RE: Stefan's Log

thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 23 Days ago.

Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
If you want to know where I'm coming from, I've written out a pretty detailed summary of my journey so far

This will be a weekly practice log. I won't do it daily, for a few reasons:
  • I'm generally a very big-picture thinker, minute details are only relevant when they are relevant. 
  • Most progress happens for me on a weekly time scale.
  • I "measure" progress by insights, changes in perception, changes in perspective, and not by cool experiences, unless there's something insightful and/or perspective altering about the cool experience in and of itself.
I'm going to keep the weekly log fairly direct. I will discuss themes of inquiry. And I will discuss general emergent themes of the week, along with insights. 

My general motto is to keep meditation as simple as possible. I also have a personal motto of "lean into the chaos". 

Lastly, I want to say thanks for reading, and I genuinely hope this log may be of benefit to anyone that reads it. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Week Log. This is a general "catch-up" log, so that people who have read the "my path so far" can bridge that into what has been happening lately. Also for narrative continuity. 

I finished the Goenka retreat on the 7th of March. By the 11th of March, my meditation practice had become very slow and not fast. My general tendency was to have a default setting of "noting". However, the mind seemed to want to engage in expanded awareness, which I resisted for noting practices. However, it was difficult to fight the inclination where awareness naturally sat and pervaded throughout the entire field of experience. It was at this time I had a wonderful synchronicity of encountering Shargrol's collected posts, who advocates for more open awareness-type practices. I have leaned into this type of practice heavily. 

The next 10 or so days after the 11th was me fine-tuning this approach, feeling it out, and making it work. It was relatively easy because the mind was already inclining towards this mode of viewing. Distractions came in a little easier because the awareness was so diffuse. This was a triviality in comparison to the deep insights I was already seeming to generate at this depth. In this time I've been meditating 70 minutes per sit, a minimum of 2 sits per day, but averaging roughly 3.5. 

First things noticed:
  1. Awareness naturally "sits" on the sensation. Hearing, sight, and feeling are all part of a broad field. 
  2. Everything naturally arises as one giant dance. 
  3. The initial model of observer-observed was that of a piece of string, with one side lifting the other. 
After a few days, more depth ensued, and new insights came. 
  1. Awareness IS the thing being seen/heard/felt. They are the awareness.
  2. The awareness being distinct from sensation is a fallacy of the mind, which incorrectly partitions things. 
  3. Mental phenomena are slightly harder to integrate into the field of awareness. In fact, if there is mental phenomena, its harder to keep other phenomena awareness going. Some other times, it just happens naturally. It is a pure dualistic split the mind is manufacturing. But, the seams are already cracking at the edges. 
  4. Thoughts of future, ideation, or past, completely override all awareness of present/body mind. 
A few more days passed:
  1. Awareness of thoughts/feelings/sight/sound is integrated into a general amorphous field of awareness. Very difficult to find a non-fuzzy way to describe it. Just a big field of fuzz dancing. 
  2. The "self" is a kind of awareness by-product of assuming sensations are not imbued with awareness themselves.
  3. Thoughts of future, ideation, or past, completely override all awareness of present body-mind still. But there is something about time here that I'm missing. I think it may be the fact that awareness is itself time-bound, when thoughts of the future or past arise, they completely subsume or hijack awareness from the present to construct a time-bound awareness that may or may not have thought/feeling/sight/sound imbued with it. 
  4. The internal "talking voice". Who hears that? Oh right. It hears itself. It's kinda superfluous. Kind of the adult version of sucking your thumb, the unacknowledged ouroboros emoticon we just seek completion everywhere we are. Haha
The last week:
  1. Time is a really funny thing. We think we're in the present moment. But there is always very subtle craving or aversion. Why is this? I'm trying to see if I can gently incline the mind to be on the very cutting edge of the present moment. It's definitely a difficult thing to do. But when I do, it's a very sleepy feeling. 
  2. The illusory center point of awareness is fading. It knows itself to be an illusion right now. Whenever the feeling of a self arises within a sensation or without a sensation, I can basically spread or diffuse awareness to find the source. It's like having the Myer-Lyer illusion right in front of you; you know both lines are the same length, and anytime we're feeling convinced they're not, we just bring the lines closer together, or get our ruler to reveal the truth. Lots of ruler-getting lately. I can walk around, feeling centre-less, and I can do a lot of tasks with a kind of subtle awareness of unfolding and non-interference from this illusion of self. Things kinda just happen? Sensations have kind of like "programming" within them themselves that then unpacks a pre-planned/ingrained script that just happens.
  3. Sensations are kinda like crowns. They are hollow in the middle. No individual sensation of pain is painful. The sensations that make up self, likewise, don't have self in them. The crown assumes because it's hollow, it fits on a head. The mind extrapolates a use for the space in sensations by assuming a reference point (my pain). But it's all just relational interaction. 
Emotionally, things are kinda just fine. There's some happiness, some anticipation, some planning, etc. it's all kinda chill. The mind is pretty much past taking emotions very personally any more. It's more about unravelling the tornado of thoughts, along with the alleged "center". emoticon

Ok, this is about it so far. Hopefully, this is broad-strokes enough. 
George S, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Stefan, welcome on board :-)

Impressive journey you've had so far! Just some ideas you could play with ...

​​​​​​​The craving you feel relating to time might be because you feel that you need to make an effort to be in the present moment all the time! The logical way out of this trap is just to accept that thoughts of the present and past are only words and images arising in the present moment, so by definition you are always in the present moment, even when you think you are not! To convince yourself that this really is the case, just take some simple thoughts of past/future and see how they are made up of words/images in the present. Once you do that enough then you start to trust that this process is always happening, even for more complicated thoughts when you are not consciously aware of the process, so you stop worrying about it! It's a bit like once you've learned to ride a bicycle then you stop worrying about your balance all the time, although you can check it any time you feel unstable.

