Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Mr. Pixel Practice Log Mr Pixel 8/5/23 10:41 PM
RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Alexandra F. 8/6/23 12:50 PM
RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Mr Pixel 8/6/23 6:48 PM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log shargrol 9/3/23 7:12 PM
RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Mr Pixel 9/5/23 11:46 PM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Mr Pixel 9/11/23 4:30 PM
RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log shargrol 9/11/23 6:07 PM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 9/12/23 2:34 AM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log shargrol 9/12/23 5:59 AM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 9/12/23 6:50 AM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 10/16/23 2:29 AM
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RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Mr Pixel 5/6/24 5:41 PM
RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log Papa Che Dusko 5/6/24 6:10 PM
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/5/23 10:41 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/5/23 10:40 PM

Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I was debating on whether or not to start this practice log but ultimately decided for it. I'm going to try to post my results at the end of each day. I have a quite a bit of practice under my belt and am currently trying to stabilize into EQ. EQ is not a very consistent occurrence for me.

I live in Portland OR so there are a lot of sanghas to choose from. I sit with quite a few groups and end up sitting for 1-2 hours a day. I'd like to get my off-cushion practice solid. I still have a lot of sensual desires like food, low doses of daily nicotine, caffeine, and youtube.

For off cushion practice I use a 30 minute repeating timer to remind me to check in for 5 minutes. Meditating 5 minutes every 30 minutes comes out to 2.66 hours of meditation per day assuming one is awake for 16 hours. Now that I do the math, that's a lot of time spent in informal practice.

My primary focus in mindfulness of breath and opening up to desire/discomfort (I'm currently really curious about the relationship between aversion and desire).

This is my practice log.
Alexandra F, modified 11 Months ago at 8/6/23 12:50 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/6/23 12:50 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/4/23 Recent Posts
Hi Mr. Pixel!

2.6 hours every day is quite impressive, in my humble opinion! Good luck with stabilizing EQ emoticon
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/6/23 6:48 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/6/23 6:48 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thank you! Just note that I am not committing to that much but if I were to hit every 30 minute mark it would be quite a bit of meditation. We'll see how it goes.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 6:47 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 6:47 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I found the timer to be very helpful yesterday. In my morning sits, normally I'll only deal with one or two cravings in a 1 hour period. By setting the alarm, I was able to sit with cravings many times throughout the day. It almost seems that this timer trick is more beneficial than long sits in the morning. But, I'm going to keep doing both for now to see what I learn.

What I noticed is that I have a tendency to smoke, eat sugar, and watch youtube whenever there is discomfort in the body.

This morning I woke up with anxiety. I have a feeling that I'm in dark night territory and have been for a while. I think what triggered it is having a few drinks on Thursday night. It normally takes about a week to get alcohol out of my system. I regret having those drinks.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 7:59 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 7:56 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
One of the things I've been noticing the last couple of days is how the mind wants to do, do, do. My mind makes plans for the future. Especially when it comes to spiritual practice. I want to try this technique, and that technique, but I have no idea what I'm doing. I have come to realize that the mind is not a great tool for navigating the spiritual terrain, not to mention life in general. I suppose it is best not to listen to it.

A moment ago I sat down with a pen and I wanted to see what happenend if I only wrote two things. Questions and things that I have observed or know to be true. This was an interesting exercise. I think it's more important to ask questions that it is to assume anything. Definitely don't give much attention to what the mind believes.

One of the other things I've noticed is that I have a tendency to be hard on myself. I try to set too many goals at once and nothing ever gets accomplished. I wonder what happens if I drop my attention into the body whenever I find my mind planning, strategizing, or wanting to do this or that in the future. I also wonder if this whole movement of forward thinking is simply another manifestion of the aversion/desire dynamic. Wanting to feel good while trying to avoid feeling bad.

One of the things I've been wondering is if I should stop smoking pot completely. I don't smoke it often but I can tell that I am attached to it. If I feel the need to smoke it more than once a week then I think I should drop it all together. I find something interesting though, when smoked infrequently, pot seems to heighten my awareness of my own mechanics (mind and emotions). This is the primary reason I don't want to give it up. I tend to have interesting insights when I'm in this state. But, I need to be honest with myself. If something is harmful to me or my practice it has to go.
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Chris M, modified 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 8:26 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/7/23 8:26 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 5327 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
The mind is all about preserving, protecting, and defending an assumed permanent, unchanging "me." So it does all that planning in support of the goal of self-preservation. Congrats on having this supremely valuable insight!
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/8/23 7:18 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/8/23 7:18 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Thanks Chris.

Yesterday I decided to give up pot so I rolled one last joint and said goodbye. I slept like shit so I'm glad to be done with that stuff. Hopefully letting it go will be releatively easy.

I sat with my zen group in the morning. One hour was pretty rough. I felt very restless and very tired. I'm glad I got a full hour in though, it seemed to set a nice pace for the day. Experience was rather spacious and pleasant throughout the day. Phenomena obviously ephemeral and impermanent. It felt really good.

The 30 minute timer that I decided to use works great! So many times I have discovered some sort of emotional or physical discomfort when the alarm went off. No wonder I'm so attached to pleasure. An interesting question came up for me and that was, is there always some form of emotional or phsycial discomfort present? Because right now it seems so.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/8/23 11:44 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/8/23 11:44 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Not too much to report.

I sat for an hour with my group this morning, then sat with another group in the evening. It's nice to have spiritual community. This is a new thing for me as I've only been in Portland for a month now.

I continue to enjoy the timer. It has proven to be fruitful. I am much more aware of discomfort in the body now. Any time there is a craving there is usually some discomfort that is present. And, just being with that discomfort eases the mind and slows down the spinning.

