Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 5/16/21 6:01 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/16/21 5:49 PM

Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
My initial practice log became too long, so here comes the sequel. 

-

Some highlights of these 3 last weeks:

[ 1 ] I am more attentive (in particular off-cushion) to regrets / negative emotions of the past. Many arise throughout the day, and as most of them are not really significant, I find it strange that they emerge from the unconscious. I imagine that the mind is testing the conscious's ability to deal with past things, before refloating more painful things. I started reading "Start Where You Are", by Pema Chödrön.

[ 2 ] There is a persistent struggle between binary / non-binary thinking. It amazes me how I find at various times (on different topics) that this binary mentality arises (black-white, good-bad, etc.) even though I consider I have learned some things about psychoanalysis well enough. I guess deep down, it's a practice that will last until the last day of my life.

As for meditation, this binary / non-binary translates into something I call digital / analog. I notice how easy it is to fall into the digital noticing of the entire curve of a physical sensation / emotion / thought. What is digital? Capture only the arising, or the passing away, or the peak, or the void after the passing away, and discard the rest. It is a form of subtle rejection of what is being observed. Instead, to be analogous is to surf the entire wave of arising and passing away. And this is closely related to non-conceptuality, perceiving phenomena without labellings (non-verbal) or analyzing or looking for the 3Cs (as opposed to let them appear by themselves). All of this I see as a precondition to be on High-EQ consistently (as consistently as impermanence allows emoticon).

[ 3 ] This non-conceptuality is generally associated with 'being in the Present'. But being in the present is not a panacea, as Eckart Tolle preaches. It also has its complications. Just as being focused on the future, thoughts are connected with hope & fear, and when focused on the past thoughts are connected with pride & shame, when connected with the present the thoughts that arise are connected with approval / reproval or with lose / win. So a lot of psychological material comes up here to look at, that when I'm in 'noticing mode' I often overlook. After dwelling on the physical sensations left by these emotional reactions (which are not very intense, but they do persist/repeat), sometimes the brahmaviharas arise spontaneously as a cure: metta, compassion, mudita, equanimity (and gratitude).

[ 4 ] Perceiving everything in a non-conceptual way is difficult for it to occur consistently, it occurs more in sections of time,  because there is a lot of information that emerges simultaneously and the mind immediately seeks to filter / categorize to deal with the situation. And this derails the practice from non-conceptuality. One tentative solution that I have been trying is to focus on the intensity of physical sensations and emotions (and persistence of thoughts). The idea is that intensity has a gradient from low to high, regardless of whether the physical sensation is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. In my experience, observing intensity takes away the online analysis of what is happening, which is why it supports non-conceptuality.

In addition, the intensity also acts as a bridge between vedana (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral) with the three root keshlas (aversion, greed, indifference). Capture both sides at the same time, but without conceptualizing it. It is easy to understand that there can be greed to something pleasant, and that its intensity is low, medium or high. But there can also be greed towards a neutral vedana, a pseudo-EQ. The intensity (here, some kind of tension) in this case gives information about something dissonant. Another case is that there may be an aversion to a pleasant sensation/thought, because this may imply some kind of clinging (no matter how wholesome it is). More of the latter at the end of this post.

[ 5 ] The post-relief issue. When working specifically with tensions, I observe a connection between relaxation and the three root keshlas. When spotting a tension, I see if it has a fast/natural arising and passing away, or if it's kind of 'stable' tension. In the second case, I try to relax. After relaxation and the feeling of relief, that's where I found the connection with the three poisons: 

(1)  Sometimes there's an attraction to that post-relief 'state', I cling to it, kind of trying to solidify the situation. An aversion to going back to the previous dynamic situation, with its ups and downs. 

(2) Sometimes there's an aversion  to that  post-relief state, either because of an intellectual/intuitive clash with some sort of mental model of how things should be, or because of fear of the unknown, etc. 

(3) And sometimes there’s indifference to that post-relief state, trying to observe the always more interesting/fresh new thing. But you could no try to catch a new thing and be indifferent still: that’s when not acknowledging the I-Self, the awareness of awareness. 

What I found is that sometimes there’s kind of solution to these three scenarios: a  tactile feeling/visualization of opening/absorbing like a bath sponge does with water. This triggers  either more relaxation or more subtle phenomena. I had one of those very low key 'near-miss' trying this, so it’s promising. 

At least, it’s some ‘novel’ way of triggering letting go/letting be. And I say ‘novel’ with quotation marks, because it’s not that novel. I have perceived this in taoist breathing, as after the out-breath and before the in-breath there is a spontaneous sucking (of the abdomen in particular but of most of the skin/skull generally) that defrost/unfreeze the situation. 

IMO,  it's kind of revealing as other tension release models (like B. Vimalaramsi's 6 Rs or Shinzen Young's Gone/Vanishings, or Katami’s 2PF chasing of tensions related to the I) promote clinging to /dwelling in that post-relief state, never acknowledging that greed, aversion or indifference is triggered by being there.

[ 6 ] Last Thursday I did something different than what I described in the previous paragraphs, which denotes how wide the vipassana-samatha spectrum is, and how todays' epiphany is tomorrow's half truth  emoticon ... I let myself got caught up in the post-relief clinging, which made me focus on awareness. At one point there was an outward displacement / enlargement (as if in a bubble) and then an acceleration of the thoughts, lights and sensations, revolving around the observation point. That I connected with Vipassana-Jhana 1 (VJ-1). A little later, the attention shifted to pleasant sensations in the body, which grew a little with the passage of time, but never by much. This I connected with VJ-2. Then there began to be many abrupt vanishings of thoughts (I do not particularly remember vanishings of physical sensations). Whenever I thought, the thought was cut off half way and there was silence. I don't know if these vanishings have to do with the intensity of these VJs or it was something more related to High-EQ. At some point later, there was circulation of cooler bodily sensations (coolness), which I don't know what to connect them with. In summary, it was a very interesting practice because I experienced Vipassana-Jhana at a 30/70 ratio when the usual is more than 80/20. It was totally unthinkable that I could take advantage of clinging / aversion to lean towards a more Jhana / Samatha-like practice. It is handy for an aversive personality like mine that could counteract it by taking advantage of clinging.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 6/12/21 6:05 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/12/21 6:05 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Below, some highlights of the past four weeks.
 
Surrendering to a blend of textures between physical sensations, mind-states and emotions. Letting be. Accepting everything, marinating in them, there is nothing to change. If there’s any kind of resistance or intent of conceptualizing anything or imagine/remember anything, then I say “and so is this”.  

When I remain for a long time in a non-conceptual awareness mode, physical sensations are observed with greater amplitude. The interesting thing is to observe the impermanence. Physical sensations aren’t perceived in a pointillist type (Pointillism) like in A&P, but like interconnected small waves. Better still, it is observed how the mind always seeks to freeze those sensations and freeze their spatial location.

When marinating in Dukkha, I observe three levels: (1) the psychological Dukkha; (2) the perceptual Dukkha; (3) the I-Self Dukkha. The psychological Dukkha has to do with reactions to mind-states, emotions, worldviews. The perceptual Dukkha has to do with changes in Attention, is much more subtle. The I-Self Dukkha has to do with the “I” urged to regain its centrality, not accepting an endless parade of sensations. And that's annoying. Like your kid trying to regain your attention as he sees you immersed watching a movie. 

Marinating in the versions I and II of Dukkha triggered major vanishings. It reminded me of that practice Shinzen Young recommends of meditating at midnight and not moving anything, physically or mentally to trigger a cessation. I understand that by not reacting to discomfort, uneasiness, I am letting more parts of the brain to surface simultaneously, and that at some point the mind does not cope with it and have a restart.

When non-conceptual awareness does not work, the second best practice is to observe the past, present, future, and if necessary include labels: remembering, imagining and observing / analyzing.

The Tonglen and Boddhicitta practices I’ve been starting to explore are very good, but to sustain the practice over time I see that I need to be stimulating the mind all the time. My intuition is that it is necessary as a complement to the non-conceptual awareness practice, so as not to miss Dukkha material that is already present in the mind. To keep at least 4-5 concepts fresh in mind, I am going to have to summarize some chapters of Start Where You Are.

Many times I observe how the Attention does not move in the first minute of practice. Before I understood this as something related to concentration. But the 'insight' was to see that it is really Attention centered in the attention itself. In other words, that awareness of awareness is there from the first moment, but then the mind drifts. Once the movement of attention is exhausted, there the awareness of awareness is observed again. 

In Samatha practice, I experimented with Ajahn Lee's breathing method (4 points: nose, Third Eye, Crown Chakra and middle of the brain). As an interesting byproduct, the flickering appeared on the Third Eye (better to look at it from the front but with a peripheral view) and some image forming (morphing light images). It is probably related to A&P Vipassana-Jhana.

For the first time, I walked through J1, J2, J3 and J4. They were very lite versions of jhanas, yet  an amazing experience nevertheless. Interesting how those theoretical things actually translate into physical / mental experiences. I observed the pull in J1 (towards the Third Eye), pleasant sensations in J2 (the chest and extremities in general). J1 is more mental, J2 more physical. Later there were cooler sensations (cool) and calmness and quietness, which I connect with J3. Finally there was a push up (as if it were above my head) and then it stabilized there, which I connected with J4. 

I noticed that the loss of concentration is synchronized with the drop in the gaze, that the eyes descend from the forehead to some space in front of the nose / mouth or torso. I practiced to keep my gaze just above or just below the Third Eye. It demands some effort. When I drop that effort, a new landscape appears.

Sometimes, when the practice is more inclined towards Samatha, abrupt vanishings occur, abrupt cuts in the middle of some words. Just a remainder that Samatha powers Vipassana... 
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Griffin, modified 1 Year ago at 6/13/21 3:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/13/21 3:20 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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- "I have perceived this in taoist breathing, as after the out-breath and before the in-breath there is a spontaneous sucking (of the abdomen in particular but of most of the skin/skull generally) that defrost/unfreeze the situation."
Could you elaborate on this? I had some related experiences in my practice but I am not sure whether you are talking about the same thing.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 6/13/21 3:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/13/21 2:56 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Sure. In what chinese call "buddhist breathing", the belly expands in the inbreath and contracts in the  outbreath. Instead, in "taoist breathing", it contracts in the inbreath and expands in the outbreath. In martial arts it's usually recommended to use the buddhist breathing, leaving taoist breathing for advanced practices. Yet, the later arises naturally for many while doing sitted meditation, but you can also do it deliberately with some caveats. In a reclined position it works best.

The lenght of your outbreath is usually dependent on the lenght of the previous inbreath but also of the previous outbreath. Kind of 'the sytem looking for homeostasis'. The inbreath is a conditioned pattern, not initially driven by the urge of oxygen. If you just don't let that inbreath to happen, after a 5-10 seconds you may notice that the lower belly starts to vibrate, and soon a little/big contraction happens that ignites the inbreath.
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With some practice this contraction also smooths out and you have a new breathing pattern. So you have like a little wave: (1) contraction of the belly; (2) expansion of the sides of the torso and chest; (3) contraction of the chest; (4) expansion of the belly. Instead, in buddhist breathing the expansion/contraction of the belly and  chest happens roughly at the same time. It's a 1-2 pattern. I practiced the 1-4 breath pattern years ago, but never went too far and eventually lost interest when sitted meditation became my main practice. But it pops up every now and  then during the sits.

The 1-2 pattern is easier for a whole-body breathing, where you feel that the extremities and skull 'breath' too. The thing is that I observe a rest of some seconds between the outbreath and the next inbreath. In that rest,  the body and the Attention tend to freeze, the mind trying to grab onto something (the restful experience or Attention itself). The unfreeze happens when I notice that that restful experience has an underlying tension (the need to grab onto something) and let it go. It's like a second relaxation (the first is the outbreath), but that it feels like being sucked to the center of the brain or to the ground. My guess is that it may lead to a cessation if the sinking is deep enough. 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 7/22/21 9:44 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/21/21 1:05 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Below there is a long description of a mix of practices (middle/high-EQ and Self-Inquiry) I've been doing during the last 5-6 weeks. They are quite intertwined, not that one can isolate one from another. In a sense they are like alternative (but not contradictory) ways to get to similar places. What is described below has a chronological sense, although many of the situations are repeated from session to session.

******************** 

- Who I am? - Answer: brood, incubate (LOL) 

- Where does the self reside? 

There is a process of de-identification by removing the possibility of holding on to the past or future, to thoughts, emotions and sensations. An identification with awareness is forced.

In the search for questions that can only be answered by the unconscious, the following emerged: How does Consciousness feel? 

I believed that fear was the main problem, and I was looking for a question connected with that. But I see that what is really urgent is to connect with emotions. What emerged is the need to "sensitivize" the thoughts: to find the emotional component connected with the thought. Small responses appear, in the form of physical sensations.

From there I went on to the general search of sensitivizing awareness. As feedback, the answer was silence and the movement of the center of the observation, which did not remain more or less fixed in one area but moved on the vertical axis (up-down) and on the horizontal axis (forward-backward)..

Thoughts do not speak of me. Thoughts speak to me.

I seek to observe when a stream of thoughts acquires inertia and disconnects the observation from the underlying silence.

Sometimes it is possible to perceive a faint vibration behind each thought.

This connecting with the raw sensations of thoughts triggered a change in perception, everything felt closer and more vivid, for 1-2 minutes. And the feeling is generated as if it going  from 3-D to 2-D (*). Then it was lost. When the first thoughts reappear, they feel outside of the “core”, of that 2-D plane. The (startling) difference is well marked. I speculated that it was a High-EQ lineup and / or something related to the Watcher.

(*) the center of observation went down from head to heart, and the sense of self began to merge with the flux of raw sensations

The observation center decants and quiets down towards a diffuse area that connects head to heart.

- Where do thoughts come from? 

The non-conceptual answer was an image looking up at the sky, observing the space between the tall treetops. Later an archetypal image emerged, a druid that said "we live in ..." and a stone rock with inner light appeared. Cheesy as it was, the image shocked me. I relaxed, descended and returned to that perception in 2-D.

- What is behind this?

I applied to everything: physical sensations, thoughts, awareness. It was a delicate search, more than anything an intention.

Two comparisons I explored: (1) comparison between tension and awareness. This is about the automaticity of the attention that I spoke in past posts. There is a small fraction of a second in which I notice that when the tension runs, there is something behind. (2) comparison between that spacious place that is generated after a silence, and the raw sensations that are in the center. 

The practice became 24/7, throughout the day I remember this ability to maintain awareness of awareness. Certain conclusions also come out of nowhere about psychological issues that I carry since childhood, and how that negatively affected all human relationships since then. Although there are issues that I have matured over the years, tendencies of self-demand and comparison with other people persist today.

There are two possible ways to go towards that perception in 2-D. The first is to let go or relax each time a physical thought or feeling arises. The second is to say "that thought is not me, that feeling is not me ..."

When looking towards the observation center, one option is to stand directly there and another option is to have a kind of anchor, a point somewhere ‘in front' from which to look back. As if it were a mirror that looks back. In some sessions (not always) this anchor served to stabilize / quiet everything, although it also serves in a complementary way to broaden the focus of awareness to include the chest. This bears many similarities to spatial factors from Jhana 1 and 2, so it got me wondering if this 2-D perception is actually something tied to Self-Inquiry or just an in and out of rupa jhanas.

Every sensation, every thought, even the center of observation must "fall" (product of acceptance, etc) in order to look further back. Not because something has to be relaxed, but because every feeling, thought, etc. gives the I-Self a spatial location to hold onto.

As soon as the mind-space becomes quiet, the mind clings to anything: some kind of image, a sound, a vibration, a thought, a point of observation, and also the space itself, and the passing of time. The mind "objectifies" everything it observes. It attaches itself to what it observes and crystallizes into it. But if one remains calm, sometimes a small fluctuation is observed in what is observed. Sometimes it feels physically, and other times it is something like "transparent". But there it is observed that there is something observing from behind.

So there are two non-exclusive options: in a handmade way see how the mind is coupled to each object, and/or inhabit that object and let it show those cracks by itself. These variants are gentler, it is not so insistent as observing the observer directly and recognize and drop everything that is not it.

But this gentle approach doesn't always work. So one has to alternate between gentle and intense.

- “I am I” emerged when playing with this alternation between the gentle and the intense approaches … and when I was thinking of repeating the phrase as if it were an Inquiry in itself, when I said “I” the subconscious responded “IS”.

I woke up in the middle of the night with an intense pain in the pit of my stomach. It is a place where 20 years ago it was a constant trouble, of psychological origin. So I connected the last experiences in meditation with a revisit of those pains. During the last sessions I had several times flashes of horror images, but they do not generate fear, but a mixture of surprise and interest in seeing them for a longer amount of time. Something like Hegel’s “first as tragedy (DN) then as farce (EQ)”. But the pain in the pit of his stomach felt more like a “threat”. 
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Niels Lyngsø, modified 1 Year ago at 7/26/21 10:12 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/26/21 10:12 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 405 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for another thorough and inspiring report, Pepe!

The idea of finding – or in my case: at least looking for – an emtional component connected to thought sounds very useful.

Your description of transparency is recognizable: I sometimes have moments of transparency, they can appear spontaneously or as a result of inquiry (I guess we both have looked into Angelo Dilullo's material). It's intriguing to observe how long the transparency stays before thought comes back online, not necessarily in the form of verbal thoughts, sometimes only as a sort of pouring coordinates (front, back, left, right, up, down) into this in itself non-oriented space. I have found that questions beginning with "Where" are more usefull than those beginning with "Who" or "What": "Where is the one feeling this body?" "Where is the one that's aware of this thought?"

I wish I could give more useful feedback, but I feel that I am a couple of steps behind you, so all I can say is: Keep up the good work. To me you seem to be in a good and promising place!
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 7/28/21 7:56 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/28/21 7:56 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Niels!

Regarding inquiries, in my case what works is asking paradoxical questions that could never be answered logically. If I ask "where", I could still rationally look for a place. But when I ask "what's behind that?" or "how does Consciousness feels?", that has no rational answer and so allowing a non-conceptual feedback to arise.  

