Martin's sporadic log

Martin, modified 1 Month ago.

Martin's sporadic log

Posts: 182 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I have decided to log a little, mostly because I get so much out of reading other people's logs that I feel like chipping in to the sharing pool. I only log some of my sits (when they are interesting or I happen to have time) and I only visit DhO on weekends, so these logs will be sporadic. 

Dec 26
  • At the end of a two-hour sit, I decided to brighten by entering j1 as if from zero, focusing on the breath, and it worked, but the sensation was like assigning it to an avatar of myself and the experience was like a simulacrum experienced by the avatar that I experienced vicariously. This sense came back several times in the day. In this second-self view, the observer is not exactly anyone, more like a neutral surrounding observer. 
  • I started a 20-minute sit in the afternoon and there was an interesting event. It was like a camera shutter. Very brief, less than a second. No other things. It clearly was not a fruition, and it does not line up with the sense of reassembling after a cessation. More like just a perceptual effect. Still kind of interesting. 

Dec. 27
  • Same timing, 20 min sit after 2-hour sit, same very brief shutter effect but this time an inwardly closing iris shutter (fast) preceded by a separate dip in the light. Also, on a walk afterward a flash in the sky (the whole sky) but, although it was a flash it was more like a glitch, or a hiccup in the sky. 

 Dec. 31
  • Interesting today. Sat for an hour with the intention of waiting for the light of access concentration at 15 or 20 minutes before starting jhana and then hanging out in the third. It worked well. First/second started at 15 and was ridiculously fun (tingly and stupid amount of chuckling, and all wow-wow-wowy). Got third but not super strong, maybe 80%, and held it for at least a half an hour. At some point I started making a point of relaxation in the manner of Bante V. In particular I worked on releasing tension in my forehead and not grabbing on to frissons, golden lights, waves and so on (but I did pay attention to pulsing when it was there). As this progressed, though I did not formally leave third and sink down into fourth, my body progressively slumped and, for a short while, the breath and body disappeared, though I did my best not to latch onto that either. I was using "don't latch on" as a sort of quiet response to any kind of reaching out, reification or co-operative fabrication. Interestingly, before the breath disappeared there was again the sense that the breathing was being done and perceived by an avatar. 
  • At the bell I tried for 5th and got it: I increased in size to probably something like 100 feet tall and then let the space spread away, below me at first and then in all directions, The space being grayish-white and unbounded but I could not "see" beyond about a mile in any direction. This then filled up with the content of my mind, which was the usual fleeting semi-visual formations that show up in vipassana sits, but expanded out into space. I took this to be, maybe, a weak proto-sixth, or just an elaborate collapse of fifth. It was fun, in any case. 
  • I walked halfway around the block. Very pleasant. Saw how it felt to apply "don't latch on" to things seen with the eyes as well. Then I went to the bathroom and the toilet was crazy far away, but sometimes popping up in different places like an active Picasso painting. I was in this kind of frozen state and so it took quite a while to get away from the toilet. Walking felt really mergy. There was no separation or otherness to walls and so on. This mostly calmed down in less than a half hour. 
Jan. 1
  • Had planned two and a half hours, but got cold and had a full bladder after an hour and a half, so I pulled the plug. That was just sitting and thought it was very quiet, nothing much happened (hmm, redundant, but also not). 
  • Later did a 30-minute sit, which turned into more than an hour of sitting, and noticed the sound-through-a-fan and strobe light effects. I found that if I watch the blanking part of the pulse, everything stops in that blanking interval, including any thoughts or perceptions, or fabrications. It's like they are gone into the blank. Normally, I think, there is a bridging function going on that produces a sense of continuity. Interestingly, when there is clinging, in the form of a sensation or formation or the like that is persistent, and I turn my attention to the blanks in that, the clinging breaks up after a second or two. 
Jan. 2
  • One hour sit. Breath disappeared after an hour, like ten seconds before the bell or something, but I had work to do, so I tried a j5 exit, but it was pretty weak. There was a lot of talk that broke up 3rd today, so it basically wasn't 3rd. 
  • Full day of work but quite pleasant. Kept noting the pulsing nature of perception off the cushion and kept finding that thought trains ended if I notice the blanks. But there is still general continuity for everything else but verbal thought. Before sleep I was noticing that the particulate nature of perception (little blips and dots) doesn't seem to be synched up with the pulsed nature. They can both be going on at the same time, independent of each other. Of course, both seem to be modes that I can tune into at least somewhat voluntarily, and so neither is likely to be any more unfabricated than the stitched together version or perception. 