You could look at the center point in the same way. What's worse - the stress of wanting/expecting to be permanently free of the center point, or the stress of accepting that the appearance of the center point waxes and wanes depending on conditions?!

Experiences like "being on the cutting edge of the present moment" or "feeling centress" are really just states, and there's an intimate relationship between time, states, impermanence and dukkha. The only way you know that time is passing is because states are always changing! A lot of the subtle dukkha is caused by clinging to meditation states themselves - expectations of future states, nostalgia for past states, or trying to maintain or improve or get rid of the current state.

This all gets tied up in the personal story of the meditation journey - from crude starting states through to today's more refined states and on to ... an ultimate end state? Or not? What's worse - craving for an ultimate state, or accepting that all states are impermanent?! It's not that states don't matter at all, it's just the craving that's the problem. 

The other interesting consequence of accepting that you are always in the present moment, even when you think you are not, is that it's always been this way your whole life! That long procession of experiences in your memory bank, driven by the craving for better states ... where is it actually going? This is the idea of coming full circle ... :-)

Cheers
​​​​​​​George

PS: a lot of influences of shargrol in the above obviously! Probably I should have waited for him to reply, but I couldn't resist it XD
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
George S Hi Stefan, welcome on board :-)


​​​​​​​Thank you, friend! Your advice and wisdom is very valuable.  "Cutting edge of time" is a pretty awkward phrase, sorry, I have my own words for things and I guess this one would be more understandable. More like, the basically stupid idea of "this moment" which is indivisible, has no start point nor an end point. So being on the cutting edge of time is kinda just realising the moment. Hard to explain. I visualise it by seeing a clock ticking away at time, and then slowing down time so that a second lasts infinity, but then a half second lasts infinity, then a quarter second lasts infinity, and so on, etc.. there's just no end. It's actually related to a mathematical paradox whose name I forget, but basically states that the possible list of numbers between 1 and 2 is the same as between 1 and 1.1. Why? Because you can have infinite numbers between each with no end at all; despite the fact that we'd say that 2 should have more numbers between it and 1 than 1.1. Basically, it's very hard to reconcile that problem without imposing artificial restrictions to begin with, which is kinda the emptiness (perspectives) problem rearing its head up in something quite objective (math).  Right now, the way I see meditation is more like this: I'm being meditated. I tune in, and the mind kinda works out things on its own. The factors involved nudge things in certain ways, and there's a balacing phenomenon going on. So most insights are just disposable steps on a ladder to somewhere, or nowhere, IDK. My past experiences tell me that the grand equation of this whole thing is something like this: ​​​​​​​"is = is" emoticon 
George S, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Sounds good. The only real metric any of us have is our relative level of craving-dissatisfaction, that plus any issues in our relationships and work etc. In my experience, it gets more subtle and hard to detect, but also more pervasive and sneaky ;-)
thumbnail
Pepe, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 332 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Great reports Stefan, welcome to DhO!

George S
​​​​​​​The craving you feel relating to time might be because you feel that you need to make an effort to be in the present moment all the time! The logical way out of this trap is just to accept that thoughts of the present and past are only words and images arising in the present moment, so by definition you are always in the present moment, even when you think you are not!
...
You could look at the center point in the same way. What's worse - the stress of wanting/expecting to be permanently free of the center point, or the stress of accepting that the appearance of the center point waxes and wanes depending on conditions?!

Experiences like "being on the cutting edge of the present moment" or "feeling centress" are really just states, and there's an intimate relationship between time, states, impermanence and dukkha. The only way you know that time is passing is because states are always changing! A lot of the subtle dukkha is caused by clinging to meditation states themselves - expectations of future states, nostalgia for past states, or trying to maintain or improve or get rid of the current state.

This all gets tied up in the personal story of the meditation journey - from crude starting states through to today's more refined states and on to ... an ultimate end state? Or not? What's worse - craving for an ultimate state, or accepting that all states are impermanent?! It's not that states don't matter at all, it's just the craving that's the problem.   

Funny, yesterday I was kind of trying to articulate these insights. Thanks George, so good!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The mind is feeling very expansive, very open, very encompassing. There's a big shift going on.  Some things I've noticed. 
  • All sensations are empty, awareness is empty, but the emptiness itself is empty too. 
  • What does this mean? This means that each sensation has a kind of self-knowing, self-sustaining, and self-relating aspect to it. Think of a tesseract: self-emergence. As awareness encompasses all these things, it too is self-knowing, self-sustaining, and self-relating. In other words, seeing is seeing. Hearing is hearing. The feeling is feeling. The awareness and sensation are kind of melded, flowing through one another. 
  • E.g. hearing sounds, the sounds themselves are made up of tiny vibrations, not of the sound itself. They are collected and fabricated together to make a sound. But the formation gives awareness to the vibrations themselves; they are co-dependent (micro=vibrations, macro=sound). The awareness itself depends on sound to arise there and vice versa. 
  • However, there's an illusion here that remains. There are no things, only relationships. The mind assumes an end or start point because of this. It even assumes because there are relationships, there are things on either side. This cannot be true. Because the relationship arises, assuming one or another is a thing is an illusion. Our minds constantly place a limitation on what they see in order to make sense of things. This naturally assumes a centre point for perceiving and a thing being perceived. But there is no thing perceiving; there is no thing being perceived. There is only perception, that is, the relationship.
  • Only relationships means there is no ground, no reference point. All starting and ending points are assumptions.
  • How do I see this? Each sensation is kind of like a sleeve. Our mind thinks it's like an arm, wanting to complete itself by putting itself in the sleeve that it thinks it observes. This is Dukkha, the tension, the stress, existential dread, etc.. because it just can't seem to fit in the sleeve properly.
  • But whatever the mind is; it's a sleeve itself. And it's all tangled, trying to put itself through itself (because it's assumed it's an arm). It assumes because there are gaps, they need filling, and it's the one to fill it. 
  • Now it's beginning to untangle by seeing the simplicity of relationships. There's no stability. Stability is an assumption. 
  • This is a super convoluted analogy/metaphor. I'm sorry for putting us through this. I'm still working out how to word it more elegantly; I know there's no real way to actually express it comprehensively with words. 
  • PS: I realise that conceiving of "relationships" is itself empty and an assumption. It is another relationship too. However, it's the best thing I can think of. The relationship is the gap itself, where the mind is filling in blanks on either side [X]<---->[X] instead of [_]<----->[_].
  • Yikes, this is a lot of words to say that it's all a type of Gordian-knot-illusion. 
shargrol, modified 20 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nice, yeah "worldviews" aren't necessarily true. They are more like tautologies - they seem real because they fit reality, but they frame reality to make it fit, so they are tautologies. Each moment is basically a hypothesis at best (and needlessly self-protecting delusion at worst). Formations are even more direct gestalt kind of interpretations. Direct and with basically no narrative layer. 

