RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/4/21 6:24 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/4/21 6:01 PM

(finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
This is a continuation of my practice from being off of work, where my practice picked up a bit, and where I was recovering from an injury. I literally posted in it yesterday, but today was my first day back. This first post is a synopsis on current practice and some of the benefits. At the end I detail my first day back at work from a meditation prespective.

I'm currently doing several different techniques.

I usually do open, spacious meditation, noticing as much as I can. I also do, do-nothing mediation when I feel like it, or especially when I'm in what I think is, specific parts of the equanimity ñana i.e. mid-equanimity. And also I throw in noting in here and there.

Less often I do rapid-noting for 10 minute sits. I also have practiced TMI type concentration practices, leading to some weird states. But less so the last two months.

I seem to have better permanent resolution of the nostril sensations after doing a few weeks if TMI and maybe other sensations as well (in theory).

Weirdly I felt like more of my body was filled in with sensations (as soon as I rebooted practice) back in April. But I include this here. 

Another benefit is the "focus on rest" as Shinzen calls it. I discovered that I can actually do that as a result of TMI, and after reading the first part of, the Science of Enlightenment, by Shinzen Young. 

I also pay attention to the thought stream. And the space in the head. That is actually how I do the focus on rest.

My practice rebooted in April so I'll be approaching the 6 month mark.

Before that I practiced from 2011 - 2016. After that I had a 4 or 5 year break depending on how you count it. I did two Goenka retreats in 2013, and 2014.

I gave a little bit more of an autobiography in the first thread, about meditating during recovery: www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23113932


The time off work was kind of a "plunge experience". I believe someone on buddhist geeks once talked about that concept. I could have practiced more, and created more retreat-like conditions. On day one I fantasized about that. But being stuck at home for weeks wasn't actually ideal for that mentality. I actually overcame some pretty bad habits during that phase. And I've actually locked back in meditation as the most important thing. And a lifelong practice. I consider that a huge win.

It seems to be intimately related to giving meaning to times when I feel depression. And it gives me self-esteem that I'm actually good at something.

I'm very pleased with all this.

First day back:

I noticed I was way calmer. I was MUCH more mindful throughout the day. And I actively did several of the techniques described above. I would focus on my face or head, and that would help. My bedside manner was way better (blood donation phlebotomist). I was less pissed off and less stressed. I feel like the practice is transferable to work. I described above how being at home in recovery did not meet requirements for "retreat mentality". Well being at work might, in the sense of mindfulness for all or a lot of the day. I am motivated by my suffering. When I'm at home I can just tune out, but not at work. It motivates me to use these techniques in real time.

​​​​​​​I have a habit of counting my chickens before they hatch, but well see how this plays out the rest of the week. I sure dont intend to stop using all these techniques at work. And, I appreciate being at home way better now. I think this may help have more quality sits but we'll see.

Edit: I forgot I did a guided metta session last week. I'm trying to be less of a curmudgeon, and more loving. It seemed helpful to remeber that at work today.

Thanks for any attention reading this. Metta.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/4/21 7:13 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/4/21 7:10 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
20m

First sit of the day. I kinda layed out sprawling on the couch.

I did the "focus on rest" practice. I focused on the space in my head. And tried for more mental quiet than baseline. It can get really quiet really quick. But then thoughts come in obviously. It's like a game to see how quiet it can get. Or another way of looking at it. How quiet of thoughts, or proto-thoughts can I still hear. It was very relaxing. I think that is key. It's a no stress technique. That helps a lot. Then I noticed I would wander. And to return to the same level of deepness after wandering seemed like it took effort. Meaning I felt a resistance, like I didnt want to exert the energy to meditate again after wandering. But it seems like that's a ruse. Thats just a part of me resisting. 

This is the first time I formally dedicated and entire sit to what I had called "focus on rest" in the original post. I intuitively know this I'd a great practice for me. It relaxes me instantly without having to think about it. It literally only takes one microsecond to shift into it. And I can do it at work. 

Edit: I forgot to mention I saw also focusing on external sounds. It just happened to coincide with the train Xing outside being stuck on the on position my entire sit, no train, just the bells from the crossing. It is a pleasantly eerie sound. Not to mention a (probably) ciacada chiming in, as well as my cricket under the fridge. A beautiful cacophony
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/5/21 7:46 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/5/21 7:46 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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This isnt a formal practice post but I would say, my life has become infused with meditation. After day 2 at work I feel like this is part of my life now.

Waking up was hard, being at home and getting ready was hard. But once I got to work I maintained mindfulness every hour of the day (not continuously). Parts of my job are so repetitive that it's a freebie. It is also a huge boon to have it grounded in social interactions. I dont think I would be as mindful in a job alone, at least not now. The reason is because my fear of people is kind of becoming a sort of biofeedback mechanism. When I am afraid of them it's my cue to active mindfulness. And it calms me down. Then when I'm already calm, doing the mechanical tasks, maybr that autopilot thing happens. Or I feel my hands. Fun fun.

Eventually I hope to find a way to work with the early part of the day off the cushion. I already have techniques but I mean a system perhaps, or the motivation to get an effective practice in every morning.

I think I can do that. I think I'm on the right path. I feel like more of an adult (in a positive developmental sense) these past few days than perhaps ever. I remember feeling that when my brother died, like I was thrust into life. But this feels like being a responsible citizen of earth. Like someone who responsibly works with the dharma.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/6/21 7:55 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/6/21 7:55 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I normally wake up early and try to fall back to sleep, but often have trouble. So instead I lay there noting. Noting seems to be an insanely good practice to do in this state. I was noting crazily rapidly, lost steam and did notes here and there interspersed with just seeping into the sensation.

30m

After I got up I had a nice formal sit. Mind was wandery. Now that I'm back to work I notice myself getting stuck in those crazy thought loops. But I busted them up well. 

During work It was amazing doing the techniques. Just more noting. As well as dwelling in spaciousness. I had a moment where moving though space felt amazing. Like how the gentle touch of the nostril breath is. It feels good like clean water. Also I did the technique where I feel my hands. And selflessness if the face. True self, I'm probably misusing the term, but it's like the loving part of ourselves that appreciate everyone. 

What a great day. I'm so much happier to do the job. I feel like how it was before covid. I feel so much more optimistic about my future. Light at the end of the tunnel. And light in a time or darkness.   Metta
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/7/21 5:12 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/7/21 5:12 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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It seems it is now easier to maintain awareness throughout the day. It is mostly concentrating on certain sensations and tasks. Or getting into a lighter broad open perceptual mode where I notice aspects of the three characteristics. A lot of my anxiety is mediated by simply focusing on each task at hand. I laser in on it like a predator stalking prey. Or a fighter pilot engaging a target.

After I figure that out, I find the next task. If there is no work at the moment I just rest somewhere till there is more work to be done. One weird thing was trying rapid noting at work. Talk about vulnerable feeling. I get what people mean by saying they are tearing everything apart. So crazy.


I just did a 30m sit. It was interspersed with hyper focus, and brief mind wanderings. Then I noticed them and I catapulted my self back to the body and "room". I listen to podcasts with Daniel every week. Those help. They constantly remind me of aspects of all this. And I think it seems some of it into the subconscious more. That's why "room" is quoted, from Daniel saying to "tune into the "room".

I finally got some CBD I wanted for anxiety and for the healing foot. I'm afraid it has some THC in it. In fact I can feel it right now. But I've had that happen before, and I prepared for it. I'm just so physically burnt out right now and when I feel into my body, it's very obvious in high resolution, due to meditation plus the microdose of THC. It sems the best thing to do right now is to go into the body.

During the end of the cushion portion of the sit I felt into the sore muscles working to hold me up. I did a few minutes of that and went onto my bed. It's interesting because my body feels stitting-posture type pain when lying down. It's a good laboratory for practicing sitting posture mediation lying down, metaphorically. Create dispassion towards the painful body parts. And soak into the bed and relax. As this herbal cocktail works its healing properties, the thc will plateau and then wane, and I will be able to relax more. During the plateau I will simply do my best to investigate fear, and try to use the qualities of it to boot strap free concentration. Actually the fear is already greatly attenuated by the end of this post. Ok, back to more practice for a bit.

And more metta. I was incorporating this website into my practice. I was saying thank you over and over again, greatful for the pragmatic dharma.
George S, modified 7 Months ago at 10/7/21 9:42 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/7/21 9:42 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Nice!
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/8/21 11:01 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/8/21 11:01 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I'll be honest, that was a kind of kick in the ass last night. It didn't go away and got worse.

I ended up being able to relaxe by like 11PM, 12AM.

I did a live guided Michael Taft meditation an YouTube for an hour, and kept practicing for a while.

I wanted to say it didnt produce any insight other than what I already know. However Michael confirmed something I was pondering in my previous sit. I thought I could feel the space behind me, eyes open. And he mentioned something about that. I'm not sure if it was my imagination, but I suppose part of the imagination is the subtle visual mind. I dont know.

The whole experience made me appreciate the non-paranoid times. And it made me appreciate how much control I have over ruminating when I'm sober from the thc chemical.

after the brunt of it wore off I ended up just watching a stand up. I was laughing more than usual and relaxed. So In the end it all was therapeutic. I'm just going to dose 3 drops, 2 to 3x a day.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/9/21 2:37 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/9/21 2:37 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I didnt do any practice last night except lying in bed. 

I did several hours today on and off of very gentle practice.

I write a lot about the story of things for my life. So from now on I'm going to try to bold the stuff more directly related to the practice so I can find it easily later. Also for tracking I have 63 hours logged on my app, for August, Sept, Oct. That's less than the first 3 months. I had about 100. I "failed" my goal to 1hr logged per day, but that was an erroneous goal. Better one for me is to learn the basics and practice well, right now.

As soon as I woke up it was in bed meditation. About 45m, then I ate. Then I did another 1hr lying down. I really wanted to sit, but remembered all I learned recently. I took lavender oil too. By the end of it the somatic baddies were gone. The sessions were just remembering everything I have learned. Gentle earnest effort. Not heroics. Suffering - there is no controller, doer. The solution to all this is in the mess itself. C:

I know it's all cyclic. I have to learn forget and remever stuff over and over.

Today I actually when to the gas station to get ice and things, a few hours after I woke up on a Saturday. Pre broken-foot era Alex would not have done that.

One pragmatic insight I learned today about the mechanics of practice is that moving around is a freebie. Its waaaaay harder to move through the somatic baddies stationary. When I was folding clothes, making tea, driving to the store, I was task oriented like at work.

I also am learning to simply relax and do things I enjoy. Also family and good relationships. It's all tied together.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/9/21 6:20 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/9/21 6:20 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr 

Its obvious I'm building back muscle mass on my sitting muscles. I naturally slump now. I intended to try a whole hour on that posture but it was very hard.

I moved to the bed and did a good chunk there, but I'm sleep deprived today so I got very strong dullness.

I finished the rest back on the cushion.

It's like I feel poisoned when I dont sleep enough. It was bad enough that I just took a strong NSAID. On the cushion it felt nigh impossible to create dispassion towards it.

I still am having good mindfulness throughout the day. But my lazy morning sits were better than this one. I brewed a giant thing of yerba maté as well. I wanted to have one of those high powered sits. It just made me slightly more edgy, didnt improve mindfulness, ha! It all didnt pan out like expected. That's ok. 
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/10/21 12:28 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/10/21 12:28 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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15m
Pre-Meditative context: 1 hour after waking up. Normal agitated somatic unpleasantness.
Technique: Just noticing 6 senses doors, 3 characteristics.

I didnt know how to approach the situation. I felt overwhelmed. So I tried noting and failed. Then some things clicked. I remembered how it's just ok now as it is. I remembered all the progress I've been making. Basically I regulated my emotions AND did vipassana. I noticed the suffering characteristic. There is nothing to do, it all pops up and goes away by itself. The meditation does itself.

After 15m I thought I had got what I needed out of it. And I needed to beat the grocery rush before its busy. I still felt mostly bad. But I ended up burning it off on my way and back. I feel great getting back home 1 hour later. I maintained mindfulness as best I could.

I have a "trip report" (full spectrum CBD) from last night too that I'm not gonna post. But basically I just saw the no-self quality, and no controller or doer thing. Before in my weed days I really got into the seat of the witness. But this is way different, and it felt super profound.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/11/21 6:05 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/11/21 6:04 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Beat from work.

Technique: Do Nothin', Noting, Open awareness. Notice agencyless. Notice there is no one there.

Posture: several

I sat on the couch, in a pile of pillows and blankets. So tired. Somatic tired, heavy in face. Pleasant tingles all over except face. So much tiredness that I got up and stood in the cold shower for a minute and let the water evaporate for another few minutes. Maintained mindfulness. Gentle occasional use of notes 

Sat on chair. Less sleepy. Maintained mindfulness. Little sleepier again. Decided to place. Eventually it hit me. Felt like broke through to EQ ñana. I told myself "dont ignore the room". Look at it and feel it. The back stairwell room looked and felt strikingly beautiful during twilight.

I'm glad I figured out how to get to EQ, burnt out on a work night. I'm just going to set 1 hour timer and let my body do what it needs to do.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/11/21 6:07 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/11/21 6:07 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Work today: meditated on way driving. Was swamped with somatic baddies and lapses in mindfulness, upon arrival. Realized I should get more sits in before and after work. That's why I was motivated to do the hour sit from last post. The somatic baddies did go away it was just intense and took a while. Mettā
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/12/21 8:01 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/12/21 8:01 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

Pre-Meditative context: Several hours after waking before work.

Technique: Concentration

I was already a little mindfule before. During it I was frazzled with somatic unpleasantness. I attempted my best to cut through and just concentrate. I sort of used just the nostrils as an anchor but expanded to whole body as needed to not constrict

Sit 2 - 16m

Great sit.

Pre-meditative context: After work. Tired. Calm.

Posture: lying down

Technique: Concentration.

Focused on nostrils, and 3Cs. Eventually I focused on a ball of energy in face head throat.



I have rediscovered how I got to those weird states after reading TMI. I remembered what I did. I have to build up to it, short sits. Calm equanimous attitude.

one thing was that when I really settled in, I noticed how much my mind did not want to concentrate. It would rather do vipassana. I started the process of super settling into this moment, with no concern for past or future. The more I did that the greater the resistance. Until the energy ball could faintly be detected and the sub-minds were probably like "ok, this is cool. Meditation is acceptable." Weird.


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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/14/21 4:43 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/14/21 4:43 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr

Pre-Meditative Comtext: Tired from work. not very mindful.

Technique: Just observe sensations.

Posture: Sitting, Walking, cleaning, and Lying Down.

It was a more difficult meditation hour. I had popped THC-free CBD caps (finally bought).

I was super sleepy, not quite falling asleep, not quite dreaming. Basically day dreaming whole tired enough to enter a brief trance state. In the dream I imagined hitting a hammer several times. on the last hit, my arm physically moved, it gently popped me "awake" and I laughed. Most of the end of the sit was just resting my physical body. I felt more mindful at the end. I'm still feeling kind of anxious. But physically, I actually feel great besides that. I just ate and am full of energy. I want to practice more.

Off Cushion:

Last ​​​​​​​2 days were rougher at work. I just wasn't as mindful. I did try but it didnt stick as much. It's ok theres a lesson in it somewhere. But in the conventional realm, I had continued great quality of work. I was just more stressed than the previous days. But on a positive there has been a shift where the time of day is less relevant. I would guess it's more of an attitude than mindfulness. And I'm more apt to not use my phone all day, and on break I'm more apt to simply do nothing, meditation or not.

Psychologically I was feeling more doubt about the dharma. But presently I feel much more faith. I need to remind my self to do more dharma talks, reading, podcasts. And re-read the 5 spiritual faculties. That chapter never interested me as much as the 7 factors.

But I finally understand Faith and Wisdom. It's cool how experience eventually leads to that. And graciously there is a reference book for that.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/15/21 4:49 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/15/21 4:49 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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15m

Pre-Meditative Context: Just relaxing watching videos after work. Mildly feeling that something is wrong.

Posture: A very stable relaxed lying on back unmoving.

Technique: Nostril breathing with emphasis on relaxation. 

I focused on the nostrils gently with simultaneously a good amount of clarity. No pressure to meditate right, and a broad inclusion of all breathing sensations to relax me. I'm trying to balance energy and concentration. It seemed to help a lot. Its reminiscent of how I chanced into proper practice after my initial exposure to TMI. There is something very useful here. My intuition tells me this is the correct direction for the dharma right now. Several short low-pressure sits w/ concentration. That accommodate my high-anxiety temperament. And also accomadate all stages of attentional development. Focus on the nostrils, but also focus on everything else. Count the breaths 1 to 10 and reset if refocused. No worries if I start to get good enough to not count. I will still count if I want for skill building, even if I under shoot. And set timer for 10m, and just do extra I'd I feel like it.

Sounds like a solid on-cushion plan. I know what's possible from the last two weeks. I need the on-cushion habits and momentum to reinforce positive stress management off-cushion.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/15/21 5:39 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/15/21 5:39 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Off Cushon, 3hrs of challenge, and about 1hr falling asleep pleasantly/confident for tomorrow.

At the time if I said this I would have been embarrassed. I did it again, accidentally took another brand of full spectrum CBD. That's really a metaphor for my mind in a lot of ways. A chaotic, unorganized mess. Even in EQ a calm orderly mess... I got way more out of it, and it was less rocky than previous trips

Take away message is, my life is a mess, and my practice is that I have to wake up to that. Obviously I try to fix it in conventional ways too. But the dhamma is a life line if basic sanity that is like my rudder, or compass or whatever analogy works.

Also I am a paranoid person. The take away is that I should love people and remember they are mostly trying to help me.

I thought I had bombed at work, consciousness-practice wise. But my previous post makes me think otherwise now. I meditated using the method I thought about last night. Fun fun.

I have some ideas about how I'm supposed to continue on the path. The past few days are hard work, kind of brainstorming how to proceed. 

If I can get more diet and exercise in this mix, I will be very happy. I will hold my self accountable here. I'm gonna do stretches, and upper body exercises seated.

Meditation-wise is gentle short sits to train concentration. And all my other usual sits are extra.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/16/21 9:46 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/16/21 9:44 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Just woke up, reading about meditation. Feeling groggy and energized. Well rested.

Posture: Lying down

Technique: Concentration

I set the timer for 13m and just focused on my nostrils with inclusion of whole body, and sounds outside. Counting breaths 1-10. It was good experimentation, and a good continuation of last night. I kept going after the bell went off. My rule I think should be to stick with whatever technique I need before the bell goes off. In this case, I watched my attention change a lot, and also noticed the weirdness of sensations in the head. Being an observer, a self, a non-self. That I dont mind arising and think is helpful. After about 25m I had the thought I can just go vipassana now. It was a really freeing and helpful sit to see the progression.

My attention and danger of ruminating are in better states. My somatic unpleasantness isnt and attenuated as if I had done a really good vipassana sit but that's ok. In training concentration.

I was gonna read shargrols posts on centering, but my phone loaded on the middle of the EQ part. So I just read it and it was helpful. I can see I'm making a lot of the advice ingrained habits. Like noticing the weirdness of being a self or observer or whatever. Its really nice to notice that kind of stuff just for the fun of it. I'll read the centering portion after I finish that section. I constantly re-read various dharma texts.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 3:45 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 3:45 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I got to EQ. I was just relaxing. I was day dreaming and after I woke up out of it I was in low EQ. 

My technique is just to relax. I've given up doing specific techniques or looking for the 3cs. Those things just arise.

Later I got up to use the bathroom and layed back down. Then I decided its time to specifically do nothing and let everything happen even more. Then I was ported to higher EQ.

​​​​​​​This is sustainable. I will do relaxation lying down. I will still do concentration when I feel like it. And I will work with fear, to motivate me to practice and to lead a saner life.
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 3:48 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 3:48 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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"Low-EQ" feels less neurotic, and like something has been broken through.

"Higher levels of EQ" feels like I'm on some weird ass pleasant drug. Very intimate and vulnerable feeling. 

I think I already have a naturally "open"/"wide" attention. So that's not different. But in higher-EQ it feels like it's all being blended in a big soup. And feels slippery
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 8:38 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/17/21 8:38 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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25m 

Pre-Meditative Context: The rest of the evening was a good experiment. I know I have a tendency to get weird with being in high-EQ post sit. Like I dont know what to do with myself and am like scared I'll f' it up. 
However I was fine, and had a great evening. Im relaxed and ready for tomorrow

Posture: First "normal" pre-injury sit! This is huge and metaphorical for me. I had to reverse which foot was on top, but I was in a stable comfortable upright posture without extra cushions.

Technique: Experimented with shargols progressive noting. They just did do nothing for a few minutes.

I was surprised how deep I got and how great I felt seconds after hitting the cushion.

I started with noticing physical sensations, as well as overt visual images. Easy, lots of them.

Emotions were trickier. I can perceive them ok, but it was weird trying to notice them all, especially when it felt like their are none. Very interesting, now I know I can practice this more.

Craving, aversion and de-tuning. Very interesting considering I was relatively equinamous. I noticed a mixture of dispassion and aversion towards warmth I felt.

Thoughts. Easy for me to notice. When I have continuous concentration the thought stream turns into little thought fragments.

After I did do-nothing.

Off-Cushion: From my recent full spectrum CBD experiences and listening to Joe Rogan talk about weed. I decided it is appropriate to work with this each month because it shows me the parts of my life I need to work on. It also temporarily purifies me after, but it's hard work. The cool thing is it produces really profound no-self experiences. I never had that much A&P, so maybe it just mimics that/the DN. In any case, equanimity is faaaar more interesting in a really nice kind of way. Not that it's not possible to combine the two. 
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finding-oneself, modified 7 Months ago at 10/18/21 7:22 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/18/21 7:22 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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50m

Pre-Meditative Context: Woke up shower and dry hair. Usual crescendo into bad feelings.

Technique: Just open mostly choicless awareness

Posture: Lying Down relaxed

It's hard to relax when I feel like shit, but that's what I'm being trained in right now. It's always hardest in the morning with that crazy energy.

In any case it totally worked. I just let the meditation do me. Its easy for my mind to think it's hard to know what to do. But I'm gaining confidence this will increasingly happen.

It was a mixture of relaxation, and using attention to really see what's happening. Soaking into the bad feelings. I was really groggy and tired, plus I didnt write it down then.

It was interesting there was a definite threshold. I saw this laser burn line travel about and inch, the stop at a point, where it burned for .1 seconds longer than the line and it popped. When I saw/felt that I had broken through, and felt way better and confident the rest of the sit.

It's either A&P (from all the theory I've read), or I think more probably, crossing into low-EQ with an "event" occurence. In really just curious and am a map nerd like many others here. At the time it didnt really matter. I was just thrilled to fix my morning tornado so fast, so early and before work.

I'm lying in bed now. I wont be able to wake up early tomorrow for a sit. But I will be meditating in bed right now.