Until tomorrow.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/9/23 10:45 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/9/23 10:45 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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I did not sleep well last night so today was rough. I was really sensitive to caffeine today. One cup of coffee in the morning and one cup of tea early afternoon made me feel manic. It was very difficult to be present. I think the cup of tea put me over the edge. I will not make that mistake again. I am reminded of this post because I tend to have very rapid depressive/manic cycles. I'm not sure if I have bipolar disorder or if this is dark night cycling.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/12/23 7:47 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/12/23 7:47 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I decided to smoke pot yesterday and oh boy was that a bad idea. I was slow, unmotivated, and my mindfulness went to complete shit. I will not do that again.

One thing I've noticed since starting this thread is that my motivation to practice is going diminishing. It feels like resistance. Like, I had committed to something I didn't realize was so difficult. I'm going to remind myself to keep going gently but firmly. My first mentor used to say, "go straight. don't know. keep going."
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/14/23 10:50 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/14/23 10:50 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Yesterday I was depressed and unmotivated. I tried to go to a morning and an evening meditation session at a couple different zen centers but was late leaving the house so I never made it. I only got about 10 minutes of sitting in yesterday.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/14/23 10:27 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/14/23 10:27 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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If there is one thing this practice log has taught me is how my commitment level has changed since I've started. I feel much less excited about moving forward. In fact, I'm feeling a little burnt. Not sure if I need to slow down or if I need to renew my commitment. I hear, "Keep going." But damn, this is really hard.

Anyways, I sat for an hour this morning with the Zen center and did 15 minutes of chanting. It went by pretty quickly but I wouldn't say that it was pleasant. I still wonder, is suffering always present?
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/15/23 7:29 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/15/23 7:29 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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I was reflecting on desire and suffering today. I tend to avoid discomfort by:
- Smoking cigs
- Drinking (sometimes)
- Caffeine (when I don't want to feel tired)
- Youtube
- Food
- Chasing enlightenment
- Taking naps
​​​​​​​- Smoking pot
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/15/23 7:30 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/15/23 7:30 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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I need to remind myself to slow down. I tend to hurry a lot. It's difficult to be present when I'm in a hurry. I feel so much more at peace when I can chill the eff out and take my time at the task at hand. I need to remember that all of life is practice.
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Mr Pixel, modified 11 Months ago at 8/17/23 11:16 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 8/17/23 11:14 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I met with my new therapist yesterday. We just had our third session. I'm very excited about this new relationship because he's been a practicing Theravada Buddhist for a long time. Yesterday we discussed the importance of sleep, exercise, and diet which was super interesting. He's being very supportive of my health journey and is encouraging me to start making art again. I feel very inspired.

I got an hour of meditation in with the zen center and started experimenting with breath meditation rather than noting and OH MY GOD is breath meditation amazing. My mind was in a state of calm all day yesterday. I'm going to see about combining breath meditation with noting. Something like Samatha-Vipassana.

I'm excited for this Saturday, we are doing a day long retreat with meditation from 8am to 3pm.

EDIT: I forgot to mention how I'm incorporating exercise into my practice. I alternate running and lifting for a total of 6 days of exercise per week. It's been a month and a half since I started and I am def seeing some results. I feel physically and mentally stronger. I'm hoping that my dopamine levels will stabilize. Time will tell.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 8/19/23 1:00 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/19/23 12:59 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Morning was pretty strong with an hour and fifteen minutes of formal meditation. 

Today was mostly a day for self care. I ate healthy, played with the cat, and cleaned and organized. I had lunch with a dharma friend (and ate french fries, ok not so healthy at lunch). I also took a nap.

I found some reading helpful and inspiring. I'm currently reading MCTB 2.

I did some light meditation this evening, but on reflecting now, I should have taken more mindfulness breaks. I can work on that tomorrow.

For some reason I can't sleep right now which is unusual, maybe the nap messed up my rythm.

Time for some meditation until I fall asleep.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 8/19/23 6:41 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/19/23 6:41 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Practice totally went to shit today. I was def cycling through the dukkha nanas. I seem to have popped out but this round was a bitch. Lots of anger towards people who have wronged me came up and I was filled to the brim with anxiety, depression, and self-judgement. Looking forward to getting some sleep and starting fresh tomorrow.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 8/20/23 10:18 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/20/23 10:18 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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I sat for an hour this morning with a new sangha. I am learning that breath meditation is the most beneficial for me right now. I am now in EQ. It's not a deep EQ but experience is spacious and pleasant. Not blissful, but pleasant.

Concentration is what I need so I am going to stick with it. Hopefully I won't become a bliss junkie but I don't think I have to worry too much about that. All I really want is truth.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 8/31/23 12:51 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/31/23 12:47 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Since my last post I've been sitting anywhere from 1-2 hours a day. I have to admit that my off-cushion mindfulness is not that strong. Something to work on going forward.

My approach has been gentle. I've mostly been doing breathing exercises. In the dukkha nanas it makes no sense to work on concentration. Attention is total shit, so I find that soothing the mind with the breath is the most fruitful approach until the dark shit passes.

That said, I am in EQ and have been so for a couple of days. It feels nice to be free from depression ans anxiety. Experience has soft, pleasant, and spacious qualities. At times I feel like I'm looking at a movie screen. I believe the illusory nature of duality is beginning to become clear.

I remain very curious as to what reality actually is.

EDIT: I have a 3 day retreat coming up from 9/8 to 9/11, then a 5 day retreat from 9/12 to 9/17. If I don't fuck things up from now until the first and second retreat things should get really interesting after spending 8 days silence.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/3/23 4:05 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/3/23 4:05 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Ok so I learned that I can't drink at all anymore. There's something up with my sensitivity. It used to be that I'd go to a dark place after having several drinks. But the other day I had 1.5 beers, and, after the comedown I instantly dropped into dark night. It seems that I'm popping out of it today and am in a low grade level of EQ. Experience again feels spacious, pleasant, and interesting. I just need to stop making mistakes that drop me into dark night.
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/3/23 7:12 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/3/23 7:12 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounding good. Best wishes for your retreats!&nbsp;<br /><br /> 
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/5/23 11:46 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/5/23 11:46 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Thank you
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/5/23 11:48 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/5/23 11:48 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Ok so there has definitely been a shift. This is EQ for sure. I was able to sit for hours today. It felt really good to sit in silence.

