Ashley's Practice Log 2

Ashley's Practice Log 2 Ashley K 8/24/23 7:25 AM
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Ashley K, modified 8 Months ago at 8/24/23 7:25 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 8/24/23 7:25 AM

Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Starting a new log only because the other one is getting very long.
Previous log: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/24853504


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8/15
30 minute sit.

8/16
20 minute sit in the afternoon.

8/17
30 minute sit before bed. Feeling not great indeed, definitely started out feeling miserable.

8/18
I feel like I'm just seeing the same stuff again, having same observations, same insights I've had before. Or maybe I'm seeing them more deeply, or in more things than before. I dunno. It's just the feeling like I have to look at the same thing a hundred or a thousand times to get it. Or like there is some slippery thing still hiding just out of sight I can't see or don't get yet.

I sat 35 minutes before bed and got very tired. I had more of those "fade out" moments and the familiar feeling of concentration seeming to "snap into place" along with buzzy sensations in my face and hands.

8/19
Off-cushion, I am feeling not so great again. Feeling weird and discombobulated again. Everything was great and smooth and enjoyable, now not so much. I am exhausted and getting frustrated with other people and mad at myself and not feeling good at all. I feel extremely bored and agitated and mildly depressed all at the same time.

I did sit before bed, I don't remember how long I sat. I felt only hints of emotional stuff early on, then there was almost no hint of anything emotional at all. Very smooth, no reacting, no turbulence. No subtle fear. More equanimous. At some point it felt like "I" was not quite there even though I was still aware. Driftier and daydreamier than usual but also feeling tired. It was harder to find the sense of self as any sensation was very quickly just seen as not me. 

8/20
I sat for almost an hour before bed. Little to no emotional stuff that I can remember, very calm and neutral feeling, spacing out here and there, some of the usual stuff. At some point near the end of the sit I remember feeling like I was able to be aware of all sounds at once. Very laidback, relaxed, easy, effortless open hearing. My usual experience of sensations is that my mind or whatever is constantly moving around from sensation to sensation and there is this subtle tension there in trying to "catch" and "note" every sensation I become aware of, and that tension/effort was relaxed here.

8/21
I sat just now 25 minutes and proceeded to get extremely sleepy and almost fell asleep a bunch of times. Whoops! I guess a nap might've been a better use of the time. I am having a lot of trouble focusing and getting anything done today... I just want to stare at the wall and space out today.

I did sit for 45 minutes before bed, though.

8/22
I feel calm and unhurried today, relaxed, very content to just do nothing at all. I am completely unfazed by things today. I feel mildly blissed out with a strong desire to do nothing but just sit, but of course still have to work and do all the daily life things.

I sat 35 minutes before bed.

8/23
I sat for 20 minutes this morning. It was easy to see the tension of trying to direct attention or drive the meditation. The best part of this practice though is that all I have to do is notice. I don't have to fix or solve or stop the tension (or whatever else I notice), just note it.

I sat another 30 minutes later in the morning, then did a sort of combo walking/sitting meditation for another 30 minutes at lunch time - although for that sit I got distracted quite a lot. I get distracted more easily when doing walking meditation.

I sat 55 minutes before bed, nothing really stood out, same sort of sit, just gentle noting!
Ashley K, modified 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 7:00 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 7:00 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
8/24
I sat for 20 minutes in the afternoon. I noted these pleasant sensations I was feeling in my head and also noted how I was enjoying/latching onto the pleasant experience of them, and after this the sensations faded. Then I felt rise up this strong bittersweet feeling. Then I pictured two things from childhood - the experience of lying down outside watching the clouds drift by, and the experience of listening to a rainstorm through the open window - and the associated feelings arose of not having a care in the world, the feeling like I have all the time in the world, that I don't have anywhere to be, and there's a softness to everything, it's calm, and it's quiet.

I still have these underlying feelings of... some kind of discontent, and bittersweet feelings. Something can't totally relax or feel totally comfortable at any given time.

Before my evening sit later on - I noticed that Teflon nonstick mind is back, who knows for how long. I then sat for 30 minutes, very calm, relaxed, light breath, thoughts mostly very far away. Near the end though I started a little mind wandering and daydreaming and was not noting or really practicing anymore.

There is less of the feeling of - being excited about equanimity and wanting to make it stick around. It's more like, just recognizing that it is here now, it's just another new thing happening, maybe it'll be something else tomorrow, and that's okay.

8/25
30 minute sit - the excessive heat today sapped my energy. Couldn't really concentrate or focus.

8/26
I sat 30 minutes tonight. Feeling that nothing is happening. Got really sleepy again, did the "I wonder what my next thought will be" thing a few times.

Part of me wanted to just give up tonight, but I didn't understand what exactly I was giving up. I don't know how to articulate it. I feel like I didn't have a choice in the matter and like I have to give up, but give up what exactly? I do not feel like stopping sitting or stopping noting practice, so it is not about giving up any of that, I will keep sitting daily and doing noting practice. I am giving up on something else and I felt sad about it. I really don't know. It just felt like I had to give something up and I don't even know what it is.

8/27
30 minute sit, a mix of noting and just sitting being aware of stuff.

8/28
I meditated this morning for 30 minutes. Trying not to control or direct. Just let things be. Note what there is to note. Just relax, just be. Some periods of mind wandering. Trying to let go of wanting the meditation to go a certain way, for it to be "good" whatever that happens to mean to me at the time, for certain things to happen, letting go of chasing certain experiences or clinging to certain sensations, or rejecting certain sensations that "shouldn't happen" during a good sit. I mean, I should know better by now lol. So trying to let go of all that and just let whatever happens, happen.

I meditated another 30 minutes before lunch, kinda same old sit.

I did a sit before bed and stopped naturally at 30 minutes, got too sleepy anyway. Just letting things be however they are. It felt like sounds were not "over there" or "out there", somehow I was expansive enough to encompass all sounds. At one point in the middle of mind wandering thinking about a work task, the visual field started softly glowing. I remember wondering why it started during mind wandering, like the meditation phenomena were continuing on regardless of what I was doing. That's all. Calm and relaxing, generally.

8/29
I sat 30 minutes in the afternoon. Real sleepy again. Tried to note, or at least notice, anyway.

Before bed, 30 minutes of noting without labeling. Neutral feeling, mostly felt neither pleased nor displeased with any sensations or experience, but with little waves of subtle emotions here and there. And also some overt feelings of anger and annoyance at people shooting fireworks for no apparent reason so late... I noted all that stuff. And a couple of times mind wandered into thinking about work stuff, for several minutes, until I realized and got back to gentle noting without labeling.

8/30
Feeling again that calmness where I have no idea how or why I am so calm, I just am. Some of the usual reactionary patterns/emotional responses are just gone. It is not flat at all, though. Today, I am way less triggered, offended, upset by things than is typically normal for me. Sometimes not triggered in any way at all. Very nice not to be constantly buffeted around by my emotions and reactive patterns!

I only meditated for 10 minutes this evening, for some reason that seemed like a perfectly fine amount of meditation and then I just went to sleep.

8/31
I feel a lot of resistance towards specific experiences/circumstances occuring today and that I'm anticipating coming up, that I prefer not to have to deal with. But, I'm not resisting the resistance, if that makes any sense. It's a little emptier and quieter somehow, but it's subtle. Although the narrator still goes on and on all the time. Some usual thoughts and feelings and reactions to things are just not there, but a lot still are there.

I sat for 35 minutes before bed.

9/1
I sat 40 minutes before bed.

9/2
Today was not a great day, I triggered myself emotionally on some dumb stuff, sent myself into a mood and was in a mood all day long. I couldn't get out of it, just feeling kind of frustrated, depressed, feeling very flat and lack of energy to do much. Can't think of a good word, best I can do is to say, "the opposite of chipper", lol.

I sat an hour before bed. For the first time in a while I did not get too sleepy. I recall having several different experiences that to me felt like shifts in concentration - it feels like just naturally slipping into some new or different level of concentration, usually with some sort of change in bodily sensations, such as buzzy feelings in hands or feet or head. This happened a few different times, though by the end of a sit I can't remember more details than that, that might help identify what the shifts are. I know there were some subtle emotions like sadness and feelings of irritation or frustration that I just sat with and noted, that all mellowed out and the second half of the sit was really just noting without labeling anything I could and not much really going on.

So, I just keep doing this forever?? lol. I guess I'm just not sure I'm doing "enough". But, I'll keep going.
 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 10:37 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 10:37 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Have you ever tried Shargrol's Tonglen practice?&nbsp;<br />It really helped me during times when stuff got heavy and miserable and dull and tired and all that nasty bits.&nbsp;<br /><br />Maybe it's in his blog collection made by Pepe but if interested I can try and explain it.&nbsp;<br /><br />It's a bit like noting but sinking more into the nasty feelings and holding also a very uplifting g compassionate gladness for others who do not suffer from such unpleasant feelings.&nbsp;<br /><br />Just an idea in case you feel stuck otherwise plow ahead with Noting. Noting is fine if you follow its tempo and not fight it. When dull the tempo gets very slow while I'm concentrated states it can get very fast. Whatever the stage or realm right now go with it. Do not think you must fix it but just follow its story and experience directly. Know it to death emoticon so to speak.&nbsp;
Ashley K, modified 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 3:10 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/3/23 3:10 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I have never tried that practice - thank you for sharing! Shargrol has shared some other kinds of practices that I use from time to time, though noting is what I end up doing almost all the time. I'll add this one to the mix of things I can choose from when I want to do something a little different.

Whatever the stage or realm right now go with it. Do not think you must fix it but just follow its story and experience directly. Know it to death emoticon so to speak.
And thank you for these reminders. I can never be reminded enough of this stuff! In the end it's very simple but it's easy to forget that.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago at 9/4/23 6:35 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/4/23 6:27 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Ashley K

So, I just keep doing this forever?? lol. I guess I'm just not sure I'm doing "enough". But, I'll keep going.
 
It's a bit of a dilemma, sometimes this "not doing enough" feeling is just a habit feeling that fills up space and adds some drama to attempt to take away boredom... but sometimes it's an intuition to explore things with a bit more energy, precision, investigation, etc.

My hunch is that there are a few things might be going on --

* if you drop noting and just do noticing, sometimes that allows the mind to go into a mild trance where you are still sitting but you aren't exactly mindful, in which case bring back some slow pace noting. Never feel like noting is less powerful/advanced than just non-verbally noticing; when noting seems to help mindfulness just note.

* you might need to get a bit more "meta" with your noting/noticing and note things that you might be overlooking like "mellowing out" "not much", calm, ease, space, vagueness, etc.   And even things like, looking, evaluating, comparing, disenchantment, searching, hoping, planning,  --- in other words, all the stuff that seems like the "I" in that moment, the stuff that seems to be doing the meditating, all the closer-than-close stuff. THis is the stuff that tends to turn EQ into high EQ. It can feel like you are taking a position from somewhere outside of yourself and noting everything in your self from afar.

* you might need to experiment with using even less energy and allowing attention to go wherever it wants. You can notice how attention itself moves from object to object by itself. You can notice how it takes no additional energy to be aware --- awareness is already there. So meditation can be nearly effortless, just gently noting and noticing.

* you might also have some unvoiced worries or ambitions that are sort of being stiffled, which is totally normal but can slow down progress. Do you have confidence in the practice? Are you scared of achieving something in the sit. Do you worry about what is going on with your practice? Do you have fears about what would happen if you continue to practice? Do you have fears of failure? Do you have fears of success? It's important to be honest with yourself and unroot these kinds of semi-conscious concerns. Voice the concerns in one way or another. Ask questions and do research to address the concerns. (Ironically, sometimes people create a bit of a self-serving stagnation feedback loop where they have the concerns, but don't voice or address them, which stagnates practice, takes away the concerns and gives a slightly corrupted feeling of being safe.) I'm not saying this is happening now for you, just mentioning it as info in case I get hit by a meteor today and don't have the opportunity to say it in the future. We all go through phases where repression/semi-concious stagnation feedback loops slow things down... Actually this is the kind of stuff where, when we really directly investigate our concerns, we really get really good insights into our own minds and have the opporunity to truly develop the adult mind. Most adults are held stagnant by their unvoiced/uninvestigated hopes and fears... 


Anyway, at this point of practice --- when you are sitting consistently and the mind is almost investigating on it's own --- your role is almost more about "balancing the energy of the mindfulness" and less about "practicing". When you feel a bit low energy/sad, breathe with just a little more intent, sit a little taller, look up (even if eyes closed) just a little bit more. When you are feeling a bit speedy/manic, turn your breath into more of a sigh, relax the body, allow the eyes to look just a bit lower. Try to resist the urge to relax when you are low energy, which feels kinda good and somewhat natural, but is actually a bit indulgent. Also try to resist getting excited and manic when you are already have a busy mind, again it feels kinda good and somewhat natural, but is actually a bit indulgent.

This balancing is something that we never learn perfectly, but it becomes much more intuitive/instinctive over time, just like balancing emoticon




 
Ashley K, modified 8 Months ago at 9/4/23 8:25 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/4/23 8:25 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Well, in thinking about unvoiced worries or ambitions, yeah, a whole lotta crap came up, because of course there are all sorts of hopes and fears hiding in here that I didn't want to have to face because I hoped they'd just quietly resolve themselves in the background without me having to deal with them. But I guess I'll just go ahead and deal with them even though it sucks and I hate it! I'll spare you all the emotional word vomit, unless you are curious what specific fears and frustrations I am dealing with, needless to say there was some crying and I felt like I was "re-obsing" all over the place. There will be no indulging in my crap, but, I didn't know I was suppressing so much. Blegh.

Anyway. I think it may also be the case that I do slip into a mild trance without really noticing that, especially because I prefer to do noting without labeling, so I think it is easy to get into a low energy space and end up relaxing in that for the rest of the sit, instead of keeping up some pace of investigation (no wonder I'm getting so sleepy and falling asleep half the time). So, I will first try exploring things with a little more energy or precision or investigation, and be consistent in keeping that up throughout the sit (while being sure to keep things balanced).

And when I'm consistent with that, I'll try to get more "meta" as you say.

Thanks a billion! I hope you do not get hit by a meteor today or any day.
Ashley K, modified 8 Months ago at 9/15/23 8:34 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/15/23 8:34 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
 I have had a pretty good couple of weeks. I have had lots of ups and downs in my mood, though, nothing crazy, it's pretty subtle stuff. I'll feel a little bad, with some underlying mild anxiety, or unhappiness, or feeling easily annoyed by things, or whatever, then later that kind of lifts and I will wonder why I thought I had any reason to feel bad?

I have been pretty good about letting any negative thoughts and feelings and stories just sort of roll through. The alternative is to get caught up in them and hate on my life. So I'd rather not do that. It is amazing how much better life is when I just let thoughts, emotions, and stories just roll on through without picking them up or buying into them. I have seen this before, but apparently have to keep seeing it again and again!! Not sure why it's so easy to forget these kinds of things, except that I guess old habits die hard, and it's just the way I've been living for 30+ years, so of course I fall back into getting caught up in things.

I've really only done a sit about every other day. Just had some life stuff happen, a minor emergency to deal with, some loss of time and sleep, c'est la vie.

When I do sit, it has been very useful to get more "meta" with noting, as suggested by shargrol. And, to not overthink the amount of energy I am using. I just try to trust that the energy will find a balance. Sometimes more is needed, sometimes less. As long as I keep up with any pace of noting, I assume the energy is all good. When I'm uncertain or have doubts, I note it, and keep going.

Getting meta does feel more witnessy. It can feel kind of weird, yet then the "feeling weird" I can also get meta about and note. Getting meta/witnessy makes it feel like things get very very quiet... The more meta I get, the quieter and quieter it gets. Part of this is that I see that getting meta means that there is nothing leftover that does not (or will not eventually) get noted (minus those things still getting overlooked that I don't see clearly yet). There ARE no "leftover sensations" that do not also get looped into the noting. So the more meta I get with noting, the less and less there is that feels like it's me "over here" - and that is this sense of getting "quieter and quieter" that I'm referring to.

I have felt compelled to "get meta" about sensations off-cushion, as well. It just sort of happens from time to time, not really intending to do it. Not really for more than a few minutes at a time, anyway.

Sometime last week I noticed again the fear of giving up control and not being who I am - If I see all this stuff as "not me" then, where do I go? Disappear?? That is where that fear is coming from. But more recently, I kind of "got it" that I am not "disappearing" myself. There is nothing here that's going away, there never was. So then that fear of "disappearing" myself or the feeling like I'm losing something, dropped.

One thing that was very much getting overlooked - an underlying desire for things to move or progress as quickly as possible, both during a sit and over the long-term. Seems like that should have been obvious. But, I can see it better now and then note it when it comes up.

So back to my sits, there's still always a couple of those shifts - where it feels like shifting or slipping subtly into a different level/mode of concentration. Hands or head or body will feel a little buzzy, and effort drops down.

And sits are back to feeling very very still and calm. After a period of getting settled in and establishing some pace of noting, some subtle emotions roll through on and off, and then things calm down. I can sit still and unmoving for 30-45 minutes. Some things I recall noting recently - sensations of effort, mentally searching around for stuff to note, analyzing, planning, expectation, frustration, disappointment, boredom. And the peace and the quiet.

Oh, I did notice last night during my sit, mapping and analyzing no longer feels like something that is happening outside of, or separate from, my practice. With the "getting meta" it gets noted more and more like anything else. That's part of the "feeling weird" part of getting meta - I can map and analyze my practice like before, but then I can note the mapping and the analyzing. It just feels weird to loop into the noting the things that I normally keep separate and just think of as "me" on the outside of things. I also had at least one of those "fade out" kind of moments I haven't had in a little while.
 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago at 9/15/23 10:10 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Nice!
Ashley K, modified 7 Months ago at 9/22/23 4:07 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 9/22/23 4:07 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I've been pretty sick all week, so not much to share.

The few times I did sit this week, I ran into difficulties with boredom and restlessness. The restlessness was not really negative, though. It feels really neutral, not agitating or negative. But, an inability to just sit. My mind wants to wander and I suddenly feel like I just wanna go do anything else - to get away from the boredom, I guess.

I drifted into boredom more easily and had that feeling that nothing's really happening in the sit - the most I could sit was 20 minutes before the urge to go do something else or for my mind to wander and think about stuff won over.

I thought maybe, with being sick, it's simply harder to stay concentrated and harder to go deeper into sensations with noting, so then it's just easier to fall off of noting, get ditstracted, and get bored.

For the time being I'm getting plenty of rest and I look forward to seeing how things are with my practice when I'm not so sick!
Ashley K, modified 7 Months ago at 10/7/23 8:24 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/7/23 8:24 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Definitely had difficulties the last couple weeks with practice. Partly because it took a really long time to recover from whatever illness I had. And also because on and off the cushion I was dealing with being easily irritated and annoyed. And bored. My mind has gotten that "stormy" feel sometimes in the last week, off-cushion (and I guess on, too sometimes), and for several days in a row at least I was very easily irritated and annoyed and really really tired of stuff pretty easily. Earlier this week, any time I sat, I was either in a place of being annoyed and irritated and not really able to concentrate, or I was able to concentrate and sit very still and calm for a long time with not really much happening, but at least it was calm and peaceful.

I had several days also of being incredibly tired and no motivation or energy to do anything, which has happened to me before, and probably was influenced by my long recovery from illness. I hate when I get like that because I struggle with focusing at work and stuff, but, it passed.

Maybe a week and a half ago I had an A&P-like dream that was exactly like one I had on 8/4. 

Because sitting has been more difficult, I actually made myself sit more and for longer and I have been able to get to a place of sitting very still again and feeling the effects of stronger concentration again and the familiar shifts that come with that. Still getting meta, getting meta still feels kinda funny and weird, but I'm more used to it. It's weird to feel like I'm watching myself - this weird observer-like vantage point, then it gets more weird because the "observing" can be observed... but it's different so, maybe not observing the observing, more like, there is this "knowing" that the observing is happening. I feel I'm doing well with noticing/noting without labeling, for the most part. I do labeling more when I am struggling or getting distracted too much.

Earlier this week I started to feel VERY determined to sit consistently again. I am only sitting for about 30-minute stretches, but I have been sitting 2-3 times a day. Only for the last few days so we'll see if that lasts.

I don't intentionally map, but it happens anyway, I catch myself thinking and wondering about it (during sits I note it and move on). I want to know where I'm at, and I also DON'T want to know where I'm at... I think I am okay with just going along for now and trusting the process.

I'm overall feeling okay, although if you'd asked me literally any other day in the last two weeks how I was feeling, I would have said, not so good. lol. Ups and downs.

Maybe I'll try to take more detailed sit notes again, not sure, I just haven't felt like doing that for a while. Gets to be too much time spent analyzing and taking notes, maybe I'll try something in between, because I also like being able to look back and see day-to-day progression of my practice experience. How else could I have known I had that dream precisely on 8/4! LOL.
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 10/7/23 12:13 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/7/23 12:13 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Mapping is usually, mostly, a waste of time when sitting at home, just because there is usally a lot more ups and downs. It really only becomes helpful when someone is stuck. When you're stuck, it's because some aspect of experience really seems like the self and usually it takes something outside (a book or a person) to point out the obvious.

At this point, there isn't much advice that is helpful -- your practice is solid and you've glimpsed all the nanas. About the only thing I would say is try to also get meta with annoyance and irritation, too. Sometimes it helps people to say "look at it getting annoyed, look at it getting irritated". In other words, even in the midst of the worst of it, the observer is still there. Try to study your own annoyance and irritiation. (It becomes kinda comical at times, part of us blowing up, part of us observing it all.)

The other thing is to add a little energy when things get calm yet flat. Try to groove on the calmness and turn it into "loving-peacefulness" or something like that. At a certain point plain old equanimity becomes Holy Equanimity, that nurturing and healing space... Dwell in it, luxuriate in it, invite all the beings that are suffering in the world to share in it. Soak in it and give it away at the same time.

If the richness fades but it still feels "close" to awakening/stream entry, then it can be interesting to ponder: what could possibly be done? It can't be forced, it can't be predicted, it can't be known until afterwards. I have to be "pulled" into it. So what more is there to do? What more can be softened? What more can be loosened? What more can be released? Notice how the mind becomes restless with questioning, predicting, hoping, and doubting. All of those things are okay to do, but notice that they don't really change anything in reality.

Moments of depression can happen, futility. But so can moments of joy, nothing more can be done.

Around these times, it helps to have a little faith. All the maps have played out the way so far, so why not Stream Entry?

Stream entry is kind of like a star running out of nuclear fuel and then collapsing on itself. Or you could say it's like a satellite circling the earth until in loses enough moment that it fall to earth. 

It can also help to state your intention when you sit or when feeling stuck. "My intention is to experience this moment, as it is, as directly and intimately as possible, to develop insights into the causes of my difficulties and suffering, and to drop all my manipulations and resistances so that I fall into cessation." Or something like that. Maybe you feel more comfortable stating your goals for what to do when annoyed and irritated. Maybe you feel more comfortable stating your goals for when things are calm but flat. State an intention that allows you to "work" your cutting edge and intend to --- respectfully, gently --- go just a little beyond that. 

