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Practice Thread: Novice

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Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 6/28/12 12:17 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/25/11 5:05 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/26/11 12:51 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice tarin greco 10/26/11 1:56 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/26/11 3:16 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/26/11 4:26 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/27/11 3:51 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/27/11 10:15 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/27/11 4:15 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/28/11 2:46 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/28/11 4:29 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/31/11 1:03 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/26/11 12:53 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/30/11 10:23 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 10/31/11 4:58 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 10/31/11 9:57 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Tommy M 11/1/11 5:59 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 11/1/11 10:37 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 11/13/11 12:12 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 11/16/11 3:52 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Jackson Wilshire 11/16/11 12:15 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 11/17/11 9:10 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice End in Sight 11/17/11 9:37 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Jackson Wilshire 11/17/11 10:16 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 12/19/11 10:36 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 12/24/11 6:45 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice End in Sight 12/24/11 6:57 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 12/24/11 9:11 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Nikolai . 1/4/12 9:51 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 1/5/12 5:03 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 2/2/12 10:17 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Martin M 2/4/12 9:28 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 4/4/12 10:46 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 8/21/14 11:54 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 1/4/12 4:43 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 4/4/12 10:54 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice Pål S. 4/5/12 6:50 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 4/11/12 9:53 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 5/2/12 12:52 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 8/22/14 12:18 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 8/22/14 12:04 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 5/27/12 2:48 PM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 4/29/13 2:01 AM
RE: Practice Thread: Novice (D Z) Dhru Val 8/21/14 11:58 PM
Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
6/28/12 12:17 AM
A bit of background on me here
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2362369

I passed arising and passing a couple of days ago. I am going for stream entry, still a long way to go.

Going to structure my practice so I am getting atleast 1.5 hours of formal sitting a day, primarily vipassana.

I will strive to record my experiences in this thread, as honestly and clearly as my communication skills allow me to express.

Yesterday

Was busy working on something in the day.

At night had an even better AP experience, this time my whole body turned into a tingly mess. No lights this time around. But great, the whole body is nothing but one sensation after another.

Went to sleep soon after meditating. Remember having a weirdly philosophical dream about death (where I was at a cemetery for young people, then realizing that everyone dies all the time by changing as they grow older).

Today


I was focused on my awareness all day, maintaining really lond periods of access concentration. In some sense I was meditating even though I wasn't sitting or even really attempting to meditate. It just felt like something that I wanted to explore.

Then I did a short sit around 15 mins... the sense of impermanence was still there but this time it had a dreadful quality to it not necessarily bad or boring just dreadful. I still don't know what to make of these realizations.
How can it be that awareness is so fleeting ? Is it the objects that are impermanent or the observer ?

Took a minute break and did pure concentration meditation for another 15 minutes to get into jhanic states, soon the dread was gone. But I am wondering if it is bad for to get into jhanic states just to feel better ?

Vipassana feels like I am exploring reality, the Jhanic states feel like I am escaping to another place.

It is 8:30 pm. I am going to a half an hour sit.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/25/11 5:05 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Went to sleep soon after meditating. Remember having a weirdly philosophical dream about death (where I was at a cemetery for young people, then realizing that everyone dies all the time by changing as they grow older).

Good ol' A&P dreams, nice symbolism.

It just felt like something that I wanted to explore.

This is a great attitude to maintain, stay curious about what's going on and observe how nothing is exempt from being impermanent, empty or fundamentally unsatisfying. The Three Characteristics are what show you the crack in the window of unenlightened perception, by noting each sensation you can see that none of them last more than a flickering instant before being replaced by another, and another, and another...no matter where you look; by being able to observe them in the first place you can immediately understand, through direct experience, that they cannot possibly be that which is observing, and when you see that even the sense of an observer can be seen to arise and pass away, well...; when you can see that nothing lasts for more than an instant and that none of it is you, then you can understand why none of it can provide lasting satisfaction.

the sense of impermanence was still there but this time it had a dreadful quality to it not necessarily bad or boring just dreadful.

It's fine, this is just part of what happens and actually demonstrates that you're practicing correctly since you're making definable progress. In terms of the progress of insight, you've moved from 4th ñana, A&P, through 5th, Dissolution, and experienced 6th ñana, Fear. Again, it's all good in the long run.

I still don't know what to make of these realizations. How can it be that awareness is so fleeting? Is it the objects that are impermanent or the observer

These realizations can have an immediate impact, or sometimes you gradually come to understand how something subtle but profound has changed in your experience of the world. Look closer at what it is that is "so fleeting", if the observer can be taken as an object then what does that tell you about that sense of a seperate "I" who is observing?

Took a minute break and did pure concentration meditation for another 15 minutes to get into jhanic states, soon the dread was gone. But I am wondering if it is bad for to get into jhanic states just to feel better?

The Buddha talked about skillful means, there are lots of different ways to get enlightened and noting is only one of them. Using jhanas for the purpose of just feeling better is absolutely fine, don't get hung up on thinking that you need to be feeling the burn or pushing yourself at the expense of enjoying your life. At the same time, don't get hung up on jhanas either, there's a middle path to the thing so do what's right for you. If you practice well, note accurately and use jhana practice for your own mental wellbeing then that in itself is practice as it strengthens your concentration, metaphorically thickens your skin somewhat and allows vipassana to be done more efficiently.

You're probably not as far from this as you think you are, but just stick to solid practice and everything will become clearer as you go. Ask questions, get clarification, and explore what's happening right now in this instant.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/26/11 12:51 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Awesome meditation

I have no idea where I am on the map, because meditation is supposed to suck in Dark Knight. But in terms of insight gained this was probably my best meditation session yet.

First I did a 1 hour sit (with a 30 second break in the middle for stretching)

- After noting rising / falling of breath. Notice a physical dreadful sensation in chest like yesterday.
(I have felt it before. If this is the dark night, I have been here before several times in my life.)

- I notice that it is 'clinging' to my chest.
- But figure if I can notice impermanence of my body, then there is not body for it to cling to,
- Then tingling sensations similar to A&P, but in my head twitching at around 30hz
- and the pain dissolves away there is nothing for the pain to cling to and the pain falls away like water falling through a net. There is simply nothing solid to hold it.

Then there is this cycle that repeats itself several times:
- This dreadfulness reappers again particularly if I note the rising and falling of breath
- Again I notice impermanent, there is a feeling of a lack of solidity in the body
- Tingling happens
- Again the pain / dreadfulness falls away

The pain / dreadfulness becomes very intense at one point and would have been very horrible if my body was solid. But it was clearly just an illusion. The cycle keeps repeating itself with varying intensity.

There is a lot of vibrations in my brain, in my body everywhere very fast.

In the middle of all of this, I realize, that if I am not the bodily sensations, thoughts or feelings, then I and only be the observer.
But if the observer also vibrates in and out existance is just an object then there is no-self (this characteristic never made sense to me before because I assumed the observer is the self).

So I keep trying to penetrate the observer see if the observer 'vibrates out of existance' like all the other objects, I am unsuccessful at these attempts.

I don't really remember what I was doing but I notice in my timer that there were 3 minutes left.

But I tried to do Samatha meditaiton for as long as it took to get to jhana (I had only attained the first 2 up to this point). I don't really know what happened. But somewhere in those 3 minutes something weird happened. I don't know what.

I sit in a dark room with my laptop in front of me as a timer. I think the display automatically turned off (even with my eyes closed some light gets through).

It triggered something remember being very scared and then out of nowhere just somehow found myself a very peaceful state.

Very nice for a couple of moments but before I can explore the thing though my timer goes off, it took me completely by surprise and I wake up shocked (I had completely forgotten about the timer).

WTF just happened... Regression into A&P ? Maybe I never left A&P in the first place? A new Samadhi jahana ? Equanimity ? Accidental stream entry ? PCE ?

-------------- Take a 15 minute break to do write up -------------------------------------------------------------

OK I want do a bit more meditation, investigate it further to see if I can get into that State again.

Then I should probably get some sleep. It is 12:45 am.

My laptop is set to turn off 10 minutes into vipassana. The dreadfulness comes and goes very mild and only lasts for a bit. Then goes away. Again there is a scary moment as my laptops display turns off, but isn't the same and there is no nice sense of peace afterwards

I close my laptop and do some more vipassana, to see if I can recreate the moment without the laptop.
Again the e dreadful sensations are barely perceptible and go away easily. Then I am doing fine for a while. But I am a bit scared of screwing with my head too much in one sitting.

When I try to do samadhi meditation, for a little the concentration is there but my head is throbbing really fast and I feel like my head is scrambled up enough for one night. I will try again when I wake up tomorrow.

The only thing I am certain of is that whatever was causing the dread sensation is gone, well atleast for now. I might be getting to another part of the dukkha nanas or maybe equaniminity don't know. I will look at the map tommorow and try to figure it out.

