Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Time for a new log, as the previous one was getting too long.

My main practice right now, except for the sadhana I have promised to do for the extraordinary ngöndro with Lama Lena, is to just open up for the entire existence to ripple through me like a gong bath and be aware of the rippling and of the awareness of the rippling, being the space that allows for existence to unfold effortlessly. By opening up to this, I let layers of veils dissolve and integrate. I need to remember that when the opening up does not seem available, basic vipassana (together with whatever is needed to take care of the mammal and its hard-wiring!) takes me down the stack to open things up. This is in line with the "Reversing the stack" classes with Michael Taft. Part of it is also trekcho, but I need to let go of specific labels and expectations of the practice and just be with what is, and use whatever tools work. I also need to return to aspects of mapping that I had started to forget as the mapping was seemingly getting less relevant: the elusive center of focus and the out of phase thing, that's not something that needs fixing, but part of the process in going through the dukkha nanas and actually progress. There is no need to resist it at all. Actually, embracing it and exploring it are fascinating "endeavors", if that is what wants to happen. Let's just embrace the ride!

Sidenote: my test results for covid came back negative. It was/is probably just symptoms from the allergy shots. 
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Chris Marti, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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... my test results for covid came back negative.

Yay! Stay safe.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Thanks! Doing my best. 

---

Third formal practice session so far today, 45 minutes, reclining. Started out with eyes open, resting them in the ceiling without focusing them anywhere particular. About halfway in (?) I closed them because keeping them open felt like an effort.

Interesting territory. That sense of electricity crackling around my head. Swirling in all sense gates, vibrations on several levels. Quickly moving down the stack, then balancing back and forth between fascination with the vibrational aspects and awareness being aware of itself and dream territory (the latter which also enabled me to remember an interesting aspect of the dreaming from last night*). I think this is the way to entering lucid dreaming from meditation while being awake in the mundane sense. Sometimes there was dullness that stopped abruptly as something startled me. That dullness and the abrupt shift from startling is what obstructs that way, but it's not a big deal. Dreaming and ordinary mind really aren't that different. The thought fragments that pop up are quite similar. It's the logic joining them together as chains that follow different logics, and those logics aren't all cut in stone.

Kinesthetically, there were lots of expansions and contractions, both at the same time in different ways. Quite the massage. I could feel disentangling occurring. Easy breathing. Towards the end of the session I noticed that I felt more space around the expansions and contractions, and the expansions and contractions occurred in space too, if that makes any sense. That made it all feel more spacious, as there was always some opening somewhere. It was neither the feeling of 'hurting so good" that I had while being attached to third vipassana jhana nor the claustrophobic feeling associated with it in aversion. It was more a sense of things just occurring, with the possibility of zooming into a perspective of being in the midst of it or zooming out from it, like in a video game when one zooms out to see one's character from afar to get the bigger picture instead of seeing it from the eyes of the character. 

*) I recalled some editing of a dream during the night. This could have turned it into a lucid dream, but I got absorbed by the content again. It was a dream about missing a train because of a misunderstanding about where to wait for it. I remember a moment of "what if" that then turned into reality in the dream. I thought "what if I had known a shortcut to the next stop and could be there before the train?". I remember another thought, something like "Hey, wait a minute, if I did, why would I even have headed for this first station to begin with?", but apparently that logic could be set aside in the dream, because suddenly I was on the train thanks to that shortcut. From there, other challenges followed. Tickets that weren't valid, weird happenings. That development is not something I'll invest energy in describing, as it was a very regular dream and as such elusive to my memory. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I missed the Chenrezig practice group today because I had totally forgotten that Sweden had changed back to ordinary time. So much for thinking that I woke up earlier than usual, lol. However, I was doing my own practice about the same time, and that felt good, so it's okay. It's not a practice that I'm focusing on anyway. I just really like the vibes in that group. It makes me feel that I love people, and I guess I have an attachment to that feeling. Thanks to trying to be in time for that group and finding out that I wasn't, I learned about the time change, which enabled me to be in time for Lama Lena's teachings on The Flight of the Garuda (a Dzogchen text designed for a series of teachings), which I love. There is an entire playlist with those teachings on her youtube channel, if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpn8zJMg-MPS6RNulz9YBbhi5UGRRweB- After the teachings, I did my sadhana and then had a lovely sitting with rigpa available. Now I'm going to dig into the panel discussion with Daniel and a bunch of other realized people - wohoo! Feels like Christmas today. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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One of the reasons I thought I had been infected by covid too is that my body is trembling like crazy, visibly, but of course that's just the dukkha nanas. I had forgotten how tangible that can be, as it hasn't been like that since stream entry. Before that, I had it on and off for about a decade at least. So... I suppose this is one of the examples of how dukkna nanas can suddenly get more obvious again, seemingly out of the blue. Right now I'm having really jarry and chaotic vibrations, so disgust maybe? Reobservation? I need to read up on that again. Emotions aren't quite following the pattern, because I'm having fun with it. I came to remember that I'm in it for the ride, and this is a ride allright. It's easier when it gets to the vibrational level than when it manifests emotionally. I did feel like crawling out of my body for a while, though, as I was trying to sleep, which didn't go very well, but when I gave up on sleeping and played a simple word game on my tablet obsessively (one that very clearly triggers dopamine), I pretty soon got exhausted enough from trying to concentrate. Trying not to sleep as a way of getting to sleep worked well for me in the past, during that decade of endless cycling before I got myself a practice. Eventually the body just takes care of it on its own, and it does that more easily when I'm not trying to control it. Learned that the hard way. 

Oh, so that's also why my body temperature has been shifting up and down. It wasn't regular fever, but PoI cycling. Wow. Kind of cool that it has so obvious physical effects, isn't it? 

I have decided to sit very frequently today, a couple of long sits and many many brief ones, and microhits on top of that. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Fascinating how tawa is there, right at the non-center, as the eye of the hurricane. A timeless stillness in the midst of turbulent movement. Details of ordinary life strike me as radiantly beautiful. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I went to yoga for the first time in a while now, as I have had some health issues. I expected it to be effortful and rather unpleasant, both due to being out of shape and because of the jarring dukkha nana manifestations energetically and otherwise embodied. I was surprised to find a strong sense of calm presence with better coordination and balance than for a long time and with lots of space in the fascia and muscles. Sensations were excuisite in their subtle but very rich and nuanced simplicity. It felt like I was riding a wave of sensory experience, always on top of it in a sense of stillness while the flow of experience was doing the movement. That's rigpa, right? That's the case now as well, although I can sense a subtle shift out of synch coming up. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Low again. My dominant dukkha nana bleadthrough seems to be procrastinating important stuff, baking cookies and indulging in escapism. Animal realm stuff (maybe it's not too late to be reborn as a mallard after all, lol). Interestingly, the ignorance associated with it doesn't seem like something that just happens out of the blue because the cycling dictates poor clarity. Not that I ever thought it was, but it felt more like it. I guess that's why in the middle paths the realms seem more relevant than the PoI cycling. The mechanisms of dependent origination leading to these tendencies become more clear. It's not that clarity isn't avaliable. It's more a question of escapism. If I look for it, it's all there. It's just that the ignorance is so very tempting. As if it would be satisfying this time although it never was before. 

There was some lucid dreaming during the night. Not screen 4, but looking at environments with no people or action in them, and/or images. I was looking at the visuals and knew that it was a dream. I was fascinated by how real it looked. That it was all just a mind creation, a more individual one than the usual consensual reality where our creations seem to overlap and interact as the default. That I knew that and it remained fairly solid anyway. I remembered that Lama Lena says not to stare at details for too long because it tends to make it collapse, so I didn't fixate my gaze but let it sweep around. I kept going back and forth to see if objects remained intact, which they did. Then I started changing them, deciding that they hadn't had those features after all, but others. The next time my gaze landed on that spot, it had sometimes changed. It didn't work every time, but several times. This went on for a while. Then I was caught up in regular dreaming for a while, until I had to go to the bathroom and thus woke up. I think I decided to wake up, because I knew from experience that peeing in dreams doesn't really solve the problem, so at some level I think there was awareness about being asleep after all. There probably always is. 

After I woke up, there were hypnopomp visuals, organizing the murk into patterns. Grainy ones, mainly in gray shades, but there were touches of color here and there. There was often an area "in the middle" that was more detailed than the rest of the visual field, like a fine-grained intricate labyrinth pattern. That pattern was more stable than the rest. The rest was moving about and rapidly shifting. Sometimes there was text there but it shifted too fast for me to read it. I went to the bathroom without switching on any lights. That way I could keep watching the visuals. In the class I had learned that I have a tendency not to notice when I push too much, and that adjustments need to get more subtle to avoid a pendular movement back and forth between extremes, so I intentionally eased back just a little. That made it possible to stay with the visuals unusually long. I kept doing so while going back to sleep again. Eventually I got caught up in dreaming again. 

Formal practice distracted by discursive thoughts today, so far, but the ground of being is available. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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The Swedish winter season darkness is tough on me this time around, it seems. Since I started a daily practice I haven't had winter depressions, but I seem to be developing one now after all. I'm already on medication, so that's a bummer. I may need to increase the dosage. Trying to get by with extra amounts of 5-htp, vitamine D, and full spectrum lights - and mid day walks if I manage to get my ass out. I don't feel motivated to do anything. The glimpses of rigpa are not common or long enough to take me through this. I'm trying to get an appointment with my psychiatrist because I recognize where this is going. I'm shutting down. Meditation doesn't help with that. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Do you get only depression or is it more like bipolar thing?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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It's only depressions, as far as I know. I think I'm beyond the age when a psychosis would suddenly appear from a life crisis. I've had my shares of those, with enough trauma to set anything off, and I tend to remain almost ridiculously constructive. And now I'm going out for a walk, because there's still some light outside. Thankfully I don't live further to the north. I have eaten some healthy food and I have booked a yoga class for tonight and I intend to go. I don't feel like it but I'm doing it anyway, because I know it can't make anything worse and it might help just a little bit. I know what it's like not being able to get up from the bed at all, and I'm not going to allow that to happen. 

I increased the dosage on my own today, because apparently I may have to wait quite some time to get an appointment. I checked, and I'm not on the highest dosage, so it should be as safe as it gets. Safer than not doing it. And I talked to someone close to me who knows the terrain even better than I do. That was helpful. In this mood you really don't want to talk to someone cheerful because you just might puke on them. 

I have ADHD, among other things, so my mood can vary quite a lot. There seems to be this tendency to burn whatever juice is there, until there suddenly isn't any left. Thus I'm not surprised that you'd ask. I thought I felt great just a couple of days ago. That's not new. It's life with ADHD while on the verge of depression. Totally black and white. Knowing it helps a little. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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 "I don't feel like it but I'm doing it anyway, because I know it can't make anything worse and it might help just a little bit. I know what it's like not being able to get up from the bed at all, and I'm not going to allow that to happen. "

emoticon emoticon emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Thanks!

I seem to respond well to increasing the dosage and getting more light together with yoga and walks. My brain usually picks up on the new terms pretty quickly if it's a familiar substance. I have changed medications so many times. It knows the drill. It's not stable, though. This is the kind of placebo effect that comes when the brain recognizes how a known substance usually helps and starts sending signals as if it were already working. After a while it may realize that it needs it to build up more before I can actually function, especially since I have procrastinated so much and need to make up for that, and then there will be a longer down period. Or it may continue to flicker back and forth for a while. For now I'm going to be grateful for the grace that is here: love, nature and something rigpa-ish that shows up intermittently, when least expected, uncovering this simplistic beauty of the simplest things. Going back and forth between that and a deep black hole of utter meaninglessness is a weird thing. At least it shines a big fat spotlight on the fact that there is no one continuous and independent personality tied to this body. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Yesterday I did full moon practice with Ligmincha (chanting the Sa Le Ö mantra and doing visualizations), my sadhana, trekcho (a 90 minutes long group sit, among others), had a group meeting with the "Reversing the stack" class, listened to public Mandareva teachings by Lama Lena, and did a whole bunch of job applications. Then during the night I did Death Sangha Halloween Edition with Michael and SF Dharma Collective. It was at the worst possible time for me here in Sweden (2:50-6:00 am) so I hesitated to even try, as I was really tired during the day, but in the evening after I was done with the job applications it felt like it could be really fun to join it. Several class mates were going. Everybody was supposed to dress up for Halloween. I thought "What the heck!" and bought a ticket. It's only once per year, after all, and this year it coincided with full moon and everything. I do know how to do make-up that fits the occasion and almost my entire wardrobe is black anyway. Above all, for some reason I love this kind of meditation. It was very similar to the shared meditation I have done with a partner, only much more morbid. It combined a mandala visualization with a shamanic journey to hell, chöd and tantric deity practice, sort of. Very juicy stuff. I loved it! Michael was dressed up too, with make-up and huge horns on top of that long grey hair. His wife (?) played the part of the queen (of) Hell. People had really cool outfits. It added to the experience, made it feel more real. From there, visualization was suddenly so easy. It was all very vivid, with all the gory details and the theatrics. We met all classes of demonic beings and fed them our bodies, each of us on our own. It was almost like doing it in virtual reality, even though it was "just" the mind creating it. I was relieved to hear afterwards that I wasn't the only one who really enjoyed it. I thought maybe I was morbid or self destructive or something, lol. I could feel it untie several knots. Very liberating. Great peace at the end. 

Before the Death Sangha I listened to a reiki healing recording with seed syllable chanting, because I needed to make the best of the little sleep I would get. It very quickly brought me to a vibrational state and from there to stillness and - to my great surprise - to a fruition. I was just trying to fall asleep fast enough and maybe get some healing while sleeping. I did fall asleep a while after the fruition.

Today, after getting some sleep, I have done Chenrezig group practice and listened to Lama Lena's teachings on The Flight of the Garuda (Dzogchen). I'll do the sadhana and some trekcho before going to bed. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I seem to have created myself a golden chain, a reoccurring alternative dream reality* that I will have a hard time letting go of for the sake of lucidity. It's something that there would be no point in pursuing while being lucid about it, as it involves somebody else's feelings. It's a blue pill vs red pill issue, or the classical TV series dilemma where a demon traps someone in a false reality that is better than the real one. Holding on to that is the opposite of awakening, so I really have to pop it whenever I get the chance. It's a great opportunity for getting lucid. It just hurts that I have to do it. It's so vivid in the dreams and it was awesome. 

*) A dream I had tonight kept building on one of the dreams I had the night before.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I can tell that the increased dosage of antidepressants has effect, because it makes my ADHD visible (depression masks it). Rather than regarding that as a nuisance, I'll try to approach it as lowhanging fruit for the investigation of dependent origination. (When I paused to let that sink in, spaciousness opened up in a tangible way. I'll take that as a sign.)

It is interesting to notice how the chains of actions change with changes in medication. My housing support was here and among other things I was cleaning out a space by the kitchen sink that has been crowded because of the reorganization of my home now that I have to fit in an office in the kitchen. I intended to take away the packages that I had collected there for recycling and clean the space, but I ended up planting flowers. I was aware of stepping away from the plan and acting on the impulse to take care of the seedlings, so I didn't forget the larger activity that this parenthesis was embedded within, but it was a longer chain than what has been possible for a while now. I can see the difference. Once again my actions tend to branch off in different directions. 

I also move faster, which is obvious from how much longer I have to go back when I notice that I'm still carrying some of the garbage that I had been taking out. Housing support people should really learn to avoid asking complex social questions such as "What is your book about?" in the midst of a task that requires executive functioning. The learning for me is how much energy selfing consumes and how much processing space it takes up. I wonder what that kind of interaction would look like without the dualistic sense of self. What would be said? Would it come in portions that would be easier to combine with the tasks? Would I take a break to answer and then perform the task? Would I choose to politely inform the housing support person that I need to focus on my chores? Or would the awareness be capable of replying and doing the chores at the same time? Since my functioning is hardwired conditioning (the kind of karma that constitutes hardware rather than software), I suspect that the last alternative would be unrealistic. This might be worth experimenting with, that is, being more mindful with regard to chains of dependent prigination in daily life and notice how selfing complicates them. I used to do noting in daily life routinely a while back when I was doing vipassana as my main practice. Now that trekcho is my main practice on the cushion, I'm mainly focusing on finding the ground of being also off the cushion. I think I need to do both trekcho and vipassana, because there's stuff to work with here. 

So how do I do that? How do I build a routine for integrating both trekcho and vipassana in my daily life? Maybe it would be a good idea to start out with smaller portions of one of the practices at a time, with rest inbetween, and at times when I'm not interacting with other people socially. When that routine has been established, I could switch back and forth more rapidly between the methods. After that, maybe I could try out if it's possible to be flexible with the practices depending on what comes up. I think trekcho eventually becomes second nature so vipassana would then happen from that base even in daily life (I suppose that's what called vipashyana?), but I'm not there yet. Sounds like a plan to me. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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There was this moment of huge openness in the visual field a few minutes ago on my way home from yoga class. I was looking at the full moon, and it was so beautiful. First I sort of fell into the moon itself, and then there was a widening to the rainbow-shimmering halo around it and the entire night skye. For a moment there, I was vision. That's when I saw the light reflecting from a traffic sign in all its colors, in my peripheral vision. Instead of seeing yellowish white light reflecting back from it, I saw the whole visible spectrum at once. I have never seen that before. Well, I probably have, but I haven't been aware of it. I usually expect it to be mixed into one color and that's what I see. The air was very moist and the sign probably has many little "pixels" of reflective material, so it makes sense that there is actually like a gazillion little rainbows there, perhaps especially since the light is also filtered through my glasses and any fat and moisture covering their surface. Still, it was the kind of light flash that would normally just look yellowish white under the same weather conditions and light conditions and with the same glasses. Wow. The dualistic split reduces so much!

Earlier today I wrote the following:

This might be worth experimenting with, that is, being more mindful with regard to chains of dependent rigination in daily life and notice how selfing complicates them. I used to do noting in daily life routinely a while back when I was doing vipassana as my main practice. Now that trekcho is my main practice on the cushion, I'm mainly focusing on finding the ground of being also off the cushion. I think I need to do both trekcho and vipassana, because there's stuff to work with here. 

So how do I do that? How do I build a routine for integrating both trekcho and vipassana in my daily life? Maybe it would be a good idea to start out with smaller portions of one of the practices at a time, with rest inbetween, and at times when I'm not interacting with other people socially. When that routine has been established, I could switch back and forth more rapidly between the methods. After that, maybe I could try out if it's possible to be flexible with the practices depending on what comes up. I think trekcho eventually becomes second nature so vipassana would then happen from that base even in daily life (I suppose that's what called vipashyana?), but I'm not there yet. Sounds like a plan to me. 
On the way to yoga class I decided to do what I thought of as regular vipassana, using Shinzen's system for noting to make sure that I didn't get caught up in the content of discursive thoughts. This time I finally understood why Shinzen recommends slow noting instead of the rapid noting described in MCTB2: it's intended for the attention, not for the awareness, and designed by someone who has a spacious mind. Noting always bugged me earlier in my practice because I thought I had to divide the reality, separate it into pieces. That often felt very counterproductive and created unnecessary tention (although it makes some things more visible, so it definitely serves its purposes). This time I just let things be the way they were. When there was a sense of seamlessness, I didn't make any note. When something stood out, I did make a note. It was clearer to me than before how there is this constant movement back and forth between seemlessness and something standing out, how very dynamic it is. Spaciousness really isn't any state. There is nothing static about it. It's more like a dimensional aspect of reality. 

I soon realized that Shinzen's system isn't vipassana at all. It really is an integration of vipassana and shamatha and Mahayana practices, and now I see why he felt the need to integrate it all into one system. It's basically the answer to my question above. That's his mission, to take away that gap of confusion when one needs to integrate the different approaches to take the practice to a new level. I noticed that when I used his noting in this slow way and using all the categories he offers, it works all the way without creating that breaking point of frustration just before the dualism collapses. He has a category for tawa: rest (although that can also be used in a wider sense). He has categories for techniques for finding tawa: gone and back. He even has categories for when the senses synch up and stop separating from each other. It's a multidimensional model. I can actually use his model and just let reality unfold the way it does, and observe the movement over the grid. I can watch the reality of the mind breathe. That's basically what it does, and it manifests multidimensionally. How cool is that?! 

I continued to watch these mind movements during the yoga class. It became clear to me exactly how much yoga works with both synching and integrating the senses into one field and widening the focus span. I noticed that when it does synch up and merge into "one taste", that's when up and down sort of falls away. It's not that it's all the same, but general concepts fade and instead relations that matter stand out, and that's a dynamic and relative thing. It doesn't matter what is up and what is down. What matters is how the body pushes the mat away. It's like the mat and the body are drawn to each other magnetically, and that can be played with. Suddenly when I bend forward I don't feel like I'm upside down. Instead, I might as well push the mat away from me above my head. It really doesn't matter. I don't need any of those perspectives. All I need is the notion of being drawn to the mat and pushing it away in a way that integrates the entire asana with my body, and as that happens, synesthesia also develops. I also noticed that even though the yoga works towards synching and integration and widening, it also has a flexibility built in. There's a pendular movement to it as there are also regular instances of occurrances that encourage paying special attention to something more narrow, to check in with details (the thought flew through my mind that this specific aspect reminded me of how Goenka's technique is described: cultivating a flexibility between wide and narrow focus).

No wonder I so often feel better after a yoga class: it's a rigpa generator. 

On my way home from yoga class, there was a greater tendency towards synchronization. I could also notice that when sensations fell out of synch, there was aversion and frustration. I think that emanates from the remaining misconception that the synch and spaciousness is a state that needs to be stabilized. I probably need to continue with observations like this in order for it to sink in that there is a natural breathing movement to it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Afternoon: 45 minutes of zhine, reclining. I alternated between gazing towards the ceiling without focusing on it on the one hand and on the other hand doing the same thing with the murk with eyes closed. As dullness came up, I tried to explore the awakened nature of it instead of either getting caught up in it or trying to get rid of it. That was interesting. I don't think dullness really exists. It's just space being resisted. 

When the resistance falls away, there's sort of a little pop or poof. 

I did the sadhana in the morning. I think I like the ritual of starting and ending the day with it. It provides a framework for the mind. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Currently in the "Reversing the stack" course, we are doing Vipashyana from the ground of being, evoking emotions from the different realms of being, one at a time, to increase our awareness of our tendencies for those realms in daily life. I have noticed that while sitting in a relaxed position, sort of embodying peace, I have a hard time evoking feelings like anger and envy for the realms practice. Whatever reasons for those feelings I can think of don’t have that hook in them that triggers the emotions. If I enact the feelings with my body, however, as in a theatric play, those emotions become available, and with them, the ”reasons” become available too.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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OR... I can just try to do shamatha with an object, because for me that creates the separation that allows for anger to arise.

In this phase of my practice, I can’t access God realms by doing shamatha with an object. The closest I get to blissing out is when I ride the wave of occurrances, letting everything move through me. By embracing the movement of everything, stillness arises or non-arises, because there really isn’t anything there to move. Nothing has any duration whatsoever. Shamatha with an object feels like the opposite of that. Maybe there’s another way of doing it, I don’t know. Is there?

As a way of dealing with this frustration when we are supposed to do shamatha with an object, I either just go straight into ”dropping the ball” or start with embracing everything that comes up (the latter is usually easier and it organically develops into dropping the ball) or I focus on relaxation not as a state but as a process. I notice the unclenching and clenching, the expansions and contractions of it, and by letting it do its own thing without actively engaging with it, peace develops.
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

In this phase of my practice, I can’t access God realms by doing shamatha with an object. The closest I get to blissing out is when I ride the wave of occurrances, letting everything move through me.
Any specific god realm or reason for interest?

Technically such realms are not harder than eg. Tussita but while Tussita is definitely completely free from any hidden small text clauses (it is open source realm) I cannot say this about eg. Brahmaloka. I did not verify it or do any in-depth investigations other than doing short test drive but let's say my intuition (and I have rather strong and 'angry' intuition XD) tells me that one who do not want to become enslaved should STAY AWAY!!!!1

By embracing the movement of everything, stillness arises or non-arises, because there really isn’t anything there to move. Nothing has any duration whatsoever. Shamatha with an object feels like the opposite of that. Maybe there’s another way of doing it, I don’t know. Is there?
To me jhanas are not the result of succesful concentration on object.
Concentration is the result of finding jhanic consciousness. When it is found it will replace current consciousness.
When there is jhanic stuff mind will follow it ==> concentration happens naturally.
In other words my 1st step of Shamatha with an object practice is finding 1st jhana consciousness of the object I am supposed to practice. I do not attempt to concentrate on object and I do not even concentrate on jhanic version because this would interfere with finding 2nd jhana and so on.