Jan. 3
  • Very relaxing sit. Not what I was trying for, which was a stable j3, and instead what I got was a relaxed state with talk, especially of the "oh, no talk now, how nice, damn!" type. But talk is natural too. I kept not latching on. That kept working. Would have liked to sit longer, but had plans so I stopped after 90 minutes. 
  • Later did 20 minutes. Not planned, it just started when I sat in a chair. Got one of those sudden dips of light, like an eyelid closing, even though my eyes were already closed. 
  • Went for a long run with friends. My face was so tense afterward. Sat for 30 minutes. The inner eyelid closing thing happened again. I would have liked to be able to see the pulses because I imagine I could have let them swallow the tension in my face, but they were not there. They were not there in any sits today, which is odd, because they were there when I woke up so I had said to myself, "Yay, pulsate perception is here to stay!" Never a good idea to presume when it comes to perception, I guess. 
agnostic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Great, good stuff. Please increase the font size though as it's very hard to read!
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Martin, it's so great to see you my friend posting a log. Subscribed! As the other poster said, please increase your font size. It's hard to read.
Martin, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

Posts: 182 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Recently I've been agitated. If asked to give a reason, I would be tempted to say it's because I am in a new, public role at work. But I'm not shy. So the reason doesn't really make sense. It seems more like somebody's putting agitation in the water :-). My formal sitting has been a bit odd because the sitting goes as it ordinarily would but with papancha in the background. Sometimes it's in the foreground, but it is basically as if the ordinary sit is progressing in parallel. One part of me is getting calmer, clearer, unified, insightful, and another part of me is nattering away about any old bollocks. The attention goes back and forth. It's like opening and closing a door.

And this papancha is not entirely benign. At times I feel downright stressed, straight up worried. And I have nothing to worry about.  There's clinging involved. There are all sorts of views and fears and desires (none of which I care about in the grander scheme of things) that pop up and get briefly clung to. And I keep asking myself (particularly off the cushion), just what the hell is doing all this clinging. It's not "me." I don't give a damn about this stuff. It's like an automatic clinging function. Where is that installed? Where is the battery so I can take it out?
Martin, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Wow, I can't believe that I remembered to write this! What I want to record is that I can't remember a lot of stuff that goes on in my sits. Particularly in concentration practice, but also after concentration practice, some sort of pattern of content or sensation will come up and I will go "Oh, yeah, this again. I totally recognize this, it happens all the time, but I had forgotten about it." And I say, you should put that in the log. Then I forget. I made an effort to remember today and now, although I cannot remember the specifics of the thing I wanted to remember, I can remember that some things (there are multiple) are happening that I cannot remember. 
Tim Farrington, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Martin
Wow, I can't believe that I remembered to write this! What I want to record is that I can't remember a lot of stuff that goes on in my sits. Particularly in concentration practice, but also after concentration practice, some sort of pattern of content or sensation will come up and I will go "Oh, yeah, this again. I totally recognize this, it happens all the time, but I had forgotten about it." And I say, you should put that in the log. Then I forget. I made an effort to remember today and now, although I cannot remember the specifics of the thing I wanted to remember, I can remember that some things (there are multiple) are happening that I cannot remember. 
 lol, this reminds me of a great leonard cohen song, on forgetting what to remember about the most crucial things, but knowing that it must be remembered. Sounds like the spiritual path: "I can't forget, but I don't remember what."

(5) Leonard Cohen - "I Can't Forget" - YouTube

I stumbled out of bed
I got ready for the struggle
I smoked a cigarette
And I tightened up my gut
I said this can't be me
Must be my double
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember whatI'm burning up the road
I'm heading down to Phoenix
I got this old address
Of someone that I knew
It was high and fine and free
Ah, you should have seen us
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember whoI'll be there today
With a big bouquet of cactus
I got this rig that runs on memories
And I promise, cross my heart,
They'll never catch us
But if they do, just tell them it was meYeah I loved you all my life
And that's how I want to end it
The summer's almost gone
The winter's tuning up
Yeah, the summer's gone
But a lot goes on forever
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember what
Martin, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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I love it, Tim. Just right!
Martin, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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For the past month, I have been being bothered by papancha in my sits. It has kept coming up in both concentration and noting sits. Today I started my sit with Bhante Vimalaramsi's instructions for metta-based concentration. It's been several months since I did that. Boom! No papancha. Calm, pleasant, clear. Such a great practice. 

