RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 11

Posts: 5293 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 1 Month 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 28 Days 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 27 Days 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 27 Days 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 27 Days 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 26 Days 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 26 Days 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. 
Sam Gentile, modified 25 Days ago.

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Thank you Linda.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 24 Days ago.

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Vajrasattva ngöndro count: January 31st - 54, February 1st - 54.

I’m starting to think that ”one taste” is more accessible to me than I habitually believe, and that I habitually tense up even though I really don’t need to because somehow I tend to think (again habitually) that it's inevitable. When I bother to... stop bothering to tense up... it is there. Unless I fail to take care of my health. That can't be relaxed away. It could probably be bypassed if I had stronger concentration, but in many cases it seems like it would be wiser to just take care of this body, even though its needs can seem like something from "The princess and the pea". Anyway, with the little concentration I have available in this phase, doing shamatha on the breath while having tartar buildup scraped away at the dentist's, was very helpful. That old "nimitta embryo" popped up several times. It's funny how I thought that was something significant earlier on. It's seems more like those little signs that pop up in some video games to give a beginner player some confirmation that they are going in the right direction at all. Still, it was enough to make a difference. I did a reclining guided Michael Taft meditation in the afternoon (resting in awareness of the breath). I got sleepy eventually, but there was some very welcome unclenching of the fascia (?) in my left wrist. 

I try to do the Praise to the 21 Taras at dawn and dusk. Lama Lena described it as magick that comes with a failsafe. One could explain it (away) as working symbolically with one's own subconscious, but I prefer to not box it into a story. It makes a difference for me. I don't need to make up stories of why it does. Nor do I need to measure and pinpoint exactly what difference it makes. I enjoy it anyway. It's beautiful. Prayers saved my ass many many times when I was young, but those prayers did not come with a failsafe. For me the saying "Be careful what you ask for" is experientially true, so I love it when there is tech available that has been time-tested for oopses.

I find that the healing energy that was often available around stream entry is available again. I can feel it work through my energy body. That's how I conceptualize something anyway. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 23 Days ago.

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This night between Feb 2nd and Feb 3rd: Vajrasattva ngöndro (108) and then Reversing the stack class.

I can see why it's a good idea to go through the entire mala with the 100 syllable mantra and the visualizations, that is 108 times. It can take me from A&P through all the dukkha nanas to EQ. Of course, I'm mixing paradigms when I talk about a tantric practice in terms of Theravadan maps, but pragmatically it works. I suspect that it's not a coincidence that this specific part of the ritual has that length and the tendency to accomplish exactly that - especially since it starts with Vajrasattva and his consort unifying in bliss which leads to a purifying shower flushing creepy crawlies out from the channels (not to be wasted but to feed Yamantaka) and is followed by what seems to symbolize conformity knowledge, change of lineage and path and then cessation. The ngöndro is basically ritual magick manifesting the entire map - poetically, symbolically, dramaturgically, viscerally... in a very juicy way. Literally. It's kind of cool. Even the lower nanas are there. Well, mind and body isn't presented as dualistically, but there is lots about causes and effects and about impermanence and suffering before we come to the 100 syllable mantra part. Not self is more implied than explicit, I'd say, but it's definitely there. 

In the class Michael gave a lecture on the nine vehicles and explained how they relate to each other, so there was no time for meditation. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 23 Days ago.

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Heh, I didn't get any sleep before the class this time, and I managed to get through it with alertness without taking ADHD medz, and now the lack of sleep has some pretty cool visual effects. Nothing looks solid at all. It's like everything concists of a myriad of busy ants moving about, with fractals of patterns. Even more than otherwise. The movement and unstability takes precedence over the form. And both the nada sound and that other roararing silence are loud. As a teenager this would happen while I was up late studying for tests, and at one time the Hindu gods rose up from the religion study book and started dancing around me. Lama Lena talked about this as the between-space, through the cracks, where magick happens. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 23 Days ago.

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Nothing looks solid at all. It's like everything concists of a myriad of busy ants moving about, with fractals of patterns. Even more than otherwise. The movement and unstability takes precedence over the form.


Also, it was all fluid, like a shimmering plasm, sort of. And then it morphed into ”flat 3D”, like one of those 3D images that stands out from the flat surface and yet has a glat charachter, like several flat layers.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 23 Days ago.

