Natheris' Log

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Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/15/23 3:10 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/15/23 3:10 AM

Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
I'm setting up this log on the occasion of starting to collaborate with a new teacher.
Hoping for accountability and also for some feedback here.

My current usual practice consists of going to a zen sangha twice a week. That involves 2x30 minutes sitting with a 10 minutes break of walking meditation.
This week, I haven't been to the zen sangha yet as I'm on sick leave with a cold.

I'm usually practicing observing my thoughts and somewhat detaching from them, seeing them as something that happens on its own.

During the walking meditation, I'm keeping to the instructions by the sangha, namely to synchronize the walking with the breath.

I also sometimes practice the observing of thoughts throughout the day or spend a bit time on my meditation bench. But I haven't had a regular routine for either in quite a while.

The practice my teacher suggested is meant to help get me back into a daily routine.

It consists of

  • one daily 20 minute formal seated practice, split into
    • 5 minutes metta (repeating phrases like "may I be happy", "may I be peaceful" in the mind - I'll experiment with which ones to pick)
    • 15 minutes sitting without goal - using body sensations as something to return to if e.g. bored, but otherwise, only sitting
  • at least one daily 1 minute informal practice of simply observing what's going on in the mind and body
  • writing a meditation log
  • as a bonus, keeping going to the sangha
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/15/23 3:10 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/14, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling (using a meditation bench)

I found the metta part difficult. Not really due to the metta - saying the mantra caused some pleasant tingly sensations in the back - but more due to the form of practicing it. I felt like I should go more for the notion of it than the words, but I couldn't do that while continuing the mantra, and that lead to tension. It also felt like a too abrupt start of the sit. Kept up the mantra (once per exhalation, which means like 4 times a minute). The 5 minutes were over faster than expected.
I alternated between "may I be happy" and "may I be peaceful" for the mantra.

The just sitting part had a similar issue, though not as strong - I started by aiming to relax the tension that had built, but kept wondering whether that's not too much of an activity to be in line with the practice. Didn't want to fight it, though.
There was also a lot of thinking about what to write in the log. Besides that, there was a bit of thinking about something on today's todo-list (cleaning) and about some song lyrics and an episode of a show I watched yesterday.
Feeling decisively more tense and agitated than before the sit.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/15/23 3:11 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/14 (part 2)

Did two 1 minute meditations throughout the day.

2023/10/15, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Spent some minutes before starting the timer sitting and relaxing.
During the metta part, I took longer breaks between the phrases, saying each only 3 or 4 times total. That was significantly more comfortable. Again some pleasant tingly sensations in the back and also the upper arms.

During the just sitting part, I mostly thought about meditation and what to write here.
Occasionally seeing these thoughts as just happening, which lead to pleasant tingly sensations in the upper back/neck.
Also often enjoying the notion and sensations of kneeling.
Stranger_Loop Stranger_Loop, modified 4 Months ago at 10/15/23 5:04 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Let's go :pray:.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/16/23 1:51 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Thanks! :pray:

2023/10/15 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/10/16, 20 minutes (11 metta, 9 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Did the metta for 11 rather than 5 of the 20 minutes, because Insight Timer doesn't play sounds with screen turned off and that's when I checked on it.
Stuck to only the phrase "may I be happy". It caused some unpleasant sensations in the throat/upper front chest area, though, besides a bit of pleasant tingling in the back.
At one point, I got distracted for a bit by thoughts about the bureaucracy of sick leave notes.
Also tried rather using the notion than the words, which seemed to work better.

During the just sitting, my mind often went to the sounds of the heating pipes in the wall which made it hard to sleep last night.
Otherwise, mostly thoughts about planning (the day and one soon event) and about describing what's going on.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/17/23 1:02 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/16 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/10/17, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: On recommendation of my teacher, I tried inclining more towards the pleasant sensations, but without much success.
Sometimes distracted by varous thoughts.
Got an idea afterwards when rereading the recommendation now - when I was, a while ago, doing shamatha with repeatedly counting to 10 in the mind as the object, I looked for where I'm "hearing" the numbers. Which tended to lead to pleasant tingling there (located in the head). So, maybe less going for trying to connect the words more strongly to the meaning and more for letting that happen or not if it will and for feeling the form rather than the meaning.

Just sitting: Frequent kriyas (spontaneous twitchy body movements) due to letting go of control of the body.
Haven't had those in a while during sits, as I usually (i.e. when going to the zen sangha) sit in public and suppress them there for the most part.
Wasn't sure whether to stop them, but I prefer not to, so I didn't.
Sometimes pleasant tingly sensations in the back, particularly at the start of this part. Often stronger than those during the metta.
Sometimes aiming to detach from what the mind is doing. But not putting much intentionality in that.
Thoughts mainly describing what's going on, on one occasion about a recent conversation.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/18/23 12:54 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/17 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/10/18, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Repeated "may I be happy" fairly frequently but it had basically no effect. Towards the end, tried with "may I be peaceful", which caused some pleasant sensations.

​​​​​​​Just sitting: Feeling cold and tired. Many thoughts of planning and recent memories. Body did some movements, particularly some rocking back and forth.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/19/23 12:38 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/18 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/10/19, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Alternated between "may I be happy" and "may I be peaceful". Strong pleasant sensations from either, like jolts. Waited for it to dissipate and leaned into keeping it up, before continuing with the next mantra repetition. Thoughts almost only about what's going on.

Just sitting: Some kriyas, mainly at the start, but not much. Sometimes twitching in reaction to jolts of pleasant sensations. (Well, just gonna use the term piti for the pleasant sensations, when I'm now starting to use technical terms anyway). Thoughts often describing what's going on, but often also about various other topics. Occasionally interrupting thoughts when they took up much mental space, but wondering whether I should or shouldn't. Sometimes mind also went to sounds or, less often, body sensations. Having back pain but that was more in the background. Some tingling in the hands and forehead. Now and then wondering about the time, but opting to just relax. I like to use the mental image of a statue that isn't going to get up anyway, against restlessness.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/20/23 2:56 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/19 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations. (Well, technically on the 20th as it was after midnight already.)

2023/10/20, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

A lot of piti during/from the metta.
Occasionally short distractions by thoughts.

Some piti at the start of just sitting. Hardly any kriyas.
Sometimes listening to sounds from outside, sometimes to thoughts about various things. Some wondering as to what without a goal means.
Also some thoughts for encouraging relaxing and enjoying the posture.

Tried out a different timer app, which also works with screen turned off.
It's simply called Interval Timer and is meant for workouts, but it seems to work well.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/21/23 1:37 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/21/23 1:37 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/20 (part 2)

Did none of the 1 minute meditations, forgot about it. Set a reminder.

2023/10/21, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Some minor piti at the start, otherwise uneventful.
Just sitting: Sleepy. Lots of thinking, mostly planning.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/22/23 11:56 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/22/23 11:56 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/21 (part 2)

Did one of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/10/22

One 1 minute meditation.

20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), afternoon, kneeling

Had a lot of chores today, so I meditated after most of that was done.

Metta: Sleepy and a bit restless. Some slight feeling of warmth from the mantra. Checked for the time right before the 5 minutes bell.

Just sitting: Sleepy and a bit cold. Ongoing discomfort from rather wanting to lie down and nap. Often not much besides that in the mind, often also thinking, including both planning and disconnect pieces of thoughts.
Took a nap after the sit.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 10/22/23 4:59 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 2641 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
While sitting and doing nothing there is always something arise-passing. 
The sleepy feeling can have a sense of space maybe? Where is it? Some body sensations might be involved in this sleepy feeling? Maybe some mind images of these body sensations perceived in connection to the sleepiness? 

What happens Just Before the actual checking of the timer? Just before the actual body action of doing it? 
No need answering me emoticon 
Next time when such restlessness arises look at how "this leads to that" etc ... follow the "stream" of consciousness. 

Ignore if of no interest. 

Best wishes with your practice! 
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 12:48 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 12:48 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for the input!
The body sensations of sleepiness are that discomfort I was describing.
I observed what lead up to the restlessness, just didn't write it down here. Can't write down everything I observe xD (Particularly since I drafted most of that entry while nodding off.)

2023/10/23, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Piti, not very strong but fairly continuous. A bit sleepy, as still a bit under the weather.

Just sitting: Mostly spent thinking. Sometimes getting pulled to body sensations - either some light piti or the sensations of a sore throat and a slight headache.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 2:23 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 2:23 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/23 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/24, 20 minutes (5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Lots of procrastinating this morning due to a huge mental block in regards to exercising.

Metta: Not really into it. Just did it to check it off the todo-list.

Just sitting: Spent much of the time observing the body. First, lots of tension/clenching and then additionally constant kriyas. Didn't do anything to relax the clenching as that would make it worse. Also some thoughts involving planning, but mostly describing what's happening.
Still a lot of stimming afterwards.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/25/23 3:17 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/25/23 3:17 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/10/24 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/25, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Added 2 minutes of warmup to my timer for getting settled.

Metta: Some frequent pleasant sensations from it.

Just sitting: Much tension in the body, mainly the upper body and arms, later also the legs. Related to emotions from various thoughts, which caused discomfort.
Some kriyas towards the end.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/26/23 1:45 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/26/23 1:45 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/10/25 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/26, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Overall pleasant with some light piti. Sometimes distracted by thoughts, which meant the mantra was ongoing but awareness of it was reduced. Twice I took a short break from the mantra due to a stronger jolt of piti.