The lesson I learned is, yes, I will practice more because it will make me more useful a citizen, by burning off my little pet somatic-demon's energy. Anxiety demon. Not practice more, just that I will cramp in practice time where I can. And the goal is to simply relax. The other goal is the joy of studying the mind or whatever. And a third goal, is the joy of being a spiritual being. A clean conscience of being a healthy, helping human. Metta
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 10/19/21 9:24 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/19/21 9:24 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2382 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
 I think it's important to look into what's really involved with "bad" feelings, as you are doing. Usually there is a feeling of "discomfort", but as you soak into the feeling it starts to feel more comfortable and you realize that the discomfort is more a function of resistance or avoiding really feeling the feeling in the body. And when there is resistance/avoidance there is usually a lot of thinking patterns and/or behaviors driven by the unfelt feelings, whereas when the feelings are more fully felt that stuff tends to die down. So in a very real way, troublesome thinking/behaviors are just a projection of unfelt feelings.

So I just wanted to say that it's great you are doing this kind of practice. It can be an uncomfortable practice at times obviously, and as you bring greater awarness to this stuff it can feel like it's getting worse for a while, but there are big dividends down the line if you stick with it. emoticon

I also found it helpful to do a bit of light research into how our emotions evolved. There are around 7 basic emotions and they perform essential functions to increase our chances of survival - provide fast information about threats, opportunities and how to live together in groups. There's tons of stuff out there, but Angelo Dillulo's book Awake: It's Your Turn as a good chapter on the emotions and how they fit into the whole awakening process. 
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/19/21 11:39 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/19/21 11:39 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
       " I think it's important to look into what's really involved with "bad" feelings, as you are doing. Usually there is a feeling of "discomfort", but as you soak into the feeling it starts to feel more comfortable and you realize that the discomfort is more a function of resistance or avoiding really feeling the feeling in the body. And when there is resistance/avoidance there is usually a lot of thinking patterns and/or behaviors driven by the unfelt feelings, whereas when the feelings are more fully felt that stuff tends to die down. So in a very real way, troublesome thinking/behaviors are just a projection of unfelt feelings"

hmmm, yes. Soaking in it and it starts to feel more comfortable. I like to think of it as "energy". Seems like that verb works well. Like back pain, weird bad-feelings, is energy. It is just made of the same stuff all other sensations are. And I really see that demonstrated whenever I'm deep in EQ. But yesterday, when in dark night and low EQ. I was pretty comfortable. No pressure "sit" lying down. Soaking in it really is key. That's literally what happened. 

I think it would really help at work. I dont want any unfelt feelings to get by, because yes, it does cause troublesome thinking and behaviors.

Thank you for the kind words. I was delighted on a recent "Meta-Awareness" podcast, (shout out to your podcast if reading, I love your podcast style). Daniel said some people it's a lot of hard work then big pay offs.

The dharma ain't "doing me". I mean I can kind of see how it is some times. These unpleasant feelings I have had, have been with me since 2011 A&P. They are my friend in a weird way. I remember one dharma teacher said that he missed his anxiety and has found memories of it. Its definitely my teacher. I can see how being comfortable with it, is an act of kindness towards myself and it (in my personification metaphor).

Sorry for shit format on phone. C:
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/20/21 9:27 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/20/21 9:27 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I ended up purchasing of digital copy of Awake: It's Your Turn. I read the intro and the first part of the emotion chapter. I watched a couple podcasts with the author before. I'll quote two lines.

"The duration of emotion tone of repressing may be day, weeks, months or years"

"A pure emotion tone is clear, obvious, intimate, fully felt in the body, and physiologic reactions to it are freely expressed. It passes through the physiology rapidly and without resistance"

This kind of hit me at the time. I've either been repressing fear, or ignoring it. In the past I've skillfully ignored fear/anxiety as a coping mechanism at the time. But now I'm aware I'm doing this so now I can't unsee it.

I read though several parts of the chapter, and some of it like super obvious. I sought out emotional intelligence early on in my development so that always has been my adult baseline. I haven't sought to learn more about emotions since then, or cared. But present day, studying emotions wasn't something I new I needed. I created a blind spot by not giving much thought.

I have these awesome periods of general equanimity, or calm-concentration on work tasks, my hands, etc. Periods of spacious agencylessness, or spacious awareness. But there are huge swaths of time spent tuning out, effectively being indifferent or trying to pretend the aversion is not actually there. This is ripe with potential and can help me a lot, to deal with this huge blind spot and how to learn to live in groups.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/22/21 6:42 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/22/21 6:42 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
It's been kind of a roller coaster these past three weeks. I have rest coming up again thankfully.

I noticed today I perceived vision shuttering. When I closed the moon-roof on my car I was so absorbed. It was beautiful. And I just noticed it standing up up looking around. I remember seeing this before. Especially when I was at higher than a threshold dose of THC, years ago. Like I have never thought about it too much, but it's like a familiar friend. I think I used to be very deeply afraid of it subconsciously. I had associated it with being on the edge of the marijuana precipice, which is a terrifying place to be.

This makes me so happy. I'm kind of in a burnt out mood. I'm trying to journal to just vent steam and feed energy into balanced faith in the dharma. I appreciate it because I am having experiences of that level of impermanence that I read about which seemed so esoteric. I was always more of an anatta perceiver. This paired with my recent appreciation of unsatisfactoriness is a good thing.

I was kind of curious about what "vibrations" were, in MCTB1 but also like, "what the fuck?".

But it turned out to be so simple. Just the tingles in my hands I could feel at the time, and the visual static I could see.

These days the tingling is spreading. I'm now aware that the tingles and static line up and represent each other. I dont remember reading about that. But that is so beautiful. Like it's honestly breathtaking. And my heart melts, that I, as an individual, me "Alex, the Alex I've known my whole life, that I am so blessed to be able to experience it. Never would I have guessed, something that simple is so beautiful. And to think I felt alienated when I first saw static.

If it wasn't for the idea of  "hardcore" effort, I would not have made as much progress. And I wouldn't have done retreats. I'm familiar with at least some of the shadow sides.

The reason I include this in this post, is because of the attitude of "throw everything at it". Well I dont have too. I have all these things that give me confidence in the dharma. The more I continue the more it grows. I dont have to throw anything at it. I just have to relax now. All that stuff happens automatically and I will continue to grow and evolve as a person. It's been confusing because I think of myself as a lazy person, so it sometimes feels like I dont know whether in practicing enough or not. Really it's just practicing well, daily and relaxing.

I will keep at it. Non-heroic effort. Letting awareness be aware. Letting myself feel shitty, and not running from it. Embodied practice, on cushion and walking around. With an emphasis on relaxation.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 10/22/21 9:27 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/22/21 9:25 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2382 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Lovely. Sounds more like the practice is doing you now emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 2:07 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 1:26 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Thanks. Your words have been helpful.

Edit: Specifically "unfelt feelings in the body". 

This post im replying to specifically as well. Its good to have it be reinforced by another person.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 1:57 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 1:25 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown

Posture: Lying Down shaped like a fetus. Rolled over a couple times.

Technique: Very embodied awareness.

Pre-Meditative Context: I woke up and felt somewhat ok, very groggy. Watched some videos to wake up. Did not drink caffeine. The usual unpleasant somatic sensations increased and it was time to meditate.

I really tried to stay with my promise of embodied practice. Also in order to relax I just kept a super comfortable posture. As usual it feels unpleasant. But I just stayed with it. I remembered the advice "thoughts popping up are usually unfelt feelings in the body". At this point the mindfulness mechanisms have picked up steam where it's not as hard to come back after my mind wanders and really starts to ruminate. It can happen automatically, which it did this sit. I remembered the quote above and it seemed to sink in and help reinforce that mechanism. Near the start of the sit I had Michael Taft playing but it didnt match up with my first morning sit at the time so I had to shut it off. I let myself feel the hurt feelings from work this week and started to cry. I included it in the deeply felt embodied practice, it was perfect for that. After that it was just riding out the physical unpleasantness. At some point I felt a shift and a bit of relief. But it wasn't a total shift. Which I thought was ok. I went back into the unpleasant somatic feelings. I remembered my own quote "anxiety my friend". I held the sensations in my belly like a warm blanket as a child. A really strange feeling. But It did happen.

The journaling has helped. The sit-log has helped. I feel like I'm learning the unlearned lessons of the "dark night". I feel like putting it in quotes because it's such a colloquial term. What's more real to me is that its just unpleasant physical sensations + more neurotic tendencies. I have to learn to be ok with that again and again. EDIT: One thing I will is that I rember reading about the "heartbeat frequency/shamanic drum beat frequency" in at least one stage of the dark night. I decided to write those before I look at the ñana chart. Anyway, during the sit I realized I felt my heartbeat sometimes interfered with noticing the vibrational state at the time. Then I realized it is part of it. Including the heart beat in the practice today helped a lot. I think it moved me through quicket.

Just keep doing what I'm doing and improve my life in conventional terms, and let the dharma take me by the hand. I cant really differentiate between "magic" and "dharma" sometimes. Both feel like living-breathing entities.

Ive had some crazy synchronicities involving the deceased. Those are more personal, and I feel like they can be neatly separated from the dharma. 

I'm more talking about the magical idea a holy guardian angel or whatever or higher self. I mostly have done prayer out of feeling lost. But I intend to do more when I'm in higher equanimity. I'm ok calling it equanimity because it's the only ñana I know for sure exists. Ñanas 1-10 might as well all fucking be the dark night in my experience HAHA

I either feel like shit, or feel equanimity. Ocassionally I'll feel normal briefly, rarely. The one other state being distracted ar absorbed in tasks.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 5:56 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/23/21 5:56 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
~30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Relaxing. Had a very productive day accomplishing relaxing and healing. Physical as well as mental.

Posture: Fetus pose. Otter, tummy-up pose.

Technique: Open awareness to the senses.

I did not try hard this sit at all. I think that is ok, but I feel myself telling me otherwise. Reminder "non-heroic" effort. The brain-mind is the most fucking complicated thing in existence. I tend to think a lot of this shit happens subconscious, things like integration. I know I meditatied at least a little in that sit. In any case it was beneficial to do nothing for 30m.

I'm experimenting with not logging everything in my meditation app, and not setting a time tracker. In this case I just looked at the time before I lay down. If I didnt I would have sworn it was only like 15m.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 8:38 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 8:33 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown (10/23/2021)

Posture: Lying in bed, very comfortable

Technique: I'm not really sure. Explained below.

Pre-Meditative Context: Reading a little, then lying I'm bed getting ready to fall asleep, unfortunately ruminating and stressing. I also had a very small threshold dose of psychoactive full spectrum CBD. Only 4mg CBD. God knows how little THC that is. I think that explains the increased rumination and meditation enhancement that follows:

This is a crazy one (for me). I was essentially getting very weak 3 dimensional visuals. I think what I was doing was to focus on 1. The light, 2. Certain parts of the inner-sound. And 3, I think the space in and around my chest and head. At times, it included the full body. And it definitely entailed parts of the 3CD. Namely dukkha and no-self. 

In the past I would lay down flat on my back and just "stare out into the black space with the dance of light. I would just meditate on the visual field and space. It would feel really good. Not necessarily physically but its just super fun to me. But most of the time it was a flatter visual field. My goal was just to feel and see the depth.

In this case, almost immediately as I started practicing it was like a three dimensional space, but different somehow. Because I could see things. I could definitely see glowing objects made out of light. It looked like beautiful castle ramparts and towers. I watched as it changed a little. I could see the light clearly, clearer than usual, without face strain. But the images that formed out of the light were themselves faint. I could feel the space moving. I was lying on an angle but the towers were lined with the physical earth, upward direction.

The greatest significance of it was the just happening by itself aspect. Not just the visuals but the body lying down there. The emotions and thoughts arising causally. And acceptance of that.

Later I didnt see well formed images as much, but the felt and seen sense of space remained. And I still got crazy light dancing. Normally it was fainter sparks. In this case it was li like a huge brush stroke swirling around. Looking back it kind of felt very friendly, and like it was alive. Part of me.

The other significant part was the appreciation for the rest I was getting. Because my intention was to meditate to fall asleep. Eventually I got up and came back. I kept mindfulness as much as possible. It was nice to kind to have the meditation just happen as I fall asleep.

Because 1. It is good mind training 2. It is not unhealthy and painful rumination and 3. A great restful use of time it takes me the hour to fall asleep.


A side note: I have heard about the kasina progression on podcasts. I have some questions about it but its non-essential. It's out of curiosity and confusion. Like I get the idea that an insight practitioner who cycles, pre-1st-path, will just jump to later stages. Like I feel like I only ever experience "the murk". Which is just sparks, haze, and washing-smearing light, (some forms of) static, or the 4th jhanic aspect, the 3d space. IDK, I'm just thinking about it. I'm sure it will clear up eventually.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 10:08 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 9:54 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Duration Unknown

Posture: Sitting, then lying down.

Technique: Embodied awareness with some labeling

Pre-Meditative Context: Woke up, ate, watched videos.

I felt really well rested and not as bad somatic feelings as I usually do waking up. Probably because I'm getting enough rest, the meditation last night probably helped too.

I was feelings increasingly worse later, during the sit. Ruminating more than I like. I tried to go back into the body. Later still, I added notes: ruminating, fantasy, thought.

Energetically it feels rich and alive like usual, vital energy humming all over. But I noticed when I tried to look at the vibrations, I cant focus on it. I got that verbiage from another poster. It is making more sense.

The lessons to learn from dark night: on a vibrational level you cant focus on it. Edit: I I sitting here still feeling unpleasant sensations and thought of the right words. The actual lesson I am learning right now is that the aspects of meditation I find liberating are still here in the dukkha ñanas. The fact they exist here too enables freedom in all states/stages.

I was laughing during the sit. The unpleasant somatic feelings over had the last 10 years ate basically saying to me: "Go meditate you lazy fuck!" I heard it in a comical Joe Rogan type voice. It took a while but I do indeed have a daily practice for life now. I've experienced all the normal shadows of hardcore dharma. But if I'm honest with my humanity this is the pace this human should have gone at, on this particular path I went down. The super unpleasant sensations exist to motivate me to help myself.

Aside from that I'm super tired. I've given up caffeine. It's a tolerance break, and context break. It doesnt go well with work how I've been doing it. And on the weekends it makes too much energy so I cant properly experience the dark night. I love me my caffeine meditations that go well, so in the future I'll always have it if I want it.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 8:06 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/24/21 8:06 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

Technique: Open awareness, full embodied, noting "core" sensations, noticing aversion, craving and ignorance.

Posture: Proper sitting posture on cushion, 1st time since foot broke!

That was a very good sit. Started out woth a mix of concentrated/scattered. Eyes open, then eyes closed. Mind wandering increased. I remembered to be embodied and continued eyes open.

I read a very good description of what ignorance actually looks like in practice. This was the first time I ever noted it. At one point I realized I was tuning out one portion of the various inner-sounds. Then I became aware of subconscious imagery. I saw a beautiful hooded snake that I felt love for. It's like part of me new it was there. Then I realized it had been there. Then the conscious mind enjoyed a flash of its memory of it.

As it continued I became more concentrated and embodied. Being in said posture I began to feel pain on the bottoms of my legs. I noted "aversion, aversion" the perception of it then became dispassion. I would note it until it became perceived as just sensation. That helped spring board the mind to equanimity. The quality of it, not the ñana. I did this several times. It became more intense and I fought the mind to get up several times. It crescendoed, getting harder and I decide to get my legs up. I opened the timer and there was 30 seconds left. I am glad because this is one way I used to get to the equanimity ñana quick. Its helpful to work with EQ in different postures/activities. One of these weekends I felt I got to low EQ after 50m of waking up. In this case I'm not sure where I'm at on the chart. But my point is, its good just having all these tools and experiences line up in my favor.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/25/21 8:48 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/25/21 8:48 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
30m

At the time I had just woke up and got ready for work. I planned my sit before it was time to leave.

Posture: Sitting on cushion, laying for 5m.

Technique: Open awareness, gentle spacious noting pointed at very minute detail, metta.

I remeber the somatic feelings in my belly that can be hard to work with. I was also irritated by the heat I was experiencing, and then the coolness from the fan. Anyway, I tried to note and objectify the aversion to the unpleasant sensations in the belly. It's a good technique to train being with the physical components of the dark night. I have had plenty of success and failure with trying the other method if simply and broadly "noticing". I'm filling in the nooks and crannies with noting the sub components of the morning feelings I always get.

The Day

I walked into work relatively confident. It's still a mess on the inside, that's really how my mind works. Probably after future attainments too (but who knows) speaking of attainments I was able to very success note a future/goal oriented thought and dissembled from it, with ease. Even as I type this I felt a time type thing, then remembered to be embodied, and be in the room.

But despite the mess I was able to use mindfulness relatively well. It got me through the day and some tough situations. The day flew by. We have got mostly new staff now. A huge challenge to me. I'm shy, afraid of people, anxiety, lack social skills and grace, etc.

The metta helps. I accept my socially awkward self and lack of social skills. I am not a bad person.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/26/21 6:27 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/26/21 6:27 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
50m

I was home from work. Tired but in good spirits.

Posture: Walking, Cleaning, formal sitting, lying down

Technique: open awareness, watching apparent agencylessness, do nothing, being in the room

I felt ok walking but was tired. Did a bit of aimless wandering around a part of my house. Got into auto pilot picking stuff up. It helped to get some more mindfulness to satisfy more "sub-minds"

I feel way better now that it's a little clean. I sat down in the formal posture, reversed legs to compensate for healing foot, which sat on top. I tried relaxing into the posture while being so tired. I mostly did do nothing. I finished off with about 5m lying down. Then did a bit more cleaning but lost steam and hit the timer.

Today

Wow I got a great system going. Between the practice above and today the dharma is indeed "doing me" at times. Mindfulness pulsed on and off all day. At times it just takes over and takes me by the hand, literally, when freaking out "feel your hands". I also found out rooting down into my legs when I'm freaking out helps, when I'm being observed by others.

I realized it was hyper easy to be mindful when I first returned to work because A. I had been relatively relaxed from my break and B. The tasks were fresh and novel again.

However, while it's not as strong or persistent as the first two weeks necessarily, it is on an upward trend. I'm still doing great and improving.

Just be calm and embody. or watch autopilot engange and notice freedom from dukkha in that moment. Remember the inherent kindness in human souls.

I also am working more with relative improvements. An example is the 4 agreements. I inadvertent worked with some naturally but boy does not making assumptions and taking things personally help. I didnt even read it yet. All this shit will holistically connect and help all other shit. 

​​​​​​​~gratitude
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/30/21 7:35 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/29/21 6:20 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Primal frustration and general malaise. After work, relatively tired. Made thing of tea.

Posture: Mostly sitting. Got up once. Last 10m lying down.

Technique: Ferocious noting. Open awareness. 3cs.

I wanted to do a period of strong determination. After I gained some traction I was noting rapidly at my effective pace. Eyes closed. I went on a journey. There was a mystical looking black fellow with short dreads  and he said "I can take you there". I felt cool and heartful. It wasn't all good. I was doing rapid noting to break apart all the neurosis and unpleasant feelings and emotions. I noted aversion, it seemed to help. Also creative labels were helpful for the belly anxiety and laboured breathing "fire" "cool fire" "butterflies" "electricity" "movement". My heart opened, it felt great. Very loving. I eventually got into a couple weird altered feeling states. My intention and determination proved effective.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/30/21 10:35 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/30/21 10:35 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
1hr

Pre-Meditative Context: Had recently woken up and ate. Tired. Determined.
Anxiety -> sadness

Posture: Formal sitting. Getting up. Chair.

Technique: Noting. Noticing. Metta.

Between yesterday and today I've been in a push forward mood. But I was tired so the noting was slower and less comprehensive and detailed as yesterday. But it was successful. I just enjoyed studying the mind and consciousness. I feel that spark reigniting. It's useful because it gets me to meditate more without burnout. But the tiredness caught up with me. I planned ahead of time to have tea after the start. So I maintained mindfulness 30m in and made tea. Then consumed it mindfully on the cushion and super savored it. Getting up also gave my body and mind a little reset. Then I was back on it, just a little less sleepier.

Metta: I felt love for myself and the entire world. I felt a point in my chest. It cuts through all the bullshit. All the impersonal stuff in the universe. It tells why I am here and why I'm doing this. It temporarily overcomes any desire for stream entry or aversion to current conditions. There is a mission feel to it. It was maybe for 5 minutes. These chunks of metta are invaluable.

On studying the mind and the heart-area. I noticed heart burn is very clearly in the throat. And there are simply dense food sensations in the stomach. I didnt eat much so it helped clarify it. I felt the stomach and neck simultaneously then felt the chest. The chest was unaffected by the food intake/heart burn. I used to get heartburn frequently. My coping mechanism was to ignore it. At the time it felt like the throat and stomach were directly connected. But now when I look at heartburn there is this huge gulf between them in the chest. At least this time.

The last few days: I had a really successful day in training in morality. Sometimes just trying to being calm at work is prioritized over increasing awareness. Sometimes they are equivalent. Well yesterday I just got in a work flow state. There was less mindfulness involved and I probably tuned out a lot, but I stayed calm.

The previous day we worked at a major college town. During my lunch break I just went for a walk amongst the beautiful buildings and college students. I appreciated the place visually and specially. I listened to music which I dont usually do but it calmed me down. There was a nice spacious no-self flow to it. I was able to not experience as much self-conscious feelings being in big crowds. Beautiful.

After I came back from break I was so calm and mindful.

I'm also laughing at myself myself for writing about reducing caffeine. I sound like an addict. The good thing about anxiety is it self regulates caffeine for me.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 10/30/21 2:25 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/30/21 2:20 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
25m

I went to get food and was in a good mood, but then later in a rush and impatient. After I ate I was super fulfilled and content. 

Posture: Reclining on the couch 

Technique: I intended to so concentration. Relaxation. Open awareness. 

I tried working with the breath a bit. I settled in quickly. I could sort of concentrate on the feeling of visual and somatic space. I thought it was a weird space. One I think might be 3rd vipassana jhana. 

I can recall when but I was getting that third eye pressure that feels really good. I focused on it but in a way I've never been able to be before. A very gentle focus. Just letting the sensations be felt in the whole field of experience. Keeping those sensations awake with the gentlest attention.

At some point I also was doing dukkha practice, noticing that it's all ok right now.

Eventually though I felt that I was for sure now in the 4th vipassana jhana. The whole thing felt diffuse. And familiar, because I've been there before.

The good news is when any ideas or feelings of progress and mapping came up I just dropped it. I was able to remind myself to gently be in the present.

Some other stuff happened but I want to keep this short. It was only like 20 minutes anyway, I started to lie down and then drift off. It's hard to recall everything.

One good realization I had is that motivation comes in waves and that will hopefully calm me down. Anytime it looks like practice is slipping through my fingers that's an illusion, the big picture shows that progress is not linear. In some ways I was at this ñana 2 months ago, and in some other ways I was at this deep concentration 5 months ago! Cool!

It shows me what just 2 days of 2hrs of practicing well can do. ♡ And the best part is my sits, I just sort of did them, like I would just do any other activity. I'm excited to even go back and learn more lessons from the dark night. I can tell because I felt my emotions and body vedana fluctuating and I wasn't worried about sliding back.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 11/4/21 10:44 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/4/21 10:43 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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finding-oneself
I'm excited to even go back and learn more lessons from the dark night.

