AKD Practice Log

AKD Practice Log A K D 1/13/22 12:44 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/13/22 12:59 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 1/13/22 1:54 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/13/22 4:26 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 1/13/22 4:40 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/13/22 5:16 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log J W 1/13/22 9:41 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 1/14/22 12:54 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/30/22 1:42 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log George S 1/18/22 12:52 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log George S 1/19/22 12:28 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/30/22 1:43 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/30/22 1:42 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 1/30/22 2:11 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/2/22 9:44 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log George S 1/30/22 8:11 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log George S 1/30/22 8:18 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Martin 2/6/22 9:35 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/6/22 8:29 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/6/22 9:54 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/17/22 9:23 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log Chris M 2/17/22 10:28 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/18/22 5:21 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 2/17/22 4:35 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/18/22 5:27 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 2/18/22 4:10 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 3/15/22 9:25 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 1/31/23 10:37 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/8/23 10:15 AM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/15/23 2:52 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Hector L 2/15/23 2:41 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/15/23 2:55 PM
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RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/15/23 3:40 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/19/23 6:29 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Martin 2/15/23 3:28 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/15/23 3:42 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/23 5:29 PM
RE: AKD Practice Log A K D 2/18/23 7:11 AM
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RE: AKD Practice Log Nihila . 3/8/23 9:08 AM
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 12:44 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 12:44 PM

AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
I intend to use this log for minor updates or check ins from time to time, as well as any questions that I may have with regards to practice. I have kept daily practice logs in the past, but found it to be a lot of time & effort to post every day. This is a simple way to stay connected to the community and recieve feedback from folks. Thank you!
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 12:59 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 12:59 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
1/13/2022

Overall, practice has changed quite a bit in the last year. I switched from noting practice to awareness based practices. For some reason, noting just feels really cumbersome, contrived, and the act of noting sorta gets in the way of the experience and re-enforces some sense of noter.

During my sits these days, I practice shamatha without an object (open awareness) and do some self inquiry. Usually, instead of asking inquiry questions, I naturally get curious about aspects of experience and investigate.

Currently in a bit of a rut as of the last week or two. Been skipping practice lately or just sitting for a few moments here & there. I think doubt and expectations have me feeling a bit deflated and burned out. I think by posting here now and again, I will feel a bit of accountability to start sitting again. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 1:54 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 1:54 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Why do you meditate?
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 4:26 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 4:18 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Because life is somewhat unsatisfying and mundane. A lot of people in my age group seem to relish in the scheme of: get a degree, go to work, climb the career ladder, find a spouse, buy a house, get a dog, have a hobby or two, go on a vacation occasionally, have a few kids, save up for retirement, die. 

I wanted life to feel a bit more sacred, mysterious, and magical. It's sort of a miracle that we are here after all; we are the universe experiencing itself. I was looking for something that would help me transcend the monotony so I gravitated towards meditation after hearing about mystical states and stages of awakening. I figured it could be this fun little secret that after a day at the office I could come home and go into deep concentration and have some blissful, psychedelic experience that regular folks wouldn't understand. That's obviously not my path though.  

In the end, I haven't really had transcendent experiences on the cushion or shifts in understanding that have inspired faith. It's difficult to know if any positive changes in myself are infact due to meditation or just part of growing older. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 4:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 4:40 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Well there you go emoticon You want it to be misterious, magical, sacred! 
Where do you find all this?! 
If Concentration is your call then do it. Love being with that in breathing and that out breathing, this in breath and this out breath. Love soaking in those sensations associated with the in breathing and out breathing. Like a lovers dance. That's you home. No doubt, no wondering if this or that. You are in relationship with that breathing. This alone will create all other absorption stuff which are but a byproduct of this dancing with this in breathing and this out breathing. 

Try and practice as soon you get out of the bed. Don't even go to the toilet. 30 minutes of cuddling with the breathng in sitting position while still sleepy emoticon That feels really nice as the mind hasn't started with all the stories. And your day will be filled with tranquility too. 
Get a daily practice going. Then after a few months see if to add extra sits or longer sits etc ... 

Btw, nothing wrong with those folks wanting a job, kids, house etc ... Also ok if you feel to be a monk or a vagabond emoticon All is good. 

Best wishes! 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 5:16 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 4:53 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Yep, I know there is nothing wrong with people who want the house and the family, etc. I just feel like a bit of an outsider or that I am falling behind for not necessarily wanting to pursue the same milestones at this juncture. I am sure I will swing back and engage in these aspects of life at some point when I feel called to do so.

I believe that people who have felt this way jokingly refer to it as Insight Disease.
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J W, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 9:41 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/22 9:41 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 621 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
have some blissful, psychedelic experience that regular folks wouldn't understand

Have you tried psychedelics for that? ha ha ha, just a little joke don't mind me emoticon
​​​​​​
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/14/22 12:54 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/14/22 12:54 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
In a way wanting a house, kid, car is the same as wanting sacred, magic, mystical. 

However one thing is wanting and another actually applying oneself towards such goals. 

Walk the talk. 

Forget the books, what everyone thinks is right and just apply yourself to the sensations of in breathing and out breathing. Sense the whole body dynamics and "buy into it". As if it's the only thing there is in the entire world (for the duration of the sit). 

What do you think about that early morning meditation I suggested? Have you tried it? 

