Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 11

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I just realized that since I'm now a moderator, I need to take my own responsibility for starting a new log when the current one is getting too long, hehe, and it was. So here goes.

I just want to jolt down something that I think might be crucial for me to work with at this point. It's about finding the balance of truly enjoying stuff and yet working around the reactivity that it can entail in terms of clinging and grasping. It's interesting to pinpoint where something stops being inherently joyous and starts being clinging to maintaining and solidifying something that is inevitably transient (as it should be) and growing dissatisfactoriness accompanied with and masked by the idea of maintained enjoyment over time. The idea came to me when a loved one initiated ending our video chat which we were both enjoying very much, because I might need some time to digest stuff before my grouo Chenrezig practice was to begin. I was so willing to just milk it, you know, every drop of it, even thought I really do need lots of space to process stuff since I also easily get overwhelmed (which can be cool to just surrender to, but not in all cases). So we ended our chat while energies were high, and in the silence and space of doing so, the intensity but also lightness of the energies moving around was striking. And here I have been complaining that I don't "have" enough energy. My loved one had been supporting me in doing something that I had been procrastinating for a while just because it feels too important to mess up, so there really had been lots of stirring up of stuff that needed processing. There had been a mix of fascination both with the task and with other topics (we have passionate discussions), stress from dealing with the task, and the joy of sharing moments together, and it was the perfect moment of ending the conversation. I came out of it high in energy despite the partial exhaustion from dealing with the complex task, and we had let things arise and pass as they should without holding on to them as I would probably have done if he hadn't pointed out the natural breaking point. At this point, things could just organically disentangle instead of turning into something that would give me an energetic hangover. I was high in energy and at the same time capable of letting go, and I realized that I often suck at this balancing and that tends to drain me. 

So now I have started to phenomenologically investigate such breaking points, for small stuff. Like playing a simple game on my ipad. It is energizing in the exact right dosage, which is why I have periodically used it as a way of waking up my brain (in a very mundane sense, as it's probabaly almost diametrically opposite from waking up spiritually, but what do you do when your survival depends on you getting your heavy ass out of the bed to actually take that medicine or to be able to pay your rent?). Those games are designed to hijack your brain, so the energizing very easily tips over into craving and clinging. Still, there are aspects of them that I really enjoy. It would be very interesting to see if it as at all possible to keep playing such games now and then without having it affecting karma badly - and by that I mean what pathways I'm building in my brain and what ripple effects it stirs up and whether it inevitably undermines my practice or if it's possible to learn to let it come, let it be and let it go. So far I have seen that there are natural breaking points where it is possible to just stop on a dime with a sense of having had fun but without a sense of loss from stopping, because there was actually subtle restlessness showing up and therefore it feels good to stop. At those points, there is an urge to keep going, but it's not driven by joy. Identifying that fact makes it possible to just let the urge pass away as soon as it arises, without solidifying it into a sense of wanting to keep playing. However, I can also see that the reward system is a sneaky bastard, because later impulses arise together with thoughts that sound exactly like what addicts often say: "Hey, it's safe for me to play because I can stop at any time". Yeah right. emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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As part of a sit, I was focusing on the mantra Om mani padme hung shri, which felt hearty and spacious. However, discursive thinking was sneaking into it when the mantra took on a certain degree of autimaticity (in the mundane sense). Inspired by Steph's observations on how subvocalizing a mantra shuts out discursive thinking, I investigated that and found that discursive thinking would arise in the pause that I was making inbetween the rounds of the mantra for esthetic reasons (rhythm). Therefore I started to elongate the shri syllable to fill the space. I found that it worked and was pleased, until it dawned on me that after a while somehow I was having discursive thoughts about subvocalizing being successful as a strategy. In further investigating that, I could see figure ground shifts happening back and forth, so there was a sense of both occurring simultaneously (the mantra and the discursive thinking), but only one of them was in focus at a time whereas the other one was blurred. A similar figure ground shift took place at a meta level with regard to these different framings. According to one of the framings, both processes (the mantra and the discursive thinking) were aware of themselves as continuous chains of occurrings, with a sense of continuity, but when letting an observer arise to investigate this (dualistically), the mindstream's attentional focus was jumping back and forth between the two separate discursive chains, with one of them appearing as the sensation and the other one as a taken-for-granted-ness embedded within the sensation. I'm not sure whether the subvocalizing was also jumping back and forth between the processes. I think it was, and maybe that's what made one process stand out clearly at a time. Maybe the sense of the other process still occurring manifested as a contextual tag of preprocessed assumptions tied to the sensation currently arising from the subvocalization. It seems to me like it's impossible to tell from experience which one of the framings is more "ultimate" than the other. Both framings seem to have preprocessed assumptions tagged into them, and only one of the framings stands out at a time. One involves less dukkha than the other from what I can tell. The other one is easier to fit into popular versions of a scientific paradigm (but not necessarily the frontline of quantum physics) and possibly has advantages from a strictly evolutional point of view, as evolution never had to consider suffering. It would be interesting to look more closely at the actual shifts, but they are oh so transient. 
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Steph, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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This is a good write up. I noticed basically all of what you said here. I definitely also had discursive thinking happening in the pause between repititions of my mantra, and even noticed a juxtoposition that seemed like mantra & discursive thinking were happening on top of eachother. There'd also be the mantra and what I like to call proto-thoughts happening at about the same time... proto-thoughts being what appear to be seedlings of thoughts about to come up but not fully germinated yet. It's interesting that the mind gets a sense of thoughts that seem wordless or even a little babbly, or some sense that a thought is kind of arising but isn't really there. What you notice about the discursive or analytical thinking seeming to happen at the same time is super fascinating and I want to investigate that further too. I had trouble keeping up my mantra later in the day and there were signicant lapses in time between when it would pop up again and it took more deliberate effort to maintain. Momentum is really important to keep it running... and I did notice after a while it seemed sort of robotic and that the feeling behind it of it feeling sincere or genuine degraded over time too. By the time I went to bed it had basically dissipated entirely.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Interesting! Thankyou for sharing! Yes, I had proto-thoughts too (I love the name!). It would be interesting to see more closely how those relate to the discursive thinking, how they shift back and forth and what the context looks like at those breaking points. I might investigate that with regard to my almost constant ear worms, which pretty often but not always happen to be mantras. It happens rather often that I'm in the midst of some discursive thinking and suddenly realize that I have also had music with lyrics running in the background of my mind for a long time. I have been wondering how that is even possible. It's almost like two sets of memories overlapping in time. 
Hector, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Hey me too! I've had the mad song from the opera Lucia running in my head for almost a week. I love it, sort of makes me happy.
I also have two different tinnitus hums that go on which are useful to note.
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Helen Pohl, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Gah, is it just me that gets the cream(read: "cream") of 90's hits? 

