supermonkey's practice log

supermonkey's practice log supermonkey :) 4/20/22 12:13 PM
RE: supermonkey's practice log supermonkey :) 4/20/22 4:13 PM
RE: supermonkey's practice log Chris M 4/20/22 3:39 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log George S 4/20/22 5:16 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log George S 4/21/22 11:31 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log George S 4/25/22 9:16 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log George S 5/19/22 8:55 AM
RE: supermonkey's practice log supermonkey :) 5/19/22 9:18 AM
RE: supermonkey's practice log shargrol 5/19/22 6:18 AM
RE: supermonkey's practice log supermonkey :) 5/19/22 9:16 AM
RE: supermonkey's practice log supermonkey :) 5/23/22 12:13 PM
RE: supermonkey's practice log George S 5/24/22 4:24 AM
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 12:13 PM
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supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Hi DhO,

I currently feel like I could really need some companionship and space for ventilation, and because I don't want to keep spamming people I know with my findings and neurosises via dm, I think a log where people are free to comment or not is a good idea emoticon
I think I am going to either do a lot of ventilation or try to post clean sitting descriptions.

For my history I decided to keep it really short, as I could easily write 2-3 books and I don't know what's really relevant for you to know in that respect. I'll also try to use as few dharma lingo as possible.

I started meditation about 2 1/2 years ago, began with watching the breath, which developed into a TMI kind of shamatha-vipassana, then I did kasina on (distinct geometrical) moving light patterns behind my eyes. Then I rode the first 4 jhanas for a while (without intending to), then I basically just sat and tried to be mindful . Very often I started watching the breath and let that open into open awareness, which I partially regret because I often lost intention that way.

Now I split my hour into 30 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of sitting. I note "left,right" or "rising, falling" and then something else either after "right" or "falling". This works ok, but I I'm kinda uncertain whether I should just note strictly sequentially or feel into mindstates.

Usually my sits would develop into 2 possible directions: the first one is a quite state where lots of emotions come up and I fall into a sort of trance at some point. This means that I close my eyes and am sort of entranced by the shivering movements behind my eyelids and there are some thought and I am at some distance to this, conscious but not really aware. So it's not an emotional or thinking trance, probably the mind is taking some kind of break, idk.
Usually I fall into trance twice and then sort of space out. I am getting clearer on a seeming connection between so many emotions coming up and the trances, but it's not totally clear to me, as in I don't see what leads to what on a moment to moment basis.
The second possible ending is that I run into a wall of frustration. But the experience is slowly developing into a rawer and more direct form, and I sense that my body can start to digest it better that way.

I am really trying to get clearer about emotions. The coarser emotions I try to deal with are frustration, fear, anger and shame. The subtler ones are regret, doubt, sadness and misery.
It's interesting for how long we can carry so much resistance within us without really knowing what we resist. And then, in a moment of quititude, as if they lined up to show up, there is a series of shame, sadness, fear, frustration, misery, doubt, and eventually happiness, clarity, hope... It's almost as if they show up in order.

I guess the topic of frustration is gonna stay for a while; although I seem to be becoming able to trace it back to a bare experience without or with less proliferation. Indeed, I seem to be more and more able to trace things back to a bare experience. When confused, I wonder whether the tracing back should stop at the bodily experience or at the awareness behind it. But I sense that in experience there is no difference, and that tracing something back to the awareness behind is just a fixated idea in my head with a lot of aversion behind it.

Yesterday I noticed that I could benefit from keeping up more intention towards the end of a sit. I noticed that a more rigurous noting of thoughts is very helpful. I put thoughts into three categories "past", "comment", "future", and it led me to a beautiful insight: every thought has a past, present and future component! That's very nice and it seems to have some underlying consequences for the understanding of time.

That's it for now, hoping for some interesting comments!
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 4:13 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Here is a sample sit description of 2nd of April, a day on which I could get quite clear about what's going on.

walking, 30 minutes, notes/keywords in order.

a bit edgy, felt like using too much concentration
sadness, misery (stood still and noted)
hateful thoughts, aversion, fiendishness (stood still and noted)
dark emotional tone
feet sensations becoming very soft and gentle
feet as integrated experience
"the room walked me/I walked the room?" (weird)
lots of thinking
planning
putting experience into imagined report
sensations very integrated into space
[in this area noting doesn't seem to make sense, felt unanchored, difficulties with localization, time and space stretch]
subtlety
stopped disliking the thinking and spacing out, lost the understanding why it should be a problem
normal tone of experience (still meditating?)
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 3:39 PM
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Hi, Super.

Are you trying to develop a serious noting practice?
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 4:12 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 4:07 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Edit: the sit description is not meant as what I literally noted in order. It's meant as keywords, translation problem :/

Yeah, I'd like to have that in my toolbox, so to say. And at the moment it seems to be the only thing with which I can train my mental energy to a level that makes it possible not to completely waste the second half of a lot of sits by spacing out (that realization had a hard learning curve). Or, put less dramatically, I need something that is a bit invigorating, because I think I am letting go into the open too soon.
Been trying that for a while, but it's pretty swingy. When I run into resistance, I tend to space out soon, because I cannot adjust the pacing, I think. Often it's like I try to note "resistance" but produce only more resistance that way and then I sorta give up. I the switch into bare experiencing, which sometimes works very well, but I think that approach is not consistent enough.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/20/22 5:16 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Spacing out is a textbook reaction to uncomfortable emotions. If you continue to note "spacing out" or "resistance" then it should pass.

(Re-)read Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation to inject some more rigor and focus into your noting practice:

https://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp503s_Mahasi_Practical-Insight-Meditation.pdf
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 3:37 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Thanks George, I'll try!

Today I woke up at 5 a.m. for no obvious reason, as I often do recently. My mindstate then is a mix of uncertainty and sense of repression. I decided to just sit to try to feel the stuck emotions.

sitting, 80 minutes:

Tried to understand the stuck emotions. After 45 minutes of doing so, I gave up, thinking that whatever I'll do to get rid of these uncomfortable movements and stiffness in the body will result in more resistance and being entangled.

Then the sit become very Dzogchen-like, as I would term it, i.e. mostly sitting as awareness and seeing what's coming up.
The mind started to investigate identification. First I found it as usual in thoughts and the sense of being an observer.
What is quite new is the very direct sense of "this is me" in particular sensations. It sort of reminds me of the advaita approach, because it has this flavor of shining through, as in atman comes into existence/experience as brahman or something like that. What I really appreciate is that with this sense of shining through there always is a sense of happiness. As if the I is playing a sneaky, happy game emoticon
Theorizing a bit more, I'd say that that's what people mean when they say "happiness is our true nature". This happy true nature shines through experience and sometimes decends into an experience of "I am this"... and gets lost in it... which could be called the fundamental mistake to which we are so unfortunately habituated, and the fundamental suffering is caused by clinging to the "I am this", whilst experience keeps changing.
Anyway, the mind really seems to improve doing this investigation.
Another very encouragig finding is that today I could also sense the sneaky I in the background activity of evaluation; usually quite hidden but obvious now. Here it comes with a sense of wisdom.

I'm quite happy (satisfied) with these discoveries, and I could also sense some growing ok-ness with the instability of being an observer.

The sit, accordingly, became very scenery-like, i.e. experience became a series of several snapshots, where it felt like everything has its place, the I, the room, the view, staying  for a while and then ready for the next scene to arise.
I also noticed a lot of planning thoughts but didn't care too much about them.

Then a third phase arose. It was dominated by undigested memories and associated feelings of desire, longing and melancholy. Also a certain sense of regret. I guess this state can lead to depression easily. I don't really understand why this happens, but it doesn't feel wrong either. Just a little bit like "ok, yeah, now I also have to let this happen, well..."

I finished in this sweet melancholy.
_
After the sit, when noting a few keywords, I began to notice a sense of manipulation in the body-mind, a wish for completion, a sense of holding back and some desire/longing for a better future.

When finished making keywords and going outside I was shown how much drama there still is, but I take it as a good sign that I saw it, because it seems to imply some growing healthy distance to it.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 11:31 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Super Monkey
Then a third phase arose. It was dominated by undigested memories and associated feelings of desire, longing and melancholy. Also a certain sense of regret. I guess this state can lead to depression easily. I don't really understand why this happens, but it doesn't feel wrong either. Just a little bit like "ok, yeah, now I also have to let this happen, well..."

My experience of depression was that it was a result of avoiding certain feelings. Once I really started to feel them then the depression lifted and, like you say, the emotions themselves have a sweet quality. It's like - oh wow, this is what sadness feels like, it's really quite beautiful, I can't believe I spent most of my life running away from this. So yeah, letting it happen is definitely the way to go emoticon
Monsoon Frog, modified 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 12:53 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 12:49 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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"George S wrote:
Spacing out is a textbook reaction to uncomfortable emotions. If you continue to note "spacing out" or "resistance" then it should pass.

(Re-)read Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation to inject some more rigor and focus into your noting practice:

https://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp503s_Mahasi_Practical-Insight-Meditation.pdf"

FYI, the above linked document appears to be defective. I haven't read through it carefully nor have I skimmed thorugh the entire publication, but immediately upon opening it I saw it omitted page 'X' from the preface (i.e. it skips from page IX to page XI). Possibly more errors/omittions. Reader beware.
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Ni Nurta, modified 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 5:29 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Super Monkey
The mind started to investigate identification. First I found it as usual in thoughts and the sense of being an observer.
What is quite new is the very direct sense of "this is me" in particular sensations. It sort of reminds me of the advaita approach, because it has this flavor of shining through, as in atman comes into existence/experience as brahman or something like that. What I really appreciate is that with this sense of shining through there always is a sense of happiness. As if the I is playing a sneaky, happy game emoticon

When I opened this thread I got intrigued because I felt golden colored sensations here. Now it makes sense, you are fan of sunshine filled True Self ways.

I am the biggest fan of True Self if I say so myself emoticon

I also feel doubt of sorts here in this topic.
Worry not, you can realize both Nibbana and Moksha!

In fact these are the same experience pretty much. Their entrance and exit make them however distinctly different as far as mind is concerned and because of that for mind they are like separate attainments. They also have different effect on reality when experienced... you know, we are talking supermundane experiences here. In fact there is not a single thing the same between them, other than the fact one happen as part of the other and that is why they are the same!


Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself.


George S
My experience of depression was that it was a result of avoiding certain feelings. Once I really started to feel them then the depression lifted and, like you say, the emotions themselves have a sweet quality. It's like - oh wow, this is what sadness feels like, it's really quite beautiful, I can't believe I spent most of my life running away from this. So yeah, letting it happen is definitely the way to go emoticon

You just described plot of this movie Inside Out emoticon

Imho the only thing to truly avoid is heedlessness.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/21/22 6:57 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Looks like a good one to watch with my kids, thanks
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 5:45 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Ni Nurta When I opened this thread I got intrigued because I felt golden colored sensations here. Now it makes sense, you are fan of sunshine filled True Self ways. I am the biggest fan of True Self if I say so myself emoticon I also feel doubt of sorts here in this topic. Worry not, you can realize both Nibbana and Moksha! In fact these are the same experience pretty much. Their entrance and exit make them however distinctly different as far as mind is concerned and because of that for mind they are like separate attainments. They also have different effect on reality when experienced... you know, we are talking supermundane experiences here. In fact there is not a single thing the same between them, other than the fact one happen as part of the other and that is why they are the same!
Thank you for your encouraging words, friend! Really appreciate it. When I read this, the happiness began to shine even more! emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 10:53 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Today, when waking up super early as usual, I felt less sense of repression than usual. After reading Ni Nurta's comment I really felt encouraged to engage with the experience of the happy "true self". This led to the insight that it's also an impermanent experience. So when yesterday I said that true self comes into impermanent existence and cannot find identity there, causing suffering along the way, today I add that the experience of true self is itself impermanent. And eventually identity cannot be found in any experience. Which is very liberating. It seems that the key point was to see "true self" as impermanent. And it makes sense, because as long as you see true self as permanent it's very likely that this true self is going to search for identification in experience.

So let's see how this turns out. I still sense doubt about all of this.

walk/sit (45m/25m)
The general keypoints are: exhausted, still too heroic, too much theorizing

After a while I had the usual coming up of emotions like sadness and misery and fell into a trance at some point and then began theorizing about how this happens, thinking that it must be something like this: after a certain opening of the mind these emotions come. It seems like this is because the mind is only able to further open up and free itself when it resolves the densities in the body around these old emotions. And so this has to happen. But at some point the  mind not able to sustain presence with all these emotions, feels overwhelmed and then falls into protective trance.

All of this thinking involves digesting a lot of what shargrol explained by reference to my own experience.
-
After the sit I felt a sense of clarity, which I have often these days. High color contrast and purity in eyesight. Looks quite amazing.

During the day I thought about whether it's really necessary to wallow in sadness for so long, or if wallowing is just the other extreme of not really allowing, as opposed to repression. Repression has a tone of stiffness and contraction, where wallowing has a tone of slackness. In-between there is presence.

I am also seing some realms again. I have the impression that statements like "I must be sad for long enough before I can do something else" is a kind of wallowing and probably belongs to being in animal realm. It's tricky, because (at least for me) it's hard to tell whether I am still fully experiencing an emotion or if I'm already wallowing.
 I am also becoming  more and more aware when I am in hell realm, or "hating everything", "everything is shit" realm. If the desecent from human to animal is not recognizing that we are already wallowing, what is the descent into hell realm? Anyone?
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 12:05 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Sadness usually passes pretty quickly with a good cry ...
​​​​​​​
For a long time I was blocked and couldn't cry for myself, so I would trick myself into it by watching sad videos or reading sad stories or thinking about something sad. Or even just watching an emotionally powerful film. Whatever it takes to get the tears flowing!
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 12:10 PM
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There's a really powerful film called The Work, which is a documentary about a group therapy retreat in a high security prison - might do the trick for you!
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 12:25 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Thanks!