Best wishes KD! 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 1:42 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/17/22 7:18 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
1/17/2022

I went on a weekend ski trip with some friends in the Adirondacks in northern NY. I managed to do 1 or 2 brief meditation sessions a day for 20-40 minutes each. In this case, I simply tuned into open spacious awareness and explored contraction vs. non-contraction as well as seeing how spacious & relaxed I could be. I also enjoyed seeing how attentive I could be to noticing and then dropping conceptualization (Michael Taft's 'Dropping the Ball'). It just felt nice to be open and relaxed while maintaining clarity and the momentum would last off cushion for quite a while.

Spending time on the mountain slopes and in the forest trails during various outdoor activities was inspiring so tuning into open spaciousness was just natural. It was fun to see if I could maintain that sense of openess, ease, and presence when socializing or engaging in any activity really.

It was also interesting & useful to see areas where I was getting hung up or reactive with regards to certain activites that we planned as a group. I realized that I am not very spontaneous and when I have a plan or preference made up, deviating from that can cause some frustration. That said, overall, there was much much more love, appreciation, humor, and gratitude for having this experience with some close friends and the minor frustrations were helpful feedback for areas where I can grow.
One such example of frustration: the day that we went downhill skiing, we were gearing up in a parking lot far from the main lodge in -10 degree Fahrenheit weather (-23 degrees Celsius) and the plastic on my old ski boots shattered as I was tightening them down rendering them completely useless. I then had to board a shuttle to get to the lodge, navigate my way through the area and rent skis and such. This is obviously annoying because it's more effort/time to get to the lodge, it's more money out of pocket to rent the gear, and now I am separated from my friends who parked at a parking lot far away from the lodge. My intital reaction to it all was to laugh since it was sort of funny on some level. It was very frustrating on one hand, but things worked out and my friends met me once I was all set so no big deal. The entire time this was going on, I was trying to notice my levels of impatience and frustration as it all played out. 

I very often get frustrated by a perceived lack of progress with regards to my meditation practice (I apologize for being such a downer on here oftentimes and venting), but I do notice how my reactions to certain people and situations have started to change as a result of having the capacity to be present in the face of reactivity. I can be responsive to circumstances instead of reactive. I can also just be simply attentive to the arising reactive patterns when a response isn't necessarily required in the moment. For that, I am grateful and in that same vein, I am grateful that I have more to learn. The hard part to tell though is, is this sense of development just part of normal adult maturity, or is it attributed to/or bolstered by the meditation practice?
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/18/22 12:52 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/18/22 12:52 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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I think it's probably a bit of both. Reduced reactivity is one of the main signs of progress in meditation!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/19/22 12:28 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/19/22 12:28 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 2752 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Maybe it might help if you write down what progress in meditation looks like for you - to get clearer about what you expect/want/need - and then make an assessment of how effectively those goals can be achieved though meditation vs other channels.
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 1:42 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 1:42 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
1/30/2022

I spoke with my teacher this past week and explained how I've been swamped by doubts and resistance patterns related to spiritual practice. He really listened and offered up some advice and was able to relate to my situation. He recommended that I dedicate time to the heart practices during my sits as well as cultivate bodhichitta and offering the merit of my sits to others. In addition to that, he recommended that I engage in acts of generosity on a daily basis so I am finding small ways to help others which has pointed out some of my pettiness and self-cherishing attitudes. There is a sweetness in holding and following through on benevolent intention, but there is remorse related to contemplating how past actions were driven by immaturity and disregard for the well-being or feelings of others. 

One thing that my teacher mentioned off handedly, "If you were to meditate twice every day for 45 or 60 minutes, you'd look back in a year and have no regrets about how you spent your time." I suppose this advice rings true for all sorts of beneficial activities: exercise, better sleep, diet, etc. A wholesome routine could provide a solid foundation for a fulfilling life, yet I'd prefer to watch hours of Netflix, play video games or drink beer. It's a personal koan: why is there resistence to creating a more fulfilling life for myself? I can see how wasting hours on pointless entertainment or drinking daily can lead to regret down the line, but I don't see how I could possibly regret cutting out alcohol, gettting in better shape, sitting twice daily, and taking care of myself in other ways. It's sort of a no brainer... yet the resistance holds the floor.
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 1:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 1:43 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Thank you George, that's a helpful way to go about clarifying my intentions. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 2:11 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 2:11 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Here is my view;

In the same way I don't regret all the hours put in the meditation practice, so I don't regret putting all the hours into drinking and partying for days on end emoticon Actually, now that I think back at my glorious days I have a huge smile on me face emoticon emoticon emoticon Shit, could I party! emoticon Ha! 

Anywho, now I'm becoming an old fart and can feel this body being stiffer as it's getting older. Party time is not for me anymore, at least not the kind called "pub crawling" emoticon 

And by the way, Im not going all Zen here at you with all the "chop wood, carry water, drink and party" mindfulness stuff but rather I really look back at my drinking-party days with a smile on my face. Great friendships, great memories, ... well, sore one's as well but hey, in the heat of the battle, right emoticon Ha! 

I think I told you this before but there is no reason not to be part of your generation and have good laugh with your mates emoticon Fuck it, life can be too serious at times anyway, and if we kind of make it more so by sticking a stick of "proper perfection" into our own ars then it will just lose all its fucking juice emoticon 

Maybe it doesn't have to be either-or! Maybe it can be both, the practice and the fun emoticon If you miss a party at times, fine. If you miss a sit at times, fine. emoticon No reason to go all military on this. 

I think you are already doing great by having teachers. What you might benefit from is exactly what your teacher lad suggested, to give all the merits to other beings and keep sitting and keep socializing/partying while you are young emoticon (not that you should stop later on but I feel ould age kind of takes away that sense of novelty young folks still can have).

