(finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

(finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
This is a continuation of my practice from being off of work, where my practice picked up a bit, and where I was recovering from an injury. I literally posted in it yesterday, but today was my first day back. This first post is a synopsis on current practice and some of the benefits. At the end I detail my first day back at work from a meditation prespective.

I'm currently doing several different techniques.

I usually do open, spacious meditation, noticing as much as I can. I also do, do-nothing mediation when I feel like it, or especially when I'm in what I think is, specific parts of the equanimity ñana i.e. mid-equanimity. And also I throw in noting in here and there.

Less often I do rapid-noting for 10 minute sits. I also have practiced TMI type concentration practices, leading to some weird states. But less so the last two months.

I seem to have better permanent resolution of the nostril sensations after doing a few weeks if TMI and maybe other sensations as well (in theory).

Weirdly I felt like more of my body was filled in with sensations (as soon as I rebooted practice) back in April. But I include this here. 

Another benefit is the "focus on rest" as Shinzen calls it. I discovered that I can actually do that as a result of TMI, and after reading the first part of, the Science of Enlightenment, by Shinzen Young. 

I also pay attention to the thought stream. And the space in the head. That is actually how I do the focus on rest.

My practice rebooted in April so I'll be approaching the 6 month mark.

Before that I practiced from 2011 - 2016. After that I had a 4 or 5 year break depending on how you count it. I did two Goenka retreats in 2013, and 2014.

I gave a little bit more of an autobiography in the first thread, about meditating during recovery: www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23113932


The time off work was kind of a "plunge experience". I believe someone on buddhist geeks once talked about that concept. I could have practiced more, and created more retreat-like conditions. On day one I fantasized about that. But being stuck at home for weeks wasn't actually ideal for that mentality. I actually overcame some pretty bad habits during that phase. And I've actually locked back in meditation as the most important thing. And a lifelong practice. I consider that a huge win.

It seems to be intimately related to giving meaning to times when I feel depression. And it gives me self-esteem that I'm actually good at something.

I'm very pleased with all this.

First day back:

I noticed I was way calmer. I was MUCH more mindful throughout the day. And I actively did several of the techniques described above. I would focus on my face or head, and that would help. My bedside manner was way better (blood donation phlebotomist). I was less pissed off and less stressed. I feel like the practice is transferable to work. I described above how being at home in recovery did not meet requirements for "retreat mentality". Well being at work might, in the sense of mindfulness for all or a lot of the day. I am motivated by my suffering. When I'm at home I can just tune out, but not at work. It motivates me to use these techniques in real time.

​​​​​​​I have a habit of counting my chickens before they hatch, but well see how this plays out the rest of the week. I sure dont intend to stop using all these techniques at work. And, I appreciate being at home way better now. I think this may help have more quality sits but we'll see.

Edit: I forgot I did a guided metta session last week. I'm trying to be less of a curmudgeon, and more loving. It seemed helpful to remeber that at work today.

Thanks for any attention reading this. Metta.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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20m

First sit of the day. I kinda layed out sprawling on the couch.

I did the "focus on rest" practice. I focused on the space in my head. And tried for more mental quiet than baseline. It can get really quiet really quick. But then thoughts come in obviously. It's like a game to see how quiet it can get. Or another way of looking at it. How quiet of thoughts, or proto-thoughts can I still hear. It was very relaxing. I think that is key. It's a no stress technique. That helps a lot. Then I noticed I would wander. And to return to the same level of deepness after wandering seemed like it took effort. Meaning I felt a resistance, like I didnt want to exert the energy to meditate again after wandering. But it seems like that's a ruse. Thats just a part of me resisting. 

This is the first time I formally dedicated and entire sit to what I had called "focus on rest" in the original post. I intuitively know this I'd a great practice for me. It relaxes me instantly without having to think about it. It literally only takes one microsecond to shift into it. And I can do it at work. 

Edit: I forgot to mention I saw also focusing on external sounds. It just happened to coincide with the train Xing outside being stuck on the on position my entire sit, no train, just the bells from the crossing. It is a pleasantly eerie sound. Not to mention a (probably) ciacada chiming in, as well as my cricket under the fridge. A beautiful cacophony
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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This isnt a formal practice post but I would say, my life has become infused with meditation. After day 2 at work I feel like this is part of my life now.

Waking up was hard, being at home and getting ready was hard. But once I got to work I maintained mindfulness every hour of the day (not continuously). Parts of my job are so repetitive that it's a freebie. It is also a huge boon to have it grounded in social interactions. I dont think I would be as mindful in a job alone, at least not now. The reason is because my fear of people is kind of becoming a sort of biofeedback mechanism. When I am afraid of them it's my cue to active mindfulness. And it calms me down. Then when I'm already calm, doing the mechanical tasks, maybr that autopilot thing happens. Or I feel my hands. Fun fun.

Eventually I hope to find a way to work with the early part of the day off the cushion. I already have techniques but I mean a system perhaps, or the motivation to get an effective practice in every morning.

I think I can do that. I think I'm on the right path. I feel like more of an adult (in a positive developmental sense) these past few days than perhaps ever. I remember feeling that when my brother died, like I was thrust into life. But this feels like being a responsible citizen of earth. Like someone who responsibly works with the dharma.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I normally wake up early and try to fall back to sleep, but often have trouble. So instead I lay there noting. Noting seems to be an insanely good practice to do in this state. I was noting crazily rapidly, lost steam and did notes here and there interspersed with just seeping into the sensation.

30m

After I got up I had a nice formal sit. Mind was wandery. Now that I'm back to work I notice myself getting stuck in those crazy thought loops. But I busted them up well. 

During work It was amazing doing the techniques. Just more noting. As well as dwelling in spaciousness. I had a moment where moving though space felt amazing. Like how the gentle touch of the nostril breath is. It feels good like clean water. Also I did the technique where I feel my hands. And selflessness if the face. True self, I'm probably misusing the term, but it's like the loving part of ourselves that appreciate everyone. 

What a great day. I'm so much happier to do the job. I feel like how it was before covid. I feel so much more optimistic about my future. Light at the end of the tunnel. And light in a time or darkness.   Metta
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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It seems it is now easier to maintain awareness throughout the day. It is mostly concentrating on certain sensations and tasks. Or getting into a lighter broad open perceptual mode where I notice aspects of the three characteristics. A lot of my anxiety is mediated by simply focusing on each task at hand. I laser in on it like a predator stalking prey. Or a fighter pilot engaging a target.

After I figure that out, I find the next task. If there is no work at the moment I just rest somewhere till there is more work to be done. One weird thing was trying rapid noting at work. Talk about vulnerable feeling. I get what people mean by saying they are tearing everything apart. So crazy.


I just did a 30m sit. It was interspersed with hyper focus, and brief mind wanderings. Then I noticed them and I catapulted my self back to the body and "room". I listen to podcasts with Daniel every week. Those help. They constantly remind me of aspects of all this. And I think it seems some of it into the subconscious more. That's why "room" is quoted, from Daniel saying to "tune into the "room".

I finally got some CBD I wanted for anxiety and for the healing foot. I'm afraid it has some THC in it. In fact I can feel it right now. But I've had that happen before, and I prepared for it. I'm just so physically burnt out right now and when I feel into my body, it's very obvious in high resolution, due to meditation plus the microdose of THC. It sems the best thing to do right now is to go into the body.

During the end of the cushion portion of the sit I felt into the sore muscles working to hold me up. I did a few minutes of that and went onto my bed. It's interesting because my body feels stitting-posture type pain when lying down. It's a good laboratory for practicing sitting posture mediation lying down, metaphorically. Create dispassion towards the painful body parts. And soak into the bed and relax. As this herbal cocktail works its healing properties, the thc will plateau and then wane, and I will be able to relax more. During the plateau I will simply do my best to investigate fear, and try to use the qualities of it to boot strap free concentration. Actually the fear is already greatly attenuated by the end of this post. Ok, back to more practice for a bit.

And more metta. I was incorporating this website into my practice. I was saying thank you over and over again, greatful for the pragmatic dharma.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Nice!
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I'll be honest, that was a kind of kick in the ass last night. It didn't go away and got worse.

I ended up being able to relaxe by like 11PM, 12AM.

I did a live guided Michael Taft meditation an YouTube for an hour, and kept practicing for a while.

I wanted to say it didnt produce any insight other than what I already know. However Michael confirmed something I was pondering in my previous sit. I thought I could feel the space behind me, eyes open. And he mentioned something about that. I'm not sure if it was my imagination, but I suppose part of the imagination is the subtle visual mind. I dont know.