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I think I might be getting my concentration back. Thank goodness! I almost feared that I had fried my brain. I sat together with a loved one now for little more than half an hour. There was that "nimitta embryo", which is a red spot, and then purple swirls, then flourescent spiralling smoke. Piti had gently but firmly flushed through my body and then settled as smooth vibrant energy. My body started to feel unsolid. Where my buzzing hands were touching my thighs, there were billowing waves. I was fluid. Reality was fluid. Bliss. Fluid shimmering bliss. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 22 Days ago.

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I had a great meeting with my new Reversing the stack subgroup yesterday. No mushroom culture there. 

The Tantric practices that I'm doing now help structure my life as unemployed and depressed in the midst of a pandemic. I have to get up in the morning to praise Tara in the dawn and attend to my altar, and I have to go outside to do the Yi Rang, and there is no time for ruminating in the afternoon either as dusk comes very early here and I need to praise Tara again, and I can't get too absorbed in meaningless entertainment in the evening because then I will be too tired to do the Vajrasattva ngöndro that is quite a lot of work. Making offerings to beings, such as feeding birds, brings joy and gives some purpose. I don't feel depressed right now. It has been fluctuating quite a lot, so I don't know what to think of it. It might be a hormonal thing. Whatever it is, it's good to have constructive tools. 

For the ngöndro yesterday I did the whole mala (108), and it was awesome. Rapture, bliss, healing, warm light. 

Today, apart from the Tara praising, I have so far had a session of shamatha, 30 minutes, sitting. The focus wasn't great, but there was plenty of wellbeing there, and I was aware of the distractions and could bring myself back to focus. The nimitta embryo showed up briefly. There were purple swirls without dullness. 

Earlier in the morning I did an hour of reclining (slightly heart-opening position), resting in awareness. I remained aware but not with great clarity. My body knew how to change the positions of my arms now and then to allow energy to flow more freely. I got increasingly more dull, but the purpose was mainly to rest, and it was good rest for both body and mind. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 22 Days ago.

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Another half an hour of shamatha on the breath, sitting. I seem to be in a phase when my body is fine with sitting, and I have learned how to sit ergonomically at last. There were lots of discursive thinking this time, but I'm rather content anyway because they are relatively happy thoughts, thoughts that open up possibilities rather than closing and restricting the way they have done for quite some time now. Those thoughts are welcome. I'm not going to complain about them. It seems possible to allow them to go on without me as the "driver" of them. I think I could work more with that possibility. I look forward to that, actually. Happy distracting thoughts are a luxury, coming from an abyss of grey sticky fog and mud and stinging toxic waste. 

The drive to meditate is back. I mean, not as an escape but as something to enjoy and be curious about. I have missed that. Also, the process communicates more again, lets me know what is needed and when. I have missed that too. I'm grateful that I kept on practicing despite the challenges, thanks to all the support from various directions. 

The nada sound is loud. Breathing is easy, as both nostrils are wide open and my sinuses are popped open too. There is a silence/stillness accompanying all movement and it sort of gives everything a fluid and smooth texture, like I could lay down in it and float comfortably. 

Time to praise Tara again. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 22 Days ago.

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After praising Tara I lay down for some reclining Shamatha. This time piti was buzzing in my hands, then spreading. The intensity of it shifted back and forth. Sometimes it took over everything for a moment, in an intense but very unstable first jhana. I'm getting back in the saddle. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 21 Days ago.

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The ngöndro yesterday evening got very intense. Lots of piti, and during the 100 syllable mantra (108 times) there was a sense of being drawn into a very bright and high-energy vast emptiness. At the same time, it was as if that intense vast emptiness was inside my head. It reminded of being close to fainting. I think it was similar to what happened early in my practice, the time when I freaked out for a couple of days and interrupted my meditation over and over again because of panic. This time I wasn't afraid, though. I just kept going. Something loosened in my chest, and suddenly my chest voice came through with loud volume. I have never really developed my chest voice because when I was young I took lessons in classical song technique and thus worked with my head voice. Wow, the chest voice really vibrates in the chest instead of in the head. It felt as if I was chanting through my heart while having the entire space in my head. I have never been high on drugs but I suspect it would be somewhat similar. 

Today I have had a headache. I don't know if it's related to medication (too high dosage?) or to meditation (too intense?) or to something else. I sat to meditate outside for a while (shamatha on the breath that developed into shamatha without an object as the awareness got absorbed with itself), after doing the Yi Rang,  but had to go home and lay down. I did Michael Taft's latest guided meditation (a more elaborated version of what I had already done), which loosened tensions in my head and neck and possibly some more parts of the body. There were some mild kriyas. 
Sam Gentile, modified 21 Days ago.