Had fun later in the sit noticing khandhas when I noticed that noticing perception invites an infinite regress: perception of perception. I've had this before when noting noting. Fortunately, anicca keeps the regress from being literally infinite :-)
Martin, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Feb. 7, 2021
  • I just noticed that, as I am well into my second year since the Big Wow and the start of logging, I have to add a year to the date. 
  • Full-range sit today. Hour and a half planned, hour and forty-five done. Used Bante V. style to start. Man, that takes out the verbal thought. It could be because the metta formulations involve mental verbalization. I noticed that, after a bit, just starting a metta phrase could just wipe out thought. Probably related to semantic satiation. 
  • Somewhere in the 40 to one hour range the new dukkha thing was there. This is the bit where absolutely every noticed phenomenon, including pleasant sensations, sounds, somatic sensations, thoughts, dispositions, everything, is predominantly dukkha. Everything has a pull, a demand, an insistence, a movement away. I have no idea what the movement is away from, or what the distraction is from. In this state, I can release the attention from the object, but it just sticks to another object. It's like a magnet that you can pull off one piece of metal only to have it immediately stick to the next. But relatively fast -- sub one second. The dukkha is in the nature of the magnetic attraction itself. This is not dukkha in the sense of, "Oh, my god, this sucks!" but just a "Hey, that's annoying" kind of dukkha. Like being bothered by flies.
  • There were a bunch of those things that I can't remember. I infer that they were fun.
  • At some point close to an hour and a half, the oiled feeling showed up. In a way, the oiled feeling is the opposite of the magnetic dukkha. But not. The attention is still there, but objects come and go without friction. It occurred to me, the other day, that the oiled feeling would come up as a result of noting sits, and then stay for several hours, in the months before the Big Wow. I'm a fan of the oiled feeling. I still have it now. 
  • After the bell, I ended with first jhana, which was very bright and ethereal.
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Chris Marti, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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It's like a magnet that you can pull off one piece of metal only to have it immediately stick to the next. But relatively fast -- sub one second. The dukkha is in the nature of the magnetic attraction itself. This is not dukkha in the sense of, "Oh, my god, this sucks!" but just a "Hey, that's annoying" kind of dukkha. Like being bothered by flies.

​​​​​​​Martin, this is a realization as much as it is an observation.  It's how things are.
Martin, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Thanks, Chris. Yes, it is not surprising, especially in light of all the spoilers I have read, and yet sometimes things appear like that, and sometimes they don't -- seemingly, without any rhyme or reason. I watch the world. It's nice for five minutes, then it sucks for five minutes, then it's neutral. Or it's lovely for two hours straight, or, like today, it seems entirely made of suckage. Later it will be something else. I get it but I would rather not. 
Tim Farrington, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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t-shirt of the week candidate: "​​​​​​​There were a bunch of those things that I can't remember. I infer that they were fun."
Martin, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

Posts: 182 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Feb. 8
  • Interesting sit. Planned to do 1 hour starting with Bante V. concentration. Could not do it. People in the alley or in the housing development were making noise (I sit in a detached garage because it is quieter than my house). Not a lot of noise: just people moving around and indistinct voices, but it was annoying. I could not get my attention on the spiritual friend. I tried switching to metta for the people who I could hear. Didn't work. Each sound created aversion and a fear response. Not actual fear, which would include some kind of ideation of the potential threat, but just the kind of visceral response that would alert me to a threat. 
  • So I just turned it into a noticing-vedena sit. I would say 90% of the vedena was unpleasant. A phenomenon I have seen before was happening, in that every stimulation threw off a little burst of aversion on contact, like sparks in a gas flame. And the entire field of awareness also had an underlying aversive quality to it. Also, I was cold, because it was really cold out (the garage is unheated). But at the same time, I had a moderate heart glow going, so there was this kind of lava-lamp thing going on where there was this flowing, somewhat mobile pleasant warmth in my center-right torso, surrounded by the vastness of cold and aversion. It sounds worse than it was, but it was not an overall nice experience either. 
  • Somewhat after halfway through there was a kind of energetic thing with vibrational shaking and muscle contraction kind of like going into j1, but with back pain, followed by a kind of gray neutrality into which aversion re-penetrated over time. I could still hear outside noises, though they were quieter and, while still unpleasant, they didn't have a fear component. This gave way to settling or slumping reminiscent, in a bodily sense, of j4, but with the outside noise increasing clear and aversion producing. 
  • A few minutes before the bell, I decided to close with j1, but I could not get it started for around 20 breaths. Then it suddenly kicked in with finger-in-the-light-socket type intensity. It was startling and mostly unpleasant (though I've had worse j1s). J2 took a while to come but brought giggly happiness, though little physical pleasure. 
  • Half a day later, aversion is still ruling the roost. It's too bad that the oiled feeling is not available on demand. 
George S, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Nice sit! Good job sitting through all that and keeping your wits about you emoticon
George S, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Your comment about your noisy neighbors reminded me of this passage from Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm. emoticon

