LJs practice log

L J, modified 2 Months ago at 3/30/23 8:55 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/30/23 8:55 AM

LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hey everyone, I have been doing a log on the AwakeNetwork for a few days, and I thought I would extend it over to here as well so I can reach as many people as possible, as I know a lot of you only use this site. Still love this place, its where I first started logging almost three years ago!

So...I will post all the logs I have put so far down below and will post new updates every day about how my practice is going

Hopefully this log can help some of you in need, and hopefully some of you can give me advice where its needed

Wishing you all the best


Monday 8:49pm (27/03/2023)

Just sat now for an hour, started with 20 minutes of just noting silently "in" and "out". The concentration was okay, but didn't really get that deep with it since my partner was on the phone for the entire sit haha oh well. Anyway the noting wasn't great at all, lots of negativity and sadness arising, didn't really feel like I got in the "zone" like I usually do, but I know that this is perfectly fine so I just did my best to keep noting those crappy sensations. Will try and sit for another hour tonight before I go to bed.

Tuesday 12am (28/03/2023)

1 hour sit (kinda):

So...I was very tired, and I decided to just sit on the sofa and pay attention to the in and out breath whilst trying to silently note whatever came up. BAD IDEA. Basically just spent the entire sit falling in and out of sleep, just a miss mash of bad focus and frustration, not fun. Stopped at 40 minutes and decided to try and finish the following 20 minutes by doing noting aloud, still no good, just a big smoothie mix full of doubt, irritation, and more doubt...but hey ho...anicca always rears its head by giving you a great sit one day and a sit that'll make you wanna punch a hole in the wall the next :D

Anyways...time to watch some Naruto with the gf and go to bed.

Goodnight all! 

1 hour sit 10:40am-11:40am Tuesday 28/03/2023:

Decided to split this sit into three separate parts: starting with 20 minutes of noting, then 20 minutes shamatha, and 20 minutes of noting again.

The initial 20 minutes was great, nothing special, just noting: I even noticed contentment arise, even though nothing cool was happening, I was just okay with noting the sensations that were present with little pain doing so, which was nice.

The 20 minutes of shamatha wasn't great, kept almost falling asleep was I was sat on the sofa; gonna try my best to sit on a chair next sit later this evening.

The final 20 minutes was clearly affected by the poor concentration practice, felt as if the sail of my dharma boat wasn't getting any wind and just felt demotivated, of course I tried my best to notice and note this and I was noting 'discontentment' and 'craving something else' quite a lot. but overall, not a bad sit.

Onto the next one! :D

1 hour sit 8pm-9pm (Tuesday 28/03/2023)

So this sit can be summarised by one key word...AVERSION

started the sit with the intention of paying attention to the breath until I got relatively concentrated so I could move over to noting. I decided to sit on the edge of my chair with a rolled up towel to support my lower back (6 years of consistent weight lifting hasn't done my back a whole lotta good lol). When I started I felt super uncomfortable but kept going regardless, the concentration practice was awful and I was getting quite frustrated and bored with just looking at this in and out breath...might switch up to kasina for a bit to see if its more fun, anyone else done this?

So for the noting part, I decided to stand up to stop feeling so much pain, eventually sat down again once my feet were about to fall off my legs lol

Most of the noting involved negativity, boredom, craving this moment to be some other way, aversion, etc etc, but my mindset was quite different in the face of these sensations, instead of letting these sensations derail me, I decided to embrace them as best as I could despite how awful they felt, and it helped quite a lot and helped me see how many of my mental health issues are mainly caused by wanting this moment to be someway else, which is impossible!

I also spent some time focusing on how sensations just pop out of nothingness without "my" help and pass away back to that same nothing in the same fashion

I also noted lots of guilt and strange images surrounding past events that I can't quite remember fully where I did wrong to others, instead of letting myself spiral into anxiety and rumination, I just noted those images alongside the guilt they produced, I could also feel a sense that these images weren't happening or being experienced by someone inside the head, they were just happening and life was simply aware of them, quite a relief!

got to the point where aversion took me over and I checked the timer...ugh 12 minutes left

had the thought OF quitting it there but said fuck that! I'm doing this last 12 minutes even if it kills me! so I did. I kept noting those crappy sensations, all of that aversion, all of those mental impressions of that blissful chime noise of the final bell, and all that craving for the session to be over so I could sit down and write this.

Overall, a pretty bad feeling sit, but it was actually an awesome sit now that I look at it, the universe gave me a brilliant chance to face up to the occasion and to see how I am trying to manipulate reality in a way that is causing me endless suffering, so I would say quite productive overall!

Thank you all, wishing you well.