The more heartfelt your statement of intent, the more powerful it is. Feel what seems right and say it aloud. Feel your body when you say it, do you truly belief it? If not, try again. Then let go and allow the meditation to occur.

At a certain point in meditation, progress is more an intention than an action/practice. 
Ashley K, modified 7 Months ago at 10/8/23 6:32 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 10/8/23 6:32 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
shargrol
Mapping is usually, mostly, a waste of time when sitting at home...
My mind sure loves to waste time though emoticon

At this point, there isn't much advice that is helpful -- your practice is solid and you've glimpsed all the nanas. About the only thing I would say is try to also get meta with annoyance and irritation, too. Sometimes it helps people to say "look at it getting annoyed, look at it getting irritated". In other words, even in the midst of the worst of it, the observer is still there. Try to study your own annoyance and irritiation. (It becomes kinda comical at times, part of us blowing up, part of us observing it all.)
Thank you, I will indeed try this. I saw the "look at it..." practice mentioned somewhere else on here, so I tried it a handful of times a while back, but maybe now is a good point in my practice to do it again.

The other thing is to add a little energy when things get calm yet flat. Try to groove on the calmness and turn it into "loving-peacefulness" or something like that. At a certain point plain old equanimity becomes Holy Equanimity, that nurturing and healing space... Dwell in it, luxuriate in it, invite all the beings that are suffering in the world to share in it. Soak in it and give it away at the same time.

I like this, too, since I get bored easily. I will try this so hopefully instead of getting stuck in boredom I can continue some kind of progress.

Notice how the mind becomes restless with questioning, predicting, hoping, and doubting. All of those things are okay to do, but notice that they don't really change anything in reality.

I especially like: "but notice that they don't really change anything in reality." That's really helpful in not getting lost in those kinds of thoughts but continuing to just observe and let be instead.

Around these times, it helps to have a little faith. All the maps have played out the way so far, so why not Stream Entry?

Thank you for this reminder, it's a good way to think about it, makes sense it would be the next logical thing to follow with continued practice, no big deal, right?

It can also help to state your intention when you sit or when feeling stuck... State an intention that allows you to "work" your cutting edge and intend to --- respectfully, gently --- go just a little beyond that. 

The more heartfelt your statement of intent, the more powerful it is. Feel what seems right and say it aloud. Feel your body when you say it, do you truly belief it? If not, try again. Then let go and allow the meditation to occur.

At a certain point in meditation, progress is more an intention than an action/practice. 

I will see what intention feels right to me.

Thank you muchly!!
Ashley K, modified 6 Months ago at 10/22/23 7:18 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/22/23 7:18 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Well, I got sick again with a cold a few days after my last post, and I got a second cold right after, and I have only felt better the last few days. So not much practice. Sometimes I would try to sit and it was too uncomfortable and distracting with my symptoms so I just let a lot of sits slide until I felt better. I am having bad luck with cold/flu season so far!

Practice is very straightforward though, when I have managed to do it. Sits have been so "easy" that I haven't once even thought about balancing energy/investigation and concentration/tranquility, seems they are just already in balance. I can't make a good sit happen. I have to let it happen. Good sits are more likely when I do basically NOTHING. If a sit is bad or things get unbalanced it's 'cause I got in the way somehow or was trying too hard in some way.

A couple of sits I have sat for a whole hour with zero struggle, very still. Most sits though seem to feel "done" only after 20-25 minutes.  To me the more concentrated I am and the finer my noticing, the more full the sit feels and therefore it feels like a lot of time has passed even if it's been only 20 minutes. I am often surprised it's only been 20-25 minutes.

Continuing with getting meta with my noting/noticing. Observing it all especially anything that seems like me and is getting overlooked. I noticed especially even the slightest resistance to even the slightest hint of anything negative or anything I didn't want to have to face or experience. It was very obvious to notice even slightly bad stuff because the sits had a baseline of calm and niceness. Just letting the waves of stuff roll through, not bothering to resolve anything just letting it flow.

And more recently I am getting meta about things I typically think of as my character flaws or faults - the things I normally don't want to look at or acknowledge, that I prefer to brush under the rug or make excuses for or blame others for... yeah, that stuff! Just seeing it as it is, allowing it to be there, looking at the whole of everything and not trying to hide things from myself. You'd think I would by default be aware of everything about myself, but I see how I have often hidden away large parts of my experience, ignoring them, and any time I have to confront or acknowledge them I often would just run away from it again as quickly as possible. Now I want to confront these things, not to fix or change, but to just see them clearly, let them be, not run away or hide them.

Sometimes I see small dots of light that come and go that are clustered around the center of my visual field and I wonder if that's nimitta or not. It used to be for a time they would seem to fade a bit on an in-breath and then come back at the bottom of the out-breath. More recently they don't really follow that pattern but just show up and fade away somewhat randomly but I guess it's usually when I feel I am more concentrated. I do try to not get fixated on them, whatever they are, they are just another thing I note when they come up. I don't see them every sit.
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago at 10/23/23 6:59 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 10/23/23 6:58 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
All sounding good.

For what it's worth, it can be good to "soak in the feeling of being done". And when the concentration lights appear, watch them like a movie and soak in that groovy feeling. (At least for me, usually the body is very mellow and almost buttery when those lights appear). 

Isn't it interesting how meditation puts us face to face with character flaws in a way that is different than "thinking about my flaws"? It's much more obvious how these flaws get innocently wired and how they are are helpful in some way, yet lead to ruin in other ways. Seeing it clearly allows for more flexibility/creativity in our responses rather than just going down the road of our standard reaction. People joke about meditation turning people into saints, but while total perfection might be impossible, this is how it happens! emoticon
Ashley K, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 6:16 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 6:16 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Things are going well, about the same I guess, my sits now naturally end after about 40 minutes. It helped to receive shargrol's suggestion to "soak in the feeling of being done" because any time I did that, I would end up continuing to meditate another 10 or 15 minutes and now my sits are longer without feeling like I am forcing it. Feeling "done" didn't really seem to mean anything anymore, clearly I wasn't "done" as my sits could continue on after that.

I feel almost like I got all the "low hanging fruit" with the "getting meta" technique, like I've noticed all the things that were easiest for me to notice/note that were previously getting overlooked. Now there are still things I feel are hidden that I'm just not seeing, and there are things that I actually see, but that still feel very much like "me" and like they are separate from everything else - like when I feel boredom or feel annoyed or frustrated. It's somehow not so easy to get "meta" with those sensations, much easier to just feel like it's me and like I'm stuck in them. So I will keep seeing if I can investigate those things more and keep "looping things in" to the noting/noticing.

It's funny I mentioned the "concentration lights" last time, 'cause I felt like I haven't really seen them at all in the last couple weeks! I scared them off. haha, just kidding. I kind of see them sometimes.

Oh, it has helped some, I think, to "Notice how the mind becomes restless with questioning, predicting, hoping, and doubting. All of those things are okay to do, but notice that they don't really change anything in reality." Quoting shargrol here, of course. In particular, the "noticing that they don't really change anything in reality", I have found it helpful to specifically notice THAT at certain times during my sits.

Anyway, all is well, feels like I just need to keep going as I am. I noticed today I am not experiencing much negativity, that I used to get SO easily lost in. I didn't even realize I wasn't experiencing much of that, until I thought about it, and realized the worst things I've been experiencing lately have just been boredom and getting a little too easily annoyed/bothered by certain things in daily life. Cool.

I guess that I didn't really describe my sits here, they are just very calm, very smooth, and very easy. I don't get a lot of emotional anything, and there is not much going on, except maybe a few subtle shifts in my level of concentration, but that's about it... just following sensations wherever attention goes. Nothing stands out. I'll try to get better descriptions of sits for next time.
Ashley K, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 6:19 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 6:19 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I guess I never replied to this, but thank you as your suggestions are continuing to help me in my practice, as noted in my recent update!

Boy I used to be desperate to be perfect, because then I couldn't cause hurt to others and couldn't be hurt by others, if only I could be perfect. I'm glad I let that idea go.
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 7:11 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/5/23 7:11 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Stranger_Loop Stranger_Loop, modified 6 Months ago at 11/7/23 3:23 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/7/23 3:23 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 40 Join Date: 3/17/23 Recent Posts
Just reading practice logs emoticon

Only thought I had was that increasing your practice time might be helpful to hit a Path, just what I heard from people, but it might have also helped me.
I was going from equanimity to DN a for some time and in the end did 2-3 hours of meditation and a few more hours of contemplation + daily life stuff before I hit some shift that is hopefully permanent (still need to update my practice log).

Would be interesting to see how the distribution is at different practice intensity/quality (I am not a great meditator emoticon).

> Anyway, all is well, feels like I just need to keep going as I am.
Let's go. Good luck with you practice emoticon
Ashley K, modified 6 Months ago at 11/9/23 7:16 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/9/23 7:16 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
About increasing practice time - I have thought the same thing, that longer sits and/or sitting more consistently would help... I find it hard to stick to a consistent schedule with kids and a job as each day looks a little different. There's not usually a specific time that I can sit every day, so every day I sit at different times, and that makes it harder to make it into a more consistent habit. Some days I sit three times, other days only 1 or even zero times...

When you say you did 2-3 hours of meditation, was that divided into multiple sits? And is the "few more hours of contemplation + daily life stuff" like an off-cushion practice that you did?

I've pretty much always felt like I don't practice "enough" - either my sits don't seem long enough, or I don't sit consistently enough... I think it wouldn't hurt to try longer sits or more practice time, so I'll have to look at what exactly is keeping me from that.

Thank you for your input! emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago at 11/10/23 1:32 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/10/23 1:32 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Shinzen Young said once "give me 4 hours of meditation each week. I don't care if you sit 45 mintes a day or 4 hours in one go on the weekend day" (I'm paraphrasing). 

For Shinzen it seems, the daily sitting is not so important. But weekly time is. I'm sure he observed this with people otherwise he wouldn't just stare it with such certainty. 
I don't know him personally but from listening to countless of his talks I gather he doesn't just blab about emoticon 

All this applies to me wanting not to be tired or under stress when meditation. 
But I could also take exhaustion and stress as the very subject of my meditation. So after a working day once kids are fed and sleeping I can sit with the subject called exhausted/tired/fed up/sleepy/aversion towards sitting and sit with THAT. 

As Kenneth Folk said "meditation is nothing other than your life unfolding, so wanting it to be any other than what it is, is Dukkha, so we pay attention to what actually is unfolding".  (paraphrasing again)

Do not underestimate walking meditation! emoticon 
I did walking Noting Aloud (one can whisper aloud) to good use! Very good actually! 
40-45 minutes (even 30 minutes) of walking Noting Aloud will help stay in the flow of the arise-passing experience. 
Shargrol followed my practice for a long while now and walking Noting aloud was and still is part of my practice (at the moment I'm not into practice, must say, but that too will change thanks to Dukkha and Anicca). 

​​​​​​​Best wishes and excuse me rumbling so much! emoticon 
Ashley K, modified 6 Months ago at 11/10/23 11:32 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 11/10/23 11:32 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I don't know what it is with me and walking meditation, but I never want to do it! I guess I can try doing it some more, and have fun noting all the aversion to walking meditation lol.

I know this is one of those things where this is no single formula or one-size-fits-all approach to length and frequency of practice, but I am happy to hear that Shinzen focuses on the week rather than the day. Because that at least works better for me.

Overall though, I would like to sit more, and more consistently, even if it's different amounts of practice day-to-day.

Your thoughts are much appreciated. Thank you!!
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/26/23 7:01 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/26/23 7:01 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Disappointingly I had a couple weeks in a row of inconsistent practice. About 3 weeks ago was very busy at work, so work took up a lot of the times I set aside for practice. Then I had to travel for a work trip and somehow thought I'd have hours of time each evening in the hotel to do whatever and especially to practice but no, the days were jam packed, I should've known it would be like that - but I did meditate some on my flights, because there was nothing else to do anyway. 

I felt really sad yesterday after getting interrupted during another sit, about how my life seems to be not at all conducive to regular meditation practice and the way my life is set up seems to be actively working against consistent practice. Sigh. It's very sad to me. Not to be all dramatic but, I felt kind of mournful about it... lol. I feel at the mercy of life. I don't get to decide anything about how my day goes or how much time I have for anything. I don't get to control other people's moods. 

At least though, for the last 5 days I have been sitting consistently again. It's been kind of hard though.

I went through having some aversion to sitting, not really sure why, thought it may just be so boring or waste of time like if I'm not going to practice well enough to make it a decent sit, why bother at all. I have also been generally feeling a bit lost. I feel like a blind person trying to FEEL my way through meditation. It's not really an issue with technique or knowing what to do. There is just this feeling of like, I'm not even sure really where I'm going?? and I just continue on with noting and getting meta about sensations when I can. Just that feeling like I'm having to blindly "feel" my way through a sit. As though I were on my way to somewhere and suddenly lost the directions and just have to wander around wherever the sit takes me.

I did have one walking meditation where for the first time I actually enjoyed it? lol. I think my deal with walking meditation is that I am overwhelmed with so many sensations at once I get flustered and bogged down and feel like I'm getting pulled in every direction trying to figure out what to note and feeling like I am missing so many things. My movements also tend to feel very awkward and mechanical. I tried to remember I can just note at a gentle pace and just notice stuff between notings and that's all I really need to do. I suppose walking meditation is a different style from sitting, so maybe I'm just not used to it. 

I forgot to mention that like a month ago also I had a "cessation-like" thing happen, but with a bunch of added caveats like, it happened when I was sort of half asleep not trying to meditate so in the middle of that hypnagogic sort of state, it did seem to have duration, and I didn't feel any different after. But basically I was in that half asleep state, then everything sort of "turned off" like, no sound, just blackness, then everything popped back on and I was awake and alert. But I must say that the very brief period of blackness/no sound seemed to have duration? I considered it at the time not a big deal, because of all of the above points, but forgot to write it down until now. Like I said, things have not felt any different.

My sits have felt mostly the same for many weeks now, though a couple sits in the last week had some heavy feelings like sadness, frustration, similar stuff, all noted.

Consistency just seems like one last hurdle I need to clear... gonna keep trying.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 11/26/23 7:31 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/26/23 7:24 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
These kinds of fluctuations are part of the process. Totally normal. Be good to yourself particularly when things are sad or frustrating.

In my experience managing life and practice has never been easy. I have practiced a lot over the past few years but sacrificied much to buy that kind of time. It's a hard thing to balance.
I'm getting pulled in every direction trying to figure out what to note and feeling like I am missing so many things

Perhaps it's time to let the noting go, or rely less on it? Do you find at all you can just relax into the flow of meditation and just immediately percieve the qualities of the sensations as they arise. Often labelling our experience reduces it into very two dimensional intellectual shapes. This is inherently dissatisfactory as our internal world is so rich and deep. It has much more volume than a label can ever really communicate.

Can you feel, for example, some fuzzy emotional turmoil without having to label it, just turn into it and feel it? Or perhaps can you notice how its made of lots of little shimmering particles, flashing in and out of existence? Try see how all these experiences just show up and do their thing without any input from you.

​​​​​​​The quotation I took from your post. Read over it a few times. There's great wisdom in it. 
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 10:02 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 10:01 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for the reply emoticon Maintaining a balance between daily life stuff and practice is definitely a challenge. Sometimes I wonder, how did I get into all this, and why do I keep going?? I just can't NOT I guess, lol.

Regarding noting/labeling, I actually almost never label, I have never liked labeling. So I should be more clear that I usually do "noting without labeling." I have definitely had sits with that sense of "effortlessness" before, however, my sits recently have felt a little more effortful. It does help to see that nothing I do, think, or feel, changes anything about reality. There can be effortless awareness of the crappy stuff, too.

​​​​​​​I'm just gonna try and keep my finger on the peanut, the peanut could be anything, it doesn't matter what the peanut is, hopefully if people are familiar with Kenneth Folk they will know what I'm talking about lol.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 2:28 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 2:28 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Sometimes I wonder, how did I get into all this, and why do I keep going?? I just can't NOT I guess, lol.

Yeah, I feel the same way. I'm just sort of in it. I'm somewhat at peace with it these days but there has been times in the past where its a heavy thing to admit.
​​​​​​​
I have never liked labeling

Me either.

A different angle of advice I might give. Something I was doing myself a lot earlier this month. Sometimes I have to just give up into the messy, weird, all over the place meditation. Stop resisting it and just let it do it's janky ass dance. Let go of any need to feel like I should be doing "good meditation". It always feels really counter intuitive to me but it has helped me a lot recently.
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 2:42 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/27/23 2:42 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Sometimes I have to just give up into the messy, weird, all over the place meditation. Stop resisting it and just let it do it's janky ass dance. Let go of any need to feel like I should be doing "good meditation". It always feels really counter intuitive to me but it has helped me a lot recently.

Thank you! I hate when a sit is messy, weird, "off" in some way. But I'll keep trying to just let it do what it's gotta do.
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 5:40 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 5:40 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
11/27
I feel I should say, though it's kinda too bad I sometimes can't practice as much as I'd like, I'm okay with my life as it is. There isn't much more I'd give up or trade off just to sit on a cushion some more. I would have given up a long time ago if I didn't think stream entry/awakening could happen with my life as it is.

I spent a lot of quality time with myself today. Just letting things be as they are. Allowed all the crappy stuff. Was able to get meta about it and instead of being lost in a dramatic story about it, I was more in an "observer" space. 

Also, wow!!! In just a few weeks it will be one year since I first found MCTB and started this practice. What a long and full year it seems, looking back. Happy MCTBiversary to me. Lol. The past year has brought so many interesting experiences, insights, and some amazing changes. I have also felt like a stupid idiot more than a few times... and feel regularly humbled with this practice. What a year, and I haven't even had stream entry yet lol.

I still obviously struggle sometimes and surely have some more trips on the struggle bus to look forward to, but otherwise I can comfortably and easily sit quietly by myself for a little while. A year ago, 10 minutes of meditation felt like unending torturous boredom, and at the time, this stuff, this practice, felt so inaccesible to me...

It's kinda fun and funny to have insights that are not even fully explainable and don't even make total sense to my mind, but I can still just feel it directly, somehow. I am glad to have DhO, because I can't tell people in my daily life some of this stuff, or they will think I'm crazy! And besides y'all can also check me when I'm way off base, lol.

Looking forward to another year. Hope I don't drive anyone crazy when I take wrong turns and get stuck in cul-de-sacs and miss my obvious blind spots. I'll get it eventually. Maybe.

11/28
I feel weird and off and have that "emptied out" feeling again. 

I'm just sitting and experiencing whatever there is to experience, even if it's kind of unpleasant.

My sit today started with a LOT of restlessness, aversion to sitting, wanting to get up, wanting distractions, generally unpleasant. But I kept sitting and once I was through that, the sit got very pleasant, with a sense of deep peace and aloneness, but also kind of a wistful or nostalgic feeling mixed in. I noticed I spend a lot of time in my sits waiting. Just waiting, for something to happen. Waiting for something new, signs of progress, stream entry, just SOMETHING! other than the same old stuff. So good to notice this waiting.

Then however I did get this feeling of not wanting to be in any different state, just wanting to be here now - to just have clear viewing of whatever there is here now.

That's about it for that sit.

In another sit, I felt like I tapped into some feelings of excitement, joy, serenity. I ended up shifting between 1) feeling a little like awareness of stuff in general is fading out a bit, and 2) clarity and alertness returning along with subtle full body tingling. A very slow cycling between those two experiences. Which I've had before. Honestly... I can't be sure I'm not just cycling between getting sleepy and being alert... but oh well.

Then I felt off-cushion this sense of immediacy like there is nothing except what's just right here right now. Which is how it always is, but I mean it's like I had a heightened ability to recognize instantly that a memory is occurring now, imagining the future is now, there is nothing outside of now. I was able to be more intimately and immediately aware of just what is now knowing that that's all there is. Like I stopped waiting for something to happen in the future. I'm just here, now.

Another bit of phenomenology. Maybe like a couple months ago, for a period of several weeks, I would tend to get a strong build up of pressure in my head. This would only ever happen during meditation and never off-cushion. I don't get this feeling of pressure lately, but more of a weird build-up of a buzzy energy, sometimes. Another thing I get during most sits, is this tingly pressure at the tops of my cheekbones next to my eyes. Maybe it's nothing meaningful, just wanted to write it down.

It is also much easier today to access that space of effortless awareness of all sensations. A kind of clarity and ease of picking out individual sensations.

11/29
I had a couple good sits today. Took some minutes to get settled and stop being restless... then had those weird wavy blobs that move around regularly in my visual field, that I've seen before. Then the visual field got a kind of mottled look and sensations or the pace of noticing seemed more subtly chaotic and intense. Then things smoothed out, with a smoother visual field, less intensity. Then it felt almost like I began to sink into the background and almost like I'm becoming less aware somehow... but not really, there is still awareness of things, but I guess it feels less like I'm "doing" meditation and it's more like I recede and do less and less and everything just keeps going and continues on.

And now this evening, life has taken on this kind of whimsical, and mysterious feel. In spite of the mystery, I don't feel so hungry for answers as I used to be. That need to understand the WHY of everything has faded a bit. Maybe temporarily or maybe not, I dunno, but that's just how it feels right now. I can see that the relief is really not in collecting answers to questions, it's in not needing to know the answers anymore, so that searching kinda just stops.

I guess I'm updating so soon because I wrote so much about the past three days........ haha whoops. But I am feeling good about practice. I intend to sit every day and just see where things go.
 
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 6:52 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 6:52 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Happy DhO-versery emoticon

​​​​​​​It all sounds good, straight ahead!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 7:01 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 6:54 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Happy MCTBiversary !! Practice sounds awesome. Lots of great insights. 

I intend to sit every day and just see where things go.
Let the mystery unfold !! Lean into effortless inclusion where possible
​​​​​​​
Regarding pressure in the head. I sometimes get that in certain nanas... but I do recommend making sure the neck and spine don't get too rigid. I do a lot of hollow bamboo practice which helps make sure the spine is always in a gentle natural kind of movement and stops areas of inflexibility leading to weird tensions and so on. ( Will Johnson - Breathing through the whole body )

​​​​​​​
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 8:12 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/29/23 8:12 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thank you!! I have often wondered if I'm just holding tension in my neck or head somewhere and that's all the pressure is lol. It is usually temporary and lasts only a few minutes. I usually sit with my back resting against something which at least helps minimize tension in my back.
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 11/30/23 7:37 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 5236 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Happy MTCB anniversary!


Maybe like a couple months ago, for a period of several weeks, I would tend to get a strong build up of pressure in my head. This would only ever happen during meditation and never off-cushion. I don't get this feeling of pressure lately, but more of a weird build-up of a buzzy energy, sometimes. Another thing I get during most sits, is this tingly pressure at the tops of my cheekbones next to my eyes. Maybe it's nothing meaningful, just wanted to write it down.