Regarding what I've said you by private message that with Self-Inquiry you either incline to SE or I AM/Kensho, I was wrong. I have been checking an old thread, and I AM/Kensho is known by theravadan DhOers as No-Dog.  It's best described as a transjhanic state, unaffected by states, insight stages and cycles. That, though it's more easily reached in High-EQ, it can pop-up in A&P, post SE or even after 4th Path as happened to Daniel Ingram. Perhaps that's why his description is so particular, so state of the art. Check in MCTB2 the Concentration Models section, where he talks about "pure presence", a "super-pervading watcher". And then compare with other descriptions in this old thread , in particular Kenneth Folk's.  In fact, I AM/Kensho is further refined after first awakening by focusing in Luminosity (Anicca) [Vividness], Effortlessness (Dukkha), and Impersonality (Anatta) [Automaticity]. You may check  that at Thusness/Soh Wei Yu pointers



  

 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 8/12/21 11:36 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 8/12/21 11:34 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Angelo Dilullo: How to arrive at unbound consciousness, and what to do when you are experiencing unbound consciousness.

(trimmed transcription)

The usual experience of consciousness is a polarized internal process, where we're taking ourselves to be the subject, experiencing an objective world. That dualistic experience inside of consciousness is a sort of hypnotic spell, caused by thought caused by polarized thinking. The first step in waking up from the dream of separation is to break that spell. One of the steps in breaking that spell, that gets you right at the edge of awakening, is to recognize what unbound consciousness is experientially. Not to understand it intellectually. It has to be experiential. You have to be knowingly conscious without an object of consciousness, without an object of thought, without experiencing an objective world made out of thought. This is to be pure subjectivity, pure I, pure sense of I am. This is unbound consciousness. 

For approaching this, I’ll point to it from two angles.

(1) Approach thought by feel 

The first angle is to approach thought by feel, to become interested in what the experience of thinking is. Turning our attention towards thought. Feel into the texture of what a thought is, how it moves, how it arises. And what it moves in. Look and feel into what it feels like to be the thinker. Any thought that arises, regardless of the content: it can be words, it can be an image. Whatever thought is arising in your mind, just give it your attention. Don't wrestle with it. Don't try to change into something else. Just experience it. As if to say “what is that?”, “what is it made out of?”

A thought is kind of like watching a movie in your mind. But if you got curious enough about that movie, or the screen it's playing on, you could walk right up to it. Put your hand in that light. See what it's made out of. Turn towards the projector. What is consciousness as it turns into thought? 

When you start to get a feel for the mysteriousness of a thought, keeping your attention right on the thought, you can start to feel your way back to the subject, to the thinker. And notice the thinker is made out of the same substance as the thought.

The thinker and the thought are not two in this space. The sense of you, the sense of the listener, the sense of the awareness, the aware one, the conscious one. Can you find a place where that exists separate from any thought?

Now, when you recognize this sameness, the thinker and the thought aren't separate, and you just kind of rest there, it might feel like a little bit of a movement or a wave. You might feel like your attention's sloshing around in your mind and consciousness. Or just kind of moving in an easy way. Or even a circuit. It might just feel like movement of thought with no content. It might feel like pure self moving out in all directions, including every thought, including all of the space of the thinker, of the thinking, until it's all just one continuous experience of consciousness, one continuous experience of being or I. 

Now, if you can feel into that, you just sort of remain there. There's an alertness to it but it can be completely content-less. Meaning no thoughts are forming. Just kind of an awareness that's aware in every direction. A knowing that's self-knowing. Knowing only the knowing. Just like a purity of the knower. Requiring no object, because every object is also part of the knower, it's part of the knowing. This is pure consciousness, unbound consciousness. It's not bound to an object of thought.

(2) De-identification from thoughts 

The other angle is to de-identify from thoughts, one by one. As soon as we recognize the thought as a thought, then we can kind of turn our attention to what else is here. Because we're recognizing that usually thoughts are structuring our experience. But when we disregard the thought as not actually here (because it's always pointing somewhere else, or it's saying something that's not directly experienceable right here and right now, like a sound is, or a sensation is, or a visual experience is) then we can let it go.   We can turn our attention somewhere else. So, what's the next thought? 

Just be ready. And as soon as you recognize it as a thought ( as an arising thought, or a formed thought) just set it aside: “oh that's a thought, now what else is here?” And you notice the gap before another thought comes, don't make any more thoughts. Stay in the gap, but be alert for a thought to come spontaneously. And just notice the gap expand, until the next thought arrives. Might last a few seconds, might last 20 or 30 seconds. It might last longer. 

This gap might also feel like the pure sense of I. Or it might not feel like anything specific because we're not thinking, we're not labeling. So it's pure alert attention. But not interested in thinking. So in that gap (and remember gap is also a thought), in that absence of thoughts (that's what I'm pointing to when I say unbound consciousness) you're not asleep but you're also not thinking. 

The mind is sneaky.  It'll tell you that without thinking you can't know its unbound consciousness. But that is one thought. You can just disregard that as another thought and return to the gap. Because you absolutely can know unbound consciousness with no thoughts at all. So just stay right there. 

-

Now, what to do when you've arrived at unbound consciousness? And is that actually awakening to experience unbound consciousness?

Well, it's not awakening yet, but it's very fertile ground for awakening. Once you come to this place there's nothing more you can do. You can give yourself to this experience of pure conscious experience, pure conscious being, and remain alert. Remain in that thoughtless space. 

But there's nothing more you can do, but just commit to just remaining here, regardless of how you feel, regardless of how the body reacts. It's very common that the body will have a strong response, a fear response. Without thoughts, it's literally a physiologic experience. Just stay there. Stay with that unbound consciousness. And the fear response will subside, it won't last forever. It might be intense for a while, but even intense is a descriptor, a thought. Just let the body experience what it needs to experience. And as you remain in this unbound conscious state, at some point the body will calm down. And it will just be a neutral, aware, thoughtless conscious space.  Is this awakening? Not yet.

Just remain here. Once you're able to cultivate this, and once you've gone through a fear barrier (if you do … most people do, but it doesn't mean you will) don't think about it, don't obsess over whether it was there or not. That's just thoughts. But if it comes it's okay. If it doesn't come, it's okay. But if you've cultivated the ability to remain in this thoughtless space for a time, and/or gone through that fear threshold, then again there's nothing more to do. Just stay here. Just remain with it. Reality will do the work.

Just be very alert for the thoughts that are practice thoughts, self-monitoring thoughts, and just keep letting go when you recognize that's just another thought.

And just go back to that space exquisitely neutral. It's contentless. It's uninteresting to the thought process, because the thought process can say nothing about it. But the thought process is dissolved fully in it and it's made fully out of it. So everything you've ever thought is already here. Everything you ever thought you were is here. Everything you ever thought the world was is here. In its pure form, in its unmanifested form. Pure conscious, without having to turn into anything.

​​​​​​​So just remain in that alert thoughtless neutral space. Don't move. Remain in that neutrality. That's your practice. That's all there is to do. And then be patient. If you can really remain here, and you're not getting entangled in thoughts again, it's just a matter of time. 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 8/14/21 3:14 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 8/14/21 3:14 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
How does silence feel?" 

I found an inquiry that goes deep. It is a great question because after having been working on thoughts, asking myself "what will the next thought be?", Etc., by asking "how does silence feel?" I am posing the alternate scenario (something like playing with the idea of yin-yang), inquiring/challenging the gaps of silence between thoughts.

The idea was precisely to make an inquiry about those factors that I perceive from awareness: (1) a background spread silence; (2) a sense of beingness. Precisely, "how does silence feel?" points to the first factor.

This question activates an intuitive search for properties of silences. Although unconscious labels arise (such as the temporal duration of silences, if it is in the foreground or the background) and therefore must be recognized as a thought / analysis and dropped, most of the time it is a direct connection, not a conceptual one, as if surfing that silence.

As a funny anecdote, a forgotten episode from 30 years ago emerged during this silence. The first reaction was to think “oh, again I was hooked by  a thought”. But right away I realized that that memory did have a message. The story is that one night we (two couples) went to dance at a renowned dance-club far from the city. Back then I had no job and so a little pocket, I spent all the money to pay for the tickets. Outside the dance-club, the music was heard at full volume. When we entered, we saw that the place was huge ... but there was no one! Hours passed and no more than six couples entered. I had no money to even pay for a drink and the taps in the bathrooms were closed to force us to buy drinks. As we had come in the car of the other couple, we had to wait until 5 am, when they finally decided to return to the city ... I understood All this anecdote as a message of fear of awakening: a feeling of loss of autonomy (I was not driving the car), I spent everything to enter (put great effort), the party (awakening) seemed fun and promising from the outside, but once inside it was empty (a great loneliness), even the water was missing (can I be socially functional to meet the needs basic once awaken?), and couldn't get out (it’s a one way ticket).

In the next practice I spent a long time (on & off) in unbound consciouness. In retrospect, I understand that the key is that this time while I was questioning silence (how does silence feels?) I stopped 'looking' for an answer in the silent space but simply abide there while opening myself to the physical sensations that were in the body (in the chest particularly). Thus, all kinds of sensations circulated, many of them trying to get me out of that situation (fear factor).

The sensations did everything they had to do. The intensity of the push-pull lasted for a while and finally eased. The subsequent situation was not one of "stability" but rather one of "neutrality" but without a fixed point (wander around is the English term?), the center of observation shifting, visually like rapidly morphing clouds, with nothing describable. From time to time, thought intentions appeared that couldn’t materialize into oral or visual thoughts. When they did manage to materialize was when I visualized the "frame" of the eyeballs.

In another session I noticed that the unhooking of this nebulous neutrality without a fixed point occurs when this situation can be observed from “behind” or from “below”. It is when the intentionality of analysis wins over me and I put some distance between me-the-observer and that floating neutrality. In this sense, it is very similar to the 2D experience that I described a couple of previous posts (although I arrived at that previous situation via an infinite backward movement and there was no previous connection with physical sensations).

It is key (at this stage) not to focus on achieving some kind of equanimity, but rather the opposite, letting everything explode, letting whatever has to come out and not trying to cling to some thought / sound / image / sensation or some kind of frame axial (XYZ spatial coordinate reference). Abide in a frameless silence.

That night I had a particular dream, where I was holding the hand of my father. I wanted to say him something but he kept talking and talking. I said to him: "why don't you let me tell you about my experience?" And he gave me to understand that what I had to say was not valid, not important and not of interest. And he kept talking about his stuff. I got mad and swear him very clearly and with great intensity. And while I was swearing I was surprised at how hard I were swearing. But he would not let go of my hand. H said that I should not leave him, that he needed something from me. I end up letting go of his hand but felt guilty.

The dream was a mixture of unresolved psychological issues (during the day I had talked to a friend about a re-enactment / visualization practice of child-ego dialogue with parents) and the ego's refractory reaction to unbound consciouness, the fear of losing centrality. 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 11:56 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 11:56 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Angelo Dilullo: Non Duality - Living Without Context (Transcription)

What is it like to move through life without contexts? 
What if you don't apply contexts to situations, experiences and the sense world? 
Can you walk through a room without adding context? 
Without adding meaning to what's happening? 
Without internally reflecting on the labels, the stories, memories narratives?
Where would you put your attention? 
How about just in the senses?

Just the sensations. Just the sounds. Just the lines and forms and shapes and colors. You can practice this anytime. It can be practiced while meditating. It can be practiced while walking, while performing tasks, doing yard work, making art, making music. It's simply a matter of noticing when our attention starts to reference thought. Starts to think about what's happening, instead of just experiencing what is happening fully. 

So when we notice sound filling up the environment, not here not there, not about something, not coming from somewhere, we're able to just give ourselves to this or let it overtake us. 

Same with movement. As the internal and external world move, there's just that movement. Nothing needs to be referenced. The movement does the moving. Nothing is required of this moment. The moment doesn't require anything of you, so find out what it's like when you don't require anything of the moment.

Do we need to add purpose, context, meaning to everything?
Or is everything just fine on its own? 
Do you notice the sun rises and sets by itself?
Do you notice the body breathes, the heart beats, the gut digests, without anyone's help?

Similarly, we can trust the senses to take care of everything. To take care of movement. To take care of the hearing, seeing and feeling. 

And we become the enjoyer. We become the seeing, hearing and feeling. We notice the universe enjoying itself. By immersing itself as what's happening, as this moment, there's nothing more to say, there's nothing more to do.

We don't have to cause this to happen. We don't even witness it. Witnessing is a thought. Experience is full on, fully encompassing, nothing is left out nothing is missed. So by not adding we're fully participating. By not putting a context between our self and reality, then we see there is only reality.

The sense of the separate self was a result of the context, not vice versa. So, when we don't worry about how experiences relate to our story, to past experiences, to future experiences – all of which are thoughts  then reality can show us its non-dual nature. It's innocent, simple, spontaneous nature.

This is here to be discovered any moment. It's not going to happen in the future, because there's no future for it to happen in. It only happens now, and it always happens now. 

So just reclaim what's yours by noticing. Be honest with yourself about when you're actually feeling body sensations, and when you're recalling body sensations, or the meaning of those sensations, or how to get more of them, or how to get less of them, because that's always a thought. And notice when there's just sound, listening to music, hearing the environmental sounds, notice when we start to reflect on what that means to us, or how happy we are, or how much we love the music. That's standing apart. Let the music overtake everything.

​​​​​​​Give your will over to the sense world, to the immediacy and you won't be disappointed. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 3:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 3:00 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"And notice when there's just sound, listening to music, hearing the environmental sounds, notice when we start to reflect on what that means to us, or how happy we are, or how much we love the music. That's standing apart. Let the music overtake everything"

Try this lovely song! but do listen to the very end as there are also environmental sounds involved  emoticon https://youtu.be/fZTb47M8Ikg
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 3:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/23/21 3:35 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Cool song! Think I haven't heard it before. It remainds me of some folk guitar passages of old Genesis songs. Actually, I'm writing some arrangements for two guitars and a flute (plus voices) in a (non-UK) folk groove... Funny those environmental sounds at the end emoticon but who's to blame? 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 9/24/21 12:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/24/21 12:50 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"f.ckin bus!" emoticon emoticon made me LOL emoticon 

BTW, do check Nick Drake. He is a very interesting singer-song writer. He sadly died when he was 26 yo. 

Once your song is finished give us a listen will ya emoticon 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 10/31/21 7:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 10/31/21 6:31 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
During last couple of months, I kept on working with daily sits (about 2 hours per day), working in a mix of Self-Inquiry and abiding in a thoughtless space, getting in and out of a non-conceptual knowing mode. What I added was a small dose (just a few minutes) of spinal breathing as a warm-up, which did colored my sleep / dreams with some A&P elements, but not much on-cushion, just a few initial minutes of whitish rays in the visual field.

The big news was the discovery of “merge”. Although the idea is to abide in a thoughtless space, my experience is quite dynamic, where the flow of thoughts can be from non-existent to persistent, given the level of concentration, emotional, hours of sleep, etc. So I have a good stock of thoughts to look at, which are 90% verbal/pre-verbal and 10% visual (or intentions). 

When observing the appearance of a thought, I observe how the thoughtless space / field is overshadowed and put in the background with respect to the thought. The usual recommendations for when this happens are varied: dissolve it, focus on endings / vanishings, let it be / let it go. Many times, none of that works. Precisely, since none of it worked, the great novelty was to merge that vague self-location with every thought. Instead of "let it go" or "let it be", "let it in" worked. 

Probably it’s my aversive nature that allows me to make this distinction between “let it be” and “let it in”. It is as if with “let it be” there was some kind of disengaging from the thought. On the other hand, with “let it in” there is lesser possibility of escaping unconsciously. At its core, it is treating thoughts in the same way as physical and emotional discomforts. Not evading them, ignoring them, dissolving them, etc., but integrating them into oneself.

Thus, I put the intention that each detected thought merge with that vague location of the self. Once tried this successfully, it was inevitable to add to the mix the tactile sensations, the physical sensations of the chest related to the emotional, and even the self that observes that vague location of the self. Everything inside the blender.

The first session that I tried this, a black vortex began to open on the roof of the head. The natural intention was to direct my eyes upward. At one point there was a pause & jump in the concentration level, the black vortex got really big and I set myself to go there no matter what. My eyes started to blink rapidly for about 60 seconds (I guess) and my pulse quickened. But in the end there was no full merge with that vortex. After a minute everything settled down.

While there are elements that could be linked to A&P, this merge with the 5 senses + thoughts looks a lot like some High-EQ descriptions. But instead of the objects being kind of equanimously dispersed in a 3D space, this time they were each one merging with the self.

In the following sessions, these merges (*) occurred with different degrees of repetition and intensity, but no vortex or similar thing emerged again.

Hey, I would be very grateful if you could help me with ideas, pointers, comments, links. Thanks in advance! 

(*) added: regarding the merging phenomenology, two things stand out: (1) the closening of the gap between the thought/sensation and me, (2)  the drift of the sense of center
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shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 11/1/21 4:59 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/1/21 4:59 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I had one teacher who taught "include" as his main advice, very similar to your "let it in". 

"Include and relax" might be a good practice pointer for you. Let it in and relax into it. 

Your present mind determines your future path, so give up hope for manipulating the future. 

Also be aware of the subtle paradox: All experience is already included (it's just that the small-self-that-tries-to-survive divides up experience into important/not-important, focus and background). And the mind is already relaxed (awareness itself is effortless -- try using a lot of effort and no effort, are you still aware?).

Include and relax. Let it in and relax into it. 

​​​​​​​(Use what ever seems right and ignore anything here that doesn't resonate. Own your practice.)
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 11/1/21 7:49 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/1/21 7:48 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks once again Shargrol. I'll go with "include and relax", even though by that subtle paradox it's my mind trying not to loose the center by being the one in charge of including and relaxing. Funny, isn't it?  
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 4:41 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 4:41 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe ·
Thanks once again Shargrol. I'll go with "include and relax", even though by that subtle paradox it's my mind trying not to loose the center by being the one in charge of including and relaxing. Funny, isn't it?  

emoticon  Yes, you got it exactly right. This kind of paradox is the heart of High EQ "practice". How to I practice better or worse if I can only be present? Am I really practicing or not? Is it really as simple as this? etc.