Really looking forward to the retreat on Friday.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 4:30 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 4:30 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I just wrapped up the first of the retreats, the three day retreat. Let's just say that things did not go as I hoped. Despite my efforts to prep for the retreat this week by meditating more than usual, I experienced anything but EQ during the retreat. There was confusion, anxiety, anger, and fatigue. It was misery. On the final day, today, I finally popped out and am experiencing a rather pleasant existence. I am in EQ.

The second retreat, the five day, starts tomorrow. I hope that I can approach this with more equanimity than the last.
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 6:07 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 5:27 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nicely done. Sounds like you did a bit of housekeeping and maybe got some reactivity out of the system. emoticon

Just remember, the difficult stuff is where the real learning takes place. Directly experiencing this stuff in our meditation is 100000 times more effective than reading/thinking about it. When the difficult stuff happens, take the position of "the observer" of the difficult stuff and get curious about it. Resisting what is already happening only makes it worse. (As they say in psychology, "what you resist, persists".) When you can be the observer and see confusion as confusion, anxiety as anxiety, anger as anger, fatigue as fatigue... it becomes a little less personal.

"You" are not confused, but the body and mind is. "You" are not anxious, but the body and mind is. Etc. Etc. See if you can notice the individual sensations and emotions and thoughts that make up "confusion". It's not one single solid thing --- it's a dance of events within the body. If you see all the pieces, it doesn't become a big pile of freak-out. Same thing with anxiety, anger, and fatigue. All of those are actually endlessly fascinating. 

Once you get the hang of looking at it this way, at some point you might even want this stuff to arise, just so that you can investigate it! Reobservation can be a very bizarre and almost exhilerating feeling of turbulance, almost like the A&P, when the difficult stuff is experienced very directly, very closely, very intimately.

It's also helpful if you see how silly it all is. This poor mind freaking out about stuff when you're just sitting in a perfectly safe room with nothing to do! emoticon Remembering this silliness really helps. And then it's possible to have compassion for the poor try-too-hard and freakout-too-easy parts of our mind. These parts are like little children going through growing pains. And we just have to be the loving parent that observes intimately and watches the child grow up. It can be amazing how a grown adult can be turned into a weepy mess when they directly experiences how vulnerable parts of the psyche is. But that's just the way this meditation thing happens sometimes. It's okay. If there was a magical way to just wave a wand and fix everything it would be great, but instead we have to go through this very weird and humbling process of sitting with ourself with nothing to distract us from what's there.

Of course, it might be out of your system and the next retreat is just delicious and expansive equanimity. That's cool too! Just remember to do the same thing: see all the individual sensations and emotions and thoughts that make up Equanimity. Things like calm and ease and peace and space can also be investigated. Don't make the assumption that "you" are calm and at ease and peaceful and spacious --- these are also things that can be observed. So make sure to keep investigating in EQ and even investigating the sensations and emotions and thoughts that seem to be associated with "the observer".  EQ can feel kind of trippy with a sense of being the observer of an observer -- wild stuff!

Best wishes. Take it easy, practice gently but consistently. Try not to take things too personally and see if you can find a way to laugh a little at the absurdity of it all. emoticon Only meditators can appreciate meditation and only people who have been on retreat can appreciate how challenging and rewarding it is to be on retreat.

​​​​​​​Congratulations for making the time and commitment to your practice!
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 9:03 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/11/23 9:03 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
You have a way with words shargrol. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I just had some insight. I realized that most of the suffering I experienced was due to the resistance. As it turns out, I am not in the clear yet. I'm still processing some difficult stuff. The difference is that there is more space around these feelings. It was all the struggle and resistance that made retreat so rough.

Anyways, I will try drop back into the witness position tomorrow and onward. If I'm feeling anything like I do now it will be easier to investigate. When the body and mind is in fight or flight mode it can really difficult to just observe.

Deep breathing is what saved me on the final day of the retreat. That is one thing I did get out of the retreat. I was able to sharpen a tool or two from my toolbox.

​​​​​​​When suffering hits level 10/10 just breathe baby. Lol.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 2:34 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 2:32 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"When the body and mind is in fight or flight mode it can really difficult to just observe.

Deep breathing is what saved me on the final day of the retreat. That is one thing I did get out of the retreat. I was able to sharpen a tool or two from my toolbox."

Hi Pixel and nice work! 

When mind-body is in fight or flight mode we can note "difficulty to observe, dull, hard to concentrate, self-pitty, sadness, unpleasant, desire for all to just stop or be better, aversion, body sensations of sadness etc ..." 

What "saved" helped me during my very heavy re-observation back in 2019 was shouting out aloud the matter of fact notes/labels of what was experienced (I was on the verge to start crying and my face was violently cringing) Did this shouting aloud Just to keep me on the seat as I was so close to roll up the mat and give up emoticon It helped. 
But you can't do that on a group retreat so well done for making the breathing work that time! 

Wishing you all the best! 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 2:51 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 2:51 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Just to add to my post; 

About that aloud shouting "tool". I doubt it can be of benefit post SE.
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 5:59 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 5:57 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
To add on for Mr. P: remember that "desire for deliverance" is a state too. That whole wanting this to go away, wanting it to be better, developing strategies and manipulations to work on the the problem --- that's the desire for deliverance nana. When you can see all the struggle and problem-solving as struggle and problem solving in the body/mind, you are 99% through it.

