Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/5/12 8:13 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/5/12 8:13 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Yadid dee 1/6/12 5:34 AM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/9/12 7:53 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Yadid dee 1/10/12 1:38 AM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 7:27 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/9/12 8:06 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/9/12 8:04 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel M. Ingram 1/10/12 2:17 AM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 7:24 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 8:31 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 7:27 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 7:29 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 7:28 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/10/12 8:07 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/12/12 8:46 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/13/12 7:18 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/13/12 7:20 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/13/12 11:20 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/15/12 8:08 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/16/12 3:48 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/16/12 6:01 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/17/12 3:05 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/15/12 8:11 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/15/12 8:12 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/15/12 8:13 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/16/12 3:49 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Nikolai . 1/16/12 4:20 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/17/12 3:16 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/17/12 3:54 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/17/12 9:06 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/17/12 3:18 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/17/12 4:01 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/17/12 9:08 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/18/12 8:17 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/23/12 4:51 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/25/12 4:29 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/25/12 7:24 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/25/12 9:39 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/26/12 3:10 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/26/12 3:16 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/27/12 5:43 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Tarver  1/26/12 5:00 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/27/12 5:44 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/27/12 5:44 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Steph S 1/27/12 1:08 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/27/12 6:00 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Oliver Myth 1/26/12 5:02 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/26/12 7:47 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/26/12 3:10 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/27/12 5:57 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 1/30/12 5:21 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 2/2/12 1:34 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 2/15/12 8:18 PM
RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J) Daniel Johnson 2/17/12 5:06 PM
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/5/12 8:13 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/5/12 8:13 PM

Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
It's been a long time, but I think I finally have some idea of what to write in a practice journal, so here it goes. I've tried journaling before, though, so we'll see how it goes. I would love any advice, comments, or pointers, please. As far as I know, right now my goal is to attain stream entry as quickly as possible, and for that I am attempting to use noting-style vipassana meditation as much as possible.

I broke down my reports into little categories based on what I thought was important. I added the self-evaluation notes because I never really know if I'm doing it right and perhaps if I write "good practice"... but someone sees that it was really weak practice, then they can poin that out. Or, vice versa.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/5/12 8:13 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/5/12 8:13 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/4/12
Sit: 1 hour - evening
Phenomena: Lots of pain and aversion. Pain throughout body. Pressure and irritation in throat and nose (sinus congestion). Fatigue, hard to hold body up. Crying. Hard to keep eyes closed. Hard to sit still. Restlessness and despair. More anxiety and stress toward beginning. Intermittent periods of relaxation. Breath was fast, hard and loud for most of the sit. Some periods were breath quieted down. Tension throughout body. Restless thoughts: planning, aversion, self pity, complaining, anger, hatred, etc. Extensive suffering. Haziness, confusion, doubt, Etc.
Practice: Watching breath. For a short period, intentionally slowing and calming the breath. Surfers tumble (relaxing while being tossed in the waves). Trying to stay present. Some noting throughout, with more noting toward the end as mind calmed slightly.
Self-evaluation: I think I was practicing ok. Very difficult.
Map: Dark night? Maybe reobservation?

1/5/12
Sit: 1 hour - morning
Phenomena: pain, discomfort, tingles, numbness, various vibrations. Some calm, general driftiness, spaciness. Lots of thoughts, commentaries, planning. Hazy. Some pleasant sensations, some craving. Aversion and restlessness at times. Not too difficult to sit, but opened eyes to check clock a couple times. Cold, hearing, itching, etc.
Practice: noting almost constantly throughout the hour. Some driftiness, and a few big gaps in mindfulness toward the end.
Self-evaluation: Pretty good, I think. Practice seemed to be going well when not lost in thought.
Map: Maybe low equanimity?
thumbnail
Yadid dee, modified 11 Years ago at 1/6/12 5:34 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/6/12 3:01 AM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
hey daniel,

popped in to share some of my own observations with trying to get stream-entry while not in a retreat-setting.

have you been practicing intensly since the last time you crossed the A&P (bells and whistles, happyness and delight) ?

from my personal experience now, practicing intensly in daily life, i cross the A&P on every sit, sometimes its subtle (happiness, happiness, calm), and sometimes its more pronounced (like yesterday I was sitting in a restaurant, and I make sure to note during all day nowadays - and suddenly I felt amazement and sentience and life, excited about practice - A&P!).

