Irakli's Practice Journal (June)

Irakli's Practice Journal (June) Irakli Gorgadze 7/9/22 7:26 AM
June 1, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 6/1/22 11:49 AM
June 2, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 6/2/22 11:35 AM
June 3, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 6/3/22 11:43 AM
June 4, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 6/4/22 11:38 AM
June 5, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 6/5/22 11:45 AM
June 6, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 6/6/22 10:46 AM
RE: Harold's Practice Journal (June) Niels Lyngsø 6/7/22 3:06 AM
RE: Harold's Practice Journal (June) Papa Che Dusko 6/7/22 9:40 AM
RE: Niels Lyngsø Irakli Gorgadze 6/7/22 12:50 PM
June 7, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 6/7/22 12:53 PM
June 8-9, Wed-Thu Irakli Gorgadze 6/9/22 11:31 AM
June 10, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 6/10/22 11:29 AM
June 11, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 6/11/22 11:35 AM
June 12, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 6/12/22 11:06 AM
June 13, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 6/13/22 10:46 AM
June 14-15, Tue-Wed Irakli Gorgadze 6/15/22 11:44 AM
June 17, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 6/17/22 11:41 AM
18 June, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 6/18/22 11:55 AM
June 19, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 6/19/22 11:54 AM
June 20-21, Mon-Tue Irakli Gorgadze 6/21/22 11:45 AM
June 22, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 6/22/22 11:28 AM
June 23, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 6/23/22 11:47 AM
RE: June 23, Thursday George S 6/23/22 12:35 PM
RE: June 23, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 6/27/22 8:55 AM
June 24-25, Fri-Sat Irakli Gorgadze 6/25/22 11:35 AM
June 26, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 6/26/22 11:36 AM
June 27, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 6/27/22 8:53 AM
June 28, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 6/28/22 11:44 AM
June 29-30, Wed-Thu Irakli Gorgadze 7/2/22 11:41 AM
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 7:26 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/1/22 11:45 AM

Irakli's Practice Journal (June)

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Last month and in the past in general I had done concentration / TMI practice. Now I started to look at Samatha as a calming and centering practice more than concentration practice. 

Previous Log: Irakli's Practice Journal (May 2022)
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/1/22 11:49 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/1/22 11:49 AM

June 1, Wednesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 1, Wednesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Spent whole sit balancing peripheral awareness and breath sensations or dullness as an object of investigation. Am a little confused on what to do, so I will check TMI Mind Map and The Quick Reference Guide.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered, confused on what to do. Centering didn't happen. Tried to balance introspective and peripheral awareness. Still don't understand when IA is active and when it's not, so attention alternated a lot to know what was happening. Should I focus on making breath sensations at the center of attention or should I focus on activating IA and checking whether it is active or not? I think I should do centering first and after attention sticks to the breath sensations then work on balancing IA and attention.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Attention was scattered, didn't know whether to focus on the breath sensations, investigate dullness, perceive all sensations while focusing on dullness or perceive all sensations while focusing on the breath. Having many options is confusing. The breath was very subtle. Should I focus on calming the mind? Confused. When I used just counting it was much easier. Just 1 technique would help

So I am confused about how to deal with dullness: investigate it till it disappears or have it in the background? Should I focus on the breath sensations while having dullness in the background or have breath sensations in the background while I focus on dullness? Should I focus on perceiving all sensations and being energized while having dullness in the background or should I focus on dullness while keeping myself energized? Phew. Too many options.
----
Be gentle with attending to the breath sensations and redirecting attention. When dullness arises, investigate until it disappears or until I need to take a breath. Approach concentration in a relaxing way.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Shagrol's posts saved me again. Approached this sit in a relaxing way. Used counting method. Gently redirected attention to the breath sensations and noted 1-5 things almost every outbreath. Every 5 breaths I investigated dullness and it weakened and disappeared sometimes. I got saved from greed and ambition of wanting to master TMI stages quickly. I should continue practicing like this and evaluate on which stage I am in TMI every week or 2. When dullness was hard to investigate and entrancing, I intended to energize the mind by perceiving as many sensations as I could, and alternating focus between left and right hands really fast, noting left right helped to pinpoint attention. Perceiving the breath more fully also made dullness weaker (sometimes).

5th sit - Library (20m)

Attention stuck to the meditation object. I felt more open, relaxed, calm, more accepting towards distractions. Dullness was the same intensity but became more airy even when it was in the background and I focused on the breath sensations. I felt more aware than when I gave it my all in previous sits to perceive everything. Openness and calmness make me be more aware than over-efforting, which actually makes me more closed and less aware.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Centering was success. Awareness was wide, open and relaxed. Felt restlessness for about 1 minute and noted until it was gone. Dullness was present but didn't bother me at all. Counting was effortless. The sit felt effortless, it was like "Do Nothing" technique rather than TMI / Concentration practice. On That Path's YT videos were very helpful.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/2/22 11:35 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/2/22 11:35 AM

June 2, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 2, Thursday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

