Irakli's Practice Journal (May)

Irakli's Practice Journal (May) Irakli Gorgadze 7/9/22 7:38 AM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Arena Heidi 5/20/22 11:56 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Arena Heidi 5/20/22 11:57 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:57 PM
May 6, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:45 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal George S 5/25/22 6:03 AM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Irakli Gorgadze 5/9/22 12:08 AM
May 9, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:43 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Arena Heidi 5/9/22 8:07 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Irakli Gorgadze 5/9/22 11:32 PM
May 10, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:39 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal George S 5/10/22 6:00 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Irakli Gorgadze 5/11/22 1:27 AM
May 11, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:39 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal George S 5/11/22 5:04 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal Irakli Gorgadze 5/12/22 1:34 AM
May 12, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:38 PM
May 13, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:38 PM
May 14, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:38 PM
May 15, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:37 PM
May 18, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:46 PM
May 19, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:49 PM
May 20, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 5/20/22 11:49 PM
RE: Harold's Practice Journal Siavash ' 5/20/22 8:16 PM
May 21, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 5/21/22 11:35 AM
May 22, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 5/22/22 12:29 PM
RE: May 22, Sunday George S 5/22/22 2:03 PM
May 23, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 5/23/22 10:44 AM
May 24, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/24/22 11:32 AM
May 25, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/25/22 11:30 AM
May 26, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 5/26/22 12:20 PM
May 27, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 5/27/22 11:31 AM
May 28, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 5/28/22 11:31 AM
May 29, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 5/29/22 11:32 AM
May 30, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 5/30/22 12:21 PM
May 31, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 5/31/22 11:31 AM
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 2 Months ago at 7/9/22 7:38 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/5/22 12:13 PM

Irakli's Practice Journal (May)

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 5, Thursday
Practiced for 6 hours and 36 minutes
 
Mindful Walking - 4:26
Mindful Breathing - 0:41
On the Bus - 1:05
NSDR - 0:23
 
Felt disgusted and aversive towards my 3 year old brother for bullying my sister my father enabling it, couldn't sit down to meditate so walked and walked while recording my voice for journaling purposes, eventually I got tired and in a public park I lied down on a bench and decided to do NSDR. Negative mental state disappeared and got into a happy mood. How did I forget that NSDR is a killer protocol for when I feel horrible?

On the bus I tried focusing on change and seeing impermanence, felt very different and liked it but then decided to focus on the breath.

In the last sit dullness was really thick and rigid. I tried counting pulses of dullness, found dullness less pervasive and the quality of the breath sensations increase after investigating dullness for some time. Then I tried seeing how dullness changed over time without doing anything else, then how dullness changed while focusing on the breath very gently, how dullness changed when I tried to perceive every sensation, how dullness changed when clenching perineum about 20 times. It came back quickly but was easy to handle. I would check the quality of attention on the breath sensations at the tip of the nose, if they were not vivid then I would investigate dullness for longer and then gently redirect the attention to the breath, when it became vivid this reaffirmed to me that practicing while having strong dullness is still effective. I investigated the allure of dullness and noticed that if I let dullness out of awareness for a bit I would miss the alure and get entranced by dullness for a short time, then quickly notice the allure and I would be out of trance.

While walking I investigated distractions. I became very interested with investigating sensations. Tried to see greed, impermanence or change and indifference if possible, I also tried to see allure of distractions, desire for becoming or non-becoming, then gently returning attention on the breath.

I will do 1 more 20m sit before bed.

I decided to post on dharmaoverground daily for accountability and possible help, in case I need it. Any criticism is welcome, advice as well. I am very aware that I don't know much and am very open to advice and criticism.
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Arena Heidi, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:56 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/5/22 7:17 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
It sounds like you are doing a great job finding skillful ways to cope with extremely challenging circumstances. My heart goes out to you with your situation. Are you doing any kind of metta practice or incorporating kindness and compassion into your practice? I have found that it's most helpful when in difficult situations to direct a lot of kindness toward yourself. Eventually, that compassion will spread to others and situations around you. I don't think that it's good to force kindness, but presence and showing up for oneself has a component of compassion to it. I have found that meditation (and life) become easier when there's this quality of care towards oneself. I hope that this is helpful for you. Sending you love and light.
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Arena Heidi, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:57 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 6:00 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
I'm glad that my feedback was a little bit helpful. I totally understand about metta and gratitude practice feeling forceful and I don't think it's helpful to force those kinds of things. It's best to allow unconditional love and gratitude to just genuinely arise on their own. (I think it's generally helpful to move in directions of less force and less control. However, with meditation and other things, a lot of people use force and control to eventually end up in a place of less force and control.)

I have found that with whatever practice you are doing, if you do it for kind purposes in a compassionate manner it will have more benefit. There's is already a tremendous amount of kindness present. I suggest that you uncover the myriad ways that you are already being kind to yourself just by dedicating so much focus and effort toward helping yourself. Awareness of your own self to self kindness in each moment is enormously helpful in facilitating healing and ease.

Life is also filled with very tiny moments of connection and grace. So it's more about recognizing these small moments that are already there and touching you. It can be as simple as watching the stillness of a spider in the bathroom or a leaf blowing in the wind. Life/spirit/God/mystery/emptiness/the unknown, whatever name you want to call it, is perpetually offering synchronicities and tiny helpful things. So it's often just about noticing some tiny speck of goodness that appears. That noticing and receiving will expand those things and qualities. It's like seeing tiny specks of light in a very dark place. Eventually those specks of light expand and merge and grow brighter, so that you begin to see in the darkness and can more effectively radiate light. You are gifted. Hopefully, your hard experiences in life are helping you to develop your talent and gifts. You are doing a good job navigating the difficulties you've been given. It's hard. It's really hard. But the more challenging your circumstances, the greater the opportunity and gifts. Advanced beings often incarnate into extraordinarily hard circumstances for that reason. You are probably already making more of a difference than you realize. Blessings and prayers that you receive the help and support you need to cope with and eventually change your circumstances.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:57 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 7:41 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Arena Heidi
Hopefully, your hard experiences in life are helping you to develop your talent and gifts. You are doing a good job navigating the difficulties you've been given. It's hard. It's really hard. But the more challenging your circumstances, the greater the opportunity and gifts. Advanced beings often incarnate into extraordinarily hard circumstances for that reason. You are probably already making more of a difference than you realize. Blessings and prayers that you receive the help and support you need to cope with and eventually change your circumstances.​​​​​​​
This gives me a really good perspective. Thanks.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:45 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 5/6/22 1:01 PM

May 6, Friday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 6, Friday 

1st morning sit - 18m
 
Dullness was less rigid and less thick than yesterday, but vividness of the breath sensations at the tip of the nose was also less. Just investigated dullness and then redirected the attention on the breath sensations at the tip of the nose to check the quality of attention, it stayed about the same which doesn't happen. Generally after investigating dullness the breath sensations get more vivid. I was detached from dullness, no hypnagogic thoughts or visions, I wasn't entranced by it at all.
--
2nd sit - 28m
 
Clarity of breath sensations was good, better than last sit. Dullness wasn't pulsing as much and wasn't as wavy as yesterday. It was more stable. Dullness intensified a little when focusing on the breath sensations but not as much as yesterday. I focused on the alure of dullness and dullness minimized when I did that. After dullness intensified focusing on the allure of it minimized it. Breath sensations became clearer as well. Cold air touching skin minimized dullness as well.
 