Yes, indeed, Im blabbing too much again! Off I go! 

Best wishes to you AKD! 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 8:11 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 8:10 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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My default assumption is that most of the time I am actually doing what I want in some sense. If (as often happens) I find myself doing something I "don't want" to do, or avoiding something I "do want" to do, then it's an opportunity to find out what it is that I really want!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 8:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/22 8:17 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 2752 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I should add - once you know what it is you really want, it's easier to find more skillful ways to go about getting it ...
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/22 9:44 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/22 9:44 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Thank you Papa Che for your thoughts. I have had many great times when I was back in college and I don't regret the partying & drinking that I did then.
At this point though, I am a bit older, the context & amount of my consumption has changed and so I find myself questioning my relationship to alcohol. I am not trying to demonize it, but leaving my habits unquestioned doesn't seem wise either.
I think every person has to decide for themselves what is appropriate or healthy so that's one aspect of my life I decided to bring up here when discussing overall health. 
Thank you for your feedback!
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 2/6/22 9:35 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/4/22 3:17 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 540 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
AKD
1/30/2022

One thing that my teacher mentioned off handedly, "If you were to meditate twice every day for 45 or 60 minutes, you'd look back in a year and have no regrets about how you spent your time." I suppose this advice rings true for all sorts of beneficial activities: exercise, better sleep, diet, etc. A wholesome routine could provide a solid foundation for a fulfilling life, yet I'd prefer to watch hours of Netflix, play video games or drink beer. It's a personal koan: why is there resistence to creating a more fulfilling life for myself? I can see how wasting hours on pointless entertainment or drinking daily can lead to regret down the line, but I don't see how I could possibly regret cutting out alcohol, gettting in better shape, sitting twice daily, and taking care of myself in other ways. It's sort of a no brainer... yet the resistance holds the floor.


You are spot on here. Knowing that changing a habit is a no-brainer today is not enough to overcome resistance tomorrow. The problem is that the sum total of causes and conditions that make it appear a no-brainer now will not be present at some future time when there is a new series on Netflix and beer in the fridge. At that point, whatever you do will be a result of a new set of causes and conditions, and the memory of any decision you made in the recent past, including memories bout the no-brainer-ness of the decision, will just be one part of what will be going on in your mind. Resistance = Conditions. 

A trick that worked for me (I went from years of daily drinking and other habits to permanent abstinence) is to think short-term. Ask yourself what you can do today to make the conditions in the immediate future conducive to the behavior you want. Don't want to drink? Pour out the beer. Don't want to watch Netflix? Cancel your subscription. Want to get in shape? Join a running club. And so on. There is no need to evaluate the long-term viability of these decisions. You don't need to consider that you can always buy more beer, reactivate your subscription, and quit the running club. You only need to focus on what happens today and tomorrow, and you can give that time frame 100% effort. (After a period of time that depends on the strength of the habit, you won't have to give it any effort. It will just be normal. But pretend that you did not even read this parenthetical comment. If you want to change a strong habit, treat the distant future as none of your business.)

This approach is really nothing more than planning while keeping in mind anatta and anicca. I had never heard of these things when I wanted to quit but I discovered that there was no permanent self as part of quitting, then googled it and found out that there was a whole religion that recognized it. You have a great advantage in knowing these things before you start. 

BTW, alcohol is particularly tricky as it has massive short- and medium-term impacts on the body and mind. It's definitely harder to quit than Netflix. As a guy who has quit, I'm happy to chat about it one-to-one if you want to. 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/6/22 8:29 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/6/22 8:29 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Thank you Martin - I have written down your contact info and will be sure to reach out if I feel that I could use advice! I appreciate the open offer emoticon
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/6/22 9:54 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/6/22 9:49 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
2/6/2022

Yesterday I got together with a friend and I had an experience that could maybe be analogous to what some folks mean by experiencing emotions/sensations/reactions with full clarity. I could be missing the mark, but I would like to apply this to practice:

Before dinner, he and I smoked a bit of pot. We had ordered take out chinese food and I was tasting the soy sauce in the single serve packets that come with the food. My friend has a bottle of high-end soy sauce that has been fermented in traditional wooden barrels in Japan (from this particular brewery: https://youtu.be/yT6MDZQUGt4). He poured out a small sip of the quality sauce for each of us so we could compare the two. Later on, we also tried two samples of miso paste that he has been fermenting and then we had a sip of nice sake. 

Obviously being stoned, food tastes amazing. However, I recognized something in the way that flavor was received and experienced. Soy sauce and miso are extremely salty: the salt totally overshadows and dominates everything else that is going on on the palate. Usually when trying these sorts of foods, I wince: my facial muscles tighten, I swallow quickly, and I tune out and try to get through it which causes me to ignore the full spectrum of taste and flavor.
Last night, the salt was still intense, but it couldn't dominate the experience - it became one aspect of a larger picture. This meant that all the other lovely flavors could be part of the experience and it felt fuller, more complete, more satisfying.
The barrel aged soy sauce had notes of sweet caramel and it would coat the tongue like a glossy syrup. It had a depth which was savory, warm, and comforting. The aeromatics reminded me of leaves composting on the forest floor and made me nostalgic for autumn. The tastes and flavors would play out at different moments so that each one had an opportunity to take center stage. 
The same experience was had when tasting the miso and the sake. Instead of being dominated by saltiness or the burning sensation of alcohol, these foods had depth and nuance in ways that I have never appreciated. Instead of dread at the prospect of salt or burning alcohol, there was an enthusiasm and excitement to taste something fully.