The last little tension is "the gap" between the observer and formations for visual material and between the hearer and thoughts for auditory material. Hope this gives a little hint of things to be curious about.   

  
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Thank you for the wise and kind words, it's definitely giving me confidence here. At the moment, I can see all the pieces of the puzzle kinda coming together. Actually a chat I had with another chap here definitely helped clarify the thoughts. I think analytical meditation definitely helps me; it might be because I'm an intuitive type, as concepts nicely filter into subconscious processing from rational contemplation.
​​​​​​​
Each moment is basically a hypothesis at best
This is so money.

"The gap" ugh. Yeah, I can sense it. I'm trying to really hone it. It's kinda hard to see stably and for very long. But when I do, this is how it appears/feels/thinks:
  • The notion that "reality" is "out there" and "I'm" "in here" is fundamentally flawed
  • This mind/this body is part of reality, which abides by the 3Cs
  • There is a feeling of being out on a misty dusk/or early morning, and you can see headlights up ahead. And through the mist, the headlights kinda disperse into the mist, so you can roughly see where it's coming from and where it is.
  • The mind thinks it's on the other end of the mist, observing the headlight
  • Turns out the mind is really part of the mist, through which the headlight is being dispersed/refracted through
  • The tension is the fundamental uneasiness of simultaneously being inseparable from reality, although not truly one with it.
  • So the mind is caught between "coupling" and "de-coupling" (Dukkha)
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The last week has been a wild ride. Open awareness is just so freeing. It now seems so natural, so life-affirming, so pleasantly... home? It's a very childlike and honest way of meditating. It's like "wait, I was already living like this, but didn't take the time to realise it or appreciate it!" Obviously, I have tonnes more work to do, but it's been the juice for me.

Realising how awareness melds into and melds out of the perceptions with which it co-arises. It's kinda like that Mitch Hedberg bit: "my belt keeps my pants from falling, but the belt loops on my pants keep the belt from falling... I don't know which one is the real hero." emoticon Our minds are constantly looking for that very hero. 

I've noticed a few things:
  • Mind is like a dog chasing its tail. First, it convinces itself that it's a dog. Next, it convinces itself there's a problem. Finally, it says catching the tail is the only solution to the self-imposed problem. It's constantly just fluxing between problem and solution, never happy with either. 
  • At rest, it is just being itself. Inseparable from reality, but not truly one with it. Resting the mind is seeing its true nature. The expansive, pervasive, and self-knowing awareness that just frees up things when it's touched by this awareness. 
  • My dreams have been very... odd lately. My sense of self has changed in dreams. I'll elaborate when I have more data. But right now, there's like this pulsating/fluxing energy field where my body/awareness/mind should be. Most of my dreams are in this non-stop transition between 1st and 3rd person. Dreams feel very disconnected and not "mine". Never happened to me before. And while I'm not a lucid dreamer, I do remember them well and have studied enough Jung to know my dreamworld quite thoroughly. 
  • A bit of impatience in wanting everything to synchronise together, it's so close, I can feel it. I can feel the mind wanting to peter out and just burn up its fuel. It's no biggie, but just an interesting note in how the mind paints itself into a corner like that, then just like that, zip... it's out of the corner in a whole new room with a different colour of paint. New problem, new solutions, etc. emoticon Naughty mind!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
My first 3 (75min) sits today were rubbish!!! Pure and total chaos, confusion, and anger. 
  • reality felt really heavy, burdensome, open awareness just felt like I was carrying a stone
  • it was hard to see no-self in the whole thing
  • it was hard to keep any sort of footing
  • so many distractions
  • it was like the mind was there trying to further expand the periphery, crunch what was still here, and find the faults in every single thing
  • that being said, it was somewhat amusing, a little annoying, and quite frustrating. I just kept going through it. When it's tough = meditate more. When it's easy = meditate more. 
My last (75min) sit was pretty okay.
  • awareness became a little shaper
  • I could see the start, middle, and end of things in the field
  • I could watch the mind literally lifting itself up by the bootstraps. The dog chasing its tail. The self-imposed system trying to solve itself. 
  • no-self was easier to see, and as I sat watching the empty fluxing field, I peered into the abyss. Not going to lie, it was very spooky. Chilling. I wanted to fall in, but something stopped it from happening...?
  • The body/mind felt completely empty, not flat, not shapeless. Like beyond a 3D conception of what flat and hollow would mean. Like a circle collapsing in on itself, and then re-emerging on the other side re-forming into a circle. 
Fun times ahead!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Everything just seems so confusing lately. Like, it's just so close, yet so far. Every time everything gets nice and still, the mind is rested, and the awareness is open, something just peeks out of the corner and just throws a brick into it. 

