RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Iracly Gorgadze, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 12:14 PM
Created 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 12:13 PM

Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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 and my father for bullying my 7 year old sister, 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 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 7:17 PM
Created 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 7:17 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 52 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.
Iracly Gorgadze, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 11:09 PM
Created 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 11:08 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 Join Date: 12/12/21 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?

Thanks for your kind words. I tried metta and gratitude practice once couple of weeks ago and it worked super well. But since then it feels forceful and went more on the centering and investigation side.

I have found that it's most helpful when in difficult situations to direct a lot of kindness toward yourself.


Thanks for reminding me this, I used to wish happiness to myself and then notice dissatisfaction in negative mental states. This worked well but forgot about it..
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Arena Heidi, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 6:00 AM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 6:00 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 52 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.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 7:41 AM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 7:41 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 1:01 PM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 1:01 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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.
​​​​​​​
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 10 Days ago at 5/7/22 12:08 PM
Created 10 Days ago at 5/7/22 12:08 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 7, Saturday 

Today didn't do a formal sit, was feeling aversive towards it, so I did NSDR twice - 45m total and mindful walking - 3h:26m.

 
I had a very productive session on the bus, the second one (40m total). I started to understand what Culadasa meant by stable subtle dullness and progressive subtle dullness. I turned my mind towards dullness with an investigative way asking questions like - What is the allure? Where is the allure? What part of dullness entrances the mind? While seeking these parts of the dullness and not letting any of slip out of awareness. While doing this, I experienced how progressive dullness minimized again and again until it stabilized, became a bit rigid and stable. After this, I was able to focus on the breath as the center of the attention while being aware of dullness and how it changed in response to my actions and noticed that it didn't intensify as it did in the past sessions. I didn't focus too much on dealing with distractions, just wanted to investigate dullness and not let dullness entrance the awareness.
 
I feel aversive towards formal sitting but I will at least do 1 before bed today. Tomorrow I will do sits with 10m repeat timer on. The reasons:

  1. 10m is easy to do and aversiveness will be minimized
  2. I will not be lazy in those 10m as I would if I wanted to sit for 30-45m.
  3. 10m flies fast, and in the past sessions I noticed that after 10m I usually go for second round, then the next and then the next, while not being lazy at all, compared to having 1 bell at the end of the 30-45m sit which creates aversiveness for me.
 
Tomorrow's goal, Each sit on average 20m:

  1. Three sits in the morning.
  2. One sit after going to the library for work.
  3. One sit after the last meal (Walking for 30m after a meal and then a sit).
  4. One sit before bed.
  5. Taking notes after each sit and publishing on DhO.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 12:04 PM
Created 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 12:04 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
May 8, Sunday

1st Morning sit - 20m

Dullness was not present as much, whenever progressive dullness arose it would be minimized automatically by turning investigative mind towards it. The reasons for dullness not arising as much could be:

1. Sitting in a cold and rainy weather outside
2. Improvement in introspective awareness
3. Improvement in needing less effort to investigate dullness when needed
4. A lot gross distractions

The mind was very scattered, possible reasons:
1. Bad sleep quality, woke up feeling groggy (could be because I woke up in the middle of the night)
2. Lack of effort
3. Lack of structure

To prevent the issues from happening:
Start sitting with relaxing practices (Good for recollecting scattered attention, releasing tensions in the body and stress in the mind) - 5-10m of deep, slow and smooth breathing, add body scanning as in yoga nidra if needed.

The exact steps
1. Breathe in long in an enjoyable way - 10-30 breaths. If this isn't enough to relax the mind and body then
2. Breathe in short in an enjoyable way - 10-30 breaths. If this isn't enough then
3. Visualize the environment I'm in, visualize I am lying down on grass and the exact position. Then focus on the breath and breathe in a relaxing way.
4. Body scan. Then focus on the breath.

This could take the whole sit without being able to open up and relax, but it will still be a success.
--
2nd sit - 39m

I was resistant to sitting for 20m so decided to do 10m (timer on repeat) and did 39m because I learned many things and made a lot of progress.

Started the sit with the first two steps of Anapana Sati and then dullness arose. While investigating dullness I noticed that instead of looking at dullness I was looking at the perceptions of dullness. Sometimes it was graphical representation of dullness, mathematical diagram, geometrical figure or some vague colors. After noticing this I directed my attention to the sensations of dullness and investigated it directly. I redirected my attention from the perceptions of dullness to the sensations of dullness 3-5 times and dullness minimized until it disappeared. It came back immediately and after investigating it disappeared in a couple of seconds again. This repeated a couple of times until only subtle, airy and very small dullness came back and stayed there. The rigid, intense and thick dullness disappeared completely. This subtle dullness that was present progressed very slowly when I refocused more than necessary on the breath (because introspective awareness of dullness weakened) and minimized after redirecting attention and investigative mind to dullness, this happened a couple of times until dullness disappeared completely.