The whole experience made me appreciate the non-paranoid times. And it made me appreciate how much control I have over ruminating when I'm sober from the thc chemical.

after the brunt of it wore off I ended up just watching a stand up. I was laughing more than usual and relaxed. So In the end it all was therapeutic. I'm just going to dose 3 drops, 2 to 3x a day.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I didnt do any practice last night except lying in bed. 

I did several hours today on and off of very gentle practice.

I write a lot about the story of things for my life. So from now on I'm going to try to bold the stuff more directly related to the practice so I can find it easily later. Also for tracking I have 63 hours logged on my app, for August, Sept, Oct. That's less than the first 3 months. I had about 100. I "failed" my goal to 1hr logged per day, but that was an erroneous goal. Better one for me is to learn the basics and practice well, right now.

As soon as I woke up it was in bed meditation. About 45m, then I ate. Then I did another 1hr lying down. I really wanted to sit, but remembered all I learned recently. I took lavender oil too. By the end of it the somatic baddies were gone. The sessions were just remembering everything I have learned. Gentle earnest effort. Not heroics. Suffering - there is no controller, doer. The solution to all this is in the mess itself. C:

I know it's all cyclic. I have to learn forget and remever stuff over and over.

Today I actually when to the gas station to get ice and things, a few hours after I woke up on a Saturday. Pre broken-foot era Alex would not have done that.

One pragmatic insight I learned today about the mechanics of practice is that moving around is a freebie. Its waaaaay harder to move through the somatic baddies stationary. When I was folding clothes, making tea, driving to the store, I was task oriented like at work.

I also am learning to simply relax and do things I enjoy. Also family and good relationships. It's all tied together.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr 

Its obvious I'm building back muscle mass on my sitting muscles. I naturally slump now. I intended to try a whole hour on that posture but it was very hard.

I moved to the bed and did a good chunk there, but I'm sleep deprived today so I got very strong dullness.

I finished the rest back on the cushion.

It's like I feel poisoned when I dont sleep enough. It was bad enough that I just took a strong NSAID. On the cushion it felt nigh impossible to create dispassion towards it.

I still am having good mindfulness throughout the day. But my lazy morning sits were better than this one. I brewed a giant thing of yerba maté as well. I wanted to have one of those high powered sits. It just made me slightly more edgy, didnt improve mindfulness, ha! It all didnt pan out like expected. That's ok. 
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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15m
Pre-Meditative context: 1 hour after waking up. Normal agitated somatic unpleasantness.
Technique: Just noticing 6 senses doors, 3 characteristics.

I didnt know how to approach the situation. I felt overwhelmed. So I tried noting and failed. Then some things clicked. I remembered how it's just ok now as it is. I remembered all the progress I've been making. Basically I regulated my emotions AND did vipassana. I noticed the suffering characteristic. There is nothing to do, it all pops up and goes away by itself. The meditation does itself.

After 15m I thought I had got what I needed out of it. And I needed to beat the grocery rush before its busy. I still felt mostly bad. But I ended up burning it off on my way and back. I feel great getting back home 1 hour later. I maintained mindfulness as best I could.

I have a "trip report" (full spectrum CBD) from last night too that I'm not gonna post. But basically I just saw the no-self quality, and no controller or doer thing. Before in my weed days I really got into the seat of the witness. But this is way different, and it felt super profound.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Beat from work.

Technique: Do Nothin', Noting, Open awareness. Notice agencyless. Notice there is no one there.

Posture: several

I sat on the couch, in a pile of pillows and blankets. So tired. Somatic tired, heavy in face. Pleasant tingles all over except face. So much tiredness that I got up and stood in the cold shower for a minute and let the water evaporate for another few minutes. Maintained mindfulness. Gentle occasional use of notes 

Sat on chair. Less sleepy. Maintained mindfulness. Little sleepier again. Decided to place. Eventually it hit me. Felt like broke through to EQ ñana. I told myself "dont ignore the room". Look at it and feel it. The back stairwell room looked and felt strikingly beautiful during twilight.

I'm glad I figured out how to get to EQ, burnt out on a work night. I'm just going to set 1 hour timer and let my body do what it needs to do.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Work today: meditated on way driving. Was swamped with somatic baddies and lapses in mindfulness, upon arrival. Realized I should get more sits in before and after work. That's why I was motivated to do the hour sit from last post. The somatic baddies did go away it was just intense and took a while. Mettā
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

Pre-Meditative context: Several hours after waking before work.

Technique: Concentration

I was already a little mindfule before. During it I was frazzled with somatic unpleasantness. I attempted my best to cut through and just concentrate. I sort of used just the nostrils as an anchor but expanded to whole body as needed to not constrict

Sit 2 - 16m

Great sit.

Pre-meditative context: After work. Tired. Calm.

Posture: lying down

Technique: Concentration.

Focused on nostrils, and 3Cs. Eventually I focused on a ball of energy in face head throat.



I have rediscovered how I got to those weird states after reading TMI. I remembered what I did. I have to build up to it, short sits. Calm equanimous attitude.

one thing was that when I really settled in, I noticed how much my mind did not want to concentrate. It would rather do vipassana. I started the process of super settling into this moment, with no concern for past or future. The more I did that the greater the resistance. Until the energy ball could faintly be detected and the sub-minds were probably like "ok, this is cool. Meditation is acceptable." Weird.


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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr

Pre-Meditative Comtext: Tired from work. not very mindful.

Technique: Just observe sensations.

Posture: Sitting, Walking, cleaning, and Lying Down.

It was a more difficult meditation hour. I had popped THC-free CBD caps (finally bought).

I was super sleepy, not quite falling asleep, not quite dreaming. Basically day dreaming whole tired enough to enter a brief trance state. In the dream I imagined hitting a hammer several times. on the last hit, my arm physically moved, it gently popped me "awake" and I laughed. Most of the end of the sit was just resting my physical body. I felt more mindful at the end. I'm still feeling kind of anxious. But physically, I actually feel great besides that. I just ate and am full of energy. I want to practice more.

Off Cushion:

Last ​​​​​​​2 days were rougher at work. I just wasn't as mindful. I did try but it didnt stick as much. It's ok theres a lesson in it somewhere. But in the conventional realm, I had continued great quality of work. I was just more stressed than the previous days. But on a positive there has been a shift where the time of day is less relevant. I would guess it's more of an attitude than mindfulness. And I'm more apt to not use my phone all day, and on break I'm more apt to simply do nothing, meditation or not.

Psychologically I was feeling more doubt about the dharma. But presently I feel much more faith. I need to remind my self to do more dharma talks, reading, podcasts. And re-read the 5 spiritual faculties. That chapter never interested me as much as the 7 factors.

But I finally understand Faith and Wisdom. It's cool how experience eventually leads to that. And graciously there is a reference book for that.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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15m

Pre-Meditative Context: Just relaxing watching videos after work. Mildly feeling that something is wrong.

Posture: A very stable relaxed lying on back unmoving.

Technique: Nostril breathing with emphasis on relaxation. 

I focused on the nostrils gently with simultaneously a good amount of clarity. No pressure to meditate right, and a broad inclusion of all breathing sensations to relax me. I'm trying to balance energy and concentration. It seemed to help a lot. Its reminiscent of how I chanced into proper practice after my initial exposure to TMI. There is something very useful here. My intuition tells me this is the correct direction for the dharma right now. Several short low-pressure sits w/ concentration. That accommodate my high-anxiety temperament. And also accomadate all stages of attentional development. Focus on the nostrils, but also focus on everything else. Count the breaths 1 to 10 and reset if refocused. No worries if I start to get good enough to not count. I will still count if I want for skill building, even if I under shoot. And set timer for 10m, and just do extra I'd I feel like it.

Sounds like a solid on-cushion plan. I know what's possible from the last two weeks. I need the on-cushion habits and momentum to reinforce positive stress management off-cushion.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Off Cushon, 3hrs of challenge, and about 1hr falling asleep pleasantly/confident for tomorrow.

At the time if I said this I would have been embarrassed. I did it again, accidentally took another brand of full spectrum CBD. That's really a metaphor for my mind in a lot of ways. A chaotic, unorganized mess. Even in EQ a calm orderly mess... I got way more out of it, and it was less rocky than previous trips

Take away message is, my life is a mess, and my practice is that I have to wake up to that. Obviously I try to fix it in conventional ways too. But the dhamma is a life line if basic sanity that is like my rudder, or compass or whatever analogy works.

