Tom's Practice Log #1

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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Hi all,
I'm Tom, I plan to log every day for this month of March. I am following Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu's meditation instructions after doing an At-Home course with him online. It is Vipassana Mahasi style noting during meditation and in daily life. He encourages walking meditation followed by equal length of sitting.

Where I am at now, I am very much a beginner, meditating on and off for a few years. I can claim no attainments or jhanas. I will probably read up on the jhanas when I have any powerful experiences. I am also working my way through Daniel Ingram's Hardcore Dharma book slowly.

Today (Mon 01/03/2021)
15 minutes walking, 15 minutes sitting in evening
Walking: Noticed sore feet & train sounds outside interrupting the usual noting of the walking (lifting, moving, placing etc.). I was grossly distracted in thought three or four times lasting under a minute. Tried to pay attention to how I experience moments, and notice any vibrations / stacattoness when being deliberately mindful (maybe I should let that be until it becomes apparent).

Sitting: Very soon into meditation I experienced some pleasent sensations in head. Like a density in my head. This increased and decreased in intensity throughout. I noted "pleasant" & the liking of it, going back to noting (rising, falling - breath at abdomen, sitting, touching - at a sequence of parts of the body, all done while attending to that experience). Not much gross distraction. I notice small thoughts that come in between noting, they are fleeting.

The dense pleasure in head was quite intense for a few tens of seconds, I noticed my eyes were almost crossed. I notice in general that eye squeezing / direction can in my experience intensify such sensations. I don't do anything like this deliberately however. There was sensations of itching which I had to direct attention/noting too for a couple of minutes in total.

I notice there's no standard way of logging, I think this summed up my experience & takeaways for today. Thanks, be back same time tomorrow (hopefully).
Lots of metta <3, Tom
Edit: spelling
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Hi Tom, and welcome to DhO! And thank you for sharing your practice here. I'm looking forward to watching it unfold. May your find support, camaraderie, and enrichment in this sangha, and thanks for having the guts to jump in.
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Tim! Much appreciated. I love the gung ho nature of this community. I hope I can grow here. Will post day two soon!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Today went well with three meditation sessions.
Tue 02/03/2021
15 walk, 15 sit ~3am (could not sleep)
More thinking and getting distracted while walking. Sitting went by very fast, no drowsiness. There was slight tingling in hands in response to deeper breath.

15 walk, 15 sit after waking
Walk: walking is always more distracted and prone to getting lost in thought. What is more it seems that I keep noting mechanically stages of walking while thinking. Sort of tricking the mind into thinking it is going okay on some level?
Sit: I noticed I was frustrated with small thoughts between notes '(I should log this later' or 'what did that post on DhO say about this?'). All I can do is note and be mindful of them while returning to the breath & body.
15 walk

15 walk, 15 sit in evening before bed & log post
Walk: Noted the way I still note while thinking & getting lost. Probably 30% of walk was thinking & not attention on object of feet & noting. Went by quickly.
Sit: Slight onset of pleasurable sensation described yesterday. I notice my anticipation, clinging and desire for that sensation. Was more distracted by thought but by the end was in a quiet state of mind and wanted meditation to go on longer. Tomorrow I may increase periods to 20 walk, 20 sit each session.

Thanks for reading, have a good day and may you deepen your practice and be well,
Oodles of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Had two sessions today.
What I wrote about jhanas and reading up on them made me actually read a bit about them. Namely this thread. They mention some meditators get a "a sort of pressure in the center of the forehead between the eye brows". I do get that now and again. He says to shift attention to the pleasurable sensation may lead to first jhana. Interesting!

Wed 03/03/2021
10 walk, 10 sit at lunch
Much more distracted than usual while sitting. Got calm & pleasant towards the end which I thought wouldn't come due to distracted mind.
20 walk, 20 sit in evening
Walk: Walking was typically distracted, launching into thought about days ahead and what happened at work. I did manage to lock into very solid attention on the feet while walking which was good. I tried to use more intention about my attention. I intend to attend and all that.
Sit: Better than average attention. Several points where mind was pleasantly calm and sort of empty. Still some pesky thoughts interrupting but overall okay. I made sure to note "liking" and "calm" when arose.

Thanks for reading, have a good day. I know I'm very beginnerish, no fancy terms, but I will hopefully learn to associate some terms with my own experience,
Bundles of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Thur 04/03/2021
20 walk, 20 sit at lunch
While sitting got into a calm state of mind was pleasant. I didn't get that distracted in thought (I'd say perhaps 5-10% distracted in thought).