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Linda,

You study with Lama Lena right? What do you think of her? I am finally getting my Pointing Out Instructions next weekend from her
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 20 Days ago.

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Hi Sam! Yes, sort of, although she doesn't count you as being in a student-teacher relationship until you have checked her out for three years and then she has checked you out for another three years - and we haven't. I think she is super-cool. Her pointing out and advice have been thoroughly helpful for me. I appreciate getting to learn from someone who is autistic too. It is so much easier to understand. I also love her straightforwardness and humor. That may not be anyone's cup of tea, as she can be pretty outspoken, but it sure is mine. 

---

Did some more shamatha on the breath, reclining, trying my best to soften my focus and let the breath know itself as it does anyway. 

My headache kept increasing, so I did most of the ngöndro lying down, and only 54. Now the painkillers have kicked in and it might have been a good idea to take them earlier. 

Note to self: get going with the yoga again, as the general pain from not doing it now outweighs the strained hip!  
Sam Gentile, modified 20 Days ago.

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Thanks Linda!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 18 Days ago.

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You're welcome, Sam.

---

Yesterday: 33 minutes of shamatha on the breath, praising of Tara at dawn and dusk, group meeting with the Reversing the stack class, Vajrasattva ngöndro (54), 90 minutes of trekchöd, teachings on the elements by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, then fell asleep during beginning of Yamantaka empowerment by Garchen Rinpoche, which was probably for the best as I'm not ready for that practice anyway (but oh, that's a soothing voice to fall asleep to). 

Today: shamatha sitting on a bench outside (Vajrasattva mantra and breath and wide visual rest; some visual effects), and reclining shamatha listening to Rob Burbea's jhana retreat; piti not very strong. Low day, flat sort of. The shamatha was pleasant anyway. I was tuning into the breath in the energy body. I also practiced noticing when I push the shamatha, which shows in subtle bodily tensions. Evening: Chenrezig group practice (still flat, less pleasant). Listened to Mahamudra teachings by Lama Lena, worried a bit that I'm mixing Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which Lama Lena says that you can't do until you have achieved "one taste" (which I have glimpses of but have far from stabilized), because Michael Taft works with what might be described as the common denominator of both. On the other hand, he does neither of them, strictly speaking. Also, Lama Lena says that you should do Mahamudra with something that you can throw away as the object for zhiné, such as a pebble, not the breath. Thus, shamatha on the breath wouldn't count according to her classification. After the teachings I did the Vajrasattva ngöndro (108). Visualizations were difficult this time, except for the mandala of people around me and the dissolving of it into me as Vajrasattva (which gives pleasant shivers for some reason; maybe part of me still wants to join the Borg). 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 18 Days ago.

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I did another of the guided meditations from Rob Burbea's jhana retreat before sleeping during the night, and I recognized it from earlier in my practice. I remember that I liked it a lot back then. Now I did not. There was nothing wrong with the exercises per se, but they did not work well for me with a depressed mindset. Directed attention without joy is what creates "the attention octopus". I was to imagine breathing from various points of the body, and it felt like an alien was trying to burst out from those points. Not pleasant at all, but educational, I guess. At least I knew that it was just attention, so I didn't freak out when the breathing felt all cramped up. Hm, that sounds like a "cause and effect" thing. On which path though? Anyway, then nerves in my left foot were burning so hard that it took the juice out of the practice. Maybe it actually hurts less and thereby is less distracting to do shamatha sitting than reclining after all. I probably squeeze the nerve higher up when lying in shavasana, because that's when the pain appears. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 18 Days ago.

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Thank goodness for basic techniques for investigating sensory experience on shitty days. From despair to general okayness within seconds. Ironically, the ground of being becomes clear fastest when I decide to not look for it. That's totally in line with the instructions, but I was really trying to do regular vipassana. Having seen the emptiness of the doer, it really collapses into the same thing very quickly, though. Being with what is, on the sensory level, instead of trying to making it into something else is key. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 16 Days ago.

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Monday February 8th, 2021, cont.:  Vajrasattva ngöndro 54. Yi Rang.

Tuesday February 9th: woke up weirdly tired and confused. Could barely stay awake while chanting. Sat for morning meditation but kept slipping back into non-lucid dreaming. After an inspiring seminar with my former collegues (oh how I miss my job!), Yi Rang, Tara praise again, then slept. Evening: Vajrasattva ngöndro 109. Second half was a grace. 