Also I am a paranoid person. The take away is that I should love people and remember they are mostly trying to help me.

I thought I had bombed at work, consciousness-practice wise. But my previous post makes me think otherwise now. I meditated using the method I thought about last night. Fun fun.

I have some ideas about how I'm supposed to continue on the path. The past few days are hard work, kind of brainstorming how to proceed. 

If I can get more diet and exercise in this mix, I will be very happy. I will hold my self accountable here. I'm gonna do stretches, and upper body exercises seated.

Meditation-wise is gentle short sits to train concentration. And all my other usual sits are extra.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Just woke up, reading about meditation. Feeling groggy and energized. Well rested.

Posture: Lying down

Technique: Concentration

I set the timer for 13m and just focused on my nostrils with inclusion of whole body, and sounds outside. Counting breaths 1-10. It was good experimentation, and a good continuation of last night. I kept going after the bell went off. My rule I think should be to stick with whatever technique I need before the bell goes off. In this case, I watched my attention change a lot, and also noticed the weirdness of sensations in the head. Being an observer, a self, a non-self. That I dont mind arising and think is helpful. After about 25m I had the thought I can just go vipassana now. It was a really freeing and helpful sit to see the progression.

My attention and danger of ruminating are in better states. My somatic unpleasantness isnt and attenuated as if I had done a really good vipassana sit but that's ok. In training concentration.

I was gonna read shargrols posts on centering, but my phone loaded on the middle of the EQ part. So I just read it and it was helpful. I can see I'm making a lot of the advice ingrained habits. Like noticing the weirdness of being a self or observer or whatever. Its really nice to notice that kind of stuff just for the fun of it. I'll read the centering portion after I finish that section. I constantly re-read various dharma texts.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I got to EQ. I was just relaxing. I was day dreaming and after I woke up out of it I was in low EQ. 

My technique is just to relax. I've given up doing specific techniques or looking for the 3cs. Those things just arise.

Later I got up to use the bathroom and layed back down. Then I decided its time to specifically do nothing and let everything happen even more. Then I was ported to higher EQ.

​​​​​​​This is sustainable. I will do relaxation lying down. I will still do concentration when I feel like it. And I will work with fear, to motivate me to practice and to lead a saner life.
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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"Low-EQ" feels less neurotic, and like something has been broken through.

"Higher levels of EQ" feels like I'm on some weird ass pleasant drug. Very intimate and vulnerable feeling. 

I think I already have a naturally "open"/"wide" attention. So that's not different. But in higher-EQ it feels like it's all being blended in a big soup. And feels slippery
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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25m 

Pre-Meditative Context: The rest of the evening was a good experiment. I know I have a tendency to get weird with being in high-EQ post sit. Like I dont know what to do with myself and am like scared I'll f' it up. 
However I was fine, and had a great evening. Im relaxed and ready for tomorrow

Posture: First "normal" pre-injury sit! This is huge and metaphorical for me. I had to reverse which foot was on top, but I was in a stable comfortable upright posture without extra cushions.

Technique: Experimented with shargols progressive noting. They just did do nothing for a few minutes.

I was surprised how deep I got and how great I felt seconds after hitting the cushion.

I started with noticing physical sensations, as well as overt visual images. Easy, lots of them.

Emotions were trickier. I can perceive them ok, but it was weird trying to notice them all, especially when it felt like their are none. Very interesting, now I know I can practice this more.

Craving, aversion and de-tuning. Very interesting considering I was relatively equinamous. I noticed a mixture of dispassion and aversion towards warmth I felt.

Thoughts. Easy for me to notice. When I have continuous concentration the thought stream turns into little thought fragments.

After I did do-nothing.

Off-Cushion: From my recent full spectrum CBD experiences and listening to Joe Rogan talk about weed. I decided it is appropriate to work with this each month because it shows me the parts of my life I need to work on. It also temporarily purifies me after, but it's hard work. The cool thing is it produces really profound no-self experiences. I never had that much A&P, so maybe it just mimics that/the DN. In any case, equanimity is faaaar more interesting in a really nice kind of way. Not that it's not possible to combine the two. 
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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50m

Pre-Meditative Context: Woke up shower and dry hair. Usual crescendo into bad feelings.

Technique: Just open mostly choicless awareness

Posture: Lying Down relaxed

It's hard to relax when I feel like shit, but that's what I'm being trained in right now. It's always hardest in the morning with that crazy energy.

In any case it totally worked. I just let the meditation do me. Its easy for my mind to think it's hard to know what to do. But I'm gaining confidence this will increasingly happen.

It was a mixture of relaxation, and using attention to really see what's happening. Soaking into the bad feelings. I was really groggy and tired, plus I didnt write it down then.

It was interesting there was a definite threshold. I saw this laser burn line travel about and inch, the stop at a point, where it burned for .1 seconds longer than the line and it popped. When I saw/felt that I had broken through, and felt way better and confident the rest of the sit.

It's either A&P (from all the theory I've read), or I think more probably, crossing into low-EQ with an "event" occurence. In really just curious and am a map nerd like many others here. At the time it didnt really matter. I was just thrilled to fix my morning tornado so fast, so early and before work.

I'm lying in bed now. I wont be able to wake up early tomorrow for a sit. But I will be meditating in bed right now.

The lesson I learned is, yes, I will practice more because it will make me more useful a citizen, by burning off my little pet somatic-demon's energy. Anxiety demon. Not practice more, just that I will cramp in practice time where I can. And the goal is to simply relax. The other goal is the joy of studying the mind or whatever. And a third goal, is the joy of being a spiritual being. A clean conscience of being a healthy, helping human. Metta
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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 I think it's important to look into what's really involved with "bad" feelings, as you are doing. Usually there is a feeling of "discomfort", but as you soak into the feeling it starts to feel more comfortable and you realize that the discomfort is more a function of resistance or avoiding really feeling the feeling in the body. And when there is resistance/avoidance there is usually a lot of thinking patterns and/or behaviors driven by the unfelt feelings, whereas when the feelings are more fully felt that stuff tends to die down. So in a very real way, troublesome thinking/behaviors are just a projection of unfelt feelings.

So I just wanted to say that it's great you are doing this kind of practice. It can be an uncomfortable practice at times obviously, and as you bring greater awarness to this stuff it can feel like it's getting worse for a while, but there are big dividends down the line if you stick with it. emoticon

I also found it helpful to do a bit of light research into how our emotions evolved. There are around 7 basic emotions and they perform essential functions to increase our chances of survival - provide fast information about threats, opportunities and how to live together in groups. There's tons of stuff out there, but Angelo Dillulo's book Awake: It's Your Turn as a good chapter on the emotions and how they fit into the whole awakening process. 
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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       " I think it's important to look into what's really involved with "bad" feelings, as you are doing. Usually there is a feeling of "discomfort", but as you soak into the feeling it starts to feel more comfortable and you realize that the discomfort is more a function of resistance or avoiding really feeling the feeling in the body. And when there is resistance/avoidance there is usually a lot of thinking patterns and/or behaviors driven by the unfelt feelings, whereas when the feelings are more fully felt that stuff tends to die down. So in a very real way, troublesome thinking/behaviors are just a projection of unfelt feelings"

hmmm, yes. Soaking in it and it starts to feel more comfortable. I like to think of it as "energy". Seems like that verb works well. Like back pain, weird bad-feelings, is energy. It is just made of the same stuff all other sensations are. And I really see that demonstrated whenever I'm deep in EQ. But yesterday, when in dark night and low EQ. I was pretty comfortable. No pressure "sit" lying down. Soaking in it really is key. That's literally what happened. 

I think it would really help at work. I dont want any unfelt feelings to get by, because yes, it does cause troublesome thinking and behaviors.

Thank you for the kind words. I was delighted on a recent "Meta-Awareness" podcast, (shout out to your podcast if reading, I love your podcast style). Daniel said some people it's a lot of hard work then big pay offs.

The dharma ain't "doing me". I mean I can kind of see how it is some times. These unpleasant feelings I have had, have been with me since 2011 A&P. They are my friend in a weird way. I remember one dharma teacher said that he missed his anxiety and has found memories of it. Its definitely my teacher. I can see how being comfortable with it, is an act of kindness towards myself and it (in my personification metaphor).

Sorry for shit format on phone. C:
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I ended up purchasing of digital copy of Awake: It's Your Turn. I read the intro and the first part of the emotion chapter. I watched a couple podcasts with the author before. I'll quote two lines.