20 walk, 20 sit in evening
Walk: I got some what I thought good quality attention on the feet while walking. I could almost feel more somehow? I was aware at times quite accutely of the flitting of attention from one thing to another. I tried to uphold this mindfulness.
Sit: A lot of calmness and general feeling of rest while meditating. I often had to restart on the points of the body as I forgot where I was. There was a point where the calmness was so noticeable I noted it and used the sensation as the meditation object. I rested there for a bit. I did notice clinging and a wanting it not to end.

Tonnes of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I realise I am not reporting back my practice of mindfulness throughout the day. To be honest it is not that stable and I only am mindful for a few minutes at a time when I remember. I started an app on my phone which sounds a bell every 15 minutes, and I would try to be present when I hear the bell and it reminds me to be mindful. It is inspired by Plum Village practice of having a mindful bell sound throughout the day. My teacher Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu would say this is a crutch that won't always be there for me. I would think it can still help me in long term to be more mindful (perhaps I can build up to sustain active mindfulness from one bell to another while doing daily tasks for example?).
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Tom, great practice here! Thank you for sharing that thread on the jhanas above, I've been reading up some lately myself. Daniel Ingram's treatment of the shamatha jhanas in Part III of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha is also terrific along these lines, and he is wonderfully detailed on lucid on the concentration aspects, while also putting them in a vipassna context.

Not wanting absorption to end comes with the territory, lol. We're lucky dukkha is such a relentless party crasher, I guess. Otherwise, we'd be a bunch of lotus eaters here. 

gargantuan amounts of metta, lol, tim
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Yes I've been a bit slow in reading the Core teachings, but I may dip in tonight and look at that section now that you mention it.

Dukkha is a teacher after all :-) and a fire beneath our feet to get at it!!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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"as I forgot where I was"

No worries emoticon you are still in the good old Samsara emoticon awake or not awake the karma gotta burn out before the lights are out. As long there is fuel for the light, lights-out can not not-be. 

Seeds keep sprouting, they pop out extremely fast. Some of them we clearly comprehend and others not. Truckloads of unfolding dependent origination, how to be awake in it all, myriads of arisings in one infinite small moment?! Is it even happening? If so, to whom?
Knock, Knock! Anybody home!? Entire universe unfolding. 

Keep up the good practice! Best wishes! 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Haha :-) I like the idea of karma burning, makes feel like I'm making progress when it would normally feel like I'm not!! Yes stuck on the wheel of samsara as always, hope to jump off!
I should meditate on who is meditating, who is aware!
Thanks for wishes
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Fri 05/03/2021
30 walk, 20 sit
Walk: I felt like I could more stabley give attention to feet. I would catch distraction of thought only a few seconds in. One of the better walking meditations - better in a sense that I was more concentrated on feet & quick to catch distraction. I caught more details probably as a result of this, of the sensations at the feet, slight aching, small flexing of foot muscles.
Sit: I got into some nice headspace again - pleasant spaciousness & used that as an object for a bit. I now sort of look forward to sitting meditation. I felt that walking prepares me more for sitting too, settles me and readies me. Although walking in itself should be a good meditation. However at around 20 minutes in I had such a strong itching sensation at the nose, I felt it powerfully and was mindful of it. But I had to itch!! The teaching I have got around meditation is not to itch but use it as an object when it occurs. I have a habit of actually ending meditation when I do give in and itch (I am normally okay with itches though). So I stopped after 20 minutes!
Buckets of metta, Tom
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Instead of stopping with meditation (falling because of hindrance) include freestyle noting aloud 1-5 sensations a second, keep noting unpleasant, desire to get up, ... speak out with loud voice to really hear yourself. Or ask who wants to give up and get up? Or "Look how it's trying to get up and give up, look how it's feeling unpleasant, etc ... 

If at all possible Do Not Cut The Sit Short emoticon 
ACCEPTANCE. Accept that Misety, that Agony, that Aversion ... Name it out loud 1-5 sensations per second without loosing the thread of noting. It's the very unfolding of your karma so be curious about it even if it's utterly unpleasant. 