Gautama:
Secluded from sense desire, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, one approaches and abides in the first jhana.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Oh, I'm not actually interested in God realms. It's just an exercise on the course I'm taking, which approaches it from a psychological point of view rather than a magickal one. Still, very interesting advice! Thankyou! I like it much more than the idea of disciplining the mind. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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Please Linda stay with us in the Human Realm emoticon dont leave us, we have the best grooves here emoticon 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeiQ0lJyXzc
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Thanks, I'm trying. Going through this low phase, it's all too tempting to spend too much time in the animal realm. Meditation used to be the one thing that I never procrastinated. Now sometimes I do. When I finally get to it, before I go to sleep, I'm too tired to do it well. This has been a crappy day. I tried to eat one spoon of organic icecream yesterday, of a kind that I should tolerate according to all tests. I got lots of rashes, joint pain, swollen eyes, brain fog and exhaustion. I had planned to do writing today but ended up sleeping til lunch and then bingewatching netflix in my bed. I even forgot about the trekcho group practice. Such a waste of life. I did meet with some meditation class mates on zoom and I have done some background practice and a very short sit, but that's basically nothing. I'll meditate now. Ugh. Hopefully I'll spend tomorrow in the human realm. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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"Such a waste of life"

Dont be so hard on your self emoticon I mean look at our dear Shinzen emoticon he suffered from procrastination long after "his awakening" and needed therapy to fix that part.

Even that wasting of life activity is kind of THIS, is it not emoticon There is a reason why many who "got this" keep saying "awakening will not make you a saint". We awake to all of it that is this, the warts and roses. Might not be very impressive to most but thats all we've got emoticon 

Best wishes to you Linda!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Yeah, that's kind of what I'm afraid of, I guess, that it won't fix any of the stuff I'm struggling with. Or that I'll just bail out and never get to know. I really have no intention of quitting, but I could probably just do crappy sits for the rest of my life and waste my time off cushion on meaningless shit, unless I get out of this apathy. I wonder where Shinzen found that therapist. I have had a couple of good ones, but none of them were capable of performing such miracles. I dealt with a whole lot of stuff, but I think my defence mechanisms outsmarted them with regard to procrastination. I was too good at appearing okay. Maybe therapy is more effective after a rather thorough awakening. One could at least hope. 

I actually had a great sit just now. Tawa was very much available. My sinuses popped wide open, too, and there was this amazing lightness. The relief I felt from that made me realize that this entire day I have been fearing that the door would be closed for me. That's why I have been avoiding it. It wasn't, though. It was wide open right from the start. It still is. And there it is, the unfuckupable Dharmatta. 

Best wishes to you too, and thankyou!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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"Yeah, that's kind of what I'm afraid of, I guess, that it won't fix any of the stuff I'm struggling with."


It just might change that "relationship" between "stuff and struggling with" emoticon  
I hate saying this as I don't want to devalue your position on this path but I find in such "difficult" situations going back to basics is very helpful. Yes I talk about dumbbell Vipassana emoticon 

Maybe play with Jhana stuff for a while to give some confidence boost before going some more Vipassana on this? I'm sure you will find out what is of of most benefit to you. 


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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I'm actually doing just that. There is nothing wrong with the most fundamental vipassana. It's very grounding and it usually very quickly takes me down the stack, as Michael would call it: concepts --> phenomena --> vibrations --> awareness. Not bad advise at all. And jhana seems to be people's favorite advice everytime people have a hard time, which I find very ironic, but as Ni Nurta's pointers for it were really good, I'll do that too. I still need to do my trekcho and my sadhana, though, and today there is the group Chenrezig practice. 

Today I managed to get up early and turn on my full spectrum lights for reptiles (much cheaper than therapy lamps but basically the same shit), and now I'll sit for a while before I go to yoga class. I'm in the human realm. 

And yeah, it won't fix hardwired stuff, but it will make it easier to work with it. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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"And yeah, it won't fix hardwired stuff"

It just might emoticon we dont really know what will happen emoticon  https://youtu.be/TUeY4kUiLZ8
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Ni Nurta:

Technically such realms are not harder than eg. Tussita but while Tussita is definitely completely free from any hidden small text clauses (it is open source realm) I cannot say this about eg. Brahmaloka. I did not verify it or do any in-depth investigations other than doing short test drive but let's say my intuition (and I have rather strong and 'angry' intuition XD) tells me that one who do not want to become enslaved should STAY AWAY!!!!1
I have never heard of any of those realms before. It sounds like I should definitely stay away from Brahmaloka. What is Tussita?


To me jhanas are not the result of succesful concentration on object.
Concentration is the result of finding jhanic consciousness. When it is found it will replace current consciousness.
When there is jhanic stuff mind will follow it ==> concentration happens naturally.
In other words my 1st step of Shamatha with an object practice is finding 1st jhana consciousness of the object I am supposed to practice. I do not attempt to concentrate on object and I do not even concentrate on jhanic version because this would interfere with finding 2nd jhana and so on.
Oh my goodness, it actually works! I suppose this is what Daniel refers to as calling up jhanas. Something in your wording made it more tangible for me. This takes away all the boring stuff and the objectification that creates tension. Awesome! 
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I have never heard of any of those realms before. It sounds like I should definitely stay away from Brahmaloka. What is Tussita?
Typo... it's Tushita https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tushita

If exploring Brahmaloka realm is good idea or not depends on many things. I would not necessarily say it is that dangerous but it doesn't seem like a good realm to practice as much as good  to go after full enlightenment to say hello emoticon

Oh my goodness, it actually works! I suppose this is what Daniel refers to as calling up jhanas. Something in your wording made it more tangible for me. This takes away all the boring stuff and the objectification that creates tension. Awesome! 
Yes, it is related to calling up jhanas.
When you call up jhana you are going directly to jhanic version of the parts of minf you already found jhanic version of during concentration practices. I just generalized it and claim it is possible to find jhanic version of any consciousness and drive concentration using jhanas.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
from a psychological point of view rather than a magickal one
I do not subscribe to magick and I am openly against at least some of its methods.
Dwelling in supermundane stuff is not magick.
Pure abode practices are in fact supermundane practices, just as enlightemnent is supermundane. Neither have anything to do with magick.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Ah, thanks for the clarification about Tushita! Interesting.

For me, your version of contacting jhanas is more relatable, I think. I'm very untrained, so it's too soon to say anything about results. It feels much more available, though. It made me remember something about how I used to do it.

Yeah, even though we use words very differently, that wording on my part was probably wrong. I usually use my interpretation of Daniel's definition, and that makes a lot of things magickal that you wouldn't consider magickal, but probably not this. Not in a eay that would make it relevant to distinguish it from psychology anyway. Sorry for my sloppiness. I'm openly against some methods for practicing magick too, by the way. Since my definition is very wide, it wouldn't make sense to be against all of it. I think magick is embedded even in the most mundane occurrings. We just do not think of it that way. Can't explain myself any better right now as I'm getting late for yoga class. I think there is magick in metta, for instance. Just not of the intrusive kind. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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In fact, that wording was probably just leaking from my depressed netflix bingewatching. In the series I'm watching, travelling to other realms requires magic. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I just realized that I may have been misinterpreting some stuff lately. I have treated attention as an enemy to the spaciousness. I have felt strong aversion towards shamatha with an object because it felt like it ruined what I was trying to develop, like it caused a dualistic split. On some level I must have been assuming that I couldn't access the ground of being while actively paying attention to stuff. I knew that it was still there, but I thought that I was backlashing into a more dualistic mindset. Today I realized that I actually do have sharp attention on narrow stuff while at the same time being aware of a wider awareness. I just didn’t like it when it became strong, because of the perceived tension between the two. A while back I was devastated because breathing suddenly involved so much friction again that it hurt. The hurt was the attention as it was drawn to the nose. Too much power on a very small area. And when the focus of attention got wider, that’s what felt like an octopus clinging to my face (as I was also complaining about). I was so certain that it was a dualistic split that I made it into one. Actually it’s just the very normal play between emptiness and form, with attention bringing stuff into form. It just bulldozed the crap out of my kinesthetic sensations, and so I neglected to recognize the ground of being that was still there, maybe more available than I thought. That way of looking at it was probably related to lack of serotonine as I thought, but I’m no longer so sure that it was actually shut off. For all practical purposes I guess it was, but I get the feeling that it’s not as mechanical as the metaphor makes it sound like, and realizing the implications of that makes a difference.

The thing is, I just now had the very same sensations in my nostrils and at the tip of the nose. This time, instead of noticing the friction from the air and how much it hurt and thinking ”Oh no, breathing is difficult - my central channels have closed up!”, I thought ”Hm, I guess I have a sharp focus in the very center of attention again. That’s the first time for a long time now”. And then I thought ”Is that true? What about that phase recently when the tip of the nose hurt so much? Oh, right, I’ve actually had these sensations recently!”

I really need to remember that there never was any doer there to begin with, so I don’t need to get rid of it. That’s just sensations too, and I don’t have to believe that the attention is me, or that it is not-me. It’s just sensations in the field, a play of form. It’s not a problem. It’s not either - or. I knew that, but subconsciously I think parts of me thought differently.

I had forgotten how much sharp attention can hurt. I don’t have to feed that loop. I can ease up on it a bit. After all, the entire field is still there too. It’s not like the whole world goes away just because I focus on my breath, so there is more there to let in. I don’t need a lazer beam focus to maintain concentration. I really do need to refine my adjustments, just like Michael has been talking about on the course. Maybe now that my neurotransmittors are getting back to normal I can do that. For a while there I felt like my old refrigerator. The landlord had said for years that I just needed to have the right settings, but the normal functioning span was just getting smaller and smaller. In the end, there was either a flood of water on the floor or lots of ice in the refrigerator, and nothing inbetween. Eventually they admitted that it was simply too old.

Doing shamatha while functioning like a too old refrigerator is very frustrating. emoticon It doesn’t exactly make it easy to learn to do the adjustments. I think that just maybe it’s getting less black and white now, gradually. We’ll see. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Okay, so I really seem to be cycling the lower nanas now, which I guess makes sense after some fruitions and some crazy-fast cycling that was gradually slowing down. I don't have the dukkha nana vibrations any more, and the attention wants to go narrow, and I see arisings very clearly. Lots of nada sound and the feeling of tiny bubbles arising fast, but I seem to skip noticing when they pop. We have a saying in Swedish that describes the intuitive feeling I have about that: "snuvad på konfekten", something like being deprived of the candy. I usually feel this way when I'm in the 3C nana and can't get past it. Now I think I know what it is. It is being aware of the arisings but not the passings. Like there should be a lot of poppings but somehow they are lost to me. At least finally I understand what that feeling is about. I have even tild myself exactly that story many times, that it feels like something should be popping and yet it doesn't, and I still didn't put it together. This is the stage that I have been referring to as "stuck in the newbie stage again". I used to dread it. I don't think I do anymore. I mean, I am kind of depressed and everything, and that sucks, but it's not the end of the world that I fail to notice the end of stuff for a few weeks or whatever. I think I'm graually starting to see that the shape of attention can have its own play and that's fine. The awareness is always there anyway and it doesn't really depend on the attention span. Something like that. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I seem to be cycling the lower nanas now. On what path, I don't know. I'm not going to assume anything. All I know is that there is so much left to work with. Anyway, the last few days I have had both realizations and quirks having to do with mind and body and cause and effect, and the attention seems to want to go narrow for a change, and now I'm having these weird cramps all over the place, so typical for the 3C nana. Maybe the dark abyss I fell into was the 3C nana then, or maybe they just coincided. I did feel exactly like what Daniel says about it in MCTB2: there wasn't anything wrong with the clarity - I just really didn't like what I saw. I don't know why people fear the dukkha nanas so much. I don't think they are any worse than the 3C nana. 

The notion of four paths seems very arbitrary to me. Nobody seems to know how to distinguish between previous path fruitions and current path fruitions, and apparently there are an unknown amount of full insight cycles between starting the second path and finishing the fourth path. Why even bother counting? The process doesn't even seem linear.

The inside of my head is ticking like a clock. It's not the pulse. It seems to be related to respiratory tracts and paranasal cavities and energy channels. There has been a lot of tick-tocking lately, together with loud nada sound. That seems to be a common pattern for the phase around fruitions and starting to cycle the lower nanas. I'm hesitant to call it review, though. It doesn't feel that full of possibilities. Maybe the clear review phases are what really marks a new path. That would imply that this is not it, which makes sense to me. There was a brief phase - VERY brief phase - of reoccurring fruitions, though, and some very rapid cycling, and then rapid cycling that was overlapping with elements from the lower nanas. Well, whatever it is, I'm not overly impressed. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Yesterday's yoga class was a mild form of Kundalini yoga. Among other things, we did the asana that my first Kundalini yoga teacher referred to as the ego killer. I don't believe in killing the ego - I think that is nonsense, as the ego is just a bunch of sensations that arise and that sort of have a name tag to them. Yesterday I did have an experience that could perhaps be described as having the name tags dissolve, though. It was very interesting. The asana involves stretching the arms to the sides and about 45 degrees upward, palms facing the skye, while sitting. We sat like that for a long time. The beefy guy next to me gave up pretty soon as the position was very static and made the arms first feel really heavy and then numb. I usually get very cranky but keep up the struggle in a very egoic way, because of pride. This time something else happened. I visualized stretching out my energy channels, as adviced by Lama Lena while stretching the arms the same way. I thought that since I was doing the position anyway, I might as well give that a shot. The weird thing is that at the point where the asana usually feels unbearable, instead this time it became extremely easy. The selfing of the pain fell away. It wasn't dissociation. I know how that feels. I was very present. I didn't escape from my body. It was like the hook in the struggle dissolved and suddenly there was no struggle. It felt like there had never really been a struggle in the first place. That's probably what the name refers to. 

I just came home from today's yoga class, a vinyasa. It went more smoothly than I thought it would. No 3C nana stiffness, no cause and effect quirks. There was space and precision. Even my balance was okay (for me; that's not my strong suit). Reading up on the lower nanas, I think it's the mind and body nana. I have been wondering about the phase that feels good but without the oomph of either A&P (being on top of the world) or EQ (being at peace). Of course it's mind and body. I think this is the stage where I usually very easily see waves in all "solid" matter and have my face melt away. I used to misdiagnose this as something more advanced than it was. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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During the night I have over and over been drawn into some kind of absorption that hurt, pyhisically. That hasn't happened for a long time so I was a bit surprised. Parts of it were still pleasant, especially when I surrendered to it. It felt like something was showering down from the back of my brain. The pain was also sort of showering down in a way that made it no problem. First it was the heart chakra that hurt. It felt like there was a chord from it, rooting me down. I was lying on my back. It was so heavy and dense. I could sort of melt into the pain and the tightness, and then there was a spaciousness within it. However, it felt like too much energy was assembled at one point so I suspected that my spine wasn't straight. In one of the pauses inbetween getting sucked in, I thus changed position to lying on my side. That was better. I noticed that my entire spine hurt. My body was cold. Soon the spine heated up, though. For a while it went back and forth between heated spine and freezing. My pillow got wet from the sweat. Eventually I fell into nonlucid sleep with dreaming. Now my back and neck are stiff and sore and my fascia is contracted all over the body. I guess it's the old Kundalini stuff happening again. Classical 3C nana. I have a feeling that it will be fine, though. The pain and the stiffness are managable, and I have a yin yoga class today. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

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Interresting
I wonder what caused it and why I had very similar experience yesterday...

Perhaps its just another glitch in the Matrix... I think its overheating or something emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Sorry to be cynical, but I think I just turned the pain from contracted fascia into jhana because I was too tired to move. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Notes from my 15 minutes consultation with Michael Taft, for me to remember:

Trust my intuition, don't take in lots of new information, just do what works for me. I already have the information that I need. 

If vipassana is what works for me regardless of circumstances, then routinely start the sessions with that and let that take me down the stack (that happens very fast anyway). For instance, work with "gone" (which got me to stream entry). That takes me into nonduality. Find what works in daily life and make it stable. Make the practice my own. Don't listen too much to advice from others about the order of doing things, qualities that are needed and other stuff. Basically, any practice if done right is Dzogchen. 

Don't lead with the mind. It only makes it spin. Let the practice be embodied. The body needs to integrate all this. That's the slow part of the path. Have patience!

What I'm going through now, with instability of pace, is very common at this stage and nothing to worry about. It's an ongoing negotiation with life. Very small things in life make huge differences. Learn how to live, integrate, go up the stack. Find out how I can live the practice. 

My intuition is good enough. I may doubt myself, but he does not. He has full confidence in me. I'm good at this. (Sorry for bragging, but I need this at this point.) Also, he really doesn't seem to think that I'm a pain in the ass, even though I think I am, so stop self-bashing internally! Lama Lena would say that's bad namlam (I have no idea how to spell that). 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

If vipassana is what works for me regardless of circumstances, then routinely start the sessions with that and let that take me down the stack (that happens very fast anyway).


More specifically, start every session with just noticing what it’s like to be me right now. I can’t fail with that. That’s basically how I started my daily practice. I had this timeslot every day during which I could not fail - and it actually worked.

In today’s class I was finally presented an inquiry question that works for me: ”What the fuck?” I love it. If that counts, I’m an inquiry veteran. I usually phrase it ”What the fucking fuck?” but that’s just details.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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"Find out how I can live the practice. "

Yeps emoticon chop wood carry water, ...  go down to the market place do some work do some yoga ... emoticon 

At some point it's good to realize "my hair is not on fire any longer" (it's just the old habitual, knee jerk way to do the "meditators" stuff, chasing things. It's all just experience, be it emptiness or just an itch, it's changing anyway) emoticon 

I find it's nice to mingle amongst every day people and share hardship with them. We are in THIS together after all emoticon 


p.s. but yes, Taft is right. Don't put more yokes onto ye self. You got enough already. Mingle with folks around the market place emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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November 11th

I set an intention for the day: to engage in the investigation question ”What’s it like to be me right now?” and the inquiry question ”What the fuck?”. I felt good, because it meant that I couldn’t fail. It opened up to more presence. Less escapism, and not because escapism would be wrong but because I actually didn’t feel like it. It released energy that manifested as piti. Michael says that the tiniest things make a huge difference for the practice, and this tiny thing made me feel liberated in the moment, because of a slight change in wordings. That’s intimacy with the practice, Michael commented.

In the spirit of making the techniques my own, I made my own version of mandala based on five elements. I had been wanting to do that for a long time but lacked the drive to do it.

The questions I brought with me during the day released so much energy that I find that they need to be combined with embodiment and spaciousness. Otherwise my mind starts spinning like crazy.

At the end of the day, I did this guided meditation: https://youtu.be/S9u74tI0Owc, resting in the natural mind. Interestingly, now shamatha with an object felt right. I used the space element as object. Ni Nurta’s advice helped. I also had much more energy going today thanks to the intention that I set, so dullness was not an issue even though I did reclining meditation late in the evening. I kept being alert with hypnagogics and dream images. My nose, which had been swollen due to allergies, popped completely open, together with the paranasal cavities. Lovely spacious feeling with boundaries between my body and the rest of the world sort of fell way in a very pleasant way. During dropping the ball I was at first totally flooded with images flashing by, mainly nature images, probably because of the mandala I made. Eventually the image flood turned into a vibrational flow that did not develop fully into images. External sounds also partly turned into something not fully manifested. Lots of nada sound. For a while the nada sound zoomed in to a clear tone in my left ear. Tensions of the mind fell away. Most of the time they kept arising and falling away, but there were moments where new arisings were on pause to a relatively large extent. There was a sense of free-falling in all directions at once. When new tensions arose, thanks to the intention I had set for the day, I could notice that without needing to manipulate it.

I like the combination of releasing mind tentions during the day to get more energy and channeling that into a tranquil and letting go type of formal practice that allows the mind to disentangle and come to stillness as it organically finds peace after unrestricted dancing around. I think I need to integrate more dzogchen-like formal practice during the day, though, because I became hyper from all the presence and paradoxically lost presence because of that.


November 12th

I checked in both with the Dharmakaya nature of mind and with what it was like to be me at that very moment many times during the day and managed to maintain something rigpa-like, definitely not all the time but relatively much for being me at this point in my practice. It was my birthday and I celebrated it together with loved ones and by going to a lake and merging with all the elements. I did a cople of very short formal sits in the morning, with the sadhana inbetween them. I attempted to do one of Michael’s Thursday night guided meditations while reclining in the evening. I started out alert, dropped into vibrations and awareness very fast, had some strong centered flashes in the visual field. Then I wobbled back and forth between alertness and dullness for a while, got too relaxed and fell asleep.


November 13th

In the afternoon I did Michael’s lates guided meditation, also reclining against my better judgement. It went through a similar development but with less dramatic changes. I didn’t fall asleep. Then I went to a yoga class where I set the intention of being really present and managed to live up to that relatively well.

Since there had been repeated experiences of wobbling inbetween strong alterness and gross dullness, I did an evening session where I investigated how I can make adjustments that are subtle enough. I started with my sadhana for the extraordinary ngöndro that I’m doing with Lama Lena. I did it slowly and mindfully, especially the prostrations. It is such a pleasure to do them like that, really feeling the wave movement of them and how it stretches out and contracts different muscles on the way. It gave me some piti and opened up to empty awareness. After the sadhana I rested in tawa as tawa for a while, as instructed. That’s basically just dropping right into the empty awareness, the Dharmakaya nature of mind. When that started to feel less available, I tuned into what it was like to be me at that moment. That made me alert. There was a cat fight in front of me, so I switched to chanting Om mani padme hung for a little while. For some reason that works. Almost immediately, my bossy cat Morpheus stopped attacking nervous little Ezekiel and instead lay down to sleep. That mantra does miracles. Then I went back to investigating what it was like to be me. After a while I noticed that it speeded me up in a way that was beginning to make my mind spin, so I switched to focusing on spaciousness. That calmed me down. After some time, I tried to switch to dropping the ball, but it made me dull in a way that made my brain engage in distractions to wake itself up. I switched to opening up to everything that was happening in all sense gates, with eyes open. It was both pleasant and interesting to be with the shifting between emptiness and form. There was a waviness to it and a sense of dissolving going on right before form fully manifested. I kept doing this for a while. When the brain started to look for distractions again, I switched to my Chenrezig practice, which is basically a Brahmaviharas practice involving multiple sense gates in a simple way. That felt like a good way of ending the session. Finally I dedicated merit, chanting in Tibetan. The entire session was about 75 minutes long.


November 14th

Short morning sit switching back and forth between vipassana and trekcho.

45 minutes afternoon sit including the sadhana. In order to stay alert after a brunch I needed to switch back and forth between approaches often. My brain wants rest.

And later in the afternoon Shinzen’s one day retreat started, which I attended.


November 15th

I woke up with brainfog so on my way to yoga class I practiced basic noting. That showed to mej a sequence of occurrances that was very clearly cycling in the lower nanas. I haven’t been goid at recognizing those in the past. I know that there are people here that really don’t like mapping, and that is all good. You do you. In my case, the maps give me perspective on stuff that I’m otherwise prone to believing. I’m not using the maps to find something but to remember how it is all so dependent on conditioning, and to remember the three characteristics. It helps me not to take stuff too seriously.

The same thing kept happening in the yoga class and on the way home. I won’t go into the phenomenology of the different nanas as I don’t want to impose the maps on anybody else. I’ll just mention that I personally find it liberating to notice the nanas move through awareness just like all other arisings. A bunch of impermanent conditions that arise together, all with name tags on them as they think they are inherently ”me”, but those name tags are just impermanent arisings too. They dissolve, and a new bunch of impermanent conditions arise, with similar name tags that are also just impermanent arisings. The cycling isn’t entirely restricted to the lower nanas yet but will soon be for a while, as a new insight cycle begins (not a new path, just one of those many smaller insight cycles in this part of the terrain). When that happens, I will do my best to welcome it instead of reacting with aversion.

Some instances of energetic occurrings inside and around the head and a sense of spaciousness inside the head making its way out through the ears and the eyes.

Chenrezig group practice in the evening.


November 16th

morning: 20 minutes of sadhana, 20 minutes of sitting. The latter went back and forth between trekcho and acknowledging reality as it presented itself in the here and now.