Investigating dullness and having it in awareness while focusing on the breath makes it less progressive, more stable and less alluring. If I lose dullness from awareness it intensifies, becomes more alluring and spreads over whole awareness.
 
In short, dullness entrances the whole awareness when ignored, it slips out of awareness and corrupts awareness. For this to not happen, investigate dullness by turning attention to it while asking questions: What is alluring about this? Why am I attracted to this? And have awareness of how dullness changes when applying antidotes or else feedback mechanism won't work well and you will get discouraged. When focusing on the breath, observe allure of dullness and how it changes in response to redirecting and sustaining attention on the breath sensations. This is a game of balance, between introspective awareness and attention.
--
3rd sit - 15m
 
Dullness was rigid but mildly, a little wavy, no pulses. Quality of attention was a little vague. Dullness would disappear and reappear on its own, don't know why. Sit was enjoyable.
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George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/25/22 6:03 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/8/22 1:37 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
This is good practice emoticon

It's a marathon not a sprint!

Instead of a hindrance, dullness is an opportunity to train introspective awareness

​​​​​​​Exactly! The way to make "progress" in meditation is to actively investigate all the hindrances which arise - they reveal the gulf beteeen the way we would like things to be and the way they actually are. Once dullness is no longer resisted but given attention and investigated, then it tends to pass. It's the same with most everything else that arises on the path ...
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 12:08 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 12:08 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
George S​​​​​​​ Exactly! The way to make "progress" in meditation is to actively investigate all the hindrances which arise - they reveal the gulf beteeen the way we would like things to be and the way they actually are. Once dullness is no longer resisted but given attention and investigated, then it tends to pass. It's the same with most everything else that arises on the path ...

​​​​​​​This is what I needed to hear. There are many things I would like to change about my current situations, but I forget the fact to see them the way they are before I get lost into fantasies about getting back at others, planning how I would deal with this and etc. And this is not helpful at all, I forget the fact that I first need to accept what is, get into a healthy mental state and deal with the challenges from this state. Thanks for a reminding an important thing.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:43 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 12:16 PM

May 9, Monday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 9, Monday

1st sit - outside - 33m

Was feeling aversive towards sitting down, but thinking "just 10 minutes" was enough to sit down and then continued the sit for 3 rounds. Was going for 4th 10m round but the mind became too scattered and confused and decided to stop. Letting the mind know I can stop whenever I feel like it decreases aversiveness towards sitting.

Dullness was thin and sometimes just turning towards it made it disappear. Focusing on the breath sensations made it grow very subtly but didn't grow after a certain point. Introspective awareness automatically detected when dullness started to increase and it would stop and sometimes get smaller.

Distractions were more of a hindrance and I had to remind myself that I was focusing too much on dullness and that at that point distractions were more of a hindrance. I had to remind myself to look out for the signs of potential gross distractions and it worked when I did. But I forgot it many times and had to intend for introspective awareness to look for potential gross distractions probably more than 20 times.

Detecting and managing dullness is done very easily compared to last sits, it is "semi-automatic", and now I should start developing the "muscle" of looking out for potential gross distractions.

I also noticed that when I don't set goals like: "I will master stage 4 of TMI in x amount of days, weeks" or something else similar to this, I progress much faster. I think this is called something like timetables. Scheduling achievements create more stress, higher expectations, which leads to disappointment, aversiveness, slow or no progress or even regress, more disappointment, more aversiveness and eventually to quitting.
--

2nd sit - Outside (30m)

I have learned many things in this sit. I hope I can remember them all.

Dullness wasn't much of a hindrance. It would disappear and reappear, it was subtle and very malleable. Gross distractions were more of a hindrance, though not as much as in the last sit, it was much easier this time. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations were very bad, but I noticed that after calming the breath intently, I could perceive sensations of the breath much better and after 10-20 breaths sensory clarity increased whether I breathed calmly and shallowly, or deeply and long. Calming the breath also helped with centering, and while centering attention on the breath sensations at the tip of the nose I tried to enjoy it, which helped with recollecting scattered attention and also experienced some kind of restful state. Mind state also changed after doing this and it became happier, loving and more open. Aversiveness decreased when catching mind-wandering and I openly accepted those distractions as if swallowing them in this loving and open awareness.

I also had to deal with distractions and dullness simultaneously and because it was very different type of experience, I had to learn how to have introspective awareness on dullness, potential gross distractions, the breath sensations as the object of focus and balance these without introspective awareness crumbling. Introspective awareness crumbled probably around 10-20 times and had to rebuild and learn how to balance better. What would make introspective awareness crumble?:

1. Focusing a little too much on the breath
2. Focusing a little too much on dullness
3. After catching myself wandering, redirecting attention on the breath sensations a little forcefully (which was very gentle but was enough to break introspective awareness on potential gross distractions)
4. Investigating dullness a little too forcefully, had to learn how to do it very gently.
5. Forgetting to watch out for potential gross distractions.

The important thing here is that, I had to watch how introspective awareness changed in response to my actions so that I had feedback on what was too much and what was too little. Forgetting to do this led to confusion and lack of intentness but I would then recollect the scattered mind by enjoying the breath. This happened around 5-10 times.

These things should be happening simultaneously:
1. Monitoring how dullness changes in response to my actions and having awareness of it in the background.
2. Monitoring for potential gross distractions and when I notice subtle distractions, very gently redirecting and sustaining attention on the breath sensations just enough for the object of focus to be center of attention.
3. Watching how introspective awareness weakens and strengthens in response to my actions so that I know how to balance effort the right way.

I don't need to worry too much about not being able to catch dullness progress, because it is done semi-automatically, just make sure that I investigate it gently for the introspective awareness of potential gross distractions doesn't collapse.

In terms of recollecting the mind when the clarity of the meditation object is low, start calming the breath, while enjoying and perceiving it gently.

In terms of the present gross distractions, accept them openly, lovingly, kindly and let them go. Then strengthen introspective awareness on potential gross distractions, and redirect attention on the breath sensations gently while watching how introspective awareness changes in response to learn balancing.

I have to make sure I am careful for expectations for the next sit. It will be done in a library where I have experienced dullness more in the previous sit, and there is a high chance it will happen again.
--

3rd sit - Outside (library was closed)

I was out in cold but dullness was still stickier. Maybe it is not just because I sit in the library at this time of the day but there is some other influential factor that makes dullness more of a hindrance for me.

At first when the mind was scattered dullness wasn't present and distractions were coming and coming I almost got irritated but decided to breathe in a way that was enjoyable and the mind centered on the breath sensations. But after centering the mind on the meditation object dullness hit hard. It would disappear after investigating it and then reappear. In the second half of the sit it didn't disappear but it would go from being wavy and very progressive to being stable and a bit rigid. Counting pulses of dullness helped when my mind got entranced, and seeing where the mind got entranced helped me as well. When I saw rigidness of dullness I investigated - "How rigid is this?" and observe how rigidness of dullness would change over time, "How stable is this?" and then observe how stability of dullness would change over time. I also tested opening the eyes and then dullness disappeared completely while having open eyes. Compared to my last sits where dullness was present even while walking this is an improvement. But at the end of the session even opening the eyes didn't help, so stayed with investigating dullness as much as possible for it to not entrance the mind. Also, focusing on the breath wouldn't intensify dullness, this was weird, in the past sits, focusing on the breath sensations would make dullness progress but now it didn't happen.
--

4th sit - Outside (20m)

Started with enjoying the breath for recollecting scattered attention, but I started to feel restful, and decided to continue doing it this way. Eventually I became more open and less aversive towards mind-wandering and gross distractions. I also had less selfish view and more objective view of the unpleasant thoughts, like ego was minimized. It felt like loving awareness was swallowing the distractions. Felt very small amounts of bliss (probably), dullness wasn't there at all. I tried to check for dullness and when I looked for it I found it, very, very subtle, in the background, I almost felt pity for it. It could be because of cold wind, time of day, progress, some combination of these factors or all of it. Distractions were still a problem, but not as much as in the previous sits.