The sadness has a vibe of growing acceptance, and surrender, but also disappointment, longing, melancholy, uncertainty and some doubt, like "woah...! really...? hm....", "I wish at least.... well, then... hmmm...", *long sigh*, this kinda vibe, you know.
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 1:54 PM
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... today I add that the experience of true self is itself impermanent. And eventually identity cannot be found in any experience. Which is very liberating. It seems that the key point was to see "true self" as impermanent. And it makes sense, because as long as you see true self as permanent it's very likely that this true self is going to search for identification in experience.

​​​​​​​That's an extremely important insight, Super. I suggest you continue to explore this.
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/22/22 2:45 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Thanks, Chris! Feels very affirmative and is further encouraging. I feel a bit ashamed to admit, but for some reason I assumed that you would consider all of this bla bla. This tells me, again, that I am myself my own worst critique and was projecting this onto you.
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Ni Nurta, modified 5 Months ago at 4/24/22 3:02 AM
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I didn't say experience of True Self is permanent or that one can or should find identity there.
Pure advaitans do put their identity needs in True Self but this is not what I am necessarily suggesting in ultimate sense. After all how would someone who literally has Buddha-mind suggest one should identify with anything. That would be silly! On the other hand because genuine Advaita's experience of True Self is quite nice you should not stop yourself from attaining it.

Overall your insights are ok. My only objection is in sentence Which is very liberating. as this whole concept of liberation is just another hindrance and is completely not needed or even useful. Maybe it doesn't feel like that for you now because it feels like liberation was what was main motivation for you but its actually just another thief in disguise.
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/25/22 12:50 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Ni Nurta
I didn't say experience of True Self is permanent or that one can or should find identity there.
I didn't mean to imply that you said that. I just wanted to report that I for myself have found the experience of True Self to be impermanent, which seemed to widen perspective.

Overall your insights are ok. My only objection is in sentence Which is very liberating. as this whole concept of liberation is just another hindrance and is completely not needed or even useful. Maybe it doesn't feel like that for you now because it feels like liberation was what was main motivation for you but its actually just another thief in disguise.
So you mean that liberation as an idea is a hindrance to actual liberation, so to say?
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/25/22 4:01 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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04/23/22:

After waking up, I had this experience where I sense a big ball of energy either in the third eye region or in the solarplexus region. It seems to oscillate between those two chakras. When the energy is in third eye, there is a distinct sense of me/identity, when the energy is in solarplexus there are emotions like fear and doubt. And there is a third state, where the energy seems to be evenly distributed and it's not the primary experience anymore - then I begin to feel very intimate and directly connected with the surrounding; I sort of melt with outside sounds, like birds chirping. This intimacy is still subtly distorted by how the sound is referrenced to an imagined stable self (which is actually a small region in the top left area of my head). This referrencyness produces a certain discord, where the mind seems to have difficulties to exactly locate to which point in space it exactly should reference the information, and all there actually is is a resonating vibration.
When you think about it, it's pretty interesting how this sort of indecisiveness in auditorial lacation seems to co-exist with the feeling of uncertainty and indecisivness that I experience on an emotion al level recently.

In formal practice it's very, very hard not do drift off into the thought and emotion space. There is also a sense of oppression and boredom.

Personally I am thinking about more engagement with life, as a decision between depression and involvement, going along and more experience than second guessing.

04/24/22:

The overall waking experience when not doing something is spaced out, vast, inclusive and sort of chewy and  morphing like lava, interpersed with some fear and doubt.
The experience of vastness is new in quality these days. It's panoramic and inclusive but it has a certain weight. That's why I really like the term "vast". I can sense that in the very center of this vastness, here there are subtle entanglements. Seems like those are unresolved conflicts around "me" - how to relate to all of this, how to judge it, what it all means, etc.

It's not always clear which role a general tiredness plays and what comes from insight practice. For instance the "sceneryness" I described above could also just be a dull staring into the

I am really happy that I am discovering more and more that behind a fully experienced sensation, emotion or thought, there always lies a sense of happiness. I still experience it as true self shining behind conditioned experience. But the more predominant experience now seems to be vastness of mind.

What makes me optimistic is that I am at least sometimes able to experience thought without it pulling me into the future. Interpreting thoughts as being meaningful for a future self has very much the same sense of craving as being sexually attracted. Not sure what to do about that insight. There must be a middle way between the two extremes of total identification with the craving mind and some sort of sainthood...

04/25/22:

Re-observing re-observation...

sitting, 1 hr

The classical wall of frustration experience.
I planned a structured noting sit, but the mind was totally unwilling to note anything, and fell into thought over and over again. At some point I began to
accept the mindstorm and sat in bittersweet surrender for a while.

I discovered that the utter frustration that came up can be amplified and thereby benevolently brought into ridicule to some extent. I think laughing about myself could help emoticon (also to untangle from the sense of repression and forbiddenness).

Just now I was told by someone that underneath the anger lies a sense of hurt. I felt deeply into the frustration and there really showed up this sense of hurt that I encountered often lately. The body doesn't see to be able to fully experience it (le go). There's a lot of tightening around, as it seems too dangerous to let it be.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 4/25/22 9:16 PM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Personally I am thinking about more engagement with life, as a decision between depression and involvement, going along and more experience than second guessing.
Good!

There must be a middle way between the two extremes of total identification with the craving mind and some sort of sainthood...
Yes!

There is also a sense of oppression and boredom.
Boredom is a subtle mask of anger. If you acknowledge it as such, then it should release like any other emotion.

Just now I was told by someone that underneath the anger lies a sense of hurt. I felt deeply into the frustration and there really showed up this sense of hurt that I encountered often lately. The body doesn't see to be able to fully experience it (le go). There's a lot of tightening around, as it seems too dangerous to let it be.
It sounds like you are getting into the territory of the "core wound". It just takes time for the mind to learn that it is safe (and beneficial) to experience this, a little at a time ...
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/28/22 6:25 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/27/22 2:38 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
04/26/22:

Had a lot of ideas about practice and insights. These seemed all very attractive, yet elusive.

The overall sentiment of the first half of the day was numb like after crying, mild, a shy gaining back of confidence. Pretty much as described in Daniel's stages table.

walk/sit, 30m/30m:

walk:
mostly bare attention to the feet and occasional noting

mind jumble, much resistance
corewound feeling looming, has a pending character -> trance
noting is swingy in quaility and consistency
highlight: a crying feeling of "I can't do all of this anymore", "I don't want" came up, and I remembered George's comment that the mind will learn that to experience this is safe/beneficial. I felt encouraged.

sit: mostly noting or noticing rising and falling of breath, eyes open

breath very satisfying, saturating
mahamudra flavor, mind wide, thoughts have a ghostish character, very thin and shortlived
highlight: figured that all those thoughts how I would report my sit is (the hindrance of) doubt, paired with excitement.
After this it seems that I made one quick round through several early insight stages.
Felt a longing for intimacy, need for protection and safety, and a sense of pity
noticed reflection (as an act) setting in.
____

During my longer dog walk I had a few thoughts, of this kind:

What we perceive as progress is experiencing to be without craving, resp. fully experiencing, or original experience to a higher degree than usual. So the sense of progress is more like a sense of intimacy with what is than "going somewhere".
Even ambition is an illusion, accompanying actual experience, to which the mind clings to. Funny little story, but enjoyable in principle.

In the evening I came into a romantic, uplifted and peaceful, forgiving state, and I wrote this while feeling into my experience:
____________________________________________________________________________________
ego isn't; peace, love, wisdom, stillness and clarity are ... formations beyond ego. knowing and caring about ego. not condemning ego. loving and holding ego.
experience is never tired of experiencing these.
emptiness knows and smiles.
____________________________________________________________________________________


                                                                             from my empty, knowing heart...

I also found that doubt is twofold: there is a doubt as hindrance and there is a doubt that serves as a driving force for investigation, or is the driving force for investigation - the great doubt, where in Zen they say that arising doubt is what makes you go and stay on the path to enlightenment. As written here.

04/27/22:

For the morning walk/sit I only noted doubt, wanting to experience something else, boredom, interest for other experiences (not a problem per se), and some worry.
I also wrote down that also in this scenario of relatively harmless boredom and confusion, fear and worry as an unhindered experience can be enjoyable, or at least not unenjoyable emoticon

In the evening I sat a tired and half-motivated do-nothing thing for 50 minutes.

I'll finish this day with a live introspection, writing down what I notice for a 1-2 minutes to catch my mindstate:
doubt, subtle anxiety, boredom, peace, curiosity, determination, mostly visual clarity, some drama, intimacy, restlessness, speculation, forgiveness

Thanks for reading y'all!
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 4/27/22 2:43 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/27/22 2:43 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 4544 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nice comments, Super! Or should I call them super comments?   emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 4/27/22 3:10 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/27/22 3:03 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Thanks, Chris. My highlight was the experience of raw and pure, supramundane feeling doubt, driving all of this. All seemed to make sense in this moment.

Or should I call them super comments?
Hehe emoticon

btw. the story that my username is written like this, is that when I found that this forum doesn't display the chosen screenname but the fore- and surname (which is quite odd tbh), I just split supermonkey into Super Monkey. And a big part of chosing that username is that I like the avatar emoticon
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 4/28/22 7:03 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/28/22 7:03 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 4544 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Cool. I like my avatar, too. It's a domo.
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 7:59 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/29/22 2:20 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
There are a few percepual changes that can't be ignored anymore. Especially visual clarity and contrast sensitivity. It can feel very crispy, but the crispiness is state-like and probably a re-wiring phenomenon. Sounds can appear very close and intimate, which is a very joyful experience. Also a sense of beauty and awe. There seems to be a certain relation between the experience of no-self and a sense of beauty. Probably all re-wiring stuff.

04/28/22 (edited on 04/29/22):

Still waking up at 5.30 a.m. I think it may be due to personal worries, but I'm not sure. Could also be Kundalini process or more general emotional energy.

After waking up I noticed a lot of energy in the head again. It felt like a cleansing. I assume that this is the kundalini energy cleansing the chakras. I was once more shown that the heart chakra not only contains emotions but it seems to be related to the perception of space. It's like "focus" in on the heart chakra makes for a "focus out on space", or something like that.
Seeems a possible way to understand no-self for sense of self and space: they can be observed being generated in a respective chakra.

I didn't sit in the morning but thought I'd see what else this energy has to show me. I had quite a strong experience of seeing thoughts as thoughts (which I would later re-encounter when sitting the next day) and a whole lot of believes being uprooted. I came to the conclusion that the whole internal apparatus of thoughts and emotions is nothing more than an epiphenomenon. I had a feeling ot "how could I miss that for so long?"
I could see thoughts and the clinging energy as separate phenomena, and that this accompaniment of thoughts and emotions is made more than it is by clinging.

Although it's clearly situational, this accompaniment can seem to be continuous. That's actually hard to describe with words, but in some sense there is a certain quasi-continuity, as it follows the sense experience closely and intimately. Probably what I'm trying to describe is co-dependent origination.
I'm quite sure that suffering comes in when the co-occurence of thoughts and emotions is mentally extended to an indistinct point in the future. 

In this realm of understanding I also came to think that this better understanding of the mind clinging to a harmless epiphenomenon has something to do with the emptiness of cause and effect. But I'm not sure what I really want to say by that. It's just an intuition.

And I could also see that I'm still (at least subtly) believing in a person in time. Or, better to say, sitting on the toilet, I had the impermanent, not-self experience of an image coming from somewhere behind me, which felt like a memory, had a certain content-ness and a sense of me, myself, showing me that somewhere "in my head" there is the belief in a person in time.

I think it's important for me now to make myself a home here but keep practicing. This is not easy, because when thoughts are seens as thoughts, it can be problematic to find intention, or to raise doubt emoticon But in some sense this supramundane doubt, as I call it, is, in a way, more available than the intention to note. I guess I have to let some time pass to get the mind re-arranged to this new situation.

But still, what is a good practice? Try to be intentional or drop intention? Continue to note? Almost impossible. The mind is either super eager and active, full of plans and ideas, which seems to be easily re-enforced by careless or wrong intention to note. Or it is too ok. I have the impression that there is a lot of energy that wants to sediment and just needs the time to do that. But I don't dare to just let that happen for an hour because a) sleep is a near enemy and b) I'm a bit afraid. Some fear of falling back.
Acknowledgement of phenomena more and more just seems to lead ever deeper into emptiness, groundlessness... which is freedom, but a bit scary...

Suggestions welcome.

04/29/22:

addendum to 04/29/22:

I did do a walk/sit in the evening. I felt extremely exhausted and tired, and at the same time very much awake. I spent basically the whole time being in awe at the sense of everything happening on its own and a subtle, indistinct, but clearly noticeable sense of observation located somewhere on the walls or the room. Any attempt to grasp at this state felt horribly discordant. Similar to how grasping at thoughts can feel.
__

After waking up (7 hours of sleep, yay!), I felt in the body what a huge chunk of my energy is taken up by the constant self-criticism I put on myself. And in particular, that this self-criticism is very sneaky, because it can feel harmless and even right, and we only notice later how draining it is and how heavy it makes us feel.

walk/sit (57m total):

As formal practicing (in the sense of using a method) goes, same thing as in the previous two sessions. Any particular intention is difficult to sustain, I am mostly dwelling in the new perspective. I spent most of the time exploring this seemingly new state of not being an observer but reality knowing itself.
One hallmark is a sense of being surrounded by knowingness. But this sense feels very "mental", or empty. "Internal experience" quickly arises and vanishes and is known for what it is - appearence.
On a more personal level it is as if the person stares at infinity and the former knowing of the per person distributes to everything. Or maybe like reality staring back from around. Not really like an inversion, more like a distribution. And the more the personal focus seems to dissolve into infinity, the more it seems that the room "becomes alive" and there is a watching/knownness of the person.