Just sitting: Much thinking, though not much clenching or strong emotions. Writing a log kinda implies the aim of remembering what's happening during the sit, though didn't intentionally aim to keep track of it. At the start of that part, I unintentionally kept doing the metta for a bit.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/27/23 5:29 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/27/23 5:29 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/10/26 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/27, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), noon, kneeling

Metta: Some pleasant sensations. Occasionally thoughts either interrupting the practice or taking up a larger part of awareness.
For the record, currently mantra is still "May I be happy. May I be peaceful".

Just sitting: Pleasant sit with frequent piti in varying degrees. Kriyas on two short occasions.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/28/23 6:56 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/28/23 6:12 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/10/27 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/28, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 5 metta, 15 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Pleasant piti from the metta. Only minor distractions.

Just sitting: Very pleasant sit. A general sense of the satisfaction from a letting go that happens when it will. Sometimes thinking took up the main part of awareness, sometimes other things. At two occasions kriyas of the facial muscles. That's not that common.
Went back to bed after the sit to catch up on some sleep.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/29/23 12:05 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/29/23 12:05 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/10/28 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/29, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: Increased the time for the metta part on my teacher's suggestion. Might also increase the overall time a bit.
Experimented with also using a different mantra for a couple minutes - something based on bhakti rather than metta. Inconclusive results as to whether it makes a difference. There might have been stronger pleasant sensations from the metta-version.
My teacher also suggested looking out for what are the exact sensations I feel, but I didn't feel particularly motivated for keeping track of that.
A lot of distraction during the last couple minutes.
At one point early in the sit, I reached down to move my phone out of my visual field (it was charging, so the screen was displaying something, which was a bit uncomfortable in the dark).
The time was over faster than expected.

Just sitting: A lot of tension due to doubts about the practice.
It seems like something to do for fun and relaxation in addition to a practice, but not something that's gonna lead anywhere on its own.
Plus I'm not sure whether I'm doing it right - like, how to determine whether one is really sitting without a goal? What counts as a goal? What to do about it if there is a goal?
My teacher is going to give me a list of practices I could try out instead. He also mentioned that people tend to find it harder than I do to just sit around - which is also giving me doubts about the effectiveness.

Had been planning to practice during a train ride today, but as I got up earlier than planned, I did beforehand. Might still do some just sitting around there; train rides are nice for that as they are really a situation of, nowhere to go, nothing to do.
Nath Eris, modified 4 Months ago at 10/30/23 4:44 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/10/29 (part 2)

One 1 minute meditation.

2023/10/30, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Had a lot of piti and also kriyas this morning before the sit.

Metta: Piti both in general and from the mantra. Sometimes distracted., though not wanting to do much about that.
Piti seems to currently center more around the lower end of the spine (usually it's more in the upper back and neck for me).

Just sitting: Pleasant sit. Piti and thinking.

My teacher recently mentioned, if I want to make this part of the sit a bit more active, I could stop narrative thinking when I notice it.
But I'm not feeling particularly motivated to do that because it's not quite clear to me what's the benefit. And it's also not really clear to me how to even do it. Probably because I'm finding it hard to determine what mental activities are narrative thinking and which aren't. I think I'd have to first get a better understanding of that.
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2023/10/30 (part 2)

Attended the zen sangha: 30 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes sitting

I arrived a bit late and the room was quite full, so I just picked the nearest cushion instead of trying to find a spare bench in the storage room.
I was surprised there were so many people there today, as tomorrow is a public holiday. I had expected it to be almost empty.
Sitting on the cushion cross-legged went better than expected. Had to only adjust posture once really during each 30 minutes sit (in the first case, merely my leg fell asleep but I was worried I'd have trouble walking during the walking meditation if it gets too numb, and in the second case, my knee and the inside of the upper leg of the other leg (I had switched sides) started to hurt and I wanted to make sure I don't injure myself, as I have some medical problem with that knee).

I mostly just sat without a plan. Sporadically, I did some detaching from thoughts, but mostly at the start.
Nothing eventful, just thinking and various sense impressions. One jolt of piti early in each sit.

After the second sit, there was a discussion round.
I'm still having some trouble with the zen terminology and theory, so I'm finding it hard to know how to express myself in that setting.
I feel I'd first have to provide an essay of context ^^"

Also did the daily 1 minute meditation just now, though I'm having trouble seeing much benefit in it.
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2023/10/31, 20 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Keeping procrastinating on meditation (and thereby on getting up) because I kinda feel like I first wanna take care of a bunch of other things, and therefore end up doing neither.
Metta: Fairly distracted - the mantra kept going for the most part, but thoughts took up much more space in awareness. 
Just sitting: Pleasant but spent most of the time thinking. A bit of piti, but there was much more when lying in bed doing stuff on my phone beforehand.
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2023/10/31 (part 2)
One 1 minute meditation.
2023/11/1, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 sitting without goal), morning, kneeling

Metta: A lot of thoughts about doubts about meditation practices, and unpleasant sensations/tension in the upper body related to that. Mantra going on in the background. 

Just sitting: Thoughts mostly about other topics, planning for most of the sit.
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My teacher @sigmatropic gave me some suggestions on what to change about the practice:
At least two 1 minute meditations.
Replacing the just sitting with noting out loud.
Maybe giving visualizing a try at a future point.

2023/11/1 (part 2)
Two 1 minute meditations.

2023/11/2, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting out loud), morning, kneeling

Metta: The mantra caused jolts of piti.
Sometimes distracted, increasingly so over time.

Noting out loud: Used the sense doors as categories for the labeling. Noted mostly hearing and feeling, though also a couple times thinking, which was rare when I did noting silently in the past as it was even more in the background then.
As I'm breathing quite slowly, particularly during meditation, I found it a bit exhausting/straining to note out loud despite not hurrying with it. Sometimes I also had to wait for the 10 or 15 seconds till I had finished the next inhale before I could continue the practice.
I think the noting encourages a mindset of not trying to hold onto what happened in order to use it later, because the label is about what just happened, not what happened 2 seconds ago.
When noting thinking, that also encourages a detachment from it.
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2023/11/1 (part 2)

Two 1 minute meditations.

Also, went to the zen sangha: chanting, 30 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes sitting. Used the meditation bench there again. It's fairly comfy, but the bench at home is more comfy.
Did some deteching from thoughts, particularly during the first sit.
More thinking/planning during the second sit. Felt like thinking about how to get or make a wall calendar for next year, so that happened.
Though, letting that happen without particularly aiming for it leads often to thoughts moving to other topics. Not all that surprising, as thoughts which don't feel like one is thinking them but that happen in the background are often about all kinds of random topics.
The closest the content of a thought is to the here and now, the stronger the identification.
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2023/11/3

Procrastinated on the main sit all day. Did the two 1 minute meditations.

22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting out loud), evening, kneeling

Metta: Some minor pleasant sensations, but mostly thinking while the mantra went on on auto-pilot.

Noting: Again mostly noted "hear" and "feel". Occasionally "taste", and also "see" for mental images. No noting "think".
My right ear made some weird popping noises when speaking. Wasn't always sure whether to note it as "hear" or "feel" as it involved both.
Sometimes I unintentionally interrupted a noting because the mind had shifted to another sense door in the meantime.
Again took long breaks for inhaling. Sometimes noted silently during that.
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2023/11/4 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting out loud), morning, kneeling

Metta: Some piti. Slightly less distracted than yesterday. Leaning into the piti might help.

Noting: 

Noted almost only feel and hear.
Occasionally confused the two due to something also going on in the other sense door. E.g. my tinnitus is something I mainly hear but also somewhat feel, and so I one time noted it as feel, despite the hearing aspect taking up more mental space.

Again found it uncomfortable to do the noting out loud and having to take long breaks for inhaling. Also tried inhaling after every note or so, but that felt like hyperventilating. More often also noted in my mind during the long inhales. More mental content to note during those.
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:pray:
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2023/11/4 (part 2)

Did the two 1 minute sits.

2023/11/5 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), early afternoon, kneeling

Sleepy, gonna take a nap now. 
Also did the two 1 minute sits already. 

Metta: Lots of thinking and hypnagogia; mantra ongoing in the background. 

Noting: Did the noting mentally because didn't feel like doing it out loud after 2 or 3 spoken notes. 
Often noted mental images, as "see". Otherwise again mainly "hear" and "feel". On some occasions, I noted verbal thought, but I categorized it as "hear".
Sometimes mixing up sense doors due to different things going on simultaneously. 
Once or twice a short break because mind wanted to use the mental channel of noting for some other thoughts. 
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2023/11/6 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Metta:
Much less distracted by thoughts than yesterday, except at the very end.

There is some tendency for the breath to align with the mantra; tried to keep the two separated.

Pleasant piti throughout.

Noting: 
Switched to noting mentally rather than out loud after a short time.
Went quite well, I think.

Remained seated for another minute or so enjoying feeling really good. The piti wasn't even strong in the body, so I guess that was rather sukha than piti.
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2023/11/6 (part 2)

Did the two 1 minute sits.

2023/11/7 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), evening, kneeling

Late today because I had an early appointment. Did the first 1 minute practice already.

Metta: Fairly balanced amount of attention between thinking and mantra. Some minor pleasant sensations.

Sometimes slured the mantra a bit. Despite saying in mentally, again usually alignment of breath with mantra.

Kriyas on one short occasion, and earlier a case of scratching and one of shifting the posture, which both didn't feel like my mind asked me beforehand.

After the kriyas, some tingling in the palms.

Noting: Did it out loud again. It's okay, but mentally is more comfortable. This time did with inhaling after every one, sometimes two, labels.
Almost all noting was hear or feel. Hear was often the static sound from the heating, later also some blopping sounds in the right ear which again occured after speaking. Feel was often either sensations of the legs or of the hands on the legs or the sensations of those blopping sounds.

​​​​​​​Occasionally a bit restlessness.
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2023/11/8 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), noon, kneeling

Yesterday, I also did the second 1 minute sit.

