RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 37 Join Date: 2/28/21 Recent Posts
Hi All,

Starting a practice log to record my sessions.

Hoping to get atleast a 20-30 minute session everyday. Mix of Concetration at the start and then Mahasi noting.

Wish me luck!
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Had a 45 minute session today during my lunch break at work.

Started off with just following my breath and counting to 10 and recounting to 10 over and over, could keep my concentration on the breath for a good 60-70% of the time with some distracting thoughts and bouts of sleepiness (didn't sleep well last night due to my newborn crying and keeping us awake most of the night). My heart rate stabilised and calmed down after about 10 mins of concentration, all my muscles relaxed as well and got into a good stable mind/body feeling.

Once stabilised and calm enough i started dozing off and drifting into half dream like states. Switched to noting after about 20 minutes and started noting with basic labels such as: "sounds", "thinking", "visuals", "the chair under my butt/thighs" etc. Kept dozing off and drifting after every couple of minutes and when awareness returned i focused again on noting everything. Kept trying to focus my mind on a single spot through "the cloud" of all the phenomenon (sounds, sensations, thoughts etc.) and noted every sensation in the periphery as they arose (not sure if this is the right thing to do, feelings of doubt about my practice). Struggled with sleepiness, maybe tomorrow will be a better session if I can get a good night's sleep tonight.

Felt very present and calm after the session, my usual anxious feeling of "the impending doom/trouble" vanished, as it always does after a session. All in all good session but the goal is to keep doing this everyday for the forseeable future and see if it results in anything.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Good stuff Maisam, look forward to hearing more about your journey.
cheers
george 
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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George S
Good stuff Maisam, look forward to hearing more about your journey.
cheers
george 


Thanks George, feel free to drop tips and hints along the way. Will be appreciated.
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Maisam Abbas
Hi All,

Starting a practice log to record my sessions.

Hoping to get atleast a 20-30 minute session everyday. Mix of Concetration at the start and then Mahasi noting.

Wish me luck!

Hi,

Welcome to DhO! That's exactly the practice I do a mix of Concentration and Mahasi Noting. It has taken me far. I look forward to reading your logs. May you practice well!
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Thanks Sam,<br /><br />Please point stuff out for me, as you are more experienced and have done basically the same thing.<br /><br />Much appreciated.
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Maisam Abbas
Thanks Sam,<br /><br />Please point stuff out for me, as you are more experienced and have done basically the same thing.<br /><br />Much appreciated.

I'll be glad to help as much as I can as their were key people in this wonderful community that really helped me learning. I noticed in one of your sessions below you had some strong sleepiness. This is called Sloth and Torpor and is one of the 5 classic Hinderances or Obstacles we all face in meditation from time to time. I forget whether Daniel covers it in MCTB but its covered everywhere. Classic remedies are to splash water on your face or stand up, keep yourself awake.

You described thoughts of having thoughts about how you're going to write this up on DhO. These Log thoughts are common. I have them pretty much every day. 

Do you note silently or out loud? I think there are benefits to both. I note aloud as its seems to minimize or cut thoughts for me.

Finally, you may want to checkout my Practice log, now in its 4th edition. HTH.
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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I forget whether Daniel covers it in MCTB but its covered everywhere. Classic remedies are to splash water on your face or stand up, keep yourself awake.

Yes Daniel does cover this in his book, i've read the book about twice (once thoroughly and selectively the second time, time for a third visit to this chapter)

You described thoughts of having thoughts about how you're going to write this up on DhO. These Log thoughts are common. I have them pretty much every day. 

Good to know that's normal and expected.

Do you note silently or out loud? I think there are benefits to both. I note aloud as its seems to minimize or cut thoughts for me.

I note silently, i'll try whisper and out loud and see if I can feel a difference.

Finally, you may want to checkout my Practice log, now in its 4th edition. HTH.
Will do.

Thanks Sam, appreciate the input.
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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just finished a 40 minute session.

