Irakli's Practice Journal (July)

Irakli's Practice Journal (July) Irakli Gorgadze 7/9/22 7:33 AM
July 1-3, Fri-Sun Irakli Gorgadze 7/3/22 11:54 AM
July 4-5, Mon-Tue Irakli Gorgadze 7/5/22 10:43 AM
July 6, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/6/22 10:25 AM
July 7, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 7/7/22 10:40 AM
July 8, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 7/8/22 10:37 AM
July 9, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 7/9/22 10:38 AM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal (July) Martin 7/9/22 4:32 PM
RE: Irakli's Practice Journal (July) Irakli Gorgadze 7/10/22 4:03 AM
July 10, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 7/10/22 10:45 AM
July 11, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 7/11/22 10:17 AM
July 12, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/12/22 10:42 AM
July 13, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/13/22 10:44 AM
July 14, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 7/14/22 10:16 AM
RE: July 14, Thursday George S 7/14/22 11:28 AM
RE: George S Irakli Gorgadze 7/15/22 2:06 AM
RE: George S George S 7/15/22 9:44 AM
RE: George S Irakli Gorgadze 7/15/22 10:33 AM
RE: July 14, Thursday Martin 7/15/22 10:49 AM
RE: July 14, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 7/15/22 11:31 AM
July 15, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 7/15/22 10:38 AM
July 16, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 7/16/22 9:45 AM
July 17, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 7/17/22 8:50 AM
July 18, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 7/18/22 9:57 AM
RE: July 18, Monday George S 7/18/22 1:15 PM
RE: July 18, Monday Irakli Gorgadze 7/19/22 1:46 AM
July 19, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/19/22 8:54 AM
July 20-25, Wed-Mon Irakli Gorgadze 7/25/22 10:35 AM
July 26, Tuesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/26/22 9:34 AM
July 27, Wednesday Irakli Gorgadze 7/27/22 8:51 AM
July 28, Thursday Irakli Gorgadze 7/28/22 9:04 AM
July 29, Friday Irakli Gorgadze 7/29/22 9:54 AM
July 30, Saturday Irakli Gorgadze 7/30/22 10:31 AM
July 31, Sunday Irakli Gorgadze 8/1/22 12:03 PM
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 7:33 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/3/22 11:50 AM

Irakli's Practice Journal (July)

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Right now I am working on Stage 4 and 5 of TMI, mainly dealing with subtle dullness through focusing on breath sensations in fingers.

Previous Logs:

Irakli's Practice Journal (May)
Irakli's Practice Journal (June)
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/3/22 11:54 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/3/22 11:54 AM

July 1-3, Fri-Sun

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 1, Friday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Distracted, couldn't center.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was agitated and couldn't concentrate, felt hot as well but not uncomfortable.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very agitated, checked timer multiple times, was very distracted and got drowsy multiple times as well.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Gave up keeping intention to be peripherally aware and focused on subtle breath subtly while counting 1-8. Pleasant tingling sensations in the hands arose again first time today. Drowsiness came a couple of times but energized the mind.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

This was a first in the last 1.5 months. I concentrated on a very subtle breath very subtly and carefully perceiving all breath sensations at the nostrils, but dullness didn't arise for about 25 minutes. In the past it would arise immediately but now it didn't despite having only subtle distractions to deal with. When it appeared, simply opening up peripheral awareness while perceiving pleasant sensations helped, if it didn't then focusing on the tip of the right thumb, if it didn't then perceiving breath sensations at the nostrils as carefully as possible after which piti would erupt and make dullness disappear. I also noted only the last sensations that made attention alternate. I felt mindfulness be very strong, strongest I had ever felt, I had peripheral awareness strong while being very concentrated, and it felt effortless. Continuous concentration was also the best I had ever experienced including lack of dullness. I wouldn't think I would experience this good of a concentration and mindfulness today but it happened.


July 2, Saturday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was distracted but sustained attention somewhat.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts and was hard to sustain attention.

First focusing on counting and then sustaining attention on breath sensations would be helpful. When I sustain attention long enough, peripheral awareness gets very vivid and clear.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Got drowsy about 5 times, was dull for the most part, sustaining attention caused drowsiness to set in.


July 3, Sunday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Sustained attention for a long time. Dullness disappeared because of a windy cold weather so I focused on sustaining attention in a relaxed way only. Piti erupt in the hands in about 20-25m.

Sustaining attention while closely, carefully and subtly observing subtle breath helps.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Got drowsy about 5-10 times but energized the mind.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Drowsiness got me many times. Couldn't focus because of lack of energy. Was lost in sexual fantasies.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/5/22 10:43 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/5/22 10:43 AM

July 4-5, Mon-Tue

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 4, Monday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Couldn't focus, was lost in thoughts, despite that, piti burst in the hands a couple of times in the first 5-10 minutes.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Sustained attention pretty well despite being agitated and felt piti in the hands burst a couple of times in the beginning. Dullness was present but it disappeared once after feeling energy in the body. Got distracted in the last 5-10 minutes.


