Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Jose C, modified 10 Months ago at 7/18/21 11:52 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/18/21 11:52 PM

Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 7/18/21 Recent Posts
Hello community, I hope I am in the right category.

I started mediation on March this year, after a 10 day Goenka Silent retreat. There I had a very strong experience, where I was able to see the sensations of a little anxiety attack I was having, I was able to de-attach from it and to undersand that it was temporary, I later saw the happiness that this realization produced, and I saw both negative (anxiety) and positive (happiness-realization) in my body at the same time, with some colours, I was crying as it was very relieving. I didn't experiece body desintegration. This experiece motivated me to keep my practice.

After the course I started doing 45 minutes in the morning, one hour at night. I became vegan. I reduced my use of alcohol/drugs and my use of sex as an anxiety relieve. I have experience less stress at work, less money concerns, less depression, and now I notice when ego-centered intentions come to me when I am talking to people, specially people I usually argue with, so I have been improving my social relationships to be more wholesome.

I feel my meditation was not progressing (specially becasue I feel tired in the morining) and it was becoming difficult so I started reading mastering the core and listening to different podcast interviews etc. to have a different view of the path.

So my current stage is:
- I start my sittings with some breathing meditation, noting breath come in - go out - sitting, for concentration.
- In the morning sitting I have been mainly fighting the hidrance of sloth. This usually becomes the object of my meditation. If I can go further my sleepiness I start with body scanning.
- In the nigh sitting I do body scanning but eventually I will get some pain or gross sensations that I will make the focus of my meditation. Almost all unpleasant sensations. I also try to implement some noting whenever my mind star wondering.
- At the end of the meditation I do 1 minute of metta only, as I don't feel geniune love. I tried to be gratful to my teachers and the people in my life, and people that I have hated.
- During the rest of the day I started to try to implement noting when walking specially.

I am currently a bit confused and I don't know if it is a bad thing that I am kind of mixings stuff? Sometimes I get worried that I am not doing things right and I am in the wrong path. I am not sure if it is a good idea to keep going with Daniel book, I was thinking of trying TMI better.

I would appreciate the opinion of whoever is reading this.

Adi Vader, modified 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 1:30 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 1:30 AM

RE: Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Posts: 110 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Intially it makes sense to check out a couple of different systems of practice. Some systems are geared towards shamatha (Calm abiding), some are geared towards investigation and insight into impermanance (Mahasi Sayadaw's system), some highlight awareness rather than attention - there are various ways in which systems can be configured.

By checking out - I mean do a couple of weeks of practice in two to three different systems. Find a good fit to get started, then devote yourself to one system and gain mastery in it. Once you do that you can incorporate elements from other systems in your overall practice plan - there are a lot of synergies that become apparent to you once you get good at one particular way of practicing.

My suggestion is pick up TMI and start practicing with it for a couple of weeks. It is a shamatha based system that gives primacy to developing observationnal skills first, developing the 7 factors of awakening first and then recommends structured investigation after reaching a certain point. If this is suitable to your natural innate abilities then it might be a good fit for you.

In either case you have to get commited to one particular way of practice and take it to level of mastery - at some point - not immediately.
​​​​​​​This commitment sometimes seems like a contrivance. But its a necessary contrivance otherwise you might stay in doubt and not make progress.
Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 2:04 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 2:04 AM

RE: Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Posts: 79 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Jose and welcome! Great to hear you have picked up practice and good to hear about your experience during the retreat. You seem to have a healthy attitude to it - i.e. use that experience as a base and motivation to progress further on the awakening path, and not take it as some sort of an end.

Different practices are appropriate for different people at different stages. It is good to be flexible and "mix things up" in that sense. Trust your gut feel with this - if you feel drawn to something, try it and see what happens. Likewise, if you really don't feel drawn to something at all, it might not be good for you or where you are right now. However, as Adi also highlighted, it is good to stick with something once you have found that it is resonating with where you are and working for you.

Btw, this is no attempt to diagnose you using maps (which can be found in MCTB2 Chapter 30), but, based on your description you might have had A&P during your retreat and potentially be in Dark-Night territory right now. Confusion is super typical for certain stages of the path, especially Dark Night. Likewise for the unpleasant bodily sensations that you describe during your body scans. At times things can get pretty intense for some people - it doesn't necessary mean they will get for you, but just to know that it is possible.

Don't let these unpleasant sensations & confusion derail you. Stay with the sensations of confusion, stay with the unplesant sensations, stay with whatever other unpleasant bodily/emotional/mental sensations show up, examine how they come and go naturally, casually, completely on their own. Go deep and really feel into these sensations. Broader attention inclusive of everything, whole body, also thoughts etc. as part of our meditation object tends to work better for these stages for a lot of people.

Good luck with your practice and let us know if we can help with something!
Jose C, modified 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 6:32 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/19/21 6:32 PM

RE: Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 7/18/21 Recent Posts
Thank you for your replies, I have found them highly motivating and reassuring.
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 7/20/21 6:06 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/20/21 6:06 AM

RE: Jose's log, am I in the right path?

Posts: 1747 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
One thing I'll add... When there is confusion and a desire to change approaches, it's worth looking more deeply at why there is confusion and why we desire a change. What is really going on? Sometimes someone needs a better understanding of the foundations of practice, sometimes it's a detail or fine tuning that's needed, sometimes the desire to change is being driven by unacknowledged difficulties in practice, sometimes it's because there is a desire for faster progress, etc. etc. etc.

So my advice would be to spend sometime figuring our what is going on with you, your motivation, your intention, and your understanding.

Use it as an opportunity to better understand your own mind. That's the central goal of mediation.