Today after coming home to write in the practice journal a couple of times, I had experienced being bullied by my mother, my sister being bullied, physically threatened and even abused physically. It felt like I was losing my cool because I couldn't stop my mother from giving physical threats and bullying my 7 year old sister but at the same time, I was detached, like I was observing the body lose cool, become angry and try to talk my mother out of bullying her. While my sister was hiding behind me, it reminded me of when animals go to a slaughterhouse while having an inkling of what awaits them. Unpleasant negative emotions didn't stick and disappeared immediately. I can't even be angry or sad, I feel sharp. When I was getting bullied, I didn't feel anything at all, except the fact that my mother tried to be more and more aggressive gradually and I felt the urge to stop that from happening but I was like - "What's the point? Whether or not I get bullied doesn't matter, it's the same", I didn't think this but felt like this, could be some sort of equanimous experience.

I felt more equanimity and probably purification while I was getting bullied by my grandfather (as he was getting high the more he made me suffer, he had this orgasmic, stupid smile while he saw me furrow brows and suffer, he couldn't even close his mouth and make his face more proper, he looked like he was having the best orgasm of his life, when I noticed this, I knew from that moment on he was not normal), when I had that experience, which was about 6 months ago, my desire to leave my home and go no contact to everyone from my country, make money and have a good lifestyle disappeared, but in a good way. I thought exactly like this - "If I have this, it doesn't matter where I am", it felt like I literally tasted something profound, after getting bullied about a dozen times a day for 2 weeks, living with my grandfather.

I will do a 20m sit before bed and go to sleep.

Mindful Awareness Practices (today) - 5h:49m + 20m
Sit - 1h:45m + 20m
Walk - 3h:20m
Bus - 00:43m
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Arena Heidi, modified 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 8:07 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 8:07 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
 When in bullying situations or dealing with old trauma of having been bullied, I find it enormously helpful to be compassionate and kind to myself and recognize the almost unbearable horror of the situation. Self love can operate as a protective buffer. In a good family situation a parent or elder will model this for you. If no one does this for you, then whatever degree that you can do this for yourself or your siblings will help to compensate. You also can pray for spiritual and energetic support. Pray for light and compassion for yourself.

It also is enormously helpful to cultivate any kind of inner positive self talk. Such as: "You are doing a good job surviving horrible circumstance. This is transient and will pass and change. I am a good person doing the best that I can given this challenging situation." Anything kind and authentic that you can say to yourself helps. You don't want to force this, but see if some genuine self regard is already there. It's hard at first, because those that should have given you this did the opposite.

You are doing an excellent job with your meditation and detachment! If you can find tiny ways to add self love to it, it will empower all the other practices that you are already doing. I witness kindness beginning to emerge by your noticing that you need to do things gently. If you aren't able to add in kindness or love or any of my suggestions that's okay. It will happen later, when you have more distance. I know that you are doing the best you possibly can in very bad circumstances. Just do what you can to survive and get through this. Your life holds great promise and much good will come later.

I will pray that you receive the help you need from unseen realms. You have really good support on those levels. I pray that you will feel this support. It might help to visualize a buffer of love around your mom. It might help to soften her bullying. Or doing something similar to this. Love will support the equanimity. Sending you blessings, peace and love. 
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 11:32 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/9/22 11:32 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Arena Heidi
You also can pray for spiritual and energetic support. Pray for light and compassion for yourself.
This is a good suggestion, praying really helps with feeling hope and positive emotions.


Arena Heidi
It also is enormously helpful to cultivate any kind of inner positive self talk. Such as: "You are doing a good job surviving horrible circumstance. This is transient and will pass and change. I am a good person doing the best that I can given this challenging situation." Anything kind and authentic that you can say to yourself helps.
Thinking it will change is an amazing idea. It gives me hope as I imagine now that there is a high chance things will change for the better in the future. It also deals with usual conditioning of imagining how things will change for the worst.


Arena Heidi
I will pray that you receive the help you need from unseen realms. You have really good support on those levels. I pray that you will feel this support.
Thank you, I already feel more hopeful that there is someone as compassionate as you. Thanks for your suggestions, I will use them at appropriate times.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:39 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/10/22 12:00 PM

May 10, Tuesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 10, Tuesday

1st sit - outside (30m)

Dullness was the most subtle and the most stable I have ever experienced in previous sits. Intensifying attention on the breath sensations didn't make it progress. The only time it started to progress was when it went out of awareness, and the progression was so subtle that it didn't matter, and turning mind towards it would make it disappear temporarily, for about 3-5 seconds.

Clarity of the breath sensations was the best in terms of average of the whole sit. I was also felt really open and a little bit restful. No blockages. Sometimes I noticed a little annoyance or irritation when mind-wandering happened or gross distractions arose. Gross distractions where the biggest hindrance in this sit, but it was much better than in previous sits. I had to rebuild introspective awareness to look out for potential gross distractions probably 10-20 times. I also noticed that the mind wasn't centered on the meditation object. And because it wasn't centered I felt confusion on what I was even doing or what I should be doing.

To prevent this from happening, stabilize the attention on the breath sensations, 10 breaths while counting, then strengthen introspective awareness on dullness and potential gross distractions and observe whether or not introspective awareness is working well and whether or not the breath sensations are center of attention. Forgetting the last part led to confusion because I didn't know what was happening and attention was alternating from dullness, to distractions and the breath.
--
2nd Sit - Outside (30m)
After the sit I noticed how my perception got better. I was perceiving so many colors, sensations of walking and visuals were very vivid as well. This level of mindful awareness disappeared after 3-5 minutes. It was good to witness what it could be like when I improve and make it my base level.

Counting in-out-1, in-out-2… up to 10 helped with centering a lot, I also added enjoyment of the breath as the bonus for centering smoothly and recollecting scattered attention better. I did this about 5-10 times and it worked very well.

Dullness was so subtle in the first half of the sit that I had to investigate whether or not it was there. Sometimes I thought it was there, sometimes I thought it wasn't and I doubted it. After investigating I noticed subtle, spread-out dullness, very airy, without center of gravity, after investigation it would disappear, then it would reappear with a center of gravity which was a bit rigid but still subtle, and very stable, after investigating, it would disappear. Counting pulses of dullness helped me with directing my attention towards sensations of dullness rather than perceptions and it made dullness disappear after 3-10 seconds. This happened for about 10-20 times. I also noticed once or twice that I was able to direct my attention towards dullness without assisting instructions and perceive it directly, eventually I saw dullness as very subtle and airy vibrations.

In terms of gross distractions, they weren't much of a problem, I learned to use subtle intentions and introspective awareness would immediately observe potential gross distractions, though I couldn't always use subtle intentions and had to observe whether or not introspective awareness was working as it should. Dealing with potential gross distractions is easier now compared to previous sits. As well as centering attention on the breath sensations.