You can also ignore all I just said emoticon 
Best wishes to you! 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Good idea to note out loud, I will try doing that next time. Really feel the agony as you say! Early on in meditation I do remember being very impatient and there was a bit of frustration with myself. Thanks for advice, I will take it :-)
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
I feel that this log is keeping me going in a very real way. I encourage anyone reading who is struggling with their practice to start a log whether private or on this site publically.
Sat 07/03/2021
Only one session in afternoon/evening of 15 walk, 15 sit due to busy day
Walk: Quite distracted since my flat mate moved in today and my mind was a blur with it all. I still felt that walking almost settled me down for meditation as my mind was far less agitated when sitting.

Sit: Sitting was quite pleasant and I got into a quite empty feeling state of mind. I still didn't feel like I was getting clarity though. Felt a bit fuzzy but pleasant. I tried to pin down this sensation. Hard to find the words really. I think I got more of a grasp of the quality though, whether I can explain it here or not. There was still "discursive thought" however, so can't be that "far out" ;-)

Towards the end of the sit I started thinking rather morbidly about the two people who jumped off of the twin towers holding hands. Who would I jump with, how would it happen, what was going through their minds. A bit of a tangeant but maybe an example of how my mind wanders with strange day dreams. I noticed it wandering and noted soon enough and brough back to the breath & body.

Heaps of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Sun 08/03/2021
Did 30 minutes total late in night / morning again.
I also did a 60 minute guided meditation dug up from Michael Taft's YouTube channel in the morning. I found it okay at the beginning but he lost me on "infinite awareness". I couldn't foster that and I was mildly irritated when it was described as effortless while I was trying with effort haha, but I appreciated that he explained that if anything is too much or don't have experience in it, just go back previous step that worked.

I did 15 walk, 15 sit in evening. The walk was typically distracted but I would get back onto the feet within 10-20 seconds I think. The sit was particularly pleasant. I didn't feel like I clinged too much. I used the sort of pressure in head as an object. I still had a few thoughts entering and interrupting my attention. At one point I brought mind back to the object of the sensation in head by noting out loud sort of spur of the moment (thanks Papa Che Dusko) even though it wasn't a particularly frustrating or impatient note. Then all of a sudden I felt a denser pressure around forehead and sort of felt like I closed my eyes again (even though my eyes were already closed) sort of like a second pair of eyes above them. Strange, that's what it felt. I won't read into it or speculate, but I noted sensation and carried on until end of sit.

I realise I am meditating quite a short space of time especially since I actually only sit for half the time (walking other half). I'm going to try to do 40 minutes (20 walk, 20 sit) or 60 (30/30) as a more regular thing. Also trying to do at least two sessions per day (morning/lunch/evening).

Appreciate the comments I get, happy I made my log public & hopefully my beginnerish musings don't bore :-P

A heartful of metta, Tom
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Tom, I'm happy you made your log public too, and your "beginnerish musings" are inspiring, fascinating, and full of the spirit of real meditation work. May you always have that beginner's mind, it will save you a shitload of misery.

great big sloppy sloshing tubfuls of metta, tim
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for your support, happy to hear a beginner approach is a good one. Hope I don't get jaded anytime soon!
Handfuls upon handfuls of metta, Tom!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Watched a video on entering first jhana out of interest (I'm nowhere near, myself!). Interesting hearing about piti and how one waits until that is strong and stable then using that as the meditation object. I think the methodology I am following with Bhante Yuttadhammo is quite "dry insight" approach talked about in Ingram's Hardcore Dharma book. Going for a mindful / vipassana approach instead of concentration first. Taft talks about doing concentration first and doing vipassana while in first jhana. So I think I will try sticking with what I'm doing and maybe just try to be aware of any piti that arises. I won't delve into concentration practices just yet.

Mon 09/03/2020

30 walk, 30 sit
Walk: Quite good stable attention, mind wandering as always. I did feel like I was sort of working on automatic and sort of mantrafying the noting instead of remembering to really feel the feet.
Sit: The attack of the itch! Very very strong itching on nose interrupted the meditation object. I then focussed on itching noting it and my reaction. I did end up itching as it got worse and very strong desire to itch. I almost rationalised to myself that not itching wasn't productive and sort of torment to myself. Retrospectively I think enduring itch would of course be better - accept the agony, misery and aversion & note and all that! Something to work on.