Today, I took a long time to get up, therefore the sit only started around noon.

Metta: Continuous mantra, but mind mostly on recent memories.

Noting: Did the noting out loud again. Restlessness towards the end, mostly due to being tired of speaking.
Again mostly "hear" and "feel", same content as yesterday.
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2023/11/8 (part 2)

Did the two 1 minute meditations yesterday. Already did the first of today's.

2023/11/9 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Metta: Mind was mostly on some fairly loud static sound from the heating. Mantra ongoing.
Occasionally moving around, e.g. for adjusting my blanket.

Noting: Did the noting silently again. Sometimes a bit imprecise or starting to go full auto-pilot and shift into the background; probably due to a slightly too fast speed. Mostly hear and feel, sometimes see (for mental images).
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2023/11/9 (part 2)

Did both 1 minute sits.

Went to the zen sangha (30 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes sitting)

Aimed a bit for detaching from thoughts. A decent amount of wondering what to do. Some sleepiness.

Over the last 10 minutes or so, I gave breath counting another try, as the (what's the female term for zen master? zen mistress? guess I'll call her the zen master's wife) who was leading the zazen spoke a bit about observing the breath at the start of the practice. Counted 43 breaths, but don't see much benefit in the counting. When I later asked her about it, she also confirmed what my teacher had said, that if I don't lose track of the count but it doesn't seem to get me anywhere, I should practice something else.

There was some discussing after the sits, and as the zen master's wife encouraged asking questions, I talked a bit with her while/after the others left about what's my current/recent practice. 
I'm feeling a bit reluctant in regards to the discussion rounds at the zen sangha in general, as I feel I'm not taking much useful from them due to not understanding what they're talking about. Also in that case, the replies I got were more about the goal than the way there. Like, she spoke about action without intention, sense impressions that don't lead to thoughts,... I don't know what to do with that. I don't know whether it describes anything I have experienced before nor do I know what to do or practice that would aim for it.
Either way, there'll be another person leading the sits as a stand-in next time, maybe I'll also ask him a bit.
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2023/11/10 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), afternoon, kneeling

Very sleepy during the sit. Also a bit in general.
Lots of procrastinating happening currently, not only regarding meditation.

Metta: Almost continuous mantra, but mind kept being drawn into thoughts and too sleepy to do something about it.

Noting: Doing the noting silently now. It was hard with the sleepiness but there were no long interruptions. Noted mostly "see" (namely the hypnagogia) and occasionally "feel" (the body slumping when nodding off for a moment), sometimes "hear".
​​​​​​​Some fantasizing about being forced to do the sit first thing in the morning xD
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2023/11/10 (part 2) Did both of the 1 minute meditations. Or maybe three. Did the last one just in case as I wasn't sure whether I already did two.

2023/11/11 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late morning, kneeling

Quite sleepy again during the sit, though not as bad as yesterday.
Again procrastinated for hours before practicing.
Felt a bit cold.

Metta: The mantra was sometimes not quite as much in the background than usually recently.

Noting: Mostly hear and feel, but also frequent see (hpynagogia) and taste (I'm wondering whether I'm getting a cold). Also sometimes think. Think was mostly summarizing what's happening, though at one point I noted think a couple times in a row while the other mental voice was saying something more or less incoherent.
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2023/11/11 (part 2) Did both of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/11/12 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

A bit of procrastination, but mostly the productive kind (tidying up etc.).
I'm clearly getting a cold. Tiredness probably at least in part due to that. Though not very strong tiredness.

Metta: Piti during much of it. Long time span of being drawn into thoughts in the second half, but mantra continuing. Less piti during that.

Noting: Mostly noting hear and feel, but also some see and a decent amount of think. Think is often just single words - when thinking longer phrases, it doesn't happen in a way that I would note, and noting also interfers with the thoughts noted. Sometimes thoughts took up much of awareness while noting of hear or feel went on in the background.

Some restlessness towards the end due to increasing tiredness and starting to feel a bit cold.
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2023/11/12 (part 2) Did both of the 1 minute meditations.

2023/11/13 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Having a cold. Wrapped myself in blankets.

Metta: Some pleasant piti. Mind sometimes on the mantra, something on thinking.

Noting: Larger amount of noting of thoughts than before. Sometimes also full sentences (often of, well, not gibberish, but nothing that I consciously know the context of). Noting a thought tends to lead to piti sensations.
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2023/11/13 (part 2) Did both of the 1 minute meditations.

Went to the zen sangha (30 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes sitting)

Aimed a bit for detaching from thoughts at the start. Otherwise mostly just sitting around and seeing what'll happen. Thinking was primarily planning, often about work.

Some backpain. A little bit sleepy.

It's easier to detach from a thought than from the emotion it causes.
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2023/11/14 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Went back to sleep after the sit, only writing the log after.

Metta: Some piti.

Noting: Some interruptions in the noting due to thoughts and sleepiness.
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2023/11/14 (part 2) Did both 1 minute sits.

2023/11/15 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Metta: Some minor piti. Distracted by the static sound from the heating that already bothered me when falling asleep the evening before. Twice or so even didn't continue the mantra because of thoughts.

Noting: Quite pleasant sit. Noting thinking (which wasn't that often) always had noting feeling afterwards because it always lead to a jolt of piti. A few times, the noting continued on autopilot in the background while mind was on thoughts.

I think I'll practice metta and noting when going to the zen sangha next time.
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2023/11/15 (part 2) Did both 1 minute sits.

2023/11/16 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Got myself to practice (almost) first thing in the morning as I have to get out early today.

Metta: Continuous piti. Mind sometimes on the piti and the mantra, sometimes more on thoughts with mantra ongoing. Not wanting to use pressure for being more with the mantra, just some mild leaning from time to time.

Noting: Occasional interruptions of the noting by thinking. I feel more like there is a delay between what's going on and me noting it than when starting with that practice. Frequent piti. Now and then noted thinking, but mostly feeling and hearing.
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2023/11/16 (part 2) 70 minutes (30 metta, 10 walking, 30 noting), evening, kneeling

Practiced at the zen sangha.
Only 2 other people were there today.

Some backpain and a bit sleepy, but otherwise pleasant sit. Only minor occasional piti.

Mantra and noting weren't interrupted but often went into the background.

Also, did both 1 minute sits over the course of the day.
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2023/11/17 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), evening, kneeling

Procrastinated all day due to low mood (without specific cause).

A bit sleepy. Only rare and minor piti. Metta and noting sometimes went into the background.

Something I forgot to write down yesterday evening: There are forms of verbal "thinking" that I wouldn't really consider thinking. Like remembering what someone else said and hearing it as a mental voice, or like earworms. Counting those are "think", though.
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2023/11/18 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), evening, kneeling

Late sit, but more due to taking care of chores than due to procrastinating.

Metta: A bit sleepy. During the metta, mind was more on thoughts and the mantra went into the background. Piti was fairly jolty and not very continuous.

Noting: Some noting of thoughts, besides the usual feeling and hearing. Also some getting dragged into thoughts.
My teacher suggested I could try out occasionally more specific labels than the sense doors. Might do that particularly with things that re-occur frequently. Otherwise, I think I'd spend more time trying to find the right label than noting.

Also did the two 1 minute meditations throughout the day.
I discussed with my teacher whether to change something about those as I'm not really seeing much benefit in them and we agreed that I could do noting instead, also e.g. during activities.
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2023/11/19 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Still a decent amount of procrastinating. Gonna move my day's plans by ~2h due to that.
Any suggestions on how to get oneself to sit first thing in the morning?

Metta: Much daydreaming with mantra continuing in the background.

Noting: Tried out using more specific labels for recurring things (mainly for specific sensations, including sitting, tingling in the palms and piti). Mistook the sound of the heating for a plane when it started - it actually is less uncomfortable when I treat it like a plane sound because that's something far away that I can't do anything about. So I kept labeling it as plane xD
Using more specific labels seems to increase the likelyhood of the mind picking out that same thing next for focusing on.
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Any suggestions on how to get oneself to sit first thing in the morning?
Try meditate while you lay in bed. Particularly if you're that kind of awake where you won't fall asleep. I used to sit first thing when I was very disciplined, I tend to wait til the afternoon these days. 

I wouldn't worry too much about the specifics of labels for noting. First thing that bounces out of the brain is fine. Noting without labeling at all is valid too. You will ultimately be able to note much faster than you can label.  
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Good stuff!

I can't do formal sitting meditation first thing in the morning. My morning skills are mostly limited to drinking coffee and looking at the internet. My work is flexible, so I usually sit late in the morning, after getting a few hours of work done, when my mind is at its brightest. So I guess my tip would be, find your favorite time. 

It's fun how the same basic sound feels different depending on how we interpret it. 
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Thanks for the suggestions!

Hm, not sure whether staying in bed would make it any easier to get started.
I don't wanna spend 22 minutes lying in bed without moving. So that'll cause resistance.

I can note faster, but I can't categorize that fast. And I don't quite see how there's any benefit to fast noting without labeling.
​​​​​​​
If I just pick the first label that my mind comes up with, it's often wrong. My mind tends to confuse the sense doors because there are always several things going on simultaneously in different sense doors, often even related (like, hearing something also involves sensations at the ears, so I might note "feel" if not careful, despite the auditory aspect being more central).
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Thanks!

​​​​​​​First thing in the morning would be my favorite time.

I used to practice in the evening primarily, but that involves a lot of sleepiness.

And I can't really take a meditation break in the office. At least not that easily.
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"fast noting without labeling."

"Noting" is an introductory practice. When we get at noticing without labelling we start to develop the kind of speed and inclusivity of perceiving required to wake up.