If you were to say that you have now resumed your intense meditation practice which you have had on a low-flame for a while (less than a few hours per day of practice trying to really go deep), I would say that it sounds like you are going through access-concentration and the first few nyanas, on the way to the A&P..
but again, I may be wrong, just my observations from my own practice as of late.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 7:53 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 7:53 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Yadid dee:
hey daniel,

popped in to share some of my own observations with trying to get stream-entry while not in a retreat-setting.

have you been practicing intensly since the last time you crossed the A&P (bells and whistles, happyness and delight) ?

from my personal experience now, practicing intensly in daily life, i cross the A&P on every sit, sometimes its subtle (happiness, happiness, calm), and sometimes its more pronounced (like yesterday I was sitting in a restaurant, and I make sure to note during all day nowadays - and suddenly I felt amazement and sentience and life, excited about practice - A&P!).

If you were to say that you have now resumed your intense meditation practice which you have had on a low-flame for a while (less than a few hours per day of practice trying to really go deep), I would say that it sounds like you are going through access-concentration and the first few nyanas, on the way to the A&P..
but again, I may be wrong, just my observations from my own practice as of late.


Last time I know of crossing the A&P was a few years ago. In fact, there's only two times I know of having crossed it. What I can report is that sometimes I get A&P like sensations, and that I never feel solid sensations anymore. I haven't felt a solid sensation for a couple of years, so... I'm not sure what that means, but for me the A&P of a few years ago was distinct in that solid sensations dissolved and then there were a few months of dissolution in which solid things were dissolving. And, there's nothing really solid anymore, just pulses and whatnot.

To answer the question, yes I have practiced intensely in daily life pretty much for the last couple of years. Either with vipassana or actualism. Sometimes more intensely than others.

I definitely can not recognize any sort of A&P on every sit, or any kind of stages in every sit. Generally, the sit starts somewhere and then goes all over the place and ends somewhere else without following any pattern of any kind that I can tell.

It could be that I'm going for the A&P, I suppose. I just finished a ten day retreat which went pretty deep, and I'd doubt that I was in pre-AP territory for the entire ten days. But, ya know, I have no idea what these maps correlate with anyway, so who knows.

I certainly have feelings of amazement, excitement about practice, bells and whistles, happiness, delight, etc. It comes and goes just like everything else seems to come and go.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 8:04 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 8:04 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily life: Discomforts from some illness. Not much awareness through day. A few moments of noting here and there. Feeling alright. Got stuck playing computer games compulsively. I'm going to try to step up mindfulness during daily activities.

1/5/12 – evening
Sit: 1 hour - evening
Phenomena: pain, discomfort in throat, nose and chest (cold symptoms). Painful headache through first half of meditation which morphed and relaxed through various stages until it was almost entirely gone toward the end. Sleepiness, drifting and wandering thoughts. Stood up for a minute or two to avoid sleeping. More concentration toward the beginning, with more sleepiness toward the end. Lots of little visualizations which would take me away, followed by noticing of the images. Followed sometimes with chastising thoughts, or disappointment, etc. calm and relaxed.
Practice: noting constantly at beginning, then with gaps of drifting and sleepiness. When gaps were noticed, immediate return to noting.
Self-evaluation: Practice seemed to go well. Sleeping and drifting away was spontaneous and return to mindfulness was immediate once noticed. I'm not sure how much those gaps in awareness are bad for the practice, but they seem to happen uncontrollably, so I'm not sure how much more I could do except further resolve for more energy, and stronger mindfulness to the best of my ability.
Map: ?