For example, when we are meditating and hear a sound, why can’t we simply ignore it? Why does it disturb us so? Many years ago in Thailand the local villages surrounding our monastery held a party. The noise from the loudspeakers was so loud that it seemed to destroy the peace in our monastery. So we complained to our teacher, Ajahn Chah, that the noise was disturbing our meditation. The great master replied, “It is not the noise that disturbs you, it is you who disturb the noise!”
Martin, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Damn, views are weird. I've been clinging to some more than usual recently. Today, sitting with them, trying to watch them, I could not distinguish them from my body. They have a felt sense of presence within the spatial area I think of as me, and they are all caught up in physiological things like muscle tone. Intellectually, I know they are empty fabrications, but they sure don't feel that way. Ick. 
Martin, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Analayo suggests looking at the hedonic aspect of views. What I can notice, so far, is that, when a view is uncomfortable (when simulated arguments are going on in my verbal thoughts) it has a definite bodily hedonic presence. And when the view reaches a kind of conformity with other views and information (when simulated arguments against the view have been won in simulation) there is relaxation and quiet. So for me, so far, it seems not so much that holding the view brings pleasure, but that holding conflicting views brings discomfort. The pleasure is like the pleasure felt when you stop hitting your head against the wall. I used to smoke cigarettes. There is a similar thing going on there. Smoking itself is not pleasurable. The pleasure comes from the relief of withdrawal symptoms. Subjectively, however, that is indistinguishable from smoking being pleasurable. So I wonder if that is true about views too, or if there is a pleasure inherent to holding a view that I have not seen yet. 
Martin, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Another "dukkha-jhana" sit. The absorption cycle starts running like a dishwasher or something: settling, light levels increase, piti, physical sukkah, happiness, tranquility, bodily quiet, space, all that jazz.  At the same time, annoying verbal thought is running its course. I'm actually trying to pay attention to what is arising, but there is this background absorption cycle going on. After half an hour, it's all kind of mixed together into this broad-spectrum grossness. The thought has settled down, but I can hear outside sounds coming from all directions at all distances, so the effect is very spacious, but it's crappy spaciousness. Like a vast view over an industrial wasteland. After a while, I start asking what it is that doesn't like this, and trying to localize the sense of aversion. It is like watching a fish darting around in the physical space of the body, trying to get away from something. 

While all of this is going on, the other program is doing its thing. There are moments of peace and quiet and non-crappy space. There are different levels of light, and gold fractals through black backgrounds. They come and go. I am aware that I could change the experience by, for example, opening my eyes and switching to noting, instead of noticing, or sitting up straighter and inducing some metta. But I don't. It just plays out. 

As tends to be the case, many hours after the sit, I still feel annoyed at everything.  Maybe this is just ordinary non-specific grumpiness and the sit was just collateral damage. 
Martin, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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And now back to "normal." Or actually on the pleasant and relaxed side of normal. For the record, no outward circumstances have changed since yesterday, which continued to be unpleasant until bedtime. Some of the things that I noticed were that the general heading of happiness/joy covers a pretty broad range of experiences.  Happy and relaxed is quite different from happy and uptight. As it does not seem that one gets to choose, that may not be actionable information. It's harder to see a watcher of greed than aversion. Because I had noticed the aversion swimming around to different locations in my body space yesterday, I tried to see if could localize the perceiver of pleasure today but, while I could notice locations from which pleasure emanated, I could not seem to see a locus of perception or response. 