A lot of thoughts came but I was calm, didn't feel aversive towards them. The breath was very subtle. Sit felt effortless. Felt restlessness but it was easy to see it flow without being reactive to it. Used counting.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Felt restlessness while the mind was calm and felt vibratory flow of it. Some people who would be the age of my grandparents pointed their fingers at me while having condescending looks, felt like they were looking at me. Felt vibratory flow of unpleasant sensations, the mind was calm. Also felt rigidness on the sides of the back of the head for a couple dozen seconds. Felt pleasant tingling sensations in the palms of the hands. The sit felt effortless but at the same time felt restless in front of the stomach, which didn’t affect me at all.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Felt tensions in the head, which I think of as dullness. Felt how tensions changed and flowed until they dissipated. A lot of thoughts arose but wasn't feeling aversive towards them. A slight restlessness could be felt around stomach area.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Sit felt effortless. A lot of thoughts, but noted them and didn't affect my negatively. Felt greedy on how much money I would make if I started learning copywriting and / or closing. Hot temperature, felt sweaty but no discomfort at all. 20 minutes felt short. I started having just 1 bell or vibration every 20m, instead of having every 10m.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Centering was effortless, sensory clarity of the breath sensations very high, breath very calm to the point of not knowing whether or not I was breathing in and out. Felt tensions around the face and in the forehead. Felt tingling in the hands and legs. The breath became so calm I almost fell asleep but just slightly intending to focus on the breath was enough to reinvigorate the mind, also becoming aware of present moment sensations helped as well. Sit felt effortless and very calm. I also let the body breathe when it thirsted for air and watched it happen.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Attention stuck to the breath sensations strongly. Breathing was very shallow, slow and short. Distractions came rarely. Got very hot. Dullness didn't arise. Felt light vibratory sensations in the head area. Tensions on the sides above the upper lips could be felt in the middle of the sit but then disappeared. Felt light sensations in the belly area.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/3/22 11:43 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/3/22 11:43 AM

June 3, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 3, Friday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

A lot of thoughts as distractions arose. Got caught up in them for longer than usual. Dullness was also stronger than usual.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Attention was scattered.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

The mind was calm. The breath felt a little forced. Investigated the thirst for breath and waited for the body to breathe by itself but it still felt like I was doing it. Subtle dullness came but being aware of the allure made it disappear.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Was very calm and collected. The breath sensations felt good after taking pleasant in breaths a couple of times and focused a little on the pleasantness of the breath sensations. Kept the mind alert by being aware of the alluring side of sleepiness and grounding in the body.

So the technique is counting, but the focus could be on the pleasantness of the breath sensations instead of just breath sensations, let's see how it goes.
--
Either keep doing what I am doing, do the Pa Auk way with this effortless approach, or focus more on pleasant sensations of the breath to develop Piti gradually while managing it. I think I should keep doing what I am doing for now and decide what to do after 1-2 weeks. It seems like a non-goal oriented and more effortless type of practice is very difficult for me because it seems like a waste of time, despite clearly seeing progress, so I will evaluate progress at the end of the next week. Just let go of cravings and clinging, the more I want the slower I will progress.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Very calm, started feeling the whole body space which felt pleasant. I understood that I could focus on the breath sensations and slightly focus on pleasantness of the breath sensations without changing anything much, like a slider. The more I want and expect the more tightness and tensions could be felt.

6th sit -Library (20m)

A little bit of striving after reading how to enter Jhanas by Leigh Brasington, reading Serenity meditation on Google Sites, and other resources by Leigh. The session was calm.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/4/22 11:38 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/4/22 11:38 AM

June 4, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 4, Saturday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Little puppies didn't stop playing with me so I relocated elsewhere in the middle of the sit.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Flies distracted me dozens of times. Got caught up in thoughts many times, but felt very calm.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Was very distracted and felt restless as well. Giving up all effort and switching to do nothing for a half minute and then doing noting practice helped with centering.

4th sit - Library (20m)

The mind was centered. Dullness arose in the last couple of minutes. IA (Introspective Awareness) was better this sit.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Got so calm that became sleepy. Looking out for the parts of dullness that causes hypnagogic thoughts, is alluring and makes me sleepy worked well. Temperature was hot, felt sweaty.

6th sit - Library (20m)

The breath became very shallow in the first couple of minutes to the point that it was hard to perceive it. Dullness arose, I gave a little push towards intending to perceive the breath sensations and it became easier and easier to rest attention on it, dullness disappeared and didn't arise anymore after that. I was a bit restless despite slow, shallow, short breathing. I didn't have TMI stage 6 centering, but thoughts weren't much of a problem.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/5/22 11:45 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/5/22 11:45 AM

