, try taking the time to see the three characteristics of the sensations that make it up as you go about your day, thinking, “The pattern of sensations that make up this Big Issue are quick, transient, and observed. They are a very small part of the broad field that is my actual sensate experience. They arise on their own and vanish on their own. I will do my best to notice this as sensations occur. When speaking of the Big Issue to others and to myself, I will try to keep my descriptions at an insight-oriented level. By seeing this Big Issue as observed and transient phenomena, I will not be lost in, and thereby not perpetuate, negative and painful thoughts about Big Issue. I will bring more clarity and spaciousness to my Big Issue, bring more intelligence and gentleness to my Big Issue, and bring more common sense and balance to my Big Issue.
 
If I can do this, it will be of great benefit to me and therefore to others. If I continue to wallow in my circular thoughts about this Big Issue (which should by now be shrinking to Issue) that get me nowhere, I will simply experience unnecessary pain to little good effect. This is my plan and my resolve. Though I may fail again and again to be able to do this, eventually I will break the habit of not being able to see the true nature of ‘Big Issue’ and thus will grow in wisdom and happiness!” That’s the way the game is played.
 
Just for fun, I will give two more examples from even more advanced practitioners and how they might describe their practice. “I sat down on the cushion and began noticing the three characteristics of the sensations that make up experiential reality. There were physical and mental sensations, all arising and vanishing quickly and effortlessly. I could perceive perhaps five to fifteen sensations per second, primarily in the abdominal region, but there were many other little sensations coming into awareness from all over, colors on the inside of my eyelids, sounds from other meditators’ breathing. Occasionally, there were some quick sensations interspersed with these about the Big Issue, like little phantoms vanishing in a sea of flickering color and form. They caused no interruptions to my investigations, being just more sensations for investigation.”
 
This is obviously a strong practitioner with solid insight skills. They know exactly what they are looking for and find it. They are willing to make time for bare sensate investigation. We cannot instantly make the transition to this sort of practice, nor can we merely parrot these sorts of descriptions, but I am a firm believer that making clear exactly what we are looking for can make it much easier to make the transition from content to insight. By observing what we can do and looking at what someone at the next higher skill level can do, we will be able to proceed with more confidence that we are on the right track.
 
This last example is a description of practice from a particularly strong and advanced practitioner: “I sat down on the cushion and the cycles of insight presented themselves effortlessly. There was a shift, and very fine, fast vibrations arose instantly, dropping down quickly with the out-breath, and then vibrations shifted out, getting vague for a few seconds. Concentration restabilized and revealed the quick ending of sensations one after the other, perhaps five to ten per second, and then things began thickening somewhat, getting somewhat irritating, but vibrations remained the predominant experience. It was just that their unsatisfactory aspect became more predominant, and there were a few sensations relating to the Big Issue.
 
“I may have noticed a few hints of what dualistic perspectives remain and the basic pain and confusion they cause. There was a shift, and a more panoramic and easy perspective arose, accompanied by more coherent and synchronized vibrations including most of sensate reality, including much of space, with a more flowing and open quality than before. There was a short period of barely noticeable but mature equanimity in the face of these as the fluxing of space and its textures became more inclusive. Any sense of practicing dropped away entirely.
 
“A minute later, two of the three characteristics presented completely in quick succession, including the whole background of space, revealing something incomprehensible about the nature of subject and object, and ‘reality’ vanished. ‘Reality’ reappeared quiet, clear, beautiful, and easy. I solidified space in that afterglow so as to enjoy the formless realms for a few minutes, rising up through them and back down to Boundless Space. A vision relating to the Big Issue arose.
 
“I stabilized on the vision, noticing the feeling of it, and before I knew it I was out-of-body, traveling in a strange realm, having interactions that replayed Big Issue in symbolic or mythic form. I saw something about this issue that I never had before: how an old, unexamined, and fictitious train of associations led to my inability to come to some more balanced understanding of this issue. This epiphany broke my concentration, and I returned to my body. I then dropped out of the formless realms, allowing a new insight cycle to begin again. When I got up off the cushion, I noticed that the psychological insights that arose in the other realm gave me an increased sense of humor and a more compassionate perspective towards those involved in this issue. They were just trying to be happy, just as we all are. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.”
 