Wednesday February 10th: 1 h during lunch time to just sit and be with sensory experience and letting go of subtle tensions. There was a short break to let a cat inside and get seated again, but the sitting time was 1 h in total. Sitting makes a difference.  Somewhat later an hour of reclining, as the process seemed to need that. I let the left foot cross the right one, which took away pressure from the nerves in the left hip and left ankle and foot. I started with a gentle focus on the breath, relaxing the tensions from assuming that I was doing it. After a while the object went away and so did I. I came back with a clear tone, then soaked in it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 15 Days ago.

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Wednesday cont.:
45 minutes of just being with the breath, reclining.
Small group meeting Reversing the stack class.
Vajrasattva ngöndro (108) - relaxing (could feel tensions loosen in jaw), light, bright.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Days ago.

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I think I need to realize that yoga is my main practice. Without it, everything falls apart. Also, I really need to go to the yoga studio because that accountability is what makes me keep it up. This depression had me think that I could just book zoom classes, and then even skip that because there are so many classes available on youtube anyway, and sure, that works too - if I actually do it. However, it is all too easy to procrastinate it far too long. I couldn't understand how the depression could keep getting worse and worse. Then I woke up this morning feeling sick and brain foggy and with pain basically everywhere and totally exhausted and with no drive to do anything but just sleeping forever - and suddenly remembered that I used to feel like that all the time before picking up such a regular yoga regime. I was chronically fatigued. Ang going nuts with yoga took that away. So I dragged my ass out of the bed and did a yoga session from youtube, a mild one because ouch, and it helped. Brain fog gone. Breathing okay. Pain much reduced. Nada sound loud and clear. Then I booked lots of classes at the yoga studio. Suddenly booking things didn't feel like it would completely overwhelm my executive functioning. I was also able to do some other minor tasks that I had been dreading. It's that simple. I can't survive without yoga. Without yoga I have no wish to survive. 

Note to self: 3•54 Vajrasattva added. I have also continued to explore the subtleties of letting go of doing in meditation.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Days ago.

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After the Yi Rang I sat outside for a while, doing trekchöd. 

In the afternoon I did Vinyasa yoga at the yoga studio and now I feel distinctly more alert. After that I sat for an hour. First 20 minutes were devoted to body sensations and the 3 C:s in them. For the rest of the session I included the visual field (with closed eyes) and listening inwardly, mainly nada sound, on top of that. I need to ramp up my sensory clarity again. I don't think I'm done with the doing. Old habitual patterns are still too strong. I think I need to actively undo them. It is still easier for my mind to engage with sensory impressions than to disangage with remanining clarity. The disengaging with clarity is a grace that seems to happen when enough work is regularly put into maintaining focused investigation. 

I decided today that I don't have to follow a Tibetan Buddhist path. I'm too pragmatic to follow rules and commit completely to instructions from a Lama (heh, look at that! I have finally managed to be pragmatic in some sense - that's a life goal fulfilled). The process communicates to me through sensory experience, so that's where I need to have my main commitment. Also, the Tibetan go to method for someone who isn't done with the doing would be Tantra, and that is not something that works for me in all conditions. I prefer exploring what is there to imagining and manifesting stuff. I definitely don't mind learning some of that, but it can't be my main practice. Therefore I will take a short break in my ngöndro, to explore if I'm better off without it for now. It has to be something that I feel drawn to, not a duty. I find that it varies a lot for me but that there's too much of a tendency for me to procrastinate doing it, so when I finally get around to doing it, I'm tired and should have gone to sleep already. It is time consuming, requires temporal and spatial logistics that are beyond my current capacity, and it takes away time from my other practices. I need to have a default practice that can easily be done under any circumstances, and I need to be open to what the process communicates to me. The process is my main teacher. It doesn't charge anything if I listen to it, but it costs too much when I don't. 

​​​​​​​The nada sound is loud now. Breathing is pleasant. My mind and body are at ease. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Days ago.

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I just had a great meditating experience. Wait, what?! I just saw what time it is. It seems like I have been meditating all night. It's morning! How did that happen? That kind of momentum hasn't happened for quite some time now. I must be doing something right then. 

I listened to some youtube videos by Forrest Knutsson and was reminded of how I used to get into states of great clarity. Simple things like slowing down the breath and relaxing the eyes to get them to push themselves back into their sockets while gently looking upwards behind closed eyelids. And then I explored the visual field, watching the swirls chrystallize into patterns. It wasn't the most chrystal clear detailed visuals, but definitely getting there. It was in color, not black and white. Also, my sore hip opened itself up without pain. 
Tim Farrington, modified 10 Days ago.