June 5, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 5, Sunday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Activating peripheral awareness helped with detecting thoughts, did this every 10 breaths, should probably do every 5 and then start focusing on the breath sensations. Felt a little restless.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Flies were a bother. Got lost in thoughts, when breathing shallow felt like the breath was not enough. In the last couple of minutes I decided to perceive breath sensations more closely and it worked, centering happened and attention stick to the breath sensations more.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Dullness came stronger. Was lost in thoughts. Noting everything every 5 breaths helped with having better Introspective Awareness.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Attention was scattered. Couldn't figure out how to activate IA to detect thoughts before I got lost in them, sometimes it happens automatically, sometimes I can somehow activate it or maybe it is an illusion from coincidence. Felt like I spend more intention on clamping down on the breath sensations than investigating the hindrances. I should do 1 note after each outbreath because I can't seem to hold the breath to note a lot of things every 5 or 10 breaths, just doing 1 note every outbreath will suffice for now.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Noting after every outbreath till inhalation was needed helped with relaxed centering a lot. I couldn't keep doing this because I needed air and couldn't hold the breath so I decided to relax after every 10 breaths and activate peripheral awareness while checking in with emotional body sensations in the body and noting "feel in", this helped a lot as well.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Relaxed and activated peripheral / introspective awareness after every outbreath and then noted feel in while checking emotional sensations around the belly area. Noticed that when I was lost in thoughts, face muscles would be tensed, relaxing those parts helped with centering, much easier to notice physical tension than being lost in thoughts. Tried to focus being relaxed and open with wide awareness and noticing breath sensations through that awareness.
--
Thinking of increasing one twenty minute sit to 1 hour or 2-3 sits to 40 minutes, don't want to mess it up. I think one longer sit would be better and easier to stick to than increasing 2-3 20m sits to 40. Consistency has been my biggest issue, so I will make it easier by doing just one 1-hour sit and 5 20m sits. I will do this at 15-16 June, where it will conclude 1 month of consistent practice and healthy daily routine.

My goal is to get access concentration as Leigh Brasington describes (TMI Stage 6) and let Piti arise, so doing a longer sit would be beneficial, if I could, I would do a 4 hour sit but that is too much. I will gradually work my way up there.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/6/22 10:46 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/6/22 10:46 AM

June 6, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 6, Monday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Dropping counting helped be aware of potential distractions before getting lost in them or turning into gross distractions, then dropping 'in' and 'out' helped with that as well. So from now, I should drop counting after 10-15m or earlier, when I notice that I get caught up in thoughts a lot.

When I dropped counting I could freely move away from the breath sensations to noting distractions and come back again. With counting, moving away made me lose count and I would ignore distractions until getting lost in them to complete count.

2nd sit - Outside (20m)

Felt pleasant sensations in the body but still got caught up in thoughts. Should have tried note everything, relaxing and activating peripheral awareness at least once every 10 breaths.

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

What helped with centering is seeing the image of a number and hearing myself count after each outbreath. This worked too well.

4th sit - Library (20m)

The technique I mentioned in the last sit's log, worked well again. Sensory clarity of the breath sensations was high. Was in a room with air conditioner, so I think this made things better, despite hot temperature not making me uncomfortable at all. Started to feel whole body space after the last sit.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Nothing noteworthy.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Vibratory dullness appeared. While being relaxed I could easily detach from it and focus on how it changed over time.
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Niels Lyngsø, modified 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 3:06 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 3:06 AM

RE: Harold's Practice Journal (June)

Posts: 402 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
Hello Harold,

It seems you are practicing diligently, but also have a lot of doubt and speculation going on as to the practice. Brasington and Culadasa are bot excellent ressources, and I do recognize the urge to know what's going on, know what to do to "get there". But it seems to me that you have plenty of theoretical knowledge, and that you might want to not overcomplicate things.

Simply put, there are basically two axes of practice, the samatha axis, and the vipassana axis (if it's helpful, you can think of them as axes in a coordinate system, and your actual practice as a graph in that system). Centering, concentration, jhana, access concentration, calming the mind ... all these things are the samatha axis. Body scan, noting/noticing, self-inquiry ... all these things are the vipassana axis. Samatha is about restful awakeness, non-rigid stability. Vipassana is about investigating, recognizing, discerning. In a metaphor: Samatha is practicing how to keep the telescope/microscope still, vipassana is looking through it.

In practice you will always be doing both at the same time, you can't go completely vertical or completely horizontal in the coordinate system, but you can lean your meditation in one direction or the other. And it is important to be conscious of what you are trying to do, of your intention, in other words. Because this changes how you relate to experience. Take dullness, as you mention several times in you log. If you are working to move along the samatha axis, dullness is a hindrance, something you want to get rid of. As soon as you detect it, you apply the appropriate anti-dote, as Culadasa recommends. But if your intention is to move along the vipassana axis, through the stages of insight, dullness is not a hindrance, nothing is a hindrance, nothing needs to be gotten rid of, everything is phenomena to be noticed, possibly noted, and investigated. So it is important to be clear about your intention: Samatha of vipassana?

PS: I see that you do several 20 minutes sits per day. This might have practical reasons. Otherwise I would recommend sitting fewer and longer sits, preferably 45-60 minutes per sit. To establish access concentration can take time, and in 20 minutes, you might just get there, and then the bell rings. If you can sit for 45 or 60 minutes, a suggestion could be to spend the first third of the sit doing samatha, and the last two thirds doing vipassana (unless you wish to focus on your samatha skills, then of cource just stay with that throughout the sit).