1/6/12
Sit: 1 hour - morning
Phenomena: Lots of resignation, doubt, with more aversion, restlessness and confusion toward the end. Combined with very subtle awareness of shifts in sensations. Some subtle and deep tensions released. Relaxation, calm, tranquility interspersed throughout. Some pain, but not much. Lots of commentaries and commentaries about commentaries. Some drifting and wandering mind. Awareness and noting was more subtle acute and flowing. Strong awareness and lots of jumpiness of mind.
Practice: Lots of noting. At times, dropped the noting to just be aware of the sensate experience in the moment.
Self-evaluation: Not sure. Some deep, subtle and profound shifts with lots of insight. But, practice was a little haphazard.
Map: ?

1/6 – 1/8 - Two sits: Were interrupted by sleepiness to the extent that I just got in bed and slept. This is the weekend, and it's when I cram my work week into two days, so I don't get a lot of sleep. Daily life and at work, I brought mindfulness and noting to the forefront as much as possible. Some resistance and doubts on Saturday, with Sunday more mindful throughout the day.

1/8/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Sharp concentration and awareness for first five minutes or so. Enthusiasm, delight. Lots of thoughts, commentary, analysis, remembering, conversations, etc. Lots of tingles, buzzing, vibrating. Very relaxing. After five minutes, lots of sleepiness and sleep. In and out of sleep, with mind drifting into reverie on the edges of sleep for the rest of hour. Easily sat without moving for entire hour, time passed very quickly. Whenever I caught myself sleeping or lost in reverie, mindfulness was very quick to return and sharp with sensory detail.
Practice: Lots of noting while awake.
Self-evaluation: Really not sure. I'm not sure how detrimental this sleeping on the cushion is to progress. Obviously, I needed sleep, and usually I would usually just sleep, but wanted to do my scheduled hour. Some awareness on the edges of sleep develop interesting insights. Not sure what would be appropriate practice in this situation for best progress.
Map: ?


1/9/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: Plethora of sensations. Lots of thoughts, body sensations. Mostly calm. Lots of aversion. Confusion. Many sensations of background and foreground yielding interesting experiences of selflessness, and lots of insights. Mind wandered quite a bit.
Practice: Intermittent noting. Noting was difficult and not working well with the sensations, so instead, much of the time was more of a mindfulness smear, with acute awareness of sensations and occasional notes here and there.
Self-evaluation: Totally clueless. Wasn't really sure what to do, but also thinking that maybe it was doing itself. Drawing a blank.
Map: ? and more ?
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 8:06 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/9/12 8:06 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Yadid dee:
from my personal experience now, practicing intensly in daily life, i cross the A&P on every sit,


By the way, I've read some of your reports and I think it's great that you have some awareness of nyanas on every sit and that things seem to progress through the nyanas on every sit in the way that the maps lay out. I've heard of other people reporting this too. It sounds cool. Enjoy it. emoticon
thumbnail
Yadid dee, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 1:38 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 1:38 AM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel,

My post to you was based on insufficient information (I assumed you just resumed your Vipassana practice , after not having practiced intensly - i suppose projecting my own situation onto you).
So I am most likely wrong.. :-)

But anyway - A&P usually is only intense for me after not having practiced for a while, like months, at all.
and then it manifests as some sort of intense joy / manic joy for a few minutes or an hour.

In sits it doesn't always come, but if i start noting 'happiness excitement' etc - i assume thats the A&P coming and going quickly.
thumbnail
Daniel M Ingram, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 2:17 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 2:17 AM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 3257 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
as to the vibrating and buzzing: follow those!

Good stuff,

D
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:24 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:24 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
as to the vibrating and buzzing: follow those!

Good stuff,

D


Really? What does that mean? ("follow")

I feel lots of tingles, pulses, vibrations, buzzing, throughout my body quite commonly. Quite often around my face, lips, forehead, etc. But, also throughout torso, arms, legs, neck, etc. It comes and goes. What exactly would it mean to "follow" them? I just note buzzing or whatever, and then keep noting stuff. I try not to focus too much on anything in particular, but have been trying to keep a more panoramic and inclusive mindfulness.

By the way, thanks.