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The process is my main teacher. It doesn't charge anything if I listen to it, but it costs too much when I don't. 

Wow, beautiful. Amen.
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J W, modified 10 Days ago.

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Awesome Linda, so much cool stuff, I look to your log for inspiration and recommendations for this hybrid and fluid Tibetan/pragmatic approach! Thank you!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Days ago.

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Thanks guys, both of you, for your support! 

I actually feel great today. The silky slow spiralling breath has been with me through the day, accompanied by smooth creamy piti, like the silky foam on a Guiness (that I can't drink anymore due to gluten intolerance and histamine intolerance to the yeast emoticon ). I started the day with a very short yoga session. Meditated before lunch, mainly enjoying the breath. I don't feel like labelling it as shamatha or anything else. I'm kind of fed up with names. I just did what wanted to be done. I did praise Tara and do the Yi Rang, and the altar routine. As usual I made my cats stop fighting by chanting Om mani padme hung (remarkably effective). No ngöndro. Had a yoga class at the studio. It was heavenly. I even felt those champagne bubbles in my body that I used to have almost all the time. How I have missed those! I have no idea how temporary this grace is. I know that I very recently wrote in this log that I felt good, but after that I hit rock bottom or something. I don't know if there are more rock bottoms to come soon. At this very moment I feel healthier than I have for a long time (not sure about the time perspective; it's just what it feels like right now) and I even have a hard time understanding how things could feel so heavy as recent as yesterday morning before the yoga. It felt like I was dying, almost. Transient stuff. Weirdly transient. But definitely requiring medication. 

I chatted a bit with Forrest Knutson. He replies fast to comments on his videos. I got to learn that whereas 3-7 breaths per minute results in heart resonance, slower breaths than that result in something of a counter-resonance. Both are very good for our health. I'm a very slow breather by nature, while in relaxation. I breath 1,5 breaths per minute. His exercise with 3 breaths per minute felt a bit stressful to me, so I asked him to do slower ones too (he has some very helpful exercise videos that are easy to follow and that don't contain any unnecessary atmospheric bling-bling that would drive you nuts after a while). It's not Buddhist, but what he talks about can very easily be translated into Daniel-speak. Totally different terminology but goodenough phenomenology to know exactly what he's talking about. 

I'll soon go to bed with a slow breathing exercise video. Apparently the audio speed on youtube can be adjusted, so I can slow it down. There's no talking in the exercise once it gets going, just tones indicating inbreath and outbreath, so it won't sound funny. Of course I can breath slowly without guidance, but I like the feedback. It also makes it easier to notice changes in the breath. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Days ago.

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I'm so having an A&P right now. Suddenly there's too much energy in my body to sleep. I can meditate - no problem. No dullness whatsoever. 

Earlier I used to be bothered by what feels and sounds like a wobbling of my right eardrum in meditation. I know what it is now. It's a tell that says that I'm sort of standing with one foot in non-dual mode and the other one in dualistic mode (different modes, not different kinds of perception - the experience is generated the exact same way). That creates a glitch in the processing. I can easily get out of it by stopping to believe that the sound is in my ear. I let the sounds know themselves where they are, just like Daniel says. I don't have to be inside my head. I can be the awareness that the sound is in itself, just like I'm also the awareness that all the other sensory experiences are. The sound in this case is the nada sound, which isn't located in my head. It's everywhere. 
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Bardo, modified 6 Days ago.

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I've always enjoyed the dynamism in your eclectic dharma interventions. As I was reading some of your posts, something inside me was trying to assert itself and I found that it expressed itself through a deep curiosity: I wonder what it would be like for Linda to entertain the possibility of narrowing-down these interventions? I wonder what practice would be like if Linda stripped everything down to its bare rudiments? I also wonder, if Linda could entertain this, how she might feel about that?

I know from my own practice I had developed a safety net of spiritual actions, routines, studies, and that, after seeing that they were propping up a part of my identity, I could begin to entertain their absence. This filled me with fear, because I knew I had created a castle out of bricks and mortar, a safe heaven. Even though those bricks and mortar had been laid down with sentiment, compassion and a willingness to discover what was true, they eventually got in the way. It was painstaking pulling the whole thing down. I was left bare, emotionally, and psychologically exposed to the world and the truth of my various characters cowered under the light of my awareness. 

