To infinity and beyond!

Yellow Tree, modified 1 Month ago.

To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
 Thought I'd just keep a log instead of posting new threads all the time.

Made a post about concepts and label being deconstructed and feeling all weird about it.

Got great insight and advice on that thread. Writing them here for future reference:

- No concepts is a concept
- There never was anything that's not absolutely fine all along, the confusion is just the mind still
- "Look how it's..."
- Shamatha for more stability
- Observe the clinging and aversion

---------------------------------

Got over the hump and feeling fantastic again.

Practice 2 days ago:

Roughly 2 hours of looking at a spot on the ceiling with a panoramic view, being aware of the empty space all around me while listening to a talk on the basics of Zen and Dzogchen. Allowed that to gently guide me even though it wasn't a guided meditation. Most of the time I didn't even hear it because I was very in tune with the empty space around me.
Lots of "sparks" going off everywhere in my visual field.
At times everything stopped and it was as though a huge shift was about to take place but the mind got a little excited each time thinking I was about to go into a cool state again. Realized the clinging but still got excited every time anyway.
Felt fantastic afterwards.
Slight confusion as to what I'm actually supposed to have insight into from this type of meditation but it still felt great. Mind was noticably more silent and at peace afterwards.

Played around with remaining conscious while falling asleep. Feels as though I can look around in the room with closed eyes and asleep. Seems highly unlikely that this is 'real', but I could also see people walk around. Maybe I opened my eyes in my sleep at some stage? Although when I decided to "wake up" again I did have to physically open my eyes? Really cool stuff though, and interesting to meditate while being awake while being asleep. Trippy shit. Inception stuff.

Practice yesterday:

Lots of negative emotions. I chalked it up to pretty intense dehydration. Drank lots of water and then did a 3 hour meditation because I couldn't focus on work.
Same idea here. Put on the audio and stared at the ceiling.
Switched between panoramic view and focusing in on the spot in the ceiling. When focusing in on it I was clearly inducing some form of state. No idea what. But felt incredible. Then went back to panoramic and I felt more "normal". Each time I went back to intense focus I felt conciousness shifting and going into an altered state. Interesting.
Then after a while I was gently investigating the internals of my mind, listening to the silence. Deeper states ensued. Cool stuff, uncertain if I had any real insights though.


Practice thus far today:
Read Integral Psychology by Ken Wilber for a few hours before doing client calls. Always puts me in a good mood and stimulates the mind.

Then I did bodyscanning while being aware of all the empty space around for three hours during client calls. Felt deep equanimity. I can't believe how lucky I am to have a job where I can do this practice with intense focus whilst working - and it's making me perform BETTER. Crazy.

Then after the last call I was gonna read some more but felt so equanimous I just wanted to take it all in for a moment. Was just sitting there and then closed my eyes and popped a nicotine pouch.

Didn't mean to "practice", I just closed my eyes to enjoy to equanimity. The nicotine kick hit me very differently than usual and instead of the regular blackness from closed eyes it was as though the blackness wasn't black. It was more as if I existed in a vacuum of 'no light' and then it moved toward me. Sort of. All mind activity shut down. Not even the normal subtle mental impulses.

Then I realized what I've realized many times before, which is that I can't "make things happen", all I can do is sit and listen to the silence and then sometimes God just graces me with it's presence and I go into some strange/cool/beautiful place where I just am.

Opened my eyes after about 4-5 minutes and everything had that beautiful vibrant life that things have in this state. Space was a lot more palpable, tons of vibrations, etc.

Typically in these states I've felt a strong aversion to getting back to regular life because I cling to the states, but not today. It was all good. Back to work. The state disappeared which was absolutely fine.

One thing I realized was that doing the empty space thing didn't necessarily get me into deeper states, but the moment I closed my eyes I was instantly shot into a very cool place, which I took as an effect of the empty space practice the last couple of days.

Then drove to the gym, extreme stillness while driving. Good insight here: Was driving and focusing my eyes on the license plate of the car in front of me, not much thought. Then a subtle mental sensation arose and I realized that even when the thought arises the awareness is still fully present. So it truly doesn't matter. (I knew this conceptually but this was the first really full piercing of this).

After the gym on my drive back I did "look how it's..." for about 20 minutes straight. At first I wasn't certain if there's any point to this practice but after 10 minutes I started noticing TONS of little things the mind was trying to hide. Little shame things it didn't want called out.

Stopped by outside the grocery store, when I stopped I realized I'm now apparently in a strongly altered state of consciousness again.

Get the groceries. Drive back home, keep practicing in the car. On the way home the unfoldings of this exercise lead to almost cornering the mind so much I ended up with "look how it's realizing awareness is always here" or something along these lines. Close to total stillness here again and strong state.


Also realized I've been seeking states a lot and don't quite understand the difference between meditation to go into states vs insight. Previously I've just done self-inquiry or just listened to silence which has shot me into super powerful states, formless jhanas, etc. To my knowledge this isn't exactly "state inducing" but supposed to be direct pointers or something and supposed to be for attaining insight? I do feel like I'm having huge insights a lot, but the states are stronger than any drugs I've ever taken and often I see the state as a receipt of the depth of the insight. Feeling confused about this. I probably need a teacher. At least I've got the audios on how to master the basics of zen/dzogchen now so I can start doing real practice. Just relying on an intuitive idea of how to go into states is probably just part lazy, and part ego thinking it's cool that I'm doing this stuff without training. Silly mind.

11.30 pm here now and gonna enjoy my Friday evening with a few more hours of meditation.

Not feeling any real craving for states in terms of thinking they'll 'give me something'. I've had them so much since this all started happening to me half a year ago that I know they don't really change anything about my life. But I'm very dedicated to progress so I chase them because I've got the idea that they're like a receipt of doing good practice and having insight. I should pay more attention to this and see what arises.

That's it for now. Any and all feedback are welcome!
 
Yellow Tree, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Been practicing shifting perspectives more. Looking at people that disturb me and looking through their eyes, the eyes of their mom, the eyes of people in the third world, etc etc etc. Fun and interesting mind game!

Almost triggered DN by having to fill out paper work. Great opportunity to observe some intense aversion, possibly even some fairly intense shadow material.

Have paperwork that'll only take 20 minute to fill out (if that!) for my new business. Procrastinated for days constantly feeling anxiety about it. Finally decided to actually feel it head-on and not escape into meditation-land or working.

Didn't get all that much out of it, but whatever.

What did happen is that the aversion decreased and I finally did it.

While doing it I felt INTENSE anger. Sensations akin to being pinned by 4-6 tiny needles under the balls of my feet, as well as in my solar plexus.

Starts as an anger impulse in the front of my mind, where either pre-frontal cortex or third eye would be.

Closed my eyes and felt it intently. Decreased in intensity quickly and I managed to finish it.

Now after I'm done there's a huge sense of relief, while still having a STRONG "after glow" of the experience. Not after glow in terms of feeling good. But experience intense agitation, intense fatigue/sense of being drained, and a very tense face and jaw. Also my tics have intensified, although the intensify in waves all through the day so it may not have much to do with this. My forearms and fingers are tingling from an adrenaline as I'm typing this and feet are still tingling as well. Solar plexus is slightly agigated but not much.

Other than that, did body scanning and emptiness awareness while on the phone with a friend, talking shit about nothing in particular and feeling a sense of extreme effortlessness of speaking freely while practicing intensely. He also commented on my energy, so it clearly had some effects to my subcommunications.

Practiced while being in the grocery store as well and as per usual I draw a ton of attention from women. This is nothing new or special really but it's always quite fascinated how it has such a strong effect. I sense a strong craving for getting this kind of attention though, and I cling to it as well. I'll go back to doing more Metta in public possibly, since that sometimes makes me less focused on getting attention. Or perhaps I should just keep doing what I'm doing but become more perceptive of the craving and clinging.