"The duration of emotion tone of repressing may be day, weeks, months or years"

"A pure emotion tone is clear, obvious, intimate, fully felt in the body, and physiologic reactions to it are freely expressed. It passes through the physiology rapidly and without resistance"

This kind of hit me at the time. I've either been repressing fear, or ignoring it. In the past I've skillfully ignored fear/anxiety as a coping mechanism at the time. But now I'm aware I'm doing this so now I can't unsee it.

I read though several parts of the chapter, and some of it like super obvious. I sought out emotional intelligence early on in my development so that always has been my adult baseline. I haven't sought to learn more about emotions since then, or cared. But present day, studying emotions wasn't something I new I needed. I created a blind spot by not giving much thought.

I have these awesome periods of general equanimity, or calm-concentration on work tasks, my hands, etc. Periods of spacious agencylessness, or spacious awareness. But there are huge swaths of time spent tuning out, effectively being indifferent or trying to pretend the aversion is not actually there. This is ripe with potential and can help me a lot, to deal with this huge blind spot and how to learn to live in groups.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
It's been kind of a roller coaster these past three weeks. I have rest coming up again thankfully.

I noticed today I perceived vision shuttering. When I closed the moon-roof on my car I was so absorbed. It was beautiful. And I just noticed it standing up up looking around. I remember seeing this before. Especially when I was at higher than a threshold dose of THC, years ago. Like I have never thought about it too much, but it's like a familiar friend. I think I used to be very deeply afraid of it subconsciously. I had associated it with being on the edge of the marijuana precipice, which is a terrifying place to be.

This makes me so happy. I'm kind of in a burnt out mood. I'm trying to journal to just vent steam and feed energy into balanced faith in the dharma. I appreciate it because I am having experiences of that level of impermanence that I read about which seemed so esoteric. I was always more of an anatta perceiver. This paired with my recent appreciation of unsatisfactoriness is a good thing.

I was kind of curious about what "vibrations" were, in MCTB1 but also like, "what the fuck?".

But it turned out to be so simple. Just the tingles in my hands I could feel at the time, and the visual static I could see.

These days the tingling is spreading. I'm now aware that the tingles and static line up and represent each other. I dont remember reading about that. But that is so beautiful. Like it's honestly breathtaking. And my heart melts, that I, as an individual, me "Alex, the Alex I've known my whole life, that I am so blessed to be able to experience it. Never would I have guessed, something that simple is so beautiful. And to think I felt alienated when I first saw static.

If it wasn't for the idea of  "hardcore" effort, I would not have made as much progress. And I wouldn't have done retreats. I'm familiar with at least some of the shadow sides.

The reason I include this in this post, is because of the attitude of "throw everything at it". Well I dont have too. I have all these things that give me confidence in the dharma. The more I continue the more it grows. I dont have to throw anything at it. I just have to relax now. All that stuff happens automatically and I will continue to grow and evolve as a person. It's been confusing because I think of myself as a lazy person, so it sometimes feels like I dont know whether in practicing enough or not. Really it's just practicing well, daily and relaxing.

I will keep at it. Non-heroic effort. Letting awareness be aware. Letting myself feel shitty, and not running from it. Embodied practice, on cushion and walking around. With an emphasis on relaxation.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2111 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Lovely. Sounds more like the practice is doing you now emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Thanks. Your words have been helpful.

Edit: Specifically "unfelt feelings in the body". 

This post im replying to specifically as well. Its good to have it be reinforced by another person.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown

Posture: Lying Down shaped like a fetus. Rolled over a couple times.

Technique: Very embodied awareness.

Pre-Meditative Context: I woke up and felt somewhat ok, very groggy. Watched some videos to wake up. Did not drink caffeine. The usual unpleasant somatic sensations increased and it was time to meditate.

I really tried to stay with my promise of embodied practice. Also in order to relax I just kept a super comfortable posture. As usual it feels unpleasant. But I just stayed with it. I remembered the advice "thoughts popping up are usually unfelt feelings in the body". At this point the mindfulness mechanisms have picked up steam where it's not as hard to come back after my mind wanders and really starts to ruminate. It can happen automatically, which it did this sit. I remembered the quote above and it seemed to sink in and help reinforce that mechanism. Near the start of the sit I had Michael Taft playing but it didnt match up with my first morning sit at the time so I had to shut it off. I let myself feel the hurt feelings from work this week and started to cry. I included it in the deeply felt embodied practice, it was perfect for that. After that it was just riding out the physical unpleasantness. At some point I felt a shift and a bit of relief. But it wasn't a total shift. Which I thought was ok. I went back into the unpleasant somatic feelings. I remembered my own quote "anxiety my friend". I held the sensations in my belly like a warm blanket as a child. A really strange feeling. But It did happen.

The journaling has helped. The sit-log has helped. I feel like I'm learning the unlearned lessons of the "dark night". I feel like putting it in quotes because it's such a colloquial term. What's more real to me is that its just unpleasant physical sensations + more neurotic tendencies. I have to learn to be ok with that again and again. EDIT: One thing I will is that I rember reading about the "heartbeat frequency/shamanic drum beat frequency" in at least one stage of the dark night. I decided to write those before I look at the ñana chart. Anyway, during the sit I realized I felt my heartbeat sometimes interfered with noticing the vibrational state at the time. Then I realized it is part of it. Including the heart beat in the practice today helped a lot. I think it moved me through quicket.

Just keep doing what I'm doing and improve my life in conventional terms, and let the dharma take me by the hand. I cant really differentiate between "magic" and "dharma" sometimes. Both feel like living-breathing entities.

Ive had some crazy synchronicities involving the deceased. Those are more personal, and I feel like they can be neatly separated from the dharma. 

I'm more talking about the magical idea a holy guardian angel or whatever or higher self. I mostly have done prayer out of feeling lost. But I intend to do more when I'm in higher equanimity. I'm ok calling it equanimity because it's the only ñana I know for sure exists. Ñanas 1-10 might as well all fucking be the dark night in my experience HAHA

I either feel like shit, or feel equanimity. Ocassionally I'll feel normal briefly, rarely. The one other state being distracted ar absorbed in tasks.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
~30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Relaxing. Had a very productive day accomplishing relaxing and healing. Physical as well as mental.

Posture: Fetus pose. Otter, tummy-up pose.

Technique: Open awareness to the senses.

I did not try hard this sit at all. I think that is ok, but I feel myself telling me otherwise. Reminder "non-heroic" effort. The brain-mind is the most fucking complicated thing in existence. I tend to think a lot of this shit happens subconscious, things like integration. I know I meditatied at least a little in that sit. In any case it was beneficial to do nothing for 30m.

I'm experimenting with not logging everything in my meditation app, and not setting a time tracker. In this case I just looked at the time before I lay down. If I didnt I would have sworn it was only like 15m.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown (10/23/2021)

Posture: Lying in bed, very comfortable

Technique: I'm not really sure. Explained below.

Pre-Meditative Context: Reading a little, then lying I'm bed getting ready to fall asleep, unfortunately ruminating and stressing. I also had a very small threshold dose of psychoactive full spectrum CBD. Only 4mg CBD. God knows how little THC that is. I think that explains the increased rumination and meditation enhancement that follows:

This is a crazy one (for me). I was essentially getting very weak 3 dimensional visuals. I think what I was doing was to focus on 1. The light, 2. Certain parts of the inner-sound. And 3, I think the space in and around my chest and head. At times, it included the full body. And it definitely entailed parts of the 3CD. Namely dukkha and no-self. 

In the past I would lay down flat on my back and just "stare out into the black space with the dance of light. I would just meditate on the visual field and space. It would feel really good. Not necessarily physically but its just super fun to me. But most of the time it was a flatter visual field. My goal was just to feel and see the depth.

In this case, almost immediately as I started practicing it was like a three dimensional space, but different somehow. Because I could see things. I could definitely see glowing objects made out of light. It looked like beautiful castle ramparts and towers. I watched as it changed a little. I could see the light clearly, clearer than usual, without face strain. But the images that formed out of the light were themselves faint. I could feel the space moving. I was lying on an angle but the towers were lined with the physical earth, upward direction.

The greatest significance of it was the just happening by itself aspect. Not just the visuals but the body lying down there. The emotions and thoughts arising causally. And acceptance of that.