I wonder what it would be like for you to entertain some simplicity. If it feels uncomfortable, that is what needs your attention. That is the guide. That is the ignorance in feeling-form. It calls us out in these ways, but we choose to ignore it. It doesn't feel nice, but it is like a crying child asking for love, to be noticed, to be held. We just need to let-loose some spiritual noise to make way for the genuine, organic and deeply personal path to emerge. It's a unique journey; autonomous, individual, distinct - only partially adhering to the formats of the gurus' and traditions'.

Best wishes
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Days ago.

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Good to hear from you again, Bardo. Yes, I understand what you are saying. I definitely see the value of getting  back to the basics and keep it very simple. Interventions can be a trap. I find that for me there is a cycling to it. After taking the explorations to an extreme, I need to go back to just surrendering. I have actually felt that need lately, although I haven't written much about it.

Can't do it without yoga, though. Tried to rest from that, very soon was back in total fatigue, pain and brain fog. I think I messed up my energy body quite a lot all those years of overcompensating stuff before I got my diagnoses. It's healing, but there is a very narrow span that I need to stay within in order for it to have the space for healing, and that span keeps moving. 

I started this day with one and a half hours of space element yoga. It was a recording from one of the classes I took recently, the one that I reported brough the champagne bubbles back. It had that effect this time too, but not in an A&P way. It's just very spacious, and I can feel that it allows energies to flow freely in my body. They hadn't been stuck in contraction for long now, so it's less carbonated, so to speak. More gently flowing. I think lots of sparkling is a sign that space is opening up after too much contraction with pressure building up. If there is enough space on a regular basis, it doesn't build up like that. Thus I can stop being nostalgic about the high amount of champagne bubbles. They were just a signpost that I needed at the time, to learn to open up space both physically and mentally. Spaciousness in itself doesn't need that amount of flow. It can be very mellow. That's a good thing. 

I should make notes of the exercises involved in this particular yoga class. They are really good for me. 
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Days ago.

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Bardos's comment reminded me of being a kid in a candy store. I only have a dollar but there's so much great stuff to buy - I want that, and this, and this, and that, and one of those, and another of that one...

This is part of being curious and wanting to learn as much and as fast as we can. Behavioral psychologists call it "overchoice," and in the business world it is sometimes called "analysis paralysis." We're so afraid of missing that one great thing that we're frozen with indecision.

In the pursuit of dharma the little kid's dollar equates to our attention and the candy store to all those wonderful books, podcasts, videos, and practices out there for us to engage with. I probably have a hundred dharma books here in this room. I played with just about every practice I read about. I wanted it all!

It's temporary  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Yeah! Glad to hear that I'm not alone in going through that phase in the beginning, lol. I'm still new to the dharma context after all. I'm not crushing on it like I used to earlier, but rather working towards acceptance of the fact that the infatuation is temporary. I need to find out how to balance energy and peace without it, maybe even in less of a rollercoaster manner. In the meantime I have to do what is possible for me to do, even if it isn't optimal. I need to work with how I actually function, not with how I would ideally function. That means that sometimes I need to add more fuel to the remnants of the infatuation, which is of course only a temporary solution. 

Wow, hundreds of dharma books... I only have little more than twenty as physical books, and an addition of saved links to online ones and some downloaded ones... but probably thousands of youtube videos in my collection. I listen much more than I read. 

Overchoice and analysis paralysis and procrastination and overwhelm are huge patterns in my karma. It's a tough nut to crack. I think it's too a large extent hardwired as part of my neurodivergence. I know that I share it with many many fellow austistic, tourettic and ADHD people. Typical people too, of course, but we seem to struggle with extremes of it. 

Thanks for sharing, Chris! It made me smile.

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The snow is melting now. Today I have walked barefoot in the wet snow and in a deep icy water puddle. What a relief! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Space. Lots of it. Peace. The dance of the stillness, the melody of the silence. Subtle, exquisite, boundless. The movement is effortless, like when a majestic bird stops flapping its wings and just glides on invisible waves in the air - nebulous and yet strong enough to carry the weight of the bird's body. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Okay, so that was a very transient EQ. It lasted through the day, and then when it was time to sleep I got lots of energy and stayed up too long. When I lay down, I got amazing visuals and a huge amount of champagne bubbles. I had been doing a simple exercise for the lymph system before going to bed and taken som extra magnesium so I thought it was due to that, but I don't know. It grew and intensified. My whole body dissolved. It was wonderful. So A&P and dissolution. 