I feel ok right now. But disoriented. Without a doubt my best vipassana session so far.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/26/11 12:53 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:

These realizations can have an immediate impact, or sometimes you gradually come to understand how something subtle but profound has changed in your experience of the world. Look closer at what it is that is "so fleeting", if the observer can be taken as an object then what does that tell you about that sense of a seperate "I" who is observing?


Thanks. Pondering this alongside, doing noting actually lead to my best Vipassana session yet just today. (see write up above).

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/26/11 1:56 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
Awesome meditation

I have no idea where I am on the map, because meditation is supposed to suck in Dark Knight. But in terms of insight gained this was probably my best meditation session yet.

First I did a 1 hour sit (with a 30 second break in the middle for stretching)

- After noting rising / falling of breath. Notice a physical dreadful sensation in chest like yesterday.
(I have felt it before. If this is the dark night, I have been here before several times in my life.)

- I notice that it is 'clinging' to my chest.
- But figure if I can notice impermanence of my body, then there is not body for it to cling to,
- Then tingling sensations similar to A&P, but in my head twitching at around 30hz
- and the pain dissolves away there is nothing for the pain to cling to and the pain falls away like water falling through a net. There is simply nothing solid to hold it.

Then there is this cycle that repeats itself several times:
- This dreadfulness reappers again particularly if I note the rising and falling of breath
- Again I notice impermanent, there is a feeling of a lack of solidity in the body
- Tingling happens
- Again the pain / dreadfulness falls away

The pain / dreadfulness becomes very intense at one point and would have been very horrible if my body was solid. But it was clearly just an illusion. The cycle keeps repeating itself with varying intensity.

There is a lot of vibrations in my brain, in my body everywhere very fast.

In the middle of all of this, I realize, that if I am not the bodily sensations, thoughts or feelings, then I and only be the observer.
But if the observer also vibrates in and out existance is just an object then there is no-self (this characteristic never made sense to me before because I assumed the observer is the self).

So I keep trying to penetrate the observer see if the observer 'vibrates out of existance' like all the other objects, I am unsuccessful at these attempts.

I don't really remember what I was doing but I notice in my timer that there were 3 minutes left.

But I tried to do Samatha meditaiton for as long as it took to get to jhana (I had only attained the first 2 up to this point). I don't really know what happened. But somewhere in those 3 minutes something weird happened. I don't know what.

I sit in a dark room with my laptop in front of me as a timer. I think the display automatically turned off (even with my eyes closed some light gets through).

It triggered something remember being very scared and then out of nowhere just somehow found myself a very peaceful state.

Very nice for a couple of moments but before I can explore the thing though my timer goes off, it took me completely by surprise and I wake up shocked (I had completely forgotten about the timer).

WTF just happened... Regression into A&P ? Maybe I never left A&P in the first place? A new Samadhi jahana ? Equanimity ? Accidental stream entry ? PCE ?

-------------- Take a 15 minute break to do write up -------------------------------------------------------------

OK I want do a bit more meditation, investigate it further to see if I can get into that State again.

Then I should probably get some sleep. It is 12:45 am.

My laptop is set to turn off 10 minutes into vipassana. The dreadfulness comes and goes very mild and only lasts for a bit. Then goes away. Again there is a scary moment as my laptops display turns off, but isn't the same and there is no nice sense of peace afterwards

I close my laptop and do some more vipassana, to see if I can recreate the moment without the laptop.
Again the e dreadful sensations are barely perceptible and go away easily. Then I am doing fine for a while. But I am a bit scared of screwing with my head too much in one sitting.

When I try to do samadhi meditation, for a little the concentration is there but my head is throbbing really fast and I feel like my head is scrambled up enough for one night. I will try again when I wake up tomorrow.

The only thing I am certain of is that whatever was causing the dread sensation is gone, well atleast for now. I might be getting to another part of the dukkha nanas or maybe equaniminity don't know. I will look at the map tommorow and try to figure it out.

if you really want this thing to work, don't stop paying attention to the impermanence of sensations throughout the day. figuring out where you are on the map won't do it, but paying attention to the impermanence here and now will.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/26/11 3:16 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
OK. Will do that.

Do want to keep the journal detailed and honest, so that I can use it for reference in the future. I am trying to write entries right after a sitting session so will tend to include any thoughts, confusions, and feelings that arise during the session even if unskilled.

Not nearly as concerned with maps during the day, though do need to cultivate more mindfulness of 3 characterisitcs in my daily life.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/26/11 4:26 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
I have no idea where I am on the map, because meditation is supposed to suck in Dark Knight. But in terms of insight gained this was probably my best meditation session yet.

As was said on your initial thread, don't expect DN to suck and just continue to equanimously observe the 3C's in everything that arises. Sure, there may be some unpleasant stuff and some irritation due to the way that the focus of attention is pushed out to the sides but use these to your advantage, investigating negative emotional states can be incredibly revealing and using that energy to push on and investigate deeper is very useful.

First I did a 1 hour sit (with a 30 second break in the middle for stretching)

- After noting rising / falling of breath. Notice a physical dreadful sensation in chest like yesterday.
(I have felt it before. If this is the dark night, I have been here before several times in my life.)

- I notice that it is 'clinging' to my chest.
- But figure if I can notice impermanence of my body, then there is not body for it to cling to,
- Then tingling sensations similar to A&P, but in my head twitching at around 30hz
- and the pain dissolves away there is nothing for the pain to cling to and the pain falls away like water falling through a net. There is simply nothing solid to hold it.

Then there is this cycle that repeats itself several times:
- This dreadfulness reappers again particularly if I note the rising and falling of breath
- Again I notice impermanent, there is a feeling of a lack of solidity in the body
- Tingling happens
- Again the pain / dreadfulness falls away

The pain / dreadfulness becomes very intense at one point and would have been very horrible if my body was solid. But it was clearly just an illusion. The cycle keeps repeating itself with varying intensity.

There is a lot of vibrations in my brain, in my body everywhere very fast.

Sounds like you're moving from A&P through Dark Night and the later part of your post sounds like you're getting a taste of the early part of Equanimity. That last sentence about vibrations in the brain and body may be Re-Observation. As Tarin said, where you are doesn't really matter as long as you continue to observe the impermanence, emptiness/not-self, and dissatisfaction/suffering in all sensations.

In the middle of all of this, I realize, that if I am not the bodily sensations, thoughts or feelings, then I and only be the observer.
But if the observer also vibrates in and out existance is just an object then there is no-self (this characteristic never made sense to me before because I assumed the observer is the self).

So I keep trying to penetrate the observer see if the observer 'vibrates out of existance' like all the other objects, I am unsuccessful at these attempts.

Good stuff! This is insight, you're getting a glimpse of what this is about by being able to see that there's nothing permanent or seperate to experience the arising and passing away of sensation. Instead of trying to "penetrate the observer", turn the attention towards what is observing. In Equanimity there's more space and clarity, you can examine which sensations seem to be observing this experience much easier but don't get complacent and bliss out 'cause it can be really, really nice to get into this stage after DN. Don't solidify it by trying to see it as a solid state, objects will arise and pass naturally but stay alert and investigate everything, especially anything which implies a seperate or permanent self.

It triggered something remember being very scared and then out of nowhere just somehow found myself a very peaceful state.

Possibly a fallback into Re-Observation and then into 4th vipassana jhana. Not hugely important, don't get hung up on it. Sometimes it can be difficult to get back into samatha when you've been doing noting, trying to see things as permanent and solid, as you do in jhana, after systematically dismantling reality can be a bit of a challenge. emoticon Don't worry, insight practice leads to concentration and concentration practice leads to insight, they're not mutually exclusive.

My laptop is set to turn off 10 minutes into vipassana. The dreadfulness comes and goes very mild and only lasts for a bit. Then goes away. Again there is a scary moment as my laptops display turns off, but isn't the same and there is no nice sense of peace afterwards

Right, I get what you mean with this one. It sounds like your natural baseline may currently be in the early dukkha ñanas, however if you maintain strong, accurate and precise practice then you'll progress regardless. Watch when that sense of dread or fear begins and ends, it's as impermanent as the fart that sneaked out during your last sitting. emoticon

Tarins advice goes deep, the guy's a very skilled practitioner and knows his way around this thing so take what he says on board.

Keep up the practice, don't get hung on the where's and what's and just observe the 3C's in everything from the in/out of the breath to the moment the sense of touch arises when you make contact with something and when it ends.

You'll do this, I have no doubt whatsoever.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/27/11 3:51 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:

Tarins advice goes deep, the guy's a very skilled practitioner and knows his way around this thing so take what he says on board.

Keep up the practice, don't get hung on the where's and what's and just observe the 3C's in everything from the in/out of the breath to the moment the sense of touch arises when you make contact with something and when it ends.

You'll do this, I have no doubt whatsoever.


Yeah I was unreasonably dismissive when I read what Trains said the first time around. I have been thinking about my practice and I have been putting too much seperation between 'meditation' and 'real life'.