Also when sitting there is a new state. It's marked by total stillness of the body and everything around, everything that isn't mindstream, and the mindstream itself appears like a movie, moving freely. Like lights out, everything external totally shut down and spot on on the internal movent of thought, which is allowed to dance emoticon. It feels great and very natural and right.
___

After the sit I contemplated this state of changing perspective from watching experience to experience knowing. Then it appeared to me that it is a concentration state and may be inducible by switching the gaze from directed to staring at infinity. I thought about 6th jhana but I'm not sure, at least this way it became clear that it is a state.

Just as I write this I notice a change of state. I sense an edginess and bad moodness. Seems like the cycle goes to early insight stage territory now. Not sure what I have missed or if I have missed something, but if so I'd say that I wasn't aware enough of thoughts about practice.
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 5/1/22 6:33 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 4/30/22 12:46 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
04/30/22:

This morning I was driving myself crazy trying to be certain about what is going on. Being able to map whether the cycle has truly moved to three characteristics or not seems so important. I made it into an exercise in being with uncertainty. I tried to be with the urge to make corrections in my last entry, deleting that last statement about the cycle or writing that this is just an assumption or that of course I am not sure and warn people who might take that statement for granted... Ridiculous!

In hindsight I felt like most of my morning sit was thinking. I tried to notice thoughts about practice, and I could to some extent, but it was difficult. At the end of the sit I had a hard and fast shaking of body and head. I tried to shake off the boggy, heavy thinking stream and only then did I feel how much I was entranced.
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 5/1/22 7:54 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/1/22 7:53 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 1831 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
My favorite meditator quote about Reobservation comes from Tarin, one of the original Dharma Overground participants: “The Dark Night territory - particularly late dark night - has a habit of making me unsure which methods are best to employ in practice. Should I note? Should I use open awareness? Should I pay attention to the wide vibrations? Should I go with the discomfort? Should I observe the questioning? etc. I would feel very dissatisfied with anything I tried. Eventually I realized that the nature of Re-observation was to have a cow with anything and everything and when I realized this it mattered a whole lot less what I did since I knew I would have no way of knowing if it was effective practice or not! Regardless, my recommendation would be to note or observe frustration, pain, doubt, boredom, distraction, gaming, predicting, expecting, etc when and where they arise and make sure - I mean really make fucking sure - that if you're killing yourself trying to meditate that you note that too." 

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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:28 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:28 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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shargrol
... Eventually I realized that the nature of Re-observation was to have a cow with anything and everything and when I realized this it mattered a whole lot less what I did since I knew I would have no way of knowing if it was effective practice or not! Regardless, my recommendation would be to note or observe frustration, pain, doubt, boredom, distraction, gaming, predicting, expecting, etc when and where they arise and make sure - I mean really make fucking sure - that if you're killing yourself trying to meditate that you note that too." ...
Thank you, very helpful! It's so easy to overlook things.
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:29 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:29 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
I added some underlying tendencies and emotional states in brackets to become clearer about what is actually going on emotionally.

Continuation of 04/30/22:

Felt somewhat raw during the day. (honesty)

Listened to Adyashanti's "healing the core wound of unworthiness" again. Sometimes I wonder to which extent the engagement with such a topic is useful and to which extent it is a form of subtle active avoidance to really feeling the emotion. (problem thinking)
The takeaway of this particular listening is that I began to inquire "what am I punishing myself for?“. (fear and reactivity)
During listening, the mind became curious about investigating what the difference is between this, meaning my internal experience, and that, meaning everything that is not "internal experience". It seemed very clear that stopping to make a distinction after all is key. It felt very sane to sense seeing internal experience as equally peaceful as "external experience" inherently is. (fear)

I did another

walk/sit (30m/30m):

Still almost impossible to keep up the intention to note, mostly letting experience have a date with itself. (aversion)
A shy emergence of ease and acceptance, a bit of cluelessness, some acceptance towards the fact that noting just doesn't really work (still aversion), and that I am still having difficulties letting go (subtle aversion)

05/01/22:

I saw pictures of death (moving zombies or skeletons) before falling asleep the third night in a row. (intimacy)

walk/sit (30m/40m):

The first thing I wrote into my logbook was "unmotivated". I almost let it be with that, but then decided to reflect a bit more. (natural curiosity)

My mental state was mostly unbelieving and questioning, but there was also a sense of devotion and surrender. (neutral)

Highlight of the walking part: I catched the mind in a moment where it would be very critical towards an experience of leaking concentration, and I thought about how absurd my reaction was (reaction to reaction). Why am I doing this to myself?? How could you ever even have such an idea? I mean, you have to savor this slowly...  some little thoughts are escaping a rigidly held, forced frame of concentration and this is considered not only to be problematic but wrong in an absolute sense, absolutely wrong... insanity! Maybe this behaviour is fear-based, maybe a form of self-hatred, maybe self-hatred is fear-based... But how much can you hate yourself?? (bitter, caring)

Highlight of the sitting part: a moment where I perceived two thoughts as not following each other in the usual sense of time. Made me think that this is the proof that seeing time as linear is a convention, and the brain or whatever can equally see its content in a "horizontal way". as opposed to the conventional thinking that time moves in the direction into which the person looks. I call that vertical. In particular it became very clear how stressful it is to see this vertical time convention as absolute! And this seeing of linear time is a construction that happens inside the assumed "internal world" (me), based on the assumption that it's essentially different from the "external world" (not me).
Needless to say that this all happened in an instant is beyond words. But the mind seemed to be really happy to have made this discovery and there is a lot of sanity to be gained. (escaping into concepts, gripping, forcing, aversive, underlying sense of hurt)

02/05/22:

I found that I am being too grimly determined with the practice and that that's a general theme in a lot of things I do. Trying to be the best, clenching the jaw without noticing it. (forgiving) It's funny how we can think we are just innocently doing something but underneath we totally cramp up... (aversive)

So today I decided to be rigorously mindful of self-criticism, self-hate and insecurity. (determined, on the edge of aversion) I did that for a while and it felt like going mad. (edgy) I lay down for a while to digest all this a bit and then sat. (surrender, subtle aversion)

sitting, 1hr:

Just sitting, mostly following the movement of thought. At some point I noticed that I got somewhat entranced in this movement and began to shake my head. Then I started see thoughts as thoughts again, and in particular, how from a wider perspectice the internal world is not different from the external. This wide-range perspective feels very comfortable, natural, right and sane. (still some aversion, hoping that it will finally always be like this)
___
After the sit, contemplation of the problem-complex of criticism and self-hate continued.

Warning, boring elaborations of obvious stuff:

I found that there is two kinds of self-criticism. There is valid self-critique, and there is unjustified self-critique.
Valid self-critique is nothing but the mind telling me that something is improvable, unbiased. I found that this unbiased form of critique is often countered with more critique, because we resist the change. Fear of change can be so strong that we rather choose to bash the idea of an obvious adjustment until it gives up, instead of letting ourselves develop. Curious...

Unjustified self-critique, which can be overly harsh, is a learned mechanism. It serves no actual purpose. It's internalised opinions of other people, especially our parents'. Those are the thoughts and beliefs of type "you must (not)", "you should (not)" and thinking of things as wrong without scrutinizing this belief.
So it makes sense. We had to learn it in some way or the other, a young child simply isn't able to question what parents say, be it out of fear of abandonment or simply because the mind hasn't had enough experience to have a basis for evaluation. (seeking confirmation)

I have the impression that all this is quite coherent. On the one hand the mind starts to see the problem with differentiating between self and other, and on the other hand the complex of self-criticism. Self-criticism cannot survive opennes and honesty. And when we open up enough to stop differentiating, we losie the basis for self-judgement. At least in theory. So interestingly self-judgement is based on otherness! That's how we can call suffering the core wound of separation! The deep woundedness is at its core the wound of separation.
It seems to me that we have to go through our personal woundedness before we can discover that without the notion of personal there wouldn't be any woundedness. Curious.

Very interesting how actually all primary emotions can be seen to have a "fundamental version", arising based on the belief in separation. Seen this way, anger, or primal frustration, is a reaction to the sense of being locked in separation.
Similarly, fear is the fear of never being able to escape this separation, sadness or misery is the reaction to this fearfulness, disgust, wanting to escape and frantically re-observing follow.
So I guess I am beginning to non-intellectually understand re-observation as the ultimate fear of space.

sitting, 1hr (20m of noting with the breath, then watching and noting mindstates):

restlessness, boredom, frustration, mind-wandering. No intellectualization.

05/03/22:

sitting, 1hr (20m of noting with the breath, then watching and noting mindstates):

restlessness, boredom, frustration. No intellectualization.
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:53 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/3/22 6:53 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Yes, this is good. This is how the dukka nanas actually "teach" us. The trick is to keep curiousity and investigation and really notice how your mind actually works in real time. Books and philosophies don't really help at the level and speed of the mind itself. Only through directly experiencing the needless suffering that arises due to confusion and reactivity does the mind become unconfused and non-reactive. The way past the dukka nanas is by truly going through it.
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 9:37 AM
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RE: supermonkey's practice log

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04/04/22:

sitting, 1hr, not really using a technique:

A lot of pressure on the third eye and squinting
Back and forth between exerting pressure and letting it be
A short moment where it seemed as if awareness takes my experience as an object, or as if awareness meditates on its contents and eventually on itself
A State of witness consciousness, quickly thwarted by trying to understand it
Feeling wistful, mushy, and a bit restless (the usual restlessness when approaching the end of the sit)
___

After the sit I kept sitting for a while and felt like noting and writing down what's going on. I noted
clarity, brilliance, depth, width, but benevolent and peaceful, OK, sense of wisdom, somewhat mushy, comfortable, dry comfort, horizon-like feeling, benevolence, wistful, friendly, colorful, "nice to have", desire, longing.

During the day I continued to contemplate self-created suffering. In my country we say "making an elefant out of a fly", which google translates to "make a mountain out of a molehill" emoticon I found that quite approriate for my mindstate and a general hallmark of self-created human suffering.

In the evening, against all warnings of my exhausted mind and strained body, I sat down to meditate again.
I ended up sitting for 20 minutes, somewhere between trying to develop samadhi and facing impermanence. After a while I concluded that it's all just thinking and stopped.
After this I was in a surprisingly unified, peaceful and understanding state of mind, very direct, far away from too  much second-guessing (but remaining subtle minor doubt and confusion, though).
It felt like quite the opposite to my sitting experience. This is interesting, it shows that I can be entangled in internal struggle without while actually being at peace overall.
I felt very synchronous with reality, a sense of unity, and almost no split. By split I mean that seemingly stable projection of self into space. It can seem as if some parts of experience are used as a mirror. But it's not clear which parts, and this can cause severe confusion.
It can be debilitatingly uncomfortable to try to force this projection away, even trying to do anything with it. And you can't accept it away! What seems to help is to note "hating, hating", even thought it's tough to believe that this is really going on... Also questioning, doubt and fear seem to be going on when looking at this.

Warning, confused, not properly edited reflection on the phenomenon of self and how it is connected to observation/knowing:

It's weird, contemplating it now as I write this on the next day, this projection gives me a sense of "self being other". Self is projected into space, and... what?! ...self is not-self?!... apparently observed...!? Is this what the mind is trying to tell me? It projects self-ness into space to make me understand that what I thought to be self isn't self? Looks like an interesting idea.
Further contemplation seems to lead straighforward into the "natural state", where it's seen as an illusion that there is somebody knowing something. And this can still gives me some shame, bitterness, and a sense of tragedy.
Hm, that's a weird syllogism. The sense of self/identity being projected into space leads me to thinking that self can be observed. OK. But this then leads me to seeing things as knowing themselves where they are... making "observation" obsolete. Hm. It's a bit like observation neutralizes itself by seeing its own nature.

What is the nature of observation?

If observation is an "illusion" with which the mind can identify and create a sense of self.... how does the experience of a sense of observation fit into the picture?
If everything knows itself where it is, observation must be an add-on. But this add-on also only knows itself... Aha... it pretends to know more than itself. Why is this sense of observation? Is it a self-knowing phenomenon? Damn... It's endlessly frustrating to think about it. The only thing I can say is that observation and self are tied together by the mind. The only answer I can thinkof is that observation is a self-knowing phenomenon that is taken to be self by the mind.
When not collected and taken to be self, the sense of observation can feel like an immaterial mist, lightly and peacefully hovering in-between self and other which can solidify into a sense of attraction or distribute itself into all of phenomena equally... and this movement is still observed... and I stop here. emoticon

05/05/22:

The theme of impermanence seems to develop.

After waking up, during my usual morning coffee routine (yes, there's a cigarette, too), I horribly suffered from trying to attack the felt split in my experience. I have no idea why it's so strong, the only reason I can imagine is that using this wrong intention has to become so unbearable that I stop trying. Now I go about it by noting "hating, doubting".

The outcome of yesterday's contemplation of this sense of split was that I simply don't really know. I can grasp for hints in thoughts, but "I" cannot really know.
I went back to my sleeping room, thought about whether it's better to sit or get some more rest and decided to give in to the mere exhaustion and feeling devastated.
Of course, this morning nap wasn't just a nap, but I was thrown into suffering right away. At some point the answer seemed to be to realize on a direct sensate level that experience is (ultimately) unpredictable. Or you could also say to establish an understanding of impermanence at the speed of mind (as shargrol said). This giving up quickly led to relief, rapture and excitement (1st jhana-ish). I decided to sit up straight, and the mind went into firmly acknowledging impermanence and then switched into appreciating not-self for a while (4th jhana-ish). At some point I fell into pleasant reverie, dreaming of some future ideas, letting that happen.

After this "sit" my experience was twofold: On the one hand open, peaceful, and natural, on the other hand still reflecting and struggling. It could be that this is what Daniel calls "the chunky phase"...