That's great! Nothing accelerates practice like digging into the shitty stuff with genuine curiosity.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/21 11:26 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/5/21 11:24 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Thank you for pointing out and emphasizing the simple stuff.

The fact that this attitude occured shows me that it may occur in the future and that its wise to cultivate it. 

I experienced a feeling of burnt out after work one day, and depression after work most days. Since writing that post. Mornings have been unpleasant but they were easier to deal with this week. Then there is the feeling of not wanting to sit. Or the feeling of wanting to get up early. All worthy of investigation. 

A big, related, important lesson, is dealing with these in conventional means. I had an OK sit this morning. Felt pretty meh after, too much anxiety/energy. I did no pressure walking meditation. Similarly I will just do chores now, all which cut through the anxiety. That's my meditation to. Podcasts, "auto-listening". Just watching stupid youtube video and laughing a lot. It's all aligned with the same goal. I think meditation forced my training in morality trip to get better.

All of that is a reminder and reinforcer to hopefully remember gentle curiosity when things get rocky.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/21 12:11 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Laughter is a great medicine. I took myself way too seriously for way too long. Funnily enough, laughter also seems to be a pretty common reaction on waking up, like 'WTF, this is it, I spent all that time looking high and low for something that was right in front of my face the whole time, what an idiot I am!' emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/21 7:10 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Haha

You can never really have enough laughter. We're so lucky it exists
I love laughing. C:
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/4/21 6:33 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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General Territory:

I've had a pretty gradual but big shift in practice where I can get in a relaxed upright posture on the cushion. It coincides and may be related to getting into pretty relaxed and absorbed states. Its like I go into the space inside my body or parts of it.

Also pretty gracefully getting into pretty good non conceptual meditation. Like I've dropped a lot of the thinking about meditation where the meta-awareness works automatically. I almost feel nervous writing about it because within it there are no concepts.

And today at work I was saved by auto-movment. Just getting into the flow consciously. And to go against the theme of the last paragraph I found a trick where I say "auto-walk" or "auto-talk". A huge thank you to Shinzen Young. It's amazing how different teachers can help. I was barely listening to a podcast but I caught that snippet.

Another good sign is I've burnt out my need to post so much. I was have been enjoying life, and the practice has become very normalized. 

The anxiety in the morning has become somewhat less of a problem. I find by just doing stuff, that it is greatly attenuated. That's way easier than meditating to an equanimity somatic state/stage in a few hours. My sights have turned to the evening depression. Not even consciously. I just know that if I feel that way after work it's time to meditate. I do it. And I look forward to it usually.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/4/21 6:42 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m yesterday, 11032021

Technique: Noting. Also, what was described in the last post.

Posture: Sitting

I used noting to get momentum then dropped it and settled into a pleasant concentrated physical space. It was altered, I could see light, and I felt lighter. Still somewhat unpleasant breathing/ tight breathing.

A very interesting note to me, I watched myself cross the arising and passing away. It was literally a firework thing and I could hear the sparkles. On a scale of 1 to 100 it was maybe 5. Only visual/audio no bliss. I think when I usually cross it's near the start of my sit and I dont notice it. I sometimes notice a flash, maybe that's it sometimes. I'm not sure if I scripted myself but I immediately felt fear after, but it felt really "pure" compared to my morning stints in the somatic unpleasant territory.

But that was over quick. Within a minute or two I shifted into that weird altered state. The rest of the meditation was like that, a more intense or lesser version at times.

30m 11042021

I had a weaker version of that state today. But I was even more relaxed into the meditation posture.

I'm calmly enthusiastic about continuing to move forward developing my practice. Perhaps a psychological developmental phase or attitude. My older writings in my posts here were more "manic" feeling.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/21 7:06 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Total hours today: 3

Techniques: Noting, open awareness, concentrating on feet, just intimately being in this moment, being with the unpleasantness and opening to it.

Postures: Sitting, lounging, standing, walking.

I had a shorter sit this morning then did some chores. The chores went well.

Practice got interesting this evening. When the sun was setting and I was having tea and trying to read I just started practicing leaning back, putting the book down. I felt very sad, lonely and depressed. I always get that way when the seasons change, especially going into Fall. It was always a bittersweet feeling, so I actually kind of like it. Loneliness doesnt scare me. In this case I really dug into it. I often block stuff out with ear plugs. I could see and hear all the cars returning home for the day. I recalled many memories. It felt intimate, and trippy. The tripiness was mildly scary. It felt like I was in a dream. And the people going home were dream characters.

After that I had a continuation of difficulty formally on the cushion. The preparation timer of 1 minute felt like 3 to 5 minutes. I thought it was broken. The sit felt like an hour but it was 50m. On the cushion I continued having memory recall. Sadness. I went to childhood. Very sad. It was all very intimate. I did more walking meditation. I aimlessly wandered in my room. Stopping sometimes. When I was standing staring at a wood door it was either breathing or melting. I finished it off with another 20m sit. It was like I could see several yards down into space through the floor. Very weird.

No clue what ñanas I was in. Nor do I really care. I was definitely taking on the main flavor of practice reminder to just be genuinely curious about the unpleasant stuff. Like it's fun and interesting to explore too. It was strangely easier to do that with the emotional stuff. In the late 20m my face felt pressurized. I was like, this bugs me, it's not interesting. Next time.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/7/21 7:46 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

Pre-Meditative Context: Over 7 hrs of practice from the last 3 days. Highs and lows. Great sits. Periods of burnout. Depression. And relaxation.

Cutting Edge: Very clearly some kind of partially absorbed EQ state with a weird perception of space.

Recently read up to "stage 8" of TMI. It REALLY clicked. Also hearing Daniel compare the book the the stages of insight helped. I underestimated my "TMI skills". I'm surprised.

Technique: Noticing objects as objects. Noticing the noticing. "The witness"

Posture: %90 settled into sitting. Relaxed and tense. Leg fell asleep.

Well I am shocked. Today I backed off meditation and adjusted my attitude a bit. Combined with reading TMI. I am in either the equanimity phase or a jhana or vipassana jhana. It wasn't important for me to "get to eq". Culadasa's/Daniel's new framing of this helped tremendously in my mind. My god!

I landed where I always was. I am very familiar with "the witness". Such a good and familiar feeling. Also a very easy technique.

My goal was to just be mindful of objects, and not get absorbed in wandering. Then I went into mental stillness. Then I let it happen automatically, effortlessly. I copied the "you landed where you always were" line. I didnt reach stream entry. But that line hit me.

I can do this. I'm surprised it's really this easy. I will just do 2 20-30m sits a day like this. Also combined with my mindfulness at work and home... this is suddenly doable again. I have to guard my mind though, the reason this is possible is just being here, now, combined with relaxation.

The end of the meditation I would describe as effortless, with a varying degree of equanimity, pleasant feelings in the body (and some unpleasant still), but a relative stillness of mental chatter, and "just being the witness".

That's what had happened in the past in my early meditation career. But my life was too chaotic and I did not have as good models. It's so familiar to be back here. It also reminds me of my preMCTB A&P, days.

Another note for pre and post meditation is to chill the fuck out gentle idiot. That's my stern yet loving note for myself. 

Thank you Culadasa. Because I underestimated my skills I slowed the reading down after like stage 6/7. But on page 318, it's a section called "Finding the Still Point and Realizing Witness". I'm still reading ealier in the same chapter but I saw that and skimmed it.

Between that and the whole unified mind theory it packed a wallop. Nothing in that book had such and immediate and crazy effect. 

I know practice fluctuates but I'm confident that I have just turned a major corner.

Edit:

I did another 30m, no problem.

I worked with everything I wrote about in the first part of the post. The 2nd has the same themes as the 1st sit, but I was sleepier this time. I mind wandered a bit more. It took me a little longer to get into it, but I was less impatient at the end. The sit went by fast, and my mind would like to continue the sit. But it was appropriate to end. I will experiment with this in bed.

Also, this whole "auto" practice works really good with this. It allows the witness to stay on even during mind wandering. Because it is "auto mind wandering". When perceived as that its still the witness.

​​​​​​​Thanks Culadasa
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/8/21 8:34 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

Premeditative Context: 30m morning sit. Worked all day. Minimally stressful. Usual tired state. Just ate.

Posture: Burmese style on cushion. Right leg forward (it fell asleep)

Technique: ummm, open awareness, concentration on whole body -> finding the still point. Relaxing and letting go into posture 

Cutting Edge: 3rd vipassana jhana or early 4th (best guess). Jhanic factors arising. Bliss, equanimity.

One cool thing was dissolving the unpleasant emotional and physical sensations into the pleasant vibrations. I dont know how I'm doing this. A mix of just sitting and observing them. Then relaxing into my posture, and then somehow the anxiety in the belly, or pressure in the face, and even depression get dissolved into it. This is a whole new level of practice. Amazing. It complements the lesson of learning from the shitty sensations, because I'm not always in the mood to do dry vipassna. And it seems that in a way, its learning how to send love into them. Crazy.

In the past I remeber kind of "breathing into" the breathing, so richly and fully that it changed from labored breathing into smooth breathing. This was similar to that except with the above sensations.

I found something out. I remeber that I had worked so hard, back in 2013, and made it up to equanimity for the first few times. Ocassionally relatively "hard". And for prolonged periods on retreats. I now understand intellectually why I couldn't maintain it. I did intentionally work to get there but I had difficulty repeating it. The reason it worked was because the hindrances were temporarily attenuated. But present day, I actively work to be a good well rounded moral person, and am not bogged down by life. All my problems are still there but my heart is my compass. That allowed the dharma to unfold, things like attentional development, and the awakening process. Which also feed back into morality practice. That would be the hindrance of worry and remorse (Culadasa(Thank you again Culadasa)). I swear his interlude chapters helped me more. But according the the stages, I'm hit stage 8 the past two days. At least for moments, sometimes extended. Also he noted that its helpful to work through that stage IRL as opposed to a retreat to give you feedback on the hindrances in real time.

I read another post about a guy thinking his job is rough, so it's great for practice. But on bad days he questioned if its "right livelihood". I related. And I think I finally understand that YES, it is workable and helpful. Both professionally and dharmicly. I am feeling less regretful for quitting practice because I was so far behind in other areas of life. I was able to just focus on that and catch up. And now here I am. Caught up with both the conventional stages of "ego develoment" (Cook-Greuter) as well as how to be where I need in practice.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/10/21 8:03 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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50m

Pre: Worked a good long day. Nice noting at work and other relaxation techniques. 

Posture/physical pain: Half-Lotus. Me ass fell asleep, no that's not a typo, I'm Irish (just kidding).

Cutting Edge: Equanimity smoothness and mental quality of really not giving a shit. I feel great. 

Technique: Intention to do "really good" concentration for 15m.

I continued with relaxation. Opening to the witness and still point. I also dug into unsatisfactoriness and noticed no controller, door, be-er. Non-self apparent. My goal was "constancy, not heroics". I am torn on what to set the timer to. After I began I settled in well but I felt the timer was fucking with me now. It was meant to relieve pressure, not cause it. But I just tried to learn the lesson "it doesnt matter, watch yourself freaking out in real time". But I was surprised after it went off how long I was going for.

The sit was indeed "constancy not heroics". It was an "easy" enjoyable, somatically smooth and pleasant feeling sit. I still did feel back and neck pain but it was part of the experiment. 

To me that phase is like the opposite of the somatic unpleasantness that has accompanied me for so long. It teaches me how to observe the unpleasantness from a new vantage point up high. 

This journal is meant as both a phenomological log and writings from my messy creative mind. Interestingly my mind is still very messy in equanimity. It feels good and everything is ok but its like a very vulnerable state of mind and it feels slippery. The key is just repeated exposure so I get used to it. From where I'm at now I can believe I ever rampaged my way through the gates of equanimity. It used to fuck with me like "how the fuck do I make that stick?" But it just arises, based on the present state of life. That includes my day and formal sits.

My phone crashed really bad when I was reading "constancy not heroics". Whether it was "magic" or not. It left a big print on my mind. Like I just need to find a way to get myself to just have good appropriate sits every day. I both have the problem of slacking and overworking, historically. Right not I have reached a balance that's increasingly healthy for me.

Like this sit. I looked at my cushion to sit and said "I cant wait to hit the cushion". Besides the initial challenges with the timer, it was like a nice 50m sit "arose" in my day with minimal effort (and 0 effort at points). That's what it's all about. Regardless of the stage or state. Build this into my day and enjoy every moment of it. 

The irish "joke" probably reads really stupid and will likely embarrass me in the future. But I chose to leave it in for fun, as a demonstration of the mind giving no effs' ... if I could have that occur more often, this introvert would do a comedy open-mic. As a testament to how care free it is.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 11/11/21 11:38 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/11/21 11:36 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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My mind is often pretty messy. I believe the pali word is vikkhita ("scattered"). Minds are like that, best not to take them too seriously emoticon​​​​​​​
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/12/21 5:15 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I guess I kind of assume my mind is more messy than other peoples. But that's an assumption.

It does give me a greater sense of connectedness to change that assumption. It feels better. C: 
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 11/13/21 7:00 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Yeah, sometimes the things we assume to be most obvious turn out not to be true emoticon

It's similar to the the assumption that our mental state should be different from the one we are actually in, which is kinda like the root of suffering ...
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/13/21 9:56 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I was ruminating so bad and mindfulness wasn't working. I decided to sort of do talk therapy with myself and reason through it. 

Within 2 minutes I entered low-EQ. I was pleasantly acceptingly surprised.

That was hours ago.

Right now I'm in a calm state. I was just watching YouTube for a while and I was feeling bad, like I should meditate.

But I found just lying down in my room, looking around spacing out, relaxing, is perfect. It meets my needs. 

And the whole "land where you already are thing".
I remeber back in 2011 before my big A&p. I was in a very emotional 6months + depression. Well I had an intention "I'm just going to relax (and be here)". "Here" turned out to be in the room. I remeber it was in the dining room of my moms old house with beautiful old antique furniture. Even back then I already had visual snow. Well I have a room and snow right now too.

My practice right now in my room is in a sense, just like what I was doing those few hours before my A&P event. Or it at least feels like it. It's just nice to relax in my body, and be in the room. I know this eventually leads to stream entry. I will continue to relax and note anything related to practice thoughts, progress, etc. Alternaring notes, and "steeping" in experience seems like a good recipie.
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finding-oneself, modified 6 Months ago at 11/16/21 6:59 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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90m

I had spent the weekend practicing and working with unfortunate large periods of rumination. But this day, I had a great day at work. And was heartful and cherry when I got home. After I ate I even experienced the normal depression which was fine.

Technique: ? Just steeping in my sensations, noticing the 3CS. Eventually doing equanimous type practices.

Posture: Comfortable Lying, then sitting, then lying again.

I was experiencing the normal uncomfortable pressure in face. And when I would direct my attention to the belly I would experience anxiety there. But my concentration was great. I broke through into equanimity gradually. But eventually it was ridiculously obvious I was hard there. I felt loose and most sensations bounced off of me. The more resistance I noticed, the more I let go, the more stuff bounced off of me.

The weirdest part was how much I did not want to be there. From TMI, some of the sub-minds had other plans. But luckily when I did stay, it felt like Ibhad absorbed the resistance. It was at points like these I noted. But I tried letting the note arise as part of the whole thing. Like I was chucking the notes in a giant whirling pool of quicksand. The notes made of sand. And no person throwing the notes. Werid analogy.

Noticing thoughts, its like the mind is a pool, and a thought is an orb of water merging into the pool, with waves being produced. ... weird. 

I've been at this territory before, but there was always too much riding on the creation of the state, and meditating correctly once in it. I wouldn't objectify the resistance as much, and the whole thing felt fragile.

I stayed in harder equanimity damn near an hour. Why is there no pipe-smoke emoji? What a travesty. Anyway.

Part of getting there is everything that had happened the last 7 months of practice, getting acquainted with the whole developmental arc. Part is attitude. I read more about awareness practicing, I call them. Also called nom-duality. It was nothing new but I read more carefully, so it was just a reminder. And I had done several 15m awareness sits between today and yesterday.

The 90m sit was a mix of that.

One last note on phenomenology: I think what I think of as 3D is being in the 3rd vipassana jhana. The 4th is almost uncomfortable compared to it, but I noted the discomfort. It just feels too weird and spacey, but not in my usual way. It feels werid in a way I have a hard time describing for now. But I got used to the whole developmental arc so far, so I'm not worried about it and am excited to revisit it and just be comfortable with it. If anxiety is my friend this will be easy to me. That's the last major lesson to teach the subminds, about the weirdness and the boringness.... you little fucks will like it! C:

​​​​​​​Also when I got up to use the bathroom the "auto-walk/move" technique was the most effortless full natural thing ever. Wow.
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago at 11/17/21 3:54 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Sounds good. Keep gently going straight ahead. emoticon
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/18/21 7:52 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Key word gently. C: thanks for the reminder 
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/18/21 8:55 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Real quick before bed.

I felt TERRIBLE after work. I felt stuck. Burnt out. I wanted out. Stuck again. Doubt. Annoyance. I didnt know what to do, and I knew even the cushion might not help.

I'm still in recovery healing from my broken foot. One thing I'm learning is being in tune with my body. I want to use physical movement, clenching muscles, and great form, to slowly build a stronger body, for all the positive reasons. Healing my foot, preventing future injury and having more energy

So I just moved. No rules. Yes mindfulness. Yes acceptance. It feels like there is no plan there, the system knows what to do, and will just work it out and move through the ñanas. Being in this body, and in this room are key. Just returning to the present moment.

I maybe did that 10-15m and felt way better. Then I completely just lie down and continued contemplative practice.

It's just so surprising to me when the dukkha ñanas actually subside, because I was living in them even when I didn't meditate for 4 years. 

I cant believe it's so "easy". Just let awareness actually be aware of what's actually going on without denying life. It's part functionally building the wiring, and part confidence gained from having success again and again.

Like said alier today. Gentleness is KEY. I still ended up doing maybe 40-60m meditation. But I set ZERO timers, ZERO extra pressure put on myself. When pressure arose I just gently saw it. Is gentle note was possible to occur than that occured, no machine gun notes.

Alright almost the end of the week. Another good week. I'm excited to keep walking the path.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 11/19/21 8:45 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Awesome!
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/23/21 9:02 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I discovered it's meant to combine "urges" and emotions in "progressive noting".

I sad down and made tea and drank for 30m doing mostly the emotions category (and intentions/aversion/craving), mainly. Some other stuff too.

A big lesson is how mediation is like landing an aircraft. 

At work yesterday I was just noticing how it's all all right, right now. Dukkha characteristic practice. 

I did that as well in my sit. I also noticed traffic and trains trains drive by. 

I noticed how sound works in meditation. I've mostly left that out due to anxiety.

So mostly my biggest blindspot is tuning thing out. I'm pretty good at noticing aversion but I tend to tune out whats causing it. Better to tune in and objectify the aversion and objects.

A eureka moment was noticing a desire moment! A bird flew into my visual field and I felt a strong magnetic pull to look, as I sit there noticing the entire field, remaining still.

Between work and sits, it seems to be important to just tune in, feel what's going on and be accepting of it. Notice the mandala of experience, letting the plane fly itself on autopilot, through whatever state/stage is present.

Also impermanace is huge for me now. It makes a concentration state happen and goes with being calm. I am ok right now, the problems are constantly in flux, containing the solution. All three major sense fields are seen to be impermanent. Being a good an moral person I may notice and note when I'm freaking out. It's ok to be freaking out, and it will pass and solve itself. Also being inside the freakout, where it feels like it will not be solved, is ok. It is wise to just sit withing the mandala of freak out. All this dharma is wisdom. It teaches me to have faith when I am feeling doubtful.

Shinzens book, the science of enlightenment, is a game changer. It goes so great with where I'm at right now. The part of impermanance, "flow" he calls it. Show me that objects undulate, vibrate, and contract and expand. And also that things flicker. Neat.
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/23/21 12:10 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I must have listened to the CD recording of SHinzen's Science of Enlightenment maybe 100 times. It's just so grounding to hear everything described in such a straight forward manner. Helps with doubt.

The rest is just gentle daily practice and it all kinda works itself out. No one's path is the same, though. It all happens the way it needs to for our own mind/heart. All we have do to is show up, stay curious, investigate, let things settle, and bravely face the things that we normally tend to avoid during a daily sit, and even enjoy the adventure of it all. 
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/23/21 4:47 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Yes, what an adventure it is. I was considering buying that. The book has been so great and I gorge on dharma audio. I need that man's wisdom piped into my ears 24/7.

Anyway, yes. Thanks for reminding me about the basics. 

"All we have do to is show up, stay curious, investigate, let things settle, and bravely face the things that we normally tend to avoid during a daily sit, and even enjoy the adventure of it all."

It's all there.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/28/21 6:47 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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My practice is now consuming non-pragmagic dharma, dharma. Not that it's not pragmatic, it's just outside the cultural context. Seems healthy. Listening to Achaan Chah's A Still Forest Pool. Not my usual cup of tea. Hopefully I will train myself to just be here now. Also listened to most of Shinzens audio tape. And I have Mindfulness in Plain English in que. And I will order Zen Mind Beginners Mind.

In the last months I have been inadvertantly doing kasina practice by staring at the space inside my head. It has trained me well because now I'm doing formal kasina practice. It has also helped relax my face in preparation.

I dont like calling it "the murk". Its a delicious beautiful cloud of light. or an equally beautiful storm of energy. Anyway, that's what I had inadvertently practiced with. I either experienced the 3rd Vipassna jhana only, or also the 4th.

Back on topic. The other day I saw a narrow pointed vaugue nimitta, the size of a quarter to orange-sized. That was huge because I rarely saw that form of it. And I didn't believe it was possible for me to have regularly. I think it motivated me because The next few days I did LED practice 
It seems to have activated that part of attention. I now see a pea sized nimitta in the center of attention. In fact it was immediately perceptible after just one LED kasina treatment.

I even prefer looking at it somewhat to the retinal image.

I'm excited because this puts the whole pie together. I didnt realize it was that important or helpful. I was so focused on spacious attention because that's my natural mind state. Also I thought it was the gate to SE. It's also exciting because it goes with be here now. I do not intend to get anywhere with this. I just like doing it. It's like a fun video game.

And I want to see aliens /sarc.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/29/21 6:25 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I heard Daniel use a clinical term for the early stages "the prodromal stages". I had to good what that meant. But I really like the term.

I used to be fascinated by the equanimity ñana and sub ñanas. And the higher ñanas. But I'm now pleasantly surprised that I am fascinated by such a "lowly" stage as Mind & Body.

It makes sense to use parts of the head as a concentration object, like the "third eye" area. It comes so much more natural to me than the breath. And it makes sense to use the visual field, and the tight/narrow nimmita. I feel like I am more focused and in control of my mind. Today at work I could lock in and be very present task-oriented. Depending on the surface I'm starting at, I can always be able to perceive the nimitta.

Also, listening to Achaan Chahs book is helping. Its helping me connect with the basic roots I have with buddhist monks. I used to think of them as simply channeling peace and presence. Before I had any idea about all the crazy high-dharma concepts. 