Big spoonfuls of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Also to add to it all, I may be having more success & stable attention (little drowsiness & dullness) because I did do those 4-5 months last year doing 1 - 2 hours per day of walking & sitting. I don't want to mislead with all my talk of being a beginner, I think I mean to say in the grand scheme of it all very much a novice (~10,000 minutes of meditation logged in insight timer mostly done last year - but that says nothing of the quality of meditation ofc).
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I find there is nothing worse for the practice but have doubts in which practice is better or which to do now and which one later emoticon It's called DOUBT and is one of those grand hindrance motherfuckers emoticon 

Gotta make up your mind and stick to one. Let's just say it's not enough to only get awakened in Jhana by doing Vipassana while in Jhana. Gotta also awaken in that itch, that agony, that fear, that misery, that disqust, that equanimity ... that everything emoticon 

So paying attention to all arising and passing is really the key to this. Being absorbed in a Jhana or being absorbed in a good movie on TV or being absorbed in a worry about COVID is all the same lost in some state Unless we Awaken in it! We notice/note/vipassanise it and see it for what it is. 

If you desire more concentration you can try and place a small round object infront of you at 1-2 meters away and gently stare at it while also doing at least one note per second (noting anything and also the seeing and comprehanding of the seen object). You do this by not stopping the train of noting. This alone will catch up fire emoticon and at some stage it will be easy to note up to 5 sensations per second. In case it's hard to keep at it you can note aloud. 

This is combining Open eyes Kasina with freestyle noting aloud. 
Also would suggest a minimum of 45 minutes sitting practice. 15 minutes of walking is enough in combination with the longer sit. 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I have heard 45 minutes being a good length too. I will adjust to do 15 walk / 45 sit.

I had similar feelings around sticking to a pratice last night and did look up The Manual Of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw and read Chapter 5 which he gives instructions on practice. Mahasi teaching being what Bhante Yuttadhammo was taught in & teaches. This is what I was doing at the At Home course.

The rapid noting seems so far away since I feel like the mind is slow and I have to slow down my movements in order to note them properly (of course can't do same for feelings or thoughts!). I will try my best to note more - I know it will get better and I'll try not to get disuaded and just note when I can while making effort to remember. Even Manual Of Insight is very reassuring and knows beginner's mind and is encouraging to keep at it. Remarkably unobtuse that chapter!

Thanks for comment and will take advice to heart.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Tom Collingwood
Interesting hearing about piti and how one waits until that is strong and stable then using that as the meditation object. I think the methodology I am following with Bhante Yuttadhammo is quite "dry insight" approach talked about in Ingram's Hardcore Dharma book. Going for a mindful / vipassana approach instead of concentration first. Taft talks about doing concentration first and doing vipassana while in first jhana. So I think I will try sticking with what I'm doing and maybe just try to be aware of any piti that arises. I won't delve into concentration practices just yet.

Hi Tom! You can intentionally cultivate piti by focussing on a pleasant sensation somewhere in the body - something like a tingle, vibration, wavy or flowy feeling, or a feeling of warmth or pleasant contact. Try to really groove with the pleasantness of the sensation. Think of it as stroking or massaging yourself with your attention. Then try to grow the pleasant sensation, so it starts to spread out through your body. Eventually your whole body will be suffused with pleasure. It makes meditation much more enjoyable and soothing. emoticon

Oodles of metta,
George
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I've been taught to note the pleasant sensations until they disappear / go away - maybe the attention will help it grow. I'm unsure how I would grow the sensation without clinging. Grooving with it seems good, sort of riding it without forcing it. Thanks for the info!
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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It's a bit of a cheat to get the piti flowing, but you still have to relax into it and let go for it to build. Eventually it becomes too strong or tiresome and then you let go of the physical vibrations and focus on the warm underlying feeling of emotional happiness (sukha). Jhanas are all about enjoying, then seeing the drawbacks and letting go of progressively more refined feelings and mental states. If you cling you get stuck, so it's a good training. Buddha said not to fear the jhanas and actively encouraged their cultivation :-)
Gallons of metta.
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Tue 09/03/2021
15 walk, 45 sit late afternoon
Walk: The walk was above average in terms of keeping attention and mind wandering. Repeating what I've said before, I often find myself day dreaming far more often in the walking meditation.
Sit: Nervous about 45 minute sit at first, but managed to make it to the end. Unfortunately, I guess my hubris was great after messaging about lack of dullness & drowsiness as I had a dull & drowsy sit. My mind felt foggy and attention was not sharp. I did feel happy that I did manage to stay roughly on track in between small unconsciousness here and there, I tried to just focus on breath rather than incorperating "sitting" & "touching" of body parts. Happy I did 45 minutes though emoticon

Tomorrow I will try to start a morning practice before work. I should use what time I would have spent commuting meditating (speaking of which there was an interesting thread about meditating on the train here which I must look at again when I am commuting again).