Hope this was helpful and not to elaborate. Best wishes for your practice!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 9:40 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 9:40 AM

RE: Harold's Practice Journal (June)

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
+1 what Niels said! 
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 12:50 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 11:51 AM

RE: Niels Lyngsø

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Niels Lyngs

Take dullness, as you mention several times in you log. If you are working to move along the samatha axis, dullness is a hindrance, something you want to get rid of. ... So it is important to be clear about your intention: Samatha of vipassana?
My intention is to work on Shamatha. In terms of antidotes to dullnes, I have tried the antidotes mentioned by Culadasa but they unsettle me, make me overly frustrated, make me aversive towards dullness and when it sticks I get discouraged. I was doing pull ups, pistol squats and dips, 1 set to failure (form) and it made dullness disappear for a couple of minutes, but not worth the hassle.

Investigating dullness makes it weaker and sometimes disappear, while increasing sensory clarity and mindfulness as described by Culadasa. I like it when I investigate it and watch it disappear, it happens pretty quickly too, usually a couple dozen seconds or a couple of minutes and it's gone for a while. The breath sensations getting clearer while dullness is getting weaker feels satisfying, and this way I stay calm and alert without overly efforting using stronger antidotes.

PS: I see that you do several 20 minutes sits per day. This might have practical reasons. Otherwise I would recommend sitting fewer and longer sits, preferably 45-60 minutes per sit.
Even though I have 10-12 hours do dedicate to sitting practice, I am starting small to be consistent with daily schedule and increase sitting time every 4 weeks. This is the 4th week, after this I will either start doing 3 1-hour sits or 5 1-hour sits, I don't want to start doing too much and then quit. The idea is to get to a point where I enjoy sitting and look forward to it, then I could pull off 10-12 hours a day and "master" the jhanas (and then start doing insight practices).
--
Thanks for your help (:
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 12:53 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/7/22 12:53 PM

June 7, Tuesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 7, Tuesday

1st sit - Outside (20m)

Was very distracted. Yesterday I tried establishing healthy borders by not letting 'mother' sully me in third person around me. I was in a very good mood and thought I could deal with it, but she didn't stop. I'd rather have no boundaries, be bullied and be treated as trash than fight for healthy boundaries and worry all the time in a MAP session. A good lesson.

Not responding is the best course of action, bullies won't understand and don't want to understand, I will also bring myself a lot of worries if I try to be assertive, because nothing seems to work and gives them reasons to escalate conflict. They are immoral and are willing to do anything to succeed, while I'm not, and don't also have the skill to overcome my shortcomings. I should expect to be bullied and be treated as worse than trash, then I will be able to do what I want to do without getting driven by fear or guilt.

I've tried living their way, they just create scenarios where it doesn't matter what I do, I am still trash, not good enough or a bad child, even if I exceed their expectations, and when I do, they feel jealous and try to bring me down, they give it their all for me to fail and make me feel miserable or curry favours with me to give them money.

2nd sit - Home (20m)

Was very distracted and restless.

3rd sit - Library (20m)

Was very distracted, just one mistake yesterday caused such a long chain reaction. Counting within the breath helped, intended to make outbreaths as long as possible and longer than the in breaths.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness hit pretty hard, I think it was because of hot temperature, my back was all wet from sweat. Investigating dullness was a good course of action.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Tried guided meditation of Rob Burbea called Counting Within The Breath in the previous sit, on this one, I tried "The Energy Body and the Whole-Body Breath".

Dullness came but let it be in the background. With dullness comes tension in the forehead area, relaxing it helps with opening up awareness.

I will be experimenting with breathing in a pleasant and relaxing way to develop piti gradually, I had gotten the biggest results from this type of practice so let's see how it goes.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Yep, this is it. Just did Thanissaro's guided meditation and it was very good. I like the way he approaches breathing, though prefer body sweeping of Yoga Nidra or NSDR over his. Dullness arose but this sit was very enjoyable. I should focus on enjoying the sit and relaxing on it rather than generating concentration.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/9/22 11:31 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/9/22 11:31 AM

June 8-9, Wed-Thu

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 8, Wednesday

3rd sit - Library (28m)

Was lost in thoughts and took a role of a victim in those stories. Forgot to increase volume on notifications so missed timer bell.

4th sit - Outside (20m)

Was caught up in sexual fantasies.

5th sit - Outside (20m)

Started feeling good at the base of the throat.