I think what is most solid for me involves beliefs that constitute hindrances:
• not being worthy, guilt, shame
• Wanting to get away from stuff - overwhelming stuff, boring stuff
• Lack of time and energy, sense of inevitable failure (with built-in reactions to that having to do with pride, and in-built reactions to that having to do with aversion to the pride)
For some reason this slips through my investigations and I tend to believe it. Theoretically I know what to do with it: see it, be with it, have compassion for it. I just don’t like it. I guess I need to see and be with and have compassion for that too. It all just arises and dissolves. I have seen that happen, and still I get caught up in it. I thought I had worked this through, more than once, but new layers of it just keep coming to the surface. When I sit with it I do get a sense of reality here and now having much more to it than just being boring, but for some reason ignorance can be so seductive. There are cravings both for entertainment and for oblivion. Then there is aversion to that, having to do with self-grasping, which leeds to thoughts and feelings of overwhelm and failure, which in turn feeds the cravings for entertainment and oblivion, which makes me feel shame and guilt, and so forth. Earlier in my practice this didn’t happen with meditation. It was my refuge from these patterns, or so I thought. I was inflated with the practice. It was the entertainment. I guess I need to find a balance between making the practice interesting and coming to peace with it ”just” being life.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think what is most solid for me involves beliefs that constitute hindrances:
• not being worthy, guilt, shame
• Wanting to get away from stuff - overwhelming stuff, boring stuff
• Lack of time and energy, sense of inevitable failure (with built-in reactions to that having to do with pride, and in-built reactions to that having to do with aversion to the pride)
For some reason this slips through my investigations and I tend to believe it. Theoretically I know what to do with it: see it, be with it, have compassion for it. I just don’t like it. I guess I need to see and be with and have compassion for that too. It all just arises and dissolves. I have seen that happen, and still I get caught up in it. I thought I had worked this through, more than once, but new layers of it just keep coming to the surface. When I sit with it I do get a sense of reality here and now having much more to it than just being boring, but for some reason ignorance can be so seductive. There are cravings both for entertainment and for oblivion. Then there is aversion to that, having to do with self-grasping, which leeds to thoughts and feelings of overwhelm and failure, which in turn feeds the cravings for entertainment and oblivion, which makes me feel shame and guilt, and so forth. Earlier in my practice this didn’t happen with meditation. It was my refuge from these patterns, or so I thought. I was inflated with the practice. It was the entertainment. I guess I need to find a balance between making the practice interesting and coming to peace with it ”just” being life.

I've been doing dakini meditations recently which has helped with this kind of thing. Craving for entertainment is fire element - consuming to counter feelings of loneliness, which is a distorted reaction to emptiness. The fire dakini embodies the intimacy of knowing the particulars of a situation with compassion rather than consumption. Craving for oblivion is space element - feigning ignorance and incapacitation to counter feelings of being overwhelmed by emptiness. The space dakini represents the intelligence of being able to see the totality of the empty situation without being overwhelmed. Recognizing these reactions as part of a pattern helped me depersonalize them and then visualizing the dakini releases the energy trapped in the pattern and somehow makes it all ok, even wonderful.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think what is most solid for me involves beliefs that constitute hindrances:
• not being worthy, guilt, shame
• Wanting to get away from stuff - overwhelming stuff, boring stuff
• Lack of time and energy, sense of inevitable failure (with built-in reactions to that having to do with pride, and in-built reactions to that having to do with aversion to the pride)
For some reason this slips through my investigations and I tend to believe it. Theoretically I know what to do with it: see it, be with it, have compassion for it. I just don’t like it. I guess I need to see and be with and have compassion for that too. It all just arises and dissolves. I have seen that happen, and still I get caught up in it. I thought I had worked this through, more than once, but new layers of it just keep coming to the surface. When I sit with it I do get a sense of reality here and now having much more to it than just being boring, but for some reason ignorance can be so seductive. There are cravings both for entertainment and for oblivion. Then there is aversion to that, having to do with self-grasping, which leeds to thoughts and feelings of overwhelm and failure, which in turn feeds the cravings for entertainment and oblivion, which makes me feel shame and guilt, and so forth. Earlier in my practice this didn’t happen with meditation. It was my refuge from these patterns, or so I thought. I was inflated with the practice. It was the entertainment. I guess I need to find a balance between making the practice interesting and coming to peace with it ”just” being life.

I've been doing dakini meditations recently which has helped with this kind of thing. Craving for entertainment is fire element - consuming to counter feelings of loneliness, which is a distorted reaction to emptiness. The fire dakini embodies the intimacy of knowing the particulars of a situation with compassion rather than consumption. Craving for oblivion is space element - feigning ignorance and incapacitation to counter feelings of being overwhelmed by emptiness. The space dakini represents the intelligence of being able to see the totality of the empty situation without being overwhelmed. Recognizing these reactions as part of a pattern helped me depersonalize them and then visualizing the dakini releases the energy trapped in the pattern and somehow makes it all ok, even wonderful.

Yeah, it's a great practice, I hear, and I really like the book and the dharma talks on it*. I always knew I would have to face that space element. That fire element part is interesting, as it's unexpected. I'll think about that. I didn't really think I had much issues with that. I don't feel lonely. I have more love in my life than I have time for. I practice ethical polyamory and rarely get jealous, because it makes me happy when my loved ones are happy. I do miss a loved one who is sort of under the surface right now, though. Maybe I am compensating for that. I just assumed that I was escaping all the things I think I should do because they overwhelm me (water element). 

At the moment these issues have calmed down. The fruitions took away lots of tension that had been building up. I don't doubt that there's more to work with, though. I can viscerally feel that the overwhelm is still an issue. I still believe that's at the core of it, but who knows. These things are tricky. They mask each other. A clue is that the entertainment I seek is the kind that doesn't involve me having to leave my cosy bed and blanket. Unless someone is willing to drive me out into the nature, but I'm not in that for the entertainment but for the peace. 

I'm really not good at imagining stuff and making it feel real on my own. I can do it in death sangha, but that's a guided practice. I can probably learn, but I suspect it will take time. 

*) I'm talking about the Ken McLeod version. There are other versions that group the Dakinis differently, such as this this one: https://youtu.be/fyFUe0lv-f4. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche has yet another version.
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Siavash, modified 10 Months ago.

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 A clue is that the entertainment I seek is the kind that doesn't involve me having to leave my cosy bed and blanket. Unless someone is willing to drive me out into the nature, but I'm not in that for the entertainment but for the peace. 

I may be completely wrong, but I guess this has to do with feeling insecure. I have this kind of feeling a lot of time, that I like to do many things only if I don't leave my room! Or similarly if there is a safe and supported container like a close friend come and take me and during that I don't have any responsibilities and etc. I always feel that this is because of feeling insecure. It may be different for you.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Siavash:
 A clue is that the entertainment I seek is the kind that doesn't involve me having to leave my cosy bed and blanket. Unless someone is willing to drive me out into the nature, but I'm not in that for the entertainment but for the peace. 

I may be completely wrong, but I guess this has to do with feeling insecure. I have this kind of feeling a lot of time, that I like to do many things only if I don't leave my room! Or similarly if there is a safe and supported container like a close friend come and take me and during that I don't have any responsibilities and etc. I always feel that this is because of feeling insecure. It may be different for you.

Yes! 

For me it's usually stuff that is demanding for my executive functioning, due to my neurodivergent wiring. That puts me into survival mode. As long as I stay in my bed with a warm blanket I'm sort of contained in a womb or in my nest. Safe. It's an animal realm thing. What you describe, with someone close to you bringing you somewhere, works for me too, especially of they bring me out in the nature. That's my habitat. Away from civilization. Unfortunately the close people I have that can actually do that, don't live in my town. 

There are many advantages to civilization, but it also in many ways drains me, very palpably. Many of my autistic friends feel the same way. 

Hence the need to invite nature into my patio. It's for all those days when I can't leave the nest.Thankfully it works. I can feel energetically that my patio is a little piece of the town that is actually alive, for real. It wouldn't surprise me if there are elementals frequenting it. They probably feel starved too. I have some other alive places within walking distance, like rocky hills where nobody ever bothered trying to build something. Those are power places. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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It just dawned on me that I'm doing my own version of that dakini practice, and I intuitively do it with the water element. There is this small lake that is my dakini (it's alive - I can feel it so I don't need to imagine it), and I merge with it, and it helps with the overwhelm. I don't need the extra fluff. I just need the lake and being with it until there's no separation. There is plenty of earth element and space there too, and I merge with that as well. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Discussing this made me plan an outing to the lake for today. They say that in this region we should only use public transport when we really have to. I realized that I really have to. I'm planning for some other procrastinated errands while I'm leaving my nest. They suddenly felt doable thanks to the lake. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I'm really not good at imagining stuff and making it feel real on my own. I can do it in death sangha, but that's a guided practice. I can probably learn, but I suspect it will take time. 

That might be some resistance there. I'm not much of a visual person but I was open to the idea and I was surprised how naturally it came and took on a life of its own. I started with memories of settings that I had warm feelings about (late afternoon sunlight in a harvest field, moonlight on a calm sea, wind rustling through trees etc.) Then I went on the internet and found images of dakinis I found attractive and started fantasizing about them a bit! That seemed to do the trick and make it feel real enough emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Good for you! When I started I couldn't even recall how the wall paper looked in my living/bed room (where I had been living for seven years) with my eyes closed. It turned out that it was plain white. Nowadays visualization comes relatively effortless. Now it's the imagination part that doesn't always work on command. I'm more into learning to approach things effortlessly at the moment, not just in phases where it takes over, but finding that it's always available. I have some imagining practice going on already with my sadhana and a Chenrezig practice that I do as sort of a side practice. I don't think I'll add more of that stuff right now. I really need to learn to just drop into rigpa. I actually think that is sort of a requirement for getting the most benefit out of the Dakini practice too, for me, to sort of open up to the Sambhogakaya realm of being, but it's great that it works for you. Different people have different pathways into stuff. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I wrote something really depressing earlier in the afternoon but didn’t post it here just because it was so depressing. Since then I have had an opening, so I think I’ll just paste all of it. It illustrates very clearly how fast things change for me.

16:01
I think this is old traumas coming to the surface in this part of the process and in this depression or whatever it is that I’m going through. It seems to be a burnout. I guess it’s time to deal with this stuff. I have done it before so I can probably do it again, even though at times it doesn’t feel like it at all. Baby steps with meditation to ground myself. Anyway, meditation is not the problem. Meditation is what has been holding me above the surface for quite some time. I’ll try to get therapy. In case they can’t offer me any within the public system, I know how it is done. [Here I stopped and thought there is no way I’ll post this rant.]

16:19
I chatted with a friend with severe illnesses and disabilities and far too little support, whom I have been helping according to my own abilities, which is like a drop in the ocean. I feel like I’m constantly letting him down because there is so much I can’t do due to my own difficulties. I have been procrastinating the current paper work for a long time and it just seems impossible to find the energy and concentration to do it, even though it’s important. My executive funstioning is on strike. I think I have a burnout. Again. Anyway, he does not share my view of myself as selfish and lazy for not doing more. He thinks that I have been under too much pressure for a long time, and he reminded me that being autistic also means being extra sensitive to stress. He described me in wordings that I do not feel worthy of. It’s what I would wish to be. The conversation stirred up emotions, in a somewhat healing way, and also energetic sensations in and around my head. Again there was that sense of lots of space inside my head and seeping out through the ears. It sort of feels like there’s a whole universe in there. Weird. I think I need to meditate.

18:20
Late afternoon/early evening:

25 minutes of Sadhana
45 minutes of just sitting

I ritually offered my body, speech and mind - form, intent, awareness - to the Buddhas of all times in the Sadhana. It felt like a catharsis. Sitting was surprisingly pleasant. Not boring. Easy. I just let go. I didn’t do anything, really. Well, there was a short while in the beginning where I thought I had to decide about a method. I started with trekcho but I’m not sure if it counts as it. It probably does, actually, but after a little while I noticed my mind wondering and I thought that maybe it was time to apply another method. The mind went to both pleasant sensations and to thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t decide whether to do shamatha on the pleasant sensations or being with whatever came up or dropping the ball. I tested the thought of dropping the ball for a while but noticed that I for some reason have this tendency to treat thoughts as burning charcoal rather than soap bubbles, so I decided to do what psychologically feels like the opposite even though it really is very close to dropping the ball. I did choiceless awareness, or didn’t do anything really. That went well. There were some dreamy moments, but clarity most of the time. It felt light and effortless. I spent most of the time balancing between vibrational mode and empty awareness mode. I had a number of impermanence fruitions with the mind very suddenly restarting itself. Five maybe? I had not expected that. I suppose I’m still in review. I wonder how many insight cycles there are between second and third path. Maybe that depends on how much you have to work through. I seem to have lots to work through. This does not match any criteria of third path. This was a much needed healing session. It was a grace.

I think this is what I need to do: work with trauma-related seemingly solid stuff. Bring it out in the open, find a way to be compassionate about it with help from others if needed, and then meditate when the process tells me to. There are some energetic markers for it, hard to explain. I just know that it tells me to surrender in meditation.

20:09
On my way home from yoga class (texting while walking). I almost missed it but made a rush and made it. It was lovely. Lots of space in muscles, fascia and joints. An impermanence door fruition while moving between threelegged dog and knee between arms back and forth. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Lucid dreaming. I was sitting in a kitchen with my grandmother and uncle on dad's side. I told them about how I had seen a man that looked so much like my uncle that it was spooky. He had been moving the same way, his face covered by an umbrella. It had been on my way to work - in the dream I was arranging a festivity for people with dementia. When he looked out from under the umbrella, hos face reminded me of my dad. He could have been a sibling to all of them. It had stirred up emotion since both my dad and my uncle are dead. I stopped myself from saying that because I remembered that I was telling the story to my uncle and to my grandmother who is also dead. "Dream signs", I thought. "Lucid dreaming." I looked around and appreciated how real it all seemed. I said to my grandmother and uncle that I really appreciated being there with them. Then I felt pulled away from that dream. I dreamed that I was being woken up by a partner who said that it was time to get up. I muttered "lucid dreaming" and said that I needed my sleep. No, wait, that was later. The first time I just felt the presence of my partner on my right side and a friend of ours on my left side, for some reason. They both seemed to want to cuddle. We were all holding hands. I wanted to go back to lucid dreaming so I just let my hands be limp, relaxed, and tried to fall back into sleep. Of course I was already/still asleep (the only one next to me was one of my cats). I had just lost lucidity. Unsure about the order here. Lots of images flashing by, changing fast. A tower with text on it, shifting text. I thought about visiting Lama Lena to get teachings, tried to go there by inclining my intention towards it. At the same time I wasn't sure it would be such a good idea to waste her time by visiting her before lucid dreaming was stable. My thoughts influenced the text on the tower (or was it a skyscraper? A tall building). The text "Lama Lena" appeared on it for a while. Maybe this was when I lost lucidity again and dreamed that my partner was waking me up? Went back into images that were changing rapidly, environmental features that were changing rapidly before my eyes. Also instances of telling about my lucid dreams - lost lucidity there. Then there was some kind of adventure in the future (?). There was this huge electrical cord that didn't reach its other end entirely, rendering electricity a rare thing. We were trying to get it together, which was risky business, but it wouldn't stay that way. All bees were dead. Somebody found a way to get some flowers to pollinate themselves. I watched the flowers reach out tendrils to do that and was amazed by how my mind had come up with all this and made it seem so real (lucidity for a while). Then somebody said that all you needed to do was to present the flowers to their right match. They all had (symbolical) names so you could guess which names belonged together. There was a huge board with names. I engaged in the match-making and lost lucidity. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Some of the flowers in the dream were polyamorous, by the way. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago.

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"All bees were dead."

emoticon emoticon emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Yeah. So some of us were sort of on a mission to save the cosmic lovemaking.

I just spread some more wild flower seeds in my patio. That's not much but it's something.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yeah. So some of us were sort of on a mission to save the cosmic lovemaking.

I just spread some more wild flower seeds in my patio. That's not much but it's something.

Might not be much for honeybees but it means the World for solitary bees and bumblebees who don't fly far away from their nests! emoticon so, well done for thinking about them! emoticon much love to you! emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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It's a win-win. I love having real living nature in my patio. I need it. 

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75 minutes of "slow flow" yoga
60 minutes of meditation (very basic McMindfullness stuff, but it means that I get to sit directly after the yoga class when I'm already focused, and she plays on her singing ball in the end)

I'll do my sadhana before going to sleep. There's a "Reversing the stack" class at 2:30 in the morning. 
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"class at 2:30 in the morning"

emoticon emoticon emoticon ungodly hour  emoticon emoticon emoticon    (hide)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I felt the need to just lay down and surrender into meditation. There was an unknowing event that I think was a fruition, but it wasn't quite as clearly demarcated. Whatever it was, it felt good. Still does. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I went to a lake today, a small forest lake that feels very much alive. I brought a singing bowl and played it there. I chanted Om mani padme hung to the mallards in order for them to stop bickering about the sun flower seeds I had brought for them. That seemed to calm them down. When the sun set I just sat there, merging with the lake. Visual effects: the whole view flattened. First it had sort of a shimmering surface, like a water surface but vertical and including the air and the forest. It looked like a portal. It came closer. Space fell apart in different ways. It was flat and hovered right in front of my face. It was shattered with different forms of depth. Parts of the lake seemed to levitate. Sometimes like the lake was everywhere. Sometimes like small islands of water floating up in the air. Sometimes like a wave wall rising upwards. Sometimes like the whole lake tilted. Sometimes... you know what happens to the water surface in a singing bowl filled with water when you play it? Symmetric patterns of vibrations on the surface and water drops shooting up into the air? It was like that, but with the dark flickerings on the surface of the lake. They sort of morphed upwards and looked like dark beings dancing there in symmetric patterns. In case they were actual beings, I did metta on them.
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

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You must have really strong desire for enlightenment given the amount of practices you describe emoticon

Did you make Bodhisattva vow?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Well, yeah. 

I only very recently took refuge so I haven't made any other official vows. It was implied, though, as that is the only path my refuge Lama believes in. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

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LOL, I completely forgot there are some kind of rituals for that or something emoticon

I just asked buddhas for hints. Free hints specifically because buddhas do not need any schmeckles in buddha fields. The idea which appeared in my mind was that Bodhisattva vow is done before all of the universe where I present some halfassed idea and commit to make it into full idea and while I will present my stuff I will receive "booo, who gave this guy rights to bother us?", "gtfo!" and other loud signs of appreciations for my efforts. Then after all is done I will have to test this idea on myself like I was some lab animal and which process will take years and will make me want to go to Nibbana to end it all... and it is the real reason buddhas discover it. Ultimately if the idea is any good and I manage to make it work half decently then I will be able to go after my death to buddha fields to chill out. It is nice and peacefull place outside samsara so it is free but even this is not permanent because from time to time always comes some wannabe buddha who breaks this peace and thinking he is so clever asks specifically for free hints because buddhas do not need any shcmeckles...
True story and Vajrabuddhadharma 101 emoticon

ps. Later buddhas contacted me and said that if I maybe had any spare schmeckles then they also want to experience some... fun emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Hm, while being space, I said yes to the awareness and the existence that wanted to move through me. Does that count?

In taking refuge, I committed to going for full Buddhahood, and that path includes being a Bodhisattva according to my refuge teacher. I don't think there are individual rebirths since there never was any continuous and separate individual to begin with. Hey, we change preferences and behavior depending on our intestinal flora and fauna. Lots of my intestinal flora died instantly when I stopped eating gluten. That's probably reincarnated already. 

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About 75 minutes of walking while listening to a dharma talk by Adya: paid notice to how consciousness shifted between dual and levels of nondual. In the beginning it was dual. Walking was effortful and I got annoyed uphill because it affected my breathing, and there was restlessness because I had a specific route in mind and I wabted to get it done. I eased back from that and relaxed more. Soon I could feel my sinues popping open and instead of two lips touching each other where the mouth was, there were sensations of a continuous energy field. At times I got into discursive thinking in a way that made things more dual, and that made walking effortful again. I kept bringing it back to nondual, and after a while it stayed like that most of the time. I noticed that going uphill was no longer annoying, because emptiness regulated the pace to what made breathing effortless. I observed the difference between auto-walk coming from emptiness and habitual automatic walking coming from duality. In the former, my steps were shorter because I didn’t sway my hips. Instead I was rolling more fully on my feet and bent the knees. That made me stretch my shins in a way that I otherwise neglect to do. I often need to do special exercices to stretch out the fascia there because it contracts too much on a regular basis, which coincides with the 3C nana and the dukkha nanas in the PoI. I have been wondering how the specific part of dependent origination looks like that makes that happen so regularly. Now I know. When I’m less aware, I sway my hips instead of bending my knees when I walk. That affects the fascia in my shins, and that fascia is connected to other parths of the fascia as well. It’s very simple, actually. So I guess I need to a) stay aware more often, b) realize when I’m not capable of staying aware that much, c) compensate by training myself to also habitually walk by bending my knees, and d) also compensate by doing exercises when needed before I either stay more aware or manage to habitually walk in a better way. I also know now that when I get annoyed while going uphill, that’s because I’m walking from duality and neglect to adjust my pace to my breathing. Cool.

Lots of flow in the body from the walking. Lots of nada sound too.
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Hm, while being space, I said yes to the awareness and the existence that wanted to move through me. Does that count?
Being space can mean three or even four things: projecting space from samsara to consciousness, projecting space from some other place to consciousness, having space created within your self and fourth would be using nervous system to simulate experience of space. Random awareness/existence typically go to where you point them to. At least without using logos to find your real location and even with it there are ways to create simulation inside space, put out some confusing visualizations and then project space from this visualization to consciousness (or space around space to simulate internal space...) so the guest awareness do not really know what is what.
Just asking out of curiosity... I might have overcomplicated my models a little bit too much though emoticon

Does it count?... I would say yes...

In taking refuge, I committed to going for full Buddhahood, and that path includes being a Bodhisattva according to my refuge teacher. I don't think there are individual rebirths since there never was any continuous and separate individual to begin with. Hey, we change preferences and behavior depending on our intestinal flora and fauna. Lots of my intestinal flora died instantly when I stopped eating gluten. That's probably reincarnated already.
Rebirths happen because soul cannot do much without body. Your soul evolved with bodies. Souls are outside samsara but they bump in to it and get entangled. They then seek useful matter like forming life and use it to experience itself. Then with life they evolve by going from body to body where the actual experience is generated. Actual sentient being is body + soul which creates an experience. Without either body or soul there is at most echo from experience. Some automated systems do exist. Those in soul execute programs automatically. What program depends on what is programmed. If you have not changed it then will be probably the same program as before.

If you want to be continuous separate individual then you somehow need to have your body in the same space as your soul. One far fetched idea is called rainbow body. As a quick workaround to properly doing it I created visualization called "diamond structure based structure of mind" but it is probably too small and I have not put effort to do proper testing so I am not sure how it will fare. I mean I cannot truly test it but at least try to do something somehow. I fear that in the event of imminent demise it might be too late to ponder about afterlife so I started preparation for my departure from this realms earlier. I wont rush it though emoticon

ps. How do you know your flora "died"? If there was something which seemed like souls then maybe these souls got spontaneously enlightened and unanimously decided to unlink themselves from cells they entangled themselves with and went to Nibbana emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Ni Nurta:

Being space can mean three or even four things: projecting space from samsara to consciousness, projecting space from some other place to consciousness, having space created within your self and fourth would be using nervous system to simulate experience of space. Random awareness/existence typically go to where you point them to. At least without using logos to find your real location and even with it there are ways to create simulation inside space, put out some confusing visualizations and then project space from this visualization to consciousness (or space around space to simulate internal space...) so the guest awareness do not really know what is what.
Just asking out of curiosity... I might have overcomplicated my models a little bit too much though emoticon

Does it count?... I would say yes...


I don’t know... I would just wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was space. I still needed to pee, though, so my body was there too. It was not like in a formless realm. I guess it felt like I was much larger than my body and much less... situated. And love was what made form worthwhile. Love brought me into existence. So maybe that was a Bodhisattva vow right then and there.



Rebirths happen because soul cannot do much without body. Your soul evolved with bodies. Souls are outside samsara but they bump in to it and get entangled. They then seek useful matter like forming life and use it to experience itself. Then with life they evolve by going from body to body where the actual experience is generated. Actual sentient being is body + soul which creates an experience. Without either body or soul there is at most echo from experience. Some automated systems do exist. Those in soul execute programs automatically. What program depends on what is programmed. If you have not changed it then will be probably the same program as before.