Later I didnt see well formed images as much, but the felt and seen sense of space remained. And I still got crazy light dancing. Normally it was fainter sparks. In this case it was li like a huge brush stroke swirling around. Looking back it kind of felt very friendly, and like it was alive. Part of me.

The other significant part was the appreciation for the rest I was getting. Because my intention was to meditate to fall asleep. Eventually I got up and came back. I kept mindfulness as much as possible. It was nice to kind to have the meditation just happen as I fall asleep.

Because 1. It is good mind training 2. It is not unhealthy and painful rumination and 3. A great restful use of time it takes me the hour to fall asleep.


A side note: I have heard about the kasina progression on podcasts. I have some questions about it but its non-essential. It's out of curiosity and confusion. Like I get the idea that an insight practitioner who cycles, pre-1st-path, will just jump to later stages. Like I feel like I only ever experience "the murk". Which is just sparks, haze, and washing-smearing light, (some forms of) static, or the 4th jhanic aspect, the 3d space. IDK, I'm just thinking about it. I'm sure it will clear up eventually.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown

Posture: Sitting, then lying down.

Technique: Embodied awareness with some labeling

Pre-Meditative Context: Woke up, ate, watched videos.

I felt really well rested and not as bad somatic feelings as I usually do waking up. Probably because I'm getting enough rest, the meditation last night probably helped too.

I was feelings increasingly worse later, during the sit. Ruminating more than I like. I tried to go back into the body. Later still, I added notes: ruminating, fantasy, thought.

Energetically it feels rich and alive like usual, vital energy humming all over. But I noticed when I tried to look at the vibrations, I cant focus on it. I got that verbiage from another poster. It is making more sense.

The lessons to learn from dark night: on a vibrational level you cant focus on it. Edit: I I sitting here still feeling unpleasant sensations and thought of the right words. The actual lesson I am learning right now is that the aspects of meditation I find liberating are still here in the dukkha ñanas. The fact they exist here too enables freedom in all states/stages.

I was laughing during the sit. The unpleasant somatic feelings over had the last 10 years ate basically saying to me: "Go meditate you lazy fuck!" I heard it in a comical Joe Rogan type voice. It took a while but I do indeed have a daily practice for life now. I've experienced all the normal shadows of hardcore dharma. But if I'm honest with my humanity this is the pace this human should have gone at, on this particular path I went down. The super unpleasant sensations exist to motivate me to help myself.

Aside from that I'm super tired. I've given up caffeine. It's a tolerance break, and context break. It doesnt go well with work how I've been doing it. And on the weekends it makes too much energy so I cant properly experience the dark night. I love me my caffeine meditations that go well, so in the future I'll always have it if I want it.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

Technique: Open awareness, full embodied, noting "core" sensations, noticing aversion, craving and ignorance.

Posture: Proper sitting posture on cushion, 1st time since foot broke!

That was a very good sit. Started out woth a mix of concentrated/scattered. Eyes open, then eyes closed. Mind wandering increased. I remembered to be embodied and continued eyes open.

I read a very good description of what ignorance actually looks like in practice. This was the first time I ever noted it. At one point I realized I was tuning out one portion of the various inner-sounds. Then I became aware of subconscious imagery. I saw a beautiful hooded snake that I felt love for. It's like part of me new it was there. Then I realized it had been there. Then the conscious mind enjoyed a flash of its memory of it.

As it continued I became more concentrated and embodied. Being in said posture I began to feel pain on the bottoms of my legs. I noted "aversion, aversion" the perception of it then became dispassion. I would note it until it became perceived as just sensation. That helped spring board the mind to equanimity. The quality of it, not the ñana. I did this several times. It became more intense and I fought the mind to get up several times. It crescendoed, getting harder and I decide to get my legs up. I opened the timer and there was 30 seconds left. I am glad because this is one way I used to get to the equanimity ñana quick. Its helpful to work with EQ in different postures/activities. One of these weekends I felt I got to low EQ after 50m of waking up. In this case I'm not sure where I'm at on the chart. But my point is, its good just having all these tools and experiences line up in my favor.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

At the time I had just woke up and got ready for work. I planned my sit before it was time to leave.

Posture: Sitting on cushion, laying for 5m.

Technique: Open awareness, gentle spacious noting pointed at very minute detail, metta.

I remeber the somatic feelings in my belly that can be hard to work with. I was also irritated by the heat I was experiencing, and then the coolness from the fan. Anyway, I tried to note and objectify the aversion to the unpleasant sensations in the belly. It's a good technique to train being with the physical components of the dark night. I have had plenty of success and failure with trying the other method if simply and broadly "noticing". I'm filling in the nooks and crannies with noting the sub components of the morning feelings I always get.

The Day

I walked into work relatively confident. It's still a mess on the inside, that's really how my mind works. Probably after future attainments too (but who knows) speaking of attainments I was able to very success note a future/goal oriented thought and dissembled from it, with ease. Even as I type this I felt a time type thing, then remembered to be embodied, and be in the room.

But despite the mess I was able to use mindfulness relatively well. It got me through the day and some tough situations. The day flew by. We have got mostly new staff now. A huge challenge to me. I'm shy, afraid of people, anxiety, lack social skills and grace, etc.

The metta helps. I accept my socially awkward self and lack of social skills. I am not a bad person.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
50m

I was home from work. Tired but in good spirits.

Posture: Walking, Cleaning, formal sitting, lying down

Technique: open awareness, watching apparent agencylessness, do nothing, being in the room

I felt ok walking but was tired. Did a bit of aimless wandering around a part of my house. Got into auto pilot picking stuff up. It helped to get some more mindfulness to satisfy more "sub-minds"

I feel way better now that it's a little clean. I sat down in the formal posture, reversed legs to compensate for healing foot, which sat on top. I tried relaxing into the posture while being so tired. I mostly did do nothing. I finished off with about 5m lying down. Then did a bit more cleaning but lost steam and hit the timer.

Today

Wow I got a great system going. Between the practice above and today the dharma is indeed "doing me" at times. Mindfulness pulsed on and off all day. At times it just takes over and takes me by the hand, literally, when freaking out "feel your hands". I also found out rooting down into my legs when I'm freaking out helps, when I'm being observed by others.

I realized it was hyper easy to be mindful when I first returned to work because A. I had been relatively relaxed from my break and B. The tasks were fresh and novel again.

However, while it's not as strong or persistent as the first two weeks necessarily, it is on an upward trend. I'm still doing great and improving.

Just be calm and embody. or watch autopilot engange and notice freedom from dukkha in that moment. Remember the inherent kindness in human souls.

I also am working more with relative improvements. An example is the 4 agreements. I inadvertent worked with some naturally but boy does not making assumptions and taking things personally help. I didnt even read it yet. All this shit will holistically connect and help all other shit. 

​​​​​​​~gratitude
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finding-oneself, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Primal frustration and general malaise. After work, relatively tired. Made thing of tea.

Posture: Mostly sitting. Got up once. Last 10m lying down.

Technique: Ferocious noting. Open awareness. 3cs.

I wanted to do a period of strong determination. After I gained some traction I was noting rapidly at my effective pace. Eyes closed. I went on a journey. There was a mystical looking black fellow with short dreads  and he said "I can take you there". I felt cool and heartful. It wasn't all good. I was doing rapid noting to break apart all the neurosis and unpleasant feelings and emotions. I noted aversion, it seemed to help. Also creative labels were helpful for the belly anxiety and laboured breathing "fire" "cool fire" "butterflies" "electricity" "movement". My heart opened, it felt great. Very loving. I eventually got into a couple weird altered feeling states. My intention and determination proved effective.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Had recently woken up and ate. Tired. Determined.
Anxiety -> sadness

Posture: Formal sitting. Getting up. Chair.

Technique: Noting. Noticing. Metta.

Between yesterday and today I've been in a push forward mood. But I was tired so the noting was slower and less comprehensive and detailed as yesterday. But it was successful. I just enjoyed studying the mind and consciousness. I feel that spark reigniting. It's useful because it gets me to meditate more without burnout. But the tiredness caught up with me. I planned ahead of time to have tea after the start. So I maintained mindfulness 30m in and made tea. Then consumed it mindfully on the cushion and super savored it. Getting up also gave my body and mind a little reset. Then I was back on it, just a little less sleepier.

Metta: I felt love for myself and the entire world. I felt a point in my chest. It cuts through all the bullshit. All the impersonal stuff in the universe. It tells why I am here and why I'm doing this. It temporarily overcomes any desire for stream entry or aversion to current conditions. There is a mission feel to it. It was maybe for 5 minutes. These chunks of metta are invaluable.