55 minute sit: Wednesday 29/03/23

So Instead of using the breath today to get concentrated I decided to sit and stare at a kasina (I used a white circle image that I found on google which had a small blackd dot in the middle). I stared at this for 30 minutes and found that it helped me get quite concentrated relatively quickly, for the rest of the sit I tried to do noting out loud, but my mind was simply not having it; it felt so dry and frustration inducing. It got to the point where the vocalisations where creating so much mind and body agony that I just said you know what, I will try it silently in my head, usually this would be a horrible idea and I would almost space out instantly, but since I was still staring at this kasina image on my laptop the concentration was there and I found that I could not silently quite easily with my eyes open, not sure why but I seem to prefer meditation with open eyes. So anyways, bit of a weird sit, oh well!

40 minute sit 30/03/2023 2:20am-3:00am

Actually had quite a good sit, I started with 20 minutes of concentration using a kasina from my laptop; I used a mantra where I would count to 5 and then say "black circle". this was because my kasina image is of a white circle with a black circle in the middle. This mantra worked quite well, because it gave my mind something to focus on which helped focus all of my attention into the black circle for a prolonged period of time, feel like I hit access concentration for sure on this one, the whole peripheral visual field went away at one point and it felt like I was in vr in this big black room just looking at the white circle with the black circle in the middle of it. Then I did noting, started off quite rocky but I started using the word "this is" in front of out loud labels. I often use the "there is" phrase, but "this is" pours equanimity into you because you realise that each nanosecond is a new moment, and whatever is arising in this nanosecond is it and can't possibly be some other way, its almost gets quite exciting like what is going to change in this next moment, when will this moment change to the next, etc etc.

So overall, quite good to be honest.

Love LJ
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 3/30/23 9:55 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/30/23 9:55 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Only a 40 minute sit today, will report more tomorrow!
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 7:52 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 7:38 AM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Unfortunately have not been practicing as much in the past few days, however, I did meet with a coach yesterday who I will not be naming for privacy reasons, and we discussed my practice history quite extensively. Afterwards we decided to up my concentration practice to 30 minutes per session with 30 minutes of noting afterwards, however, he really wants me to start by focusing on how sensations feel, whether they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. So for the first sit I only noted using these three possibilities. 

My first sit with this method happened yesterday and I will sum it up here:

shamatha part of the sit:  Honestly this was not that bad at all, was able to stay with the in and out breath for the majority of the sit, although I don't believe I developed access concentration because the concentration itself didnt feel sharp. I also did lose the breath completely probably twice for this part of the sit, so will definitely have to watch out for that!

Noting part of the sit: (noting out loud only) This part surpirsed me quite a bit, even though I was restricting myself to only using three notes, I found that I still was able to identify whether the sensation was a thought, a bodily sensation, etc (but still hard to determine the emotions being felt). Although I will say that just doing noting out loud using these labels is quite tedious and gets rather boring after a while (probably because I am not used to it) so inevitably I spaced out a few times, and had to try quite hard to keep up.

​​​​​​​Overall, not bad.
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 10:31 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 10:31 AM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Feeling lots and lots of frustration with a mix of sadness today. Not sure why but i epext its because my days mostly consist of the same shit aka studying and meditating all day every day whilst all my friends are on holiday. oh well
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 1:04 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 1:04 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Just sat for 45 minutes, was suposed to be an hour but I couldn't manage to pull through with the amount of frustration that was present during the sit, even to speak a word out loud produced so much anger and frustration it felt impossible to apply acceptance to it. However, the first 10 minutes of the sit felt very good, as I decided to try adding 10 minutes of metta to my 30 minute concentration portion to help in the morality front, as for my whole life I have always been super hard on myself, most of my life I have been beating myself up for mistakes and for not working hard enough, and that has hurt a lot more people than just myself. I just sat there with a smile and repeated the phrases:

"May i be happy"
"May i be healthy"
"May i dwell in safety"
"May i be free from all suffering"

After this I did 20 minutes of shamatha, and just trying to stay with the in and out breath by noting "in in in" and "out out out" for each breath cycle, but to no use as I basically spent the whole time falling asleep and waking up again, I also tried to just do regular noting out loud, but also kept falling asleep.

I have a feeling i might be falling asleep because I am sitting on my sofa (although very upright) whilst meditating. It is almost impossible for me to sit without back support as too much weight lifting has done me no good in that area. sitting without back support produces so much pain Its impossible to sit, but i guess I will get used to sitting on the sofa If i stick to it. I will try to sit later tonight and complete the entire hour no matter what.

By the way, do any of you read this log? just wondering if i can make some more friends with you guys on here, any replies would be appreciated emoticon

Love LJ
A K D, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:17 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:17 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 205 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Hello L J - frustration and self criticism are pretty normal experiences for many people. I have labored under similar behaviors and still do so even today. In my experience, it can be beneficial to figure out what is at the heart of such reactive patterns by questioning:
What emotions are present in experience?
What is our reaction to the present emotions?
What memories do we associate these reactions with?
What beliefs lie behind these reactive patterns - why do we feel these reactions to be necessary in order to properly navigate our lives?
What triggers these reactive patterns?  
Is there anything that we are hoping to get or something we are trying to avoid via this reaction? 
Can we connect with and simply be aware of the reactive pattern as it unfolds (tune into the physical aspects while letting the thought loops play in the background)?
Can we feel centered in this reaction?