July 5, Tuesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very distracted and couldn't focus at all. Subtle dullness was also present. Pleasant sensations in the hands could still be felt sometimes.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Before the sit I felt dull and lethargic, wanted to avoid the session and almost quit. After starting the session I energized the mind until dullness went away and could sustain attention on the breath. Then subtle dullness arose and started perceiving breath energy, tingling and pleasant sensations in fingers, while being aware of those sensations in the hands in background. Subtle dullness would disappear after doing this and then I would sustain attention on the breath, and when subtle dullness arose I would deal with it the same way and then refocus at the nostrils. Felt piti burst about 5 times or more which helped with dullness, and piti burst while carefully observing subtle breath, in just a couple of breaths.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Subtle dullness got very deep in the last couple of minutes and stayed after the sit. The right side of the right thumb felt pleasant and after focusing on it, pleasantness increased in intensity and in area as well but then it stopped and disappeared.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Attention was centered the whole sit and peripheral awareness was strong. Also felt tingling sensations in the hands and sometimes pleasant sensations would arise as well. Subtle dullness led to drowsiness about 10-20 times but quickly caught it and energized the mind. The breath became so subtly I couldn't focus on it anymore, so I alternated attention between breath sensations in the body and at the nostrils. Right now I am looking at my hands writing and it feels like it is not mine, and it connects to something else other than my body.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Was more distracted and dullness was stickier. Sexual fantasies and plans for the future… Feeling guilty for not doing what my family members want me to.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/6/22 10:25 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/6/22 10:25 AM

July 6, Wednesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 6, Wednesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was stickier and caused hypnagogic thoughts and drowsiness about 5-10 times but energized the mind through strengthening the intention to perceive sensations. Felt peripheral awareness was sharp and pleasant sensations also arose in the last half of the sit.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Subtle dullness arose dozens of times but was quickly noticed and corrected. It caused hypnagogic thoughts and drowsiness a couple of times. Just opening up peripheral awareness seems to do the job now, but sometimes strengthening intention to perceive is necessary. Was harder to feel piti than in previous sits but felt that peripheral awareness is stronger. After the sit ended slight dullness arose so probably peripheral awareness was not sharp and felt fuzzy.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Dullness was sticky. Was easy to catch potential gross distractions before they became gross. Feels like the hands I am looking at are not mine.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies for the whole sit.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/7/22 10:40 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/7/22 10:40 AM

July 7, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 7, Thursday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Got quickly centered and sustained attention. Then dullness arose and switched to scanning fingers and kept dullness at bay for the most sit. When drowsiness and hypnagogic thoughts kicked in the mind automatically got out of it instantly, this happened about 10-15 times. When it was hard to feel piti in specific fingers, I connected piti from other fingers and it grew immediately, I also connected all fingers to the palm of the hands to feel piti there and it worked. In the last couple of minutes, I got lost in thoughts.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Drowsiness and hypnagogic thoughts appeared a couple of times. Kept dullness at bay for most of the sit and was concentrated on the right hand. In the last 5 minutes became distracted.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Tried to keep dullness at bay but it was very sticky and wouldn't go away, sometimes it would weaken and disappear though. In the last couple of minutes I tried to perceive breath sensations as intensely as possible in my right thumb and dullness disappeared for some time after pleasant sensations got bigger and bigger. Dullness would disappear after opening eyes. After the sit, dullness arose.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Kept dullness at bay with just focusing on two fingers for a little while. Most of the sit was spent on focusing at the nostrils. The breath felt full and relaxing. Despite keeping subtle dullness away time still passed quicker than I thought. Gross distractions rarely appeared.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/8/22 10:37 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/8/22 10:37 AM

July 8, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 8, Friday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts, most likely because of yesterday's conversation with my mother.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts but more focused than the last sit. Just one conversation started this chain reaction. Makes me want to consider leaving ASAP, but it's fine, I will improve slowly over time, these ups and downs despite unnecessary, is still what it is and can't change it.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts mostly but piti arose and breathing felt pleasant as well. I got some level of centering at least.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Was distracted thinking, planning, worrying about future, but the breath was in the background and intense piti still arose on the right side of the right thumb.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Was very distracted and couldn't focus at all.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 10:38 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 10:38 AM

July 9, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 9, Saturday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

In the last 10 minutes the mind got more centered and became aware of inner winds and piti. The downs will help me solidify the ups until those ups become the downs, by consistently going up whenever I fall down. I am excited rather than disappointed by the sudden regress in concentration ability.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Worked on sustaining attention and noting in the first 5-10m, then got to work with subtle dullness, piti arose more than 20 times in different places, mostly fingers and hands. When thoughts creeped in, subtle dullness would increase, then I'd strengthen my peripheral awareness, examine sharpness of sounds, body sensations, then strengthen investigative mind on the right thumb, feel expansion and contraction, then piti would arise, subtle dullness would disappear, then thoughts would creep in, and repeat the antidote. This happened about 15 times. A very productive sit. I learned how to go from stage 4 to 5 quickly by applying the right intentions.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Took me about 10-15 minutes to start working on subtle dullness. Sessions 2 and 3 of this day felt short, didn't check timer as well. Drowsiness came a couple of times but got out immediately with very little effort. Now when I strengthen intention or apply effort peripheral awareness stays strong. Perceiving breath sensations was hard in this session.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Subtle dullness didn't arise but subtle distractions were like an assault rifle. Felt piti on the right side of the right thumb and focused there for some time. Distractions were a problem this time, and uncomfortable breathing, felt stuck in the nostrils and tensed up.
--
Decided to change to real name and not hide. Hiding causes worry.
Martin, modified 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 4:32 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/9/22 4:32 PM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal (July)