You'll probably know yourself when the time comes to drop most of the labelling. If it's not helpful now keep doing what works.
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2023/11/19 (part 2)

Off-the-cushion practice: Tried noting during bus rides and during walking outside.

2023/11/20 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

A lot of tension today, which kept me from engaging with the mantra or noting. So it often went into the background.
Some urges for kriyas during the noting, but kriyas make noting a lot harder, so I wasn't sure whether to let them.
A bit of piti towards the end.
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Yes, maybe I just don't understand yet how it's supposed to look like when it does work as I can't do it yet.

​​​​​​​The descriptions sound like fast noticing is very easy, but when I try replicating it in a way that fits the descriptions, I don't see why it would have a benefit.
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I can attest that over time it starts to have some benefit. Come back to this if ever you need it. 

Say for example I were to stand on the precipice of some great cliff and over look the ocean on a fine summers day. Captivated by the beauty I might desire to absorb every photon of sunlight, every whisper of sea air and every jewelled wave crashing on the shoreline below. So I try, but when I do so, I notice that my attention is choppy and unfocused it can't consistently percieve any of my surroundings without interruption. I know the waters are breathtaking and deserve my attention yet I can't help get caught up in my own internal conflict. My attention is scattered across various tumultous emotions and bodily grievances. Even though I might intuit that these nuisances are ultimately a part of the entirety of the landscape before me they're still rather bloody annoying and seem to occupy an inordinate amount of my experience.

So I start to really look at them, I point at them and say "Ahh look, this is suffering." "This thought is suffering, I know that it is suffering." "This emotion is sadness, I know that it is sadness." This helps as we begin to understand our attention and how it moves around between the phenomena that catch and bind it. Yet as I categorize these experiences I might notice that the list grows ever more encyclopedic. There's so much to experience how could I ever name it all? Is the light shattering brilliance of the ocean sufficiently communicated by "Blue", do I need to compose a sonnet every time I attempt to label a transient discomfort in my right elbow, at some point do I have to begin labelling the labelling process and each individual component of the thought stream? 

I can certainly try, but deep down I know I'm not any closer to embracing the spectacle of this particularly lovely day and am still very much absorbed in intellectual activity. 

So, I begin a little investigative phenomenology...

I begin to notice without labelling how each of these phenomena in my experience are impermanent, they have no solidity, every feeling is just a wave of shimmering particles. I see that shimmer and know that it is impermanent. 

After more time, I might start to notice without labelling how each of these phenomena in my experience are dissatisfactory, though my thoughts are captivating they never seem to lead me towards any lasting joy and even in my sweetest moments there is a subtle unease. I feel that unease and I know it is dissatisfactory. 

Then I notice without labelling how each of these phenomena in my experience are not-self, the waves crash and the winds howl, yet this carries on without any interference from me. I hear the howling wind and know it is not self. 

Through cultivating this manner of practice my attention becomes more fine tuned. Over time I might learn to include more and more of the world into my perception. I might start to see how it truly is and gain insight into it, into the nature of self and the cause of suffering. 

... and as that journey unfolds, slowly, I get to spend more and more time, just enjoying the ocean, the bird song and the breeze.  
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/20/23 2:17 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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I don't think that noting increases perception in any significant amount. 

There are anyway way more things one is aware of than one could ever note. Even what is in attention changes so often that one can't keep up with labeling it.

But maybe something different is meant by the perception it's said to increase?

Noticing the 3 characteristics in what one is aware of seems unrelated to inclusivity of perception. But I'm confident that noting (with labeling at least - can't attest for noting without labeling to have an effect) is going to help with seeing at least not-self more clearly.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/20/23 2:22 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/20 (part 2)

Off-the-cushion practice: Tried noting during most of my 3km walk to work, and sporadically on other occasions.

At the zen sangha: 30 minutes metta, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes noting.

Had some longer interruption of the noting towards the end due to wanting to not feel back pain and then ending up getting lost in thoughts.
Also overall fairly distracted.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 11/20/23 5:54 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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But I'm confident that noting (with labeling at least - can't attest for noting without labeling to have an effect) is going to help with seeing at least not-self more clearly.

What is it that notes? And can you see that it is also not-self? How do you know something is not-self? What does not-self feel like?
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/20/23 10:54 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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I occasionally have to stop myself during practice from noting the noting. 

One can know something is not-self by observing that it's happening on its own, as a result of causes and conditions. 
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/21/23 3:00 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/21 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Fairly distracted, but no significant interruptions of either the mantra or the noting.
Some jolty piti, particularly towards the end.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/22/23 3:23 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/22 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Again fairly distracted. Mantra and noting often went into the background and there might have occasionally been interruptions in the noting.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/23/23 2:51 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/23 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Quite distracted. Several long interruptions of the noting.
Some strong piti right before starting the metta; I felt like starting the mantra might interfer a bit with it.

I've also been practicing noting during bus rides and short walks the last two days. I feel like it's easier to do there than on the cushion in regards to not getting lost in thoughts.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/23/23 2:57 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/23 (part 2)

At the sangha: 30 minutes metta, 10 minutes walking, 30 noting, evening, kneeling

Metta: Again fairly distracted. Mantra pretty continuous, with some phases of mind being more on in and other phases of mind being more on thoughts. Some shoulder pain which lead to wanting to avoid feeling it by insead thinking about other things.
Some wondering whether there wouldn't be other methods more efficient at relaxing and building piti.

Noting: 2 full interruptions (though, the first one at least included some kind of noting without labels, but very much in the background), otherwise varying amounts of being with the noting.
I think noting goes better and also catches more thoughts when I do it in a fairly slow pace.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 11/23/23 4:01 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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I think noting goes better and also catches more thoughts when I do it in a fairly slow pace.

I like this. How gentle and relaxing can you make the practice of noting?
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/24/23 3:06 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/24 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Metta: Not really feeling motivated for that practice. Continously ongoing mantra, but mind more involved with thoughts.

Noting: Tried the more deliberate approach, but it's hard to keep up. No real interruptions but frequent slips into autopilot/more fuzzy noting due to not able to keep up the effort. Feeling uncomfortably tense.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/24/23 3:07 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Oh, that's not about making it more gentle and relaxing - rather the contrary. It's about putting more effort and intentionality in it and hindering it at going as fast as it usually would.

Relaxing would mean letting it go into autopilot.

​​​​​​​Not like that approach seems to work all that well, though.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 11/24/23 9:55 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Oh, that's not about making it more gentle and relaxing - rather the contrary. It's about putting more effort and intentionality in it and hindering it at going as fast as it usually would.

Hey, I can't in good faith recommend that as an approach to meditation. 

99.9% of meditation is relaxation and that means relaxation of our dependency on cerebral gymnastics. To whatever degree we add technique, we do so to get at deeper levels of relaxation. That's really the whole thing of it.

You seem confident you know what you're doing so... I will leave you to it, by all means follow your instinct and test your assertions. 

It may be worth sometime checking out a practice like this: https://www.dhammasukha.org/the-6rs

I get the feeling it might serve you well. I don't really endorse these guys as a whole but this particular practice would be my go to recommendation for a lot of people. 

Best of luck.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/24/23 2:52 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Thanks!
It's not like I'd feel confident with that approach. As I wrote above, that doesn't seem to work well.

I have encountered the 6Rs technique before, but it wasn't really applicable to what I was practicing then as most of my distractions weren't thoughts and I don't know how to release the pull of attention to things that aren't thoughts.

I took another look at the instructions. Well, that first step would happen very often as my attention is often not on the noting or metta. But I get a lot of resistance if I try to do something about that, as I don't require attention in order to keep up the practice.

So I rather don't bother with attention. During noting, I note where attention is on, I don't usually have attention on the noting.

It's only if it gets too far to the edge of awareness that I do something about it.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/24/23 2:57 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/24 (part 2)

At the zen sangha: 20 minutes metta, 10 minutes walking, 20 minutes noting, evening, kneeling

Metta: Mosty daydreaming with mantra continuing in the background.

Noting: Occasionally some piti. Used only some minor effort if any. Two interruptions in the noting, one fairly long. Sometimes noted thinking, but rarely.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/25/23 12:15 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/25 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), evening, kneeling

Late sit due to some procrastinating in the morning.

Metta: A decent amount of piti, which helped with staying a bit more with the mantra.

Noting: I now and then semi-intentionally thought of how I'm sitting there - the notion of being kinda stuck in place feels quite nice. That helped with not getting lost in thoughts for long. Also a fair amount of noting thoughts. Besides these planned thoughts, there were many visual thoughts, mostly related to memories about the day (met up with some people and afterwards went shopping, so there were a lot of new impressions to process).
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/26/23 1:46 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/26 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 metta, 15 noting), morning, kneeling

Sat more-or-less first thing in the morning emoticon (At least before checking social media apps and similar time-consuming stuff.) Opted for a longer sit today due to having the time.

Metta: Quite pleasant, though I did a lot of fantisizing, which might have contributed more to the piti than the mantra did.

Noting: Very pleasant, though the piti was a bit jolty. Often noted thinking (in part due to continued fantisizing). It's really nice to approach thoughts as something that will take care of itself.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/28/23 1:29 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/27 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Not quite first thing in the morning, but still somewhat reasonably early.

Fairly distracted. Rare and very short actual interruptions of mantra/noting, but mind frequently on thoughts, which I seldom noted. Quite a decent amount of piti.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/28/23 1:28 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/28 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling


Metta: Mostly spent daydreaming with the mantra ongoing in the background.

Noting: Mostly on the noting, only occasionally went into the background for longer timespans. Sometimes noted thoughts, which usually lead to piti (which also was present now and then otherwise).