Felt some shame that I didn't do a proper sit.

05/06/22:

If anybody wondered why I am splitting into walk/sit, I am doing an at-home course with Yuttadhammo Bikkhu in the Mahasi Saydaw tradition. My current instructions are 30 minutes of wallking, noting "lifting, moving, placing", followed by 30 minutes of sitting, noting "rising, falling, sitting". I am not sure if it's the right thing to do right now tbh. It's kinda twofold: on the one hand it adds some more sense of responsibility to my striving tendencies, which might be a bit too much, but on the other hand it's grounding to have the ongoing instruction and reporting once a week.

I appreciate his attitude of "everything can and should be noted", which seems to help me pay more attention.

walk (30m, "lifting, moving, placing")/sit (30m, "rising, falling, sitting"):

I tried to begin the session as lightheartedly and easy-minded as possible. Noticing much less struggle, but a certain seriousness and honesty.

walk:

noting went well
Getting more and more the impression that the noting mind is faster than my personal intention to note. This is kinda spooky an takes some getting used to it, but also kinda cool and encouraging.
Got to a second jhana flavor pretty soon. (rapture, feels like slowly moving through a thick cloud, of fine, yellow sun dust)
Then went into cool, open, tranquil 3rd jhana/dissolution territory.
As pleasant as it is to have everything move away to the boundary here, which the gives open, spacy and tranquil feeling, as much did I notice that the mind then begins to tie itself up in trying to get the thoughts back under control. That's probably the fear ñana. And there seems a lot to be learned about fear here. Trying to grasp back at thoughts that seem to promise security, but as I relaize that they can't really be controlled makes up for confusion and helplessness, misery.
But as I noticed it, it wasn't really a problem. More of an "aha" moment, a learning.

There still seems to be a lot of emotional pain which has to processed. It can go very deep, but my intuition is that I have to be able to let it go deeper to reach a point where it is seen clearly and can get better. I sense some doubt here. I really have to be careful not to act out of unacknowledged self-hate here.

I also noticed an interesting flavor of "happysad" and "optimismdoubt". I seem to become better at realizing that it's not a problem that both can be present. I always thought it's very bad that happiness is obscured by doubt, but now I think I can see it more as natural that both can be the case.

sitting:

I am getting better at noticing thoughts about practice, like speculating about how I should practice, remembering advice, planning on how to report, trying to foresee the reaction of the one I am reporting to, and so on.

When these ideas subside a bit, the sit feels pretty dry.
Then there is this phase which literally feels like mini dark night, as I can see some fear, disappointment and frustration come up in quick succession.
Also some drowsy trance can still happen around the early part of this phase.

In the last part of the sit I once fell into pleasant reverie, but noticed it relatively quickly. Can feel a bit harsh to get out of it, because it's so pleasant and good old reality in front of me seems well-known and not interesting.
The sit ended with a subtle sense of discouragement and a lot of speculation before reflection set in.
____

I concluded the session with thinking that it's a good inquiry to ask myself where my mental centre of gravity is right now.

And I'll conclude with a quote of Angelo Dilullo I just heard: "The discomfort is because you are not living in truth when you feel like you're hiding anything from anywhere, because that's not possible. Very strange, right? And it requires a lot of energy to do something that's not possible." From this interview with ZDogg (22:00, Barrier 2: doubt and the standing wave of identity/thought).
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 10:00 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 10:00 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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I also noticed an interesting flavor of "happysad" and "optimismdoubt". I seem to become better at realizing that it's not a problem that both can be present. I always thought it's very bad that happiness is obscured by doubt, but now I think I can see it more as natural that both can be the case.

That's one of the most dharmic things you've posted! 

I vaguely remember Hokai saying something like "enlightenment is bittersweet, like really good chocolate" emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 1:41 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 1:41 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Ahh, *slaps head*, now I know why I'm not enlightened yet, I don't appreciate the taste of dark chocolate!! *goes out to buy some serious 70%er...*

Did you notice the bittersweet taste of that joke?


But this is fun: confidentshy, motivatedfrustrated, freeconstricted, hopefulworried, losestrict, attracterepelled, stupidsmart... emoticon
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 9:39 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 9:38 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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It's actually an interesting question - how do I know that I'm not enlightened yet?

To answer it requires you to conceive of enlightenment as a specific state to be attained in the future. On the other hand, the future is nothing more than a fabrication of the mind in the present. Hmm ...
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 7:51 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/12/22 6:08 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
After reading George's post, a phase of contemplating time, space and self began, and I let formal noting slide quite a bit, but rather watched phenomena creating time and space.

05/07/22:

sitting, 1hr, no technique:


just some keypoints/observations:

  •  fear of annihilation/non-existence, paired with childhood trauma. I experienced how it can feel like annihilation/non-existence for a child when it's not properly recognized/acknowledged by the mother. Fear of abandonment = fear of death.
  • as usual self seen as tangled to thinker, observer, but this time also, with a different binding qualitiy, the inner critique.
  • being a person in time as a view felt narrow and heavy - exhausting
  • thoughts seemingly moving away from the perceiver creates a sense of distance
  • ideas of dropping the sense of time and space altogether
____

comment: it's interesting to see how the interpretation of thoughts as being distant from the perceiver creates a sense of internal volume. When there is less sense of a perceiver, thoughts integrate into the larger field of awareness and become more like external experience. They appear somewhere in space, not inside the body, just roughly where the body is at. And of course there are infinitely many states between a huge bubble of internal world and thoughts integrating into the larger view.
The sense of time moreover is created by internally compressing the appearance of thought into a linear sequence. No wonder the mind does it that way, it's just the obvious approximation. Just an easy internal model.

Remark: remarkable what a powerful force (the rubberband or standing wave of) effort has in proliferating the internal space-time bubble.

05/08/22:

Three equivalences of neurotic and compulsive thinking:

  1. it has to happen instantly <-> it will surely happen some time in the future
  2. not good enough to fulfill a self-set standard <-> have no standard at all
  3. my life depends on this. "This one thing" decides everything <-> nothing matters

05/09/22:

A lot of psychological stuff.

I am getting myself familiar with the feeding your demons technique.

05/11/22:

Very challenging day of re-observation. But it's getting clearer that it's the sense of being torn apart into space that causes all the freak out.
I can chase down reactivity to the fraction of a second level and then realize that on a certain level there seems to be nothing but reactivity.

Feeding your demons technique seems to exacarbate surfacing of trauma and mania. This was the first time I really understood what manic behaviour is and I'm grateful for it.
Intellectually, mania could be understood as a result of avoiding to be confronted with trauma. Could be any trauma.
The reactive mania of re-observation though, seems to be a reaction to the core trauma of being a separate person. The sense of being vulnerable and hurt come along. As I said above, the mind clings to phenomena out of ignorance of the fact that time and space and everything inside are its own creations. The ultimate struggle thus comes from not seeing the sense of being a person in time and space as a mere mind-creation.

When it comes to actual practice, I am getting better at knowing how it actually feels to note things without greed or aversion.

05/12/22:

Feeling a bit better again, less manic.

walk/sit (30m/30m, noting):

Dark Night still gets me struggling from Dissolution onwards: "should I note something? But I can sense no intention... Should I try harder to find intention? Should be possible... Those waves of attention seem to want to move freely... But there are all those densitites, seeming to prevent it... Everything seems to run into a vague nothing..."

After that phase, although the felt inensity was very high, I tried to go for the mindset "the fuller the experience, the lesser the suffering" and tried to experience at the speed of mind, which partly worked.

Had almost no notes without greed or aversion, but I'm surprisingly at ease with the restlessness.
____

short remark: thinking and mental proliferation are not the same thing.
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/16/22 10:54 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/16/22 10:42 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
So I'm not so sure about my elaborations on mind-nature in the last post. It gave me a lot of food for thought. But the process of checking in with these claims seems to do something.

Things I notice in general/off the cushion:

Thoughts about how simple all this actually is, like "the assumption that there is a stable self is not inherently problematic, but the clash with impermanence is. And that's it." Doesn't have to be complicated.

I more frequently notice moments of "just seeing", seeing without a seer, being without a beer (*g*). Seeing without a seer can feel like being transparent to some degree. And that feels very normal and natural - problem-free.

O a good day it seems very clear to me that the mind switches back and forth between third and fourth vipassana jhana. It seems to be like this: after some time in fourth, there is a dive into third to get its energetic information to understand and resolve the remaining conflicts between perceiver and perceived, especially for emotional complications. There seems to be the intention to be kind and help resolve those conflicts, and it's clear that the solution is to see problems as problems without judgement, but it's not yet fully digested. So still some wriggling out movement. It's funny how helpful it was for me to simply read Daniel use this word here.

[...] naturally tracking all the crazy stuff the mind is doing as it tries to wriggle out of Re-Observation, is really helpful. [...]

Practice:

I got new instructions for the at-home noting course. The walking instruction is "lifting heel, lifting, moving placing", and the sitting is "rising, falling, sitting, touching (a point at the right side of pelvis), rising, falling, sitting, touching (left side of the pelvis).

On the one hand it seems like this is an excellent way to really occupy the mind, so that the practice takes almost all of the available bandwidth of attention and I am becoming extremely swift at noting this way.
On the other hand it's quite a workout and I tend to cramp up trying too hard to perform the instructions. Sspecially in the walking part, when I'm not warmed up yet. Teacher says no need for a warm up because I can just note what is hindering the noting, and that it's just "moving the body". But my intuition is that starting with a weaker version like "left, right", then "lifting, moving, placing", could reduce being so tight. Again, on the other hand, it's a good practice to see what actually hinders me from "just moving the body" and directly work with too much ambition. I guess I'll try for a week if I'll losen up, otherwise reconsider.
Being honest, good old ambition just remains to be a problem.

I consider my cutting edge for formal noting practice to be the misery part of the Equanimity ñana. I am regularly ending the sit with a phase of strange trance, flavored with existential fear, followed by a phase of unworthiness and shame, and the work I need to do is to be able to clearly/energetically acknowledge those states. Or at least be aware enough of them not to fall into mindless trance too much.
The difference to the Fear and Misery ñanas seems to be the subtlety. Fear in fear ñana is more direct, like suddenly being shocked, thinking "oh no, later I have to do this and that". Here it's more pervasive but harder to detect, more hidden. Misery in misery ñana is like "oh my god, how could all this ever take a good turn?". Here, again, it's more subtle, pervasive and harder to detect. One sees how the mind-states of unworthiness and shame will make you feel miserable in the long run.
It makes sense that one has to have a baseline of equanimity to be able to deal with those subtle states that are more prone to cause long-term suffering. The direct emotional reactivity which one encounters in the Dark Night just doesn't allow that.

Did more feeding your demons and feel some progress in performing the method. On a serious attempt it takes me a whole hour to go through the steps. It feels like a samatha-vipassana-trauma-work with a surprisingly strong jhanic component. I see some tendency to be so fascinated with the jhanic and magical aspects that I forget to learn the lessons about myself that I am supposed to learn. But as I write this I see an important lesson: don't be so harsh and critical with yourself!
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/17/22 4:44 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/17/22 3:48 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
05/17/22:

This is a copy of the notes I took during the day:

Sense of a better future
Heading towards an unknown, but definitely better upcoming ?
Doubt
trying to find the future only results in investigating the now! Can only be!
expectation is now!
the question is the answer!!!
Knowing vaguesness isn't vague!

things happen, mind/ego interferes with an idea to continue that which already happens, in order to take over control for ego confirmation

Uncertainty <-> Safety --> wisdom
Drivenness <-> calm, safety --> wisdom
Unworthiness <-> Appreciation --> development possible
Stubbornness <-> accept, embrace, let be (important!)
fear, shame unworthiness --> deep defeat

_______

In the morning I did a canot-sleep-anymore-so-let's-sit. Turned out to be a wild gear shifting with emphasis on 2nd gear, i.e. asking inquiry questions, occasional noting (1st gear) and very occasional 3rd gear (nothing to do).

In the afternoon I did a formal noting session. I somewhat surpassed the shame and unworthiness phase and finished in a sense of deeply felt defeat, surrender and acceptance, but still unwilling, didn't feel liberating, rather crushing.

In a video I watched today, Francis Lucille says that the problem isn't not knowing, but that you think you know, and that could fit into the realm of this day quite well, and so I put it here emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/18/22 6:41 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/18/22 6:13 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
05/18/22:

Woke up very early. This time after the recurring nightmare that I didn't finish my thesis but instead did nothing for a long while and now things are getting really tight for me. Existentially tight. I might never be able to finish it, now that I have done nothing for so long. It's amazing how recurring this theme is. Maybe it's trying to tell me something.

Sensing more subtle but pervasive feelings of unworthiness and few self-respect. I am not worthy to feel better(?!). Devastating. But the reason I dug up all those shadowy, deep-rooted beliefs is that I can work with them, see them, understand them, let go of them. Ha! emoticon

walk/sit, (30m/30m):

I continued to walk in the sense of deep defeat in which I ended the sit yesterday. As I was hoping, it had matured a bit, was lighter and actually transformed into a shy but brave sense of sundawn.
I didn't do much but trying to stay with this felt sense.

One insight that came up clearly was that clinging is always clinging to an internal image of reality. Internal imagery is always in motion, but when clung to parts of it, it's as if you put a dense sieve into a flowing river. It still flows, but becomes slow and tight. A teacher of mine used to use the analogy of an electric wire which heats up at a dense spot.
The mind really seems to think that life depends on chosing parts of the mental space as self. It's as if it is trying to take snapshots to make a photo history emoticon ... but it can't really, knows it can't and suffers.
And of course this isn't (inherently) true. Why would life depend on some specific parts of internal imagery and not on others?
This sounds so obvious, but it's pretty hard work to get the mind to really see it.
So yeah, interesting how the mind does it. No need to hate it. Knowing the flaws of the construction helps letting go of it, right!?
____

I sat a second sit shortly after, but as usual when I do this it ended in sleep. I sat in 4th jhana for a while, then had some shifts, but I only knew there was a shift and couldn't match it with experience, then there was a phase of back and forth between expectation and disappointment and at some point I fell into hypnagogia, was shaken awake twice, and eventually fell asleep.