No contraction; no aversion, no desire, no tuning-out. Just open, relaxed receptivity and full engagement with what is. 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 9:23 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 9:23 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
2/17/2022 

After speaking with my teacher a few weeks back about how I was in a rut, he had asked me how I had dealt with this sort of thing in the past so I reflected: A few years ago I had attended a Mahasi Vipassana retreat which threw me into some of the most difficult emotional and mental territory I have experienced. After the retreat ended, things started to dissolve between me and my S.O. at the time. Between the break up and all the muck churned up by the retreat, I found myself in a phase of heavy depression which lasted many months. At the time I was really focused on just keeping a good foundation going: healthy diet, exercise, socialization, sleep, meditation, etc. just to cope.
I did this by keeping a bullet journal and writing down what tasks or activities I wanted to accomplish each day. The one rule was that I had to complete everything on the list for that day - it was non-negotiable. This was great as it made me prioritize my time and I'd follow through day after day which kept me going through it all.

I decided to pick up my bullet journal again and I have been using it to prioritize meditation and exercise. These two activities in particular are becoming keystone habits: if I want to meditate and exercise before going to work, I have to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning. In order to wake up early, I have to go to bed earlier in order to get enough sleep. This means less time spent watching Netflix or drinking, and more time spent prepping for the next day by packing my work gear, food, and clothes. Adding in an evening meditation session leaves less time to fritter away. Daily exercise also requires a healthy diet and plenty of sleep to keep the body functional. It all ties together. 

It's a very full schedule and it can be a bit daunting, but it's nice to wake up early with some sense of purpose and to accomplish a few things before starting work for the day. 


I have been working with my attitude and doubts towards practice. I often look at other practitioners or read about folks such as Dipa Ma and feel both inspired and intimidated. There can often be feelings of inferiority & fear when I consider that I may never wake up to the degree that some people have or feelings of frustration when my path doesn't line up with the descriptions of others. Unfortunately, I cannot look into future timelines to see where this will all lead, so I just have to trust that I will be better off for having engaged in the practice than if I decided to spend my time doing something else. It's similar to acknowledging that I may never be a great marathon runner, but just by training daily I will improve my overall well-being. It's a bit more modest, realistic, and actionable. 


With regards to sitting practice itself, I typically sit between 45 and 60 minutes in the morning and 30 and 45 minutes in the evening since I am aiming to practice 90 minutes a day. I have been incorporating Metta and Tonglen into my sits before switching to open awareness and inquiry type practices. I have also been trying a few of Michael Taft's guided meditations here and there to see what other aspects of experience are worth investigating/inquiring into when in open awareness. Off cushion, I try to cultivate open awareness whenever I remember to. I've been experimenting with shifting into open awareness when reactivity or contraction arises just to see how it all plays out. Currently many instances of openess, ease, gratitude and appreciation mixed in with life frustrations & contraction.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 10:28 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 10:28 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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I like your balanced, real-life affirming approach. Also, in regard to comparing yourself to others - please stop! Everyone starts from the same place, you know. At the end of the day, this practice has to lead to basic sanity and that's why your balanced, real-life affirming approach bodes well. Stay with, be consistent, and be kind to yourself.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 4:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/17/22 4:35 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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I might borrow that bullet journal idea if yours! 
I'm totally stuck in procrastinating for a while now and even avoiding social interactions. 

Maybe time to write down the daily to-do list! 

Thank you and best wishes! 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 5:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 5:15 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Chris, thank you for the encouragement - your recent mentions about the role that consistency & quality played in your daily sitting practice have been helpful for me to keep in mind as I continue with my own practice. 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 5:27 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 5:27 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
It might be helpful for you! Just make sure that you write down a manageable list for the day and really follow through with it - it has to be non-negotiable. As silly as it is, there is something supremely satisfying about crossing out a task once it is complete - and that sense of satisfaction can help foster momentum in your day and over time as you look back at what you've been accomplishing. Of course if you aren't able to complete everything on your list for that day, just be kind to yourself and move on. Good luck!   
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 4:10 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/18/22 4:08 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Thank you! Will do! 

I have already geared myself towards starting certain things! I haven't been painting since 2008 and I did paint for 12 years. Oil on canvas. I stopped painting after a very important person in my life died. Now I'm considering to just paint again but it's emotional and causing procrastination. 
Now have new canvases and new colours and brushes. 
It's just about squeezing some paint out and dip the brush into them and scar the white canvas with a few strokes. That's how it starts! emoticon 

And yes, some household chores are also waiting to be done! 

​​​​​​​To-do list, daily! 
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A K D, modified 1 Year ago at 3/15/22 9:25 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/15/22 9:25 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
3/15/2022

Fell off the wagon a bit these last few weeks. I think it was related to a terrible bout of sciatica which made any physical movement quite painful. As a result I wasn't able to exercise and I lost motivation to do anything constructive so meditation took a hit. Back at it with renewed interest and inspiration. 

I have been getting more in touch with the sense of doer/critic during meditation. When I rest back into awareness or ask an inquiry question, a voice comes up that starts trying to manage things: I should do a different technique, I should concentrate harder, I should try to deconstruct this sensation, I should try to find vibrations I've read about in MCTB, I need to focus on the breath, I should do a body scan, I should look for something I am avoiding, I should drop the conceptual mind, what nana is this?, why can't I figure out what these other people have realised? etc.