Thoughts often start building before they actually get into attention, and so I keep noting some sensations or sounds while most of my mind is preoccupied with thinking while the part in charge of the noting hasn't paid attention to those thoughts yet.
Nath Eris, modified 3 Months ago at 11/29/23 12:55 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/29 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Very distracted sit.

Metta: Mantra ongoing but pretty much always in the background while planning.

Noting: Occasional notes but huge interruptions. Mostly distracted by thoughts, but also, well, I shouldn't open my eyes when not facing the wall, but there was a squirrel outside xD
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 11/30/23 1:57 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/11/30 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Lots of procrastination before starting.

Metta: Ongoing mantra, but most of the time spent planning or thinking about the practice.

Thoughts seem way more interesting and important that the practice.

Noting: Only short interruptions, but sleepiness started right when switching to this part. Frequent thinking and some restlessness.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/1/23 4:37 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/1 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), very late morning, kneeling

Again lots of procrastinating.

Ongoing mantra/noting but frequently drawn into thoughts. Sometimes noting them.
Some restlessness towards the end.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/2/23 5:17 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/2 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10+? noting), very late morning, kneeling

Pretty late sit, but mostly due to having gone back to bed due to sleepy, and only to some degree due to procrastinating.

Metta: Spent the sit trying variations of the mantra. Only rarely distracted from that activity. Gotta experiment a bit more (also outside of the practice time) to find what feels best.

Noting: Decided at some point to also name thinking (if verbal) as "hear" rather than "think" as I kept mixing up those two for both sounds and thoughts occasionally.
Very smooth practice afterwards and it felt good to not distinguish between mental activities and external sensory input.
I continued practicing for a couple more minutes after the timer chimed. Some dip in concentration towards the end of that.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/3/23 3:37 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/3 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late morning, kneeling

Again a lot of procrastinating but I didn't try fighting it. That only hurts anyway. Just worried I won't be able to finish my chores that are due today if I don't struggle more. 

Metta: Tried out other mantras. I think that the "may I" part is putting a bit of a damper on it; I rather feel like going for affirmative statements currently. 

Noting: It feels amazing to label thoughts as "hear" and not to distinguish them from external sounds. 
​​​​​​​Some sensations of sleepiness, but they didn't really affect the noting. 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:14 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/4  22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late evening, kneeling 
Metta: Continuing experimenting with mantra options. Phrases that point to anatta seem most efficient in leading to strong continous piti.

Some kriyas.
Piti lead to some tensing up now and then which I tried to counteract.

Thoughts mostly about describing the practice. 

Noting: 
A fairly high amount of piti from the noting. 

Got lost in thoughts to the point of not continuing the noting during the last couple minutes, related to sleepiness.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 12/5/23 10:59 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Hi Natheris! Good to see you keep a daily log here! As I know how you have been struggling with finding a method that makes sense for you, I'm happy to see that you are practicing consistently and that you are finding some joy in it. As for the joy, I'm thinking of what you said about it feeling amazing to note thoughts as "hear". That seems consistent with what you mentioned about notes pointing towards anatta leading to most piti. Maybe the anatta door is closest at hand for you? 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/5/23 2:44 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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Hi there! Thanks for chiming in!

Yeah pretty confident that anatta is the most accessible of the characteristics for me.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/5/23 2:55 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/5 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 metta, 15 noting), late evening, kneeling 

Again an evening sit due to getting up late, procrastinating and then priorizing work.

Wondering whether it counts as metta if I'm now basically doing an anatta-themed mantra practice there xD Probably closer to shamatha, except for not directly bothering with what attention is doing.
Well, likely a useful practice either way.

A bit sleepy. Alternated between mind being on the mantra/noting and on thoughts. Some longer interruption of the noting towards the end due to lost in thoughts.

Some strong/jolty piti, particularly from the mantra. It leads to some tensing up, which stops me from going for it more.
 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/6/23 2:37 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/6 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late evening, kneeling 

The sit felt longer despite being shorter than yesterday's. 

Metta: Only minor piti. Lots of tension in the body. Often more on thoughts

Noting: Occasional piti from the noting. No long interruptions, though sometimes very in the background. 
​​​​​​​Thoughts can take up a lot of space in awareness without being in attention and thereby not getting noted. 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/8/23 1:26 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/7, at the sangha, 70 minutes (30 metta, 10 walking, 30 noting), evening, kneeling

Didn't sit in the morning because of an earlier meeting and some procrastinating. Sat at the sangha in the evening.

Very sleepy, but surprisingly little getting lost in thoughts. Didn't put much effort in that but rather just let the sleepy mind do its thing while keeping up the practice. Mind was rarely on the mantra and also not that much on the noting. 
Occasionally piti from noting verbal thoughts and sometimes when mind decided to try some other mantra. 

Some upper back pain and towards the end also knee pain (despite kneeling) - my bench at home is really more comfy than those in the dojo. A bit restlessness due to that and due to the discomfort from sleepiness.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/8/23 3:07 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/8 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late evening, kneeling 

Very low energy day, spent mostly in bed. But had a sit before going to sleep for the night.

Very sleepy. Went back to the normal metta mantra. Mind almost only on thoughts with mantra continuing. During noting, mind was mostly on that, only one clear interruption and not very long. Restlessness from being sleepy to the point of almost nodding off. Occasional piti from noting thoughts. Finding it nice that noting a thought doesn't require it to be interrupted/interferred with; leads to more detaching.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/8/23 11:39 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/9 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 metta, 15 noting), early morning, kneeling 

Woke up too early. Didn't sit right away but before going back to sleep. 

Feeling increasingly uncomfortable due to static sounds from the heating. 
Hoping at least some of that won't be an issue once I move 2 floors up in a couple months. 
Hard to motivate the mind when it mainly wants to get lost in thoughts in order to be able to dissociate from noises.

Metta: Went for a version of the standard metta mantra with "gonna" rather than "may I". Some piti, mainly in the lower back, during mainly the first half of that part.
Then more and more on thoughts rather than on the mantra.

Noting: A bunch of interruptions, more so towards the end. Occasional piti from noting thoughts, but didn't hold up against the overall discomfort. 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/10/23 2:23 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/10 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late evening, kneeling

Busy and tired today, therefore a sit after all other tasks done.

Quite distracted. A bit sleepy.

Metta: Mantra ongoing but mind not on it.

Noting: First, mind mainly on thoughts while noting other stuff, then more on the noting, then lost in thoughts with noting interrupted, then some noting again.

Some piti, also from listening to the rain.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/11/23 1:42 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/11 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Tired and distracted. Mantra ongoing but mind not on it. Noting sometimes continuous but often interrupted or hardly happening.
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/11 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 metta, 15 noting), evening, kneeling

Sat on the occasion of afterwards attending the sangha's discussion round virtually.

Noticed that piti during the mantra is pretty much unrelated to the mantra. Clear correlation between piti and the exhaling (piti usually present during exhaling and almost always absent during inhaling - during the mantra practice, that doesn't apply to piti in other contexts). Wondering a bit why I didn't notice that earlier, but, I was comparing metta/mantra and autogenic training in a chat today, and the latter is something in which I utilize the breath a lot for timing the practice (when I do practice it, which is rare).

Some thoughts later during the noting on inhaling cold electricity and letting it spread through the body during the exhaling.

Wondering whether it wouldn't make more sense to first do the noting and then the mantra. There's that notion of building concentration, and noting seems way more useful for that due to being easier in those regards.

During the noting, often noted hypnagogic images.
Only very short interruptions of the noting.
Some piti, mainly from noting verbal thoughts.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/12/23 1:54 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/12 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), morning, kneeling

Metta: A lot of kriyas, and piti from that. Mind didn't go much into thoughts but rather to breath, body sensations, sounds,...

Noting: Good start but got lost in thoughts about 4 times, mostly towards the end.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/13/23 2:15 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/13 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), very early morning, lying down

Woke up too early because of sounds from the heating. Meditated after being up for a while, and then went back to sleep.

My left foot hurts since a couple weeks and I'm starting to wonder whether it has any connection to spending so much time kneeling. So I'll try out practicing while lying on my bed for a bit.

Don't remember that much from the sit anymore. There was some sleepiness causing occasional getting lost in thoughts, and not very much piti.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/14/23 1:09 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/14 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), very early morning, lying down

Again very early sit due to waking up too early and then going back to sleep.

A lot of planning during the metta. Continuous mantra but rarely on it and too much pull to thoughts in combination with sleepiness to do something about that.

A bit distracted. Few short interruptions and a bit too sleepy.

​​​​​​​Probably not going to the sangha tonight.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/15/23 3:21 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/15 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late evening, lying down

Lying on my back (with legs bent and feet not touching the ground) is quite nice for my back.
A lot of tension in the body.
Metta: Distracted both by thoughts and by body sensations, mantra ongoing.
Noting: No interruptions, I think. Sometimes piti from noting verbal thoughts.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:11 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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2023/12/16 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 metta, 15 noting), almost noon, lying down

Very pleasant sit, except for some knee pain.

I just wrote a long essay, but this forum decided not to save it. Not the first time something like that happened here.
Well, trying again.

Metta: Lots of kriyas. Mantra ongoing but mind usually on other things, like body sensations, sounds and thoughts. Wondering whether I should put some more effort into it but unwilling to do so. Frequent piti, also from observing/thinking about how various things - body movements, mantra, mental activities - are happening on their own.

