Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 1:17 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/23 5:17 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 George S 1/24/23 6:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/23 7:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/23 2:28 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/23 6:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/23 9:38 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/1/23 3:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/2/23 10:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Adi Vader 2/2/23 11:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/3/23 9:40 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 2/4/23 6:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/23 5:35 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/23 6:12 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/23 6:30 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 2/12/23 11:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/23 1:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/23 1:18 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/23 10:38 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/23 5:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/23 4:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/23 1:39 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 ‎ ‎Nihila 4/13/23 9:09 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/13/23 12:50 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 ‎ ‎Nihila 4/13/23 1:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 3/27/23 12:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/23 2:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 3/27/23 2:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/23 3:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/23 3:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 3/27/23 3:22 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/23 3:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 3/28/23 6:20 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/28/23 12:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/28/23 7:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/14/23 4:33 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 4/14/23 1:43 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/14/23 4:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/14/23 4:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 4/14/23 4:54 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/14/23 5:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 4/15/23 8:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/3/23 2:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/3/23 2:32 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/5/23 4:38 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Martin 5/5/23 5:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Bardo 5/7/23 5:26 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/7/23 6:26 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Bardo 5/7/23 7:52 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 1:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 1:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Olivier S 6/17/23 5:29 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 8:40 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Olivier S 6/17/23 11:33 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 1:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Pawel K 6/17/23 11:57 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 1:28 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/17/23 3:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/19/23 9:45 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/19/23 9:54 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/21/23 8:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 12:19 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 1:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 5:40 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 6:09 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 6/24/23 7:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 9:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Aeon . 6/24/23 8:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 9:28 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/23 9:19 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/29/23 4:45 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/3/23 9:15 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/3/23 12:41 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/3/23 5:45 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/5/23 7:14 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/9/23 7:41 PM
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:17 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 2:06 AM

Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Orginially published on 1/24/23 9:06 AM, edited to replace a link with incorrect formatting. Thanks to Ni Nurta for noticing! 

Previous logs in chronological order:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/10949944
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/11357415
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/13048784
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15741941 
​​​​​​​https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/17395586
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18209166
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18817192
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/20234893
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21249348
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21757449
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/22023649
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/22642994
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23060772
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23734409
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/24005910

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/24294680

Middle path territory with lots of ups and downs. I won't log all my practice, as I find it too repetitive. I'm in Michael Taft's Reversing the Stack class, the first cohort, which has been going on since June 2020. The task is to spend as much time as possible in awake awareness while bringing the emptiness back into form. I practice sitting, standing, lying down and moving around, with varying success. An anchor in my practice is practicing together with one of my partners on a daily basis, alternating Zhan Zuang (still not sure how to spell it correctly, lol) with sitting. Another anchor is yoga, as my life tends to fall apart without it. Flowy spontaneous movement is a powerful doorway for me. I do fire kasina. Although I have gotten a lot out of Daniel's resources on the topic, I have chosen to follow Adi Vader's instructions insofar as I'm using the photographically realistic image of the flame (corresponding to third screen in Daniel's terminology) as the learning sign rather than the red dot. For me personally that feels like a more stable approach. Still in the process of cultivating the tranquil alertness that is needed, still in the process of learning how to let awareness take care of it rather than using the brute force of attention. 

A new development is related to posture. I recently spent two hours in a floating tank, which made me aware of how I have habituated ways of carrying my body that may not be optimal. In the floating tank, the neck position was not at all what I had thought it would be. I'm now experimenting with trying to replicate that in my standing and sitting practices, which also needs to adjustment of the upper back. It's outside my comfort zone, but it does something amazing with energy or blood flow or the circulation of neurotransmittors, or whatever. It suddenly feels like there is so much more oxygen in the air I breathe, and sluggishness dissipates. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 5:17 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 5:17 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Hm. Now I seem to have found a way to lie down on my back that approximates the floating tank position of the spine enough too take away the problem I have had for a long time now with energy blockages and nerve pain in my feet. To think that the foot problem was actually a neck problem - curious! Maybe this will also lead to better sleep and less exhaustion. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 6:56 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 6:56 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I had a period recently where I was working out some throat tension. I found lying flat on my back without a pillow helped a lot. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 7:14 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/24/23 7:14 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Cool. Thanks for sharing! I need to even move the top mattress a little bit so that a small part of the head comes outside it. Not much really, but that small change works miracles! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/25/23 2:28 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/25/23 2:28 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I had a semi-psychedelic experience from being sleep deprived today. On the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, reality was in a state somewhere between emptiness and form. It was all sort of a volotile fluid that was morphing. Here and there, on a regular basis, some of the shimmering rainbowy fluid would contract and assume some shape that almost came into being as something distinct, before it was reabsorbed into the whole. 

Earlier, before I went to sleep (late in the morning after having talked to a dharma friend for hours after the RtS class), I had three unknowing events where the magnificent silence fell onto me and merged with my entire existence. Sort of like a collapse into the void, or the void collapsing into me, or reality just turning inside out to reveal the void inside it. This happened in the midst of interaction with my pawo. 

Today with all the sleep deprivation, the standing practice felt very raw and defenseless. There was panic in my body, but I was okay with it. I remembered that this is what the practice is about, so I focused on cultivating crisp awareness of the sensations of it. The fire kasina following it turned out to be less fire kasina as those sensations continued to be in the foreground. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 6:34 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 6:34 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
About an hour of reclining meditation at a time when it wanted to happen. Started with tuning into all the different sense modalities, one at a time. Then let choiceless awareness happen. The energy field was alive and felt volatile, like I was dissolving into atoms. Concepts fell away. There were three distinct flashes, like in the impermanence door, but I didn't identify any cessation. Then there was a moment of either recalling one of the flashes as an image or having a new image appear for a brief while. It looked like a colored illustration from a children's book, featuring a penguin with a red bowtie. The environment was not snow and ice, but had more colors in it, maybe like a park with trees or something; I can't recall any specifics from it. Then there was a moment of "Wtf, did I just see a penguin?" and the recognition that I did in fact, but now there was murk there instead. 

---

45 minutes of sitting with my pawo, doing fire kasina. The learning sign was rather fuzzy. I was tired. It was around midnight and my sleep hasn't been the best lately, so that was to be expected. I made it through the sit without spacing out or forgetting my focus. Some thoughts popped up during the sit, though, so I wasn't entirely undistracted. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/29/23 9:38 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/29/23 9:38 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I started the day with a much needed thorough yoga session. The standing practice with my pawo got energies moving around, almost (but not) too much. Applying the lessons from the floating tank makes it less strenous for the shoulders. Instead I use my back muscles between the shoulder blades more. That seems to open up for more of a free flow. In the fire kasina, the photographically realistic image projected onto the murk was brighter and sharper than has been the case the last few days. It also started out more bouncy. I relaxed into the knowing of the flame instead of letting myself bounce around with it, and after a while the bouncing decreased while maintaining brightness and clarity. There was high-pitched nada sound. Some time later, a black disc covered the image. Sometimes it would shine through it. It went back and forth like that for a while. Then brightness and clarity increased again. There was alertness and curiosity throughout the practice, along with a sense of effortless relaxing into it, except for a brief while when I tried to actively increase the brightness of the image. I noticed how that caused subtle agitation, and so I let go of it. I played with sort of knowing the brightness that was already there on its own, and that did boost the brightness just a little bit. Still not stable, though. It will get there. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/1/23 3:25 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/1/23 3:25 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Today in the balloon posture there was a tangible sense of heat/warmth in my heart region. It wasn't uncomfortable in any way. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 10:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 10:21 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Today in the initial standing practice, early on, there was this very tangible sense of reality turning inside out.

I tried to do fire kasina with a candle outside in the sunlight with white snow all around me reflecting the sunlight. The flame flickered like crazy and the snow outshone it. Getting the flame image to appear in the murk wasn't very easy, but I did appear at times. Also, there was a sense of a space in the mind where it would have been, so I focused on that. When I continued inside, the flame image was super bright, so doing the practice outside was like heavy lifting that made regular lifting easier in comparison. 
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:04 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:04 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 303 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
If the nimitta gets relatively more stable, and brighter, the way you described here, one possibility to explore is to take 'brightness' as the object. Brightness of the mental image itself.

If it becomes the whole of conscious experience, as in no body, no senses, no mental objects, no noting/noticing/knowing mind ..... nothing exists but the nimitta, if this happens even briefly, then the mind will remember it.

Because the mind remembers it, it will find it relatively easily. This is the tejo krtsna/ fire kasina.

Initially it may be scary. For two reasons - 

1. It is absolutely mind blowing. Think 'burning bush' on mountain top. Or the prophet in the desert.

2. It is a Brute Force Anatta insight opportunity. Because the mind and the object will now be 'one'. All possibility of self conceptualization is swept off the table

The mind may recoil back in horror. But it wont be 'my horror'.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/3/23 9:40 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/3/23 9:40 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Thankyou! Your advice is always welcome. 