Tommy I do appreciate you taking the time to mentor me through some of this stuff. Also thanks for the vote of confidence. emoticon

__________________________________________________________________

Did about an hour of meditation today. Mostly on the subway, with the last 20 minutes at home right now, actually gave up after 17 because I was sleepy and have a headache. Nothing too special today compared to yesterday.

Been thinking about this but training the mind to see the 3Cs in everything, is more important than any sensations that arise in Vipassana. And awareness meditation is training the mind for 'real life' awareness.

All this is probably obvious to someone that has been doing Vipassana for a while but was not clear to me, when I did concentration meditation, paying attentions to the sensations of concentration led to the Jhanic states I was trying to attain.

I still think it is cool to be able to perceive annica directly, but have come to realize that I don't understand dukkha the same way. I mean there is dissastisfaction when I am sad or want something. The Buddha taught that there is a degree of unsatisfaction even in the most pleasant of things like the Jhanic states. I don't precieve this directly from moment to moment only in the aftermath, maybe because I am getting too caught up in the pleasure. At a certain level I want the pleasurable moments to be solid and the painful ones to be transient. My goal is to investigate some pleasurable moments for dukkha.

Also not sure noting is working well for me. Maybe time to look into some other techniques to add to this toolbox of methods for investigating reality.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/27/11 10:15 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Yeah I was unreasonably dismissive when I read what Trains said the first time around. I have been thinking about my practice and I have been putting too much seperation between 'meditation' and 'real life'.

I made major progress and learned a hell of a lot by getting rid of that imagined seperation, in fact most of my practice was done during everyday life and so I highly recommend integrating it in any way you can.

Tommy I do appreciate you taking the time to mentor me through some of this stuff. Also thanks for the vote of confidence

It's more a case of someone pointing out some of the bits you might have missed otherwise, I'm just another guy who meditates and has tested this stuff for himself and so I might know a bit more about it that someone who isn't familiar with the territory. Either way, if I can help then I'm happy with that. The vote of confidence is based on seeing that you're serious about this, you're approaching it without a 'spiritual' or metaphysical mindset and so will, hopefully, be less likely to get caught up in phenomena as you appear to have the rationality and objectivity which is useful on this path. I know it's possible because I did it, and because I know people who have also done it, and because I've seen other people do it after I did and so on and so forth. emoticon

I still think it is cool to be able to perceive annica directly, but have come to realize that I don't understand dukkha the same way. I mean there is dissastisfaction when I am sad or want something. The Buddha taught that there is a degree of unsatisfaction even in the most pleasant of things like the Jhanic states. I don't precieve this directly from moment to moment only in the aftermath, maybe because I am getting too caught up in the pleasure. At a certain level I want the pleasurable moments to be solid and the painful ones to be transient. My goal is to investigate some pleasurable moments for dukkha.

Dukkha is a word that carries so many meanings, but suffering or dissatisfaction functions well enough to describe what it points to.

There is craving and there is aversion, both of which imply an unwillingness to simply be here in this moment. In the case of unpleasant feelings it's usually quite obvious how this characteristic of existence manifests, you would rather that they were not happening and so create a whole load of mental stress/suffering/anguish/dissatisfaction/dukkha by trying to pull away from what is perceived as unpleasant. In the case of pleasant feelings, there may be a sense of wishing that this emotional tone could be permanent or that you could find some way of always feeling like this (a whole other story, but I'll leave you to find more about this yourself should you wish) and so any change from feeling this way will result in a whole load of mental stress/suffering/anguish/dissatisfaction/dukkha by trying to get back to what was perceived as pleasant, since the current moment in all it's transient, selfless glory, now feels less pleasant than it did a moment ago. This is a really simplified example, of course, but hopefully you'll get a better sense of how to see dukkha in everything.

I'm staying off of the forums for a while for practice reasons but if you find that you don't get any response to further questions, which is highly unlikely, then drop me a private message on here and I'll get back to you if you want.

Peace.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/27/11 4:15 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Also not sure noting is working well for me. Maybe time to look into some other techniques to add to this toolbox of methods for investigating reality.

I totally forgot to ask you about this. Why are you not sure noting is working for you?

Also, if you're looking for some other techniques for the yogi toolbox then check out these links:

The Hamilton Project - This is a project involving Nikolai who's posts you've probably come across, and two other guys more commonly spotted on Kenneth Folk's site, Clayton and Owen. It's a goldmine of pragmatic dharma with excellent material by three skilled practitioners, well worth a read.

Kenneth Folk Dharma - Kenneth Folk is a longtime friend of Daniel Ingram and is a really good teacher for getting from 1st to 4th path in the technical model. He's got a very efficient approach to this and the techniques he teaches are very effective, the site itself is also great for practice support from other yogis but tends to be a bit less technical than what gets discussed here. Kenneth's also a really good guy and well worth getting private instruction from.

Aloha Dharma - This is a guy from Kenneth's site who now teaches. He's also a doctor of psychology and a skilled meditator, his descriptions and advice are really good and I've heard a few people lately mentioning how useful they found his site.

Pragmatic Dharma - Vince Horn, the Buddhist Geeks dude, has a couple of other sites but I've found this one really interesting and practical.

DIY Dharma - Loads of good dharma talks, guided meditations (if you're into that sort of thing) and some good material which may help your practice and understanding a bit more.

Down To Earth Dharma - My own pragmatic dharma blog which I'm currently working on, I'm still writing a lot of practice orientated stuff but I endeavour to explain these things in really simple, basic terms.

A'ra best

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/28/11 2:46 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Also not sure noting is working well for me. Maybe time to look into some other techniques to add to this toolbox of methods for investigating reality.

I totally forgot to ask you about this. Why are you not sure noting is working for you?


A'ra best


Thanks for all your help! And all the best with your practice during your break from these forums.

Noting works well in day to day life, but when I am doing sitting practice and the body turns into a mass of tingling sensations, going back noting the breath seems like a step back in terms of awareness of the present moment. It seems easier to just be aware without noting after a certain point. Also I want to experiment with some different methods for fun because I don't have much experience.

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Only did about 25 minutes of meditation. But was able to get into that bliss like state that I got so excited about 2 days ago. Basically did a lot of noting to build up 'energy' and see the vibrations. Then started doing concentration meditation. But instead of jhana ended up in a non-solid bliss state where I could still observe impermanence. Got a little excited should have been more mindful of the 3 Cs.

Tried my best to be aware of things and continuously noting during the day today, but it is more difficult than I anticipated.

I think I understand the concepts of Dukkha and Anatta better now. And think I have decent knowledge of what to look for when trying to observe them.

Dukkha - Unsatisfactoriness of painful things is self evident. But unsatisfactoriness of pleasure is also evident in the form of craving. Craving means there can never be satisfaction. Also from a bit of research I did looks like one of the suttas also talks about a type of Dukkha to do with the fact the formations aren't 'real' (which I had noticed already, but good to see in writing).

Anatta - During meditation today I played the game of observing the observer, which is cool. I normally precieve the observer as being located somewhere at the back of my head. When I try to observe, it is by definition no longer there, then try to observe it in its new location. This is a hard game to play. Starting to get the concept of Anatta, perhaps the observer is just an impermanent sensation that observes other impermanent sensations. The sense of self is a formation.

Going to do another 15 minutes of amatha meditiaton to calm down the mind a bit and then go to sleep.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/28/11 4:29 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(I know I said I'd be offline for a while but I wanted to point out a few things that might be of use to you.)

Noting works well in day to day life, but when I am doing sitting practice and the body turns into a mass of tingling sensations, going back noting the breath seems like a step back in terms of awareness of the present moment.

(My emphasis)

Nothing could be further from the truth! Think about it. If you're staying with the sensations which make up breath then you will always be returning to the present moment since the breath is happening right now. If you're noting and find you've gone off on some mental tangent, or gotten caught up in thought loops then the breath is like an anchor in the present moment.

If you're doing anapanasati as the basis for concentration practice then you are taking the breath as an object, you endeavour to experience the entire in/out cycle as one flowing movement and you don't focus on the individual sensations which make it up. However, if you're doing insight practice then the focus is on experiencing each individual sensation of the breath, to the best of your abilities, and understanding experientially that even this can be seen to arise and pass away.

Do not underestimate the breath, seriously, it may seem odd (at first) to consider the fact that something as simple as breathing could provide deep insights into the nature of things as they are, but it's true and continued practice will show you why I've made a point of mentioning this. There is more to be learned from a single breath than you'd find in fifty books on meditation.

Also, you might find that the super-fact monosyllabic noting you experienced while going through the A&P slows down as you move into the dukkha ñanas. Rather than going for speed, aim for accurate observation of whatever arises in awareness and really stick with it as it will help you negotiate Dark Night more skillfully and break through to the next stage of insight. Your description in that first sentence sounds like A&P moving into Dissolution so you're obviously doing something right otherwise you wouldn't be making progress. Stick with it!