Noting: Occasional kriyas. Noting seems to encourage letting go of expectations, because observing what's going on is a much more reliable informant for what to note than expectations are. Particularly noticable during kriyas, because body movements cause a lot of sensations which might lead to the expectation of having to note sensations next, whereas attention may just as well be at some sounds, so that those are to be noted.
Frequent piti, both from noting thoughts and from thinking thoughts about what the practice is doing to me. A general sense of satisfaction from the afterglow of the piti.
Continuous noting for the most part, but short interruptions due to being distracted by thoughts towards the end.
 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/16/23 11:11 AM
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RE: Natheris' Log

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 2023/12/16 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 noting, 15 metta), early evening, lying down

Felt the desire to have another sit.
Tried out first noting, then metta. That went quite well I think; I'll give it some more tries to do it in that order.

Noting: Fairly low amount of distractions, though more towards the end. A lot of kriyas and a lot of piti.

Metta: A really good start. Lots of piti from staying with the mantra. Then frequent interruptions (mantra ongoing but lost in thoughts) but still a lot of piti and a decent amount of kriyas. Tried noting some distractions in order to reduce their pull; gonna try that more often. Piti from staying with the mantra seems to often be centered around the lower end of the spine.

A few times, kriyas alerted me out of being lost in thoughts (both during the noting and the metta).

For the record - back to the standard mantra of "may I be happy, may I be peaceful" since a couple sits.
 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/17/23 12:30 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
 2023/12/17 38.5 minutes (8.5 warmup, 15 noting, 15 metta), late morning, lying down

Long warmup (i.e. just lying around) because I didn't hear the timer the first time (perhaps due to kriyas?) and only checked ~4.5 minutes into the next part. Then reset it.

Quite pleasant but fairly sleepy. Again did first the noting, then the metta.

Noting: Almost continuous noting but it went into the background occasionally. Lots of piti. Occasional kriyas. Some sleepiness, which I sometimes noted as feeling.

Metta: Again a pretty good start into it and mind occasionally on the mantra for longer time spans. Mantra often in the same voice-channel as other thoughts, so that verbal thinking interferred with the mantra when it happened. More separate channels when mantra more on auto-pilot and in the background.
Sometimes tried out noting/labeling strong distractions but don't want that to interrupt the mantra, so haven't quite gotten the hang out of it.
Decent amount of piti. Sometimes kriyas. Sleepiness increasing and making it harder.

(Btw, already tried posting this this morning but DhO didn't let me.) 
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/18/23 2:52 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/18/23 2:52 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/18 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late morning, lying down

Noting: Somewhat continuous noting, but mind felt sluggish. Exhausted despite technically having had enough sleep. Some piti.

Metta: Mantra ongoing but mind often not on it. Once got literally shaken out of mindwandering by kriyas. Some piti.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/19/23 1:26 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/19/23 1:26 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/19 22 minutes (2 warmup, 10 metta, 10 noting), late morning, lying down

Very sleepy. Tried napping for a while afterwards to catch up on some sleep. 

Noting: Some interruptions but also some longer time spans of ongoing noting. Occasionally piti.

Metta: Mostly spent thinking/planning and completely got lost in thoughts towards the end. Trying to do something about that made my head ache from the tiredness, so I didn't use more effort.

Checked the timer less than a minute before the end because I was wonder whether I hadn't heard it while daydreaming.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/20/23 2:21 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/20/23 2:21 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
 2023/12/20 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 noting, 15 metta), evening, lying down

Noting: Continuous noting, or only few interruptions. A lot of kriyas. Fluctuation in regards to how present the noting was - occasionally, there were phases where, while I'm fairly sure that noting continued, it was so much in the background as to leave hardly a trace in memory. Some piti.

Metta: Ongoing mantra. Some wondering whether to do anything for encouraging attention to be more often on it, but not sure what. Occasionaly kriyas and a bit piti.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/21/23 3:40 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/21/23 3:40 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/21 32 minutes (2 warmup, 15 noting, 15 metta), morning, lying down

Noting: Mostly continuous noting, except for the last couple minutes when I got lost in thoughts. Frequent piti.

Metta: Continuous mantra but mind either on other sensations/sounds or on thoughts.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/22/23 3:07 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/22/23 3:04 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/22 ~30 minutes (~20 noting, ~10 mantra), afternoon, sitting in the backseat of a car

Noting: Fairly continuous noting, occasional external distractions. Increasing sleepiness but no significant interruptions. Decent amount of piti. 
​​​​​​​
Mantra: Ongoing but in the background while sleepy.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/23/23 5:10 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/23/23 5:08 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/23, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 15 noting, 5 metta), very late evening, lying down

Noting: Continuous but some short phases where mind wasn't with it. Some piti, some kriyas.Thinking about how noting encourages disinterest in the content of what one is perceiving or thinking. Also thoughts about meditating first thing in the morning and about devotion. 
​​​​​​​
Metta: Tried another mantra version to check for differences. Sleepy and often not with the mantra, though it continued in the background. Some minor piti.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/24/23 12:20 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/24/23 12:20 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/24, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 15 noting, 5 metta), afternoon, lying down

Sleepy sit, particularly during the metta, took a nap after. I think the noting went fairly well and there was occasional strong piti from the mantra.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/25/23 2:16 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/25/23 2:14 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/25: 3 sits today while travelling.

~35 minutes (~2 warmup, ~23 noting, ~10 metta), almost noon, sitting in the backseat of a car

Noting: Went decently well. Occasional short interruptions. Fairly frequent piti (already before the sit).

Metta: Currently using "may I be pacified" as like a stronger version of "may I be peaceful". Some quite intense piti from it and it didn't go much into the background. Some external distractions.

~32 minutes (~2 warmup, ~20 noting, ~10 metta), around noon, sitting in the backseat of a car

Noting: Getting sleepy. Kept up the noting for most part. Some piti.

Metta: Getting very sleepy. Mantra in the background while almost napping. Continued napping for a bit after.

​​​​​​​~22 minutes (~2 warmup, ~20 noting) afternoon, sitting in the backseat of a car

Noting: Many external distractions but fairly continuous noting. Still a bit sleepy.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/27/23 3:47 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/27/23 3:46 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/12/27, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 metta), morning, lying down

Lots of external distractions, particularly at the start. 

Yesterday, I didn't practice at all because it's hard to find any time of the day when it's unlikely that people will come into my room (I'm staying with relatives and my room here leads to my mom's room). Guess I gotta get up early and practice first thing in the morning. 

Noting: Relatively continuous noting but the attention to it fluctuated. Often observed some tensing up from various noises. 

​​​​​​​Metta: Trying "may I be docile". Might be a weird choice, but that's what I'm associating with a happiness from not wanting anything but what happens. Taming the mind is a common metaphor in meditation, after all. 

Fairly much piti and some kriyas.

Kept the mantra in my mind for a while after the sit.
Nath Eris, modified 2 Months ago at 12/28/23 3:49 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/28/23 3:49 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/12/28, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 metta), morning, lying down

Did a sit this morning but napped afterwards a bit and don't remember much now.

Fairly pleasant though.

Also did some mantra practice throughout the day as that feels good, even though I'm still feeling a bit weird about my current choice.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 12/29/23 5:47 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 12/29/23 5:47 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 2297 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I like your "May I be docile". emoticon  It reminds me of the daoism idea of "being like a cow in the field"
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/23 9:36 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/30/23 9:36 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Walking practice can be a great help when living in busy environments 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/1/24 7:09 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/31/23 4:46 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2023/12/30, ~30 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, ~8 metta), afternoon, lying down

2023/12/31, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 metta), late morning, lying down

Pretty exhausted currently and was too tired after the sit to write a log entry. Towards the end of the first one, I got interrupted, therefore about 2 minutes shorter.

Continued with the "may I be docile" mantra.

Wanting to try strategies against sleepiness but been too tired for looking them up ^^"
Well, the tiredness at least makes it pretty obvious that other parts of my mind have quite a bit of say in what I'm going to be doing. I'll take that as a lesson in an aspect of not-self.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 12/31/23 4:47 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/31/23 4:47 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for the encouragement!

I've been more thinking of sheep, but it's pretty versatile.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/1/24 7:09 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 12/31/23 4:49 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for the suggestion!
I don't have much experience in walking meditation, except for the kinhin at the zen sangha.

What kind of walking meditation are you thinking of?

I occasionally practice some noting during various activities, including walking.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/1/24 7:13 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/1/24 7:13 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/1, ~36 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, ~14 metta), morning, lying down

Very pleasant practice, a lot of piti. Particularly so during the mantra. Continued for a couple minutes after the sit until I got interrupted. Also some kriyas during the mantra.
The noting occasionally went into the background or stopped (not sure which).
Feeling like both the noting and the mantra are activities that are quite pleasurable in and of themselves so that the training is mostly in regards to not getting distracted from them.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/3/24 7:56 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/3/24 7:56 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/3, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), shortly after midnight, lying down

Noting: Piti steadily increased over the course of the noting. Got lost in thoughts due to tiredness for a longer timespan towards the end.
Mostly noted hypngogia, body sensations and some verbal thoughts, which primarily consisted of describing what's happening.

Mantra: Very sleepy. Some piti, also from thinking about how practicing despite sleepiness is in line with the docility mantra. Some kriyas.

2024/1/3, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), late morning, lying down

Noting: Got interrupted by someone walking through my room and talking to me for a minute, continued after.
Fairly average practice otherwise.

Mantra: A bit more mindwandering during that.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/5/24 11:32 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/5/24 11:32 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2024/1/5, 32(?) minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), afternoon, lying down

Nodded off a bunch of times. Heard the interval bells but not the final bell, so, might have practiced the mantra for a while longer after, until I completely fell asleep. 
​​​​​​​Lots of daydreaming due to sleepiness. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/6/24 1:14 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/6/24 1:14 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/6, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), late morning, lying down

​​​​​​​Again very sleepy (got to bed late and woke up early). Went similarly as yesterday - kept nodding off and fell asleep after.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/7/24 5:51 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/7/24 5:51 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/7, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), late morning, lying down
Again sleepy and napped afterwards, but slightly less mindwandering.