Funny how it's nearly always the songs you'd rather forget...Blümchen, anyone? >_<
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Helen Pohl:
Gah, is it just me that gets the cream(read: "cream") of 90's hits? 

Funny how it's nearly always the songs you'd rather forget...Blümchen, anyone? >_<

Haha! I get the tune from Papa Che's log name everytime he has posted in it, and I only know the chorus so it's a bit repetitive... 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Hector:
Hey me too! I've had the mad song from the opera Lucia running in my head for almost a week. I love it, sort of makes me happy.
I also have two different tinnitus hums that go on which are useful to note.

Great approach! Good for you. And yeah, one might as well make use of it.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Whatever space and inherent aliveness is liberated through my practice I hope will manifest as exactly what is needed in the world, at the right time in the right place. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Whatever space and inherent aliveness is liberated through my practice I hope will manifest as exactly what is needed in the world, at the right time in the right place. 


Oddly enough I got the above mailed to me today. emoticon The universe trying to tell me something?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Helen Pohl:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Whatever space and inherent aliveness is liberated through my practice I hope will manifest as exactly what is needed in the world, at the right time in the right place. 


Oddly enough I got the above mailed to me today. emoticon The universe trying to tell me something?
As a notification from DhO because you have posted in my log before? Or from some other source?
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Helen Pohl, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Helen Pohl:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Whatever space and inherent aliveness is liberated through my practice I hope will manifest as exactly what is needed in the world, at the right time in the right place. 


Oddly enough I got the above mailed to me today. emoticon The universe trying to tell me something?
As a notification from DhO because you have posted in my log before? Or from some other source?

Yes, as a notification. But I don't get it from any other thread... 0_o
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Hm, yeah, I still haven't figured out the logic behind those notifications, if there is one. Don't you even get notifications from your own practice log?

---

Not much to report from my practice at the moment. It's one of those phases of just putting in the work and walking the terrain regardless of weather. It feels like it's not going anywhere, but I know that the baseline is much different from when I started. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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I don't actually have a log. I have my hands full keeping up with what's occurring and don't feel I have the words to write down anything after, or even remember what was happening in any coherent manner.

In fact, this is the closest to what it feels like most of the time:

First 60 s of this


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FBDv6E4VO0
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Seems like good practice to me. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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My relationship to energy has changed. It no longer feels like it is contained. It can't build up a pressure, because there are no walls to it. It can't leak out either, because it's just a property of space. Michael said it's a good thing, because it takes away a lot of risks for messing things up. He adviced me to look for places where it still feels like it can get stuck. I know one such place: my left ancle. Working on it. It's getting much better. 

Did Kundalini yoga today. It feels different now that energy doesn't confine itself to an imagined container. Much less complicated. 

Part 2 of Reversing the stack (with Michael Taft) is about to begin, in a few minutes. Yay! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Note to self: starting the day with 75 minutes of soft and slow yoga flow takes away the brain fog of the depression but not the apathy. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Additional yoga does not help with the apathy. It seems better to just raise some energy again after the shavasana with some selective movements or maybe pranayama, take the ADHD medication and move straight into meditation as soon as there is some kind of momentum - or at least do something that doesn't reinforce the apathy. Netflix and games on my tablet are not viable options in the long run as they make me despise myself for being so useless (aversion noted). I can do better than that. Doing the altar routine together with taking care of the cats and feeding the birds out in the patio and making myself some tea sets some kind of aspiration that should not be underestimated: it sets the aspiration both to awaken and to keep caring. 

I don't think this depression is going in the right direction. I need to do something about that, something additional to what I'm already doing. I probably need a stronger dosage of the medicines. There's a waiting list for therapy and I can't afford private therapy. Anyway, I think chemistry is key here. Maybe I'm developing too much tolerance to the medicines after so many years.

I also need to keep seeing through the assumed solidness of the depression. I have seen it so I know it. Maybe I'm afraid of trying, afraid to fail and therefore prone to escaping into ignorance. That's very counterproductive with regard to both my wellbeing and the awakening process. At least I do say yes to things like sledging with my teenage daughter and her friend, even though there's a resistance to leaving the bed, and I am actually able to enjoy it for a while. That's a spark of liveliness right there. I was laughing my ass off when I was thrown out of the sled, even though my cell phone was almost crushed to pieces (it miraculously recovered after I put it together again). I also feel real joy when during my walks for the Tibetan depression treatment I encounter happy beings. Maybe I need rehabilitating work training. 