Every time there's a sense of a deep appreciation for the inner workings of the mind, seeing it bootstrap itself, seeing it generate thought, etc. something just comes out and just ruins it. 

Feelings of annoyance. Frustration. Amusement. A general bothersome texture, like "how on Earth did I end up with a mind!? It's so revoltingly calamitous and clumsy... It can't even apprehend its own liberation"

Overall, it feels like there's some massive blind spot in the mind and as soon as it's found, it sends out a distraction squad and then makes a hasty getaway. 

I think I'm getting to the point where I've gone as far as I possibly can go by myself, and need a teacher. Any volunteers? emoticon Or does anyone know a teacher? 

I will investigate the matter further and see how things progress in the next few days. 
shargrol, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I'm not sure a teacher would help, honestly. Teachers are helpful when some aspect of practicing is misunderstood... but you have a good practice going. Teachers are simply not helpful when it comes to making the insight happen.

In fact, a good teacher will simply say: Continue to practice, continue to be curious about "what is mind?", and investigate the nature of unsatisfactoriness/ill will/lacking/dukka. Trust the natural intelligence of you mind. It got you this far, and you could have never "figured out" or been "taught" how to get here. It will get you to SE if you keep consistent practice going. If a meditation experience doesn't seem like "the right answer", investigate why it seems lacking. Chances are there is something going on with judgement, striving, ambition, egotism, pride, clinging that you are not seeing clearly. Experience itself is simply vivid and fleeting. Every situation that seems like it contains dukka, when seen clearly, merely contains useful information. Observe sensations as sensations, urges as urges, emotions as emotions, thoughts and thoughts. Notice how sensations are felt, urges are motivation, emotions are like a mix of sensations and simple thoughts, and thoughts are actually airy sounds that simply appear and disappear. Nothing in experience "hits" any other experience. How could there actually be dukka? Let the mind find the absence of dukka. Where is it?
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Thank you for the wise words, Shargrol. I'll never stop persisting ahahah that's out of the question. I just read a few chapters of Wake Up To Your Life, and the first thing he mentions is a teacher, and I felt like it was perhaps synchronicity... But if you say my practice is looking good based on the logs, I trust you. I won't lie, your collected posts have been somewhat of a surrogate teacher for me. emoticon

I guess I'd become habituated to having a good grasp on things, feeling like I was over a hill, cruising to the finish line. Also, there's some background annoyance that I can't even seem to accurately map myself onto the MCTB POI to even know where I am (confused about the confusion I guess). But those concerns are mostly off the cushion and don't show up in practice. 

The general feeling of the whole thing is "so close yet so far". I'm 95% certain I've had 3-4 "near misses" in the past day. Today I came the closest when I comprehended the co-arising empty nature of awareness and perception, the non-ground luminosity that pervades between and within them. And just as the mind began to realise it, I felt a surge of "this is it" and then fright and something literally "scared" the mind out of it. The feeling of having a finger on the trigger, aim in sight, but just not pulling. Naughty mind!
George S, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Just a guess here, but "going public" with your practice can also have an effect. It certainly did for me. It's natural to put your best foot forward and summarize where you think you've got to, which can have the effect of temporarily suppressing any hindrances which you would otherwise have been working on (doubts, goals, pride etc.) It also seems to be common at a certain point to get confused/frustrated about mapping, as well as becoming harder to separate off cushion concerns from formal practice. This might be more a reflection of my practice though, so please ignore if it's not helpful.
shargrol, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Stefan, near misses are good. Confusion is even better -- it means that you are confronting new material and new limits that are slightly beyond your current abilities. That's the only way progress happens. There is a Dzogchen book called "Confusion dawns as Wisdom" but, in terms of practice itself, wisdom first dawns as a state of confusion. emoticon

It can be helpful to understand that no one has ever known how to make SE happen, no one has ever known when SE was going to happen, and no one knows that SE has happened until after it's over. So basically any drama that comes up around SE is the little neurotic self trying to have control over something it doesn't have control over. If you are smart you will realize that now is a great opportunity to learn all about this little neurotic self so that it can't trick you into more drama in your life and practice. Welcome the confusion and frustration and put the spotlight of awareness on it. Let it do it's drama as entertainment for you, like putting it on a theater stage. Put the spotlight on the sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts that seem to arise out of confused sense of "being someone in control" of what happens during meditation. 
George S, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I thought Stefan's previous "poof" and "zip" experiences sounded like cessations, but maybe I'm wrong ...
shargrol, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Hmm, I see what you are saying. They do... and the plot thickens!

​​​​​​​Stefan, what do you think? Working toward SE or working toward 2nd path?
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
George, I think you're spot on regarding the public work, definitely sharpens a lot of things. And also puts some unconscious energy to work in the background to process experiences a little quicker.

Regarding where I am at... The only real thing that makes me unsure where I am is the fact that I had no "rapid cycling" post-experiences like what Ingram explained. I did have more cessation-like experiences after the first, but definitely not rapid (actually he never defines rapid so I'm not sure). And I didn't notice myself going from A&P to EQ in daily life while just doing things. But then again, after those experiences my stress levels dramatically dropped without any conscious effort on my part and everything felt way easier. Plus I was focused on study at the time. And the dark night I experienced before those experiences was pretty not fun and possibly traumatic if it weren't for the benefits the meditation provided, so everything after them in comparison have been relatively smooth and pleasant just by default lol

I can go into more detail about the phenomenology of everything before and after the experiences. I did have some mind-blanking-zip experiences after the first big one. But they were much coarser and didn't feel as smooth or as much of a mental reset as the first one. I basically have had 5 really good smooth mental blanks and about 4 dozen course blanks. The good smooth ones involved no real warning sign or lead up, just like being gently tipped over the edge; the mental blank feels like it's about 1 second or so in duration. The course ones had a lot of eyelid twitching, the eye rolls upward/back and at the top of the eye roll the breath goes away and there's a quarter/half second of blankness. 