It seems easier to just be aware without noting after a certain point

As long as you're mindful of the sensations and observing the 3C's then you're practicing vipassana. This is all about seeing things clearly, getting a look at what's going on under the hood of the car and understanding the mechanics of it at a fundamental level. Verbal noting is just another tool to use, non-verbal noting is just another tool to use, choiceless awareness is just another tool to use...you see where I'm going with this?

Only did about 25 minutes of meditation. But was able to get into that bliss like state that I got so excited about 2 days ago. Basically did a lot of noting to build up 'energy' and see the vibrations. Then started doing concentration meditation. But instead of jhana ended up in a non-solid bliss state where I could still observe impermanence. Got a little excited should have been more mindful of the 3 Cs.

That makes sense, you've crossed the A&P so this sounds like a natural progression from that stage. Due to the fact that you've been noting, you may find it slightly more difficult to get into samatha jhanas due to the fact that insight practice requires you to incline your mind towards seeing the 3C's. You might find that using a kasina object, maybe a candle, a bowl or a coloured shape of some sort, or counting the breaths will help with this. Chances are, due to you having crossed the A&P, you're finding yourself in 2nd jhana fairly quickly when sitting which may explain the energetic stuff and blissfulness.

If you find yourself excited or anticipating something then try to be aware of when that feeling begins and when it ends, everything in your immediate sensate experience is fodder for insight practice so don't be disheartened if you get carried away at first. These things can become considerably less impressive once you've seen them a few hundred times..... emoticon

Dukkha - Unsatisfactoriness of painful things is self evident. But unsatisfactoriness of pleasure is also evident in the form of craving. Craving means there can never be satisfaction. Also from a bit of research I did looks like one of the suttas also talks about a type of Dukkha to do with the fact the formations aren't 'real' (which I had noticed already, but good to see in writing).

Bingo. Impermanence means that nothing lasts, if nothing lasts then nothing can satisfy, if nothing can satisfy then wasting your life looking for satisfaction anywhere else but in this immediate sensate experience will lead to suffering. I won't go into the stuff about formations right now as I don't want to confuse the issue, but basically the easiest way to look at it is that unenlightened existence is dukkha....until you see how to end it.

Anatta - During meditation today I played the game of observing the observer, which is cool. I normally precieve the observer as being located somewhere at the back of my head. When I try to observe, it is by definition no longer there, then try to observe it in its new location. This is a hard game to play. Starting to get the concept of Anatta, perhaps the observer is just an impermanent sensation that observes other impermanent sensations. The sense of self is a formation.

Again, I won't go into the stuff about formations too much as it's open to a lot of misunderstanding until you experience them for yourself. Basically, formations are a gestalt of each flickering moment of experience, I like to think of them as being like sets for a play on a stage, and experiencing them reveals something very important about the nature of reality.

The lines I've emboldened here contain some good insights; in the case of trying to observe the new location of the observer, maybe try looking at what is still observing the pattern of sensations which imply an observer. Remember that one sensation cannot observe another, so if there's the sensation of 'someone' observing this experience as it unfolds then how can those sensations be that which is observing? It seems paradoxical but this is resolved upon stream-entry.

Something else to remember is that this is not an intellectual understanding. This is experiential.

Don't get caught up in the terminology right now, it will become much clearer as you go along so just stick to the practice itself and deal with the speculative stuff once your arse is off the cushion, not before.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/31/11 1:03 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
(I know I said I'd be offline for a while but I wanted to point out a few things that might be of use to you.)

Noting works well in day to day life, but when I am doing sitting practice and the body turns into a mass of tingling sensations, going back noting the breath seems like a step back in terms of awareness of the present moment.

(My emphasis)

Nothing could be further from the truth! Think about it. If you're staying with the sensations which make up breath then you will always be returning to the present moment since the breath is happening right now. If you're noting and find you've gone off on some mental tangent, or gotten caught up in thought loops then the breath is like an anchor in the present moment.

If you're doing anapanasati as the basis for concentration practice then you are taking the breath as an object, you endeavour to experience the entire in/out cycle as one flowing movement and you don't focus on the individual sensations which make it up. However, if you're doing insight practice then the focus is on experiencing each individual sensation of the breath, to the best of your abilities, and understanding experientially that even this can be seen to arise and pass away.

Do not underestimate the breath, seriously, it may seem odd (at first) to consider the fact that something as simple as breathing could provide deep insights into the nature of things as they are, but it's true and continued practice will show you why I've made a point of mentioning this. There is more to be learned from a single breath than you'd find in fifty books on meditation.

Also, you might find that the super-fact monosyllabic noting you experienced while going through the A&P slows down as you move into the dukkha ñanas. Rather than going for speed, aim for accurate observation of whatever arises in awareness and really stick with it as it will help you negotiate Dark Night more skillfully and break through to the next stage of insight. Your description in that first sentence sounds like A&P moving into Dissolution so you're obviously doing something right otherwise you wouldn't be making progress. Stick with it!



Hi Tommy I read this 3 days ago, and its made quite a difference in my practice.

Focusing on accuracy and all the sensations that come up is the key I was looking for. I now do focus on breath, but note other sensations that come up as well, and then return back to the breath but with very mild force.

I noticed that I have sub-consciously been associating meditation with 'feeling better' rather than a method for investigating reality.

Noting the dread sensation and not running away from it has lead to some interesting insights. My fear of feeling fear was unfounded. Coming out of meditation feeling 'bad' is ok. Getting a deeper realization and understanding of the 3Cs is the goal.

In one of my sits tears in the past couple of days, tears started flowing out of my eyes. Probably triggered by cutting onions but went on for the whole sit as I stayed with the experience.

It is becoming difficult to use the word 'honest' to describe the words I am writing here or any of my actions. Everything I see is tainted by my perception of reality and many desires and cravings. Including this sentence. Gah.

I have an important job interview tommorow. For a job I would have killed for a couple of weeks a go. But I am now almost indifferent towards the outcome.

Went out and partied this weekend for Haloween. Everything is dis-satisfactory. Even the crazy night I had last week seems dis-satisfactory.

Continuing with the sits. Booked a Vipassana retreat for December.


Tommy M:

Something else to remember is that this is not an intellectual understanding. This is experiential.


Yes. But I find the intellectual stuff helpful as it provides clues on what to look for.

I don't intuitively understand anaata yet (I see that I am not the sensations yet I continue to intuitively identify with the observer and don't view it as another sensation). My undertanding of the other 2 Cs are becoming more intuitive and less intellectual with more awareness.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/30/11 10:23 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Got some good meditation practice today. Both formal sitting and just noting while going through life.

Did a bit of concentration practice to start things off and them switched to noting. Noticed the sensations arising and passing away on their own. One sensation leads to another, one thought leads to another.

Still seems very counter intuitive. But yes starting to see that everything is just interconnected sensations even awareness...



I need to stop worrying about the nature of my practice where I am etc. And just practicing, just noting, just observing. No need to consciously interpret. The brain will do that for.

Think I am reaching the point of intellectual knowledge now of where to go, and how to meditate. My tendency to try and understand the things I am observing from moment to moment within a rational intellectual framework is sidetracking my progress.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/31/11 4:58 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Think I am reaching the point of intellectual knowledge now of where to go, and how to meditate. My tendency to try and understand the things I am observing from moment to moment within a rational intellectual framework is sidetracking my progress.

Have you heard of this?

Remember that the process of awakening doesn't need anything added to it, this is seeing what lies beneath all of these conceptual maps and frameworks. If you can suspend the intellectual analysis while you're on the cushion and stick to simply observing the 3C's of sensations as they arise and pass then you will make progress and come to see why people go on about not speculating during a sit.

Speculate all you like afterwards in the privacy of your own head, but keep your meditation notes phenomenological and keep your practice simple by just sticking to the basic advice given. Things will unfold, more of this will make sense and you'll learn something profound about this basic sensate experience. If you catch yourself speculating during a sit, note "speculation", if you find you've drifted off on some intellectual analysis, note "distracted" or "analyzing" or something like that, just stay with each sensation that presents itself and pay attention.

Peace.

P.S. I'm back on more regularly now having already done what I intended to do during the anticipated break from posting. : )

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
10/31/11 9:57 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:

Speculate all you like afterwards in the privacy of your own head, but keep your meditation notes phenomenological and keep your practice simple by just sticking to the basic advice given. Things will unfold, more of this will make sense and you'll learn something profound about this basic sensate experience. If you catch yourself speculating during a sit, note "speculation", if you find you've drifted off on some intellectual analysis, note "distracted" or "analyzing" or something like that, just stay with each sensation that presents itself and pay attention.


OK, I want to get the most out of these journals. Lets try this advice with a 20+15 minute sit I just completed.

Started by noting the breath. Ra, Ra, Ra, Fa, Fa, Fa, Pause, Ra.... Marking my tendency to intellectually make sense of the experience as speculating. Some speculation happens and then it stops then back to the breath. Retrospectively I realize that speculation leads to more speculation, and noting it interrupts the pattern.