The vividness of breath sensations was high and stayed like that most of the time, it was probably the best compared to previous sits. This made centering easier. It still takes some effort to watch over the mind for dullness and potential gross distractions, while centering attention on the breath sensations at the same time. But balancing is becoming easier compared to previous sits. I also know what to do compared to the last sit.
--
3rd sit - 20m (In the Library)
Distractions weren't much of a hindrance, dullness was present for the whole sit. Dullness was subtler than the last sits in the library, progress could be felt. The same with the clarity of breath sensations, it was very clear. Compared to previous sits in a public park, dullness was stronger. Investigating it would make it disappear and reappear, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, sometimes stable, sometimes progressive. I investigated it by counting pulses and signs of progressing. Counting pulses is the best method I found, if there are no pulses and dullness is stable, then investigate closer, because there is a chance pulses are very subtle, if there are no subtle pulses as well, then observe before there is. After the disappearance of dullness I would refocus on the breath and evaluate how clear the sensations were, this feedback mechanism made me more motivated because I noticed progress in clarity as dullness disappeared or regressed.
--
4th sit - 20m (Outside)
I still feel a little aversiveness towards starting a sitting practice, but nothing I can't deal with. Dullness would disappear and reappear again and again after counting pulses of dullness and times when it progressed. Distractions became a problem when I felt I was overcoming dullness, started to get excited and got lost in fantasies, but would catch mind wandering quickly.

The mind started to show me through back-tracking which kind of distractions caused the chain reaction of thoughts, this started to happen today morning. Could be an insight stage of cause and effect, but could be mistaken.

I have experienced many unpleasant and unfair situations today, but it doesn't affect me that much. Will do one more 20m sit before bed and go to sleep.

Mindful Awareness Practices (Today) - 7h:12m +20m
Sit - 1h:40m + 20m
Bus - 1h:06m
Walk - 4h:25m
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/10/22 6:00 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/10/22 5:59 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
'I also added enjoyment of the breath as the bonus for centering smoothly and recollecting scattered attention better'

This is a really good idea emoticon If you can directly tune into the pleasurable quality of the breath then that's basically using the jhana factor of piti-sukha to overcome the hindrance of dullness. And just to emphasize - you are not creating this pleasure, it's always there and you are just allowing the mind to become absorbed in it. (This corresponds to steps 5-6 of anapanasati - mindfulness of breathing.)
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/11/22 1:27 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/11/22 1:27 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
George S

This is a really good idea emoticon If you can directly tune into the pleasurable quality of the breath then that's basically using the jhana factor of piti-sukha to overcome the hindrance of dullness. And just to emphasize - you are not creating this pleasure, it's always there and you are just allowing the mind to become absorbed in it. (This corresponds to steps 5-6 of anapanasati - mindfulness of breathing.)
Thanks for elaborating on this. Didn't know this corresponded with the steps 5-6 of anapanasati. I will do more of this.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:39 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/11/22 12:32 PM

May 11, Wednesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 11, Wednesday
1st sit - outside (30m)

Attention was scattered. Centered attention on the breath sensations by counting up to 10 breaths, then was aware of dullness and potential gross distractions in the background, but when I focused on watching potential gross distractions, dullness grew, this happened about 10-20 times, felt confused and didn't know what to do.

In the next sit, try to balance introspective awareness of dullness and potential gross distractions, this is the challenge I am facing now.
--
2nd sit - outside (30m)

After me and my sister experienced gaslighting and bullying I was lost in thoughts. My mental state didn't change, in terms of emotions, there could be felt a very subtle thing, don’t know what. The only problem was distractions about what could happen, in short, worrying and planning.

Sensory clarity of the breath was very good. Dullness wasn't much of a problem. Other than that, I decided to start a practice journal on dealing with "situations". The same way I journal about mindful awareness practices. I think this will help me be more moral.

I also noticed I was a little closed instead of open. And instead of forcing attention on the breath sensations (which was done gently) I should have investigated what was happening more, after doing this in the last couple of minutes, I knew this was the right move.

3rd sit - In the Library (20m)

Dullness almost entranced the mind. Lack of effort, laziness. Dullness was stronger than in the past couple of days, and laziness hit me hard. Felt a bit tired. Counting pulses of dullness and observing the signs of dullness increase helped to not get the mind entranced by dullness.
--

Did NSDR instead of the 4th sit, the abuse got me good. It is getting worse day by day. I think this is a way for my mother to take revenge for calling her out and not confirming with her rationalizations and views of reality. Felt hopeless and contemplated leaving family and living in a monastery, cutting off contact from everyone I know.

I found these things helpful:
1. What is attracting me towards the fantasies of victimhood, revenge, ignorance, guilt? What is the allure?
2. Thinking of the current situation as an opportunity to investigate what is happening and get insights (This made me do a 180 turn from hopelessness to hopefulness).
3. Turning towards what I want to avoid.
4. Noticing what I want the situation to look like and what is actually happening, then noticing dissatisfaction that is caused by wanting and abandoning the wanting. I witnessed suffering disappear probably about 5 times when I did this at different times. I am thankful for whoever suggested me this.
5. Noticing how my mental state isn't affected much and that I have progressed well. Thinking how much worse it would be if I hadn't practiced for some time. Thinking of how much worse some other people's situations are and how I would gladly choose mine. Focus on positive…

Despite being one of the worst days I had had, I've learnt the most in terms of what kind of investigative methods work on intense negative emotions and felt suffering disappear in real time.

I will do 1 20m sit before bed

Mindful Awareness Practices - 7h:18m + 20m

Sit - 1h:21m + 20m
Walk - 4h:19m
Bus - 0h:54m
NSDR - 0h:42m
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/11/22 5:04 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/11/22 5:04 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Excellent work, under very tough conditions. My hat is off to you Irakli.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/12/22 1:34 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/12/22 1:34 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
George S
Excellent work, under very tough conditions. My hat is off to you Irakli.
Thanks for encouragement emoticon
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:38 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/12/22 12:13 PM

May 12, Thursday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 12, Thursday

1st sit - outside (30m)

Dullness was subtle, distractions weren't much of a problem. I was restless, a bit lazy at the start, felt lights vibrating in the mind and in the body, but it was subtle.
--
2st sit - outside (30m)

Dullness was less of a hindrance compared to the previous sit, It would disappear for about 3-5 seconds.

The vividness of breath sensations was really good. I felt more open and accepting of distractions than in the last sit, this happened after I decided to focus on the pleasant sensations of the breath. Distractions weren't much of a hindrance. Felt lights vibrating in the mind, though very subtle.
--
3rd sit - outside (30m)

Mind-wandering happened a lot, feels like this sit was wasted, but it wasn't. Next time count breaths to 10 and keep doing this until the mind centers on it.

Was lost in fantasies, worry and planning after witnessing a disgusting side of my mother. Bad things keep happening so why not expect those to happen and be happy when they don't, at least I will be ready and put more effort into centering.
--
Did NSDR instead of fourth sit. NSDR is becoming less helpful with providing restful experience. One of the reasons could be that it feels like I can't open up. Open-heartedness is what I should try to develop in the next sit before bed. I am being kept under pressure all the time.. I am getting more clear that I should prioritize my own well-being.

I will do a 20m sit before bed.

MAPs - 5h:36m

Sit - 1h:30m +20m
Walk - 3h:42m
NSDR - 0h:22m
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:38 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/13/22 12:18 PM

May 13, Friday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 13, Friday
1st sit - outside (30m)

Mind-wandering happened a lot. After trying to focus on the breath dullness would increase, and then I would attend to dullness. So centering on the breath sensations didn't happen, and became frustrated. Need to remind myself that dullness also works as an object of investigation.

Next time, try to investigate dullness more. Center attention on the breath just enough for the breath sensations to become center of attention and be aware of dullness and potential gross distractions in the background.