Started with concentration on breath for 20 mins and then switched to noting practice.

Concentration was better than yesterday (had better sleep last night, that makes a huge difference with alertness). Again within 15-20 mins the body and mind calmed down considerably and mind became a lot clearer and less anxious. Apart from the usual distracting thoughts it was interesting to note that i kept having distracting thoughts about "i'll note that in today's log on DhO", so an expectation has been created in my mind of trying to remember crucial things to mention from my practice. Kept bringing myself back to the breath, the counting and the sensation. Let go of counting after the first 5-10 minutes and focused purely on the breath.

Switched to Noting and had a better time than yesterday. Labelled phenomenon simply as "sound", "visual imagery" etc. Noticed the low humming of the office ducted cooling fan in the ceiling (which is indistinguishable from the office buzz/chatter otherwise). Noticed thoughts about mentioning everything on the log today. Kept detaching from drifting thoughts and returning to a quite centre to notice sensations in the periphery and keep the practice going for the remainder of the 20 mins. Noticed a flood of easily distracting and drifting imagery/thoughts as my mind became calmer and calmer (felt like my brain's bandwidth increased for "stuff" after calming down and kept getting a flood of distracting thoughts and imagery).

Ended the session feeling calm and centered almost like a rock with a low centre of gravity that is hard to move. The boss's ramblings and general anxieties around work and career lose their weight and power everytime after a session until it builds up again in a few hours. The breath feels like the most important and nourshing thing in the universe, everything else just loses its importance. As long as there is the next breath everything is fine. Everything stops when the breath stops and all worries/problems/ego dissolves with it (impermanence).
Martin, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Labelled phenomenon simply as "sound", "visual imagery" etc. 


That is my favorite kind of noting, it's fast and smooth, and there is something kind of leveling about it for me. 

​​​​​​​I also find that a sit quiets everything down and makes it less pulling and important, only to have it reset after some time. I notice it, in particular, when I wake up, As you say, impermanence. I'd sure like to be able to flip a switch :-)
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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That is my favorite kind of noting, it's fast and smooth, and there is something kind of leveling about it for me. 



Yes, i find that noting with any further description breaks my concentration a bit and drifts me away from noting. 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Maisam Abbas
Apart from the usual distracting thoughts it was interesting to note that i kept having distracting thoughts about "i'll note that in today's log on DhO", so an expectation has been created in my mind of trying to remember crucial things to mention from my practice.

Ah yes, the ubiquitous practice thoughts, both a blessing and a curse emoticon
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Ah yes, the ubiquitous practice thoughts, both a blessing and a curse emoticon


Good to know it's universal and not just me. emoticon. Like many things in meditation.
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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To add to my earlier post try to pay attentions to 3Cs the 3 Characterstics (mentioned in Daniel's book). Pay particular attention to Impermance as you note. Watch the arising and especially the ceasing of a sensation. You may even want to note the ceasing of a particular sensation if you can catch it.
Maisam Abbas, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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40 min session today.

Struggled with concentration and sloth/torpor. Couldn't keep up with my breath counts, maybe got 30-40% of them. The rest of the time I would slip into half dream like states and suddenly become aware over and over again. Anxiety/quick heartbeat and the pointless "sense of urgency" did vanish and ended the session with calm a relaxed mind and body, but couldn't keep my awareness on the breath.

Tried some noting but couldn't distinguish/concentrate much either. Noticed feelings of disappointment at the session. Maybe need to tighten up my diet also. Have been eating too many sweets and sugar recently (i don't usually do), which always results in these highs and crashes in energy levels. Need to cut the carbs/sugars and stabilise my insulin levels (life is tough).
George S, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Maisam Abbas
Struggled with concentration and sloth/torpor. Couldn't keep up with my breath counts, maybe got 30-40% of them. The rest of the time I would slip into half dream like states and suddenly become aware over and over again. Anxiety/quick heartbeat and the pointless "sense of urgency" did vanish and ended the session with calm a relaxed mind and body, but couldn't keep my awareness on the breath.