I can relate to what you are describing, because I have had that (or something very similar) happen before when the nada sound distilled itself into light. Truly mindblowing. It's not quite there yet with the fire kasina. It gets really bright, but it fades quickly, and it doesn't fill my entire mind. Not yet. I try to take brightness of the mind as my object, but it seems premature. I will keep trying, but I probably need to keep working on the basic more before it will work. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 6:10 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 6:10 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 212 Join Date: 1/31/23 Recent Posts
Might I suggest you a few resources to tinker with, for the neck issue you describe?

1) The single most effective thing I have discovered to fix my kyphosis/"nerd neck" posture, is zenith rotations. Learn them from Tom Morrison on youtube. Key point is using strength to inhale while twisting, and thereby resistance-stretching the fascia in the upper back and rib area.

2) The alexander technique, if it jives with you, to "find" easy postural alignment in daily life. Simply put, imagine a string pulling the top back of your head straight up, and slightly forward. Feel your lats spread out, and the downstream effects of postural alignment. This should feel easy, even if foreign at first.

3) If your neck tends to tense up, there is a chance you lack resting tension in your midsection, particularly the transversus abdominis (TVA), "corset muscles". Perhaps also inactive glute muscles. This is easily tested by sitting or standing, then pull your navel toward your spine, notice if that makes your neck feel better.

And by the way, that effect you describe with breathing better is science based. I heard a strength coach named Pavel Tsatsouline recommend it to endurance athletes on the Tim Ferriss podcast. He said it can increase breathing capacity up to 25% if you correct a kyphotic posture.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 5:35 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 5:35 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Hi Aeon!

How kind of you — thankyou! I'm sorry for taking so long to reply. It's not because of lack of appreciation. This sounds like awesome resources for many of us. I will look into them when I have the executive functioning for it. It sounds like they could be really helpful. 

The weird thing is that I really thought my nerd neck was gone. My posture had already improved a lot. I didn't have any neck issues while practicing. The issue was in my feet. And yet, adjusting my neck — and thereby also using the muscles between my shoulder blades more and the small shoulder muscles less — has taken away the main part of that issue. So yeah, the fascia may very well be involved. I already suspected that, but I did not suspect that the issue originated so far from the feet.

I actually have very well trained and active corset muscles in the abdomen and on the sides, so I don't think that's the issue. I recognize what you are saying from before I became such a yoga freak, though. Back then I had that exact issue. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 6:12 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 6:11 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I haven't reported in a while, but I have been practicing.

In the fire kasina, I'm working on unhooking. A while back I received advice from Adi (slightly edited from interaction below).


​​​​​​​

After two weeks — bring in an anatta investigation flavour to the fire kasina practice.
Broadly there are three things that 'the mind' is appropriating
1. The sankhara of furnishing the learning sign
2. The samjna or perception of the learning sign
3. The vijnana or consciousness of the entire process
'I' the yogi who is doing firekasina is like a post-it note stuck on top of one of these 3 things or a combination thereof.
While doing the firekasina can you unhook the post-it note.
To figure out how to unhook read this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/lun8bp/vipassana_samatha_vipashyana_within_the_jhanas/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

Read the section on prelim practice on mantra meditation


Preliminary exercise - mantra meditation
  1. This exercise is required to create a set up that can be replicated inside the jhanas. You want to be very mindful of what you yourself are doing here so that you remember to do it and avoid discursively searching for what to do within an absorption thus interrupting the flow
  2. You are doing this exercise specifically to learn what I like to call 'unhooking'
  3. Choose a mantra. A monosyllable preferably one that doesn't give you 'spiritual feels'. I use my own name - Adi ... Adi ... Adi. If you choose something spiritual sounding, it will most likely be an obstruction - an additional problem to deal with
  4. Get really really concentrated. Attention focused on the task at hand, awareness far and wide and brilliantly powerful
  5. While doing the exercise notice very carefully that there are three distinct things that are happening. The act of creation of a mental sound, the act of hearing of a mental sound, the act of being aware that all of this strange circus is going on
  6. Get deeply interested in the act of creation of the mental sound. Raise the volume, lower the volume, make it shrill, make it pleasing, use your dad's voice, use your mom's voice, use your own voice
  7. Strongly intend that the act of creation of this sound continue without your running interference and just simply unhook your sense of self from the act of creation of this sound like plucking out a post it note and sticking it on to the act of hearing this sound. If you are unable to do this, then some good preparatory practice will be the 'softening into' techniques of MIDL. You 'soften into' the claim of ownership you have over the act of creation of the sound until you can 'unhook'. The creator of the MIDL system most probably did not intend his tech to be used in this way and thus the techniques are taught in a totally different way. But once learnt they port wonderfully to this exercise
  8. Stay with the act of hearing this sound for a while and then unhook the sense of self from the act of hearing this sound. The post it note has nowhere else to go so it simply goes and sticks itself to the general awareness of everything including this strange mantra gymnastics
  9. The Uber unhooking involves unhooking from the sense of being the one who is aware - this in and by itself is very challenging and you may not be able to do this ... yet! and that's a project for some other day perhaps
  10. Do the hook and unhook many many times till its understood that the hooking is habitual and the unhooking requires some dexterity and you have the confidence that you have that dexterity
  11. This 'unhooking' is the skill and the muscle memory we want to carry into the absorptions
  12. You need to do all of the above while intentionally doing vipashyana and not pashyana. Or through doing such activity vipashyana may happen. Try and continue it - either way is fine
  13. I have it from a reliable source that such practice comes in some secret ceremony in some pith instructions of some tradition - If you believe such things ... well it can be self limiting - Simply set all that superstition aside

Thus continuing with fire kasina develop it further. Make it more challenging. This will induce dukkha nanas, so be prepared to handle it. The way DN will present will be .... there is dukkha. Not ... I am feeling dukkha.
An anatta focused practice does that. That is its power

Me: Makes sense. Right now I mainly notice how the energetics shift and how it’s a process that just unfolds on its own.
Adi: Yeah, that process quality should ideally deepen. Any sticky grip the mind has ... 'this dukkha is mine'
This should get loosened.


I know what the unhooking is. Funny thing is that I came up with almost the exact same practice for that during the summer of 2021, when the practice was going really well. I used it on earworms, which were usually but not always mantras, so it was longer chunks. I also played with hearing comments from different people including myself. I noticed how subvocalizing was always involved when I had the sense of being the doer of the mental sound. I played with relaxing that. And for a while that went really well. Right now I’m in a phase when it’s harder to relax the subvocalizing. However, I don’t need to limit the experience to what goes on from that narrow perspective, because that’s the infamous kazoo player from MCTB2, or the sock puppet, as Michael calls it. I don’t need to get rid of the kazoo player/sock puppet, as I understand it. I can just zoom out from it. It’s not the sock puppet that experiences it all. It just experiences itself, whereas the fuller symphony is also aware on its own.

Applying this to vision seems in some ways easier and in some ways trickier. I can rather easily get the sense of the seeing occurring not inside my head but where the flame image is, which is in awareness, and awareness doesn’t really make a difference between inside and outside my head. However, I still repeatedly fall into the trap of using attention to focus on the flame with my eyes open and then look for it in the murk in a way that objectifies it. I notice that because it makes the learning sign bounce and makes my eyes struggle with re-finding focus every time I open my eyes. And when that happens, the effort makes me tired. So I apply determination and curiosity to be more alert while also working on relaxing that focus by just letting the flame know where it is. And when that works, the flame image stays in the same space regardless of whether or not I have my eyes opened or closed. But it still fades.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 6:30 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/11/23 6:30 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Another development is both positive and negative at the same time. I'm much less bothered by withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants as the symptoms tend to feel like energy flow instead of like wanting to crawl out of my skin. That's awesome in a way, but it also makes me forget to take my medz. That has happened many times lately, which is not good. I think it stresses out my mammalian body, because after like 12 hours, I'm in pretty strong withdrawal. It still feels like energy flow, but by then I notice that meditation doesn't calm it down, and instead it's getting somewhat agitated. And when I take the medicines, I notice the energy flow that results from that, and it disturbs my sleep. It doesn't feel bad per se, but it's an uneven flow, not a harmonious one. Being aware of it is just as nice as being aware of a harmonious one, but it's probably the case that the latter is more beneficial for the body, so I need to learn to pick up the new subtler cues faster. 

In a similar vein, I seem to be less dependent on yoga for my sense of wellbeing. That makes me less prone to do yoga as regularly. However, I still function better with yoga than without it, and yoga is still important for my health. Yet, I'm more okay with not functioning properly and with having health issues. Also, the health issues really seem to be milder too. So I need to find a drive that is less rooted in suffering. That shouldn't be so hard, because I actually love yoga, but apparently suffering was still the kick that would get me started every day. And now it's not. What a peculiar problem! 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 11:46 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 11:46 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I might have misunderstood what you were saying about neck tension. My executive function is pretty hit and miss these days, as I try to quit caffeine.