What do you mean when you say soul? I know that some Tibetans use the word to refer to something temporary that is created by how the elements are balanced. When I hear the word I tend to think of the Christian version: something eternal. The latter doesn’t go so well together with Buddhism as I know it. Then again, what do I know? Who even knows for sure whether there if some ultimate truth and, if so, what that would be? Before I started this practice, I believed that the world and everything in it including all beings were God dividing itself so that it could experience itself. Now I don't know. At this forum the accepted truth seems to be that nothing like that exists. For a while I thought I had to see that too, and I even thought that I did, but honestly - how the hell should I know? Can we even know that what is experienced in our practice is more real than anything else? And more importantly: does it matter? Whether or not we have a soul, somehow we do exist and we are able to care. 


If you want to be continuous separate individual then you somehow need to have your body in the same space as your soul. One far fetched idea is called rainbow body. As a quick workaround to properly doing it I created visualization called "diamond structure based structure of mind" but it is probably too small and I have not put effort to do proper testing so I am not sure how it will fare. I mean I cannot truly test it but at least try to do something somehow. I fear that in the event of imminent demise it might be too late to ponder about afterlife so I started preparation for my departure from this realms earlier. I wont rush it though emoticon

So what would happen if we didn't have our body in the same space as our soul then? 

Why do you think rainbow body is far fetched? I'm not sure what to believe. I have heard some stories about it from more than one teacher whom I trust and respect. I'm starting to think that there seems to be many different versions of reality, depending on what people are able to believe. Some versions seem to have more possibilities to them than others. On the other hand, there also seems to be the case that wheras some of them have almost infinite possibilities in some respects, they are very closed/narrowminded in other respects. 

The rainbow body that I have heard of doesn't sound like something that needs to be constructed. It seems to be something that is freed up when you let go of all constructions. But I also know that sometimes it is too difficult to just let go of something and easier if there is something else to focus on, so maybe new constructions can be a way to let go of it all. Like a temporary scaffolding. I don't know. Regardless, it's very interesting. 


ps. How do you know your flora "died"? If there was something which seemed like souls then maybe these souls got spontaneously enlightened and unanimously decided to unlink themselves from cells they entangled themselves with and went to Nibbana emoticon

Well, I only know that on a relative level. Bacteria that need gluten will starve without it. I noticed sudden changes in food preferences. Tastes changed drastically. Mundane stuff like that.

Lama Lena actually told a funny story about parasitical worms that turned rainbow when dying as a result of some pretty powerful transition that their host had reveived before... disposing of the worms the natural way, so to speak.

I do seem to tolerate less and less food, so maybe my enlightenment started in my gut flora. You never know. emoticon Maybe it's all rainbow in there, like for those unicorns that fart rainbows in some popular images. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Soul would be the chip which manages all the soul simulation... I mean it is the brane/sphere in 11 dimensional space which connects to brane of Samsara which is our universe. Kinda confused models for a while emoticon

When such soul connects to samsara it creates kind of dark matter which spreads out in search for other souls and maybe for some other interresting things to experience. Then life when it created itself, maybe with a little help from souls, got inhabited by souls by them connecting to the matter. After drifting in one form of space or the other for God only know how long even simple life would be more interresting, even if for a while. Then as it always is souls got hooked by this new thing and started to drive evolution of more complex life forms until they created us. Walking talking apes. At least here on this planet. What is elsewhere I do not really know. the only vision of aliens I had when I out of all floating balls in space got to something which looked like neutron star and it kinda changed to a planet... so I guess I was transported there, to a planet around this neutron star, where there were creatures with rather strange physique but like us were bipedal. They had large eyes on top of their heads and very strange language. They were rather slow but apparently intelligent because they had technology. I tried to talk to them and hack their computers but I guess I didn't because I do not know how to create quantum ion warp drives or anything like that emoticon Generally boring bunch. We human are much better, more passionate and all. Nevertheless souls drive evolution of such beings and beings change souls and the circle of rebirth continues.

What I want to do is to somehow learn how to program the damn soul thing to break this circle od mediocry and rise above all sentient beings and become ruler of un... I mean my earnest desire is to liberate all sentient beings. Again for a while I confused my models emoticon

Rainbow body looks like teleportation of phsyical body. It didn't made much sense to me until I realized that soul without proper mind is kinda useles and it is physical body which is the smartest mind in this equation, not soul. Soul is just storage with ability to execute pre-programmed code. So the model generally assumes that space can be created in any such brane if enough energy is created inside it. Should be in theory possible to relocate body there and with that assuming sustainability of this space it could become self-sufficient entiry... Though if I will be able to pull this off I am not sure. People who do this kind of feat meditate everyday for their whole lives I watch Netflix/YT while consuming refreshing alcohol based drinks emoticon

This is just a model which is work in progress. Though I suspect rainbow body is not the way to go. I mean if it works it would be cool but kinda seems excessive to move whole body. I have two more backup plans based on pure minds. One is that I sacrificed my 4th path mind and with it ability to instantly enter jhanas. I can probably get better one the second time so not an issue emoticon Second plan is based on artificially created mind with recursion. Those two should probably be enough. Not quite the same without my body but maybe I will figure out how to do it later and just do it like everyone by moving it just before death - hence maybe with that I will be able to actually do rainbow body trick emoticon

BTW. Food intolerances are not very nice. Hopefully you can eat things like chocolade emoticon
Regarding Bodhisattva vow, it only matters if you youself believe in it. Sentients beings heard it too many times and still nothing really happened emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
Soul would be the chip which manages all the soul simulation... I mean it is the brane/sphere in 11 dimensional space which connects to brane of Samsara which is our universe. Kinda confused models for a while emoticon

When such soul connects to samsara it creates kind of dark matter which spreads out in search for other souls and maybe for some other interresting things to experience. Then life when it created itself, maybe with a little help from souls, got inhabited by souls by them connecting to the matter. After drifting in one form of space or the other for God only know how long even simple life would be more interresting, even if for a while. Then as it always is souls got hooked by this new thing and started to drive evolution of more complex life forms until they created us. Walking talking apes. At least here on this planet. What is elsewhere I do not really know. the only vision of aliens I had when I out of all floating balls in space got to something which looked like neutron star and it kinda changed to a planet... so I guess I was transported there, to a planet around this neutron star, where there were creatures with rather strange physique but like us were bipedal. They had large eyes on top of their heads and very strange language. They were rather slow but apparently intelligent because they had technology. I tried to talk to them and hack their computers but I guess I didn't because I do not know how to create quantum ion warp drives or anything like that emoticon Generally boring bunch. We human are much better, more passionate and all. Nevertheless souls drive evolution of such beings and beings change souls and the circle of rebirth continues.
You are weird. You can take that as a compliment. emoticon


What I want to do is to somehow learn how to program the damn soul thing to break this circle od mediocry and rise above all sentient beings and become ruler of un... I mean my earnest desire is to liberate all sentient beings. Again for a while I confused my models emoticon
See above.


Rainbow body looks like teleportation of phsyical body. It didn't made much sense to me until I realized that soul without proper mind is kinda useles and it is physical body which is the smartest mind in this equation, not soul. Soul is just storage with ability to execute pre-programmed code. So the model generally assumes that space can be created in any such brane if enough energy is created inside it. Should be in theory possible to relocate body there and with that assuming sustainability of this space it could become self-sufficient entiry... Though if I will be able to pull this off I am not sure. People who do this kind of feat meditate everyday for their whole lives I watch Netflix/YT while consuming refreshing alcohol based drinks emoticon
This is all interesting to think about. I sort of have a problem with the storage idea, though. Not even human memories are actually stored in the brain, but created anew each time, as far as I know (I have been talking about this with a brilliant professor), which also fits better with my experience from the practice.

I’m kind of relieved that I’m not the only one here watching netflix. I haven’t had a drink since I noticed how much it affects my connection to the elements and tawa, though. I’m hoping that after flipping the switch, I’ll be able to enjoy a good wine now and then without ruining my practice.


This is just a model which is work in progress. Though I suspect rainbow body is not the way to go. I mean if it works it would be cool but kinda seems excessive to move whole body. I have two more backup plans based on pure minds. One is that I sacrificed my 4th path mind and with it ability to instantly enter jhanas. I can probably get better one the second time so not an issue emoticon Second plan is based on artificially created mind with recursion. Those two should probably be enough. Not quite the same without my body but maybe I will figure out how to do it later and just do it like everyone by moving it just before death - hence maybe with that I will be able to actually do rainbow body trick emoticon
I have no idea what you are talking about here. I can tell you that Lama Lena says that most practice will leave some remnants of the body. If one really wants for nails and stuff to go rainbow too, one needs to do Tsogyal (?) practice, but she wasn’t convinced that was important.


BTW. Food intolerances are not very nice. Hopefully you can eat things like chocolade emoticon
Regarding Bodhisattva vow, it only matters if you youself believe in it. Sentients beings heard it too many times and still nothing really happened emoticon
I can’t eat chocolate. That once took me to the ER because my face was weirdly swollen.

I think the point of the Bodhisattva vow is to realize that we aren’t separate (while at the same time we also are) and that as long as life keeps happening, awareness will arise, so we better make the best of it.
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
This is all interesting to think about. I sort of have a problem with the storage idea, though. Not even human memories are actually stored in the brain, but created anew each time, as far as I know (I have been talking about this with a brilliant professor), which also fits better with my experience from the practice.
Today I found out that the "soul" which I treat as storage mechanism which I mentioned before is eight consciousness from this list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Consciousness

The list is missing two consciousnesses though because there are three supermundane cosmic consciousnesses. Nibbana "the experience of non-experience" is ninth. Atman/True Self "the experience of everything" is tenth and what I call Vajra Samadhi is eleventh "the experience of everything at all times".


I have no idea what you are talking about here. I can tell you that Lama Lena says that most practice will leave some remnants of the body. If one really wants for nails and stuff to go rainbow too, one needs to do Tsogyal (?) practice, but she wasn’t convinced that was important.
There is a kind of mind configuration which can be changed with 5th jhana. It affects a how physical nervous system tends to fire. A kind of template for the mind. It is what causes persistent perception changes from doing Vipassana.

I tested it perhaps too enthusiastically shortly after I discovered it and now have to live with the consequences, both good and bad. Currently I do not play with it it is somethign that I will definitely put more effort in to in the future as it can potentially be very useful.

I think the point of the Bodhisattva vow is to realize that we aren’t separate (while at the same time we also are) and that as long as life keeps happening, awareness will arise, so we better make the best of it.
Bodhisattva vow is imho more like sacrificing rest of your existence to helping sentient beings to improve their existential conditions emoticon

The "we aren't separate" part is requirement for making such the kind of Boshisattva vow I am talking about because it requires addressing sentient beings directly. Being Bodhisattva is multi-lifetime commitment and while whole path need to be always traversed after rebirth some parts just happen naturally and pass quickly and you know what to do and what not to do. More or less emoticon

I can’t eat chocolate. That once took me to the ER because my face was weirdly swollen.
Oh noooo... emoticon
I had some food allergy reactions in the past and somehow not so much. I kinda calmed myself and tried visualize nice sensations when subjected to food my body reacted negatively. It was rather hard to have any positive change with this method though.
Somehow better method was to think about the food and work with the thoughts of reactions completely virtually. Might be worth trying.
Though if the reaction is strong then I guess it is better to not test it emoticon

You are weird. You can take that as a compliment. emoticon
It is dharma, I tell you!
It changes people if you let it sink in to your heart and take over you.
They said it will be great, that I will be liberated and forever blissful.
...and maybe it would work like that if I didn't use my own dharma emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
@Ni Nurta

I don't know what to think about soul and consciousnesses. I think I'll try to keep it open, without believing anything, but it's interesting to hear about different hypotheses. Hopefully it opens up more than it closes. I do find it more and more plausibel that there are many different planes of existance with different inherent logics to them, but I don't know that either. 

How are you able to do anything from 5th jhana? Do you set the intention for it before entering? When I was there, I did not have the agency to do anything. And what consequences are we talking about here? Please do be careful! I do understand why it is tempting to play with, though. 

I didn't mean to sound so cynical about the Bodhisattva vow. I sort of took the improvement of others' conditions for granted. Not that I necessarily think they will be others at that point; I'm not so sure that it involves being a person anymore. Maybe it's more like free-floating seeds of inspiration. Ripples. Energy? I really have no idea. The consensual understanding here at DhO seems to be that it's just a myth and that one has to let go of any notion of continued existence after death. I don't know... It isn't continuous now and yet it feels like it in many ways, so maybe awareness will keep arising in a way that has some sense of continuity to it then as well. Regardless of how that turns out, it feels right here and now to choose the connection to and caring for other beings. I'm not in it for the collective suicide cult. I'll confess that there have been times when I really just wanted out, but I don't think I ever thought of that "out" as really being out. It was more a longing for dissolving the separate individual, I guess. Oh well, there probably isn't any choice anyway. It is what it is. Knowing what to do and what not to do sounds amazing. 

I have already tested taking away my food intolerances by way of thinking them away. Several times. emoticon It does not work. 

He he, thanks, you made me smile. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
How are you able to do anything from 5th jhana? Do you set the intention for it before entering? When I was there, I did not have the agency to do anything. And what consequences are we talking about here? Please do be careful! I do understand why it is tempting to play with, though. 
Jhanas are functions of the mind. They can have different presentations.
It already was contention between me and eg. Chris when I talked about experiencing 8th jhana all day long which sounded like complete bullocks. And in some sense it is when you expect jhanas to be complete mind states you get from Shamatha practices. The way I think about jhanas is that by distillation of these mind states the essence of them can be extracted and it is this essence which makes them tick. The rest of jhana mind states you know is just the side-effect of the set-up you use to enter these jhanas.

Any experience can be analyzed to find what makes it tick, especially what makes it pleasant or do something and these extracted functions can be then done separately without exact conditions needed to have complete experiences which we used to have something to analyze. I call it distilling experiences and the wording used suggests process similar to one used to make strong alcohols. With grapes you can make a wine but with distillation you can make 95% spiritus even from coal and then mix it with anything and make person wasted emoticon

So 5th jhana I am talking about is distilled function of 5th jhana. It doesn't in any way prevent normal mind from beign operational. The validity of these mind state I proved to myself by using them. And as for dangerousness... it was not dangerous until I deliberately choose to downgrade my mind state. I wanted to know if it will work and how valid hints I was giving are from less "done" mind. Kinda puts things in the proper perspective.

I didn't mean to sound so cynical about the Bodhisattva vow. I sort of took the improvement of others' conditions for granted. Not that I necessarily think they will be others at that point; I'm not so sure that it involves being a person anymore. Maybe it's more like free-floating seeds of inspiration. Ripples. Energy? I really have no idea. The consensual understanding here at DhO seems to be that it's just a myth and that one has to let go of any notion of continued existence after death. I don't know...
I hope they will make me in to a cyborg and I will live forever as half flesh half digital computer and half quantum computer consciousness.
The mass of all three separate would be more than combined hence three halves emoticon

It isn't continuous now and yet it feels like it in many ways, so maybe awareness will keep arising in a way that has some sense of continuity to it then as well. Regardless of how that turns out, it feels right here and now to choose the connection to and caring for other beings. I'm not in it for the collective suicide cult. I'll confess that there have been times when I really just wanted out, but I don't think I ever thought of that "out" as really being out. It was more a longing for dissolving the separate individual, I guess. Oh well, there probably isn't any choice anyway. It is what it is. Knowing what to do and what not to do sounds amazing.
Wanting suicide is result of clinging to idea of "relief" which is connected to idea of "liberation".
There is liberation I do subscribe to and it is liberation from these ideas emoticon

I have already tested taking away my food intolerances by way of thinking them away. Several times. emoticon It does not work.
I suspect that 6th jhana can be used for controlling allergic reactions. I did not test it enough to be sure of that so at this point it is just a hunch.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Ni Nurta:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
How are you able to do anything from 5th jhana? Do you set the intention for it before entering? When I was there, I did not have the agency to do anything. And what consequences are we talking about here? Please do be careful! I do understand why it is tempting to play with, though. 
Jhanas are functions of the mind. They can have different presentations.
It already was contention between me and eg. Chris when I talked about experiencing 8th jhana all day long which sounded like complete bullocks. And in some sense it is when you expect jhanas to be complete mind states you get from Shamatha practices. The way I think about jhanas is that by distillation of these mind states the essence of them can be extracted and it is this essence which makes them tick. The rest of jhana mind states you know is just the side-effect of the set-up you use to enter these jhanas.

Hm. That’s food for thought. And something to try.


Any experience can be analyzed to find what makes it tick, especially what makes it pleasant or do something and these extracted functions can be then done separately without exact conditions needed to have complete experiences which we used to have something to analyze. I call it distilling experiences and the wording used suggests process similar to one used to make strong alcohols. With grapes you can make a wine but with distillation you can make 95% spiritus even from coal and then mix it with anything and make person wasted emoticon

Find what makes the experience tick... I think I’ll write that on the note that I have with questions to ponder during the day. ”What makes this experience tick?” That’s a great question.


So 5th jhana I am talking about is distilled function of 5th jhana. It doesn't in any way prevent normal mind from beign operational. The validity of these mind state I proved to myself by using them. And as for dangerousness... it was not dangerous until I deliberately choose to downgrade my mind state. I wanted to know if it will work and how valid hints I was giving are from less "done" mind. Kinda puts things in the proper perspective.

I hope I didn’t give you any bad ideas by telling you that some of your advice wasn’t comprehensible for someone without your level of concentration.


I hope they will make me in to a cyborg and I will live forever as half flesh half digital computer and half quantum computer consciousness.
The mass of all three separate would be more than combined hence three halves emoticon

A little invested in our brain enhancements, are we? emoticon
Just teasin ya.


Wanting suicide is result of clinging to idea of "relief" which is connected to idea of "liberation".
There is liberation I do subscribe to and it is liberation from these ideas emoticon

Didn’t you say you were aiming for rainbow body? I’m sort of relieved to hear that you don’t see that as getting away from it all, I think, if that’s what you are saying.


I suspect that 6th jhana can be used for controlling allergic reactions. I did not test it enough to be sure of that so at this point it is just a hunch.


Well, I haven’t tried that.
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Bardo, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 260 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
What an intriguing few postings Ni Nurta!

Reminds me of when my third eye was rapidly flexing. It sprouted a fully grown masculine arm and began deadlifting 80 pound weights.

My imagination during this period was off the scale!

I couldn't possibly share some of that stuff. :-)

(Hi Linda) 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Good to hear from you again Bardo! I have been wondering how you are doing. Please do share that stuff! Well, it's optional, of course. I just love it when others seem crazier than me. emoticon

I had a phase when my head was spinning and producing a 3D model on the different doors of fruitions. The only one who realized how brilliant it was (uh hum), was psychotic at the time. 

---

I have been trying to catch up with job applications today, as my depression is gradually improving, but Gosh, there is so much to do. I would have wanted to do much more meditation, but the sits that I did get were a haven. It turned everything to a flow of wavy motion. There was a sense of confusion, but in a pleasant way. There wasn't so much of entanglement, just elusive fluidity. 
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Bardo, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I had a phase when my head was spinning and producing a 3D model on the different doors of fruitions. The only one who realized how brilliant it was (uh hum), was psychotic at the time. 

Ah, yes! While these things are fun it is helpful to find an objective 'something' amidst their presence. For me, that sometimes meant finding meaning in their appearance: a meaning that related strongly to the task at hand. But for the most part I would try to ignore them afterwards.

Most happenings occur off the cushion for me, so they have quite an effect. In a couple of instances, my entire scope of vision became transparent. It was pleasant in the beginning but then I saw other planes intersecting this worldly plane. Other beings occupied those planes. 

As we practice we seem to lose the capacity to hold down our issues. Once we have become conscious of those issues, meaning that you have learned to apply a fair degree of emotional intelligence to the turmoil they bring, it opens us up to the collective unconscious. We understand worldly ignorance and the suffering that ensues from that ignorance. For some, that collective unconscious can expand beyond this worldly realm and into dimensions that are otherwise inaccessible and may initiate visitations from some savoury and unsavoury entities.

It was here where I really discovered the beauty of loving-kindness meditation. I refused to interact with those seeming entities, but they were often persistent. I came to understand that they we're seeking release but not knowing that they were seeking release. I understood that they were suspended in conditioned existence, cycling through various trials and tribulations just like humans on the worldly plane. Therefore, "may all beings, across the vastness of the cosmos, find happiness. May all beings be released".

my depression is gradually improving,

Nice to hear your depression is improving. Sometimes depression can occur as a side effect of the practice. In Zen, they call it the Great Doubt and if you had relayed this to your Zen master it is likely they would reply thusly: "gooood! goooood. Keep going!" The Great Doubt in Zen is seen as a very significant landmark. 

But of course, it is sometimes not always helpful for some people to power on with practice when they are depressed (but, for myself, I concur with the Zen master!). 

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

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Bardo:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I had a phase when my head was spinning and producing a 3D model on the different doors of fruitions. The only one who realized how brilliant it was (uh hum), was psychotic at the time. 

Ah, yes! While these things are fun it is helpful to find an objective 'something' amidst their presence. For me, that sometimes meant finding meaning in their appearance: a meaning that related strongly to the task at hand. But for the most part I would try to ignore them afterwards.

This sounds wise. As for that model, I haven’t given it much thought since then, but sometimes when I hear a dharma talk, I recognize something from it. I still have no idea if something was channelled there or if it was just a horrific head spin. Before that happened, I didn't have that kind of visual thinking available. 


Most happenings occur off the cushion for me, so they have quite an effect. In a couple of instances, my entire scope of vision became transparent. It was pleasant in the beginning but then I saw other planes intersecting this worldly plane. Other beings occupied those planes. 


I suspect this is one of those "be careful what you wish for moments", but I want that. I want to be less constricted as to what I see, more open to other planes of existance. What kind of practice led up to that for you?


As we practice we seem to lose the capacity to hold down our issues. Once we have become conscious of those issues, meaning that you have learned to apply a fair degree of emotional intelligence to the turmoil they bring, it opens us up to the collective unconscious. We understand worldly ignorance and the suffering that ensues from that ignorance. For some, that collective unconscious can expand beyond this worldly realm and into dimensions that are otherwise inaccessible and may initiate visitations from some savoury and unsavoury entities.


So... working with emotions, you say? Sambhogakaya, here I come!

I saw a Lama being transparent for a while, but that was it. I have had quite a few visual anomalies, but none with beings from other planes clearly distinguishable. I have seen actions being done by somebody invisible, so it shouldn’t be impossible to see them.


It was here where I really discovered the beauty of loving-kindness meditation. I refused to interact with those seeming entities, but they were often persistent. I came to understand that they we're seeking release but not knowing that they were seeking release. I understood that they were suspended in conditioned existence, cycling through various trials and tribulations just like humans on the worldly plane. Therefore, "may all beings, across the vastness of the cosmos, find happiness. May all beings be released".

I recently heard Daniel describe doing the same thing. It seems to be the way to go. I love it. A few days ago, somebody whom I really like was expressing her dismay about practicioners who believed in other beings and made offerings to them. That made me sad. Those other beings seem to believe in themselves just like we humans tend to do, so why not show them kindness?


my depression is gradually improving,

Nice to hear your depression is improving. Sometimes depression can occur as a side effect of the practice. In Zen, they call it the Great Doubt and if you had relayed this to your Zen master it is likely they would reply thusly: "gooood! goooood. Keep going!" The Great Doubt in Zen is seen as a very significant landmark. 

But of course, it is sometimes not always helpful for some people to power on with practice when they are depressed (but, for myself, I concur with the Zen master!). 

Best wishes.

I think the main reason that I increased the dosage of my antidepressants was that I noticed that my lack of motivation even affected my practice. That's just not okay. If I can't power on with practice, something is seriously wrong. 

I think most people (non-practicioners) who talk about zen qualities, have no idea how macho - or "gonzo", as Lama Lena describes Tibetans -  zen practicioners often are. I find that funny. 

So... is zen what I should be doing if I want to see other planes of existance? On the other hand, I just said that Daniel saw them too, and there are certainly Dzogchen practitioners who do too, so maybe the tradition doesn't matter that much. Maybe I should just practice patience and let the process unfold the way it wants. That usually seems to work best anyway. 

Best wishes to you too! emoticon I'm really glad to have you back here. 
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Bardo, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I suspect this is one of those "be careful what you wish for moments", but I want that. I want to be less constricted as to what I see, more open to other planes of existance. What kind of practice led up to that for you?

I can't be quite sure what triggered this. Perhaps the culmination of prior practices lead to those other-worldly visions. I was never looking for it. It just occurred. 

So... working with emotions, you say? Sambhogakaya, here I come!