I will start a Vajrasattva practice today. It involves lots of visualizations together with chanting and then trekchöd. It might help clear away negative patterns, as that's what it's about. I just need to print out the text first, and for some reason there's resistance to that just like there's resistance to anything that requires me to sit down by the computor. Yesterday I used the computor for a meeting with my meditation class and the ngöndro teachings, though, and it was fine. Maybe I need to sit down by the computor on a daily basis, doing something that isn't stressful, to take away the association chain that feeds the resistance. Maybe I should have my ipad repaired (the glass is somewhat broken) so that I have to use the computor instead. Heh, there's the resistance. It's strong now. I can feel it in my gut. It's fear. This is the type of stuff that I'm supposed to visualize being released as creepy crawlies through my elimination orifices in the Vajrasattva practice. We are to imagine the kinds of creepy crawlies that we are most disgusted by. I'll use maggots. Those maggots will fall right into the mouth of the black/blue buffalo-headed slayer of death in the center of the earth. He will devour them with pleasure. We are also to imagine being filled up with creamy warm white and yet brilliantly clear light, from the union of the Vajrasattva yabyum through our crown chakra and down and out through the central channel, spreading to all the channels beaming out from the chakras, and then up through the side channels. There are more visualizations to go with that, while chanting in Tibetan, so it trains concentration too. Visualization comes easier to me nowadays, but I find it difficult to combine it with chanting in Tibetan and remembering the meaning of it in English (which is a second language to me but very often the language that my discursive thinking manifests through, especially with regard to my practice).

Oh, there's a whole flock of birds eating the sunflower seeds I put out to them in the winter cold. That actually makes me happy. 

Okay, I'll go to print out the text for the Vajrasattva practice now. 

---

Edited to add note to self: sitting by the computor for a brief while actually felt pleasant. It isn't as horrible as the thoughts say it will be. And the practice is beautiful. Reading through it made piti arise. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Did the entire sadhana, including going through the mala with both the 100 syllable mantra and the short mantra. With all the parts, this takes quite some time. I had to keep the trekchöd part short as I was extremely hungry at the end. It's probably more realistic to divide the mala into different sections that I will go through over the day, as I'm supposed to to the practice several times per day anyway. So this is the structure:

Invoking the lama
The blessing of the speech
The vowel mantra (7 times)
The consonant mantra (7 times)
Mantra of the essence of dependent origination (7 times)
Mantras for multiplying the power of recitation (7 times each)
The four thoughts
Taking refuge (with prostrations, only three now)
The generation of Bodhicitta (3 times)
Refuge and Bodhicitta
Nine breaths of purification
Vajrasattva purification
The 100 syllable mantra (as many times as possible; I did it 108 times now)
Vajrasattva purification cont.
The short blessing exchange mantra (as many times as possible; I did it 108 times)
Trekchöd (after a visualization that sounds like gradually resolving form and dissolving into fruition)
Dedication of merit 

...and of course a set of visualizations integrated with it all. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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As I lay down to rest after lunch and a short walk in the remaining daylight, to listen into the effects of the sadhana, there were lots of releases. At one point I was suddenly falling down. There were many releases of light and some physical kriyas of the hands and feet where I have tensions. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Did the full sadhana again, the entire mala on both mantras. I'm high from it. This is what I have been missing for quite some time now. Energy and peace at the same time, enough to both stir up the mud and clear it. The process is at work. I can surrender to it and trust it to do its thing. I love it. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Did the entire sadhana, including going through the mala with both the 100 syllable mantra and the short mantra. With all the parts, this takes quite some time. I had to keep the trekchöd part short as I was extremely hungry at the end. It's probably more realistic to divide the mala into different sections that I will go through over the day, as I'm supposed to to the practice several times per day anyway. So this is the structure:

Invoking the lama
The blessing of the speech
The vowel mantra (7 times)
The consonant mantra (7 times)
Mantra of the essence of dependent origination (7 times)
Mantras for multiplying the power of recitation (7 times each)
The four thoughts
Taking refuge (with prostrations, only three now)
The generation of Bodhicitta (3 times)
Refuge and Bodhicitta
Nine breaths of purification
Vajrasattva purification
The 100 syllable mantra (as many times as possible; I did it 108 times now)
Vajrasattva purification cont.
The short blessing exchange mantra (as many times as possible; I did it 108 times)
Trekchöd (after a visualization that sounds like gradually resolving form and dissolving into fruition)
Dedication of merit 

...and of course a set of visualizations integrated with it all. 

That's pretty comprehensive. What tradition is this from? Looks a lot like my Nyingma ngondro practice from years ago...
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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It's from Lama Lena who is a lineage holder of several lineages, very anti-sectarian, but mainly Nyingma. She has cut and pasted a bit to make sure that it is powerful enough without being too long, as we are doing it in Tibetan, a language that we don't know. Thus she has assembled stuff from two different texts. 

It works. The symbolic level resonates well with my subconscious processings. There were lots of releases from the second round too. It seems like my fascia is letting go of stuff, and I think this is the first morning this winter that I'm waking up without anxiety (one of the very few anyway). Wow, I had forgotten what that feels like. So light. So peaceful. There's joy there too, and so much space. I actually have energy. 

This reminds me of the miraculous healing that took place when I started my practice. I think I need a practice that stirs up shit and disentangles it, and as usual, the subconscious does a better job with that than the regular processing patterns. The ngöndro seems to kickstart the subconscious processings, and those are more fluent in Sambhogakaya stuff. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It's from Lama Lena who is a lineage holder of several lineages, very anti-sectarian, but mainly Nyingma. She has cut and pasted a bit to make sure that it is powerful enough without being too long, as we are doing it in Tibetan, a language that we don't know. Thus she has assembled stuff from two different texts. 