For formal practice:
Closed eyes, body scanning while focusing on the "nothingness"/"silence" in my mind. Doing both of these simulatenously required almost 100% of my mental bandwitdh which made thinking just not arise. Definitely experience a shift in consciousness here again. No real insights to report though. Didn't have much time so just did this for 10 minutes.

Finally done with 'work' for the day. So now going to finish off with a solid session of formal practice. Interesting that I express this as "finally' done. There's strong aversion to regular stuff and a constant craving for being able to just do formal practice. I find my life outside of formal practice incredible and I can practice in almost all my work tasks, while eating, while cooking, etc. But still there's an almost obsessive desire to get to take a break and do formal practice. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, but investigating into this won't hurt.

Since the start of this entry I've gone from highly agitated to a very calm and present state. Almost like a meditative state. 
Stickman3, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 59 Join Date: 1/15/21 Recent Posts
"Almost triggered DN by having to fill out paper work."

Chortle.
George S, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
What do you think it is that women see in you? Why do you crave the attention? (No judgement, I used to be like this!)
Yellow Tree, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
What do you think it is that women see in you? Why do you crave the attention? (No judgement, I used to be like this!)



Great question, and wasn't taken a judgemental at all.

"What do you think women see in you?"

I guess I can answer this from several perspectives, and since I'm not sure how you meant your question I'll just give you both of my perspectives since this is something I think about a lot.

1. From a more conventional point of view: I think they see a man who comes across as confident and strong, yet (especially when in a meditative state) very grounded, loving, and caring. My personal experience with women, after speaking to them about this, is that I have a rather rare energy. Most men they encounter tend to be fairly nervous but caring, or not all that loving but confident (the more typical bravado 'alpha male' type of guy). So they see something rather different than they're used to and the energy I give off is both exciting and soothing simultaneously.

* This is in terms of when I'm in a very relaxed, present state. I have days when women definately do not feel this way. Just adding this in here because I sound exagerattedly arrogant in the above response.

2. From a more spiritual point of view: I think they, subconsciously mostly, sense a man who can actually 'see' them without a ton of egoic and shadow material cloud the vision. They sense something who can actually be there and enjoy their energy in the moment without needing much from them in terms of sex etc. They sense there's little manipulation, little 'hiding', and little bravado behavior going on.




-----------

"Why do you crave the attention?"

This is a great question as well. I think this comes from several places. For one, I do think it's just a biological response to being a heterosexual male. Secondly, when I was young my parents left me and growing up without my mom made me extremely sad. I always missed her and even cried myself to sleep multiple times a night between ages 8-15. So there's likely a fair amount of mommy issues going on. She's now off the drugs and back in my life and we just started really working on our relationship and getting to know each other (I'm 31 now and only really started getting to know her just before the pandemic hit). Lastly, I was also bullied from 12-17, and learning to become confident and meeting women was the focal point of my life for many years. I spent roughly 10 years going out and trying to meet women for 4-10 hours a day, almost every single day. I was that classic pickup artist guy with intense trauma and insecurities. This is actually what got me started with meditation to learn to control my emotions better. I think my craving for the attention is residues of that 'pickup artist lifestyle' I had for so long. These days I don't really care much about picking up women, but getting the attention is something I'm still acutely aware of and clearly still do crave.
George S, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thank you for sharing. You had a traumatic upbringing.

My parents were both narcissistic and emotionally distant - angry father and self-involved mother. I had to develop a finely tuned emotional radar in order to get my mother’s attention and avoid my father’s anger. I was sent away to boarding school aged 8, so I had a lot of lonely time in bed missing her/home. I wasn’t able to cry much due to the tough all male environment. I used to hug my pillow for comfort and I had problems with bed-wetting and bullying, which created a lot of shame.

In retrospect, I  developed a kind of split between the ideal of my mother and the reality. She was dissatisfied with my father and in some ways groomed me to be her ideal “little man” - attentive, cultured, urbane. These issues were naturally transferred into my relationships with women. I was good at getting their attention and providing a semblance of intimacy. I projected an image of confidence combined with vulnerability, along with apparent sensitivity, which would trigger their own nurturing instincts. A lot of one night stands and falling quickly into relationships which I had no real desire to be in, feeling trapped. I had no idea what I really wanted or how to be in a relationship.

It wasn’t until my early 30s that I went into therapy to seek help for my addictions. I had no idea how incredibly angry I was at my mother due to her emotional manipulation (and ashamed of my anger). I was very career focussed and continued to sweep a lot of stuff under the rug, which resulted in crippling depressions. I came close to suicide and started meditating at 45, which was what enabled me to really start experiencing and processing the underlying emotional trauma. Really it was a process of learning to give myself the unconditional attention that I needed as a child. That sounds funny since I was so self-centered, but my narcissism was about my substitute need for admiration rather than my real need for unconditional acceptance. That narcissism naturally found its way into my spiritual quest as well. A large part of the awakening process involves seeing that for what it is (the need to appear special). It’s interesting when you consider how some of the more scandal-prone spiritual traditions make a point of separating young boys from their mothers!
Yellow Tree, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharig, I definitely relate to a ton of that.

Yeah, being sent to boarding school and living in that male environment definitely wouldn't allow you to express your pain. Probably a solid amount of shadow material there that developed to your depressions later as well. Would be interesting to hear more about how you experienced these as they came out after starting to dive into your traumas in later years (if you're willing to share, obviously).

Haha, yep, sounds like the classic combo for getting trapped in relationships. I did too.

Yeah, the unconscious anger is quite suprising when it comes out, hey?

I had no idea how angry I was until I was 22 and got a hold of my journal from the psychology place I went to as a child to be check against autism (turned out I was just traumatized as fuck but wasn't autistic, had bad tics/tourettes, both verbal and non-verbal, as well as extreme shyness).

Can also relate to the wanting to be special and narcissistic traits. I think I mentioned it above a couple times as well. Now that I think about it, the wanting of female attention definitely comes from that place as well. I don't have much need to sleep with tons of women anymore, but the attention is still a fairly strong craving.

I also almost committed suicide actually, after suppressing a ton of shit and living like an empty shell. Definately good motivation to get serious about looking inward instead out outward for fulfilment. Wasn't all that long ago either.
George S, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
 I did about 2-3 years of good talking therapy, which brought the main issues into awareness and helped with some of the addictions. But I was still on the run from myself, with very limited awareness of my actual needs. I was driving myself way too hard. I suffered 3 major 2 year depressions over 10 years. It wasn’t until I had children and burned out of my career that I finally ran out of rope and had to face the music. I started meditating because therapy and anti-depressants weren’t helping anymore, and I was still curious about what was wrong with me that I should be willing to kill myself. The main thing I became aware of was how much repressed anger I was carrying. I think the depression was mostly a way of shutting down to protect myself from the anger and the hard-driving behavior it was fueling. I also had very high expectations of myself and life, so I constantly felt that I wasn’t good enough and life was unsatisfactory. Lots of shame and guilt. I have a healthier relationship with anger now. It still flashes up a lot but I don’t act on it nearly so much and I don’t judge it negatively like I did, so it passes through much quicker. The shame I’ve been working through in the last few months. The pain and sadness are taking longer to release, but it’s cathartic. The meditative insights have helped a lot because I’ve lost the nagging expectation that things could or should be different from the way they are. It’s just the results of my particular conditioning working themselves out according to pretty well-defined natural processes, and with acceptance comes relief.