Neck pain really is an ungodly affliction. I have had it come from tense calf muscles, tense lats, pecs, triceps, biceps, quads.
"Where you think it is, it aint."
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 1:10 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 1:10 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
For me it's just like that but the opposite. Any tension anywhere gives me terrible nerve pain in my feet.

Best of luck with quitting caffeine! I have the opposite problem there too, lol. The other day I ate a small amount of cardemom, which apparently contains some caffeine, which i didn't know. It gave me the headache from hell for more than 24 hours. Caffeine is like poison for me. I would love to be able to tolerate some. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 1:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 1:18 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Today I started to get into absorption territory with the fire kasina. There was the kind of lightness and unsolidness that usually precedes a relatively hard jhana for me. Loud nada sound, champagne bubbles, lots of brightness.

After the standing practice and the fire kasina I lay down to surrender into what wanted to happen. There was a lot of energetic stuff happening, in a gentle and free-flowing way. There were some energetic releases with knots getting disentangled. Eventually the fuel sort of ran out, and I ended the session. I felt quite relaxed. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/14/23 10:38 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/14/23 10:38 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Today efter two different sits of fire kasina, I basically had smell and taste hallucinations. I could smell and taste my mom's homemade butterscotch, very vividly. It tasted like the first time I tasted it. It has never been quite as tasty again. I had forgotten it. The first time it came up, it seemed very random. The second time, I realized that it's associated with the scent of putting out a candle. It just hasn't popped up in such a visceral way before, but remained subconscious, 

I continue to have issues with forgetting my antidepressant. Today it was rather the case that I missed that specific pill from the pile of pills and supplements that I had put together before taking them. I'm so used to relying on sensations to tell me what I need to do, as my executive functioning is so weak. I'm still getting sensations, lots of them, but they have stopped feeling bad. I just noticed this amazing flow of energy, and I sat with it, not to get rid of it, but to embrace it. Then my pawo called, and as I reached out for the tablet, I saw the pill lying next to it and realized that the energy flow was actually withdrawal symptoms, and so I took the pill.  The Recognition Sutras mention this happening: "when we are in  touch with our essence-nature, any and every cognition can be a source  of joy, wonder, and fascination—camatkāra" (p.  210 in the pdf version). 

This morning was the last class of round 5 of the RtS class, class number 120. In three weeks we will start round 6. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/15/23 5:23 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/15/23 5:20 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Log February 15th, 2023


Wu chi 15 minutes:

Loud high-pitched nada sound and a sense of spaciousness.


Fire kasina 25 minutes:

Almost no bouncing around of the photorealistic flame image. It didn’t flicker much either, but it was relatively pale. A sense of lightness and effortlessness. Some more energy needs to be put into it, without loosing that light touch. 


Balloon posture 10 minutes:

Amazingly comfortable thanks to what I learned from the floating tank. I now use the large muscle between the shoulder blades instead of the tiny weak muscles in the shoulders. Soooo spacious. So relaxed! (Yesterday I was so relaxed in the balloon posture that I could have fallen asleep.) Smooth foamy energy feel. 


Fire kasina 40 minutes:

Still very little bouncing, and now brighter and sharper. Pleasantly effortless with a sense of lightness. Then I got distracted for a while, albeit in a wholesome way; I got occupied with metta-like thoughts about practicioners I have become acquainted with. Then back to the task. Then I combined the task with playing with tuning into the four different formed jhanas, one at a time, over and over again. I didn’t get into them for real, but I could sense the jhanic factors, and the tuning improved over time. Thanks Martin for that piece of advise (in Paul’s thread)! It resonated and rang true, so I think I will continue to play with that. 

After a while, the piti I summoned was really strong, and it took away some pain that I’d had in my back (I ran out of L-lysine a few days ago, so I’m surprised I have so little pain). I was about to transform some mild lower back (side) pain to piti as well, but the bell rang and it was time to dedicate our practice. Anyway, I was okay just sitting with that pain. It didn’t really differ from piti when I watched it closer. 

---

Note from the late afternoon/early evening when I was walking to my job, uphills in mud and in a hurry: ”Wow. I just found myself being super contracted - and I also found that I didn’t mind. How freeing! And when I rejoiced in that, the contraction dissolved into piti and then spaciousness. New contractions came, and I didn’t mind, so they didn’t stick.”
​​​​​​​
I was able to do a high-pulse training activity without getting sick thanks to ujjayi breath. They really should teach that in school! It would have saved me so much pain. I played floorball for the first time since the Swedish equivalent to highschool. I was on it like a pitbull. I suck at aiming and dribbling (and yet I actually scored two goals!) but I ace at taking the ball from others. I can see exactly when they drop their focus just a little bit, and then I strike. I think I can consider myself cured from the weird version of chronic fatigue that I used to have which made me super-sick everytime I strained myself physically even the slightest bit. The cure: yogic breathing.
I’m back on track with my yoga. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/17/23 4:46 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/17/23 4:46 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Yesterday: 40 minutes fire kasina, then a couple of hours or reclining unclenching+disentangling. No dullness. Some energy surge kriyas that made my bent legs jerk upwards and then back down. Some head popping. 

Today: 
15 min wu chi
40 min fire kasina
10 min balloon posture 
25 min fire kasina
-
40 min fire kasina
-
about 1 h 15 min reclining disentangling with visualization of a candle flame while over and over dissolving energetic knots between and around and behind my eyes. 
-
During interaction inbetween sessions: playing with the subtle differences in stance that makes the difference between holding "the view" and getting drawn out of it. 

Lots of energy stuff. Loud high-pitched nada sound, the sense of electric crackling and popping around my head, energetic shifts within my body (both grosser and subtler). In the fire kasina, all the sits had some bouncing of the learning sign to begin with but then it got relatively more stable. No dullness. Distracting discursive thoughts at times, but the learning sign kept appearing. I noticed how I let myself be distracted and found that it was a waste of such a good opportunity, so I made efforts to drop everything but the learning sign. That made it brighter and more stable. It's silly how the thoughts give birth to a self that thinks that it has to be busy with those thoughts, just because they can, because the habit is so strong. 

​​​​​​​
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/26/23 1:39 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/26/23 1:35 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I haven't prioritized logging here for a while because I have regular access to feedback from live connections, both from my pawo and from dharma friends, and I'm too lazy to repeat myself. Now I have so much to summarize that I'm not sure how to go about it. 

I have had a couple of very energetic phases, and a few dips when the fuel ran out. I need to balance riding the energy with fueling it, and sometimes it's hard to be in synch with it. It is obvious, though, how the mechanisms work. The more I do yoga and structured sits, the more happens on its own when I recline to relax.

At times when I have been able to increase the amount of practice, clarity has peaked. At times when daily life challenges have made it hard to squeeze in more than one sit, clarity has been lower. 

In the fire kasina, I'm playing with a synesthetic approach to the nimitta. I think the photorealistic image of the flame is just part of it. There is also the nada sound. My hypothesis is that since I'm still not mainly visually wired, I might need to think of brightness as happening in more than one sense gate to begin with, and then eventually it will all distill itself into light. Also, focusing on the nada sound helps with distractions. Sometimes I get into a very sweet flow with it, with very little effort, and that gives me a taste of what is to come.

Michael Taft has us doing shamatha on stillness, silence and spaciousness (comes from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche) and then shamatha without an object while also doing Vipashyana on thoughts, not missing a single mind moment. It's good to revisit Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's three doors practice. I had almost forgotten how profound that can be. As for the thoughts, it is fascinating how many layers of processing and/or pre-processing there is before a thought is fully formed. Not that I always manage to capture that; this ADHD brain is quite messy at times. 

I had a weird dream a while back which was mainly lucid. I heard the alarm and was trying to wake up because I had a morning meeting, but I kept waking up in the wrong room. I must have gone through 30 something rooms before I found consensus reality. At first I was confused, because I thought I really woke up but didn't know where I was. I hypothesized that I was at a friend's place, but then realized that I was still asleep. I went through a few similar episodes, in which I even told people about the previous rooms I had woken up in, but then I grew more and more alert to the fact that I was still dreaming and started dissing the rooms immediately, like "nope — next!" over and over again. I knew I was in sleep paralysis but made an effort to open my eyes. When an image of my wall images flashed through, I knew that was the right room and that the ones following that were not. Eventually I managed to wake up for real. It would have been fun to explore the lucidity more, but I had to work. Michael Taft commented that it was a bardo moment. 

I have also played with astral projection/OBE. I have managed to almost leave my body at will but snapped back again as if there were a rubber band connected to my physical body. I have also glided into bright light a few times, in one of those sessions. I was intending to connect with a specific person. Funny thing is that at the same time (I can't say whether it was the exact same time, but at least roughly) I suddenly popped up in a dream of his, just passing through in an elevator. 

I haven't done much standing practice lately for some reason, but when I do it, it adds something. 