It works. The symbolic level resonates well with my subconscious processings. There were lots of releases from the second round too. It seems like my fascia is letting go of stuff, and I think this is the first morning this winter that I'm waking up without anxiety (one of the very few anyway). Wow, I had forgotten what that feels like. So light. So peaceful. There's joy there too, and so much space. I actually have energy. 

This reminds me of the miraculous healing that took place when I started my practice. I think I need a practice that stirs up shit and disentangles it, and as usual, the subconscious does a better job with that than the regular processing patterns. The ngöndro seems to kickstart the subconscious processings, and those are more fluent in Sambhogakaya stuff. 

Mine was also sort of pasted together, the whole of the Dudjom Tersar, and some bits and pieces he liked to go along with it. I have a feeling the lama usual does this to some degree to suit the student. He also recommended I read Thinley Norbu's "Cascading Waterfall of Nectar", which was utterly impenatrable at the start. 

https://www.shambhala.com/a-cascading-waterfall-of-nectar-337.html

The practice worked for me too. I was supposed to do 100 thousand recitations, but after losing count, lama said to just keep doing it every day and not worry about counting. I'm sure I went out past 100 thousand to... somewhere.emoticon

I agree... it feels good. I loved it! Having said that, it dug up all of my crap along with it, culminating in both lama's death, and not long after, the death of my biological father. I had no idea how much baggage was tied up in all of that. Years of "dark night", then maybe 6 months after, awakening. My feeling is that it needn't have been so hard for me. I should have sought out another teacher immediately. Ah well. emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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That sounds really tough. I'm sorry to hear that. Are you saying that the digging up of your baggage somehow resulted in the deaths of the lamas and your father, or that it was karmically intertwined (beyond simple notions of cause and effect), or that the deaths just happened on top of everything else that had already been challenging enough? Just trying to get the story straight. For the record, I had years of dark night before starting a formal practice, as part of a huge life crisis, and at the time I was convinced that I was a jinx because as soon as I thought that the worst had gone by and that I could actually dare to be happy, someone close to me would develop a fatal disease or die or something. I don't believe that I caused it. I know now that I'm not a jinx. The universe sure seems to find ways to scream at me when I fail to listen to the process, though, so I guess I don't entirely rule out some large-scale entanglement on the symbolic level. 

I'm not as afraid of what it might dig up as of having to live with not digging it up. That said, I'll continue to do my best to pace it in a way that I can handle. 

Don't you think that if you could have awakened in a smoother way, you would have?

I would have to start reciting much faster in order to reach 100000 recitings in less than a year. I'm not sure that would be such a great idea. It seems like it could get pretty frantic. I think I'll try to use the rhythm and pace that maintains a balance of energy and equanimity. It may vary over time exactly what that means, and subtle changes might make huge differences. None of the teachers I turn to for help are in denial about spiritual challenges or emergencies, and the process has its own ways of telling me what is needed and what should be avoided. Lama Lena has been very clear about some seemingly subtle differences in do:s and don't:s. Apparently visualizing light in the wrong tone of warmth can make things go haywire, for instance. I can actually see that happening, because visualizing light move through all the energy channels clearly sets things in motion. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Are you saying that the digging up of your baggage somehow resulted in the deaths of the lamas and your father, or that it was karmically intertwined (beyond simple notions of cause and effect), or that the deaths just happened on top of everything else that had already been challenging enough? 

Karmic seeds ripen when they ripen. The deaths happened when they needed to do. The deaths did make it more challenging, but those challenges were "mine". 

I'm not as afraid of what it might dig up as of having to live with not digging it up. That said, I'll continue to do my best to pace it in a way that I can handle. 

In retrospect I 100% agree.

Don't you think that if you could have awakened in a smoother way, you would have?

Of course! When I think back on it, it has more to do with how I could help someone else, I suppose. I know that some help with perspective and processing the stuff that comes up could really help someone really suffering in a dark night. I ended up exiting dark night into a very pleasant equanimity for 6 months or so, and awakening happened when I wasn't even meditating, had no teacher, no practice, or intentional dharma exposure. I was just driving my car to get new tires.

I would have to start reciting much faster in order to reach 100000 recitings in less than a year. I'm not sure that would be such a great idea. It seems like it could get pretty frantic.

I hope you didn't somehow get the the impression that this was how I practiced, am suggesting it, or that I think it is even a good idea. I did the 100,000 recitations (and 300,000 prostrations!) over years. I was given the impression that there is not rush at all, and never felt in a rush. If I recall correctly I was told that Dudjom Rinpoche did the ngondro all his life, never stopping. While I didn't end up doing this, it was my intention at the time. 

While I personally knew some students who were, I was not given physical or visual mandala practices, offering practices, or energy practices. I was given the ngondro, prostrations, guru yoga, and an emphasis on dzogchen, so I don't have much to say about some of the practices. Different students were given differents sets of instructions based on skillful means. I can't argue with the results. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Thanks for clarifying, Stirling!

Just in case it wasn't clear for anyone reading, visualizing light moving through the channels is not a specific energy practice. It's part of the ngöndro and accompanies the mantra. I haven't been given any energy practices or offering practices personally. I just do yoga at a local yoga studio because I need it, and the offering teachings are public. 