I think it’s great that you are working through this stuff and have awareness of the issues. I find that meditating on daily life issues as they arise is a very powerful way of uncovering reactive patterns and fully experiencing and releasing whatever the emotions are which are driving the reactive behavior. I don’t know if you are open to the idea of having kids one day, but if you don’t process them before that then childhood issues will very likely arise with a vengeance at that point, and it’s much harder to deal with them in the pressure cooker of childrearing! It’s quite easy to get addicted to meditative highs and use them to bypass underlying issues. I’m not saying that’s what you are doing, just reflecting on my own experience. Real peace of mind, freedom and happiness comes from digging into the uncomfortable shit and being open to experiencing that as fully as possible :-)

Good luck with the noting, it's a great practice!
 
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
 I did about 2-3 years of good talking therapy, which brought the main issues into awareness and helped with some of the addictions. But I was still on the run from myself, with very limited awareness of my actual needs. I was driving myself way too hard. I suffered 3 major 2 year depressions over 10 years. It wasn’t until I had children and burned out of my career that I finally ran out of rope and had to face the music. I started meditating because therapy and anti-depressants weren’t helping anymore, and I was still curious about what was wrong with me that I should be willing to kill myself. The main thing I became aware of was how much repressed anger I was carrying. I think the depression was mostly a way of shutting down to protect myself from the anger and the hard-driving behavior it was fueling. I also had very high expectations of myself and life, so I constantly felt that I wasn’t good enough and life was unsatisfactory. Lots of shame and guilt. I have a healthier relationship with anger now. It still flashes up a lot but I don’t act on it nearly so much and I don’t judge it negatively like I did, so it passes through much quicker. The shame I’ve been working through in the last few months. The pain and sadness are taking longer to release, but it’s cathartic. The meditative insights have helped a lot because I’ve lost the nagging expectation that things could or should be different from the way they are. It’s just the results of my particular conditioning working themselves out according to pretty well-defined natural processes, and with acceptance comes relief.

I think it’s great that you are working through this stuff and have awareness of the issues. I find that meditating on daily life issues as they arise is a very powerful way of uncovering reactive patterns and fully experiencing and releasing whatever the emotions are which are driving the reactive behavior. I don’t know if you are open to the idea of having kids one day, but if you don’t process them before that then childhood issues will very likely arise with a vengeance at that point, and it’s much harder to deal with them in the pressure cooker of childrearing! It’s quite easy to get addicted to meditative highs and use them to bypass underlying issues. I’m not saying that’s what you are doing, just reflecting on my own experience. Real peace of mind, freedom and happiness comes from digging into the uncomfortable shit and being open to experiencing that as fully as possible :-)

Good luck with the noting, it's a great practice!
 


Wow that's a fascinating journey man. Also interesting that sadness is a much slower process of processing.

Tbh I'm not too interesting in having kids, but not against it either. But, like you said, I'd need to work through a ton of childhood stuff before having kids or else I'll just continue the cycle my family is reliving over and over again at the moment.
Yellow Tree, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Today's practice:

Roughly 2 hours of body scanning with open eyes. Noticed how the feeling sensation and visual sensation is kind of the same. They have the exact same flicker when you keep your attention on them. At one point I got scared when it felt like I was disappearing or about to leave my body. I knew it wasn't real but still got scared somehow. Kept practicing though and it went away. Felt like I was space for a minute but that quickly went away.
Afterwards there was a slight sense of disappointment that 'nothing happened', which it never does for me during body scanning anyway so not sure why I was surprised.

Did "Look how it's.." in the car again and when I got to the grocery store I was hyper aware of all the empty space around me, and almost total silence in the mind. Cool stuff, this practice is slowly turning into a favority.

Also did open awareness at the gym and it was very interesting to move around in the gym and observing things moving around like. Like being a camera lens and just seeing the entire world move.

Also practiced during a 2 hour client call today but suprisingly enough struggled to body scan, kept getting lost in the conversation.

I jump around between practices a lot, just doing what I feel like. And some days I do 6 hours, others I don't do anything. Typically it's around an hour or so. I think switching practices is not too bad right now since I'm exploring what I like, but I should get more serious about having a minimum amount of formal practice. I think.


EDIT: Also did noting in the car today. First time really enjoying noting. Felt like going into a flow state, almost like when playing sports really well. I might have to revisit my stance on noting being boring and 'not working' for me.
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Just making a quick mid-day update because I want to make sure I don't forget this.

Extreme body bliss right now after doing noting and "look how it's" all morning while doing house chores. Sat and observed craving, clinging, and aversion during client call today instead of body scanning. And something new 'clicked'.

I noticed that all stresses in my work is coming from aversion (fear of a client not getting perfect results), clinging (to a clinging staying on a streak of great results), and craving (for clients getting perfect results). I realized I'm creating my own suffering in my vocation, and the old subtle desire to leave and just go live in a temple so I don't have to deal with the stress of running a business was just good ole' unskillful living - as always hahahaha

I'm enjoying the noting because I'm not just getting thrown into weird states but actually getting a bit more insights of how the mind creates suffering. I'm still very confused if I'm progressing on insights or just going into formless jhanas. I feel as though I see/understand reality better and better, and I don't cling to states all that much anymore, but at the same time when I read other practice logs I don't see people constantly reporting all these crazy state shifts. Making me wonder if I'm just unconsciously a bliss junkie due to subtle aversion to dealing with regular life.

Anyway, huge insight: Real practice is doing your material and moral responsibilties skillfully. Interesting enough this lead me to extreme body bliss. I don't understand how I'm always getting these bliss states and formless states. Got a video call with a friend who's trained in a real Zen lineage later this week, hopefully I'll get some further clarity.

Also still unsure how noting is supposed to be done. Tried watching Shinzen's explanation but don't get how you're supposed to get up to 3-6 sensations per second when you're labeling things. It takes half a second even to say the actual label, but yet you're meant to get up to 3-6 per second. Without labeling I can do it no problem and I don't space out. So maybe I'll just do that.

Also keep meditating in sleep a lot, and maintaing consciousness while falling asleep. I heard this is common A&P territory, so I guess I've been in A&P for weeks while going in and out of formless jhanas? Hahaha this is confusing but hilarious.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"Got a video call with a friend who's trained in a real Zen lineage later this week, hopefully I'll get some further clarity."

I bet he/she will say something like "it's all Makyo". emoticon 

"Without labeling I can do it no problem and I don't space out. So maybe I'll just do that."

Yes. It's about Noticing and not Noting anyway. However for those who do space out, get discouraged, fall prey to hindrances, are plowing through ugly dark night full of fear, disqust and misery, etc ... Noting silently or aloud as in Labeling matter of fact sensate phenomena is the way to go. 

1-10 sensation per second is recommended but 1-3 is more than fine. I usually do noting aloud as I find it engaging to listen to the voice. When stuff speeds up I just mumble words as you have noticed emoticon there simply ain't no time for full pronunciation. So my noting in this case become mantra-like. 

Practice Noting according to the Mind Terrain which does change (Anicca). 
With lots of sensate clarity silent noticing goes fine. You feel resistance, then noting aloud. Etc ... you test and see what works best for the current mind terrain. 

Best wishes! 
George S, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Yellow Tree
Also still unsure how noting is supposed to be done.

You're doing noting exactly how it is supposed to be done - noticing how the mind creates stress for itself via aversion-clinging-ignoring in all its myriad forms. Frequency, aloud or silent, labels or not - doesn't matter, and will change according to conditions. Actually it's really important to note all your questions or doubts about the noting practice itself! Am I doing it right? Is this the right practice for me? Who knows? Who could decide what is right? Wouldn't that mean there was a goal? What could the goal be when everything is being noted immediately it arises? Isn't noting just doing itself? etc. etc.