This is good practice! Becoming aware when your mind has wandered and returning to the breath, over and over again ... this is what we all spend most of our time doing in meditation :-)

It's also hard to stay concentrated on the breath when it's not pleasurable enough. Like you say, you only felt calm and relaxed at the end. Leigh Brasington's book Right Concentration is good for teaching you how to find pleasure in meditation. Also Ajahn Brahm's YouTube videos on jhana give you a sense of how to really enjoy meditation. Once you learn to unlock the pleasure, joy and calm in meditation then it becomes something deeply nourishing which you look forward to rather than a grind to stay concentrated :-)

Oh yeah, and having a newborn, with the lack of sleep and big changes is definitely very challenging conditions! Don't be afraid to take it easy on yourself and treat meditation as something you can relax and enjoy :-)
Maisam Abbas, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Leigh Brasington's book Right Concentration is good for teaching you how to find pleasure in meditation. Also Ajahn Brahm's YouTube videos on jhana give you a sense of how to really enjoy meditation. 




Right Concentration is on my to read list, up next. It has been recommended many times. I have also watched Ajahn Brahm on YouTube and benefitted previously, i'll search for his talks on Jhanas too. Thanks George!
Maisam Abbas, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Ok.

So I just finished a 45 mins session.

Decided to just focus on concentration today and let go of expectations around dividing the practice between concentration/noting. Set the goal to attain access concentration today.

Started off a bit rough but concentration stabilised in 10-15 minutes. Noticed that concentration started coming and going in waves of 2-3 minutes of distractions and then 2-3 minutes of solid concentration. Eventually stabilising to solid and deep concentration. Started noticing a pleasant sensation at the "third eye" area on my forehead and let go of the breath and focused on the pleasant sensation. The pleasant sensation started spreading and my body started having waves of tingling and pleasant sensations starting at the top of my head and flowing down to the bottom of my feet (I have achieved this state several times previously but not recently, so it felt good. Note to self: do not get attached to the experience). Continued noticing the pleasant sensations in my forehead, which felt like a drilling pleasant sensation centered on the front for a while and would transform to a pleasant halo wrapped around the top of my head. Eventually the timer started ringing to signal 45 minutes, which was a bit annoying as i wanted to continue examining and focusing on the sensations. I had to stop since I am at work and the break was over.

Edit: couple of hours later and I still feel very calm and pleasant all around. Definitely a good session but need to ignore and move on and not get attached to this in the future sits.
Maisam Abbas, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Couldn't get around to having any sessions over the weekend.

Had a 30 minute session today. Started off with good/decent concentration, was keeping up with 90% of the breath counts. As my body and muscles calmed down started struggling with sloth/torpor in the last 10 minutes of the session. Kept bringing the attention back to breath as awareness arose. Body is tired from a very busy day yesterday. Tomorrow should be a more well rested day.
Maisam Abbas, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Had a 40 mins session.

Started with a very scattered and thought filled mind. Concentration was good and kept with the breath counts mostly and ran into the usual torpor struggle (okay-ish sleep last night but went to gym after a while and was sore and tired from the gym session). Whenever the torpor starts it devolves into the mind just playing dream like states and senseless "movies", if that is what you can call them. Until eventually awareness returns.

Ended with a relatively quite mind and calmness all around.
Maisam Abbas, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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25 minute session today.

Decided to try something taught by Dr Alok Kanojia. A kundalini technique where you pay attention to 3rd eye spot sensations. Basically a concentration meditation on the sensation at your 3rd eye spot.

Started with 5 mins of breathing concentration and jumped straight into it. Could concentrate quite well on the sensation in my forehead for the full 20 mins and ended session with a calm, clear and focused mind. Will explore this technique further alongside my usual practice.
Maisam Abbas, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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60 mins session today.