Some external distractions. 

Gonna increase my off the cushion practice (either mantra or noting, depending on what circumstances allow), aiming to make practicing the default rather than the exception. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 3:46 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 3:46 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/8, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 metta), afternoon, lying down

Another very sleepy sit - hadn't slept much the night before and just returned from a long hike. 
Mostly spent nodding off. 

But increased the amount of informal practice. 
Not during the hike, though - I find it a bit too distracting to add another mental activity. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 11:37 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 11:37 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 730 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
One way to increase off-cushion noting is to decide to do it with certain activities, like each time you brush your teeth. That way, it's easy to remember to do it. I used to use a mantra while running. I'm guessing it would work while walking too. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 2:34 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 2:34 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2024/1/9, a total of maybe 1 to 1.5h?, mostly noting, on the train

Long train rides today. Practiced during some parts of them. Started with about 40 minutes of noting (with short external interruptions). Later did another about 20 minutes of it, and between and after some mantra and some noting practice.

Could have done more but mindwandering seemed to increase (and was fairly frequent anyway) and physical discomfort made me want to rather do something else.
Due to the many external distractions, I rarely noted thoughts.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/9/24 2:38 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks, my teacher also suggested something like that.

For now, I mainly go for practicing whenever I think of it and it doesn't interfere with what I'm doing.

I'm a bit reluctant to do it while walking as it seems to make me more likely to take a wrong step or not notice my feet are getting sore - both my feet are prone to that currently, in one case due to an injury I had last summer.

And doing it during brushing my teeth - well that's the kind of activity during which I'd prefer to be distracted xD
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/11/24 5:07 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/11/24 5:07 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/10, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), very late evening, lying down

Very sleepy, particularly during the mantra. Some nodding off.

2024/1/11, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), very late morning, kneeling

Gave my kneeling bench another try, using a pillow as cushion for more support, as my left foot still is sore. Gotta experiment a bit more, though, as my right ankle started hurting in the last few minutes and I then just sat down.

Noting: Only short mindwanderings. Feeling a bit bad about not being able to note all that well currently, but tried relaxing caring about that.

Mantra: Got sleepy with the mantra going into the background. Some kriyas.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/14/24 5:29 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/14/24 5:29 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
 2024/1/12, 22 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting), late evening, lying down

Started close to bed time. Ended the sit early at the interval bell to start the mantra, because I kept nodding off.

2024/1/13, ? minutes (noting), late evening, lying down

Practiced until I fell asleep.

Had been procrastinating in part due to wanting to practice sitting on my bench but still having issues with my foot.

2024/1/14, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), morning, lying down

Resistance against intentionally saying something mentally. Therefore very sloppy noting. Spent the mantra sleepy and wondering what to do. Went back to sleep after. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/20/24 5:44 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/15/24 2:43 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2024/1/15, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), evening, lying down

Noting: Feeling like I know what to do in theory to note more efficiently, but it's not something I can just decide to do but a skill to get better at or something that needs to progress gradually.
Only short interruptions.

Mantra: Piti during this one, at least when not lost in thoughts, which happened a few times.
A bit tired, but no significant sleepiness.
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/20/24 5:45 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/16/24 5:01 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

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2024/1/16, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), evening, lying down

Noting: Short mindwanderings, fairly continuous noting. Starting to get a bit sleepy.
Strong kriyas towards the end. 
​​​​​​​
Mantra: Continuous mantra but mostly spent mindwandering. A bit sleepy. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/20/24 5:44 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/20/24 5:43 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/21, 32 minutes (2 warmup, 20 noting, 10 mantra), after midnight, kneeling. 

Didn't have a formal sit since Tuesday and also not much off the cushion practice. 
Back to work and trying to keep to a regular time for arriving there, which means that sits can mainly happen in the evening, at least on work days. 
Lots of procrastinating going on in general. 
Did that sit spontaneously when having meant to finally go to bed. 

Practiced kneeling. My left foot is still hurting while walking but I got the okay from my GP - turns out I have osteoarthritis and the kneeling might even help if any.

Noting: Fairly distracted. Many of the distractions were memories or other kinds of thoughts that aren't "my" mental voice. Keeping watch for those is trickier as they don't usually start out in attention, even less though than my own verbal thoughts. 

Mantra: Did "may I be happy, may I be peaceful" because I'm feeling uncertain about the options and that's some default. 
Continous mantra but mostly daydreaming. 
A fair amount of kriyas. My back is feeling quite tense. 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Month ago at 1/25/24 2:30 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 1/25/24 2:30 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/1/25, 70 minutes (30 noting, 10 walking, 30 noting), evening, kneeling. 

The last couple days, I didn't do formal meditation practice as I was either tired or busy or neither but nonetheless couldn't get myself to start. Did some informal practice, mainly before bed, but that often didn't last long.

Today, I went to the zen sangha (first time since the holidays).

The first sit went fairly well, only short interruptions due to mindwandering and minor sleepiness.

The sleepiness increased, though, and during the second sit, I was too sleepy to get my mind to collaborate much. Sometimes getting lost in thoughts, sometimes not really lost but making labels felt like too much effort. Also some distracting back pain.
Nath Eris, modified 22 Days ago at 2/4/24 2:35 PM
Created 22 Days ago at 2/4/24 2:35 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Meditation and exercising have a bunch in common for me - which is a list of reasons why I'm finding it hard to find motivation for either: 
* they require ongoing practice with no goal in sight
* there is a goal but it's impossible to tell beforehand when one will get there
* in order to notice any progress, I'd have to do way more of it than I currently do
* the motivation for doing it is fueled by aversion against something else rather than by wanting to do this activity
* often, the instructions aren't very clear
* it can be done best if not sleepy and I often feel sleepy afterwards

I did a formal meditation practice 1 time this week, when I went to the zen sangha. Some occasional informal noting on the bus or in bed, though.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 22 Days ago at 2/4/24 10:53 PM
Created 22 Days ago at 2/4/24 10:51 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Hey !! 

Are there any instructions in particular you feel unclear about? 

Does it feel like the practice you're doing is the right fit for you? 

​​​​​​​I spent some years trying to figure out what worked for me but when I did it made the "endgoal" clear. 

​​​​​​​
Nath Eris, modified 22 Days ago at 2/5/24 12:27 AM
Created 22 Days ago at 2/5/24 12:27 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for your reply!

With the metta, I'm unsure how to tell what mantra would be a good choice.

The noting is one of the few practices that feel clear to me.

The end-goal is clear (or clear enough for now), but intermediary goals would be helpful for encouragement. Just as something to aim for to see progress.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 21 Days ago at 2/5/24 9:26 PM
Created 21 Days ago at 2/5/24 9:26 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

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A useful way I found to get a feel for metta, was to think of a person, someone we like plutonically, with whom we do not have any "beef" and imagine all the things they may have done wrong in their life, all the ways they may think they've failed. When you see that can you empathize with them? Can you forgive them their wrongdoing?

When you feel forgiveness can you see if you're able to sort of surf the feeling. Without clinging to it too tightly or constantly relying on the above strategy can you relax with it and continue to feel the forgiveness. (Obviously return to the strategy if you lose it)

You can also try:
Breathing in: May others be well
Breathing out: May I be well

Try this out and let me know how it goes !!

Forgiveness is a great way to crack the heart open. That's why it can be useful to start with people who are easy to forgive emoticon
Nath Eris, modified 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 12:49 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 12:49 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/2/5, 70 minutes (30 noting, 10 walking, 30 noting and bhakti), evening, kneeling. 
Due to some change of plans, I happened to be downtown around the time for going to the zen sangha today, so I went there. 

I mostly practiced noting. No long interruptions but also not much noting of thoughts. 

Halfway through the second half, my shoulder pain convinced me to try generating some pleasant sensations to try and numb it. So I did some bhakti by mentally reciting some devotional songs I like, which clearly helped. I should listen to music more often again. 
Nath Eris, modified 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 12:56 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 12:56 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Thanks! 
Huh, I don't understand how forgiving someone you don't have beef with works. Doesn't that mean they are forgiven anyway? 

Haven't practiced that formally yet what you suggested, but, is forgiveness supposed to feel like sadness and anxiety? 

Also, what I was instructed to do and wondered how to know I'm doing it right was metta towards myself. 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 2:21 AM
Created 21 Days ago at 2/6/24 2:21 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

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I mean your just trying to find a means to cultivate forgiveness, compassion, love. 

Forgiveness feels like love. 

Ultimately you dont need to do it towards anyone you can just feel love and take that as a meditation object. 

Usually when people find it hard to go straight to love then forgiveness is a good gateway to it. 

If you have beef with them it may be much harder to cultivate forgiveness towards them because you may not be able or ready to forgive them. 

Are there people you feel love for? 
Can you bring up a feeling of love? 
If you bring up the idea of someone in your life and just think about all the mistakes they've made and dumb embarrassing shit they've done, are you able to feel forgiveness for them, that you can let their misdeeds go, that it's not a big deal, that no matter what others might think or what they might think about themselves that you can still care for them, be there for them, etc. 
Nath Eris, modified 20 Days ago at 2/6/24 12:15 PM
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RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Love is a very vague concept to me, so that's difficult.<br /><br />&gt;&nbsp;that you can let their misdeeds go, that it's not a big deal, that no matter what others might think or what they might think about themselves that you can still care for them, be there for them, etc.&nbsp;<br /><br />Hm, that's the case for me towards pretty much anyone equally, that I don't see people's past actions as a big deal.<br /><br />I mean, what someone has done affects my actions towards them because of what it means about their future actions. But that doesn't have anything to do with holding a grudge. And I like some people more than others because I get along well with them or am a fan of what they're doing, and that would make me prioritize them in regards to being there for them. But that also seems unrelated.
Nath Eris, modified 17 Days ago at 2/9/24 11:10 AM
Created 17 Days ago at 2/9/24 11:10 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
2024/2/8, 70 minutes (30 noting, 10 walking, 30 bhakti), evening, kneeling. 