But then the fear came, with horrible nightmares. Oh the horror! The last fully realized person on earth had died. His longterm student started to teach people, me included, to keep the lineage alive. First it seemed to go rather well, but then I discovered that he was fake and that the real one had been killed too and then replaced by a former colleague of mine who had now picked up shapeshifting. In the real world she's a horrible teacher, cruel to the students and with a bad temper. In the dream she was manipulative, gaslighting, batshit crazy (in the dangerous way, not the charming one) and, as it turned out, a serial killer. She had killed the realized person and his student, and now she tried to kill me for finding out. Somehow I escaped but then got paranoid. I got support from the board of some sort and a partner came to pick me up, but we didn't have any proof so the killer was still free and she seemed to be able to find me anywhere. It was only thanks to my relationship with her as a colleque (she had her good sides that I really liked) that she hesitated about killing me, but it seemed very unreliable. In the dream I was in shock, had difficulties forming sentences and had memory lapses, and the fear was intense - both with regard to the killing spree and to the extinction of the dharma. I'm still spooked. 

So yay... darknighting. 
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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It will be okay, we can seal up the essential dharma in some big ceramic jars and stick them in various caves near the Dead Sea. Also, I don't think your former colleague really has the chops to pull this off completely. Let's just wait her out. I suspect she won't last any longer than your latest EQ, given your rapid cycling right now.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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I think it was based on premises from Lama Lena's teachings yesterday. There are predictions that there will come a time when only recordings remain. That's why she sticks to the lineages strictly and records on video. She believes that books won't be sufficient, because no telepathy comes from the books. Video recordings might do the trick, she thinks. Having done research on video data for many years, I know how transient the media are, so I think that hit a nerve in some part of me. The impermanence of the dharma, that's a big gone, as Michael Taft would have said it back when he was teaching me based on Shinzen's system. 
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Well, forget the jars, then, that was very labor-intensive to start with, and it didn't work last time anyway. We can still sit in the caves though, if we have to start from scratch. I hear it's lovely by the Dead Sea at this time of year.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Great, we have a plan then. It doesn't sound too bad.

I actually feel great. I took a walk in the sun. After some walking, I felt lots of vibrations, so I sat down on a bench (where I'm still seated) to rest for a while and listen inwards. I let thoughts wander around on their own while just being with sensory experience. Soon I felt my hands buzzing with energy and warmth, and wellbeing spread through my body. As distressing thoughts came up,  I saw through them and got back to so called nondual awareness. Experience is holistic and spacious. Fleeting, gliding effortlessly. 

​​​​​​​So that darknighting was transient too. Very nonsticky.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Heh, and now as I'm walking home when I noticed some knee pain I just sort of moved space there, and a whole system of tissues (muscles, maybe fascia?) relaxed in a chain reaction while at the same time lots of piti is flowing through the body. Lots of champage bubbles. And it's shifting back and forth between that and peace. 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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My view is that as long as there is consciousness there will be dharma. It can't just disappear. It comes with.

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

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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I like that view. And I think I share it, most of the conscious parts anyway. 
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Siavash, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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And there is the power dynamics. One who keeps the dharma, has the power.
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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'Cept no one truly keeps the dharma - unless we grant them that power. My guess is that even under the worst possible circumstances dharma would spring anew from fertile minds. It's the product of contemplation, of introspection, of observing. It's in no way dependent on externalities like teachers. Teachers help us, coach us, but they don't create the dharma in us. It's always there for the finding.
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Siavash, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Yes, exactly. That's what I think. Didn't have the motivation/energy to expand, I thought it's obvious.
(Often traditions say that we are keeping the dharma, to gain power over people.)​​​​​​​
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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It was a team effort, Siavash. You seeded the discussion with a thought and then I elaborated.
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Siavash, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Good team effort. emoticon Yup. It's fascinating how so many different traditions come up with the same sign posts that I have experienced on my own without having heard of them before, just by listenings inwards. 

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I notice that I still have that old pattern of clinging to energy when it's available, even though I know that the energy basically is impermanence. I practice letting it be and letting it go, both the energy and the clinging. It's a blessing that all the poisons are impermanent too. In that way, they actually are the energy, sort of. When I remember that, spaciousness opens up again. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Not only in listening inwardly, by the way. When I'm "in tune", I find the dharma everywhere. In reflecting on the distribution of energy with an abundance oersoective rather than a scarecety perspective, I just now saw a whole new meaning of a children's book that I read many years ago that is supposedly Christian fantasy. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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For me clinging to an experience or a feeling or a state leads to temptations of denial, that is, ignorance. There are strong impulses to shut out the knowing that is naturally so much more nuanced and pretend that it isn't there. If I let that happen, it makes me stop listening inwardly. That way I very soon mess things up. Not letting that happen is a very subtle change of stance that makes all the difference. 