- Daniel
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:27 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:27 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Yadid dee:

My post to you was based on insufficient information


No worries. I appreciate your comments, nonetheless. I'm not sure what exactly is going on for me, but I think I'm in too deep to really take a break.

best luck for you,

Daniel
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:27 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:27 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/9/12
Sit/Lie: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Intense pain. I could say: headache from staring at a computer screen, stomach ache from eating a big meal, soreness through the rest of body from lifting weights. Or, then again, maybe it was all just sankharas. At any rate, lots of intense pain. Felt fluttering in chest. Seemed close to dying. Very intense, and commanded attention. After 20 minutes, I used all my willpower to get off the cushion and lie down for the remainder. Some mind wandering at times, and intermittent commentaries, often with a theme of grandiosity about the intensity of the pain, or other mental commentaries.
Practice: Lots of noting and fairly strong mindfulness for first 20 minutes. Noting was intermittent throughout the rest of the sit.
Self-evaluation: I'm not sure. I think it went ok.
Map: ? dunno

1/10/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: Another plethora. Lots of confusion, “unknown” and “stuff.” Calm throughout. Peace, quiet. Usual body sensations: tingles, brief pains, tensions, itches, cold, warm, hearing, etc. Some moments of pleasure. Some moments of sadness, sorrow and aversion as well. Lots of thoughts and wandering mind continue – anticipation, evaluation, planning, etc. Unknown sensations. Sat the entire hour without difficulty.
Practice: Noting at times, especially when mind became more dull for moments. But, also much of the time, noting seemed too harsh or impossible or too slow or something, so I went with more of a “noticing” practice for some of the period.... just quietly noticing what was happening physically and mentally. Lots of “dropping away” and quieting, leading to a sort of “inclusive synchronizing” practice (ala Daniel Ingram's instructions)
Self-evaluation: I'm still not sure. I think the practice is going well, but have doubts, especially because it doesn't seem to match up with what other people report.
Map: I'd guess this was the equanimity nyana... mostly because of the pervasive ok-ness throughout the entire sit. Then again, maybe not.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:29 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:27 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
I just read through the Antero practice journal on KFD, as he worked his way to stream entry. It's fascinating. I don't understand most of it and it seems very advanced (jhanas, etc.). Just from reading his report, I would predict that it would take me a few more years to work up to the level he was at when he first started Vipassana. If that is any indication of my own progress, it seems that I am a long way from stream entry. But, then again, I could be wrong.

What interests me most about his thread is the comments from people saying “good work,” as though he is doing something. If he is doing some work, I'm not aware of what he's doing. I wish I knew what the work was that he was doing so that I could do it too. From my perspective it looks like he had a natural talent for meditative attainments. Am I missing something?
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:28 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 7:28 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/10/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning #2
Phenomena: Mind wandered, return to breath. Repeat. Breath was relatively quiet, and mind somewhat calm for most of the sit. I had to change postures a bunch because the pain of sitting was distracting from the breath.
Practice: After reading some comments in the Antero thread (note above) I decided to devote an hour to concentration practice using the breath. So, the mind wandered and whatnot, and then I would bring it back to the breath, and try to devote 100% of my attention to the breath. I'd say altogether it was about 60% attention on the breath and 40% wandering, with some moments of 100% on the breath, and a few moments of 0% awareness of the breath.
Self-evaluation: I think I was doing the practice according to the instructions.
Map: I'd guess that I wasn't in any jhanas, but I could be wrong.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 8:07 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 8:07 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Here is my report from my 10-day course I just sat. I didn't get into too much detail because I don't remember a lot of it. And, I didn't reprint it all here because that was then and this is now. At any rate, if you want to read, it's here:

http://bhavanatraveler.blogspot.com/2012/01/cushion-report-christmas-in-woods.html
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 8:31 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/10/12 8:31 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
I try not to focus too much on anything in particular, but have been trying to keep a more panoramic and inclusive mindfulness.