It's funny, but also quite annoying - on one hand all of these are useful techniques and they help cultivate and strengthen the faculties of mind, but on the flip side, if awareness is present, what else is there to do? Either awareness is present or it isn't, but it doesn't help to somehow force something that is already occuring. It makes meditation quite heavy and I needlessly beat myself up. I have been exploring the idea that practice can be done with a gentler touch, a lite touch, with the simple intentions to cultivate ease, stability, curiosity, clarity, and honesty. 

Something that has been inspiring me lately: the thought that life could be like summer vacation. I have a memory of riding on the bus home from school on the last day of 5th grade. There was no sense that I had anything to do and I could just enjoy the time off so I felt free. It would be really amazing to live from that place - to take care of life specifics and continue to develop as a person without everything feeling heavy, like some monumental effort, like drudgery. Life as play. I notice just how much ill will there is in my lived experience in terms of aversion, desire, craving, tuning out, contraction, anxiety, worry, stress, emotional reactivity, etc. As beautiful as the sentiment is, I somehow don't trust that it is possible to feel that at ease when still out in the world. 

Beyond that, I am inspired by the possibility of reducing needless suffering, of seeing through the illusion of separation, to understand intimacy & effortlessness, to live spontaneously, and to love more deeply. I notice that my attitude towards practice - using so much force - is at odds with a lot of these ideals so I am also exploring the idea that simple mindfulness/presence is inherently pleasurable. Some days mindfulness feels nice, most days it feels like work and I feel guilty when I lose presence. 

I plan on continuing with daily sits, listening to talks or reading for inspiration/interest, and seeing if I can cultivate mindfulness/presence throughout my day in a gentle, pleasurable way.
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 1/31/23 10:37 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/31/23 10:37 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
1/31/2023

It's been almost a year since I have posted here. I am still practicing, but haven't felt compelled to post about practice until now since there isn't much that changes day to day. Most of the changes that occur seem to happen in the background... if there is progress, it's hard to pick out what is a result of meditation or just normal human development/aging. That said, there are some updates I'd like to share:

I started working with a new teacher early last summer. They are authorized to teach within a Soto Zen lineage as they are currently wrapping up their priest ordination, but they also have decades of experience with Tibetan Buddhism having practiced extensively with a handful of Lamas. Based on what resonates with me in terms of aesthetics and the way meditation is nowadays, this has been a perfect match for me. I really feel like I finally found my teacher. They are open & honest, pragmatic, and we keep in close touch via Zoom calls and over email. A big aspect of the teaching is that my teacher points out areas of obscuration based on our interactions - always pointing back to this moment and what reactive pattern or belief structures might be obscuring 'this'. It's been so helpful.

My attitude towards practice has changed quite a bit as well - I chant the Bodhisattva vow before my sits, do a bit of praying, meditate, and wrap up the session by dedicating the merit to all sentient beings. There is much less striving/desperation than there used to be. Practice is less self centered (I want to achieve enlightenment vs. may this practice benefit all), and, although there is a yearning for enlightenment, I also recognize that this can be a trap if not held lightly as an overall aspiration. These are all topics that I have been working with and through with my teacher. They have been really patient in gently pointing out self interest and reenforcing that this practice is for the benefit of all. Their gentle encouragement has been a blessing and I am really grateful for this connection.

With regards to actual practice, I am sitting in open awareness, typically with eyes open. My teacher is of the opinion that the Soto Zen practice of Shikantaza is akin to Tibetan Dzogchen - or the recognition of & basking in Rigpa - which is parallel to sitting in enlightened mind. My teacher has also been pointing out Rigpa to me in different ways during our meetings. We also talk about different ways to investigate and deconstruct time, space, and self, but the main practice is to rest in open awareness both on cushion and off cushion. Off cushion practice is also highly emphasized - recognizing any obscurations or physical/mental tension/contraction, returning and resting in open awareness throughout the day for a few minutes here or there. I'm still a fan of open awareness practice as it is gently relaxing, spacious, and blissful. It's just sorta nice. Sometimes, there is some inquiry mixed in at points, or investigation depending on what arises in the moment.

As a whole, I wouldn't say I have had any major shifts in perspective or that anything has radically changed. Occasionally I drop into and recognize nondual states or aspects of reality are momentarily seen to be empty in a way that is a tad trippy, but otherwise I still feel like my regular self. There is a bit less reactivity (and more room for compassion), but I am also paying attention to reactive patterns more. It reminds me of the Bill Hamilton quote: "Suffering less; noticing it more." I am also drawn to the Zen idea that progress is much like walking in the fog where one's clothing slowly becomes wet, but it may not be evident at all.  

Anyway, I sorta miss the motivation that I used to have - the burning desire to wake up, although painful, also had me sitting a bit more. I am going to try to share a bit more here from time to time so as to re-connect with the DhO community. I think that it will help me to be a bit more inspired and bring some energy to the process.

Thank you for reading - I hope that you're all doing well, that you're all healthy, happy, and enjoying the path emoticon Looking forward to hearing from you!
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/8/23 10:15 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/8/23 10:15 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
2/8/2023

Slowly ramping up sitting times/frequencies and exploring sitting at different times of day. I notice that I have more motivation to sit in the morning, so I will make that my main sit for the day, but sometimes I get in 20-30 minutes during my lunch break or a session in the evening as well.

In the evenings, motivation to sit is much lower and the prospect of watching hours of Netflix or Hulu is often overpowering. Last night I sat without a timer, just exploring what it's like to sit in gentle, open awareness with all of this craving running through me. Without an agenda or the added stress of trying to make this a good sit or to last until a bell, things gently became relaxed, settled, clear, open. It was just sorta nice. I ended up sitting for 45ish minutes and then got ready for bed. Usually there is so much aversion to evening sits - I guess this can be a koan from now on. Why am I adverse to this? What, exactly, is adverse to this? 