I had a trauma triggered at work a while back, from a smell. I can be very sensitive to smells, but this was unproportional. I was trembling for three hours after leaving the smell. It made me think that it might have reminded me of when we found my dad's body after he had committed suicide. So I did some talking to my subconscious, assuring it that it was okay for it to come up. And so it did, in a sit. It came in brief spurts, a little at a time. I could feel and sense what had been shut out due to shock at the time. I cried, but it was tears of relief. Later that night I welcomed it again. That time it came up as visceral agitation of the body, mainly in the hip area. I worked it through with support via video chat. I was basically crawling around on my yoga mat, letting my body do what it needed to do. My body invented its own movement and sound therapy (I later learned from a dharma friend who is an expert on such things that what I did is legit practice, but I had no idea at the time). When I told Michael about it, he said it was the tantric way. 

In daily life I find it useful to be aware of whenever the pain body shows up (as taught both by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Eckhart Tolle) and to soften into it, seeing it for what it is. Even the most stubborn versions of the pain body will admit that even though "what I'm concerned about is serious shit", tensing the body does not help a bit. And it's remarkable how a relaxed body suddenly has access to much more constructive thoughts, or even space between them. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 12:08 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 12:08 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I love how you just casually toy around with phenomena like bardo dreams and synesthesia.
Always so fun to read your logs!
Hope everything is well, sounds a bit hectic lately.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 2:05 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 2:05 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Thankyou! Your post made me smile.

I'm sceptical about the bardo moment interpretation. I like the idea, but it seems more reasonable to just assume that some part of me just preferred staying asleep a while longer, therefore trying to fool some other part that I had already woken up. I find the same thing happens when I desperately need to pee but am too tired to wake up. The amount of false wakings in this particular instance was a record, though. 

Yeah, I'm okay. Thanks for caring! It's just the usual life with minority wiring etc. Thankfully I have a lot of awesomeness in my life as well, such as lots of love. 

---

I have done a bunch of "energetic disentangling" yesterday and today. It's mainly smooth, but occasionally an energy shock makes my entire body jump up into the air (from reclining), like when medics try to restart someone's heart with electricity. It's neither scary nor painful. The energy doesn't get stuck anywhere. So I guess I'm also playing with very sudden and temporary levitation. ;) 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 2:34 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 2:34 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I would be entirely unsurprised if it turned out you could actually levitate. If you figure it out, do write a tek so us muggles can learn it too emoticon

When I tinkered with lucid dreaming way back, I remember learning to command my dreams.
Not your fairy-fluffy auto-suggestion; hardcore acts of will with simple words.
Maybe you could wake up faster that way, if you assert dominance over your subconscious like that.
Make it respect authority.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:00 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Haha, if I do find out how to actually levitate, I promise to share if I can. Please do the same!

Learning to command your dreams is impressive. I have only dipped my toes in it a bit. I don't think there is a you that does the commanding, though. I mean, sure, you choose what to command, but do you choose what to choose?

Personally, I find that there are subconscious forces that are much more awake than my conscious commanding could ever be. So I'm not so convinced that awakening would happen faster if I could make my subconscious respect authority, at least not if "I" am to be that authority. I do suppose there are specific subconscious patterns that could use some discipline, or rather pliance. I suspect that trust has more to do with it than discipline. Highly conditioned stuff, especially reactive patterns. Being able to just relax them on command would indeed be awesome. And getting them to reveal themselves so that they won't affect me unknowingly. I'm working on it. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:11 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:11 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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A weird half energetic, half physical thing going on: there's like an electric glitch where my spine is attached to my brain or something. It feels and sounds like tangible electrical poppings, and it's sometimes triggered by movement of the neck, often by footsteps on hard ground with boots on (at times by every step). It's not uncomfortable, just weird. Little electrical micro-explosions or bursts of prana. Maybe there is sort of a half-blockage that the energy bursts through, or the nerve signals, or whatever it is. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:22 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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You know the phrase "All models are wrong, but some are useful." ?
It appears to me that volition is real, but whether it exists as Self or a virtual possession we have, I don't know for sure.
I'm still investigating true self vs no self, having my sense of self hop around during practice.
...anyways, it's just an idea to play with so your dreams dont bug you or make you late.

That area you describe is called the jade pillow in Taoist philosophy. I believe it's a way station that converts physical and sexual energy into mental/spiritual (Shen) energy.  Way station because once passed, the energy is changed and doesn't slip back down.
If the system fills up with that Shen, it can spill over into the mouth, causing a highly pleasant taste often described as honey, champagne or similar.
You gearing up for 2nd path or something?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/27/23 3:40 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Yeah, some kind of volition seems real. I'm just not convinced it's as personal as people tend to think.

Jade pillow, huh? Interesting. Thanks! So not a bad thing then, from the sound of it. Cool. If that's really what it is. It does feel like burst of energy getting through, one pop at a time. No taste of champagne or honey, though. 

I think I already have MCTB second path, but I may very well be mistaken. The middlepaths seem like a whole bunch of cycles, and there's fractals to it as well, which makes the whole thing seem infinite. It's messy. I do feel like I'm charging up for something, but for what... Maybe like path 2.1.3.7 or something. Dunno. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 6:20 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 6:20 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Sorry, I wanted to say "next path", not second. Don't know why my brain does this to me.

The jade pillow was from Mantak Chia's "Cultivating male sexual energy".
Come to think of it, if triggered by walking on hard surfaces, it could also have something to do with fascia.
The occiput/jadepillow is a crazy nexus of many fascial lines, which go all the way to the feet.
I would know, I used to get screaming neck pains, that I fixed my massaging my calf muscles.
I don't know what's weirder, insight paths or fascia.
Just your daily dose of random information.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 12:56 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 12:56 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I have noticed a connection between the ñanas and the fascia. My fascia contracts in the 3C ñana and the dukkha ñanas. So maybe both...? I really don't know, but now I have also had an increase in other kind of energetic stuff, so it seems to be some kind of energetic build-up. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 7:25 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/28/23 7:25 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Michael thinks that the small electrical blips are likely little aftershocks from the bigger kriyas that I have, of the "inner defibrillator" type. That makes sense. He also explained that kriyas either clear blockages or expand the capacity for electricity going through the body. Lately it doesn't feel like the energy gets stuck anywhere, so hopefully it's more of the expanding type. 
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 1 Year ago at 4/13/23 9:09 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/13/23 9:09 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
I was basically crawling around on my yoga mat, letting my body do what it needed to do. My body invented its own movement and sound therapy (I later learned from a dharma friend who is an expert on such things that what I did is legit practice, but I had no idea at the time). When I told Michael about it, he said it was the tantric way. 
I'm curious, do you know what the practice is called? I've had some hip contractions lately, figured it might be worth investigating.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 4/13/23 12:50 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/13/23 12:50 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Not sure, but if you check out her youtube videos she probably mentions it. https://youtube.com/@SOMATICSwithLauraVWard

Good luck! 
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 1 Year ago at 4/13/23 1:26 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Cool, thanks I'll check it out.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:33 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:33 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Energy continued to increase for a while, making jhana more accessible, but the logistics of life got in the way so I wasn't able to make proper use for it and then got a bit out of synch with it. I rediscovered my healing capacity as I ran out of L-lysine which made my fascia contract painfully. It took me a couple of days to remember that I can just allow energy to move and make space. It turned out that works even more efficiently now. That's pretty amazing. 

Maintaining a regular practice, alternating between the usual practices. Right now I'm more in a providing the fuel phase than a riding the waves phase. Building up to a new momentum. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 1:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 1:43 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Now you evolve past the need for certain amino acids too?!

Michael Taft wasn't kidding when he said "for modern day mutants" about his work and podcast...
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:26 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:22 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Nah... All I know is that it gave me a few days' respite from an alarm signal that I was already aware of. Now that I have the supplement, I'm taking it. And it's not like the supplement is my only source either. Most people, unless starving or on some extreme diet, get enough of it from their food. 

It could also very well be the case that the pain has been due to psychological stuff or karmic stuff, and if so, it makes sense that meditation could help. 

I described it more thoroughly in Jim Smith's log. I asked him because he has many years of experience with healing. The phenomenology is described in my reply to his reply. https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/23406442#_com_liferay_message_boards_web_portlet_MBPortlet_message_25268111
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:46 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:46 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I have been experimenting with a sort of meditation belt, similar to what Garchen Rinpoche described in this video: https://youtu.be/Z_rUxGH_Mcg

​​​​​​​I’m making it very simple, though, using a cheap second-hand panel curtain that I tie in front of me, between my knees. I wouldn't want to use it all the time, because I think it's better to train oneself to sit comfortably using one's own capacity. Right now I find sitting very easy anyway, physically. However, I have almost exclusively done the jhanas lying down, and the belt seems to help me getting deeper because it allows me to relax even more while having an upright position, and so it helps with balancing relaxation and alertness. Also, at some point I may want to try doing sleep yoga in a seated position. Sitting like this is so comfy that I think I could do it while sleeping. I can really recommend the panel curtain version. 

A detail that may be relevant is that I sit on a meditation cushion on top of two yoga mats and an anti-slip underlay (on top of the yoga mats). That way I can put the soles of my feet on the floor with me legs in cross of me, knees high up, without gliding. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 4:54 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Mutant or not, it's real cool you can manage that with meditation.