After every single smooth mental blank events, the mind feels fresh, awake, like it's downloaded new software. Insights previously touched on become integrated or congealed into a single statement. Lots of mental clarity. Most of them involve wanting to laugh, wanting to hug someone, gratefulness, and appreciation for life. I can also remember most of what happened before and after them very clearly, they feel significant in memory.

The course mental blank events feel kinda meh, they're good but just like, "oh here we go" and they lost their pizazz after the first 2-3. Sometimes the course mental blanks happen when I'm just doing things. I remember having one during a space documentary and I contemplated the co-dependent arising or gravity and matter, thinking about how both arise. I had to pause the documentary and rest my mind for a minute to concentrate and then as I did I just felt my eyes shaking and "oh right yeah this is happening I guess".

So, this is the data I'm working with. Ingram says 99% of SE claims is just A&P. And I've heard noone else say otherwise.

Apparently 2nd path is meant to be straightforward. The last few days have felt anything but straightforward, despite feeling so close. 

I won't lie, I'm not really one to make bold claims about myself.
What do the data say here? 
shargrol, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Well, first off, 2nd path is a mess. It isn't straightforward at all, mostly because jhanas come online in a much more powerful way and the body rewires itself. Most people report confusion and a difficulty mapping.

After your first round of blanks, how did your ability to go into jhana change or stay the same?
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Oh... Oh ok. I didn't know that. Ingram explained it as being pretty straightforward. Good to know.

As for Jhanas... I've never really practised them a lot. The only instructions I've gotten are from the book "Wisdom Wide and Deep" and the book wasn't very helpful in explaining things to me in a way I can understand, it came across as more of a textbook. That being said, I thought I had some Jhana experiences before the mental blank, but after the mental blank I definitely did (I think lmao), although mapping them, I can't definitively say "I got to # Jhana no problems" just because the phenomenology of them doesn't line up with the one source I have on Jhana practice. Basically, before the mind blank, I thought Jhanas were like a 10. Then I had the mind blank and it turns out it was a 10, but 10 out of 100... if that makes sense? But I can't verify that I even had Jhana in the first place because I haven't read any good descriptions that correspond to what I experience when in deep concentration states. 

I can get pretty deep absorption concentration, but I don't really recognise piti in the way it's mostly explained. As I recall, it's mostly described as a very gross bodily sensation, mostly felt on the outside of the body; as I recall, kind of like a shimmering feeling across the skin. For me, I think the piti I experience is like a cooling soothing feeling, like a minty freshness throughout my entire windpipe, and it kind of radiates a smooth cooling refreshing energy from the inside-out. When I get deep, there's just stillness. And there's no attention or effort required at all. I don't really recall any transitions between getting concentration, and then dipping into the cool windpipe feeling. It just happens in a space of 2-5mins. After I hit that there's just stillness; I'd love to describe it as being more than what it is, but that's all it is. Just really still and empty. Eventually, the mind "expands" and the object of meditation is simultaneously in the foreground and background of meditation. Overall, it's very pleasant, and when I leave the experience, I feel both refreshed and energised afterwards. The times I've done Jhana practice actively (maybe a half dozen times), getting the cool windpipe sensation takes about 2-5mins. The stillness takes another 5-10mins on top of that. And the mind expansion feeling maybe another 15-30mins after that. Prior to the mental blank, I'd only ever gotten to the mind stillness stage a few times and with great effort, and never past it (to the mind expansion stage). Sorry, my phenomenological descriptions are a bit of a mess. 

One thing about the cool windpipe feeling is that it comes around whenever I get concentrated on anything nowadays, be the breath, study, a book, etc.. However, to get it to radiate, I need to concentrate deeper, and with less dynamism, so with reading and study, it doesn't radiate as much. I'm getting it now, just writing this and wanting to pick good words. Does this correspond to a light piti? It may just be I'm not wired the same as others, or I've never gotten a harder piti (assuming I am in the first place)?

That's the best I can describe what Jhanas I've gotten (if I have at all). I haven't practised them much at all. Sorry, I can't be more helpful than that. Honestly, a lot of my phenomenology doesn't seem to correlate to what I read around the place. Like, descriptions of the 1st Jhana and piti don't resonate with me at all. 
shargrol, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Cool and minty is fairly classic third jhana. That feeling is described as bliss, rather than piti. Piti is the more crude and rapturous feeling of pleasure, bliss is the cool, breezy, numbing feeling. Stillness is classically 4th. Expansion could be a deeper 4th or the beginings of 5th (boundless space). 

Would you consider doing an experiment and simply try to cultivate each jhana using these simple instructions/guidance?: http://www.leighb.com/jhana2do.htm

Or maybe follow along with this one?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRdiOoTZC3A 

p.s. the work toward 2nd path is straightforward (which is why the pointers I gave above would work for 1st or 2nd path when someone is teetering in High EQ at times)... but the _experience_ of working toward 2nd path is often much more confusing because the nanas are often experienced more as vipassina jhanas, less like the more gross nanas, which makes the mapping harder. There is a lot more jhana-ish aspects to 2nd path for most people. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Oh ok, thank you so much for clearing it up, really, Jhanas have been SO confusing for me. I've been reading about cultivating 1st Jhana and not having any experiences that lined up with it at all, and so I kinda put it on the back burner because I figured I wasn't doing it right, or that something was wrong with my practice. So I figured I'd leave practising it until after SE. Plus, I only learned about the Jhanas when I was already decently deep into the insight stuff, and (after a few seeming failures) figured I'd do it after consolidating the gains and working from a position of strength (as I read Jhanas become far more natural and easier to cultivate after SE). Thank you so much for answering a question that has been bugging me from the sidelines for a while. 