Not so much 'working' with emotions but instead giving them the space to occupy the body in a non-judgmental manner. I would consider this an emotionally intelligent response because it calls upon the invitation of deep, unimpeded intimacy. This is quite tricky initially because we've been trained to do something with those emotions from a very early age and through into adulthood so the first thing we'll notice is resistance in its many conditioned formations.

I recently heard Daniel describe doing the same thing. It seems to be the way to go. I love it. A few days ago, somebody whom I really like was expressing her dismay about practicioners who believed in other beings and made offerings to them. That made me sad. Those other beings seem to believe in themselves just like we humans tend to do, so why not show them kindness? 

It certainly shatters quite a lot of belief in a separate self and that is ultimately what we're trying to do. However, it also shatters our perceptions of form or matter. The generally accepted view is that form has solidity - which is true on some conventional plane - but ultimately this does not appear to be the case. And so, 'belief' is a critical word here. It is not that we must 'believe' that these beings are there because we would be using the same belief structure from our current world-view perspective which is flawed at best. If you wanted to entertain this further within the scope of the realms, then the earth is part of that ecosystem but the realms should not be understood literally, fantasized about nor integrated with. Better to keep a sturdy footing on this peculiar planet we call earth. But of course, if this happens for you, loving-kindness is a good remedy.

I think most people (non-practicioners) who talk about zen qualities, have no idea how macho - or "gonzo", as Lama Lena describes Tibetans -  zen practicioners often are. I find that funny. 

Ah, macho! Granted, I had clearly misrepresented Zen and thus the way I practice. Zen is too simple but that isn't good enough for the mind. The mind likes objects, gongy sounds, pretty mandalas, various ceremonies, chantings and all those whatnots. I guess they have their place in pacifying the mind.

So... is zen what I should be doing if I want to see other planes of existance? On the other hand, I just said that Daniel saw them too, and there are certainly Dzogchen practitioners who do too, so maybe the tradition doesn't matter that much. Maybe I should just practice patience and let the process unfold the way it wants. That usually seems to work best anyway. 

Well, the planes of existences seem to be very well documented across many traditions as you say. Even Carl Jung has made references to these within his context.

I can't tell you what you should be doing, Linda. I like to draw people inwards so that they can come to answer those kinds of questions for themselves. However, I would like to suggest that you don't make the realms into a discovery crusade. It is not wise to indoctrinate yourself into believing this stuff. The same goes for enlightenment.

My practice was similar to yours in that it was varied, dynamic and often cumbersome spanning Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan and Zen. The one consistent practice throughout was persistent body awareness along with mind - so, body, feeling, mind leading to truth equalling the four foundations of mindfulness. I think we're all forced into those four regions when we're ready.

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

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Bardo:

Not so much 'working' with emotions but instead giving them the space to occupy the body in a non-judgmental manner. I would consider this an emotionally intelligent response because it calls upon the invitation of deep, unimpeded intimacy. This is quite tricky initially because we've been trained to do something with those emotions from a very early age and through into adulthood so the first thing we'll notice is resistance in its many conditioned formations.

That’s how I work with emotions. I have been doing it consistently exactly like that for six months now. I agree with your assessment. It is tricky, but also very healing. 


The generally accepted view is that form has solidity - which is true on some conventional plane - but ultimately this does not appear to be the case. And so, 'belief' is a critical word here. It is not that we must 'believe' that these beings are there because we would be using the same belief structure from our current world-view perspective which is flawed at best. If you wanted to entertain this further within the scope of the realms, then the earth is part of that ecosystem but the realms should not be understood literally, fantasized about nor integrated with. Better to keep a sturdy footing on this peculiar planet we call earth. But of course, if this happens for you, loving-kindness is a good remedy.

I don’t believe that form has solidity. Being open to the possibility that there are other beings who think they are as real as humans think they are does not imply actually believing that they are ultimately real. None of us are. And yet, here we are, so compassion is important. 


Ah, macho! Granted, I had clearly misrepresented Zen and thus the way I practice. Zen is too simple but that isn't good enough for the mind. The mind likes objects, gongy sounds, pretty mandalas, various ceremonies, chantings and all those whatnots. I guess they have their place in pacifying the mind.

I wasn’t referring to that, but to going through with the practice no matter how painful it is. I'm sorry for my really bad joke here. I didn't mean any disrespect. I refer to myself jokingly as macho often. 


I can't tell you what you should be doing, Linda. I like to draw people inwards so that they can come to answer those kinds of questions for themselves. However, I would like to suggest that you don't make the realms into a discovery crusade. It is not wise to indoctrinate yourself into believing this stuff. The same goes for enlightenment.

I think we are talking past each other here, because I was certainly not talking about any discovery crusades, nor about indoctrinating myself about anything. It’s rather the opposite. I want to stop taking this reality for granted and let go of views. Apparently I’m lousy at phrasing it.


My practice was similar to yours in that it was varied, dynamic and often cumbersome spanning Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan and Zen. The one consistent practice throughout was persistent body awareness along with mind - so, body, feeling, mind leading to truth equalling the four foundations of mindfulness. I think we're all forced into those four regions when we're ready.

Best wishes

Thanks for sharing, and all the best wishes to you too!

Edited to add some clarifications. Please let me know if further clarifications are needed, or if I messed up somehow. 
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Bardo, modified 9 Months ago.

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My apologies for not fully understanding some of your view points.

I see you're moderating on here now. ;-)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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No worries. I was just adding some clarifications to my reply. It is all too easy to talk past each other in text, and I'm worried that I came off rude or disrespectful first in my jokes and in my enthusiasm and later in trying to be more precise. If so, I appologize. 

Yes, I moderate now, so please tell me if my tone comes off as disrespectful or anything, because there may be noone to tell me, and I would want to know. 
Tim Farrington, modified 10 Months ago.

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Bardo:
What an intriguing few postings Ni Nurta!

Reminds me of when my third eye was rapidly flexing. It sprouted a fully grown masculine arm and began deadlifting 80 pound weights.

My imagination during this period was off the scale!

I couldn't possibly share some of that stuff. :-)

(Hi Linda) 

i think I may have seen that arm. Did it have an Avalokitesvara tattoo?
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Bardo, modified 10 Months ago.

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Tim Farrington:
Bardo:
What an intriguing few postings Ni Nurta!

Reminds me of when my third eye was rapidly flexing. It sprouted a fully grown masculine arm and began deadlifting 80 pound weights.

My imagination during this period was off the scale!

I couldn't possibly share some of that stuff. :-)

(Hi Linda) 

i think I may have seen that arm. Did it have an Avalokitesvara tattoo?

Hah! The finer details eluded me. I knew it to be a masculine arm, hairy and muscly. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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70 minutes of just embracing whatever wanted to happen. It soon got very flowy. It felt like I was floating on waves in the air (it’s very windy today and I had just returned home from a walk). It was all flow. Suddenly the whole world came towards me and sort of collapsed with me. Then it was all back.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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75 minutes of yoga. Many of the asanas and the shifts between asanas require effort because I need to check critical points so that I do it right (in order to not hurt my knees or something). However, sometimes I get into a flow that makes it easier to feel very relaxed and spacious while working hard. It’s basically a very wide-focused shamatha with an object that sometimes tips over into spontaneity for a while.

40 minutes of sadhana + trekcho. I like it. It’s beautiful. I think doing the same sadhana for quite some time helps with integrating awareness of awareness with more complex tasks, gradually. It’s chanting, visualization, ”feelization”, and physical movements, so all senses are involved and there is a lot of multitasking. The prostrations feels good for the body - muscles and fascia - and psychologically because of the symbolism, and they give me piti and pop my sinuses open. They naturally leed to trekcho (which is basically awareness of awareness practice).

Now I’ll try to do Michael’s latest Thursday night meditation before I go to sleep. I’ll do it sitting, in case I’m more tired than I realize. If I find it hard to let go, maybe I’ll shift to reclining after a while. I sometimes have a very narrow span of working posture with regard to both alertness vs dullness and restlessness vs relaxation. It’s easiest at times when I’m very alert, because then I can do reclining meditation with great alertness and get the full relaxation. In those phases sitting is useless because it makes my mind racey. I think I’m somewhere inbetween now, so sitting might work.


I like letting the mind dissolve.

I did shift to reclining about halfway due to cramp in my butt/hip. I managed to stay alert while reclining.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Yesterday I had a hard time doing my practice. I had pms and was annoyed and uncomfortable. I still endured a 90 minutes sit with the trekcho group. It was a bit weird, because I could sense parallell versions of reality. There was spaciousness and okayness there too, at the same time that I just wanted out of there. 

Later I listened to live teachings by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche as invited by Lama Lena, about dream yoga. At the end of the teachings, the Rinpoche led a short guided meditation in which we from the space of empty awareness got to work with some reoccurring dream, with spaciousness and luminosity and warmth. I often have nightmares about logistics - being on my way to something important and missing buses/trains, getting on the wrong ones, forgetting to bring stuff that I need (occasionally even forgetting a kid or some cats) - so I tried to work with that. Interestingly, then I had a dream that seemed to be about the same stuff but I had friends to ask who were waiting for me and it turned out that I had an extra day for travelling so the stress went away.

The Rinpoche also adviced to at least take some time to visualize warmth filling our heart before going to sleep every night. I did that when I was about to sleep. When I was completely relaxed, I had one those unknowing events that may or may not be an impermanence door fruition. It wasn't clear enough for me to count it, but it wasn't fuzzy enough for me to totally discard it either. 

When I woke up this morning, the murk was alive. It went through some changes. I don't remember all of it, but I know that statics was one of the modes, and another mode was a black disc, and then the disc brightened up gradually and got smaller and turned into a tiny very bright dot. I spent the morning just being aware without engaging in anything for quite a while. That was nice. Then I did my sadhana. The rest of the day went by in confusion. In the evening I met with my Chenrezig practice group, which is led by this really warm and down-to-earth grandmother figure who always manages to bring back perspective for me. She has that warmth going on in a very natural way with no prestige in it whatsoever and without covering up negative sides. The meeting was exactly what I needed today. It sort of brought me back to where the day started, before I closed it down with all the things I thought I had to decide and plan. It made it easier to breath again, to just be. 

In the group there was a woman who very suddenly realized how selfing was limiting her life. She was thinking out loud about how she keeps doing it because it somehow makes her feel bigger, and she couldn't stop laughing. She saw that making herself bigger didn't serve anything. She just laughed and laughed and laughed, and it was such a free laughter. It gave me goosebumps. Writing this, hours later, I get goosebumps again. 

During the practice my neighbors started drilling in the walls with a noise that made my cats fly. Earlier in life, that kind of noice would totally incapacitate me. I would dissociate and almost lose my ability to communicate or even protect myself from it. The sound would pierce into me in a painful way and close all options. Now I just tuned into the energy of it and enjoyed the ride. 

There was about a half an hour earlier today that I was back to not tolerating sounds (after being stressed out by stuff - decisions to make, economy, social obligations, my own cravings and how they collide with what I believe in...). I just stopped doing anything at that point and rested in awareness. That helped. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I was going to sleep (or so I thought) after reading a chapter in one of Tim's monk novels, all filled up with bodhicitta from the compassion with which he describes people's limitations and finds the strength in them. I was drawn into jhana. I could clearly identify first, second and third. In first jhana I was sort of swirling around among color waves. My focus was drawn to breath sensations in my face. For some reason they appeared so delicious that I just couldn't help anchoring myself into them. In second jhana that anchor pulled so hard that there wasn't any room for swirling around. Being anchored in itself was so pleasant to just sink into. I could feel my eye balls pushing themselves back into their sockets. In third jhana I was deep down in the water, where everything was still and pleasantly cool. From there I tilted over from shamatha jhana to vipassana jhana as curiosity took over. So that's why I so rarely get to fourth! Shifting from third shamatha jhana to third vipassana jhana made that attention octopus come out to play. Instead of panicking about it, I just took notice of what happened and how it happened. It's actually fascinating. Without the struggle, the octopus softened. There was a series of little poofs that felt like reboots (the kind of unknowing event that may be fruitions but aren't as clearly demarcated as the ones that I'm sure about). There was a moment or two of fourth jhana being glimpsed, with that profound chrystal feeling, but I was too eager to investigate it for it to stabilize. There was also a moment of some kind of activation of the crown. Like static electricity moving around or something. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I was going to sleep (or so I thought) after reading a chapter in one of Tim's monk novels, all filled up with bodhicitta from the compassion with which he describes people's limitations and finds the strength in them. I was drawn into jhana. I could clearly identify first, second and third. In first jhana I was sort of swirling around among color waves. My focus was drawn to breath sensations in my face. For some reason they appeared so delicious that I just couldn't help anchoring myself into them. In second jhana that anchor pulled so hard that there wasn't any room for swirling around. Being anchored in itself was so pleasant to just sink into. I could feel my eye balls pushing themselves back into their sockets. In third jhana I was deep down in the water, where everything was still and pleasantly cool. From there I tilted over from shamatha jhana to vipassana jhana as curiosity took over. So that's why I so rarely get to fourth! Shifting from third shamatha jhana to third vipassana jhana made that attention octopus come out to play. Instead of panicking about it, I just took notice of what happened and how it happened. It's actually fascinating. Without the struggle, the octopus softened. There was a series of little poofs that felt like reboots (the kind of unknowing event that may be fruitions but aren't as clearly demarcated as the ones that I'm sure about). There was a moment or two of fourth jhana being glimpsed, with that profound chrystal feeling, but I was too eager to investigate it for it to stabilize. There was also a moment of some kind of activation of the crown. Like static electricity moving around or something. 

What is 4th jhana like for you, generally? emoticon 

It's always interesting to read your logs!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Oh, thankyou! 

My first aquaintances with what I think was fourth jhana were vipassana ones, around stream entry (very much thanks to Michael Taft who was my teacher at the time). The shift was remarkable, I thought afterwards. It felt like there hadn't been a me there. The watching did itself. There was no valuing going on whatsoever, just a profound neutrality. It sounds so boring, putting that into words, but concepts like boring weren't relevant at all. The clarity was amazing, not that concepts like amazing were relevant either at the time. The label amazing is just a construct in retrospect. The word that comes to my mind is chrystal. Like the most perfectly clear quartz chrystal you could ever find, perfectly polished. 

It took me a long time to find my way back to fourth jhana again. I didn't know how to get there. It had just happened. I have an attention deficit, so my shamatha is very dependent on circumstances (I actually just found out about an hour ago from a new psychiatrist that I have been heavily undermedicated for my ADHD and should be on the double dosage, so it will be very interesting to see how increasing the dosage will affect my practice). I only ever was able to get there while in review, and even then it was hard.

In one review phase I decided to really give shamatha a serious try. I read up on it and listened to lots of dharma talks. It was easiest for me to focus on flowy sensations in my body, but those aren't supposed to be there beyond second jhana or something, so obviously I needed to find a better suited object. I couldn't get a visual nimitta to stabilize enough, so I started to experiment with the so called nada sound, the whirling high-frequency sound that seems to be generated by the mind. It can be interesting to play around with - zoom in on some frequencies and solidify it into a clear tone or zoom out until it's just white noice, or project it to different locations. The latter oddly enough seems to affect what kind of thinking is possible - focusing on the right part of the brain long enough seems to take away language. I didn't experiment with it long enough to have that effect linger. I just noticed that I needed to move the sound to the left if I wanted to find words.* A dharma friend told me she had been experimenting with this for years, often on long retreats, and gotten into some intriguing territory beyond words, something that sounded... I don't know, primal? Anyway, that wasn't the effect I was after, so I chose to focus on the sound as it manifested in the third eye and relatively zoomed out. It wasn't available for enough focus to start out with, so I started with the breath around the nose or wherever it wanted to manifest, depending on where I was in the cycling. Sometimes it was narrow, and then I would use the nostrils and the area around them. Sometimes it was wider, and then I would use breath sensations manifesting as flow in the body as a whole, and anything inbetween. Doing so would intensify the nada sound and make it more appealing. Ayya Khema advices to get to know one's own jhana triggers and also learn when to apply them. Doing it too soon doesn't work. I thus learned to wait with the shift to the nada sound until the timing was right. I have forgotten what that feels like now, so I will probably need to rediscover it. At the time, I did manage to develop a sense of timing there. When I switched to focusing on the nada sound, it was very powerful. I would just pull me in and take over. It made me let go of physical sensations and any remnant of energetics. Those sensations transformed into sound. There was just sound. I was the sound. And somewhere along the line, the sound sort of destilled itself into light, and there it was: the chrystal clarity, just without the sense of some watching doing itself. And it was white. Completely white. No flashes, no movement. Just bright whiteness. Strong bright whiteness that pulled me in. 

It still wasn't stable fourth jhana, though, because the pulling kept going into formless realms. There was a shift where the bright whiteness widened and was boundless, like really endless. First there was some kind of reference point that thought it was observing the bright white space. Then the reference point fell away, and the space was everything that was, which also meant that there was no space, if that makes any sense. Without a reference point, there is really no point to noticing space. The whiteness went away too. I may be confusing the order of occurrances here as I'm describing this from memory. Maybe the whiteness want away sooner, maybe later, I don't know, but somewhere down the line it did. Maybe it just gradually became irrelevant. Anyway, the falling away of the reference point was a clear shift. The boundless space became boundless awareness. Awareness was all there was. It was self-referential. Awareness was aware of itself. Still it was nothing like the ground of being that is often described in the very same way. It was so much more focused, even though the focus object was spread out to what seemed like infinity. Apparently it wasn't infinity, because there was still a subtle tension, and with no other object to focus on, that tension had a huge gravitational pull, sort of. There was a shift again, into a very clear nothingness. I still can't wrap my intellect around how that is possible. It was nothing like oblivion, except that it sort of was. It was just so clear that everything was gone, even though there was no sense of a reference point that could compare it with anything. Maybe there's a threshold moment that makes it possible to notice that something goes away, and maybe that notion sort of chrystallizes into a reminder of something that can no longer be accessed. I really don't know. I have no idea how much time I spent in the nothingness, because there was no sense of time there even though there was experience and thus obviously duration. What happened next is even more difficult to wrap my intellect around, because then the nothingness disappeared. I remember noticing that, probably on yet another threshold. How I can remember nothingness falling away is a mystery to me. I don't now how long I stayed there either, but I do remember something that I interpret as a gradual falling away of consciousness as well, and I also remember that even though not even nothingness was there, there was still a sense of something falling away that didn't want to fall away. I guess form was back in some very basic way when that happened, because otherwise I probably would not have been able to notice that (or whatever it was that was noticing it). I don't know. But there was a sense of consciousness very slowly and gradually being pulled into a singularity, and on the way there, it was drawn out to what felt like infinity on some axis, yet different from the boundless space and the boundless awareness. I think this was the suffering door to cessation. Something was taken away from something, or so something thought. There was dualism in that event horizon, and it was quite the shock since it had seemed like there wasn't. I think the object-based shamatha sort of covers up the subtle dualism that remains in experience even in the formless realms, and at this point that subtle tension got enormous proportions, and the last remnant of duality was hard to let go of. But cessation happened. 

This entire arc, from the point of shifting to the nada sound and onward, kept repeating itself over and over again. When I came back to consciousness there would be a brief moment before the nada sound sucked me in again. I don't know how many times, but they were many. It ended with a suffering door cessation every time. Coming out of it, hours had passed. It was almost time to get up in the morning, and I think I was to give a lecture or something like that. 

---

*) Hey, @Ni Nurta if you are reading this: it just dawned on me that this is perhaps not so far from the kind of experimenting with parts of the brain that you often talk about? It just comes easier for me to do it with sound than with visualization. Then again, projecting something spatially is a kind of visualization, I guess. It just doesn't feel like I'm visualizaing as much as "finding" something that is already there. Still, I just described it as projecting, so maybe I'm just fooling myself. I don't even believe that anything is just lying anywhere waiting to be found. That's a very dualistic approach, and a positivistic one that I find naive to say the least. So I guess there's some cognitive dissonance here. Anyway, it feels easier for me to approach it as some kind of sound-driven scanning. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 10 Months ago.

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Thank you, a very interesting and thorough account. =)

Glad you're getting your meds adjusted and hope it'll be an improvement for you.

It's funny how jhanas can be so different and yet have many elements in common. 

Your nada sound, is it more than one? I seem to have two different ones going on; that high-frequency thin whine, and behind it something else, much quieter and more...irregular. Plus another sound I don't know what the heck it is or where it's coming from that's like the little murmurs that can be heard from a computer hard drive. I wear earplugs while meditating yet it feels like this sounds is outside of my head.
Aagh 0_o
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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You are very welcome. It was helpful for me to remind myself of the technicalities of getting there, because my shamatha is very rusty. I have had an aversion to shamatha for a long time now. Maybe it has something to do with being undermedicated. That sort of makes sense. emoticon With ADHD concentration happens when it wants to happen, and then it's superfocused. Other times the mind is like a washdryer on speed as soon as I try to do something with it. Therefore it has been very helpful to just accept whatever arises and work with that instead of trying to discipline the mind. Lots of lowhanging fruit for vipassana, enormous relief when spaciousness arises from Dzogchen, and then once in a while - when least expected and against all odds - some intense jhanic experiences. I need to be flexible and tuned in to what wants to happen. 

As for the medz, that was a bit creepy. I increased the dosage just a little today, and I got more things done in one day than I have for weeks, maybe even months. It turns out that agency comes in a jar. That's a newsflash for anyone who still has a hard time letting go of the idea that will, willpower, motivation, etc, have to do with some essential self. Jeeze, suddenly I actually felt like dedicating an entire day to archeological proportions of going through old junk. I had no idea that was even possible, wanting that. I think I still believed that other people just have more character and thus endure the torture on a daily basis. I mean, it still wasn't something I would pick as a hobby, but there was motivation there. Real motivation. Not just guilt, shame and wanting to be motivated. Fascinating. That's something to meditate on. I need to find new stop signs, though, because I worked so hard that I was very close to throwing up. I'm used to being stopped by a very specific sense of overwhelm, and that didn't happen until I was about to throw up. 

About the jhanas - yes, indeed. And many non-jhanic states of altered consciousness as well. There have been periods in my life when I have easily been pulled into altered states from sensory experiences. I can get high on my body's own chemicals. 

My nada sound is a multitude of different sounds. They are all swirling, unless I zoom in close enough on some tiny part of it, but frequencies change. I think they change with the different nanas. There is one version that has such a low frequency that I can barely hear it. It feels like one eardrum is wobbling and shifts back and forth between blocked and popped open. It is weird that the eardrum is involved, because that seems to indicate that it is really heard with the ears. Maybe it's the "musica universalis". 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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I am space.
All is fluid.
Rigpa rocks.



Will reply to interesting comments later. Meanwhile, speaking of rainbow bodies, my altar Buddha has one. Hopefully I managed to attach an image. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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Something weird energetic just happened. I found a stash of stones that I have kept from vacation trips. I just can't help it but collecting stones. I feel connected to them. Anyway, I had forgotten about these stones and was happy to find them. I delved into the different piles and touched them, and Gosh, there was so much energy there. Different energies in the different piles. One little bag of glittering grey flaky slate made me shake. I mean really shake. What's up with that? Some kind of element thing? I put all stone piles on my grounding altar. I hope that wasn't a bad move, considering that shaking like that doesn't feel very grounding. 

Edited to add: It just dawned on me that the stone piles that had a particularly strong effect on me were all picked while I was pregnant with my child, so it was probably that energy that came back to me. The power of loving creation. Wow. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago.

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The rest of yesterday I was cycling through the dukkha nanas, which manifested both vibrationally and emotionally, but at the end of the day there was peace. The prostrations felt liberating. I'm not sure why I don't do them more often during the day. Maybe I'm afraid that it would water them down, I don't know. 

In dreaming there were dream signs. I even talked about them loud together with other characters in the dream, and still I didn't believe it was a dream until I really had to because I desperately needed to pee. 

Lately I have neglected morning sits, but this morning I figured I need to recreate the karma that motivates me to do morning sits, so I did it anyway. First I did the sadhana thoroughly and then I sat for 20 minutes before breakfast. Feels good. Morning sits seem to clear something up. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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The last few days I have felt the need to focus my practice on just noticing being aware of everything going on, regardless of what senses or whether or not those manifest as separate. Sometimes I use the note "aware". 

Sometimes there is a distinct ticking sound/kinesthetic sensation going on inside my head, which seems to correspond with my sinuses opening up and spaciousness developing. I think it clears the passage in the central channel(s). 