Started off, as usual, with a bunch of anxiety and nervous energy and started working on concentration on the breath. The anxiety and nervous energy calmed down and disappeared after about 10-15 minutes. Focus and concentration were very good and could keep up with the breath counts. Eventually dropped the counting altogether and focus solely on the inhale and exhale through the nostrils until the sensations became subtler and subtler until they were almost non existent. Shifted to pleasant sensation on my forehead and tried to let go of the breath (noticed struggle with letting go of the breath as my mind kept latching on to the concentration on the breath). The sensations in my forehead started changing (increasing and decreasing randomly) and noticed my neck and jaw muscles would stiffen up (had to consciously relax the muscles in these areas a couple of times). Random vibrations (subtle and intense) would course through my body as the sensations fluctuated in my forehead area.

Felt very centered and calm after the session, no anxiety no nervous energy and social anxiety disappeared completely and could hold conversations with people with a lot more ease.
Sam Gentile, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Hi,

Just checking back to see how its going and if any of my recomendations helped. Your concentration seems to have stabilizes. Did you drop the noting for just concentration? 2nd the recomendation on the book Right Concentration but don't attempt the Jhanas yet. Probably a distraction until you have a solid back. Also recommend The Mind Illuminated for exhaustive treatment of concentration.
Maisam Abbas, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Hi Sam,

Yes I have stopped noting for the moment to get my concentration up to scratch. Preferably reaching access concentration every time reliably before I start introducing noting again, because i found noting to be too hard with a scattered mind. Concentration practice has been going pretty well, have been reaching access concentration more and more now. Right Concentration is on order, waiting for delivery but I have read up on some of Leigh's work in the meantime.

You're right, I won't be aiming for Jhanas at the moment, just reliable access concentration first and then baby steps from there. I have read Culadasas TMI actually, that is a great resource and I return back to it every now and then.

Looking forward to my session today in a few hours.
Maisam Abbas, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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55 minute session today.

Started breath counting and stabilised my concentration on the breath. Concentration was good and kept up with the counts until the breath started becoming subtle. Dropped the counting and kept concentration on breath until breath became very subtle and inhale/exhale we no longer distinguishable. Stayed on the breath at this level for another 5-10 minutes and then tried switching to a pleasant sensation in the body. The most obvious feeling was a fuzzy/tingling feeling in my hands. Started focusing on this feeling in the hands instead of the breath and managed to drop the breath after a few minutes and moved to focusing on the sensations in my hands. I noticed some thoughts and images started flooding back in and interrupting after I dropped my focus on the breath, but kept returning my attention to the feeling in my hands. The sensation stayed as is for a while and then started fluctuating and changing a bit and started expanding. After a few minutes it felt like i was holding a big fuzzy ball of static in both my hands and i coudn't feel my hands at all, just the big ball of static. Kept my attention on this feeling/sensation and after another 10 minutes or so I started feeling waves of something i can only describe as a "static shower", passing through me at about 5-10 second intervals. These waves of static showers passing through my body happened about 10 times or so and then stopped completely. 

Everything felt very calm and feather light at this point, but i started noticing my attention started opening up and the focus sort of diffused a bit and my attention opened up again, with sensations (sounds, lights and awareness of being in a chair in a room etc.) around me becoming more and more apparent. I felt a bit confused at this point because it felt like I had lost about 70% of that concentrated focused feeling and my attention was more open and inclusive now. But my whole body and mind was feeling feather light and great honestly. Not sure what happened here, maybe i broke my concentration somewhere?? I'm not sure.

Anyhow, I tried bring my attention back to the breath again to see if I can get more deep concentration going but my breath was very shallow and very light it was pretty indistinguishable. Some thoughts and images had started creeping back in but I could notice them very clearly and they kind of felt less invasive and in the background almost. I could direct my attention to anything I wanted at this point but shortly after my clock rang to signal that time was up.
George S, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Sounds like a transition from light second jhana (where the physical sensations of piti/energy predominate) to third (where piti gives way to the emotional happinesss of sukha, and also attention tends to feel more diffuse). MCTB explains it well.
Maisam Abbas, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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George S
Sounds like a transition from light second jhana (where the physical sensations of piti/energy predominate) to third (where piti gives way to the emotional happinesss of sukha, and also attention tends to feel more diffuse). MCTB explains it well.