I'm still very confused if I'm progressing on insights or just going into
formless jhanas. I feel as though I see/understand reality better and better, and I don't cling to states all that much anymore, but at the same time when I read other practice logs I don't see people constantly reporting all these crazy state shifts. Making me wonder if I'm just unconsciously a bliss junkie due to subtle aversion to dealing with regular life.

You are probably getting into some vipassana jhanas - a sort of hybird between the vipassana nanas (stages of insight) and "pure concentration jhanas" - states which arise from the mind being concentrated by the noting practice. MCTB has some good stuff on this, e.g. here:

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/34-the-vipassana-jhanas/

You are probably coming to noting with more experience of deeper states than the average practitioner (possibly due to having been through some deep personal experiences recently), so that could color your practice. But it's all just grist for the noting mill ... Look how it thinks its crazy state shifts are important! Look how it wonders if it's a bliss junkie! etc. emoticon

If you haven't already read Mahasi Sayadaw's Progress of Insight, then you can check it out here as Chapter 5 (Practical Instructions) of this book (ignore the rest):

https://wisdomexperience.org/academy/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/07/Manual-of-Insight-for-Course.pdf

It's 40 pages of pure dharma gold and gives a very clear sense of how noting practice progresses ...
 
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
Yellow Tree
Also still unsure how noting is supposed to be done.

You're doing noting exactly how it is supposed to be done - noticing how the mind creates stress for itself via aversion-clinging-ignoring in all its myriad forms. Frequency, aloud or silent, labels or not - doesn't matter, and will change according to conditions. Actually it's really important to note all your questions or doubts about the noting practice itself! Am I doing it right? Is this the right practice for me? Who knows? Who could decide what is right? Wouldn't that mean there was a goal? What could the goal be when everything is being noted immediately it arises? Isn't noting just doing itself? etc. etc.
I'm still very confused if I'm progressing on insights or just going into
formless jhanas. I feel as though I see/understand reality better and better, and I don't cling to states all that much anymore, but at the same time when I read other practice logs I don't see people constantly reporting all these crazy state shifts. Making me wonder if I'm just unconsciously a bliss junkie due to subtle aversion to dealing with regular life.

You are probably getting into some vipassana jhanas - a sort of hybird between the vipassana nanas (stages of insight) and "pure concentration jhanas" - states which arise from the mind being concentrated by the noting practice. MCTB has some good stuff on this, e.g. here:

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/34-the-vipassana-jhanas/

You are probably coming to noting with more experience of deeper states than the average practitioner (possibly due to having been through some deep personal experiences recently), so that could color your practice. But it's all just grist for the noting mill ... Look how it thinks its crazy state shifts are important! Look how it wonders if it's a bliss junkie! etc. emoticon

If you haven't already read Mahasi Sayadaw's Progress of Insight, then you can check it out here as Chapter 5 (Practical Instructions) of this book (ignore the rest):

https://wisdomexperience.org/academy/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/07/Manual-of-Insight-for-Course.pdf

It's 40 pages of pure dharma gold and gives a very clear sense of how noting practice progresses ...
 

Fantastic feedback, thanks a lot as always! I'll read that this week, awesome!
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
"Got a video call with a friend who's trained in a real Zen lineage later this week, hopefully I'll get some further clarity."

I bet he/she will say something like "it's all Makyo". emoticon 

"Without labeling I can do it no problem and I don't space out. So maybe I'll just do that."

Yes. It's about Noticing and not Noting anyway. However for those who do space out, get discouraged, fall prey to hindrances, are plowing through ugly dark night full of fear, disqust and misery, etc ... Noting silently or aloud as in Labeling matter of fact sensate phenomena is the way to go. 

1-10 sensation per second is recommended but 1-3 is more than fine. I usually do noting aloud as I find it engaging to listen to the voice. When stuff speeds up I just mumble words as you have noticed emoticon there simply ain't no time for full pronunciation. So my noting in this case become mantra-like. 

Practice Noting according to the Mind Terrain which does change (Anicca). 
With lots of sensate clarity silent noticing goes fine. You feel resistance, then noting aloud. Etc ... you test and see what works best for the current mind terrain. 

Best wishes! 


Hahaha yeah we'll see

Ahh, okay, thanks for clarifying!
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Today's been interesting. Been doing noting almost the entire day outside of 4 hours of client calls and 3 hours of formal practice. I think I may have been in a light A&P for majority of the day. Or at least cycling.

Just did two sits, both interesting, but the second was very fascinating.

Had a large meal so I had food coma, and it's pretty much bedtime + I'm sleep deprived. But I decided to not try to maintain consciousness while falling asleep but instead allow myself to almost fall asleep and then bring awareness back.

I'd get to the point where I'm seeing images and when slowly raise my energy until I'm clear, and then I kept cycling like this for about half an hour. It was really cool to see how it's possibly to just make the energy surge on command as long I stay vigilantly aware about my level of energy/lucidity.

Then I just remained awake and did noting. After a while I decided to induce boredom by letting my mind think about checking the timer. Then went back to focus. Kept going back and forth here as well until I started to really feel exactly how the boredom actually feels. Then I realized it feels amazing and went into a deep sense of welcoming the aversion. Got super awake and feeling incredible. Probably A&P.

Now it's WAY past bedtime and I'm buzzing. Another sign of A&P from what I've read. Going to be interesting to see how the DN proceeds. I'm kind of excited to enter the DN and get to really investigate how those sensations feel, like the sleepiness and the boredom. I think I find it more fascinating to explore these sensations than going into EQ, SE, etc. Not sure if I'll sort of 'manifest' a DN and if that may hurt my progress, but this is the most fascinating phenomena I've seen thus far in my journey. It's almost like a fun challenge to see how much of the aversion I can sense and finding out what it's really all about.

Exploring this stuff is by far the coolest thing I've ever done. And to think I've hopefully got at least half a century left to have fun with this stuff is just incredible. What a life!
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 15 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Yellow Tree, I hope you are fine with me posting here. Your last post sounds great! Very likely A&P territory, it sometimes did/does manifest for me in as in a similar way as I go to bed.

In my experience, anything that felt/feels fun/engaging to explore as part of the practce at the moment where we are, likely has the potential to bring insights and progress. The body/mind/universe thing has a certain innate intelligence about these things. The spirit of childlike exploration/let's have fun is something which can really help us in our practice, and is somewhat easier to tap into during A&Ps. We can then try and transfer at least some part of that spirit to the innevitable DN that follows emoticon

Good luck and keep going!
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Kaloyan Stefanov
Hi Yellow Tree, I hope you are fine with me posting here. Your last post sounds great! Very likely A&P territory, it sometimes did/does manifest for me in as in a similar way as I go to bed.

In my experience, anything that felt/feels fun/engaging to explore as part of the practce at the moment where we are, likely has the potential to bring insights and progress. The body/mind/universe thing has a certain innate intelligence about these things. The spirit of childlike exploration/let's have fun is something which can really help us in our practice, and is somewhat easier to tap into during A&Ps. We can then try and transfer at least some part of that spirit to the innevitable DN that follows emoticon

Good luck and keep going!


Not at all, all feedback and encouragement is welcome!

That's great to know, I'll keep leaning into what's fun then! Yeah definitely excited to transfer this to some DNing haha. 
Tim Farrington, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
lol, hi Yellow Tree, I guess this was a good time to drop in on the party here. It sure sounds like A&P territory, and your delight is delightful. May exploring this stuff continue to be the coolest thing you've ever done, right on through the part where the process becomes a frying pan and the only way out is into the fire. I say this humbly, lol.  There are rumors that the fire is fun too, in the long run, though it is generally considered to be in poor taste to say that to someone who is actually burning. In any case, welcome to the conflagration!
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington
lol, hi Yellow Tree, I guess this was a good time to drop in on the party here. It sure sounds like A&P territory, and your delight is delightful. May exploring this stuff continue to be the coolest thing you've ever done, right on through the part where the process becomes a frying pan and the only way out is into the fire. I say this humbly, lol.  There are rumors that the fire is fun too, in the long run, though it is generally considered to be in poor taste to say that to someone who is actually burning. In any case, welcome to the conflagration!