Just relaxing and enjoying work. And enjoying my life blossoming. Having faith that it will continue, enough trust and honesty that I relax enough to not feel so stressed. 

Between the newish concentration objects and the new relaxed attitude, I really feel like my life is about to blossom. Key word: life. 
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 11/30/21 10:10 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/30/21 10:10 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
1hr 40m

Posture: Burmese Style Sitting

Techniques: Lots of Noting, steeping in sensations, open monitoring, kasina, inner-kasina.

Cutting Edge: very clearly hard equanimity.

I was dwelling quite a bit and quite deeply in what I think of as the 3rd vipassana jhana. Basically being as complete and intimate as possible with my direct experience and my whole life, as much as that applies. Paying specific attention to note "mapping thoughts, strategizing, effort, desire, aversion" and using that as an arrow to really jump back to this moment. The kasina and inner-nimitta in the center have FINALLY given me the reliable lifeline I've desperately needed. I only ever excelled at momentary concentration and kept at it enough to get into vipassana jhanas. But if I stick with it enogh I will get better at sustained attention.

In this sit it eventually lead to the level where even unpleasant physical sensations dissolve into the giant pancake of experience. I still had trouble with anxiety in the belly. I intuitively did shallow belly breathing and it helped a bit. A breakthrough occured when I kept accepting why the fuck I'm sitting here doing all this, dukkha, noticing the painful side of this characteristic in real time. When this got going the sit and motivation became self perpetuating.

​​​​​​​Next I sprawled out on the floor. I used concentration to dissolve the last of anxiety into the pancake, like melting butter. I even visualized all the gross little organs in there. What werid ass clusters of cells release painful fear sensations? The kidneys? The pancreas? Who knows. But it melted nonetheless. I was inadvertantly intermittent fasting and it affected the sit. I was physically at that metabolic state, which decreases energy physically but can do werid stuff to meditation. It this case as long as I accepted the hunger pangs, it only produced good effects. After that I continued the 4thVJ state into eating dinner. 

Sit 2

The state waned a bit. I did a second sit. It felt like 15m, I was shocked it was 30... my neurosis reignited but I worked with them. By the end of the sit I had another insight. The crap my mind rants about is 90% constructed bullshit. 

I'm doing my best. Haters are misguided. Needy people are also misguided. The rants about them are unrealistic. I'm practicing basic sanity. And those people are kind of crazy. My mind gets swept up in the crazy and I become crazy. The solution is to practice focus on the nimitta so I can have more personal power and stop the rants when they happen, and to simply continue practicing basic sanity.

And the case of people who love me who also do mean things: They simply know not what they do. Again, it comes down to focusing my mind, and realizing this. 

The solution in these rants, is realizing I'm creating 90% of the problem.

The solution to the vipassana jhanas is to practice being in the moment, noticing the 3Cs.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 12/4/21 10:43 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/4/21 9:53 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
12012021

​​​​​​​20m

Felt horrible. The unpleasant sensations literally overpowered the sensations of the delicious food I was eating.

My technique this sit was just sitting with acceptance of the fact that I'm fucked and will not leave this state... By the end of the sit I felt %90 better. It still felt unpleasant, but less intense and more equaninity. I was definitely in a (-) rapture.

12022021

20m + 50m

My first sit was a formal session of being the witness/I AM/obersver.

My second sit I wanted to do kasina and I took the reclined on couch posture. I looked at an LED. I only did 1 round. I next effortlessly settled into being the witness. It is so easy and was such an overlooked part of practice. I think just the wording of it helped me realize I can already do this, any time, always. It ended up being longer than I wanted, it felt so good. It felt freeing and effortless. It wasn't high EQ like before. But had an element of it. I cant put my finger on it.

12032021

/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_211204_222734_868.sdoc
no notes

12042021

22m, 43m, + 2 short kasina sits

50m

Technique: Kasina, bootstrapped internal light.

Posture: reclining

Cutting edge: 50% of my furthest depth in screen-2. Entering a vast space. Novel space experience.

Premeditative Context: A pleasant time with family. Pleasant drive. No pressure.

The only pressure was that I put on myself. So my goal for this sit is not to progress in meditation or alleviate suffering like it usually is. When I suspend that goal for kasina, it's to just play the game for sport. 

When I look at the image I practiced compartmentalizing it from all the rest of meditation. This is a game and the goal is to just watch werid shit. It's like this is just consciousness of a human looking at its visual consciousness.

My next "hack" is to notice the light show as a spiritual energy. It's literally my own life force for this being experiencing its life as a body-animal. Its part of the universe and has a soul. That brings me to my last part incorporated. I AM.

When I just BE, be the subject. It's all ok. Everything finally makes sense again.

It's a flux of tensing up too much, and relaxing, letting it happen.

Phenomenology:

I followed the generated kasina and the space around it for several rounds. I also watched the swirling light. Stayed mostly with it (but that does not matter in this context, im doing it as a game/spiritual experience). This is the usual part. I almost left it out but it did happen.

My goal is to NEVER get bored looking at the light show. I notived the boredom then just appreciated its beauty or reframed as spiritual energy .

​​​​​​​
I spent 2 seconds strategizing and a thought popped up "can I be more equanimous in general? And can I enter 4thVJ.?"

So I relaxed more. And tried being more accepting of my life and experience.

Next I got some strange visuals. I had read about the "star field". I felt like I saw something with immense depth and points of something around it. I also saw like I was looking through a curtain. Vagueness behind it. It felt like some shrubs and a background in some sort of cartoon/comic area of the multiverse. I saw two eyes looking back that felt alive.

I saw and felt chunks of another place. It was being deconstructed and rearranged. Some of the chunks of space looked like a construction hoe, from a digger. I also felt like it was a chunk of me.

Theory: Much of what I had discovered with the kasina literature. Like pixelation of images. I have seen it before, but until reading about it I never thought that. Also it lines up with screen 2. I was seeing three dimensional repeating rotating castles, after rereading that's very much 2nd screen. I also started to notice more complex center-images. It's very subtle. When I got up to pee I looked at the wall and intended to see the "star phenomenon". I did. I kind it expected the prodromal phases to be more clear. But maybe later. The 2nd screen though, meets my expectations.


General thoughts about practice as of late:
I cant believe that any of this is happening. I'm used to being perpetually traumatized in my personal life, as well as being stuck in somatic states reminiscent of descriptions of the dark night. The fact that there is progress gives me a break the large view of insight and the goal of awakening. But even that I am beggining to work with more skillfully. Perhaps the biggest and most meta thing going on as of late, is simply getting in touch with the I AM thing. It's a free lunch. It teaches gentleness and equaninity instantly. It's easy. I kind of get how stream entry happens when you dont expect/dont think about it. The I AM is just pure, clear, an amazing teacher of equanimity. It's so intangible its hard to think about. It's non conceptual, the experiencing of it. I used to have a hard time getting into that effortless awareness state. But now that I know it's the subjective experience of being a being, it's super easy. I also feel like I dont have to go out of my way to "work" on it. It is already complete. How relieving it is to be "done" with something.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 12/9/21 8:01 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/9/21 7:49 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I quickly recorded a few entries but including everything seems kind of unnecessary. I post too much, I'd rather meditate or read others stuff.

I will include the general pattern...

I seem to be overcoming the morning unpleasant somatic sensations "anxiety". They are still there, but I dont think about them or fixate on it as much.

Also I get into relativrelatively werid/plesant/"trippy" territory after sitting down soon.

I also still get the depression feelings at the end of the day. Sometimes when I wake up. I had it so bad I was hardcore doubting my job and the dharma.

But I had a relatively large breakthrough last night, or rather a new occurence. 

I'm bad with words so bare with me. I read Daniel's advice for people who have plenty of investigation and energy but TOO LITTLE tranquility and equanimity. I'm surprised to say that's me..
 not always but the advice helped. My concentration used to suck.

But that's ok, using mindfulness I can recognize when I wander pretty quick. So if I want to I can gently go back. Also the past month I have learned how to repeat tranquility. That's what helps with the morning "anxiety". Just sit like a rock and let it all still. Look, I've hit EQ many times. I dont have a problem getting there. The problem is learning the actual lesson of the arc. Real EQ is not aversion and indifference.

Last night I I utterly did. Not. Give. A. Shit. Periods for emphasis. I'm getting chills writing that. Before my sit last night I feared how the mind did not want to sit, and noticed it. Felt overwhelmed by the entire meditation project, and noticed it. Pretty quick I settled in. Pretty quick I was in ok territory. Then minutes later I was in very stable even more ok territory. Not the deepest EQ I've ever been, but that's ok. That's not the goal, it's to balance the 7 factors and learn the lesson of EQ.

I understood the lesson it was teaching and tried to remeber it when I got up. I got ready for bed. Mindfulness and concentration waned a bit (that's ok) and I went to bed and kept practicing. But all 7 factors of enlightenment turned back online in bed. Until I got too tired and gave over to sleeping.

I totally forgot this had happened until after a while after I woke up today. I totally get when people wisely say to be gentle. The implications are so profound to me. "You mean this entire process can be on autopilot?" Yes. The good concentration, mindfulness and investigative are carried by the process. The amazing states and stages it generates do not need to be worked at to maintained. I'm saying that from that point of view of being overwhelmed by the temporal conception of the path. Obviously work still needs to be done. But that strange phase equanimity will be explored a lot by me. I will get good at it and enjoy many long sits (or however short) with good concentration in them.

I just remember being amazed and almost apauled in a humorous way, how the gentle concentration and attention in that phase carries itself.

I should also mention off cushion I've tried to relax into being at work as much as possible. I also somewhat follow the advice about forgetting about practice after, as it seems to help. I just do certain techniques throughout the day, no pressure. Not much this week. Probably only 30m actually formal techniques at work.

We had to go to an airport for work and I did more noting than usual when overwhelmed or uncomfortable. When no-pressue walking or standing around I just soaked in the wonder of being in the architecture sight and sound.

The fact that I'm reading through Daniels compilations is also a new resource that sticks. Shargrols posts helped immensely but I poo pooed Daniel's cause I thought I already read it on here.... I'm glad I waited because it is like opening a new present with useful dharma when in seemingly understanding mor of the picture. Anyway I'm starting to post too much again.

If Achaan Chaah and Suzuki Zen Mind Begginers mind help, its unconsciously. Also audiobook of mindfulness in plain English by Gunta Bhanteratana.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 12/11/21 10:51 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I blog a lot about the positives or pleasant sides. I write a lot I never post and I dont want to include this. Like I included that thing about how amazing it is I can see a dot in the middle of my vision. I still think it's cool but I recognize honeymoon phase qualities.

But I noticed this week I get into a very depressed state. Directly related to the entire process of the practice.

But I noticed right now as I "touch the paper" writing it, I suddenly feel a little better.

I just feel like I will never get out of this mess. I feel some of the ugly sides of goal-oriented practice. Sometimes others progress makes me feel depressed, comparison-mind and jealousy. It's also on a relative level. I am really not happy with my level of social development and the cards I was dealt as a child. It's such a huge burden. Ironically people get jelous of how my life looks on paper, but if they were to accept the level of social retardation they would inherit, they not want that life.

Q: "Are you working on other aspects of life besides the technical practice"? A: As best I can. I dont know what to do right now.

Writing all this out I notice how my mind works. When thoughts about how I wish I were further in life, I notice how my mind can suddenly shift into hope and excitement. 

Obviously I'm working on the dhamma and there is potential for liberation. And I know what I'm capable of in terms of improving psychological health. So a certain amount of rationaly understanding that my life will change for the better is accurate.

On a bare sensate level I just notice the senses and understand the patterns.

I guess one good thing is I dont usually get swamped the by progress related depression, these last few weeks. When it happens it doesnt last for ever. Part of me believes it's true though, when its happening 

On reflecting I think the hardest part of it is the waffling back and forth between that, and the various experiences with equanimity. The highs and lows. Life pretty exhausting generally. 

I wanted to try to write a lost from the perspective of being depressed and the overwhelming feeling of being regressive forever. But as soon as I try to write about it that mind state is gone.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 7:31 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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15m

Metta


Sitting 

I listened to Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. I listen very passively like background due to burnout but the metta chapter stood out. My goal is to listen to it once a week. And do 15m metta a day, maybe even just 10.

Sit:

I started the sayings out loud. I really said em' with intent. I really do want others to be happy.

    "May they be ok"

    "May I feel ok"

    "May I feel love"

     "Relax"

     "May we suceed"
      (the human race)

I relaxed, 3cs we perceived. I started doing it silent.

The kicker was gratitude. I said "may I feel greatful" or just "gratitude". I felt it like a focused baton or lazer. It felt like a righteous weapon for humanity. I also made sure I felt the entire race, as well as the feeling of my work sphere.

Bhante really inspired me. I am burned by work but it seems the dust has settled a lot since I restarted practice in April. Everyone at work, when in stressed, feels like a threat. That needs to change.

Other sits:

I can see the dance through the progress of insight working itself out. I've always had do deal with the dark night, even when I didnt meditate. The real challenge is now that I've powered it up, it's just more intense sometimes. But paradoxically, the burden from the morning anxiety is greatly attenuated as of late. I'm also gaining confidence that the worst feelings subside almost completely after just a few minutes of practice. More confidence is gained yet, from just hitting EQ multipule times a week. I love it when I get to low EQ. Before, I would perhaps feel burnt out by then. I am witnessing the 7 factors balance before my eyes. And in day to day life I'm learning from the hindrances. That is where the metta comes in. Work has been getting better (it's a tough job for me), and with a compassion practice, I think it will get even more better. 

Also I want metta to make me feel more comfortable with posting here and feeling shy. Ultimately the most important thing is love. No need to fear, were all here to help each other, shoulder to shoulder. Hopefully I can help others some day.
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finding-oneself, modified 5 Months ago at 12/17/21 7:53 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/17/21 7:53 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
12172021

Ugh, practice relatively fell off the last 3 days. "I only have" 2 hours between the last 3 days (not counting what I'm about to do). But quotations denote recognition of perceived hindrances in said statement.

Last night I sat there really feeling like I do not want to sit. To the point it seems impossible to just notice the dukkha in it, because I was impeded in it. I did the bare minimum of practice. I only got 10 minutes recorded yesterday.

The good news though I think Tuesday I kind of got into weak equanimity noting in bed, very nonchalantly. 

I was sitting here thinking this is just a major rut, and it will just naturally take its course.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 12/18/21 3:00 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/18/21 3:00 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
2.5hrs

Techniques: Noting, open monitoring, kasina

Posture: Sitting, reclining, lying, 

Cutting Edge: EQ

I started out sitting. I had to uncross my legs a few times to prevent numbness. I went into dullness a few times. It was the first time I noted "dullness" in a while. It was good it dis not derail the practice and was included in the noting. I settled in relatively quickly and included the visual field and space in it pretty thoroughly.

Eventually I decided to get up and pee and keep the momentum going, I searched for a lighter for a candle. That challenged the momentum. I did 2 or 3 rounds of kasina on the couch and was back to vipassana on the cushion after that. Again I had to alter my posture, at times my butt was planted on the cushion kind of squatting on it. It was relaxing and alertness-promoting. 

I had to eat so I again kept up the momentum. I was clearly in EQ, just lying there.

It was about 10-15m, I lost more momentum this time. I got spacey. 

Back on the cushion practice kind of tapered off asymptomtically, by the end I was probably out of EQ or very agitated.

One key practice tip I read from the Daniel compilation thing is: investigation and honesty. Meaning those are prerequisites to natural equanimity arising. Investigation is no problem, I never force it. If I recall it during practive I just simply perceive the 3cs, all or part. Then hopefully honesty arises out of that (and a synonym, intimacy).

A lot more shit happened but it's way too much to document. A lot of learning various lessons again and again.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 12/22/21 3:45 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/22/21 3:45 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I've really chilled out a lot this week. 

I just remeber lying in bed, restless thinking "shit I can't get into a meditative state".

Then I thought wait, just feel the feeling of being a human bundled up in bed. Feel the softness. It was suddenly so easy.

Same thing at work. Effortlessly gently mindful of repetitive tasks. Then my anxiety was attenuated in that moment. It just feels so good to just do the task. I'm not wandering in thought, but I'm certainly not worried about wandering in thought. Or maybe rather I'm just not absorbed in thought.

Now I did have a few standard weird meditations I like. But listening to podcasts I realized its "spiritual materialism", these interesting things to collect and have happen. But I know there is still skillful joy and motivation in it. 

I guess the point of all this is just learning how to be ok with my whole life in this moment, just chill out. Insight bug be damned. The entire meditation process is working itself out.

Oh and by the way, bombshell: Dr. Angello DiLullo says that what makes awakening happen is intention. That made so much fucking sense. By god if I wont wake up soon! Knowing intention is the reason. And What Culadasa taught me about sub minds cooperating. And the delush of information from the DhO and MCTB. May all being wake up as soon as reasonably possible.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 12/23/21 8:38 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
sit:

1hr

Guided Meditation via Michael Taft

Technique:

Doing long belly breaths, relaxing, sitting as a mountain (also not moving). Visualizing a diamond which is your buddha nature beaming good juju into your chakras.

Posture: sitting 

I followed the instructions well. I noticed it's been a few weeks of irregular kasina practice and it helped the visualization part a lot.  Before I was probaably at 0.1% power. Now I'm a whole 1%. I can actually kind of see image thoughts now.

Sometimes his meditation are complicated juggling a bunch of shit. But if all else failed I just went back to relaxing. And also doing the breath.

At the end I asked him a question. It was the best feedback. What to do when I have this belly anxiety. Its basically just attending to it with attention, it takes effort, but it relaxes the area. Just repeatedly seeping with with attention and relaxing it. Its apparently a shamatha approach. But I blend it with vipassana, which is seeing clearly the shapes and feelings of it. And with both techniques, practicing being ok with its presence, equanimity.

Practice in General:

The Dark Night of the Soul had been sitting on my shelf for at least 6 years. But it wouldn't have helped before. I have been yearning for christian contemplative practices. I honestly dont know why. I do have an experinve of god sometimes and I want to work with that. Anyway, it kind of struck me that San Juan de la Cruz was communing with god while literally rotting in some orthodox jail cell, in the Dark Knight of the Soul. Capital D. The kicker was he harrowingly escaped and after that enter the embrace of his spiritual friends. And the embrace of God.

I kind of thought, if he could go through the dark night of the soul in jail, then I can in regular 21st century 1st world life. Not only that, I thought the escape and subsequent freedom was a metaphor for my own life getting better. Its ALL training in morality. Ñanas 11-16 to first path are regular life. Not only will I gain wisdom I will fix my life.

Anyway, back to talking about formal practice: I noticed my mediations can be thought of as mini psychedelic trips. Either classic psychedelics or smoked or eaten cannabis. In several ways. 1.) When I was sitting on the cushion I willingly entered an existential/philosophical crisis. I was contemplating eternal consciousness i.e. we are all it, there is really only ever one person in the room (the universe itself) and we do this forever. Its terrifying. Nothing new to me, I used to be soooooo freaked out by it (and I would if you made me experiential feel eternity again). But now I'm past the trauma and had some distance. The significant thing is I could have some chills arise (life definitely terrifying) and phase the existential dread head on, meaning not burying my head in the sand.

My eureka moment was realizing this on the cushion, and fearlessly going forward. I excitedly said "this is the dark night!". I'm so used to somatic anxiety or depression. This was actual existential dread.

The other way is 2.)
is think I get the idea of 1st jhana principles. Continuously sustaining attention on the object. I've flirted with it hard, riding the ragged edges of weed trips. Anyway, my meditations when dealing with this shit, especially negative shit, is super reminiscent of the former weed trips.

I talked about seeing a object in the center of my vision. I thought it was a symbol for being more balanced and filling in the holes of attention. I skipped the start and started at A&P, then skipped to equanimity, then worked on the werid 3rd vipassnaa khana and a little first jhana, then refined equanimity.(I guess I should put a disclaimer this is all experimental and I borrow MCTB language out of convenience. I will probably disagree with what I write as time changes and I understand things better)

I think I could benefit from learning the right objects to use for 1st jhanaish type practice. 

I also talked about relearning equanimity again and again. It can kind of get exhausting trying to talk about. It's like "No! This time for real! IM learning the actual lesson of equanimity this time around" meaning I've found some new angle on equaninity, and by jobe it's working! And also "horizontal" work: intensifying a previous lesson in equanimity.

Yep C:

I had another "miracle", life-breathing gift drop, like the time I got off work from breaking my foot.

Well this time I get 2 extra weeks off, and nothing disruptive happened. More time to get my shit together. I also get to free up bad karma by seeing other family I haven't seen in years, which was hurting my conscience.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 12/24/21 8:00 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/24/21 8:00 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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If you're interested in Christian contemplative practice, Bernadette Roberts The Experience of No-Self is an interesting account of someone who took it all the way.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 12/25/21 3:50 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/25/21 3:50 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Thats sounds exactly what I was looking for, I will look into it
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 12/29/21 8:27 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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11292021

1hr20m

Pre-Meditation Context: Om vacation, lots of free time. Depressed I left my family to go home.

Posture: Sitting. Got up once and stretched.

Technique: Relaxation. Investigation of dukkha.

Cutting Edge: At least middle EQ somehwere

I started my sit pretty fearful, depressed and even sick feeling. I just focused on relaxation of the body and mind. Also perceiving the dukkha characteristic.

As things progressed the depression was the first thing to go away. Then the fear reduced. Within 10 minutes I had a bizarre experience.

I felt some kind of kinesthetic movement and my attention sunk into my vision, I saw the whole field and a circle with a dot appeared in the center. I knew this was not stream entry, and I still watched my mind bounce from thought to thought, including getting excited thinking this was it. I noticed I was extremely ungrounded feeling after that. This was the only point I used noting, to help me get my bearings, but it did nothing so I stopped. My intention was to do zero noting anyway. One thing I began doing after this point was deliberately sticking my stomach out to relax it. Super werid, but effective, belly breathing.

As the unpleasant things were settling down the sick feeling in the face and stomach were stubborn. I did a mixture of relaxation, more shamatha-esque. And vipassana, just observing the composition of the sensations.

I worked with practicing just being ok with the sit, as well as the state I was in, in this moment, as it is. Being ok with the fact that it might slip away, also. Being ok and honest with the reaction to being overwhelmed and exhausted: which made me relax, which made the the whole thing feel less daunting, which made the overwhelmed feeling go away. I'm training the mind to know what to do in every mind state, automatically. I'm training myself to have confidence and faith that I can easily get to equaninity. And I'm training direct knowledge that "falling back" is ok, as that has a lot to teach as well. I will use this knowledge on cushion and at work, or with family. The last few sentences are not super analytical but perfectly paint a portrait of the sit.

I am learning to relax and accept my entire life as it is, bringing any fears and uncomforts into the equanimity ñana to be looked at. Or turn that inside out. I'm in the reobervation ñana, seeing that I can still have confidence and faith, in that state, and not freak out.

I noticed if I just sit and relax, a lot will happen that is good. The only rule is to center/concentrate, and not get lost in thought or space out. So just sit and relax and remain diligent.