No no, you didn't say anything that made me believe that you were suggesting any frantic pace. I was just calculating how long it would take me to do 100000 recitations at the pace I'm doing them now, as a thought experiment. Sorry for being unclear! I have difficulties grasping quantity. It gets very abstract for me unless I do the maths. Lama Lena doesn't require any specific amount. She is more focused on what is needed in someone's practice at the moment. I got to move on from prostrations to Vajrasattva after only three months because that's what I needed, and I did not do any large quantity. She said that I might need to go back to doing more at a later point. Still I somehow got the idea that she thought that three months could also be enough. I was not the only one who got to move on. When doing the maths it became obvious that three months is a very short time span. Then again, Lama Lena does not require ngöndro before teaching Dzogchen like many others do. This is optional. She says that it would be mandatory for a practice focusing mainly on tantra or tsa lung, but that's not what she teaches. She teaches Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

Something I forgot to mention earlier is that the day I started the Vajrasattva practice (I would say yesterday but it's past midnight so technically it's the day before yesterday) I was surprised by a bellowing sound coming from somewhere in front of me, next to the altar. I sort of wonder if that's what someone with a buffalo head would sound like. It's funny that this happened right after I wrote in your thread that I wouldn't mind if a voice would appear. I didn't immediately think of Yamantaka as I wasn't yet at that part and haven't thought much about how buffalos sound. Honestly I thought something along the line of "What the f, is it happening now - am I encountering one of those demons that people report seeing?" and then I chanted a few Om mani padme hung as a nice gesture just in case, lol. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 3 Months ago.

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What kind of yoga do you do, Linda? Apologies if you've already talked about it previously.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Oh, that's okay. I do several different kinds of yoga: vinyasa yoga (Ashtanga, Brahmani style and other versions), hatha yoga, yin yoga, medicinal yoga, Kundalini yoga, restorative yoga. Mostly vinyasa. I go to a studio that has a large variety of classes, and I also adjust the level according to what my body needs at the moment (currently my body seems to crave gentle classes as often as possible, whereas a while back it wanted more challenging classes with some rest inbetween). I may also be attending zoom classes in some kind of Tibetan yoga in a not too distant future if those plans manifest into something that works with my schedule. 
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Helen Pohl, modified 3 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh, that's okay. I do several different kinds of yoga: vinyasa yoga (Ashtanga, Brahmani style and other versions), hatha yoga, yin yoga, medicinal yoga, Kundalini yoga, restorative yoga. Mostly vinyasa. I go to a studio that has a large variety of classes, and I also adjust the level according to what my body needs at the moment (currently my body seems to crave gentle classes as often as possible, whereas a while back it wanted more challenging classes with some rest inbetween). I may also be attending zoom classes in some kind of Tibetan yoga in a not too distant future if those plans manifest into something that works with my schedule. 

A diverse practice! 

By medicinal yoga do you mean MediYoga associated with Karolinska Institutet? 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Maybe it has been part of it over the years, I don't know. So many different names are used. Earlier in life I have done yoga that was called that, but now I sometimes attend classes that are called therapeutic yoga and a bunch of other names but that remind me of it. I used the label in a sloppy way. Yes, it's a diverse practice. I'm no expert. I just really need yoga for my health. Without it I have brain fog and chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Yoga and meditation support each other and make each other possible for me.
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Helen Pohl, modified 3 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Maybe it has been part of it over the years, I don't know. So many different names are used. Earlier in life I have done yoga that was called that, but now I sometimes attend classes that are called therapeutic yoga and a bunch of other names but that remind me of it. I used the label in a sloppy way. Yes, it's a diverse practice. I'm no expert. I just really need yoga for my health. Without it I have brain fog and chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Yoga and meditation support each other and make each other possible for me.

I see. emoticon

Well, I'm the same. No tarzan-level yoga for me, I just know it makes me feel better so...

No headstands and acrobatic stuff >_<
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I got to move on from prostrations to Vajrasattva after only three months because that's what I needed, and I did not do any large quantity. She said that I might need to go back to doing more at a later point. Still I somehow got the idea that she thought that three months could also be enough. I was not the only one who got to move on. When doing the maths it became obvious that three months is a very short time span. Then again, Lama Lena does not require ngöndro before teaching Dzogchen like many others do. This is optional. She says that it would be mandatory for a practice focusing mainly on tantra or tsa lung, but that's not what she teaches. She teaches Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

Something I forgot to mention earlier is that the day I started the Vajrasattva practice (I would say yesterday but it's past midnight so technically it's the day before yesterday) I was surprised by a bellowing sound coming from somewhere in front of me, next to the altar. I sort of wonder if that's what someone with a buffalo head would sound like. It's funny that this happened right after I wrote in your thread that I wouldn't mind if a voice would appear. I didn't immediately think of Yamantaka as I wasn't yet at that part and haven't thought much about how buffalos sound. Honestly I thought something along the line of "What the f, is it happening now - am I encountering one of those demons that people report seeing?" and then I chanted a few Om mani padme hung as a nice gesture just in case, lol. 

The 300,000 prostrations was part of the completion for me, not that I minded. emoticon

As far as I know, all Dzogchen teachers start the teaching with Dzogchen right off the bat, and pointing out instructions. I have had the instruction for both in dharma talks and in formal teacher meetings many times. I think getting pointing out ideally happens as often as possible, with questions to be sure the student knows what they are looking for. Vajrasattva purification was part of my initial packet of chants. I never had anything with a buffalo head sound off! I did have a visit to a garden, while sitting where a "teacher" I have never identified told me I wasn't ready yet to find "my" teacher, but that he was always available. It made me break into happy/sad tears. I think I ALSO chanted Om mani padme hung after it happened!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Stirling Campbell:

The 300,000 prostrations was part of the completion for me, not that I minded. emoticon

Okie.