Sometimes it's like my hearing consciousness is moving out from my head. That can feel pretty weird if I keep thinking that I'm in the head, but if I just abandon that idea and embrace being all the space, it doesn't feel weird at all. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Phenomenology just doesn’t add up if I apply one single logic. There seem to be different modes of experience with different internal logics.

One mode operates according to the logic of a brain processing data from separate sense gates which in turn gain their data from an assumed external world. This can be divided into two separate modes, one where sensations are little bips at a specific location, and one where they are waves. The waves seem to have several layers to them, like fractals.

There is one mode where sensations appear from nowhere at a specific point and ripple outward in all directions of the three dimensions, like little explosions, and as they fade away, they go back to nowhere. This doesn’t seem to go well with the notion of brain processing, because if two ”sides” of the body touch each other, at least some of the little explosion seem to come from the very meeting rather than from one of the sides sensing the other side. That dualism isn’t there.

There is one mode where reality synchs up in a way that makes everything seem aware in itself, also at a grosser level. There is a very effortless simplicity to it. Everything is effortlessly known on its own. There is no this knowing that. There can be a brief moment when it feels like this knows that and that knows this at the same time, and then it feels so obvious that everything is just aware without anything sensing anything else.
- I think that the notion of being at both sides at the same time used to last longer earlier in my practice. I think I used it as a landmark before even recognizing it as being on two sides at the same time. I called it ”backward hands”. It felt like touch sensations somehow turned inside out, and the mental image accompanying it was that my hands were turned backwards. This was followed by similar experiences with all senses, first one at a time before stream entry and then all at the same time during the review phase.
- Nowadays this just collapses. What it collapses into is so hard to describe. It’s not stable in my subjective experience most of the time, but when it does feel stable for a while, it just feels right. So much tension is just gone, tension that I wasn’t aware of feeling, brcause outside this mode, it’s impossible to imagine that tension not being there. There’s a simplicity to this mode and yet so much richness, so much aliveness. It seems so clear that the observer is just a tag that follows with the sensations that are already aware. Those sensations sort of form into one mindstream according to the tag, but it doesn’t turn the tag into an observer. ”I” don’t have access to somebody else’s thoughts or sensations most of the time, not because they aren’t accessible to ”my” brain, but because they don’t contain the tag of ”me” thinking that they are mine. That just doesn’t seem comprehensible when written out like this, but when in that mode, it’s somehow self-explanatory.

There is also another mode of synch, which sort of glimpses the above non-dual mode but seems to be the subjectively dualistic version of it. That’s where sensations come as whole packages without having the shallowness of being reduced to a concept in the sense of a label without substance, whereas the sense of observing it still remains on some level (the extent of which varies). I recognize this from equanimity in my early practice. There’s a spacious richness to it, and a synesthetic quality. This is compatible with the notion of a brain processing sensory data if I buy Culadasa’s distinction between attention and awareness, with awareness being much wider and working to send selected processed info to attention. Or I guess you could just assume that what’s going on is photoshopping from memory and resigning to accept that, as has been suggested to me. Somehow I’m not buying that. The quality of sensory experience just seems richer than in failing to see how attention jumps around in a mode where that is what seems to be what is mainly going on.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Actually, no, it is far more nuanced than that. Like for instance with the following section:

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

There is one mode where sensations appear from nowhere at a specific point and ripple outward in all directions of the three dimensions, like little explosions, and as they fade away, they go back to nowhere. This doesn’t seem to go well with the notion of brain processing, because if two ”sides” of the body touch each other, at least some of the little explosion seem to come from the very meeting rather than from one of the sides sensing the other side. That dualism isn’t there. 


That’s not one single mode. To begin with, we can divide it as to whether there is anything that has duration at all, which is a kind of dualism (there are so many different dimensions of dualism - don't get me started!). When in a mode of perceiving duration, there can be an emphasis on the beginnings. This maps to early nanas. This sort of feels like bubbles of knowing, clearly appearing from nowhere, expanding for a while and then vaguely fading as other bubbles appear. There can be an emphasis on the endings, which sort of feels either like bubbles bursting or imploding and disappearing into nowhere, but the arisings of the bubbles are blanked out, as all the bubbles bursting/imploding are in focus. This maps to dukkha nanas. Both these versions are threedimensional rather than binary particle bips. It's a matter of expansions and contractions. Then there's a version where you sort of ride the wave of the eternal now. Every arising is a passing and vice versa. Every expansion in one dimension is a contraction in another dimension, and vice versa. Nothing really has duration. When you are in synch with the wave of motion, there is stillness. 

I was starting to think in terms of another mind spin multidimensional model to capture all relevant dimensions to this, but it would be misleading since the different dimensions of the model would follow different logics. Like the nanas axis of focus range, that's not a scale but a semi-chronological development that is far from linear and that operates roughly according to the logic of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. Then we would need a form—emptiness axis, but that manifests very differently depending on the degree of vipassana and shamatha, which could be yet another axis. Also, are we talking dualism or non-dualism here, and in what respects? Theravadan approaches seem to start out dualistically, but at the end of the path it seems to become clear that it was all non-dual all along. Well, at least for Daniel. And there are traditions like Dzogchen that lay their emphasis on the non-dual part also when approaching form. My experience doesn't go farther than just glimpses of this, but that's enough to bug me when it comes to mapping sensory phenomenology. It feels like any model would have to turn itself inside out at some point. Either that or just blank out the cognitive dissonance. Maybe there's sort of a Möbius strip to that axis of the model. That's a roughly patched-up threedimensional model if you tolerate the differences in logics for the different axes. But then it also depends on scales of time and space - and that little detail of both time and space being constructs too anyway, so why bother... Any aspect just collapses when it reaches the emptiness end, so the whole model sort of folds around itself. Maybe that's why we sometimes see spinning toroids the moment before a cessation.

(And this is why we shouldn't intellecualize too much about our practice. Too much of a rabbit hole.) 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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Just wanted to pop in to say thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of Michael Taft. I've been watching his Thursday night YouTube streams, usually the next day. And I've been going back to watch some of the older ones too. I love the simple & direct methods he teaches, the pointing out to non-dual resting. Good stuff. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm glad you found it helpful, Steph. I'll be starting part 2 of "Reversing the stack" in January.

---

Did 90 minutes of trekcho today and my sadhana and some yoga. I took my allergy shots a couple of days ago so today I have been pretty zonked out. I was surprised that the 90 minutes sit felt so pleasant and peaceful without being very dull. It didn't stand out as a wonder of clarity either, and some thoughts popped up and some of them lingered for a while, but there was a general okayness that was actually not so bad in the midst of this somewhat stubborn depression that is more of a "meh... bleh..." than despair since being on the maximum dosage of my antidepressants. There was something going on with my hearing consciousness, vaguer than those times when it feels like it is sucked out of my head but still similar. Oh, almost forgot - either I unintentionally did a Lama Tashi kasina, or she has a turqoise aura with a golden layer and something more rainbowlike around that. Whatever it was, it was quite beautiful. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Walking to yoga class, during yoga class, and walking home, I applied "dropping the ball" on those little eye movements that scan the visual field and focus the gaze, inspired by the thread about saccades. Oh my goodness, it works! That's how I get into effortless panoramic vision (about 280 degrees if it's not too close to the body). It's in that state that it has felt like some part of the consciousness sneaks out from the head, through the third eye. It's also in that state that it looks like the ground moves to meet me rather than the other way around. In yoga, it's like the floor tilts to meet me. In walking, it's like the ground bounces in a somewhat rolling movement. Being in that state with regard to vision makes it easier to also not react to those little impulses to get back to a subject-object relationship in touch. I have noticed that those impulses are what causes my tics (I have Tourette's). They sort of scream out that it will feel horrible if I don't tense up, but I have learned that it's just a false alarm. At the end of the class, in letting the palms touch, it was very clear that the whole palms knew the touch and that the space where they met knew the warmth and the contraction, all at the same time, if time is even relevant. There was no need for me to scan anything. People can tell me as much as they want that all of that self-aware richness is only a concept, but it tastes like freedom. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I have continued practicing letting go of the little eye movements that create the subject-object split during the day while interacting with people on video - a loved one, a group of autistic friends (we are writing a book together), and people in the Chenrezig practice group. I have also done the Chenrezig practice and my extraordinary ngöndro sadhana, ending with some trekcho before the dedication of merit. It feels good. I think I reduced a lot of stress today. I even managed to do three job applications without much anxiety. I look forward to going through all the great pointers in the thread I started today, asking for phenomenological pointers to don-dual perception. Lots of great stuff there. 

There is an exquisite taste of silence right now, which I'm savoring. It feels like I could float on it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Yesterday I practiced letting go of the eyes' little focusing and scanning movements while walking to and from the court where I was called to witness about human trafficking, and I can therefore confirm that the tech leads to panoramic vision even when stressed out. That's good to know. Not much to report about the rest of my practice. There was something unusual going on as I was about to fall asleep, though. I had done a pure land monlam (Dewachen) and was then listening to the Vajrasattva mantra after chanting along for awhile. Some new concentration territory stuff happened, but I find it hard to describe. It happened a few times but didn't last more than very brief moments. It was almost as if I left my body and levitated above it on some wave. I think I really do need to give shamatha a new chance, because with proper concentration that could have become interesting. 

Today: In order to investigate the sensations that lead to a more solidly dualistic perception, I played a couple of rounds of a simple word game on my tablet. It's a game that triggers attachment for me and very noticably makes me tense, as it increases my tics. So I played it very mindfully to investigate all those little impulses. Gosh, they were so many. That game really enforces the subject-object duality, as it seems to require a doer looking for words using selective attention. I managed to let go of a relatively large proportion of impulses with regard to both saccade and tics, but definitely not all of them, and even now in retrospect I notice a greater tendensy to tense up. Interestingly, the letting go that I managed to (not-)do was enough to make it obvious how meaningless the game is. I mean, I already knew that, but still it's a game that continues to pull me in, against my will (depending on how you define will). This time, however, a lot of that hook was gone. The very thing that makes the game "fun" is what causes suffering. 

Are there skillful ways to have fun that do not in themselves lead to suffering? Can there be enjoyment without attachment? Or does the trap only get more subtle, as implied in wordings such as golden chains? Is enjoyment, or meaning, worth some amount of suffering? 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I just attended a zoom research seminar about a book project at my former working place. As I entered the zoom room, I noticed that spaciousness and relatively nondual vision was readily accessible, just as I often find when I attend meetings with meditation groups and with the partner with whom I shared a morning practice routine for a while. I do feel safe in that group, so the connection to safety mentioned in my thread asking about pointers to nondual perception is interesting. What kind of shift in my approach to daily life would make me feel safe enough to let go more? I can't really wait for my life to provide safe circumstances, because it doesn't seem to work that way. Safe enough will have to suffice, and even though I'm unemployed and disabled and don't know what to do with the rest of my life, people do awaken living in caves in countries where poverty is a great problem and where fatal diseases and dangerous wild animals are common. The historical Buddha basically did, although he was poor only by choice. So I don't think that "external" safety is what does it. Having basic safety definitely makes it easier, though, because survival instincts trigger the ego. That's what it's for, after all. I think that it might be helpful to remember the difference between abundance perspective and scarcity perspective - not in a way that legitimates inequality (I can see how it can be twisted to imply that although my personal conclusions are about sharing instead of greedily holding on to possessions); in this context, I'm not talking about it as a theory about society at all, but as an approach for myself. To crave and cling less. Very basic Buddhist points. Like with regard to this seminar - I can focus on what a loss it is to no longer work in this incredible context, or I can focus on the blessing of still being part of the group as I'm welcome to the seminars and to workshops they will organize and they are all supportive of me writing my book and want to help with feedback and contacts with publishers and contribute to the analysis if I have data sessions. That's amazing. 

After a while the focus on spaciousness faded, for two reasons. One was that I wanted to take notes, because it's all both really interesting and relevant for my own book project, and my attention deficit is tangible. Maybe open awareness can be great for taking notes, but if so, I have yet to work on that skill. This reminded me that regardless of how much I subjectively prefer a broader awareness to directed attention, experiencewise, in order to function in this society I still really need to develop my attention skills. Tough shit. 

The other reason was that I was superfascinated by the discussion --> ADHD super focus, because - oh my Golly - we basically did vipassana on social interaction. As the empirical researchers of social interaction that we are, we jointly came to the conclusion that agency is a construct that can't actually be pinpointed anywhere if we look closely at what happens in social interaction. It's empty. We can talk about it as a formation that has relevance for other concepts that people value, with regard to autonomy, integrity, morality, social changes and so forth, but you can't define it in any consistent way or find it in the data. So instead of arguing that people with dementia do have agency, under sufficiently supportive conditions, we might as well just skip the concept altogether. Either that or make the point that whereas people often think of people with dementia as lacking agency, the truth is that nobody really has agency. It's not something that you have. It's conditioned, always, and really not of any use as an analytical concept. The professor of this group has previously rather aggressively deconstructed models for communication that assume that there is an independent doer, and I remember a manuscript in which he addressed all the ways people construct a self in social interaction (for the purpose of dementia research focusing on how everything is dependently arising, although he didn't call it that). I have been working with this professor for 19 years, in different constellations, and without knowing it, we have actually been doing empirical research on dependent origination all this time. He was actually one of the first person to introduce me to the dharma, even though he isn't into Buddhism at all. I probably should include him in lineage prayers. 

I find this relevant to the ongoing discussion here on DhO on realizations in Buddhism versus other traditions. Despite my background in research, I don't think that the scientific paradigm will ever be able to incorporate all planes of existance and all functioning modes of understanding reality. I think science needs to stick to its internal logic in order to accomplish what it indeed does accomplish, and that means that it needs to presuppose some kind of reference point that is beyond questioning. Like Archimedes said (translating the way I remember it in Swedish, so not a proper qoutation): give me a fixed point and I'll move the world. The fixed points may vary, but science can't operate without one (well, maybe quantum physics can - I don't know - but I have yet to see quantum physics, the actual physics rather than new age versions of it claiming to be based in it, have any significant impact on how people approach human sociality, morality, welfare politics etc, let alone spirituality in a more substantial way than anecdotal inspiration). If we want to get to the "ultimate" truth of reality, we can't just assume things like that. Like the existence of a material world (my opinion - YMWV). And STILL: I have been part of empirical research that really comes to conclusions that match the dharma incredibly well. It just isn't taken to any conclusions about samsara, which is of course a huge difference. 

Before the seminar, inbetween errands and chores, I took a break to just lay down and let go. Oh, that felt soooo good. I want to do this many many times in a day. It is great for practice momentum to do it often. My poor executive function makes it difficult for me. It is such a struggle for me just to manage to fit the basics into the hours of the day: meals, medications, feeding cats, medicating cats, doing the most necessary errands and chores, my formal practice sessions, exercise, going out during the few hours of daylight, and sleep. Somehow I must find my way back to a routine that gives enough space for my practice. It seems to me that it used to be easier, even though I had a job to do too then. The job was in several ways much less complicated than navigating the society as unemployed, but maybe I also needed less practice then? I don't know. I definitely feel like I need more practice now. Anyway, what I was going to write was a reminder to myself that jhanas actually are available now, if I can just make the time to let go. Jhanas can happen almost instantly. So maybe I just need to let go of some idea of having to do it in a specific way that needs more undivided time. It is possible to fit jhanas into a quick break, at least first jhana and maybe second. It doesn't have to be a big deal. 

(Oh, the Papancha...) 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Just noticing, as so many times before, how comically conditioned any manifestation of personality is. This is super-obvious when wiggling on the threshold to depression while at the same time balancing a number of other neurocognitive diagnoses and some weird contested illnesses and trying to balance medications - while also dealing with changing hormones and stuff due to age and a life situation that is in several ways unstable (not in one-sidedly negative ways). I have so many déjà vus these days. It's like "Oh, yeah... I remember this" and "Oh no, not this again" and "Wait a minute... when did this stop and how come I never noticed it was gone until it came back?!" and "Wait, did I just say that? Where did that come from?" and "Didn't I just say the exact opposite a moment ago?" and "Wow... I thought this side/tendency/ability/annoying habit/personal quirk was lost forever" all the time. It's exhausting and interesting and sort of funny. At least I don't need to search long for anything to investigate in my practice. 

Edited to add: Haha! I just had a very pleasant experience of spatially deconstructing a cat litter box while peeing. Under those seconds, there were visual vibrations of the image with fractal levels, flattening, hyper-3D, pleasant waves (also with fractals), a sense of it all being me, a sense of emptiness, a sense of form and emptiness at the same time, and a sense of it all being beautiful just as it is. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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The attention octopus clinging to my face doesn’t feel like a problem any more. It’s actually no different from the cute soft puppy I had there before, or the silk veils, or the soft carressing sensations, or the great force of the process turning my senses inside out in such a wonderfully fierceful way. Entering jhanas, at least in some phases when attention wants to go narrow, focus is inevitably drawn to my nose and areas close to it, as that is how I learned jhanas. I think I have now realized that this focus does not mean that I am trapped there. I can still be the entire space. That focus is just something that goes on in the space.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Adapted from another thread, to keep track:

I was just lying down contemplating "outside" sounds, as I have been adviced to search for the sensations that make it appear as if the sounds reach me ears. I really can't find any such sensations. The sound seems to happen "out there" where the traffic is, and there are touch sensations of ears meeting pillows, but I can't even find any sensations that say that the ears are "here". It all just seems to be thoughts at a taken-for-granted level, applying logic to mental representations mimicking senses, that say that if "you" can feel touch sensations, then those sensations must be "here", and if the traffic sound is that low, compared to some other mental representation, then it must be "over there", and if the sound is "over there", then it needs to reach the ears "over here" because those are supposedly what we hear with, and there are mental representations of loud sounds hurting ears and of swollen ears together with impaired hearing, and very brief sensations of contractions around what mental representations tag as the heart, together with thoughts saying that this confirms that it "must" be so, and other thoughts that sceptically say that those sensations actually do not in themselves say anything more than the actual sensations - 

and I can't place those thoughts anywhere. I was pondering the possibility of being the entire space, but realized that I can't actually find the space either, and of course I can't, because that would require a position outside of space (as Archimedes supposedly pointed to). The space is just assumed, and there's a whole lot going on that can't be located at all. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Reposting here to keep track:

I think what I have been trying to figure out is how dualistic sensations of something "other" are possible, and it seems like actually they aren't. I can't find anything in any sensation per se that proves that it refers to anything other. So I really don't need to prove that non-dualistic sensations are possible, because there is no way to find any other that can look at that problem to begin with (I thought I already knew that, but apparently I couldn't see the implications). The whole question is based on dualism to begin with, so it doesn't compute. The question is asked within one internal logic but aspires to adress an entirely different internal logic, and to my knowledge, there is no compiler anywhere that can work around that paradox.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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Be careful here - this may not be an "either/or" situation. Could it be "both/and"? Just to bring the Boolean emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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If you mean dualism and non-dualism, I think you and I define (demarcate) the concept of non-dualism differently to begin with, and I'm not sure any of us have the energy to get into trying to sort that out. You are very welcome to prove me wrong, though. 

Edited to add: I think we pragmatically stop at different levels of abstraction. We have to stop somewhere, because the loop of mirrors mirroring each other can't be covered in full. We just stopped at different places, and there is no right answer as to where to stop. 

Edited again to add: ...which makes me think of Tim's joke in the thread about different traditions of realization:
- They are both right.
- But they can't possibly both be right? 
- You are right too. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I was just offering a pointer. Feel free to ignore!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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If we aren't coming from the same place, how can your pointers lead me in the right direction? That's a question, not a sarchasm. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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A pointer is just a way to ask that someone consider another POV. That's all. You don't have to listen to it, you don't have to respond to it, you can absolutely ignore it, as I've already said. Again your response to my one-sentence comment appears to me to be rather antagonistic, so I'll stop commenting. I don't want to pull the energy away from the purpose of this thread.

EDIT: On further consideration, I made a mistake by commenting here. My apologies.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm not angry, so no worries.

And no, it was not antagonistic.

And this just illustrates the whole thing. We use words very differently, and since words are all we've got here, I have no way of discerning where you are pointing, and neither have you, because pointing is a directional thing that needs knowledge of from which angle someone watches. So it is not a matter of ignoring. I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to help, really, and that's all I can do with it. There are no hard feelings from my side. I'm sorry I couldn't be more compliant, if that bothers you for some reason. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I have no way of discerning where you are pointing, and neither have you, because pointing is a directional thing that needs knowledge of from which angle someone watches.

So what you want me to take away from this is comment that I don't know what I'm talking about?


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

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No, I'm sure you are very familiar with the end station. That just doesn't help if you don't know from which angle I'm coming, how I categorize things and how I use words. Unless you know a way to do telepathic transmission. And as I said, I appreciate the sentiment. My wish was to communicate that I don't disrespect you and I'm not being antagonistic and not ungrateful. Nor do I think that I know better than you. I think you know the end station better than I do. So I'm not being obstinate. That's all. I really do appreciate it. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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All the more reason for me to stop commenting.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Why does this bother you? What makes you feel the need to comment that you shouldn't comment? I don't understand. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm hoping that by posting it will generate some self-reflection on both our parts. I know it has for me. We don't appear to have the same perspective on many things, which I see as being a normal condition. What isn't normal to me is the defensiveness. This isn't the first time it's happened, and I'm not sure what the source of it is. It very could be the way I address you so I'm going to back off.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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What defensiveness?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I think we are both just doing our best to treat each other the way we would prefer to be treated ourselves, and since we have very different preferences, that gets rather bizarre. 

As far as I'm concerned, we are fine. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
Be careful here - this may not be an "either/or" situation. Could it be "both/and"? Just to bring the Boolean emoticon
Boolean logic doesn not apply to how non-dual minds do logic.

Take example question: Is there pink elephant in the room?
Normal mind: Yes, or alternatively No
Non-dual mind: A*|Yes> + B*|No> = 1.0

Non-dual mind can say we have A=0.0 and B=1.0 for compatibility with boolean minds, so pretty much communicate it is sure there is not such creature in the room but at the same time it knows there is always a slight possibility that when actually measured pink elephant will be found in the room.

Non-duality does not apply only to presentation of sensation but to everything. Imho.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm not sure any of us have the energy to get into trying to sort that out. You are very welcome to prove me wrong, though.
It is not a matter of energy but not wasting energy by trying to reduce all the thoughts about everything to something solid.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If we aren't coming from the same place, how can your pointers lead me in the right direction? That's a question, not a sarchasm.
I am pretty sure you and Chris come from the same place, otherwise how come you would be "non-dual"? emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Call it whatever you want, but he seemed to assume that I had said that it couldn't be both and I had said no such thing. What I said was that they can't be computed within the same internal logic. Both logics obviously exist. Otherwise we wouldn't have this conversation. 

And saying that they are two different things is said within dualistic internal logic. It can only refer to the concepts of those internal logics, not to any real mode of experience. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Reposting here to keep track:

I think what I have been trying to figure out is how dualistic sensations of something "other" are possible, and it seems like actually they aren't. I can't find anything in any sensation per se that proves that it refers to anything other. So I really don't need to prove that non-dualistic sensations are possible, because there is no way to find any other that can look at that problem to begin with (I thought I already knew that, but apparently I couldn't see the implications). The whole question is based on dualism to begin with, so it doesn't compute. The question is asked within one internal logic but aspires to adress an entirely different internal logic, and to my knowledge, there is no compiler anywhere that can work around that paradox.



All I can find is little tags that come built into sensations. Those tags assume stuff about the sensation they are built into, in a taken-for-granted way. However, they don't seem to have any basis for that assumption in the sensation they are tagging. They reflect themselves only, in a subjectivistic way, like ”This is what I believe” rather than ”This is how it is”. They are not something that can address anything other. They can't even address the sensation they are built into, and yet they can't be separated from it. Sensations and tags come together, but the tag can only refer to itself.

What I'm trying to say is: there are no sensations that tie the assumption in the tag causally to the sensation of hearing. They just co-arise. That's it.

That actually explains a whole lot. Not sure how this could make my daily life any easier, though.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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So they really aren't two different modes of perception. There are two different internally coherent logics, but that doesn't mean that the sensations occur in different modes that one can be stuck in. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
So they really aren't two different modes of perception. There are two different internally coherent logics, but that doesn't mean that the sensations occur in different modes that one can be stuck in. 

I think what I need to do now is to see this over and over again until I trust it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
So they really aren't two different modes of perception. There are two different internally coherent logics, but that doesn't mean that the sensations occur in different modes that one can be stuck in. 

I think what I need to do now is to see this over and over again until I trust it. 
Or maybe not. I'm sort of confused about what problem seemed to be there in the first place. 