Yeah for sure, I'll do the experiment. I've definitely had multiple experiences in the past where my mind felt like it was filling up my room to the brim, so that's encouraging.
I'll do the experiment tomorrow and report back; is there anything in particular that I should look out for?
shargrol, modified 14 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nothing in particular. 

EDIT: Ugh, I just realized that "nothing" is a loaded word when talking about jhana, so this collequial expression could be misunderstood! emoticon What I'm trying to say is that "nope there isn't anything in particular to look for, just do the experiement and have fun."
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
0. Follow breath until access concentration is established:
- yep, did this no dramas. about 2-3 mins in, I had the cool minty windpipe

1. Switch attention away from the breath to a pleasant physical sensation:
- focusing on the minty windpipe felt good, initially very pleasant, which then subdued into a cool radiant feeling in the body. like taking a drag of a cosmic vape. very smooth. 

2. Focus on the emotional joy/happiness that is accompanying the intense physical sensations of the 1st Jhana:
- No real intense physical sensations or intense emotional sensations. It's all very cool. Not a wow factor, more like a just chilling/vibing factor.

3. Turn down the intensity of the joy/happiness to contentment/satisfaction.
- this happened about 10mins in, where the cool windpipe feeling just felt right. nothing more, nothing less. 

4. Let go of the pleasure of the contentment/satisfaction and drop down to a quiet, still equanimity.
- eventually, it all chilled out into stillness and calmness. like putting your head underwater. lasted about 20mins

5. Sense the "boundaries of your being" and begin expanding them outwards:
- yep, this naturally occurred after being in 4 for a while. just subtle expansion, and then whoosh, it's all there. Due to insights gained from my insight practice, there was a parallel awareness that to be aware of this expanding space, awareness would have to be there. After feeling like I was aware of the entire world, the dualistic split "switched over" and awareness became the focal point. 

6. Realizing that it takes a boundless consciousness to be aware of a boundless space, switch your attention to your consciousness of the boundless space.
- see above. it happened very effortlessly, once I saw the cue for it open up. Just a matter of nudging the mind, "hey look at that"

7. Switch your attention from the boundless consciousness to the content of that consciousness - it will be a sense of no thing - no-thing at all anywhere.
- ok this one is harder to explain how it happened. Eventually, the mind kinda got bored being as big as the galaxy. And it collapsed on itself. If awareness is what makes space/volume presence known, then the awareness itself has a gap between itself and space - they naturally cannot be one.
​​​​​​​The collapse happened into this gap, of sorts. How do you see nothing? Well it's not nothing really, just a feeling of nothing. A gap, a kind of void between co-arising sensations. Lasted about a minute, it wasn't very pleasant, and it didn't take long to realise there was still something, technically, being seen, it's very tension-ish.


8. Let go of all the previous outward sensing and come to rest in a small spot more or less between the eyes and a few inches from your face. Focus on being in a state that has no characteristics.
- this one is even harder to explain. I noticed my eyes naturally shift from where they were to the middle, almost kinda cross-eyed. Then the gap of 7 is known deeper. Feels like the lead up to the mental blanks, but more "tuned in", a less "freeing" feeling; there's definitely something further than this, I can sense it... but not sure how to verbalise it, there's a nudge needed for another breakthrough (is there something past this Jhana or am I imagining it?). But feels VERY close to how the lead-up of the mental blanks happen. How does it feel phenomenologically? There's just floating? It's very hard to explain. Because "no characteristics" is still a characteristic. I'd say it's like being suspended in disbelief lol; a very big tangible drop in the "something-ness" to the gap or void. It's a paradoxical state, awareness is collapsed, the gap/void is collapsed, and you're just watching the collapsed ruins of them both, no form or structure in there. Lasted maybe 20-30 seconds? Mind dropped back into expanded consciousness/space after this and quickly contracted back to stillness. 

What does all this mean? These instructions were very good and simple, the cues are explained very well and were easy to memorise. I'm still a little confused why I don't get the sexy 1st and 2nd Jhana feelings of orgasmic full body ecstasy, and just cool windpipe cosmic vape. But oh well. Them's the breaks, I guess. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
So I did Jhana this morning and the whole day I've had really nice smooth minty cosmic vape windpipe feeling. First session was straight after waking up 80mins. Second session around 2pm, 80mins again, and I didn't do any Jhana, just insight, and it felt so much better. Had a really nice smile on me the whole day. Third session was around 4:30pm 80mins, and even smoother meditation than the 2nd session. This concentration stuff, wow. Braisington's instructions hit the nail on the head. Smooth as. 
shargrol, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Great, thanks for doing the experiment. Obviously I'm not in your head, but based on your descriptions it sounds like you have jhana abilities that are more typically associated with a post SE yogi. 

Your inability for 1st and 2nd is probably because those states are so crude. It's sort of like being with a lovely girlfriend and someone offering you pornography, Your reaction is going to be "what are you crazy? I'm enjoying being with my lovely girlfriend." emoticon The bliss of 3rd jhana is wonderful, so why not dwell there if you easily can?  (Note: third jhana also seems to be a natural place for people who have been classic "dark night yogis" --- at least that's my experience. I was a dark night yogi for decades, so third jhana feels like home to me in a way.)