Some side techniques are to just think of non-self and it shows itself. Or to think of pre-verbal non-conceptual mind, and I get into a non-dual thing. For me thinking the thought "non-conceptual" does it. Non-dual is a merely intellectual term to me that is confusing. "Non-conceptual" is a mantra that sends my mind/body (boom!) into bare sensate awareness.

And the key to going long enough (and efficient) to get to EQ, is investigating the dukkha characteristic. It shows me why I have this problem, why I'm sitting there, and the solution, in real time. It also makes the transition to EQ quicker. And it makes reobervation make sense directly, right now, no messing around.

This new understanding is progress. It's not entirely knew, but it is repeatable now. And a basic formula I can work on, at each sit. And any time I start freaking out in life.

I'm proud of being able to work some of this out and I'm happy I could hash out a more phenomenological sit-log post.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 1/2/22 11:59 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
12/31/2021 
Meditation Retreat 10+ hours

The first sit was very productive. I was very present. This is similar to how sits go a relatively good amount of time. But as the day went on the daunting feeling of the task at hand tended to kick me out of the present. Eventually I settled in though as the day progresses further

My goal was to not make it a "noting" retreat. However I did note at times out of habit.

The pattern was:

Sit

Prepare Lunch

Sit

Walk + Lie Down

Sit/walk/sit/walk ... etc.

Then near the end I did over two hours lying down, lights off, yet no sleepiness.

At first I was averse to walking meditation, that's why I split the hour between walking and lying.

But I soon got into a groove and really enjoyed the walking. If I wasn't enjoying it so much, I investigated the dukkha as best I can. Doing such a high volume forced me to deal with the dukkha eventually.

I didn't take any notes but I saw a pretty familiar pattern. Of rising and falling through the ñanas. I spent most of the time in EQ I believe. Especially at the end.

I had two either "near miss" experiences possibly or strong "state change" moments.

1/1/2021 ​​​​​​​1hr

I just lazed around all day. Near the end of the day I did at least 1 hour of informal meditation in bed. It was pretty pleasant and low-pressure.

1/2/2021 40m

I did 30 minutes of sitting followed by 10m of walking. It was super nice. I'm not sure but I think the mediation retreat makes me cling less to certain meditation related things. Like I feel less pressured.

Thoughts: Zooming out a bit, I can see a clear trend in general, where I am able to be more diligent but in a less neurotic way. Like it's a bit more automatic, I dont have to force myself to remind me to keep up investigation, etc.

We will see how things progress this week. I want to be able to intend to enter the stream, but it's no big deal/no strings attached. Achieved by no other desire than just being in each moment. Helped by the wonder and love of the moment: definition 1 of 2, for rapture, in MCTB. It perfectly described how my walking meditations became. It just felt cool to experince being a being on earth, moving through space.

Another good sign is confidence. If I can do a monthly burst of practice, I will be confident enough to know that at some point, it will, happen. So I no longer have to worry about it. Just chill and enjoy the roses. Be diligent and enjoy the diligence.

Alright cheers. Happy 2022, etc.

Blessings, may the buddha smile upon yee'/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_220103_005437_863.sdoc
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 1/6/22 4:00 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I only have done a few short 20ish minute sessions this week. It seems my motivation has went down.
I was feeling really sad last night in bed so I had a practice "get to equaninity". Its easy to notice the sadness but can I allow it to unfold into equanimity?

Simply a belief that I can do it with the normal technique of open monitoring. I'm not sure if it worked but in the ñana sense but it felt like it.

I was scared to return to work this week from my break (hello anxiety). But the work test kind of passed. I'm super calm. Also lower tea intake.
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finding-oneself, modified 4 Months ago at 1/16/22 5:39 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Last weekend I had a mediation session in the latter stages of equanimity, of note was I experienced the phenomenon of feeling like "something big" was about to happen like a kid on Christmas morning. Maybe its scripting but it was a very good sit. Interestingly that night, when in perhaps a more shamatha-esque state I experienced a moment, a flash of light and a state change. I was super surprised. I didnt know what it was. Upon reflection I thought it may have been A&P. I could have easily fell back somehow and then entered very tolerable dukkha ñanas as I fell asleep.

Then on Wednesday after work, doing a formal sit, I had the biggest state change or "event" ever happen during formal, another flash and perception of space changing. Very interesting. It really boosted confidence.

The rest of the week wasn't as great. Actually this weekend motivation was super low. I felt like I was forcing a pet, to do stuff it didnt want.

At this point I think intuitively doing more concentrationy practices in bed is helping a lot. I feel like it (SE) will happen eventually at this point. Just continued work, more ups and downs, fluctuations in practice. As long as I do one meditation retreat day a month, I feel like I'm doing enough. I did one on new years so around the end of January... Not to mention the relaxation/pleasure from concentrationy stuff, I feel like entering a neat absorbed state will eventually happen.

Part of the motivation was due to current events and keeping tabs on the insanity of public leaders and the modern world taking a nose dive into chaos and selling out of world citizens by said leaders... And being fearful of my stupid job and my personal future LOL emoticon

BUT I do deeply feel I am doing this for my fellow world denizens, as much as for my self.

By God if I will not understand God. Speaking of which I am reading Bernadette Robert's book, the Experience of No-Self. ​​​​​​​It's neat it reads like advanced DhO logs. IDK how much it is helping with my spiritual practice but I must say I am doing pretty good with my intuitive practice of prayer and connection with god.

The despair for the world is actually potent fuel for praying for the wellbeing of the human race. My heart cries out, I ask the universe to please take care of this world and her peoples.

And on a personal level, I think that prayer will help me with entering the stream of the dhamma.

At work when I am freaking out in public I do this thing where I start praying and it intuitively is also part of a relaxation technique. I walk by people and wish them well or bless them. Turning social anxiety into a spiritual practice.

I was kind of expecting more werid events to happen like A&P or maybe near misses or whatever, but then again it's only been a few days. It could be the excitment from the thing actually threw off practive. As I've said before I only had much conscious experience with either the dark night or equanimity. Getting excited for stream entry was my closest equivalent. But now I actually have experience with the A&P again. Perhaps its trying to get me to lessons.
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 1/20/22 2:00 PM
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DREAM REPORT RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Wow, I have more A&P related phenomena to report.

I had this lucid dream.

When I became lucid I was in this beautifully decorated kind of "ski-lodge" interior. It was a big room, on the far side it was beautifully detailed. I actually SHOT across the room as I became lucid. Suddenly everything got fuzzy as if it was dissolving. Usually in these dreams I'm suddenly in a different space after, but once I hit the far side of the room the camera was simply pointed 180° towards the opposite end of the room.

There were long tables for eating like on typical ski lodges I've been in. I zoomed in on a dream character. It seemed like my awareness of the dream had "broken" this dream character. Like it was just a mish mash of random algorithms activating, saying the same phrase over and over again, which was vaguely sexual. 

Suddenly, If I recall, I started doing my in bed shamatha-esque mediation and experienced euphoric sensations in the torso area, more than in real life. I even remember thinking the phrase "hmmm..
 A&P"
During this state I could actually feel my physical body in bed, I vividly remeber feeling the touch of teeth to my mouth.

One obvious benefit of this is practicing extra meditation states in an unusual supercharged dream-state way.

Another important goal is to perhaps talk to my deceased brother in the dream state. I will take this opportunity to dedicate my efforts to his life and death. Love you brother.

If I can talk to him in there it may be profoundly healing.
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 1/24/22 7:25 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Dream Log/ Meditation Log
01/20/22
Pre-Meditative Context: Relatively relaxed, gentle body meditation in bed with awareness of visual field.
Lying in bed I saw "shards" of light, as it came into clarity I thought "oh, a cool looking control panel". As I continued sitting there the shares rearranged or coalesced into a circular symmetrical shape. There was a split second/gentle transition phase. As soon as it changed it became clear again… I was able to effortlessly focus on it for 1 or 2 seconds and I got very excited and thought "hmm…. Holy shit! It's a mandala!"
I was mindful of the excitement as it arose and mindful of my behavior as I emoted internally.
I kind of emphasis the meditation was so casual this just sort of popped up. A taste of what is possible. And an exercise in experiencing meditative/visual excitement. 
1/21/22
There was some excitement upon waking up, because again I was meditating in my dreams last night. In this case I remember concentrating deliberately and "visualizing" some kind of energy ball, kasina, mandala, … etc.
It was like a series of 3 different instances of concentrating on the center of the visual field. 3 different mini dreams. But I only strongly remember one. It was like a whitish/ maybe light-blueish swirling ball of light in the center, the background was just black space, as far as I can remeber.
1/23/2022
Stillness at Work
I had an extremely good day of mindfulness and contemplation at work. One thing that helps is a neurological term "default mode network". I just sort of think of the phrase and what it means. Self referential thinking that is usually negative and scrunched up in the head. The counter to that is simply direct experiential sensations. Super easy when doing a task and not swamped by anxiety or fear. It can be more challenging when uncomfortable.
But that leads me to the other concept that goes with it. Silence.
This is the best takeaway from Bernadette Robert's book so far. Also being framed in a spiritual context helps. So when at work just silently do the task. If thinking is involved, silently think the thought. If I have to say very basic stuff to people… then silently feel the body talk, and the feel the throat vibrate.
There are different modes to this but I don't know the difference. I just can tell there's a lot to it. But silence itself is very simple. It's stillness.
  • Sit today

I didn't want to sit. And I felt very ordinary and bored so I just decided I will enjoy peace, sitting there. Stop resisting the resistance and the main feeling tone is the peace, with the mammal occasionally getting pissed that we are sitting on a bag of buckwheat hulls like a dunce.
1/24/2022
35mCutting edge: Mid to high Equanimity.
​​​​​​​
Investigation, energy, and concentration great. Emphasis on letting go, relaxing.
Saw a lot of hermit crab images throughout the whole sit. I absolutely loved them. At one point it was a like a gentle mesh of feelers, eye stalks and mouth parts permeating a square footage area in the visual field in a vaguely pattern shape, or perhaps an irregular forest plant pattern made out of crab head parts.
Sort of felt like the whole thing was trying to melt together. Formations obvious.
Core processes of note: impatience. desire for stream entry. desire to leave cushion.
intention, just relax and just be present in a natural, ordinary way.
I was within equanimity really quick. maybe 5 or 10m. My emphasis on planning a short, 20m sit helped. I need to just focus on relaxation and naturalness more. Any extra motivation that arises is fine. I had one 20m session early where I thought I was in the 3rd vj.
I still feel the desire to finish this, as I type this out, right now. Seems like it's an important object to work with.
Note worthy somatic sensations were tingliness on the head, peace, boredom, and my usual physical anxiety in belly.
Annoying pressure in head less present this time. Actually the opposite. Spaciousness in head was present.
Conclusion: More simply embodying the body and space, being the witness, not being in the DMN. Stuck in my head with self referential thoughts.
Abiding in stillness like Bernadette Boberts.
^all of the above conclusion applied at work and home when I remember and gently feel like it. Otherwise, its downtime from being meditative for that moment, which is ok too. Just whatever to not stress and be ok with the moment and whatever whit sensations are present, or cool ones for that matter.
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 1/25/22 1:03 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Posting from my lunch break. I was apparently inspired by someone saying they automatically just are the witness all the time post stream entry.

I have been able to be mindful/note maybe 60% of the workday.

"Mindful" meaning, being the witness, being no-self, watcher, watching myself on autopilot.

I'm not sure where this came from other than the first sentence about being inspired. I'm not sure if I should keep doing this or how much, or if I will get burnt out.

Actually when this initially started happening I got overwhelmed and noted that, and kind of touched base with being calm and my rational faculty(<- I think)

I don't even want to awaken if I can just embrace being present, and experience the first definition of rapture in the 7 factors chapter.


Quote:

"Natural wonder really helps many things, including and specif i cally investigation. Reality is simply amazing. Our minds are amazing. The vast intricacy of what happens in each moment is truly remarkable. When you sit, sit with amazement at what is going on, like a vast, complex, rich work of moving, fl uxing art. When you walk, walk with a sense of wonder at all the little aspects of movement, of balancing, of a body moving through the air, through a changing land-scape, with all the little facets that make that up. The feel of our foot touching the fl oor, earth, sand, grass, moss, leaves, stones, or whatever we are walking on is simply amazing. Air is amazing. Breathing is amazing. That we think is amazing. Food is amazing. Have you really looked at a glass of water lately? When tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling, thinking, speaking, eating, and doing anything else, really tune in to how fascinating it is to perceive all these things. This natural curiosity, this enchantment with the experience of the ordinary world, is total gold."

(Yesterday) 1/24/2022

I was lying there trying to intuitively do relaxation shamatha-esque practice. But instead of my natural broad style, and my tight but focused nostril style, I just did gross respiratory sensations in throat/chest/nose/mouth.

I was reading other posters logs and it helped. I'm more naturally (or developed) inclined to vipassana-jhanas ). But I was trying to just hack my brain. I always have a tantrum and think it's so boring (usually). But I remembered the 3cs are still there. And it is fun to train the mind to stay on a specific object.

It did have an effect. I thought I was in EQ again (after my EQ sit described yesterday). But of course, another A&P moment happened in bed. Very quick, little tactile. No fascination with it, but definitely curiosity and appreciation.

I saw a black kasina-like circle flash briefly with a dim volcano shaped 2d cone of light behind it, the circle was where a volcano hole was.

I just kept on practicing. Being as I was trying to sleep the goal of this sit was relaxation.

The flash of a visual object seemed to confirm that I was getting concentrated. 

I assumed I was in the 1stjhanic territory at first, then when I kind of let off the meditation, the mind naturally went up the 2nd territory. I'm not sure, this is just speculating as a current level skill practitioner that I am.
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 1/27/22 8:25 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Ugh. What a shit night of sleep. I was in bed 14 hours before my alarm. 2 hours at the start were dedicated to practice.

Pre-Meditative Context: Slight stress level. 50% less mindful than the other day. Was relatively able to stay calm and cool whole day.

Technique: Noting for 20m straight. Then doing lighter noting for the 2nd 20m, and finally mostly not noting for the last 20m. (1hr timer set)

I continued free form for another hour, then took melatonin and tried to sleep.

Posture: Relaxed.

Cutting Edge: One of those super physical feeling equanimity states. I felt overcame reOb in 20m, and by 30 I was in the obvious really nice feeling place.

It's like this kind of equanimity ñana that is almost uncomfortable because its slippery, and maybe challenges my sense of doer/observer/of being the owner of space.

No like it actually was uncomfortable because I remeber myself wanting a more tighter focus and maybe wanting that lazer noting back.

But I just went with it and eventually gave up. Dropped noting and just experimented with stuff.

And I had a real "near miss" moment, or just another phase change. It seems like I can only say it's a real potential near miss if I am for sure in eq. Otherwise its probably A&P. It caught me off guard.

I saw a cushiony chair do a backflip and it happened. I I simultaneously got really excited thinking it was it, and just kept practicing. I felt like I fell back after. And thought "well it's fun to just work back through again"

...
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 2/8/22 8:45 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Almost been two weeks since I posted, I dont feel the need to include the writings at the moment.

In jist, I have a new strategy. Low dose high quality. Longer sits when I feel like. 

I had an interesting experience.

23m

Sitting posture.

Technique: Noting dukkha first, then whole body as object.

Cutting edge:??

It's just interesting how its possible to go deep really fast. One, on an insight level. Due to less quantity there is more steam to dedicate to technique. Previous insights began to multiply.

But also concentration. Using emotion/metta I found myself in a mild psychedelic state. I felt like a soul, intrepidly journeying through some infinite space. Somehow temporarily cut off from god. Very lovely but hopeful. Great sense of mission, andbsoing what's right. It's just poetry. Very hard to communicate experience. 

Pragmatically, it was surprising. It's a sign the current regiment is a novel and useful experiment, having novel effects 
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finding-oneself, modified 3 Months ago at 2/12/22 5:45 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
20m

I think I'm kind of experimenting trying to get concentration states to happen.

This was a no pressure sit. I really didnt want to sit and motivation is generally lower lately. However I will attempt to learn from this.

I was essentially just sitting and avoiding indefinitely being absorbed in mind noise. At this point trippy effects took place. After I settled in, the second part was trying to coalesce around breathing or core body sensations in chest face space. During the sit I used noting for 2m to boot up, mostly noticing dukkha. Later I noted mapping thoughts when I was in vipassana jhana.

I was wondering if it was a 1st jhana area because the body distortions were all crazy. I felt like I was slanted to the left. All the parts of the body began to feel like they were in random spots like Culadasa talks about. Like it was confusing spacially to map body parts.

I had no idea what I was doing. After a few minutes my intention was to just do concentration/centering practice this sit. I dont understand like I'm ultimately trying to get stream entry but the mind just does that itself. Also, if I can willingly enter an abosbored jhana how do I make that happen? So what the hell am I doing practice wise now. Especially if I dont care about meditation as much. "Straight ahead" as shargrol's post compilation says.

I guess it's just promising to me that I feel like I'm half assing it yet this is the correct behavior. Just let practice happens when it happens, and dont absorb in mind noise indefinitely. 

One benefit of slacking off, I suspect it made me more susceptible to exploring the mysterious 1st vipassana jhana due to "falling back".

If I'm open to learning and exploring it literally doesnt matter which stage I'm in. It's all fair game.

I also partially activated "chill mode" yesterday at work. That's what I consider tolhe greatest fruit from practice. I'm respectful and open and professional content, calm, confident and reassured when in said mode. It will come and go as it does. I was lucky to have it like 90% of the day for 2 days. But yesterday I just felt like shit and was fed up. Then I let go and focused on the task and mission(spiritual). As if I jumped from desire for deliverance to reservation in an instant, at work.
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finding-oneself, modified 2 Months ago at 2/19/22 5:50 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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02192022

20m

Technique: Metta, then noting, body as object. Training in morality.

Pre-meditative context: Day off. 6 hr livestream for research. Draining/ungrounded yet optimistic/helpful/reality-based and grounding.

This is what inspired the Metta. I have to fight for people. As that went on I shifted to improving the 7 factors via noting. Standard noting.

After 20m, an event happened. A semi-circle whit light bubble pointing up emerged and hit me I'm face. Then inner space became visually spacious 3d. Peaceful warm and happy. Not sure what it was/is.
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finding-oneself, modified 2 Months ago at 2/25/22 4:47 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Alright, I need to roughly take an account of today. I had two sessions. The pre-meditative context, was having the day off, being lazy, and not wanting to meditate. I was also displeased with the fact I did not want to meditate. Also, at work, it's been stressful. I've been entering states reminiscent of the "three charachteristics", i.e. physically unpleasant and/or ruminating. People are acting rude out of their anger or hatred, and triggering it. I only logged 6.5 hours on my log after 10 days. Practice has decreased. I strongly resonate with the "house keeping" phase of practice analogy/description. There are infintie layers to it and it may be fractal, and even more complicated than that.

In theory, because I have naturally high energy, and apparently good cultivated concentration (both from the 7 factors) I shouldn't have to put in much effort nor force it. And also in theory that could be counter productive. So I will continue to slack off if thats what I have to work out. Cutting edge isn't as important as practicing well. I was pleased today to legitmately break throuh into at least LOW EQ. It had happened after a minute of reflection, I thought "ok, It is possible to get there, and I should go there next, ... and here's how to do that" and bam, i phased into it. In theory I also should have "fallen back", and my sits do reflect that. I think I have hovered more in lower nanas latey, even pre-DN, ie. V/Js one and two...

Sit 1 - Phenomenology


Aprox 30m, 


Started with noting, formally sitting on cushion, and finished off with 5m on couch. I started a mess. It felt like a mix body parts. Felt annoying having to note obvious stuff. And felt like a truck load of stuff to note. It felt like chaos. Noted. It felt like I had a long back log of work to do, or overhelmed. Noted. Vaugness. Noted. I felt like I didn't know what to do, not noted, yet possibly objectified. I cautiously used noting. Swithced to body as object. I really settled in. Body parts melted together. I made a point to break up the more jhanic stuff, and noted. Started just using "that" as a label. I just relaxed on the couch, like I said, and nature called, so I got up.

Sit 2 -

Apx 30m,


This time I sat on the couch the whole time. I am able to get into calmer states and possibly more concentrated...

I focused on physical relaxation but still noted here and there. Sidebar: I just read, about dwelling on the bubbling of the mind stream (a.), (b.) the proto emotions, intentions, 3cs, etc, and (c.) the "vaugue sense of somatic being"... It goes with where I am, overall wise. I am physically able to treverse the nanas. Its a question of learning the skills well. Learning from  what it's like to not meditate as much and what it's like to have motivation at all time low, and learning what happens if I fuck up too much, and also learning how to fuck up correctly or gracefully. The "proof" to me, is that I am able to randomly enter weird absorbed states during this low phase. And also, apparently, I was able to get to EQ. And it's ok to do "dry" vipassana. Or not even make any progress and just be with whatever.

Phenomenology:

So I took the advice. I aleady had momentum in general from the first sit, and momentum dwelling on the somatic being. So I did that. But it felt super hard and awkward dwelling on the mental and emotional. So I had an internal reaction "Ok, less effort, can't be forced". So I just let the dwelling on those parts suck and be awkward. I got a bit of momentum with it. It felt all disjointed, like how I felt physically at the start. Ok, so I'll repeat what happened from above, verbatim: It had happened after a minute of reflection, I thought "ok, It is possible to get there, and I should go there next, ... and here's how to do that" and bam, I phased into it. That minute or so was just applied and sustained effort, but naturally and without force or ill-will. Then after I phased it was just so much more natural and with ease, but with more 4rd vipassana-jhanic qualities of perception. When I got there I just tried to do it with no ill will or expectation. I'm just here and there is no where to go. The process knows what to do. And our minds are smarter than we are. Contemplative life is going so great at the moment stream entry is not necessary. Even periods of low motivation.

Discussion:

I'm kind of confused how Shargrol and Daniel have different opinions. Well really I'm more confused by Daniel. He thinks (or I think he thinks that?), that you should get SE at all costs no matter what. It is almost a mechanistic view. As a part of that view, you're supposed to maintin mindfullness 24/7. The other view, is to relax and drop it all after meditation, and let the mind rest and digest it. I guess the confusion is possibly more on a personal level and possibly a communication thing. Maybe just part of personality and communication style. Why do people so adimantly and confidently say this is the correct way, when there are clearly other attitudes appropriate at other times? But Daniel has said people are often atracted to what worked for them, so perhaps he answered my question there.

Back to practice. I'm learning about motivation, a thing that's part of practice and also completely outside of it somehow. Because I can't force this animal body to meditate, and even weirder I can't force the mind to want to meditate. Wrap your head around that. How's that for annata? To complicate things, spirituality is real, god is real, and that has an influence on all this. I'm greatful I learned an almost "sterile", secular bare sensate style. But god and what not, not only guides my personal life and planetary health, it also governs the path toward imroving one's perceptual abilities, related to awakening. I like how MCTB, just neatly reduces all this stuff to "magick". I started with a more spiritual path, then a more vipassana one, then I abondoned both. Now Im here.