Then distractions came like an assault rifle, I was getting caught up in excitement of making fast progress and was getting lost in thoughts about showing off and using this newly learned "knowledge" to help others. Got lost in thoughts about becoming a dharma teacher and helping my students overcome dullness fast and make good and smooth progress on the path in general. Then introspective awareness weakened, subtle dullness came back and had to direct investigative mind to it again and make sure the introspective awareness was on all the time. It was a challenge because now I had to deal with many distractions.

I also used introspective awareness to look out for potential gross distractions and it worked on some level, but the excitement of progress made me too restless and introspective awareness would "collapse" and had to rebuild it again a couple of times. Then decided to end the sit.

I should look out for the urge to sit and the desire to make fast progress. This type of greed is my weakness. It develops into ambition, thoughts and fantasies about fast meditative achievement, thoughts of becoming a meditation master, thoughts of becoming a competent industry level dharma teacher. This develops into unrealistic expectations of what should happen when I sit. And when I sit, aversion develops because of unmet expectations, which grows until I become frustrated and quit. This has happened in the past twice when I was doing 1.5m at home retreat doing 6-10hours of sitting practice. I quit twice when I could get over this greedy mentality and make smooth progress.

The reasons why I quit in the past:
1. The first 1.5m at home retreat (6-10h a day) - I was into practicing more and more hours and fitting as many hours as I could into the routine, 13-14 hours or more. This developed lazy mentality because I wouldn't use as much intentness and persistence as I would use in a shorter session, lazy mentality led to more dullness and I wasn't able to progress at all. This developed more aversion and frustration, snowballed and eventually I quit.

2. The second retreat type practice (6-10h a day) - In just 10 days I mastered the first 3 stages of TMI. Then as I was working on overcoming dullness I overcame the strong one in a couple of sits, then I felt my mindfulness increase as I was dealing with stable subtle dullness and overcame it temporarily. Unrealistic, very ambitious expectations developed, my introspective awareness collapsed because I thought I achieved single pointed attention because of how effortless it felt and how clear the breath sensations were. Then I focused single pointedly on the breath sensations at the tip of the nose, skipping stage 5 practices because I thought I was over it, and then dullness hit me hard in the upcoming sits. Couldn't deal with dullness as easily and developed aversiveness. It became stickier and stickier. Strong dullness was present in daily life, the whole day. I tried to ignore it as much as possible and this intensified dullness even more. Eventually, I became more and more frustrated and after about 1 month of struggle I gave up. I should have done the opposite, - turn attention towards dullness and investigate it as much as possible.

Quality is what matters, 10m timer on repeat and continue if I feel like it. Less stress and expectations are placed when I do it this way. Less chances of frustration developing. Is much easier to start doing because "it's just 10m" rather than "I will sit for x amount of hours" and then be lazy the whole sit.
--
3rd sit. In the library - 20m

Dullness was very entrancing, progressive, a bit rigid, more pulsing, more pointy, more alluring, more stubborn and sticky than in the last sits. I think the reason is that the past sits were done outside in cold and rain while this one in a very quiet and "ideal" situation.

I had to persistently apply intentness (gently) to investigating dullness, the more I investigated, the less it corrupted my mind, dullness didn't minimize like in the past sits, it was more stubborn and kept coming back, intensifying when I got caught up in thoughts or when introspective awareness weakened. I had to strengthen introspective awareness so that dullness wouldn't take a hold of me, it happened probably about 15-30 times. Asking questions like: where is the allure? Which part of my mind is getting entranced? Didn't help much. What helped was counting pulses, directing attention to dullness penetratively and asking questions like: how rigid is this? How airy is this? How progressive is this? How intense is this? How entrancing is this? How wavy is this? These questions helped with penetrative looking and kept my awareness on.

This is like fighting for borders. In the last sits I corrupted the territory of dullness but now I had to "fight" for not getting my borders breached. Nothing was forceful, I gently set intentions, as many times as needed, applying more effort to test what would happen, dullness would simply increase, the same with lack of effort, had to balance it well.

I think this is a huge opportunity to train introspective awareness. Instead of a hindrance, dullness is an opportunity to train introspective awareness, the balance between awareness and attention and increase the power of consciousness.
--
4th sit - in a public park (20m)

Sometimes I willed and dullness disappeared. The mind automatically detected it and did half the job of investigating as well. Investigating dullness was done almost effortlessly compared to the previous sits and detection of dullness was also more automatic.

