RE: Quixote renewed practice log

William Quixote, modified 21 Days ago.

Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Link to prior practice log from over 7 years ago: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4615476

​​​​​​​After several years off, I started meditation again at the end of last year. I’m easing back in slowly, gradually increasing my sit times. I’m up to 25 minutes now which is my threshold for “real” enough that I think I should start logging practice again. Last time, my practice was almost entirely concentration. Now, I intend to practice concentration on odd days and insight on even days. Every day I start with about 5 minutes of metta and then move to concentration or insight.
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So far I haven’t settled on what my insight practice will be, so this log will also be a record of my experimenting with different techniques and styles.
Tim Farrington, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 2385 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
 Bienvenido, Don Quixote, and welcome back to windmill charging at its finest! What a great story line you've got. In your last log entry 6 or 7 years ago, you had been listening to a talk by Rob Burbea on the three characteristics. Now Rob has died, God bless him, and the three characteristics still apply. There's a weird poignancy to that, for me.

It will be interesting to see how your alternation of concentration and insight goes. And to follow your renewed efforts in general. Welcome back to the mat. 
William Quixote, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Thanks!
William Quixote, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 5, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 25 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Today I decided that I might experiment with shifting my attention to the glowing white light behind my eyelids if it presented itself this session to see if it moved in line with the breath and to see if I could conceive of it as part of the breath. Some jhanna instructors advise this and I haven’t tried the technique much before.Unfortunately my concentration was weak today, I got distracted by thoughts once every 4-5 minutes and never built up momentum.
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Speculative diagnosis: maybe the fact that this was going to be my first post set up some expectations? Maybe the fact that I wanted to try a new technique set up expectations or some kind of grasping? If it is the first that should go away with time as logging becomes more standard to me. The latter is mre tricky, but there are more days ahead to try things.
William Quixote, modified 20 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 6, 2021
Style: Insight: tuning into 3 characteristics 
Time: 50 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

On weekends, I have a bit more time so I try to do a longer sit than on workdays. 

Inspired a little by Tim’s comment, I dedicated today’s insight meditation to a Rob Burbea guided meditation on the three characteristics. It was this meditation https://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/9543/ which on double checking he gave in 2010, I had ended my last log with his same talk on the 3 characteristics from 2009. Subtly different, but much the same.

The meditation had 3 parts, first was a focus on the hands tuning into any sensations and noticing change, then the face, then to a body part that presented itself. Subjectively, I felt this  went well. After I had been tuned into change on my hands for a while I began to notice a background pulsing like a siren being played in extreme slow motion and the other sensations seemed overlayed on top of that. I wondered if the pulsing might be related to my heartbeat, but since it  was a guided meditation I didn’t change track to investigate that. Maybe for monday.

The second part was focused on aversion. Here I waited for a bodily sensation that was unpleasant to make itself known then tuned into that. Then made an effort to feel the aspect of unpleasantness of the feeling. Then watched / felt for the sense of aversion to that feeling as it manifested in the body. One thing presented strongly; my feet were cold because I wasn’t wearing socks today and as I really focused on feeling the unpleasantness of my toes being cold I could feel a tightness in the muscles around my left ribs. Then I tried to relax that tightness before repeating the whole process. I liked this technique.

Lastly, I spent some time listening to sounds and letting body sensations present themselves and trying to view them as not me, not mine just occurring in the same way the sounds were. I felt like this didn’t really click with me today.
William Quixote, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 7, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 26 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Not a great sit today. I had relatively frequent distractions and never built up much momentum for concentration.
William Quixote, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 8, 2021
Style: Insight focus on impermanence 
Time: 26 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta and then focused my attention on my hands to follow the changing sensations over time. I noticed a recurring pulse and tuning in realized that I felt a pulse in my hands a little bit after each heartbeat so it was probably blood flow or something. I was pretty surprised, I didn't think that would be a detectable sensation.

I also felt like there was another slower lower frequency pulse beneath that, but I couldn’t quite zero  in on it.
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Chris Marti, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 3763 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I also felt like there was another slower lower frequency pulse beneath that, but I couldn’t quite zero in on it.