This mirrors the kind of thing that I used to experience during morning sits, early in my vipassana practice. The buzziness followed my breath. It would most often feel like my head was a balloon being expanded as I inhaled. The expansion would decrease as I exhaled until after a while it wouldn't.  I've often thought of this as some kind of very early jhana-like experience, or maybe a precursor to jhana.
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 11/30/23 10:31 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/30/23 10:31 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
That's interesting, that it could be jhana-related or jhana-adjacent. I guess when you practice enough, this stuff just starts to show up. I've never really done any pure concentration practice, but sometimes I do wonder if I should throw some in now and then, just to see what it does for my overall practice. I think I'm a little too attached to my noting/insight practice, though, lol.
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:37 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:37 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
11/29
I had a sit that sort of started with a chaotic choppy buzzy feel to sensations and then, a sudden smoothing out. I had that build up of tingly tickly pressure in my head. My sit was interrupted about 20 minutes in and that pressure dissipated.

I sat another 25 minutes after that and, not much different. More head pressure, the sit got a little boring at the end so my mind started to wander again. Guess I should be prepared for the boring part next time I sit. So I don't mind wander.

11/30
I sat just now for an hour and 15 minutes. I had planned to sit at least 45 minutes, then it just kept on going. Maybe halfway through I moved from sitting on the cushion to sitting in a chair. I was still for much of the sit. There was very much a "just sitting" feel overall. Admittedly, there was more mind wandering and some reflecting early on in the sit.

The reflecting was realizing that for maybe the first time ever I really didn't care about where I am on any map or path or whatever, I only wanted to sit here now and see what there is to see. That stress of wondering and analyzing and wanting to know where I'm at was temporarily gone (I didn't even realize that it was so stressful). The "wanting to know where I am" and the mapping and analyzing feels like it is just another form of trying to have control over the thing. Knowing or not knowing where I'm at doesn't change where I'm at, anyway.

I set an intention not to get swept up or caught up in anything that happens - not even the positive stuff, especially not the positive stuff. Enjoy or dwell a bit, maybe, but get stuck and stagnate or fall back, no thank you.

12/1
Feeling more mindful today off-cushion, and less bothered than usual by random stuff going on.

You know that feeling when you are anticipating something or excited about something and looking forward to it - It is subtle, but there is a bit of that fluttery energy in my chest. There is not any specific thing I am anticipating or looking forward to or specifically excited about, but I am experiencing the physical sensations I would associate with that. Actually, kind of similar to A&P energy, but, more low-key.

I sat a while before bed and got sleepy after about 45 minutes. I realized that when something seems like me (something meaning, like a thought or sensation or whatever) - it seems very disruptive to the sit. But if the same sensation happens and I successfully note/notice it, then meditation continues no interruption.

12/2
I am having that feeling again like maybe there is more I should be doing... more I could be doing... wanting to be as efficient as I can be with practice. But I don't want to get lost in thinking, analyzing, strategizing. So I hope I can instead funnel this energy into more sits.

At the same time though I feel stable. Well grounded. Sort of settled into things, in the flow.

So, there is this energy of wanting to strategize or do more, but not feeling like I need to act on it (for once!).

I sat for 40 minutes. A few minutes of getting settled, then very easy sitting, very relaxing, I enjoyed that. Everything was pretty subtle. Not much really happening. I did throw in some "look how it's..." practice, to keep from sinking too much into the relaxing and the niceness of the sit and then not really practicing anymore. I didn't want to get lost in the positive aspects and forget to note/notice them.

12/3
I was too tired to sit this day... I fell asleep.

12/4
I had a good, though short, sit earlier today. 

Lately there is ALWAYS this aversion to sitting, wanting to avoid sitting, for some reason. It has led to me multiple times straight up procrastinating on sitting when I have ample time available. Same with this sit. But, once I got through this first few rough minutes of wanting to get up, I settled in to a pleasant, peaceful, easy sit. Overall pleasant and good feelings, but very calm and stable.

I got into this space that had a subtle, unexplainable sense that everything is like one continuous field. Kind of a wide-open awareness (or perception, or attention?? so sorry, I never know what is the correct word to use). Like - being more aware of the "space" everything is in rather than the things themselves. Or like - Less focus on individual things, and more on the "whole" of everything around the thing.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 6:09 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 6:07 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
The reflecting was realizing that for maybe the first time ever I really didn't care about where I am on any map or path or whatever, I only wanted to sit here now and see what there is to see. That stress of wondering and analyzing and wanting to know where I'm at was temporarily gone (I didn't even realize that it was so stressful). The "wanting to know where I am" and the mapping and analyzing feels like it is just another form of trying to have control over the thing. Knowing or not knowing where I'm at doesn't change where I'm at, anyway.

​​​​​​​Awesome!! A great thing to notice.

I set an intention not to get swept up or caught up in anything that happens - not even the positive stuff, especially not the positive stuff. Enjoy or dwell a bit, maybe, but get stuck and stagnate or fall back, no thank you.

This is the middle way.

Like - being more aware of the "space" everything is in rather than the things themselves.
Great. Keep including more of the space and the objects within it by gently relinquishing control of attention. Notice how letting go can help you to perceive more inclusively. 

How much of this shape, this volume, this experience can be allowed to just do itself? Thoughts, impressions and mind activity, can they be seen as just parts of the whole and not necessarily apart from the whole. 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 6:43 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/4/23 6:43 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Lately there is ALWAYS this aversion to sitting

Keep @#$%&! sitting. 
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 12/5/23 5:06 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/5/23 5:06 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Notice how letting go can help you to perceive more inclusively. 


This did seem to be what needed to happen (letting go allowing that kind of widening or opening up of perception).

How much of this shape, this volume, this experience can be allowed to just do itself? Thoughts, impressions and mind activity, can they be seen as just parts of the whole and not necessarily apart from the whole. 


I don't know why I don't seem to be able to let some things just be or just "do themselves". Feels almost like there is something just clenching on and all this tension that just does not want to let go. I have thought about going back to shargrol's advice from September 4 particularly regarding "unvoiced worries or ambitions". Maybe that would reveal something.

Keep @#$%&! sitting.


Lord knows I will try lol. Today's sits were more rough. imma keep going though
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Bahiya Baby, modified 5 Months ago at 12/5/23 7:46 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/5/23 6:02 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
 I don't know why I don't seem to be able to let some things just be or just "do themselves".

Seeing these things and relaxing with them is good practice. Noticing what fails to be open and included is good practice. Noticing what can't do itself is good practice. The imperfection, the frustration and all that wiggly stuff. Do what you can to see it, include it and relax with it. Let it shimmer and shift and twist and squirm while doing what you can not to turn from it. Where possible try to soften the front of the body and turn into the pain with love. Where possible try to include your periphery in your observation. (The relinquishing of control can help with periphery). Where possible try not to judge yourself or your practice. Once you start observing that some things can do themselves, you'll start to be very aware of what things can't. That's all good. 

Feels almost like there is something just clenching on and all this tension that just does not want to let go.

This is a very fundamental and important thing to observe. There is a part of us that is averse to feeling bad and recoils from negativity and we often have many layers of this recoil and reactivity built up throughout our lives. Meditation invites those patterns to reveal themselves and gives us an opportunity to see them, to recognize them, to integrate and transcend them. But that is a process. When I first came to see this contraction at the core of the self and began to integrate and work with the associated pain and reactivity I took refuge in this particular piece of wisdom "The fire must have its way." 

I have thought about going back to shargrol's advice from September 4 particularly regarding "unvoiced worries or ambitions". Maybe that would reveal something.

I've just read that. An interesting piece of advice. It can be useful to have some practices that work on a more therapeutic level. Certainly when playing with fire it is fruitful to ensure we have the right supports. 

Some things that have helped me over the years.
-Three characteristics (ever deepening familiarity with each)
-Moving into more peripheral awareness (include as much as you can without struggling to do so and no more than feels appropriate in the moment)
-Making sure things carry on with a degree of relaxation
-Some kind of shadow work or journeying practice (Let me know if you want a recommendation)
-Someone with whom you can speak honestly, frankly, earnestly and outloud with about the reality of your phenomenological experience

That last one is important. I have had a confidant for the last two years of my meditation who has helped immensely. There are certain things that need to be said out loud. How we go about saying things out loud is an outward, artful aspect of our development. 
 
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 12/6/23 6:36 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/6/23 4:58 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
-Some kind of shadow work or journeying practice (Let me know if you want a recommendation)
Sure, why not - what do you have to recommend? I have heard plenty of people mention shadow work, but have never done anything like that.


-Someone with whom you can speak honestly, frankly, earnestly and outloud...
I definitely don't have this irl, only this log on DhO. I have thought many times about whether I should get a teacher, probably yes, at least eventually, but was just seeing how far I could go on my own.

​​​​​​​Editing to add that I have obviously received much helpful guidance on here so "on my own" is not exactly accurate. 
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 12/15/23 6:56 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/15/23 6:56 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
12/5
Awareness is before noticing, and noticing is just something extra, right? I don't even have to take that extra step of noticing something? Seems like some extra doing that I don't have to do. Just, be aware. 

But I feel the "extra", I feel the focus and the narrowing down. 

12/6
I'm feeling mappy again. Oh no! Jk, it's fine. I am learning (and re-learning) that it's okay for these things to happen. They are just what's happening. I'm not doing something wrong. The "wrong" thing in the context of practice is getting lost/stuck in the content of whatever's going on. Just let whatever be whatever.

I had a relaxing, calm sit. I don't THINK I was in any kind of trance. Just following along with, whatever. I'm feeling less neurotic today. Lol.

12/7
I had recently been having some rougher sits, yesterday was better and calmer, today I am feeling better overall.

25 minute sit - so much restless mind, not wanting to meditate or note or do anything. Just sat for a while, whatever. Just tried to follow whatever sensations I could. Perception or attention was getting broader by the end, I think.

12/8
I had a sort of sudden release from bad feelings today, which was nice. But, I didn't write much more about it, so now, I can't remember what it was specifically. I think this happened off-cushion.

12/9
Okay. After what feels like a while of feeling generally bad for no apparent reason and feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable and wanting to avoid it... I finally felt like I could sit with it and let it be and see it's not so scary at all, not so bad, feels damn good to let the bad feelings be. Is that so weird? It feels worse to avoid, ignore. Feels good to just be totally open to all the bad feelings! 

12/10
Working on some stuff. The guilt I feel spending time on meditation instead of (fill in the blank - time with the kids, work, etc.). Truthfully I spend quite a bit of time with the kids and meet the minimum at work, so, there is really no reason at all to feel any guilt. Just some worried and judgmental thoughts floating around in my mind.

Trying also to incorporate a 5 minute period before a sit to wind down, calm down, relax the mind, literally I'll stare out the window or pace a bit, remind myself that there is nowhere I have to be right now, nothing I have to do, nobody I have to please, this time is 100% dedicated to the sit. Whatever comes to mind I acknowledge it, let it be, let it go. When I remember to do this, I can settle more easily into a sit.

I sat for an hour just now. Easy to sit still. I mean aside from twitching a toe once or twice, blinking my eyes, and breathing. There was no forcing myself to sit still, there was just sitting still.

So as always, hard to remember everything. What stands out is a rather boring period around the middle. And at one point I realized oh, I am calm and relaxed but, I may be in kind of a trance. So I reinvigorated the noting, going deeply into whatever sensation happened to be there, however narrow or wide, with very very light and gentle labeling until I dropped to just noticing deeply. Then at some point, this kind of new feeling, but really really (really!) subtle. A feeling of even more stability, as though the lower half of my body was not just still but like a statue. So stable. Like a feeling that, I could not move even if I wanted to, I'd just have to wait until the body moved, it was not up to me. And also like, you know the feeling of sitting down in shallow calm water? The water makes you more bouyant, lighter. So it felt simultaneously like, I'm still and stable as a statue, but I also feel lighter, not so heavy. Okay. So that's it, really. At some point the sit just kind of seemed to be winding down.

I really felt that I needed to just get "back to basics" with the most basic and simple instruction of noticing sensations and the three C's. More specific practices and tools have been so helpful to me throughout this process, sometimes when I'm getting overwhelmed and overthinking and overanalyzing though, I just need to circle back to the basics. It really cut down on the thinking and effort.

12/11
During today's sit - at one point it felt almost like I was close to "locking in" on a more direct experience of the three C's but it's hard to describe because there was no thinking involved because thinking about three C's is obviously not the same as just directly seeing or experiencing. I mean, this feeling like I was close to "locking in" was subtle. I don't really know how else to describe it or why I came up with the words "locking in".

12/12
I mostly can't tell, when I write about my sits and practice, which stuff is PoI, and which stuff is either just random or is scripted/imagined by my mind. But I just write it all here and then sometimes when I look back at past logs I can actually see a little more clearly which stuff was maybe/probably PoI, and what was just random or scripted.

During today's sit, at one point, my face felt like, just... open space. Not sure how else to describe that. Another way to describe it might be the feeling of my face not having separation from space? Or like my face was just sort of disappearing into space itself. This only lasted a short time. I kind of started to feel this "spacey" like sense of things overall. Like more and more stuff "out there" was like, becoming more "space" than "stuff". I dunno how else to describe this. And yeah I dunno if that's just an effect of stronger concentration.

12/13
I sat this morning, a short but nice sit! kinda delightful. And yeah the delightfulness was also noticed/noted.

No head pressure/balloon head in a while.

Another sit, 15 minutes only! Interrupted by baby lol. Calm, relaxing. Generally pleasant. Just following along with the flow of sensations, here, there, everywhere.

30 minute sit before bed, thought I had a kind of fade out briefly (same kinda thing I've had before). Sort of forgot I was meditating, was picturing or imagining something, sort of sinking into it, then, a sort of subtle drop out and return to meditating. Otherwise very calm, very still, uneventful sit.

12/14
I spoke too soon maybe, I had major head pressure in my sit before bed, lol.

12/15
40 minute sit. Pretty calm, wouldn't say it was exactly pleasant, but not unpleasant, either. The feeling of being "all done" with the sit was nice to soak in for a bit. I realized soaking in being "all done" means there is no effort, you are not trying to do anything, no striving or seeking, just be. But, see what tension remains, even when you are "all done".
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:51 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:51 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nice!

Yeah, remember that those "bad sits" can become great sits just by being intimate with whatever seems wrong or bad or difficult. When you have a complete experience of something, it's totally different than what it seems like when you are avoiding it. Go "into" the exeperience itself.

Correct, awareness in a sense "comes before" noting. So noting doesn't really "create" mindfulness but rather sort of reinforces ongoing mindfulness (and forgetting to note is a great hint that we fell into a trance!). Gentle and consistent noting builds the ability to be freshly in the moment... but ultimately awareness itself/noticing itself is the goal. If we can maintain that it's fine to drop noting, but also noting doesn't destroy awareness/noticing so there isn't a downside to continuing to gently note.

That feeling of the lower part of body becoming a statue? That feeling of the face becoming space? Both early forms of jhana and a good sign.

 Seems like each of your check-in posts continue to show new progress, new experiences... so no need to radically change anything, keep going! Keep using your intuition to gently explore. And as always remember the basics. Straight ahead! emoticon
Ashley K, modified 5 Months ago at 12/17/23 7:19 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/17/23 7:19 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Seems like each of your check-in posts continue to show new progress, new experiences... so no need to radically change anything, keep going! Keep using your intuition to gently explore. And as always remember the basics. Straight ahead!

Thank you!! Your words are encouraging.

That feeling of the lower part of body becoming a statue? That feeling of the face becoming space? Both early forms of jhana and a good sign.

Okay, very cool. Actually, the coolest thing about this for me, is seeing that I did not need to do anything special to make this happen. All I had to do is just keep showing up to practice! With good practice this stuff really does just arise in due time. I'm a lot more patient with progress these days, it reminds me of what you said on my log a while back, "No need to rush. There's a saying: 'slow is smooth and smooth is fast'."

Keep going I shall.
Ashley K, modified 4 Months ago at 12/24/23 5:52 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/24/23 5:52 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
12/16
30 minute sit in the morning. Just watching the fleeting feelings, images, thoughts, sounds, etc. My mind started wandering a lot at the end. Had another sit later in the day - very stable, broad perception, easy to sit, less thinking than usual toward the latter half of the sit.

12/17
45 minute sit. There was full body stability and tingling sensations. At one point, there was a little shift, and then - I felt space. Like, the whole of space. Broadly perceiving. Real calm, still subtle thoughts going on, so I did my best to note them. A bit of spacing out here and there.

12/18
I sat 50 minutes just now. I sat still and unmoving, basically the entirety of the sit. Super calm, relaxing, peaceful, enjoyable. Very little mind wandering, I was at least lightly following along the flow of sensations, noticing at least something, some quality of some sensation, at any given time. No aversion to sitting, no restlessness.

Sure got a little boring part way through, I noted that... When I would note something like "peace" or "boring" I would try to look and see, what are the sensations that make up "peace" and "boring", like how do I know this is "peaceful" and this is "boring". Just to help keep the noting/noticing going.

12/19

I don't think I had a sit this day. Before going to sleep my mind was all a jumble, a mix of worries and sad memories and frustration and uncertainty. Blerg! 

12/20
I had an unpleasant dream where I thought I was having a psychotic break, lol. I thought oh boy, I've sure done it now! But it was just a dream. The one thing I remember clearly is looking at my face in the mirror and seeing my reflection make a face back at me, all by itself. It was freaky. That feeling of total loss of all control was scary.

Common themes to recent sits - shame, embarrassment, inadequacy, disappointment. Sigh, but that could just be off-cushion daily life stuff coloring what I feel on-cushion. There is resistance to these negative feelings. And the desire to analyze and fix.

12/21
Today it feels like things in life have too much "weight" and import. I want to be released from all this weight!

I definitely got mad and frustrated about some stuff today. Feeling antsy and irritated. Not sure how much of that is just work stress and lack of sleep.

The strategizing is back - do I go all in with the frantic feelings and note everything I can, or should I do slow calming breaths and a gentle pace of noting to counteract the frantic and bring balance, or something else, what is the best thing to do? And I can also note the strategizing itself and all that it entails. It's okay, I've been here before.

I have had a particularly difficult time finding any time to sit the last few days. Finally I sat for 30 minutes today. I felt a couple shifts into like, full body statue stillness. My mouth seemed like it was disappearing at some point lol. That's all I really remember, just a calm easy sit, gently noticing whatever was there.

12/22
Things are not great right now, but that's okay. Even if I stop and investigate body sensations, just the usual ones going on all the time, they kind of hurt. Or are at least uncomfortable. I just have heightened sensitivity right now, physically and mentally. For all I know, though, the solution is simply a better diet and exercise and more sleep.

I sat for 20 minutes and oof, pretty low quality. Some of my recent sits have been only 10-20 minutes. Days like these make me lose hope that I can fit this practice into my life. Forget about a RETREAT... I can hardly even meditate 10 minutes some days.

Eventually I was able to sit for 30 minutes, and it was really uneventful... Not really boring, just not much happening outside of just noting/noticing whatever.

I am feeling a lot of confusion and uncertainty, also. What else is new. ha!

12/23
I sat before bed for 30 minutes but I don't remember much. Just a normal sit. Nothing stands out.

12/24
I sat for an hour just now. Zero restlessness, zero aversion to sitting. I didn't move at all, I did noting (without labeling) but it was so calm I just wondered, am I even doing anything right now? Like, is this sit DOING anything? I didn't really know. So, I'm back to "smooth sailing" but like, a little TOO smooth lol. Feels like not much is happening, BUT, it also felt like trying to use any more effort than the little there was wouldn't have been right, either.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 5:58 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 5:58 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"The strategizing is back - do I go all in with the frantic feelings and note everything I can, or should I do slow calming breaths and a gentle pace of noting to counteract the frantic and bring balance, or something else, what is the best thing to do? And I can also note the strategizing itself and all that it entails."

Yiu could try and use the method suggested to me by shargrol. I now just let anything just be as is. Radical allowing. And I say "ok friend". And just watch it lovingly to death. 

Im strategising! "Ok friend" (with compassion and loving kindness just let it be). 

Doesn't hurt testing this method for a while or just sometimes during the off cushion. 

​​​​​​​Best wishes! 
Ashley K, modified 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 7:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 7:31 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thanks! I would like to try that. I can see how that would just calm things down and circumvent some of the thinking or analyzing that could happen, in response to whatever I noticed. Like noticing the strategizing. I will add it to my toolbox!
Ashley K, modified 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 6:39 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/29/23 6:39 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
12/26
I had a very pleasant sit today. At one point my legs had a pleasant tingling sensation. By the end of the sit, it was effortless to notice sensations, I didn't even need to do the "noticing", everything was just right where it was. I am not sure the best word to describe it but it was a very nice place to be indeed. 

I sat two other times today and they were just similar to recent sits, normal stuff.

12/27
Feels like I'm getting a "taste" of attention going by itself. Also feeling better today, lighter and happier, as though I suddenly have access to lighter, happier states, thoughts, feelings that I didn't have access to before. I am really REALLY enjoying meditation now.

Had a 45 minute sit. Nicest. Sit. Ever! No restlessness, no aversion. There is less of a general feeling of "life is full of pain and suffering and royally sucks" that is subtly there in the background during more difficult sits, instead it's more of a "things are lighter and even the bad things in life are really not so bad". Not much bad stuff during the sit. I remember feeling some bittersweet feelings at some point, as well as the most peace and calm and ease ever.

I had another sit later today, wow a great start to the sit, and then, it ended on a crappy note. There were difficult feelings to note again, I wanted to just give up, felt like I can't do it, I felt defeated.

I have been doing more of trying to get at selfy-feeling stuff. The sensations that seem like me, thoughts that seem like me. Noting them, getting meta, etc. Sometimes I feel like I get to a point where I can't find any sensation that seems like me, but there is STILL a "something" there that seems like a me experiencing all this stuff or at least observing it. 

12/28
Boring stuff is more bearable today. Feeling a little more chilled out and less reactive today.

I noticed my attention is directed inward a lot more than I think. I noticed this just staring at a door. Much of the time I'm not really looking at the door. I'm alternately in my head, sort of directed toward the sense of "self". Like, what am I in relation to this thing? it seems like my mind is automatically always assessing that. 

I had a very nice 50 minute sit later in the day. Pleasant pretty much all the way through. By the end there was a more significant amount of pleasant tingling in the body than I've ever had before. More pronounced and pleasant than what I have had before. I did wonder, early jhana stuff again? Anyway, I had to move my legs because I had some mild pain in my hip joint so that kind of ended the sit.

35 minute sit in the evening. Very very pleasant! Easy and comfortable to sit. Somehow I felt less invested in my life, in the details of my life, but in a good way. As though it didn't ultimately matter what I'm like or what happens in my life. Somehow just to be here now is some kind of blessing or special thing. Like the just being here now is what was important, not the details of the life. I dunno... it's just what it felt like.

In the evening, I also tried something new - doing the "look at it..." practice, off-cushion. I have never really been able to maintain noting for any length of time off-cushion, but I could do this for a while. It was utterly fascinating to say the least. I didn't need to think of what to do, I was just doing stuff and there was stuff to note with the "look at it..." phrase. Sometimes things were happening too fast and it sort of became a stream of noting (without labeling) then back to "look at it" if things slowed down again. 