Hey haha.

I'm sure it's an acquired taste but I'm definitely looking forward to it as of right now. We'll see how cocky I am next time I enter a legitimate DN though! Thanks for the welcoming
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 5468 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Sounds awesome. I got into all sorts of alternative states early on in my practice too and found it very helpful. It made practicing so fun and utterly fascinating, and the process was guiding itself, which I believe it still is. Enjoy! It may come a time when those altered states suddenly aren't available. If that happens, don't panic. The practice goes through different phases, and that's just how it is. It hasn't abandoned you or anything. Noting is a great practice to fall back on for those times. You can't fail with it. If you worry about it, just note that. And when the energy is available, enjoy the ride and explore it with curiosity. Just remember to ground yourself with food and sleep and physical activities and earthy and down to earth stuff. 
Yellow Tree, modified 27 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
Sounds awesome. I got into all sorts of alternative states early on in my practice too and found it very helpful. It made practicing so fun and utterly fascinating, and the process was guiding itself, which I believe it still is. Enjoy! It may come a time when those altered states suddenly aren't available. If that happens, don't panic. The practice goes through different phases, and that's just how it is. It hasn't abandoned you or anything. Noting is a great practice to fall back on for those times. You can't fail with it. If you worry about it, just note that. And when the energy is available, enjoy the ride and explore it with curiosity. Just remember to ground yourself with food and sleep and physical activities and earthy and down to earth stuff. 

Hi Linda!

Based on the letter of your last name I'm guessing you might be Swedish? You don't have to answer obviously, just noticed that. I'm Swedish myself. Also read that you got Tourettes like me. Do find that these practices help your symptoms or do they just make you more at peace with them?

Great feedback, thanks a lot! Yeah, noting seems so easy to do I'm almost confused. "Is it supposed to be this effortless to meditate?" sometimes goes through my mind. Which I note. lol.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Oh another Swede emoticon how delightful emoticon Where about? I used to live in Malmö for about 8 years! Now in Denmark. 
Yellow Tree, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Oh another Swede emoticon how delightful emoticon Where about? I used to live in Malmö for about 8 years! Now in Denmark. 


Oh damn, I'm from Gothenburg originally! Right now back home visiting my mom, but moving to Greece in two weeks.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Ha! emoticon It was a Dhamma friend from Gothenburg who pointed me towards Ingram and his book back in 2011 when I hit the Dark Night after two years of lovely energetic practice and energetic vigor. This friend was a part of Gothenburg Zen Center. 

Greece? Mmm nice food , warm weather ... wouldn't mind that at all! 

Har det bra!
Yellow Tree, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Ha! emoticon It was a Dhamma friend from Gothenburg who pointed me towards Ingram and his book back in 2011 when I hit the Dark Night after two years of lovely energetic practice and energetic vigor. This friend was a part of Gothenburg Zen Center. 

Greece? Mmm nice food , warm weather ... wouldn't mind that at all! 

Har det bra!


Oh damn, nice. Maybe I should see if they're open and are offering some retreats, that'd be cool.

Yeah Greece sounds pretty lovely right now. They're opening gyms and bars right now as well so it'll be a bit more alive than most parts of Europe, plus the food and weather.
Yellow Tree, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
A day of a constant stream of big insights. Took some notes to summarize, I’m sure I’m leaving some big things out because most insights arise during meditation and then I forget. And I don’t want to pause meditation to write things down. It doesn’t feel like I’m practicing to write everything down, not right now at least.
Insights:
  • Whenever I catch a sensation/perception it’s already changed/happened. I’m always playing catchup. A subtle sensation of sadness accompanies this realization, like the realness of life isn’t as real as I thought. A strange sense of separation between me and the ‘real’, as if I can’t be really connected.
  • I’m excited about the sadness, I’m enjoying exploring everything right now
  • Definitely some remnants of a DN today, still feeling very excited about the DN. No states really, a subtle aversion to the DN that was very interesting to note. Observing the emotional reaction wasn’t super fascinating, but the mental aversion felt pivotal. Nothing huge “happened”, but I had the sense that it was a life changing insight. Negative emotions don’t make life bad, mental aversion to them makes it so. Incredible. The DN went away quickly. Then a short nap and back to more practice after that.
  • Did more metta than usual today, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with love and gratitude these days. I was always very compassionate as a kid, I’d cry whenever I saw something about kids in 3rd world countries, put others' needs before my own, make sure no one felt left out, etc. But then after getting bullied for a few years I shut this part down for a few years, then been bringing it back and shutting it back down in different phases of my life. In the past 20 months since my suicidal depression I’ve been leaning into my compassion more and more, to the point where my heart breaks and bleeds multiple times a day. I’m still confused as to what this love really is. Where does it come from? How does it work? Why is it here? What actually is it?
  • Realized sometimes I use Metta as a form of hiding to not feel anxiety about things. I suppose it’s a better form of self-medication than alcohol, but there’s a subtle aversion to anxiety there. I will work on letting go of the aversion before going into Metta.
  • The mental impulse to seek validation/trying to make people think I’m special creates an agitated sensation in my thighs. Letting go of the tension also releases the mental craving.
  • Mind and inner body feels empty, like space. Not any real difference to the space around me.
  • Any mental impulse gives a sensation somewhere in the body. The impulse to go get coffee creates subtle tension in legs. The impulse to grab something creates subtle tension in arms. Etc.
  • When the aversion/tension doesn’t go away, leaning into it seems to make it go away. Whenever I lean into the thought to make the aversion strong enough to really feel the subtle aspects of the sensation, the sensation seems to disappear on its own.
  • Seeing something, having a mental reaction, and having an emotional reaction all seem to arise simultaneously. Makes me seriously question how me experience of the world actually works.
  • Not craving, clinging, or resisting in the mind seems to trump “mystical states”. Less intense, more functional, better life. States also seem to trick the mind into lots of clinging. I was lying on my bed just listening to birds with a big smile on my face. No ‘states’, just feeling tranquility. Like everything is perfectly fine. I think I prefer this to the crazy states. It was beautiful to have those states, but if I had to pick one way of moving through life, I’d choose this.
  • Did multiple sits as well as continuous practice. Last sit I did noting for probably 45-50. Ended up getting super fast towards the end. Probably 10+ sensation/second thanks to Papa Che Dusko explaining I don’t have to mouth the whole damn sensation. Then right toward the end I stopped noting because I felt like I just noticed 5+ sounds, 5+ touch, and multiple visual sensation continuously. At first I just paid attention to it, and then I realized I don’t have to pay attention to it. They all arise in my awareness anyway, they sort of “come to me”. I don’t have to ‘look outward’, my eyes/seeing ‘take it in’. And I don’t have to listen outward, my ears/hearing takes it in. Etc. (Or rather, I can’t shut those functions off, so if I just rest it all arises within me). Kind of blissful, very “filling” sensation. Little bit of thoughts after the realization. 

Might do another hour or two of noting after this. I feel like I’m of a roll right now.
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 26 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 15 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Oh, wow, you really are on a row it seems emoticon. So many great insights in such a short time span!

​​​​​​​May your progress continue and may all these great insights integrate well!
Yellow Tree, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Kaloyan Stefanov
Oh, wow, you really are on a row it seems emoticon. So many great insights in such a short time span!