-god- I will lazily define as the larger conscioussness system, from Tom Campbell's, stuffs, or other similar theories, like Donald Hoffman.

I can't emphasis how much a more spiritual aproach to exploring conscioussness has helped. It's super intimate and amazing. Conscioussness is, and is aware of itself. It turns sits into a whole nother kind of thing. Helps with crap motivation. Also fuel for morality training.

Hope I don't offend any skeptics. But it's probably pathological people pleasing. Metta.
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finding-oneself, modified 2 Months ago at 3/13/22 5:22 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I think I figured something out. 

In terms of thinking about consciousness in the moment in terms of attentiattentional development..

The focus is essentially having a perfect day of work.. It relates to freeing myself from being caught in stress.. but it's not content based, it is making myself "have no head" like Sam Harris talks about.

And it's about going through the jhanas. I noticed that trying to be effortful and brute force my way into this doesn't work. But I noticed it helped build momentum before. Like one day I wrote about where I noted 60% of the work day for 3 hours.

Both on and off the cushion I tried to understand the transition to to more 4th jhanic perspective. There is calmness in every direction, and also through the center. There is effortlessness in every direction and through the center.. you can rewrite that sentence with any quality, such as equanimity.

This is learned from repeated practice, and also from digesting the shargrol compilation link.

It kind of solves my conundrum. Why do my work days suck and how do I make them awesome again? Well Well transition to that is effortless. If I am suffering from perceptual side effects of meditation I just have to hone my attention, or let it hone itself. 

Today I let this happen. I was like "why am I going to let myself suffer?" So I just let my system, attention, consciousness be open and flowing, effortless, the mind knowing the mind. 

​​​​​​​
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finding-oneself, modified 2 Months ago at 3/13/22 9:20 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Apologies for spamming recent posts. I always forget important stuff...

It's not just "having no head". It's also dwelling on the mind stream inside the skull, as well as stream of intentions, and cravings/aversions. 

And to expand and really fill it out. The power and permission of the "second head", inside the heart. It is a constant stream of permission to not freak out, and to focus on the mission. BE OK FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS!!!. "It's more sane and loving to not freak out right now"

Anyway, about practice. I think I keep having mini A&Ps every week. Before I never noticed that stage. I'm learning its lesson for real now. Learn that it's neat and helpful but it's not what I want. And it's possibly the result of listing for nibbana or even listing for weird experiences. I pondered that I may benefit from very "plain" equanimity. Like I forgot that EQ can be very normal and should be sometimes.
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 3/14/22 12:08 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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normal is where it's at emoticon
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I like the basic reminder.  emoticon

Edit:

Holy crap that advice helped..

My sit started standard. Then I did noting. Then bare awareness. Typical patterns unfolded but something changed. It was like a habit I had in the past.

Instead of just having weird sensations arise (they still did). I focused on the guy sitting there on the cushion. A physical body made up of the normal sensations I felt my whole life. Doing that, the "weird" sensations just got stronger anyway. Because it's so easy to focus on the normal body I was able to relax more. The "habit from the past", was referring to how I now realized I had practiced 10 years ago. Just normal whole body sensations. Even when I restarted practice 1 year ago, I focused more on it, than I did the last month.

Mind you, the weird stuff is normal in its own way. I have experienced a really light version of it for 10yrs. But this last year it intensified and it strangely crept up on me, to the point this more intense version is normal. But part of me thinks (thought?) I'm supposed to work with it, make it stronger, and enter some altered state.

But this last sit. I realized what I'm paradoxically supposed to do. I'm supposed to focus on the normal stuff, or the body just sitting there breathing.

The cherry on top, is I think this sit transitioned to EQ ñana (after 25m on cushion I moved to couch). On the couch I switched to feeling the normal body reclining on couch. And even the normal belly filled with (a lot of) food. 

A clarifier, I'm not "trying" to get to EQ anymore. However, I just notice the "tells" that I'm practicing right. Including symptoms of the EQ ñana when present. Or if meditation or life feels shitty, I ask myself if am I reacting to it in a mature way 
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/18/22 4:02 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/18/22 4:02 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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"Not enough honesty, not enough investigation, not enough acceptance"

That was pulled from shargrol compilation. 

I just read it, and did in the past as well but I always forget, yet I can call this up automatically if I think hard enough. Better yet I've automatically just been doing it.

Like I'll habitually sit down and what kind of sit I do depends on what facets I remember. The above is like a simpler shortened version of the 7 factors, which I have used a lot.

lately I'll just hone concentration and let myself relax as much as presently possible. Then if it gets too dull, I will see what activating investigation intentionally dose.

The good news is I get to equanimity in a newish way, and an important one I think. Some advice that hit me hard was "my effort increased to almost 0 before I got stream entry".

I was thinking that I already have everything wired in my brain/consciousness. I can literally just lie here and experience things, with the gentleas effort of bare attention. And near the end of my prone sit, I was I'm at least lower equanimity.

The shortened list really helps at work too. For instance, I try to turn investigation on but I get into a contracted state and I automatically tune out huge portions of experience because I'm averse to it and would rather ignore it. In that case, I instead activate honesty. I sit with the aversion and uncomfortableness. Then if I accept it enough I relax. Then I continue to stop tuning stuff out and consciousness and space opens up to include the body, mind and room. At that point investigation kicks in and certain aspects of anatta come to life. Like I have no head. My stream of thoughts and feelings is automatic.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/22/22 9:58 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/22/22 9:58 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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 lately  I've kind of been inadvertently doing heart mediation. And I would like to do more. It seems when life gets depressing and painful the heart knows how to help.

  • I'm going to put a pin in the innate intelligence of the mind/body. Maybe even the faith in the power of my heart to lead me, as well.
I need to find out how to make that the mediation object. It could help with insight, concentration and being a helpful loving person. All at the same time.

  • I would describe it as a powerful confidence and faith in the virtues of the heart, and the intelligence behind it.
when I meditate upon the object I know what it is. But when I read the words about it, I have to take a second to lock into it again and "remember" what the object is. This feels like a very productive text based investigation as well as insight. I should keep working with this specifically.

Keep touching the bare sensate object as well as journal about it to work with its different forms in text and or in consciousness/experience.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/24/22 3:11 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/24/22 3:11 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Last night I took 200mg of 5htp to help fall asleep . It's like like monkey rench thrown in practice. It was oddly physically uncomfortable in some ways. But it also just provided a new perspective from which to meditate. I had near prefect concentration for dozens of minutes lying there.

Heart meditation:

The heart meditation is going great. The first day was better. I just felt my heart and connected with it. It is an instant resent reminding me why I am here (at work. Or on earth).

Early I'm practice I used to me more connected to the heart and more exploratory of new age type stuff and beliefs. Now with a little meditative horse Power begins it, it's like I can connect with it intentionally, any time (if it works that time).

Dream:

I also had weird spiritual dreams. I lived in a weird hippie/spiritual city or kind of structure. There was this really cool wise nerdy hippie dude as my room mate. I feel like he even had old video game consoles and hacked them. But this felt very unearthly and magical. If I wasn't writing about it now, the impressiveness of it would have been lost.

And there was also insane geometry that doesnt make sense thinking back. Very psychedelic. The guy feels like a real guy even.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 3/26/22 6:51 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/26/22 6:51 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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 Yeah, once you really connect with the truth of your experience a sort of inner wisdom seems to guide the way. The only wrinkle is that "wisdom" often shows up as "problems", but if we look closer, those problems are pointing toward a contraction or an avoidance or a fantasy that is the foundation of the problem... so wisdom shows us the way out of our problems by having us have problems. emoticon

Honesty, investigation, acceptance is sort of a shorthand way to remember/inspire the intention to look more closely at problems. Fantasies are cleared-up by honesty, avoidance is cleared-up by investigation, and acceptance is sometime the remaining piece --- some problems are simply a part of a human life on earth and need to be accepted rather than fought against. The body will ache during long sits, politics will be politics, family will be family, jobs will always suck a little and that's why you get paid, studying for tests takes effort, etc etc. 

Developing the "heart sense" is the heart of meditation. Its both the path and the goal of honesty, investigation, and acceptance. Heart doesn't necessarily mean that location in the body, but often it does seem connected to that place. You could translate it as "mind" in the biggest sense. Another way to say it could be "conscience" -- not in the self-shaming sense, but in the noble and empowered sense. This is the noble path, after all. emoticon

It really is amazing how practice just seems to "work" if we approach our sits with consistency, honesty, investigation, and heart-sense not heroic achievement fantasies. A lot of the posturing and fetishing of meditation in buddhist communities is seen as kinda cheap and petty, the real work is the very normal and simple goal of living in a way that is true to our heart-sense. It takes time and work, but it is really the only rewarding way to live. You don't win fancy robes or hat or a title by doing this work, but you do get to be awake in your own life.

And there is a sense of "owning" your life, despite also understanding life's fundamental problemness, uncertainty, and impartiality. The three characteristics. In other words, the discomfort of "dukka", the unpredictablity of "imperminance", and the way the physical/outside world treat our bodies indifferently like rocks (earthquakes happen, asteroids hit the earth, disease occurs, car accidents can happen, we get affected by wars started by other people, an acorn lands on our head, etc.) and so there is a lot of "not-self" out there that still needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.  So we have normal life problems still, but we don't have the extra problems that are cause by not fully understanding the three characteristics. We have all the freedom possible, without indulging in fantasies.

Obivously I'm loosening and broadening the dogmatic definitions of things, but hopefully it helps show how "buddhist practice" doesn't create a totally different world of experience, but rather it allows us to be fully awake in our own life.

 
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/30/22 5:29 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/30/22 5:17 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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"Yeah, once you really connect with the truth of your experience a sort of inner wisdom seems to guide the way. The only wrinkle is that "wisdom" often shows up as "problems", but if we look closer, those problems are pointing toward a contraction or an avoidance or a fantasy that is the foundation of the problem... so wisdom shows us the way out of our problems by having us have problems."
  • I feel like where I'm at right now, I am "bound to be successful" as Goenka says on his retreats. Based on what I bolded above. I have seen inner wisdom guide me, and I've seen these "problems". My comment feels in in realm of balancing "faith" and "wisdom" from the 5 spirtual faculties as per MCTB. And problems being fuel for this process is kind of a relief.


"Honesty, investigation, acceptance is sort of a shorthand way to remember/inspire the intention to look more closely at problems. Fantasies are cleared-up by honesty, avoidance is cleared-up by investigation, and acceptance is sometime the remaining piece --- some problems are simply a part of a human life on earth and need to be accepted rather than fought against. The body will ache during long sits, politics will be politics, family will be family, jobs will always suck a little and that's why you get paid, studying for tests takes effort, etc etc. "
  • Again, the bolded part. I have mentioned being horrified by people in leadership roles. Have expressed the stress from work (and working with the stress), and mentioned family a little bit. 
  • It seems like one place practice is going is just noticing more how there is almost always aversion and some sort of agenda I have (or the mind) to deal with the averison or pretend it's not there. I have had some (literally just a few I think) really profound "dukkha" sits where I was catapulted into EQ. But I also just notice in normal life, how I'm almost always doing it. I'll probably have more to say as I work with this over the years and see and understand it clearer. It seems like it's at the core of practice, that is, noticing "urges".


"Developing the "heart sense" is the heart of meditation. Its both the path and the goal of honesty, investigation, and acceptance. Heart doesn't necessarily mean that location in the body, but often it does seem connected to that place. You could translate it as "mind" in the biggest sense. Another way to say it could be "conscience" -- not in the self-shaming sense, but in the noble and empowered sense. This is the noble path, after all."
  • Not only is this another thing at at core of practice. In the honey moon phase of my job, I felt like and perhaps looked like a very caring person. I kind of became more grumpy but still never acted out of meanness for people. I wasn't grumpy, just uncomfortable. Yet I had no tools. I felt like people thought I secretly was hateful. No, I am just in a contracted state, and mean no harm. But now I have the tools to reconnect with the heart. It's starting to show at work. People naturally understand over time as they get to know me. But now I can be less scared, and more outwardly caring, and in a genuine way. This is so good and healthy for life in general, but will also feed back into practice, and God willing, I might be able to end the cycle of "samsara", and navigate thru the path of insight. i.e. stream entry. (And later the whole path)


"It really is amazing how practice just seems to "work" if we approach our sits with consistency, honesty, investigation, and heart-sense not heroic achievement fantasies. A lot of the posturing and fetishing of meditation in buddhist communities is seen as kinda cheap and petty, the real work is the very normal and simple goal of living in a way that is true to our heart-sense. It takes time and work, but it is really the only rewarding way to live. You don't win fancy robes or hat or a title by doing this work, but you do get to be awake in your own life."
  • I didn't mention heroic achievement fantasies yet that I'm aware of in my journal. But yes, I have them. And I recognize them. I just kind of feel like its walking on thin ice, and assume I'm just breaking though the ice all the time. And my attempts to investigate the fantasies is just another thing I'm failing at. HOWEVER, now that I know I can approach things with a heart-sense, It seems to be helping/healing. I feel like I have a safety net, a life line, and a clear path even. 


"And there is a sense of "owning" your life, despite also understanding life's fundamental problemness, uncertainty, and impartiality. The three characteristics. In other words, the discomfort of "dukka", the unpredictablity of "imperminance", and the way the physical/outside world treat our bodies indifferently like rocks (earthquakes happen, asteroids hit the earth, disease occurs, car accidents can happen, we get affected by wars started by other people, an acorn lands on our head, etc.) and so there is a lot of "not-self" out there that still needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.  So we have normal life problems still, but we don't have the extra problems that are cause by not fully understanding the three characteristics. We have all the freedom possible, without indulging in fantasies."
  • Yes, I do feel I'm starting to own my life. And kind of own up to the fact that I have to practice. I have to own that I crossed the point of no return, and that there is unfisnished business. I must understand the 3 Cs, of dukkha, anatta, impermanace.


"Obivously I'm loosening and broadening the dogmatic definitions of things, but hopefully it helps show how "buddhist practice" doesn't create a totally different world of experience, but rather it allows us to be fully awake in our own life."
  • I share practice a lot with my mom and she listens, even though she's likely not a "dark night yogi". I've talked to her about the 3 Cs, so she understands the jargon at least a bit. I was able to read this to her. The text is so down to earth, basic and wholesome. What I am working on is a worthwhile "endeavor", she says. 

Yes, doing practice, keeping this journal, reading dharma books and and DhO, they are all very worthwhile.

[Edit: Also, thank you for the well thought out response. Very helpful]
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/27/22 7:52 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/27/22 7:52 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I tried to make a response, I have it saved though but, but it's just hard to format. I'll post that response later this week
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/27/22 8:01 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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This is a training in morality post.

Part of whh my weekend meditation time is decreasing is my new jogging endeavor. Eventually as I integrate it, and start to miss mediating as much, I belive I will get back to my previous mediation weekend habits. 

For now I'm bearing the fruits of intensive cardio though. It makes me sleep better, less anxiety and better sits, even if they are shorter.

I did meditate by a river yesterday as a result, untimed/unlogged. And I meditated in the woods. 

I jog around a college town, so it helps my motivation to jog. Because the architecture is cool, and the city atmosphere is nice. And I have family history there. There is a famous park for the town, it was weird because the only time I was there before was when the teenage version of me was tripping on low dose shrooms and Syrian run, in a confused state. Revisiting it after almost a decade and sober was an event.

Besides the benefits, I know Ihave something to look forward to on the weekends. And I now have another project/hobby that I am excited about, besides mediation.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/30/22 5:26 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I was happy to hear in a recent Ingram podcast he mentions aversive, craving and ignorant types.

I always thought I was an ignorant.

He said aversive people can learn to tear reality apart like did. Or craving types can learn jhana. 

I sort of started with dry vipassna. And now looking back I got into light (or maybe medium or not so light??) Jhana on my goenka retreats back in the day.. specifically j4.

But this last year its been vipassana jhanas.

It's a nice peace of the puzzle to hear him describe ignorant types and their skill..

They just space out and say "huh? What's going on??". I LOLed at that....

Apparently it's good to steep I'm tranquility and equanimity.. which I really don't want to do. But I did it last night in bed.

I think I've become somewhat of a "weirdness junkie" either seeking or expecting vipassama jhanas. Nice tingling. Weird visuals. Strange new perceptual experiences. Etc. All that just sort of happens on its own anyway.

I think being ok with it and just calming down and just sit there with basic awareness is the right way to go.

It "hit" me the other day. I woke up early and felt bad. 0 weirdness ever 1st thing in the morning I the wee hours at 4am In bed. Just dry bare sensations.

Later when I took a shower I realized why my morning lying there session went good. Because I went back to basics, and my roots. The word "dry" meditation came to mind. Now I can just sit with the ordinariness again, and see the value of it. And also later in the day when the strange stuff shows up, I can sit there with a mix of both wet and dry.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 3/30/22 10:33 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/30/22 10:33 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr

03292022

I just woke up. Way too early. I woke up physically feeling like shit. Like normal physical purifications. Zero piti, pleasure etc. But always there is vibrations in hands and vision, including moving light and vibrating pixels.

In my weirdness junkieism, and jhanic junkieism, I have repeatedly failed at these normal sits.

Technique: Just lying there, basic bare awareness of this fact.

Sit: There is a desire to make pleasant or interesting  things to happen. There is also aversion. And exhaustion. Due to the latter there is a lot of instinct to tune out. Either fall asleep, be mentally dull, or absorb in mind noise, or all three.

Being so tired, I am operating almost entirely out of grace, to fall into finding the right technique.

I barely rember what happened but eventually I started just basically sitting there, experiencings things, and importantly being ok with it, albeit reluctantly./over

The next few days I found out a trick for ignorant mind-types. Our easy beneficial technique is practicing tranquility and equanimity specifically. Like a desirous person benefits from easy jhanas, and aversives benefit from deconstrucive vipassana, investigating dukkha and the 3 cs.

30m x 2

1: I sat there very tired after work. Knowing the tiredness I tried to have zero expectstions for the sit and even zero intentions.

2:

Sitting on couch. Since I'm trying to be equanimous I permitted weird postures. You know, just casually sitting with one leg folded, the ankle resting on the other leg. Male cross legged. Like I'm on the subway reading a news paper, like I'm a Dilbert side character. Casual.

Technique: Basically just being Ok, relaxing and learning how to not give a shit. Really "just sitting", it feels weird to say that I'm doing a zen practice I always thought was kind of nerdy or I'd never practice on purpose until I have some accomplishments. The key here is to avoid instructions. Just let the experiment run. Do it for some number of days.

Sit:

I could detail the usual phenomenology. But the key here is this relaxing, letting go, and accepting of life as it is right now.

Another idea of it is my "pretend you're a stream enterer" mantraish idea. (I admit it could be delusional or werid, but for sure naive). If I'm already enlightened I'm fine. I'm the fine how I want to be after I attained the thing I wanted. But since I already attained it. I don't need it. I'm just fine.

I'm almost not even "practicing" being fine. I am just fine..

I'm not uses to such simple basic instructions.

This is good though. And right.

​​​​​​​
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 3/31/22 10:15 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/31/22 10:15 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I like where this is going
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SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago at 4/4/22 4:30 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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George S
I like where this is going

+1
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/4/22 4:25 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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It made sense to hear on Michael Tafts podcast from a neuroscience perspective. The PCC and another brain region activate when one's sense of self arises in two different ways.

Previously I've worked with the idea of the default mode network as an idea, tool, mantra, reminder etc.

But this one made more sense. Jud Brewer said awareness is already aware. So asserting effort, is just activating an extra brain region. You're just putting extra effort on top of awareness that is already aware.

I think I learned something from that time I had a mini a&p several times for weeks.

In another log the house keeping phase was mentioned.

This really is like a freebie (the neuroscience thing). It shows me in a simple and quick way how to connect the dots.

I just sit here with no agenda. Michael Tafts dropping the ball mediation, but without using those words. His instructions always make me pick up the ball. I've been doing this before anyway. But the way Jud Brewer talked about it just made sense, and the neuroscience maybe appeased some part of my mind.

Sit afterwards:

I was sitting here quietly on the couch in my "business casual" pose where I have my leg crossed like I'm waiting in an executive office and am so fucking casual...

On the inside it's just bright awareness. Letting it be. Sometimes I think about what's going on but I let that be as well. 

At some point I got so fucking sleepy. I sat with that until it wasn't practical and then aimlessly wandered in my room until I had too much energy. And finished of the sit again with my fancy leg crossed. Maybe even alternate legs when I'm feeling adventurous....

Actually when I was walking around I spontaneously felt felt third eye pressure. And made sure to take the opportunity to reinforce bare awareness.

So anyway. I'm going to continue to sit like this. Its suspiciously easy. More boring than my other chapters but I'll live. Like other recent posts I think this is the right idea.

Learning how to focus attention naturally in the broad way that includes everything and anything. And is natural, automatic and effortless. Perhaps gentle too.

Edit: Jogging:

I forgot to mention I was able to meditate more this weekend and I wanted to. My jogging obsession is continuing and thriving. In fact all sits after are better and more tranquil. Although sometimes I'm sleepier but that's better because I will sleep better.

I had a 3 day weekend. Yesterday was the first day I didn't jog during this current stint. I listened to my body, I don't want to push too hard. Therefore I took the time and meditated more like I said.

it's really paying off. I suspect I will have some really good tranquility sits in the future because of this.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago at 4/12/22 11:48 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/12/22 11:48 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I laughed in recognition when I read your comment on how Michael's instructions on dropping the ball makes you pick up the ball. Even though Michael is my teacher and I know very well what he means in his instructions, they now and then have the same effect on me. Associations can be so visceral. I think it's good to find one's own ways to describe practices so that one's associations are helpful, just as you are doing. For me, the notion of dropping the ball can have a reifying effect, as if there were a distinct object to hold or let go of. For me it's more helpful to remind myself that there is no ball there to pick up. Of course balls can and do manifest, but that's optional while we meditate. So - great that you know yourself and what works for you! 
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/13/22 4:47 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/13/22 4:47 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Thanks. Im glad someone laughed from my posts. It was unintentionally funny. 

I kind of had forgot about the effortless part of meditation, generally, and I forgot about the neuroscience I wrote about, specifically. It's been almost 10 days since this post. Part of my practice over macro and micro periods is just to remember different insights again.

It does work for me though like you said. I read what you said there being no ball and I just sort of automatically visualized a ball and some hands.

​​​​​​​Then I reread what I wrote about effort just being an extra neurological layer, and suddenly it all came flashing back and it still clicked. After a week or more of forgetting.

Some days in the past I wore a rubber band on my wrist abbreviated "DMN" "Default mode network". Maybe I'll do something in that spirit again.
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/5/22 10:20 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/5/22 10:20 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Bed Meditation Lying Down

This was last night 4/5/2022

IDK for some reason in my head I never thought of the whole body as a narrow object or whatever. But it's more constricted that including the whole of visual space, the room, that kind of thing. So I was like, "hey I can and will treat it as a 1st jhana object". Any territory Is fair game and may need to be worked on.

So I'm like, ok I'm going to do Gung ho applied and sustained effort. But also reasonably gently.

It was the most successful I've been honing on an object. I did it in the past with nostril breathing but it's too painful for me usually.