June 9, Thursday

4th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness came in pretty hard. Dropped counting and 'in' and 'out', just focusing on the pleasant sensations of the breath since yesterday.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness was pervasive and strong.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness didn't appear and felt a little disappointment because the breath sensations didn't feel as good as I expected.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/10/22 11:29 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/10/22 11:29 AM

June 10, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 10, Friday

3rd sit - Library (20m)

I felt pleasant sensations at the base of the throat and around heart area. Awareness was wide, open and accepting to distractions. Dullness came but disappeared by itself, probably because I kept focusing on breathing in a pleasant way.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness was sticky and strong. Pleasant sensations couldn't be felt. Used intention to energize the mind by perceiving all sensation to deal with dullness the moment it appeared.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Dullness didn't appear. Felt pleasant after focusing on the area around the heart. I am starting to think that 20m is just groundwork, and the real work will be done in 45-90m.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 6 Months ago at 6/11/22 11:35 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 6/11/22 11:35 AM

June 11, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 11, Saturday

3rd sit - Outside (20m)

Pleasant sensations arose in the last couple of minutes. No dullness.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies and dullness.

5th sit - Library (20m)

Started feeling energy body sensations in the first couple of minutes.

6th sit - Library (20m)

Pleasant sensations arose in the first couple of minutes but wasn't consistent. Used counting while breathing in an enjoyable way. Felt energy body. I think this session went good partly because I went for a walk beforehand, instead of reading manga.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/12/22 11:06 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/12/22 11:06 AM

June 12, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 12, Sunday

1st sit - Outside (1h)

Energy body was very subtle. Was a very low effort sit. Accepted distractions as distractions, awareness was wide and open. Became restless in the last couple of minutes.
Intended to do a 20m session but went for 2 more rounds.

2nd sit - Library (1h)

Pleasant sensations didn't arise. The body was restless especially in the last 20 minutes. I either didn't intend to breathe in a relaxing way enough or it just happened. Dullness disappeared after tensing forehead muscles and relaxing it. Lower back pain was felt in the last 20 minutes. Energy body could be felt but was a bit rough.

3rd sit - Library (25m)

Ended the sit early because I was sexually aroused too much and restless.

4th sit - Library (20m)

Hot temperature but didn't feel hot despite feeling sweaty. The breath became very subtle but couldn't relax, the breath felt a little forceful and rigid.

--

1 hour is too much, in the morning it's easy but not afterwards. I noticed after the first meal I get sexually aroused. On that sit I will do "Do Nothing" technique as Shinzen describes it. I would be glad if there was some other instructions because I get lost in thoughts too much when doing the technique so if there is any other way of doing this practice which might give results more efficiently I'd be glad.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/13/22 10:46 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/13/22 10:46 AM

June 13, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 13, Monday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Focused on making breath sensations center of attention. This mafe me feel energy body easily and made pleasant drnsations appear quickly, centering happened quickly as well. Before, I would investigate distractions, but now that I just noted distractions and centered on breath sensations, concentration developed really quickly.

Dullness appeared once but tensing forehead muscles and relaxing helped. Used counting while making sure breath sensations were at the center all the time. This made me notice distractions much more quickly and easily.

Used counting before this session when walking and it made me feel energy body and pleasant sensations, so by the time I sat down I was already concentrated to an extent. while counting, focused on making the breath sensations as the center of attention throughout the whole breathing cycle.


S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Felt very calm, relaxed and subtly pleasant throughout the sit. At first the breath was long, deep and a little restless, but it became very subtle very quickly. Intended to very carefully perceive the subtle breath without missing anything. Felt a little intense pleasant sensations burst in the hands a couple of times and around the belly as well.

When distractions arose, noted them and redirected attention on the breath while having the object as the center and having distractions in the backgrounds until they vanished. This helped with centering and relaxing a lot, while before, I would investigate it and get absorbed in it which made me lose my calmness and become restless, even a bit aversive. Using distractions as a neuro-feedback mechanism makes me feel like Shamatha skills are developing much faster.
--
1 hour is too much, sometimes I can easily go for it but for now I will be content with one 1-hour sit in the morning and then four 30-minute sits.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/15/22 11:44 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/15/22 11:44 AM

June 14-15, Tue-Wed

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 14, Tuesday

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Worked with a very subtle breath, changed to Mahasi style labels from Shinzen style. Became very sweaty and hot, but no discomfort.


June 15, Wednesday

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was very pervasive.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very distracted from people talking and laughing around me.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was pervasive, decided to focus on energy body and gradually develop piti, but despite having breath sensations clear, it was as if the breath sensations were slipping away, it felt maybe a little vibratory, it felt like I couldn't put a handle on it. Perceiving physical sensations helped with increasing sensory clarity.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Piti arose from the start and increased gradually for 5-10 minutes, maybe 15, then disappeared. In the last couple of minutes, I decided to hold the breath after exhaling before I felt hunger for breath and then piti arose again. Dullness didn't arise much or at all.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/17/22 11:41 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/17/22 11:41 AM

June 17, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 17, Friday

S1 - Shamatha (32m)

Felt lack of energy and intending was hard. The whole sit was spent being caught up in thoughts.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was very pervasive and got sleepy, even standing position didn't help. What helped was deep and fast breathing for 5 breaths, then holding breath after exhaling as long as I can, then inhaling deeply and holding for as long as I can. Investigating dullness didn't help either.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was very strong and pervasive, so decided to do counting and investigate dullness every 5 breaths, this helped. Whole body breath is too vague of a thing and is not always there, it's based on luck too much, I'd rather enter jhanas through concentration.