I have been looking so hard for an answer and now I can't seem to find the question. Oh well, if it was important I'm sure it will pop up again. 

I think I'm ready to begin with the real work now. 
Jazz Muzak, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
So they really aren't two different modes of perception. There are two different internally coherent logics, but that doesn't mean that the sensations occur in different modes that one can be stuck in. 

I think what I need to do now is to see this over and over again until I trust it. 
Or maybe not. I'm sort of confused about what problem seemed to be there in the first place. 

I have been looking so hard for an answer and now I can't seem to find the question. Oh well, if it was important I'm sure it will pop up again. 

I think I'm ready to begin with the real work now. 
If I had a nickel for every time I had some monumental problem in my mind, worked at it dilligently just to forget about what I was even doing in the first place, I'd be a rich person. I think you're right that the good stuff tends to work its way back in somewhere down the proverbial line.

I'm curious what's the real work if it isn't what you've already been doing?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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The work that isn't about me. Whatever time I have without selfabsorbed struggle, I'll happily devote to being more useful, if I can. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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I find that I go looking for a problem only to find there isn't one. The problem usually seems to be that I think there's a problem. This usually happens if I get too focused on the mechanics/methods/technicalities of practice.

The most recent case is when I became really hell bent on trying to crack the code on the sense of the observer once and for all. Realistically, who gives a shit about the observer, though (or whatever is personally tripping you up -the observer was just my example)? It's a side effect of misperception and not that big of a deal. In times like these I sometimes find it helpful to re-orient myself to whatever my North Star of practice is. Who cares, again, about the mechanics? What are the underlying things that prop up the mechanics - what's the deeper underlying motivation there? You might try writing your own personal manifesto for why you practice. In your own words, from the heart, and not using Buddhist language or terminology. Write it down on paper, in your native language. Stick it somewhere safe.. and when you get too into the mechanics or questions that are so abstract that they might be besides the point, take it out and re-read it.

(edited for clarity)
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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Coming back to clarify even more what I'm getting at here. We sometimes miss the point entirely of what we're actually trying to solve for when we get too hung up on the finer points & minutia of practice. When you lay out your manifesto and your deeply felt, genuine, honest reasons for practice - it can be a guide as to what you're trying to solve for. And in knowing what you want to solve for, you align your practice to solve for that, instead of the minituia which tend to be besides the point and mere side effects. For example, say you're practicing because you want there to be more love & compassion in the world. Solve for that. Align your practice to solve for that... and not whatever tiny little sensations might be happening that are confusing you.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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This is all good advice and I have done it, and if/when I need it again, I'll do it again. At the moment I'm content with my practice as it is. Getting deep into the technicalities is what solved the knot I was troubled by. Daniel was very helpful in talking it through with me, as he definitively has the capacity to get into the subtleties and nailing what is important without getting hampered by my wordings (I find his communication style very austism-friendly). The pointers from TommyM before were also exactly what I needed at that point in time, just as I suspected they would be (that's why I started that thread). I knew what I needed to see but needed some more input to triangulate it enough to see some of the subtler implications of the knot. Something has shifted now, and it may very well be a temporary thing, and I might be super-darknighting tomorrow, who knows, but right now, it's all good. Thankyou for caring!

I work very intuitively. So far it has served me well. The process knows the way. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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Awesome, that's all good to hear. Yes, the process does know the way. 

Just out of curiousity, if you're willing, what good tips do you have for communicating in an autism-friendly style? I don't know a whole lot of people that are autistic that I've had much experience with that, so it'd be great to know how to be better at that. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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To Steph:

emoticon 

Well, you nailed it in that reply, as far as I'm concerned. You trusted my own judgement of the situation and did not take it personally when I explained why I'm going in a different direction than you had suggested (which I routinely do because for me it would feel incredibly rude and disrespectful to ignore your suggestions or reply with a white lie).  You did not read stuff between the lines there that wasn't there. You were open to meta-communicating, which I find is very helpful. And in your previous posts you provided a contextual background as to why you gave the suggestions that you gave. I find that context is a very helpful thing. Also, I appreciate straightforwardness. Vague hints not so much, especially not if they imply some kind of conflict but without providing the information needed to address it in a constructive way. I'd say that the most important thing is not to assume stuff. It is very often what is taken for granted that makes it difficult, especially when people assume ill-will, anger, sarchasm, defensiveness and stuff like that and base their own (re)actions on that. If somebody does interpret what I say in such a way, I prefer that they ask rather than staying misinformed, because it's horrible to find out in retrospect that they have been hurt without ever getting a chance at making it better, and explorative questions are more appreciated than questions that blame. Misunderstandings happen - that's part of life - and closure is healing. 

When it comes to the dharma, and many other things for that matter, I would appreciate it if people could stay open to the possibility that we may actually come from different directions and may need to make sense of stuff differently - and also that there might be differences as to what challenges occur in the practice as well as to how reality manifests. I find that some of the things that people discuss as some major observations are actually taken-for-granted super-obvious daily life stuff for me, and often also something that in my life has been pathologized by others because it seemed weird to them. In other cases, it is the opposite - I struggle with something that is taken-for-granted by others. So maybe not everyone needs to go through the path in the same chronological order. There are lots of assumptions there as well, and I believe that more diversity would benefit us all because it would open things up and give us all more chances to learn about our own hang-ups and other mind quirks. I think the dharma would benefit from more investigation with regard to what is taken for granted, and to be honest I'm a bit surprised that it isn't done more and that it seems to make people uncomfortable in the dharma about as much as in general. I kind of thought that's at least part of why we are here. 

I hope that was helpful and not too sensitive for any readers. Once again, thankyou for caring! 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Hi there,

It seems to me that this really wanting to figure it out and pinpoint IT, get to the bottom of the thing by perfecting practice, is at heart subtle restlessness (there is something that needs to be done/understood) and conceit (this is better than that, or, this (experience, understanding) is not enough). Ie : wanting things to be different bybpositing that something is missing.

It's an entire different thing to actually believe/be sure of/trust it, as you said Linda.

Having that very problem (practice problem, in the end) blow up fully during my last retreat allowed me to see very deeply or completely that the problem was THAT. It lead to very interesting realizations for me.

What about you guys ? Linda can you expand on this ?  final ?

I mean. What could there be beyond that ?... It's very subtle ... But has nothing to do with a state or shift of perception...

Doesn't seem like "anatta realization" describes that, though... 

However, i have trouble imagining finding something beyond "the search prevents the finding".

(Edited with non minor edits)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Olivier:
Hi there,

It seems to me that this really wanting to figure it out and pinpoint IT, get to the bottom of the thing by perfecting practice, is at heart subtle restlessness (there is something that needs to be done/understood) and conceit (this is better than that, or, this (experience, understanding) is not enough). Ie : wanting things to be different bybpositing that something is missing.

It's an entire different thing to actually believe/be sure of/trust it, as you said Linda.

Having that very problem (practice problem, in the end) blow up fully during my last retreat allowed me to see very deeply or completely that the problem was THAT. It lead to very interesting realizations for me.

What about you guys ? Linda can you expand on this ?  final ?

I mean. What could there be beyond that ?... It's very subtle ... But has nothing to do with a state or shift of perception...

Doesn't seem like "anatta realization" describes that, though... 

However, i have trouble imagining finding something beyond "the search prevents the finding".

(Edited with non minor edits)

I can relate to what you described, but whether it's the same thing, I really have no idea. I find that it is a shift of perception, actually, but not the way I thought. I guess it depends on what we mean with perception and shift. Maybe I could describe it as a shift in perception about perception. I don't know. The word perception feels misleading to begin with. My subjective experience of what is usually referred to in common language as perception has changed. Or meta-experience has changed. Ah, I don't know. I'm not going to assume much about this, whatever it is, but explore it further. In the meantime I'm also going to get some rest. 

I think I prefer not attaching a label to it. While I do appreciate maps of processes a lot, I'm less inclined to name ways of being in the world. For me personally if feels like it closes the space. I prefer it to be open-ended and undefined, I think. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Olivier, as I know that you have great appreciation for theoretical precision and are a scholar of finesse. 

However this develops, right now I find a great relief in not feeling the need to wrestle with going back and forth between two different modes of perception. Gosh, that was painful! But the sense of duality there might come back. Time will tell if I really see this clearly enough. When I talked to Daniel yesterday, he said that this very issue and the observations we discussed were what flipped the switch for him. That does not mean that he gave me a dharma diagnosis, though, just to be clear. I'm a bit suspicious because if this is it, it seems much too easy. Also, I had some naive hopes that it would help with my difficulties in executive functioning, and so far it seems like the opposite. I have been confused all day. Somehow I find myself surprised by how office supplies and the key to my apartment look and function, and I forget my thoughts as they arise in a way that I think is new (I have had similar issues before but this feels qualitatively different). So... I don't know. I would not be surprised to find other knots for me to deal with, or this one in more depth. I sort of expect the final development to unfold in an unexpected way. I have not had a chance yet to even evaluate if my experience lives up to criteria for third path, so let's not jump to conclusions, okay?

I have quite a lot of growing up to do too. If things go well, I will get the opportunity to go through cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with my avoidance/procrastination and the anxiety involved there. I think it's a good idea to stabilize my medication first, but after that. I think part 2 of Michael Taft's "Reversing the stack" zoom teachings will be a great opportunity to integrate stuff, because we are going from emptiness to form, integrating nondual realizations into our daily life and working through everyday life issues based on that, letting them self-liberate. There's so much to work with there that I have no worries about finding something to develop in the practice. I could definitely develop my shamatha too, and I believe that might be helpful with regard to being more useful. There will be more teachings with Lama Lena, which I look forward to. The stories she tells make it seem like anything is possible. I aim at opening up my mind, letting go of filters and biasses that make the world limited. I have promised her to go for full realization of Buddhahood or die trying. I can't think of anything more fulfilling than honoring that promise, regardless of results, and I'm trying to avoid selfbashing here because that's bad namlam according to Lama Lena. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Naming closes up the space, that's for sure... 
No worries , thanks linda, i'll just have to go write in my own damn log emoticon
Hey that's probably why i didn't want to write about it !
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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Olivier:
However, i have trouble imagining finding something beyond "the search prevents the finding".

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

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agnostic:
Olivier:
However, i have trouble imagining finding something beyond "the search prevents the finding".

Amen emoticon
Maybe you guys need to work on your imagination then, because I don't have any difficulties imagining lots of territory beyond that. emoticon There are people out there getting stuck halfway through walls and having parasitical worms go rainbow in their poop and being in two places at once and giving teachings while sleeping and getting familiar with energy channels in octupuses while shapeshifting in the dreamtime, for crying out loud. I haven't even seen a pesky little demon. emoticon 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Just in terms of insight, of wanting to pinpoint what the mind is, etc., i meant emoticon.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Well, maybe it takes some amount of insight to stop believing in the solidity of a wall or the linearity of time or the constraints of our human body or this plane of existence too. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Have you seen any of that stuff happen ?
I'm much more sensitive to magic and energies and such, and I'm open to possibilities, just haven't experienced anything remotely close from that, and don't know if I believe it.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I did see a Lama go transparent once, but it was four o'clock in the morning, so I just took it for granted that it was hypnagogia... until somebody else said it had happened. Then I didn't know what to believe. Still don't know. I do know that I once saw somebody invisible open the door to a balcony in a very distinct and controlled movement right next to me. I checked the door handle later. There's no way it could have opened on its own. I have had a number of clairvoyant dreams and some other weird stuff happening. So you know... why not? Maybe the solidity of our reality is due to collective magick. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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@papa che, yeah, or looking for a treasure at the bottom of a rainbow !!

@linda, i like the idea ;)
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Well, maybe it takes some amount of insight to stop believing in the solidity of a wall or the linearity of time or the constraints of our human body or this plane of existence too. 

FWIW, my experience is that the brain's MODEL of a wall is not solid and its MODEL of time is not linear. I've had semi-lucid dreams where I pass through walls and if I try hard enough in meditation I can start to visualize the other side of wall. My experience of time is almost never linear - generally slower when I'm looking after my kids and faster when I'm getting drunk. emoticon

However that doesn't necessarily mean that walls are not solid and time is nonlinear in whatever underlying reality the brain is modelling. Who knows, maybe there is no underlying reality and it's just a carefully orchestrated collective illusion. But in that case we won't ever know unless the orchestrator decides to let us.

Obviously on the quantum level we know that matter is anything but solid and at high speeds and strong gravity then time dilates as well. But at the level of daily experience it seems to me the most likely explanation is that matter is solid and time is linear and it's just the brain's model which is a bit buggy. But that could just be my lack of imagination! emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Uhm, what orchestrator? emoticon

I don't know either. I guess I'm experimenting with letting go of whatever seems given. I don't know if it will ever lead to anything, but it feels healing regardless. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Uhm, what orchestrator? emoticon


Wanna experience seeing a Mermaid falling into a black hole, try this one, and focus very gently on this sound emoticon  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrMjc4oz0mY
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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Here's my hypothesis about how some of this might work as far as matter not being solid and time not being linear and how that might play out... in say, someone seeing through a door or other things that appear to be solid, or objects (including people) becoming either totally invisible or transparent/see-through.

I gather part of it is in the visual field and part of it is playing with that perception. I don't know about all of you, but in my line of vision with my eyes both open and closed, I can see countless tiny microscopic particles. They seem almost rainbow like and it probably has something to do with the prismatic nature of the spectrum of light and color. If one wanted to break down an object to see through it, or dissolve it entirely, my guess is that you hyper-tune into these miniscule particles with immense levels of concentration until they either morph into something else and/or break down entirely... becoming see through or invisible or some other shapeshifting type object. You could see that each of these particles of light is in flux, impermanent, and not solid.
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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sankhara + intention = perception
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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Funny thing is, intention is conditioned as well. It we study physics we see entropy and if we study Dzogchen we see rainbow bodies emoticon

Sorry Linda, just ruminating all over your log here. 2am death sangha sounds fun emoticon
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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2am death sangha *does* sound fun!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I don't need to study Physics to see entropy - it's all too obvious in my apartment. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I see those super-tiny rainbow-like particles too. And yes, sometimes they rearrange. 

---

I really enjoyed Michael Taft's latest SF Dharma Collective guided meditation. I had one of those maybe-fruitions. It felt stabilizing, which I needed, because I seemed to be cycling like crazy. At the same time I didn't really believe in the cycling, if that makes any sense. I mean, it obviously happens, but I don't have to take it seriously. 

Soon there will be 90 minutes of trekcho with a zoom group, then class meeting with the "Reversing the stack" crowd, then Lama Lena teachings on The Flight of the Garuda. Can't decide whether or not to set an alarm to take part in death sangha at two o'clock in the morning. 
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Tommy M, modified 9 Months ago.

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I see those super-tiny rainbow-like particles too. And yes, sometimes they rearrange.

+

Soon there will be 90 minutes of trekcho

Delightful. Nuff said. emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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Olivier:
wanting to pinpoint what the mind is

Hm, lemme try ... emoticon ... is it, chasing waterfalls??? emoticon 

emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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" I work very intuitively. So far it has served me well. The process knows the way. "

Only THIS knows the way and ONLY This IS the way, and the end emoticon 

But yes, the process/practice is realization, and realization is the process/practice. I think Dogen nail it by calling Zazen "practice-realization" as it's the only "thing" we have = This. Crazy stuff how simple it is and yet really fucking hard to let it sink in and take over the usual mad struggle. 

However this Insight practice is a fabulous tool to get us to the point of enough clarity to realize This. 

p.s. I really should go to bed now emoticon 

and as per usual do NOT take any of my blabbing seriously, for the love of God emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"Realistically, who gives a shit about the observer, though (or whatever is personally tripping you up -the observer was just my example)? It's a side effect of misperception and not that big of a deal."

The big daddy of all pit falls emoticon the self-validation in any shape or form emoticon There arises an experience and we make a huge deal out of it.
For some reason we just find it so hard to look at the self validating process the same way we look at an itch on the body. It's not a big deal and yet we fall prey to it again and again and we struggle "perfecting" it until it's satisfying to us I guess emoticon 

Unless one "gets the joke" and looks at this self validation process in the same way one looks at the itch on top of the nose. It is what it is. 

However I do see the positive side of POI. When we start this journey we are like mad people in frantic search for happiness. We struggle and it's a good wholesome struggle that will reduce that maddening density with an attainment. Some get a tiny reduction other get more reduction. Not all beings are the same, or have same karma I guess. 
I remember in the past sensing the Witness or Observer being "me". Nowadays I can't sense that but only witnessing and observing-seeing-listening-feeling-thinking-Mind states taking place. Sure there are processes of selfing AND knowing of them arising and passing. 

Is it non dual, is it dual, is it a rainbow body, is it a hell being, is it 3rdPath  ... I don't know! emoticon Let me see ... pulsating of heart in the chest, pulsating, hearing (my boy shouting), mind image (what he is doing in the other room), preassure (on the feet against the ground), seeing (the phone) , hearing uncertainty (I think it's the heating system but uncertain), warmth on skin (hot air in the house) ... 

Please do excuse my rumbling I'm utterly wrecked from a rather hard days work and am ripe for bed time emoticon Best wishes to you all emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Papa Che, I like your down-to-earth no bullshit approach. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I did set a goal for my practice six months ago that still stands. It is about what drives me to come into being. I want it to be love rather than fear, to the greatest degree possible. 

There is a Bodhisattva vow baked into that.

I so hope that if I ever encounter beings from another plane of existence, my first impulse will not be to get rid of the delusion because it hinders me, but to chant a blessing. People can think of that as religious indoctrination all they want, but it's not about ontology but about how I choose to come into being. If we take some of the dharma too litterally, we are all delusions. I can't live like that, and I certainly do not want to die like that, as it denies love/compassion. 

---

Started the day with trekcho. 
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Siavash, modified 9 Months ago.

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I so hope that if I ever encounter beings from another plane of existence, my first impulse will not be to get rid of the delusion because it hinders me, but to chant a blessing.


I set this intention regularly too, and I think it's important and practical, for me specially these days that when practicing sometimes a lot of quite creepy demonic faces show up, although they are vague and momentary.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Thankyou! That helps me in my practice. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"but it's not about ontology but about how I choose to come into being"

I thought "choice" was not an option ;) emoticon 

just kidding! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Valid question, even though you're kidding. As far as big theories go, I still haven't found any better approach than compatibilistic determinism, which I settled for as a working hypothesis in my late teens. It says that there can only be a will at all if it's determined (conditioned). So one way to respond would be that yes, there is a choice and the choice is determined (conditioned). Don't know, though. It kind of presupposes that there is a continuous self that either gets to choose or not. Either way it gets sort of heavy. Over the years I have been thinking that it seems more skillful to assume responsibility as if there is a choice, because assuming responsibility conditions us to make more skillful choices than not doing it would. Then again, responsibility can also be overwhelming, which might lead to apathy and procrastination (all too common tendencies for me).

Maybe there isn't any need for a big theory. It might be wiser to just go with what love leads to in any given moment, because they are all transient anyway. Better still would be if love could just act through me, with as little sense of me there to mess it up as possible. I want the spontaneous impulses to be out of love, always. I guess I need to keep choosing until I don't need to anymore. 

Does that make any sense at all? 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"Maybe there isn't any need for a big theory. It might be wiser to just go with what love leads to in any given moment, because they are all transient anyway."

I think you onto something here emoticon BIG stuff tends to collapse under Vipassana attack into its myriads  components anyway. So we certainly are not after Mr. Big, I dare say. 
Yes, that flux , that Anicca never to be ignored emoticon 



" I want the spontaneous impulses to be out of love, always"

... hm, emoticon that "always" might be a bit tricky unless Anicca decides to let you keep it emoticon btw, if you do come to become best mates with Anicca please tell her a few good things about me emoticon 


It's a rainy day here. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Didn't say it would be easy or even possible. emoticon

---

The death sangha the other day turned out to be 4 o'clock in the morning so I skipped it.

Had an awesome combination of shamatha and non-dual investigation practice yesterday (one at a time, following each other). There was that sense of reality turning inside out when shifting between them which I sort of like. Same reality, same perception technically (with every sensation happening where it happens and arising together with "tags" of pre-processed information, that is, interpretations), and yet totally different as it is all framed within an entirely different logic (that seems to happen on that pre-processing level). Fascinating.

I find the non-dual framing of reality much more effortless and relaxed and less prone to self-grasping and weird tensions. Less of a code-red-alert mode. It is still not my default framing, but it's getting gradually more accessible. It probably takes a lot of practice, as I'll need to unlearn what has become habitual and I guess to some extent undo evolution (the accumulated karma). It feels like less of a knot now that I have seen that the basic mechanism is the same. It's not some wonderous skill that needs to be added, basically "just" some hardwired mammalian survival insticts that need to get less trigger happy in order to uncover a way of being that it less conditioned and thereby more primordial (sure, that's the Tibetan cave yogi influence talking, and that's an interpretation too). I started a daily practice late in life, so there's a lot of habituation to let go of. My neurodivergent wiring makes some aspects easier to let go of as I never really embraced them, but it also makes some aspects extremely hard-wired. There are theories that some of the features of these diagnoses are survival mechanisms manifested at the extreme end, and that kind of makes sense. I find that they are fighting for their own survival now. For instance, there's a new flare of tics which is basically separation fighting for its existence. I think I'm somewhat less prone to fight it back now and somewhat more prone to let it play out its karma. Repression is not an option. Inviting spaciousness over and over again is. Relating to the three kayas is. Emotions can be worked with from the basis of that, by just being with them and letting them find their own rainbow nature, the inherent joy and compassion that actually seems to be the initial driving force for them all when you let them unpack. I'm not saying that's any ultimate reality, but it seems to be closer to it from where I stand, and it's definitely something that makes things more functional for me. I can probably spend the rest of my life working on this. 
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

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I can probably spend the rest of my life working on this. 

I love this. It often seems to me to be as good as it gets, to feel this way. I think this may be close to what Dogen meant when he said "The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization – it is enlightenment itself." With all due bullshit alert on "enlightenment," "attainment," and "realization," sure, and with all due consciousness of anicca, sure. But this attitude toward practice is the sweetest embrace of anicca, and makes all the attainment terms irrelevant.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Tim Farrington:
I can probably spend the rest of my life working on this. 

I love this. It often seems to me to be as good as it gets, to feel this way. I think this may be close to what Dogen meant when he said "The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization – it is enlightenment itself." With all due bullshit alert on "enlightenment," "attainment," and "realization," sure, and with all due consciousness of anicca, sure. But this attitude toward practice is the sweetest embrace of anicca, and makes all the attainment terms irrelevant.
I'm prone to agree in many ways. And I have been thinking lately that this is probably what Jim Smith means in talking about what he calls gradual enlightenment (which I think is the case with path models too), and at least in some ways people probably speak past each other when these things are discussed. I don't think there is necessarily a conflict between those perspectives, unless we mistake any "attainments" (misleading name!) or realization for something that we have accomplished as an individual and that we can possess. That would be, as Lama Lena calls it, a great oops. I think of it as a grace that takes away weight from our shoulders. I need that, because there were lots of weight there to begin with, and with all that weight, it's so hard to be of service to others. I also think that there is always a risk of distorting any realization by closing one's eyes to any remaning and/or added reactive patterns that one doesn't want to see, which is why the work never ends as long as we are alive in this human body. 

---

For my morning practice, I embedded the sadhana and some trekcho inbetween some basic and yet profound practices taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. It felt like a long needed cleansing, like a spa treatment for the energy body. I hadn't done the (basic level) tsa lung for quite some time now. I think it would be a good idea to do it more often. It is really helpful. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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These are refreshing perspectives and I agree. I can't say the inclination or nagging feeling of wanting some final reversal of certain aspects of suffering is entirely gone for me, but it's been diminished to a point where it's workable and easy to notice and not cling to too much. The idea that enlightenment doesn't happen to anyone and you can't make it happen has become more apparent in recent months. I know I've been really arrogant at some points along my path, so it's a useful perspective to have the attitude of lifelong learning and that meditation itself is the path and goal.

I'm inspired by your style of practice. Over the past year I find I've been letting go of the Progress of Insight & Mahasi influence more and more - I don't find the nanas as useful as I once did, nor that 4 path model. The basis of vipassana & samatha are still really helpful... but I've slowly been incorporating more of a style that seems in line with Dzogchen & Mahamudra. It's what makes the most intuitive sense to me right now.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"I can't say the inclination or nagging feeling of wanting some final reversal of certain aspects of suffering is entirely gone for me, but it's been diminished to a point where it's workable and easy to notice and not cling to too much."