That's why the other classic EQ advice is "straight ahead". What more can you say? All we can do is intend to participate fully in the present moment, intend to soften resistances and to be in conformity, but we really don't know how to do it --- it is beyond our control --- yet it happens! The natural wisdom of the mind is at work here, not our little intellectual and language-based mind.

If people aren't averse to the word "faith" then "have faith, straight ahead!" also works. 

Consistent, daily, non-heroic practice. Include and relax. Straight ahead. Have faith, straight ahead.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 10:43 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 10:43 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
And maybe drop those Earplugs! (hide) emoticon 

​​​​​​​Best wishes Pepe! 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 11:27 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 11:27 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
emoticonemoticonemoticon thanks Papa!
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 2:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/2/21 2:43 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Well, "include and relax" went to your compilation straight ahead emoticon ... as well as your recent post about EQ (didn't know where to place it as it is a summary of all EQ territory). 

Enjoy the simplicity of EQ. Don't assume SE too soon. Keep practicing, don't second-guess. Straight ahead!
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/19/22 2:39 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/19/22 2:39 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
(Continued) Shargrol, I'm already benefiting from your feedback at my practice log, and in many ways oriented my practice through your guidelines and suggestions. Thank you!

Last six months I've been alternating between yours "release intention, rest in knowningness" and self-inquiry as booster, and in the last couple of months added different zen and pranayama exercises to unblock old aged spots at throat and chest.

To be fair, my initial and few nondual glimpses and first big A&Ps occured within a Taichi/Qigong practice, and so I'm attracted to Zen/Advaita realizations (which you're not particularly fond of, IIRC). But the subsequent A&P-DN loops / energy imbalances could be finally put to rest only through a Theravadan practice ... and some psychological maturing of my part LOL. 

The thing is that I haven't had regular visits to High-EQ (and so I'm far from SE), and though my daily practice has slowly developed, there's a limit in the quality and quantity of practice, as I work before bedtime and start working before 5 AM, and so the inevitable unprogrammed daily mishaps mean I can't have a nap, and so then my sitted practice is far from optimal.

And I can't afford to stop working a 7-10 days to do a retreat, as I work alone and billings are low. Haven't had vacations in 20 years (I do travel but work from the beach/mountain). Plus, finding a new job isn't that easy when you're in your 50s, even less in a country which is in a terminal economic downlope. Besides, I admit being attached to my job as it gave me a miraculous come back from a 14 years long debilitating illness. In fact, I invented that job as a way to enjoy the few years doctors had predicted I would have without cancer. But within a year of that my actual job, all traces of that illness disappeared and haven't resurfaced in over 18 years. So, there are many (contextual, psychological) reasons why I couldn't change the job and so have time for an intensive practice. Well, enough with the excuses LOL.

So far, my practice have evolved slowly, like water filling in all spots before rising up. Maybe not totally satisfactory, but better than nothing given the context. I wish I could contact you when I have more material to work on. Thanks for your help!
 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 1:14 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 1:14 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thank you for sharing Pepe! Heartfelt! I know this was a reply to shargrol but felt to reply myself to you. 

Please do not think of it as an excuse my friend. 
I have been working now for several months and it's hard physical work, low paid. In the morning looking after our baby son and coming home late from work is dinner time then eldest son time and then by the end one manages to put gim
to bed (21h) I'm just so tired have no energy left for anything. 

Next week is my last week at work and will start looking after our baby so my partner can go back to work. This will give me some time to practice at least while the little guy is sleeping. 

As my practice is changing thanks to shargrol tips I will be meeting with him online for a video chat to discuss possible practice so I'm not losing energy on the many approaches in WUTYL. 
(maybe a little such zoom chat with shargrol could be of benefit to you too? Just a thought). 

I really admire people who work all the time and yet still manage to have the energy to sit. Especially after the Initial A&P glow has been ravaged by the DN. 

I think you are doing great with the time and energy you have! I also now see how a stupid big fuck I am for suggesting you to get rid of the ear buds! emoticon I see now how beneficial they can be in your situation! Please forgive this fool! emoticon 

I wish you the very best Pepe! 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 5:44 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 5:40 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe ·
To be fair, my initial and few nondual glimpses and first big A&Ps occured within a Taichi/Qigong practice, and so I'm attracted to Zen/Advaita realizations (which you're not particularly fond of, IIRC).
Actually, I started getting into this stuff with martial arts and sitting with a Zen guy in college, so I have a deep appreciation for this entry point! emoticon

But the subsequent A&P-DN loops / energy imbalances could be finally put to rest only through a Theravadan practice ... and some psychological maturing of my part LOL. 
Likewise for me too. But after working through my shit I needed to reconnect with just the texture of living again for EQ to really mature. EQ is EQ with everything, so once we get a taste it is pretty much always accessible and always cultivatible... it involves saying "Yes, and?" to whatever is arising...
...I work before bedtime and start working before 5 AM, and so the inevitable unprogrammed daily mishaps mean I can't have a nap, and so then my sitted practice is far from optimal....And I can't afford to stop working a 7-10 days to do a retreat... 
No worries. I guess the only thing I would say is that a sit for 15 minutes before you start your day and a sit for 15 minutes before you sleep (and both of these can be while laying in bed) where you review your intention for basic sanity and acknowledge your willingness to recieve insights into your reactive patterns and the nature of mind --- that little bit of daily consistency might yield immeasurable benefits. 

Of course, daily hour sits and wise use of retreats is the ideal way forward in the abstract... but we need to make practice work for our actual life. Tantra is all about using the emotional tonality of life as a practice. Zen is all about using the daily textures of sensations and action as a practice. When your intention is clear, Tantra and Zen start infusing your life... And kindness to self and others becomes the heart of the practice...

This is closer to the path of the Saint, instead the path of the meditating Sage. Both are good paths.

Practice is never far away, it's always right here.

Best wishes Pepe!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 10:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 10:26 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Wow Pepe, what a miraculous journey you have had. Best wishes! emoticon
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 11:40 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 11:40 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I've never, ever been on retreat but that didn't seem to slow me down much (that I am aware of). I just kept a strict daily regimen consisting of two 30-minute meditation periods every day. I may be an outlier but suspect what matters most is consistency.

'Course, I could be full of crap so maybe you all should take this comment with a grain of salt.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 7:17 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/20/22 2:11 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Papa Che, thank you! It must be tough to do hard physical work for a long stretch of time, so hats off to you! In my case, I do manage to sleep around 5 hours at night plus a 1 hour nap most of the days. But either because of extra work, or babysitting my kid, I may have a nap not until 6 PM, so I spend in between many hours in a kind of mental fog, awake but unable to do anything that requires a sharp mind (luckily, doing pop music doesn’t need much mental effort). Regarding A&P-DN loops, they were fueled by my lack of sleep and qigong practice. I did qigong as a second best choice, as taking care of my kid and parents in a zombie like mode frustrated all my meditation practice. Ironically, I waited till he started Elementary School … and then came Coronavirus emoticon  He could only got back to a full-school schedule since last August. Well, thanks for your zoom-chat suggestion. The earplugs have been of help, because of some heavy traffic outside and my kid singing aloud while showering emoticon 

Shargrol, thanks for the clarification on your Zen experience. Yeah, regarding EQ many of us want to rush into SE while actually it was EQ what we dream off in first place. It sounds reasonable that EQ should permeate everything before the next step. Liked that “Yes, and?” emoticon I’ll add that to self-inquiry too. I use “why?” but yours could be included as a way of fostering acceptance.  Regarding length of sits, I do manage to sit 70 minutes every day, it’s the volatility of sleeping hours that obscures the quality of the practice. “We need to make practice work for our actual life”. Yeah, true statement. Tantra is a whole school I haven’t explored yet, besides some Aro’s articles.  This week I saw an interview to a Jewish mother of four that unexpectedly woke up to a Saint path just by being kind and helpful to other members of the [  edit: community, with no prior meditation practice, after a week of being present for her friends & family both in happy and tragic circumstances, while hearing a song a the radio that casually described what she was doing right at that moment ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8xsCc5oxdg

George, thanks! Life is much better now.

Chris, it’s uplifting knowing that with no retreats and short daily sessions you got that far! Consistency is my mantra too. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/21/22 2:10 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/21/22 2:09 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Ah yes, Corona, indeed emoticon My boy couldn't go to kindergarten for a long while also and this would kind of created a busy family life all day long emoticon No rest for the wicked! 

My laborious work was actually of benefit, even though I have been working mostly with stiff arms and neck and being tired, it offered something very useful. I was able to see so many reactive patterns unfold which I couldn't see that clear in my family environment as Im more invested in my family I guess.

As this was a low-paid job, most people working there have likely low-grade schooling, I suppose. Managers can be unfriendly and too bossy. Other workers can be too lazy, letting others lift the weight, or just other macho workers not liking me and acting unfriendly, etc ... 

I could see the self-pity arise, macho fighting attitudes, pissed off with those lazy dudes, ... In a way this moved me closer to a different way of looking at my experience/practice. I can now relate a bit more to what shargrol/KenMcLeod are talking about. Reactive Patterns! 

Im looking forward to set up a new way of practicing and looking at my experience instead of using the Insight Map. Not sure if Im going to journal here but I will do so over at Awake Network. 

May we all ... happy, awake emoticon 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/21/22 10:50 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/21/22 10:50 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Beautiful interview, really enjoyed it, thanks for sharing emoticon​​​​​​​
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 5:53 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 5:53 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Interesting Pepe about having 70 minutes a day... when I "hear" your description of the day, I wonder if there is a way to fine tune your workload, sleep, and practice to create more rest and better _quality_ sits?

As Chris points out with his own practice, quality is much much more important than quantity. Sometimes people actually train bad habits by practicing too long with too little energy -- it essentially trains being sloppy, sleeping, impercise etc. and so progress stagnates. Then the person doesn't want to do _less_ because it feels like backsliding, but actually they would do better by cutting back on minutes and focusing on quality.

I don't know what the answer is for you, but I'll say that this is a very common problem with people who have a good foundation of practice and are ambitious. Their own ambitition works against themselves. They don't want to do less, but in this case less can be more.

Doing less is also a very interesting way to look at some core identity patterns that otherwise might be unseen. It will bring up all sorts of heroic beliefs about self and practice ("I must do X otherwise I won't get Y") which probably aren't true. It can be a challenge to give up these heroic beliefs and just go back to basics. 

Structured practice is also important when there is stagnation, because usually the avoidance of some sensation/emotion or the seduction of some thought/belief is usually unseen. Spending dedicated time to note sensations, emotions, and thoughts during a sit is a great way to figure out where there is confusion/blindness.

When stagnating, always go back to basics, always focus on quality over quantity.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 7:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 7:50 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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There is a myth, common in pragmatic dharma circles, that more meditation is better. Not necessarily so! Better meditation is better. More mediation is sometimes less effective. Consistency in scheduling - both time of day and length of sits, is what has always powered my practice. Of course, there were times when I had to change my schedule, for work-related travel and such, but as soon as I could I'd get back on the plan.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 11:15 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 11:15 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Yeah, working in that conditions must have been a 'field day' for reactive patterns  emoticon  Observing the flow of 6 Realms in our daily activities is gold. And seeing the 6R in others would surely trigger new reactive patterns on me, if I were in that type of job. Regarding reactive patterns, I feel a lot have changed for good in family dynamics. But... subtler personal reactive patterns (already seen but brushed under the carpet) are more in the foreground. Thus, the pull towards enlightenment, which I know would help clear some of them but bring new sublter ones too... But hey, I'm already in the ride emoticon  Good to know that you'll have some rest for a few months. Well deserved, Sir. Hey, I'll check your future practice log in AN. May we all sanely awake! 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 5:51 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/22 6:23 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Chris, yes both time of the day and lengths of sits are usually the same, every day. What changes is how well slept I'm before the sit (and family dynamics, of course). I do conccur that quality should be priority over quantity. And maybe as you imply, I'm stretching the single sit while two shorter ones would work best. Please see below, as I write more on that. 

Shargrol, yes some fine tunning workload, sleep, and practice is possible. My fear is that by doing that I may lose some of the best quality time moments with my family, while at the same time be there to balance some mother-son disputes (sweet & sour for dinner). I have tried stepping-back, but hasn't worked. So new ways must be found. I'll figure something out.

Regarding lenght of sits, I'm an ambicious guy that thinks that anything less of 120 minutes a day isn't enough (given that I cannot do retreats). So shortening them to 2x30' hits at the core of my Titan identity emoticon.  It will surely 'be a challenge to give up these heroic beliefs and just go back to basics'. It's interesting that you mentioned about going back to a structured practice. I detail below the practice of today, as to give a proper picture of what I do. 

Today (Saturday), I wasn't tired as I could rest well (9 hours!), so concentration and overall quality of practice was better than the usual day.

Warm-up: 30 minutes of Qigong (one single exercise) and Tibetan Bon Tsa Lung (just two exercises to clean throat and heart chakras)

Sitted practice: 60 minutes with earplugs

1' to 3' :  silence and lights (some remanent of previous energy practice)

3' to 10' :
mind-chatter builds up. I let it grow and observ until it occupied all the band-with and abruptly dissapears.

10' to 20' :
a background and a foreground stablishes. At the background there's space and  some vibration. At the foreground, words and broken phrases pop-up, mostly words that try to give a meaning to a sound or physical sensation. It's not a conscious label, but an autonomous action of the mind. Me, I'm just an observer. I watch as these words go fully to the foreground, and then disappear abruply. This cycle happens 3 times.

20' to 35' :
The deepening intensifies. I perceive simultaneously a: (1) background (a vibration and some kind of muted sound); (2) plus the harmonics sounds in the ears (I include it as I have found by trial-and-error that when put aside it make things worse); (3) a fine vibration (thought-stream I guess). To this fine vibration, there appears (spin-offs?) subtler broken words or mental intentions (proto-thoughts). They occupy the foreground, intensify and dissapear. This cycle also repeats a few times.

35' to 50' : Some more formed thoughts appear, dream-like ones, but no images, just words. If this builds into a kind of High-EQ bubble (me floating adrift while watching the story and being conscious of me as a watcher), then I continue. But it's not the usual thing (maybe 1 session every 2 weeks?). If not, the I intervene with a simple breathing trick I found by chance (most surely someone has discovered this before and developed it in greater lenght, so please provide my links, pointers if you know): I just inhale 80-90% of the usual inbreath. In just 3-4 breaths, the concentration deepens. (edit: I add a 100% inhale here and there, if the body asks for it). After a few minutes of rest, the same previous cycles (as in 20' to 30') repeats, albeit in a more silent and spacious mode.

50' to 60' :  Here I do a second intervention. I go back to normal breathing (100% inbreath), and place myself as an observer 'further back', and let the breath slide up and down at the back, from the nose level to the crown chakra. This is soothing, plus it cuts loose (un-anchors) the POV, that starts to slide up and down or sinks towards the shoulder level or even the chest.  

-

In other days, when the quality of the sit isn't good, I introduce those interventions before, to boost the practice.

(edited to clarify on the breath pattern)
 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 2:25 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 2:25 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Just to add another view to what Chris said emoticon 

Sometimes it's needed to sit over 30 minutes as in my experience insights to me happen at between 35-40 minutes mark. It's always towards the end of my usual 45-60 minutes sits. 

Let's take into account that some personalities are less and some very dense hence maybe need or not for longer sitting times. 

In my book 45 minutes is a minimum but of course any daily practice time is better than no time to practice or inconsistent practice.

I think shargrol said something like "if you can easily sit for 30 minutes try and stretch it to 35 minutes to dip into that less easy part". So extending just for 5 minutes is already a good thing. Mind is not just made of pleasant sensations but unpleasant too. We need to awaken to all. 

Excuse me rumbling on emoticon 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 5:55 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 5:54 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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That sounds really good Pepe. From your description, it sounds like you have a good foundation in centering/relaxing (aka concentration). 

I would be interested in hearing what you are _doing/practicing_ while all this happens? My hunch is that you are mostly focused on cultivating a state of EQ, but adding a touch more vipassina would catalyze more progress. In particular, looking for "what dukka still exists in this state?" might be a helpful vipassina orientation. 

Although it seems paradoxical, focusing on discovering subtle dukka is a great way to develop further concentration AND progress in the stages of insight. It will actually lead to Conformity and beyond. (Actually, it's not that paradoxical because EQ is already a sort of a mix of concentration and insight, both a jhana and a nana.) 

Hope this helps!
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 8:27 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/23/22 8:27 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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> "what are you _doing/practicing_ while all this happens?"

I don't understand well your question. In my description it's implied that I'm observing the 3Cs: Anicca in arising and passing away of thoughts, mental tensions and cycles in general; Dukkha in the push and pull of mental tensions, the desire to actively accelerate and end the cycles in advance; Anatta in being an observer of the automaticity of the mind processes (how thoughts emerge to match physical sensations and create 'sense/meaning'; also in the urges to smooth cycles and seeing that they happen anyway, that it's futile to think in manipulating the process).  

Apart from that, I have included in the sits (on and off, depending in the evolution of the sit) inquiring in beliefs, asking 'why?' to some mental reactions, looking for hidden assumptions. Things like "not good enough" or "give up (all effort)" are answers that emerge from the background. 

> "adding a touch more vipassina would catalyze more progress. In particular, looking for 'what dukka still exists in this state?' might be a helpful vipassina orientation" 

Sure! I'll search for hidden dukkha in sensations, emotions and thoughts. Oldie but goldie! Haven't done active search of dukkha in almost 18 months, once low EQ stabilized. 

Thanks for your help!
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:28 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:26 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
For those following the conversation, below there are MCTB2's instructions for investigating Dukkha.