It reminds me of Kit Laughlin - he got so good at yoga nidra, that relaxation became an embodied habit, and that had him go from "genetically tight"/viking fascia to having so soft muscles, that he offered to let people at his workshops palpate that any of his muscles were soft and free of knots and tension - even erector spinae and trapezius that are tight in almost all modern humans.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 5:15 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/14/23 5:15 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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It is a grace, indeed. I did nothing to deserve it. I just got out of the way. 

The practice sure seems to have that effect over time. I do a lot of what you might call yoga nidra. I call it disentangling. It really makes tensions dissolve. 
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/15/23 8:04 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/15/23 8:04 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I found this new way of sitting comfortably for meditation, and thought you might enjoy it:
It's pretty much kneeling/seiza with pillows to increase comfort for long sits.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pm-uZyH5Zk

(now I am not calling you stiff! xD Just saying if a tin man like me with knots for muscles can enjoy it, maybe it can make life easier for you too).
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 5/3/23 2:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/3/23 2:00 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Thanks! Maybe I'll try it at some point. Right now I'm feeling very comfy in my panel curtain meditation belt. It kind of feels like being hugged.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 5/3/23 2:32 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/3/23 2:32 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I have continued to have some healing experiences during meditation. It seems to me like showering whole body piti is basically, on the physical level, the fascia letting go of unnecessary tension. 

I haven't done fire kasina on a daily basis lately. I haven't decided whether or not to get back to it. I have more focused on tuning into stillness, silence and spaciousness and alternated that with just tuning into the flow of energy in my body (including around it when applicable). The latter has sometimes been more explorative, sometimes more geared towards bliss. I have also done vipashyana on mental activity as instructed by Michael. 

A couple of days ago me and my pawo tried to go into jhana together while sharing our experiences verbally. It worked. It was more effective than I had expected. I got into a very light (lite) first jhana almost immediately, as we got into a positive spiral. After a while, it hardened into what I would say was definitely jhana. It was the first time I tried speaking while being in jhana, and I'm not fluent in them at the moment, so I wouldn't say that I got past first jhana, only that it deepened. I hanged out there for quite some time. Maybe an hour? Not sure. Then I ran out of juice. Afterwards I felt and looked notably rejuvinated. I had been rather worn out before the session and looked old and tired, and after it my cheeks were rosy and my skin had regained elasticity and my eyes sparkled. 

I'm still trapped in experiencing a duality beyween being in the view and being not in the view, and the latter sucks bigtime. The contrast feels so huge. It's amazing how everything changes without really changing. I'm exploring different tricks to get into the view when it feels like the world sucks. When it feels exceptionally hopeless and there is a sense of there being no energy to do anything about it, it helps to move to the yoga mat and crawl around on the floor in some grounding asanas. 

I'm having more vivid sensory experiences in my dreams. This night I dreamed that someone played the piano so beautifully and with so much feeling that it was orgasmic, in the whole body. Sorry if that's too much information. It was just incredible! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 4:38 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 4:38 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Yesterday morning I had astral body experiences: a few instances of partly separating from my physical body. It was not accompanied by strong vibrations and the like, but felt like just naturally reaching out with limbs of my body, except my physical body wasn't moving.

Sitting yesterday was kind of agitated, but I found my way back to spaciousness regularly by focusing on love and gratefulness, which was close at hand since I was practicing together with a partner. 

Today I was playing with the pith instruction of being centered without there being a center. I can't wrap my head around it intellectually, but it does something energetically. It reminds me of that toroid that appears in some door moments. It feels like that's what the toroid represents. Tuning into that was sweet, albeit somewhat ephemeral. I also did some gentle breathholds on the outbreath to let upwardmoving and downwardmoving energies meet in the central channel, or rather to see if I could sense anything happen that corresponds to that description. To soon to tell, but it had a sublime taste somehow. 

For my evening practice I just tuned into and relaxed into the natural flow of energy for an hour. It was rejuvinating. 

Lots of silkiness these last couple of days. 
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 5:02 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 5:02 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Silkiness is good!
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Bardo, modified 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 5:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 4:51 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 263 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
Hi Polly!

It's been a while. I recently replied to a question on here, then noticed you were still churning out your logs. The word industrious came to mind, alongside the word dedicated. A smile was born.
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I was reading your recent entries and couldn't help but frame them in fetter terms, which are slightly more refined versions of the Daniel terrain, in that the illusions themselves are sought after, rather than the satellite discoveries - jhana, insights and those whatnots. It's not that these aren't important; they are! But the fetter scheme is just another way to frame the entire thing, which may or may not be helpful.

I can no longer get into jhana, or the formless realms. I had passed through fetter 6 & 7, which are all about perception of form, both coarse form and fine form. Jhana is another perception, so it seems. I don't seem to have any perception due to there not being a centre.

Your recent posts reminded me of fetter 4 & 5 in which the practitioner pulls and pushes at various spiritual notions - traditionally called Desire & Ill Will. Very common in the field, (and this forum) and can have some stuck for decades. I guess everyone has a particular kind of dance to dance out, even if it might look a bit like a daddy longlegs undergoing a full-on seizure on ecstasy - who cares! (Daddy longlegs is a colloquial term for a crane fly, which looks rather like a spider with very long legs)

I've been guiding people via email through the fetters, in which we work through each fetter methodically, one-by-one. Furthermore, I show them how to look into their experience and what to look for. Once you see the illusion, it can not stand up to conscious scrutiny, so it collapses. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 6:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 6:26 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Hi Bardo! Good to hear from you! I came to think of you the other day, wondering how you were. 

Yeah, I do struggle with the all too human patterns of existence. Going through them systematically sounds like it might be a good idea. I'm broke and in dept, though, and I imagine it would be a lot of work for someone to go through my crap. I can't with good conscience expect anyone to do that when I don't have anything to offer in return. 

Is agitation ill will even when it's not directed towards anyone? How so? Is any discontent ill will? Including restlessness?

Lately I'm working at least partly within the framework of the Recognition Sutras, which as you probably know is nondual Shaiva tantra, so I don't necessarily see strong feelings as a problem, but rather as a doorway if one manages to recognize emptiness and awareness in them. What is your take on that? 
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Bardo, modified 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 7:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/7/23 7:49 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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With the prevailing sense of self seen through, (1st, 2nd & 3rd fetters) one is given access to how it was able to produce a continuous flow of me-ness. In Buddhist terminology, they might say that your karma has been exposed. Fetter 4 & 5 is about how the mind pushes and pulls at its own illusions. They are considered the karma-creating fetters and why so many people are able to get emptiness, but then fall back into reactions. They haven’t sat with their stuff; they haven’t truly felt.

So, Ill Will doesn’t have to be directed towards anyone to perform the function of holding you captive inside a six sense experience. Regardless, when you are angry towards a person, you are only angry at your own internal conceptions, at yourself. The person isn’t actually there in the way the mind tries to conceive of them. Discontent can be helpful, but it can also be an egotistical inversion, where the mind tries to attack itself in the face of its own demise.

This pushing and pulling was formed as a child after the world was fragmented into a lavish array of forms or perceptions (6th & 7th fetter). Suddenly, there were things to acquire, but those things appear only as mental constructs. Fetters 4 & 5 are actually one fetter, but expressed behaviourally at two extremes.

Therefore, fetters 4 and 5 are only an outward display of an internal struggle. They are a reaction to the uncomfortable fact that the reactor itself is being exposed as illusory, but mistaken as a need to find an external resolve through spiritual traditions. That’s the disappointment that many don’t want to face, that where they're going won’t lead anywhere, they won’t get anything.

Agitation can be a reaction, even if it’s not directed towards anyone. Striving for refined states of consciousness can also be a reaction, which aims to keep the practitioner searching for something tangible. That’s the path for some people, to develop evermore refined states of consciousness, but the six-sense consciousnesses can stop operating entirely, and nothing needs to be searched for any more

Nothing actually wrong with feelings and sensations! Strong feelings present a doorway into seeing where the reactor lies. The reactor is something central to experience. Strong feelings bring forth an opportunity to look for that sense of what seems to think it owns them and reacts from them, and creates the illusion of separation. Because it’s an illusion, it can’t be found.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:04 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:04 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Lately I have felt resistance towards getting into narratives about my practice. Hence my silence. Sorry abut that.

I have had the experience of receiving teachings in a dream. The dream pointers were nonverbal and I can’t really put them into words, so any attempt on my part to explain them will most likely distort them, but they seemed to be reminders of how to drop layers after layers of constructs and get into jhana as a tool to deepen my practice again. I don’t know whether there was "someone" actually teaching me or of it was my subconscious reminding me of what I already knew or if I was sort of co-experiencing the meditation that my partner was doing at the time (with only an ocean and a continent between us). I just know that I was somehow shown in my experience how to go about it, and I understood the procedure clearly. I recognized it from before. I just hadn’t paid attention exactly to those steps of it as tech.