As far as I know, all Dzogchen teachers start the teaching with Dzogchen right off the bat, and pointing out instructions.

That has not been my experience, and Lama Lena had to do ngöndro twice before getting to learn Dzogchen. She comes from a pre-monastic line of cave yogis.


I have had the instruction for both in dharma talks and in formal teacher meetings many times. I think getting pointing out ideally happens as often as possible, with questions to be sure the student knows what they are looking for.

Yeah, that’s how Lama Lena does it too.


Vajrasattva purification was part of my initial packet of chants. I never had anything with a buffalo head sound off! I did have a visit to a garden, while sitting where a "teacher" I have never identified told me I wasn't ready yet to find "my" teacher, but that he was always available. It made me break into happy/sad tears. I think I ALSO chanted Om mani padme hung after it happened!

Cool!

I did have a voice tell me in a dream (that didn't feel like a dream at all) once as a teenager that said "It is a grace bestowed on the few to be able to see through themselves", together with a vision of a ladder leading up to the skye. 

Around the same time I also actually met a gestalt in trying one of those "meet your spiritual guide" exercises from a book. It was blue and had eight arms. Apparently Hindu deities resonated well with my subconscious at the time. It was a very brief experiment with meditation, because very soon my body started to fall away and turn into a vibrating energy field and I wasn't ready for that. Nobody had told me that could happen. I thought I must be doing something wrong, and so I avoided it for two decades. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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To keep count, so far today I have done the Vajrasattva ngöndro once, with 108 of each Vajrasattva mantra. It makes things happen energetically and physically, not to mention psychologically. It makes rigpa accessible in the midst of this fairly mild but stubborn depression. It cuts through the anxiety and raises energy. It makes things light. The nada sound is loud. There is space and lightness and smoothness. 

As for the tech, I like how the mantra chanting feels in my body, vibrationally, and I like how the rhythm draws me in and how overtones develop as I relax. That captures my attention and maintains it until I'm one with it. I also like that whenever some junk pops up, that's part of the practice. It transforms into maggots and other creepy crawlies that go out through my eliminatory orifices and into the center of the earth where Yamantaka, slayer of death, takes great pleasure in devouring them as delicious treats. They are not something to get rid of, just misplaced energy that is liberated. 

After the practice I took a walk, doing the Ri Yang/Yang Ri/whetever that Tibetan exercise for depression is called. I was still in Trekchöd, and at the same time, the mantra and the purification were still going on at some other level, and it was all of the same taste. If I could I would lie down to let things keep working but my disability housing support is here and I still haven't had lunch either so it will have to wait. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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I did the Vajrasattva ngöndro a second time, 108 of each of the Vajrasattva mantras. It felt great. Then I did hatha yoga. After a short soup break with some entertainment (I'm not on retreat after all), I lay down to just let things process on their own. I got into jhana and then fell asleep, and well, that was this day.  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Yi Rang
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)
Yin yoga
Slow yoga (fire element)

Off cushion: 100 syllable mantra going on and on in my mind. Getting drawn into non-dual awareness often. Spaciousness. Loud nada sound.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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In Reversing the stack class today we went back to basics in terms of finding some amount of wellbeing in all the steps of the practice. I was able to do it, and I'm grateful for that. My other practices are very useful tools in this regard. The Vajrasattva practice makes my mind more still and open and sets some energy free that has been tied up in neuroses. The Yi Rang makes it easier to tune into joy by way of opening up to what is outside myself, which actually isn't that separate. I don't find any difference between other beings' joy and my joy when I'm able to tune into it. It's just joy happening. And since I do tune into that every day, the body remembers the okayness that comes with that recognition. 

For the shamatha with an object part I used the nada sound as that is very accessible at the moment. The combination of nada sound and finding the soft spot of wellbeing in it felt very fruitful. It made focusing on it much less tight, and a less tight focus does it better justice. The wideness of it is very rich and nuanced and suggestive and full of potential. It's the dance between Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya right there. It's open potential and creation, the cosmic lovemaking. 

Because of the nine hours' time difference together with the lack of light here, I was soooo tired during the class. Thus the energy during the meditation was fluctuating a bit, especially during the shamatha without an object part. Some dreaminess arose. Metaawareness kept coming back online, though, and it was accompanied by brightness as it came back online. I guess that's a visual manifestation of release of energy when the tightness of getting caught up in something is released. 

I forgot to mention an off-cushion observation yesterday: while I was doing the Yi Rang, which involves talking out loud, I also made a metacomment to myself. I noticed that one of the bonus cases of happy beings encounters (anything more than three is a bonus) was actually a parent-child constellation that I had encountered earlier on my walk and already counted. I commented on that loud with words (since I was already talking), saying spontaneously that it still counted. Then I noticed an exchange of proto-replies (not fully verbalized) between different aspects of self that popped up, rationalizing why it would count. New occasion, it just feels so good, bonus anyway, we are newborn any given moment so they were technically not the same beings... and then there was an apparent unanimity that felt/looked/sounded like (all at once) a bunch of me:s nodding to each other and giving brief overlapping affirmative verbal responses and then sort of melting into one. It all happened very fast. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Yi Rang
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)
slept instead of yoga

Not content with the amount of practice today (although technically the sit during the was also part of the same day), but the lack of momentum is understandable in context. Woke up late with jet lag and a histamine reaction (tried to expand my limited diet a bit) - brain fog, pain, exhaustion. Then my child was attacked in a hate crime at her school. She is okay, but this should not happen (world perfect as it is, my ass!). Worried about my suicidal friend and about the friend that hasn't been able to leave his bed for years due to lack of support and about my future and lack of energy. Weather dark and grey as f_ck. Would want to visualize the heck out of all my hindrances but am too brain foggy to convincingly imagine light flooding through all my channels and making it all come out through pores and eliminatory orifices as creepy crawlies. It would be easier perhaps to imagine Yamantaka sucking it out through a big straw. He's kind of cute. 