"Desire for deliverance" feels very close to being a good meditator -- lots of talking to yourself, lots of thoughts about meditation maps and ways to the next nana, so smart and so clever, yet so desperate --- but that too needs to be seen just as it is by "the observer". Notice how this poor little mind is trying to be such a good meditator but it is making it complicated for himself by doing anything except simply noticing and noting what is occuring right now, just as it is. You can note "wanting it to be over", you can note "wanting to fix this", you can note "meditation mapping", you can note "meditation strategies", "future thoughts", "planning thoughts", "judgement thoughts", etc etc. 

Then usually reobservation hits (and it's like desire for deliverance times three) and it feels like too much and total defeat and you want to give up --- so good, give up! But don't leave the retreat. Just give up trying to change things and keep sitting. You haven't lost. You're just not struggling anymore. Aha! Aha! You're not struggling any more!!! Just stay on retreat, lick your wounds a little without being dramatic about it... and notice how easy things are when you give up. emoticon That's usually when BIG equanimity hits again.

​​​​​​​Hope this helps.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:37 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:37 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
shargrol:
Then usually reobservation hits (and it's like desire for deliverance times three) and it feels like too much and total defeat and you want to give up
<br />I'm pretty sure that was me yesterday.<br /><br />Does it matter if the mind is moving so fast that it's difficult to note? Will noting get me through dark night quicker? I usually just breathe and pay attention to sensations in the body. I don't note thoughts very well because the mind is so busy it's hard to keep up.
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:38 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:38 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

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Thanks Papa Che Dusko. Will def keep yelling in mind. I sure as hell wanted to yell yesterday at retreat.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:50 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 6:47 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
When I was going through that rather rough experience thinking I will go insane, I did shout out notes 1-3 notes per second. I did lean into it all as the shouting was so audible it was motivating to keep at it. 

I didn't do it to fix stuff but to rather keep my ars on the cushion sensing the urge to get up and run away emoticon 

Noting silently or noting aloud is still very much the same. As long it's matter of fact. 

My mind kept looping some assumption about a red car about to pass our house on the road. I could not see this road of course but it kept on and on with mind images and anticipation on on and on again. It felt like I'm to snap and go insane. But then after the 45 minutes sit the alarm went off and that was about it. I survived, and was not insane (or so I believe) emoticon 

After this low EQ opened up and stuff developed from there. In this part it's of great importance not to cling to the EQ Nana, as in, out of fear of falling back into the Re-observation. It's ok. Just gently keep noting the qualities of the EQ Nana. Look around it as if entering a space of sorts. Matter of fact noticing/noting. Gently.

​​​​​​​Best wishes! 
shargrol, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 7:51 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 7:01 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Mr Pixel
shargrolThen usually reobservation hits (and it's like desire for deliverance times three) and it feels like too much and total defeat and you want to give up

I'm pretty sure that was me yesterday.

Does it matter if the mind is moving so fast that it's difficult to note? Will noting get me through dark night quicker? I usually just breathe and pay attention to sensations in the body. I don't note thoughts very well because the mind is so busy it's hard to keep up.


AHA --- be very very wary of the idea of "getting through the dark night FASTER". That's the ego sneaking into the game. What you want to focus on is "learning from the dark night BETTER". The dark night is where we truly learn to drop our attempts at manipulating our experience. If we resist what is occuring, then the dark night is a suck fest. If we go with what is occuring, then the dark night becomes jhanic. So really, the dark night is teaching us to let go. Frankly, most of us wouldn't let go unless we were forced to in this way. (I remember someone saying something like, "everything I've eventually let go of has left a trail of clawmarks behind it. emoticon emoticon )

The trick with thoughts is to note broad categories of thinking. So just every 15 seconds or so, note the general theme of what you are thinking about. Come up with your own categories of thought. I've tended to use "planning thought" "judging thought" "past regret thought" "future worry thought" "comparison thought" "meditation mapping thought" "better performance thought" --- make up a few broad categories, including the categories of thought that tend to really trap you. What you don't want to do is come up with a note "this is the thought where I remember about that time when my family forgot about me in the car on that hot summer day..."  emoticon This is too long of a note and it just turns into more thinking. You would want to use something like "past abandonment thought". Basically, you are using your intellect in a way that simply and objectively describes what your mind is doing as if you were observing it from afar. 

The whole point of noting thoughts is you don't repress them, you don't indulge them, you observe them and you make a general note about them so you don't get totally sucked into them. This helps you to be an "objective observer" of your own mind.

Remember that "reobservation" is also called the "rolling up the mat" stage in Zen. It's when people leave the temple. But it's so ironic because it's sort of the last stand of the ego before it becomes accepting and broad minded. If you quit, then the childish ego gets to stay in control and you don't develop an adult equanimity with your own body/mind. 

Here's another very important quote that has helped me a lot in the past. It's from Tarin, from the early days of DhO:

“the dark night territory - particularly late dark night - has a habit of making me unsure which methods are best to employ in practice. should i note? should i use open awareness? should i pay attention to the wide vibrations? should i go with the discomfort? should i observe the questioning? etc etc. i would feel very dissatisfied with anything i tried. eventually i realised that the nature of re-observation to was to have a cow with anything and everything and when i realised this it mattered a whole lot less what i did since i knew i would have no way of knowing if it was effective practice or not! regardless, my recommendation would be to note or observe frustration, pain, doubt, boredom, distraction, gaming, predicting, expecting, etc etc when and where they arise and make sure - i mean really make fucking sure - that if you're killing yourself trying to meditate that you note that too emoticon

Hope this helps!
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Mr Pixel, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 10:50 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 10:50 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Shargrol and Papa,<br />Both of those posts are going to be very helpful going into this retreat. The mind is very clear right now, but if I fall back into DN I will remember what I read here. I'll report back on Sunday.<br /><br />Cheers
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 12:54 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 9/12/23 12:52 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Is it a solo retreat? 

Be gentle to yourself and only ever keep noting or noticing what actually is happening. Do not go into wishful thinking. And if you do emoticon NOTE it emoticon All experience can be used for awakening. 