That's the cosmic background radiation emoticon
Tim Farrington, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 2385 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
William Quixote
I also felt like there was another slower lower frequency pulse beneath that, but I couldn’t quite zero in on it.

Chris Marti
That's the cosmic background radiation emoticon

This is true, it's the audible difference between the lingering few degrees of heat from the Big Bang, as distinct from absolute zero, and it is always a factor in meditation. Not to be confused with bird shit on the radio receiver dish.

​​​​​​​Rock on, Senor Quixote!
William Quixote, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 9, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 27 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Another not great sit, although maybe better than 2 days ago. For January, when I was restarting and gradually ramping up from 1 minute sits to 20+ minute sits I had a lot of sits with decently strong concentration. Since I switched to alternating insight and concentration and also logging meditation (and for unrelated factors being more stressed at work) the quality of concentration feels like it has deceased.

Enough factors have changed that I don’t have good science here; plus sometimes there are seemingly random fluctuations in things. My plan for now is to just keep doing what I’m doing with no major changes and see if things improve. Maybe I just need time to get used to the new schedule and new habits.
William Quixote, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 10, 2021
Style: Insight: body scan
Time: 27 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta and then started a body scan. 

I’ve done body scans in the context of guided meditations before, but this was my first time self leading and my pacing was (may have been?) off. I only had gotten down to my fingers when the alarm rang. Does anyone have a view on how important it is to actually get the whole body with a body scan? Are there any risks associated if I keep doing body scans and never get to my legs?

My major take away from body scanning and noticing sensations was to be surprised at how many of my sensations I noted as either “weird tingling” or “tightness”. Scalp, weird tingling; outer ear, weird tingling; upper back, weird tingling; and so on.
William Quixote, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 11, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 28 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I was really frustrated about something work related today and had a lot of frustration, anger  and other similar feelings. Honestly, it is possible that I should have abandoned the plan to do concentration and just switched to insight or mindfulness and sat with the frustration.

Instead what I actually did was stick to the plan and try to concentrate on the breath despite a whole lot of hindrance floating around. For distracting thoughts I had previously been able to just kind of power through by getting really one pointed on the breath, but that approach didn’t work at all here. The frustration was kind of constricting and trying to get one pointed just made it worse. By the end of the sit, I had settled on trying to stay very lightly on the breath while making my awareness as wide and expansive as I could while still keeping a clear center which I kept on the breath. It didn’t completely work and I was more distracted than usual, but I got a little calm and peace for a while, so maybe it could have been worse.
George S, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 1226 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Ah yes, we've all been there - getting frustrated at being frustrated! emoticon

Your body is telling you that the feeling of frustration is really important, but your mind is saying I *should* be concentrating on the breath ... result = frustration^2

The mind can get one pointed on any object, so it's definitely possible to use a physical feeling like frustration as an object. It might feel more nebulous at first - requiring a lighter and more expansive awareness - which it looks like you are already tapping into. If you can *accept* the frustration and welcome it gently into awareness then it will start to "self-liberate". It's a really powerful practice. 

I've learned to see getting distracted in meditation as a POSITIVE sign that my awareness is getting into some deep areas which my rational mind would rather ignore or keep unconscious. Good stuff! emoticon
William Quixote, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
George S Ah yes, we've all been there - getting frustrated at being frustrated! emoticon Your body is telling you that the feeling of frustration is really important, but your mind is saying I *should* be concentrating on the breath ... result = frustration^2 The mind can get one pointed on any object, so it's definitely possible to use a physical feeling like frustration as an object. It might feel more nebulous at first - requiring a lighter and more expansive awareness - which it looks like you are already tapping into. If you can *accept* the frustration and welcome it gently into awareness then it will start to "self-liberate". It's a really powerful practice.  I've learned to see getting distracted in meditation as a POSITIVE sign that my awareness is getting into some deep areas which my rational mind would rather ignore or keep unconscious. Good stuff! emoticon

George, that's brilliant. Its amazing how something that I would have never come up with myself can seem like such a clear idea after I hear it from someone else. I know the idea of noting a hindrance when doing noting, or attempting to be mindful of an issue when doing mindfulness, but I would have never thought to make a distraction my object of concentration while doing concentration meditation. I’m really excited to add that to my toolkit, I’m going to be ready next time emoticon
Thanks!
William Quixote, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 12, 2021
Style: Insight: focus on spaciousness 
Time: 28 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta.