Besides that, small situations have come up in the last few weeks which have been helpful. My teacher likes to say that the universe/life reflect your clinging and aversion back at you in the most useful ways if you pay attention and know how to work with it. It's a helpful reminder anytime the feeling of inconvenience arises and difficult emotions and narratives well up. Instead of allowing the mental and emotional proliferation to continue, I can ground myself in the awareness of the moment, build the the capacity to be present to this turmoil, to go empty and directly experience it for what it is. In the grand scheme of things, these inconveniences are minor so the stakes are pretty low - yet they reveal some strong emotional content that I find to be quite surprising. Lots of gratitude for having these inconveniences well up from time to time - they are the path forward emoticon
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 2:52 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 1:52 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
2/15/2023

There is currently an interest to incorporate some more Western magickal thinking & practices into my practice. My interest was especially peaked by an episodes of Midnight Gospel on Netflix (S1 E3 "Hunters Without a Home") which contains part of an interview with Damien Echols from the Duncan Trussell Family Hour Podcast. Damien was one of the West Memphis Three - he was falsely convicted of three brutal murders and spent almost 2 decades on death row as a result. In that time, he practiced hours of High Magick every day. He is also an ordained Rinzai Zen Priest, but he said that he got more out of Western schools of High Magick than out of Eastern meditative traditions due to certain philosophical and aesthetic qualities of the Western Magick traditions that resonated deeply with him.

In the full podcast interview linked above (actual interview starts at 11:00), Damien discusses a few of his awakening experiences and it seems he has a deep understanding of no-self. Also, interestingly enough, Tibetan Bön and Western Magick traditions may have originated in a similar corner of the Middle East, and the Tibetan "Phowa" & "Rainbow Body" attainments sound very similar to the Ceremonial Magick attainment of the "Solar Body". There is this Bodhisattva motivation behind the attainment of the Solar Body or the Rainbow Body: to be able to come back and free other sentient beings after death.

There are some simple practices and frameworks I am exploring through Damien's book High Magick and I think they can be useful for both spiritual practice and life in general. It starts off with simple thought reframing, meditation, visualization, and energy work. 


Unrelated to what I've written above, but maybe worth noting? I usually don't have much in the way of fireworks and my spiritual path thus far has been relatively quiet and unremarkable. Lately, during naps or when clicking the snooze button in the mornings, I have been have more lucid dreams than usual as well as really bizarre energetic experiences. I sometimes fall into these weird states when dozing or napping where I find myself in a rapidly strobing blackness and there are these bewildering surges of energy in the body as if I am having a heart attack or being torn apart. It's interesting because some of these experiences have frightened me to the point where I wake up and I'm just laying in bed all chilled out when moments before there was this chaotic state.
During a dream I had this morning, I realized I was dreaming so I started to watch how the objects around me would dissolve or reappear based on my intention. It was interesting. I then started flipping through random dreams as if flipping TV channels and seeing how intention affected the dream state. Anyway, just an interesting tidbit I felt like sharing.  
Hector L, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 2:41 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 2:41 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 118 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
Curious if you use a map system like Tarot or Kaballah to navigate?
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 2:55 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 2:54 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Hello Hector, yeah I am not quite sure about cermeonial magick maps as my main practice is really more of a Zen approach and I haven't been as mappy in general lately. I just thought it would be cool to incorporate some ceremonial magick flavored items to keep things interesting and augment the main practice. 
Hector L, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:02 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:02 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 118 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
For me at least it's both map and a means of transport / directional propulsion and I wanted to see if that was the same for you.
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:28 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:28 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 540 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I used to get a lot of "rapidly strobing blackness and there are these bewildering surges of energy in the body as if I am having a heart attack or being torn apart" between waking and sleeping. Both scary and cool.
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:40 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:40 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Ahhh okay - so do you use Tarot or some other path/map(s)? 
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:42 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 3:42 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Yes, scary and cool. I've been quite curious about these states and I have noticed that I don't get kicked out of them so quickly anymore which gives me a few extra moments to investigate & take stock of what is going on. Although it feels ominous & powerful, I don't think it's necessarily dangerous. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 5:29 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/15/23 5:29 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 6986 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I'm happy to see you posting again! Wohoo! 

Sounds like interesting territory. Those energy surges and rapid heart beats can be the onset of OBE:s, especially since you also have lucid dreams. 
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/19/23 6:29 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/18/23 7:08 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Sounds good Hector - I am glad you have found what is useful for you! I'll have to check out your log at some point emoticon
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/18/23 7:11 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/18/23 7:11 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Thank you for the warmth and welcome Linda! emoticon

I still visit this site almost daily, but I've noticed in myself that there was less motivation to share and there didn't seem much worth noting. I do miss the connection here though. I am glad that you're still maintaining practice as well - very inspiring! Metta!
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A K D, modified 1 Month ago at 2/23/23 10:17 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/23/23 10:11 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
2/23/2023

I have been sitting more lately - trying to get in about 2 or 3 hours a day via sessions of various lengths (30-90 minutes). All in all, I've been enjoying the simplicity of resting in open awareness.

My overarching experience of the last week or two, in terms of the PoI, resonates with Desire for Deliverance: I am noticing how certain facets of life related to career, relationships, hobbies, etc. are getting in the way of formal practice and I feel less engaged with those other areas of my life currently. It's leading to feelings of frustration & impatience and I know one person that I am close with has sensed that I am a bit more emotionally distant. I realize that my internal world has led me to wield this orientation towards the outer world wherein I become stingy with my time, energy, attention, and affection since it feels that these other areas of my life take away from this central aspiration. There is also a feeling of fear related to not actualizing this aspiration and being absolutely bummed about it - like I have no say or sense of agency in the matter so I am trying to protect the few resources that I do have.  