Hi George,

From what i've read of Leigh Brasington's descriptions, this felt like barely reaching the first jhana and not completely stabilising into it before the state diffused into openness. I do have a copy of MCTB, I'll check out Daniel's notes on this too.

​​​​​​​Thanks again
Martin, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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I like the descriptor, "static shower." I get that a lot. 
Maisam Abbas, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Martin
I like the descriptor, "static shower." I get that a lot. 

Hopefully I can get to those depths more often, today was a far cry from that.
Maisam Abbas, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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60 min session today.

Sat down with a heavy/foggy/anxious mind and a lot of sore muscles from the weekend's mutiple sessions of driving range/swimming pool/gym. The monkey mind was at it's peak today. I don't think i managed a single 10 breath streak without my mind wandering and induging in mind loops and dozing off. The whole session was just constantly becoming aware and coming back to the breath. Over and over again. Noticed a bit of frustration at not being able to maintain concentration but brushed it off with "This IS the practice, keep coming back to the breath". Noticed my brain fog lift eventually and the anxiety vanish. Also noticed my muscles/body relaxed and the suffering from the sore muscles dropped considerably. The muscles are still sore but they are no longer unconsciously tense and taut and that reduces the suffering by a good 60-70%. The pain is still there but the suffering is not. 

Could hold my awareness for longer and longer gradually towards the end.
Maisam Abbas, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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55 Minute session today.

Monkey mind was a lot calmer today. Concentration was much better. The breath stablised and became very subtle after about 20 minutes. Noticed some pleasant sensations in my hand and decided to switch attention to the sensations. The sensations started growing and spread a little beyond the tiny spots and became a bit more amplified. Struggled a bit with staying on the sensations today, started feeling a bit drowsy. Didn't quite reach the stage of strong energy/piti becoming apparent. Struggled a bit with torpor towards the end.
George S, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Unless you actually need to sleep, drowsiness/torpor is usually because you are trying too hard ... actually you use the word 'struggled' twice! When this happens, try to relax and stop pushing the mind, let it rest naturally :-)
Maisam Abbas, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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George S:
Unless you actually need to sleep, drowsiness/torpor is usually because you are trying too hard ... actually you use the word 'struggled' twice! When this happens, try to relax and stop pushing the mind, let it rest naturally :-)


Aha! Now that i think about it. I actually have been pushing a bit out of fear of not concentrating hard enough. When I let my focus rest naturally I get a nagging feeling that I am not focusing entirely on the sensations of the breath going in and out. I feel like I am tuning in and out of it (very quickly) during the same breath. 

Thanks for pointing this out George. I'll try relaxing more.
George S, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Attention doesn't always need to be super focussed - it tends to expand and contract in cycles. It's better if you can recognize and flow with that.

Concentration is an unfortunate word, suggesting effort. Better to think of calming the mind, letting it come to rest naturally on the breath. That way the breath ends up doing the work for you and you can sit back and enjoy! Looks below like you're getting the hang of it anyway :-)

Insight is a lot easier and more pleasant when the mind is calm. Plus you get some important insights about craving and letting go just in the process of learning how to calm the mind ;-)
Maisam Abbas, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Quick 25 minute session this morning before work.

Good concentration, kept up with the breath and noticed the sensation becoming more and more pleasant with every breath. Reduced the morning anxiety significantly. This is preaching to the choir but the feeling of a "good hit" of a concentration session does wonders for calming down the mind, reducing anxiety and silencing the monkey mind. Nothing compares to the clarity of mind and lightness you feel afterwards. I am convinced that this needs to be taught at schools from a very young age and reinforced in societies around the world. This would eliminate so much of the non-stop suffering that modern life bestows upon us constantly every single waking moment of our lives.