Noting the tingling, noting the dread, and noting pain when ever it comes to the center of attention. Attempting to mindful of atleast 1 of the 3 characteristics in each moment. There were a few lapses in noting here.

I find my concentration growing and entered into the first Jhana, which slowly turns into the second. I keep noting the breath and notice the unsatisfactory qualities of these states.

I try to notice the feelings of an observer and allow the mind to let them go. I enter a distinctly different Jhanic state where the sense of self is dissolved into sensations, and there is a feeling of spaciousness. Still noting, I get excited, mark the excitement. It stops. Speculate Note speculation. It stops.

Till finally back to Ra, Ra, Ra, Fa, Fa, Fa. I decide to stop noting for a bit. And bask in the tingling sensations of this new jhana (probably should have been paying attention to the 3 Cs of the jahna. I notice the sense of self has expanded into the large background. The jhana collpases. But I manager to enter into it a second time and again stopped noting to just bask in the jhana.

My timer goes off, my left leg has fallen asleep and I didn't even notice. Off to Dho to write this post.

To Try Next time
- need to remember the 3 Cs and continue noting. In the new distinct jahna,
-I had some hallucinations in here somewhere - my memory fails me and I don't remember at what point in the practice they occured - should have noted those when they moved to the center of my attention from the breath
- I notice I stop noting quite a bit to explore other random stuff during the sit. Will structure the sit differently so that the first half is concentration and other assorted phenomenon I want to explore, and the second half is pure technical noting and attention to the 3Cs.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/1/11 5:59 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Marking my tendency to intellectually make sense of the experience as speculating. Some speculation happens and then it stops then back to the breath. Retrospectively I realize that speculation leads to more speculation, and noting it interrupts the pattern.

Excellent, good insight into the mechanics of this thing. As soon as you note whatever it is, get straight back to the breath and just continually, gently bring the attention back again and again.

Noting the tingling, noting the dread, and noting pain when ever it comes to the center of attention. Attempting to mindful of atleast 1 of the 3 characteristics in each moment. There were a few lapses in noting here.

Don't worry about lapses in noting, if you become aware that a lapse has occurred then this is actually a positive thing as it means you're mindful of what's going on at that instant in time. The lapses will decrease with practice, go for accuracy and consistency at first over quantity and speed as these will happen naturally as you move through the ñanas.

The 3C's are basically a conceptual framework; to follow a sensation from it's arising to it's passing away is to see impermanence at a fundamental level, to observe a sensation in the first place means it can't be that which is observing so you're seeing that they cannot be a self, and to see either of these two is an opportunity to understand dukkha.

I try to notice the feelings of an observer and allow the mind to let them go. I enter a distinctly different Jhanic state where the sense of self is dissolved into sensations, and there is a feeling of spaciousness.

Possibly moving into 11th ñana, Knowledge of Equanimity, you mentioned sensations of tingling, dread and pain previously which suggest that you moved through Dark Night just prior to this point.

I decide to stop noting for a bit. And bask in the tingling sensations of this new jhana (probably should have been paying attention to the 3 Cs of the jahna. I notice the sense of self has expanded into the large background. The jhana collpases. But I manager to enter into it a second time and again stopped noting to just bask in the jhana.(My emphasis added)

If you're getting into Equanimity then this is exactly what you want to be doing, 11th ñana is in the 4th vipassana jhana which is straight-up concentration territory. What works here is gently paying attention and staying curious about what's going on, note carefully but don't go for high-speed noting at this point. Take advantage of how spacious awareness becomes, objects will present themselves without you having to look for them but don't become complacent. It's a balance at this point, investigate what remains to be see clearly and stay alert 'cause there can be little drop-outs during this stage which might get confused with fruition or cause you to doze off a little. It's lovely in 11th ñana, but this panoramic awareness and soft, wide field of attention can be alluring and cause one to slack off when there's still work to be done. Check out this link as I really like Ron's descriptions here and he points out some good stuff in a really clear way.

I had some hallucinations in here somewhere - my memory fails me and I don't remember at what point in the practice they occured - should have noted those when they moved to the center of my attention from the breath

Sounds like Equanimity. It also indicates strong concentration, whether they appear or not is of no consequence as they're just a side-effect of strong practice and should not be given undue weight. Interesting, yes, but if you treat them the same as any other patterns of sensations then you'll see that they're not exempt from the 3C's either. I've had loads of "past life" memory stuff happening at this point before which is pretty strange, even disconcerting at times, but again it's still the same ol' transient, empty and unsatisfying phenomena as the pain in your arse cheeks while you sit.

Your practice sounds pretty good already, I reckon it's only a matter of time before you land 1st path so keep the momentum going and try to integrate your practice into daily life too as, in my experience, this allows for a lot of progress to be made off the cushion.

Good work, keep us updated!

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/1/11 10:37 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Based on descriptions either equanimity or A&P. Would lean towards equanimity, but I am being conservative because it seems too soon for equanimity. Doesn't really matter, reaffirming my resolution to attain stream entry.

Approx 1 hour sit with a little break at the 30 minute mark...

Starting off noting and after a while build concentration, to get the new peaceful Jhana state I talked about yesterday very quickly. Maybe too quickly, these are vague terms but the field of awareness didn't feel as expansive as yesterday. Though still quite beyond the usual.

Didn't notice any hallucinations today. There was high pitched humming sound in the background throughout. Visual shimmering. And body vibrations.

I feel a little lost without constant noting to bring my attention to the breath. Indeed not even feeling the breath at all, unless I make a directed effort to go back to noticing it.

The senses seem interconnect but still distinct. What I mean is that I can still hear sounds, but I do they also distort the visual flickering that is going on.

If I pay attention to the flickering without reacting everything becomes more shaky. But I am unable to do so for a sustained period of time.

Without noting, it is harder to stay and pay attention and be curious about what is going on. Occasionally the back of my mind runs off and does its own thing, I catch it having thoughts and speculating.

Noticed all manner of doubts arose, I notice strong desire / aversion with a little bit of fear mostly regarding stream entry / existence. There were moments I think might be coming close to mastery but didn't.

The one hour mark seemed to go by remarkably quickly. After coming out of meditaiton, I notice my back hurts and foot's a sleep. Need to fix my posture during these sits, because not much pain during the sits.


If you're getting into Equanimity then this is exactly what you want to be doing, 11th ñana is in the 4th vipassana jhana which is straight-up concentration territory. What works here is gently paying attention and staying curious about what's going on, note carefully but don't go for high-speed noting at this point. Take advantage of how spacious awareness becomes, objects will present themselves without you having to look for them but don't become complacent. It's a balance at this point, investigate what remains to be see clearly and stay alert 'cause there can be little drop-outs during this stage which might get confused with fruition or cause you to doze off a little. It's lovely in 11th ñana, but this panoramic awareness and soft, wide field of attention can be alluring and cause one to slack off when there's still work to be done. Check out this link as I really like Ron's descriptions here and he points out some good stuff in a really clear way.


Should have read this more carefully. I particularly the 'gentleness' aspect of paying attention, rather than trying to force things. And also that it is OK to note carefully about things that are going on. I get what you are saying with the little drop outs.


The 3C's are basically a conceptual framework; to follow a sensation from it's arising to it's passing away is to see impermanence at a fundamental level, to observe a sensation in the first place means it can't be that which is observing so you're seeing that they cannot be a self, and to see either of these two is an opportunity to understand dukkha.


Also this... need to keep reminding myself of this

Not much new insight, the intellectual stuff about the 3 doors still doesn't make visceral sense.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/13/11 12:12 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Giving up alcohol

Not sure this is a result of meditation, but I am finding it pointless and disorienting to drink alcohol these days. If you have read my journals you know I like to party, and as such have a fairly high tolerance for alcohol. But have been noticing that it just completely screws me up even in modest (by my standards) amounts.

This may be a result of increased awareness of things. Or might just be me. I don't know.

Here a couple of examples:

Drinks on Tuesday, with an old friend nothing too crazy maybe couple of pints of beer but felt dismayed by the way it screwed up my personality.

Yesterday, went out partying and drinking quite a bit and felt even more completely screwed up. Slept over at friends place from around 3 am to 6 am. Then came back home with a throbbing headache. Decided to meditate on the pain and note my aversion to it for a couple of hours. Pain can be quite an opportunity or insight.

But this feeling of disorientation, combined with some health issues and financial savings I have decided to stop drinking for the next 30 days, and see how things pan out.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/16/11 3:52 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Haven't really been updating this thread lately, partly due to laziness but partly because I think too much intellectual contemplation is hindering my practice. This is something I wrote after a sit a couple of days ago.

Two days ago

Had massive weird 'access concentration' type pressue in the crown area going all evening.
But unlike access concentration this felt 'draining' and was bothering me.

Couldn't figure out whether I should meditate or try to focus on something very solid to make it go away.
Tried playing games, watching TV etc but it kept bugging me. So decided to meditate.

Don't know how long I meditated for maybe 1 - 1.5 hours. Long after the timer stopped.