​​​​​​​
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SushiK, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 8:57 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 8:57 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 160 Join Date: 6/11/20 Recent Posts
Hey Pepe :-), where did you find this summary?
I just parsed through my book and couldn't find this one page resume.

Do you have it for the 2 others C?
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:17 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:17 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi SushiK,

I made the summaries, for the 3 Cs and some more. I'll open a new thread and paste them all
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SushiK, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:21 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/22 9:21 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 160 Join Date: 6/11/20 Recent Posts
<3 <3 <3 <3

​​​​​​​Thanks a lot
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 1/31/22 9:34 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/31/22 9:34 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
A remainder on how to approach dukkha sensations, different alternatives I use on cushion: 

(1) Investigate modality (solid/wavy, point/surface, hot/cold, etc) and deconstruct, see what’s left at the end

(2)  (i)   Identify and relax
      (ii)  Immerse, abide and feel it grow & collapse
     (iii)  Locate dukkha spatially (either foreground/background or within a wide ‘consciousness container’) and in relation  to other neutral or pleasant sensations

(3) See reactivity patterns, if possible (repel, deflect, escalate, cover up, paralyze)

​​​​​​​(4) Inquiry (e.g. "Why?") for that everpresent subtle uneasyness in a 'Rest' situation, once dukkha subsides and the most prominent is the sense of an observer

​​​​​​​
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 1/31/22 9:59 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/31/22 9:59 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I love this list! "(3) See reactivity patterns, if possible (repel, deflect, escalate, cover up, paralyze)" That's gold.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 2/1/22 4:15 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/31/22 10:02 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
That's gold 

Yeah! Even though the technique is above my pay-grade, as I can't notice at a 1/4 of a second as Shargrol suggests, along a whole sit I may spot a few of the reactivity patterns. In fact, I could say that all five reactions show up during the session, just don't know yet which ones are more frequent.

Actually, today I found something really significant connected to them: by unconsciously assuming that the body should have certain kind of posture, I'm micro-reacting to postural changes, and that triggers new sensations, that then feed new thoughts, etc etc

The long story:

During the sit, a foreground and a background soon establishes. In the foreground there's the attention to the breath, thoughts and other physical sensations/emotions. The attention is usually in what happens in the moment, but sometimes there's some clinging to previous sensations, emotions and thoughts. This produces something I label as "physical/mental inertia".  In the background a physical/wavy inertia establishes, that is related to samatha aspects.

So, the practice is kind a mix of foreground and background observance, sometimes one predominates, other times it alternates. It depends in the flow of phenomena and my willingness or unwillingness to incline to one of them.  

The thing is that I have been observing that while the background is smooth and appealing, the foreground is choppy most of the time, either because noticing that the mind got caught in physical/mental inertia (and so going back to what is actually happening) or because it over-vigilant to prevent that. Today, I remembered that last year when I was focused on noticing just thoughts, proto-thoughts, intentions, etc, there was some a flow of mental phenomena that I could observe with some ease. But that nowadays there was not a correspondent easiness of observation of the flow of physical phenomena. That there was some "body language", a non-conceptual language, whose 'words' I didn't know or could decode.

And so by trying to see those 'words', I looked deeper. There I saw those reactivity patterns: actually, the body was reacting to the stilling of the body (and stilling of the mind). I never gave too much attention to that. In fact, I'm usually comfortable enough with my sitted posture. But now I see that there is a subtler tension. I see that I was satisfied just by seeing that thoughts and physical sensations where emerging hand in hand. Now I see that there was some ingrained belief of how posture should be, and the clash between that unconscious willingness and the  ever changing needs of the body triggered subtle physical sensations (that then triggered thoughts). 

And so I then allowed the body to do its thing: it micro-sway constantly (internal micro-movements I mean). I began to see a fuller flow of physical sensations, not a choppy flow. It's nice. Kind of I'm in the back seat enjoying the ride.
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 6:37 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 6:37 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe, your last post makes me wonder if you are seeing a purpose in sitting and noticing the arising and passing away of sensations. Could you elaborate on that purpose or lack thereof a bit? Your comment about not being able to note sensations at a particular speed also speaks to my question. You seem to be focusing on feeling tones and reactions. Emotions. Satisfaction, disappointment, and so on.

Thanks.
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:17 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:17 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Chris, thanks for asking. Yes, I'm focusing on feeling tones, reactions and subtler physical tensions as suggested by Shargrol ('what dukka still exists in this state?').  Anicca is ever present as I immerse in dukkha sensations, abide in them and feel them grow & decay. But it's true that I'm showing more interest in flow of phenomena than in each individual arising and passing away, as I guess that there's some kind of resistance in being on the back seat, not being in control of what's happening. I assume that the observation may be sometimes choppy and sometimes wavy, but as I'm experiencing a clear smooth/wavy background and a choppy foreground, I speculate that there's some mental/emotional resistance to flow. Is this what are you pointing to?

Regarding noticing speed, when in A&P I was able to perceive up to 10-20 sensations per second. But that was more like "shootin' aliens" mode. Otherwise, I'm more comfortable in a 1-2 sensations per second. Don't think I could consistently label the 5 Elements at a rate of 4 per second, as it takes time to recognize each of those reactivity patterns. But I catch (with some delay) a few of them every now and then. Am I being too cautious regarding speed? 

 
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:30 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:29 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I am not familiar with your practice, Pepe, so I'll defer to you and shargrol if you're following his advice. That said, I don't think it would hurt to answer my question about the purpose of your current practice. Would you? Your reply to me focused on the process, not the goal.
shargrol, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 10:19 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 10:19 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I think Chris is on to something here, it's a good question. 

What is the goal of your practice, separate from the process you are using to get there?
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 12:01 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 11:58 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Ahh, I missed that question. 

My goal is Stream Entry as usually defined in DhO/MCTB and eventually one day reach 4th Path or get as close as possible.  As to why/what for: I have a personal spiritual search since childhood, explored Christianism and Taoism in the 90's and 2000's and had a few non-dual experiences but couldn't go far because of lack of good pointers/local teachers, and some maturing of my part. Around 2012 stumbled upon MCTB/DhO and started a noting practice. Couldn't get a solid step in EQ, but at least could smooth out most of the A&P/DN loop I got into by practicing qigong + bad sleep. Then came my son and my parents illness. A couple of years ago family issues settled down and I resumed the meditation practice and started the practice logs in DhO. Though I still have an intimate connection with Christianism and a keen appreciation of Taoism, it's Buddhism the model by which I interpret spiritual teachings and practices.

Is this the kind of explanation you both asked for?
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 1:05 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 1:05 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Is this the kind of explanation you both asked for?

​​​​​​​Pepe, I was asking a question with more immediate relevance to your most recent posts -- what is your purpose in pursuing the suggested practice from shargrol? The one that you are using to focus on your reactions while in meditation? If it's the same as what you just posted that's fine, but if it's a different something then please elaborate. My reason for asking stems from my personal experience of where you just described yourself to be on the Theravada maps.
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 3:12 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/1/22 3:12 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Chris,

My purpose in pursuing Shargrol's 'what dukka still exists in this state?' is to see the fundamental dukkha, the dukkha related to the I-identity, and so foster the terrain for SE to happen. 

When I do this, I find an ever present subtle tension. In fact, just be trying to locate the I, that triggers some  tension. That's why I investigated a little more, to see if what I'm facing is really the dukkha related to the I-identity, or if that's a consequence of the method (if I'm putting too much intention and hence impede High-EQ to happen).

Regarding the 5 reactivity patterns, I understand that if they don't show up, then SE is bound to happen.
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:39 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:39 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks, Pepe!

My take on this is different, based on my personal experience - but may not be your best method to follow. I found the way to stream-entry was through noting and paying close attention to the process my mind was using to present objects, whatever they were. I couldn't focus on my reactions and dukkha without generating lengthy thought/emotion loops that only took me into more loops, and more loops. It felt like I was chasing chimeras. The key for me was seeing the process itself and following the then obvious nature of all perception (impermanent, unsatisfactory, not me) and the implications for what I was experiencing moment to moment. I suspect this is just another road to the top of the mountain.

Happy to expand on this if you'd like me to, but it's meant to be informative and not disruptive to your process.
shargrol, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:41 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:41 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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+1 on this.

I think there are two things going on. First there is some obvious stagnation happening. In my experience, stagnation is possible when things are "good enough" and there is ignorance of the subtle tensions/aversions that are still present -- this is the rationale for my suggestion of looking for dukka. I found it stimulates the "what the heck am I missing? I've been in EQ for so long" motivation -- but as always, it doesn't mean it works for everyone.

The next phase would be to notice all the judging and gaming and comparing and coming to the realization that all of this isn't true equanimity and certainly isn't conformity. Then there is a deeper giving up and interest in the core matter.

I get the sense that Chris is pointing out the core matter. Whenever there is the do-er/judger of meditation it feels like self is here and practice is somewhere out there. There is a gap created when judging the quality of the meditation. How does this gap show up? How does mind display experience? Is awareness of experience something we make happen or make better? If not, what is the implication of this --- not intellectually, but what does that mean for how we "practice"?
shargrol, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:45 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:45 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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adding on: It's not so much that the 5 core reactivity patterns need to "not show up", but rather the full/complete _display_ of the moment, whether it is "good" or "bad", simply needs to be experienced intimately. A complete and intimate experience of dukka is plenty good enough for Conformity and Stream Entry... and dukka is about as "bad" an experience as there is emoticon
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:52 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 7:51 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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The challenge is to try a few and see what works for you. As I described above, "my way" was to observe whatever was arising and passing away in real-time and investigate the process that underlies that. I'm not sure there is a way to figure out what dukkha is that avoids being diligently interested in the mind's processing of information. Not the results of the process, but the process itself. Getting into meaning (thoughts, emotions) only obscures it.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 1:55 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 1:53 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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At first I thought not to say a thing but fuck it emoticon here we go;

EQ Nana is but "Boring".

You don't want to wallow in its "nice" parts nor do you want to be the "noble EQ yogi" who feels kind of at-home here (same shit as being a noble Dark Knight feeling great at being such a great spiritual sufferer, which was more my story). 

Someone else said once on DhO and I agree, "do not give up noting too soon" when in EQ Nana, and this in my experience, AND includes the High EQ too. Keeping the notes/labels at a slow pace, at 1 note every 2-3 seconds gives lots of space for just "noticing, being in open awareness, just being, what-ever-justifying-to-give-up-consistent-noting" and probing and poking this "status quo" stage with every so often labeling note. See if this brings about some feeling tones, this very Noting with this stage? Is there a God saying "this noting is unpleasant we don't need it here, lets just stop and be in open spacious awareness" (horse shit sais I) emoticon 

Keep noting until you start getting labels such as "boring ... boring ... boring ... seeing ... hearing ... boring ... unpleasant-ish ... who is being bored ... who is seeing ... hearing ... touching ... imagining ... boring ... boring ... desire to stop noting ... unpleasant-ish ... who is being bored ... boring ... (even open eyes at this stage and just look at the room you are in ... seeing ... boring ... boring ... (tiny artifacts in the image space might show up like very bright small windows in the room you are staring at, and even black tiny windows, all appearing and disappearing all over the image space, all this is but labeled "seeing" ). 

Day in day out, week in week out, if its indeed EQ Nana this will show its Dukkha-face. 

Of course, I do sound like a very certain asshole and according to Ken McLeod such are never to be trusted but I say to that also "horse shit" emoticon What will you lose if you keep a slow pace steady noting of matter of fact phenomena in the EQ Nana (low or high all the fucking same) emoticon 

Ok, I will kick myself out of here now before Chris smacks me with a Kyosaku! emoticon 

Best wishes Pepe! And yes ignore this bullocks talk of mine if it makes no sense and feels like a waste of time. At the end we do work hard to get to this high stage and why oh why should I waste it away on such a primitive method as Noting emoticon emoticon (im just being silly)

(off he goes now ... ... ... Che getting lost behind the horizon) 
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 2:36 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 2:33 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Chris:
I found the way to stream-entry was through noting and paying close attention to the process my mind was using to present objects, whatever they were ... seeing the process itself and following the then obvious nature of all perception (impermanent, unsatisfactory, not me) and the implications for what I was experiencing moment to moment ... Happy to expand on this if you'd like me to ... "my way" was to observe whatever was arising and passing away in real-time and investigate the process that underlies that

Yes, please expand on the process the mind. What is the process underlying the arising and passing away of phenomena? When I have tried to see "between frames", all I got was seeing/feeling this 'inertial/wavy' background.

Shargrol:
First, there is ignorance of the subtle tensions/aversions that are still present -- this is the rationale for my suggestion of looking for dukka ... (Second,)The next phase would be to notice all the judging and gaming and comparing and coming to the realization that all of this isn't true equanimity and certainly isn't conformity. (Third,) Then there is a deeper giving up and interest in the core matter.&nbsp;I get the sense that Chris is pointing out the core matter. Whenever there is the do-er/judger of meditation it feels like self is here and practice is somewhere out there. ... There is a gap created when judging the quality of the meditation. How does this gap show up? How does mind display experience? Is awareness of experience something we make happen or make better? If not, what is the implication of this --- not intellectually, but what does that mean for how we "practice"?

I believe I'm practicing the First and Second. The Third too, but restricted to give myself up to the wavy flow of physical phenomena (if there's mental phenomena, then there's physical phemona connected), be that flow. If not interfering with the flow of physical phenomena (e.g. not observing the wind and the leaves, but being both of them at the same time), then that gap shouldn't be happening, isn't it? Evidently there's some interfering with that flow, otherwise SE should have occurred already. So, I'll see when/how that gap shows up. Please let me know if I'm missing something.
​​​​​​​
Shargrol:
It's not so much that the 5 core reactivity patterns need to "not show up", but rather the full/complete _display_ of the moment, whether it is "good" or "bad", simply needs to be experienced intimately. A complete and intimate experience of dukka is plenty good enough for Conformity and Stream Entry... and dukka is about as "bad" an experience as there is
Cool, that was a core mistake of mine. So, just be fully open to that reactivity patterns, experience them intimately. Thanks!
Chrollo X, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 3:20 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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What do you mean by 'the process the mind is using to present objects'? Are you saying focus on awareness rather than the objects awareness is aware of?&nbsp;
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 3:33 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe --

Yes, please expand on the process the mind. What is the process underlying the arising and passing away of phenomena? When I have tried to see "between frames", all I got was seeing/feeling this 'inertial/wavy' background.

Pepe, what I did was watch closely, but in a certain way. I stumbled upon this, helped along by multiple readings of MCTB:

My first insight about how my reality was composed occurred while I was sitting on my front porch, eyes closed, just paying attention to whatever was arising in my experience. Not surprisingly, with my eyes closed, I was focused on sound. At a certain point in time, a bird chirped in the tree nearby. I was able to hear the sound and then observed what happened next: my mind created an image of a bird in that tree. A flow of experience was thus created as my mind processed the information from the chirp and made up the rest, all from this one sound - "chirp," image of a bird, naming of the object "bird," expectation of another chirp, and so on. Other sounds would cause the same set of processes to occur.

I started watching for this process every time I sat. I noticed that I carried around in my mind a sort of map of assumed locations and objects that I could generally expect to see, hear, or feel as I sat on the porch. Cars, trains, planes, dogs, people, everything I would experience followed the same pattern: noise, image, name, expectation.... noise, image, name, expectation. All objects would rise, pass, arise, pass, arise, pass, all in this manner.

As objects would arise, my mind would also place them in space (near, far, up, down, ahead, behind), and in time (before or after other objects). If I heard a car noise from a certain direction I would "see" the image of a generic car driving down the street my mind assumed the car was on. If I heard a plane overhead, my mind would present an image of a generic airplane flying over me, in some made-up assumed location in the sky above. Even though I wasn't actually seeing these objects with sight, they would take on detailed characteristics based on memories of similar objects from past experiences. Planes tended to arise looking like those from Southwest Airlines. Dogs tended to arise looking big or small based on the noises they made. People talking as they walked by arose with male or female aspects depending on the sound of their voice, and they were clothed in generic male/female attire.

I soon realized that my entire reality was presented in this way by my mind. How much of what I actually received through my six senses wasn't driving the process. It was my mind, making massive assumptions based on previous memories and experiences with the objects in my attention, and projecting this process to consciousness. This was the seminal insight that got the ball rolling during my early vipassana practice, and everything clicked in as I worked with these observations. This is what MCTB suggests we look for, but Daniel has a different way of describing it.

This is kind of hard to believe, right? And folks often can't quite grok this... until they do... until they see it for themselves. We have to practice this kind of observing - not looking for meaning, but looking for how the mind processes sensory input. Speed is not really the issue. Knowing what you're looking for as you observe is. Nothing is hidden from your view, but the solidity of our reality is assumed because we've been assuming the smoothed over, solid-seeming version of what we experience for our entire lives. We need only sit still and watch to have the underlying pieces revealed to us. Think of your experienced reality as a sort of movie, a movie that's actually comprised of a series of still pictures that are presented rapidly enough to allow your mind to smooth them over into what appears as fluid motion.

I'm happy to answer questions or keep babbling about this if it would help.
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 3:44 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Keep noting until you start getting labels such as "boring ... boring ... boring ... seeing ... hearing ... boring ... unpleasant-ish ... who is being bored ... who is seeing ... hearing ... touching ... imagining ... boring ... boring ... desire to stop noting ... unpleasant-ish ... who is being bored ... boring ... (even open eyes at this stage and just look at the room you are in ... seeing ... boring ... boring ... (tiny artifacts in the image space might show up like very bright small windows in the room you are staring at, and even black tiny windows, all appearing and disappearing all over the image space, all this is but labeled "seeing" ).

<Italics added>

Papa Che is saying pretty much the same thing I am in this quoted comment, but presented in a way that I would call MCTB orthodoxy. The noting of objects as they arise and pass can get you to the same insights/realizations I described in my last post.