Absolutely the practice also prevented me from just ruminating and getting lost in thinking, though of course I still had thoughts but then I could say, look how it's planning, look how it's remembering, look how it's anticipating, look how it's analyzing, etc.

I had been thinking of doing off cushion practice for a long while, and I finally tried this today. I am thinking of doing this again once in a while off cushion. 

I had a short sit before bed. I had another one of those events where it was like everything briefly shutdown (no sounds, but there was blackness, not nothing) and I saw a very small but bright flash in the center of my vision. I think these kinds of events only happen if I am meditating right before bed. So I dunno if it has something to do with being closer to sleep.

12/29
Well I tried to sit in the morning but was very sleepy so it didn't go that well.

Papa told me about the "ok friend" practice today, so I tried that. I accidentally combined it with the "look at it/look how it" practice, so, I just kept doing that because I liked it. lol.

I had a one hour meditation this afternoon, probably about 50 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking. Mostly just noting, for anything selfy I also used the "look at it" practice with some "ok friend" thrown in any time there was any resistance to a sensation, to just allow, let it be.

Rather pleasant, nothing too difficult, plenty of wondering, analyzing, feeling hopeful, feeling determined, feeling confused, etc etc etc lots of fleeting sensations on and on and on.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/30/23 6:26 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/30/23 6:24 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nice! As Daniel said in MCTB, dwelling in nice meditation states is a guilt-free pleasure. No need to second guess it. It makes the mind gentle and peaceful, it makes the body relaxed and whole. It's good for you and it is good for the people you will meet that day. If jhana-ish delight arises, soak in it, let it infuse your body and mind. Enjoy what is being given.

At some point, difficult stuff will bubble up and it's not a problem. You've finally created a safe place where all your hidden hopes and worries and fears and even body aches now feel safe enough to come out of hiding. So much better to meet them in the light of awareness rather than have them hidden in the shadows. (These sorts of things only cause problems when they are ignored and forced to lash out from the shadows.) Frustrated ambitions, past mistakes, future worries, dreams that feel like they will never happen in this lifetime --- they all just want to tell their stories and be heard. "(Ok friend,) Tell me your story." Pretty much all wisdom comes from having a strong enough power of awareness to listen to these high powered stories with acceptance and caring. You learn a lot from these shadow body aches, emotions, and thoughts. 

One idea for maintaing practice off cushion: make contact with physical reality/sensations during the day. Feel how things feel. What do your clothes feel like on your body right now? When typing, what do the keys feel like?" Wh,at does it feel like to walk? To walk hunched over? To walk with "good posture"?  What does it feel like to brush your teeth?  This practice is sort of like stealing mini meditation practice throughout the day. Physical sensations are always in the present moment, very immediate, sort of intimate, and very mysterious. (Do I feel the keyboard or do I feel my fingers or does the combination of keyboard and finger create a entirely new thing? Where does this new thing exist, in me, in the keyboard, somewhere else...?)

​​​​​​​(You can kind of see how meditation practice bleeds into life practice...)

Straight ahead!  Nothing heroic., Very gentle, caring, consistent practice. Good for you, good for others, good for the world.
Ashley K, modified 4 Months ago at 12/31/23 7:57 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/31/23 7:57 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
You've finally created a safe place where all your hidden hopes and worries and fears and even body aches now feel safe enough to come out of hiding. So much better to meet them in the light of awareness rather than have them hidden in the shadows . . . they all just want to tell their stories and be heard. "(Ok friend,) Tell me your story."


Thank you, I really like that aspect of the "ok friend" method - just let these things tell their story. Like, they just need to be allowed is all, not judged or ignored or even believed.

And thank you for that additional off-cushion practice suggestion. More and more of the time off-cushion, meditation is just showing up and happening "by itself"... awareness is suddenly open and noticing everything, in and all around. I will keep playing with "look at it" and "ok friend" as well.

I've been on vacation all week, sooo will be interesting to see how things continue after I start work again... just one hour a day would be very feasible though!
Ashley K, modified 4 Months ago at 1/9/24 3:48 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/9/24 3:48 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I wrote way too much, so tl;dr I had a bad time but learned some stuff lol

12/29
30 minute sit before bed, more of the same. Another sort of blip like event.

12/30
I know I had a 50 minute sit, pretty much same... noting/noticing without labeling, nothing much happening.

12/31
Meditated a bit early afternoon.

Another 50 minute sit late afternoon. At some point, there was a sense of different parts of the body sort of disappearing, like there was space where there used to be sensations - this spacey sense was popping in and out around the body. Right after this, although I could still feel body sensations, it felt like I couldn't place where my hands or arms were. I thought late in the sit I was getting to a point of feeling more like meditation was "doing itself".

Overall the sit was very nice, very pleasant! If these calm sits continue, well, that is fine by me! If I have more lessons to learn or more "housecleaning" to do, that is okay, too.

25 minute sit before bed. Some more mind wandering than usual. Welcoming the mind wandering, being okay with it, and just getting back to noting in between. What a calm and happy sit that didn't make mind wandering into a problem.

1/1
I sat only 35 minutes today, it's just how it turned out. That's okay.

Last day of vacation, I start work again tomorrow...

1/2
45 minute sit. Not much to say. Very calm, peaceful, easy, the entire sit.

Got boring at one point and man, I could feel the boredom in my body. Then things got a little more - loosey goosy?? I am sorry, I don't know how to describe it. I was just doing my best to allow, continue following sensations as broadly as perception/attention wanted to follow, noting any feelings of effort or analyzing. I remember some feelings of determination/ambition. Tried to notice how no matter what I was thinking or feeling, reality did not change. Noting selfy stuff as much as possible.

Feeling great off-cushion. I'm not being that deliberate about off-cushion practice, it's more if I happen to think of it or suddenly find myself in "meditation mode" and aware and noticing sensations, I continue with it.

Had another ~40 minute sit. Noticing how I very subtly resist or attempt to manipulate certain sensations that seem overwhelming or subtly uncomfortable in some way. Subtle doubt, confusion. Sometimes thoughts seem sticky and like they really solidify a sense of self, other times sensations just seem to slip off as quickly as they are noticed and they don't stick around.

I'm feeling very good, energetic almost, but very calm. And not annoyed by stuff I usually would be really annoyed by.

1/3
Thinking about morality training again... I basically entirely forgot about morality training. I suppose I could use some.

I had quite a short sit this morning, it just wasn't going so well. Last night wasn't great, bad feelings came up again.

Had a little bit of a longer sit later, only about 35 minutes.

I am having doubts again and finding myself questioning whether I'm practicing enough. I'm encouraged when I hear that people made progress with shorter or fewer sits. And discouraged when I hear people suggest a minimum practice time that is more than what I can reasonably do.

I was thinking, the time (and my life!) will pass by anyway, so, I may as well just go on and practice, just doing what I can, without burning myself out. There ya go.

Today's very, up and downy. I feel all over the place. Was kinda mad about work stuff, then feeling better. Then frustrated and doubtful about practice, then having energy and feeling wise (why?? I don't know lol) and feeling "above" things a little more; unbothered.

I had one more 30 minute sit before bed. Lot of head pressure. Trying to use as little effort as possible. Some mind wandering, oops! 

1/4
It is the middle of the night, and I cannot sleep... something in me hurts so much. It is longing for something and feeling despair. It feels so so sad, like it's lost something it can never ever get back. Ugh. Why would I feel that way? It's so painful and not even about anything specific that I can figure out. It also feels so very alone, like it has something it wants to be able to share but it cannot share with anyone.

So, I was thinking lots at 3am and having a hard time not just being lost in stories. I could see how easily the mind can go from just sensations to "I am suffering" and I suffered anyway. I am also suddenly spending way too much time thinking and analyzing.

1/5
Guess I'm forgetting to write sit notes. I sat 40 minutes today. It was a mix of stuff. "Ok friend" helped me just let things be, that might otherwise overwhelm or lead to thinking and analyzing. Like feeling disappointed in myself. Just very simply, basically, noticing sensations, wherever, really feeling the fleeting sense of impermanence.

Lots of off-cushion mindfulness today. Feels simple and natural.

1/6
Sometimes, I can see that it's just not that bad having annoyed feelings/annoyed mind state, I can walk around and live life while that's going on and just let it be (key word - SOMETIMES).

My mind wants to settle into thinking and analyzing. It does not seem to feel comfortable going from sensation to sensation and letting go. It's the "letting go" part it seems to have trouble with.

That's okay I guess. The approach is maybe not to try and force it to NOT get stuck. Just see what it gets stuck on. Let THAT be. Let it get stuck.

It wants to grasp onto certain thoughts and lines of thinking like it wants to collect them and keep them and remember them to think more about them later. It is afraid to let go and drift along with sensations!

1/7
1 hour sit.

BEFORE the sit - I was having just an awful awful awful time. Resentful and mad and frustrated and not wanting to do what I needed to do. Ahhhh!

So I sat and let all the shit be. Thinking, well I can be resentful and hate everything later, right now let's just try to do good practice.

This day was SO BAD though. So resentful and mad at someone else, overwhelmed with parenting the kids, ugh.

I was so depressed, the whole day, immense heartache.

I also saw at some point though, that my mind is not the enemy. It is working just the way it is supposed to work, doing what it is supposed to do.

1/8
Still feeling kinda bad today. Yesterday was the worst. I was basically depressed allllll damn day. I saw what triggered it and saw exactly how what I believe about a person or situation will just ruin my whole day. I don't even care about getting to equanimity anymore. I just want to learn whatever I need to learn. Even if it would mean staying in crappy feelings to really see it.

I was also awake at 2am again, when I should've been sleeping, planning projects for my life. Like... I wanna deep clean my whole house, I wanna do a better job nurturing my friendships, I wanna lose 20 pounds and eat better and lift weights, I wanna continue consistent meditation practice, I wanna spend more quality time with my kids, yadda yadda yadda. I've made such plans many times! This time, at least - I understood that THESE ARE NOT MAGICAL PLANS THAT WILL AUTOMAGICALLY FIX EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE AND MAKE LIFE PERFECT AND BLISSFUL FOREVER!!! Thank God I understand that. I can still DO any projects I like (I mean who doesn't like having friends and living in a clean home, etc.) but I know at the end of these projects isn't the key to happy ever after or something.

When all these terrible feelings and thoughts happen and I am able to just acknowledge and let them be and they just go without me reacting/believing, it feels like I've discovered some kind of superpower. I can have all these terrible thoughts, and I don't have to make them my truth.

I had a 30 minute sit in the afternoon - somehow the second half of the sit was pretty mellow. Things are on the up and up again. The same things that were irritating/frustrating/depressing me yesterday are not bothering me so much.

It is kinda hard though navigating this, feeling like a crappy mom and wife one day when I'm struggling with being frustrated with my family, then suddenly the next day, everything is right as rain? It is good that I know not to torpedo my whole life during the bad times...

1/9
50 minute sit. Definitely remember feelings of guilt, shame, strategizing, but also being okay to just sit in that, sit with it, let it be. I alternated between a long-ish period of seeing blobby colorful shapes moving around my visual field (eyes closed), then a period of smooth visual field, then blobby shapes were back again. I sat very very still. Was just trying to stay with things and let them be. Feeling just kind of generally uncomfortable/unpleasantness in the body, but the attitude was, okay, it is what it is.

I had to "okay friend" the shit out of stuff this afternoon because it was the only way to get through the stuff without getting sucked into it. I am not interested in "spiritual bypassing" or whatever, and I know that if I have issues in daily life I can handle them in daily life as needed. But let's be fair, when you are in the midst of the mindstorm, that is not usually the best place from which to address a problem, anyway. When the storm clears, a more level-headed solution probably awaits. Wow, wow, wow, though, does the negative "stuff" lose its oomph, so fast, when I just let it be!

This seems to be some good stuff happening today. Awful thoughts and feelings are somehow resulting in good stuff, lol. I see (again) that the "content" does NOT matter. The "content" may matter later within the context of my life, if I am addressing some daily life issue - but in this practice, the "content" doesn't matter, it only matters to let it be, let it go. That feels very very right, even in the midst of the worst shitty mindstorm stuff.

I'm so grateful to not be tricked by my mind into one-dimensional thinking because, very quickly after some thoughts or feelings pass through on something... a totally different perspective will come through... I can look at it so many different ways, there are angry ways and sad ways and compassionate ways, there are judgmental ways and understanding ways.... etc etc etc. Like a “choose your own adventure” but if I leave it up to the mind I usually end up on a pretty crappy adventure... It also turns out I don't have to actually choose ANY particular adventure!! Like, I don't have to sift through them and pick the one that is "right" or "true"! I can just see that they are all there. And then let them all go.
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 1/9/24 5:41 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/9/24 5:41 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Whew, tough stuff -- but good work! Nicely done.
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:18 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/28/24 5:18 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
1/10
I had a 50 minute sit earlier. Near the beginning it felt like my breath and my focus was kind of scattered around the edges when I would look right at a sensation. There was something else about the sit I wanted to write down but I don't remember. It was basically a good sit.

1/11
I sat 20 minutes, I got interrupted. I remember a feeling of sinking down like something gently pressing downward on my body. Then things felt a little subtly chaotic, messier. Then... crying baby!!

I sat another 35 minutes afterward. But not really practicing like I would do for a formal sit, more sitting quietly just being gently mindful.

1/12
Very very very bad day at work today. But when I meditated before bed I was okay with everything. I was even okay with dying. It felt like if I literally died it would be just fine.

1/13
45 minute sit though maybe not the best sit. Squandering some of my time with thinking. Kind of a "do nothing" sit. I just could not make myself do much other than just sit there...

1/14
Wanting to be left alone today, like completely alone, like by everyone on the whole planet, please.

Feel like I had some kind of insight that everything is perfect exactly how it is. Everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It's just that everyone is usually using a different definition of perfect that makes almost everything NEVER perfect. With whatever my definition of perfect is, it is not possible for anything to be anything other than perfect.

If we think something is not working the way it is "supposed to", that's not actually true. It is not working the way we WANT it to or the way we EXPECT it to. But indeed it is working exactly the way it is "supposed" to. The way it is set up to. Apply some context, though, a desire, an expectation, and BAM! It stops being perfect.

1/15
I somehow have this feeling today as though I have totally lost touch with my practice. I'm not sure why. It's like I'm in this "pre-practice days" headspace and feels as though I haven't been there for a year.

I sat 25 minutes, but got sooooooo sleepy I HAD to take a nap instead.

Life is not disappointing me today, it's doing exactly what it's always done, what it is supposed to do. It's perfect, just like it always has been. But so much of the time I just can't SEE that!

1/16
I sat like four times today, but the sits were pretty short, lots of interruptions, just kept having to try again and again to get in a sit.

And then I had a really bad evening, something happening at home that I didn't like and made me so upset.

I sat for 50 minutes before bed. But kinda spent a lot of the time just feeling upset and disappointed about what happened earlier. Wish I could've just stuck to good practice. But, I didn't.

1/17
The last few days, when I have an actual good sit, I notice that things get better, things feel okay, even if off-cushion sucks. And I really asked myself, well am I just using meditation as an escape, since I've had such bad times recently? And no, I don't think I am escaping. It is normally on the cushion when everything bubbles up and comes out. Can't run away from anything on the cushion. Instead when I sit and just note, as long as I'm noting well and not just thinking, things seem to recede and there is peace.

During today's sit I was overwhelmed with that weird sense of everything being perfect - all I can see around me, is everyone and everything working exactly the way it is supposed to. It is just supposed to be this way - exactly the way it is now. It is not supposed to be different. Everything is so weirdly... Perfect. It makes sense. Even pain, confusion, suffering, judgement, it is just working out how it's supposed to. When everything is seen to just be working just how it's supposed to, and it is being the way it is supposed to be, there is this layer of suffering that is NOT there anymore.

I am wanting to be able to "see" this way all the time. Because eventually I forget and see things the "old" way and I sufferrrrrr.

1/18
Today I am feeling desperate again to be free from the suffering, specifically these patterns of suffering that keep repeating. I'm tired of going in circles with this stuff in my mind.

I'm so afraid to let go, though. Letting go means I don't care... That's what it feels like.

1/24
A few days ago I had basically the worst day I've had in a long long very long time.

Lots of thoughts and feelings like, this is too hard, I wanna give up, feels hopeless... a bad few days. Really tired of the hurt and being hurt. I tried metta but I didn't really believe anything I was saying. I just got so overwhelmed, swamped, by the bad stuff that I just have not been able to practice well for several days. Kind of floundering. Maybe I was silly to think things would get easier, this is harder than ever.

Up to now a lot of the "bad" stuff I have dealt with coming up was mostly revolving around how I have felt hurt by others in the past. And my judgments of others, my hate for other people or circumstances, etc. This time, it's all about how I am bad, how I have hurt others, my selfishness and shortsightedness coming up to HAUNT ME.

Somehow, I guess, this evening, I am finally feeling a little better. I am finally able to sit and practice again. Just couldn't do it, I couldn't, while overwhelmed with my life stuff.

Earlier today I had intended to do walking meditation, I was desperate to just get back to good, consistent practice, but what happened instead is I just wanted to yell and rage for about 30 straight minutes, as childish as it sounds (I was home alone so I could just let it all out). I just had to let my mind say its piece, it was clear meditation was not going to happen. And somehow, letting myself just belt out all the anger and pain, seemed to help my mind finally be able to let go of all this painful stuff that's been plaguing me the last several days. And so by evening... I am feeling totally back to normal.

I see why "begin again" is such a common phrase in meditation practice lol. I am beginning again all the freakin' time!

1/25
I sat for 45 minutes.

I sat before bed again later, not sure for how long, 35 minutes I think? I had lots of those little events where things seem like they are quickly fading out or like, shutting down almost. Maybe just dips into some other state or something. It did not feel like falling asleep at all.

1/26
Wrestling with my selfishness, it is painful to see the various ways that I've been selfish, that I didn't really notice before. 

Sat ~35 minutes early in the day? Then sat another hour later. Alternating longer periods of sitting with a minute or two of walking in between.

1/27
The last few days there has been some mix of getting over myself, acceptance, and surrender, that has been happening. It sucks but needs to happen.

1/28
I sat a little over an hour. Not convinced it was that good of a sit. At some point I had the thought, "Stop trying to make sense of things. There's nothing in here to make sense of." What a relief, I can stop spending so much energy just trying to make SENSE of things that just might not ever make any sense, and don't NEED to make sense, either. Life can be absurd and make no sense and THAT'S OKAY.

Sits don't feel so easy anymore, but they aren't particularly hard either. After today's sit was over I was thinking about what the sit was like, and I feel like it is difficult to notice/note sensations, like my mind is not able to directly see/sense them. Dunno why. Maybe part of it is just trying to get back to good practice after having such a bad time and having difficulty practicing. 

After the sit, I tried again to just be aware and notice sensations to see what it's like. And it gave me anxiety to not be able to "latch onto" any sensations, to feel like I could not easily see them, so then I noted this anxiety because it was just another sensation, and then suddenly it was as though all sensations were flowing into me, through me, and back out from me, but like... all at the same time, as though I am not separate from the sensations. Very simple and effortless. Lasted for only 15 seconds or so. It seemed kind of profound in some way, although it really wasn't THAT different from how things are usually experienced.

Now how can I have a whole hour long sit that didn't feel like much of anything, then after I'm all done and making a cup of tea, something like THAT happens? lol.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 1/28/24 6:17 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/28/24 6:12 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I sat for 50 minutes before bed. But kinda spent a lot of the time just feeling upset and disappointed about what happened earlier. Wish I could've just stuck to good practice. But, I didn't.

Sometimes this is good practice. Notice thoughts about practice, relax all that too.
 
I'm so afraid to let go, though. Letting go means I don't care... That's what it feels like.

We cycle through a lot of emotional baggage as we prepare to let go. We fear it. The ego resists it. With continued practice these things soften and loosen. 

Maybe I was silly to think things would get easier, this is harder than ever.

Somethings get easier. Somethings get harder. The more you cycle through it the more you integrate it. The deeper integrated then the more chill the experience can become. 

I sat a little over an hour. Not convinced it was that good of a sit. At some point I had the thought, "Stop trying to make sense of things. There's nothing in here to make sense of." What a relief, I can stop spending so much energy just trying to make SENSE of things that just might not ever make any sense, and don't NEED to make sense, either. Life can be absurd and make no sense and THAT'S OKAY.

Wonderful practice. Feel that sense of relief "Ahhh, I don't have to know anything" "Ahh I don't have to be in charge of anything."

Infact "I do not know what anything is."

And it gave me anxiety to not be able to "latch onto" any sensations, to feel like I could not easily see them, so then I noted this anxiety because it was just another sensation, and then suddenly it was as though all sensations were flowing into me, through me, and back out from me, but like... all at the same time, as though I am not separate from the sensations. Very simple and effortless. Lasted for only 15 seconds or so. It seemed kind of profound in some way, although it really wasn't THAT different from how things are usually experienced.

Nice, lovely. There's all kinds of states and cool stuff. Look, what we're doing here is learning to relax and as the body warms with waves of relaxation we start to melt open lots of the wounds and traumas that have been numb and buried under ice.

Also notice how you're starting to see some of the meta cognition. The thought about and below the thoughts we're more obviously aware of. Notice how cognitive activity had been producing that anxiety and just seeing it was enough to drop it. 

This time, it's all about how I am bad, how I have hurt others, my selfishness and shortsightedness coming up to HAUNT ME.

Good. Notice how this is deeper than the prior experience.

And somehow, letting myself just belt out all the anger and pain, seemed to help my mind finally be able to let go of all this painful stuff that's been plaguing me the last several days.

I had a lot of stuff come up like this in my journey. A moment of progress for me that was as significant as attaining path was openly (and somewhat publically) addressing someone who had pretty brutally gaslit me and others.

I find myself repeating this so often online and in the real world but make sure you have a friend with whom you can share anything. If you don't have one, get one. It is I believe one of the single most important things a person can do for their mental health. (Perhaps besides waking up. Both is best.) 

Wrestling with my selfishness, it is painful to see the various ways that I've been selfish, that I didn't really notice before. 

Very very good. Excellent practice. Truly noble and praiseworthy. (Don't beat yourself up, see it, feel it, wear it, love it, get on with it)

The last few days there has been some mix of getting over myself, acceptance, and surrender, that has been happening. It sucks but needs to happen.

An old crazy guru once talked about how you absolutely have to lose face. This is what the self fears most. The self is always putting on a facade and as we meditate we start to see through its trick. It doesn't immediately stop happening but we can see the deception occur. This points at deeper practice but fundamentally the self thinks the world is a certain way and through practice we start to see how this fabricated world fantasy is actually false. Seeing that, like seeing all these things we're discussing, creates more space to relax.  That's sort of what's weird about meditation, there are many insights that show you, "hey look at this weird activity you're doing". Seeing it, often isn't enough to let it go, often first we have to learn to relax with it, despite the fact that it carries on. 


Ok, you know the deal... Ice cream, Baths, Nice cups of tea, binge watch tv, take a sick day, spill your heart out to someone, walk in the woods, botanical gardens, go for a boogie, curse your coworkers, overturn the patriarchy. Do keep up the metta when you can. 