Looking forward to my daily session in a few hours.
Maisam Abbas, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Another 45 minute session today.

Concentration was great (maybe because of the session earlier today). Started off in a much more stable place than usual. Kept up with the breath counts, then dropped the counting and stayed with the breath until it became very subtle and i could sense pleasant sensations in my hands. Tried switching to the sensation in the hands but found it a bit tricky since the concentration on the breath was so strong and stable. Noticed that i was focusing on both the hands and the breath almost simultaneously. Kept this going until i managed to start dropping the breath and focus more on the sensation in the hands. Brought attention to the hands and the sensation started spreading and the piti/buzz/static showers started happening. I think the "static shower" happened about 3 times before it became just a constant low buzz/hum/static all over the body. The intensity fluctuated almost like someone had a volume knob somewhere turning it up and down constantly. At the lowest intensity the breath would become apparent but as the intensity got higher the breath would disappear completely.

Kept my attention on the sensations as they were pretty much constant like a buzz/static layer just under my skin over the whole body now. It was a very energetic feeling all over the body. Slowly the energy dialed down and my awareness became more open and refined. The static faded away mostly but there were a couple of quick "static showers" throughout the rest of the sit.

Ended the sit with a very light feeling and had to consciously pick my hands up from my lap and make effort to move my legs as i stood up.

P.S: Tried a bit of noting towards the end of the sit (maybe the last 5 minutes? Can't be sure as I had trouble gauging how much time was passing). I have had this realisation before as well but I had it again that all of life/experience is basically just a non stop bombardment of sensations, emotions, mind loops and images, there is no concrete "thing" that experiences all of this.
George S, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Nice :-) It's hard to use the piti (pleasant sensations) as an object because it is often unstable. What you can do is focus on the pleasure of the breath itself. There's a more refined type of pleasure called sukha ("happiness") which is more in the mind, although you can feel it starting as a nice warm glow in the heart area. Ajahn Brahm in his book Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond (recommended) calls this the stage of the "beautiful breath". You can set up a sort of positive feedback loop where absorption in the breath is causing pleasure and the pleasure is deepening the absorption in the breath. This is basically the method the Buddha taught in the anapanasati sutta, until you end up with a purely mental experience of the bliss of a still mind in stage 9. Then you can finish up with some good insights in stage 13 ... just like you did :-)
Sam Gentile, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Nicely said George  S.
Maisam Abbas, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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40 minute session.

Concentration wasn't as good as yesterday. But not bad. Kept up with most of the breath counts easily. Started the sit with a lot of nervous energy which evaporated after about 15 minutes after the breath stabilised and became subtle. Piti started showing in the usual buzz/static feeling under the skin and was more subtle and low intensity than yesterday. It came and went. Kept my awareness mostly on the breath for the duration of the sit.

4 days easter break starts tomorrow. I will try and steal at least an hour each day to practice and update.

Wish me luck.
Maisam Abbas, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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Couldn't find much time for practice over this Easter Break, had guests visiting and had to drive them around every day. Sneaked in a 30 minute session on Friday but was constantly interrupted.

Had a 30 minute session this morning, mind was racing and tumbling from the weekend. But managed to relax into the practice again. Concentration was poor, as expected, but felt a bit better overall after the session.

Looking forward to getting back to my regular practice sessions in a few hours.
Maisam Abbas, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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40 minute session.

Concentration was a bit better than the morning. Kept awareness on the breath and everything calmed down after about 20 minutes. Noticed piti/energy rising around the body, but with a much more subtle intensity than last week etc.

Mind was constantly racing with mind loops and images, kept bringing my attention back to the breath. Finished the session and felt calm and refreshed, as if a burden was lifted from my chest area, the chest area felt very light and the sensation of breathing was pleasant.