During the day the mantra has been stuck in my head and I have been chanting it without counting. That's not the same thing as chanting in the context of the ngöndro. The context makes a significant difference. In spite of poor health and low energy today, the ngöndro did open things up to more spaciousness. I think it would have been good to make it a priority earlier in the day too. It might have been helpful. The Yi Rang opened things up too, temporarily. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Yesterday:

Yin yoga
Yi rang
Kundalini yoga
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)


Today:

Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)
Yi rang
Yoga Nidra
Yi rang
some shamatha, nothing special (depression is a hinderance)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Practice log during Liferay upgrade 

Saturday Jan 23rd, 2021
A productive practice day. Two half hour morning sits in which I started by getting grounded in sensory experience and then rested in the ground of being, letting sensory expressions flow through me. Some tied up energy was liberated into warm spaciousness. Then yi rang, which I find raises Bodhicitta. 
Then about an hour of reclining practice, surrendering and letting the process do its thing. There were some rather fierce kriyas, having to do with trauma coming to the surface: surges of adrenaline making the body jump and shake, and twitches in the face, hands and feet. They passed through quickly. Before the kriyas started arising, there were what felt like a few little explosions in the brain. 
Then 45 minutes of trekchöd, and then zoom group meeting with the Reversing the stack class, and then live teachings by Lama Lena on The flight of the Garuda, working with perceptions. In replying to people’s questions, she described kriyas (flickering eye lids in that case) as something that bruises the tsa if it becomes a regular thing. She said that it arises because one is trying to look at the ground of being from the outside rather than being it, and she adviced to interrupt the practice session if one gets stuck in it. 
I didn’t do the ngöndro until past midnight, so technically on the Sunday. I did only 54 rounds of the Vajrasattva mantras.

Sunday Jan 24th, 2021
A soft vinyasa yoga Brahmani style. I could feel that my channels were squeeky but gradually cleaning up. More energy and less depressive mood than yesterday. There was some joy. Then the ngöndro (54). Then Yi Rang. Then breaking patterns by reading dharma instead of soothing myself with netflix and easy games on my ipad. I’m reading Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, which I find contains excellent pointers for how to approach life with more awareness and presence. Reading it brings out spaciousness, and so does applying it. 
It seems like my avoidance behavior is mainly driven by feelings of overwhelm. I notice that I tend to flee into activities that are both undemanding and have a short time span with natural breaks and then repeat it over and over again, whereas there’s stuff that I would really like to do but procrastinate because it feels like too much because it’s more long term and I will need to organize it into smaller chunks on my own. That’s a karmic pattern that I really need to break. 
Chenrezig group practice in the evening.

Monday, Jan 25th, 2021
Woke up relatively early without the heaviness. Extremely stressful day with regard to daily life challenges, but when I remembered to look for it, the light spaciousness was there. There’s a learning curve here, I guess, as for remembering that. 
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)
Yi Rang
​​​​​​​Applied Vajrasattva mantra and ”This is a dream” to frustrating situations with some relief.
There is like a roaring silence (unlike the regular nada sound) that when I tune into it feels like free-falling. I like it. That was very strong before falling to sleep last night too. So boundless. 
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

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Linda, I got a notification that you had replied to my last PM but I didn't read it before the upgrade. My email is agnostic123@yahoo.com
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Sorry but I don't think I have the energy to write that again. I was thanking you for caring and explaining why this situation was different to what you were talking about. Can we just leave it at that please? Thanks and all the best.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Tuesday Jan 26th, 2021

Yi Rang
Yin yoga
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108)


Wednesday Jan 27th, 2021

Extremely early morning: Reversing the stack class. We went from shamatha with an object gradually into vipashyana on an emotion. As an object for shamatha I used the 100 syllable Vajrasattva mantra, which might be considered a somewhat weird object for shamatha because it moves so much, but my ADHD brain loved it. Not boring! The first few rounds I vocalized the mantra and then I let it play out mentally. Since I am chanting this mantra in my ngöndro, it was very vivid. Very soon it shifted from shamatha into MIND recognizing itself with an intense clarity, like WHOOOSH, and as I kept going back to the mantra, it sort of investigated itself, seeing itself using all the sense gates and being there so vividly and at the same time so utterly rainbowlike. So much there and so much not there at the same time and yet neither of them, or rather... both the both and the neither, if that makes any sense. Not as two separate things and not as one thing, and a meta-level of that too. I’m sure this is the ”one taste”.

​​​​​​​So when we were supposed to go to the next step, vast spacious awareness, I had already gone through the whole sequence to vipashyana and started over again. That made it easier for me to follow the instruction and ”drop the ball”, bacause my autistic brain was already mentally prepared for the whole sequence and didn’t construct the two kinds of shamatha as distinct things. Thus two of the steps that I tend to trip over because of how I’m wired could now be taken smoothly. Thankyou Vajrasattva! 

I went from vast spacious awareness to noticing slipping into constructing the vsp as an object and noticing the noticing of it, which then becomes vsp, several times. The emptiness of that whole sequence stood out, which is vipashyana. When the intensity of that snapped me out from ”the view”, I went back to the mantra for a little while, and then the sequence would unfold on its own again. 