Note: this description sounds very casual. This casualness, to me, as I am writing this, has a flavor of unworthiness and lack of self-love which can be commonly observed in teenagers and young adults.

One thing I noticed is that the mind seems to start to pull thoughts and ideas which try to reach too far into the future back into the body. It's as if it tries to reduce the stressful part of it by bringing it back into an experience in the body. For instance expectation.
On a direct sensate level, it feels like a stuttering movement, where the edgy, far-reaching part of the expectation is pulled back in little slices, arriving at a glowing sensation in the heart which doesn't cause anxiety and restlessness but radiates joyful and welcoming anticipation.
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/21/22 2:37 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 4:58 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Yesterday something noteably changed.

After this sit which ended with defeat becoming surrender and acceptance, and expectation becoming anticipation, I had lunch and listened to an audiobook. While eating I wondered why I feel so ok, if it was due to a mild dose of jogging I gave myself, or something else. After eating I just laid back to enjoy the audiobook, didn't fixate anything and then there was an extremely short jerk in experience, like 1 frame cut or so. I felt a bit puzzled and some adrenaline coming up.

Now, whenever I have a moment of quiet, and this is the most noteable change, I just sit there and breath a long breath with a strong out-breath every 10 seconds or so, like a deep sigh of exhaustion and stimulation. Bittersweet, frustratedoptimistic, bravedefeated, happysad , restlesspatient.

05/20/22:

Felt like I slept relatively well and after waking up I noticed that some thoughts weren't self-related but integrative, systemic, i.e. they tried to see me as included in a larger relation to the rest of the world. The feeling-tone is new and most of all suffering-free.

walk/sit (30/30):

I don't remember much, except that after only a few steps of walking my eyelids began to flicker and I felt excited. It could be a coincidence that I started in A&P.
The overall state was sort of "well...", not really motivated but somehow doing it.
The transition to the sitting part was difficult, I quickly fell into a pretty mindless state. I think the mind needs some rest.
___

After the sit I stood outside quite long and thought about the self; observed how it appears somewhere in the body or in a thought and wants to stay there, even die there. As I write this, I notice that this "wants to die there" has somthing special to it; an underlying urge for re-unification maybe.
Probably I am getting tired of the drama of the ego never finding rest anywhere. And that could also explain the exhaustion and kinda numb but ok feeling I'm sitting in since yesterday.

A few things a wrote on my notebook are:

exhausted, defeated and carefully optimistic
seelf seeks refuge but also doesn't want to be here
forgetful
thoughts about the self
clarity
spacious
dissolve into space
nobody there
intimacy

not different
unspecial

I think it's really important to understand the difference between giving up and surrender. For me, giving up is more like giving up into a depression which results in stagnation or backpedaling, whereas surrender is accepting defeat and making development possible.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 6:18 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 6:18 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 1831 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's common to have momentary hiccups and then hope/wish for it to be Stream Entry and to hope/wish for cycling. This becomes yet another thing that becomes information/fuel for practice -- is our orientation towards a momentary event one of clinging/greed/pride/high ego? or are we using the event to avoid other thoughts/emotions associated with feeling shame/inadequate/low ego? or are we using the event to be indifferent about what is actually occuring in our practice?

There can be a thousand near-misses by the time someone hits SE, so near-misses has the effect that discomfort has in the dark night: it trains us to be much more allowing and accepting. In this case, it is giving up obsessive hope for results and allowing uncertainty to exist without needing an immediate interpretation.

Ironically, when all of the mapping and hoping and "gaming the practice" is exhausted, then really dwelling in EQ without manipulation is possible. It really is the annoying paradox of "you don't get it until you done want or need it" --- that's why the path itself is 99% what really changes people's mind, not the SE at the end of it. SE is a little bit of icing on the cake or as Bill Hamilton said: it's like a basket that makes it easy to carry all the insights that you have already had.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 8:55 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 8:55 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
 Definitely, I think that surrender is very powerful. The awakening process is so much bigger than the ego or rational mind can figure out. The ego/rational mind represents just a small slice of the totality of what is going on in experience.

At one point on the path I found myself praying in an attitude of complete self-surrender. I'm not sure exactly what I was praying to (something like god-consciousness-the universe), but it was enough that it was something inconceivably larger than myself over which I had no control. It had a very powerful impact over the following weeks & months. In a way it's like employing the ego's love of drama and narrative to get it to accept a smaller role in your life! (or rather, to realize it never had the outsized role it thought it did emoticon)
 
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 9:16 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 9:16 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

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Ok, it's good to see that the posts seemed to say "maybe SE" more than I was aware of.
My personal interpretation was a state-shift into deeper equanimity, after having sat through re-observation with minimal avoidance, together with a sort of divine apathy. And this is also a form of gaming.

Maybe it's useful to address these questions to myself:

Is my orientation towards a momentary event one of clinging/greed/pride/high ego?

Yes. And it seems like I have difficulties to fully acknowledge that.

Am I using the event to avoid other thoughts/emotions associated with feeling shame/inadequate/low ego?

Probably, although I think I am advancing in recognizing and accepting these.

Am I using the event to be indifferent about what is actually occuring in my practice?

Not sure. Probably I am using the gaming about what it actually means for my progress as a form of avoidance!

Thank you, shargrol! emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 9:18 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 9:18 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
In a way it's like employing the ego's love of drama and narrative to get it to accept a smaller role in your life! (or rather, to realize it never had the outsized role it thought it did emoticon)
That sounds cool! emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/23/22 12:13 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/23/22 12:07 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
05/20/22:

Seems like the low-frequent, long-in and forceful out-breaths which started on Monday were a forerunner of quite intense Kundalini symptoms.
At the end of my morning sit I noticed how much tension there is building up in my body, especially in the skull, and how I seem to react to them without noticing it. I had the impression that the stuff I was thinking about were projections of my reaction to the physical tension, dependently arising, so to say.
Later I decided to just lay down for a while to let this energy come up, and it did. A lot. Shaking, trembling, etc. Then I read around in George's practice log just to find a passage where he was talking about his Kundalini symptoms, and that he decided that it's best to not give them too much attention, because there is likely an aversion on some level. I found that a very helpful idea and will pursue it.

Yesterday I described a feeding your demons session to a dharma friend, who recommended the practice to me. He said that I was interacting too impatiently and aggressively with the demon, and I found that to be very true, not only for the demon feeding.

During today's dog-walk I had a moment where I felt quite ok although I had planning, gaming and strategizing thoughts. A few moments later I had other thoughts but I felt this annoying tension in the forehead which I usually associate with planning, gaming and strategizing. I thought a bit dramatically: aha! We don't suffer from thoughts but from how much we want them to be true! How much we suffer them to be true.
Isn't it amazing how much we suffer from the need for our plans, hopes and expectations to be true? To be exactly the way we think we need them to be? And I think exactly is exactly the right word here, because that's how we cling. Anything else is death. We don't cling in a "yeah, it would be nice if this and that would be so and so"-way, we cling leaving no option for things to be different than we desire them to be. And  imagine how nice it would be if they were precisely so. The egoic mind is the opposite of an open mind, precisely for that reason. And when the egoic mind has to face the truth of things not being fully predictable it easily falls into wearyness and moaning.

I find it interesting to mention that I have spent the last 2-3 days in a sort of victim mentality, aka depression (animal in 6 realms). And when I realized that today made me think that I almost certainly was in a state of needing superiority (titan in 6 realms) before, for instance when I wrote this blabla about mind nature, which I became to feel so embarassed about that I deleted it today. And today I write stuff about desire (human realm). Interesting. But the most important thing is that I am bragging with my knowledge about 6 realms theory! I just can't help but being honest anymore... emoticon

[addition from next day. Warning, confused psychological thinking ahead. Only read when you're interested in an example for getting on the turning wheel of samsaric thinking.

Yesterday I wrote this thing about bragging and it felt good to be honest about it. Now I think that maybe it's not really clear for the reader that my intention was to brag. So why did I feel like I have to mention it? Because the advertent reader might read it between the lines? Maybe. Probably some shame here.
My interpretation was that I am longing for intellectual respect and thus write something about 6 realms, although I am not even sure if it really fits in the way I am describing it. And it felt a bit wrong to do it.
Well, even if it was my intention to brag with knowledge, and it is a tendency for me to show off a sharp intellect... fuck it! emoticon
But now that this is off the table, I wonder which thought process was really going on, and I guess I tried to see the bragger-coward problem in the bigger picture of titan realm vs animal realm. So I conclude that there was a part of me that hoped somebody would see what I mean and confirm (seeking for affirmation), and maybe not quite understanding my own intention brought me to uncertainty which made me think that I just want to brag... or the bragging could be there to hide the uncertainty. Yeah, probably! Bragging to hide uncertainty. Fight and flight. But, wait…]


Whilst I wrote this I was interrupted by a blip (where everything turns black and seems to contract into a point in about a quarter of a second, and the area at the edges seems to glow white during the contraction. Like turning a TV off). Left me a bit confused and with a mild rapture. Probably an A&P event. Would make sense, because the Kryias in the morning were most likely 3 characteristics. Or it was nothing at all...

05/21/22:

Good sleep. 7 hours yesterday and 7 1/2 hours today. A rare exception since more than a year.

walk/sit:

It felt daunting to do it. I took some courage and did it, just to experience the most possibly traumatizing sit of re-observation I probably ever had.

It had 2 parts. First an intense sense of wrong-feeling, horrible. Lots of debating, trying to understand, seeking relaxation, hope, gaming, uncertainty. Then lots of self-criticism and judgement.
I felt and still feel sick like having a fever, but I'm not sure if it's related.
__

When I more or less got out of this state, I had more insights on how unrelated the content of experience is to how we cling to it. It's interesting, it seems as if thoughts aren't controllable, but clinging is.

Later I tried to do Tilopa's six words of advice. I tried right after reading the instruction, became calm but at the same time felt shame and sadness. Then I said to myself I will do this practice for 10 minutes formally, and then I'm allowed to do whatever I want.
I didn't come into a state of calm, but the mind became vast and started to self-liberate thoughts (resp. thoughts started to self-liberate). I always get this goo-like background-feeling when doing this. So I sit in vast mind, a thought which carries some energetic content contracts awareness into attention, it feels like there is a short digestion of that energetic content, and then the thought whirls up and dissipates into this goo-like material.
Sometimes it feels like there is some aversion.
This vast mind state has at the same time an intimidating and a "too good to be true" quality. More signs of my seeming unworthiness! But I know that in this vast space of awareness there is love and compassion for the unworthiness. It’s beyond words to say how I know that.

I still have a strong tendency to analyse, theorize and categorize, but I don't consider it as problem per se, because I want to stop overly judging myself. And after all it can be fun to do it. Again, intention decides how I feel about it!

Phew, this is quite a ride, having so much aversion and ambition coming to the forefront!!

05/22/22:

No formal practice, only doing a little bit of Mahamudra while laying in bed. At some point, after a lot of practicing thoughts,  I honestly admitted to myself that I’m fed up with the practice. This felt very honest, good and satisfying and I started to feel sane and present. Since I was really tired, I lay down again for a while. I felt very blissful and had some energetic releases (body twitches) and I think there was a near miss moment where my entire vision was washed over by a black curtain for an instant.

Went on a small festival in the afternoon and allowed myself to drink a beer.

05/23/22:

I begin to like the idea of doing something intentionally for 10-20 minutes and then see what happens. Actually it’s a rediscover, been there for quite a while. But now I feel like I have more options, I can switch gears more effectively.

Sit, 50 minutes, starting with intention to seriously do shamatha for 10 minutes and then see.:

mind jumble, thoughts about previous happenings of the day and day before
settling
body shakes, arms flap, energetic
weirdly difficult to note, „no traction“, far away, overall pleasant
Immersed in spacey environment, occasional noting
concentration becoming good, staying with a decent visual nimitta, trying to be with its 3 characteristics
coming out of being submerged, opening eyes
strong tension in the body together with very fast noting and noticing
short phase of energetic muscle contraction (clenching fists), strangely rapturous
reflecting, planning, tracking, analyzing, commenting, expectation appear in space around the body. The recognition is effortless. The analyzing and tracking felt slightly annoying, though.

____

Felt quite satisfied after the sit. Kept mapping and strategizing but was well aware of it. Felt stimulating.

At some point during my dogwalk I began to philosophize that there is a strong connection between Dissolution and the emptyness jhana. I have no idea how I really know that because I’ve never solidly been in the 7th jhana. But I’m sure it’s true. Ten minutes later I think I further fell into very light formless jhanas, first feeling-thinking that ego is always an observed process and that it must always have been like that, and then feeling-thinking that my true nature is neither formless nor not formless. And then I didn’t know what’s next. emoticon I remembered that there is a so-called post-8th-junction point, but that if I’m there, I’m probably too lightly there, and I thought about the Buddha waking people up by pointing towards the 8th jhana by seeing it as a conditioned state, and then I thought that I seem to be gaming, but it felt unnecessary strict to call it like that. Then I thought that about what the actual difference between my true nature and samsara is, form being just a contraction of a part of true nature…. Well, kinda entertaining.

I really appreciate that I am learning to harness the power of honesty.

List of things I want to work on:

Becoming clearer about intentions
Continue to be aware of gaming, predicting, strategizing
Not turn self-hate into more self-hate
Try to not be so strict about mistakes the mind makes
Learn more about 6 realms
Losing myself in theorizing a bit less.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/24/22 4:24 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/24/22 4:24 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The key to realms is identifying which kind of emotional reaction (or “element”) causes the realm to arise. It’s like turning a more detailed lens on the second half of dependent origination, where the elements are different flavors of craving which get solidified through craving into “rebirth” in a different kind of realm or mental state.