Good to see you're back !! 
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 1/29/24 2:52 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/29/24 2:52 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thank you so much for all your replies!

An old crazy guru once talked about how you absolutely have to lose face. This is what the self fears most.

feel this. lol. I think I have been sensing exactly this recently, only I didn't have words to put to it, or didn't want to have to admit it - and I have noticed also that my ego soooo does not want to go there, haha. It sure wants to stay on top, stay in control, hold onto its strength, even if it's basically toxic... blehh.

I appreciate the reminder also that stuff won't just automatically let go or disappear, that crappy stuff/conditioning might continue on even when seen through, I just need to keep going, continue to relax, continue to investigate. I can tell there are certain things that are better/easier. Which is good. Sometimes it feels like slow going but, eh, I would rather learn stuff deeply I guess than try to skip through on a surface level, which wouldn't work anyway.

I do have a friend I used to talk to a lot more about things on a deeper, personal, non-judgmental level. I think I may reach out to her and get that going again. Would be nice to have that bit of support irl especially because I haven't really felt I could talk to anyone about any of this irl.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 1/31/24 4:20 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/31/24 4:20 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I've heard that once you are awakened, you will not have to pay the taxes! emoticon emoticon 

​​​​​​​Best wishes! emoticon 
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 4:44 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 4:44 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I don't mind paying taxes, but what I'd really like is the power to decide what my tax monies are spent on. Can I get that??
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 6:58 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 6:58 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
2/1
I sat a little over an hour. 20 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 40 minutes sitting.

2/2
So disgusted with how much I've thought I'm better than other people. While simultaneously believing I am worse than other people and being ashamed of that?? Like how can I hold these opposing beliefs within myself and not think that's weird. So much judgment of myself and others that was just never necessary.

2/3
I sat 45 minutes. During my sit today I got the image of me holding a shield and a sword - one in each hand, always ready to either defend or attack, one or the other (thanks brain, very poetic) so I thought, what if I just put both of those down?

2/4
Two short sits. Like 30 minutes each.

2/5
In today's sit, lots of sadness. Kind of frantic feeling energy. Feeling like I never did deserve any of the special things I always felt I deserved.

I feel really ashamed right now and I don't even honestly know why. Just feeling like I'm doing everything wrong and doing nothing right. Like everything in my life and the way I feel about my life flipped upside down to be wrong, wrong, wrong, and I can't get it to flip back again.

I tried some metta again just now and ended up with feelings of futility. Why wish for all beings in the universe, known and unknown, to be safe and free from danger, to be free from suffering, to be happy, when I know it is not possible for it to be that way, it has never been that way, I don't see how it ever could be, there is always somebody somewhere unhappy, suffering, in danger. You know? So like, feels futile and sad to say this stuff. Like wishing for something you know is impossible. There is no hope. That sucks! Then it feels selfish to want it for myself. Like why should I get it, and not all those people unhappy, suffering, in danger, etc? But I also know like, I'm not helping anyone else be happy or not suffer if I'm over here moping around about things. Might as well do what I can for myself and the very few people I have a direct impact on. So to sum it up hopelessness and futility lol, fun fun fun!

2/6
I let myself feel frustrated and irritated and tired of stuff! I let myself feel disgust at myself and various situations I find myself in, too. I'm tired of full on getting sucked into my stuff, believing it, making it a big deal, making it into a problem to be solved. At least today I was able to let stuff be.

2/7
35 minute sit.

everybody just stop making problems out of things. It's annoying. I'm done with that.

2/8
40 minute sit today. Another 20 minutes before bed.

2/9
Sorry I've been doing a bad job taking notes on what goes on during my sits. So now that sits are going better and I am feeling more peace and calm again, I can try to get back to that. It's still hard to find even one uninterrupted hour in my entire day.

I'm like, ready to stop buying into my bullshit, all my stuff, and just practice. But I feel like I've said that/felt that a bunch of times before lol. Sigh. Here we go again. Again!

2/11
I had a one hour sit. There was lots of getting sleepy and nodding off. But I sat through that and it stopped, yay, maybe I got in enough teeny microsleeps to stay awake lol. I kept going, kept sitting, noticing, getting meta, no thinking about stuff, no analyzing, peaceful, calm.

2/12
I feel like I am remembering things I already knew, but somehow had forgotten or lost touch with. Just simple stuff. How easy it is to just be loving and kind, how to get OVER yourself, accepting/surrendering, etc etc. Dang! It really ISN'T all about ME. Goodness, time to stop being selfish, like wow. So self-centered, self-focused, well I'm making myself sound awful, I dont think I'm that awful, but I do see how it could be better.

Off-cushion, I don't know why, but I got a feeling as though my life is like a movie just playing, like a video where, when I was born, someone pushed "play", and it's just playing out how it always was going to, no input needed from me, no input POSSIBLE from me (even if it feels that way), and when I die, they'll push "stop". Done. That's it. I don't know what made me feel like this.

Stories stories stories, my mind is always running with stories. I don't have to buy into them. Finally, I am able to hear the stories running through my head, that have been running through my head on and off the last ~six weeks, and I just see it for what it is, I don't get suckered into it. I can still feel any pain or unpleasant emotions associated but damn it I can let it be and let it go! Ha!

And I can see that I'm taking on this sort of "fighting stance" against the stories, and I can see that THAT is just another story, another "framing" applied to the situation. That is added on. I can see that too.

I sat for 90 minutes today. It felt really easy to just keep sitting. I did my best to just note/notice and get "meta" about anything at all seeming like me thinking or feeling stuff.

It was quite peaceful and I was wondering, how do I go about noting things when it's so peaceful and quiet and not much going on. Obviously, I can note this "wondering". But I just kinda noted whatever had my attention at any given time. I tried to see how I was just aware without needing to do anything extra to notice or "be aware". I am already aware of something as soon as it is happening. And I tried using just the least amount of effort possible, keep dropping effort more and more and see, I am still aware and noticing without all that effort.

That's about it. It was a very pleasant sit. Anything that might have been negative was very subtle. 

I sat before bed, too, maybe 30 minutes.

2/13
Hour long sit. Super easy. Very still. Calm. Little effort. Here and there I had analysis thoughts, thoughts about practice popping up. Can't help it but I just remember that it's fine to have those thoughts, just note them for what they are, just more thoughts. Feeling very good, pleasant, calm. Pretty nice that I can have thoughts about alllll the shitty stuff from the past ~six weeks and see them for what they are. No getting sucked into the story and reacting to it. Finally.

2/14
45 minute sit. Tried a second sit later on but only 15 minutes before I got interrupted. Noting and enjoying the peace that is there when I just note and don't get caught up in anything. Just very easy, lots of peace, calm, quiet, feeling light, all feels very simple. Sometimes I don't really know how to note when there's all this peace, calm, quiet? So, I just go on and note more see/hear/feel sensations. Feeling a little back in "witness" mode, but it's not very strong.

-
If I'm going to go through the wringer with my suffering then some of that suffering better be getting wrung out for good otherwise what's the point! At least, everything doesn't feel "wrong, wrong, wrong" anymore.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 8:41 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/14/24 8:36 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Hey !!!
so I thought, what if I just put both of those down?

- When you call up that imaginary image. What does it feel like in the aware body experience to drop the sword and shield? 

So to sum it up hopelessness and futility lol, fun fun fun!

- When you tell yourself stories about hopelessness and futility where are the stories located in your experience? Are they connected to the discomfort? How or how not? If there is discomfort in the front of the body what does the periphery feel like? If your heart is broken then how does your toe feel? Can you include the toe and the grief into everything else? Or do you find you keep getting wrapped into it? 

I let myself feel frustrated and irritated and tired of stuff! I let myself feel disgust at myself and various situations I find myself in, too. I'm tired of full on getting sucked into my stuff, believing it, making it a big deal, making it into a problem to be solved. At least today I was able to let stuff be.

- Nice, so I love the "fuck it lets feel this stuff" energy. Make sure to include it in the periphery. That's how we start sort of relaxing and massaging our way out of these kinks. 

I'm like, ready to stop buying into my bullshit, all my stuff, and just practice. But I feel like I've said that/felt that a bunch of times before lol. Sigh. Here we go again. Again!

- Again is ok. All part of the grand scheme. Things can integrate through repetition.

I love the video stuff.

"And I can see that I'm taking on this sort of "fighting stance" against the stories, and I can see that THAT is just another story, another "framing" applied to the situation. That is added on. I can see that too."

- Great meta awareness. Where does it happen in the body-mind what does it feel like to notice this stuff, to let it slide, to be free of it, to be embroiled in it, to just let it happen either way. Get familiar, get relaxed with it, in an inclusive way without needing to change it. 

Keep consistent. Even if it's 10 minutes.
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 6:35 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 6:34 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nice Ashely. Sounds like some good wringing. emoticon

Just as options: 
* when caught up in a story, try to note what kind of thoughts are involved. Make up your own labels like "better than others thoughts/story" "worse than others thought/story" - it's really helpful to come up with your own personalize labels that give you a shorthand way of recognizing your own habits of mind. No need to worry about making them go away or change, what your learning is quicker recognition. And with better recognition and over time, it becomes more obvious if the thoughts are appropriate or not. (If there is a rush to end a particular thought/story, chances are we haven't fully experienced it enough. Usually there is a tiny kernal of truth around the stupid stories we have, so we need to fully experience them and feel the false but also recognize the truth, too.)

* remember that a lot of stories are adult version of childhood attempts to make sense of the world when things were ambigous. We fear "the void" of no information/recognition and so we fill in the void with something else, some emotion, some drama. Often it's some version of shame/guilt or double-bind of "I shouldn't to this, but I have to do it" or "I really am special but I am a failure" - those sorts of just-can't-win-no-matter-what-I-do dramas. And sometimes it's some kind of freak out. Reobservation is seeing all of this, lots of internal drama and freakout, even though from the outside it looks like we're sitting quietly on the cusion. Sometimes it just can't be reasoned with and the mind needs to be dramatic and vent, but after it does we get wispy tears or crying, and like the clear day after the rainstorm the whole dynamic becomes much clearer in retrospect. 

* "Noting and enjoying the peace that is there when I just note and don't get caught up in anything. Just very easy, lots of peace, calm, quiet, feeling light, all feels very simple. Sometimes I don't really know how to note when there's all this peace, calm, quiet? So, I just go on and note more see/hear/feel sensations. Feeling a little back in "witness" mode, but it's not very strong."  During these sits, you can try balancing between the dichotomy of 1) relaxing and soaking into the felt experience of peace, calm, quiet, and 2) looking for where the residual tension, anxiousness, feeling of lack still exists. It's not doing one verse the other, but rather doing both at the same time. Feel the equanimity, but notice why it doesn't feel like perfect equanimity. Is there a slight armoring or protecting? Is there a feeling of needing to achieve something more? Is there a feeling of "I should be doing more"? In Equanimity is when you see the tiny "seeds" of the bigger dramas of Reobservation. Look for things like worry, doubt, vulnerability, inadequacy --- all of these subtle ways we reject the present moment. Look for things like strategizing, evaluating, comparing, anticipating --- all of these subtle ways we manipulate the present moment.
* another very direct way to note in EQ is to just search for the most general of feeling tones: positive and negative. Even in EQ there will be vibes that flow between positivity and negativity. Calm and quiet and peace can have a kind of slow echo or reverb or wah-wah kind of feeling when thing settle down, sorta like dukka and sukka are morphing into each other, back and forth... It's never solid dukka or solid sukka, it's more like it's always generally sukka but there are tiny waves of dukka that rise and fall within that space of sukka.

Anyway, it all sounds good to me. No major advice/changes that I would recommend. 


In general, the more specific to you your notes/labels are, the more clearly you can see your stuff in my opinion. I found generic labels like see/feel/hear to be too vague to have much power for me --- but that's just my experience. 
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 4:04 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 4:04 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thank you for the investigation pointers. Am I right that the main things here are... periphery, inclusivity, and, RELAX! And, to keep practicing, consistently, with these things in mind? I appreciate also that you've definitely pointed out periphery and inclusivity to me before, so... I will try to bring those into my practice.

"Can you include the toe and the grief into everything else? Or do you find you keep getting wrapped into it?" I definitely got wrapped into a lot recently, am hoping with more and more things that when I do get wrapped up in it that I can catch it happening sooner. I can see how periphery and inclusivity can help keep from getting lost in my stuff.

Thanks emoticon
Ashley K, modified 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 4:12 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/15/24 4:12 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thank you for providing the options/advice, good stuff, I will keep it all in mind.

"Sometimes it just can't be reasoned with and the mind needs to be dramatic and vent"
Yeahhh this is very me lately! lol

"Even in EQ there will be vibes that flow between positivity and negativity. Calm and quiet and peace can have a kind of slow echo or reverb or wah-wah kind of feeling when thing settle down, sorta like dukka and sukka are morphing into each other, back and forth... It's never solid dukka or solid sukka, it's more like it's always generally sukka but there are tiny waves of dukka that rise and fall within that space of sukka."
I guess I have noticed this before, but didn't have a way to describe it. Definitely I feel the subtle waves of negative and their various flavors that ebb and flow within the calm.

​​​​​​​Thank you!
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 2/24/24 7:41 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/24/24 7:30 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
2/14
If I have control, then I can control what happens to me, what I feel. I can prevent suffering. If I don't have control, well, then just about ANYTHING could happen to me! Including things I don't want!!! If I have no control then... I'm VULNERABLE!!! <<what I believe, apparently

I had a 35 minute sit before bed. Super calm. Brightening. Nothing can touch me with a 10 foot pole right now I am experiencing so much peace.

2/15
1 hour sit earlier. I remember feeling a rush of energy/pleasant feeling in chest, identifying the sensations as joy, having the thought "I am overjoyed", then basking in the joyful feeling. Noted. In general feeling a sort of quiet, simple, low-key confidence.

25 minute sit before bed with some of those weird moments where things seem to briefly shut down then come back again (plenty of space and duration felt with these occurrences though).

2/16
I kinda get lost in feelings of frustration, frustrating experiences. Lately that's what I get lost in. So I'm trying to see those more clearly, include them instead of getting lost in it, and noting what I can.

30 minute sit.  Trying to include everything. Did a better job watching thinking instead of getting a little caught up and losing mindfulness. It is very relaxing when I can note things and not get caught up. Pretty much a calm sit, not much happening. Decided to randomly note positive/negative and noticed the little waves of negative roll through between the quiet calm peaceful periods.

1 hour sit in the afternoon. Some mind wandering at the end, there just wasn't much going on and I guess I got distracted. Most of the sit was mindful, though. I sat still as a statue.

I noticed that there are these "tensions" that arise during my sits, usually physical, but I think they have some mental component too. I don't know why they arise, what they are, what they mean, etc., but I'm trying to go into them and note them, not to focus on them but just include. There is an avoidance of these tensions, not wanting to fully experience it, feeling like it will be overwhelming or unbearable somehow. Turns out, they are bearable. lol.

At one point felt more spacious. Noted.

2/17
I don't remember how long my sit was. I remember having a weird staticy ZAP! feeling in my head somewhere during. And near the end I fell asleep one time lol.

I am feeling untouchable like the negative stories can't touch me like they used to. Not indifference. I can still feel the frustration or whatever negative feeling and it is there with everything else, but not cutting me to the core for once.

2/18
I seem to be doing a lot better with stories about how I've been hurt or feeling upset about things others have done. Meaning, just letting them be and letting them go. But having some trouble with feeling regret for things I have done or ways I've upset or hurt others. Somehow thinking about the ways I've hurt other people is way way more painful and difficult to let be, than thinking about feeling hurt myself.

1 hour 15 minutes sit today. But a bit of getting very very sleepy sitting in a chair for second half of the sit. But I kept meditating between sleepy bits. I didn't want to stop!

Had a weird mix of feeling negative and positive - I feel sad, things seem difficult, I feel super inadequate.... then, oh wow actually I feel good, happy, everything is fine! I wish everyone could feel this happy all the time! Then, feeling hurt about something, remembering something that upset me, another story drumming up the usual thoughts and feelings, patterns I easily recognize. Then, feeling love and major regret about any ways (no matter how little) that I've hurt others and let my stupid dumb ego defenses and reactions dictate my life and decide how I feel. Then, feeling calm and like, let's not wallow, and let's not change or fix, let it all be, the good the bad and the ugly.

And off-cushion lots of noticing triggers today, triggers meaning things that are triggering emotional reactions, patterns, stories.

And... thoughts about practice, thoughts about practice, thoughts about practice! It's pretty obvious now I am thinking about practice all. The. Time!!!
Time to note THOUGHTS ABOUT PRACTICE!!!

Still feeling some challenging stuff and working to just let it be among all the rest. But wow, a lot of tension in just thoughts about practice, the relief is in being able to simply note those thoughts instead of letting it interfere with the practice.

2/19
I tried to find where in MCTB Daniel basically says, get stream entry first, and THEN go back and deal with all your "stuff", because you'll be in a much better place to deal with that stuff than before SE.

I'm not saying I'm not going to deal with anything in my life at all, but clearly what I've been doing doesn't really work, this stuff is always coming back again and again in different ways. So, I wanna try a different way. Boy is it uncomfortable just letting the stuff be, boy is it hard not to ruminate and try to fix/change/resolve, but I just have to see this through to the end and stop wallowing in my dumb shit.

My heart is done, yo, it can't take the rollercoaster ride of pain anymore.

I'm not trying to be heroic about practice, but I want this done.

And yep, this is all more stuff I can note and see the thoughts and the emotions and body sensations among all the rest of everything and it is just more fuel for the practice. Yep.

In MCTB2 Part IV, Chapter 30, Section 5, Dissolution, Entrance to the Dark Night - there is a lengthy resolution Daniel wrote there. Reading that was very helpful to me. Particularly one sentence, "I will make time for insight practices and retreats during which I will simply see the true nature of the sensations of whatever arises, however difficult, painful, extreme, or compelling, and not indulge in the spin cycle of ruminating on content for one skinny minute."

Also happened to come across somewhere Daniel recommending replacing guilt with wise remorse, also helpful.

2/20
Today there was more wallowing and ruminating in personal issues! Feeling real mad and frustrated and so done. I'm sick and tired of other people's expectations of me, and while I very much do want to continue trying my best to be a kind and loving person and make amends where necessary, I'm sick of being made to feel like I need to bend over backwards and be a doormat and give in to unreasonable expectations based on someone else's false idea of me and my reasons for doing (or not doing) certain things.

One of the things I do want to do better in is no more complaining and negativity. It is reasonable that the people around me don't want me to be complaining and negative so frequently. 

2/22
NO MORE STORIES! NO MORE STORIES! NO MORE STORIES!
there is a picket line forming in my mind demanding that I stop ruminating and indulging in all my stuff!

After a few days of not a lot of practice, I sat 45 minutes. Very calm. Noting practice thoughts and spinning stories. Very calm and relaxed by the end. Feeling some stability afterward, maybe just after effects of the sit.

Today was good, better, after no practice Monday and Tuesday, generally feeling very bad and bogged down by negative thoughts and feelings for several days, then many attempts to practice yesterday over a 4 hour period, at least today I was able to sit 45 minutes and finally feel released again from the recent bad feelings and feeling overwhelmed by negative stuff.

Calmer, stable, so ready to be free of reactivity, both positive AND negative. I don't want my emotions and how I feel controlled totally by my circumstances, by other people and situations... Good AND bad! It's too much, I'm ready to be done and welcome equanimity, equanimity with ALL, the good and the bad, everything everything everything.

I'm not in this to be happy and blissed out all the time. I mean I don't wanna feel like shit all the time either lol. I want to be free of all desires including the desire to be free of all desires.

2/23
Interesting week, kind of light on practice, but I'm doing way better with noticing and noting when I'm spinning stories and ruminating, and noting categories of thoughts like judging thoughts, frustration thoughts, etc. Do I still fall back into stuff? Sure. But overall I can tell I'm actually doing a lot better with this now.

2/24
I sat 90 minutes today. Just felt a steady stream of different flavors of feeling bad, not that intense though, mostly subtle. Disappointment, doubt, frustration, sadness, etc etc etc all kinds of thoughts and their related emotions. Did my best to let them roll through steadily. I noted very gently, with very little labeling, except to try and categorize certain thinking and emotions. Categorizing various thoughts/emotions with a label helps me get "meta" about it and to just let it be as it is. The latter half of the sit I got sleepy and fell asleep a couple times, for a microsecond, whoops. But after that I was more alert again. Another time I felt a funny energetic tingle right at the top of my head, zing! Stuff like that is very familiar now.

I feel like I'm not so good at practice, maybe I'm too relaxed about it. I did have thoughts about practice and feeling inadequate and disappointed and doubts about not applying enough energy to noting and all that was part of what got noted. I will just have to keep going and over time it's usually clear whether my practice is just fine or if it is too meh. Overall I don't feel stuck even though I still have doubts about whether I'm doing "enough" or doing practice correctly.

Just feeling stuff without the usual resisting, suppressing, defending, etc... is... somethin' else. It feels unusually peaceful and open. Really open. But kind of somber, solemn, quiet.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 2/24/24 8:48 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/24/24 8:30 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Good practice leads to vulnerability and vulnerability leads to good practice.

In general feeling a sort of quiet, simple, low-key confidence.

Nice. We love that.

I kinda get lost in feelings of frustration, frustrating experiences. Lately that's what I get lost in. So I'm trying to see those more clearly, include them instead of getting lost in it, and noting what I can... Somehow thinking about the ways I've hurt other people is way way more painful and difficult to let be, than thinking about feeling hurt myself.

Vulnerability with others is often what we're avoiding. Sometimes what people have done to us is less important than we make it out to be and what's more important is how we habitually react to the idea that they have done something and how what they've done interferes with how we see ourselves. It's tricky territory though as other people can do real shitty things sometimes but we also don't have any control over that. 

As practice develops, what I've noticed is there's one consistent pattern which presents in many different ways. There is a trigger and our experience contracts around it. As we practice we get better at noticing this fundamental contraction even though the narrative associated with the trigger may change. The leading edge of practice is often - Ohh but now I am frustrated, I have all this frustration about "my childhood" - "my relationships" - "my work", etc. Then we'll work with this new trigger, we'll learn to relax with and beyond it and eventually a new even more compelling narrative will take hold. It is through the repetition of this process that one sees that the reality of the trigger may in fact be a little dubious, it becomes clearer that the stories we tell about our suffering are just that, stories, and maybe this whole time the contraction has just been a bad habit that we've vigorously persisted in justifying to ourselves. 

Thoughts about practice.

Being able to notice this at all means you've now got some capacity to relax it. Nice. 

My heart is done, yo, it can't take the rollercoaster ride of pain anymore.