If stuff gets too hectic bring attention back to the body sensations. Body sensations are a great starting and re-starting point. And there is always an aspect with the body even in EQ it can feel like space but in other Nanas it certainly offers experiential richness to be noted. 

If concenteation is gone don't chase it! emoticon Instead note the qualities/feeling tones and mind states of that dull inability to concentrate. 

Long story short, emoticon remain in Acceptance of any and all matter of fact arise-passing phenomena. 

Be gentle and work the sits but cut yourself a slack when off cushion. It's not a military boot camp! 

​​​​​​​Best wishes! 
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 7:36 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 7:36 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Okay, I got back from retreat #2. It was a 5-day retreat at a zen monastery. It was a wonderful experience. That said, I was still cycling through the ñanas. I think I hit reobservation twice. Maybe once. Not sure but there were a couple of really dark stretches of retreat.

I didn't have the same gung-ho resolve at this retreat as I did at the previous retreat. This one was more about allowing rather than forcing. Then again, I was also really tired from retreat #1 so toning down the effort seemed called for.

I had hoped to hit really deep/high EQ but that really only occurred once. You know that feeling when you sit and your mind says "Thank you". The sits where you crave silence immediately after come out of it. It's almost like quenching a deep thirst you didn't know you had. Yeah, that happened once. The mind got very concentrated... then the bell rung.

There were other sits where I'd be bummed when the sit was over. The last two hours of the retreat were bilssful. I didn't want to stop sitting.

Now for the crappy stuff...

I can't say for sure, but I think this retreat was all about detoxing from nicotine. I didn't realize how addicted I was to nicotine lozenges until the cravings came up during retreat. Now that I've detoxed, I will not be picking that up again. I am now officially 100% nicotine free and it feels really good.

That said, withdrawal was a bitch. Anxieity was the predominant experience during this retreat. There was EQ along with the anxiety at times, where the anxiety didn't really bother me, but the anxiety was preventing me from going deep into concentration. There was no storyline. 
By that I mean there were no conscious fears. There were just visceral sensations in the body.

I spoke with the teacher about the anxiety and she suggested that it was likely fear of no self. Or fear of emptiness. She seemed to understand the DN/EQ territory very well. She at least knew that I was teetering on that edge.

Speaking of teachers... I think I found a teacher. I sent him an email before retreat and had a nice response waiting in my inbox when I returned. He was a teacher at the monastery. Now he does meditation coaching. I heard a couple of his talks on emptiness and really dig his clarity and his teaching style. He is someone I admire very deeply. We are supposed to talk on the phone this week to find out if we are a good fit for each other which I suppose is a wise thing to do.

Now for what will happen post-retreat. "Further." I'm going to steal that motto from Jed McKenna. Further is the battle cry. Whatever momentum I gained during the retreat I vow to maintain as time progresses. So as for schedule I'll be sitting 45 minutes 3x per day. I also plan on using my meditation time but with a minor adjustment. Instead of sitting for 5 minutes every 30 minutes I'm going to sit for 10-ish minutes every hour. I find 10 minutes has a deeper impact than 5 minutes. I am very blessed to live where I live. With the zen center and the monastery I can sit with a group every morning and every night of the week. It is amazing to have the support of a sangha. If any of you can find a way to establish membership with a supportive sangha that you actually like I would encourage that you do whatever it takes to find and be with one. Move across country if you need to. It is worth the effort and investment.

And finally, I wanted to mention a bit about monastic life. I WANT TO LIVE IN A MONASTERY!!!

I'm going to apply for residency at the monastery I just did retreat at. As it turns out, I know the head honcho at the monastery who approves/ disapproves the monastery applications.

That said, I don't have the funds just yet. It's not that residency is expensive. Residency is only $600 per month. I can swing that if I save up. I will have to sell my car. I will have to find a caretaker for my cat (aka my mom). Uprooting my life will be one hell of a deal and it is also scary to think of hitting the pause button on my career, but it's time to wake up! And, who knows, maybe monastic life is what my calling is.

And finally, there are more retreats coming up. This particular monastery has a retreat every month that is open to the public. I just don't think I can take any more time off of work. If the retreats allow part time participation (so I can work 5-6 hours in the day time), then I'm on board.

I hope you all had an amazing week. Remember to keep practicing.
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 10:22 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 10:22 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
One more thing. I'm finding it extraordinarily difficult to get out of my head. The content is more pleasant. I feel highly energized, creative, happy, loving, and motivated to live life. It's just that getting out of my head is really difficult. I am easily distracted by thought and actions.

I am still not good at using the tools of mindfulness. I really like noting and breath work so I'm going to really work no these tools. I like to use them in combination. The breath calms the mind and the noting draws me into the present. I wonder if other people on this forum have a similar experience.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 11:06 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/18/23 11:06 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Well done on cutting the nicotine out of your life! emoticon 
I know first hand what a bitch nicotine is, both for health and finance! Im
glad I stopped. And yes it was difficult but worthwhile! 

Best wishes for your journey! 
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 9/21/23 7:06 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/21/23 7:06 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks Papa Che Dusko!
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 9/24/23 8:04 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/24/23 8:04 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I started working with a teacher and so far it has proven to be beneficial. A lot of confusion has cleared up.

He told me that he requires his students to meditate at least an hour a day. But he also said that it's difficult to make progress unless you are meditating 1.5 hours per day which I thought was interesting. I didn't express this to him, but the goal is to get up to 2 hours consistently. I've probably been averaging about 1.25 hours per day since I started this thread.

Right now we are working on developing concentration. In his opinion, developing concentration is best developed by choosing a visual object like a candle. I keep a flower sitting in my meditation area, I'm just going to focus on that. When I'm not on the cushion I'll use the feet as a medition object. Unless I'm doing back flips or summersaults the feet are always touching the ground (or the bed if I'm lying down).