Dullness was more sticky and wouldn’t go away, could be because I woke up in the middle of the night because of screaming. I feel like I am stuck but I know this will pass. Thought a lot about extending sits to 45m-1h but I don't want to bring laziness with it. I am feeling aversive towards starting a sitting practice anyway at 30m per sit.
--
2nd sit - At home (20m)

Investigated dullness, it was subtler than in the last sit, centering on the breath sensations was easier. Felt more open. The breath sensations also felt a little pleasant, which makes it easy to sustain focus on the breath sensations even after the sit.
--
Missed 2 sits, because of aversion towards sitting and interest towards specific manga. Today I decided to do a dopamine detox where I don't do anything but meditate. So no Manga, web/light novels, YouTube, PMO, not even learning copywriting. The weekends will be like retreat practice, so about 11-13 hours of practice. Let's see if I can pull this off. I had done this already so I think I can do it.

The technique will be this one (serenity), because it has worked for me in the past when I did retreat type practice, because it is pleasant and I simply want to sit for longer and not stand up when I do this type of practice. I noticed what was my mistake after learning some of this article.

I intended piti to arise, when it didn't I subconsciously contracted specific part and felt blockage, developed aversion and closedness and couldn't get piti to arise. While piti arose by simply focusing on relaxation beforehand. So I will try this one and probably mix more centering practice of TMI if I want, because I noticed after relaxation it is much easier to focus.

In the past I used "bliss" instead of "piti", so my bad.

MAPs - 7h:00m

Sit - 0h:50m
Bus - 0h:59m
Walk - 5h:10m
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:38 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/14/22 11:27 AM

May 14, Saturday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 14, Saturday
4th sit - outside (20m)

Dullness was stable and rigid, very different compared to previous sits, and I think it was because of dullness that sensory clarity of the breaths sensations was bad. In the last minute dullness became subtler after investigating and sensory clarity got better. Dullness could be stronger because I ate toasted bread, heated bread slices too much in toaster. Or could be because I was angry and had thoughts of revenge, leaving my country and cutting off all contact from everyone I know.

In terms of retreat type practice I failed, the same with dopamine detox. When I got to the library with my laptop I decided to read manga instead of practice because of aversiveness and procrastination. I guess expecting to practice all day affected my mind in a negative way.

I will start again from doing sits as long as I want without timing to minimize performance anxiety and stress from high expectations. This coupled with serenity practice I mentioned above will be a good combination.

I don't want to go home, if there was even one practice center in my country I'd go and stay there. The more I understand of my dysfunctional family dynamics the more it affects me. Too disgusting.

MAPs - 6h:11m
Sit - 1h:34m
Bus - 0h:55m
Walk - 3h:41m
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:37 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/15/22 1:04 PM

May 15, Sunday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 15, Sunday

1st sit - outside (34m)

Sit was average, signs of illness and probable dullness from it. Sensory clarity was lower than average, it would get better after investigating dullness but only a bit. Gradual developing of piti didn't happen, but I became more open and accepting of distractions while smiling.

I don't need to time sits, I do more than 20m without it anyway. Sitting with an expectation of "I can stand up whenever I want" is good. When I wanted to stand up, I told myself to push a little bit of my comfort zone and it wasn't even that uncomfortable.

I should watch out for expectations. Sensory clarity was bad probably because I woke up at night from external noise, or illness that I could have.

MAPs - 4h:31m

Sit - 1h:15m
Walk - 2h:35m
Bus - 0:40
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:46 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/18/22 11:34 AM

May 18, Wednesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 18, Wednesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

A lot of gross distractions. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was bad, probably because one nostril was totally clogged and the other half clogged. Sustained attention wasn't that continuous but still average. Watching toxicity on YT created many distractions, so no YT from today onwards.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Sustained attention was the best despite not feeling pleasant or relaxed. At first I counted up to 10 successfully a couple dozen times and then I focused on having the breath as the center of attention while counting. I also investigated dullness every 5 breaths, counted about 15-30 pulses, changes and signs of progressiveness. After investigating dullness the breath sensations would be a little clearer but still bad.

In the past I didn't have the breath sensations as the center of attention because I was afraid of dullness growing. But now that distractions are more of an issue than dullness, focusing on improving sustained attention works the best.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Sensory clarity was bad at the start but after sustaining attention on the breath and investigating dullness every 5 breaths until I needed to take an in-breath, sensory clarity of the breath sensations got better and better gradually until it could be considered clear.

After having the breath sensations as the center of attention most of the sit, I could focus on pleasant and relaxing sensations of the breath easily. The longer I sustained attention on the breath the more dullness grew but it subsided after investigating it.

Sustained attention was the best compared to previous sits, gross distractions came only a couple of times.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Sustained attention was superb, got caught up in thoughts a couple of times and quickly noticed. Sensory clarity of the breath was very bad. Had a pleasant, calming, a little energizing feeling around the heart, I think this was Piti. It became very subtle soon but I enjoyed it for a couple of breaths. I noticed that in the past I would only focus on the in-breath and not the out-breath, now that I have fixed it, sustained attention became very good and distractions arise less.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Sustained attention was continuous for the most sit, felt effortless. Even after having continuous concentration on the anapana spot, dullness didn't arise at all, which was surprising considering the fact that it always arose in the past after sustaining attention or was at least subtly present, especially in a library where everything is quiet. After getting to a more effortless concentration, dullness arose from lack of intentness, then I had to intend to watch the breath continuously without missing any of the sensations. Sensory clarity of the breath was very high.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Gross distractions arose about the things I've learned through watching educational videos. Sustained attention was still good, not as good as the previous sit but better than all the other ones. Sensory clarity was sharp from the start. Overcoming gross distractions was easy. I feel concentration is getting more effortless. Wanted to sit longer but decided to call it quits.

Dullness didn't arise. What is happening? I haven't done TMI Stage 5 body scanning but dullness doesn't arise anymore, at least in the last 2 sits. But I will still do TMI body-scanning and not skip it for the sake of being "more safe than sorry" later. But no need to hurry, I will continue practicing the way I do for at least this week and decide what to do next after evaluating progress at the end of the week.
--
Extra - Today a girl was checking me out in the library (multiple times), she was beautiful and I liked her, decided to approach her, but the amount of fear and anxiety that came up was unreal. I didn’t know I was this immature, I almost had a panic attack. Just wanting to ask her out made me anxious and afraid. I just found out that I have serious social anxiety issues… Though this is great, because at least now I KNOW.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:49 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/19/22 11:46 AM

May 19, Thursday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 19, Thursday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Breath became very subtle and shallow. So sustained attention wasn't that good because I expected attention to stay on the breath by itself. Next time spend some effort on sustaining attention. Gross distractions arose couple dozen times. Sexual fantasies and romance. Dullness didn't arise at all. It was easy to let go of sexual sensations and craving for romance.
---
2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Got caught up in thoughts of potential problems in an intimate relationship (non-existent relationship). Breath was very subtle and coarse from the very start and it was hard to sustain focus on it. I should expect my concentration to be bad with subtle breath in the next sit and approach it with an attitude of developing sustained attention on a different kind of object. Previously I altered the breath to feel good and centering was easy, but now that I don't, attention scatters easily. Next time, set an intention to count up to 10, then to not lose the breath at all even in between out and in breath.
--
3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Sustained attention was much better than the previous sit. I focused on counting instead of breath sensations, then when I got bored and the mind was centered, I decided to count immediately after the end of the out-breath, this helped me be more focused on breath sensations, then after some time I decided to focus on the whole in-and-out breath while counting. The breath was very subtle, shallow and calm. I am starting to notice how concentration gets easier on a subtler object. Gross distractions weren't much of a problem as well.
---
4th sit - Library (20m)

Remembered past trauma, when at night when I was sleeping, I was sexually assaulted by my classmate, he was hitting my butt while acting like he was fu*king me, we were clothed and no penetration happened. My 4 closest friends were watching and recording it while having a laugh. I didn't even realize this had happened, I didn't even know I was sexually assaulted. After remembering, now I know. This sit was spent on rage and fantasies of beating them up, making them pay, and thoughts of revenge. Then disappointment on how I didn't do anything about it and just brushed it off. I focused on the allure of rage and anger and investigated it because sustaining attention didn't work.