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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:32 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:29 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Chris, your explanation was so cool! Instant connection. Kind of direct pointing emoticon  Wish I could have read it long ago. I have already seen how the mind allocates words to sounds, but this is a whole new level. The mind creates fleeting images to sounds, physical sensations and thoughts. Particularly when there is more mental silence, it's easier to see how the mind locates body parts, including the POV. Though I couldn't see "between frames", I could see the jumping from one sensation/sound/though + image to another sensation/sound though + image. This looks familiar to what's is described as formations in MCTB, but more like a 'process' (even if bouncy), not like '6-senses bubbles'. Maybe this would come later, and so see in between frames.  Thank you very much Chris! I will surely like to ask more questions later. 

Papa Che, thanks man for the practice tips. I think noting every now and then during daily activities could help remember in seeing the process of the mind that Chris described above. When thinking how to answer back your post, even if I have seen your face in your youtube videos, fleeting smileys popped up emoticon  
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 12:39 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe you are a star mate! emoticon 

Let me just clarify; my suggestion was for on cushion noting in EQ Nana. Off cushion I suggest not noting at all. In my experience open awareness and do nothing works fine in daily life when in EQ Nana. 

But that's just my experience. emoticon 

I would not stress over formations or seeing inbetween frames either. This I could see clearly first a year or longer after that cessation in 2019. I could not see these clearly but Mind likely did "see" this which is what counts. Maybe "I" don't have to see much for this to happen. 

Best wishes Pepe! Off to feed my little cranky baby boy emoticon 
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:15 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Maybe this would come later, and so see in between frames.

Pepe, what do you mean by this? 
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:32 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:32 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Chris, I was referring to formations. But forget about that speculation. Last night while meditating in bed, I was surprised twice by image stuttering, which include a uncomfortable aftertaste at the last stutter. Though I didn't see between frames, now I understand where I should look at. 
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:44 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Okay - but what does "between frames" mean? I'm getting the impression that you're looking for, expecting, something specific.
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:57 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 7:57 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Shouldn't the whole sensate world be strobing in and out of existance? That in between frames, there should be hints of "the Source"? That those ta-ta-ta should arise from and disappear in the Source? Please explain me if I'm wrong. 
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:11 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:09 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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In my experience, the only "out of existence" or "non-perception" phenomenon is cessation. Everything else is perception. I think, especially if your practice is vipassana (observation/investigation), it's important to just observe. Expectations can become a black hole - you may never see what you're expecting, leading to disappointment, disinterest, or even frustration.

"The Source" sounds like interesting mythology. Is it a substitute or synonym for "the mind?"

That those ta-ta-ta should arise from and disappear in the Source? Please explain me if I'm wrong. 

We discussed this earlier - mind is driving experience. That's it. That's all there is.
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Pepe ·, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:18 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:18 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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We discussed this earlier - mind is driving experience. That's it. That's all there is.

Hahaha! Understood

"The Source" is a term used by Shinzen Young, and I think Daniel also aludes to it somewhere in MCTB. I understand it as the depth of the Mind. 
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:31 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 8:25 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I'm sure you've heard of Sisyphus. That's the dude in ancient Greek mythology who was relegated to pushing a large boulder up a steep hill, only to have it roll back down to the bottom of the thill every time he neared the top. A similar meditative pursuit would be to set out to find:

- the self
- the mind

​​​​​​​emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 12 Months ago at 2/3/22 9:17 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe ·
​​​​​​​Hahaha! Understood


"The Source" is a term used by Shinzen Young, and I think Daniel also aludes to it somewhere in MCTB. I understand it as the depth of the Mind. 


And this is where Kenneth Folk say to them "we should not abstract this for the students but instead just make them do this simple practice of noting/noticing the arise-passing experience" emoticon
Don't worry about seeing the little details like "in between the frames" right now. The mind will get this on its own and "you" will have the chance to see it during the Review phase emoticon You might be disappointed later that THAT TOO is but an "experience" emoticon
All we do is note the MATTER of FACT arising and passing phenomena 
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/13/22 8:56 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/13/22 8:54 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Been practicing with this noise-image-name-expectation cycle (NINE emoticon) and so far there are much more images, an input I've been unconsciously overlooking. Noise/Physical Sensation and Image are observed fairly well. Images have two types: the 'detailed' picture and the sketchy 'only borders' picture (the second one is the most common). Name is experienced as recognizing what I'm observing/sensing. Expectation is, so far, the predisposition of the mind to perceive the phenomena again, or not to be predisposed to. It's the least observed of the four. 

This process of the mind can be seen clearer once there's some kind of foreground-background frame. Otherwise, I get lost in content. It helps to watch the place were the observer is. 

Sometimes there's a ping-pong (back and forth) of observing the location of a body part and the location of the observer. It can get fast. This happens too between the fleeting 'clouds' in the visual landscape, and the location of the observer. 
​​​​​​​
tiny artifacts in the image space might show up like very bright small windows in the room you are staring at, and even black tiny windows, all appearing and disappearing all over the image space, all this is but labeled "seeing"

This kind of QR codes was pretty common when in A&P (usually in a corner, not in the middle of the visual field), and maybe Dissolution, but didn't come back since then. I presumed this was because of the lower speed of noticing in DN and EQ. Are these 'bright/black small windows' different from those in A&P?
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 1:16 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I don't know. In my experience and understanding when all image is vibrating in tiny pixels it's 3 C's. 

In A&P the frames are in the center , they are large and very clear with each gap between them. But they also go fast one after the other. These frames for me would come inwards and from an angle (so I guess one could say they came in from the far away periphery)

In EQ I find the whole image just is what it is (eg. The room I'm staring at) and tiny rectangular bright or black windows/doors open and close (arise-pass) all over it. Not that fast. 

Im no master in this and first could see these AFTER the cessation happened, in Review or else afterwards. So I would not fret about these in Pre-path and would only focus on picking up the pace of Noting so I don't spend time in day dreaming. 
It's important to pick up the pace of noting so certain inertia builds up. 

If stuff gets sluggish or la-la land every so often the inertia will slow down and flip into a state of mind that fits the ignorance mind runs as maybe a defender mechanism (I'm just guessing). 

Best wishes Pepe!
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 5:25 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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This kind of QR codes was pretty common when in A&P (usually in a corner, not in the middle of the visual field), and maybe Dissolution, but didn't come back since then. I presumed this was because of the lower speed of noticing in DN and EQ. Are these 'bright/black small windows' different from those in A&P?
Sounds good, but just a caution for what it's worth. If you are wondering this stuff during practice, make sure to note "mapping thought" etc.

There will be plenty of time to figure out what experience belongs to what nana during Review. Perfectly mapping experience to a nana is not a pre-requiste for SE. In fact, it's a classic obstacle... A lot of people lose traction in their practice because the forget to objectify/note mapping, anticipating, comparing, analysizing, judging, etc. itself. We will unconsciously identify with it unless we remember to note it as yet another experience that arises.
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:41 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:41 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks Papa Che! Interesting description of the frames, never read about those differences. Now that you say, in the last couple of sessions the whole visual field started to flicker, but when I observe this with more attention, I kind of spoil it: anticipation, anticipation, anticipation! As you say (and Shargrol says above), I should wait for Review for that mapping. Thanks again!   
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:49 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:49 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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If you are wondering this stuff during practice, make sure to note "mapping thought" etc. There will be plenty of time to figure out what experience belongs to what nana during Review. Perfectly mapping experience to a nana is not a pre-requiste for SE. In fact, it's a classic obstacle... A lot of people lose traction in their practice because the forget to objectify/note mapping, anticipating, comparing, analysizing, judging, etc. itself. We will unconsciously identify with it unless we remember to note it as yet another experience that arises.

Thanks Shargrol, yes I'm noting very loosely those kind of thoughts, should be more consistent on that. Thanks again!
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Chris M, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:49 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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One of the biggest hurdles in meditation is learning not to overthink. "Let It Be" isn't just the name of a Beatles tune  emoticon
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:54 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 6:54 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Hahaha, just remembered the melody but changed the chorus words for "Overthink, Overthink" emoticon​​​​​​​
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 12:05 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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I used to watch Kenneth Folks instructions many times but this one might be if benefit to you. Just give it a few listens, It certainly can't hurt! 
https://youtu.be/TvXij9B5xoQ
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Chris M, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 12:11 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Trying to do this gently - it's Folk. Keneth Folk. There's no "s" on the end of his last name. Or were you typing the possessive and forgetting the apostrophe?

Either way, I'm nagging you.

emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 3:56 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 3:56 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Chris M
Trying to do this gently - it's Folk. Keneth Folk. There's no "s" on the end of his last name. Or were you typing the possessive and forgetting the apostrophe?

Either way, I'm nagging you.

emoticon


Ah yes my spell check is on the fritz again emoticon 
And btw Chris emoticon it's Kenneth (as in two N's) 

Back-nag emoticon 
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 5:08 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/14/22 5:08 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks Papa Che! Yeah, regarding noting, all is grist to the mill! In Spanish is usually translated as "more water to the mill", but locally we would say something like "every beast ends up in the grill"  emoticon 

Yes Chris, I'll note gently.   
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago at 2/15/22 6:12 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/15/22 6:12 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Papa Che Dusko
Chris M
Trying to do this gently - it's Folk. Keneth Folk. There's no "s" on the end of his last name. Or were you typing the possessive and forgetting the apostrophe?

Either way, I'm nagging you.

emoticon


Ah yes my spell check is on the fritz again emoticon 
And btw Chris emoticon it's Kenneth (as in two N's) 

Back-nag emoticon 

Well played! emoticon
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Chris M, modified 11 Months ago at 2/15/22 7:48 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/15/22 7:07 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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And btw Chris emoticon it's Kenneth (as in two N's) 

Ouch!  emoticon

Papa Dusko, today's instrument of karma.
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/23/22 7:35 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/23/22 7:35 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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An update of my practice.

Labelling:

- So far, what was more lacking of observing/labelling were images and mind-states. Many/Most of the thoughts seem to show up triggered by mind-states.

Images: 

- Images triggered by sounds or physical sensations are usually schematic, and more often partial views, not a full scope image. Boundaries of the body are even more schematic. 
- When the sound or physical sensation repeat, then images cease to appear. When new stymulus show up, images show up.
- When half-asleep or half-awake, images are more detailed and last longer. Today in particular, while waking-up but still in bed with eyes closed, I saw an image display of the room that was both real/detailed but I knew it was a product of the mind, like a hologram where you can see through too.

Vibrations/Waves: 

- When noticing physical sensations, there's a regular sequence: (1) gross vibrations in the surface of the limbs and trunck, (2) tiny vibrations inside the limbs and sacro, (3) gross and tiny vibrations in the chest, (4) some sense of space in front and body boundaries not very clear.
 -  The visual component has also a regular sequence (with some ups and downs during the sit): (1) lights circling, usually anti-clockwise, (2) vibrations of some component in the center of the visual field, (3) vibrations more on the periphery, (4) fast vibrations of the whole visual field, as if there were a light courtain vibrating (once instead, there were luminous waves).
- When vibrations take the whole visual field, the observer too is kind of vibrating. Just have to keep seeing it, if it leads somewhere, as I don't know if it's for real or I'm lying to myself.

Other observations:

-  Going back to a noting practice was both refreshing (coming back home) and a jump in energy. But soon faded. The sessions tend to have a bigger portion of samatha than I was aware of being capable of. Pleasantness in the body sensations and an effortlessness in hearing outner/inner sounds coexist with lapses of a jumpy visual field. 

​​​​​​​
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago at 2/24/22 5:51 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 2/24/22 5:51 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Pepe ·

-  Going back to a noting practice was both refreshing (coming back home) and a jump in energy. But soon faded. The sessions tend to have a bigger portion of samatha than I was aware of being capable of. Pleasantness in the body sensations and an effortlessness in hearing outner/inner sounds coexist with lapses of a jumpy visual field. 
Pepe, I'm curious about this paragraph... could you say the first few sentences without meditaton jargon​​​​​​​? (I'm trying to figure out what "energy" "samatha" mean in terms of more concrete sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts. What are you experiencing when you experience emergy and samatha?
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 2/24/22 6:46 AM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Sure, thanks for asking. More "energy" not as in qigong (*) but as in the 7 Factors of Awakening, more mindful, content and optimist regarding the practice.  For "samatha", pleasant/attractive sensations of warmth, bubbling, softness, relaxed body, plus feelings of calm and contentment (not of joy nor bliss). As said in the last sentence you quoted, this calmness and pleasant sensations coexist with some restlessness in the visual field, which trigger other mind-states (anticipation, anxiety) and thoughts (worrying, comparing). If in EQ, awareness should handle both pleasant and unpleasant sensations, and probably some mind-states confusion too. Yet, it doesn't fill ok, but kind of restless. Yesterday I tried mirror gazing to see if there's an emotional component in the eyes restlessness, but no big aversion reactions happened.

(*) Though there are vibrations/wave on and off at the base of the column, only once I heard and felt those big deep sound waves at top of the column and skull. Energy sensations (warmth, coolness) at the third eye and crown chakra may happen too, but just for a few minutes at most 
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 4/14/22 5:57 PM
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RE: Pepe's Log #2

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It’s funny how synchronicities happen: yesterday I was describing Niels my recent practice, telling him I’ll post it in detail in DhO, and today I spotted here two new discussions about Right Concentration and Cultivating Spaciousness

By Chris’ and Shargrol’s suggestion, I got back to a noting practice, where I noticed that I have been overlooking the visual phenomena, mind-states and urges (mostly related to commenting or analyzing the practice). So, for the visual issue, I started to do noting with eyes open for the first 15-30 minutes of the sit and then eyes closed for the rest of the sit. Many visual distortions happened, like those related to kasina practice (e.g. the object and the mental object overlapped) or to Mind & Body ñana (e.g. the bed in front of me expands/contracts with the in-breath/out-breath). When eyes closed, most visual effects happened during the first minutes, and then calmed down, except for those clock-wise circling lights of pre first-jhana. 

Later, I noticed that when with eyes open, if I had a closer watch to the peripheral field, then thoughts where more distinctive and objectified (“I’m disembedded from thoughts” I think is the English term). So I remembered a Zen practice described by Meido Moore that is essentially the same as described by Malcom in another thread cited in the Cultivating Spaciousness thread. This peripheral view practice brought a rest to the mind for longer periods of time. Of course, thoughts still pop-up, but less frequently and are objectified with more ease. In particular, urges (those wordless subtle thoughts related to attention, likes/dislikes, etc) were more clearly spotted. 

When I transitioned during the sits from eyes open to eyes closed, physical and aural phenomena came to the foreground. But what I discovered is that there were some physical sensations (“tightnesses” near the nose, at the far end of the eyebrows, etc) that if I dwell in them, then concentration spiked up. By “dwell” I mean when you stay (don’t escape) in an non-pleasurable sensation so as to go through all its arising and passing away. This deeper concentration allowed me (in peak sits) to really be immersed in the flow of physical phenomena while not get triggered by (the sparser) thoughts.  Other times, it was more a restful situation.

So I got interested in Leigh Brasington’s Right Concentration (excellent!) book. His instructions are the best I have found so far. But what really surprised me was the similarity of some of his concentration tips with Shargrol’s usual vipassana recommendations: (1) “When your attention wanders off, gently bring it back”; (2) “Drop the distraction, it might be helpful to label the distraction with a one-word label”;  (3) “If you are craving to experience a jhāna, you have the hindrance of wanting. You have to set aside those expectations to be able to enter the jhāna”; (4) “The hard part is the ‘do nothing else’ part ... don’t make comments about experiencing the xyz sensation”; (5) “You must become totally immersed in the xyz sensation”; (6) “All you can do is set up the conditions for the jhāna to arise, by cultivating a calm and quiet mind focused on xyz sensations. And then just let go, and the jhāna will appear. Any attempt to do anything more does not work. You actually have to become a human being, as opposed to a human doing”; (7) “Learning the jhānas is very definitely a trial-and-error process, with lots of errors along the way. The most common problems are insufficient concentration and impatience”; (8) “A problem that some struggle with is fear of loss of control. It simply is not possible to enter the first jhāna and be in control during the whole experience. So, the first thing to realize is that you have never actually been in control of anything ever. All that you are losing is the illusion of being in control!”; etc.

So, my sits sometimes tends towards: (1) the immersion in the flow of physical sensations and  disidentification with thoughts; (2) spot a pleasurable sensation, stay there and let it grow. Though both may happen in a single sit, it’s usually one or the other. This has occasional carry overs to off-cushion, with flower perfumes popping-up after some mental releases, or walking down the street seeing trees or buildings coming towards me.

On cushion, the deepening of concentration has a surrender/descent quality. What I found is that dropping each noticed phenomena, adds more to that quality, and brings “the observer” to the foreground. This is surely the most questionable aspect of my practice, as I depart from the “do nothing” motto. But I found it useful for spotting that I'm clinging to mental objects (stretching to the present the memory of recent past experience). That said, riding to downward ‘spatial’ slide when the concentration deepens is a mix of both surrendering and clinging … I’m still in the initial phases of exploration though, so I may be wrong, just giving up to my desire of control.
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:57 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:56 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
sounds pretty good, but remember to keep it simple

dwelling in an intimate experience of what is already happening is the heart of meditation

mostly it involves really appreciating what is going on and allowing the mind to go where it wants to go while ou simply follow along

stopping trying to control is definitely something that needs to happen... and usually it only starts happening when we're sick and tired of trying to figure everything out or design the perfect practice... sometimes letting go of control feels more like a kind of resignation and "just giving up" 

and once you give up, you can finally just become intimate with what is already occuring.
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 9:08 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 9:08 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Hi, Pepe.

Are you still observing the arising and passing of objects, or have you moved on from that practice? I sense that you are an energetic practitioner who quickly tires of a given practice mode and moves on to the next shiny meditation practice mode.

I'm just observing this from your comments so I could be wrong, but... I was wondering.
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 10:43 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 10:43 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Shargrol, thanks once again.