Posts: 497 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I am impressed by your hard work. I love your straightforward, clear-eyed approach!
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/10/22 4:03 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/10/22 4:03 AM

RE: Irakli's Practice Journal (July)

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for encouragement (:
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/10/22 10:45 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/10/22 10:45 AM

July 10, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 10, Sunday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Working on sustaining attention, TMIS5 practices. Was distracted and attention was very scattered.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

First half of the sit was dealing with mind-wandering and gross distractions, then stabilized attention and subtle dullness arose, started to focus on fingers, was able to deal with subtle dullness but in the last 5 minutes subtle dullness became sticky and was hard to perceive breath sensations and energy in the fingers as well. Became drowsy a couple of times but quickly dealt with it.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Have energized the mind more than 10 times to deal with lack of energy or drowsiness. Peripheral awareness was strong. Gross distractions rarely appeared and piti burst about 3-5 times in the fingers.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Did body scanning by going after the next object every 5 seconds. This helped with subtle dullness. Got drowsy about 5 times and dealt with it.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Focusing on fingertips work better as an antidote than focusing on larger areas. Attention was scattered a bit. Dullness set in after the session.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 5 Months ago at 7/11/22 10:17 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/11/22 10:17 AM

July 11, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 11, Monday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts, couldn't sustain attention even once up to 8 breaths.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

I was totally lost in stories, fantasies, plans. I rarely if ever redirected attention to the object, most of the session was spent on mind-wandering.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in fantasies. What helped was keeping attention wide, letting it latch onto anything in awareness and labelling distractions. This helped be aware of potential gross distractions before they. This helped be aware of potential gross distractions before they occurred.

S4 - Shamatha (38m)

Was lost in thoughts in the first 15-20m. Then I got attention more stable and I experienced intense piti in the middle of the head first time. It stayed for about 15m. Distractions still dragged me away but intense piti would break me out of it.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/12/22 10:42 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/12/22 10:42 AM

July 12, Tuesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 12, Tuesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in thoughts, TMI3 probably.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Instead of counting, just focused on each breath and used positive reinforcement each time I remembered. I got to work with subtle dullness TMI5 in about 10-15m and then did hand scanning. Subtle dullness stayed but disappeared and reappeared sometimes. I am learning how to get from TMI2-4 to TMI5 quickly.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Got concentrated quickly and started working with body scanning in about 5 minutes. Moving from one place to the next every 5 seconds cause energy to coagulate quickly. There was a kind of fatigue like subtle dullness, I think this was because of masturbation before the session and not stability of attention.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

In a couple of minutes got attention stable and started working with subtle dullness. Scanned hands and legs, moving to the next part every 5 seconds. Subtle dullness sometimes disappeared but mostly was present, it felt a bit piercing and sticky. Even while perceiving breath sensations at the tips of the thumbs subtle dullness didn't disappear. So I strengthened intention to energize the mind and perceive all sensations, after 15-30 seconds of this subtle dullness disappeared and for it to not reappear I strengthened intention to perceive sensations as directly and as vividly as possible in the thumbs, right first then left. Subtle dullness didn't arise after that. Felt intense pleasure when perceiving sensations of the right and left thumbs directly and sharply, the sharper the perception the more intense the pleasure.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Got attention stable in about 10-15 minutes. Then started the body scan on the left side and almost completed it when the timer rang. Subtle dullness was weakened to the point I had to check to see. Most of the time it was gone but a tinge could still be felt.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/13/22 10:44 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/13/22 10:44 AM

July 13, Wednesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 13, Wednesday

S1 - Shamatha (30m)

Couldn't focus at all, flies were very distracting. I think it is a bad idea to practice outside in the morning.

S2 - Shamatha (30m)

Was lost in sexual fantasies and plans. Got drowsy twice and energized the mind quickly, once it happened automatically. In the last couple of minutes counting helped.

S3 - Shamatha (30m)

Got attention stable in about 15-20m, then started body scanning, subtle dullness disappeared sometimes, especially when breath energy got intense in the fingers. Piti also burst many times.

S4 - Shamatha (30m)

Spend about 20-25m stabilizing attention at the nostrils, using counting method. Got drowsy a couple of times but quickly energized the mind. Subtle dullness was sticky but strengthening the intention to perceive all sensations vividly helped. Focusing on perceiving breath sensations vividly in the fingers also helped.