Cartloads of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Did not get round to meditate in the morning. I won't get into it here but I am very bad at getting up earlier in mornings. Some good days, most bad. My ideal routine would be two hour meditations in a day. A morning one would be great in an ideal world where Tom wakes with ease!

Wed 10/03/2020
15 walk, 45 sit after work ~ 6pm
Walk: I tried noting slower for example "moooviiiing" during the whole movement of foot, while "touching" is brief on contact with floor. I also tried repeating the note "moving, moving, moving", "lowering, lowering, lowering". Made it somewhat easier to pay attention (less gaps for small thoughts).
Sit: Today's sit I was awake, not much drowsiness. I sat through all 45 minutes, mostly keeping attention on breath. I think there was one gross mind wandering for about 30 seconds maybe.

Sort of reflecting on meditation, I think it goes well as I mostly keep on track with noting "rising, falling, sitting, touching" but I do notice there are small thoughts that fit in-between noting. Small more conceptual ones, not much verbal. I will try to note as "thinking" but often they are so small and brief that I don't bother or notice much.

On noting throughout day too, I notice there is so much to potentially note "planning, remembering, waiting, anticipation" especially mental ones that it is a bit overwhelming to categorize. Shinzen's Unified Mindfulness is tempting to use, where it is seeing, hearing & feeling, in & out (I may be simplifying). Feels simpler and maybe easier to focus on sensation rather than the word yet still feels solidly based on the noting technique I know. I still need to complete the free UM course online. I'm sure there is a lot to unpack there, but will keep doing what I'm doing for now! There's that DOUBT again ;)

Teraflops of metta, Tom
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Those small thoughts or impressions in between notes don't need to be labeled. It's enough to notice some and note some sensations. Noting is much slower than our experience unfolds so it's natural to miss many and not be able to label/note some but simply notice them/be aware of them. This counts as a noted-noticed experience so no worries here emoticon 

​​​​​​​Best wishes. 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Ah great, I did see some things about things counting as noted when not labelled. I think I read some text by Mahasi Sayadaw that said something to the effect that early on you notice sensations are fast but mind is slow to note. But later on mind is quick to note.

But this is good to know for now! Thanks!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I've been doing lying meditation before going to sleep each night. I note & do "rising, falling, lying, touching" until I feel quite settled then I lie on my side and fall asleep. Has been a good sleep aid in calming mind and settling thoughts. I have to say I have not gone to sleep while noting as I have always made concious decision to stop meditating and just fall asleep.

Thu 11/02/2020

15 walk, 30 sit
Walk: Good, walking I think has been calming more now. It used to sort of agitate my mind and would set off day dreams sometimes. So it was opposite today. I often feel quite ready to sit because of the walking.
Sit: I often got that pressure in forehead while sitting. Not that pleasurable, but I sort of got that edge that it could become so. I used it as meditation object for a bit but it often faded.
One thing I noticed while attending the breath is that my in-breath is not smooth, it sort of has ebbs of strength, normally around three distinct in-takes within. I can't tell whether it is my heart-beat interrupting sensation of breath. Out breath does not have this however.
I feel like I am more aware that my mind is attending only one thing at a time now, that it can truly only pay attention to one thing at any moment. Things in the background feel like they are recalled / remembered when you notice them.

A breathful of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Rather unmindfully I have often been dating my days with "2020" not "2021" :/

Fri 12/02/2021
15 walk, 30 sit after work
Walk: Same old same old! Noticed coldness at feet often and attention was good.
Sit: Often got the pressure around forehead. Some breaking into a rather spacious calmness which is nice. I kept noting and sticking to objects. Small impressions & thoughts noticed but sometimes not noted. It's kind of strange these small thoughts, I get a vague idea of them - it's like they're not fully formed. I think that a lot of my thoughts are non verbal and more conceptual?

Oceans of metta, Tom
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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What's a year between friends :-)

Proto-thoughts are interesting, you're getting into the murky world of sankhara or "formations". You start out thinking that thoughts are fully-formed discrete objects which you choose to "have". Then you start to see that there's a continuous spectrum leading from physical sensations all the way up to finished thoughts (and images). The finished product is just 10% of the proverbial iceberg. When thoughts break into awareness it's you they have! It's also interesting to track this process in real-time and play on the surface line, trying to see how the selection mechanism works which allows only certain proto-thoughts to develop into thoughts. (It has something to do with emotional charge or vedana.)