Today I start walking meditation. I live in a very beautiful wooded area so I'm going to take one hour walks. I just bought some waterproof shoes so I can walk in the rain (it rains 9 months out of the year here).

I lost a lot of my sitting power since the retreat last weekend. Yesterday I only meditated for 30 minutes. I feel very restless today. Today I'm doing a mini solo retreat. I'll get 3 hours of sitting in today plus my one hour walk.

That's my checkin for today.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago at 9/24/23 9:31 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 9/24/23 9:29 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
During my work with Kenneth Folk for 5-6 months, my longest session was 60 minutes. Mostly 45 minutes 2 to 3 times a day. Daily. 

I didn't need to sit longer. But I was noting 3-5 sensations a second most of the sits without getting lost or sidetracked. If the concentration was bad I would note all the sensations and feelings and mind states associated with "bad concentration" hence really emoticon it was not bad at all emoticon 

Just to share my experience. I'm not saying don't sit 1.5-2 hours in one go. Do as you feel inspired but dont go  quantity over quality. 

​​​​​​​Best wishes! 
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 10/8/23 5:37 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 10/8/23 5:37 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks Papa
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Mr Pixel, modified 9 Months ago at 10/15/23 8:14 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 10/15/23 8:14 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I mentioned that I started working with a teacher. I feel like I made a good choice. Right now we are working on developing concentration power. I start a retreat tomorrow which will go for 7 days. This is a longer one for me but I'll only be able to sit part time. I will still be getting 4-5 hours of formal, seated meditation per day as well as an hour of walking in my free time. I'm going to try and make the most of this retreat.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago at 10/16/23 2:29 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 10/16/23 2:29 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Best wishes! 
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Mr Pixel, modified 8 Months ago at 10/27/23 10:36 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 10/27/23 10:36 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Ok so the meditation retreat was great but I ended up getting Covid the following day (Monday). Tuesday and Wednesday were the worst, I felt like I got hit by a cement truck. Lol.

Most of the symptoms have subsided and I seem to be in a lower state of EQ. It feels nice.

Concentration is slowly improving but it's still not focused. My teacher has empasized the quality of patience. So... you're pretty much looking at a new, more patient man emoticon

Right now I'm meditating about an hour and a half to two hours a day but it is a challenge because I still feel some fatigue. I have been meditating with eyes open. My teacher has instructed me to do fire kasina or to stare at a colorful piece of paper while sitting. There was some resistance to this initially but I'm starting to get into it. With eyes closed I tend to get sleepy.

I signed up for one more retreat. This time I'll be doing it full time. It's a 6-day retreat starting on November 6th. I have a good feeling about this one. I am smoke free, I have a nifty new meditation practice, and if I test negative and my symptoms are gone I'll be able to do it at the monastery. If I'm still sick then I'll have to do it from home on zoom.

Until next time.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 10/28/23 1:35 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 10/28/23 1:35 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
+1 for "open eyes"

Best wishes to the new patient you emoticon 
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Mr Pixel, modified 8 Months ago at 10/31/23 12:08 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 10/31/23 12:08 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I tested positive for Covid last week and it has been a challenge to practice with such intense discomfort. I also hit reobservation once and was dealing with all 5 hindrances seemingly at once. Not fun.

I've been doing two 45 minute sits per day and it is paying off. I feel stronger. I'm less inclined to indulge in distractions and am more willing to sit with discomfort. I feel determined to see this through.

My and my teacher met this morning. He gave me some tips for the retreat coming next week. Working with him has been super helpful. I feel inspired.

This week I'm going to continue focusing on consistency in my practice.
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Mr Pixel, modified 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 5:41 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 5:41 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Ok I think I'm going to revive this thread. We'll see what happens.

My practice took a nose dive for a while and it seems I'm starting to get back on track. I realize that I had a drinking problem and needed to get help so I've been working with a therapist and going to AA meetings. I haven't had a drink in 2 months and March 1st is my sobriety date. Surprisingly, it wasn't difficult to quit once I got the support that I needed.

I haven't been meeting with my teacher primarily because I haven't had time and wanted to focus on sobriety. He also requires a minimum of 60 minutes of seated meditation per day from his students and I wasn't meeting that criteria.

I'm beginning to wonder if he's the right teacher for me because I like noting and breath meditation whereas he instructs me to concentrate with the visual plane of experience. I'm going to have a talk with him and see what he thinks.

I've been meditating for an hour in the mornings and have been trying to add a second sit for 30 mins in the evenings but this has been with varying consistency. I'd also like to start walking again for 30 minutes a day.

Since I started reading "Practical Insight Meditation" I am putting more emphasis on informal practice. Noting and breating throughout the day regardless of what I'm doing. I'll keep you posted on the results.

I'm also experimenting with three questions that I can ask myself on a moment to moment basis:
1. Who do I want to be in this moment? (To cut down on distractions and aversion. To live meaningfully.)
2. What is happening right now? (To draw attention to the moment)
3. What is this? (A question to bring curiosity to arising phenomena, in other words, to see things as they are)
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 6:10 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 6:10 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"I haven't been meeting with my teacher primarily because I haven't had time and wanted to focus on sobriety. He also requires a minimum of 60 minutes of seated meditation per day from his students and I wasn't meeting that criteria.

I'm beginning to wonder if he's the right teacher for me because I like noting and breath meditation whereas he instructs me to concentrate with the visual plane of experience."

60 minutes is not necessary daily. Chris Marti did 2x30 minutes daily and I would mostly do my favorite 45 minutes once or twice a day (many days only once. Also focusing only on visuals is limiting as there is an entire universe of stuff arise-passing. No wonder in Zen they say stuff like "myriads things arise-pass in one moment". 

Follow your gut feel and do what you feel is right for you! emoticon Get a daily practice going and you decide the duration of the sit and you decide what practice you want to do. Log it here and keep getting replies. You can try and ask Shargrol if he could find time to meet you online for a video chat. I've had one such chat with him and it was of great benefit to me. He however kept keeping an eye on me in my logs here and over on the Awake Network forum. 