This practitioner has talent and a wide range of skills. She is not only an advanced insight practitioner, but also has strong concentration skills and can even chance into some of the more unusual concentration attainments. Further, she seems to be able to use her ability to “travel” out-of-body to gain relative insights into the content of “her” stuff, which is not necessary but can be very skillful if consciously done. Last, she is on the lookout for the subtle signs of the limits of her insights. She is not only skilled, but acknowledges what she does not yet know. She is well on her way to mastering the core teachings of the Buddha.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 4:41 AM as a reply to es pro.
My suggestion for this practice log is to concentrate on good things in your life rather than the bad. This is also my suggestion for life in general. Even if there is not much great things going on then it is better to think about nothing at all as activity makes it harder for you to feel your brain.

Like really the issues with feeling down and depressed are caused by wrong activation patterns in your nervous system and have nothing to do with any life story. You are tired but not in general sense but in very localized sense, some parts of your nervous systems are absed and you need to switch them to different parts which are not so tired. To be able to use different parts of your nervous system which are not so tired you generally need to feel these parts and to do it you need to feel your nervous system. To feel nervous system in more meaningful way it is better to not have any needless thoughts.

Even purpose of all this dwelling in negativity is only to spread activity in the brain. Crying brings relief only because you cannot sustain feeling well for more than minutes at time, some times even seconds. Even state of crying overloads your nervous system and then you just feel terrible without anything which can help you, no going deeper in to crying.

And your brain has enough resources to allow for feeling really high activation states for very long. All that needs to be done to be able to do this is to constantly switch used parts of brain / nervous system. You can learn this without sitting meditation. It is however a practice which you need to put some effort in... at least attention and try to feel your nervous system and try different ways it can be controlled.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 7:35 AM as a reply to es pro.
Selfish, immature, ignorant (Buddhist version) people seek fulfillment outside themselves. They repeat their mistakes, over and over, because they refuse to take a step back and observe their thoughts and actions in order to develop a healthy level of self-awareness. They rely on others for their happiness. They blame others for their suffering. They find ways to preserve their pain, unwittingly (remember - ignorance), thinking misguidedly that achieving their selfish goals (more love, more attention, more, more, more) is the solution to their problems.

Another of these topics is just a way to preserve the suffering. What is needed is to stop playing around here, heed the professional help you're getting, and mature into a functional adult. That's hard to do, but what you have now is far more difficult and painful in the long run, and could lead to worse.

I will not be an accessory to this.

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 12:19 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Tim is my best friend xD



chris, what are you saying here? What is the problem with this innocent entry? Anyway whatever 

RE: Sarah’s “I refuse to practice” log
Answer
9/29/20 12:41 PM as a reply to es pro.
Apparently, and admitted to by you, you have some serious problems that go well beyond anything anyone here is going to be able to effectively address. This is a message board for meditation practitioners, and you are admittedly not one of those. You are seeing doctors and therapists. According to reports, your parents are concerned and worried. I have no idea how old you are but it appears you live at home. This is not the place you should be coming to for help, guidance, friendship, or anything else. You probably shouldn't spend any time here at all. I think you post here because folks here are nice enough to play along, even though playing along with you is counterproductive to your situation, your heath, your mental state. This plays to your desire to avoid doing what your therapist is no doubt telling you to do. It supports your selfish desire to continue in the same mode, avoid the things that will actually help you, and reinforce those things that won't.

I think you know what my issues are because you've had other people tell you the same thing. You've admitted to this, too. So asking me what I'm saying is just plain ol' disingenuous. Don't play dumb. I'm not buying it.

You should go get better and stop playing around here.

To the rest of you: You need to do the right thing and stop enabling self-destructive behavior. This is not just another wayward, lost meditator. This appears to be a serious situation that we should all back away from.

I'm locking thread now and will continue to lock any new threads that are created by this poster, and to prevent that from happening I'm banning this poster.