In the dream I co-experienced calling up the first and second jhana, and it worked instantly. It was a relatively hard vipassana jhana version of them both. It was at least partly about how to relate to the visual field behind closed eyelids. Something about how it’s supposed to feel, kinesthetically, when you truly let go of being the subject that sees stuff as objects. And what qualities of the experience that accompany those different steps. It was also a sense of... I don't know, sinking back in the headspace? The pointers were especially helpful because they weren't words but experiential, so verbal concepts didn’t block the direct experience. That makes it hard to explain them, though. Anyway, I have been playing with these pointers since I received them.
I have had instances of a very clear and bright and centered nimitta, but not quite as stable as to get absorbed into it. I have had instances of absorption without the nimitta. I have also had a sense of freefalling. The quality of my sits has varied, though. At times the challenges of daily life have stressed me out too much for me to focus as much as I would like. That's got to be okay. 

In another dream I was lucid for a while after wondering where the f-ck I had ended up, because I seemed to be in the midst of some crazy-ass birth ritual, with people getting into trance states. I realized it was a dream and thought what the heck, I might as well join in, and so I did. Unfortunately then I lost lucidity and I can't recall what came out of the ritual. 

Following the dream pointers (not from the birth ritual but those in the section above that), tuning into the kinesthetic feel, I suddenly found myself getting sucked into what felt like a specific area in my head, briefly, and then bounced out. In talking to my practice partner right before we sat, he had mentioned a tech for tuning into a specific part of the brain that is said to lead to Niroda Samapati (I'm not even sure how to spell that thing, lol). I had been sceptical, honestly, so I didn't intend to try it, but my subconscious seemed to pick up on it, and it found some area in the head space that clearly lead to something. There was a very complete blackening and a sense of all systems starting to shut down, one by one, like a huge power outage. It was interrupted by a knee jerk reaction. I wouldn't say it was fear as much as, well, doubt. Like a "You've got to be kidding me! Come on, it can't be that easy!" knee jerk reaction. Apparently it wasn't that easy, though, because I haven't been able to find it again. I talked to Michael Taft about it, and he said it sounded like NS territory and encouraged me to explore it further. I don't know what to believe, but I'll try to find my way back, because regardless of what it is, it's interesting. Michael said that it's possible to find areas for different jhanas there in the headspace, especially the formless realms, and that they really take on a realm quality when you tune into them that way. Cessations can be called up that way too, he said. 

In my experience, the distinction between darkness and brightness falls away already in the first formless realm, so I don't think NS can be black. But I guess the early threshold could be, before getting past layers of conceptualization.

My pawo is coming to stay with me for almost three months. It has taken lots of work to make it happen, but we finally made it! Wohoo! 

I have signed up for Michael Taft's new course Tantra 1. Still doing the RtS class. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:08 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:08 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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That's a beautiful write-up! Thankyou! And so sorry for not thanking you earlier!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 3:50 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:14 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Before the dream pointers, I had a bit of a daily life breakthrough with regard to the anxiety and avoidance behavior that my deficits in executive functioning so often lead to. I managed to break some habitual patterns. Not done with it, though (whatever that would be). Those issues are deeply rooted. 
Olivier S, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 5:29 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 5:28 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

Posts: 950 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
...it found some area in the head space that clearly lead to something. There was a very complete blackening and a sense of all systems starting to shut down, one by one, like a huge power outage. It was interrupted by a knee jerk reaction. I wouldn't say it was fear as much as, well, doubt. Like a "You've got to be kidding me! Come on, it can't be that easy!" knee jerk reaction. 
Hi Linda !

Nice to read your log again.

Can I ask where that head space was located and what it was like to focus on it ? What did you do ?

I ask because something similar would happen to me regularly in meditation sessions when I was sort of meditating regularly for a bit recently, and it was really interesting (not interesting enough that I explored it further, though emoticon ), so, comparing notes.

All good wishes emoticon

O


  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 8:40 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 8:40 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Hi Olivier and thanks! 

Well, it only happened to me once, and I haven't found it again, so it seems like I don't know where it is.

The way I remember it, it was sort of in the middle of the head, but I'm really not sure at all. It was all so sudden and brief, and I just stumbled into it. I wish I could contribute with more details. 

I wouldn't say that I was focusing on that area, really. That feels misleading. It was more like I was coming from it, if that makes any sense. In one sense it really felt like a specific part of the brain. In another sense, it was like that was a hole that everything else was projected around. But I don't know how much of that is solely retrospective fabrications. Do you remember more specific details? I wouldn't mind some help finding it again. 
Olivier S, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:33 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:29 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Hmm I believe that leading up to the instance I am talking about, there was a sense of immersion in the visual field, and at the same time a very panoramic presence, a "one big sense door with no boundaries between modalities" kind of thing, but also a lot of intentional focus on the breath, and a deliberate energizing of a "spot", but with the sense that there was actually no breath and that I could just chose to experience the breath anywhere in space. For some reason I was attracted to a spot that was represented as being somewhere around the forehead, but inside the head, above the eyes, in some way. There were a mix of tactile and spatial elements to the spot. Putting more intensity or energy in the observation would, during this period, rapidly produce large blobs of moving light at the back of my eyelids start moving around, a sense of everything swirling in the entire space around the attentional focus point, things like that - for some reason I was attracted to this whole "closed eyes visual field" and putting a lot of energy in a single focal point to see what that would do. Several times I got this "dimensional" feel with these sorts of experiences, ie, it felt like other realms were available right there, physically present nearby, sort of hanging out, and that there was a paper thing wall between "this current world" and other, unknown, dimensions.

Then the thing I am talking about was like there was an huge darkness starting to engulf everything, starting "underneath me", but in a transmodal way, ie, it was both in the visual field a complete blob of darkness slowly moving upwards and engulfing the whole field, but it was also seemingly doing the same within the body/sense of space/proprioception field, ie a sort of nothingness starting "at the bottom" and periphery of space and deleting everything, moving upward through space, through the body, through the visual and mental fields, etc.

As was common with meditation experiences during this period of a few days where I meditated every day, there was a distinctly dimensional sense to it, paradoxically, as it felt, very definitely, from the very start, that that engulfing nothingness was another realm of existence that was pouring into, or rather taking over everything in "this" realm, but that there was nothing in the other realm. I stopped this at some point, because it got to a point where I didn't want to go further into this.

Then, I think I opened my eyes, and all sensations, body, vision, etc., were basically "cancelled" out, ie not moving yet still manifest, with a deep sense of flatness to everything, and even a sense of everything sort of being made of cardboard or something like that, sort of an unreal feeling.

That was slightly unpleasant, but overall the hedonic tone of the experience was extremely neutral, in fact in some ways it is hard to imagine something more quiet and with an absence of quality as that sort of experience, which I am sure could be taken to a deeper level. But I think this happened on just a random early evening sit, perhaps even only a few minutes into a sit, so it was a bit much as I was just wanting to casually meditate and then this creeps up on me. This is a time of my life where I am absorbed in work, not in meditative explorations, which might explain my lack of attempts to deepen the explorations of these interesting territories...

It was also progressive, though somewhat rapid, not sudden/discontinuous.

​​​​​​​Ok, I guess that's about all I can remember for now. Does that sound familiar ?

 
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Pawel K, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:57 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:57 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Hello Linda,
Good to see you back. This place feels pretty empty without you!

For me it is not so much about where it is in the brain but having right focus while having already proper "middle way" mind which is itself a kind of right focus, one which already allows doing jhanas much easier.
Otherwise yes, you found something important. Keep the good insight goin!

This place in brain and its NS relation I am not too sure because I kinda do not experience much of body/mind anyways but I mean in general, cessation of mind, formless jhanas, that kind of stuff. I would have to wear too tight shoes to experience NS relief kind of situation... or in this case too large shoes or in totally normal case one shoe at a time and not even knowing it ;)

BTW Last URL in OP is incorrectly formatted emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:05 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:05 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Thanks so much for sharing, Olivier!

What you describe in your first paragraph sounds like it has commonalities with what I experienced in the "dream teachings" and my practice the following days. I think I may have said some of the things you write there when I have been talking to my practice partner, so yeah, it does sound familiar.

As for the blackness and power outage part of it, I did not register as much details as you report, but yeah, the blackness was definitely both visual and encompassing all the sense modalities. It did have sort of a blobby character moving upwards from the bottom, although I'm not sure it started in the periphery for me. Hopefully I'll get more chances to observe it. The power outage was gradual, in a stepwise way. Trying to recall it, it reminds me of in films where there is a massive power outage that spreads over a city one chunk at a time, like BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM. It was gradual but fast and rhythmical. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:28 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/17/23 1:28 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Aaaw, thankyou Ni Nurta! <3  I'm taking that as a heartwarming compliment even though emptiness is generally seen as something positive here. ;-) 

Thanks for your pointers! Yes, it feels like trying to find a specific place, spatially, is a detour, because that's not how it happened. I was just trying to tune into that relaxed space of not-doing that I was reminded of in the dream. The space showed up on its own and sort of took over. If it could find itself like that before, it probably can again. It might take some time, though. 