So I just felt the whole body and made sure to make it continuous. It was marvelous. And a new "insight" into concentration mediation. I think it's key to bringing it with me to work and honing in on the daily mission.
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 4/5/22 4:26 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/5/22 4:26 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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That's the instruction in step 3 of anapanasati:

​​​​​​​He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/9/22 12:44 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Gotta admit I'm not into traditional buddhsit texts (not that I'm against them!). I'm just spoiled by the dharma distillation of present Era.

I really do like having it pointed out. I think one day I'll be more into it. It's helpful to have stuff I'm already familiar with pointed out in what feels like an overwhelming volume of resources.

Glad I'm on the right track for anapanasati.
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 4/9/22 6:25 AM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I know what you mean about the overwhelming volume of modern resources. And the old texts can be hard to decode. But the nice thing about going back to the source occasionally is that you realize how a lot of the modern stuff is just repeating and reformulating the old stuff in so many different ways!
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/11/22 8:36 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/11/22 8:36 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Yeah it's really cool to realize they did this back then.

I'm looking forward to discovering overlap between my experiences and theirs as my practice matures.

I did end up reading MN 111, one by one as they occur.

Both Thanissaro Bikkhu and Bikkhu Bodhis translations.
Really odd and interesting ways they word stuff. I really enjoyed it. More than I thought I would.

Any other mediation or training in morality ones you'd recommend? Thanks!
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finding-oneself, modified 1 Month ago at 4/13/22 4:51 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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I tried noting today at work. I had mixed success, though I'm not sure by what metric I'm judging that. I'm very tired and it might be poor judgment.

We were in kind of cramped and intimate quarters today. Basically stuck in 1 room, the bathroom and the hallway, in a high security area. On my break I put headphones in (as earplugs) and did a 15m sit, eyes closed, on a chair, in this intimate room with a bunch of people in a highish energy environment.

Again, I just did noting. And I made the mediation as intimate as possible. Including the whole mind/body system and the room, and any anxieties/fears of being so vulnerable with my mind in the room. I almost think i dropped into low eq for a minute before exiting again. But I didn't just note, I shifted gears up and down. When I felt present enough I stopped noting and shined the light of awareness on more stuff. The. Started noting again after a period of distraction.

I'm super tired and burnt out. I'm excited for more exercise and mediation on the weekend.
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finding-oneself, modified 29 Days ago at 4/17/22 5:17 PM
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RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Practice has been evolving. I read the "soft jhana thread" and realized i need to just do relaxation. Basically just relax and do nothing. And mediation may happen or it may not. But it seems I can't help but be aware as I'm resting. This really helps with in bed mediation.

  • Sit:
I sat relaxed on the couch for about 20m and something weird happened. I was drifting off in a day dream all diffuse. I was mindful of it after the fact. I was lost in the dream. Suddenly my attention JUMPED into my face. And I felt like I was being pulled into it. And I think inner light was produced. Like there was a giant sun/star directly in front of me. Not sure if it was A&P, or a phase change, or suddenly my mind was jumping into a random absorption state. But also I can't rule out just a perceptual trick. Where my attention happened to jump out of a day dream and into my face, as I happened to notice the light behind my eye lids so it appeared brighter than usual. No harm no foul.

There was also a kinesthetic element, the pulling. To describe it using the word kinesthetic makes me feel like I'm being more phenomenologically precise with language.

I feel like I did a good job afterwards though. I immediately just went back to being present instead of speculating about it. I did feel a kind of mild feeling. Like I was shocked or startled. I just noticed it and continued.

I attribute this to the just relax method. If I'm honest about the 7 factors. I have some major problems in life that stem from not just relaxing. I should keep doing that and if I am kind of lax in the 1st 3 factors so be it. I just think that's the right way to go now. My practice is more complicated that that. I will still do noting, and more "aggressive" sits where I make sure to maintain good mindfulness and concentration. But those do tend to energize me. Yeah I'm not sure. Well see. I will just keep going.

  • Weekend and jogging/ a concert last weekend:

I finally skipped a day off of jogging on the weekend. I kind of felt I'm pushing it too hard. I walk 6 miles a day for work and set up and put away equipment.

I "unlocked" a new "ability". Just do weights or stretching to music at home.

If I can't jog while recovering I should target other muscles. And I always have need and will continue to need (desperately) to fix my life. It's cliché but this sure is part of the practice.

I've always struggled with "depression" symptoms on and off after crossing the A&P. 

I basically should just model my life after the future version of me I think will be so great once he becomes a stream enterer and beyond. Just like I have a perceptual practice called "be a stream enterer", from a training in morality perspective I can practice being saint-like. But I would never dare say I can be a Saint, I know that won't happen. Just clean your room and trying to make the world slightly better.

Eventually I will cross the stream and I will just deal with the new problems I have at that point in my life. Just still trying to clean my room and make stuff slightly better.
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finding-oneself *, modified 16 Days ago at 4/30/22 11:21 PM
Created 16 Days ago at 4/30/22 10:51 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Well. Yesterday was 1 day to the year that I had rebooted practice after formally quiting for about 5 years.

The difference is huge. I was reflecting that I don't have the same anxiety in my belly, it slowly creeped away. I'm speaking generally, I can still find it if I look. And social anxiety and seeing professionals/ leaning how to talk to people and leaning cognitive behavioral training is a different thing, but overlaping.

I started to favor actually getting up and going for a jog first thing instead of mediating, both are good and I like where life is going. 

Now kind of meta-phenomenology wise, I sort of had a mini-crisis or meta understanding that I can't "do it". I can't force myself to change what ñana I'm experiencing and I for sure can't force high equanimity, conformity knowledge and the frution of the path I have so desperately thought.

My practice really consists of using a bunch of different techniques that are appropriate and then down/up shifting when needed. Additionally horizontally filling in my blind spots. Specifically homing in on things like dukkha, crave/averse, ignoring sensations, knowing when I'm lost in thought; speaking of that I've learned to wake up from wallowing in mind noise much faster, that when I started a year ago.

Another technique is just resting in the space of it, or wherever I find myself. Effortless. Then tranquility is practiced and equanimity is practiced, which daniel says is good practice for ignorant types. 

I also suspect I'm getting close to falling into jhana proper. IDK, I felt like I'm getting sucked into some kind of thing.

Sort of related to that I ate 2.5mg of THC and did not go through a terribly challenging, scary and paranoid trip. It basically just helped make jhanic factors come up without terror. This is unprecedented and is not something I thought could have happened for 10 years since cannabis turned on me. It just shows me I'm trusting the universe more, and am connecting with my heart more. I very much want humanity to be alright. I am a little beacon of that. How can I be paranoid if I know I'm in line with god???

Speaking of that, I've been doing literal "spiritual" stuff. If anyone read though the "the process is the attainment. The process is kind" post, its kind of in line with that. She described it perfect on her website.

It's part intellectual, part feeling, part metaphysical/ontological. I was also listening to Aubrey Marcus' podcats with Mattiad de Stefano, very new agey sounding without actually being new age in the derogatory sense of the phrase.

Like we are sentient beings capable of this level of understanding and intuitive knowledge of three dimensional space with one direction of time. It's logical then that another way of experiencing is zooming out temporally, and understanding more mathematical dimensions orthogonal to the 3rd, 4th, etc.

It's logical then to think of "higher up" layers of consiousness. "Creators" of the video game. "Archangels" amalgamations of bigger consciousness. And bigger and bigger until it looks less like an individual being until it's the entire universe, God, which we are a part of, and also are. 

The reason I like the phrase archangel is because it sounds cool.. but I'm open to the idea of "biblical angels" because they match the beings people meet on DMT. I haven't done that though. But I've seen animations of them. Yesterday when I was on THC mediating I felt and saw an undulating field of fuzzy beautiful wing-like substance/fractals. It felt nice nice Alive and I could see how it is possible to be absorbed in it.

I also cross referenced that more psychedelic perspective with ontological Mathematics. Which says the universe is made of infinite monads, 0 dimensional points. That are the substance of the universe and Alive. And the sum total of monads is God. Capital M Monad. It is a singularity. 

Back to earth, my life is still a mess but I'm freaking out about it less. I expect to continue fixing it. I expect to keep opening my heart and also maintaining a direct connection with whatever this life is on a deeper level, to the mystery inside me that is guiding me.

I plan to continue my pragmatic dharma practice as I have but I'm much less focused on goals there. Just keep developing it and let it go where it goes.

Edit: I should describe the crisis a little better. One thing is feeling overwhelmed by not being able to complete the path. Another thing is getting pissed at how much apparent effort it takes.

But it just comes back to noticing those sensations on the cushion. I can kind of see the whole path laid out in my mind. I should be able to do it.. its just a matter of letting my brain brain nervous system take the wheel. Those sits with a lot of work all just consist of one moment after the other. So it's really not a lot of work. It's just learning it, in the moment again and again.

Around the "crisis" (quotes because it was more of a dull feeling of sadness/exhaustion), my sitting time was lower. I feel like now that I have a more mature perspective it supports, more cushion time naturally.

A final note, part of me wants to leave out the "werid" psychedelic shit, but it's part of my practice. I just happened to be drawn to it. And it helps a lot. It supports vipassana/shamatha and vice versa. Which Is kind of amazing to me.
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Arena Heidi, modified 15 Days ago at 5/1/22 7:42 PM
Created 15 Days ago at 5/1/22 7:42 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Back to earth, my life is still a mess but I'm freaking out about it less. I expect to continue fixing it. I expect to keep opening my heart and also maintaining a direct connection with whatever this life is on a deeper level, to the mystery inside me that is guiding me.

This was a beautiful summary that I could relate to. I think there is always a messiness to life, but chaos and the unknown become less of a big deal overall. I think it's a good sign that you can be comfortable with life as it is, instead of needing to control it or make it different from what it is. That there's spaciousness around imperfection and shortcomings, too.

I have found that the more that I follow whatever is guiding me from within, the stronger and more clear it gets. But it's a subtle quiet kind of thing that is easy to dismiss or override. I try to have my ego align with this "guidance" and mystery as much as possible. But sometimes they just don't. For example, the sense from within pulls at me to take a risk and reach out to someone and my ego feel insecure about it. I muster the courage to follow the quiet inner sense, and then I reassure my ego or I just hold the insecurity in a space of compassion. I do this kind of thing over and over again. It becomes habitual to take small risks and allow myself to be vulnerable. It really is a path of vulnerability. I think having the courage to take those little kinds of risks and allow the shame, vulnerability, insecurity to be there are "signs" that one is on a good path. I find these small kinds of humble accomplishments more impressive than other kinds of attainments. I'm not trying to get rid of ego or insecurity, just support them well. All parts of ourselves are valuable and worthy of kindness.

Like you said about how we exist as larger and larger layers that are all unified. It's my job to caretake the smaller parts of me as best I can. And some bigger part of me provides the inner guidance. I don't feel a need to know more about that part other than to feel it as the unknown. It presents itself to me as indescribably alive emptiness, or a dream, an inner sense, a voice. But I can relate to people who feel it as angels or their soul. Surrendering one's life to some inner empty unknown can function similarly to surrendering to guides or God or Jesus. 

It was a nice surprise to see that you'd mentioned me in your log. Thanks. And thanks again for reaching out to me on the other thread. We help each other. It helps me to articulate all this to you. You are helping me to move forward, too. Thank you.
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finding-oneself *, modified 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 7:38 PM
Created 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 7:38 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Thanks so much for the response.

I appreciate you explaining how it is for you. It's always nice to learn by osmosis in that way.

"We help each other. It helps me to articulate all this to you. You are helping me to move forward, too"

And this part I appreciate a lot. It's really how it works, and how interconnected we all are.

I just want to say your writing and communication style reminds me so much of my time at Naropa University. I usually exclude it to be more anonymous but I kind of think it's better to say it because of what you said about vulnerability.

I know there is another conversion going on about the culture of the DhO and its honestly way above my head. Naropa was my only "spiritual community".

I find your way of talking here very refreshing. And as it is, this is my only real mediation/spiritual/contemplative outlet. So it's kind of like a comet crashing into my dharma bubble, to bring me more dharma and change things up.

The reason I liked that paragraph I quoted from your website is because when I read it, it gives me a "pragmatic" "god" mediation.

Pragmatic, meaning a clear technique. (The technique is simply reading it and being reminded of feelings/insights). And God in my case is a sort of mediation practice where I'm having trouble defining currently.
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Arena Heidi, modified 8 Days ago at 5/8/22 7:43 AM
Created 8 Days ago at 5/8/22 7:43 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
It's always nice to learn by osmosis in that way.
Yes, I agree. Your comment back to me helps me learn effortlessly by osmosis, too. It's an easy and pleasurable way to learn and we get to know each other and become friends in the process.

The reason I liked that paragraph I quoted from your website is because when I read it, it gives me a "pragmatic" "god" mediation.
Yes. Thank you. I feel like God and pragmatic go together. I want to reclaim God in pragmatic ways. God can be just as pragmatic as the steps of meditation that many are teaching and learning here at DhO. So thank you for seeing and saying that about those words of mine. It helps me to hear that. To hear that that has been conveyed. I just posted a comment on the Culture of DhO thread where I tried to weave God into it too. I'm not sure if it works for anyone or not. When I have more time, I will read more of your log. I hope you are well!
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finding-oneself *, modified 15 Days ago at 5/1/22 7:52 PM
Created 15 Days ago at 5/1/22 7:52 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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30m

-Cushion Sit.

-Relaxed sit with little noting. Entering day dream trances lucidly.

There were some "fireworks" this sit, immediately when I sat down I felt like I could see some kind of sea creature and undulating waves. I was in a day dreamy state and noticed the fact afterwards.

Later some vivid memories of my old home came up. For the sit I mostly just tried to have good posture and relax. But make sure awareness is bright, not dull.

Day dreaminess continued. First I was fantasizing about feathered dinosaurs, amazing giant egg donut nests, and that they actually exited. And birds are their gift to us. It was more on the being absorbed in mind noise side.

This next part makes sense after having been fantasizing that.... I felt like I was flying. Like an effortless feathered being gliding on a cushion of air. And I could see the lush Forrest below. <-This is what I mean when I say I can kind of comprehend what it might be like to be pulled into a jhana. Like that flying feeling could be captured, melded with and sustained. In this case I was aware of it when it was happening.

I also briefly touched upon tuning into a feeling of an "alive undulating field", as visualized in DMT videos on YouTube.


Pre-Meditative Context:

Mainly the best thing was making good on my promise to clean my apartment. I really let it go, due to lethargy. I know practice will be way better as I continue to fix my life, and vice versa. It's good to see major real world progress on that.
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finding-oneself *, modified 14 Days ago at 5/2/22 11:21 PM
Created 14 Days ago at 5/2/22 10:44 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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1hr15m

Cutting Egde: "slippery mind" eq ñana.

Techniques: Noting. Steeping in pain. Noticing craving/averison. Noticing thoughts. Full body as object.

Posture: Very stable cushion sit -> laying on floor to let asleep legs wake up -> bathroom -> reclining on couch cross legged.

I don't have much time to fully document. My intentions for the sir were twofold. 1 - be OK with the unpleasantness, and totally be OK with the present. 2 - use the skills i have to skillfully breach the eq ñana.

I havent got here in months it feels like. But doing this feels like a new milestone, like I have arrived back at the slippery mind, obviously in eq phase, but I am armed to the teeth with new skills and literal "knowledges of insight" instead of just experiences of insight.

I sort of know how this works a little better. I'm kind of excited to practice within the slippery mind eq phase over the next chapter.

I should also note that I experienced discomfort, as in the strange discomfort of giving up the control you had in reObservstion and all prior ñanas. What is strange about this is that the physical pain from reobservstion went away. It's like they saying, "suffering less but noticing it more".

When I got to that phase I eased up at times, because it felt like the work was over. Then I'd get lost in thought. So the skill I decided to practice was maintining continuity of attention. Trying to know each formation as they arrived and vanished.


Work- Alright this one gets admittedly very werid.

I learned how to hack relaxtion, during self consciousness social anxiety moments.

I use my traditional "laser attention" to just focus on the task at hand. But it's endlessly distracting when people are staring at me! (They know not what they do)... yesterday I mentioned birds. Well, I've watched a lot of cockatoo videos and they have a distinct look when their eyes look at something close up. So I basically pretend my face is a cockatoo face. I use acting skills to pretend I'm a humanized cockatoo. Of course, it may be combined with any and all liberating insights at any time (i.e, "having no head")

In summary the formula to combat self-consiousness:

laser attention on object + cockatoo acting = non-neurotic flow. 

Ironic considering how insane said aforementioned bird is.
George S, modified 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 5:57 AM
Created 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 5:57 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2382 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Birds are literally the only surviving dinosaurs. It makes a lot of sense to copy their survival strategies emoticon
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finding-oneself *, modified 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 8:11 PM
Created 13 Days ago at 5/3/22 8:11 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Wow, thank you for connecting those dots for me. Its really got my noodle cookin'

I really can't belive this is a legitimate spiritual path.
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finding-oneself *, modified 8 Days ago at 5/8/22 8:13 PM
Created 8 Days ago at 5/8/22 8:13 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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My last post was Tuesday, I think, reaching EQ.

Then a few days of depression symptoms. Wednesday I tried to repeat the sit and totally failed. 

Thursday I was feeling very stuck. Work felt terrible as well. Very lost. I Completely skipped practice Friday. And then yesterday, I did a half hour sit, but again, I was lost all the way till bed time. Then I started praying and was like "oh yeah". My life exists for this reason, that's why I practice. That's why I both fail and succeed sometimes. It's all part of the unfolding process. And this thing that is smarter than me, that is inside me, and I'm inside of it. My own personal God.

Yesterday I had a very drama free sit in the morning, yet I was still very lost, procrastinating cleaning my area. Then went for a jog. 

Today I put it all together. I felt lost. Then allocated a few hours doing serious video research/entertainment. Procrastinated more. THEN cleaned. And I feel way better. My sit went great.

Sit:

I sat on a cushion in a very stable posture. Inside consiousnouss just dwelling in it, bare sensate, as well as acknowledgeding the self evident inherent divinity present. Very deep. Very spirutal. The mind looking at the mind. Letting the body need to do what it needs to do (sit still, and minor posture adjustments). This kind of meditation is just very down to earth and connects me with the deepest reason why I am here as a human being. No clue what ñana(s) I am in, because its not necessarily about that, but does include it.

Conclusion:

I need to work on procrastination. (And am). Cleaning released the defilements, or whatever they are called, so I could focus on sitting there.

Also the whole god thing is developing nicely.

Not just on the cushion and senstate consiusness. But part of the reason praying works, is because if you are in line with the synchinricites they can take you down a more appropriate trajectory. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 3:03 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 2:59 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
The God Situation 

I really have two different experiences with synchronicity. One is more over symbols or weird coincidences, while the other one is when life aligns correctly with the higher self, (higher non-self? Lol).

I am able to integrate the latter with the universe being God, me as an individual entity having a personal God or connection with it, and the entire universe being alive and one organism.

Today I had a difficult Situation. I had to work in another department with 2 of my former coworkers (whom I havnet seen in a while) and strangers. By the time I got to the parking like I had discovered on my phone I had been pulled for the next two days, due to what else SARS-CoV 2. Or simply "the varus" as memeologists have discovered its proper name.

Due to social anxiety I was dreading going in There, and was "saved" at the last minute. I work too much and do not get enough in return. This is me, being given a break. Now I have 2 days to continue cleaning and doing wholesome stuff. I can't emphasize enough. This is the ONE day, in months I would want off. They literally didn't need me there, the organization has to place us somewhere because of rules. So literally no one is hurt by it. When I got news of it I calmly recognized it and wasn't surprised and was mildly happy. So I cheeched it up to milk it and said thank you to the universe. Kind of like equanimity followed by A&P excitement.

I made use of the drive as well. I went to a nearby gym (in which I searched for god), then bought needed groceries. 