S5- Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was strong but subtler than the previous sit. Worked with subtle breath. Investigated dullness every 5 breaths.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/18/22 11:55 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/18/22 11:55 AM

18 June, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
18 June, Saturday

S1 - 30m

Was very distracted at the start, but felt good at the base of the throat. then dullness came and was very pervasive. Focusing subtly on subtle breath helped with keeping dullness away.

S2 - 30m

Dullness was easily dealt with by tensing eyebrows and forehead muscles a couple of times, did this every 5-10 breaths. Clenching fists until the whole body shakes for 5 seconds didn't work, doing this 3 times in a row didn't work either, dullness arose instantly, but tensing forehead muscles a couple of times worked better.

S3 - 30m

Kept dullness at bay by tensing forehead and eyebrows every 5 breath and energizing the mind with intention when becoming sleepy. Worked with subtle breath.

S4 - 30m

Spent time keeping dullness at bay most of the time by tensing forehead and eyebrows, did this probably a 100 times. Works better than looking at the ceiling. When I got sleepy, strengthened the intention to be energized and perceive all sensations, it helped really quickly. So far 1 have only found these 2 antidotes that work. Nothing else mentioned in the Quick Reference Guide of TMI works for me.

S5 - 30m

Dullness was pervasive, tensing forehead and eyebrows made it disappear for a couple of seconds and did this for about 100-200 times. About half a year ago I used strong antidotes and dullness would disappear quickly for a couple of minutes but can't use many of the antidotes in the library or outside.

Thinking of doing one Strong Determination Sitting tomorrow, with Do Nothing technique.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/19/22 11:54 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/19/22 11:54 AM

June 19, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 19, Sunday

S1 (1h) - Shamatha/Do Nothing (30m/30m)

When doing the Do Nothing technique, distractions pass and I am left with breath sensations at the nostrils, attention automatically rests on it for some time, about 3-5 breaths. This way dullness is no problem, it was there but was very subtle and rarely appeared. It was also easier to sit for longer, could do 30m more or even 60m of Do Nothing technique. I will experiment by doing Do Nothing technique at the end of 30m Shamatha practice and see where it takes me.

S2 (30m) - Shamatha

Was lost in thoughts and centering didn't happen.

S3 (30m) - Shamatha

Dullness was sticky but less pervasive than the previous sits, tensed forehead and eyebrows probably around 20-30 times. Clarity of the breath sensations was high. Worked with subtle breath.

S4 (30m) - Shamatha

Tried tensing eyebrows and forehead to deal with dullness at first but then decided to investigate it every 5 breaths. This feels better because breath sensations become clearer and dullness weakens the more I investigate it.

S5 (30m) - Shamatha

Dullness stayed the whole sit and felt intense, but breath sensations were very clear and alertness was also higher than average, so dullness didn't affect those two aspects as much or at all. Every 5 breaths counted pulses, changes of dullness until I couldn't hold the breath and needed to inhale. I could see waves getting slower and fainter the more I investigated.

I also noticed that after deciding to do nothing attention was on the breath while dullness was intense, so I intended to perceive sounds and body sensations while the breath automatically stayed in the background. This way dullness didn't get more intense and sometimes even got fainter. I learned this thanks to the Do Nothing technique. When I was doing the technique attention rested on the breath when there were no distractions.

I want to work on activating peripheral awareness by relaxing and trying to perceive sounds and then body sensations while the breath sensations stay in the background, then work on introspective awareness when dullness is no problem by checking in for potential gross distractions and then work on continuous IA. I remember when I intended to monitor for potential gross distractions, sometimes IA would automatically detect subtle distractions, then they would be accepted openly and used as a 'neuro-feedback device' to center attention on the breath sensations. Without IA, attention alternates without being aware and slight aversion toward subtle distractions develop, which make me automatically ignore them to refocus on the breath sensations which in turn causes dullness to strengthen.

Do Nothing technique helped in making me understand that sometimes no intention is better and force causes ignoring distraction which is not needed at all, and I can simply let the distractions be and they will pass away by themselves quickly.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/21/22 11:45 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/21/22 11:45 AM

June 20-21, Mon-Tue

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 20, Monday

S1 (1h) - Shamatha / Do Nothing (30/30m)

Yesterday's unpleasant "conversation" made me very distracted today. The mind rested on the breath more when doing Do Nothing technique than when doing Shamatha practice.

S2 (30m) - Shamatha

Trained awareness by intending to perceive visual image with eyes closed, then sounds and then body sensations, when I breathed, attention or awareness automatically perceived it, so I didn't intend to center attention on the breath sensations, but intended to train peripheral awareness while having breath in the background. Dullness was present but after approaching the sit with Do Nothing attitude dullness didn't intensify much. I also intended to energize the mind to get out of sinking and it worked (3-5 times). I think if I train awareness, soon dullness won't arise, may take a month or more but still.