The typical pragmatic dharma instructions for someone with these skills is to mostly focus on dwelling in jhana.  "Monks, secluded from sense pleasure... He steeps, drenches, fills and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body that is not suffused with this rapture and happiness. Just as a skilled bath-attendant or his apprentice might strew bathing powder in a copper basin, sprinkle it again and again with water, and knead it together so that the mass of bathing soap would be pervaded, suffused, and saturated with moisture inside and out yet would not ooze moisture, so a monk steeps, drenches, fills and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that, there is no part of his entire body that is not suffused with this rapture and happiness born of seclusion. "

You'll find that the mind will natually soak in a jhana for a while, it will grow a bit stale, and the mind will either want to pop out or will want to go to the "next" jhana. By intending (gently) to keep going to the next jhana, you are "riding the jhanic arc" as described by Kenneth Folk.  This is a _very_ good practice for conditioning the mind so that it is willing to fall into nibbana.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogi-toolbox-riding-jhanic-arc-via.html

It might be you go up slowly during a sit, it might be that you go up and down during a sit, it might be that it goes up and down many times and each time climbes a bit higher during the sit, it might be that you dwell in one jhana for an entire sit --- all of these are good. The natural intelligence of the mind seems to know where to go, so just sort of play around and enjoy being taken on a ride. 

Mapping of second path can be challenging for people with strong jhana ability and the ability to have repeat fruitions from 1st path. Lots of near misses and "old fruitions" can occur, but these are different from the 2nd path. So the best advice to really give up on mapping and just focus on dwelling in jhana. The mind will still naturally vipassina-ize things, too, but there is no need to focus on vipassina at this stage. Soak in jhana, ride the jhanic arc.

Congrats! This is a fun time for practice. New skills, new adventure.

Hope this helps in some way. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Woah that makes sense... My first dark night was crazy, not super long (9-12 weeks total) but very intense. This feels like a massive weight off my shoulders; I thought I was doing Jhana wrong for so long now... I cannot thank you enough for all this help and guidance, it is truly invaluable. My only hope is that one day I can pay the favour forward and help another as you have me. 

This has helped me immensely. I'm really going to practice Jhana heaps more once I attain the next path no matter what. This has given me so much more confidence to proceed, and exciting new avenues to explore. The Jhanic arc article looks fantastic. I can't wait. OK, I'm just gonna keep chugging along. 

I honestly can't thank you enough. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Just some thoughts I've had:
  • "Self" is just a sensation in the giant fluxing pool of experience. 
  • What we take to be the self is just a protected set of these sensations. Protected by what? More and more sensations, I presume, that are interacting with awareness. Kinda like signs or symbols pointing like this:
  • =====[PROTECT THIS]====>>>[SELF]<<<====[PROTECT THIS]=====
  • But the sensations of self also want to protect the protection sensations. Mutually co-dependent. That's the real tangle we're in here. That's what the suffering is all about. This is why we're here. 
  • =====[PROTECT THIS]<<<====[SELF]====>>>[PROTECT THIS]=====
  • These sensations are kinda "layered" on top of one another, just swirling away like a vortex
  • Just sitting there watching this vortex cyclone go round and around in the moment; one second its anticipating, next its bored, next its excited, next its sad, happy, etc.. just swirling about. Of course, in the middle of the cyclone there's literally nothing there, that's the funny thing. The sensations that are "self" protect nothing. The outer rings of the cyclone protect the inner rings, and the inner rings protect the outer rings. They're mutually arising, co-dependent. 
  • Watching each moment unfold, I see this cyclone going. Nonstop. The mind seeing its resting state (eye of the storm - emptiness) true nature in glimpses is very nice; outer rings and inner rings working together to protect this seemingly weak, scared, and petrified inner empty core. It's like a big scary guy who's got huge tattoos all over him. Inside, he's still got a heart, lungs, liver, some bad and good genes, maybe an ulcer or two, who knows? But the tattoos give off the impression that inside it's much more stable/stronger/sturdier than what it is, but it's not. It's just the same inside every time. Empty, conditions, no centre, no ground, no resting point, just a swirling neverending ouroboros that somehow can't manage to see that it's trying to bite its own tail. If it just rested, it'd see clearly that the thing it's chasing is its own tail. 
  • Heaps of near-misses I think today. Maybe 3 or 4. At the very last moment, something goes "no wait, you're meditating". And it just stops. Very amusing. The mind is locked onto seeing 3Cs, there's nothing in control, just pure observation/awareness/unfolding, and then out of nowhere, the mind puts up the barriers again. Like being woken out of a trance. Definitely a sense of fright in there, a sense that the mind has gone too deep. Naughty mind! Nothing to do but keep going. It's not frustrating at this stage, because even the near-glimpses have shown me so much, I've learned a lot in the last 2 days it's incredible. 
shargrol, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1531 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounds really good. Straight ahead!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Something definitely happened 2 days ago, which has changed how things appear. 

It feels like I've taken off a giant coat that I was foolishly wearing on a summers day.  

I will write back with how things feel once it's all stabilized. My brain and body the last day and a half have felt like they've been rewiring, there's a feeling of big transformation taking place. Stability in instability; a momentary acceptance of what is and where things are no exception. The feeling of effortlessness and a kind of natural wisdom in just awareness. The cogs of consciousness never resting and never being "it". It's all just a fleeting and inescapable sensation.
George S, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Nice!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
"It" happened today... I think. I could feel a foreshadowing (as my previous post is a testament to). It happened about 1hr after the post. During a sit. 

Basically, just sitting in open awareness. Everything is so open. Just suspended in constant instability. Nothing still. It was very serene. It's like a helicopter trying to land on a helipad that's never still. There's a lot of beauty in this. 