​​​​​​​May your progress continue and may all these great insights integrate well!


Thanks man!
Yellow Tree, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Hard to fall asleep lately when I'm 'supposed' to sleep. It's usually silent in the mind and I'm just aware of the darkness and silence. And then it's suddenly like my mind, or something, 'explodes', like I'm about to have a panic attack/heart attack/etc. Really scary. Happens multiple times until I give up and put on a podcast so I can focus on something and fall asleep. It's still pretty interesting while being scary so it's kind of a funny event. lol

Today I seem to have entered what could be a DN (exciting! lol).

Did about an hour of formal practice. Mostly noting, but also some body scanning and also just taking it all in at once.

Intense headache the entire day, low in energy, a lot of thinking. The continuous practice has been difficult. Formal practice wasn't hard, but noting was clearly slower, and I had moments of doubts about if I'm doing it right or if it even "does anything". Hahaha.

Insights:
- When it's hard to do continuous practice there is a tendency to get frustrated. But when accepting monkey mind and just bringing awareness back, gently, it's not as bad. There's still some clinging to the effortlessness of the past week. 
- Being okay with frustration makes frustration feel okay. lol. 
- Never felt this motivated or had this easy to do formal practice while not "feeling it" before. Very nice experience.
Yellow Tree, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
What's probably a DN is continuing.

Woke up feeling a lot better. Had a fantastic day until I drank to much caffeine and the agitation from yesterday got triggered.

Motivation still high, and it's very fascinating to observe doubt, frustration, etc arise. Aversion to the DN does arise at times, but only subtly and I don't have aversion to the aversion. Just letting it be.

When doing formal sits it feels great, but in everyday activities the negative sensations become pretty intense at times. Less motivation for continuous practice, more motivation for formal practice.

Been a pretty great day though. Not trying to rush through this experience, really enjoying seeing these sensations and I know it'll pass on it's own.

Right now it seems more or less gone, watching Dhammarato on Guruviking and his joyful energy is making my heart charge up with a ton of loving-kindness.

Not much else to report.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Just out of curiosity could you describe skin sensations and also frequency sounds I the ears (people call it nada sounds). I wonder if folks have similar experiences when in DN. 

Also could you observe the visuals with closed eyes and see if you can notice something there. Also is there a difference between in and outbreathing or are they same (like lenght, pleasantness/unpleasantness/neutral)

But only if you want to do it of course. 

"Was just sitting there and then closed my eyes and popped a nicotine pouch."

Uh oh, emoticon I stopped with Snus a few months back and I still miss it at times emoticon Life seems much easier once the body is numbed down by snus emoticon However I did overuse it! You know the times when you put two in just to get that extra bit of kick? emoticon You must be doing Göteborgs Grape emoticon 
Yellow Tree, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Just out of curiosity could you describe skin sensations and also frequency sounds I the ears (people call it nada sounds). I wonder if folks have similar experiences when in DN. 

Also could you observe the visuals with closed eyes and see if you can notice something there. Also is there a difference between in and outbreathing or are they same (like lenght, pleasantness/unpleasantness/neutral)

But only if you want to do it of course. 

"Was just sitting there and then closed my eyes and popped a nicotine pouch."

Uh oh, emoticon I stopped with Snus a few months back and I still miss it at times emoticon Life seems much easier once the body is numbed down by snus emoticon However I did overuse it! You know the times when you put two in just to get that extra bit of kick? emoticon You must be doing Göteborgs Grape emoticon 



Interesting questions.

Skin sensation: Have been fairly normal, haven't noticed anything different really.
Sounds: Before DN I had a strong, loud "signal" sound, during DN it's been more dull sort of. Like the difference between a signal and a continuous "thump". If that makes sense.
Closed eyes visuals: Lots of changing shadows. Chaotic.
Breath: Haven't noticed any difference.


Hahaha yeah snus is the shit, but I overdo them as well. I did do Goteborg's Rape, yes. Haha. Right now I actually do the pure nicotine pouches, tobacco free. Gonna go off these soon too though. They're lowering my well being but I get so cranky I'm rather rude to people I work with and right now I can't take time off work. Haha. I tried to just notice the frustration but it didn't seem functional. Got 5 new staff members and I gotta make sure they feel really welcome. Going off nicotine right now wouldn't be smart.


In other news: I think I'm leaving the DN. Been doing looooots of continuous noting today. Also read chapter 5 of Manual of Insight (thanks a ton George S for the recommendation!!). Almost no frustration left in the body. Meditation is easier, good focus. Still no real craving to leave the DN although I'm pleased to be leaving it. I guess I may be in reobservation now? Onward to low EQ or back to mind-and-body now I guess. I don't really mind either way because I feel very confident in my ability to quickly cycle back up to A&P again.

I did a bit of self-inquiry earlier today and got into an extremely silent place. Not craziness like it usually goes, but silent. Visual field became very panoramic. Just hearing all sounds arise. Lots and lots of flicker. My couch also started breathing suddenly. Hahahaha. Never seen objects breathe before, it's always funny to see new things like this when they appear.

Noticed lots of desire at the gym today, the girls had decided to bring their a-game today apparently. lol. Swedish gyms are great for practicing hahahaha.

I find this stuff so hilarious, I don't understand how not every human on earth is absolutely obsessed with it. It's just pure comedy to watch the mind go crazy over things that are so evidently unsatisfactory and "unreal".

Also, inspiration to write new articles are coming back, which I take as a sign of going out of DN (I write a lot in my work). Lots of clients reported big time progress as well today which seemed to have helped moving out of DN slightly. I noted the clinging to the positive reports and the excitement.

Also, a much deeper sense of metta in my work is revealing itself. Much bigger focus on doing work that's of benefit to all beings, and wishing the progress of my clients to be of benefit for all beings.

Cool day. Lots of love, some frustration, lots of noting, lots of reading, a new visual phenomena, and some big insights on how to really make my work truly be for the benefit of the entire planet; animals and plants all included.
Yellow Tree, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Okay, just gotta record this while it's really fresh in case anyone knows what the hell is going on.

So I was just falling asleep and it happened again.

Right as I'm about to cross over into sleep state, everything goes back, then the only thing that's left is the ringing in my ear, everything else dissapears, and then suddenly everything is just a bright white light, and then I get terrified. But there's no thinking, it's not like "I" get terrified. I'm barely conscious. I just get shot with a panic signal as everything turns white. It's not like I see it and then get scared, as if it was some scary visual I was seeing. It just shoots through me and I jump/jerk. It's like an electric shock almost.

It's SUPER pleasant at first. It's similar to the formless jhanas or whatever it is I've experienced in meditation.

And the second I wake up all fear/shock/whatever the the it is, is completely gone.

If anyone following this practice journal knows what this is, please let me know.
George S, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I've had a similar experience falling asleep during meditation, suddenly coming to completely surrounded by white light, whiter than I could ever imagine. I got scared and bounced out very quickly, but it was a very powerful experience. My guess is that it was an unstable nimitta (precursor to hard jhana), although I haven't had the conditions to be able to replicate it in a stable fashion. Sometimes when my mind gets really calm in meditation or falling asleep it gets a bit lighter, so I could extrapolate that. I think it happens falling asleep because that's when I really let go lol.

Regardless of what it is, for insight practice you just need to focus on the 3Cs:

- Imperament: it's just a memory now right?

- Unsatisfactory: fear, fascination, clinging etc.

- Not-self: is it an essential part of you?