The clarity of breath sensations at the tip of the nose was the best I had experienced compared to previous sits but it became the worst after a couple of minutes, this changed many times, probably more than a dozen. If anyone could tell me why this could be happening I would be glad. I think it has something to do with insight stages of Anapana Sati. I might be saying something very stupid but anyways, I'll be glad for an explanation

I will do one more 20m sit before bed and go to sleep.
George S, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:37 PM
Created 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:37 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 2382 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 ...
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 9 Days ago at 5/9/22 12:08 AM
Created 9 Days ago at 5/9/22 12:08 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 12:16 PM
Created 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 12:16 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 8:07 PM
Created 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 8:07 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 52 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. 
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 11:32 PM
Created 8 Days ago at 5/9/22 11:32 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

Posts: 25 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.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 7 Days ago at 5/10/22 12:00 PM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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 7 Days ago at 5/10/22 6:00 PM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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'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.)
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 7 Days ago at 5/11/22 1:27 AM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/11/22 1:27 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 12:32 PM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 5:04 PM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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Excellent work, under very tough conditions. My hat is off to you Irakli.
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Days ago at 5/12/22 1:34 AM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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George S
Excellent work, under very tough conditions. My hat is off to you Irakli.
Thanks for encouragement emoticon
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Days ago at 5/12/22 12:13 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 5/12/22 12:13 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 3 Days ago at 5/14/22 5:11 AM
Created 4 Days ago at 5/13/22 12:18 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 3 Days ago at 5/14/22 11:27 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 5/14/22 11:27 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 2 Days ago at 5/15/22 1:04 PM
Created 2 Days ago at 5/15/22 1:04 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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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
Irakli Gorgadze, modified 15 Hours ago at 5/17/22 1:00 PM
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RE: Irakli's Practice Journal

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May 17, Tuesday
1st sit - Outside (20m)

Started using counting method. In-out-1... Etc. Noticed entrancing and non-entrancing dullness. Focused on a couple of things:
1. Breathing in an enjoyable and relaxing way
2. Counting In-out-1, In-out-2, … In-out-10, and repeat.
3. Investigate dullness when I notice signs of progressiveness.
4. Open heartedly accept distractions and gently redirect attention on the breath while taking an enjoyable and relaxing in-and-out breath.

Past couple of days was intense for me in terms of toxicity at home. I felt anxious, guilty and angry throughout the day. Decided to learn a high income skill, move to the US and cut off all contact while providing them enough money to not need to work. This decision made it easier for me to not take things personally and do my own thing. I decided to do this because I am doing my best to improve situation, but abuse, unjust treatment, inhuman treatment, is getting worse and worse day-by-day. The abused is also getting more and more attached and dependant on the abuser.

Another thing I decided is to not change duration of sits or anything in daily routine/schedule without much thought. I will only do it once a week on Sundays. The goal is to do 20m sits, 3 sits before 1st meal, 2 - in-between 1st meal and 2nd meal, 1 - after the second meal and 1 - before bed (I eat twice a day). First I need to be consistent for some time and then adjust, I keep messing things up because of wanting to practice for more hours. My goal is to do 6-7 hours a day of sitting practice. I will also stop counting walking, NSDR and on the bus practice as formal practice, because it feels more like practice in life than a formal practice compared to a sitting one.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Sustained attention was worse than last sit. Felt restless. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was average in the last half of the sit. Dullness didn't arise as much, probably because of sunlight. I noticed, that when I set an intention to complete counting up to 10, concentration got better and centering happened.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Felt pleasant tingling sensations in the palms of the hands but disappeared in a couple of seconds. Felt pleasant sensations gradually growing at the base of the throat and around heart area when I was breathing with chest and focusing on pleasant and relaxing sensations of the breath. I also felt pleasant sensations at the nostrils, though subtle, it was noticeable, but didn't stay for long, probably about 20 seconds. Attention was glued to the meditation object and didn't stray despite distractions, distractions were in the background. I got distracted a couple of times only, no more than 10 for sure, and caught it immediately.

Sensory clarity was average. Tensions could be felt in the nostrils. After breathing with chest and calming the breath, tensions disappeared and relaxing sensations of the breath could be felt. Sustained attention on the breath sensations was the best compared to previous days. Probably because I set an intention to count the breath to 10, and did it about 5 times.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness didn't arise as much. Sustained attention was worse than average. Pleasant sensations around the heart and belly area could be felt subtly. Did counting to 5 instead of 10. I noticed that I didn't spend much time with sustaining attention in the previous days and simply investigated the hindrances. It was more insight than centering. Now I know what was my weakness. So I will spend upcoming sits improving sustained attention with counting and focusing on pleasant and relaxing sensations of the breath.

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