If I were to describe it in terms of the Realms, I'd maybe say that there are flavors of the Titan realm. Wouldn't necessarily describe myself as jealous, but there is definitely this sense of trying to cut off anything that feels like a waste of time because I am focused on stories of "bigger and better things". There is time, attention, energy, interest flowing into practice, albeit, it feels constricted and it causes dukkha. The story is that there is a self that wants to awaken and therefore needs all of the time & energy available to work for it.

It's hard to ascribe all of this to just meditation though since there are outside factors and on some days this feeling is stronger than on other days.

Besides that, I have been enjoying bringing my cushion with me as I explore this beautiful hiking trail near my house. The trail winds through a forest along a brook at the bottom of a cliff. There are large boulders that form small caves along the foot of the cliff and everything is a vibrant green covered in dense mosses and ferns. I like hiking up to these boulders and finding perches to set up my cushion and sit with the sounds of the babbling brook and nature. Truly, these sits out in the fresh air are the highlight of my week.

Last night I had a dream where a Tibetan Rinpoche/Master had written a footnote in an old dharma book along the lines of, "Recognizing and resting in the nature of mind is a simple sort of pleasure." which is poignant for me. For years I was, and I still am, one of those people that believe that enlightenment is clearly a better way of existing - a complete and total upgrade. This has caused me some sense of confusion because Buddha Nature, Nature of Mind, the Natural State (whatever you want to call it) is *right here* and we constantly overlook it (I think of Kalu Rinpoche's Four Faults of Natural Awareness). If it's so good, shouldn't we all be plugged into it once it's recognized? Wouldn't enlightenment happen quickly and effortlessly? Wouldn't more people be enlightened? On the other hand, we have Suzuki Roshi who said, "Enlightenment was my biggest disappointment." or Chögyam Trungpa who said, "Enlightenment is ego's ultimate disappointment." Other posters on here have stated that Awakening/Enlightenment is really about basic sanity which sounds anticlimactic when we consider the thousands upon thousands of pages written throughout the centuries on how to practice and achieve this lauded attainment, not to mention all of the rights, rituals, monastic/traditional lineages, funny hats, robes, artworks, monasteries, temples, absolutely massive statues of Buddhas or Boddhisatvas (many of the tallest statues in the world are Buddhist), etc. There is part of me that has been grappling with that contrast: is simply resting in this Natural Awareness, which IS nice, all there is to it? And although it IS nice, is this really the huge "Enlightenment" that people have been striving for for the last few millenia? The dream is a good pointer back to this moment, just to rest here in this simple, nice awareness. That said, I have trouble trusting the dream since it's merely a dream! 

I have meeting with my teacher tonight so I'd like to discuss the various topics I have written about above. 
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A K D, modified 28 Days ago at 3/3/23 8:45 AM
Created 28 Days ago at 3/3/23 8:38 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
3/3/2023

Still practicing as much as I am able to which amount to anywhere from 30 minutes to almost 3 hours a day - averaging about 1.5 to 2 hours a day at the moment. Sitting lately can be nice and relaxing, but since I am running around so much these days, I tend to be very drowsy. 

Some life changes have happened in the last few months which means I have less alone time for myself and that has, in some sense, caused a low level of desparation related to getting formal practice in. As a result, I've had to take a closer look at my attitudes and thought patterns in order to build some resilience and resourcefulness.

Instead of saying, "I don't have enough time to practice" I will look at opportunities throughout my day to steal away and get a sit in. If I am able to get to bed on time, for instance, I can get up around 5:00 AM or earlier to get 60-90 minutes of practice in before work. During the work day, I will now often take a break during lunch to sit for 30 minutes. The evenings are a bit harder since I am typically worn out after working/commuting, or I have plans so I may veg out even if I have the time to practice. If I go to the office, I take my cushion and sweat pants with me to get my morning and noon time sessions in since we have a private 'wellness room'. If I work from home, I may log off early while there is still daylight outside, and bring my cushion into nature for a nice sit. 

In addition to countering thoughts of "I don't have enough time to practice" or "I will never understand this stuff" I will also use such thoughts to ground myself here and now, questioning "For whom does that thought arise?" It's become a mindfulness bell of sorts. Come back to open awareness, again and again, rinse and repeat. 

Otherwise, I have noticed that I feel sorta out of it this week - just all around exhausted and out of my element. There is an underlying stress/fear/frustration that entangles itself in stories related to work projects that are behind or upsetting people in my life who I value. Heavy emotions have been bubbling up lately and the stories attached to them are all very self centered. I notice these stories and release them, again and again, as much as I am able to. Sometimes there is a small release, sometimes there is just sitting in the mess.

Along with this, I have been getting pangs of emotional overwhlem in ways that arise and pass really quickly leaving me with teary eyes. I might see a beautiful sunrise or listen to a really amazing dharma talk and something touches me deeply. I may be emotionally constricted, frustrated, angry, scared, stressed, yet there is a small part of me that can acknowledge that there is beauty and that I am laboring under so much self created suffering - something reaches through the mental armor, the self protecting defense mechanisms and hints at the fact that there is a better, looser way to be in the world. 
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A K D, modified 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 8:41 AM
Created 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 8:41 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
3/8/2023

I have not been sitting quite as much this last week, but still making some time to sit a bit each day. Open awareness has been really nice, relaxing, nourishing.