Some thought popped into mind, and as the mind came back to rest in open awareness, it got sucked into a vortex. The feeling that awareness was getting pulled from inside to outside. And gone. Immediate snap back to reality. This mental blank didn't last as long as my previous ones. I was so engrossed in equanimity that I had to double-back to see if it really happened. Not sure if it's the real deal, but something feels new and comfortable. Just contentment. The overall sentiment is, so underwhelming... just another sensation/state. 

Just felt very light after it. Everything is very diffuse. My heart feels very tender and loving. Everything in its right place. 

I will report back to see if this is the real deal. Honestly, I'm not super concerned. I might do a wall of text write-up on what was experienced.
George S, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Just speculating here based on my limited experience, but this sounds like a 3rd path type event, which could be possible if your poofs and zips were separate paths (which was the impression I got when I first read them). I could be totally wrong, but in any case it's excellent stuff :-)
Martin, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 278 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Sounds lovely. Glad to hear it.
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
@Martin: thank you, my friend. Your log is looking great too!

@GeorgeS
If I may ask: what makes you say this? I'm not really all that clued in what each path actually means. Is there something 3rd path-y about what I wrote? 

In other news, I barely slept last night. My brain has been on fire the last 12-ish hours. Just churning nonstop, not in a bad way. More like I've just successfully memorised an encyclopaedia of knowledge and the mind is making all these crazy new connections between the info it learned. I'm going to take it easy the next few days, rest and regroup. emoticon
​​​​​​​
All the best to everyone on their journeys!
George S, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 1553 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It was the awareness getting turned inside out and it seemed different from previous ones, but maybe it was a repeat or something else. Anyway, only one thing to do ... keep going! emoticon​​​​​​​
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Oh right, yeah that definitely was 100% new compared to the rest. We'll see how it all plays out. 

Nothing to it, but to do it!
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Another mental blank last night, as I was watching TV. Awareness kinda phased out of itself. Like wiping a slate clean, but you take the slate with you when wiping across it. Happened again today in my sits, pulsating/strobing lights and then zip. 

As for the experience of what's going on. Things are way way different. It's kinda awesome getting used to it. Feels like an operating system upgrade for sure. 

- thoughts are kinda nothing. I sensed it in conversation today with my friend. We were talking about things, and I said something like, "I am x" and automatically I could feel the mind gently tugging at the sensation"trying" to make more of it, and the awareness saw it, and the sensation just stayed in its place and never got thicker/stronger and awareness didn't coalesce or tighten around that sensation. 

- in conversation today, no real self-referential thoughts at all. Completely embodied in the conversation. No effort in conversation. No "thinking of what to say" came up. Things were just said. And it was so delightful.

- sensations are just in their place. This one is really groovy. I never realized it before, but the feeling of my hands used to be "up here" (in the head) and now they're "down there" (at the fingers). Similar for sounds, thoughts, sights. I never really realised how all these things were so bound up to a centre point as they were before. It's like being in a really spacious room now. 

- effort is almost entirely gone. This is very hard to get used to. The mind definitely used to identify highly with effort. Now things come and go along with their conditions. Effort was a sensation that the mind held onto and refused to let go of. But not any more. 
Martin, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 278 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for posting this! 
thumbnail
SushiK, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 114 Join Date: 6/11/20 Recent Posts
That sounds...pretty amazing.
​​​​​​​
Longing to be there somedays :-)
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log

Posts: 45 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
 Okay, thought I'd check in with some more info, log the stats. Still doing 4hrs a day. 80min sits. 

Today I had a pressure test. An upcoming very nerve-wracking event. I won't go into details. During the ordeal, my anxiety/nervousness was severely down. My contriteness was definitely far higher than what it would have been previously. There was a bit of shaking, sweating, adrenaline, heart pumping, etc. and all just sat in awareness naturally and did its thing. There wasn't an overarching desire to "leap into" the sensations and make more of them. No doubt, it was a bad time to be Stefan. But the sensations just didn't hit the mind as hard as they used to. 

Last 3-4 sits have been meh. Very nothing about them. Just sitting. I will admit, the ordeal of unmasking/revealing and seeing through the illusion of self was very captivating (not that the job is done, but it feels 80% done). Now the mind is resting and there's no real goal. Not that I mind. It's just interesting noting how things are framed and how they unfold as time goes on. There's a natural clarity in awareness, and the mind is tuned into seeing awareness pretty easily, and untangling sensations as they appear, without interfering in them... If that makes sense? Like just a spacious being. I can see the appeal of rigpa/ground ideas, but they can't track here... There's simply no ground to it all. Just pulsating swirling chaotic beautiful sensations doing their thing with no resting point, no centre other than ones that are assumed. 

Meditation off and on the cushion has lost its distinction. Open eyes, closed eyes. Walking, running, writing, reading, etc. There's a spaciousness to it all. Less clutter around the sensations of the effort. Very easygoingness to it all. 

Had a nice... "tantric" kind of insight/view today. Deliberately tried to bring up anxiety feelings in preparation for my ordeal later. And it took about 5-10 mins. Once the sensations were there, it was interesting to note the depth and breadth of the sensations. Underneath the anxiety sensations are strong, brave, and fierce notes; revealing the "other side" of the fight/flight response, I think. It was very interesting. I'm definitely going to do this with more problematic/unwholesome emotions, and uncover their wholesome/productive side. I think this will be beneficial for all. 

The mind is just tuned into untangling the sensations as they arise. It's naturally self-liberating. Anything that falls into awareness (or awareness falls into the sensation - much of a muchness really) just gets "untied", and allowed to participate in the freeform chaotic jumble mess... Bless this mess! 

 

Breadcrumb