I talk too much emoticon Best of luck! 
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Mr Pixel, modified 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 10:02 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 10:02 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks Che, good to hear from you.
I sat with my meditation group a bit ago and while I was seated I was wondering if I was committing to too much formal meditation. I'm not sure how sustainable two hours a day really is so I'm going to try to practice very dilgently off cushion. I do know that for now, seated meditation is a big help. I'm am excited to start adding walking to my routine. I think that is going to be a good practice for me.
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 11:44 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/6/24 11:44 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 905 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Good work on the sobriety! Nothing could have a bigger impact on your practice. And the fruits of practice make all the things that we can put in our body to change the way we feel or the things that we experience seem bush league. It takes a while, but we already know that you have perseverance. Stick with it!
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Mr Pixel, modified 2 Months ago at 5/7/24 5:15 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/7/24 5:15 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks, Martin
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Mr Pixel, modified 2 Months ago at 5/9/24 6:17 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/9/24 6:17 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I read a little more from Mahasi's PIM book this morning then sat for 25 minutes. Tonight I'm headed to the zendo for another 50 minutes of meditation.

Mindfulness was total shit today, I barely slept.

I found out the the medication I'm on causes insomnia for many people, so I talked to my psych about coming off of those meds. He thinks it's a good idea. I'll keep you guys posted on the results. I really need to get my sleep back in shape.

I'd like to start reading another book when I finish PIM. I'm interested in learning about the 6 realms but don't know of any good books on the subject. I currently have Seeing That Frees but haven't started reading it yet, I'll probably read that next. I don't need much more information, I'd like to keep my practice as simple as possible, but I do find that books keep me inspired and motivated to practice.

My practice at this point consists of noting and breathing, I'm trying to keep things simple and focus on developing strong "concentration" powers.

I'm going to try and make posting here a daily practice just to keep myself on track. My life is settling down after a lot of hectic events, so I'm ready to devote more energy and time into practice. Gotta stay focused!
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Mr Pixel, modified 2 Months ago at 5/10/24 9:49 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/10/24 9:49 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Here's my checkin for the day. I just finished a 50 minute sit with my morning meditation group. On Fridays we reflect on our practice for the week.

My intention on Monday was to take good care of myself this week. I didn't have the greatest week because there was quite a lot of anxiety and the week was turbulent with commitments and other life events. For example, I'm in the middle of job transition and am waiting to hear the results from a very stressful 5-part interview. I also had to lead an AA meeting which was I was dreading and was a huge source of anxiety. I should have set stronger boundaries with people vying for my time and attention. I need solitude to recharge.

I drank too much caffeine this week and ate a crappy diet. I find it really difficult to take care of my health when I feel overwhelmed and emotions are so strong. Today I'm going to go for a walk and will either sit with my evening group or go to an AA meeting. I may just take the evening off to continue down this path of recharging.

Right now it seems that the practice is deep breathing in order to soothe some of the anxious thoughts and feelings that are surging through the mind and body. If I had to guess, I'm somewhere in the desire for deliverance stage as I have a newly ererging commitment to practice. I hope that reobservation won't be too hellish.

I learned a lot this week about taking things slow, setting boundaries, and living simply. Going forward I'm going to drop some commitments and focus on solitude and a gentle but consistent practice.

​​​​​​​Until next time...
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 1:28 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 1:28 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
As I mentioned in another thread, I started a metta practice this morning. I decided to supplement my practice with metta in seeing how I'm currently struggling with addictions to nicotine, caffeine, and crappy foods. I have a tendency to be hard on myself and over exert myself in trying to fix things and that gets me nowhere.

I feel that what I really need is to get in touch with the heart. To anchor myself in the heart and to act from a place of love towards self. What better way to do that than with metta! I'm super curious to see where this leads. I'm looking forward to practicing with it more tomorrow morning. I'm not sure how much or how often I should practice metta but I'm sure that wisdom will come with time.

My life has been pretty hectice recently and I didn't have time to meet with my meditation teacher much over the last couple of months. I emailed him this morning and we are to resume our sessions next week. I'm going to float my intentions to him to hear what he thinks. Metta is not typically practiced in Zen to my knowledge, but this particular lineage does incorporate some Theravada practices. I have yet to hear his personal thoughts on this particular practice though.

I start a new job on June 10th after a rigourous series of interviews. The last two weeks have been stressful. It will be nice to complete this particular transition and settle into more stabiilty after years of self-employment and the uncertainty that comes with it. It will be nice to have more routine in my life as I tend to do better under those conditions.

I discovered that my old Zen practice center is holding a retreat on June 5-9th. I had committed to going camping that week but am considering breaking that commitment so I can get 4 solid days to practice metta at the retreat. I'll keep you guys posted with my decision.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 6:53 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 5:42 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
May Mr. Pixel be calm and at ease
May he be healthy, rested, and whole
May he be safe and protected from all forms of danger
May he bravely experience this present moment
  and wisely and objectively observe any reactivity
May he awaken
May he be free from suffering
May he be happy
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 10:33 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 10:33 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
shargrol
May Mr. Pixel be calm and at ease
May he be healthy, rested, and whole
May he be safe and protected from all forms of danger
May he bravely experience this present moment
  and wisely and objectively observe any reactivity
May he awaken
May he be free from suffering
May he be happy

+1 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 1:12 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 1:12 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 905 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
This is a nice one to have in your head for walking-around metta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5JAVk3Qwi8
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 6:22 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 6:22 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks everyone!
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/20/24 8:44 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/20/24 7:42 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I just got back from my mom's place after spending the weekend there. I managed to make pretty good progress. It was small progress, but the effects were huge. I cut back from taking 4mg nicotine tablets to 2mg nicotine tablets. My anxiety is gone. I didn't realize that 4mg was too much nicotine for me. As a frame of reference, cigarettes have 10-12 mg of nicotine.