More of a daily life question: Can get this task accomplished, simply, straightforwardly without using self criticism as fuel? Just an experiment to try out with simple tasks at first: can this plate be washed without self criticism? Can the trash be taken out without harshness? Etc.

All of these reactive patterns and beliefs systems that we have are structures of self that must be examined. 

Be kind to yourself! Gentle with yourself! And be kind and gentle with others - it sometimes allows you to be kinder to yourself in turn. It's okay to lighten up, have fun, and still be an effective person!

No worries about falling asleep on occasion - sometimes that's okay and that is your body's intelligence taking over assuming that you're not getting enough rest or sleeping well.

Good luck!
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:28 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:28 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks AKD, much appreciated words of advice, I feel as if most of my frustration comes from feeling less than everyone else on this site; everyone here has good concentration, has awakenings, has all these cool experiences, and yet I still feel like an awful meditator. I also suspect that I am unconciously expecting something great to happen every time I sit. I am aware that I should sit with no expectations of something happening, but its hard to really get underneath that desire even when noting it. tough stuff.
A K D, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:47 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 2:47 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 205 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
Hello L J, I have all of the same frustrations emoticon My meditative path has been very uneventful from a certain standpoint so I totally get it. A couple of thoughts:

-Just focus on today's sit(s) without worrying too much about awakening or progress - let whatever changes may occur happen in the background in their own time. All practice and 'progress' happens 'now' anyway so always just come back to 'here' & 'now'. 

-Dedicate the merrit of your sits for the benefit of all beings. If practice is self-centered, we are sorta reenforcing the very pattern/structure that we are trying to see through. This can also take some of the pressure off.

-I'd recommend getting a teacher you can work with if you don't already have one. Someone who is further along the path can help answer questions, help you work through doubts, will help you work through reactive patterns/obscurations, and they will be able to point out the nature of reality/mind and tweak your practice.
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 3:24 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/23 3:24 PM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks AKD, I have recently picked myself up a teacher who I will be touching in with every few weeks, we had our first chat yesterday and they are great! And yes you are right, all I can do is return to here and now no matter what. Wishing you well.
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/23 4:36 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/23 4:36 AM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Sat for an hour last night and it went really well...anicca showing itself all over!

started with 10 mins metta, went really well, could feel lots of pleasant vibrations in the face and smile and well being rose up quite naturally.

then 20 minutes concentration, was able to stay with the breath for the majority of the time, but did space out here and there, only difference is that the metta made me more loving towards myself, I didn't beat myself up for getting lost because it wasn't all up to me anyway, I just allowed it and kept breathing. all good!

Then finished with 30 minutes noting aloud. decided to do it with eyes open starting at a kasina spot about 6ft away from me. wow did this change things. Noting went really fast maybe even up to 4 sensations a second at one point, even the tiniest things felt objectified the moment they arose, and at one point I experienced very pleasant vibrations bubbling simultaneously all around my body. I would also inquire here or there by asking "who is seeing?" "who is talking?" "who is aware of this moment?" etc. This made things quite interesting, as I asked who is seeing, the whole visual field turned almost 2D like and seemed to be made up of like RGB colours only, almost like I was in some weird other world. I don't think this is anything crazy, just likely the result of my eyes not having blinked for like 5-10 minutes straight, but it was definitely cool to see. 

I don't know why noting with my eyes open is such a game changer for me, but I will definitely do this from now on!
L J, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/23 7:33 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/23 7:33 AM

RE: LJs practice log

Posts: 185 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Just sat now for an hour- first sit of the day: I will now be splitting up my log into three parts on here to make it easier to follow.

Metta (10 minutes): This was nice as usual, nothing special, just sending metta to myself by repeating kind phrases and smiling whilst doing so, creates a nice feeling that is very much essential for me at the moment, and gives me some strength for the rest of the sit

shamatha (20 minutes): Nothing special here, was able to stay with the breath but was very dull and spaced out a few times, started with just noting the in and out breath at the nose, and then tried descerning the beginning, middle, and end of each breath, then went back to the in and out breath. 

noting out loud with eyes open (30 minutes): This was quite harder than yesterday, anicca hello again :D but I realised something important that Kenneth said, doesn't matter whether the experiences are good or bad, just keep noting and objectifying and it will sort itself out. So I did my best, noted boredom, aversion to noting, dullness, more aversion, doubt about this technique, etc etc. Even used bystander noting at one point by saying "look how its" before notings.

Overall a meh sit, but I will take it!