On studying the mind and the heart-area. I noticed heart burn is very clearly in the throat. And there are simply dense food sensations in the stomach. I didnt eat much so it helped clarify it. I felt the stomach and neck simultaneously then felt the chest. The chest was unaffected by the food intake/heart burn. I used to get heartburn frequently. My coping mechanism was to ignore it. At the time it felt like the throat and stomach were directly connected. But now when I look at heartburn there is this huge gulf between them in the chest. At least this time.

The last few days: I had a really successful day in training in morality. Sometimes just trying to being calm at work is prioritized over increasing awareness. Sometimes they are equivalent. Well yesterday I just got in a work flow state. There was less mindfulness involved and I probably tuned out a lot, but I stayed calm.

The previous day we worked at a major college town. During my lunch break I just went for a walk amongst the beautiful buildings and college students. I appreciated the place visually and specially. I listened to music which I dont usually do but it calmed me down. There was a nice spacious no-self flow to it. I was able to not experience as much self-conscious feelings being in big crowds. Beautiful.

After I came back from break I was so calm and mindful.

I'm also laughing at myself myself for writing about reducing caffeine. I sound like an addict. The good thing about anxiety is it self regulates caffeine for me.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
25m

I went to get food and was in a good mood, but then later in a rush and impatient. After I ate I was super fulfilled and content. 

Posture: Reclining on the couch 

Technique: I intended to so concentration. Relaxation. Open awareness. 

I tried working with the breath a bit. I settled in quickly. I could sort of concentrate on the feeling of visual and somatic space. I thought it was a weird space. One I think might be 3rd vipassana jhana. 

I can recall when but I was getting that third eye pressure that feels really good. I focused on it but in a way I've never been able to be before. A very gentle focus. Just letting the sensations be felt in the whole field of experience. Keeping those sensations awake with the gentlest attention.

At some point I also was doing dukkha practice, noticing that it's all ok right now.

Eventually though I felt that I was for sure now in the 4th vipassana jhana. The whole thing felt diffuse. And familiar, because I've been there before.

The good news is when any ideas or feelings of progress and mapping came up I just dropped it. I was able to remind myself to gently be in the present.

Some other stuff happened but I want to keep this short. It was only like 20 minutes anyway, I started to lie down and then drift off. It's hard to recall everything.

One good realization I had is that motivation comes in waves and that will hopefully calm me down. Anytime it looks like practice is slipping through my fingers that's an illusion, the big picture shows that progress is not linear. In some ways I was at this ñana 2 months ago, and in some other ways I was at this deep concentration 5 months ago! Cool!

It shows me what just 2 days of 2hrs of practicing well can do. ♡ And the best part is my sits, I just sort of did them, like I would just do any other activity. I'm excited to even go back and learn more lessons from the dark night. I can tell because I felt my emotions and body vedana fluctuating and I wasn't worried about sliding back.
George S, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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finding-oneself
I'm excited to even go back and learn more lessons from the dark night.

That's great! Nothing accelerates practice like digging into the shitty stuff with genuine curiosity.
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finding-oneself, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Thank you for pointing out and emphasizing the simple stuff.

The fact that this attitude occured shows me that it may occur in the future and that its wise to cultivate it. 

I experienced a feeling of burnt out after work one day, and depression after work most days. Since writing that post. Mornings have been unpleasant but they were easier to deal with this week. Then there is the feeling of not wanting to sit. Or the feeling of wanting to get up early. All worthy of investigation. 

A big, related, important lesson, is dealing with these in conventional means. I had an OK sit this morning. Felt pretty meh after, too much anxiety/energy. I did no pressure walking meditation. Similarly I will just do chores now, all which cut through the anxiety. That's my meditation to. Podcasts, "auto-listening". Just watching stupid youtube video and laughing a lot. It's all aligned with the same goal. I think meditation forced my training in morality trip to get better.

All of that is a reminder and reinforcer to hopefully remember gentle curiosity when things get rocky.
George S, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Laughter is a great medicine. I took myself way too seriously for way too long. Funnily enough, laughter also seems to be a pretty common reaction on waking up, like 'WTF, this is it, I spent all that time looking high and low for something that was right in front of my face the whole time, what an idiot I am!' emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Haha

You can never really have enough laughter. We're so lucky it exists
I love laughing. C:
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finding-oneself, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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General Territory:

I've had a pretty gradual but big shift in practice where I can get in a relaxed upright posture on the cushion. It coincides and may be related to getting into pretty relaxed and absorbed states. Its like I go into the space inside my body or parts of it.

Also pretty gracefully getting into pretty good non conceptual meditation. Like I've dropped a lot of the thinking about meditation where the meta-awareness works automatically. I almost feel nervous writing about it because within it there are no concepts.

And today at work I was saved by auto-movment. Just getting into the flow consciously. And to go against the theme of the last paragraph I found a trick where I say "auto-walk" or "auto-talk". A huge thank you to Shinzen Young. It's amazing how different teachers can help. I was barely listening to a podcast but I caught that snippet.

Another good sign is I've burnt out my need to post so much. I was have been enjoying life, and the practice has become very normalized. 

The anxiety in the morning has become somewhat less of a problem. I find by just doing stuff, that it is greatly attenuated. That's way easier than meditating to an equanimity somatic state/stage in a few hours. My sights have turned to the evening depression. Not even consciously. I just know that if I feel that way after work it's time to meditate. I do it. And I look forward to it usually.
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finding-oneself, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m yesterday, 11032021

Technique: Noting. Also, what was described in the last post.

Posture: Sitting

I used noting to get momentum then dropped it and settled into a pleasant concentrated physical space. It was altered, I could see light, and I felt lighter. Still somewhat unpleasant breathing/ tight breathing.

A very interesting note to me, I watched myself cross the arising and passing away. It was literally a firework thing and I could hear the sparkles. On a scale of 1 to 100 it was maybe 5. Only visual/audio no bliss. I think when I usually cross it's near the start of my sit and I dont notice it. I sometimes notice a flash, maybe that's it sometimes. I'm not sure if I scripted myself but I immediately felt fear after, but it felt really "pure" compared to my morning stints in the somatic unpleasant territory.

But that was over quick. Within a minute or two I shifted into that weird altered state. The rest of the meditation was like that, a more intense or lesser version at times.

30m 11042021

I had a weaker version of that state today. But I was even more relaxed into the meditation posture.

I'm calmly enthusiastic about continuing to move forward developing my practice. Perhaps a psychological developmental phase or attitude. My older writings in my posts here were more "manic" feeling.
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finding-oneself, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Total hours today: 3

Techniques: Noting, open awareness, concentrating on feet, just intimately being in this moment, being with the unpleasantness and opening to it.

Postures: Sitting, lounging, standing, walking.

I had a shorter sit this morning then did some chores. The chores went well.

Practice got interesting this evening. When the sun was setting and I was having tea and trying to read I just started practicing leaning back, putting the book down. I felt very sad, lonely and depressed. I always get that way when the seasons change, especially going into Fall. It was always a bittersweet feeling, so I actually kind of like it. Loneliness doesnt scare me. In this case I really dug into it. I often block stuff out with ear plugs. I could see and hear all the cars returning home for the day. I recalled many memories. It felt intimate, and trippy. The tripiness was mildly scary. It felt like I was in a dream. And the people going home were dream characters.

After that I had a continuation of difficulty formally on the cushion. The preparation timer of 1 minute felt like 3 to 5 minutes. I thought it was broken. The sit felt like an hour but it was 50m. On the cushion I continued having memory recall. Sadness. I went to childhood. Very sad. It was all very intimate. I did more walking meditation. I aimlessly wandered in my room. Stopping sometimes. When I was standing staring at a wood door it was either breathing or melting. I finished it off with another 20m sit. It was like I could see several yards down into space through the floor. Very weird.

No clue what ñanas I was in. Nor do I really care. I was definitely taking on the main flavor of practice reminder to just be genuinely curious about the unpleasant stuff. Like it's fun and interesting to explore too. It was strangely easier to do that with the emotional stuff. In the late 20m my face felt pressurized. I was like, this bugs me, it's not interesting. Next time.
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finding-oneself, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Over 7 hrs of practice from the last 3 days. Highs and lows. Great sits. Periods of burnout. Depression. And relaxation.

Cutting Edge: Very clearly some kind of partially absorbed EQ state with a weird perception of space.