Let me clarify that comment a little more. It's more like if I focus on anything particular too much, and put it in the foreground, then sooner or later, the background becomes more and more irritating - almost demanding inclusion. Hence, the nature of sensations sorta requires that panoramic inclusion of background, foreground and everything in between. At the same time, this sort of inclusive everything-at-once awareness is so mind-twisting and unusual for me that it's just kinda blowing my mind all the time.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/12/12 8:46 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/12/12 8:46 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/10/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Strong enthusiasm and excitement for first ten minutes or so - which rather surprisingly turned out to be composed of impermanent, selfless, empty sensations. Go figure. Lots of tingling, and some energetic type buzzing during second half. Seeing thoughts arise and dissolve as subtle movements of sensation. Some sensations of observer, watching, sense of self, self image. Inclusive and panoramic noticing for much of the sit. It became clear that there was some subtle something related to the mindwandering that still hadn't been seen. Then, it was seen more, but not clearly enough to be able to describe what it was. Last ten minutes or so were marked with more pain and sleepiness and loss of concentration.
Practice: After a few minutes of noting, I decided to just go with noticing practice. For a moment, there was a fear to let go of the noting (because I want to cling to it so badly because it represents my ticket out of misery) but I just decided to have some faith that things were somehow working out ok and to just go with discrete awareness of the present moment without anything else.
Self-evaluation: I think I was practicing pretty well. Still, there were lots of gaps in attention, and I'm not sure if that's a sign of poor practice or what.
Map: I'd be pretty willing to peg this one as equanimity.

1/11/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: sharp concentration at beginning. Noticing thoughts and thought fragments with ease and no-stickiness. Lots of insights. Calming, relaxing. Greater inclusivity. Body sensations throughout. Some sense of watcher, self. Some drifting mindwandering in the middle, and haziness and confusion. Concentration weakened. Still insights, still noticing body sensations, mental sensations, mindstates of many varieties. Toward the end, a shift with more aversion, and pain as nearing the hour. Shifted sitting position. Still, dullness, wandering and aversion toward the end.
Practice: Lots of noting throughout. Some moments of getting lost in thought. At one point, there was a relaxing and letting go of the reigns (so to speak) which is still difficult and confusing to me. But, as soon as I decided to relax the practice a little, I noticed a very widespread tension pattern that was in the background and I had never noticed before which was a sort of straining to do something. Still refining the (confusing) balance of effort and relaxation/letting it happen.
Self-evaluation: I think it was definitely solid practice in the beginning, very sharp attention and full concentration. I think the rest was pretty good too, but not sure.
Map: still EQ?


Today during the day, I got very angry with someone and shouted at them. Good incentive to keep practicing.

1/11/12
Sit: 50 minutes – afternoon
Phenomena: Lots of thoughts about the above situation (getting angry). Evaluation thoughts, planning, lectures, discussions, analysis, etc. Reflecting, remorse, sadness, disappointment, more anger. Some pain in body, back, legs. Some calm as well, happiness and equanimity. Lots of tingling, buzzing, especially in the face. Thoughts about other things too.
Practice: Fairly strong noting. Some story spinning. This sit was a great reminder that: it really doesn't matter what the sensations are... just keep noting them. Somehow, I was able to plow right through the sensations fairly well and just keep noting... it's all just sensations, arising and passing. Different phenomena, “arising, staying for some time, but ultimately passing away” (Goenka quote).
Self-evaluation: Seemed like good practice for the most part. I would like more of that. Still some time was spent in storyland.
Map: dunno


1/12/12
Sit: 1 hour - morning
Phenomena: Some anxiety and restlessness in the beginning. Then, dropped into very calm and quiet after a few minutes. Tingling, buzzing type sensations throughout body, simple awareness noticing things drop away. Then, another run of thoughts, planning, speculation, etc.. with more restlessness, and then another chill out drop into quiet and calm. This continued most of the sit. Some thought fragments, energetic movement, body sensations. Toward end of sit, more pain from sitting, aversion, restlessness, future-based thoughts. Deeply relaxed contentment at one point. Then, mind wandered for the last minute or two until the alarm sounded.
Practice: Noting at first, then quiet observing. Then back to noting at times, mostly when mind became more agitated again.
Self-evaluation: I think that was pretty good practice. Lots of insights – mostly seeing emptiness of thoughts.
Map: I guess this is still equanimity.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 7:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 7:18 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/12/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Jumbly and different. Lots of time spent lost in thought. Lots of excitement, agitation, craving, restlessness, fidgety mind and fidgety body. Fast shifting and somewhat spastic thoughts moods, and mental movements. Shifted postures a number of times. Some thick sensations in body and weird tensions in chest, solar plexus, head. Some feelings of dissolving and breaking apart, scattered. Discomfort, pain, some aversion. Resistence, disinterest. Compulsion. Last ten minutes, comfort, calm and sleepiness.
Practice: Noting diligently when I remembered to. Some periods of quiet observing, but mostly noting.
Self-evaluation: Good.
Map: dipping back into dark night?