As I am writing this, rage comes and goes, my hands literally stop moving and then I have to continue writing. I'm pissed. F*ck, I feel like total sh*t.

This will pass. How many things do I not know about my past? I feel ashamed. By the way, I am a male (not that it makes things better or worse, just saying)…
---
5th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness came. But it was the opposite kind compared to what arose in the past. This one disappeared after sustained attention rather than progress. It acted like a neurofeedback mechanism and helped me to sustain attention. It disappeared quickly and arose when losing interest in the meditation object. I had trouble with being interested in the breath sensations. Couldn't feel pleasant or relaxing sensations and the breath was very subtle, calm and shallow. Anger didn't arise at all.
---
6th sit - Library (20m)

Sought relaxing sensations in breath and it helped with sustaining attention. The relaxing feeling was so subtle I doubt it was even there, but at least sustained attention was better than the previous sits after I started to have very calm, shallow, subtle breaths. Gross distractions were present probably about 20 times, subtle dullness came and went away immediately like it had nothing to do and just left.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:49 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 11:36 AM

May 20, Friday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 20, Friday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Fantasies of revenge, fear of missing out on not asking the hot girls I see out and planning on how to deal with future circumstances. These were the kind of thoughts I had. Sustained attention was ok but gross distractions came pretty strong. Next time, make sure to set intentions to fully count up to 5 or 10 and do this until attention centers on the breath sensations.

2nd sit - At Home (20m)

Dullness came. I learned that I shouldn't stay at home for practice, conflict started and got lost in thoughts about it. From now on, I should practice outside instead of choosing convenience by staying at home. Good lesson.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness came at first but then disappeared. In the second half of the sit I sustained attention for about 30 breaths without having gross distractions. The breath was very subtle, calm and shallow. Intending to count up to ten successfully and focusing on counting instead of breath sensations helped me center attention well. A lot of ups and downs in the past couple of days.


4th sit - Library (20m)

Stable subtle dullness which felt fuzzy was present for the whole sit, thought it could be because I overate on carbs and became sleepy, but that matters less. Sustained attention was worse than average, in terms of distractions I was caught up in sexual fantasies. I lacked effort, I could've intended to count up to 5-10 successfully and used more effort.

5th sit - Library (20m)

I missed one sit because I was sexually frustrated, the urges took over me and had to take care of it in a non-meditative way. I started this sit with long, slow, deep in-and-out breaths while focusing on relaxing sensations, this helped with centering, I guess I should start like this in the future as well. Sustained attention lasted for a long time, then I tried something I hadn't tried before, which is to gently intend to watch over potential subtle distractions, it felt like I had a tunnel vision and the breath sensations were further, I was looking down on the breath sensations instead of having them close. This worked like a charm because potential gross distractions were caught until they took over my mind, I should do this in the future sits as well.

The ups and downs are real, sometimes I think I am regressing and stuck and sometimes I think I progress too quickly and become overconfident.

P.S. I changed my real name to a fake one for personal reasons you could guess, though it seems like my name is still the same in the already published posts.
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Siavash ', modified 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 8:16 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/20/22 7:37 PM

RE: Harold's Practice Journal

Posts: 1581 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
 Hey Harold,

About changing the displayed name:
You can, if you want, edit every single one of your previously published posts in this topic, and change their subject in the edit form, and replace the name in the subject with the new name, and publish them again. That'll do it. 
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/21/22 11:35 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/21/22 11:35 AM

May 21, Saturday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 21, Saturday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

I thought just focusing on prolonging sustained attention would increase concentration more than intending to have introspective awareness at the same time as well, because of simplicity.

In this sit, I intended to have introspective awareness on while centering, which in turn made attention alternate more but gross distractions decreased. Intention was very gentle and IA (Introspective Awareness for short) stayed there if I gently focused on the breath sensations. I had to intend IA to be there a couple dozen times. A lot of attention alternations happened but they were intended and in turn I was more open to hindrances and didn't feel aversive towards them.

Stable subtle dullness could be felt, it felt fuzzy. It did its own thing, left and came multiple times.

Yesterday, After putting my head on the table to rest, dullness came but the mind detected it and dealt with it, even when I intended to rest. So I think I overcame strong dullness and progressive subtle dullness. Now it is time to overcome gross distractions and potential gross distractions.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness came stronger than in the previous days. Sexual fantasies arose and noticed the allure, the urges, the hooks and I didn't get caught up in them.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was a bit scattered, but more centered and sustained longer than the previous sit.

First things first, I should count up to 10 successfully a couple of times, while having the breath a bit further away so that the mind can monitor potential gross distractions. Then I can focus on the relaxing sensations of the breath.

I lacked intentness, could give more effort, need more structure, so I should start always with this:

1. Count to 10 while having the breath a bit further so that the mind can monitor potential gross distractions
2. Do this at least 3 times, and then repeat until the mind is centered.
3. Start focusing on relaxing sensations of the breath for 3 rounds.

Let's see how the upcoming sessions go with these instructions. Right now I am working on overcoming potential gross distractions and progressive subtle dullness.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Attention was scattered, got confused by instructions. So, next time just count to 10 and sustain attention on it, spend more effort because I lack it. Stable subtle dullness was present, it felt fuzzy. Was caught up in gross distractions. Sensory clarity was lower than previous sits.

5th sit - Library (20m)

This was a very pleasant sit. I focused on relaxing sensations of the breath, breathed in long, deep and in a pleasant way and the pleasant sensations gradually became more intense. Is this gradual developing of Piti? Sustained attention took almost no effort. I was very open to distractions and very accepting to them. This is the way I should be practicing, but pleasant sensations don't always appear. Missed one sit because I had to be with kids.

So the instructions should be these:
1. Count while focusing on breathing in a pleasant way.
2. Notice pleasant sensations below heart area in-between out-breath and in-breath.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/22/22 12:29 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/22/22 12:29 PM

May 22, Sunday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 22, Sunday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Tried to have the same experience as yesterday but it didn't happen. Attention was scattered, just counted and focused on the pleasant sensations of the breath. Could use more effort in the next sit.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness came stronger than previous sits. Centering was better than previous sits. I was more open, relaxed and collected compared to previous sits, though I lacked intentness and effort. At the start of the sit I breathed in long, deep and slow to relax which made me feel better. I think I should start every sit like this. The problem is that I can't keep counting and breathe in a relaxing way without having the breath altered, so I dropped counting. In the next sit, more fully engage with the breath sensations.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

This sit was very enjoyable. Intended to breathe in long, deep and slow. Started to feel good and eventually breath became subtler and slower, while attention automatically shifted to the pleasant feelings. Distractions and dullness weren't much of a problem. I had less selfish view of thoughts and stories.