On some level I do think this kind of admission is necessary to deepening practice. It's also common as we spend more time being aware of our suffering to have these "oh my god fuck this" kind of moments. Like I said before we can see through something and still have the pattern persist. For me, meditation was 60-70% of dealing with my shit and I had a lot of shit. The remaining percentage was making good friends, working on living a good life, studying various disciplines and learning to be honest about my past and about my experience in the moment. There's room for a little therapy, there's room for a little ceremony in the jungle, there's space for cards and prayer or art and community or dance and song. (I'm not sure I can recommend chess and cigarettes) Lots of things can help but meditation, for me at least, did most of the heavy lifting. 

I'm sick and tired of other people's expectations of me, and while I very much do want to continue trying my best to be a kind and loving person and make amends where necessary, I'm sick of being made to feel like I need to bend over backwards and be a doormat and give in to unreasonable expectations based on someone else's false idea of me and my reasons for doing (or not doing) certain things.


Good.

Authenticity is always a more compassionate action that fake serenity. Note: Some spiritual people may strongly disagree with me. 

Just feeling stuff without the usual resisting, suppressing, defending, etc... is... somethin' else. It feels unusually peaceful and open. Really open. But kind of somber, solemn, quiet.

This is good practice. I think your practice sounds top notch. You may cycle around a bit between shitty feelings and more equanimous stuff. That's all normal.
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 3/6/24 7:19 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/6/24 7:19 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
2/24
When I come out the other side of a bout of mindless rumination or having been lost in some story, I feel as though I were held captive in a way. Why is this stuff so captivating, why does it pull me in so thoroughly that I just forget everything else?

It is too hard to do nothing, how weird is that?? My mind wants to be occupied even if what it's occupied with is causing so much pain and suffering.

2/25
I noticed today that I spend quite a bit of time anticipating potential criticisms or attacks that might come from other people in the near future and imagining arguments and defenses against it.

40ish minute sit in the afternoon. But pretty sleepy. Another 40 minutes before bed.

2/26
45 minute sit. Ended very calm and peaceful.

2/27
I sat less than 30 minutes but felt much longer than that for some reason. Very very calm and peaceful.

Really felt that I can be okay with myself just as I am. Even the "bad" or "wrong" ways, I felt that can be just okay. Okay! It's okay. Lots of peace.

50 minute sit later on, but I mind wandered a lot.

I'm having a good time feeling the openness. A lot of judging thought patterns are relaxing. I notice them and they are just fine, normal, they make sense. Like yes, that judging thought should be happening now, that's normal. Having noticed the other day how much time I spend imagining arguments and defenses against other people helps me to see it and drop it pretty quickly whenever this happens.

Tonight I'm getting a sense that there is no meaning behind things happening, it's just things happening, behind them is just more openness and it is a mysterious feeling, yet then behind this sense of mysterious is more openness - it's like layers that go on and on forever with no end just continually unfolding and morphing into new things.

The farther I go the less explanation there is for anything and the less need for an explanation there is. Ah, and there it is again, a relaxing of the need for answers or a solution to things. I have experienced this before, that the relief is not in finding an "answer" it is in being completely okay with not having any answer and not needing any answer.

Nothing has to make sense or be explained, it is a wonderful feeling. And the "sense of wonder" too is not something I need to hang onto or rest on as any kind of meaning.

2/28
1 hour sit.

I remember bits and pieces. First I remember feeling really irritated by noises, feeling a tightness in my chest and annoyed thoughts that pop up and this tension like I'm trying to mentally "will" the noises away. I remember feeling tired of people needing me and wanting to just NOT BE NEEDED by people for a while. I realized at some point that I also no longer have the ability to "build up my ego" much like I used to, it doesn't really work anymore to counteract suffering.

Later in the sit I remember feeling a lot of faith and trust, just faith and trust that this practice is doing something and all I need to do is keep going, even if it takes years. I guess the faith and trust stemming from a feeling of relaxation in the body and a sense of confidence that everything is just fine.

I remember noticing this sense of "looking" - I am searching around my environment seeking out new sensations to note, and I thought oh, well I should note the looking. Then, there was no more looking, just things happening, it became obvious that I am already aware of sensations without that.

Overall good, peaceful, stable, calm.

3/2
Last night was real bad, just having a bad time with work and sleeping really poorly, combining at 2am to me unable to sleep and feeling stressed and crying about stuff lol. I did sort of attempt to meditate because, I wasn't gonna sleep anyway, and I thought it's better than wallowing in stuff. I wavered between two states - one being, completely lost in my stuff - and the other being, a meta level awareness of the sensations. Just drifting between the two every few seconds.

I am thinking also that I can't "save" myself from pain and suffering in the usual ways anymore. I can't just suppress stuff, or make up new stories to feel better and inflate my ego, or run off to entertainment and distraction until I forget again. It just doesn't work anymore. So I just have to give in to being in the midst of all the "bad stuff" when I inevitably have these bad times.

3/3
Feeling less mopey. Yay. Feeling calm and less reactive.

Some usual spiteful, angry, judgmental thoughts are not around, I am feeling more loving and accepting and wondering why can't I ALWAYS just be okay with things. Things just go so much smoother and calmer if I'm just okay. Even when something crappy happens, it's still crappy, yet everything just moves along more smoothly. Like it's the same experience, but with all the rough edges gone.

3/4
More of an ease, more lightness, and less reactivity.

I don't feel bogged down by shame, I don't feel overwhelmed by the tasks I need to do.

I sat 45 minutes this afternoon. I have less motivation to practice actually but wanting to make sure I do keep practicing.

I can see this desperate desire for this to continue on to stream entry, to not just be a&p and back around again, but also, I can clearly see this desire, feel every bit of the sensations it seems to be made of in the body, hear the thoughts in the mind, I see all of it, and it is just like - this is okay. This does not need to be changed. This is just how it's SUPPOSED to be. There is supposed to be desperate desire for this to continue to eq, because that's what's there. It's just what is.

So anyway, feeling free of all usual feelings of self judgment and shame, feeling free of concern. Feeling down to earth and just plain able to handle things and deal with things, however they come. Way less resistance. I just have this feeling of being satisfied. It is nice but it is not complete.

3/6
I just had a very pleasant sit.

I had more active "visuals" this time which for me is just seeing blobby colorful shapes that slowly move around in repeating patterns with closed eyes. After a while it started to feel like sensations had a subtle vibration to them. That's not really new, I've had that before but often forget to write it down... The visuals and sensations in the body especially seemed to have a very very subtle but rapid vibration or flickering to them. A little while after that, the rapid vibrations seemed to slow down or smooth out and I felt a gentle pressure like something was gently presing down on my whole body, head to toe.

For the rest of the sit I had a light, pleasant tingling all over, mostly on the face/head. Some brightening happening on and off near the end of the sit.

Sometimes I get these wisps or waves of an emotion that I can't describe, it's sort of bittersweet, wistful, feeling. Very calm and peaceful, but with this hint of bittersweet or sadness to it. Very often an image will flash in my mind right after feeling the emotion. Like the image of a forest at dusk, it's always a nature image for some reason. Then there's a weird sense of nostalgia for these places I have never been but see in my mind.

There have also been periods during recent sits where there are sensations that normally I would call "unpleasant", such as tension or tightness in the chest, burning sensations, negative thoughts. Usually this SUCKS but actually now it is "pleasant" to let the unpleasant stuff be. So this makes much more of the sit "pleasant" even if some normally unpleasant stuff is going on.

Sorry sometimes I don't have much (or any) detail about some of my sits. I tried a lot harder today to remember things about it lol. I will try to be more detailed when I can.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 3/6/24 9:36 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/6/24 9:32 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Having noticed the other day how much time I spend imagining arguments and defenses against other people helps me to see it and drop it pretty quickly whenever this happens.

Excellent. This is it. This is the practice. It will happen on different, deeper and stranger levels as you grow, It will fool you and embroil you time and time again, but... this is it. 

Your practice sounds great. I think you are well on your way to really grokking some of the important lessons of this path. Normally I'd do a bunch of quotes. I think it all sounds good and I want you to know that. Keep practicing, log what you can, if there's nothing to say about it sometimes that's ok. Keep us in the loop when ever it's appropriate. Don't be afraid of anything mundane, boring or uneventful.

The wisps of emotion. Mine are oceanic, sea breeze on my face, woodland streaming by as though I'm passing it on a bike, the sentiment of childhood, a summer love, gorse turned a burnt pink in the sunlight, long slow evenings, utterly wistful. Good. 

Keep it up. 
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 3/7/24 8:06 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/7/24 6:09 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Light tingling and blobby shapes are good signs, not important in themselves but they tend to show up when someone is really relaxing into practice.

Practice from this point onward takes on a different tone. In a sense the big emotional releases and practice realizations that have happened are the "easy" ones. Not easy because they are easy, but because they are kind of obvious and knowable. One way to say it is that they are more "psychological" and we already live in a psychological culture so it all kinda makes sense. Even though meditation is a very odd thing to do, the results so far are consistent with "letting go of repression" and "seeing your shadow" and other psychological stuff.

Moving through EQ is sort of like walking through the fog. You can't really see where you are or where you are going. There's not a lot of landmarks. There is a vague forgetting of self because it's just you walking through the fog, not really encountering anything much. And there is also a certain excitement and spookiness to it. You don't really know why you would be out walking alone in the fog, but it's kinda cool, but maybe something scary will emerge from the fog, but you know that's just more psychological drama so the panic doesn't last long and is kind of funny when you think about it. You just have an intuition that you are getting wetter and wetter the more you're out here practicing. In otherwords, there is a sense of progress but it's hard to describe. 

Progress is a paradox of intention and non-manipulation. You need to find your own way to a point where you want/intend stream entry. There is no rush and it's important to be honest about it. I can guarantee you that you'll still suffer, life will still be difficult, you'll still have psychological challenges, and you will still get grow old, get sick and die. So there is nothing escapist about stream entry. In fact, stream entry might mean its even harder to "get away" from your personal psychological baggage and karma. Check your body, it doesn't lie. If you're not ready for intending for SE it will tell you. Listen to it. 

So take your time and in your own way, either looking inward or doing a lot of reading etc etc, get to a point where you deeply but humbly and very realistically want SE --- if you want to. Honestly, there is no sense in rushing, it just backfires. And I guess the opposite is there is no sense in waiting, it's just wasting time. 

Moving through EQ at this point involves a little bit of adjustment to practice. First of all, it can be good to move or add a practice session in the dark or at night. You want a bit more "yin" and less "yang". You can also favor going inward into the mind and inside the body instead of outward into thoughts about the world and sensations that relate to the world. The nebulous world of emotions -- or even "proto" emotions, those incomplete and wispy feeling/urges that are so vague that they just signal a hint of "positive" "negative" or "neutral" --- can be a way inward.

What is the sensation of an emotion? is a good pointer. A lot of time, an emotion becomes less clear the closer you get to it. It has just a tiny bit of non-narrative "information", which is hard to describe in words. Just know it as it is, even if that knowing is vague or unclear. In that case, know that it vague, know that it's unclear.

All of this has a bit of a feeling like a lucid dream, so to speak. Kinda vivid at times, kinda dreamy and non-linear at times.

Feel around within yourself for subtle resistances and avoidances. Hold them with loving attention and see how they like this. Notice when you are trying to control or manipulate or "fix" your experience and hold THAT with loving attention and see how it likes this. 

So this stage involves a lot of softening of body and mind... and spending more time "within the space of your body-mind", so to speak.

Now the funny thing also about this stage is the psychological stuff might come out in bursts. Basically, you've created a safe space so now they feel free to show themselves. When this happens, just be resigned that today's sit is going to be like this. Sometimes you just need to offgas the psychological stuff. emoticon  Maybe only 1 in 4 sits might go deep, that's fine. Maybe once a week you drop in, also good. Maybe it's more often, that's okay too.

In general, softer and more internal kind of "looking" is helpful for moving through this stage. A gentle "what is the mind?" kind of non-verbal questioning. You're not looking for a verbal answer, but sort of locking into the feeling of having a mind. 

And lastly, don't feel like this should be a lot of work. In a way, practice kind of does itself. Like you're riding a horse and you just need to balance in the saddle. It can be a very enjoyable part of practice, just knowing its all a matter of time and it's not something you are responsible for. It happens how it happens and when it is supposed to happen. If it isn't happening, it isn't ready to happen. The pressure is off, how nice! emoticon  Sometimes "serious" meditators have a lot of problems at this stage. Focus on keeping a kind and accepting heart as your guide.

It can be helpful to intentionally sigh, aaahhhh, to connect to that feeling

Hope this is helpful, definitely disregard the stuff that doesn't seem right for you right now. Meditaiton practice is good no matter what and there is no need to push for any particular meditation goal if it doesn't seem appropriate for you. I'm sure you have picked up on how inappropriate pushing in meditation just backfires.

 
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 3/7/24 4:59 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/7/24 4:59 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
...Normally I'd do a bunch of quotes. I think it all sounds good and I want you to know that...

Thank you, even just that is helpful and appreciated! Keep going I shall. Also I like your descriptions of wisps of emotions/visuals. Similar to some I've come across. Some stuff can be really lovely, interesting, mysterious.
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 3/8/24 7:05 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/8/24 7:05 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
There is no rush and it's important to be honest about it. I can guarantee you that you'll still suffer, life will still be difficult, you'll still have psychological challenges, and you will still get grow old, get sick and die. So there is nothing escapist about stream entry. In fact, stream entry might mean its even harder to "get away" from your personal psychological baggage and karma. Check your body, it doesn't lie. If you're not ready for intending for SE it will tell you. Listen to it. 
Okay. Thank you.

I appreciate all the new pointers/practice suggestions for where I'm at now. Best part is "practice does itself, it's all a matter of time and it's not something you are responsible for." Yay! haha.

I'll take all this into my practice this week and see how it goes.
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 6:55 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 6:55 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
3/8
Before bed, I had a 30 minute sit. I remember feeling a strange jittery vibrationy sensation inside my head. Like somebody's shaking my brain lol. I remember feeling prickly chills on my skin. I remember a very sudden build up of energy and pressure in my head that was kind of scary, but the pressure let up and I just kept sitting. Tried going more within and feeling into the subtle emotions flowing around in me.

3/9
I sat for 1 hour, was maybe too relaxed or just too sleepy, I fell asleep a few times with at least one head drop. I switched to a different seat partway through and kept sitting. Trying to feel into the subtle and vague emotions within and their related sensations.

I was thinking about thinking. lol. I can't be aware of a thought before a thought. I can only be aware of it in "real time" as it occurs. I can't possibly plan ahead to have a thought. The thoughts PLANNING the thought would also just be occurring in real time and I'd notice them as they are happening. This is weird to me... But it's obviously the case right? It's just like a ping-ponging of thoughts triggering each other back and forth. Or something.

3/11
I sat a little less than an hour. It was very relaxed. I remember feeling sensations of sadness, not about anything in particular. I do remember noticing a lot of analyzing. I'd catch myself analyzing, then watch those thoughts happening. Then I'd analyze, catch it, watch it, drop it. Again and again.

I noticed there are some things I do automatically that seem to be to distract me from some painful feeling I don't want to feel or a memory or thought I don't want to experience or relive. Like, I might start humming a little tune or moving around in a certain way, just to keep from noticing and experiencing fully the thought or memory or emotion. If I'm not paying attention I don't realize that's why I'm doing it.

3/12
50 minute sit. Relaxing. A lot of just sitting. Everything seemed pretty subtle. Nothing strongly positive or negative. In the early part of the sit it felt like I had mostly unpleasant sensations and the tendency for my mind to think of something else or even for me to do things with my body like open my eyes, sigh, or look around, as a way to distract from the experience of the unpleasantness.

I have been trying with each sit this week to go inward as much as I can. Aside from waves and flowing of emotions in my body, I watch thoughts and images flowing through, flashing one after another, in a steady stream in my mind. I tried to see, are there any thoughts that just come "out of the blue" or are they always preceded by something that triggers it? Maybe that got me more into analysis territory. Very relaxing sit, though.

3/14
45 minutes. Generally unpleasant again to start with and noticing the tendency to want to distract myself from the unpleasantness. I saw colorful blobby shapes again, did feel fairly relaxed, although I caught myself daydreaming in the middle of the sit. Following waves of subtle emotions. It is hard to name the emotions or explain them, but I can tell whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, where they occur, what they feel like, so I note (without labeling) that stuff.

3/15
I sat maybe 30-40 minutes? Feeling lately like it is really hard to describe my sits. My brain can't hold onto all the detail for a proper log lol. What does happen is subtle and there's not a lot. Just letting whatever is there flow by, for the most part there is no analyzing, it just is whatever it is. As light on effort as I can without just trancing out lol.

3/17
I meditated in the early morning when trying to sleep, and I think maybe I did fall asleep but I was still meditating - so dreaming about meditating? So since I fell asleep, I think I ended up in that weird half asleep "sleep paralysis" territory. So, because of that I felt a lot of intense fear, which sort of bubbled up from the center of my body and would rush outward in waves of cold chills. It is interesting to be able to just watch it and let it be without worrying about what you're supposed to be afraid of.

Sat 45 minutes in the afternoon. When I just let attention go where it wants, there is this open ease. Ahhhh. Like, I can just relax finally, things just take care of themselves. I don't have to pay attention ACTIVELY, attention goes here then there and I just... Don't have to do anything.

Have also been trying to closely follow/watch thoughts and what my mind is thinking during a sit. Like see every single one without losing mindfulness. Mostly they flash through as a series of images.

3/18
I sat a little less than an hour. Very calm, relaxed, easy to sit very still. Light tingling, seeing my familiar blobby shapes again.

Just started with regular noting (without labeling) then moving inward to feel the play of emotions rolling through my body, mostly in my chest, in the center. Feeling some sadness, guilt, discomfort. Then that sort of letting up and more feeling of peace.

It felt like, later in the sit, even though my eyes were closed, the visual field opened up a lot. And, I had "space face" again. Lol. My thoughts got much quieter than normal, very light breath. But even after some time like that, I started feeling a little uncomortable, with a feeling as though I was anticipating something happening.

And I started feeling like it is difficult to keep sitting there, even not doing anything at all. Even just sitting there moving through the sit, even if I'm really not using much effort at all, somehow it still gives the illusion that it's difficult to sit there. But really it was not difficult.

In addition to trying to look within and follow the sensations of emotions in the body, and following the stream of thoughts in my mind, also I try to drop effort as much as I can. There is some letting go I feel like is just not happening, not that I think I can make it happen, but there is this feeling like something is not able to fully let go into NO effort. There is some kind of efforting always going on, I'm always DOING something. Guess I just have to keep noting those things and disembed from them again and again.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 7:53 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 7:48 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Really good practice.

Keep (very gently, very subtly) looking for the NO EFFORT state. One metaphor that Kenneth Folk used and stuck with me is: imagine you are wading into the ocean and there's just some gentle swells. In the water is a walnut or something like that. Now imagine that you are putting your finger on the walnut as it goes up and down and you are so gentle yet so sensitive that it just floats normally and your finger never comes off of it or pushes it down. That kind of very gentle "touching" is what you do with thoughts and sensations, just touch your awareness on objects as they arise.

You ready for the really cool thing? When you find perfect no effort, that's the same thing as the mind dropping itself into nibbana. emoticon 

As you can tell, there's not much more to describe as far as practice method. I know for you that it's even hard to describe what you are doing when things get subtle. That's totally correct. "Surfing the thought stream" and "sensing emotions at the level of +/-/neutral" is about all you can say about getting really close to the arising of the mind-body. That's where you want to go when you can, and obviously it can't be forced and some days it just doesn't happen.

Sometimes it can help to imagine you are "swimming thoughts and sensations upstream to the source". Sometimes it can be helpful to think of the mind as a sun that is burning up its fuel and is collapsing into itself. Sometimes it can be helpful to think of the mind as a satellite slowly losing speed and falling out of orbit. The first is more active and adding a bit more awareness, the second two are more about adding a bit more relaxation. If you feel there is not enough awareness, then add just a little more investigation. If you feel like there is too much effort, then add just a little more relaxation.

Practicing while sleepy and even falling asleep and still practicing is perfect. (In Zen retreats they do an all night sits because this sleepiness is a big help in letting go. When you are tired you just can't intellectually analyze.)

I always liked sitting the hour before I would go to sleep and often I would sit in the dark. This helped me balance the letting go, while still having just enough awareness to be aware. emoticon 

Straight ahead!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 8:42 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/18/24 8:42 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Hm ... emoticon I think here is where understanding/accepting DN really propels into the high EQ which then does on its own (not that other stuff doesn't do itself too) the ... don't know ... letting go ... just is ... not sure ... this-flowing ... dunno ... stuffing ... ehm wondering dreamy ... non-speacial ... 

Basically, no need to imagine anything or extra relaxing. 

But maybe we don't all go the dukkha way and some maybe do another way so ... what know I after all emoticon 

Hope my tipsy write up is of benefit and no harm! emoticon Best wishes! 
Ashley K, modified 2 Months ago at 3/19/24 1:18 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/19/24 1:18 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thanks to you both!

shargrol I also like to sit before bed (in the dark too!) when I can. Although it's usually a shorter sit (20-30 minutes) because I get sleepy. So, maybe I can try out sitting a little longer even after I think I'm "too sleepy".

and papa I had completely forgotten about the "three doors" until you mentioned the "dukkha way". I realized I haven't read MCTB or much dharma stuff in a while. Probably won't start now 'cause it might mess me up lol.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 3/19/24 4:25 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/19/24 4:25 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Ashley K
shargrol I also like to sit before bed (in the dark too!) when I can. Although it's usually a shorter sit (20-30 minutes) because I get sleepy. So, maybe I can try out sitting a little longer even after I think I'm "too sleepy".


Very cool. Yeah try to keep sitting until you nod off three times --- then just get up slowly and get in bed and keep watching the mind as you go to sleep.

What worked for me was to allow the sleepiness to come over my body and allow it to kinda fade the body perception and then to go into "the space in my head" and "watch" my thoughts. Another way to say it is "I put my attention to where the thoughts were". Watching thoughts is very hit and miss (you find yourself watching but then you realize you are sucked into thinking, not watching the thinking, and then you go back to watching, and then you get sucked into thinking again --- all very hard to describe and very very slippery to experience). 

Also as a head-up, there are likely going to be lots of nod-offs (going to sleep) and brown outs (mind gradually getting dim) and black outs (momentary no thoughts) and returns to A&P (big explosions) and A&P non-knowing events (seems real close to nibbana but isn't) --- none of these are Stream Entry. It really takes a lot of discipline to soften the desire to claim a nibbana event when it is just a near miss, but there might be 20 or 100 or maybe 1000 near misses for most people working on SE off-retreat. No big deal, we just have to realize that lay practioners have this additional challenge.

We also need to realize that only consistent daily practice will work. If you miss a day, it takes the next day to just crawl back to where you were. It's like swimming upstream, you need to practice often enough to keep making overall progress upstream...

(Stream entry usually provokes a cascade of body-mind changes a month or so afterwards -- that's probably the best way to judge, rather than trying to figure out if a particular non-knowing event was SE or not. )

All of this is way too much information, but just saying it in case I get hit by a meteor tomorrow. emoticon
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 3/23/24 7:39 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/23/24 7:39 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
When a situation or whatever happens that normally might send me into a tailspin of - anger, shame, yadda yadda yadda - that is not happening. This stuff just stopped being so darn captivating finally. Somehow my head is feeling unaffected by emotion. Like, I still feel the same reactions to things, but they don't then build up and spread out and affect my whole body and fill my mind. I hear the stories my mind is telling, but I'm very calm. 