Off cushion, I still feel out of it and my mood has been quite sour - I have been getting a tour of the warmer hell realms this last week. I feel like I am carrying around an angry, crying toddler with me everywhere I go. Little situations bubble up and my internal reactions to them have been a bit over the top. I recognize the emotions, body sensations, mental stories and just try to ride these waves with mindfulness and release them in the moment by opening up awareness.

It's interesting how there is a part of me that truly wants to hold on to these stories (the hot coal), to be a self that is a victim of circumstances, but releasing these reactions into open awareness feels really anticlimactic and even disappointing. It's the opposite of catharsis and the self that wants a cathartic resolution feels a bit cheated. Part of me seems to complain "Can't I just have this story???" when opening back into awareness and letting the thoughts/patterns dissolve. I cycle back and forth between these two modes.

I recently decided to come off of an SSRI I have been taking after discussing it with my doctor. This emotional reactivity from the last two weeks might just be the result of the system stabilizing again. I notice, too, that I haven't been getting as much sleep as I probably should, which can factor into my crankiness. Just been trying to adjust by getting some exercise and alotting more time for sleep. 



On a lighter note, this past weekend I went to the Yale University Art Gallery and got to spend some time with a few ancient pieces of Buddhist art. It was deeply meaningful to be in the presence of these various buddhas and bodhisattvas that were carved or sculpted by people hundreds of years ago in far corners of the world. I felt a resonance with these various works and tears of gratitude welled up. This internal work is challenging, but I am very grateful for the countless people who have transmitted these teachings throughout the millenia and those living folks who practice and teach today. The dharma has brought purpose to my life. 
Nihila , modified 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 9:08 AM
Created 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 9:08 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
Coming off SSRI can definitely make you cranky. I remember coming off a few years back, I was irritated and frustrated at just about anything and everything. It wears off in time. Also if you're not already, tapering is definitely worth considering with psych meds.
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A K D, modified 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 10:11 AM
Created 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 10:11 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

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Thank you for sharing your experience Nihila and helping to normalize what is currently coming up for me. It's been about a month since I have quit taking the medication entirely, but I am not quite sure what the timeline looks like for the return to normalcy.  
Nihila , modified 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 12:29 PM
Created 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 12:28 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
I'm not entirely sure how long it took for me, it's been a minute (2017), but a quick google showed that
40% of people had symptoms for 6 weeks, while 25% experienced symptoms for 12 weeks or more.
So it seems pretty normal to have effects for a little while.

Hope things return to normal soon.
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A K D, modified 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 1:36 PM
Created 23 Days ago at 3/8/23 1:36 PM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Thank you Nihila - It seems I have a few more weeks of this potentially, but I am in a good place as of yesterday so I am confident it will run its course soon emoticon
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A K D, modified 10 Days ago at 3/21/23 9:54 AM
Created 10 Days ago at 3/21/23 9:54 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
3/21/2023

Not much to report. 

Still sitting regularly, some days more than others. Main practice is still resting in open awareness with eyes open. Some days I sit for a few hours, other days not at all since life can be busy. Sometimes sits are quite distracted and the intent is just to return and rest repeatedly. Other sits are a bit more stable, open, clear, and magnetic in a way. The body will feel rooted to the cushion and upright, stable, yet there is an energetic feeling of groundedness and tranquility. These states come and go sometimes repeatedly during a sit. 

There is some desperation and frustration surrounding the story about 'having enough time & energy' for formal practice. Certain life factors get in the way and that can create resentment. Overall, feeling a bit better emotionally than I was these last few weeks, but still feeling a tad less patient than usual. It's all good. 

​​​​​​​As spring is slowly dawning, I look forward to sitting outside in nature more often. 
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A K D, modified 3 Days ago at 3/28/23 10:42 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 3/28/23 10:42 AM

RE: AKD Practice Log

Posts: 199 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
3/28/2023

Still sitting almost daily and averaging about 1 to 2 hours of formal practice. Practice lately has been enjoyable: when sitting in open awareness, the coarser energies in the body seem to sink to the navel. The body viscerally feels like the glass of water that gradually becomes clearer as the sediment settles at the bottom. The feeling of general wellbeing that arises during formal practice often draws me to the cushion.  

I still harbor feelings that I am too distracted or that I am a "bad meditator", but I am trying to soften up around these beliefs and return to open awareness whenever I remember to both during formal practice & in life.

I've also started to read "Seeing That Frees". I tried to read it a few years ago, but it was lost on me and I put it down. Now that small tastes of emptiness have been bubbling up, I've decided to revisit it and the first introductory chapters make a lot of sense. It's a bit of a tome, so I am going to take small bites here & there and work through it slowly as long as the interest is present. 

With regards to the heavy emotions of the last few weeks, those are also starting to settle.
Last week, I was facing an overblown emotional reaction to an annoying work topic that popped up late in the evening. After laboring under such emotions for the last few weeks, I turned to prayer and tearfully asked Amitabha to help me untangle these knots. I am still a bit of a skeptic regarding the efficacy of prayer, however, if I am being honest, I do ackowledge that I believe it works on some level. It's part of my world view and I behave as if it has real world repercussions. In this case, it seems to have made a difference. 

I feel called to go on retreat this year. I haven't gone on a retreat in almost 4 years. I am trying to figure out where to go and how I can rustle up the vacation time. I will see if it pans out. For now, it's a possibility that I am toying with and it keeps me inspired to sit daily. 

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