So when it was time to pick an emotion to do vipashyana on, it was already very clear what that would entail - the nonmethodology of it, sort of. A feeling had already arisen just a moment before the instruction came, so that was an easy choice. Subtle frustration. One of my cats wanted to go outside and was trying to get my attention. Letting awareness be with that subtle frustration and see the emptiness of it was very helpful. I could not but smile - I have seen this reoccuring thing as such a problem, and it’s really a resource. There’s a refreshing aliveness in the subtle frustration. The emotion kept coming back in pulses and the emptiness kept revealing itself over and over again. As my cat was getting more desperate, the frustration pulses went from subtle to non-subtle, and the non-subtle frustration had a refreshing aliveness too. The joy from this snapped me out from ”the view” because the ego took the credit from awareness and felt so pleased with itself and made stories about it. Right after that, Michael ended the meditation. 

Before doing this meditation, we had been talking among other things about emptiness and suchness/thusness. I also learned that luminosity just means that something is aware. Well, good, then that box is ticked. People really mix up all sorts of things when they use that word. I have sort of been wondering whether it’s that awareness of something being aware sort of on its own where it is, or whether it is some very vivid version of the suchness/thusness, or both at the same time, or something other that I haven’t picked up on yet. So it is the first of those. Right. Good. That totally aligns with how Lama Lena uses the word. 

​​​​​​​
Note to self: the recording of this class is well worth coming back to, because it puts a lot of things into place.  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Later that wednesday, after the Yi Rang, I did a short sit out in the nature on a little hill, one of those places where boundaries sort of fall away automatically and there's a sweet sense of centerlessness. I was drawn into centerlessness on and off during the day. When resting, that roaring silence that feels qualitatively different to the nada sound, abysslike but not as scary as that sounds, was there again. It appeared a few times. I wanted to throw myself into it but didn't quite manage to do so. It was more like I was hovering over it, getting used to the idea. I also did "yogalates" (a fusion of yoga and pilates) and yin yoga. The mantra was with me quite a lot but I failed to do the ngöndro. I procrastinated it until I was too tired and fell asleep with my clothes on. I think yin yoga is good for my practice, but it's the opposite of energizing, so it would be better to do it in my pyjamas after brushing my teeth and after the ngöndro. 

Yesterday I did the ngöndro (108) and the Yi Rang and some additional mantra chanting. I read dharma litterature and listened to the dharma. I tried to do some zhine but fell asleep. I had taken my allergy shots, and they usually make me sleepy and dull for several days, and I was already in a bit of a jet lag before that. Earlier that day, while walking through heavy snow to the hospital, I caught myself being narrowmindedly focused on the effort of walking fast uphills in the snow in the biting cold and yet too hot and sweaty because of all the clothes that kept the heat trapped inside. I remembered that awareness is so much wider than that and that I don't have to be all focused on my body and its limitations. I decided to feel the forest instead, peacefully covered in new snow and brilliantly beautiful and still. That helped. 

Today I feel low and dull and very tired. When I try to meditate reclining because I can't really manage to sit up, I slip into dreaming mode. I'll go for a walk to do my Yi Rang. Hopefully that will make a difference. The sun just came out in the snowy landscape, so finding some happy beings seems quite possible. Then I will see to it that I meditate sitting up. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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A number of short sits, going back to basics. Not bad. 

Nejang (Tibetan healing yoga).

​​​​​​​Vajrasattva ngöndro (108).
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Noah D, modified 3 Months ago.

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I'm enjoying the log.  It's inspiring that you're able to interface directly with Lama Lena & get good use of traditional ngondro instructions.  I think this approach to practice can sometimes be under rated in pragmatic dharma circles.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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I'm glad to hear that, Noah D. Lama Lena is awesome. She is building a whole online community now that she can't travel to teach and can't leave for her cave-life either, and just like Daniel she doesn't charge anything. For being a traditional (pre-monastic) Buddhist, I find her very pragmatic. She is definitely modern in her values. 

---

I forgot to write down that a couple of days ago (three days ago?), off cushion, the visual field suddenly dropped/fell downwards. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Yoga, slightly more than half an hour of shamatha, Yi Rang, 90 minutes of trekchöd, group meeting with a Reversing the stack group, and then Lama Lena teachings on the 21 Taras, and finally the Vajrasattva ngöndro (54). 

There were some subtle sweet spots today, with lightness and centerlessness and smoothness. In the ngöndro there was a lot of piti. I so like the end of it, where everything dissolves in several steps. As for the purification part earlier, I have had a hard time imagining creepy crawlies in a way that would make me feel disgusted as they come out from my body, because while meditating it's like some of my usual aversions are put on hold. Today I bought something that can help me with that: a whole bucket of dead meal worms to feed birds with. It sort of makes it less abstract. They aren't exactly tasty-looking. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

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Started the day with Praise to the 21 Taras and then yoga.

An hour of shamatha on the breath in the afternoon. The breath turned into smooth spiralling flourescent violet smoke. There was an impulse to grab onto the tip of the nose with attention to get into second jhana, but that felt like tightening and tension so I let go and eased back into something wider. There was one of those possible impermanence cessations, marked with a sound as if turning some electric equipment back on. I kept resting in awareness. Then there was another one, less demarcated than the previous one. After that I slipped into dreamlike territory. I can no longer remember the scenes. At some point I heard myself sleepbreathing. 

Yi Rang. 

I will chant the Praise to the 21 Taras again, as the sun sets, and then have a Reversing the stack group meeting, then Chenrezig group practice, then listen to Lama Lena's public Dzogchen teaching, and then do the ngöndro. 

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