I still go through and experience stuff like anger, annoyance, shame, disgust, etc etc but it is much easier to just let it go by. I'm experiencing this then this then this then this. What "this" is is always changing and over time I see that the "this" is really just taking care of itself and I don't have to participate in it in the way I did before.

It also feels as though some part of me is beginning to sit down and sit back and realize no, I can't do it. I have to get out of the way and let things happen however they happen.

There is also no more of an animosity towards DN. Like, being afraid of it returning. And no more of that "bring it on!" attitude like, do your worst I can handle it! Nah. The feeling is more like, DN is my friend, like, if it wants to visit, no problem, like, hello again old friend. lol.

I did sit every day, I think. I don't really have day-specific notes to share. The most interesting thing I can remember is, one day after a sit, it seemed like sounds began to have this feeling of being "immediate" somehow. Like the sound is regenerating again and again in each moment. Not like a continuous thing, but continually renewing instead. Very very subtle but like each moment is starting a new "now". As opposed to, I guess, carrying over from the past like a continuation of the past? It's not exactly continuing, it's like, new new new new new. Cool!

Just letting stuff exist as it is without manipulation, is hard to do sometimes! But when I'm able to just let it be... stuff doesn't get stuck in me like a solid-feeling thing. It almost makes me feel "invisible" in a way. Really open. Not sure how to describe it.

For the most part, just... surfing along with urges, emotions, thoughts... the usual. Lots of neutral feeling stuff, with plenty of dips into more somber/negative feeling stuff and sometimes lighter/peaceful stuff. But it's all very subtle. And the negative stuff is not nearly as troublesome or captivating as it has been in the past. I'm able to sit very very still and just go within and sort of watch for those urges and emotions and thoughts to come in and follow along with them. I still reach points later in my sits where, even though NOTHING changes, it suddenly seems difficult to continue sitting. I get an urge to end the sit. But I sit through those points of subtle difficulty and try to go on to at least 45 minutes to an hour. That's about it!

I do not know how to follow thoughts upstream? Maybe it's not something I'm supposed to "do" and it just happens when the conditions are just right? That's probably it lol. I can clearly see thoughts, they are images I see or words I hear, I sense the space they seem to be in, and I even sense those pre-verbal sort of sensations that then form into more concrete thoughts, and I can often see those thoughts that are about practice or thoughts ABOUT the thoughts, lol. What I do find very easy, though, is sensing/feeling those "urges", pre-emotions. That stuff does feel very close. I almost feel it's easier to sense/follow and go deeper with urges/emotions than it is to do that with thoughts.

I'm no longer really that concerned about WHAT I'm feeling and whether it's happy/sad/good/bad (some sits have more negative, some have more positive, some have both) but just, am I staying with things, am I seeing them clearly whatever they are (even if what I'm seeing clearly is "vague" or "unclear"). Will continue exploring and let's see what happens.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/25/24 5:30 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/25/24 5:12 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
When a situation or whatever happens that normally might send me into a tailspin of - anger, shame, yadda yadda yadda - that is not happening. This stuff just stopped being so darn captivating finally. Somehow my head is feeling unaffected by emotion. Like, I still feel the same reactions to things, but they don't then build up and spread out and affect my whole body and fill my mind. I hear the stories my mind is telling, but I'm very calm. 

This continues to happen on deeper levels over time. The thing to watch out for is deeper levels of stuff can trigger new types of tailspins and that serves us points us towards deeper practice. 
​​​​​​​
I did sit every day, I think. I don't really have day-specific notes to share. The most interesting thing I can remember is, one day after a sit, it seemed like sounds began to have this feeling of being "immediate" somehow. Like the sound is regenerating again and again in each moment. Not like a continuous thing, but continually renewing instead. Very very subtle but like each moment is starting a new "now". As opposed to, I guess, carrying over from the past like a continuation of the past? It's not exactly continuing, it's like, new new new new new. Cool!

Cool! You can practice with more and more direct experiencing but if it isn't happening that's ok too. No big deal. 
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 3/28/24 11:47 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/28/24 11:45 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
3/26
45 minute sit
settled in pretty quickly
drifting along
not much to say

​​​​​​​still very much feeling this feeling of tension/holding on at the center even if all else feels effortless

1 hour 15 minute sit later in the afternoon. 30 minutes on cushion. ~20 minutes in chair. ~20 minutes on cushion.

Really easy to sit. Mostly long periods of not much going on, dips into negative emotions/sensations, periods where the center seemed unusually clear, periods where awareness seemed to open up wide. The last 10 minutes more dips into kind of more negative emotional stuff. In the middle part of the sit, I had a few of those "brownouts" or very briefly things seem to fade and come back? Have had those before, of course. Felt like a good sit overall.

3/27
45 minute sit
settled in quickly

This time I was able to, at some point, notice very very subtle attraction and aversion happening. Verrrry subtle almost unnoticeable - the tendency to feel that certain sensations are good and then trying to keep them going or follow them... or to feel that certain sensations are not good, trying to make them go away... it's maybe not even as simple as, this feels good/that feels bad, sometimes it's not clear why there is attraction or aversion to various sensations. But I'll just keep following along and investigating this subtler and subtler stuff.

I felt less tension than usual at the center of the body - that feeling of kinda solid tension and holding on, it loosened up some, at least.

At one point feeling like I'm floating on a cloud, drifting very calm very peaceful! And, with eyes closed, the feeling like everything disappeared except for the floor directly underneath my body (and in fact that sense of support from the floor gave me a sense of extreme stability and ability to sit very still). I mean, I was still hearing sounds, so I don't mean that everything REALLY disappeared, it just kind of felt that way.
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/24 4:49 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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3/28
Forget the subtle stuff in my sits, I feel aversion to whole swaths of my life lol. Okay, I'm not actually forgetting the subtle stuff, I will still investigate that during my sits. I sat today but no notes... sowwy.

3/29
Sometimes I get this sort of "low background hum" that is there for several seconds coinciding with moving into a less clear, more dreamy state. Then I'll sort of snap back to a more clear state and that hum disappears. During today's sit it was a brief fade out first, then back to clarity. The sit was just... letting go, letting go, letting go. Dropping this, dropping that.

3/30
I sat today but was interrupted 40 minutes in by a grumpy child emoticon so I didn't take notes, although I sat an additional 20 minutes after that.

3/31
I end up back at feelings of "disgust" a lot, off-cushion. Just getting so sick of stuff, tired of it, wanting to get away from it. That's the flavor of the day, today.

Off-cushion I noticed some old insecurities coming up, interesting to see that familiar pain flare up a little. A desire to be liked, accepted, respected, especially by particular people. Sigh! Okay but there is this very weird feeling of being almost NOSTALGIC for these old bits of suffering that used to plague me (like old insecurities or jealousies or what-have-you) when I'm reminded of them. Just weird, is all. Why would there be this sense of nostalgia with that awful stuff?

1 hour sit today. Later in the sit sort of got this feeling/sense like the boundaries of my body were more diffuse. Though, still generally aware of my body. Along with some kind of warm cottony feeling enveloping my body but feeling open and freeing at the same time.

Hard time going immediately back into daily life after today's sit. Wanting to stay calm and quiet - I was not tired at all, but it was hard to meet life/people with the level of energy it demanded, immediately after the sit. Just wanted to stay more still and calm and quiet.

Even after my sit, dealing off-cushion with being so sick of people needing me like please. Leave. Me. ALONE!!!! Stop DEMANDING of me!!!!! <<I'm sorry to have to share that this is how I am feeling but I want to be honest about whatever particular struggles I am having.

4/1
I sat about an hour. 

Good sit, body very relaxed. Mind doing what it does and going all over. Same, just following what's going on within, subtle urges and emotions, positive negative neutral... mental images and thoughts, doesn't matter good bad, happy sad, smooth and clear, hazy and agitated, whatever. Sometimes feeling really effortless, feeling the clarity of *things just happening by themselves*, coming and going, no possibility of knowing what will be there in the next moment. I'm trying real hard to come up with anything more to say, haha.

Off-cushion there has been no getting lost or stuck in stuff or excessive rumination or tailspinning (at least of the previous kinds), even if I do feel/notice negative stuff like I mentioned yesterday. I still have uncomfortable/unpleasant/painful thoughts or reactions, I just see them and see how they SUCK! and I guess even if I'm not breaking any "chain" that leads to suffering I'm at least somewhat aware of at least some of the links in some of the chains....... lol I'm not an expert on DO so I don't want to say too much.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/24 5:49 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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All good.

Brownouts a good sign. Obviously nothing you can "do", just a good sign that things are happening on their own.

Low background hum is a good sign, too. It can be interesting to listen to the hum as if it is a radio playing inside of you. See if you can "be" (put your mind) where the hum is.

But ultimately all good, even the mundane-er stuff. It's hard to predict what experience will trigger an insight. emoticon

Not sure if you do this, but it might be good to have a non-bounded, good-intentioned statement of intent? May my practice benefit all beings including myself. May I experience in my practice whatever will be of benefit to all beings including myself.

Straight ahead!
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/24 6:32 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Low background hum is a good sign, too. It can be interesting to listen to the hum as if it is a radio playing inside of you. See if you can "be" (put your mind) where the hum is.
I will try to do this, I feel like I'm often not exactly aware of the hum until after it's gone and then I notice it is absent, so I'll see how it goes.

Not sure if you do this, but it might be good to have a non-bounded, good-intentioned statement of intent? May my practice benefit all beings including myself. May I experience in my practice whatever will be of benefit to all beings including myself.
I don't do this, in fact, I am very bad about having/making any sort of intention... so I'll add this to my practice. Is it just something to say/intend/feel into prior to beginning a formal sit?

Thank you!!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/24 6:56 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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NOSTALGIC for these old bits of suffering

Back in my day people really used to suffer!!

There is a deep and complex relationship between attachment and suffering and you can expect all manner of odd artifacts to be unearthed as you continue to explore and unwind that. 

A desire to be liked, accepted, respected, especially by particular people. 

If it's any condolance I'm currently riled up about someone not respecting my boundaries. No matter how much I meditate they'll never change. 

*Dependant origination seems to reveal itself piece by piece overtime. You start to experience it. I wouldn't dream of trying to communicate it though some do a fine job of it.  
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/24 6:58 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Yeah, just say/intend prior to practice. And definitely use your own words and describe your own intention(s). And feel your body as you do it and see if it sits well with your conscience, and reword/intend until it feels right.

This same sort of approach applies to metta practice where you basically state intentions/prayers...

May all beings be calm and at ease
May all beings be healthy, rested, and whole
May all beings be safe and free from all forms of danger
May all beings bravely experience the present moment and gain insight into their reactive patterns
May all beings awaken
May all beings be free from suffering
May all beings be happy

Basically in metta practice you do this for all beings, all beings that support me, all beings that oppose me, "may I...", and then all beings. If you say/intend these four sets of intentions (well, 5 because you bookend it with "all beings"), it very much cleans your mind and creates the best possible context for meditation. Can induce jhana as well. A shorter version is I and all beings. If you are only going to do one, do the one for "I". My understanding is this is the traditional way and ensures that we aren't vainly martyering ourselves for "others" and foresaking ourself. The idea is that if we don't heal/awaken ourself, then even our intentions let alone our attempts at noble actions for "others" will be misguided. In any case, trust yourself on how you approach metta practice.

Remember you can always say/intend things like "may I have the experience that is appropriate for me now" or "may my realizations be as gentle as possible", etc.  No need to force things and it's perfectly fine to be completely honest about your concerns, too. 

I think having your insights benefit everyone and including yourself is sort of a nice way to promote the best possible karma, but there might be even better ways to say/intend! As always, go slowly and trust yourself and don't do anything that feels wrong.
Olivier S, modified 1 Month ago at 4/2/24 3:14 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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I personally think this sort of practice is one of the most beneficial things one can do. 

One can also cultivate the four immeasurables, first loving kindness/altruism, but also then compassion, empathetic joy, and then equanimity, in that order, for the five kinds of beings shargrol mentioned (to clarify, these are "a benefactor/someone that spontaneously would make me smile, feel gratitude, and benevolance",  "a friend", "a neutral person", "an enemy/someone that provokes challenging feelings", "me" — or, could start with me, depending). And then, in that style, the movement to "all beings" would happen when developing equanimity — i.e., "all beings desire happiness and wish to avoid suffering, no matter how deluded they are, and so all deserve the same as I just wished for this specific being"). A bit more detail, if it helps, as it happens I was recently writing about this for someone:

  • Unlimited states of mind
Four "unlimited" or "immeasurable" states of mind, in which we successively develop intentions/wishes/emotions (a) of benevolence, (b) of compassion, (c) of empathetic joy/altruism, (d) of equanimity/impartiality, in that order, with the help of visualizations and/or phrases (which can be fixed in advance) and which we repeat internally. In fact, the Sanskrit term is "brahmaviharas", i.e. "divine abodes".

It's a good idea to start by following a meditation guided by someone, and then make it your own.

The general sequence is as follows: you go through each stage, choosing five types of person in succession: first a benefactor, someone for whom it's easy to awaken feelings of gratitude, a smile, a joy, etc. You visualize this person, then you choose a person for whom you're grateful. We visualize this person, then go through the four phases in succession. First, we'll wish them well, using either fixed phrases spoken intently and repeated from the heart, or inviting kind words that will help develop the general intention and awaken the emotions that go with it: "may you be happy, may you live serenely, may you know the causes of happiness, whatever happens", don't hesitate to be sincere and feel deeply, don't be afraid of being namby-pamby, you can also verbalize mentally what you're feeling to this imaginary person, offering loving wishes, unconditionally.

Then we move on to compassion, cum-passio, suffering-with, and which consists of imagining the same person suffering, afflicted with whatever psychological or bodily ailments, and allowing yourself to be touched by this suffering, getting in touch with the fact that it's unpleasant to see someone, dear or not, suffer, and that there's a desire there to put an end to the suffering and replace it with joy, for oneself and for others: nobody wants to suffer, and however confused we may be, what we're looking for is joy and satisfaction. So we express the wish that this person will stop suffering, "may their suffering and the causes of their suffering cease, may they experience happiness and the causes of happiness", etc.: we couple this with visualization, i.e. we can see this person's suffering gradually diminish, and then transform into well-being and joy.

At this point, the feeling becomes very different, and then, quite naturally, it's the joy that appears: we rejoice in the other's happiness, seeing clearly that for both ourselves and the other, this absence of suffering and the new-found joy are infinitely more desirable. We then develop an appreciation of the qualities of this person, and rejoice in these different qualities. This "zone" also includes gratitude, appreciation and so on.

Finally, impartiality/equanimity can be practiced in various ways: the two main aspects, in my opinion, are (1) to extend meditation to all beings in all directions, based on the observations that these fundamental orientations of being (avoiding suffering, desiring joy) are shared, not just by our nearest and dearest, but by all living beings (or mortals, one might say), even if they sometimes take twisted forms due to ignorance and the like (and training oneself to see things this way rather than through the usual pessimistic filter is salutary, and I'd better spend more time on it !!!), but that globally in all beings there are these motivations; and so we can wish that all these beings could realize these deep aspirations, because all fundamentally deserve what we wished for a specific person. And (2) to develop the idea that what happens to others depends on innumerable factors, and not only or even mainly, on our wishes for them: we can't control what happens to them, despite all our good will. So our inner conditions don't depend on that.

Then we start the cycle again, this time using a friend as a meditation support, who will be the object of our wishes and visualizations; then someone neutral; then an "enemy", someone difficult; and finally, very importantly, ourselves. Of course, you can always skip anything and concentrate on a single theme or person, etc., depending on how you feel.

In fact, it's also about knowing yourself, and knowing what will arouse these kinds of feelings and states of mind in you. Sometimes these can be very powerful emotions, and you have to learn to balance things out: if compassion is too strong to the point of being painful, you have to balance it out with something else, impartiality perhaps. You can't let it get too heavy. Sometimes nothing comes of it, but exercising these intentions is beneficial, even if the feeling doesn't necessarily follow sometimes.

Overall, these are really positive orientations which will have a profound effect on the psyche, on the perception of oneself and others, on the attitude towards oneself and others, on the psyche, relaxation, availability, energy, inner strength, functioning, and this in the short term or, if cultivated in a sustained way, can potentially be beneficial in the long term and change the overall orientation of life and attitude towards it. In my opinion, 20 minutes of this practice a day can already be powerful. It tends to dissolve everyday obstacles, in a pretty amazing way. You can think of it as a form of prayer, in fact. You can easily find guided meditations on the Internet. Spending one minute per theme for each person makes a 20-minute meditation, for example.

Lastly, you can also, sometimes or often, choose to visualize members of your family, close or not so close, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, known or unknown ancestors... an approach which I find particularly interesting and subtle, I must say ;) In a way, it integrates the "perfect parent protocol", which helps with attachment issues.

  • Transforming suffering into joy
There's also something called "taking and giving", the tibetans call it "tonglen", where we visualize a person in suffering, allowing ourselves to be touched by this suffering, and feeling and recognizing that it affects us and that within us there is a desire to relieve this suffering, to see the person happy rather than suffering. Next, we mix visualization with breathing, imagining all this suffering as black smoke, which we "take upon ourselves" as we inhale. It will then disappear inside you without a trace. And then, as you breathe out, you imagine yourself giving this person all the happiness and goodness you're capable of, all the good things you have, in the form of a light or white fluid, and you breathe in this white fluid which will fill the other person.

There are different variations on this one: you can, for example, imagine yourself as the person who is suffering, or even do something more systematic, as with incommensurables.

The end of this meditation varies: for example, once it seems finished, you can dissolve the visualization and remain for a while in the calm of a pacified mind... Similarly, there are many variations, and guided tonglen meditations can be found on the net. Here's a written version with several steps... In general, I integrate this "tonglen" practice into the second stage of the incommensurables, i.e. when cultivating compassion, I use these visualizations with the breath and all, which lead me quite naturally to empathic joy once the suffering has been transformed... It's a bit like "You gave me mud and I turned it into gold", except that instead of a poem, it's an experience... Or transubstantiation, transfiguration.

All good wishes!
  
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/2/24 10:03 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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...you can expect all manner of odd artifacts to be unearthed...
All kinds of oddities, I'm here for it haha.

If it's any condolance I'm currently riled up about someone not respecting my boundaries. No matter how much I meditate they'll never change. 
I guess in the end we (and they) are still only human :/ emoticon
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/2/24 10:06 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Thank you! I seem to be in a much better place/mindset for metta than I have ever been in before in my practice journey, so, I will see if I can fit that in, bit by bit.
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/2/24 10:09 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Thank you very much for all the details and for the reminder of the brahmaviharas! I am looking forward to trying more of this kind of practice especially considering I'm in a way better mindset for it than I think I have ever been in before.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 4/3/24 7:59 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Ashley K
Thank you! I seem to be in a much better place/mindset for metta than I have ever been in before in my practice journey, so, I will see if I can fit that in, bit by bit.

Yeah, don't worry to much about it. Maybe just "may I be well, may all beings be well" is enough for now emoticon

Or better yet, completely forget what I said and "straight ahead" emoticon
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/4/24 5:39 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Or better yet, completely forget what I said and "straight ahead" emoticon
No worries! I seem to be in a relatively stable stretch in my practice now so I'm not keen on making any huge changes... but it does feel nice to wish for my practice to be for the good of all beings (including myself!) emoticon
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/8/24 7:17 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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4/1
Feeling good, feeling like perception of stuff is "bypassing" my mind or bypassing thoughts about it in a way (off-cushion). Makes things feel smooth and easy and simple, don't have to think about goddamn everything lol.

4/2
I read the section in MCTB2 on brahmaviharas, it provided a good summary that I can refer back to later on (in addition to what people shared on my log here).

I sat for 45 minutes and tried out a few new intentions beforehand, just getting a feel for different wordings and stuff.
Before bed, I had a very lovely 45 minutes of reclined meditation! I think all the loving-friendliness things I said gave me a buzz lol.

4/5
Things are undramatic. Calm, but not flat or dull. Even the "good" stuff is less dramatic, like yeah a certain drama can be made out of the good stuff, too, you know?

It's probably clear I struggle a lot with getting easily annoyed/irritated by other people, reaching my limits fast with noise and people needing me a lot (even when I understand the needs are very valid and I do fulfill them, such as for my kids). The last few days I haven't had that. Anyway, I can't go around saying may all beings be well, may my practice be for the benefit of all beings, and then immediately go and be annoyed and irritated by the beings in my immediate presence LOL. Basically, it is obvious where my thoughts or actions off cushion or very much not in harmony with those metta thoughts/intentions. And the awareness might just be enough to start softening that.

In the last week or so it has also become very obvious and clear during sits when I'm concentrated vs. when I'm distracted. It was just suddenly very clear when I'm meditating "correctly". I mean.... You would think I would already have this "feel" for correct meditation, I suppose I did, but it was just suddenly very clear like night and day. This state of concentration (in the meditation sense) feels very simple and easy.

4/6
Everything's super clear. And it's okay when it isn't clear, there are always vague times in meditation and it's okay.

Oh wait haha, but then a crappy thing happened off cushion and triggered a bunch of stuff. Okay friend.

1 hour sit. Boy was there some difficult stuff. Getting so so so frustrated and irritated at something, a noise disrupting my sit. Hating hating hating while knowing that the person making the noise did NOT deserve the hate yet the hate happens anyway ugh. Then suddenly it all seems like a funny story I'm telling, a very convincing story, so convincing that I think I AM it, I am what's happening, and it all just seems a little funny that way and then things smooth out again.

I sat again before bed but it was a lot of feeling bad about the off-cushion bothersome stuff. I had a weird "blink out" but probably was just falling asleep for a microsecond.

4/7
I think I can feel better. I dunno. I feel that it may really be possible. The shitty stuff still comes up, why wouldn't it, it's not just magically gone. But I don't get totally lost in it, anymore.

Man I was just experiencing all the... Disappointment, deep disappointment, sadness and maybe even grief that certain things in life will never ever ever be how I wish they would be. They never will! I'm tired of holding onto that hope, that hope just drags things out and creates the disappointment. I don't mean I should be a hopeless person and give up, I mean more that I need to let go of needing these things to be a certain way for me to be happy. That's hard though, there's still something in me that doesn't believe I can learn to be happy without certain things being the way I envision them. So yeah, you know, just experiencing all of... That. Ouch!

And I reached a point where I just said, "I don't want to play this game anymore". I don't want to play this damn game anymore, but haven't figured out yet how to get out of it. Hmm. So you see there is that usual wanting to strategize, how do I figure out how to escape this stuff finally?? The suffering and whatnot. Okay, friend! Just letting it be!!!