S5 - Shamatha (30m)

Was working on stabilizing attention the whole sit. Dullness didn't bother, couldn't detect it despite checking, but distractions were more of a problem.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/14/22 10:16 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/14/22 10:16 AM

July 14, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 14, Thursday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

I learned that subtle dullness isn't always identifiable in the head area, sometimes it takes your power of intention, sometimes lack of energy and tinge of relaxation could be felt, as well as fuzzy peripheral awareness. Simply intending to energize the mind and trying to perceive all sensations vividly help. The relaxation had allure and trying to energize the mind also intensified dullness so I decided to rest in that state, but eventually I figured out peripheral awareness was fuzzy and not sharp, as well as not having power over my intention as much.

Pleasant sensations in the hands and fingers burst more than 10 times, sometimes it stayed and intensified. Perceiving breath sensations vividly helps with overcoming dullness. I wanted to give up halfway, thought 30m wasn't over yet but when I looked at the clock, only 11m was left, so decided to sit through it.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

Wanted to check timer dozens of times and when I checked the last time 24 seconds were left...

Subtle dullness arose about 50 times and had to energize the mind by strengthening the intention to perceive all sensations in awareness and in the fingertip of the right thumb. The more I did this the sharper and bigger peripheral awareness got, and less effortful this process felt.

When I started the body scan and went from left hand to the right, strong breath sensations arose, breath energy and pleasant sensations in the right hand, especially the thumb. So I spent the most sit focusing on pleasant sensations or breath energy, or expansion and contraction in the right thumb, which sometimes got bigger than the thumb itself.

Is breath energy, breath sensations, tingling and piti the same? Or similar? I could feel how breath energy turned into piti as it got intense.

Either it was a coincidence, or 1 hour sits are much more productive than 30m sits, to the point where it's incomparable.

Rarely had gross distractions, quickly caught them, the same with subtle distractions, awareness quickly noticed them and after noting they'd disappear.

Sometimes I identified subtle dullness by peripheral awareness collapsing, getting smaller, being fuzzy (after examining clarity through redirecting attention), sometimes through feeling a tinge of dullness in the head, a tinge of relaxation which had a seductive allure, sometimes through losing clarity of the meditation object. Reenergizing the mind happened probably more than 50 times, but it didn't feel that effortful.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 7/14/22 11:28 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/14/22 11:28 AM

RE: July 14, Thursday

Posts: 2603 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Is breath energy, breath sensations, tingling and piti the same? Or similar? I could feel how breath energy turned into piti as it got intense.

​​​​​​​When you initially focuss on the breath it's the physical sensations (stages 1-3 of anapanasati). As those calm down (stage 4) you start to become aware of piti (stage 5), which is often experienced as tingling. If you focus on the pleasantness of the pleasant sensations then that is starting to cultivate awareness of sukha (stage 6), a feeling of pure pleasure/bliss/happiness.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 2:06 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 2:06 AM

RE: George S

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
So piti is perceived as tingling. When I focus on the pleasantness of tingling, it transforms into intense pleasure, so that's what you mean by a feeling of pure pleasure/bliss/happiness, am i wrong? but I still feel that pure pleasure in space near the body part where I felt tingling, and pleasure of tingling before it transformed into pure pleasure. For example, is it still sukha if it feels like location is near the right thumb? And that pure pleasure sometimes feels like intense energy, could sukha come with something like breath energy? And how does breath sensations correlate to everything here, are breath sensations something different? I am curious to what Culadasa means by breath sensations. And, for example, how does the feeling of expansion and contraction in the right thumb correlate with breath sensations? 

Sorry if I'm asking too many questions, clarification of terminology aid me in practice (:
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 9:44 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 9:41 AM

RE: George S

Posts: 2603 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Sure, clarification is always good emoticon

The basic progression in anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) is kaya (body, physical sensations) -> piti (energetic tingling/vibrations) -> sukha (emotions bliss/pleasure/happiness) -> citta (mind). You keep using the breath as an anchor to deepen concentration so you don't get lost in the sensations or thoughts about them.

In this process it is the perception of the breath which is changing. You start out only being able to perceive the physical sensations of breathing - sensations of air in the nostrils, movement of the diaphragm etc. As the breath/body calms down then you don't feel it as much and there is more space for awareness of piti. Piti still feels somewhat physical and coarse, so there is a natural inclination to relax even further and let the piti calm down, which creates the space for awareness of sukha, which feels more refined. Sukha is an emotion so it’s less physical and more "mental", but it still has a physical component which feels something like a warm glow of love emanating from the heart area. This is really the seat of the citta (“heart-mind”) and as it stabilizes you can start to see a light shining in the mind’s eye. This is basically the mind’s perception of itself (stage 9, “experiencing the citta”). It’s sometimes called a nimitta and stabilizing that leads into a harder jhana. Somewhere along this process you lose awareness of the physical sensations of breathing altogether, but there is still a purely mental awareness of breathing in and out and it causes a slight wobble in the perception of piti/sukha/citta. So you just keep relaxing anything that feels tense or unstable. Like Ajahn Brahm says – RELAX TO THE MAX!

