Alex's Practice Log 1

Alex H, modified 4 Months ago.

Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/8/19 Recent Posts
A Little Introduction

I started meditating after reading TMI in about summer 2017. I found TMI fascinating and the way it describes linear progress with levels was uniquely appealing. But for these reasons I didn't find it effective as a guide, it gave me too much desire to reach higher "levels". Also I found it put too many words into my head when meditating... oh is that progressive subtle dullness or stable subtle dullness etc.

I got to around stage 5 in TMI's framework before giving up for months at a time. When I came back to meditation after months of not having a daily practice my inner chatter was quieter and I enjoyed it more.

I started experimenting with other methods. TMI and Culadasa's rhetoric against dry vispassana gave me a bias against it. So I experimented with Rob Burbea, Ajahn Geoff type work focusing on the full body breath.

Meditation Object

During my TMI struggles I didn't "get on" with concentration at the nostrils. I started to get pressure around that area even in daily life lasting hours at a time. When I sat to meditate I would get pressure there that crowded out any subtle sensations, certainly I could not feel movement of air, coolness, warmth etc. Just a fuzzy pulsing pressure.

I read "With each and every breath" and started going for walks while listening to Ajahn Geoff's YouTube dharma talks. I found his focus on the full body works well for me. Often if I just sit on the sofa I can feel a light bliss just tuning in to the sensations of the body, mainly tingling and feeling restful.

During my meditation I prefer to tune into the sensations of the whole body instead of "following the breath". When following the breath I tend to control the breath too much and it feels slightly irritating. Whereas if I simply tune into the body I forget about breathing (aka breathe naturally) and can quickly find sensations of tingling in the whole body that feels nice and easy to pay attention to.

Current Practice

I usually do 1 hour formal sitting session daily (increased to 2 hours this past week).

In my formal sitting practice I mix up what I try, lately it's been Mahasi noting. Just yesterday I did a Rob Burbea energy body guided meditation, I had piti and electrical energy in my body. Feelings of light bliss (not anything rapturous). This full body practice really jives with my natural inclination so I'm thinking of continuing this rather than noting for formal practice.

When I note in formal sitting practice I tend to simply note "feeling" for the full body as "rising, falling" caused me to control the breath. I have found noting helpful for quieting the mind, when I switch to noting a distraction it tends to drop immediately and I can return to the anchor. 

My concern with my noting practice is that I just twist it to focus on feeling body sensations because that's pleasurable. I'll note feeling, feeling, feeling quite robotically. I've tried using more descriptive labels (pressure, tingling, warmth) but often switch back to "feeling, feeling" during the meditation.

I also do noting in daily life, walking walking, feeling feeling, cold, hot, warmth etc. To be honest this was the biggest boon for my practice. Especially on the weekend when I haven't worked and felt stressed (I manage a team of people) this daily life noting really sets me up well for the meditation.

I would like to note all day, but I find so much of my time is spent reading (mostly dharma stuff) or working... tasks where I can't note at the same time. In lieu I sometimes just try to tune into the tingling in my body while reading or watching something.

I have a baby due in a few weeks so although that will give many challenges to the practice I'm hoping to note while doing the more manual tasks.

My daily life noting tends to kick in as soon as I stand up from laptop, walking walking then noting as I make a coffee or use the restroom.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 1666 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Congrats on the baby emoticon wishing you all the best! My partner is pregnant and should give birth sometime in April emoticon our 2nd boy! emoticon yahoooo! Tons of diapers and sleepless nights emoticon 

EDIT; btw, we are using those reusable diapers and our son certainly slept better when using those in comparison to the disposable ones. Just a tip in case. 
Alex H, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/8/19 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko:
Congrats on the baby emoticon wishing you all the best! My partner is pregnant and should give birth sometime in April emoticon our 2nd boy! emoticon yahoooo! Tons of diapers and sleepless nights emoticon 

EDIT; btw, we are using those reusable diapers and our son certainly slept better when using those in comparison to the disposable ones. Just a tip in case. 
Thanks! and congrats to you too.

I'll pass on the reusable idea to the boss, I know we've bought some disposables already.
Tim Farrington, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Hi Alex, and a slightly belated welcome to DhO! Thank you for opening up your practice log and sharing it here. I hope you find the experience helpful and the sangha supportive. I also hope we don't fuck up your practice, lol. You seem to have found a good footing right now, and I look forward to hearing about your path as it unfolds.

I see that you're a somewhat up-to-date knowledgeable tech person, and aware of our dinosaur system and its archaic liabilities. Good to know for the long run, or even the short run. That meteor could wipe out 90% of the species at any time, of course. It would be great if the forum could evolve into a more contemporary survivability. 

Congratulations on the imminent new member of your family! And again, welcome. 
Alex H, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/8/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
Hi Alex, and a slightly belated welcome to DhO! Thank you for opening up your practice log and sharing it here. I hope you find the experience helpful and the sangha supportive. I also hope we don't fuck up your practice, lol. You seem to have found a good footing right now, and I look forward to hearing about your path as it unfolds.

I see that you're a somewhat up-to-date knowledgeable tech person, and aware of our dinosaur system and its archaic liabilities. Good to know for the long run, or even the short run. That meteor could wipe out 90% of the species at any time, of course. It would be great if the forum could evolve into a more contemporary survivability. 

Congratulations on the imminent new member of your family! And again, welcome. 

Thanks very much Tim. emoticon It looks like the latest hack situation is fixed or at least I don't see the warning message. 
Alex H, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/8/19 Recent Posts
Lately I've been working with Rob Burbea's 2019 Jhana Retreat.

His perspectives on playing with the practice, kneading the breath have been very helpful.

I like this Sutta quote that Rob uses:
"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. This is the first development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


As I've gone along this path I've found meditation is a lot about the subtle attitudes you bring to the practice.

Some attitudes Rob offers that resonate:

- Instead of coming to a sit with an attitude of nailing your concentration to the object, come with the attitude how much play can I have. How much exploration, what can I discover about how I respond to different breathing, attitudes, postures, imagination.

- When your mind slips off the breath, instead of being frustrated keep in mind the larger goal. Larger than reaching Jhana etc is developing patience.

In terms of my practice log. I've started sitting for 1 hour but doing the first 20 minutes of Metta. This has boosted my practice again, I find the metta really calms the mind and gets it in the right frame of mind.

My method of kickstarting the metta is an idea I got from TWIM. I have a video on my phone of my friends really cute baby dancing to a Korean pop song. I can't help but feel happy after watching that and then I use the attitude, whatever positive loving emotions I feel toward this baby can I send to: myself, friends/family, neutral, enemies etc.

Once the 20 minute bell goes off I switch to feeling the energy body. I've been getting very light piti but really a feeling of being super comfortable. Like sitting by a log fire all warm on a cold winters night. So comfortable that when the bell goes at 1 hour I didn't feel like getting up. I wouldn't call it a hypnagogic dull state either, I'm pretty alert. My mind still wanders to distractions occasionally.
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Alex's Practice Log 1

Posts: 1018 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Welcome to DhO Alax and congrats to you and Papa Che on your impending pregencies.

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