Recently read up to "stage 8" of TMI. It REALLY clicked. Also hearing Daniel compare the book the the stages of insight helped. I underestimated my "TMI skills". I'm surprised.

Technique: Noticing objects as objects. Noticing the noticing. "The witness"

Posture: %90 settled into sitting. Relaxed and tense. Leg fell asleep.

Well I am shocked. Today I backed off meditation and adjusted my attitude a bit. Combined with reading TMI. I am in either the equanimity phase or a jhana or vipassana jhana. It wasn't important for me to "get to eq". Culadasa's/Daniel's new framing of this helped tremendously in my mind. My god!

I landed where I always was. I am very familiar with "the witness". Such a good and familiar feeling. Also a very easy technique.

My goal was to just be mindful of objects, and not get absorbed in wandering. Then I went into mental stillness. Then I let it happen automatically, effortlessly. I copied the "you landed where you always were" line. I didnt reach stream entry. But that line hit me.

I can do this. I'm surprised it's really this easy. I will just do 2 20-30m sits a day like this. Also combined with my mindfulness at work and home... this is suddenly doable again. I have to guard my mind though, the reason this is possible is just being here, now, combined with relaxation.

The end of the meditation I would describe as effortless, with a varying degree of equanimity, pleasant feelings in the body (and some unpleasant still), but a relative stillness of mental chatter, and "just being the witness".

That's what had happened in the past in my early meditation career. But my life was too chaotic and I did not have as good models. It's so familiar to be back here. It also reminds me of my preMCTB A&P, days.

Another note for pre and post meditation is to chill the fuck out gentle idiot. That's my stern yet loving note for myself. 

Thank you Culadasa. Because I underestimated my skills I slowed the reading down after like stage 6/7. But on page 318, it's a section called "Finding the Still Point and Realizing Witness". I'm still reading ealier in the same chapter but I saw that and skimmed it.

Between that and the whole unified mind theory it packed a wallop. Nothing in that book had such and immediate and crazy effect. 

I know practice fluctuates but I'm confident that I have just turned a major corner.

Edit:

I did another 30m, no problem.

I worked with everything I wrote about in the first part of the post. The 2nd has the same themes as the 1st sit, but I was sleepier this time. I mind wandered a bit more. It took me a little longer to get into it, but I was less impatient at the end. The sit went by fast, and my mind would like to continue the sit. But it was appropriate to end. I will experiment with this in bed.

Also, this whole "auto" practice works really good with this. It allows the witness to stay on even during mind wandering. Because it is "auto mind wandering". When perceived as that its still the witness.

​​​​​​​Thanks Culadasa
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finding-oneself, modified 20 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

Premeditative Context: 30m morning sit. Worked all day. Minimally stressful. Usual tired state. Just ate.

Posture: Burmese style on cushion. Right leg forward (it fell asleep)

Technique: ummm, open awareness, concentration on whole body -> finding the still point. Relaxing and letting go into posture 

Cutting Edge: 3rd vipassana jhana or early 4th (best guess). Jhanic factors arising. Bliss, equanimity.

One cool thing was dissolving the unpleasant emotional and physical sensations into the pleasant vibrations. I dont know how I'm doing this. A mix of just sitting and observing them. Then relaxing into my posture, and then somehow the anxiety in the belly, or pressure in the face, and even depression get dissolved into it. This is a whole new level of practice. Amazing. It complements the lesson of learning from the shitty sensations, because I'm not always in the mood to do dry vipassna. And it seems that in a way, its learning how to send love into them. Crazy.

In the past I remeber kind of "breathing into" the breathing, so richly and fully that it changed from labored breathing into smooth breathing. This was similar to that except with the above sensations.

I found something out. I remeber that I had worked so hard, back in 2013, and made it up to equanimity for the first few times. Ocassionally relatively "hard". And for prolonged periods on retreats. I now understand intellectually why I couldn't maintain it. I did intentionally work to get there but I had difficulty repeating it. The reason it worked was because the hindrances were temporarily attenuated. But present day, I actively work to be a good well rounded moral person, and am not bogged down by life. All my problems are still there but my heart is my compass. That allowed the dharma to unfold, things like attentional development, and the awakening process. Which also feed back into morality practice. That would be the hindrance of worry and remorse (Culadasa(Thank you again Culadasa)). I swear his interlude chapters helped me more. But according the the stages, I'm hit stage 8 the past two days. At least for moments, sometimes extended. Also he noted that its helpful to work through that stage IRL as opposed to a retreat to give you feedback on the hindrances in real time.

I read another post about a guy thinking his job is rough, so it's great for practice. But on bad days he questioned if its "right livelihood". I related. And I think I finally understand that YES, it is workable and helpful. Both professionally and dharmicly. I am feeling less regretful for quitting practice because I was so far behind in other areas of life. I was able to just focus on that and catch up. And now here I am. Caught up with both the conventional stages of "ego develoment" (Cook-Greuter) as well as how to be where I need in practice.
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finding-oneself, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
50m

Pre: Worked a good long day. Nice noting at work and other relaxation techniques. 

Posture/physical pain: Half-Lotus. Me ass fell asleep, no that's not a typo, I'm Irish (just kidding).

Cutting Edge: Equanimity smoothness and mental quality of really not giving a shit. I feel great. 

Technique: Intention to do "really good" concentration for 15m.

I continued with relaxation. Opening to the witness and still point. I also dug into unsatisfactoriness and noticed no controller, door, be-er. Non-self apparent. My goal was "constancy, not heroics". I am torn on what to set the timer to. After I began I settled in well but I felt the timer was fucking with me now. It was meant to relieve pressure, not cause it. But I just tried to learn the lesson "it doesnt matter, watch yourself freaking out in real time". But I was surprised after it went off how long I was going for.

The sit was indeed "constancy not heroics". It was an "easy" enjoyable, somatically smooth and pleasant feeling sit. I still did feel back and neck pain but it was part of the experiment. 

To me that phase is like the opposite of the somatic unpleasantness that has accompanied me for so long. It teaches me how to observe the unpleasantness from a new vantage point up high. 

This journal is meant as both a phenomological log and writings from my messy creative mind. Interestingly my mind is still very messy in equanimity. It feels good and everything is ok but its like a very vulnerable state of mind and it feels slippery. The key is just repeated exposure so I get used to it. From where I'm at now I can believe I ever rampaged my way through the gates of equanimity. It used to fuck with me like "how the fuck do I make that stick?" But it just arises, based on the present state of life. That includes my day and formal sits.

My phone crashed really bad when I was reading "constancy not heroics". Whether it was "magic" or not. It left a big print on my mind. Like I just need to find a way to get myself to just have good appropriate sits every day. I both have the problem of slacking and overworking, historically. Right not I have reached a balance that's increasingly healthy for me.

Like this sit. I looked at my cushion to sit and said "I cant wait to hit the cushion". Besides the initial challenges with the timer, it was like a nice 50m sit "arose" in my day with minimal effort (and 0 effort at points). That's what it's all about. Regardless of the stage or state. Build this into my day and enjoy every moment of it. 

The irish "joke" probably reads really stupid and will likely embarrass me in the future. But I chose to leave it in for fun, as a demonstration of the mind giving no effs' ... if I could have that occur more often, this introvert would do a comedy open-mic. As a testament to how care free it is.
George S, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2111 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
My mind is often pretty messy. I believe the pali word is vikkhita ("scattered"). Minds are like that, best not to take them too seriously emoticon​​​​​​​
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finding-oneself, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I guess I kind of assume my mind is more messy than other peoples. But that's an assumption.

It does give me a greater sense of connectedness to change that assumption. It feels better. C: 
George S, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Yeah, sometimes the things we assume to be most obvious turn out not to be true emoticon

It's similar to the the assumption that our mental state should be different from the one we are actually in, which is kinda like the root of suffering ...
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finding-oneself, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I was ruminating so bad and mindfulness wasn't working. I decided to sort of do talk therapy with myself and reason through it. 

Within 2 minutes I entered low-EQ. I was pleasantly acceptingly surprised.

That was hours ago.

Right now I'm in a calm state. I was just watching YouTube for a while and I was feeling bad, like I should meditate.

But I found just lying down in my room, looking around spacing out, relaxing, is perfect. It meets my needs. 

And the whole "land where you already are thing".
I remeber back in 2011 before my big A&p. I was in a very emotional 6months + depression. Well I had an intention "I'm just going to relax (and be here)". "Here" turned out to be in the room. I remeber it was in the dining room of my moms old house with beautiful old antique furniture. Even back then I already had visual snow. Well I have a room and snow right now too.