Buckets of metta.
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Wow, it is interesting to think (ha ha) about, proto-thoughts! It's sort of like the sensations I have sort of trigger these small mental impressions. I find it hard to note when it happens as they feel quite below the surface and almost not noticed. I feel like I must have missed noting a lot of them and feel a bit frustrated. There are other times when thinking is more obvious and I guess these are the finished thoughts you talk about & much easier to note & catch.

I'll let you know if I get close to the surface line in my practice!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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I always expect and hope to do more meditation during weekends but because there is less routine it sometimes ends up harder to fit in. I noticed some lethargy and laziness today which probably stopped more meditation from happening. I am remembering to be mindful & note more often nowadays which is good though!

Sat 13/03/2021
30 sit
Sitting was pleasant and calming. My mind felt like it was resting. There was a minute or two when my mind was lost day dreaming but for majority of sit I was noting and on track. No piti - I think, I feel like sometimes I'm expecting it or looking out for it. Maybe I expect a certain quality of piti to arise as. I will give myself this advice: to just sit and be mindful and not seek to find any pleasantness, just welcome it when it happens emoticon Might be an example of reading too much on it / speculating.

Umteen metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Sun 14/03/2021
30 walk, 20 sit
Walk: More distracted thoughts than usual, often day dreaming.
Sit: I don't know what it is but I stopped meditating after 20 minutes of sitting - I was in a "good headspace", i.e. good attention & pleasant sensations but I just reacted and opened my eyes and checked the time then I decided to stop. Next time I will try to catch this and note impatience or frustration or intention to stop / desire to stop.
Another thing I'd thought I'd note here, sometimes (today) on the in-breath I can almost feel slightly light headed perhaps as oxygen rushes to my head?

Rivers of metta, Tom
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 1661 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
It's ok if you catch yourself open eyes and get up to check the timer. However get back to the cushion and finish off the sit emoticon 

Have you ever tried freestyle noting aloud for an entire session? You note at least 1-2 sensations per second. Any matter of fact sensation happening will do. Even if same one gets repeated very often. If interested I can show you some videos by Kenneth Folk on you tube on how to do this. I also have a few videos demoing this. 

This way there is little chance to get sidetracked by hindrances and practice also tends to catch fire pretty well as one is not wasting the valuable sitting time emoticon 

Tell me if you are interested. 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Hi, yes I think I sort of give up once I open eyes / check timer. I will try to forgive myself and carry on!
I would be interested in the videos by Kenneth Folk, I'm sort of familiar with him as I've heard him on the Deconstructing Yourself podcast a few times. Please send them my way :-) I will give it a go tomorrow!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Mon 15/03/2021
30 walk, 30 sit
Walk: Was okay, stuck to the attention. I wonder sometimes whether my walking meditation will ever be as interesting as my sitting one? I don't really see it as a thing in it's own right, more of an exercise in mindfulness and attention and a precursor to sitting. I think I should give more weight to it and it may help my problem with excessive mind wandering while walking.
Sit: One of the more interesting sits. A quite pleasurable sensation in head occured a few times. It felt like it could grow into something more intense. It once did I remember when I meditated 45 walk, 45 sit twice in a row in the morning back in August and it was very intense radiating from head. So it felt like it could grow into that - but it didn't. I also noticed on my out breath the sensation at the nostrils, the air passing outwards was particularly pleasant and more apparant (even though I focus on the sensations at the stomach).

It's been about an hour after my meditation, but there's still a sort of feeling around my forehead where I was feeling the pressure during meditation!

Noting during real life has been okay nowhere near constant at all. Hard to quantify, but I do sort of "check-in" now and again to the sensations that are in the present and note for a bit before focussing back to the task at hand.

Jugfuls of metta, Tom
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Kenneth has a series of these demos for each sense. I suggest you look through them as well. 
https://youtu.be/0-58IoZMNss
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Here is me demoing how I do it https://youtu.be/9FeajWRJcXA
Sam Gentile, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Papa Che's videos were very useful to me when I was learning noting.
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Tom Collingwood, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Thanks Papa Che, I watched the two videos and did my own free style noting for 15 minutes. I found myself a bit unsettled at first but after a few minutes I fell into the swing of it. I also found myself being a bit rapid too. Kenneth's video on mind states came up and I found that useful too in regards to noting.

I noticed that it was far easier to note in my every day life after ending the session. There's probably something to freestyle noting out loud with no meditation object which seems to reinforce noting more than the meditation I have been doing.