Sigh!!! I don't like this, I don't like when things go bad and I judge others, then I think, but who am I to judge, I'm not that great, then wanting to fix it and make it better, yet knowing that nothing at all ever is a permanent fix, it all just comes back around again eventually, and feeling simultaneously like I am overreacting AND underreacting to stuff, and the whole having no idea what is the right response, the best response, nothing ever works out quite how I'd like it to, even when I try to do things for others or to help others, shit just doesn't land right with them or it backfires. Ugh! Seeing that and letting that be...

Finally I just said, okay, then... may my insights be swift but gentle, may I see whatever it is I need to see that I didn't see last go around. And let's keep practicing.

4/8
I did not practice today... But, I DID see the total solar eclipse emoticon AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to regular practice tomorrow!
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/17/24 6:51 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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No daily notes this time, most sits are really the same anyway. Work/life has been busy so sometimes I haven't been sitting during the day, but I always try to do at least 30 minutes before bed just to keep things going.

Last week I had a few sits that were very peaceful, calm, still. I recall in one sit feeling like very many sensations were on "that side", including things that are usually on "this side" (such as thoughts and body sensations). In another sit I recall things feeling like they were aligning in a way. Nothing moved or changed, yet it felt almost like things in the space of the room were imperceptibly shifting and aligning in some way. Maybe I just imagined it!

I re-read some passages of Nisargadatta Maharaj's 'I Am That' and found that helpful.

A good sit feels mostly like just watching the show of stuff. Doesn't matter what the stuff is, only matters that I see what's there and not be lost in it. There is no one thing/sensation/feeling/thought that is more important than any other and nothing feels "right" or "wrong" it's just all stuff.

When I truly relax the effort and analyzing and just watch and don't buy into or get lost in anything, things feel very "light". Like I'm floating away, or like I've got nothing to stand on, nothing to ground myself in. I feel the temptation to dispel the lightness and confusion by settling into some line of thinking or analyzing or storytelling. To place myself somewhere or give me something to hold onto.

Off-cushion, I am sort of going back and forth between teflon nonstick mind most of the time, just calm, relaxed, no strong positive or negative reactions, feeling generally neutral and generally not making problems out of things. But I still have brief periods where my baseline is "generally bad" and I experience a steady stream or bubbling up of uncomfortable sensations and tension in my chest.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 4/17/24 7:48 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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This all still sounds good. The goal is to really soak into the meditation and let it guide you onward...

But 30 minutes is sort of a minimum. I would notice for myself that it took about 45 minutes for me to start feeling like I was back at my cutting edge and adding just 10-15 minutes more was the sweet spot for making progress and seeing new subtle stuff.  

Sort of think about it like weight lifting: if you want to maintain, then just 3 sets of 8 moderately heavy reps is fine... but if you want to get stronger, then the last set and especially the last few reps need to be really close to your limit. The gains come from the last few lifts at the end. I try to remind myself that I'm sort of wasting all the work of those inital 2 1/2 sets if I don't challenge myself right at the end. emoticon
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 4/18/24 8:44 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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Thank you! I agree, the last couple weeks has not been my ideal. At least half the days I did have a longer daytime sit, but I want to get back to every day... 
Ashley K, modified 27 Days ago at 4/21/24 7:03 PM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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4/18
No daytime sit today, it was an in-office working day.

Before bed though I did a reclined meditation. I managed to meditate for at least 40 minutes before falling asleep.

I remember the usual settling in period, a period where sensations "out there" (like sensations I see and hear, external to the body and mind) became more fuzzy and unclear while stuff "in here" (thoughts, body sensations, emotions) became more clear. I remember at one point feeling as though I were going to fall down into a hole underneath me. Later in the sit, I was looking mostly inward, and the sensations coming up were generally negative - urges and emotions in the body, sadness, anxious, generally distressed feelings, feeling heavy with pressure in the chest, plus associated thoughts. Meditation at this point was easy though, I was staying with and following along with seeing each sensation clearly, not getting stuck on anything. The more I did that, the more I felt these cool, tingling, sort of numby sensations seem to flow down and across my body. Never really had that before - I'm aware though that those sorts of sensations can be associated with 3rd vipassana jhana?

Very eager to go beyond 40 minutes, hopefully in my next sit.

4/19
Sat for 55 minutes, daytime sit on the cushion. 
I mind wandered part of the last 10 minutes - looking back, I think I see what kinds/categories of self-story thoughts I got drawn into the most easily. So, I will work in future sits to see if I can see these kinds/categories of thoughts and things I get lost in and bring them into everything else I notice.

4/20
Very easy but short sit in the morning. Noting/noticing waiting, analyzing, random stuff. Feels like there is nothing to do, nothing to pick up and take on. What could be easier? This is easy. Very easy to see what sensations I'm attracted to or clinging to, very easy to see what I have aversion to. Feel like I'm just sitting here in the middle of all that. I don't have to go anywhere or do anything.

I ended up having a bit of a bad day though, just some things triggering internal emotional reactions, stormy mind, blegh. By the end of the day, very clearly feeling "I'm sick of this, I'm done with this".

4/21
Pleasantly surprised to find I'm not stuck in the dumb stuff from yesterday. Seems I moved past it all relatively quickly. Yay.

1 hour sit this afternoon. Mostly the same, pretty easy, calm, still, generally noting/noticing. I had sat about 50 minutes and thought, I'll just keep going another 10, even if all I'm doing is just sitting feeling "done" with the sit. In the last few minutes, I remember thinking, "oh, I forgot about focusing more inward". So, I focused inward, and very quickly felt like I was sitting/looking right at the center of where things arise in the body and the mind. It felt very spacious in this center space. Individual thoughts very clearly arising from this center space, seemingly out of nowhere, then disappearing again. Same with the usual urges, emotions, body sensations. Being in/looking at this center space also made the body/mind stuff feel much less like it was "me" on "this side" and it all became part of "that side" with everything else. I guess it was just obvious that I'm looking at the place where body sensations and thoughts are arising from, so I'm obviously not that.

To me, this seemed like a good place to hang out in. Promising, new territory. I couldn't sit any longer, unfortunately, but I would like to get there again.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 26 Days ago at 4/22/24 5:07 AM
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RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

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There is an interplay between deeper relaxation and suffering. As the mind comes to rest the body relaxes. As the body relaxes more trauma is revealed. As trauma is revealed greater depths of peaceful attention are required to come to know the reactive patterns bound up in this trauma and so on. The process of "stuff" coming up smoothens, eventually it gets really quite soft, one might even find oneself no longer preferring one way or the other. No longer recoiling from familiar pains and no longer fearing new ones. 

It is not, unfortunately, a linear thing. It is not really a path at all but a wave inside a wave. 

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Ashley K, modified 24 Days ago at 4/24/24 4:36 PM
Created 24 Days ago at 4/24/24 4:36 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
4/22
Could only do 40 minutes. Interruptions from family. I admit that I got disappointed and frustrated...

4/23
My mind is so crazy powerful. It can convince me that something in my life is going really poorly, is really wrong, broken, messed up, depressing and bad. Then the next day, I realize, none of that is true! It's not like that at all. How did I even convince myself of that stuff? It's not that it's all perfect and fine and dandy all the time, but it's never as bad as my mind tries to convince me it is.

I'm unflappable today. Can't ruffle THESE feathers! Don't know why, but when something happened earlier that might normally really upset me, there was no reaction at all. And it's not that I don't care; I do, and if something happened that I felt was really egregious, I'd say/do something... But I didn't react, just nothing got triggered. Cool beans.

I am very sleep deprived today. I tried to do a sit, and had disturbing images come up, so I made the decision to stop. Tried a sit again later, and the disturbing images had subsided so I continued on. But I was so sleepy I had many head drops, falling asleep. I would've taken a nap instead, but I hate naps...

4/24
35 minute sit. Shorter sit, but very nice! By the end feeling more spacious like sensations have space to "float around" in when they arise.

Another 40 minute sit not long after. Relaxing into the sit, seeing the familiar wavy blobby shapes appear, going more inward, noting (without labeling) like usual, trying to notice and drop effort... At one point I noticed the subtle difference between 1) experiencing aversion to something, and 2) noticing the various sensations that make up the aversion. The first feels more focused on the idea of "aversion" as a thing, the latter is disregarding the idea of aversion entirely and just noticing more sensations. Sometimes I will ask myself, "How do I know there is aversion", or fill in the blank with whatever, joy, sadness, etc. to go deeper and see what more there is to see.

Another 1 hour sit in the afternoon. Calm, relaxing, still. Of course, having thoughts like...... am I doing this right, am I doing enough - there's nothing "new" happening, does that mean it's not good practice... So, I just let that stuff be. Getting meta and trying not to overlook things... Noting "analyzing" thoughts and letting things feel uncertain... My mind was much quieter by the end. A few of those moments where things fade a little and come back.

I will try for at least one daily 1 hour sit for the next week.
Ashley K, modified 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 8:01 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 8:01 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
4/25
When things get still, quiet, subtle, I am noticing my tendencies to, over time, start shifting back into doing too much - thinking too much, analyzing too much, comparing, wondering, hoping too much. I began to feel like I'm doing too much, I need to scale back, like a lot, like almost all the way. I INTEND to go straight ahead, but, sometimes, I meander.

I sat for meditation in the evening... a light touch with the noting/noticing... even the tiniest effort feels like too much, and unnecessary... In this sit in particular I am relaxing the need to have any agenda, relaxing the desire to analyze what is happening and why it is happening.

What I recall afterward - is there being a sense of heaviness, immensity, an intensity in things just... existing. Just this sense of - things are as they appear, there is not more than this, what you see is what you get, you cannot change it, you cannot find anything more than just what's right here. Reality is unapologetic, needing no qualification or reason for existing or being as it is. I guess, that sums up the general sense I felt. Digging deeper I think it did also lead to sensations of subtle fear and awe. I wish I had investigated inward to see if this general sense seemed to apply to what's "in here", too, sensations in the body/mind.

4/26
50 minute sit before lunch.
I intentionally tried to drop mentally logging or keeping track of things during the sit... I tend to do that during sits sometimes just so I'll remember something to write...

I sat very still, noting (without labeling), using as little effort as possible, very light touch on things. Tried to look inward and see how I was overlooking stuff that seems like ME doing the meditation and experiencing stuff. Eventually my mind got VERY quiet.

I have been forgetting to do any kind of intentions or metta, it's just not a habit yet. But I thought of it early in the sit and said a few things like... May I practice well, may my sit lead wherever it needs to lead for awakening. May I be well. May all beings be well. May my practice be for the benefit of all beings.

1 hour sit in the afternoon.
Very calm. very still. Feeling mid-sit that I don't need to be scared anymore, it'll all be fine, maybe something good is around the corner, or maybe there is nothing around the corner. But either way, all is well. Noting in last 10 minutes, very minor agitation, boredom, restlessness. "Look at it" practice sprinkled throughout the sit.

May the time I give to practice (and therefore take away from other things) be worth it.
shargrol, modified 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 8:56 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 8:56 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
May I practice well, may my sit lead wherever it needs to lead for awakening.
May I be well. May all beings be well.
May my practice be for the benefit of all beings.
May the time I give to practice (and therefore take away from other things) be worth it.

Those are some good intention statements! 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 10:26 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 4/27/24 10:26 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
With metta the embodied heart feels is what's most important. It can be useful to generate statements of intent and see what resonates and what doesn't. Every so often you'll find something that just totally wakes up your heart. 

Finding the felt experience of that individual statement can be the real deal. .

Then the other side of that can be finding statements that just really generally do it for you 

"May others be well, may I be well" 

Om sri bhagavan adi da 

Devotion is a hell of a drug 

https://youtu.be/Z-xR7sEoNlo?si=yIccGociCngidlOD
Ashley K, modified 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 9:27 AM
Created 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 9:27 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thanks! I will just say whatever feels right at the time. I thought if I repeat the same thing(s) each time, it might just become a recitation, rather than really feeling/intending it.
Ashley K, modified 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 9:36 AM
Created 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 9:36 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby:
It can be useful to generate statements of intent and see what resonates and what doesn't.

Finding the felt experience of that individual statement can be the real deal.

I agree ya gotta really feel it or there is not much point to saying it. The words matter less than the feeling/intending of it. The words are just a guide or a pointer into that feeling/intending space.
Martin, modified 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 6:02 PM
Created 20 Days ago at 4/28/24 6:02 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 847 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
You might play with both. What is it like to recite a mantra until it loses all meaning and becomes a sound? What is it like to say an intention until the sound is unnecessary and the intention sustains itself? Both can be very useful to know. Interestingly, both can lead to great quiet. 
Ashley K, modified 17 Days ago at 5/1/24 5:32 PM
Created 17 Days ago at 5/1/24 5:32 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Man, DhO is really hoppin' today! Unfortunately I did not meditate today (SHAME, SHAME!) I was so busy at work handing off projects to others because I'm leaving for a four day trip tomorrow and now I'm packing. No idea if I'll have any time to properly meditate on my trip, I don't even know what we are doing, I am just going to show up and go with the flow lol.

4/27
I had a sit today, but I don't remember how long, and I don't remember much in particular. I remember that it had a very aimless feel to it, like just exploring, not really going in any particular direction or looking for any particular thing. I was tired again, quite a few falling asleep head drops, then eventually that stopped and it was just a calm relaxing quiet sit.

4/28
Today, it is easy to see my thoughts as just thoughts, not anything to believe or take super seriously. I finally slept a lot better in part because hearing my thoughts in the middle of the night was sort of like just hearing a TV or a radio going in the background in another room. Nothing to pay attention to or get invested in, not ignoring but just the mind running some familiar tracks, no reactions triggered beyond those thoughts.

I am seeing where... when a sensation happens... there is a divergence... in the first way, there is a judgment that the sensation is bad, shouldn't be happening, should be different... then there is wanting to fix, change, or escape... then suffering... then taking some action... perhaps I feel the same, worse, or better... but either way it is temporary and the cycle will continue.

In the second way... there just isn't the judgment that it's bad or the should/shouldn't or the good/bad, it just is... so then, no suffering, whether I take action or not. And still, the cycle continues, but without the suffering.

I just happened to realize I am experiencing some things in the second way (but still many in the first way although easier to become aware of it instead of totally lost in it/blind to it).

50 minute sit. Getting meta. Noting without labeling. Stuff's just pretty subtle, not a lot of overt or obvious stuff. Subtle, faint. Nothing strongly positive or negative. Neutral, quiet, relaxed. 

I guess sometimes I get to that place where I hear some kind of background noise, like a hum or fuzzy white noise sound, for a few moments. I still am not sure that matters or means anything. It seems to happen only when I'm close to sleep, but not actually falling asleep (or maybe I am falling asleep sort of but it's different than full on head drop falling asleep).

When I'm clearly noting stuff in here, stuff seeming like me, body/mind stuff, the sit feels more effortless.

4/29
1 hour sit.

Very pleasant sit overall.
In the last 10 minutes, no agitation, no restlessness.
Super stable, still. I did not move the whole hour. I did have "space face" near the end.

And during the last 10 minutes also things start to get more... fluttery. Like, the experiencing of sensations (sights, sounds, thoughts, etc) gets more choppy but choppy is too strong of a word, it reminds me instead of the gentle fluttering of a butterfly's wings. Moment-to-moment sensations seem to get less "substantial" and get a subtle fluttery feel.

Along with the fluttery feeling to sensations... I do get into this state that really feels like you are drifting into sleepy dreamland, but not falling asleep, it is like that hypnagogic state, but fully aware.

At one point I was drawn to looking "between" sensations rather than directly at sensations. Sort of like "noting gone" but without labeling "gone" just paying attention to the ending of sensations. I did not intentionally do this, it's where my attention seemed to be drawn.

4/30
I sat a little over an hour. I wouldn't say it's my best sit. But boy was it nice.
Got very relaxed, space face, space body even! Full body tingles, tingles in my head, on my scalp.

I tried to see where there was any tension or effort feeling anywhere and just relax it. Or just see it clearly and let it be if it wouldn't relax.

Overall, very calm and relaxed. But I did notice subtle negative feelings now and then like, some nervous feelings or fear, apprehensiveness, sometimes it was annoyed or frustrated at something. I would just leave it alone and let it be.
shargrol, modified 17 Days ago at 5/1/24 8:10 PM
Created 17 Days ago at 5/1/24 8:09 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Very nice. 

You can see why only a dedicated sitting practice would build up enough sensitivity to glimpse into the sort of nearly instantaneous reactivity of the mind (the reflexive urge to fight or fix that arises almost as quick as a sensation) and the inherent bliss of non-reactivity. It's not like normal emotions, it's more of a proto-emotional flicker. And the inherent bliss isn't a big emotional pleasure, it's more like a flicker of momentary relief.

And as you can see, it all happens faster than thought. If you are "thinking about it" it's already waaay over. 

So what sitting does is "condition" the mind over time to keep moving away from habitual reactivity and into more intimate/direct experiencing. It's not something that you can choose to do or make happen. But rather it's like training the lizard mind at the base of our mind to slowly drop it's clinging/aversion/ignoring default mode. 

Straight ahead!
Ashley K, modified 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 4:26 PM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 4:26 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
5/2-5/5
No meditation, no regrets, great trip, Nashville is fun!

5/6
30 minute sit. Lovely but maybe at the end more mind wandering than really paying attention.

45 minute sit
Meditation more joyful these days. Today I had more buzzy/vibration feelings in my head and more effortlessness. Joy and mild rapture experienced more.

I am really having quite a good time, but maybe that's just from being on vacation for four days! Quiet, calm, relaxed, pretty much all the time.

Still sometimes have usual reactions to stuff... many reactions seem really muted. Far less intense than typical. Much much easier to just let things be, let them go, way less suffering.

5/7
45 minute sit - was going to do 1 hour, but man, life sure finds a way to interrupt.

I think this sit was maybe more on the rapture/tranquility side of things, less investigation/energy.

Just need to be careful not to be just in a nice-feeling trance sort of state.

I did another 45 minute sit later - in this sit I did better on balancing things - there was certainly calmness and tranquility, and also gentle investigation continued throughout. I noticed near the end of the sit ways in which I have very very subtly been paying attention to the "content" of things that I didn't even realize. The idea of "dropping the ball" helped here. It is hard to describe exactly what I'm doing here - I'm not really forcefully applying effort to dropping something - it's more like, I notice myself watching some thought or paying attention to content rather than three C's or pure sensations, and it is in the noticing of that, that the "ball" is dropped. My mind has figured out on some level that, oh, that's not quite correct practice, and drops it automatically. I am getting to more subtle stuff I guess to disembed from. Oh man. it feels so good to know I don't have to finish a thought or follow down a rabbit hole when these things drop. They can stay dropped. That subtle "effort" to finish out a thought or quickly consider a "judgment" that popped up about that sound I just heard or getting sucked into an intriguing series of mind images - if it just drops, that "effort" releases. It does feel weird though... that subtle effort to follow the content is very familiar and very well-trained haha, so, "dropping the ball" and disembedding from these subtler and subtler levels of "content" leaves me feeling almost a little lost, like, ambiguous, uncertain. Just more to note!! emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 6:08 PM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 6:06 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 2807 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Another way to say it, maybe, is; the mind gets trained to snap out of a trance state associated with a sensation already long gone = wonderous-nebulous-dunno-relief.
Ashley K, modified 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 6:19 PM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/7/24 6:19 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Another way to say it, maybe, is; the mind gets trained to snap out of a trance state associated with a sensation already long gone = wonderous-nebulous-dunno-relief.
Yeah!
Ashley K, modified 7 Days ago at 5/11/24 7:07 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/11/24 7:07 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
5/8
45 minute sit, very good sit, 2 periods of mind wandering though.
I got very calm and relaxed. Any time things seemed boring, I noted that, noticed anything causing that, usually I just needed to get back into a steady flow of noting again.

50 minute sit later on. More of the same. Things getting nebulous at the end but not quite that dreamy state.

5/9
No sit today. Busy day.

5/10
I sat for 1 hour. 

A lot of restless mind today.

5/11
Very restless mind... I can hear my normal thoughts (the "narrator" thoughts) but it feels like even underneath that there is a steady stream of hectic activity, can't clearly see or hear it but I can sense tension and restless mental activity there. It won't relax.
-
1 hour sit. Steady, very still, I did not move the whole time. Feeling generally negative sensations, negative affect, negative feeling tone, negative emotions, but all very subtle. Discomfort in the chest, feeling tired of stuff, high desire to meditate...
Near the end of the sit, more noticing of "me, the meditator" and sensations that make that up as things to note. Trying to look more closely at sensations that seem like me doing them - such as, taking a breath, thinking a thought, etc. like if I hear I thought - asking, who is saying that? Noticing sensations from all sense doors, inside and outside, but more focused inward in the chest area, where the emotions/urges are felt/sensed. I kind of tried following the "mindstream"/thoughts but attention was drawn down to the chest so I just let it go there. None of the negative stuff was felt very strongly. None of it really bothered me or seemed like a problem. Just noticed more generally unpleasant/negative stuff. No dreamy states this time. I just let the tension be as it is, let attention go wherever. Neither enjoyable nor not enjoyable. Dunno.

After the sit I was noticing more ill will towards things/people than in recent days. Hard to let it be without judgment and without trying to fix or push it away but I did my best with that. It is actually easier than I thought and I feel somewhat of a relief after I have "passed through" a period of ill will. Like, oh, it's okay to just let it be. It won't hurt me, it won't last, and I will be glad that I did not react from it.

It is obvious that I cycle back into these periods where I feel easily annoyed, irritated, frustrated with people or things, feeling very tired of stuff... so maybe this practice of letting ill will be as it is (thank you shargrol for that post, by the way!) will help me to see whatever I need to see during these periods to, I dunno, "clean them up" or whatever. Already though I can tell these periods are fewer and farther between, the frustration and irritation much lighter than before.

The restless mind activity has lessened a lot. Feels like the internal "me" stuff has thinned out some, has been attenuated, I feel more open like my boundary goes well beyond the "normal" boundary of just the body. But it's all very subtle.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 7 Days ago at 5/11/24 7:17 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 5/11/24 7:17 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 487 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I feel more open like my boundary goes well beyond the "normal" boundary of just the body. But it's all very subtle.

Nice. 

I kind of tried following the "mindstream"/thoughts but attention was drawn down to the chest so I just let it go there.

I have done all manner of "place attention here" type practices and all I really learned is that to do good meditation you need to let attention rest wherever it needs to rest (most of the time). You may notice in certain Nanas it favours the head/mindstream and in others it favors the heart/body or others still the realm of experience itself. It tends to reside where it needs to reside. No way is better than any other way. We investigate experience no matter the shape or location of it. 
Ashley K, modified 6 Days ago at 5/12/24 9:11 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/12/24 9:11 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 2

Posts: 88 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
I have done all manner of "place attention here" type practices and all I really learned is that to do good meditation you need to let attention rest wherever it needs to rest (most of the time). You may notice in certain Nanas it favours the head/mindstream and in others it favors the heart/body or others still the realm of experience itself. It tends to reside where it needs to reside. No way is better than any other way. We investigate experience no matter the shape or location of it. 
Ya. I've been in the head/mindstream more in recent sits so I figured I will look there again, forgetting that the reason I've been more in the head/mindstream recently is because attention was ending up there naturally!

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