Chris, yes I'm still observing the arising and passing of physical, aural and visual objects, and thoughts (as a kind of separate object). In fact, I included a 15-30 minutes opened eyes section at the beginning of the sit, to foster the observance of visual objects, as that was something I have been overlooking before. Now there are much much more objects (and visual distortions) where to see the arising and passing away.

That said, it's pretty difficult to observe the whole noise-image-name-expectation sequence you mentioned. "Expectation" never is spotted (unless that's equal to the "urges" that Shargrol alludes, which I do spot), and that fleeting images that lasts 1/4 of a second after some sound/physical trigger, maybe happen only 10 times in a whole sit. That was one of the reasons that I got interested in concentration, as that would help to spot the sequence. So I didn't walk away from the pointers you gave me, but actually tried to work on my weak points, and so see that sequence. 

In fact, the arising and passing away is also seen when dwelling in those concentration-related tightnesses I mentioned in the previous post. Also, when I occasionally get out of the way and allow myself to immerse in the flow of physical sensations. But it's true that when I incline towards a pleasant sensation in order to getting closer to jhana, then I'm not seeing the arising and passing away.

Thanks for you feedback! 
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 10:57 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/15/22 10:57 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks!
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 4/24/22 10:05 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/24/22 10:05 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
When I meditate with my eyes open (the first 5 minutes), in order to maintain 180 degrees vision, one thing I discovered by accident is to focus on the temporal lobes. For reasons I don't understand, this has helped place attention within the brain in a kinder way. And this reminded me of the “floating peanut” that Shargrol quotes. I noticed that I put too much intention into the observation, that I should cut it to the minimum possible, because if not I’m creating tension, which then triggers new more stuff.

As a result of this, I noticed that I am doing micro-manipulations, reactions to clinging or aversion all the time. They are unconscious reactions (of which I was not aware) or semi-conscious reactions. In general, it happens when I want something not to change, to hold the views in a way, or a sensation in some way. Or when closing/opening the visual field. Or when I don't accept going through the entire arising and passing away curve, either accelerating the end or wanting to extend the time between the end of one sensation and the beginning of another (a clinging that ignores other sensations).

I notice that simply accompanying all the arising and passing away curve even intensifies the level of concentration. Observing this made it easier to identify when I am rejecting some visual/mental objects (with the implicit intention of solidifying that level of concentration). I notice that I must accept all the objects that appear in my mind, even if I do not like many of them. It's even silly to say it, but rejecting minimal insignificant objects has consequences.

Another observed theme is that a lot of ‘old dirty laundry’ appears, emotional issues that were already processed many years ago. They are not new. What I asked myself is why do these things keep appearing to me, if they have already been processed, accepted? The first conclusion is that the mind probably needs to get used to seeing these (no longer problematic) things all the time, so that it can then get used to new (and more problematic) unresolved issues. The second conclusion is that I held a mistaken belief that what has been already resolved and accepted should no longer resurface in the mind.

Perceptually, to the usual general final vibration (present from minute 2 of the session) now adds a (very faint and impermanent) visual vibration in the periphery. The question is whether this has to do with muscle tension in the eyes or is it a sign of Anicca.

When there are thoughts, there is always some visual thing associated with it. It can be an image, it can be the image of the written word, or a "gif". Something I notice sometimes (I don't know how it fits with what Chris says) is that a visual sequence breaks down into a ping-pong (back and forth) of chained images: first an "external" figure (eg a person), second an "internal" image (from where I am, the observer), third another "external" figure, etc. This back and forth is continuous, out in out in out etc. Once, I watched a staccato of images.

I notice a lot of 1-2 second “micro-stories”. Not really dreams, but very much alike.
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 4/25/22 7:00 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/25/22 7:00 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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This is good stuff. Don't worry at this point about resolving old problems or interpretting the events as muscle tension/annica. Just keep staying right on the cutting edge of micro-stories, micro-aversion/greed/ignorance, etc. Don't try to push past, just try to hang out there with the least amount of effort as possible. That's the sweet spot. Use just enough awareness to be aware of microprocessing.

Usually eyes closed helps with gentle attention on microprocessing.

Keep letting the meditation do itself and follow where it goes. 
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 4/25/22 7:19 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 4/25/22 7:19 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Will do, thanks Shargrol! 
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Pepe ·, modified 8 Months ago at 5/26/22 4:13 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 5/24/22 6:47 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Just the day after I wrote my last entry, another family shit-storm: my elderly father hospitalized for a couple of weeks, then later caregivers with flu and siblings with Covid. Not really really that stressful -as I’ve have been there before-, just putting my life in hold once again. I’m resigned to the situation. I know it’s an opportunity to practice equanimity and see my reactive patterns, but maybe a break every now and then would be kind. Feel like I have given up many things in life, but there isn’t some kind of celestial reciprocity emoticon. Morgan Freeman say’s in Evan Almighty: “If someone prays for patience, do you think that God gives them patience or just give them the opportunity to be patient?” Well, I think God have already made the point numerous times… 

I managed to lose only 3-4 days of practice last month, but the quality of the sits was nowhere near cutting edge. All in all, I had a few insights here and there. Kept practicing the observance of micro-aversion/greed/ignorance. Below a summary of those observations:

- Micro-aversion is spotted in the skull (and sometimes in the shoulders), and micro-greed is spotted in the eyes (to grab lights, images or thoughts). At the heart area, things are more mixed up (more below).  

- This greed-in-the-eyes thing can be carried over to an off-cushion practice, more on the notice-and-relax mode than in abiding in the micro-tensions.

- While accepting uncomfortable sensations, emotions and thoughts was the way to go during the Dark Night, now resting/abiding in them actually may even deepen concentration! In particular, the longer/broader sensations. With more concentration, micro-aversion/greed ismore easily spotted.

- By abiding in tensions, I noticed that I assumed all tensions were unpleasant in some degree, but actually there are tensions that have some pleasant aspect also.

- In fact, it’s more like the Yin-Yang: nothing is 100% one or the other. Sensations come in bundles, containing both pleasant and unpleasant aspects, in different proportions. So it’s more interesting to rest in them, more things show up.

-  A nice insight was connecting greed/aversion/indifference with (the lack of) synchronization in High-EQ (as stated in MCTB2). There’s a taste of greed/aversion (a mind-state or thought) that remains after phenomena is spotted, and that perception delays the noticing of the next phenomena. 

- One Saturday I had the opportunity to do three sessions. Having more than one daily session for this modality of practice (abiding in the stream of micro-aversions/greed) is a game changer. That day, in the third session, I strangely could abide not in pleasant or unpleasant sensations/thoughts/emotions, but actually in “nothing”, a attributeless space. Nothing really pleasant or unpleasant (though if I looked for them, they were somewhere, or maybe I was triggering them by being active).  

- Once there was an unexpected A&P (or near-miss): while resting in the watcher area, sensing tensions here and there, a sound got louder and the eyes started to blink fast. White lines in many directions covered the visual space (not like those seen when waking up, which are always horizontal). That lasted for less than a minute, with white (sea) trails as the left-over. When I got up from the session, I had some discomfort in the pit of the stomach, and some nausea too.

- (Added:) Once, half awake in bed, I was seeing my face and then the image started to appear and disappear, while drifting to the left and to the back. Just an interesting experience/dream.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 5/25/22 1:56 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 5/25/22 1:56 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Best wishes to you and your family Pepe! 

I can relate a bit to what you have experienced. I was sick 4 times last winter. Including Covid once. This means both kids and my partner got sick too. This means everyone sick almost all the time. Cranky, impatient, in very bad humour, needy ... sick. Month after month. Crazy time really. 

Right now I manage walking meditation while my youngest is sleeping in his boogie outside. I have the baby alarm on me and walk through our forest and do practice (right now it's Chöd Mantra). If he wakes up I can hear it on the alarm, rock him back to sleep and continue. He doesn't sleep very long. He has water behind one ear which doctors might decide to operate at one stage. 

Best wishes! 
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Pepe ·, modified 8 Months ago at 5/25/22 8:23 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 5/25/22 8:23 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks Papa Che! You had your fair share of struggle too this year. Just having two little kids is a big load of work if you have no extra hands helping along the way. I'll try the walking meditation today when taking care of my father. Hope that your kid gets well, that the water behind the ear dissolves on its own, without the need of an intervention. Best wishes for you and your family!
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Pepe ·, modified 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 4:38 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 8/5/22 9:12 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
This is an update from the last two months. I haven't been writing as often as before because I notice a couple of tricks of the mind. One of them is that the relief of reporting what I have been practicing makes me feel empty afterwards and it is difficult for me to return to the previous rhythm of practice. As if the purpose of the practice were reporting, and not the practice itself... Desire for achievement, doing a good job in front of others, etc, all that kind of stuff. The other trick of the mind is that of an 'impostor syndrome', that what I report sounds much better than what the practice actually is, which is more messy and with ups and downs.

In the last month, family and life conditions have calmed down a bit (leaving aside suffering a 90% annual inflation!) so I have been able to include a second daily session about three times a week on average, which has a significant effect. The sweet-spot is 2 hours daily. I have yet to manage to include two daily sessions on the weekend, which is counter-intuitively difficult, due to the need for rest and enjoy family time.

The practice remains almost the same:

(1) to abandon all intention and observe the arising and passing of thoughts, emotions, mental states and sensations, noting in particular the reaction of attraction-repulsion. I have learned to accept what the body/mind offers in each session, not to go with (unconsciously) preconceived ideas of how the session should be. Sometimes it's more of the jhanic kind, while other times it's just opening up to an endless stream of proto-thoughts and physical sensations. The usual thing is that tranquility and pleasantness in the body coexist simultaneously with recurring thoughts. Other times it is the other way around, thought rest coupled with intense physical sensations. And other times it happens that the attraction-repulsion noticing is observed in the arising but not in the passing-away, or vice versa.

(2) what I have added for a few weeks (and now I have it saved only for when it is necessary) are a few tools to investigate the unconscious. The idea is that when there is a persistent physical sensation, there is some unresolved emotional or mental issue begging to surface. In those cases, in addition to sinking into the sensation and surfing the arising and passing away, what I do is inquiring the mind (eg: What does this mean? What message do ‘you’ want to give me? Etc). This brought up a lot of old psychological material to process. The most relevant of this is the awareness of how the self-deficiency narratives (sort of “I'm not good enough”, “I'm unlovable”, “I'm a failure”, “I'm powerless”) are present throughout the day (more off-cushion and in dreams than on-cushion).

A positive result is the drastic decrease in mental verbal confrontations (reparative imaginary disputes) and, to a lesser extent, a decrease in what-if scenarios on past issues.

One point that I observe is that doing micro-noticing of attraction-repulsion has some intentionality inside, it is not a ‘do nothing’, because I must put (and sustain) a certain level of intensity/energy in  order to sustain attention. As I said above, sometimes the micro-noticing happens in the arising but not in the passing away, so I have to put intentionality to cover the whole spectrum.

The great issue observed in these months is the distinction: “objectivity” vs. “subjectivity”. Although I had already been accepting the slogan of "abandon all intention and observe attraction-aversion during the arising and passing away of phenomena", I discovered that unconsciously during the session I recurrently put myself in a posture/role/place/position of ‘objective’ observer, as distant scientist (aversion here?). It is as if it put some walls or borders on the perceptual. And when those borders fall, I feel like floating (flowing in the flow) in a ‘subjectivity’, drifting away but in a good way, without suffering it, it's a pleasant feeling. So during the sessions I start to realize more often that I am in that 'objective mode'. 

Just as when I started meditating almost 3 years ago it was an achievement to realize that I was being co-opted/seduced by a thought and could come back to present awareness, now it feels like an achievement to realize that I am in 'objective mode' and to be able to return to the 'subjective mode'. 

The other big theme observed is “inertia”: a combination of passing away + letting go (drop). These inertias appear in some sessions but not in others. I discovered that when they don't appear it's because I’m shortening the endings: I don't give time for a physical sensation or image or sound to finish doing what it has to do. When instead I manage to avoid shortening the endings, that's when those inertias appear and that feeling of being like in flow/reverberations. That's when I go into 'subjective mode'.

I associate these shortened endings with a psychological issue, clinging to the known, fear of the unknown.

When these inertias occur, concentration deepens. These letting-go have different 'flavors' depending on which vipassana-jhana I am in: a refreshing chill throughout the trunk and legs that I connect with DN/J3, or a 'going forward' with tension in the skin that I connect with piti and M&B/J1, or a fall towards the ground with pleasant physical sensations and fragrances, which I connect with sukha and A&P/J2. Regarding EQ/J4, only once did sacred-geometry appear after an intense fail.

In summary, I feel that I am having a good practice, detecting (interconnected) subtleties that until now I did not see clearly, related to Anicca (not observing all the passing away; inertias; flow), Dukkha (observing the attraction-repulsion in the arising or in the passing-away but not in the entire lenght) and Anatta (objectivity vs. subjectivity). Also, the interconnection between letting-go (inertia) and vipassana-jhanas.

edit: grammar
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 6:04 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 6:04 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Good stuff! (I can totally understand the slow down in posting, I think it's important sometimes to just focus on what needs to be done and not be distracted by "how am I going to report this?")
Martin, modified 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 3:24 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 3:24 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 509 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for logging, Pepe! I am also often ambivalent about updating my log for similar reasons. On top of that, I have a concern about reifying aspects of practice or progress which can result in clinging to a particular description of experience and thus a sort of suppression of other modes of experience. Sometimes, I log without posting, and without ever rereading what I log, just because logging can put it behind me, but then there is the question of choosing what to post and whether that is also curating a sort of online persona, which is tied into the things that you first mentioned. For me, this is true of my comments and replies in response to other people's logs, observations and questions, too. 

But if all of us played it safe and refrained from posting anything, there would be no DhO sangha, and that would be a shame because I get a lot out of reading this site. So, again, thank you for logging. The subjective/objective mode shift that you describe is very interesting. I can see it right away and I am looking forward to exploring it a bit on the cushion. 
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Pepe ·, modified 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 4:35 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 4:35 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

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Thanks Shargrol. Yeah, "pre-reporting" is an issue as well during the sits, as that make my lose momentum
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Pepe ·, modified 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 5:47 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 8/6/22 5:47 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks for the feedback Martin! Yeah, practice doesn't end on cushion and logging and commenting in DhO sangha is a much needed part of the practice as well. Regarding the subjective/objective mode shift, you have already shared amazing non-dual descriptions. Perhaps the ease with which you slip into jhanas and now non-dual is why this shift I refer to adds something to your practice? 

Those 'inertias' I mentioned are in my case the door to the subjective mode, and are dependent on how I connect-disconnect with the endings of phenomena. The shortening of endings is seldom discussed in DhO. MCTB does mentioned that in A&P the focus is in the beginnings, in DN the endings and in EQ the whole lenght. But I don't recall reading about it in practice logs. 

​​​​​​​Cheers! 
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Pepe ·, modified 4 Months ago at 9/19/22 3:54 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 9/19/22 3:52 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Already Free: Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path of Liberation Paperback – Illustrated, June 1, 2015
by Bruce Tift MA LMFT (Author), Tami Simon (Foreword)

​​​​​​​Thanks for the recommendation Shargrol! I'm about finishing the second chapter so far, but already enjoying the book. It's amazing how I'm constantly creating drama in order to keep the I alive. I'm a drama queen emoticon Labelling "drama" anytime, anywhere. Off-cushion, this kind of broad label is handy when coming late to noticing urges, emotions and mind-states.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Month ago at 12/29/22 1:58 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/29/22 1:56 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
I finally quit my job, a big move after 21 years of job independence. Income has gone down a lot, and it was getting harder and harder to wake up at 4:30 am. Chronic fatigue affected not only my work and family life, but also meditation. Luckily, I have a job offer available, but it won't start before March, so the idea is to plunge into meditation during January and February as intensely as possible. My plan is to be able to meditate 6 hours a day on working days and 3 hours a day on weekends (in order to enjoy some family time). In addition, there will be two weeks in those months that will be family vacations, so there I will only be able to meditate 2-3 hours a day.

In these last 12 weeks I have been able to meditate 2 hours a day for about 4-5 weeks, the rest always 1 hour a day. The most I managed was 3 weeks in a row meditating 2 hours a day, and that showed me the difference, and the effects are still noticeable. Obviously, there is an intensity problem in my practice. And focus too, but for more personal reasons. I think undertaking a home-retreat will allow me to have a qualitative leap in my practice.

Summary of my practice during these last three months: Hit High-EQ only when sitting consistently for 2 hours per day. Had 4-5 near-misses/big drops plus some A&P stuff (stars cluster, horizontal lines, rose perfume, etc). Ñanas crossed through the session are much more clear nowadays. Jhanas 1 and 2, and some surrender experiences that mimic Jhana 4. The most interesting experiences were: “great silence”, a “ridiculous simple peace” and “transparency” through a total drop of intention. Practiced observing the physical sensations related to the I, plus played around with “Riding the Extended Brow Arc” and “dwelling in the subtlest thing”.

Practice 1 - Riding the extended Brow Arc: In order to open the field of awareness, I First focus in the Third Eye and then expand to the sides, through a gentle arc just above the brows and up to the ears. Usually that stills the Mind for a while, and brings all visual objects right to the eyes. Kind of the visual flattens.

Practice 2 – Exploring Intensity: Settle into the physical/vibratory/pleasure intensities and when they fade, then observe what intensity remains in the head, chest, lower dantian.

Practice 3 – Accepting Diversity: Dwelling in the diversity of phenomena. When I observe sensations, it is not that I avoid intensity, but that I avoid diversity. That is, I unconsciously seek to homogenize the sensations. 

Practice 4 - Releasing intention: The intention may be non-conceptual, but there is still tension behind it. So it's good to stay in that tension. [ Once (only) happened that when I looked at the observer, I noticed that there is a tension just for the mere act of observing. So this probably is the observer/observed split tension. ] When I let go of that intention, I am floating in that tension/energy. And the feeling that remains is that there is nothing else to do, that everything is fine just as it is ... But intention reappears after a (short) while. Sometimes this happened too when observing the I and then letting go of the intention to observe it. 