I closed my eyes and concentrated on sounds and on a feeling of spaciousness in my awareness trying to hear the sounds as arising out of awareness and then returning to spacious awareness as they passed. Then after a while I broadened my awareness to include sensations of the body and tried to experience them as similar to sounds, arising in awareness and then passing away.
I had one shoulder pain that didn’t pass away on its own so I focused on it. I tried to feel exactly what part of the experience of pain made it unpleasant, but the pain went away before I found an answer. So I went back to the spaciousness practice and finished out the session. 
Tim Farrington, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 2385 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
I tried to feel exactly what part of the experience of pain made it unpleasant, but the pain went away before I found an answer. So I went back to the spaciousness practice and finished out the session. 

lol. Wonderful.
William Quixote, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 13, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 29 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta.

I started by focusing on the breath and eventually built up pretty solid concentration. I was distracted at one point, then dropped it and went back to the breath. I noticed that my attention and focus felt much better in the instant right after I had stopped being distracted than at any other point. I stayed on the breath awhile. Then I started getting a white light behind my eyes and then a big surge of twitchy energy. This got me thinking about jhanna and getting it and of course that killed it emoticon  I went back to the breath and finished out the session.
William Quixote, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 14, 2021
Style: Insight: focus on spaciousness 
Time: 49 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Since It's sunday I went for a longer sit than usual. I warmed up with some metta.

I followed the spaciousness / awareness practice as on the 12th, but since the sit was longer than usual my attention was flagging a bit near the end. My mind wandered a bit but I tried to keep the perception of the thoughts happening within the space of awareness.  

A little before the end of the session I opened my eyes and tried to conceive of my visual field as being within the space of awareness in the same way I had been doing for sounds and body sensations for the sit up to that point. It was really weird and unnerving in a way that's hard to describe or to put my finger on.
William Quixote, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 15, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 29 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta.

I woke up feeling congested and with my sinuses stuffed up this morning. So I tried to concentrate on breathing, but the breathing was a little messed up and resulted in clearing out my sinuses in a way that required active involvement on my part and definitely distracted me. On the bright side though my concentration was pretty consistent throughout, so I’m getting close to half hour sites without dropping off. Though as these sits get longer I may need to start waking up earlier.
William Quixote, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 16, 2021
Style: Insight: focus on Vedanā 
 
Time: 30minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta.

I closed my eyes and allowed sensations of the body to make themselves known. When an unpleasant sensation was noticed I tried to zoom in on it and feel the unpleasantness of it and also to feel the mental grasping motion at the desire that the unpleasantness should change or go away. When possible I would try to relax or let go of the grasping / aversion. 
At one point I had a discomfort in my leg and a great desire to move it, I felt that as almost like a roar of static in the background of my thoughts. It built and built and then eventually receded. There were other discomforts but less interesting.
Later in the session the leg came back, and I started to get worried that I might get a leg cramp, so I moved my leg and let it stretch a bit.  I’m not sure if I exercised good sense and avoided giving myself a leg cramp out of stubborn refusal to move or if I folded and gave in to craving.
William Quixote, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts



Meditation log date: February 17, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I woke up a little over half an hour early today to get some stuff done in the morning after I meditated before work. I was amazed and shocked at how much worse my concentration was. Wow. It doesn't seem right that half an hour can make such a difference in how my mind works.

I warmed up with some metta. Then I tried to concentrate and experienced distractions and mind wandering. I did eventually get some concentration, but less than I would like.
William Quixote, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 18, 2021
Style: Insight: Bare attention
 
Time: 30minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Another day where I had to wake up early and was tired, so I picked something I could do with my eyes open. 