Definately something to incorperate into my practice moving on! Thanks!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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So today after work I sort of thought "what the hell" and so I did 3 hours of meditation - 45 walk, 45 sit, 45 walk, 45 sit with one minute gaps for transition. In the last 15 minutes of the last sit I did the freestyle noting Papa Che has mentioned & showed.

Tue 16/03/2021
45/45/45/45 after work
Managed to sit through it all (I guess the last one was 30 normal sitting, 15 freestyle) which I am very happy with alone!

With a 3 hour session I expected to expect something, so I tried to simulataneously expected not to expect anything since I was expecting something which would stop something from happening. By 'something' I mean any new state? This paragraph is slightly tongue in cheek ;)

Walking was okay, perhaps below normal in proportion of attention at feet than with thoughts. While walking I felt a sort of pressure build up in my head. I am bad at describing sensations so "pressure in head" is used a lot but it is mostly used for the same particular sensation that precludes a feeling of pleasure behind eyes / in head.

As expected I didn't hit any new ground while sitting, first sit I was drowsy & dull in beginning. I stayed mainly on track though with my attention. The dullness meant I often forgot my position within the parts of the body 'touching'. I seem to get really calm or pleasant sensations in head if I remind myself vaguely of the dharma / Buddhism or if my thoughts go there. Maybe a sort of righteousness / pride affecting my mood... I also get the pleasant sensations the moment I go back to the meditation object after being breifly distracted. I would say overall there was a sort of significant dullness. I think I should read The Mind Illuminated again to get some good lingo / vocab on dullness & sensations.

I think I will do 3 hour sessions divided this way again in future when I have the time.

Golden rays of metta, Tom
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Tom Collingwood, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Wed 17/03/2021
30 walk, 30 sit PM
Walk: As per normal. Noting distractions better / more often.
Sit: was interesting - around 20 minutes in, when I started to shift attention on an itch on my chin &amp; noting, I felt a strong pleasant pressure in head - behind eyes and forehead. I felt sort of pushed back on my cusion & leaned back. My eyes I think were vibrating / moving around energetically and closed in a pleasant way. I still would be thinking now and again and noting during this time. Lasted under a minute. I name these 'head-gasms' and I can only count a few in my time (maybe 6-8 or so times in past year - normally when I am practicing daily). The sort of the output to that 'precursor pressure' mentioned in previous post on this thread.

In a way I'm sort of annoyed at getting these experiences as I know it's nothing too special (in grand scheme) and it's not really insightful into any of the three characteristics (or anything...). Still! I'm sure there could be an argument of the mind doing its thing and may be a sign of good practice. Head-gasms don't align with how Michael Taft was describing piti.

Besides that, sit felt more on track and felt like attention was with the meditation objects more than usual. Noting distractions was better & would often note an itch until it stopped.

Tubfuls of metta, Tom
George S, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Tom Collingwood
In a way I'm sort of annoyed at getting these experiences as I know it's nothing too special (in grand scheme) and it's not really insightful into any of the three characteristics (or anything...).

Sounds like piti ... and also that you have an aversion to feeling pleasure. So that's a characteristic of dukkha right there! It's actually pretty common ... and worth thinking about ...
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Tom Collingwood, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Yes, I think I boxed piti into a specific set of sensations - I guess a lot of sensations may fall into the category of piti.
I am thinking my annoyance of piti comes from intellectualising my progress etc, but perhaps in the micro-scale I do still cling to pleasure. I'll think about dukkha, I just re-read MCTB's three characteristics too!
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Tom Collingwood, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Thu 18/03/2021
30 sit lunch, 30 walk 30 sit evening
At lunch I started with my normal sitting practice then the Open eyes Kasina / freestyle noting aloud for final 15 min. Found it useful and is making noting easier - I am finding the selection of noting easier, it's not second nature yet. I watched a video of Yuttadhammo Bikkhu where he says when you get proffiscient the noting feels like it is happening at the object/sensation rather than a thought at the head.

In evening was mostly a normal sit. Slight dullness throughout. My attention was good at sit, little distractions. I felt like I was better at noting distractions. As often I do catch myself just going back to breath / object of meditation without noting the distraction. There was impatience and boredom at the end so I noted aloud for final 12 minutes.

I will try to lengthen meditations to 45 sit minimum as advised earlier.