4th sit - Library (20m)

This session wasn't as enjoyable as the previous one. Dullness came stronger than in previous sits and distractions felt more personal than the previous sit. Should investigate dullness more when it arises and sustain attention by counting.
--
Missed 2 sits. One because I was sexually engaged with po*nhwa, another because I had to go with my family somewhere.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 5/22/22 2:03 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/22/22 2:03 PM

RE: May 22, Sunday

Posts: 2559 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tried to have the same experience as yesterday but it didn't happen.
It never does!
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/23/22 10:44 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/23/22 10:44 AM

May 23, Monday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 23, Monday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Sustaining attention was a bit easy. I just counted. Relaxing feelings also arose but chose to focus on counting only. Distractions were quickly caught.

I dabbled with many techniques in the past week. Now I will only do 1 technique - counting, and focus on doing this only, the hindrances will be dealt with accordingly. I will focus on progressing through TMI stages. Doing stage 5 body scanning is still early.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered. The breath felt rigid and forceful despite breathing subtly, but after breathing even more subtly, it felt better.

I decided to count while walking and while on the bus as well, I remember after doing this for some time, attention wouldn't scatter as much and counting happened with little to no effort. But did this happen because I got better at the counting method or because concentration improved? Need some opinions on this. I will decide to count while walking after.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered but in the last couple of minutes it became more collected. More effort needed, a little bit.

I will start counting while walking and while on the bus. This will help me be more centered and help me focus on the breath sensations more easily.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Sustaining attention was so easy, I sustained it for the whole sit, distractions weren't a problem at all. Focusing on just counting worked. Counting while walking and on the bus worked. It was so pleasurable to walk while counting. Though dullness appeared stronger, I think this is because my concentration got better and sustained attention longer. I willed the body to become energetic and I felt vibrations going out of my body very intensely, then dullness would disappear for a couple of minutes. Simply investigating dullness would also make it lose the entrancing part of dullness and make me feel like I was observing it from above, instead of being dominated by it. Saw purple colors like I did when I tried kasina practice, I think this was because I had my eyes open tad bit. Tried to focus on the pleasurable sensations of the breath and it was so easy. Counting makes things easier…

Decided to add about 3 hours of counting while walking in-between sits. Counting feels good when walking. Makes it easier to perceive the whole body space.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Sustained attention for the whole sit with a couple of slip ups. Dullness came in stronger than the previous sit. When I tried to investigate, couldn't seem to find it. So, it either disappeared when I investigated or my introspective awareness wasn't strong enough. Could breathe in a pleasant way and pleasant sensations arose. Zen lurch happened once and the mind got entranced probably about 5 times or more.

So, in the upcoming sessions, investigate dullness every 5 breaths until it disappears, or until I need to breathe in. Investigate by counting pulses, signs of progression, changes, and by noticing the parts which cause the mind to be entranced.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Sustained attention almost all the time, gross distractions only appeared at the start and at the end of the sit. I thought dullness was going to be an issue, but when it arose, simply counting pulses and investigating it made it disappear quickly, and if not, then it didn't bother as much. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was very high, sustaining attention was almost effortless, gross distractions rarely appeared and I felt breath sensations be pleasant.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/24/22 11:32 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/24/22 11:32 AM

May 24, Tuesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 24, Tuesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

The mind was scattered, probably because of bad quality sleep, woke up because of a nightmare at night. I forgot on which count I was often and attention wasn't continuous on the breath, it was more like momentary concentration. In the last couple of minutes I perceived the breath from beginning to end as clearly as I could, this helped with centering.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

The mind was scattered and got caught up in thoughts. Tension in the nostrils could be felt, breath sensations were rigid.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

The mind was scattered, I remembered past unpleasant memories, when I wasn't a teen yet. I think my concentration is getting better but the unpleasant memories make it harder to concentrate.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Got lost in thoughts about the conflicts that could arise, but got calmer. Intending to count to 5 worked. I should give more effort into counting completely to 5 a couple of times.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Compared to the previous sits of this day and in general, centering was very good and sustained attention for the whole sit. Dullness came in, not rigid but had an entrancing and progressive side to it. I think dullness helped with centering or when centering was good dullness came, or both. Started noting (Mahasi style) distractions. Such a contrast to previous sits, in this sit it was easy to center and in the previous sits I was lost in stories, worries, etc. Don't know what influences how practice goes, though in the end I just have to continue practicing anyways.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness was present the whole sit, would arise and disappear sometimes after investigating it. Counted up to 5, centering was easy and attention was recollected throughout the sit. Gross distractions arose probably around 10-20 times but were caught very quickly, also noticed that noting helped. No tensions in the nostrils, breath sensations felt clear and natural.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/25/22 11:30 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/25/22 11:30 AM

May 25, Wednesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 25, Wednesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

I tried see hear feel noting and found it strengthened the awareness aspect very quickly compared to Mahasi style noting. I labelled every time attention alternated, I found I could perceive perceptions of dullness better, the mind centered on the nostrils much more smoothly and distractions were less distracting. I also found I wasn't getting lost in thoughts at all.

Gross distractions were shorter in duration and the mind automatically detected alternation of attention.

Started counting to 8. Sustained attention for the whole sit on the nostrils. Saw purple colors as well.

Dullness appeared and disappeared after investigating it, a couple dozen times.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness was stickier. Sensory clarity at the nostrils was better than the last sit. Lost count more than the last sit but less than on previous days.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Concentration felt effortless, breath sensations were very clear, tensions could be felt at the nostrils. Pleasant feelings arose after adjusting the breath slightly to not feel tensions. Before the sit while walking, the mind was centered on the breath sensations easily.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness entranced the mind a couple of times and it came strong. It wasn't rigid but was progressive and alluring. Lurched forward once but caught it quickly. Should spend more time investigating dullness next time something like this happens. Felt a bit restless and lazy.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Breath sensations very clear. Dullness was entrancing sometimes and caused hypnagogic thoughts a couple of times, though, caught quickly, turned towards dullness and it would weaken. Tensions at the nostrils were felt at first but after intentionally calming the breath tensions disappeared. The mind was a bit scattered.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness was less sticky and would disappear, also didn't have power over the mind, wasn't entrancing, hasn't caused hypnagogic thoughts. Got caught up in gross distractions for a short while for about 10-20 times, but quickly noticed. Sustained attention for the most sit. Breath sensations were very clear, no tensions could be felt, slight tensions could be felt sometimes which were not unpleasant. Focusing on the breath sensations felt effortless (but it wasn't).
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/26/22 12:20 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/26/22 12:20 PM

May 26, Thursday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 26, Thursday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness arose but wasn't sticky, it would disappear after investigating it. Got caught up in thoughts a couple of times but caught them quickly. Noticing the perceptions of dullness and labeling them made me able to directly feel dullness and it would disappear quickly afterwards.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness arose but was easy to deal with. Had many gross distractions. Counted to 5.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness arose. More gross distractions than the previous sits and couldn't sustain attention without many alternations happening. Next time intend to sustain attention more than noting, try to not miss a single breath sensation.

4th sit - Outside (20m)

Dullness was entrancing, focused on noticing the entrancing parts of dullness, and it made the entrancing part of dullness disappear. Sustaining attention was hard, partly because of a lot of insects and flies.

5th sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered, got caught up in a lot of stories. Felt restless, felt a little bored and had lack of interest in the breath sensations sometimes.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/27/22 11:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/27/22 11:31 AM

May 27, Friday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 27, Friday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Yesterday I experienced psychological, verbal abuse, etc. I had no stress response whatsoever, I was calm and didn't get caught up in emotions, but after that I got caught up in thoughts and in this session as well. I also learned about 4 phases of violence and it happened as described through this model.