As for feeling that NS and all the other stuff is like wearing too tight shoes, that sounds awesome. I can only gratulate. 

Thanks for noticing the problem with the link! I corrected it (I hope). 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/19/23 9:45 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/19/23 9:44 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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For context, here's a post that was originally posted in my log. I'm linking to it here so as not to miss the pointers.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/25469253
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/19/23 9:54 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/19/23 9:54 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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The last couple of days I have felt the need to go back to basics in my practice, with shamatha on the breath and seeing the emptiness of whatever papancha arises. The narrow mind was starting to think it had to do the meditation, and that doesn't work that well, so assigning it the task of staying with the breath and deconstructing its detours is helpful, because it makes it stay out of the way. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/21/23 8:00 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/21/23 7:59 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I forgot to mention that during the American father's day (even though I'm not American), my subconscious decided that it was a good time to bring up some dad memories vividly during and after a sit. Those were sort of trauma memories. They hadn't been repressed, but I had been distanced from them. Now they were sort of more raw, but not in a painful way. It started with music, the music that my dad would listen to over and over again at a high volume while drinking, with me as his little 4-year-old (and growing) therapist listening to his life story for probably at least 100 times. During and after the sit I could experience it without a distancing wall between me and the experience and without that subtle burning and nagging sensation that would accompany it when it was less distanced. I could feel love towards the both of us.

Yeaterday really early morning I had an amazing long reclining "untangling" session together with my pawo on video chat. My body fell asleep but awareness stayed bright. There were lots of untangling and untensing going on. Tensions were realeasing that I hadn't known to be there. They were dissolved into light. Light would burst out and the overall background was getting brighter and brighter as well. It felt incredibly healing. 

I was trying to repeat the same thing later, and it sucked bigtime, lol. Let's just say that the combination of reobservation territory, pms, contracting fascia, autistic hypersensitivity of the skin and little metal clasps on your bra/top is not the most peaceful combination. I was not able to empty it out, but was super-grumpy. My entire body was itching and I couldn't lie still but scratched myself and stretched to get relief from the burning nerve pain emmanating from the contracted fascia. After 75 minutes I gave up and got up to change into a seamless top and soothed myself with an audiobook before I went to bed, and then it was over. During my check-in in the RtS class I could laugh at it. 

Michael encourages me to continue to deepen my practice of awareness in sleep, as he thinks it's a very powerful thing that deepens your awakening and helps you penetrate trough the substrate consciousness and eventually have the Buddha nature realizing itself. It's funny that I seem to be more awakened in my sleep than when I'm awake. Well, some of my sleep, anyway. Most of my sleep is still oblivion and pretty mundane dreams. My most common nightmares are about logistics. 

At the end of the class I had moved out into my little garden, as it was almost bright as a day and very peaceful out there. At this time of the year, already at the start of the class - 2.30 am - the sky is getting brighter, so when the class ends 90 minutes later it's pretty darn bright out there. After the class I just sat there, taking in the aliveness around me. The birds were singing and my three cats kept me company. After I while my pawo kept me company as well, on vc. Then I went back to bed.

When it was time for him to get up before work, afternoon for me, we sat together again. I was focusing on the vibrations that the breath makes in the sinuses behind my forehead, and how that transforms the breath into flourescent light and a sense of a mantra reverberating there behind the forehead. There was a sense of something dripping behind the skin of the forehead and the temples, accompanied by blissful sensations and a subtle notion of being high. Thoughts did still come up, but without the sense of them being important. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 12:19 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 12:14 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Midsummer night dream yoga
June 23rd-24th, 2023


Did an hour of gentle yoga in the morning. 

Afternoon: went to a forest lake. It was a somewhat long ride, first with a tram and then with a bus. I started out distracting myself with an audiobook (fiction, not dharma) but soon felt that it was tiresome filling myself up with entertainment. I have done that too much lately. Instead I just stayed present, and that felt much better. I was surprised how pleasant and spacious it was, how that had been available without me noticing.

Eventually while waiting for a bus I picked up the dharma book I had brought along, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. There I found hands-on-instructions, and took great joy in reading them. 
I missed the bus stop for the lake I had planned to go to but decided to go to another lake instead. The walk from the bus stop was lovely. The nature by the lake just wow. 

Tried out a visualization from the book.

Mainly just allowed myself to be one with the nature and the elements while regarding it all as a vivid dream and rejoycing in the miracle of it. 


Evening, at home - Preliminary work, Preparing for bedtime:

Yoga

Reviewing the day as dream

9 breathings of purification, Gury yoga and inner refuge (guided session, Ligmincha learning, then another inner refuge one, also Ligmincha learning). 

Almost midnight! Where did the time go?


Part 1, developing peacefulness

Lying in lion posture on my left side, according to instructions for women (I thought that was likely the closest approximation of where I fit into those binary instructions). Visualizing a red four-petal lotus in throat chakra, with syllables on each petal, focusing on a translucent Tibetan syllable A standing on the lotus, picking up the vibrant red color. Immersing myself in the peaceful read light. Subtle breathing. Some disturbances from discomfort. Energies were not happy with lying on my left side. Pain. Redirected myself back to the visualization over and over again. Fell asleep.


Part 2, increasing clarity

I had set an alarm for two hours. Checked the instructions. Same position. Breathing tech, holding breath gently above the navel while sort of sucking up the perineum, then relaxing and letting go. 7 times. Visualizing and feeling a bright white tigle at the third eye.

Lying on my left side was getting more and more uncomfortable. It didn’t feel right, energetically. It built up, accumulated. Shooting (or rippling) pain. Eventually I allowed myself to switch to lying on my right side. That was so much better. I thought to myself that as far as the Tibetan tradition goes, apparently energetically I’m a man. I was sceptical about the idea that the energy channels would be reversed for women anyway. Besides, I consider myself non-binary. I had just tried to adapt to the instructions. Lying on my right side, it was much easier to get a feel for the white tigle and soak myself into the white light. I very soon fell asleep. I can’t recall any special experiences from that. 


Part 3, developing power/strength

Here I didn’t set another alarm. I was tired and my motivation faltered a bit. I thought that I had lost focus on the bright tigle at the third eye too much, so maybe I should just keep going with that to make sure I didn’t miss that aspect. Then I changed my mind, partly because changing the position of my body felt appealing. So I got back to the instructions to check the details. 

I got to lay on my back, with high pillows and my legs loosely crossed. Finally a comfortable position. Visualizing a luminous black Hung at the heart, with blackness penetrating my entire body. I fell back to sleep.

I think this is where I had a dream involving my previous job at the University. I was writing a thesis all over again. I was talking to a couple of (a few?) colleagues, at least one of which was not really from that context but from early school years. (This anachronism is a dream sign that I will in the future be mindful of.) We were talking about another colleague, one of my favorite ones (so kind and so brilliant!) I had secretly had a crush on him. Someone mentioned that he was hot, and the girl from school laughed and blushed and looked super embarassed, so we assumed she thought so too, but when she was able to talk, she said with strong emphasis that she didn’t think so at all and that she couldn’t imagine what we saw in him. I was surprised. Then we talked about his wife, and I was genuinely happy for him. 

In another scene I was about to deliver a text for an important seminar. I thought I really needed more substantial analyses, but then I remembered that I had just started, and yet there was a promising body of text there. Too long, actually, around 150 pages. It might be hard for people to read it on such a short notice. I recalled having read such long texts as a commentator before, and that went well. That was several weeks’ notice, though, and this was just a few days. I said that it had been a later seminar, closer to the finish line. The professor said that actually the feedback is more important in the beginning of the process. There were further interactions with two of my old professors. I can’t recall the details. 

I was woken up by cats wanting to get in or out.