When you start out with anapanasati then it’s common to jump around between the physical sensations of breathing in different parts of the body (e.g. nostrils vs diaphragm), but with more practice you start to experience the entirety of the physical sensations of breathing “all at once” (sabba kaya). Likewise with piti, early on you are only aware of it in separate parts of the body, but with practice you become aware of it as something like a single vibrating energy field. That’s why it can be helpful to try to imagine “connecting up” the different areas of piti. I don’t really feel sukha in different parts of the body, other than emanating generally from the heart area. It’s a much more diffuse feeling, like your body has become a cloud of bliss or you are being immersed in a pool of bliss. It’s like the classical description of first jhana:
​​​​​​​
They drench, steep, fill, and spread their body with rapture (piti) and bliss (sukha) born of seclusion. There’s no part of the body that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of seclusion.

There’s one other thing to say, which is this weird thing in steps 7-8 of anapanasati about experiencing and calming citta sankhara (“mental formations”), which is defined as feeling (vedana) and perception (sanna). It seems strange right, why should you start experiencing other feelings along with bliss? The reason is because as you deeply relax the physical body then it allows repressed emotions to come to the surface, so you can start experiencing things like anger, shame and fear as well. This often confuses people and they think there must be something wrong, but actually it’s right there in the suttas. Then if you start thinking about these feelings you are creating perceptions (sanna). So you basically just have to relax, keep focusing on the breath and allow whatever feelings come up to be fully experienced and pass, without thinking about them (too much!) This is the natural process of “subduing the hindrances” which is also referred to in the classic jhana descriptions. (It’s also what is happening during the dukkha nanas (“dark night”) in the Progress of Insight model, if you are doing more of an insight practice.)
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:33 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:33 AM

RE: George S

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Now that I know how the progression goes, I feel motivated to practice. Explanation of terms was also nice, because I don't know much about pali terms. Thanks (:

I am planning to master TMI, master all of the jhanas, and then either deconstruct the jhanas or do noting practice. We'll see how things go, I might decide to do something else.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:38 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:38 AM

July 15, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 15, Friday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Pleasant tingling sensations arose right from the start. Stabilized attention quickly and started body scanning. Intense pleasure in the right thumb was making it hard to do body scanning. First I identified the body part and got a good feel of it, then counted up to 3 and moved onto the next part. Could feel breath energy accumulating, moving and coagulating in the following body parts.

Had to reenergize the mind by strengthening the intention to perceive all sensations about twice. Subtle dullness wasn't that much of a problem. Could feel breath sensations, energy and pleasant sensations in the body more than the previous sessions.

Scanned left and right hands fully and then stopped at left heel.

Before the first session

I decided to practice while walking, on the bus, while cooking, eating, in motion, while working and this is how long It will add up.

Walking and in motion - 2h:30m
Cooking - 1h
Eating - 1h

So this will be added 4-4.5 hours of formal practice a day.

Informally while working and in motion, making sure I don't get distracted and refocus each time this happens.

Before the first session, I practiced about 1.5 hours while walking and in motion and 1 hour while cooking. While I was on the bus sitting, I stabilized attention and started the body scan, just the fingers because it was easier. By the time I got in a sitting position, attention was already stabilized to an extent.

In short, trying to fix the leaky bucket.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

This was the first time I fully scanned the body and even had about 10 minutes left. Subtle dullness didn't bother much, only if I intensified effort. Did PMO before, so I had some unwanted relaxation and fuzziness, so did the Do Nothing technique at first.

Before the S2

Practiced while eating. In terms of TMI, I am at stage 2 while I eat. The mind wanders often and for a long time, but much better compared to when I don't practice.
Martin, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:49 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 10:49 AM

RE: July 14, Thursday

Posts: 497 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Either it was a coincidence, or 1 hour sits are much more productive than 30m sits, to the point where it's incomparable.


My experience has been that longer sits are often very different from shorter sits and, in particular, the difference between 30 minutes and 60 minutes is very great, particularly at certain stages of practice, and particularly when maintained daily. Depending on the circumstances, sit length can be like a gas pedal for me. It's worth noting that, when things get too weird, shortening sit length can back that off.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 11:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/15/22 11:31 AM

RE: July 14, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
It's worth noting that, when things get too weird, shortening sit length can back that off.

Noted ^_^
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/16/22 9:45 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/16/22 9:45 AM

July 16, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 16, Saturday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Stabilized attention quickly in about 5-15m and started the body scan. Subtle dullness led to hypnagogic thoughts, fuzzy peripheral awareness and a bit sluggishness. I tried reenergizing the mind about 3 times but didn't work. The subtle dullness I felt was most likely physiological, I also show signs of illness as well. It felt like I couldn't touch it or overcome it, despite that I tried strengthening intention and perceiving all sensations, engaging peripheral awareness, perceiving as much as I can in the tip of a finger, but the dullness didn't budge. I was about to finish the whole body scan, only head was left.