S3 (30m) - Shamatha

No counting was used, trained peripheral and body awareness. Dullness was present all sit and was enticing as well. Clarity of the breath sensations wasn't affected. Investigated dullness rarely.

S4 (30m) - Shamatha

Dullness wasn't as present, it was easier to perceive body sensations while having attention in the background. Was more relaxed. Thinking of trying TMI Stage 5 Body Scanning method.


June 21, Tuesday

S1 - Shamatha 1h

Spent whole sit training peripheral awareness, awareness of sounds, body sensations and inner visual field, as well as dullness. Counting pulses of dullness makes the mind tense face muscles and perceive those tensions as dullness to count pulses. Relaxing face muscles while looking at dullness in a relaxing way made me realize the dullness was very stable, it soon would break up and dissipate. Looking at dullness in a relaxing way made dullness less intense, more stable and less progressive, partly I think because tensing face muscles is associated with having slight aversion towards it which makes the mind lose awareness for the sake of attending to it, which then further makes dullness progress.

Breath sensations weren't in awareness much. After the sit dullness didn't set in as it would happen before. I am thinking of training peripheral awareness, then introspective awareness, and then work on balancing IA and attention.

I also started to train awareness while walking, this helped me be more aware of potential gross distractions and be more focused on the present.

S2 - Shamatha 30m

Started by perceiving body sensations, sounds and inner visual field, then perceived dullness and focused on the breath sensations. When dullness strengthened, I let go of the breath and strengthened peripheral awareness while looking at dullness. After relaxing tensed up face muscles I saw dullness as it was, rather than the exaggerated form. The exaggeration happens when looking at dullness intensely, while being tensed up and having slight aversion towards it, this collapses awareness and dullness intensifies. So, focusing on having strong peripheral awareness and looking at dullness subtly in a relaxed way, made me see dullness as it was and it would disappear in a couple of seconds, then I would redirect attention on the breath sensations in as subtle way as possible without losing peripheral awareness and played with balancing awareness, attention and subtlety of intentions, so that dullness wouldn't arise.

S3 - Shamatha 30m

Subtle dullness led to drowsiness, it was so subtle after looking at it I couldn't find it. I should have been more persistent in energizing the mind, but in overall I still did ok. Got very hot and very sweaty, but not uncomfortable, I noticed other people feel uncomfortable without an air conditioner but not me.


S4 - Shamatha 30m

30m passed like it was minutes, but I don't think I was entranced by dullness, I know what was happening. Looking at dullness in a subtle way while relaxing helped it disappear. Centering wasn't as good as in the past sits, but I think peripheral awareness is developing, I don't need to effort as much now to perceive more body sensations than in the previous sits.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/22/22 11:28 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/22/22 11:28 AM

June 22, Wednesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 22, Wednesday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Attention was scattered. Dullness was weaker but more distractions arose.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts a lot. Peripheral awareness was weak and introspective awareness as well which made dullness entrance me, so I had to reinvigorate the mind using strong intentions to perceive all sensations, it took me out of dullness temporarily while feeling tingling sensations all over my body.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very distracted and dullness wouldn't go away after engaging peripheral and introspective awareness most of the time.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/23/22 11:47 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/23/22 11:47 AM

June 23, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 23, Thursday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Did body scanning for 40m. Focusing on breaths sensations in the hands and feet made dullness disappear sometimes. It is much easier to hold peripheral awareness while focusing on breath sensations in different body parts than at the tip of the nose. I also felt more focused, partly because dullness intensified when focusing at the tip of the nose and it became harder to concentrate.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Did body scanning, from right hand fingers to right shoulder and from left hand fingers to left elbow. Time goes very slowly when I do this technique. Easy to perceive tingling breath sensations in the fingers and palms of the hands as well as toes and top half of the foot. Was a bit distracted. Sometimes dullness would weaken when tried perceiving more breath sensations, and it didn't intensify as well. Dullness didn't set in after the sit as well.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Started with focusing at the tip of the nose and then body scanning. Scanned fingers and right hand up to wrist and then left, then was at left foot when the session ended. Focusing on the points where I can feel tingly breath sensations the most. Dullness disappeared in the last couple of minutes despite focusing intensely on the bottom of the left foot.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Gross distractions bothered. Felt pleasant sensations burst in the 3rd and 4th finger when I was focusing on them, it felt like pleasant sensations were a bit outside my fingers, like an extension of them. I also felt tingling breath sensations at the back of my right hand, which I couldn't before. Felt pleasant sensations erupt in the neck area, this was a first, it felt like my beard was standing. Intending to perceive all sensations helped with dullness. In the last half of the sit dullness didn't appear unless I got lost in thoughts. Focusing on breath sensations in the hands till the wrist area was all I could fit in this sit but it was a very pleasant sit.
George S, modified 5 Months ago at 6/23/22 12:35 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/23/22 12:35 PM

RE: June 23, Thursday

Posts: 2603 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The pleasant tingly sensations (piti) are basically all part of the same energy field, which has been habitually obscured by various sankharas. You can kind of play a game of getting them to join up and resonate at the same frequency, which leads to a a deeper and calmer experience of being fully immersed in piti-sukha/bliss (tending towards first jhana).
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/25/22 11:35 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/25/22 11:35 AM

June 24-25, Fri-Sat

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 24, Friday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Perceiving tingling sensations made dullness disappear, while it was strong when I was focusing at the nostrils. Was pretty distracted at the beginning.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was harder to perceive tingly breath sensations but mini pleasant bursts happened dozens of times. Dullness was more present but very, very subtle.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts.