Travelling interstate tomorrow for work for two days, will try and sit for an hour each day and update.
Maisam Abbas, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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I have been practicing almost every day, some at home and some on flights to and from destinations. Just haven't had time to report them here.

Back in the office today.

Had a 45 minute session.

Started off pretty hard to concentrate as I have removed all carbs from my diet yesterday and am going on a ketogenic stint for a few months.
My head felt very chaotic but was able to concentrate and reach piti and experienced some "static showers" before the time was up.

Crazy how much difference your diet makes on your state of mind. Especially when you sit and have a "look" at it, you see/experience the difference.
Maisam Abbas, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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45 min session today.

The change in diet is in it's challenging phase right now so I am feeling very low on energy and have a constant mind fog and headache going on. That will pass soon.

The session was a bit difficult. Maintained awareness quite well on the breath but couldn't quite make it to access concentration i think.
Maisam Abbas, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

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30 min session in the morning.

Concentration was excellent, looks like the body is adapting to ketosis and energy levels are a bit better today. Kept my awareness most of the time and the breath felt very pleasant midway through. The body settled in and went into some very deep concentration in more than a week or two. Attained access concentration. Attention and focus expanded after deep concentration naturally and I just dewelled in the pleasantness of the breath for the rest of the session.

Looking forward to my afternoon session. Ramadhan has started and I will be fasting for ~30 days now, will be interesting to see what difference fasted states make on my practice.

Peace and equinimity to all..!!
Maisam Abbas, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 37 Join Date: 2/28/21 Recent Posts
another 40 min session today.

Concentration was very good, stayed aware of the breath and attained access concentration. Piti arose and had some of the pleasant static feeling around the body. Moved attention away from the breath once it was very subtle and indistinguishable to the pleasant sensation in my forehead and hands areas. The pleasant sensations would increase gradually and BAM! i would get these involuntary spasms in all my muscles all over the body. Felt like all my muscles would contract rapidly and then release. The release would feel very pleasant and relaxing after every spasm. This happened about 5-10 times throughout the session and disappeared.

Overall good sessions today, concentration was very good and felt good after the sits.
Sam Gentile, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 1009 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Good to hear your concentration is developing well!!
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 37 Join Date: 2/28/21 Recent Posts
80 min session (60/20 min split in two sits) this morning after breakfast.

Concentration was good for the first sit but piti did not arise as well as it usually does. I think it was because I was sitting on the sofa and it was too soft so some muscles in my back couldn't relax into the position too well.

Concentration was excellent for the second sit and piti arose and the muscle spasm happened with the static feeling under my skin around the body. Did some noting practice towards the end. Will probably try introducing some noting towards the end of my sits from now to see how i go.

Will probably have another 30 min session in a few hours.
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 37 Join Date: 2/28/21 Recent Posts
Another 30 min session today.

Felt sluggish and noticed a lot of torpor. Must be the fasting, since my energy levels go down drastically after mid day.

Not a bad session, kept bringing the awareness back to the breath but it was a lot less pleasant than the morning sessions today.

Peace and equanimity to all beings!!
George S, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
That's the right attitude - no such thing as a bad session :-)
Maisam Abbas, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Maisam's practice log 1

Posts: 37 Join Date: 2/28/21 Recent Posts
30 min session this morning.

Concentration started off shaky as usual, but strengthened quickly and was solid for the duration of the session. Achieved access concentration and settled in to my breath. Piti arose briefly and went away quickly, ignored it and kept on the breath. Decided to do some noting and started off good. Noted "sounds", "heartbeat", "thoughts", "imagery" etc. But noticed i would drift off with the thoughts/mind stuff and had to bring awareness back to the breath to continue. Decided to use the breath as a gentle anchor of sorts to keep in the concentrated state and noticed phenomenon in the periphery, that worked quite well. Will practice noting this way to start (breath as light anchor and stay attentive to peripheral phenomenon) until i can completely let go of the breath and go into "full blown" noting. Hope it works.

Looking forward to my second session in a few hours.

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