1/13/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: Still “different.” Surprising. Confusion, uncertainty. Lots of body sensations, tingles, waves of vibration, etc. Whole body, torso, etc. Some worry, anxiety toward the beginning, planning thoughts, future thoughts, cravings, desire. Doubt. Anxiety about the practice, and wanting to be somewhere else, etc. More confusion. Jumping from thought to thought. A good deal of pain, discomfort, irritation. More pain toward end, shifted postures and stretched the body out a bit. Lots of little mental detours of thoughts, but no full-blown daydreaming. And more confusion and uncertainty.
Practice: Noting throughout, with some detail. Not very fast noting, but consistent. Very much “starting again” in each moment. Just each moment again, noticing and noting. Not really knowing why I'm doing it, but doing it anyway. Commitment to scheduled sit was important.
Self-evaluation: Consistent, but maybe still a little slow/lazy?
Map: Default answer is “I don't know”
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 7:20 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 7:20 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily practice:
For a while, noting was almost automatic during the day, very much a part of my 24 hours. Today, it has shifted. I seem to have taken a vacation for a bit, while off the cushion. Now, I'm investigating the vacation mind. Lots of pain. But, a sorta nonchalance to it - almost like the mind is saying "nothing to see here, just keep moving along. Nothing to see, folks."

BTW... any comments about any of it are appreciated.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 11:20 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/13/12 11:20 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
BTW... any comments about any of it are appreciated.

Do you remember the first time you got to the equanimity nyana? What caused it to happen? (What was different a few seconds in that had not been the case a few seconds before?)
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:08 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:08 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Daniel Johnson:
BTW... any comments about any of it are appreciated.

Do you remember the first time you got to the equanimity nyana? What caused it to happen? (What was different a few seconds in that had not been the case a few seconds before?)


Nope, don't remember. Looking back, I now think maybe it was sometime in 2002 or 2003, but I'm not sure. No idea what caused it, probably meditation. I did a meditation retreat around that time, and within a few weeks, I was completely shifted from an interest in meditation, to an interest in meeting people and being social and doing something outward with my life... so that's why I think that was it. Sometimes, I think I notice the transition from DN to eq, but, I'm not 100% sure.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:11 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:11 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/13/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Lots of pain. Strong headache, down neck and back. Legs sore. Lots of confusion, uncertainty. And more pain and more confusion. Thoughts – planning thoughts, speculation, etc. Some aversion, sadness, calm, equanimity, irritation. Some tingling, itching. Some restlessness.
Practice: Noting as much as possible.
Self-evaluation: To confused to evaluate.

1/13/12
Sit: 20 minutes – evening
Practice: I decided to try 20 minutes of noting out-loud before bed, just to give it a shot. I hadn't done this since last spring. I noted outloud at a rate of 1 per second for the entire 20 minutes, start to finish.
Phenomena: Notes: about 65% “pain”, about 30% “hearing”, other 5%: some thoughts were noted, planning, speculation, analysis, and mindstates, suffering, anger, frustration, confusion, resentment, tension, tightness, some itching, cold, warmth, tingling, moisture. In addition to the notes, it seemed that for much of the time there was an ongoing stream of thoughts and emotions that were going unnoted. There was one period were I probably spaced out and just noted (pain and hearing) on autopilot with about 10% awareness of the sensations I was noting for a minute or so. And, everytime I noted pain or hearing, I was aware of those things, but so much else was going on; pain and hearing was all I could seem to note. At about half way, I broke out crying/ almost screaming, and tensing tight muscle contractions. I haven't had those kinds of things in a long time. Then, a memory came up, and then more crying.
Self-evaluation: Continuous noting. Learning process
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:12 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:12 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Nighttime:
Last night, I woke up after a few hours of sleep and couldn't fall back to sleep. I was noting a bit, but then switched practice to more of a light noting with more emphasis on relaxation (because what I needed was to get sleep before a long day of work.) So, I scanned the body sorta Goenka style, noting along the way and also relaxing each body part as I went.