Practice 5 – Accepting Transparency: Sometimes there is aversion to not observe anything specific, and this generates the intention of looking for something to observe ... The mere fact of wanting to search/investigate, the anxiety of 'grasping' things makes the observation of what is happening more cloudy and intense. That physically feels like vibration. When the vibration is intense and short, transparency is lost. When the intention falls, it’s the opposite.

Practice 6 - Dwelling in the subtlest thing: I noticed that usually I hang on too long to gross sensations (e.g. breath, tensions inside the head) or high intensity sensations. Kind of wanting too much something to happen, and so ignoring physical and visual clues. So I intentionally decide to jump into the subtlest perceivable thing (e.g. the faintest sensation of the breath, the empty space inside the head). No break-through moment, yet feels like the place to be, and that deepens concentration and content (satisfaction) big time.  

High-EQ stuff: there’s a ‘vibration’ of silence that emanates ripples ‘from’ the observer. Later I noticed that I transitioned into assuming some continuity from what ‘comes out’ of the observer, yet then noticed little jumps, like in A&P. Probably that’s the in-between frames thing. Other High-EQ stuff is related to the amazing “ridiculous simple peace” (wish to be there Forever), deep dives, big silence, intense Jhana 1 build-up. 

Rambling Thoughts: So far, I see three teachings that need to sink in: (1) achieving Precision in observation of phenomena (and so deal with Ignorance); (2) Openness towards intensity and diversity (and so deal with Repulsion); (3) Surrender to conscious/unconscious preferred frames of observation (and so don’t become infatuated with Attraction impulses).

Hey, I'll be happy to hear comments and recommendations for my home retreat of sorts! 
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Smiling Stone, modified 1 Month ago at 12/29/22 2:27 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/29/22 2:25 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 292 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hey Pepe, excellent!
all the best for your home retreat (six hours a day is very serious practice)!
No recommandation from me, you already know all there is to know, just let it sink a little deeper...
I have a home retreat log here somewhere, that was an amazing time and I'm sure it changed my practice somehow (towards letting go... towards letting go...)

​​​​​​love and metta
smiling stone
​​​​​​​ps: post here a bit if you wish, so we have the delight to follow your adventures !!!
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 5:51 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 5:46 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I think the "diversity" and "dwelling in the subtlest thing" insights are great.

One fine point: there is a difference between releasing intention and releasing control. Definitely let go of attempting to control what arises in experience. Let the mind decide what shows up. One related framing idea you might what consider is to also meditate on "the simplest thing" -- which is simply what is already arising. "The simplest thing" is a helpful reminder because we often over-complicate meditation. A complete experience of your fingers typing on a computer's keyboard is sufficent for conformity. It can be the simplest thing. Conformity is closer than close.

Intention (the way I'm using it) is very important, in a way it's the magic behind progress. Intentions initially need to be some form of commitment to practice time, time spent on the cushion, time spent in each phase of a sit. Then intentions need to be some form of committing to practicing well, develop the habit of practice method. Sometimes during these early phases, we gravitate toward grandiose intentions (jhanas/stream entry) as a way to psyche ourselves up and give ourselves motivation. This is fine, but ultimately we need to get a little more realistic and specific. What are we actually trying to work on during these sits? This "realistic" phase can go on for a long time and can be things like "my intention is to sit and when I find myself wanting to crush vibrations into a particular feeling/frequency, I will let go of that urge and respect the diversity of vibrations that arise." etc. etc.

It's also possible for us to over-engineer our intentions as a way to protect our "practice ego". If you look closely at intentions after we have been humbled by practice, they can often be distrustful or overly cautious. There can be a false modesty. "I don't really know how to practice well. I have so much to learn..." But maybe you have learned enough. There can be a hedging of bets "I don't want to intend for more, because it might not happen in this sit and then I'll get disappointed." Be honest about what you really want, disappointment is fine as a short term outcome, no big deal...

So another thing to work on is the intention for the retreat. Is it to get good at a specific practice? ...or is it to let go of trying to steer practice and let the mind find streamentry? Remember the thoughts will debate this and never reach a clear conclusion... but check your body.

​​​​​​​Are you now ready to trust the mind?
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 7:50 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 7:50 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks for the encouragement Smiling Stone!! 
Yeah, six hours a day is a big number, though not the standard 10-12 hours for a retreat. I won't overdo, just trying to make the most out of this opportunity. About the reports, that's a good idea. I'll post every two weeks as I guess there will be a lot of things showing up.

​​​​​​​Best! 
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 8:10 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 8:10 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Shargrol! Great points, my rational mind nods each one but my body has second thoughts emoticon Will need time to let these sink in. Will be a great reminder during the home retreat. Whenever I try to steer the practice, I'll say aloud a koan: "Am I trusting my mind?" 

Thansk again for your continuous support and happy new year!
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Niels Lyngsø, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 1:15 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 1:15 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 405 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
First of all: Congratulations with your new life situation! It sounds excellent to suddenly have that much time to practice.

As to your practice, it sounds as if you are in a very good place. And also a place where it seems to me that you don't have to do very much. My hunch is that you should perhaps take care not to get too technical. You have a great and diverse toolbox by now, and I have a feeling that the time has come for you to let the tools/techniques show up by them selves, at least in some of your sittings. If you sit six hours a day, then maybe let the last two hours be as simple as possible: Shut your eyes and do nothing. Don't observe or investigate, don't calm the mind, don't even try to notice what's going on (in order to be able to map and log it afterwards, forget about that as well). Just sit there, and let the mind do what ever it does. – But this is just my hunch, do disregard if it doesn't sound right to you.

Best wishes for your practice! And happy new year!
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 12/31/22 7:02 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/31/22 7:02 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
+1  

I think Niels is saying it even more directly than I did. emoticon
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Month ago at 12/31/22 10:45 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/31/22 10:45 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hey Niels! As Shargrol said, you summed it all up in a single paragraph. Maybe you should pursue a career in writing  emoticon  Will do what you say. I'm already trying "the simplest thing" that is almost like do nothing.

Happy New Year to y'all! 
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Hours ago at 1/31/23 8:20 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 11:45 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Home-Retreat Report: So far, I completed four weeks in this semi-retreat mode. I practiced usually 4-6 hours per day. Started with 60 minutes sessions but later included a couple of 90 minutes sessions per day, and during the last days, two 120 minutes sessions as felt that different phenomena arouse when sessions were longer. 

Off-cushion, the only thing I did was two 2 kilometers relaxed walks per day. The original idea was just move a little bit, but they soon turned to be like two extra sessions, as energy woke up. The lower belly compressed but the base of the spine sunk and swung back and forth. Keeping attention in that knees and ankles should be loose, the energy started to wobble from the lower belly to the feet. In the third and fourth weeks, the energy movement encompassed the torso (on and off). The emptying of the lungs at the out-breaths and willingness to drop the body at each out-breath helped too (tried to do this also at home, whenever I remembered).

On cushion, the guideline was just to “trust the mind”, see where attention leads to, not trying to force anything. I did accomplish that, in particular from the second week onwards. The mind aimed for SE, but instead just triggered A&Ps. Although some were quite strong, subsequent DNs were mild to almost null (just some discomfort in the throat and chest and clenching of the jaw). The first “Impersonality” stuff (besides energy) appeared in Jan 12, when the jaw literally dropped as an answer to an open question. A few days later, the energy went on big time and I had no chance but to follow. The energy flow/movements built up gradually over the days, first circles in one plane, then 8s, then circles in the three planes and finally spirals along the spine. In between, there were a few days (in the third week) when energy amped down for a while, and instead I had a few intense First Jhana. (I had only a handful of those in the last few years). I interpret those as attempts of the mind to reach SE but ending in Jhana as a second-best, just like happened days before with A&P. With those jhanas there were too some flashing lights (on and out) covering the whole of the visual field and eyes flickering going towards the forehead, plus abiding shortly in a vast space. But interpret them as a mix vipassana-jhana. 

What I got out of all of this, so far:

(1) This long home-retreat was doable;
(2) I finally was able to let the mind do its thing without interfering; 
(3) The mind showed me the “joy” was one of the seven factors of enlightenment that was missing, and so this energy/A&P and First Jhana fill in that gap;
(4) I could see how deeper breath and concentration can go when in A&P (5X this time instead of the usual say 1.5X);
(5) I can know recognize rapture sensations easily;
(6) I could connect that quick images of heads and body parts (or head-space) during or after thoughts is there most of the time, at least when thoughts are sparse. And so Bahiya Sutta “in the seen, just the seen” etc means that SE happens when that anchoring of a sketchy (and always changing) Self with a thought (or sensation) is seen as absurd, not needed (fire the middleman!).

What’s next: I’ll keep practicing 4-5 hours this week, then for a couple of weeks I’ll be on family vacations so I’ll cut the practice to 3 hours. Then, I’d probably have three more weeks for practicing this amount of time, before I start at my new job.

Feed-back: I would love to hear feed-back from you! Though feel I'm doing just what needs to be done (basically staying out of the way emoticon), perhaps I got too carried away with the energy thing and should put more focus in the image-though connection mentioned in point (6) above. 

---

WEEK 1

Jan 2 (5 hours)  - Tried The Simplest Thing/Do Nothing (+Aliveness/Diversity) – just in the last session I perceived that the mind can see ignorance/attraction/aversion for itself.
Jan 3 (5 hours) – Simplest Thing/Do Nothing – I sensed that I manipulate the experience by trying to homogenize the intensity of sensations, or amplying it. In the last two sessions there were more concentration. 
Jan 4 (5 hours) – Softened tensions in the eyelids. First and last sessions were the best. I can sense deeper concentration if I manage not to modify what’s being observed. 
Jan 5 (6 hours) – Added after the sessions a few minutes lying in bed, to recover the back and being more relaxed. First and last sessions were the best. Quite a few large gaps between thoughts. 
Jan 6 (5 hours) – Every session were 70' sitted and 10' lying down. Tried my best in not doing anything, prefer anything. There were fewer thoughts. The chin close to the chest makes the breath obstruction-free, without noises. Noticed how physical sensations kept being clearly felt despite thoughts coming to the foreground. 
Jan 7 – Day off, had a day-long family birthday. Been out of home till night. 
Jan 8 (3 hours) – Understood that the mind moves around the space and that I have been trying to control, placing it somewhere or instead trying to accelerate what was already moving (in particular the sense of falling). The mind floats and moves. Later I tried to place the mind at the center of the head, but that logically brought tension (which is always there, but had disappeared when I stopped trying to control it). 

WEEK 2

Jan 9 (5 hours) – Observed how the mind changes the object under observation. 

Jan 10 (6 hours)
– Big silence. Thoughts were no longer an issue. Three unknown events: head-drops plus tinny buzz of energy in the head. Probably an A&P thing within EQ. Growing trust and confidence in the do-nothing approach. The lower dantian felt like filling in with energy (not the usual heaviness that is more physically related). 

Jan 11 (6 hours) – Pretty much the same as yesterday. What was new was a jaw drop and because noticing and releasing some tension built up in hands, arms and the instep of feet. When meditating sitted in a chair, I feel the breath and long energy waves connection. Looks like the Taoist Macrocosmic Orbit is trying to show up; still it's all fragmented (feet, calves, quadriceps, groin/sacrum) not integrated. Also during the last meditation, the phrase "I'm afraid to die" came up, but didn't trigger a physical reaction

When I went to bed, I resumed meditation with eyes closed. Lights (dots, circles, not pixels) covered the visual space. Then, the space morphed into a 2D, still lights in front. Later, the space curved itself like half a tube. Later the space started to expand and started to rotate anti-clockwise. Meanwhile, I noticed: anticipation, excitement and kind of fear. I relaxed as best as I could. Later, I dreamed that a truck accidentally hit a building next to mine, which started to wobble, which shocked and scared me. Logically, all these is tied up to the fear of ego-death

Jan 12 (6 hours)
– Lots of images in the early sessions. Some are fuzzy, others sketchy, others artistic. During a session, I asked 'what am I missing?' and a moments later the jaw dropped literally. Even though, I have not been clenching, I noticed the difference. Later, energy started to bubble up at the Jade Pillow (where the column ends and the skull starts), named the "cranial pump". Also the top of the head area ignite, plus some temporary discomfort in the chest. 

Jan 13 (5 hours)
– Back to 1 hour sessions. Felt the need to get back to noticing the arising and passing away of thoughts. That not only brought the calm back, but also made the breath subtler, sometimes barely perceivable

Jan 14 (6 hours)
– Double sessions: 80' sitted + 40' lying in bed (arms spread out, legs hanging out of the bed). 
Session 1: three head snaps (wouldn't called them near misses) and when lying down, a little explosion in the chest. Finally, concentration grew focusing around the eyes, then the space morphed into a 2D, as if a wall came right up to my eyes. 

Session 2: was the best meditation so far in this home-retreat. In previous days (before the jaw drop and opening of the jade pillow) I had some little rocking back & forth of the head, other times spinning anti-clockwise. Today it was the torso, that started to rock laterally only, left and right. Some minutes later, the center of the torso started to move too, but in opposite direction. And so drawing big "S" ... Classic Kundalini/Taoist spirals.  Stayed doing that for 15-20 minutes. Felt like "I" got in sync with the movements. Silence grew much deeper. No thoughts for a long while. Then, it concluded and stayed at rest for a couple of minutes. Then, back & forth rocking started but at the lower belly / sacrum area. When the butt was enough sore, I lied down in bed. Felt like the roof was descending to my nose. Had lots of warm energy flows in legs, arms, and lower belly. Plus a few things I don't remember. Also the was some tightness in the chess area. One significant thing was the longer breaths cylces (~15-20 seconds), doubling my usual standard. I was expecting when my lungs would ask for more oxygen.

Session 3: it was milder. The torso rocked to the sides. Noticed that if I simply decided to stop, the rocking stopped. Remembered that my original practice was to notice clinging, aversion and ignorance, and that in some way I was clinging to this movements. Just deciding to be equanimous, the rocking stopped. Later, the rocking restarted, and noticed the no-sync between the rocking and the breath. Afterwards, the rocking of the torso changed to back & forth in an "S" type. When lying down, there was some pulses in the chest. This time I had lots of thoughts, about reporting and where all this leads to.

Jan 15 (3 hours)
– In the first session the mind was scattered, no energy symptoms. There was a mild headache. So I rest a little and then went for a walk, where the energy (legs and lower dantian) ignited again. In the second session, the mind got concentrated after about 30 minutes. Energy movements happened almost from the start, but not for long periods of time. What new thing was that the energy moved in "8s" in the torso (kind of a combo of lateral movement and a circular movement around the spine). There was 4 snaps during the second sit, that deepened concentration.

WEEK 3

Jan 16 (5 hours) – Session 1 was restful. In the second session, the body started to rock in different parts of the torso and head. A&P visual effects. Once the body stabilized, a 4-6 htz vibration emanted from the root chakra and then pulses. 

In Session 3, energy started only after the 20' mark. Then it switched off. There was some discomfort in the throat. Concentration floundered in general, yet there where some short moments of big concentration. Finally, there were energy doings 8's at the back at chest level.

Session 4: The attention stationed in the head, observing the little movement at the top of the column. That brought in concentration for longer periods, and stabilized the observation in general. When attention descended to the throat and chest, discomfort came and went. My only option was to allow it all.

Session 5: the attention stayed longer in chest and throat. And this time, the column started to rock front and back in those particular places. As a general note, whenever attention is focused in a particular place, the rest of the body is tranquil. And whenever the attention covers the whole body, the whole column starts to rock. Also, when attention is in one place, some high-tones show up, and if the attention stays there, concentration deepens. As many of these things are kind of new, reporting thoughts eventually start, so these things don't last too long so far

A general remark: I got mixed emotions about this energy thing. In one way, I'm happy that I could trust my mind in letting the mind find its way to SE (or whatever), not trying to lead the session. But on the other, it's just revisiting my first A&P (through qigong/taichi). When hoping for SE, I was thrown back to square one, where all started 20 years ago... While it's a bit odd that I feel in EQ in many ways, kundalini symptoms, some visual effects and deeper and longer concentration feels like classic A&P.  And there's zero chance that I had crossed SE inadvertently, so this isn't that messy territory post-1st path.

Yet, I'm trying to see the bright side of this episode. Of the seven factors of awakening, the one that was missing is rapture. And this kundalini has provided that, as well as boosting concentration and longer breath cycles. Will see how this A&P (longish for my standards) evolves towards DN and eventually EQ again.

This time I got better tools and insights to deal with what shows up.

Sessions are back to sitting position only

Jan 17 (4 hours) – Sessions 1 and 2 were quiet, no kundalini symptoms, but concentration kept being stronger than before kundalini symptoms. This happens particularly if the attention settles inside the head

Session 3: The discomfort at the throat (first) and chest (later) areas popped up for a while but then dissolved. As this looks like a mild DN, I allow the whole show to display itself. No  need to relax, although later I did try observing "the subtlest thing" in order to unbind from gross sensations. Visual objects of three colors popped up: green, blue and yellow, that matches some chakras (heart, throat and solar plexus). Few thoughts but instead more oniric images.

Session 4: the discomfort in the throat and chest dissolved rather quickly. There was some tinny rocking at some chakras height, when observing the "subtlest thing". Feels like being in Low EQ back again.

Jan 18 (5 hours) – Session 1: got not so deep moments of concentration, but steady ones. Thoughts came and went, but didn't loose the perception of the breath. No more discomfort in the throat, just a tinny sensation below the clavicule that later went off. Buzzing in the chest. Felt a circle circuit of energy/ondulation from chest to the crown. Later, another circle circuit from the pelvic area to the chest. Then, warm/pleasure sensations in the legs.

Session 2: wasn't that good, the difference probably was the lack of previous body stretching. Felt energy in the lower belly and the chest

Session 3: I noticed that the body was forcing several times me to be more reclined forwards. Finally, I accepted the "suggestion" and stayed reclined for quite a long time. Thoughts went off. When the session ended, I rested lying down in bed, and the attention got locked at eyes level, a cloud of lights popped up, felt a rush to get there and after some moments, the space opened and felt like inside a dome.