I read the "Three Characteristics" chapter early on in MCTB book and I am struggling to think I can notice that many sensations per second (8 per second?). It didn't mention noting regarding this. I also understand that it is actually moments of attention on a sensation, in my head the sensation is there ready to be attended to and it is the attention you direct that may be vibratory?

For example I guess in order to notice the arising and passing of a sensation you have to have your attention to it for whole sensation. What if you direct attention elsewhere mid sensation - so it must be the attention. Sensation is still there in peripherary. I think the idea is that the sensation is so momentary (& the solidness is made up of so many momentary vibrations) that you can't switch mid sensation.

I'm thinking out loud and no doubt I'm sure many questions get ironed out in the rest of the book. Just some initial thoughts emoticon

Galaxies of metta, Tom
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Apparently some practitioners can notice 40 sensations in a second. emoticon I can't nor shall we care about that. 

It's enough to recognize when sensory clarity increases and there is simply ease to note fast without effort. 

No reason to trouble yourself with numbers of sensations per second. Generally 1 sensation per second is fine and then let it increase speed when it naturally can and reduce speed when there is very little to no clarity. In the later it's good to go with words "There is ... (take your time) hearing. There iiiiiis ... dullness. Thete iiiis .... .... heaviness etc ... " 

Noting speed is ALSO subject to Anicca emoticon

​​​​​​​Best wishes Tom! 
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Tom Collingwood, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
That's a relief - I think it is important to just do what you can and not get daunted. We're in whatever stage we're at, and of course strive, but end of day accept where you are and don't get down.

Yeah, I'm interested with clarity and am interested in discerning when I am more able to be mindful. Could find some habbits or triggers that cloud the mind. Mindful of clarity or ability of mindfulness - how meta (with one t emoticon ).

Thanks emoticon
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Tom Collingwood, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Fri 19/03/2021
Strange one today, late in afternoon I just sat in an armchair and noted to myself (not aloud) my experience while looking ahead, occaisonally glancing around (I find the visual distortions when focussing on a point distracting and sometimes painful). And I got to say I sort of blissed out and felt really calm and quiet in the mind. I was basically meditating in a chair eyes open with no object (closing eyes occaisonly slow blissful blinks - love it). I think it felt like what trance might be except I was noting. Threw me off a bit since I would normally get in a similar headspace when sitting properly, Burmese style on the mat & cushion. I was 100% sober but felt quite high-like and quiet in the mind afterwards.

Then later on I sat 15 min walk, 15 sit and again I got this high state of mind afterwards. I was watching television with housemate, nothing heavy, light fluffy TV & nice acoustic singy music videos on this Friday night (UK light TV can be a bit more calm and less energy than US I would say). I just sort of was slow blinking, one eyebrow raised felt very blissful just focusing and noting while watching. Cool experience! Reminded me of my few experiences "high" (I am 100% sober now and have recently 'quit' alcohol).

I note this experience here as I do feel it was induced by the meditation and mindful practices I used today.

Again thinking about it now, I know it's nothing that special just felt good. I'm trying to notice cessations or vibratory nature of sensations. Most I can muster is the sharp stacatto nature of itches, fuzzy noise like sensation of physical touch & also noisy grainy visuals (which I notice everywhere now).

Blissful blinks with two eyefuls of metta behind them, Tom
George S, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

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Sounds like it could be an A&P type experience. Good time to read up on the Progress of Insight and be aware of the possibility of cycling.

Interesting that it happened while you were not officially meditating ... suggests you might be trying too hard in the formal sits.
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Tom Collingwood, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 51 Join Date: 11/14/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for the link, I read it and it sounds like I should read around the context of that chapter too. I have been dipping in and out of various chapters of MCTB.

I think my experience on Friday was not so extreme, and would have fallen under the subtle category - perhaps a lead up for things to come (still happening this weekend a bit). I'm not 100% about being in A&P as I'm not sure if I've got the extent to 1-3 of Progress of Insight. I'll keep in mind Daniel's points but I'll try not to be too certain I'm at a certain stage.

I read Chapter 32, What was That? in regards to cycling and I think what I really liked and will follow is the "Repeat It Again and Again and Be Honest With Yourself" - which sounds like solid advice. I'll try to gently repeat the experience without pushing myself, like you say about trying too hard, and try to determine what it may be & be more familiar with the sensations so I can describe & match it to a map perhaps.

Thanks again, Tom
George S, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tom's Practice Log #1

Posts: 1504 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It was the "high" that jumped out at me. They don't always have to be dramatic, but like you say repetition is the way to go ;-)

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