Very intense meditiaton, started with my standard noting insight practise got to with some difficulty due to the head pressure
Coasted for a while in the pleasant vibrations of the 4th jhana couldn't get fruition.

After this my memory is unclear on the exact sequence of events. But all this happened:

-Switched back and forth between concentration and insight to get the right balance. Also switched postures
every 20 minutes or so from sitting to reclining.

- Somewhere in here had the most clear and crisp experiences of the arupa jhanas 5 and 6 that I have ever had.
This was followed by a sort of a twirling, around of preception in a cylindrical fashion with my head at the center.
Not dizzying mind you, nor plesant or unplesant. Don't think this was the 7th Jhana though but cool regardless.

- A few frutions in two different 'batches'. i.e. one occuring right after another, as opposed to after a break returning to a 'normal' state

Got out of meditation the pressure is gone, I am feeling refreshed.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/16/11 12:15 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
Had massive weird 'access concentration' type pressue in the crown area going all evening.
But unlike access concentration this felt 'draining' and was bothering me.


Ah yes, the post-path head pressure. This can be a real pain in the ass. You'll probably find yourself practice a lot just to make it go away.

A lot of energetic stuff is happening due to your recent burst of progress, and it takes a while for it to work itself out. It does eventually resolve itself, but it can suck while in the mean time.

D Z:
A few frutions in two different 'batches'. i.e. one occuring right after another, as opposed to after a break returning to a 'normal' state


Nice. It's possible for cessation to occur, and then to remain in the post-cessation bliss without dropping out of Equanimity into the start of another cycle. If you hang out in this space, fruitions can be experience more frequently, sometimes one after another, and so on, and so forth.

I'm having fun chiming in on your notes. I hope I'm not over-doing it :-/ I just like to affirm and encourage when I see good stuff happening!

-Jackson

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/17/11 9:10 AM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Jackson Wilshire:


I'm having fun chiming in on your notes. I hope I'm not over-doing it :-/ I just like to affirm and encourage when I see good stuff happening!

-Jackson


On the contrary, I appreciate it. Actually thanks to the advice you gave in the other other thread. I finally cracked the calling up cessations thing, I just did this a several times in a row. emoticon

Basically all the effort I was making to call up fruitions was misguided and stupid. And a lot of the dips that were happening were not actually cessations just state shifts.

Here's what really works...

1) Knowing it is a sort of subconscious thing that my mind already knows how to do.
2) Will for the Frution
3) Dispassionately sit back and watch it do its thing. Make no effort whatsoever.

In hindsight the partial success I was having was because all the effort I was making was just giving me false state shifts and then the frutions just happened on their own in the parts.

The other reason I have been a little hesitant to post stuff here, is because any accurate description of some of the experiences I have been having lately is going to sound just so over the top and fantastical.

For example this is a log of some stuff from yesterday:

Log from yesterday:

(note: my earlier sit hadn't gone too well)
Was feeling slightly sleepy before, and trying to lay done but that is gone. This is the most intense cessation since the first one I had, in terms of the after-glow. There is a lot of clarity and I am feeling great.

Like a knot has been untied in my brain. And a very nice after-glow that I am chilling in right now.

6:09 am: I am trying to get into a concentration jhana, but am finding it difficult for some reason.

6:12am: Ok got into jhana. Very intense pleasureable sensation pouring out onto my mind.

6:14 am: Still feeling this cool refreshing pleasure in my head. Going to do a formal sit and see what happens.

6:40 am: Just finished my sit, again just paying attention to awareness inclining the mind to a cessestion.
Started out with the pleasureable sensation, dropped stuff till I got to spaciousness.

Then started to just pay attention, inclining my mind to cessation. A couple of times was a feeling like the sense of 'I' dissolved, and the mind went blank.

Not sure what this was it didn't feel like a cessation, I was and am still very much in the afterglow of what happened earlier so it influences my preception. Not really sure what is going on but I like it.

Switch to reclining position 15 minutes in. Nothing major, just a lot of very focused and intense vibrations in the third
eye area. It was so intese I was actually concerned it might screw up my brain. Tried to diffuse it on purpose

This reminds me of the first fruition, in terms of how great everything feels. Feeling a lot of gratitude, at a logical level I don't think I deserve to feel this good.

6:51am: still feeling a cool refreshing pleasure. Though it is winding down.

7:14am: wound down, but plesant

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/17/11 9:37 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
6:12am: Ok got into jhana. Very intense pleasureable sensation pouring out onto my mind.


What does it mean to have a pleasurable sensation pouring out onto your mind?

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
11/17/11 10:16 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
On the contrary, I appreciate it. Actually thanks to the advice you gave in the other other thread. I finally cracked the calling up cessations thing, I just did this a several times in a row. emoticon

Basically all the effort I was making to call up fruitions was misguided and stupid. And a lot of the dips that were happening were not actually cessations just state shifts.


It's great that you're able to recognize this early on. There's no use in getting into the habit of fooling yourself.

D Z:
Here's what really works...

1) Knowing it is a sort of subconscious thing that my mind already knows how to do.
2) Will for the Frution
3) Dispassionately sit back and watch it do its thing. Make no effort whatsoever.


Awesome. It sounds like you’re really starting to get the hang of it.

D Z:
The other reason I have been a little hesitant to post stuff here, is because any accurate description of some of the experiences I have been having lately is going to sound just so over the top and fantastical.


Based on my experience, as well as reports from my friends who have been practicing a great while, the energetic intensity of your meditation experiences will decrease over time. Crossing the A&P gets some energy moving, no doubt. But getting first-Path, and also second-Path, really seems to send the energies of the body and mind into overdrive. It feels as though the energy moves around in the body, routing out new pathways, clearing out blockages. This is the reason for all of the fireworks, intense bliss waves, pressure headaches, etc.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, practicing very often, and with great intensity, may actually make your experience worse, while not really helping things to develop any more quickly than if you were to relax a bit. Bringing attention to any area of the body, including the headspace, can result in a lot of intensity and pressure. Some confuse this with the “center point” that needs to be seen through. I don’t find this to be the case. It’s just energy, which can get blocked up in the headspace, but it breaks up what it needs to and moves on.

That said, I think it’s OK to take advantage of the increase of concentration power. Play around with jhana if that sounds fun. The “jhanic arc” practice can be fun, whereby you resolve to experience jhanas 1 to 8 in sequence going up, and then from 8 to 1 in reverse. Jhanas beyond the 8th may open up as well, but try your best not to access such states with a lot of force. It's better if they open up naturally. Minds with the post-Path increase in horse power get REALLY good at fabricating experience. This isn't a bad thing, so long as you know you're doing it. We can engage in more jhana-talk another time, if you're curious about it. [Feel free to PM me anytime, by the way.]

Take notes often (preferably in private, in addition to any public notes), so you can review them later to see just how easy it is to get caught up in flights of fancy and delusions of mild to moderate grandeur. Feel free to laugh at yourself as you try to map your post-Path progress, and you will probably miss the boat on numerous occasion.

Oh yeah, and have fun!

-Jackson

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
12/19/11 10:36 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Was going to make this a separate post, but I am not yet very confident about buddhist philosophical stuff and the thing I have noticed may just be a quirk in the development of my own practice rather than applicable to Burmese style Vipassana in general, so will throw it here...

Recent developments in my practice have led me to believe that Burmese style Vipassana as is prominent on DhO is lacking in emphasis on the non-dual aspects. This leads followers on missing out on important aspects of reality.

First lets define some terms, for the purposes of this post:

Insight= Permanent change in the intuitive (i.e. not intellectual) perception of reality. Note: Using differently from common usage on DhO / MCTB.

Annata= Centreless MCTB-style annata insight in everyday life. There is seeing but no seer. Hearing but no hearer. Sensations but no one sensing them etc. The sense of self is made up of the 6 senses that arise on their own.

Non-duality= A separate insight that shows that reality is awareness, rather than merely happening within awareness. There is the insight that the 'outside world' is itself made up of the senses.

These are both valid insights, and when taken together they hint at emptiness / dependent origination.

Just feel the non-dual aspect needs to be emphasized more than it tends to be around these parts, in order to get more out of the practice.

So if anyone is still notices dissatisfaction with annata, they should look into non-duality.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
12/24/11 6:45 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
In my purusit of non-dual states, I have been following advice posted on DhO by End In Sight. Started to notice the subtle non-sensory tensions in the body. I can confirm his assertions that these tensions have something to do with the mind's self-generated illusion of a unified body. And appear responsible for quite a bit of desire and suffering.

