Polly Ester’s practice log 12

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 9 Days ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 12

Posts: 5303 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
April 4th, 2021

I was in the bathroom thinking about my practice and how so little happens nowadays. Then I realized that I was watching the sand in the cat litter box breath and considering it completely normal. So maybe I have moved the frontier a bit with regard to what counts as happening. I can switch back and forth between seeing the sand as a unit that is breathing on the one hand and on the other hand seeing it as a flux of particles being and not being. 

I have sort of a duality mode alarm thing going on. Whenever I'm focusing on something as being other, there is a sharp tone in my right ear and everything else sounds muffled. I can follow the tone outward, expanding it and expanding with it. That takes me out of my head and the tone conveys itself as white noice that is located nowhere and everywhere. This happens both on and off the cushion.

It seems like the duality mode alarm goes off for instance when I'm resisting something. It happened when Michael said that we would do koans. I'm not a big fan of them. I find reality puzzling enough without intentional mindfucking, honestly. Anyway, since the alarm went off, I decided to surrender instead of resisting, so I gave the koans a chance. The first two ones turned into shimmering dust. As for the third one, I forgot the question before I could hear the answer (that one was the kind where there's someone asking something and someone else replying). Then there were some koans that actually made sense (also of the question-answer type but less nonsensical, more like pointing out instructions). Then something else happened that I can't recall right now. I'll have to go back to the recording. Oh, wait... There was a sound interspersed with complete silence, more silent silence than I would have been able to imagine. Then Michael's voice broke up like that too. The koan turned into vibrations, with emphasis on the silences. Something popped.

I have spent some time being vibrations today. It was well needed. I feel like that grounds me. I can't help thinking of Odo in StarTrek deep space nine, going to rest in his bucket, free from form. I think Tim was the one who came up with that comparison, which was especially fun since it made sense of what he had already coined as my bucket theory of karma rather than individual karma. In Odo's species, they all blend. Unfortunately (spoiler alert!) they turned out to be not so awakened towards the end of the series. 

In the RtS course we are to gradually let go of our constructions of time and space (not once and for all, but when we don't need them) to prepare for centerlessness, or at least that's the general instruction. It turns out that I never really had that much of such constructions as default. Experiences that scare some of my co-students are the kind of experiences I have been living with my entire life. For me it's obvious that they are constructions because I'm still struggling to construct them, especially with regard to time. Spatiality has finally become habituated just in time for having to let go of it again. I'm grieving the lifelong pathologization of my experience that was really more on the side of emptiness. I will have to let go of that pain because it's holding me back, but that's easier said than done. I don't want to spiritually bypass it by suppressing it. I think I need to acknowledge the pain and let it be there before I can let it go. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Hours ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 12

Posts: 5303 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
April 14th, 2021

I have felt a need lately to tell less stories about the practice, maybe in order to not distort it, maybe because the stories play into the whole personality investment thing, or maybe just because I found it too effortful. Anyway, there are some things I want to record, to keep track of stuff for the sake of wayfinding if needed. Oh gosh, where do I start? 

Okay, so I have found ways to integrate my different approaches to the practice in a new way, which has taken away some lingering confusion, perhaps especially with regard to working with emotions and worldviews. This is also why I really want to write here, despite of what I said above. I wouldn't have been able to make these connections if it weren't for the phenomenology that I have learned here. 

It came to me when I was reflecting on my working with emotions retreat with Lama Lena that didn’t go very well at the time because it seemed to trigger my old chronic pain and fatigue when I intentionally brought up emotions on the cushion, pretty much like we have been doing in the RtS classes but more concentrated. What helped me was to apply what I learned from Mahasi practice (at the more advanced level where noting is too slow) and Daniel in general, about noticing everything that arises at subtler and subtler levels. So I started working with that, because emotions aren’t those big solid entangled blobs after all, but just arisings that start out as little embryos before they take shape. Those little embryos are so much easier to deal with, and it actually makes a difference also in my daily life. Michael often advices to look for anything that seems solid and work with that. I think I took that too literally, forgetting that what people generally think of as solid doesn’t have to be the most sensitive trauma-generated knots. Those are the only things that seem solid to me, but they are too much to take on. It is much more helpful to work with what hasn’t yet been solidified but is still in becoming. And I actually know how to do that. That’s what I learned in vipassana. In order to work from "the view" without either retraumatizing or getting stuck, I need to let awareness apply what I learned from vipassana. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without it.

This last weekend we had an online retreat with the RtS course, both my group and the new cohort, and I found that framework helpful for working with this softer and subtler approach. I also revisited some gems from the Bön practice to get into the right spririt, because they help me still my mind and appreciate the subtle dance of the stillness, by tuning into the silence that's at the core of everything. When I let that kind of awareness hold personality-centred manifestations, I can feel how the hooks involved in the personality are just stiff poses that are taken on momentarily, and how the bubbles of that manifesting go pop pop pop pop pop. The bubbles are so delicate, not like the champagne bubbles. Smoother than Guiness foam. It's funny how something so delicate can be so tense.

Lately I have had this experience that silence sort of bursts out from the centre of what is experienced. It's like it's all made of arising and passing bubbles, and when they burst, which they do all the time, the silence comes out in the open. 

I have also had some much less subtle experiences lately, with layers of emotional entanglements showing up, with very samsaric driving forces revealing themselves in rather absurd ways. What was helpful in that was that some of it felt so uncharacteristic that it was comical, and that made it easier to work with. I was less invested with the stories that came up, so I could ride it out without escaping so much into ignorance. I went with some of it in order to really see the emptiness of it, over and over again. That involved a secondhand shopping spree that was nuts as some deeply embedded hungry ghost issues came to the surface. It damaged my economy, but not worse than I can deal with the consequences. Watching the dependent origination lf it unfolding was very interesting. It said a lot about our society, apart from teaching me a lot about what's holding me back. So many patterns that keep feeding themselves. 

Lately I have also found that a lot of things that I took for granted about myself aren't true. That includes preferences that I thought were viceral when they were really just based on stories. When I stopped keeping some of those stories going, I suddenly found that a lot of taken for granted preferences fell away as a house of cards when you remove some of its foundations. Like, I don't actually hate pink. I'm not inept with regard to some practical skills that I thought would always be beyond me. I actually don't lack energy - the exhaustion and overwhelm that challenge my life are much more complicated than that, and thereby also possible to work with (see the second paragraph). 

Speaking of energy, my relationship to energy in the practice has changed. I need to go subtler here too. It makes more sense to see it as a larger eco system than to focus on this body and its limitations. People keep talking about different ideas of where the energy should go or where it should be focused, but it's already everywhere. I find that letting it remember that solves most issues. The subtler levels of it already know where the grosser ones have work to do. 

It feels like my body is healing. My beloved yoga studio had to close down due to the covid situation and I haven't been able to practice yoga as much and as diligently on my own, so I "should" suffer from so much body pain and brain fog now, and for some reason I don't. Some tensions that have been bothering me a lot don't seem to be there. I don't know if it's thanks to my practice or thanks to my increased magnesium intake or something else. I also don't take it for granted that it will last. 
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Chris Marti, modified 6 Hours ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 12

Posts: 3862 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Great narrative on a maturing practice!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Hours ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 12

Posts: 5303 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Well, thankyou Chris!
George S, modified 4 Hours ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 12

Posts: 1505 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
This stuff all sounds really good Linda, I've been wondering what you've been up to! Go Pink!!

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