Have you ever had laughing moments when such thought-urge arises emoticon It can be both sad and funny at the same time emoticon 
Sad in a way that so many of us struggle in such arising thoughts and funny as in a way of just seeing such thought arising as a theatre joke story emoticon 

However practice is king and nothing can reality check as Samatha-Vipassana IMHO. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Haha, Papa Che, you beat me to it. Tragicomical indeed. 

As for the different practices, I think they are all great tech. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Well, I still sort of want it all and want it now, and I also want to not want it all and want it now - and I want it to be okey to be that messed up. 

When I reread what I wrote this morning I kind of think that I sound like a parody of a wannabe Good Person in a comedy series, and I get a bit nauseaus, so it might be that I'm at one of those arrogant points right now, or that I've always been it and just now started to see the extent of it. Yuk. I really thought I had seen lots of it already. Going through one of those phases where new "layers" of previously subconscious processing comes to the surface, including thoughts and feelings, while also struggling with a depression is pretty yucky. I still think seeing it is probably preferable to not seeing it, because then at least I can work on it. Thinking of the practice as a lifetime commitment should be seen in that context, not as a noble thing. And this is a spot on example, because this is me feeling the need to explain that I'm not arrogant enough to think that I'm noble, which is at the heart of the yukkiness. And there are so many metalevels of that, and they are all yucky. And at the same time there are so many different voices popping up and none of them is stable, and I often forget what I'm thinking about mid-sentence, and now I'm already wondering from where all this came from, how I could believe that any of this was me, and I sort of find the idea of a lifelong practice funny because it only exists in the wave of the infinite now. And now I'm sort of wondering how I'll ever be able to post again, because new personalities pop up much faster than I can write and edit. If I didn't know about the maps and the cycling I would probably think I'm really going crazy this time, so at least for a few seconds I'm definitely a great fan of the maps. 

...

I just remembered that I actually don't have to listen to all that babbling. I'm sure it can manage fine on its own for a while. 

Integrating phase. It aint pretty. Kind of comical, though, when not taken too seriously. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Steph S:
These are refreshing perspectives and I agree. I can't say the inclination or nagging feeling of wanting some final reversal of certain aspects of suffering is entirely gone for me, but it's been diminished to a point where it's workable and easy to notice and not cling to too much. The idea that enlightenment doesn't happen to anyone and you can't make it happen has become more apparent in recent months. I know I've been really arrogant at some points along my path, so it's a useful perspective to have the attitude of lifelong learning and that meditation itself is the path and goal.

I'm inspired by your style of practice. Over the past year I find I've been letting go of the Progress of Insight & Mahasi influence more and more - I don't find the nanas as useful as I once did, nor that 4 path model. The basis of vipassana & samatha are still really helpful... but I've slowly been incorporating more of a style that seems in line with Dzogchen & Mahamudra. It's what makes the most intuitive sense to me right now.
I just want to thank you for all your kindness and support and say that I'm honored that my approach to practice can somehow be helpful to you.

--

Having a weird phase. Not sure what is practice related or simply dealing with my wiring together with winter depression. In my teens I read a story about a realm where people went by their daily business as usual but as soon as they didn't actively think of their stuff, like an umbrella or a shopping bag or a lunch sandwich they were eating, it would immediately vanish. It was supposedly a realm for people to gradually learn to let go. It kind of feels like I'm there, with the stuff not only being material possessions but also thoughts, feelings, impulses, ideas, some habituated knowledge. Being confused and forgetful is far from new, but the scope and rapidness of it might be. I find myself looking closely at my stapler, finding its existence something of a déjà vu and wondering if it always looked like that and having to relearn how to refill it. Lots of things like that, and also lots of stuff popping up and vanishing right away without latching on to anything. Like a whole popcorn factory of fragmentary impressions. On the other hand, there are awesome lifesaving reflexes that I had no idea were there. I could have broken my neck yesterday or hit my head as I slipped and was about to relentessly fall down from a steep slippery rock, and I found myself jumping and running downhill fast until I reached flat ground without falling or even straining an ancle. 

My formal practice yesterday was very calm, like just hanging out in the space and taking a break from all the impressions. Yet there was movement. Wavy, swirly, spiralling movement. Smooth. Little conceptualization. A sense of empty clarity, clarity without anything there to be clear about. Just sitting in timelessness and being fine with it. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

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Yea, based on your posts I started looking into Lama Lena because she seems really, really cool. I signed up for an online mini-retreat where she's doing the Pointing Out Instructions (Inner Mind Rushen). It's happening this Saturday & Sunday and I'm pretty excited about it. Will let you know how it goes.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Oh! Yeah, I look forward to hearing about that. She is awesome! Might be too much for people who are easily shocked, as she can be pretty explicit at times, but I love it. 

--

At the moment I'm making three styrofoam-insulated little huts for my cats, for the sake of my practice. I'll put the huts in my patio and put some straw in them to make them cosy, and then maybe I won't have to keep opening the door all the time to let the cats in and out. I live in a rental apartment so I can't install a cat flap, and it's too cold to leave the door open, and those fury hungry ghosts just can't decide whether to be inside or outside. This way they can stay outside longer without getting too cold, so maybe I can meditate without interruptions. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Linda, I imagine you've done this before.

How is her Dzogchen style pointing out any different than say, the pointing out instructions in Clarifying the natural state ? Ie, "shamatha is actually appearances "as they are". Vipassana is the clear-knowing knowing of appearances. They are the same, and both are contained within your present experience right now."
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Yes, I have. Well, she doesn't talk about shamatha and vipassana, but about the mind and what she calls mind-mind looking. You get to learn the Dharmakaya nature of mind and how that can't be separated from the other kayas. She teaches from oral transmissions in a pre-monastic cave yogi tradition, very poetically but also in a humorous and straightforward way, with lots of examples and great stories. 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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That sounds cool, I might do this small retreat actually ! Thank you both for the info !
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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If you do go to that retreat, Olivier, I look forward to hearing what you think about it. Lama Lena's pointing out shifted things for me very tangibly.

---

There is something about the flipping over from "dual" framing of perception to "non-dual" framing that catches my interest (talking about it in simplistic terms here). I find that there are specific turning points when the framing shifts. Phenomenologically they feel like reality is turned inside out. Sometimes this seems to manifest partially, with one of the senses only and with a remaining assumed center that thinks that it watches it happen (even though the assumptions are just embedded as tags in the sensations). Other times it just flips over entirely, pretty much like a spinning toroid. It's still the same reality but sort of seen from an angle that we couldn't expect. It's not coming from any direction, but from inside experience itself. It unfolds as if it would swallow itself and push out from the other end. That's fascinating. 
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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Re. free will/choice, I like to think of it as a sliding scale between 0 = absolute (no free will) and 100 = relative (conventional free will). 100 is someone who is making decisions and absolutely sure they are in control of what they are doing. 0 is someone in deep absorption with no sense of agency, someone walking around in state of nondual awareness or possibly someone noting in such detail there's no agency there either. As I've meditated more I've found my decision making upper bound coming down, not always in the moment of the decision but pretty soon after it's obvious that the decision happened "by itself". And in meditation my lower bound is coming down as well.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I can't help but giggle a bit when an entire discussion about free will steers towards individual decision making as if it was all a philosophical question and there were no "external" boundaries. In daily life I find it to be a mainly sociopolitical question.

It is interesting that you have experienced these changes, though, so I'm not giggling with regard to that.
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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That's an interesting perspective which wouldn't even occur to me as a narcissistic sociopath! emoticon emoticon
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

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agnostic:
That's an interesting perspective which wouldn't even occur to me as a narcissistic sociopath! emoticon emoticon

but such a lovable narcissistic sociopath. (by the way, are narcissistic sociopaths actually capable of finding other people's perspectives interesting? i'd hate for them to revoke your union card or something.)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
That's an interesting perspective which wouldn't even occur to me as a narcissistic sociopath! emoticon emoticon

but such a lovable narcissistic sociopath. (by the way, are narcissistic sociopaths actually capable of finding other people's perspectives interesting? i'd hate for them to revoke your union card or something.)
Lol! 

Actually, agnostic, you'd be surprised how many people that doesn't occur to and how many also find it irrelevant and emotionally biassed to even try to bring it up - and how many start intellectually dissecting whether there is even any objective ground for any social group, as if that were the point. You are doing good. 
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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The union are threatening to take me to tribunal for it, but I'm claimimg that it's still in my self interest to manifest as a self-aware narcissist.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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I think I actually know how that feels. A version of it anyway. Or several versions of it. I just remembered that this is not the only time I have been through a shift where I suddenly notice lots of previously hidden self-grasping impulses and find that there is absolutely no way to make it better by trying to make it better because it's all embedded in the problem itself - which would be the me. So... yeah, well, I probably can't say anything that will help, because in that situation, it all gets yucky somehow. It sucks, and still, not knowing about it would probably suck even more. I guess all we can do is dealing with as much of it as we can take without getting all closed up from defensive reactions, and then tune into something more spacious for a while to heal, and then deal with it again, and just keep at it one little baby step at a time, with lots of spaciousness to make it at all possible. And to remember that a world where only perfect individuals deserve to not hate themselves would be a horrible horrible world. 

Yuck, there it was again. That yucky complacency/validation-seeking paired up with self-hate/shame/disgust. They always seem to arise together, back and forth, ping pong ping pong, like infinite mirrorings. 

I stand by what I said, but I so wish I could just say it without all this evaluating - without that huge blob of me getting in the way of everything. Bah.

Oh, right, this was one of the reasons that joining the Borg collective seemed weirdly appealing when I was younger and kind of still does. Being an individual gets so yucky. 

I wish I could remember who said that cool thing at the start of some retreat that somebody (I wish I could remember who) told about in some context (I wish I could recall the context too): something along the line "Let's just set one thing straight: I'm an asshole. You're an asshole. We're all assholes." I feel like that sort a framing around basically all human interaction would take away a lot of awkwardness and unnecessary tension. Although... suggesting the idea to Tim he said that we humans would probably still be busy trying to figure out in what ways everyone is an asshole, and I'm afraid he might be right.  
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

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Forgive me, gonna get all realmy here again ...

Wanting to be perfect is hungry ghost realm - excessive desire to avoid stepping on people's feet and always say exactly the right thing in exactly the right way - it's craving for another hit on that drug which is never going to satisfy.

Human realm is always gonna be a little bit yucky and a little bit yummy. That's what keeps us busy as humans, always on the search for a little bit less of the yuck and a little bit more of the yum.

And when we get tired of being so busy as humans then we either turn up the yum dial to god realm (jhana, bliss, ecstasy) or turn up the yuck dial to hell realm (beating ourselves up over perceived failings).

It seems that we will all be cycling to a certain extent as long as we live, even if it's just a small realmy wobble. And that's fine. You're fine Linda.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

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It could be demi god realm too. In fact, all the realms keep popping up like popcorns. Nanas flash by ridiculously fast. Or remarkably fast. Or just fast. The vedanas shift too. It's all so transient. 

(edited due to wordfinding issues)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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My antidepressant treatment isn't working well and trying to increase my ADHD medication failed. The depression made me cut back on the yoga, which soon resulted in pain, exhaustion and brain fog. That's not good for my practice, so I'm gradually building up my yoga practice again. Motivation sucks. Yesterday I fell asleep early and neclected my sadhana. I have done it once today together with a small amount of trekcho. I also did some vipassana, because that works even when life sucks. I'm going to do the online group practice of trekcho for 90 minutes because I refuse to give up, and that group has great energy. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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During today's relatively early sit (my circadian rhythm is messed up from the attempt to increase the dosage of ADHD medication and from the lack of sunlight), I noticed that sensory phenomena present themselves the way they do in equanimity, like synesthetic packages that are immediately and effortlessly available with a high degree of clarity. I guess this is the depressed version of equanimity then. That's weird. Maybe that means that my practice isn't necessarily as screwed up by chemical imbalance as it feels like. The feelings aren't as intertwined with functionality as they seem to believe.

Hm. That's interesting.

They aren't as solid as they tend to believe either.

Okay, this is mindfucking... Why the hell have I been lying here feeling sorry for myself then? I actually don't have to. 
Martin, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Sometimes I feel like the practice has its own agenda, which it runs through despite what appears to be going on at the conscious/sensate level. At other times, I don't agree with myself on this.

In any case, I am glad you are getting some effortless packages. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Martin:
Sometimes I feel like the practice has its own agenda, which it runs through despite what appears to be going on at the conscious/sensate level. At other times, I don't agree with myself on this.

In any case, I am glad you are getting some effortless packages. 

Thankyou! This warmed my heart. 

I have had a very strong sense of the process knowing the way, so strong that I can't entirely un-believe it. Still, I have at times felt like it has abandoned me. Today it felt like it showed me that it never did. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Dude I have noticed this so many times. Our thoughts and habituated patterns lie to us so hard. They're just that, habituated patterns that have been imprinted into our psyche. I have depression too and am on meds for it, so I can empathize. I'm guessing part of the depression is an aversion to having depression and there's a certain amount of self-pity in that, so that self-pity is probably another habituated layer that got encoded, so the sensations/phenomena related to that habituation can still happen for a time until the attachment to them gets fully released. I'd gather that now that you have seen how unecessary the self-pity is, if you work skillfully with it and don't try to repress it, push it away, or lean too heavily into it... you can eventually dwindle that pattern down to the point where it might just go away. Be patient with yourself if it takes a while. These patterns are very strongly encoded and so an "aha" moment about them being unecessary might not get rid of it right away.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Steph S:
Dude I have noticed this so many times. Our thoughts and habituated patterns lie to us so hard. They're just that, habituated patterns that have been imprinted into our psyche. I have depression too and am on meds for it, so I can empathize. I'm guessing part of the depression is an aversion to having depression and there's a certain amount of self-pity in that, so that self-pity is probably another habituated layer that got encoded, so the sensations/phenomena related to that habituation can still happen for a time until the attachment to them gets fully released. I'd gather that now that you have seen how unecessary the self-pity is, if you work skillfully with it and don't try to repress it, push it away, or lean too heavily into it... you can eventually dwindle that pattern down to the point where it might just go away. Be patient with yourself if it takes a while. These patterns are very strongly encoded and so an "aha" moment about them being unecessary might not get rid of it right away.
I think you are nailing it. I'll take this with me. It's very helpful. So, you too, huh? I'm in good company then. Heh, I noticed that I really liked being called dude. I think it's the first time anyone said that to me. 

This turned out to be an awesome day. I got to talk to two loved ones, managed to get outside while it was still daylight, did a yoga class, and finished a letter (finally!) that I started writing six months ago to somebody I love. I did Chenrezig practice via zoom and felt my consciousness dropping down from the head to the heart very suddenly and shared a very precious moment with two other group members who seemed to sense that falling down (I think one of them transmitted it). I had a chat with Michael Taft who offered to give some pointers and wanted to talk during the upcoming week. He thinks that it's time for me to build a personal connection to a Bodhisattva of choice, to ask for guidance. I love it. I'm so fed up with scientific materialism that I could puke all over it, almost, lol. He also gave some great advice on dealing with depression, having to do with generating energy together with leading the energy to meditation and other skillful activities so that the depressed mode doesn't use it all up for rumination and stuff. Then I watched Lama Lena's public live teachings, and what do you know - she taught about depression practice. And then I found two supporting comments here in my log, both with great pointers too. I feel so cared for by the universe! The sadhana feels like it has gotten its juice back and my central channels are online and the nada sound is loud. For the time being I feel at peace. I have no doubt that the depression will pose new challenges. I wouldn't be surprised if I wake up tomorrow morning with brain fog and inflammatory pain. Still, at this moment I'm happy and noone can take that away from me. 
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Steph S, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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Yep, me too. The thing about the lack of motivation you said rang a huge bell with me. I'd say throughout the years that's been one of my biggest hindrances to practice - finding a way to cut through and just fucking practice even when I'm feeling depressed and unmotivated. It's really hard to see through that sense of dread sometimes when even minor things feel like a major chore. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

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I get that. I used to be so in love with the practice that I couldn't understand how anyone could possibly not feel motivated enough to keep going, but depression takes the juice out of everything including meditation - in many short pulses that we are habitually lured into solidifying, just like you said. It's so devious, because even though I know that all phenomena are transient, there's this huge blob of apathy that says "so what?", and just slipping into oblivion is so tempting. I always do some practice, but sometimes it feels like I'm just doing my time. Thankfully I got so many eye openers yesterday that I feel that it would be foolish to neglect them. I managed to get up this morning and do my sadhana and try to connect to Avalokiteshvara (how does one do that?) and sit.

I also did the Tibetan depression treatment. It's supposed to work with karma, and I can see lots of ways that dependent origination gets involved in a way that has positive spin-off effects. It's a very simple practice, but I can see how habituation could easily ruin it, and if the depression is deep enough, it's impossible. I am to go outside for a walk every day, and on at least three different occasions on that walk find a being that seems happy. Then I'll think, feel and say out loud "How wonderful that this being is so happy! I wish all beings could experience such happiness." Just that. I'm allowed to use a phone or something as an alibi for talking to myself, lol. It's a long-term thing, so it's building new habits of getting out to the elements of nature, getting some air and daylight and exercise, focusing on something other than me and my misery, opening up to happiness in the world, rejoicing in the happiness of other beings and wishing all beings well. It's kind of brilliant. I thought I would have to search for a long time today, because it was one of those gray and muddy days when everything looks like you are in limbo, but I got lucky after a few steps. There's a big playground close to my apartment, and some kids were out playing with their daddy. Then I went to a walking trail where people often walk their dogs in all weathers, and finding happy dogs isn't that hard. I also met a young woman who was on the phone laughing, and I walked past some horses that were either running around happily or being territorial and chasing each other away (I added some extra dogs just in case). I love seeing others being happy. It is so much easier than trying to be happy myself, so because I don't have to, suddenly I am. Sneaky. 

Then I had disability housing support, which was exhausting, and I had an allergic reaction to foods that I thought would be really safe, so I had to lie down in darkness for a long time because of the overwhelm that was triggered. Earlier shifts in my practice took away most of my triggers for sensory overload (having to do with my neurodivergence) but for some reason they seem to be back now. I remember Andromeda sharing that it had gone back and forth several times for her because the practice does help but also increases the sensory input. Anyway, I did some reclining meditation while lying there in the darkness, and I got into the territory of lucid light sleep. I could hear myself sleep-breathing/snoring and at the same time I could feel lots of energetic disentangling happening. 

I'll try to focus on Avalokiteshvara again before I fall asleep. I'm still too overwhelmed to do mantras (the sound of the vacuum cleaner was more than I could take today even though I have a rather silent one; I guess I'll have to start using hearing protectors again) so I'll have to find some other way. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Yesterday:

Did Lama Lena's depression practice and then 75 minutes of yin yoga and 75 minutes of "slow flow yoga", and it made me more present to the moment. I came into the territory where the boundaries between external sight and mental images get fuzzy. The mental images of the body in the room became so strong that I could see it behind closed eye lids as if my eyes were half-open in an unfocused way. I checked many times if my eyes were open or not, because I couldn't tell from just seeing the image. I investigated the field where inner and outer seeing overlapped. When I came home I did a smoke offering ceremony, starting with taking refuge and generating Bodhicitta, as part of my attempts at connecting with Chenrezig following the advice from Michael. I didn't do it entirely by the book, because I realized too late that I was supposed to do the thing with a fancy liquid in a bompa and use a dorje and bell while reading the text and sprinkle liquid over the offerings. I played some singing bowls instead. I also probably didn't get the offering mudras for the different elements right, and I had to look up the syllables that I was supposed to visualize. The episode with the smoke alarm wasn't according to plans either, lol. I loved the smell, though, and it helped set the mood. I used two kinds of resin (Gum Dammar and Dragon Blood, both from Goloka), juniper twigs, palo santo wood, a dried eucalyptus leaf (from a birthday bouquet from a loved one), some white sage, some lavender (dried flower from my patio) and some dried elderberry flowers. After that I did both sitting meditation (trekcho) and reclining meditation (shamatha), and then my sadhana. It raised so much energy that I could barely sleep at all. I didn't expect that in the midst of a depression. 


Today:

Did a morning sit of trekcho with rather little hindrances coming up, except for the cat that keeps insisting on going in and out all the time, lol. Did the depression practice (love it). Meditation happened on its own when I was outside. Tensions fell away and there were silky sensations in my lips and entire face and reality turned itself inside out - not in the most tangible and abrupt way that happens in formal practice when concentration and clarity are high enough for the phenomenology to stand out so strongly, but more like gentle flowy figure-ground shifts. I sat down on a rocky hill to just be with it. After a while I did the Chenrezig practice there too. It's one of those places where reality seems more alive because it's a piece of nature that hasn't been messed with as much. I find it healing. Yet it overlooks a playground and some sports' areas and pathways where people walk, so there are plenty of opportunities for Brahmaviharas. In the late afternoon I did some reclining meditation that turned into lucid light sleep with short passages of non-lucid dreaming intermittently. Then in the evening I did a two hour yoga session with shaking meditation and spontaneous motion built in, together with moon salutations, and later my sadhana. 

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My connecting with Chenrezig has so far included the practice that we do in the Chenrezig group (like metta with visualizations and mantra), chanting in both Tibetan and Sanskrit, evoking, altar rituals, prostrations, smoke offering, and visualizing and "feelizing" Chenrezig's presence.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Yesterday:

Did the Tibetan depression treatment twice.
Vinyasa yoga with shaking built in.
Sadhana with trekchöd.
About an hour of sitting which involved shamatha with and without an object and going back and forth between emptiness and form.

Today:

Short trekchöd sitting.
Tibetan depression treatment.
Yoga: shaking, soft vinyasa, yin, shavasana.

Did a daily karma checklist specifically designed for the way my personal karma sneaks up on me. The idea is to make it easier to build skillful habits and avoid old routes of bad habits, by working with subtle stuff. I need to do it in a compassionate way that doesn't set off defenses. In the list I encorporated what I learned from experimenting with a sattvic implementation tool earlier, and old strategies for dealing with issues related to my wiring. I also built on later observations of how chains of reactions on subtle levels limit my daily life, as I keep tripping over myself. I usually don't log that stuff, because then I wouldn't have time to do anything but logging. 

Evening: zhine without an object, together with the cat that usually interrupts those sessions. So that's how to do it! After a day full of subtle resistance to just letting go of planning and other thoughts that insisted on latching on to each other and keep spinning (at least I noticed it over and over again), it was suddenly so easy to just surrender in a reclining position together with a huge purring cat. There was disentangling, beyond concepts, and I had a bunch of those little unknowing events that are very close to being distinguishable as cessations, except they don't really feel like they are accompanied with new realizations. Instead they seem to take me back to a baseline that I had gradually clogged up as hindrances surfaced again. My hypothesis is that they are cessations from a previous path that needs refreshing because karma keeps bringing me back to old habits. In this session, I could see a pattern for when they occurred: as a culmination of something disentangling. After this had been going on for a while, with a number of disentangling processes, there was an instance of "falling down" which was then followed by a strong sense of normality coming back. I recognized it both from the Chenrezig practice and from many previous times when I felt like I was spitted out from something formless. I think falling down to the heart is not really new, but what is new is that I resist it less. This time, instead of assuming that I was spitted out from something and getting back to an ordinary mindset, I decided to just rest where I was without assuming so much about where that was. It turned out to be very peaceful. I had some lucid light sleep and then woke up rejuvinated. 

In the beginning of the session I opened up to Chenrezig/Avalokiteshvara emotionally and with some visualization, mantra and prayer.

Have done microhits during the day.
Will do the sadhana and trekchöd before going to sleep, unless a job application makes it impossible. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Did the job application, the sadhana and the trekchöd. They joy from my neighbors' oriental several days long New Year's party energizes me. I love it. I can tune into the yoy and I love the music and the rhythms and I can do loud chanting without worrying about disturbing anyone. Awesome! I had a bunch of little electrical restart poof sounds and kinesthetics in my brain while prostrating and chanting, following releases of piti. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 10

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
It's interesting how the circular rhythm of my fascia contraction issues corresponds with the PoI cycling and with patterns of body language and posture in daily life. I'm not jumping to conclusions about what causes what. It seems to be intertwined and probably more complex than a linear causal relation. I wonder to what extent this can be disentangled. Some aspects are manipulable, and applying mindfulness there has ripple effects. The fascia around hips, seat bones and pelvis seems to have a central role in this. 

So far I have been doing Yi rang, the Tibetan depression treatment, every day since I started. It feels liberating emotionally. I really don't need happiness to be about me. 

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