Session 4: the attention stayed kind of glued to the breath and all thoughts felt like wading through the flow of the breath. Seemed like what was real was the breath, the thoughts were not. 

Jan 19 (5 hours) – Session 1 was quiet, most remarkable thing was light turning on and off on the whole visual field and the speed rate was "low", not fast like in A&P and not like its usual TV horizontal lines

Session 2 was also mentally quiet. Out of nowhere a voice thought said "Tag yourself".   Regarding energy, there were small circular movements around the Crown Chakra. After the session I rested in bed for 10 minutes. There I had 2 strong tension discharges at the chest. Also blurredly saw 6 ladies in red, two of them moving, like dancing or else. No background image, just the ladies.

Session 3 got a bit of everything described before: some quietness, small circles in the Crown Chakra, humming and vibrations in the lower belly. There was some discomfort in the chest, but particularly at same high on my back. Focused the breath there, and felt the energy doing some spinning.

Session 4 was similar, with some lateral swinging of the back first, then circular movements. When this happen, the mind goes quiet. At the end of the last session I sat in the bed and felt really strange movements and the base of the spine. Like skate wheels circling in my buttocks in different directions.

Jan 20 (5 hours) – Session 1 got lots of kundalini movements plus thoughts. The mind was quiet only for short stretches.

Session 2 was similar, but also with lots of oneiric images. The energy moved not only at chest and head level but at the lower belly too (there was heat and some pleasure also).  There were also different sounds and vibrations at the same time. All happened through the session.

Session 3 lasted two hours, started somewhat similar at the previous ones but with more silence. Soon the kundalini circling movements restarted, only this time they were clock-wise. Saw some strange things, in particular a giant sculpture that resembled a sunflower with only six petals/"legs" facing downwards. Later I saw my kid jumping to the water, hitting a rock and drowning. After the surprise, I understood this was just the fear to death and saw Virgin Mary hugging a little baby. That made a click: right after that, the energy movements started: first laterally, then in the "S" shape and later back & forth in "S" shape too. Later the energy forced me to go forward all the way, almost like reclining forward. That's when those skate wheels showed up…

Session 4 was short, had some pain in my back. What was most significant were "8s" running up from the clavicles level up to the jade pillow (where the skull begins)

Jan 21 (2 hours) – Session 1 had thoughts, images and no energy movements. Session 2 was messy. I was tired. Couldn't do another session, had to stop early for a family dinner (chinese new year).

Jan 22 (3 hours) – Session 1:  I noticed my openness to be pulled into new phenomena that otherwise I would have ignored. e.g. deep cyclical sounds (not breath or heart related, probably long energy waves), as there was an assumed pose/frame of how posture, sensations, visuals, sounds ought to be. The energy got active in the second part of the session, starting to do "8s" from the neck and upwards. This time there were no circular movements. What was most interesting was being inserted inside the energy, almost like being the energy. During the last 10 minutes of the session, the energy did 8s at the chest (where I feel there's a block).

Session 2 was messy, I had pain in the back, did less than an hour

Session 3: There was again the energy doing 8s from the neck, upwards. There were also two vertical lines at the front going down from the clavicles to the belly, then to the chest only. That's odd because the Ida and Pingala run at the back, AFAIK. Felt like they were alternating/switching the energy flow (more like increasing/decreasing intensity than up/down movement). Over all the session I was exposed to a great variety of sensations, thoughts, visuals, sounds, energy, etc. There's a pattern in the last days of being in an "accepting diversity" mode.

WEEK 4

Jan 23 (3 hours) – Session 1 was messy, stream of thoughts and some energy in the neck area. Session 2 started similarly but  in the second half was more silent. The most significant thing was the appearance of images of parts of the body that were being observed (a mouth speaking, the back of the head, hands, etc).

Session 3: The first half was messy too, but just by letting the attention settle in the breath and in the movements of energy (it seems like I was inadvertently rejecting it) the mind got centered and the breath got fainter, so the second half was quite smooth.

Jan 24 (5 hours) – Session 1 was silent. I diverged from the "do nothing" guideline. Did on-cushion what I practice off-cushion: being mindful in not cutting the endings, in particular, the out-breath.  All in all, it's just the same as not stilling the body when the energy sparks up. Also, showed up again these images of a mouth speaking and body parts in general.

Session 2: I got back to the do nothing approach. Felt like I was inducing some kind of samathaesque vibe, instead of facing what comes up. The energy and thoughts were more abundant, yet I was conscious of every one of them (in previous sessiones, thoughts had some kind of surprise factor when the stream of thoughts went far off). Felt like another level of Equanimity.  The energy movements where neck and upwards, circles clockwise and anti-clockwise, and 8s.

Session 3 was not as good as the second, thoughts were seen clearly. The energy moved in 8s. Pleasure sensations in the legs. Session 4 was worse, the room temperature was too hot and I felt dizzy and sleepy, end it earlier.

Session 5 was interesting. The energy movements this time were in all the back, both circular (clockwise and anti-clockwise) and in 8s. It remind me of some "Tsa Lung Movements" of  Tibetan Bon. The attention placed itself in the Crown Chakra. The breath got fainter.

Jan 25 (5 hours) – Session 1: I was very sleepy, lots of thoughts, energy movements in all directions, and a few colors popped up (orange and violet).

Session 2 was the best. The observer settled in the top of the head right from the start and throughout the whole session. It was very silent. When there were thoughts, I could watch them from start to finish. No thought startled me or set a chain of new thoughts. The energy moved in circles and 8s in the Crown chakra.

Session 3 was short, did it lying down on bed. It had the same flavour as the second session. At the end I had a "white" moment, nothing particular afterwards.

Session 4 was quiet, but not as the second one. More thoughts. Just a few 8s of energy flow at the top of the head.

Session 5 I was tired. Attention stay in the top of the head and then focused in a deep cyclical sound.

Session 6, the mind only got quiet when it followed the energy movements

Jan 26 (6 hours) – Session 1 was long, quietness in watching thoughts. The lower belly got activated (energy). Saw flickering of the visual field (black to white) for 10 seconds perhaps, but didn't go anywhere later nor could see between the turn on and off.  During the session there were lots of images of body parts (mouths, faces, heads, hands, etc)

Session 2 was long too. Phenomena was more confusing this time. The energy movements woke up and were too big, as in those Tsa Lung routine.

Session 3 again was long. Started with the wrong foot (due to a previous family discussion) but ended really well. At the 20' mark, the discomfort at the throat and the mental chatter ended. The body was still, no energy movements. Attention eventually stayed at the head. Started to feel rapture (felt like vibratory and thrill sensations in the skin (face) and "outside", not warm/cousy sensations). I first did try to go into the visual field (which also meant eyes towards the forehead), but later to relax. Every time I relaxed, that deepened the concentration. All started to vibrate.  Then the space opened up. Felt like a planet alone in the middle of space. There were some lights, but mostly dark. There were some sparse (evaluating) thoughts here and there. Then I relaxed some more and that brought kind of relief and felt afresh, brand new. Minutes later, tried to do it again, rapture grew but didn't go that far. Later lying down in bed I tried it again and the situation repeated, only this time there were both sensations of sinking and floting.

Session 4 was messy, probably tired of all the things experienced during the previous one. This time, the rapture was felt in the temples, the chest and lower belly.

Later I tried some standing meditation, and the nice tightness at the lower belly was also replicated in the head (never felt this before)

Jan 27 (5 hours) – Session1: the attention went for a while to the space instead of the visual, tactile objects. Then showed up again head, facial expressions.

Session 2:  showed up again head, faces, hands. The interesting thing was that the faces were not looking at me but almost in my same direction, as if I were looking from behind or at the side. These images were popping-up after thoughts. So the (intellectual) insight was that the mind was showing me that thoughts need to be attached/assigned an agent whose doing that thought. That's the second no-self insight up to know in this home retreat (the first one was the no-agency regarding energy movements). Later, the session got a jhanic vibe, rapture started to grow, but the build-up was very gradual. Erotic sensations helped in building the rapture too. Finally, there was no jhana landing.

The thing is that many (all?) thoughts need to have an "I" behind in order to construct the I. But the thing is that anyone should be able to have thoughts and phenomena in other 5 senses without the need of an I attached.

Session 3: There were a bit of everything. The throat, which almost always showed discomfort on and off for at least the first 5-10 minutes, this time showed neutral bubbling sensations. Rapture this time showed up in the chest, at the sides of the nose, the temples, hands, arms, belly, etc. At first the attention went to the I: I became like a planet floating in space. That lasted just a short time. Then, the attention went up to the forehead and a blueish (big) nimitta showed up. Started to approach it. There was lot of intensity in the vibrations in the head (can't remember if there were in the torso and arms too). After 1-2 minutes (I guess) the "fuel" ran up and it started to calm down. When it ended, I felt afresh, soft and thought-free, and the warmth in legs, hands and arms started to rise. Just pleasant, nothing mind-blowing. There was a second round of this jhanic experience, but much much lesser. Later, thoughts appeared with images of heads seeing from behind. Some are normal faces, others are comical/figurative/sketchy, like men in adds of the 1950s

Session 4 showed harness in the chest and pain in the spine at same height. Stayed there for almost all the session. In the last 15' I changed legs and that lessened the pain. Just like images of head were attached to thoughts, in this occasion for the chest pain there were ridiculous thoughts trying to explain it. The "ridiculous" thing is the connecting element that showed up when trying to assign some "agency" to what it’s being displayed.

A general remark: Off-cushion there are lots of moments were there’s quietness and silence, only the senses perceiving. On and off, the attention fixates in what a sense is perceiving. Like saying (non-conceptually) “this is what the ears are hearing, this is was the eyes are watching, etc”.

Jan 28 (5 hours) – Session 1: rapture sensations in the chest and cheekbones near the nose, including smell of perfume. But didn't last long.

Session 2 was long (almost two hours). No rapture. Again there were images related to the I as in previous days. Some of the images had content that were alluding to previous thoughts.  Energy movements showed up again, circles and lateral ones. When I changed the position of the legs, that stopped the movements.

Session 3: more about the same stuff: images connected to thoughts and energy movements. One conclusion was that this energy movements (in particular the circular or lateral, not the 8s) arise as "healing" element, to lessen the pain in one spot

Session 4: even when I was quiet off-cushion, the instant I sat, lots of thoughts, pain and discomfort arose. At the second half of the session, all that calmed down.

Jan 29 (4 hours) – Session 1: Regarding images representing thoughs (or working as a kind of "origin" or anchor), there were e.g. three monkeys flying in a branch, a kid looking back with cartoonish style, and a astronaut with helmet (when I was analyzing some phenomena). Images sometimes refer to the object but other times to the subject.

Session 2: a two hours session. A DNish start with discomfort in the throat and the pulse in the left ear (I'm using earbuds) and lots of thoughts. But 5' later, all that disappeared and those images refering to objects or subject reappeared. At around the 60' mark, the chest started to swing to the laterals, then 8s and later vertical (lateral) circles to both directs, changing after 4/5 turns. In order to change, the energy does a small circle above/below the big circle. It's like this: oOo (but in this case vertically). Stayed there doing all this for about 40 minutes. As the femur head was starting to be sore, I changed legs and the energy stopped completely.

Session 3: it was all about energy movements. First (and mostly) in the chest, then in the head and finally in the base of the spine. At chest level, movements were first lateral swings, then 8s,  later vertical circles (alternating every 10 turns aprox) and afterwards horizontal circles (mostly clockwise).  Later all settled down but there were plenty of thoughts sparked the new movements, how it was gradually growing globally. Regarding thoughts and images as anchors, now I see how when there's one-pointedness, there's no coming back with images of the subject (unless being the subject the object)

At night, lying in bed, I felt for around 40' the energy going up and down the legs, up to the lower belly. There were double spirals in each leg. Plus, the energy rise out of the legs with the in-breath or compressed to the inside of the legs with the out-breath. (Here is key that the out-breath is complete, as I tend to end shortly the out-breaths). At a time, legs went OBE.

Jan 30 (4 hours) – Session 1: Decided to do two hours session from now on, as the energy takes a big deal of time to cover all the spine. The first 90' were all around the chest: vertical circles alternating after 20-30 turns, doing those 8s (oOo) to do the change in direction; there were no horizontal circles this time. Again, there were images of heads/body parts connected to thoughts. One funny image was a washing machine, as I was being thrown into a circling mode. In the final 30', after I changed legs, the energy movements included both the chest and the base of the spine. There were clockwise verticle circles on both locations, being one circle out of phase about 1/3 of the turn from the other. And so there were (unstable) vertical 8s. At one time, it tried to do anticlockwise 8s, but failed and so ended up doing lateral swings ("U" shaped) at the base of the spine. After a short stop, the energy restarted but now doing (vertical) spirals. It was like two cones connected, like a sand watch. At the base of the spine and at the chest there were horizontal circles, 1/3 out of phase, that connected to each other through spirals. Later, there were also another spiral running, from the chest to the top of the head. Apart from the energy, the mind was quite quiet, sparse thoughts only. As the mechanics of the session is repetitive and the mind was silent, I tried to hear attentively deep sounds from the chest and base of the spine.

Session 2: another two hours. Energy started in the chest, then to the base of the spine and later to the top of the head. What was new this time were the vertical (front-back) circles, both at the chest and the base of the spine. So, circles are moving in all three dimensions. There weren't spirals these time, only vertical 8s connecting the base of the spine with the chest. Those 8s weren't neat but unstable, like it wanted to reach somewhere else or try another kind of movement. Other times, energy moved like "U" at the base of the spine for quite some time. A funny thing is that I can "call" (invoke) an energy move just by picturing the movement. Throught the session, the mind was at times very silent, at times with consecutive thoughts. Again there were images associated to thoughts of the subject. The breath was faint but the breath cycle was not long, about 10 seconds.

edit: added just a few missing sentences in Jan 26 - Session 3
shargrol, modified 1 Day ago at 1/31/23 5:39 AM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/31/23 5:38 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's all sounding good. Yeah probably a little too much playing with energy and getting distracted by it... but it's fine, no big deal. But be cautious about spending a lot of precious time on energy. There's always more time to play with this domain and it will get even easier post SE. And don't be too certain about how SE happens. ("SE happens when that anchoring of a sketchy (and always changing) Self with a thought (or sensation) is seen as absurd, not needed"). Pretty much every thought about SE is the ego/intellect trying to minimize it in some way so that it known and less scary. It intellectually fills the void of the void, so to speak. Stick with not knowing until you know... and even then you might not know. The ego doesn't like that of course...

"perhaps I got too carried away with the energy thing and should put more focus in the image-thought connection". 

The things I would recommend getting curious about... Where do thoughts come from? Get curious about it. What is the beginning of a thought? 

And get curious about what is focusing, what directs the mind? What is intention itself? Not the verbal narrative statements we make about our intentions ("I will sit for 30 minutes...") but the in-the-moment movement of the mind that seems to know where to go. What moves the mind?

The trick here is to be curious, not an investigator or an observer... thoughts and intention are closer than close so investigating and observing is too far away for these things. Instead you need to leave the mind as it is, not disturb it, let it exude thoughts and let it take on different focuses... which you feel and become intimate with. Feeling into the mindstream of thought itself and intention itself.

Does that make intuitive sense? If not, definitely feel free to disregard.
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Niels Lyngsø, modified 18 Hours ago at 1/31/23 11:35 AM
Created 19 Hours ago at 1/31/23 10:06 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 405 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
+1 to what shargrol is saying.

One point I would emphasize even stronger is the energy thing. I have my self spent too much time trying to figure out what all those chi movements were doing and why, but my conclusion so far is: It totally doesn't matter. Just ignore the energy at this point. Recognize that it is there, doing its thing, but don't take any special interest in it.

Another thought that came to mind: Maybe try doing some light samatha at the beginning of the sits. Centering, relaxing, maybe even "breathe as long as you comfortably can" as Rob Burbea says in his jhana talks. So intentionally getting thoroughly concentrated/centered before you let go and Do Nothing.

One last thing: If practically possible, try to do late night sittings before going to bed. Sit without a timer until your head has nodded a few times, and then mindfully go to bed. This (lucid) dreamy, hypnagogic layer of the mind is worth exploring at this point, I think.

These are just hunches, please disregard if they don't seem right. You seem to be in a very fine place right now.

Best wishes!
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Pepe ·, modified 18 Hours ago at 1/31/23 11:25 AM
Created 18 Hours ago at 1/31/23 11:25 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Niels! Yeah I remember you case with that ever moving energy. If anything, this kundalini thing will take long time to develop and so far it happens all in its own. I'm just the passenger. I'll add the out-breath/drop at the first 10 minutes of the practice, that surely boost the centering. Haven't tried that late night sits yet. I'll try them too. 

​​​​​​​Thanks again!
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Pepe ·, modified 18 Hours ago at 1/31/23 11:37 AM
Created 18 Hours ago at 1/31/23 11:37 AM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 630 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Shargrol! It does make intuitive sense what you say, as that already have been happening with energy. I'm kind of the rider, but the horse is in fact the one who knows the path. Regarding thoughts, months ago I glimpsed the automacity of the mind movements, but failed due to lack of concentration and me trying to be over vigilant. Hope this time it works out. Regarding "what moves the mind?", what I've seen is that is always about aversion, attraction and ignorance, though it's not clear what exactly I'm rejecting, clinging to or ignoring. Please correct me if I'm pointing in the wrong direction.  
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shargrol, modified 17 Hours ago at 1/31/23 12:28 PM
Created 17 Hours ago at 1/31/23 12:27 PM

RE: Pepe's Log #2

Posts: 1904 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
+1 on late night sits and playing with meditating into the semi-sleep domain. 

Pepe, keep following your answers further upstream, yes keep looking at what moves the mind like what really is the nature of what moves the mind. It might be aversion,for example, but what is aversion really? Move into that space of curiosity and don't forget to look at you yourself the meditator. What are you in each moment?

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