June 25, Saturday

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Started with counting to 10 with long, deep and slow breaths, then 10 short and more shallow but still slow, then 10 just counting while letting the breath be as it is and continued until I felt tingling sensations arise, probably for about 5-10 minutes.

Subtle dullness arose while doing the body scan method but disappeared when I started perceiving more subtle breath sensations. Dullness arose after getting lost in thoughts and was harder to make it disappear but by tensing forehead a couple of times it disappeared for some time.

Pleasant sensations erupted a couple of times in the palms of the hands and tips of the fingers.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Got drowsy once and energized the mind well, dullness disappeared while trying to perceive tingling sensations in the tips of the fingers.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Pleasant sensations arose intensely on the tips of a couple of fingers, was distracted most of the sit. Dullness disappeared with body scanning.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/26/22 11:36 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/26/22 11:36 AM

June 26, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 26, Sunday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies, couldn't do anything. Could be because I didn't go out on a morning walk because of rain, or bad sleep. It's hard to sleep when I hear my siblings screaming out of their lungs harassing each other…

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was distracted, was hard to perceive tingling sensations because of subtle dullness and lacked energy. In the last couple of minutes, I felt there was energy gathering in the left pinky finger and decided to focus there, pleasant sensations increased and subtle dullness disappeared as well
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/27/22 8:53 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/27/22 8:53 AM

June 27, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 27, Monday

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

At first, subtle dullness was easily dealt with by focusing on breath sensations in fingertips but then drowsiness became a problem.
I couldn't get rid of it for the whole sit but in the last couple of minutes I decided to get rid of it by strongly perceiving all sensations with open eyes. At first dullness set in immediately, but the second time it didn't. Could feel pleasant tingling sensations in the hands as well.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/27/22 8:55 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/27/22 8:55 AM

RE: June 23, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
I will try this one, thanks.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 6/28/22 11:44 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 6/28/22 11:44 AM

June 28, Tuesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 28, Tuesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very distracted to the point that dullness didn't arise. In the last couple of minutes the mind centered a bit.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was a very pleasant sit, felt pleasant sensations at the base of the throat and throughout the whole body space. Then subtle dullness arose and started doing body scan. Subtle dullness was hard to deal with in the last couple of minutes but pleasant sensations could be felt in the hands.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

First scanned right leg fully up till waist, then left one, then both legs at the same time, dullness was there, and decided to perceive the whole body intensely, had to open eyes. Tingling sensations could be felt in the bottom of the feet and knees.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Saw a girl I liked in the library. When she looked at me I knew she saw a potential partner in me. The whole sit was spent on fantasizing about our potential future and how I would deal with problems.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 11:41 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 11:41 AM

June 29-30, Wed-Thu

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
June 29, Wednesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very focused and breathing felt very pleasant. When doing the body scan, just focusing on the tip of the right thumb was enough to make subtle dullness disappear and a bit intense piercing pleasure erupted often, it wasn't uncomfortable at all.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was distracted and dullness was present as well, but despite that, I felt intense pleasurable sensations in the hands and sometimes at the base of the throat. Felt peaceful after the sit in the heart area.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was sexually aroused and very agitated. Attention was very scattered and couldn't settle.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very agitated and couldn’t concentrate, got lost in thoughts.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies, was very agitated.


June 30, Thursday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Very distracted, couldn't focus at all, nothing to be irritated about, months of progress matter not days'.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

The first 20m was lost in thoughts, then decided to set an intention to have peripheral awareness while intending to focus on the breath sensations, centering happened quickly, became more open hearted, accepting to potential distractions, caught them before they became gross distractions and was loving towards them. Felt more intense pleasure in the palms of the hands which was consistent for about 10 minutes, also felt good while breathing at the back of the throat. Subtle dullness didn't influence me and disappeared by itself. When sexual fantasies and sensations arose, I felt like I was observing them instead of identifying with them, it felt like it was not personal and the sensations didn't have the power to direct my behavior or thoughts, despite being intense.

I can also feel piti in the palms of the hands in life activities in the last couple of days, sometimes on the right forearm near elbow, knees when sitting and upper back when sitting.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts, planning, fantasizing and problem solving. In the last 10 minutes decided to activate peripheral awareness and keep that intention while focusing on the breath, helped immensely with centering, but still was very agitated. Could feel pleasant sensations in the hands.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Started with keeping intention to have peripheral awareness while focusing on the breath, concentration was good and in just a breath subtle dullness arose. Was agitated and couldn't keep the mind centered.

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