"Phenomenology" on the Cushion of Pragmatic "God-Practice"
​​​​​​​
  • Oddly, it instantly solved solves the dukkha problem. Which means it instantly makes me aware of the dukkha-charachteristic within the sensate domain.
  • Equanimity - I feel safe and that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be. Even if the human-animal part of me made a mistake 0.1seconds ago, now I am instantly aligned with that which is greater. 
  • This also helps me become more tranquil as there really isn't anything else to do, now that everything is as it should should. No more searching, scheming, mapping.
  • Anxiety and fear are just other experiences this animal body is supposed to feel. So in those moments I relax within the anxiety, even if it doesn't go away completely.
  • Concentration. The whole complexity of practicing concentration or centering goes away. The system/process/mental-happenings that lead to better concentration are now gently let to work themselves out. Jesus takes the wheel.
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Sigma Tropic, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:22 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:19 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 283 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
I'm enjoying reading your log, I can get a sense of your cheerful demeanor and it reminds me of happy people. keep going with this Holy Mission of yours ;). The sense of Jesus taking the wheel sounds cool. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:43 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:43 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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Aw thanks. Yes I'll keep going haha
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Sigma Tropic, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:50 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 4:50 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

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  • Oddly, it instantly solved solves the dukkha problem. Which means it instantly makes me aware of the dukkha-charachteristic within the sensate domain.
Can you describe more about this phenomenon. This instant ability - what are you doing to make that happen or is it just kinda up there in your noodle somehow?
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finding-oneself *, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 9:53 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 9:53 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
So I read why you wrote and I just did the technique instantly (I surprised myself it worked).<br /><br />&nbsp;I'll do my best to describe what's happening. I'm also pretty sure I'm not aware exactly what's happening.<br /><br />I would have to define the dukkha first in order to answer. Right now I do feel a more gross dukkha as if I'm in DN territory. And then also there is the "insight bug" or a desire for stream entry. Then there is also feeling like my life is messed up, and sometimes almost constant impatience and urgency as if I am running out of time or I have to fix everything right now. And finally I have some kind of guilt almost like the idea original sin. That I'm in a perpetual state of fucking up. This is context specific dukkha.<br /><br />Some sits I've really gone for "homing in" on the dukkha characteristic, which has sort of catapulted me into EQ territory. I have&nbsp;<i>not</i>&nbsp;done this yet with this more "spiritual" technique. I mention it because that's one litmus for how much I'm seeing dukkha in a given chunk of time, say 20 minutes or so. However I do belive in the micro Level, I am seeing the dukkha characteristic more when I'm doing this technique, vs baseline. But I'm not sure if it's more effective for seeing dukkha than just noticing "bare dukkha" in sensatios. I have to preface this by saying I'm not super advanced and am aware of the fact I use the information and jargon available to me to describe it. In buddhist theory, I belive this is "fundamental dukkha".<br /><br />As for describing it, here it goes:<br /><br />So partly it is recognizing that I am OK, I'm trying my best to be a good member of this planet. I'm trying to get my life together. And recognizing that that is currently the case, I can relax in the knowledge that I am in alignment with what's good and what's right. And this thing in me WANTS me to be ok. It supports everything and all layers of psychology. Thus I feel safe. It supports being a chronic dark nighter. Being pre-awakening is OK. That's where I'm supposed to be! See how it mops up dukkha?<br /><br />And it's not strictly about "trying" in life, in the sense of getting my chores done, thought that helps. It's about micro-trying. Which could be defined by different things. Vipassana, concentration, Metta, prayer or "God practice". I almost even recognize that It's better for this mind/body, single human cell, to be less freaked out and just chill, so it can be more useful. Therefore I notice I'm freaking out, and suddenly I am given "permission" to relax. Alternatively if I don't relax, I just know that this slice of the universe is supposed to experience freaking out right now.<br /><br />Because of the gross dukkha (pressure in head, even some sadness), I struggled with this a few minutes into answering your question and exploring my consiousness in order to answer it. Then, chronologicaly, vipassana happened to be employed. I "scanned" the room and my body, trying to notice all sense doors. And I kind of felt like I was "faking it". Suddenly I thought there is no God this is just being aware of your body and the room, another frivolous layer added on to vipassna (however from a pure sensate practice perspective, it's all just bare sensations).&nbsp; But then I realized that is itself another sensation. For that moment I was missing the thought sense door. I realized that's where the fear was coming from. So I was able to see the thought and the fear clearly, for what it is.<br /><br />Being in alignment with this thing can happen in any and all mind states. You caught me off guard here feeling not the greatest right now. But it's a lesson to include the pain. As a human I'm supposed to feel the fear. It's part of the plan. Any moment, if I get out of the way, I can reach in (out?), and remember this stuff. Sometimes I will get caught in life. But eventually I want to become so used to this process it becomes the norm and I can see others as God. Which leads to the question: How do I see myself as part of God? When I see parts of myself dissolve into the three Cs, I notice how I'm composed of a living dance of energy. The energy is <b>alive</b>, and it isn't owned by me. This to me feels like being part of god.<br /><br />There is also an imaginative side to it. I can employ various ideas of what existence is. Like how we're all connected. It's a unified thing. God is&nbsp;<i>inside</i>&nbsp;us, yet we are also somehow inside&nbsp;<i>it.</i>&nbsp;The idea of dependent origination (I'm still don't know what that is, but prospects of one day knowing are exciting)<br /><br />I'm sure this will change in in future as I get better at practice. I heard Frank Yang talk about his experience using the term God. I assume he is experiencing it a lot different than me.<br /><br />Using MCTB lingo, it's also considered "magick". Although I don't think of it like that.&nbsp;It's just being in flow with whatever this greater thing is. That's also inside me.&nbsp;And it may have synchonistic effects but it doesn't have to. I just want the best possible outcomes for us that the universe will allow.<br /><br />But from this post I think one of the most important things is connecting with the feeling of it being&nbsp;<i>alive.&nbsp;</i>It's like how the three characteristics are so important to good vipassna practice. The feeling of being alive (in part with a greater whole) is as important to this technique. It just so happened the three characteristics are instrumental for making it work.<br /><br />If I could reduce it to a basic formula. It would be:<br /><br />1.) Notice anicca, anatta<br /><br />2.) and notice how it feels alive!<br /><br />3.)&nbsp;And notice how you feel part of the greater whole.<br /><br />4.) The dukkha characteristic now comes online.<br /><br />One final part is the heart opening potential of this. I mention it because I recognize how big this part is, in general, but limited in my experience so far. Also, trusting and having an open heart may be essential for the weirdness of it, that can kind of be terrifying to the human animal.<br /><br />I really never intended to analyze it so much or journal it in so much detail, so yeah! Thank you for asking, this kind of has lead to a very helpful distillation for me<!--/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_bodytext_220509_225259_003.sdocx-->
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Sigma Tropic, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 7:45 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 7:39 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 283 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
finding-oneself *
So I read why you wrote and I just did the technique instantly (I surprised myself it worked).<br /><br />&nbsp;I'll do my best to describe what's happening. I'm also pretty sure I'm not aware exactly what's happening.<br /><br />I would have to define the dukkha first in order to answer. Right now I do feel a more gross dukkha as if I'm in DN territory. And then also there is the "insight bug" or a desire for stream entry. Then there is also feeling like my life is messed up, and sometimes almost constant impatience and urgency as if I am running out of time or I have to fix everything right now. And finally I have some kind of guilt almost like the idea original sin. That I'm in a perpetual state of fucking up. This is context specific dukkha.
This is knowledge of the 1st noble truth, gross fabrications of ideas, but it's insight becuase to get rid of dukkha first one must understand it.  It often starts with seeing - hmm. There is this disagreement always between me and the world.  There is some inherent seeming dukkha. Ok good. 

Some sits I've really gone for "homing in" on the dukkha characteristic, which has sort of catapulted me into EQ territory. I have done this yet with this more "spiritual" technique. I mention it because that's one litmus for how much I'm seeing dukkha in a given chunk of time, say 20 minutes or so. However I do belive in the micro Level, I am seeing the dukkha characteristic more when I'm doing this technique, vs baseline. But I'm not sure if it's more effective for seeing dukkha than just noticing "bare dukkha" in sensatios. I have to preface this by saying I'm not super advanced and am aware of the fact I use the information and jargon available to me to describe it. In buddhist theory, I belive this is "fundamental dukkha".As for describing it, here it goes:So partly it is recognizing that I am OK, I'm trying my best to be a good member of this planet. I'm trying to get my life together. And recognizing that that is currently the case, I can relax in the knowledge that I am in alignment with what's good and what's right. And this thing in me WANTS me to be ok. It supports everything and all layers of psychology. Thus I feel safe. It supports being a chronic dark nighter. Being pre-awakening is OK. That's where I'm supposed to be! See how it mops up dukkha?

Yes, so we see here that this fabrication of enlightened Alex is simply an idea in your head, there's thoughts, sensations, flux of energy, nothing more, nothing less. A beautiful play of energy moving. And this bare dukkha idea I see what you're trying to elaborate, I think it's actually quite skillful to get clear about the dukkha and what exactly is the dukkha comprised of. If you look closely at dukkha, it is not as solid as it appears to be, there's some kind of cognitive bias going on. When one looks, they find that the sankhara is composed of more quicker fundamental urges, intentions, evaluations, and grasping/clinging to objects. That whole thing makes up the gross fabrications. I don't see a deconstruction of the grosser fabrications here yet. 

And it's not strictly about "trying" in life, in the sense of getting my chores done, thought that helps. It's about micro-trying. Which could be defined by different things. Vipassana, concentration, Metta, prayer or "God practice". I almost even recognize that It's better for this mind/body, single human cell, to be less freaked out and just chill, so it can be more useful. Therefore I notice I'm freaking out, and suddenly I am given "permission" to relax. Alternatively if I don't relax, I just know that this slice of the universe is supposed to experience freaking out right now.

This is great, wonderful. This is a nice perspective, wholesome, very nice. We can see that being in a better mind state is simply better for everyone involved. 

Because of the gross dukkha (pressure in head, even some sadness), I struggled with this a few minutes into answering your question and exploring my consiousness in order to answer it. Then, chronologicaly, vipassana happened to be employed. I "scanned" the room and my body, trying to notice all sense doors. And I kind of felt like I was "faking it". Suddenly I thought there is no God this is just being aware of your body and the room, another frivolous layer added on to vipassna (however from a pure sensate practice perspective, it's all just bare sensations).But then I realized that is itself another sensation. For that moment I was missing the thought sense door. I realized that's where the fear was coming from. So I was able to see the thought and the fear clearly, for what it is.

So this is good and you have a general sense of things but my feeling is that you need to wake up more, there might be some dullness, haziness. Like TMI stage 5 subtle dullness seems like a thing you need to address. I really think you're intutiveley getting what dukkha and the end of dukkha is, but you need more perceptual clarity in order to see the more subtle phenomena that are quicker on the timescale.  You need a stronger mind. Your mind is like a muscle you have to build it up. I think from reading your log, you have an intuitive grasp of the dharma doens't seem like Dark Night is a problem which is great, with a tendency toward ignorance, so if you can just really master the ability to be as awake as possible (TMI stages 5 and 6) I would predict if you spend some remedial time making sure the foundations are good, this will be fruitful for your practice long term., 

Being in alignment with this thing can happen in any and all mind states. You caught me off guard here feeling not the greatest right now. But it's a lesson to include the pain. As a human I'm supposed to feel the fear. It's part of the plan. Any moment, if I get out of the way, I can reach in (out?), and remember this stuff. Sometimes I will get caught in life. But eventually I want to become so used to this process it becomes the norm and I can see others as God. Which leads to the question: How do I see myself as part of God? When I see parts of myself dissolve into the three Cs, I notice how I'm composed of a living dance of energy. The energy is <b>alive</b>, and it isn't owned by me. This to me feels like being part of god.

Sounds like mind and body, the pleasant aspects of the 1st vipassana jhana if you want to use those terms. Also I think for you there are also lots of elements of high equanimity in your practice, but like I said I think you need to increase alertness and brain power. You have a high equanimity feel but I think you're not quite balanced with the factors. There's not quite enough energy and mindfulness. I think if you maintain your current perspective and just intend for more temporal resolution in your sensations, you are missing the quicker stuff. Apart from these things I think your mind is perfect- you have good view, good attitude, a tendency toward pleasantness - you will be very jhanic I predict once you get Sotapanna. 

There is also an imaginative side to it. I can employ various ideas of what existence is. Like how we're all connected. It's a unified thing. God is&nbsp;<i>inside</i>&nbsp;us, yet we are also somehow inside&nbsp;<i>it.</i>&nbsp;The idea of dependent origination (I'm still don't know what that is, but prospects of one day knowing are exciting)<br /><br />I'm sure this will change in in future as I get better at practice. I heard Frank Yang talk about his experience using the term God. I assume he is experiencing it a lot different than me.<br /><br />Using MCTB lingo, it's also considered "magick". Although I don't think of it like that.&nbsp;It's just being in flow with whatever this greater thing is. That's also inside me.&nbsp;And it may have synchonistic effects but it doesn't have to. I just want the best possible outcomes for us that the universe will allow.<br /><br />But from this post I think one of the most important things is connecting with the feeling of it being&nbsp;<i>alive.&nbsp;</i>It's like how the three characteristics are so important to good vipassna practice. The feeling of being alive (in part with a greater whole) is as important to this technique. It just so happened the three characteristics are instrumental for making it work.<br /><br />

I think you have intuitive talents and it's just a matter of strengthening your weak points. From my estimation, if you take your current mind, current attitude, current everything basically, and just with more clarity and awakeness, you will figure it out. 

If I could reduce it to a basic formula. It would be:<br /><br />1.) Notice anicca, anatta<br /><br />2.) and notice how it feels alive!<br /><br />3.)&nbsp;And notice how you feel part of the greater whole.<br /><br />4.) The dukkha characteristic now comes online.<br /><br />One final part is the heart opening potential of this. I mention it because I recognize how big this part is, in general, but limited in my experience so far. Also, trusting and having an open heart may be essential for the weirdness of it, that can kind of be terrifying to the human animal.<br /><br />I really never intended to analyze it so much or journal it in so much detail, so yeah! Thank you for asking, this kind of has lead to a very helpful distillation for me<!--/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_bodytext_220509_225259_003.sdocx-->
Thanks for answering. I'm glad you have this working knowledge that you descibed here in the last paragraph and I would encourage you to continue to clarify that knowledge, see it again and again, and specifically, try to get more clarity and temoporal resolution in everything. This can be done without a striving attitude and I think since you're more laid back this won't be too hard for you. I think your practice is quite skillful I would say and the insights and view you have tell me you've crossed the A&P at least once, not much of a dukkha nana if I'm correct and this laid back chill state you're getting into now- good stuff - no/very little dukkha- gets Sigma Stamp of Approval. Just keep it simple, keep your nice mind-state that you have now and learn that process and maybe do some stage 5 TMI practice.

I hope this is helpful in some way, I think it will be. 

(I was enhusiastically encouraged to teach by my teacher. Part of my practice instructions involve teaching)

[Suvaco Hansen, a former thai forest monk of 17 years - Ajahn Sumedho was my teacher's teacher, Ajahn Chah is my grandfather]
https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/676/
https://www.headless.org/headless-way-podcast/interview-with-suvaco
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finding-oneself *, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 4:12 PM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 4:12 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I appreciate and welcome the feedback.&nbsp;<br /><br />"very little to no dukkha":<br /><br />It's complicated. Yes I have been moving away from the dukkha ñanas as baseline and more into equanimity, I belive. But there are major obstacles in my life, however admiting I have a problem is always the first step. The second step is to take active measures to resolve them if possible, which I am.<br /><br />I entertain the idea there are thing I do which send me into the dukkha ñanas, and if I can stop doing it, then that will fix it. Simultaneously I've been adopting the attitude to just treat it as "purifications", or to just take the opportunity to just study the dukkha ñanas more. Like last night, when I read your post and began studying my consiusness. Eventually I will spill the beans and explain what is causing this, after I take steps to fix it.<br /><br />And generally on the one hand I could describe myself as being chill, or having a kind of calm accepting core. And on the other hand I do have deep seated neurosis. But I do think I'm on the right track. I will for sure re-read TMI on stage 5. I get the incling that some concentration/centering practice will help. But I didn't know where to start, besides randomly doing it when I feel like it.<br /><br />That's super cool you have a teacher and were encouraged to teach. Like Daniel says, this is all here by standing on the backs of giants. Very beautiful. I imagine all people as providing specialized or generalized vital roles. Like single cells, or the organelles inside your cells.<br /><br />I REALLY REALLY appreciate those with formal lineages. Those with teachers. Those teaching. "Rouge" people like Daniel. It's all so cool.<br /><br />And I like being exposed to different pieces of this vast dharma library we have. I will listen to what you shared when I have time.<br /><br />Not to mention Ajahn Chah is your grandpa. Small world. Beautiful.
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Arena Heidi, modified 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 6:34 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/9/22 6:34 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
I read your recent posts and really relate to your weaving God and prayer and synchronicity into practice. I am always amazed at how synchronicities line up better than anything the mind could dream up. I love how you are articulating Pragmatic "God-Practice". Also the fun creative play of "cockatoo face" and "feathered dinosaurs, amazing giant egg donut nests."

Concentration. The whole complexity of practicing concentration or centering goes away. The system/process/mental-happenings that lead to better concentration are now gently let to work themselves out. Jesus takes the wheel.

I wholeheartedly agree with this.  I have found that when you allow the body and subconscious portions of self to work themselves out, they do a much more intelligent and pleasurable job than control, effort, or "I" ever could.

Then I started praying and was like "oh yeah". My life exists for this reason, that's why I practice. That's why I both fail and succeed sometimes. It's all part of the unfolding process. And this thing that is smarter than me, that is inside me, and I'm inside of it. My own personal God.

I would love to hear the specifics of how you pray, if you feel comfortable sharing that. I've been wanting to go deeper with prayer and find ways of praying that work well and feel authentic. It hasn't been easy territory for me to navigate due to forced religious upbringing. 

I walk by people and wish them well or bless them. 
This is such a simple thing to do and it feels uplifting. Thanks for the reminder. I started blessing people on social media. I tried to tune into to something that they needed to hear. I was surprised by how appreciative people were when I did this. It upped the quality of connection. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:28 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:23 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I'm not sure what I'm doing my post is not working... I might have to retype it?? I saved it on my phone and keep trying to copy paste.
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Sigma Tropic, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:35 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:35 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 283 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
the forum is frustrating trying to quote people and follow the conversation. Really kinda hindering. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:57 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 11:53 AM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
So far I'm kind of new at prayer, however the last few months it definitely ramped up to the point it's at least 1 time a week. Usually very brief.

The first kind is is kind of fierceness where I feel like I'm protecting humanity.
(In response to corruption, be it naiveté, deliberate greed, etc.)
It's like a 1st jhana Lazer concentration. I even furrow my brow and either feel it, say it, or both" "NO! We're not doing that!" I really feel it and get chills all over. Its totally spontaneous. Usually after consuming lots of alternative media. Or just thinking about it a lot.

Another kind is feeling like a tiny part of this GIGANTIC thing. This time I say something like "pleaaaase, just get us through this one trial".

It can also be done on the cushion wordless. I just feel like intending to commune with it somehow makes everything 0.0001% slightly more aligned with whatever it is. Just sitting in it is prayer. The part that I realized makes it apparently different from normal insight practice is the feeling of it being alive. The sensate field is alive, and is it. If everything is on top of each other the needed communication is instant.

Anyway I think that's really cool you pray to people on social media. I totally forgot that I actually blessed people walking by.

I am an introvert and my biggest callange is social situations. It's usually way harder for me to do these kinds of practices around people. But when it gets down to it, I always forget I should be practicing making an appeal to the human heart. If I could remember to try blessing people even once a week I bet that would help a lot. Or when in freaking out in public, even just feel the heart, their heart, etc.
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Arena Heidi, modified 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 8:57 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 8:57 AM

RE: on prayer

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Thanks Alex. Your response helped me because I am working on expanding prayer in my life. Recently, I've been thinking that everything in life may be likened to a prayer of one kind or another. That this response to you is a prayer for you and for me and for anyone else who reads it. When I plant vegetables in the garden it's a prayer for the plants and earth and the ecosystem of my garden and the nourishment it will bring. That actions done with this awareness of prayer make a subtle but big difference in heart-centered qualities like you said. I am wanting to remember to make this connection more frequently and so I appreciate this discussion and reminder. I hope all is going well with you and your practice.
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finding-oneself *, modified 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 2:03 PM
Created 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 2:03 PM

RE: on prayer

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Arena Heidi:
Thanks Alex. Your response helped me because I am working on expanding prayer in my life. Recently, I've been thinking that everything in life may be likened to a prayer of one kind or another. That this response to you is a prayer for you and for me and for anyone else who reads it. When I plant vegetables in the garden it's a prayer for the plants and earth and the ecosystem of my garden and the nourishment it will bring. That actions done with this awareness of prayer make a subtle but big difference in heart-centered qualities like you said. I am wanting to remember to make this connection more frequently and so I appreciate this discussion and reminder. I hope all is going well with you and your practice.
<br /><br />I'm glad it helped that's super cool. Your initial post on here triggered me to work with this stuff more it already had a palpable effect this week in my work environment and beyond.<br /><br />"When I plant vegetables in the garden it's a prayer for the plants and earth and the ecosystem of my garden and the nourishment it will bring."<br /><br />Yes exactly. That's super profound. I don't plant plants but I know exactly what you mean. There is something special about working with those magical alive life forms.
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finding-oneself *, modified 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 9:31 PM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/10/22 8:03 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
21m

Technique: Nostil Breathing, w/ awareness of body. NO-EARPLUGS*

Intention: Notice subtle dullness, increase vividness/clarity.

Cutting Edge: Increased clarity. Broad peripheral extrospective awareness. Sit ended with strong sleepiness, and was cut short.

What I could have done better: noticing thoughts more.

Notes: I reread TMI Stage 5 and wrote down highlighted bits.

I remember in April/May of last year I had great initial experiences with TMI. Now, from a more mature place, I should be able to recreate that and more. 

Later that day, Sit #2, 28m

Posture: Cushion, then floor on back.

Technique: Nostril Breathing, w/ clarity/vividness as intention.

Cutting Edge: Not sure

I was kind of wandering a lot more than earlier. Eventually I settled in. I was more aware of thoughts this time. I was sort of "having a bad trip". Listening to cars outside, without ear plugs, is psychedelic, it makes me feel fear. I also was feeling guilty, going down a psychological trip. However I was aware of it. I also did a little prayer, and worked with being part of the greater consious field of awareness, which is how I'm choosing to describe it right now.

Eventually as I settled in, I did "body scanning". I was struggling with "suffocating" from being too tightly bound to the breath. When that happened I just tried to experience it with clarity. Later that naturally led to just feeling the belly, legs, chest, etc. 

I also remembered to relax and let to process of mediation naturally develop. No pressure, this is one sit of many. The animal/mind/body develops as it does. 

The cool thing about that sentiment is there is no way to practice wrong. Yet from a temporal stand point their is still a natural progression and growth. The cool thing about TMI Stage 5 practice is I can't go wrong with it. 

When I transitioned to the floor I did some more body scanning. I also just relaxed into everything more. I did this part for 8 minutes.

I can really see this practice developing. The cool thing is all the other techniques are still here. This just gives me a lifeline or anchor object. I may switch to belly breathing. I'll see how this goes. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 2:11 PM
Created 3 Days ago at 5/13/22 2:11 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Immediately my first day of work on Wednesday I was able to connect with my heart more and interact with everyone more skillfully, in line with a deeper purpose and compassion. It helped me be more equanimous and not fight things when they get uncomfortable (or to tune out by ignoring experience).

Day 2 was harder due to lack of sleep but was still workable. And by today I had even less sleep. But it still helped seemingly on a more unconscious or less mindful level.

On my way home I felt bad about not seeing someone crossing the road. I stopped well before I got to them, but I still felt bad for some reason.

20 miles down the road for some reason I wished him a prayer. (I hadn't been doing this at all today. It was my one and only prayer on on road specifically). I'm driving slow in a jam. As soon as I say that I look up on the overpass and some dude was standing next to a sign that says "Jesus ♡ you". I'm not Christian formally but of anything from that religion I can get behind Christ. I'll take it as a reminder to keep doing this. 
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finding-oneself *, modified 12 Hours ago at 5/16/22 2:31 PM
Created 12 Hours ago at 5/16/22 2:31 PM

RE: (finding-oneself) Alex's Practice Log 2

Posts: 239 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I got too cocky and forgot the lesson I'd learned. Stop forcing high volume of mediation practice. It does not work.

My hours were down, then they started to naturally go back up and I felt like I had to artificially keep the sit time high. Some days it's as if I can't/should not meditate, and/or a break is warranted. Other times I'm just sitting there watching YouTube and I don't want to practice and I decide to force myself to do it and it works amazingly well. It's just important to keep it nuanced.

[I'm doing good with exercise and now I want to reform my diet. I've had a few of the best days (psychologically) switching to a mostly permanent healthy diet. I have been slacking with cleaning. And god-practice waned a bit. But I accidentally took more of a THC microdose than I wanted and I was faced with an interesting dark night. God-practice came rushing back. I also did hands-as-object, TMI Stage 5 practice. Very interesting.] <- This stuff, and improving my life slowly over time, should help feedback into formal pragmatic mediation practice with the intent to cross the stream.

On not being too manic or deluded about "god-practice" "fixing" my life:

I had this moment where I realized I've reclaimed that kind of power/hope/surrender I used to have. When I first got into this I was in my early 20s and my life was more messed up. I needed a series of miracles and being lucky to fix things. 

Eventually I went though a macro-disillusionment only apparent in retrospect. I was kind of like "fuck, I'm so fucked". I have this problem, that problem. I still thought one say I would start mediating again and hopefully cross the stream. But you can't put it off indefinitely.

Anyway, the real key in this is just being a good person and trying to help out as best one can. Being a vessel for that which is greater than us, it's inside us, and we are inside it. All beings are equal parts of it. Infinite monads in the capital M monad. I do not understand it. But you do not have to. Just align with it, surrender to the process, and you will go down the right path. Although I'm still open to accidents. However if an accident happens just realign with it instantaneously again in the moment.

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