My method on releasing it as follows:

  • Lie down on back
  • Release the tensions in the feet, like releasing a tightly wound elastic band.
  • Allow the tensions to dissipate, there is no longer a subtle mental image of the feet, but rather only the sensory preception of them
  • Move up the body to the legs, releasing tensions the way one would release an elastic band (i.e. after letting go, it releases itself)


If you do this correctly, there will be no intuitive sense that your 'foot' (or any other part of the body) exists outside of your sensual preceptions. Although logically you will know that this is your foot, and your motor coordination remains

Doing this successfully results in quite an interesting state that lasts for many hours after doing this practice. I have been doing this for a few days now and when I am able to get into a non-dual state here is what I have noticed:

- In the visual field, it is like switching from watching regular TV to High Definition.
- A sense of satisfaction all the time.
- Attentiveness like drinking a few espressos, minus the jitters.
- Went to a party, had a couple of drinks (there was a phase following stream entry where alcohol resulted in incredible disorientation and headaches, not just the regular inebriation / hangovers). There is no feeling of getting drunk whatsoever. Although I think I might have been getting drunk and didn't notice it, in the sense that my actions were that of a drunk person, but my awareness remained unaffected. But not sure this might also have just been the lack of anxiety in action.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
12/24/11 6:57 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
- Went to a party, had a couple of drinks (there was a phase following stream entry where alcohol resulted in incredible disorientation and headaches, not just the regular inebriation / hangovers). There is no feeling of getting drunk whatsoever. Although I think I might have been getting drunk and didn't notice it, in the sense that my actions were that of a drunk person, but my awareness remained unaffected. But not sure this might also have just been the lack of anxiety in action.


If there's no feeling of drunkenness, despite the fact that you act drunk, I'd say you're doing this practice at a fairly high level...keep it up!

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
12/24/11 9:11 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

If there's no feeling of drunkenness, despite the fact that you act drunk, I'd say you're doing this practice at a fairly high level...keep it up!


Yea, that sums it up. There is some sort of moral lesson here, I am not sure what it is.

But it is clear that end of personal suffering will not be the end of moral considerations. May just be the start of real morality.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
1/4/12 4:43 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Looking back at my earlier journal entries, there has been a remarkable shift. Already previous life seems hellish by comparison.

The last big PCE I had ended because I got a lot of existential angst, about not being able to connect with the human experience, thought I was going insane etc. I panicked and tried very hard to bring back the adrenalin rush, and eventually full blown feelings. Very hard but I was ale to do it eventually...

After a couple of days out of the PCE I experienced full blown anger for a couple of minutes for the first time in a while. It is irrational and sucks.

Then this happened and it greatly diminished my existential anxiety and sense of free will. I posted it in my private log

[quote=DZ's private log]
Earlier in the day I was listening to a couple of videos by Adyashanti on a lack of personal will.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcJ_XZyNw-Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuxY-KNA0Pk

I lay there on my bed, unable to fall asleep, thinking about free will, the recursive nature of 'a doer', and how the concept arises.

There was suddenly the sensory experience of kind of a fizzeling up in the head. There was also a moderate pain point near the center part of the crown for a little while after.

Following this there is an increase in centrelessness and 'notion of a doer' is almost completely seen through. There never was a doer and still isn't. This post is still being typed, but there is no sense that I am doing it. If I decide to stop typing that decision isn't seen as mine, but rather as a product of its previous conditions. As such no thing that can be pointed out to as personal agency arises within the experience of reality.

This is not fatalistic as there is still intention. The experience has not increased sensory clarity.



My 'practise' is now little more than sensate awareness along a sort of an implicit HAIETMOBA.

I go through periods of increased and decreased sensory clarity throughout the day, not 'AF' yet, but somewhere on the spectrum.

It is pretty much irrelevant when the experience is perfected, I am quite happy now.

Enlightenment has pretty much been the only thing I have been paying attention to in life for the last few months. I have been totally obsessed with spiritual practice. It has come at the expense of relationships, a career etc, while it has all been worth it.

There is a sense with all other identities stripped away it remains the only one left to surrender is the one of being enlightened.

So my resolution for 2012 is start to piece together a more normal challenging and fun life. Put my career and relationship life back together.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
1/4/12 9:51 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Non-duality= A separate insight that shows that reality is awareness, rather than merely happening within awareness. There is the insight that the 'outside world' is itself made up of the senses.

Just feel the non-dual aspect needs to be emphasized more than it tends to be around these parts, in order to get more out of the practice.

So if anyone is still notices dissatisfaction with annata, they should look into non-duality.


Is there a 'presence' felt with this experience of 'non-duality'?

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
1/5/12 5:03 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Non-duality= A separate insight that shows that reality is awareness, rather than merely happening within awareness. There is the insight that the 'outside world' is itself made up of the senses.

Just feel the non-dual aspect needs to be emphasized more than it tends to be around these parts, in order to get more out of the practice.

So if anyone is still notices dissatisfaction with annata, they should look into non-duality.


Is there a 'presence' felt with this experience of 'non-duality'?



Personally no. Or atleast not anymore.

I used to think that if someone hadn't fully realized no-self (centrelessness) by seeing past the fixed 'observer' by doing Vipassana practice first. And instead somehow come to the non-dual realization first, then upon realizing non-dual they would feel a presence.

But this is just a conjecture.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
2/2/12 10:17 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Nirvana and Samara all at once

For the past couple of months I have been successfully doing HAIMATOBA pracitce, seeing colors within colors, forms within forms, hearing sounds within sounds. etc.

Lately I have been having shifts in my practice leading to the following realization:
- Senses are just thoughts but of a slightly different kind
- Thoughts don't have inherent qualities.

This also leads me to believe that suffering as a whole isn't necessarily 'bad', humans have too much of it yes. But I believe there is utility in being able intentionally turn on / off emotional states rather than just have an ever abiding state of peace.

So although I was previously aiming for the end of suffering. Now I want to be able to optimize for is the ability to occasionally call up emotional states of fear, or anger intentiionally while maintaining a high baseline level of peace and tranquility.

My practice right now for experiencing fear / anger and then getting out of it is something like this..
.
- Think of the scariest thought imaginable, something like torture, to get that slight adreneline type feeling going in the chest.
- Continue to pay attention to the thoughts.
- Don't pay too much attention to the adreneline feeling (makes it disapper).

Then get out of the fear state quickly
- And then get out of it using a mix of body relaxation and choiceless awareness.

Currently 'Fear' is only weird sensations in the chest / stomach, and it takes a few minutes to return to normal. My goals are as follows...

- Be able to bring out something that more closely resembles full blown differentiated emotions. Don't think it is possible to identify with them, but I wouldn't really want to anyways. I just want something more than the adrenal response.
- Be able to quickly switch between fearless and fearful states.

Hopefully this works. The only real evidence that I have that this sort of thing is possible is that I seek it.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
2/4/12 9:28 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Just curious, what value do you see in experiencing anger or fear?

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
4/4/12 10:46 PM as a reply to Martin M.
Martin M:
Just curious, what value do you see in experiencing anger or fear?


I think at the time I felt scared of loosing some sort of sense of humaness and the fullness of the human experience. Maybe I thought I was on the cusp of being done.

Far from it though, since then, I have noticed many previously very subtle moments of jealousy, fear, and anger. And have come to view them as undesirable.

Also I have gone from being a dharma bum, to working very demanding hours in a career that I previously hated, but now enjoy.

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

One of the issues with a loss of fear and anger, is also a loss of certain types of motivation in daily life.

Sometimes fitting into group norms is a good, skillful action. But having previously done so out of fear and anxiety, I sometimes no longer make an effort to do so.

eg. some of my friends noticed my tendency to sometimes when a bad song is playing to just stand around on the dance floor starting at the lights 'zenning out', instead of actually moving around and doing stuff or getting off the floor.

A greater portion of my motivation now comes from 'skill development' reasons. This has made me better at my job, and at certain other things.

But there is still much I don't understand about the relationship between the types of motivation. Trying to figure it out is causing Dark Night type suffering (this suffering is quite subtle, but also noticable).

Intellectually I figure if ultimately all experience is pretty much the same, why doing anything or not doing anything ?

Emotionally I have perhaps not yet let go fully. Although my sense of personal agency has weakened considerably, there is still some sense of intent.

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

More from a practice point of view I have been wondering why Viapssana was necessary, since I no longer really practice any formal sort of meditation other than just sitting type of stuff.

Perhaps happiness comes from being able to pay attention to the present moment fully, however because we view everything as it is in relation to our agglomerated sense of self we are unable to pay attention to the senses fully.

Maybe a certain depth of no-self insight is required before some subconscious part of the brain allows us to pay attention to the moment without trying to constantly reassert and value the moment in relation to our self.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
4/4/12 10:54 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
I go through periods of increased and decreased sensory clarity throughout the day, not 'AF' yet, but somewhere on the spectrum.


Still not AF (still feel adreneline at times), it isn't really my goal to get AF either.

My sensory clarity has continued to increase, except I have come to realize that it isn't an increase in sensory clarity, but rather a decrease in some sort of bodily tension / sensations.

At times when my sensory clarity is very high, it almost feels like my eyes aren't really even inside my head. Almost like my head is just one giant eye.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
4/5/12 6:50 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
My sensory clarity has continued to increase, except I have come to realize that it isn't an increase in sensory clarity, but rather a decrease in some sort of bodily tension / sensations.