My practice right now in my room is in a sense, just like what I was doing those few hours before my A&P event. Or it at least feels like it. It's just nice to relax in my body, and be in the room. I know this eventually leads to stream entry. I will continue to relax and note anything related to practice thoughts, progress, etc. Alternaring notes, and "steeping" in experience seems like a good recipie.
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finding-oneself, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
90m

I had spent the weekend practicing and working with unfortunate large periods of rumination. But this day, I had a great day at work. And was heartful and cherry when I got home. After I ate I even experienced the normal depression which was fine.

Technique: ? Just steeping in my sensations, noticing the 3CS. Eventually doing equanimous type practices.

Posture: Comfortable Lying, then sitting, then lying again.

I was experiencing the normal uncomfortable pressure in face. And when I would direct my attention to the belly I would experience anxiety there. But my concentration was great. I broke through into equanimity gradually. But eventually it was ridiculously obvious I was hard there. I felt loose and most sensations bounced off of me. The more resistance I noticed, the more I let go, the more stuff bounced off of me.

The weirdest part was how much I did not want to be there. From TMI, some of the sub-minds had other plans. But luckily when I did stay, it felt like Ibhad absorbed the resistance. It was at points like these I noted. But I tried letting the note arise as part of the whole thing. Like I was chucking the notes in a giant whirling pool of quicksand. The notes made of sand. And no person throwing the notes. Werid analogy.

Noticing thoughts, its like the mind is a pool, and a thought is an orb of water merging into the pool, with waves being produced. ... weird. 

I've been at this territory before, but there was always too much riding on the creation of the state, and meditating correctly once in it. I wouldn't objectify the resistance as much, and the whole thing felt fragile.

I stayed in harder equanimity damn near an hour. Why is there no pipe-smoke emoji? What a travesty. Anyway.

Part of getting there is everything that had happened the last 7 months of practice, getting acquainted with the whole developmental arc. Part is attitude. I read more about awareness practicing, I call them. Also called nom-duality. It was nothing new but I read more carefully, so it was just a reminder. And I had done several 15m awareness sits between today and yesterday.

The 90m sit was a mix of that.

One last note on phenomenology: I think what I think of as 3D is being in the 3rd vipassana jhana. The 4th is almost uncomfortable compared to it, but I noted the discomfort. It just feels too weird and spacey, but not in my usual way. It feels werid in a way I have a hard time describing for now. But I got used to the whole developmental arc so far, so I'm not worried about it and am excited to revisit it and just be comfortable with it. If anxiety is my friend this will be easy to me. That's the last major lesson to teach the subminds, about the weirdness and the boringness.... you little fucks will like it! C:

​​​​​​​Also when I got up to use the bathroom the "auto-walk/move" technique was the most effortless full natural thing ever. Wow.
shargrol, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 1654 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounds good. Keep gently going straight ahead. emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Key word gently. C: thanks for the reminder 
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finding-oneself, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Real quick before bed.

I felt TERRIBLE after work. I felt stuck. Burnt out. I wanted out. Stuck again. Doubt. Annoyance. I didnt know what to do, and I knew even the cushion might not help.

I'm still in recovery healing from my broken foot. One thing I'm learning is being in tune with my body. I want to use physical movement, clenching muscles, and great form, to slowly build a stronger body, for all the positive reasons. Healing my foot, preventing future injury and having more energy

So I just moved. No rules. Yes mindfulness. Yes acceptance. It feels like there is no plan there, the system knows what to do, and will just work it out and move through the ñanas. Being in this body, and in this room are key. Just returning to the present moment.

I maybe did that 10-15m and felt way better. Then I completely just lie down and continued contemplative practice.

It's just so surprising to me when the dukkha ñanas actually subside, because I was living in them even when I didn't meditate for 4 years. 

I cant believe it's so "easy". Just let awareness actually be aware of what's actually going on without denying life. It's part functionally building the wiring, and part confidence gained from having success again and again.

Like said alier today. Gentleness is KEY. I still ended up doing maybe 40-60m meditation. But I set ZERO timers, ZERO extra pressure put on myself. When pressure arose I just gently saw it. Is gentle note was possible to occur than that occured, no machine gun notes.

Alright almost the end of the week. Another good week. I'm excited to keep walking the path.
George S, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Awesome!
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I discovered it's meant to combine "urges" and emotions in "progressive noting".

I sad down and made tea and drank for 30m doing mostly the emotions category (and intentions/aversion/craving), mainly. Some other stuff too.

A big lesson is how mediation is like landing an aircraft. 

At work yesterday I was just noticing how it's all all right, right now. Dukkha characteristic practice. 

I did that as well in my sit. I also noticed traffic and trains trains drive by. 

I noticed how sound works in meditation. I've mostly left that out due to anxiety.

So mostly my biggest blindspot is tuning thing out. I'm pretty good at noticing aversion but I tend to tune out whats causing it. Better to tune in and objectify the aversion and objects.

A eureka moment was noticing a desire moment! A bird flew into my visual field and I felt a strong magnetic pull to look, as I sit there noticing the entire field, remaining still.

Between work and sits, it seems to be important to just tune in, feel what's going on and be accepting of it. Notice the mandala of experience, letting the plane fly itself on autopilot, through whatever state/stage is present.

Also impermanace is huge for me now. It makes a concentration state happen and goes with being calm. I am ok right now, the problems are constantly in flux, containing the solution. All three major sense fields are seen to be impermanent. Being a good an moral person I may notice and note when I'm freaking out. It's ok to be freaking out, and it will pass and solve itself. Also being inside the freakout, where it feels like it will not be solved, is ok. It is wise to just sit withing the mandala of freak out. All this dharma is wisdom. It teaches me to have faith when I am feeling doubtful.

Shinzens book, the science of enlightenment, is a game changer. It goes so great with where I'm at right now. The part of impermanance, "flow" he calls it. Show me that objects undulate, vibrate, and contract and expand. And also that things flicker. Neat.
shargrol, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 1654 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I must have listened to the CD recording of SHinzen's Science of Enlightenment maybe 100 times. It's just so grounding to hear everything described in such a straight forward manner. Helps with doubt.

The rest is just gentle daily practice and it all kinda works itself out. No one's path is the same, though. It all happens the way it needs to for our own mind/heart. All we have do to is show up, stay curious, investigate, let things settle, and bravely face the things that we normally tend to avoid during a daily sit, and even enjoy the adventure of it all. 
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Days ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Yes, what an adventure it is. I was considering buying that. The book has been so great and I gorge on dharma audio. I need that man's wisdom piped into my ears 24/7.

Anyway, yes. Thanks for reminding me about the basics. 

"All we have do to is show up, stay curious, investigate, let things settle, and bravely face the things that we normally tend to avoid during a daily sit, and even enjoy the adventure of it all."

It's all there.
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finding-oneself, modified 19 Hours ago.

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 166 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
My practice is now consuming non-pragmagic dharma, dharma. Not that it's not pragmatic, it's just outside the cultural context. Seems healthy. Listening to Achaan Chah's A Still Forest Pool. Not my usual cup of tea. Hopefully I will train myself to just be here now. Also listened to most of Shinzens audio tape. And I have Mindfulness in Plain English in que. And I will order Zen Mind Beginners Mind.

In the last months I have been inadvertantly doing kasina practice by staring at the space inside my head. It has trained me well because now I'm doing formal kasina practice. It has also helped relax my face in preparation.

I dont like calling it "the murk". Its a delicious beautiful cloud of light. or an equally beautiful storm of energy. Anyway, that's what I had inadvertently practiced with. I either experienced the 3rd Vipassna jhana only, or also the 4th.

Back on topic. The other day I saw a narrow pointed vaugue nimitta, the size of a quarter to orange-sized. That was huge because I rarely saw that form of it. And I didn't believe it was possible for me to have regularly. I think it motivated me because The next few days I did LED practice 
It seems to have activated that part of attention. I now see a pea sized nimitta in the center of attention. In fact it was immediately perceptible after just one LED kasina treatment.

I even prefer looking at it somewhat to the retinal image.

I'm excited because this puts the whole pie together. I didnt realize it was that important or helpful. I was so focused on spacious attention because that's my natural mind state. Also I thought it was the gate to SE. It's also exciting because it goes with be here now. I do not intend to get anywhere with this. I just like doing it. It's like a fun video game.

And I want to see aliens /sarc.

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