I managed to get 1-1.5 hours of meditation per day while I was at my mom's place. I definitely went through dark night while I was there and popped out yesterday.

I wrote this poem about that journey from DN to EQ:

As the ground shifts
My legs move

Searching for solid ground
A familiar dance ensues

Future visions collapse
Uncertainty looms

Tired of fighting
Relaxation due

I remember that I’ve always been falling
​​​​​​​Clarity will dawn soon

~~

I shared about my addiction issues with my sangha on Saturday. This was the first time I opened up about it. It felt very freeing and I felt a lot of support from the group.

I'll be sitting with my other meditaiton group this morning. That will be 50 mins of sitting time. Then I'll sit with the same group this evening for another 45 mins.

I'm super stoked about tomorrow. I'll be meeting with my meditation teacher for the first time in a few months. At least, I think it's been that long. We are to resume our sessions together. I think the support and the relationship is very important for me right now as I stabilize in sobriety and move towards freedom from all addictions. I need all the help I can get.

I'm coming to love lovingkindness meditation. I've found it very beneficial. It's softened my approach to spiritual practice. I've been in a hurry to get somewhere, to free myself from suffering. To love myself is to allow myself to move through that suffering. To stop fighting. To surrender. And yet I must commit. I don't give up, I just allow the path to unfold as it may.

I've been reading a book by Sharon Sarlzberg called Lovingkindness. So far I like the reading. It seems just what I need.

My car is in the shop which is great! At first I was dreading not having a car but now I realize I can just stay home and meditate a lot. I'm so stoked!

My intention this week is to continue to practice lovingkindness and to abstain from addictive substances and to be GENTLE on myself.
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/21/24 2:51 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/21/24 2:51 PM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Meditation has been super pleasant and interesting the last couple of days. And then...

This morning I woke up at 2am. I'm not sure if I mentioned this yet but I have morning insomnia. I wake up every morning at 2-3am and can't get back to sleep. This has been going on over a year now. Super annoying, I hate being tired. Anyways, I did not want to sit with the group at 6am. Not only was I tired, but I had a lot of anxiety. I was anxious about nothing in particular. I sat anyways but could barely stay awake, attention was shit. I immediately went down for a nap afterwards.

I met with my meditation teacher after my nap. It was great to see him, we haven't met for a couple of months now. I told him how I have been using noting as part of my practice, and he's cool with it as long as I know that I'll eventually have to drop it as I progress down the path.

I talked to him about how my journey with addiction is going. He said he thinks it's important for me to practice with discomfort/aversion/desire. I'm to look at how desire arises in response to discomfort. He said to sit especially when I don't feel like it. We also talked about balancing gentleness with firmness. I need to be gentle with myself, but I also need to be somewhat firm. It's a delicate balance, sort of like a dance. "Meditation is alive," he says. I suppose we were talking about Right Effort. Although, we don't use such language in Zen.

He asked how my meditation went today. I told him how it was all bliss the last couple of days but today was total shit. He said not to make a big deal out of it and to keep going. He said that it is common for anxiety to kick up as silence deepens. He really empasized not making a big deal out of it.
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/25/24 7:35 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/25/24 7:35 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Wow, I did not realize how effective metta practice was as a method of concentration. My mind mind feels super focused when I sit and I'm not even trying. I am becoming a believer in the practice. I've also noticed how I have a tendency to take better care of myself. Metta has brought my actions into awareness and I feel more inclined to do the right thing at the right time. I haven't been practicing for long but am excited to continue down this trajectory.

I started a new practice of dimming lights, turning of the computer and phone, and replacing tech related distractions with stretching/yoga. My sleep for the last two evenings has been much better. I feel rested. It's difficult to tell if it's the stretching or the absitenence from screens that's made a difference, but the improved quality of sleep is a much welcomed change. I'm going to continue with this practice.
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/28/24 10:49 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/28/24 10:49 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I woke up with insomnia at 1am this morning so I sat for 30 minutes before getting tired again and going back to bed. I sat again for 50 minutes with my group when I woke up. This time I spent the whole session focusing on loving kindness because it was hard to get out of my head. I love how effective LKM is at soothing the mind. Even if I don't feel love and kindness it does settle the mind down.

I just got back from a one hour mindful walk through the neighborhood. I did some reflecting and some more metta along the way.

I reflected about about my life and my practice. My life is in really good shape right now. I have friends, a lot of support, a couple of hobbies I enjoy, and a decent paying job to support my life. I finally have some stability which means I can really dedicate my life to health and spiritual practices right now. Since my health isn't great, this is exactly what I need right now. Time and space to really take care of myself.

My metta practice is starting to take shape. I usually start with some generic verses like:

May I be healthy
May I be happy
May I be at ease

As the practice progresses and the mind settles it's easier to see what the mind is doing. Then I'll tailor the verses such that they work with whatever is arising in the mind. For example, today I was thinking about someone who said some really nasty things to me so I adjusted one of the lines to be:

May I feel loved

At another point in my sit I was feeling restless and uncomfortable. I was dealing with some challenging sensations in the body so I changed one line to:

May I be strong

I'll keep repeating these lines until something else comes up and I'll swap out one of the lines for a new one. I've really been enjoying this practice.

Today I meet with my therapist at 10:30 and then I meet with my meditation group at 6:30pm. I feel very blessed to have so much time to devote to practice right now.

Wishing everyone love and happiness
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 6:31 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 6:31 AM

RE: Mr. Pixel Practice Log

Posts: 61 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
I had an interesting session with a new psychiatrist today. I have been on bipolar meds for quite some time. After a 1 hour assessment he told me that he does not think I'm bipolar. If this is true, then I believe that what I experienced is dark night. The psych professionals have all been wrong.

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