I warmed up with some metta. Then opened my eyes and tried to let my attention wander over my sensory experience without conceptually engaging or getting drawn off in wandering thoughts. I did wander off a few times, I became aware that I had wandered off, but never right as it happened.

One thing I noticed that was odd, when I paid attention to birds chirping, my visual field got out of focus, and when I closed my eyes the bird chirping seemed to get louder and higher sound quality. Then when I opened my eyes the sounds quieted a bit.
William Quixote, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 19, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I woke up at 5am today and got right to work, so instead of meditating in the morning right after I woke up, I did it at the end of the day. I was tired, not so focused, and my girlfriend says she thinks I may have fallen asleep at some point during the sit. But I sat down and tried my best for 30 minutes, so that’s something.
William Quixote, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 20, 2021
Style: Insight: working with breath energy
 
Time: 60 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I felt like letting serendipity chose my insight practice today, so instead of doing one of my more normaal types of practice I picked a random guided meditation from Thanissaro Bhikkhu (he may be an ajahn now). The subject was on working with breath energy, particularly in cases of pain or disease which is not something I would have normally gone with, but was interesting. 

I normally skip over any energy stuff cause it sounds kind of hokey, but I was surprised how easily I was able to conceive / sense any part of the body I chose as changing moment to moment in accordance with the breath. I experimented with various areas and eventually settled on directing it through the top of my head which gave me goose bumps all over and also made it really easy to concentrate on the breath.
William Quixote, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Sunday Feb 21
FAIL!
no session
​​​​​​​: (
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 2385 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
lol, that's okay, you blew the top of your head off in your last sit, it's probably a good thing to let the goose bumps settle.
William Quixote, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington
lol, that's okay, you blew the top of your head off in your last sit, it's probably a good thing to let the goose bumps settle.


LOL, that's what I needed for a smile
William Quixote, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 22, 2021
Style: Insight focus on impermanence 
Time: 30 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta and then focused my attention on my hands to follow the changing sensations over time. 
Then I tried to move my attention back and forth between my hands. For a while it felt like it was switching back and forth extremely rapidly, about as fast as my heartbeat, or maybe twice as fast (?not sure if I feel one movement per beat or two?).
Then I tried to tune into impermanence all over the body, not just in the hands, but it felt a little vague and my mind wandered off. Still later in the sit I went back to the hand switching thing, but this time it felt like I felt both at once but only one was high resolution at a time.
William Quixote, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 23, 2021
Style: Concentration
Time: 31 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

Pretty good session today. Warmed up with some metta. Got focused on the breath, built up some good momentum; got the bright white light behind the eyes and the ambient feeling of joy. Then knowing the signs from when I used to be in good shape (concentration wise) I knew I was close to jhanna and wanted to be in it and of course then it obviously popped like a bubble and concentration was just ok for the rest of the sit.
William Quixote, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 101 Join Date: 8/22/13 Recent Posts
Meditation log date: February 24, 2021
Style: Insight: focus on impermanence and spaciousness 
Time: 31 minutes
Location: Inside sitting cross legged on couch

I warmed up with some metta.

I closed my eyes and concentrated on sounds and on a feeling of spaciousness in my awareness trying to hear the sounds as arising out of awareness and then returning to spacious awareness as they passed. Then after a while I broadened my awareness to include sensations of the body and tried to experience them as similar to sounds, arising in awareness and then passing away.
Felt like it was a good sit. I think that when I pay attention in particular to sounds on one side of my head sounds on the other side seem more quiet, and when I pay attention to body sensations all sounds are more quiet. Not sure if I’m supposed to be maintaining a more even awareness so that doesn’t happen or just let things arise and pass in awareness and if other things dim for a bit then they dim for a bit and that's fine.
George S, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Quixote renewed practice log

Posts: 1226 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The latter. If you look carefully you might see there's a hidden assumption there - that awareness is some kind of evenly distributed field exisiting independently of the sensations that arise within it. Is that really true? Or is it simply that a "particle" of awareness arises and passes along with each sensation as it is apprehended at the relevant sense door?

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