Perhaps a decrease in the opacity of cached reality (psyche)?

D Z:
At times when my sensory clarity is very high, it almost feels like my eyes aren't really even inside my head. Almost like my head is just one giant eye.
Like your head has been replaced by a shoulder-mounted camera?

Out of curiosity, where do you go from here? What's the game plan?

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
4/11/12 9:53 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Yes those other terms seem ok. I don't think my sensory clarity is high enough (or bodily tensions low enough) to be described as a shoulder mounted camera though.

Pål S.:

Out of curiosity, where do you go from here? What's the game plan?


There is no game plan per se. Usually anything that triggers something that I would associate with the '10 armies of mara', this then triggers contemplation, which then instills right view.

Once the right view is instilled about that thing, I notice other perhaps more subtle sources of suffering. I don't really formally meditate anymore.

Although my experience of reality is now very noticeably better in terms of suffering than most people and sense of well being is consistently high. I quite honestly think there is still a very long way to go to get to what is possible.

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

Think I have figured out the motivation puzzle.

There is a sort of inertia that we have when doing one thing, to avoid doing another. Some might call this laziness. In my observation laziness or inertia is actually caused by subtle anxieties about making the wrong choice.

Usually are motivation to do stuff in spite of this inertia comes from contact craving / aversion.

I think for me the craving / aversion has been dealt with to a greater extent than the anxiety of change.

I think the next step is trying to improve my speed of implementation. Get an idea and then put it into action, reasonable physical speed and with minimal mental procrastination.

Perhaps this is what avoiding sloth and topor mean in the training of morality.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
5/2/12 12:52 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Still struggling with that inertia I was talking about earlier...

Sensory clarity continues to increase. I am finding that with concentration I am able to have experience of stillness.

Whereas before I would try to understand mahamudra / dzongchen type stuff, now it is self-evident in moments of high concentration / serenity.

However there is still no permanent insight or realization. But a lot of the intellectual stuff, talked about in this post here is resolved.
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2715181

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
5/27/12 2:48 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
The same mechanism of the brain that grasps at and blames wealth, beauty, age, etc as sources of meaning, now grasps at enlightenment in the same manner.

Becoming aware of this process. That these mental states still persist in my mind, in-spite of all sorts of 'progress' and 'attainment' is humbling.

Even as I type this pseudonymous post on some little corner of the internet is a faint but unpleasant tendency to contrive the writing in a way that projects 'me' as being good. Rather than just being.

It is difficult to express exactly what I am talking about here, but roughly it corresponds to the layman's conception of an ego,

I find the way to deal with this is not via contemplative practice, but through honesty and authenticity.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
4/29/13 2:01 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
The same mechanism of the brain that grasps at and blames wealth, beauty, age, etc as sources of meaning, now grasps at enlightenment in the same manner.

Becoming aware of this process. That these mental states still persist in my mind, in-spite of all sorts of 'progress' and 'attainment' is humbling.

Even as I type this pseudonymous post on some little corner of the internet is a faint but unpleasant tendency to contrive the writing in a way that projects 'me' as being good. Rather than just being.

It is difficult to express exactly what I am talking about here, but roughly it corresponds to the layman's conception of an ego,

I find the way to deal with this is not via contemplative practice, but through honesty and authenticity.


Even without a base to stand on the selfish thoughts and intentions can still exist. I believe this is what is meant by the 'conceit of I am' in Buddhism.

But I have found here are ways to deal with this in contemplative practice as well. From the Khemaka Sutta..


"Just like a cloth, dirty & stained: Its owners give it over to a washerman, who scrubs it with salt earth or lye or cow-dung and then rinses it in clear water. Now even though the cloth is clean & spotless, it still has a lingering residual scent of salt earth or lye or cow-dung. The washerman gives it to the owners, the owners put it away in a scent-infused wicker hamper, and its lingering residual scent of salt earth, lye, or cow-dung is fully obliterated.

"In the same way, friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated."



The five aggregates are:
1. Material form.
2. Feelings.
3. Perceptions.
4. Mental formations.
5. Consciousness.

Reading this old practice thread is quite fun, and humbling. I think I am going start keeping a practice journal again...

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
8/21/14 11:54 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
Was going to make this a separate post, but I am not yet very confident about buddhist philosophical stuff and the thing I have noticed may just be a quirk in the development of my own practice rather than applicable to Burmese style Vipassana in general, so will throw it here...

Recent developments in my practice have led me to believe that Burmese style Vipassana as is prominent on DhO is lacking in emphasis on the non-dual aspects. This leads followers on missing out on important aspects of reality.

First lets define some terms, for the purposes of this post:

Insight= Permanent change in the intuitive (i.e. not intellectual) perception of reality. Note: Using differently from common usage on DhO / MCTB.

Annata= Centreless MCTB-style annata insight in everyday life. There is seeing but no seer. Hearing but no hearer. Sensations but no one sensing them etc. The sense of self is made up of the 6 senses that arise on their own.

Non-duality= A separate insight that shows that reality is awareness, rather than merely happening within awareness. There is the insight that the 'outside world' is itself made up of the senses.

These are both valid insights, and when taken together they hint at emptiness / dependent origination.

Just feel the non-dual aspect needs to be emphasized more than it tends to be around these parts, in order to get more out of the practice.

So if anyone is still notices dissatisfaction with annata, they should look into non-duality.

This is slightly non-sense, and a bit on the right track.

The problem here is that I as confused, about associating non-duality with the collapse of the attention wave. And annata as sort of regular realization from noting. This isn't common usage of the term at all.

This becuse Noting does not result in the attention wave collapse on its own AFAIK. So this a flaw in a purely noting based system.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
8/21/14 11:58 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
The same mechanism of the brain that grasps at and blames wealth, beauty, age, etc as sources of meaning, now grasps at enlightenment in the same manner.

Becoming aware of this process. That these mental states still persist in my mind, in-spite of all sorts of 'progress' and 'attainment' is humbling.

Even as I type this pseudonymous post on some little corner of the internet is a faint but unpleasant tendency to contrive the writing in a way that projects 'me' as being good. Rather than just being.

It is difficult to express exactly what I am talking about here, but roughly it corresponds to the layman's conception of an ego,

I find the way to deal with this is not via contemplative practice, but through honesty and authenticity.
Actually contemplative practice does seem to eventually deal with this. Not the actions directly. But the grasping for sure. 

Still it is hard to let go of deep set old energetic patterns and blockages. 

Sometimes these energetic blockages still manifest. And can be kind of painful. But certainly I have made a lot of progress on this front.

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
8/22/14 12:04 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
I go through periods of increased and decreased sensory clarity throughout the day, not 'AF' yet, but somewhere on the spectrum.


Still not AF (still feel adreneline at times), it isn't really my goal to get AF either.

My sensory clarity has continued to increase, except I have come to realize that it isn't an increase in sensory clarity, but rather a decrease in some sort of bodily tension / sensations.

At times when my sensory clarity is very high, it almost feels like my eyes aren't really even inside my head. Almost like my head is just one giant eye.

1.5 years later...

The resolution of this sort of increase in sensory clarity. Is to not consider of the eyes as doing the seeing (though of course that is the case from an 3rd person point of view). 

Subjectively there is only the seen.

The problem is the overlay of 'objective' imputations onto 1st person subjective reality.

So there is some sort of energetic movement that is associated with the eye seeing and the appearance of visual phenomenon. Via imputation these two get linked together. And we loose discernment of the seeing that is happening on its own.

So there is not longer as if one giant eye. The seeing and the sight are the same thing.

From a purely subjective POV visual appearances are not there becuase the eye sees them. They are appearant becasue they are appearant.

(notions of subjectivity and objectivity are also just notions)

RE: Practice Thread: Novice
Answer
8/22/14 12:18 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:

Think I have figured out the motivation puzzle.

There is a sort of inertia that we have when doing one thing, to avoid doing another. Some might call this laziness. In my observation laziness or inertia is actually caused by subtle anxieties about making the wrong choice.

Usually are motivation to do stuff in spite of this inertia comes from contact craving / aversion.

I think for me the craving / aversion has been dealt with to a greater extent than the anxiety of change.

I think the next step is trying to improve my speed of implementation. Get an idea and then put it into action, reasonable physical speed and with minimal mental procrastination.

Perhaps this is what avoiding sloth and topor mean in the training of morality.

I have made a lot of progress on this front. But it is not a direct meditative attainment. Mostly realizing that 'willpower' does not exactly exist as an independent entity. More important is building strong intentionality. To overcome obstacles a goal.

I have found it effective to modify my environment and build habits to propell me in the direction I want to go in. 

There are techniques to build stronger intentionality, and embed it into the subconsious. I tend not to use them too much though. Becuase there can be unintended consequences. (for eg. lifting too much weight at the gym can get me injured. sleeping too little can make me prone to illness etc.)

And sometimes it is better to just let things play themselves out rather than trying to struggle against the grain.