Here’s a summary of the 5 kinds of element:

https://aroencyclopaedia.org/shared/text/e/emotions_ar_eng.php

Earth: craving for solidity or power, as a reaction to feeling insignificant or worthless
Water: trying to disperse energy through aggression or evasiveness, as a response to feeling threatened
Fire: trying to intensify experience (“consuming”), in response to feeling separate or lonely
Air: frenetic activity as a response to feeling anxious
Space: spacing out (incapacity, dullness) as a response to feeling overwhelmed

In theory any one of the 5 elements can get you born into any one of the 6 realms, but in practice certain combinations are more common for different kinds of people. So for example titan realm (competition) might arise as a result of earth element (wanting to feel more powerful), but you could also get born into titan realm through water (using anger as fuel). Other common patterns are fire -> hungry ghost, water -> hot hell, space -> cold hell (depression)

There are no hard and fast rules, it’s more like a framework for studying your own emotional reactions. The elements are harder to identify than the realms, because the reaction happens very quickly (< 1 second) and before you know it you are in the realm. When I was practicing this, I would take a reactive incident from each day and meditate on it, replaying it in my mind and watching how the emotional reaction in the body leads to the realm/mental state arising. If you keep doing that and relaxing into the process, you find the element starts to “liberate”, where the emotional reaction passes more quickly through the body without the clinging which solidifies it into a realm. Once you start to notice the reactions in real time then they can liberate on the spot because you have practiced it beforehand!

There are more details and exercises to practice in the book Wake Up To Your Life (chapters 5 & 6 IIRC). It’s important not to over-theorize it, but really practice it to develop a felt sense of how it works for you.
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supermonkey :), modified 4 Months ago at 5/28/22 12:03 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/28/22 11:52 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
I think I accidentally used the wrong dates in my notebook and I'm only certain from 05/26 on, so the sits and intermittent blabla will have no dates until 05/26/22.

sit, 1h:

Despite a lot of fantasy about what's going, I just noted
unconscious, frustrated, undifferentiated, unmotivated, no trust
afterwards.
(and I recommend to everyone to do this short journaling afterwards, because it often gives a lot of information about things you didn't realize during the sit).
___

I also noted that I might be hung up on too many details and maybe that's not called for anymore.

I noticed that since a few days I am uncommonly strongly bound to the thought stream, which made me quite depressed, or was a sympton of that. In some of my sits I began to investigate this obtrusive stream of thoughts. Maybe it was the sit above, I don't remember. One thing I noticed was the mind's tendency to make the thought stream continuous (there is an interesting exercise suggestion in Burbea's seeing that frees, called "joining the dots" which I tried a bit quite some time ago). When you take a closer look, you see that there is so much variety in the content of the stream (thoughts, urges and emotions), different chunks pulling into different directions, having different needs. And I realized that it’s obviously arduous to hold that all together into one (seemingly) individual stream.

During the dogwalk I then came up with a new analogy for the mind:

Imagine a few horses, tied to a manned carriage. Now imagine that there are a few objects or persons scattered around the road, and each horse is interested in one of these. The horses will try to reach out to them, but you, as the charioteer, think that you have to keep all horses in line, and use brute force to do that, because you are convinced that this is the right thing to do. This is dukkha. It would be much easier to let a bit lose and let the horses do their thing and trust them.

Comment: it seems to me that the early stages of practice as in early TMI go into the direction of "taming the horses", i.e. convincing the horses that it's better to be in line and pull the wagon together and thus achieve unification. But this doesn't seem to work in later stages (3rd jhana). Here, you must be able to allow the horses to do their thing as they desire it.

Now when you realize that it's the right thing to do to let those horses play their game, because you aren't really in control anyway, there is a plot twist: you are not even in control of yourself! You are a horse yourself!

Comment: this is the most difficult part. It's the transition from third jhana territory to fourth jhana territory, and it's the true nature of equanimity - beyond psychology. True equanimity includes equanimity with your role as just another horse (I think this is more or less coherent with Kenneth Folk's analogy of chicken herding where you eventually have to become part of the flock).

I found that it should be possible to take the distinct sense of not being in control of yourself, resp. being another horse, as a meditation object.

sit, 30m:

started with no intention
found 6 words as an entrance and then the sense of being a horse
I sat in slack posture and let the head roll to the side
there was a very neutral sensation located at a "hole in the head", crown chakra, I guess, and a huge blue/white spot (visual nimitta) right in front of my eyes.
The screen was kinda split - below the neutral feeling and the nimitta I could sense some mild ill-will and tried to investigate, basically by acknowledging it.

next day:

sit, ~1 hr, basically doing nothing:

Spent ~30 minutes with the depressive thought stream
Weltschmerz
clear insight: wanting to get up is a trick of the mind. I could very clearly see the whole sequence of how the mind imagines myself walking down the stairs and go outside to smoke a cigarette.
comment: ...and it's becoming able to see such a sequence/imagined event-stream as a whole, what makes it possible not to get seduced by it anymore!
After the sit it also appeared to me that the urge to determine the end of the sit by grumpily pushing the timer button has something comical.

So I didn't follow the urge to quit, slightly amused by my finding, just to encounter why the mind wanted to quit. I discovered that there is a voice inside myself which clearly says "No. That's the end of the road for you. Not debatable."
This was an encounter of unknown clarity and intensity.
___

After the sit I noted: longterm purification: thought is an opinion about what is happening. There is a misunderstanding in the mind that it must change thoughts. It's position is rather acknowledgement or collecting information from the thoughts. The source of all this is somewhere else, much closer to the body!

The encountered blockage made me pretty restless and gamey.

I had a very nice morning session studying 6 realms. The chapter in Wake Up To Your Life is really good. Psychologically it all makes so much sense from past experience, but I can also feel into it pretty well and pretty fast on the spot now.

05/26/22:

Also today everything has this unknown intensity. The neurosis, the debating, the tracking, the no-self, the confusion, everything.
As usual, I encountered the emotional pain, the ideas on how to deal with it, the remembering of methods, the partially being able to be with it, the resulting numbness after such strong emotional experiences, the getting better, the finding new ways of coping, but it all seems to have a much more automatic, visceral knowing that conducts all this, and the delay to the becoming aware of  that fact seems to become much shorter.

Today's morning topic was agenda. I didn't even sit but had the idea to investigate the sense of  agenda which, when you look very closely, is directly related to the sense of me. I was drawn to do something with the body and just lifted a dumbbell, holding it isometrically in a way which made me not think about what I'm doing (true-selfish). I had the idea that it could be a good idea to countercheck situations where I feel most like myself (like when holding a weight and have no further thoughts) against situations when that's not the case. It seems that this sense of agenda plays a huge role here. Very speculatively one might say that the mind trains itself to be in conformity that way. Checking what it takes to be "myself".

When I found that this is a weird game I'm playing I watched a video of Angelo Dilullo and, after some debating whether that's a good idea, I went to bed again.

05/27/22:

Morning sit went very normal. Just sat the hour.

05/28/22:

Not much sleep, as usual.

sit, ~1hr:

tried to go back to the assigned practice of the course, doing "rising, falling, sitting, touching". It went quite well. Mind very silent. Could also see ñanas and jhanas rising and falling.
_____

Still tendency to try to hard. Something to work on.
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supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 7/13/22 2:12 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 7/13/22 2:25 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Here's a quick summary of what happened during the last weeks.

I started to notice a similar pattern: At a certain point, whether in meditation or when napping, I realize that all I do is trying to cope/fight with experience; upon noticing I give it up, enter into a sweet-feeling and friendly space of self-knowing thoughts just flying by - and then I get absorbed into one of them, forget everything but this one, strangely attractive thought and then there is a click moment and reality restarts clean and direct in a way I have never seen before. At first I was very sceptical if I'm not talking myself into something, but on the morning of May, 28 it became very clear that this is exactly what happens.
The afterglow is characterized by

a mild feeling of surprise
emerging rapture
whereas before, breathing was basically absent/not noticed and/or very shallow, the breathing pattern distinctly resets and changes to a slow and steady pattern
feeling of having woken up
a very, very special and intimate sensation in the guts, not to be found in any other circumstance
A high sense of stimulation around the temples
A sense of infusion
High visual clarity
The sense of "no-self" is very distinct for a while
Satisfaction
„soft knees“
The sense of being without a real purpose (can be)

The entrances varied and the build-up is not always experienced clearly. Actually most of the time it isn't, can be totally unexpected. Even the afterglow can seem to vary with the entrance to some degree, but not as much as the entrance itself. Now, after about 100+ of these, the effect is milder but I am beginning to digest what is actually happening on a non-discursive level. In general, the body seems to need to adapt to all these new aspects of reality which the mind is now able to experience, like going to jhana after uttering 2,3 metta phrases, like what seems to be cessation, and the strong emotional intensity.

I went through a phase of high intensity sits where I seem to have reviewed the past insight territory energetically. Even when intending otherwise, there always arose a progress of insight, and depending on conditions, there was (what seems to be) cessation. Often I had to forget about the practice entirely, even meaning getting up to do something else, and then it would happen. It felt challenging to sit until it happened, because of expectation. I think this could be some desire for deliverance that kicked me out/made me get up - or just impatience. Now cessations mostly happen spontaneously and I often wonder "aha, where did that come from? I had no idea that I'm going through a progress of insight". But the afterglow is clear - a mild, cleared feeling, a specific silence and a change in breathing.

Now it seems like there is some digesting, but having such an opened mind and at the same time seeing clearer and clearer where there is still holding on is very confusing and feels challenging. Also pressing psychological stuff, trauma release and sometimes not really knowing what to do with all the insight is quite a challenge. Maybe this is the biggest challenge - being confused. Maybe.

I kept practicing regularly, mostly going through review cycles, until I got Corona, which made me stop for about a week. I seemed to be touching 3 characteristics/early A&P territory pretty soon, as my body swang, shook and swayed a lot and I started to see blue chrystals again.

One of the most frequent insight experience I had quite early on is about how the sense of a me, or as I tend to call it, I-consciousness, arises. The punchline seems to be that I-consciousness arises together with something that is very generally considered a problem or task. Unresolved psychological/emotional issues seem to make up for much more I. So I think what meditation can do is provide a vaster space of awareness in which such knots can unfold into (so that the mind doesn't think it is the issue and therefore can start to resolve it). Probably that's why there is so much emotional release.

The most frequent daily-life contemplation the mind did, also quite early on, is seeing different views as equivalent.

I tried to do some IFS work and I'm not yet sure if it's a good method for me, but I think this will be clearer after a few weeks of experiment. The notion of "parts" can be a bit confusing.

I found a very interesting title, "It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle" by Mark Wollyn. It explains very comprehensibly how Trauma is inherited over up to 3 generations and gives examples of people that were endlessly looking for solutions for mental issues until they discovered that they have inherited trauma and worked specifically with that. Very interesting.

I'm not quite sure what is the right sitting practice but most important seems a balance between practice and not practice.
I'm doing a mix of the assigned practice of the on-going at-home course in Mahasi noting in the Ajahn Tong tradition, just sit, sometimes jhana practice and the IFS sessions. Probably too much.

07/13/22:

I started reading Sharon Salzbergs "Loving Kindness - The Revolutionary Art of Happiness" and I feel like it helps me with understanding my intentions.

Each morning there is a lot of strong emotional content - fear, anger, shame, worry. A lot of fear. Not sure if this is rewiring of the body, as shargrol says here.  

I am trying to finish the at-home course with Yuttadhammo Bikkhu, which means an hour a day of 30 minutes walking and 30 minutes sitting. It's going ok, the usual ups and downs. Sometimes I have to push myself a bit, sometimes I have to take care that I don't push myself too much.

It seems like this part of the path really is about how we relate to emotions and views, self- and worldviews.

In practice I notice that I can take it a bit easier and that it's not making for worse results. On the contrary. If the mind needs to think, it needs to think, if it needs to find relieve in trance/jhana, that's what needs to happen. The only problem I have is that when it happens, it's pretty difficult to get back to noting as before. I'd be happy for some advice here.

After I'll finish in approximately a month I'll maybe do a retreat. Just not sure what. Daniel advocates Fire Kasina, but that could a bit too wild. Maybe Metta would be interesting. I don't know. Most important is that I don't make it more of a chore than necessary.
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supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 7/14/22 12:59 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 7/14/22 12:59 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
07/14/22:

Was amused by how a simple statement like "your suffering is my suffering" accurately describes the equivalence of duality, non-duality and compassion on a directly felt level. It also explains that true non-duality is a "(healthy) transcendence" of duality (which leads to compassion).

Practice is challenging, I have to persuade myself to do it. But as usual, in today's session I find that it apparently was a sign that more greed, aversion delusion are waiting to be uncovered, as it usually is. And so it's rewarding to do it.
The practice itself is going ok, it's just that the mind doesn't really want to do it because of the awaiting discoveries, or so emoticon It somewhat reminds me that I have once read Mahasi Sayadaw saying that there's always a phase where it doesn't feel like it's going ok, but it is, and a phase where it's going ok and it feels like it's going ok. This seems to be of the first type.

My day is pervaded by sadness, fear, anger, worry and impatience. I try to work with it as best as I can.
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supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 7/17/22 11:52 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 7/17/22 11:20 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
07/15/22:

Pretty hosed, mind does what it wants, I don't really care. Lots of insights pass by, can't hold them.

Wrote this after sitting:

1) When I go out of the way, the mind does what it wants or needs to do. It's talking to itself. Discursive thinking - it's contained in a larger space of knowing. How is it known? No (intellectual) answer. Duality is contained in non-duality. One mind? Many minds? Many mind moments.