Before the session

Practiced while cooking and walking. Mostly TMI2 while doing those practices. Trying to slow down helps.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

Scanned the body fully once and then legs and hands fully. The subtle dullness I mentioned in the previous session wasn't present in this one. Subtle dullness got taken care of by body scanning and perceiving intense physical sensations in the fingertips vividly.

I have a question. Should I try to keep the intention to have peripheral awareness in the background while having the intention to perceive physical sensations as vividly as possible and have the intention to monitor how well what I do is working on dullness? Culadasa has mentioned the importance of keeping these 3 intentions, but I don't do them, I simply activate peripheral awareness and then it is on for a while and keep activating it. In terms of dullness I check in and then the awareness of how well I am dealing with it either disappears quickly or stays for a while. It feels like a lot of effort to balance these things while trying to perceive physical sensations as intensely as possible. Is doing this important? Will my conscious power not increase if I don't do this? Will I be able to increase my conscious power when I need it? Need your thoughts. I don't want to be stuck in later stages because I haven’t done this before. Need some clarification and advice, especially from people who have mastered all the TMI 10 stages, thanks.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/17/22 8:50 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/17/22 8:50 AM

July 17, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 17, Sunday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Decided I would zoom in while zoom out, meaning, focusing on the right thumb or the left one while keeping peripheral awareness. I also had to keep the intention to know whether or not I was doing the task as needed, so attention alternated a lot of times to know whether or not peripheral awareness was active. While dealing with subtle dullness, I had peripheral awareness active, had dullness in awareness, while perceiving breath sensations in the right or left thumb as vividly as possible without losing peripheral awareness and dullness from awareness. I also had to keep the intention to know how well I was accomplishing this task of subduing subtle dullness, and I had to make sure to have all of this in awareness while perceiving breath sensations in the right or left thumb as vividly as possible. This balancing was hard but easier than I thought it would be. At first it was hard but then awareness stayed and I sort of "knew" when awareness was there. I had subdued subtle dullness probably more than 200 times, and I had to keep this balance of awareness and attention while having the intention to subdue dullness in mind. Using conscious power in this way, made it so that the mind learned progressively how to apply conscious power the right way. I think I hit goldmine. I think, practice from this time onwards, will go significantly faster, the hockey stick way. Subtle dullness set in after the session ended.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

Damn this sit took a lot of persistence and intentness. Subtle dullness was always there, it would vanish sometimes, but I tried really hard to perceive breath sensations in all the parts of the hands in order, part by part while having peripheral awareness and seeing how what I do works on dullness. Peripheral awareness was active by itself compared to the last session. I also think my ability to detect dullness before it led to hypnagogic thoughts increased, because I sense very subtle dullness that is almost always there. Wanted to check timer a lot of times. Dullness also set in after the sit, not immediately though. Knowing that the power of consciousness increases when one tries to perceive breath sensations clearly while having peripheral awareness active and while seeing how this works on dullness motivated me really hard. My sessions are not like in the past, it seems like it is progressing really fast.

In daily activities

While eating, cooking and walking I am at stage 2 TMI, partly because there is lack of intentness, but I notice noting distractions and redirecting attention to present moment awareness is becoming more automatic, though it is still infrequent.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/18/22 9:57 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/18/22 9:57 AM

July 18, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 18, Monday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

I scanned right arm fully, and had left hand left to complete scanning the full left arm as well. I spent a lot of effort on perceiving each part and spent a minute or two, or more trying to find breath sensations while being introspectively aware of dullness and tried to also know how my behavior worked on it. This was the most intense I had ever tried focusing on every part while scanning. I noticed that perceiving breath sensations in larger areas reduce subtle dullness more rather than small areas. When I overcame subtle dullness, I'd wait and check how it appeared and learned each time I overcame it how it felt like. After overcoming subtle dullness, even subtler dullness would be present but hard to identify, I'd notice only after overcoming it and waiting it arise again. The subtler the dullness I overcame, the more mindfulness I had, overcoming subtler and subtler dullness felt like I was unlocking more of conscious power or mindfulness. By the time I completed scanning the right arm, I could hold the right arm in awareness, as well as dullness while scanning the left arm, I wouldn't be able to do this had I not scanned the right arm very intensely and had I not dealt with dullness to some extent. When I moved on scanning the left arm, breath sensations appeared much more easily. By the time sit ended, dullness didn't set in right away and when it did, it wasn't as gross as the dullness that would set in in previous sessions. I am increasing total power of consciousness and mindfulness each sit, it feels like I am sprinting and making leaps of progress each session, feels good. But have to mention, still feel aversive before sitting.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

Felt that I lacked power of intentness, mindfulness was lower, total power of consciousness was lower, the mind was sluggish but unrelated to meditative dullness. I think this is related to physiological dullness, probably because of illness, time of day, or because of insight stage (unlikely). Despite giving my best effort a couple of times to energize the mind, I couldn't do it, the lack of energy wasn't caused by practice (I think). Breath sensations was also hardly felt, it was hard to intensely perceive breath sensations in different body parts. Meditative dullness was subtler than what I started with in previous sessions and while scanning the body it would disappear and reappear as it did in previous sessions which meant that what I did worked. But sluggishness didn't disappear, probably a physiological factor.