Part 4, developing fearlessness

For this part I didn’t reread the instructions. I remembered that I was supposed to visualize and feel and become one with a black tigle at the sacred chakra. It felt good, and so I immediately got absorbed in jhanic dream visions. First some kind of primordial-looking symbol appeared. I think there might have been a few of those appearing. Then playing cards appeared, one at a time. One of them had a hand-written note in blue ink from one of my former research informants, a message to someone that she couldn’t be there. IHere I almost got redirected into a regular dream, but I noticed it and reminded myself to focus and to tune into wrathful aspects. I embraced a fearless stance and prepared mentally for the ride. 
​​​​​​​
Now a large number of cards were shown to me in rapid succesion. They all portrayed a male being together with words. Most of the words were black-and-white generalizations like ”always” and ”never”. Maybe there were also word like ”must” and ”should”; not sure. The man on the cards looked fierce and I guess you could say wrathful. He wore modern clothes rather than anything a wrathful deity would be portrayed in. He was somehow challenging me, and I thought ”Hell yeah”. Then he started to shove the cards into my mouth. I accepted and eagerly started to munch on them. Then suddenly instead he started to push them at my throat, from the outside, at the area where someone would effectively choke you. I was scared, and I was choking, but I accepted and decided to breath in the cards, and so I did. Immediately  I could easily breathe. I woke up and felt rejuvinated and invigorated and so f-ing grateful. I said ”Wow!” and ”Thankyou!” over and over again.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 1:08 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 1:08 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I think the words on the cards involved lots of hyperboles, along with superlative adjectives. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 5:40 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 5:40 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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The cards with the wrathful deity and the words on them may still have been playing cards, dressed cards with the wrathful deity as a king or a knight or perhaps more likely a joker. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 6:09 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 6:09 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Part of me suspects that the tradition renders women’s channels being mirrored because male practicioners don’t want their partners to turn their back to them in bed while practicing together.
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Aeon , modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 7:55 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 7:55 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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To confirm your intuition, the taoist book I have mentions lying on the right being appropriate when raising energy.
Their reasoning is that other postures unduly stresses the heart, and in my experience, that feels correct.
Just my 2 cents.
Always love reading your logs, they are so colorful and unpredictable!
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Aeon , modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 8:02 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 8:02 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I realize these descriptions could be Barnum statements, but sometimes this dictionary helps me make sense of dreams. Thought you might enjoy:

From DreamMoods.com/dreamdictionary

Cards
To dream that you are playing a game of cards represents your ability to strategize in various areas of your life. In particular, diamonds indicate wealth and materialism, clubs indicate work and industry, hearts indicate happiness in love, and spades indicate troubling times and disappointments.
To dream that you are shuffling cards signifies indecision. You need to reevaluate your choices. 
In particular, dreaming of the king of heart card symbolizes a compassionate male figure in your life. It may also mean that you are that compassionate person. 

Choking
Choking dreams are often a fearful experience and it is not uncommon for dreamers to awaken from them. To dream that you are choking on an object suggests that you may find some advice/remarks/situation hard to swallow or difficult to accept. Alternatively, you may feel that you are unable to completely express yourself in a situation. In particular, if you are choking on food, then it may be an expression of self-guilt and unnurtured feelings. If you are choking on smoke, then it indicates something you are unwilling to confront.
To dream that someone is choking you indicates that you are suppressing your emotions. You have difficulties in expressing your fears, anger, or love. Consider the phrase "being all choked up". Alternatively, you may feel that you are being prevented or restricted from freely expressing yourself.
To dream that you are choking someone signifies feelings of aggression. You may be trying to prevent something from being said or revealed.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:19 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:19 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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During the Midsummer night, a wrathful deity appeared in a vision as a joker in the pack, literally, and almost choked me with my own hyperboles. It was so cool!!!

#things you can only mention to other practicioners 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:22 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:22 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Thanks! Yeah, I have heard that from yoga teachers too. Then again, I have also heard some saying that it depends on your sex/gender. So I don't know if the sex difference is more of a construction that anything else, or if I just found energetic "proof" that there is something (albeit not a thing) to being non-binary.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:28 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/24/23 9:28 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Thanks! i enjoy reading about symbols and what they are associated with in different contexts. I think our subconscious often draws on various resources when communicating.

Fun observation: I did not choke thanks to not ​​​​​​​suppressing it. I chose to embrace it and breathed it in. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 6/29/23 4:45 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/29/23 4:45 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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The last few days meditation has more or less been doing itself. I get this sense of being pulled in, and in one sense it doesn't feel located at all while in another sense it feels like the pull comes from the part of the brain that is directly connected to the spine. I have yet to be fully drawn into it, but when I tune into it and go for the ride, it feels like layers of something are peeled off and the ground is falling away. It's very rejuvinating.

The day directly following the Midsummer night was a bit wobbly, though. It seems I was cycling the dukka ñanas a lot, with A&P showing up regularly as well. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 9:15 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 9:15 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Current main practice, developed from the last few days' unstructured practice. I will try this out for a while as a daily thing.

Minimum : 45 minutes
Position: sitting unless bodily pain or agitation warrants reclining

preliminary:
1. Grounding myself by briefly checking in with all the senses
2. Checking in with all the elements (around me or in me, their qualities)

main:
3. Listen to the awakening process! Just really really listen! Open curious explorative stance, yet with a distinct focus. The point isn't to hear something, or find some truth, but to fully open myself to "the mystery" without reifying some specific state. It's sort of an inquiry without a question. 

So far I find that it silence the monkey mind and takes away restlessless. It's deeply relaxing and yet alert. 

If possible, do this more than once per day and add brief sessions on top of the longer sits. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 12:41 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 12:41 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Second 45 min sit for today with "listening to the process":

Not as focused as the previous sit. This time there were brief instances of straying away from the task, mainly logistics about stuff I need to do. At one point just before the bell rang I also went on a little bird rescue mission, as sounds from outside made me think that one of my cats was slaughtering some young bird fresh from the nest (lots of adult birds were very upset), but it turned out that all of my cats were safely inside and I couldn't identify any other suspect.

Apart from those interferences, these simple instructions help me stay on track. The active listening, or whatever I should call it, efficiently emtpies out and silences irrelevant noice in the mind in a way that focusing on the breath or a fire flame or whatever does not. My mind seems to think that it can lazily keep such objects (the latter ones) as an anchor while at the same time entertaining itself or occupying itself with stuff. That kind of hubris does however not include listening for "instructions". I can't listen and think about stuff at the same time. Thus, a listening stance helps.

The listening stance makes the sinuses pop open. Sometimes they pop open all at once, and other times it happens gradually with a rhythmical tick-tocking. There is a lot of flourescent violet appearing in the visual field.  My hands were hot and heavy and sort of dissolved into my thighs. Brief moments of lightheadedness. A sense of not having anything to hold on to, something I have come to find more and more pleasant and less and less jarring. A sense of falling and keeping falling. Weightlessness. Also a sense of something falling away, maybe layer by layer, but that's vague. I can't pinpoint what is falling away. I think I could also describe it as a movement getting closer and closer to something, even though I can't really say that there is something there to reach for. There's just a subjective experience of some kind of movement that in one sense has a direction and in another sense lacks direction. Some people talk about a deep sense of stillness, and I guess I'm not there, because for me there is movement going on. I do find it peaceful, but there is very subtle agitation in it as it is sort of trying to get somewhere. There is energy moving around. Overall there is a sense of lightness and soft silkiness. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 5:45 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/3/23 5:45 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Did a third sit like that before going to bed.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago at 7/5/23 7:14 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/5/23 7:14 AM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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Yesterday:

One 10 minutes session
One 45 minutes session
One session slightly longer than 45 minutes 

Describing the listening stance and thereby in some sense turning it into "A Method" created a bit of conceptual overlay that I need to let go of before I can let go into the stance in the sessions. It still works, just noting that. 

For some reason in the evening I had lots of childhood memories coming up, memories that would sound really traumatic when told to an outsider but I remembered them with love. There was an intimacy with them rather than the intellecualizing distance I applied to them while growing up. As flawed as some interactions with me as a small child were, they were also deeply human and beautiful in their own way, and not inherently harmful. 

This night I did the dreamyoga practice again, the one with alarms to wake up regularly, for four different parts. I started when it was already past midnight, so I didn't do most of the preliminaries. I did summarize the day as dream but didn't do any guru yoga or refuge prayer. I went through with all the steps of the practice during the night, and I enjoyed it, even though my ability to stay with the focus varied a lot. I have no fireworks to report. I did have a pretty intense dream in the third part of the practice. That part is supposed to be about empowerment and security. In my dream I was super-autistic, in a more stereotypical way than is the case for me, and there were people taunting me for it, but I remained equanimous and did not get triggered. I also swimmed in ice-cold water with ice flakes all around me, like a winter bath, and enjoyed it. Later, in the morning (while sleeping in after all the interruptions) I had very mundane dreams with mundane complications.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 10 Months ago at 7/9/23 7:41 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/9/23 7:37 PM

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 17

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I'm in a bit of a sweetspot practice-wise. Not fireworksy but spacious and with little flashes of a sense of insight. There is sometimes access to jhana. I get pretty clear and concentrated nimittas at times, but there is room for improvement in getting them to stabilize for a longer time span. The elements connecting part in my practice has taken on a realms quality, offering instant access to entirely different experiences of reality. I find it interesting to note that with my partner here, my relationship to the elements has changed. There is more access to fire, which was previously somewhat lacking. Air is spontaneous and flexible rather than scattered. Overall it feels like a more fullspectrum experience and more vivid while also more balanced, for both of us. Maybe it takes another energetically turbulent and sensitive person to balance one such person. 

Lately I have noticed that while I still get pulled out of spaciousness and my closest approximation of awake awareness, it seems like I'm getting better at noticing it early on and find a way back in. 

I have realized that for the purpose of getting into lower jhanas and using them as fuel for higher jhanas, I actually tend to breathe too slowly. While breathing slower is helpful for most people, to get into heartrate variability, there is a minimum speed to get the intensity needed. The course Tantra 1 with Michael Taft will (cautiously) work a lot with intensifying tech such as pranayama so it sounds like it's going to be spot on. 

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