Who or what is when going out of the way - based on what? Who knows? What knows? What cares?

2) What appears is good. Is wanting the best (for me). Is already the best it can be. It can't be otherwise. Inconceivable.

3) Negated twice isn't really the same as affirmed. It's a mind movement. It's a gateway.


Afternoon pervaded by misery. Noted it, felt it, read the stories (in the head). Feels like I am being too analytical. Writing a "list of symptoms" can be helpful, though.

07/16/22:

Practice still very difficult. Didn't finish the walking, sat down to sit earlier.

Investigated some ill-will during the day. Felt like it's a very good practice to ask myself (non-verbally) what exactly I dislike and where the disliking is.

Been contemplating a bit more about the nature of duality vs= non-duality. Felt like I had good thoughts and understandings. As usual those tend to be forgotten quickly. But what remains is the idea, and the idea isn't verbally expressable anyway.

On-going re-wiring (eye-squeezing, body twisting), almost as soon as I have some quite it starts. I have a felt sense that this re-wiring can come to an end at some point. It's about time, the disruptiveness of the intense eye-squeezing can be annoying. I try to investigate the annyoing in it. Not sure if this is helpful, though.

07/17/22:

Been touching on Equanimity. Felt like thoughts are about to open up into space but there is more things do understand first. Quite surprised to see it.

Thinking-feeling more about duality not really being duality. One aspect is expansion and contraction. For instance ill-will. Ill-will is a contraction, a sense of closedness. And every closedness is embedded or known in an openness. But every openness has a closedness aspect (and if it's boundless space, the closedness aspect is the perceiver), and this hints to there being no real difference between expansion and contraction.

There is some agitation and wanting for an ungettable rest and relieve. Trying to acknowledge that. Writing this log helps a bit. The usual question comes up: why is it not ok/enough now? Why is good usually thought of being later? Or, what if good enough was already now in this moment? Invetigating it brings settledness and harmony but also a kind of disappointment. As in then all my struggles would be in vain - and this can't be. Interesting.
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supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 7/18/22 10:53 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 7/18/22 10:53 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
07/18/22:

It’s one of these days where I couldn’t get clear about my intention for the sit. Honestly, I think the mind just wanted to sleep. Not really awake. Struggling with thoughts. Not believing them but not able to let them be either. Wanting calm but not getting it. Ambitious but lazy. A confused try to get things in order, to be pleasant, to my idea of how it should be - manageable. If not under control then at least under supervision.
Better not decide before doing something wrong. Quarreling.

I feel a lot of adrenaline and impatience. Looks like classical depression.
Feels like I need a handle, something stable to focus on.
Craving for concentration/stability. Feeling like things need to slow down but inability to do so makes me more and more restless. Feel hurt.

This trying to control and failing with a lot of insight could be classical dark night. Could be just seeing my own ongoing quarreling. Could be that that’s what the dark night is about.

On a 1 hour dogwalk I decided to note something on each 8th step. That worked ok. Noted mostly "problematic" stuff like strong emotions, worry, criticism, strong sense of suppressing... Found that it's a major issue that I'm too critical with myself. Actually I'm being too critical and somewhat sloppy at the same time.

What makes me really confident is that at the end of the hour I did come to Equanimity ñana, which was totally unexpected. Openness, quiet, panomaric view, ease, peace, subtlety, thoughts knowing themselves, no clinging to them, they vanish upon being seen...

So I'm quite optimistic that the right amount of solid practice continues to be the right thing to do. Feeling grateful for that.
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supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 8/1/22 12:55 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 8/1/22 12:48 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
07/19/22:

walk/sit felt exhausting, had a period of my whole body itching, then a period with very good concentration, and at the end a lot of body shaking/arms flapping.

In the evening I tried an IFS exercise called "the path". You imagine that you stand at the beginning of a path. You ask yourself/your parts whether you/they are ready to take it. I visualized standing at the beginning of a path leading behind a mountain, and immediately felt that I couldn't start, that there was something hindering me. I contemplated which parts of me might not allow it, what made me hesitate. I found that there was a lot of skepticism. It was a huge revelation to see how much see so much previously unseen skepticism.
Following some instinct I looked up the hindrances and immediately found that that's of course the hindrances of worry and doubt. Really eye-opening, but what do you do about that revelation?

07/20/22:

During my morning coffee I started to think about time and causality at some point. I got the feeling that in direct experience causality isn’t as clearly delineated as in my interpretation of it. That means that cause and effect seem to apply to experience only „after the fact“, whereas experience seemed to be more like one undifferentiated stream. Neither one nor many seemed a good description. That lead me to the conclusion that causality is a mind-construct. Arbitrary. And also time. Original experience has no time and causality. It’s as if there is no such thing as linear succession with (clear) cause and effect, it's more like a togetherness/oneness. Then a part of me got sent back to the A&P and I kept having thoughts about practice („what does it mean to be sent back to the A&P…).

In the walk/sit I had phases of good centering, phases with a lot of thinking and worry.

More generally, practice mostly feels like I am learning to be with experiences the right amount of time. In particular not switching attention too early resp. actively ignore things. That makes me see more how I am trying to extend experiences, have desire for more or ill-will against other experiences.
It's like trying to achieve a kind of centering that leaves no traces. It makes me think that this might be a bit idealized, but it feels like when I ignore an emotion too early it leaves a trace of ill-will in the body, like I should have given more attention. And when I somewhat forcefully try to extend an experience it leaves a trace of unfulfilled desire. But actually I sense more ill-will then desire in that.

More observations are that I am getting better at acknowledging when I'm reading my own behavior in my opinion about others. That's really helpful.
Moreover it's so painful to have resentful thoughts! It's dissociation at its best. Hate is a trance!!!

07/21/22 - 07/22/22:

In formal practice I am seeing a re-occurring pattern that seems to come up a little bit earlier each time. At some point my whole body begins to itch for a while. It's not really unpleasant, but a bit confusing. The following state is a bit difficult to describe. It has something of strong and poor concentration at the same time. I feel centered and loose.

All in all this phase feels very similar to a few months ago, where I had to sit with this slightly uncomfortable sense of presence and not really knowing what to do. Also a lot of „micro-phenomena“ re-occur. Like almost nodding off and getting shook awake or the strange phase where thoughts appear very distinctly one after the other in a sort of stuttering way, and with each thought there is a strong sense of identification. I would call that Equanimity - Re-Observation (the Re-Observation substage of Equanimity), but it could be the other way around or something entirely different.

Practice isn't difficult and I'm quite motivated, which makes me think I was right about assuming that it's like Mahasi said - going through a phase where it feels like it's not going well but it is, followed by a phase were it feels like and is going well.

I practiced to be directly with emotions for a while now and I start to see some things, in particular that at the very point of contact there really is no I (and no suffering!!), followed by some sort of interpretation, causal connections, and only then appears the sense of I, together with mental proliferation which eventually causes discomfort.

In my interaction with other people I more and more discover how much I project psychological things. It's almost shocking and though revealing, not always easy to admit. It often happens that I think a lot about how another person is or thinks and only after quite some time I find that there was a lot of projection again. But that’s actually very good to know.

07/23/22 - 07/25/22:

I was very emotionally volatile for about 3 days. Since yesterday (24th) there is much less emotional material. I think it’s stuff that was always there, triggered by the usual events, but I was more aware of it. Especially a sense of guilt was predominant.

My perception of reality seems to shift quite a bit. My direct perception of what’s going on feels more and more embedded and integrated. In particular, what I think seems to matter much less in the bigger picture than I thought it would. Today (25th) I had a particularly shocking encounter that there are many more internal mechanisms that are still taken to be self - which I wasn’t aware of at all. Somewhere in the back of the head, some „hidden control center“. Really, it has mostly to do with a sense of managing, watching and pulling the strings. These encounters have a long-term relieving effect I’d say. So partially shocking, but there is a knowing that it can’t be another way. This knowing feels quite solid actually, somewhat mighty and ever-present.

The noting walks/sits have a similar pattern. Concentration builds, body begins to itch, some phases of absorption, in the end I let lose quite a bit and just sit.

I am mixing in a bit of jhana practice, I find it interesting to investigate the hindrances now. Almost more interesting than the jhanic states themselves at times. It can happen that I sit and one hindrance after the other shows up, I note or notice them, and then I somewhat lose interest. emoticon

I think when the noting course is over I will shift a bit more to concentration practice, together with investigating the hindrances. At least that’s what I think now. You never really now.

A major thing to learn is to not stupidly try to make experience amazing and rapturous by force but be ok with a wider, more peaceful, aerial view (balance)

07/26/22 - 07/28/22:

understanding the hindrances, noting difficult, more with direct experience, reviewing, „god-mind“

07/30/22:

Blocked, strong sadness, crying tendency
long absorbed thinking phases
Misery insights
Some disgust

Strong preference for absorption as opposed to momentary vipassana observation.

Feels like noting is very applicable in an A&P review. In DN review it’s more being with the upcoming emotions. In EQ review it’s more looseness, enjoyment of the naturality and curiosity.

Where I am hypothesis: middle DN of 3 characteristics (of 2nd path) pending into early A&P (of 2nd path).

No skin!

07/31/22 - 08/01/22:

Seems like I moved a bit towards the end of 3 characteristics ñana, because now practice feels like a mix of re-observation and A&P. I got thrown off practice early today (08/01), but I managed to focus for a while afterwards and I found the usual signs of re-observation, but with a lot of subtlety and more clarity on what is coming up. 

The worst thing that can happen in re-observation is that it seems so clear that it is, always has been, and always will be all of your experience.
The trick seems to be a mind-state of acknowledging that at some level you are helpless and vanish into the void, because it’s true to some degree. Just not all of you. The mind returning to its natural state involves tearing apart a self-center and that isn't a nice experience. But it’s not death, its (re-)evolution. And it’s not the thinking mind that has to come to terms with it, even if we so badly wish it to be so easy. And it’s tricky: we have a very high awareness of problems but we better not dare to try to solve them on the spot by thinking things right. Because that hurts, too.
This stage is so difficult without the right attitude…

A little sum up: new depth of emotional intensity, not necessarily easier but more aware, psychological insights, new sensations (whole body itching), new subtlety of insights, investigating hindrances becomes more accessible

I think I should remember to go with "slow is fast".

Note to myself: careful with mapping, get better structure on log
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 9:53 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 9:41 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
This is getting way too long, so I'll post it now. I am ware that my notes aren't very relatable and it's probably hard to comment, but recently I don't have the energy to write it differently. Towards the end it's mostly keypoints, much less rambling.

My personal opinion on the recent development is that I experienced the early ñanas (of 2nd path) alongside Review and just when Review was over the next A&P set in, almost seamlessly and now I'm already in the late part of the next Dark Night.


08/02/22:

Practice much easier than yesterday. Still some agitation, but I also notice the typical yawney-tired ok-ness of early equanimity. Also lots of insights happening.  

I did my regular 30m walk, then 30m sit. In the sitting part I often hesitate to note „sitting“ after „rising, falling“, it often feels edgy. Today I tried to note „ill-will“ until the „sitting“ didn’t feel edgy anymore. In a way, as I write this, it seems like I fought ill-will with ill-will, but at that time it gave me the impression that I could probably figure out what’s causing the ill-will over time. Maybe it’s trying to tell me to slow down and/or be less impatient. It does feel a bit forced usually.

I found out more about the functional nature of fear. It really serves as a pointer for the body-mind. The individual can take it as personal („I am in fear“), but that’s not what the fear is there for. It’s more like a visceral navigating mechanism.

I glimpsed into the insight that „now“ and „the future“ are the same thing, not separable. This is hard to impossible to understand rationally (because the thinking mind cannot undermine itself) but viscerally it’s very clear that there is no actual distance between a thought about the future (image, plan, fear) and that same future. This insight feels like something is collapsing. Collapsing distance, so to say.

So these insights really seem to come from „the source“, an undifferentiated so-being which contains all the wisdom. And the way to get to the source seems to be to have less ill-will against its sprouts, so to say. But as I understand all of this, eventually one has to let go of the idea of „a source“, too.

08/03/22:

Nothing really special. Too much ambition as usual - avoidance in disguise. Ambitious but lazy - the classical case of avoidance.
In my second sit I very energetically sat to low EQ, back to A&P, quickly up again to a short moment of high EQ. It seems to fit with insights of past and future type.

Sometimes the mind seems to replace or outsource direct experience with thoughts about „the future“ or „the past“.
For instance when I imagine telling my teacher that I was bored during a sit, I guess that I am actually bored in that moment and the mind is, for what reason soever, extrapolating that into the future. Ok, this is just a complicated description of a planning thought, lol, but the crucial part is to which extent you believe that this future actually exists or if you can acknowledge that it is just planning (and/or boredom) as an experience right now.

Some thoughts on the functionality of the dark night ñanas:

Dissolution wants you to slow down
Fear wants you to be careful
Misery wants you to reconsider
Disgust wants you to keep a healthy distance to your experience
Desire for deliverance teaches you patience
Re-Observation tells you to stop trying to fight or argue with your experience. „Don’t bang your head against the wall more than necessary“.

Random notes and rambling:

All of these have a visceral and a psychological aspect, i.e. a direct, timeless part that serves to navigate directly and a version with time and self. Visceral fear is a short-term navigating function in the body. Psychological fear is a preparation function, telling you to be careful in a very direct, pre-verbal way.
Not sure what visceral misery is, but I guess it’s the soothing aspect which is important. Psychological misery is also some sort of preparation function, telling you that something could make you said.
Both visceral and psychological disgust are there to keep a healthy distance.
Crucial: problems arise when we don’t realize the purpose of emotions to navigate the body-mind and start to create and eventually feel lost in personal drama.