As Mahasi says under 'Distractions  from the path':
​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​A meditator may like any of the pleasant experiences that occur—the bright light, good mindfulness, insight, rapture, and so on. This liking will cause him or her to think: “This practice is exceedingly enjoyable!” He or she  may  really  enjoy  the  practice.  But  do  not  waste  time enjoying  the bright light  and  other pleasant experiences.  Instead,  whenever they  arise,  note them  as “brightness, comfort, knowing, reflecting, venerating, happiness, liking, delight,” and so on, according to whatever you experience.

If  you  notice  brightness,  note  it  as  “bright,  bright.”  If  you  think  that  you see it, note it as “seeing, seeing” until it disappears. You may often forget to note  bright  light and  other  pleasant experiences  because  you  are so  happy to experience them. Although you are noting, the light may not disappear very quickly because you are delighting in it. Only after experiencing it many times will you be able to note it skillfully enough that it disappears quickly. For some meditators, light is so powerful that even if they note it for a long time, it doesn’t disappear; it remains. In this case, ignore the light completely and divert your attention to some other mental or physical  object.  Do  not  think  about  whether  the  light  is  still  bright.  If  you  do, you  will  find  that  it  is.  Any  thoughts  about  the  light  should  be  noted  so precisely that your awareness of them is very clear and firm.

Since your concentration will have become very powerful, other unusual objects besides bright light can arise if you incline your mind toward them. Do not let the mind incline in this way. If you do, quickly note it until it disappears. Some meditators see various kinds of faint shapes and forms arise one after another, like the linked carriages of a train. If this happens, note it as “seeing, seeing.” With each noting, an object will disappear. If your insight weakens, the shapes and forms will tend to become more pronounced. But if you note them closely, each object will disappear on the spot as it is noted. Eventually they will stop coming.

​​​​​​​To delight in bright light and other pleasant experiences is to be on the wrong path. The correct path of insight is to just continue noting. If you keep  this  in  mind  and  carry  on  noting  mental  and  physical  phenomena that  actually  arise,  your  awareness  will  grow  clearer  and  clearer.  You  will clearly see  the sudden appearance and disappearance  of phenomena. Every time you note, you will see each object arising and passing away on the spot. A meditator clearly sees that successive occurrences are distinct from one another, break up bit by bit, and cease. Thus every object you note helps you to realize impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self.

​​​​​​​After practicing for quite a while, a meditator may feel satisfied with his or her practice and take a break every now and again, thinking: “It can’t get any better than this. There can’t be anything else special to experience.” But you should not just relax whenever you want. Instead, you should practice for longer and longer periods without taking a break.


​​​​​​​
Yellow Tree, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
I've had a similar experience falling asleep during meditation, suddenly coming to completely surrounded by white light, whiter than I could ever imagine. I got scared and bounced out very quickly, but it was a very powerful experience. My guess is that it was an unstable nimitta (precursor to hard jhana), although I haven't had the conditions to be able to replicate it in a stable fashion. Sometimes when my mind gets really calm in meditation or falling asleep it gets a bit lighter, so I could extrapolate that. I think it happens falling asleep because that's when I really let go lol.

Regardless of what it is, for insight practice you just need to focus on the 3Cs:

- Imperament: it's just a memory now right?

- Unsatisfactory: fear, fascination, clinging etc.

- Not-self: is it an essential part of you?

As Mahasi says under 'Distractions  from the path':
​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​A meditator may like any of the pleasant experiences that occur—the bright light, good mindfulness, insight, rapture, and so on. This liking will cause him or her to think: “This practice is exceedingly enjoyable!” He or she  may  really  enjoy  the  practice.  But  do  not  waste  time enjoying  the bright light  and  other pleasant experiences.  Instead,  whenever they  arise,  note them  as “brightness, comfort, knowing, reflecting, venerating, happiness, liking, delight,” and so on, according to whatever you experience.

If  you  notice  brightness,  note  it  as  “bright,  bright.”  If  you  think  that  you see it, note it as “seeing, seeing” until it disappears. You may often forget to note  bright  light and  other  pleasant experiences  because  you  are so  happy to experience them. Although you are noting, the light may not disappear very quickly because you are delighting in it. Only after experiencing it many times will you be able to note it skillfully enough that it disappears quickly. For some meditators, light is so powerful that even if they note it for a long time, it doesn’t disappear; it remains. In this case, ignore the light completely and divert your attention to some other mental or physical  object.  Do  not  think  about  whether  the  light  is  still  bright.  If  you  do, you  will  find  that  it  is.  Any  thoughts  about  the  light  should  be  noted  so precisely that your awareness of them is very clear and firm.

Since your concentration will have become very powerful, other unusual objects besides bright light can arise if you incline your mind toward them. Do not let the mind incline in this way. If you do, quickly note it until it disappears. Some meditators see various kinds of faint shapes and forms arise one after another, like the linked carriages of a train. If this happens, note it as “seeing, seeing.” With each noting, an object will disappear. If your insight weakens, the shapes and forms will tend to become more pronounced. But if you note them closely, each object will disappear on the spot as it is noted. Eventually they will stop coming.

​​​​​​​To delight in bright light and other pleasant experiences is to be on the wrong path. The correct path of insight is to just continue noting. If you keep  this  in  mind  and  carry  on  noting  mental  and  physical  phenomena that  actually  arise,  your  awareness  will  grow  clearer  and  clearer.  You  will clearly see  the sudden appearance and disappearance  of phenomena. Every time you note, you will see each object arising and passing away on the spot. A meditator clearly sees that successive occurrences are distinct from one another, break up bit by bit, and cease. Thus every object you note helps you to realize impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self.

​​​​​​​After practicing for quite a while, a meditator may feel satisfied with his or her practice and take a break every now and again, thinking: “It can’t get any better than this. There can’t be anything else special to experience.” But you should not just relax whenever you want. Instead, you should practice for longer and longer periods without taking a break.


​​​​​​​


Thank you so much, yet again. Very helpful insight. I'll just keep noting!
Yellow Tree, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
I'm starting to "get" this noting practice now.

At first I was just noting and didn't quite understand what I was doing. So I just kept noting. Lots of state changes and more silence in the mind.

Now I'm beginning to understand what it's actually doing.

Insights:
- Insights aren't all that useful. I mostly note "insight" now.
- When I starve the mind of stimulation throughout the day, meditation becomes 'deeper'. Been noting very focused today, walking very very slowly and noting each footstep unless attention got caught by something else, which I noted. Probably 4-5 hours of continuous noting today.
- 15 min; 20 min; 30 min; 45 min; of formal practice today, as well as a non-timed formal practice this morning of around 20-30 minutes.
- All sessions have flown by, especially the last 45 min session. I was actually shocked, felt like 10 minutes max. I noted "liking", "excitement", etc throughout the session. As well as "clinging" after the timer went off because I noticed I wanted the sessions to keep being this great.
- Started getting sleepy and getting visuals, just noting them makes them go away! Super cool. ("Excitement", noted).
- Seeing imparmanence in almost everything. Seeing no self in everything, even in the noting mind and the mind that thinks it has these insights. Seeing unsatisfactoriness in everything as well.
- Seeing how the selfing just arises just like all other sensations. I know it's coming and don't have aversion toward it. A very calm sense of excitement came with this. Like, I just know it's a pleasant sensation to be fine with all arisings and vanishing, but it's just a state. Just keep noting.
- Had lots of pain in neck, just noted. Then realized there was aversion to the neck pain. Aversion noting. Pain persevered, but aversion vanished. All is well. Excitement also noted.
- Visual field had lots of sparks etc again, just noted.


DN is officially done and dusted. It's now just a memory. Remembering noted. The mind was thinking about if this is reobservation. Reflection noted.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Noting 99% of the time and Reflecting on it 1% of the time.

