Saying hello

Eric Abrahamsen, modified 11 Days ago.

Saying hello

Posts: 6 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Hi all,

I didn't see a "newbies introducing themselves" category, so I figured this one would do. I've just joined the site, and thought it wouldn't hurt to say hi.

I've been meditating fairly seriously (meaning "no longer falling off the wagon for weeks at a time") for about a year now. I've had no teachers or really anyone to talk to, but did start out with a copy of The Mind Illuminated, and feel lucky to have found that as a manual for first steps. After that I read Joseph Goldstein's Mindfulness, and feel lucky that that was my second book! I'm now nearly done with MCTB2 and, once again, feel like this was an excellent third book, it  has added a whole new dimension to my understanding of what this is about. (I've read some other books in the interim that didn't have that much impact.)

I hesitate to call them "attainments", but since this is the attainment category... Over the past month or so I've finally gotten through the initial drudgery, and have been reliably able to enter first jhana. I don't think I've ever managed the second. In TMI terms I'm somewhere around the sixth stage. In ñana terms, so far as I understand all this, I feel like I'm in Cause and Effect, moving into Three Characteristics, perhaps (maybe?) with an A&P on the distant horizon – momentum is definitely gathering, and I've recently upped my sits from a half-hour a day to an hour.

I'm also an avid taiji practitioner in the Chen style, have a background in China/Chinese, and have an affinity for Daoism and all that. I'm a very physical person, with I think a natural bent towards energetics, and I've found that most of my breakthroughs with meditation have come "via" the body. I suppose that's normal for everyone in the early stages, but I look forward to exploring that aspect of things – I'm already seeing many, many parallels between the two practices.

I haven't done any retreats, though I'm planning to do some "self-retreats" soon. We live in a very small apartment, and my family includes a three-year-old child and an incredibly annoying cat, so peace is hard to come by. If anyone has recommendations for good retreat options in the Pacific Northwest (US), I would love to hear them.

Anyway, hi!
Eric
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Jeyan "Jey" Burns-Oorjitham, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: Saying hello

Posts: 42 Join Date: 5/5/18 Recent Posts
Welcome, Eric!

Thank you for introducing yourself and sharing about your practice.

I don't have a lot of knowledge of retreat centers in the Pacific Northwest, but I have had transformative meditation experiences at campgrounds and state parks. Setting up a couple check-ins with a meditation teacher or peer group in advance and renting a cabin or pitching a tent can facilitate amazing practice.

TMI and MCTB2 have had a massive impact on my life too. There is so much depth and richness to those texts (and their references).

One thing I didn't notice in your description was a connection with either a meditation teacher or a peer group. I've found both to be tremendously helpful on the adventure. Community or sangha is so powerful; it is hard to overstate its impact.

I wish you all the best on the journey; feel free to reach out.
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: Saying hello

Posts: 6 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Hi Jey,

Thanks for the message! You're quite right, I don't have connections to any teachers or other practitioners, and while that hasn't seemed like a big deal so far, it does feel like it's time. Ironically, I discovered right after Covid hit that I live two blocks from the Seattle Insight Meditation Society facility; now, of course, it hardly matters where anyone is.

I absolutely intend to make the surrounding forests and mountains a place of practice! This summer it seems like everyone in the western United States is visiting the Olympic National Forest, luckily any old corner of the forest would be enough for me. Your point about checking in with someone in advance is very well taken.

Thanks,
Eric
Sam Gentile, modified 9 Days ago.

RE: Saying hello

Posts: 1170 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Eric Abrahamsen
Hi all,

I didn't see a "newbies introducing themselves" category, so I figured this one would do. I've just joined the site, and thought it wouldn't hurt to say hi.

Hi Eric! Welcome tto DhO! We usually put these posts in Practice Logs not Attainments which only encourages me to encourage you to keep a practice log keeping track of your progreass.

I've been meditating fairly seriously (meaning "no longer falling off the wagon for weeks at a time") for about a year now. I've had no teachers or really anyone to talk to, but did start out with a copy of The Mind Illuminated, and feel lucky to have found that as a manual for first steps. After that I read Joseph Goldstein's Mindfulness, and feel lucky that that was my second book! I'm now nearly done with MCTB2 and, once again, feel like this was an excellent third book, it  has added a whole new dimension to my understanding of what this is about. (I've read some other books in the interim that didn't have that much impact.)

The Mind Illuminated is good for concentration. Goldstein's Mindfulness is an exhhaustive treatment of the Satipathana Sutta. Then of course, MCTB2 changed my life!

I hesitate to call them "attainments", but since this is the attainment category... Over the past month or so I've finally gotten through the initial drudgery, and have been reliably able to enter first jhana. I don't think I've ever managed the second. In TMI terms I'm somewhere around the sixth stage. In ñana terms, so far as I understand all this, I feel like I'm in Cause and Effect, moving into Three Characteristics, perhaps (maybe?) with an A&P on the distant horizon – momentum is definitely gathering, and I've recently upped my sits from a half-hour a day to an hour.

Perhaps the three characterstics but not A+P yet. You'd know it. Mine was explosive lights, intense bliss, head to toe rapture, unshakable faith, walking around for like 15 days "converted." TMI's mapping is not the same as MCTB. Your sittiing schedule and motivation spund excellent. Now all you need is a great teacher. I can recomend one if you want.

I'm also an avid taiji practitioner in the Chen style, have a background in China/Chinese, and have an affinity for Daoism and all that. I'm a very physical person, with I think a natural bent towards energetics, and I've found that most of my breakthroughs with meditation have come "via" the body. I suppose that's normal for everyone in the early stages, but I look forward to exploring that aspect of things – I'm already seeing many, many parallels between the two practices.

I haven't done any retreats, though I'm planning to do some "self-retreats" soon. We live in a very small apartment, and my family includes a three-year-old child and an incredibly annoying cat, so peace is hard to come by. If anyone has recommendations for good retreat options in the Pacific Northwest (US), I would love to hear them.

Anyway, hi!
Eric
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Saying hello

Posts: 6 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Hi Sam,

Thanks very much for the reply! A practice log... I might work up to it. A few weeks ago I finally started using a meditation app that keeps track of your progress and shows you a little calendar of your sits, with statistics etc., and I'll admit that was more helpful than I would have expected.

I would love a recommendation for a teacher, particularly if you're talking about one in my area, whom I might have a chance of meeting face to face before too long! I'd really appreciate any pointers.

Thanks,
Eric