„I am unable to relax my breath“  <-> „Breathing is tight“
„I am unable to control my thoughts, although I should be“ <->  „Thinking feels edgy“

Typical reactions to re-observation on a psychological level in decreasing intensity would be:

I hate my experience  (without even knowing it)
I should better stop fighting my experience, that makes no sense
I can't actually fight my experience, unfortunately I forgot
I can watch the mind arguing with itself. Unfortunately there seems to be conflicting mind-content. With some patience it might even resolve itself  Things are basically ok. There seems to be a problem somewhere, maybe I should give attention to it at some point, it could be important

Typical reactions to re-observation on a direct experience level in decreasing intensity would be:

I die
My sense of self evaporates and there seems to be no ground to hold on. It makes me feel like I am being torn apart and this pulls all my triggers
Apparently the mind is making a move from a stable sense of self into its contributing parts. It  makes me feel like I am being torn apart because I am still attached to this stable sense of self to some degree. Interesting.
Wow! Everything feels only nasty. Probably not for very long.

08/04/22:

I think I was correct assuming that I was in the re-observation subñana of the three characteristics because I seem to have crossed an insight border with an A&P event. A lot of new states and stages show themselves.

In a second, very intense sitting yesterday, I quickly went through all of Equanimity up until High Equanimity - getting lost in one specific thought, and I recognized it before there was fruition. Later in the evening I casually scrolled through my youtube recommendations and an (what I think of as an) impermanence fruition happened (where reality goes d-d-d and resets). I felt a recognizable change in perception. There was a very deep silence, together with the sense that things in front of me are shining with a special knowing. Almost like a secret and they were telling it to me. The secret was that everything already knows itself and so there is no actual secret.

Today I can see how the perception of things knowing themselves progresses and I do feel like my depression attenuated quite a bit. I can’t really say why and there is no immediate change in behaviour, but something tells me that something has lifted and there is a particular sense of completion. I can more easily attune to the inner smile of things.
I can’t remember when I felt less compelled to do the walk/sit than today. I just did it anyway, kinda interested to see how it is to do it without feeling compelled to do it.
Acknowledging the walking steps felt very, very easy and after a few minutes (what I think of as) a fruition (and I am not going to repeat that caveat) occurred. The rest of the session was rather unspectacular. I found more evidence that the hesitation to note „sitting“ after „falling“ could be a sign that the mind wants to acknowledge something else first, go slower or have some rest. Another idea is that the switch from observing a moving to a resting phenomenon is not really something that the mind likes to do, gets it confused.

After the session there were 2 more (what I think of as) fruitions, the second one quickly after the first, and the afterglow of that one went really deep. Intensity was like being hit by a hammer, a rather well-wishing, deep ingrainment, followed by a big fat grin and a sense of satisfaction.

I am not sure, but the afterglows of the fruition yesterday evening and the strong one today just felt deeper than those of 2 months ago and the self-knowing, restful part of experience has become much more accessible. Not spectacular. Very knowing and silent.

08/05/22:

I don’t feel like my depression attenuated anymore, it rather feels like I am much closer to it - which, in a way, is going into the same direction when you think about it.

Observations:

The mind tunes into the self-knowing and self-doing aspect of reality on a regular basis. Sometimes there is a vast, pervasive silence surrounding that.

A clear seeing of how the sense of an observer/doer/thinker is put on top of experience, whereas in original experience, everything is where it is, knows itself, doesn’t need to be observed and perfectly works on a basis of what I’d conceptually call energetic triggers.

Accordingly the mind develops a really high sensitivity to how body and mind are connected on an immediate level - how thoughts make the body move and how action makes the mind move. This is more like an „aha“ kind of understanding, it’s very direct.

Increasingly often, for instance when I look at my hand, experience is rendered very differently than before. It appears as if there are these two things, hand and head and in the head there is a (somewhat damaged) sense of reference/I-ness.

All of this is both freeing and scary.

I really would like to return to practicing in a way that makes me feel comfortable that I have the ability to do the basics well, instead of interpreting everything in terms of what it means regarding progress. Because that isn’t satisfactory, even though it seems to be so. In a way, the mind goes into interpretation-mode when it’s tired of doing simple noting. It just feels so much more interesting and rewarding!

08/08/22:

It’s very clear to me now that not only have I unlocked a whole variety of new pleasant insights but also unpleasant territory opens up. That, for the most part, means that I get a more direct look at my neurosises. The luminosity and peace are mostly gone now. Instead I experience doubt and confusion, unwillingness to stay longer with something and restlessness.
A glimpse and a dive.  Yeah… just when you think you got this DN stuff, the next level arises…
So I don’t feel like depression has lifted, but that I become much more aware of it… which I see as about the same thing. It has to lift to some degree to be seen more clearly. In a way, the more awareness you have of something, the less you have it, so to say.

Observations:

More seeing how the mind evades experience by thinking it instead of having it. That means in the moment I fantasize an idea about a future situation, I  sense that this is some kind of outsourcing of experiencing the present situation. For instance, during the end of a sit, I imagine how I report to a teacher that the end of my last felt boring. Lol
Neurosis. Arguing and debating with experience on no discernible basis. Absolute uncertainty.
Very difficult to perform any exercise, I only manage to just sit with direct experience to some degree. I notice restless legs.
Thinking enormous.
The sense of trying to compel something. Again on no discernible basis.
Hopelessness. Sorrow.
Control addiction.
The sense that I just can’t calm down and can’t forget about my anger which is twisted with pride and shame.
The sense that I am not doing things long enough, i.e. not until a sense of satisfaction arises.

In moments of quiet and a balanced amount of concentration (reading, writing) the mind tends to go to fruition. It could be that this is some sort of energy composure which the mind only knows how to do from the 1st path A&P.

I can see that this precise description feels a bit like having a handle on it, but maybe it’s better to knowingly do it that way than to suffer from having no real clue about why things feel so drowning. I can’t handle when things feel drowning. It makes me feel worried and ashamed.

On the one hand it strongly feels lot of already present states are being uncovered and seen with new depths, on the other hand it’s clearer that sometimes things like fear are just coming up without any discernible reason.

08/09/22:

morning sit: nice guided meditation with Michael Taft about taking and sending, but before it came to taking and sending I got sucked into the image of being a vast, deep ocean and fell into some fascinating hypnagogia.

restless legs
concentration poor
shaking
sexual
Bad meditator, pressure, goal-thinking, wish for deliverance, unrest, catastrophe, cynicism, swimming
Self is too narrow, always stuck, must be stuck, seeks relief from becoming
Annoyed by this awakening crap…

evening sit: extreme stillness. I feel like I have to make an effort to stay in it. Very wild shaking of head in waves.

08/10/22:

Probably Fear

Dreamt I was being killed
Sit ok, went up to re-observation/equanimity
careful, anxious
complaining

Seems like I am somewhere around the fear ñana

The direction in which this seems to go is „awareness is the same as its content“ or „content“ is already its own awareness and „any attempt to name something, in particular to say who I am, is already wrong“.
Technically it’s somewhat like rolling out of old ñanas until the mind is ready for the next new ñana and then again.

08/11/22:

DN deep dive, probably Fear/Misery (could still be AP.Fear/Misery)

Need to cool down
Intense sadness and fear
Free floating anxiety
Adrenaline
Doubt and worry

Insights into how the mind creates unnecessary suffering. „I am sad, I am bored, I am nervous, I am xyz“ as a mere thought is unnecessary suffering, because then we start distancing ourselves from it. When it’s not turned into a mere thought but properly acknowledged as for what is, it’s helpful. Then we can use it’s content.
On the other hand, I still fall into the heavy thinking stream, because it is so easy and can feel so right. But that’s more off-cushion.
But here I can sometimes see how experience is mirrored in thought, so that emotions are only discovered second hand. For instance I notice that I think about fear and then I realize that I actually have the emotion. And that can re-trigger the thinking.

My morning sit was quite standard. Starting in A&P, going to dark night with the sense that it’s very hard to pay attention resp. perform the usual noting sequence. It’s a bit funny, it feels like I adjust my head in a way that the noting objects are in the periphery, to at leas see them with some clarity.

I see a tendency that sits are turning into me being strobed by thick and heavy vibrations - somewhere between seeing them as an experience and identifying with them. It’s a very direct visceral experience of clinging and non-clinging in very quick succession. Also in the background I can see that my sense of identity is being questioned. It feels like also here the mind is going in and out of identification, but on a more global scale.
For thoughts, emotions, urges, it's a quick d-d-d-d-d, for my location in space as a self it's more like an opening and narrowing movement. Really wild.

Moreover I have to get better at seeing aversion as for what it is before I act it out. Complaining, mapping, second-guessing, fear, etc.

It's interesting, the event last week seemed to give a really new perspective on reality, but the dark night I'm going through now is very similar to the last one, only that I am a bit more aware of what's happening and tend to get less sucked into it.

Note to myself: honesty! less fantasy.

In the evening glimpses of (the new) equanimity (ñana)

08/12/22:

Vague. Sit went up to Re-Obs/Eq, I think

08/13/22:

Re-observation

Anger, shame, fear, sadness, worry, melancholy in quick succession

08/14/22:

Disgust/Dfd/Re-Observation

Nonsense, shaking,  wrenching, want to pack it all in, no focus, debating, madness…

08/15/22:

Re-Observation seems to or is about to peak

Noticed missing self-appreciation
Suffering enforced by constant thoughts about self-optimazation

Intensity
restlessness, doubt, paranoia, regret, madness, condemnation, trance, trauama-like
Very, very subtle reactivity in thoughts noticeable

It’s basically all and only re-observation.

Studying more six realms, becoming very interested in reactive patterns

Commentary: I am surprised how basically ok I can be with sits of such high intensity. But I think my main problem isn't bearing high intensity but bearing less intenstiy. Because high intensity is still somewhat exciting. Low intensity needs maturity.
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Chris M, modified 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 10:52 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 10:52 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 4544 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Good to see you posting again!
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 4:41 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 8/15/22 4:41 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
I read in WUTYL that god realm and animal realm are connected by habituation. Being a god, and thus being ignorant of the suffering of others cultivates a general ignorance, which over time makes you unable to cope with unknown situations - you become an animal.
That seems so applicable to conspirators. Conspirators are the archetype of ignorance. They don't even listen to people with other opinions, they protect their world in which everything has its rules and makes sense to them. Very animal! But on the other hand they feel like gods, because they know the truth and for them other people are just suffering - and funnily they (the conspirators) think it's because of their ignorance (nice counter-projection (?))

Found it interesting to have such a good real-life example of the connection between those two realms.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Month ago at 8/16/22 12:41 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 8/16/22 12:27 PM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
08/16/22:

It’s also interesting to see that titan realm and animal realm are connected. When animals can’t continue living in the usual domestic way, they become competitive. When titans fail to achieve, they start to blame the circumstances.

Felt beaten up by fate as usual. I asked-felt to myself: "Do I have to endure it?". This is the question to ask when in animal realm according to WUTYL and it makes a lot of sense, very intuitive, very clear. I don't if the question came up because I have read that some time ago or if it came just rightly, but it's a really nice one.
Also seeing sketches of Heroism, drama of fate. Interesting. Could really be that I tend to fall into this mix of animal and titan realm. That would explain a lot.

All the dark night still going on, but somewhat subtler, easier to overlook. Some equanimity emerging can easily lead to ignorance. Is it still ignorance if I notice it?
Feeling unfocussed

During the dogwalk I felt so oppressed and entangled that I had to stop and wait. Turned out that there was seemed to be repressed sadness wanting to come up and I began to think that this is one of the most problematic things in my life - repressed sadness. I thought that it really isn’t anger but trying not to be sad which causes so many convolutions in my mind. I formed the intention to be with it as good as possible. I sat down in our garden and followed the hardenings in the head and encountered several waves of misery („no, no, no, no , no…. Nooooo… no, no, no… and so on). What really helps is to see how the mind reinforces bodily reactions by reacting to thoughts (wrong attention).
Getting more and more ok and wide I began to notice excitement. Some A&P-ish flickerings and then some DN-ish flickerings occured. Then I was surprised to see several state-shifts occuring. I explained it to myself as the mind going into space jhana. When the sit ended the scenery was non-dualish.
I think this is some forward movement towards equanimity but it isn’t my center of gravity, yet.

Edit: Ah, and I also want to mention that I really felt able to just watch the mind freak-out. Doing it's freak out thing. Just as shargrol said here and here (the direct link to the post compilation is broken, so I linked the DhO thread. In the compilation it's "Equanimity isn't just the clear, calm, open 'state'"). Probably no need to advertise the compilation but it's really helpful. And I find it kind of amusing that I'm showing some spiritual pride here while at the same time quote shargrol who doesn't like that at all emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Month ago at 8/17/22 5:42 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 8/17/22 5:11 AM

RE: supermonkey's practice log

Posts: 64 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
08/17/22:

Yesterday the story continued with me lying down in my living room before I went to bed. I felt like I needed to settle. Upon laying down I entered a rather unknown but very deep, somewhat blessed and blissful wide state. It was huge and impressive. Then I began to fantasize about how I would play being a meditation teacher with my partner, how I would approach it, which question I’d ask, had some fun imagining. Then I went to bed and on the way to the bed I felt like some chunk of suffering was being seen and digested, the mind saw some recent behaviour patterns as worthy of changing, let’s say. In bed I entered a rather undifferentiated state of mind, I think it was the same sweet state before fruition as a few months ago. Then some hypnagogic imagery appeared. Suddenly a lighter appeared in the middle of my vision and strobed 3 times together with everything else. It’s difficult to say how I felt afterwards. Maybe „things more in place“. That’s to discover.

The one important thing for me now is to find a way of practicing/approach to practice which helps me integrate meditation more into real life. I’ve been so theoretical about this and just a simple reminder to directly look at how thoughts re-enforce emotions by a friend felt so usable and valuable. So in a way I am a bit lost. The at home course is going to end. I’ll have time to reconsider practice then.

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