I need to give more effort in focusing on the breath. I lost count many times and got caught up in thoughts many times. Felt restless sometimes and then irritated.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Decided to focus on breathing in a pleasant way while counting, so that centering would happen and I wouldn't get caught up in stories. It worked better than I expected, I felt pleasant tingling sensations in the palms of the hands, and felt good at the base of the throat while breathing, so I noticed those sensations. Breathing was very slow compared to all the previous sits. Tingling in the palms of the hands lasted for the whole sit, and can subtly feel them now as I am typing this.

Felt itching like a fly or an ant was on the back of the hand, but the intention to touch disappeared as if the body didn't want to do anything but just sit.

After focusing on restful experience in the whole body space, pleasant tingling sensations in the palms of the hands burst out and disappeared after a second.

3rd sit - Home (20m)

Was lost in thoughts, felt restless and resistant to practice. Breath sensations were subtle and were hard to focus on. Also was confused whether I should have focused on breathing in a pleasant way or just count. Next time just count to 5, intend to not miss a single breath sensation and make it continuous. In short, put more intention in sustaining attention.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Found out that focusing on sustaining attention on the breath sensations and not missing a single sensation from beginning to end of the in-breath and the out-breath works really well. Dullness came in stronger in the second half of the sit. Hypnagogic thoughts occurred despite having very subtle dullness which I could barely identify. Simply willing to energize the body and mind by perceiving as many sensations as I could in the body I got out of sleepiness and sit went well after that.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Concentration was very good. Instead of intending to count to 10, I intended to perceive breath sensations from beginning to end continuously, counting happened automatically. Had hypnagogic thoughts from subtle dullness which was hard to identify, just intending to perceive body sensations fully and intending to energize the mind I got over trance quickly.

P.S. Girls in this library… Why do they have to be half naked, some with just bra on the upper body and some with thin cloth and having no bra at all. Some even show a part of their backside. This is very inconsiderate…

6th sit - Library (20m)

Concentration was almost effortless. Dullness didn't arise. Breath sensations were vivid. Lost count sometimes. Could have labeled distractions to center better, thought distractions didn't arise much.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/28/22 11:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/28/22 11:31 AM

May 28, Saturday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 28, Saturday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Distractions came a lot in the first couple of minutes and in the last. Breath sensations were very subtle. Labeling "Feel in" when dullness arose was enough to make it disappear or not have power over the mind.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies and other thoughts. Dullness also arose and stayed for the whole sit. Next time, intend to perceive breath fully and give more effort in sustaining attention.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Was lost in thoughts and attention was scattered. Dullness was more alluring as well.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies. What helped was to give up effort, perceive everything and then noting everything. I should do this more in the next sit.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Gross distractions rarely appeared, was pretty centered. Every 5 breaths, I gave up all effort while trying to perceive everything, then started noting everything and then continued counting. This helped deal with distractions beforehand, I guess something similar to this is called "Checking in" in TMI. Dullness didn't appear. Breath sensations became clear in the second half of the sit. Labeling helped with centering.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Breath sensations were vivid in the first half of the sit but then became very bad. Dullness came but disappeared after counting how many times it changed. Distractions were not much of a problem.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/29/22 11:32 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/29/22 11:32 AM

May 29, Sunday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 29, Sunday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Was lost in thoughts and worry about future events. Attention was very scattered and couldn't center on the breath sensations at all. Sensory clarity was also very low. Felt restlessness..

2nd sit - Home (20m)

Every 5 breaths I noted everything until I had to take an in breath. Centering was good. In the second half of the sit dullness arose but was very manageable. In the last couple of minutes my mother woke up which made me worry about future events.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Almost quit about 10-20 times. Attention was very scattered. I felt restless and irritated. Opened my eyes but shut down because flies kept annoying me.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness came strong, was lost insexual fantasies and worries about what would happen after cutting off everyone I know (except 2 friends). Almost quit, felt restless. Maybe hot temperature is affecting me.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Did everything to not do this session but eventually decided to sit down. Felt restless, hot and lazy. Decided to breathe in a pleasant way at the start and that made it easier. Emotions were in turmoil, don’t know what kind of emotions they were but I think it was restlessness. Sensory clarity increased in the last couple of minutes.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Attention wasn't scattered at all, probably because of dullness which stayed for the whole sit. After investigating dullness it tended to disappear, and then reappear after a couple of seconds, but it was not affecting me in a negative way. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was high and got higher the more I investigated dullness. Attention was recollected.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/30/22 12:21 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/30/22 12:21 PM

May 30, Monday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 30, Monday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered but got more recollected in the last couple of minutes.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered but was more collected compared to the previous sit. Dullness was present for the whole sit. Pointy, had a wet and spreading feeling to it. Deciding to center by counting up to 10 was a good idea, I should do this when attention is scattered and not just count without effort. More intentness and persistence are required when attention is scattered.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was higher. Attention was scattered, worried, planned and fantasized about possible future events. Dullness also stayed for the whole sit.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Was very resistant to practice, like all the previous sessions in the last 2 days. Sensory clarity was high and attention was recollected. Dullness was stickier and entrancing. Intending to energize the mind by perceiving bodily sensations was enough to get out of trance and investigate dullness. But investigating dullness was hard this time.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness didn’t arise like last time. Sensory clarity was high. Attention was a bit scattered but noting helped. Felt pleasant tingling sensations in the palms of the hands (had been feeling this over the past couple of days).
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 5/31/22 11:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 5/31/22 11:31 AM

May 31, Tuesday

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 31, Tuesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)​​​​​​​

Attention was scattered and was lost in thoughts. Clogged nose or low sensory clarity of the breath sensations.

Next time intend to count to 5 successfully.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was very scattered at first but after intending to have breath sensations at the center fully, meaning intending to have as little attention alternations happening as possible, sensory clarity of the breath sensations went from horrible to very clear, pleasant sensations in the hands burst (though not intense).

I also intended to activate peripheral, introspective awareness which made me more open and accepting to distractions and hindrances. I should do this from now on.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Decided to calm down by taking long, slow and deep in-and-out breaths. Then intended to activate peripheral/introspective awareness which felt like tunnel vision and noticed that distractions would be noticed much earlier than when I was only focusing on breath sensations. This is the right way to do it. Start by calming down and engaging introspective tunnel vision. This makes the mind more indistractable because distractions are noticed earlier and the mind knows where attention goes.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Attention was a bit scattered. Did a lot of repetitions on activating introspective awareness. When dullness came, I decided to perceive all sensations and observe how dullness changed in response. It grew weaker while IA grew stronger.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Gave up counting. Dullness was sticky and would reappear instantly after intending to energize the mind. Didn't know what to do. Before, I would investigate dullness every 5 breaths. Now I either have to investigate it until it disappears, focus on the breath sensations while having dullness in awareness, or strengthen peripheral awareness while investigating dullness. Don't know what to choose, in the next sit I will try investigating it while strengthening peripheral awareness.

6th sit - Library (20m)

The most intense sit I have had in terms of intended effort since a long time. No counting. When dullness arose, I focused on the breath sensations while trying to perceive everything else including dullness, sounds and body sensations. I got so hot I started sweating, I felt how sweat was running down my back. I also tried giving up breath and focusing on dullness while perceiving everything else. I gave a lot of effort to perceive sensations and to stay energized. Focusing on palms of the hands as intensely as possible helped.

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