So is this anicca? Not important. Is this Unsatisfactory? Not important! 
All this is to be noted Thinking! In the Noting apparatus all this pondering about practice is but simply "thinking". Maybe even "wishful thinking". 
Mind will "get it" without the rational thinking we are used to deal with knowledge. 

This is only my view on it and others might have more to say. 

Here I made a video a few years back performing freestyle noting aloud with open eyes. Can get faster of course but this is a good tempo. https://youtu.be/9FeajWRJcXA
Yellow Tree, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Noting 99% of the time and Reflecting on it 1% of the time.

So is this anicca? Not important. Is this Unsatisfactory? Not important! 
All this is to be noted Thinking! In the Noting apparatus all this pondering about practice is but simply "thinking". Maybe even "wishful thinking". 
Mind will "get it" without the rational thinking we are used to deal with knowledge. 

This is only my view on it and others might have more to say. 

Here I made a video a few years back performing freestyle noting aloud with open eyes. Can get faster of course but this is a good tempo. https://youtu.be/9FeajWRJcXA

Perfect, sounds like pretty much I'm at least attempting to do right now, haha.

That video was excellent! Thank you for sharing that.
George S, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hmm, even noting is impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self!
Yellow Tree, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
Hmm, even noting is impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self!


Hahaha this was a great comment, kind of like meta-noting. Lol. Thank you!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Noting is like an echo chamber emoticon it's looping Samsaric experience, to the point of it all short circuiting at one point emoticon 

Surgery was successfull, the patient is dead emoticon 
Yellow Tree, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Noting is like an echo chamber emoticon it's looping Samsaric experience, to the point of it all short circuiting at one point emoticon 

Surgery was successfull, the patient is dead emoticon 


That's the funniest comment I've read on this board. Yeah, lets note noting to death.
Yellow Tree, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Today's practice:
Almost no continuous practice
Did a 15 minute sit this morning which was great, and then what was meant to be a 60 minute sit just now, but ended after 53 minutes. It was an amazing sit for about 50 minutes but then knee pain came up and got the better of me. I used to sit through pain but after having pain persist throughout the day a few times I stopped sitting through pain. So taking a break and then doing another sit shortly but reclined instead of cross legged.

The long sit was fantastic, almost no reflection, just small impulse of thought in form of insight which I noted as thinking, insight, wonder, etc.

At one point it felt as if all sounds merged into one, and then thinking, hearing, and feeling felt as the one and the same sensation. At that stage I couldn't note anymore and just let go of labeling. The sensation of all sensations being one sensation went away pretty quickly and after a little while more selfing started arising again so I continued the labeling.

It seems the labeling gets so much speed after a while that even attempting to mumble the labels is too slow, but after a while of no labeling I lose speed and more thinking impulses arise. Haha.

Not much else to say, practice feels fun, motivation is high, I'm letting go of states and just keep noting. There's a lot of excitement etc which I note, and I often note "laughing" or "humor" when speed picks up. Not certain what's so funny but clearly I find this hilarious.
Yellow Tree, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Was too tired to update laste night, I aim to update at least once a day, but whatever it's fine to miss some days I guess.

Yesterday's practice:
Busy day, decent amount of resistance to sitting down and practicing. I noticed that if I just start noting the aversion it quickly vanishes and I just find myself sitting down and practicing.

Unfortunately struggled with sleepiness, had about 4 hours of sleep the night before and was already sleep deprived.

Practice was good though, albeit very short. One 15 min and one 20 min I think. Not much else to report.



Question for the more advanced and well read people who may be reading this:

When I do self-inquiry and go into these altered states my body often makes me get an erection. There's zero sexual arousal. None. No thought about it. It just happens. Hard as a rock. When it first started happening it threw me off so bad I lost my ability to enter those states for a couple of weeks until I managed to maintain focuses on the nothingness. Does anyone know what this might be due to? I haven't had a kundalini awakening and I don't experience any form of kundalini, arousal, or any other sexually related sensations. I'm not focusing on my body at all really when I alter my state. I just turn inward toward the core of the mind and focus on "the witness" or the silence, before letting go of this and going beyond the whole witness illusion. No body-mindfulness at all, at least consciously. It's not bothersome really now that I can still go into those states again, but pretty fascinating. Also the erection stops as soon as I completely cross the threshold and stabilize in the state. Any thoughts or comments welcome!
Yellow Tree, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
Frustration, tiredness, doubt. Lol all this arising again. Trying to sit and having so much thought, mostly around doubt about if I'm doing it right or if "noting works". Slowed down the noting a lot because I realized that with high speed noting I'm kind of forcing it sometimes which creates very subtle thought-impulses in the back of the mind. Slowed down and it was a thought-impulse pretty much every second. Did 30 minutes concentration meditation first to get more focused but kept falling asleep, so I cranked up my breathing to get more energy which helped but didn't get deep into concentration. Then did 40 minutes of noting. I keep procrasting sitting the last 2 days. Oh well, just gonna keep sitting through this. Feels like my practice ranges from really good and in a great flow to doubt and uncertainty from day to day right now. No long stretches of either good or bad practice. Constant fluctation in focus, faith, etc.
George S, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1775 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Maybe re-observation, aka "rolling up the mat stage".

There's no such thing as bad practice!
Yellow Tree, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
George S
Maybe re-observation, aka "rolling up the mat stage".

There's no such thing as bad practice!


Read through the re-observation chapter. Yes, seems very much like what I'm going through. No intentions to roll it up though. I've been so many times and every time I quit practicing. Not this time.

"No such thing as bad practice". That really helped me a lot today, thank you!



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Today's practice:
45 minutes of some weird combination of anapana and light breathwork. I'd breath faster and deeper than normal, not anything aggressive but fairly significantly more than natural breathing. Kept falling asleep first which is why I began doing this. Deciding to just pay attention to the breath too instead of noting.
I did the counting of the breaths to, from 1 to 10, and then starting over.
Lost count sometimes so began to visualize the number. Created a beautiful purple color of the numbers, a sparkling and kind of magical color and shape onto a black background. I'd pierce the number with the breath to make it change to the next number.
Got super focused and didn't lose count at all after that. This might not technically be what you're supposed to do but at least it got me focusued enough to do it. Got very focused. Did this once a few months ago for 4 hours and got into a crazy formless state. No craziness today but really cool.
Then did 15 minutes of noting which at times got really amazing, and then all the doubts etc came back.
Then let go of noting and just embraced my entire visual field and felt like I could 'feel' all the space in front of me, next to me, and even behind me. Then doubts came back again. Hahaha

Later I did a 20 minute body scanning which was great, timer went off and at first I was just gonna continue, but so much resistance came over me I decided to let it be.

Good practice day for being extremely doubtful, uncertain, and annoyed with practice.
 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 1847 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
The more you practice or bring forth Acceptance to the DN unpleasant phenomena the more solid the EQ stage will be later. 

Basically what I'm suggesting is you look right at that incoming Tsunami wave and you let it crush you emoticon You utterly acccept it's whole terrible horrific appearance! emoticon Easy really emoticon 

Spoiler alert! It does feel very good and purifying afterwards when you let tough phenomena wash over you / through you without resistance. 

Best wishes! 

(I think I'm telling this also to myself) 
Yellow Tree, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: To infinity and beyond!

Posts: 58 Join Date: 3/13/21 Recent Posts
That's really good man, thanks. Yeah I will do my best to accept this little stroll through the gates of hell. 

I'm actually doing quite well, it's just the insane amount of doubt and sense of uncertainty of practice that's fucking me up. I'll go induce some extra doubt on purpose today and just bask in it. I figured sense I won't escape it I might as well steer into it. Full day of doubt today. On purpose. Here. We. GO. hahaha

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