For quite a long time, toward the end of the sit, I saw (perceived myself as being located among) pine trees covered in snow, snowy fields, and so on. Thoughts appeared voiced in various women's voices. These are common things (not specifically pine trees, but locations) included among the stuff that I usually forget. I tend to notice thoughts in women's voices because that is not my default inner voice. I don't think any of it has any particular significance but I am logging it for logging's sake. I notice that, so far, making a habit of recalling seems to make recall easier. 

 
George S, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Martin

As it does not seem that one gets to choose, that may not be actionable information.


​​​​​​​Exactly - crappy always comes and pleasant always goes. There ain't a damn thing we can do about it. The only possible *action* is to let go of aversion to the crappy and preference for the pleasant. emoticon
Martin, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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The only possible *action* is to let go of aversion to the crappy and preference for the pleasant. emoticon


Thanks, George. That does seem to be the deal. This is a good reminder/pointer for me. 

I find the first half has become quite easy. Off the cushion, I can see physical pain, for example, as just a sensation. I can see worry as just a state and let it run its course without getting particularly fussed. On the cushion, I can see aversion as aversion. It's of interest, but that is pretty much all. 

But, unlike the unpleasant, the pleasant, and particularly off-the-cushion pleasant states, seems important. It feels foolish, wasteful, almost sacrilegious, to let it go to waste by failing to indulge in it.  When things are pleasant, I feel that I have got things right. The voice of reason says, pay attention so that you can do this again. On the cushion, the pleasant is nebulous, ill-defined. I don't see distinct, fragmented things to note, the way I do with pain or aversion. For example, if I am adverse, sounds are clear, arising and passing away with beginnings and ends. If I am in a pleasant state, I don't hear sounds much, and when I do, they are just additional texturing of the pleasant. 

I think I will have to gain skill in examining the component parts of the pleasant.
George S, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Sometimes there can actually be a subtle aversion to pleasure, expressed as a need to take it to pieces before it's had a chance to blossom to its fullest extent. Ajahn Brahm says in MBB:


“Be careful here not to start asking questions like “What is this?” “Is this jhāna?”“ What should I do next?” which all come from the doer trying to get involved again. Questioning disturbs the process. You may assess everything once the journey is over. A good scientist only assesses the experiment at the end, when all the data are in.”
Tim Farrington, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Martin: I find the first half has become quite easy. Off the cushion, I can see physical pain, for example, as just a sensation. I can see worry as just a state and let it run its course without getting particularly fussed. On the cushion, I can see aversion as aversion. It's of interest, but that is pretty much all. 

But, unlike the unpleasant, the pleasant, and particularly off-the-cushion pleasant states, seems important. It feels foolish, wasteful, almost sacrilegious, to let it go to waste by failing to indulge in it.  When things are pleasant, I feel that I have got things right. The voice of reason says, pay attention so that you can do this again. On the cushion, the pleasant is nebulous, ill-defined. I don't see distinct, fragmented things to note, the way I do with pain or aversion. For example, if I am adverse, sounds are clear, arising and passing away with beginnings and ends. If I am in a pleasant state, I don't hear sounds much, and when I do, they are just additional texturing of the pleasant. 


I tend to go back to the basics, on this stuff: samsara is dukkha, we're on the path because that's clear enough to us that the desire for liberation becoms the deepest desire, the last desire. And so we practice meditation, and see the three characteristics in everything that arises, the transience, the suffering inherent in trying to hold on, and the failure/absence of a self to hold on or control any of it. It's the suffering that got ous going, and it's the ever clearer perception of how the suffering happens that keeps us going. If the pleasantness isn't making you miserable yet, fine. Just do the meditative work, and note what arises. Let that nebulous pleasure state be its ill-defined, textured thing. What's the rush? If it lasts forever, let us know how you got it to do that, so we can try that too, lol. My experience is that even the most pleasant states eventually pall and grow boring. Let the dukkha drive the pace, let that be your tempo, and let that pesky pleasantness have its run. Your work is to attend to it, that's all. "Transience" is built in, and so is dukkha, and so is the fact that nobody's in control here. That's practice, that's the path. Meanwhile, enjoy your coffee. You're doing fine.
Martin, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Martin's sporadic log

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Thank you, Tim. That makes a good deal of logical sense and, of course, sounds comfortable, which always gets a thumbs-up from at least a sizable portion of my mind.

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