I just had a yoga class. I listened inwardly. It was amazing. My body knows how to move much better than "I" do, when I just trust it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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One example of the temptations mentioned above:

Over the years I have developed some amazing coping skills for which I'm grateful. Unfortunately I have also developed coping skills that are very counterproductive, like kickstarting my discursive mind to overcome my difficulties with executive functioning. I'm really good at that, and in the long run it exhausts me and drains me. I think this is exactly what Ni Nurta has been talking about - the kind of "relief" that is unhealthy and that also maintains a dualistic view. I'm a dopamine addict. Giving in to impulses to use one of those strategies sort of feels good, but it also builds up frustration. So much dukkha! And when I listen inwardly, I notice that it actually doesn't feel good more than a fraction of the time. The kicks are so transient, and they lead to craving of more kicks, and there is no way to satisfy that craving, as it increases faster than the kicks has any chance to address, and the kicks and the cravings never meet anyway. The cravings only know themselves. They are hungry ghosts. Still, they seem to be convinced that "just one more time" would make all the difference, and they are so loud. 

I know that I need to let go of those strategies, but it's hard. Or that's what I keep telling myself. That's the discursive mind, though. I don't have to believe it. Letting go of them shouldn't have to be hard. It's not a doing. It's doing less. Awareness already knows. I know this. And it would save me so much time! Ehm, it will save me so much time. I can use that time for the stuff that is meaningful and valuable. I have better strategies now, like yoga exercises, bouncing on a trampoline, going for a walk, connecting to someone I love. 

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During the yoga class, my life sort of flashed by, and I noticed how much I have made piece with my childhood in comparison to earlier in my adult life (well, at least at that point in time; it's probably transient too). Compassion. 
Martin, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
... the kicks and the cravings never meet anyway. The cravings only know themselves. 


That is exceptionally well said!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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A reminder to myself:


Me to Michael Taft:

Remember how you told me at the end of our private couching that I would eventually need to let go of the very strategies that have kept me alive, so to speak? Maybe a different wording, but something like that. Well, I’m there now. That’s what I want to talk about. Parts of me keep saying that it’s too hard, that it shouldn’t have to be necessary, that I can have the cookie and eat it too. I know that’s bullshit. It’s not even a tasty cookie. It’s very unsatisfactory. But leaving my comfort zone feels threatening, even though it’s not even a comfortable comfort zone, but a pretend comfort.

I think you have been addressing this in your recent advice too. It’s just not so much ruminating that is the issue. It’s little dopamine kicks that I get from meaningless entertainment and such. There’s so much dukkha there, as the little kicks only lead to more cravings that can never be met. The cravings only know themselves. They never actually meet the kicks. They are hungry ghosts. So I’m dealing with both animal realm and hungry ghost realm here. And hell realm, as lots of frustration is involved. And very transient God realms during the kicks. And very much animal realm also because it’s so tempting not to see this, how I avoid awakening so much of my the time. I don’t want to do that. And yet apparently I sort of do.

So how does one deal with this in a way that works more long-term? Do I just quit cold turkey? Do I allow myself some quota of meaningless dopamine kicks? Do I transfer completely to more wholesome ways of living? How do I find the balance of acceptance without rationalizing and legitimizing my old patterns? Because I will probably fall back into old habits many many times. I can’t beat myself up for that, but I will have to stay determined, I guess. Let awareness know that intention, right? I suppose awareness already knows what would really be good for me, if I just ”take the view/stance” and let awareness listen to itself. (Sorry for the quotation marks. I temporarily need them, or so it feels. It will pass.)


Michael’s reply:

Use a hierarchy of situational difficulty viz. awake awareness. When is it easy to maintain vs when is it impossible to maintain. Find your edge and then work with maintaining awareness right at that edge. (Don’t try in situations that are too difficult.)


Me again:
​​​​​​​

Ah! Makes a lot of sense. So I need to work on being very honest with myself and very clear about what is what. Let’s follow up on this in our office hour slot!

I can do this! That kind of discernment is actually one of my strengths. What a fucking grace!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Martin
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
... the kicks and the cravings never meet anyway. The cravings only know themselves. 

​​​​​​​That is exceptionally well said!

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Thanks! It's a paraphrasing of both Daniel and Emil Jensen, but also a personal experience. 
George S, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 11

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö

For me clinging to an experience or a feeling or a state leads to temptations of denial, that is, ignorance.

I love this!

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