Noting was pretty uneventful.
Spent the second part mentally reciting some devotional song lyrics - after a bit, I picked one 4-liner to repeat as a mantra.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 17 Days ago at 2/9/24 5:50 PM
Created 17 Days ago at 2/9/24 5:48 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

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Love is a very vague concept to me, so that's difficult.

It may take practice. Sometimes it requires a bit of surrender. Sometimes we need to let go our grip on knowing or being in control to get into the "flow" of love.

It seems to me at higher levels this practice becomes about the heart, about the open responsive relaxation of the heart. What has been the same for me, early on and to this day, is that often the best way to drop into the nervous system and open up the heart is to admit "I do not know what anything is". This is the first mantra I ever really worked with. I would just intone it in my mind sporadically (on occassion) and notice how my body reacted to the admission. After a while it began to really open me up and continued practice throughout the years has led me to develop a more compassionate disposition. 

I meditated back then because I suffered, because I had grown tired of my own reasoning, tired of being who I thought I was. I find that tiredness really helped because after a time little pieces of my facade which required so much effort to maintain began to just fall away. I couldn't possibly keep holding on and I began to lose face. I began to no longer really believe in the validitity or authority of this person I thought I was and the plans, schemes, logic or reason I was embroiled in. I began to see all the desperate machinations behind my activities in the world, I despaired to see them but in all the vulnerability of my despair I found I could forgive myself. 

I lost face and ultimately it is this losing face, this humility before the world, that really awakens the heart. When we see beyond the grandiose strategy of the self, in its incessant planning and reasoning, conducting and knowing, what's left tends to be a vulnerable mess and in the watery mess of that pain and embarrassment there is also somehow love. A kind of love that is not vague but emminently obvious.

Thoughts come on the breeze, wander a little and are gone. 
Nath Eris, modified 17 Days ago at 2/10/24 2:37 AM
Created 17 Days ago at 2/10/24 2:37 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
  
I meant vague in the sense of, the term has so many different meanings that I don't know which one you mean. I wouldn't have used the term love for what you are describing.

What has been the same for me, early on and to this day, is that often the best way to drop into the nervous system and open up the heart is to admit "I do not know what anything is".
That kind of mantra would make me even less likely to practice. I draw motivation from practice from having at least some idea of what it might be good for, but saying I don't even know that makes me just stop bothering.

I think I'm coming from a pretty different direction than what your situation was.
 
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 16 Days ago at 2/10/24 1:42 PM
Created 16 Days ago at 2/10/24 1:42 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Nath Eris:
   I meant vague in the sense of, the term has so many different meanings that I don't know which one you mean. I wouldn't have used the term love for what you are describing.
What has been the same for me, early on and to this day, is that often the best way to drop into the nervous system and open up the heart is to admit "I do not know what anything is".
That kind of mantra would make me even less likely to practice. I draw motivation from practice from having at least some idea of what it might be good for, but saying I don't even know that makes me just stop bothering. I think I'm coming from a pretty different direction than what your situation was.  


It seems to me that the difference between what the two of you are saying is that Bahiya is describing the mindset where one has gotten sick of being oneself, and is looking for relief. Whereas you still seem pretty happy being yourself emoticon

This is not meant as criticism! And definitely not to mean that you're supposed to have negative feelings about yourself. Just that, after a certain point, a kind of existential weariness sets in, and you really wish you could escape yourself, not be you for a while, be something "more" or "other". Then the feeling intensifies, and you get sort of desperate, and that's where the ideas of "surrender" or "knowing nothing" start to sound really appealing.

One of the (many) great things about metta is that, in this situation, it can help you leave yourself behind. Precisely *because* it is somehow impersonal, it can give you an early intimation of anatta, and non-duality. You begin to see that this immense overwhelming positive emotion can come pouring out of you, without really having that much to do with you. You see how an emotion could conceivably "feel itself", rather than having to be felt by you. That can provide the relief you're after, in an enormously positive way.

I was reading something about the Bodhisattva vows, and there was a part (I forget the details) where part of the vow is saying "I take all the beautiful things in the world, and I make a gift of them to you. I give you the sunsets, and the beautiful mountains, and the brightest gems in the world; I present them all to you."

I found this particularly affecting as an approach to metta practice, for whatever reason. It makes it even more obvious that the emotion itself has very little to do with you. I don't own the brightest gems in the world, and here I am giving them to someone who probably doesn't even exist. And yet the emotion floods through me and elevates me. I'm really only a vessel for it, a location where the emotion is happening. I myself am utterly unimportant to it.

But that's only a good thing once you're leaning towards letting yourself go!
Nath Eris, modified 16 Days ago at 2/11/24 3:51 AM
Created 16 Days ago at 2/11/24 3:51 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Ah, I see. I'm wondering whether metta is particularly useful for me currently in general.

I like the idea of surrender, but mainly in the context of bhakti/devotion to a deity or in the context of letting other parts of the mind make the decisions. 
Nath Eris, modified 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 9:09 AM
Created 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 9:09 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
I'm wondering why metta would be particularly impersonal compared to other emotions.
It seems rather like the contrary, as one intentionally cultivates it.
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 9:38 AM
Created 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 9:38 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Nath Eris
I'm wondering why metta would be particularly impersonal compared to other emotions.
It seems rather like the contrary, as one intentionally cultivates it.

Like a lot of other things, how you describe it is mostly a function of the context of the discussion at the time. In some senses I would never describe metta as "impersonal" – what I meant in this particular context is that the sense of love and goodwill is not dependent on anything specific about you or the recipient of the emotion. You're not feeling metta because you have some particular reason to feel it about so-and-so. The metta you feel for John Doe might be identitical to the metta you feel for Zhang San, despite the fact that they are very different people. You might be in an awful, miserable mood today, but you still feel metta just the same. I was mostly trying to highlight the way in which the emotion itself is the main player here. It doesn't belong to you; it is not you; it's not even particularly dependent on you.

I could imagine that this isn't very different from the "surrender to a deity" that you mention (though I don't know very much about that). The main difference being that surrender as I understand it (and I suspect Bahiya as well) is not surrender to any entity. It is surrender to an understanding: that we are not greater than the sum of our parts (or maybe only barely), and that our constituent elements, such as emotions, are not owned by us or any entity. In that sense they are impersonal. Or maybe better, depersonalized. As in, de-personed.
Nath Eris, modified 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 10:57 AM
Created 15 Days ago at 2/11/24 10:57 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Makes sense.

​​​​​​​My notion of deity is pretty impersonal. So that might be closer than it seems.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:03 PM
Created 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:03 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Eric makes some great points. 

​​​​​​​The particular knot I'm pointing at is this...

It is most difficult to do this (refuse to relinquish knowing)

That kind of mantra would make me even less likely to practice. I draw motivation from practice from having at least some idea of what it might be good for, but saying I don't even know that makes me just stop bothering.

and arrive at this (surrender of the self/ego, agencylessness, etc)
I like the idea of surrender, but mainly in the context of bhakti/devotion to a deity or in the context of letting other parts of the mind make the decisions. 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:05 PM
Created 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:05 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
What are your motivations for meditation? What got you started on this path?
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Bahiya Baby, modified 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:06 PM
Created 14 Days ago at 2/12/24 11:06 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
saying I don't even know that makes me just stop bothering.

​​​​​​​Stopping bothering can be most illuminating emoticon
Nath Eris, modified 13 Days ago at 2/13/24 1:03 PM
Created 13 Days ago at 2/13/24 1:03 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
What are your motivations for meditation? What got you started on this path?
Having gotten some glimpses of the relief that comes from insight into anatta, and wanting more of that.

​​​​​​​Stopping bothering can be most illuminating emoticon
I run out of motivation way too often due to doubt in the methods.


It is most difficult to do this (refuse to relinquish knowing)
[...]
and arrive at this (surrender of the self/ego, agencylessness, etc)

How so? I don't see much contradiction there.
Nath Eris, modified 7 Days ago at 2/19/24 11:04 AM
Created 7 Days ago at 2/19/24 11:04 AM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
 Guess I should give some weekly or so update.

Last week, I went to the zen sangha twice, because they have now an additional time slot which also fits my schedule.

Besides that, no formal/timed practice. A decent amount of off-the-cushion practice, though (when lying in bed, on the bus, while walking,...).

Method used: Noting (with labels).

When sleepy during the sit, and then later also otherwise, I tried using the aim of making at least one note during inhalation and exhalation, respectively. That seems to be helpful, also for when noting while doing other things. Most of the noting then doesn't involve breath sensations nonetheless.

During one of the sits at the sangha, I felt pretty great at the end of the first half but the bell for the start of the walking meditation break kinda got me out of that. Considering simply remaining seated - one other person at the sangha remains seated during the breaks most of the time.
 
Nath Eris, modified 1 Day ago at 2/25/24 1:33 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 2/25/24 1:33 PM

RE: Natheris' Log

Posts: 132 Join Date: 10/15/23 Recent Posts
Weekly check-in: Been sick and therefore didn't go to the zen sangha and also haven't had a formal meditation otherwise.
Having trouble keeping myself motivated.

Been practicing some more bhakti, though, which feels really good and is nice to do for its own sake.

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