Daily Life

TMI 2 while cooking, walking, eating, but definitely improving, the mind automatically notes and redirects attention, infrequently but more often than in previous days. When sitting in a bus, intensely perceiving breath sensations in feet works better on dullness than when focusing on hands.
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 7/18/22 1:15 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/18/22 1:12 PM

RE: July 18, Monday

Posts: 2603 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I noticed that perceiving breath sensations in larger areas reduce subtle dullness more rather than small areas. When I overcame subtle dullness, I'd wait and check how it appeared and learned each time I overcame it how it felt like. After overcoming subtle dullness, even subtler dullness would be present but hard to identify, I'd notice only after overcoming it and waiting it arise again. The subtler the dullness I overcame, the more mindfulness I had, overcoming subtler and subtler dullness felt like I was unlocking more of conscious power or mindfulness. 

Good stuff. I find that most hindrances are like this (eventually!) - when I get really interested in observing them closely then they tend to dissolve and release the energy that was locked up in them back into the mind to increase the power of concentration/unification. Knowing this, you can actually treat hindrances as a fuel for jhana (oh goody, there's a strong hindrance, should lead to a strong jhana emoticon) Dullness itself often results from avoiding other unpleasant sensations or emotions, so it's always worth digging into it and asking what else might be going on here undetected? (unless you actually just need to sleep, in which case a mini meditation nap is fine emoticon)
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/19/22 1:46 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/19/22 1:46 AM

RE: July 18, Monday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
Nice, I can't wait to uncover what dullness is covering up.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/19/22 8:54 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/19/22 8:54 AM

July 19, Tuesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 19, Tuesday

S1 - Shamatha (1h)

Was in stages TMI2-3. A lot of dissatisfaction, fear, disgust, unwillingness to accept things as they are arose and plans, fantasies, thoughts about it. I am glad this happened because now my mind is sharper. I got to stage 4-5 by the end of the session. The most important thing that helped was knowing which part of experience was see, which part was hear and which part was feel, in short, See Hear Feel noting. I noticed when I couldn't sustain attention that I couldn't identify those parts, so when I did, attention got more stable. Could've avoided wasting a lot of time if I did this from the start but it's fine. I am happy this emotional residue is gone for now at least and now I've learned how to deal with it.

S2 - Shamatha (1h)

Total power of consciousness was much higher than the previous sessions. I could easily be aware of dullness in the background while doing the body scanning, and while being as intense as I could, dullness was still in awareness and it didn't feel effortful, it's like I couldn't be effortful because my total power of consciousness wasn't pushed to the limit, especially when intensely scanning fingers. It changed when I went on larger body areas though. After very intensely scanning the right arm, then breath sensations immediately appeared by just directing the mind to the body parts in the left hand. Mindfulness was also better because attention would follow up as I intended and it didn't feel as effortful. Though, a lot of subtle distractions were present in the background, I guess this is ok at TMI5. I also think that more subtle distractions arose because my power of consciousness grew and while scanning fingers and the body parts in general not all of the conscious power was used so the remaining ones were directed towards distractions. Is this a crazy theory? I think Culadasa has mentioned this as well. Smartwatch vibrated when I was scanning the left hand, I really wanted to see how vivid my perception would get the more I scanned though, I can't wait to see how sharp my mindfulness gets as I complete the full body scan.

Daily Life

TMI2 while doing daily tasks. Noticed that using the left over conscious power to note and deconstruct distractions make me more concentrated on the task rather than focusing on the task itself.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/25/22 10:35 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/25/22 10:35 AM

July 20-25, Wed-Mon

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 20, Wednesday

S1 - Do Nothing (1h)

Decided to do the Do Nothing technique because I felt very aversive, bad around the belly area and sexually aroused as well. And because I was at home there was a high chance I would quit, especially because I didn't want to sit.


July 22, Friday

S2 - TMI (36m)

Instead of scanning fingers and small areas, I scanned hands, forearms fully, then the area from elbow and shoulder and then shoulder. This way I quickly scanned the arms and the right leg fully while using all of my conscious power intensely perceiving breath sensations in larger regions. I was doing great at dealing with dullness but at certain points in time I noticed the untouchable dullness, I think this is because of illness, but then I decided whether it was possible to overcome it or not to maximize the use of my conscious power by intensely perceiving breath sensations while being introspectively aware of the dullness. At least I would grow total power of consciousness like this. I overcame tiredness many times but then it hit me hard and decided to call it quits.


July 23, Saturday

S1 - TMI (30m)

Scanned fingers, and noticed that it was harder to perceive breath sensations, because I didn't practice TMI for a couple of days. But what matters is growing total power of consciousness and I can feel that it is growing. Barely scanned the right arm fully and dullness was kept at bay. I noticed I could barely hold the intention to see how I was dealing with dullness, while before I could only hold the intention to keep introspective awareness of dullness and perceive sensations of the breath as intensely as possible. I think this was possible because total power of consciousness grew.


July 25, Monday

S1- TMI (30m)

Have been inconsistent and lenient after illness threw off my schedule. Total power of consciousness still grew a bit every session but mindfulness became a bit sluggish.

This session was very productive, learned that first I deal with gross distractions, then when attention get stable and subtle dullness arises I simply correct it by strengthening intention to perceive breath sensations in different body parts while making peripheral awareness as wide as possible, while observing dullness and how it responds, when subtle dullness disappears, I observe it closely till it comes back and correct it again. This way effort level is kept high and becomes the new norm. Because I got unused to being so effortful throughout 1 hour, I couldn't do it and decided to do 30m sits and built up my skills again. Breath sensations in the right thumb became very intense and pleasant sensations became very intense as well. The same with different parts of the body, so I am improving already. Barely got myself to do this session, but once the timer ended I wanted to continue and could for a long time.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/26/22 9:34 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/26/22 9:34 AM

July 26, Tuesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 26, Tuesday

S1 - TMI (30m)

Stage 3-4 TMI. Feelings of piti arose but was mostly lost in thoughts.

S2 - TMI (30m)

Was in TMI5-6 the whole sit. The intense buzzing and pleasant sensations arose and intensified throughout the session. The right thumb especially, and some of the other fingers. Just focusing wherever the breath sensations, tingling and pleasure was felt the most intensely to deal with dullness when it came, or when laziness came was enough. High level of effort throughout the sit.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/27/22 8:51 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/27/22 8:51 AM

July 27, Wednesday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 27, Wednesday

S1 - TMI (30m)

Was lost in thoughts, TMI2-4.

S2 - TMI (30m)

Stabilized attention in about 5-10 minutes, then started to deal with subtle dullness by focusing on increasing sensory clarity of breath sensations in the right hand, the fingers especially. It would be much easier to deal with subtle dullness by focusing on larger areas but still doable. I want to increase sensory clarity of each small area before I move onto large areas.

This session at this time of day is the most productive, I'll increase duration of the session in a day or two and focus on increasing duration of this session rather than the morning session or doing more sessions frequently. Much better to focus on the most productive session than scatter short sessions around.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/28/22 9:04 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/28/22 9:04 AM

July 28, Thursday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 28, Thursday

S1 - TMI (30m)

Worked with subtle dullness for about 5-10 minutes but mostly was TMI2, lost in thoughts.

S2 - TMI (30m)

Felt subtle dullness from about 1.5-2 hours before the session continuously. Subtle dullness was very sticky and persistent, was hard to get rid of. Focused on feeling pleasantness of the tingling sensations in the right thumb and explored different areas of the right thumb. This was the most intense pleasure I've felt in a session in the right thumb or anywhere else and it was continues and increased as sensory clarity got better. Substituted the intense energy in the right thumb with pleasure by focusing on the pleasant parts of the energy.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/29/22 9:54 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/29/22 9:54 AM

July 29, Friday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 29, Friday

S1 - TMI (30m)

TMI2-5, mostly 2. Was lost in thoughts.

S2 - TMI (30m)

The pleasure in the right thumb got so intense over the session the thumb would move on reflex, twitch and apply pressure. Sensory clarity is getting better and better over the sessions and in the course of one session as well. The sensations in the right thumb are enough to deal with subtle dullness (maybe). Subtle dullness set in after the session. Gross distractions arose but wasn't much of a hindrance. Was aware of subtle distractions in the background.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 7/30/22 10:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 7/30/22 10:31 AM

July 30, Saturday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 30, Saturday

S1 - TMI (30m)

Worked with overcoming subtle dullness and perceiving pleasure in the right thumb - TMI5. Involuntary twitching of the thumb became default and normal because of intense breath energy and sometimes intense pleasure. Subtle dullness is easily dealt with intense pleasure in just the right thumb.

S2 - TMI (30m)

Scanned both hands and right leg fully. Subtle dullness was really persistent and it stayed after the session. I almost gassed out at 20m. Subtle dullness is very annoying in daily life, especially while I am reading, it makes it hard for me to comprehend what I read and weighs down on my mind. I am going to get rid of this fu**er.
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Irakli Gorgadze, modified 4 Months ago at 8/1/22 12:03 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 8/1/22 12:03 PM

July 31, Sunday

Posts: 104 Join Date: 12/12/21 Recent Posts
July 31, Sunday

S1 - TMI (30m)

TMI 2-4. Was lost in thoughts.

S2 - TMI (30m)

Started with TMI4 practices in the first 10-15 minutes, didn't want to tire out quickly with body scanning. After starting the body scanning method and got to the right thumb, it was somewhat enough to get rid of subtle dullness. After the session subtle dullness didn't set in immediately but after about half a minute. I think I couldn't quite detect when it was there.

Decided to do 3 more 30m sessions and after getting used to this, increasing the duration of the sessions when I'm most focused.

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