For about the first hour, I didn't fall back to sleep, but felt like I was getting wonderful rest.

Then, as I drifted to sleep, I had some vivid dreams and awoke a number of more times.

Finally, for about 15 minutes before my alarm went off, I had some of the most vivid, long-lasting, and concious lucid dreams that I've ever had. When lucid dreaming, I often have an experience which looks more or less like this: “oh my god, I'm dreaming. Cool! What should I do, oh this is so awesome!” (tensing, tightening, contracting)... screen goes black, dream ends.. and either:
1) I wake up
2) I think that I woke up, but then unknowingly slip back into a dream.

What I practice instead, is when the dream goes black, I just notice body sensations. In this way, I was able to revive the dream quite a few times over a period of probably about 15 minutes. I had quite a number of adventures, and the periods of “black” (which actually occur to me more like TV static: small flashing lights all over, coresponding with tingles in the body)... each one was a great opportunity to meditate and notice sensations. Some funny things about lucid dreaming is that I had no awareness of where my body was. Each time I spoke in the dream, I was a little concerned that my body might be speaking (whereever it was) and that someone else might be in the room with that body and have to listen to it speaking. A similar concern came up about my body movements.

As typically happens, I had a number of “false awakenings,” - one in which I was in a room which I was certain looked exactly like my bedroom, so I decided that I had to do a dream-check to find out if I was still dreaming. Then, in the corner, I saw a large globe (about 5 foot diameter) and thought “that's a ridiculous globe, this is definitely a dream.) So, I got up and walked down the hall (in the dream) and went into another room, and was about to talk with someone (ok, it was a really hot female), but again I was concerned if this was a real person and I was about to say something stupid to them. So, I did another dream-check. I asked them what time it was. Sure enough, she said some gibirish like “dibble do tine” or something. So, I decided, “yes, it's definitely a dream.”

OK, this may sound like fun and games, but what was most incredible was when I woke up, for about a half hour I had the most amazing experience of this actual world. It was very “EE” like. Everything had a magical quality and was so fresh and new and interesting like it was the first time I had ever seen it. It turned out that my bedroom didn't look anything like the bedroom in my dream that I was so convinced was mine (not just the globe, but all sorts of other things were out of place, I learned in hindsight.)

I was cooking my eggs for breakfast, and I looked at them and thought. “Wow, they look so REAL!” It was great! Everything was like a treasure being discovered. Wide-eyed wonder. Oh yeah.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:13 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/15/12 8:13 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily life:
Been meditating most of the day while at work. Been feeling sensations like energy movement, pains, tension patterns and tingles, moving throughout the body, arising and passing.

1/14/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: About half way through, became very sleepy. It seemed that at times maybe only 10% of my attention was on the sensations making up the present moment, and the rest was sorta lost in a hazy reverie of sleepiness. All of this was noted, of course. I don't remember the first half. I know there was two small waves of bliss at some point before the sleepiness. There was a lot of happiness, amusement, joy, delight. At one point, very calm and quiet and peaceful. Lots of questioning thoughts, analysis, speculation, evaluation, etc. Pain scattered throughout, more aversion toward the end. Anticipation toward the end.
Practice: Noting outloud at least one per second for the entire hour continuously 100%. Also, I was attending to the entire experience in between notes, as best I could. This additional attention waxed and waned throughout the sit, with less awareness and more sleepiness toward the end.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 3:48 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 3:48 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Do you remember the first time you got to the equanimity nyana? What caused it to happen? (What was different a few seconds in that had not been the case a few seconds before?)

why do you ask?
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 3:49 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 3:49 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily Life:
More lucid dreams last night – not as strong as the night before.
Today: I drive a box truck for work, and commute to the farm, so altogether in a day's work I drive about 3.5 hours alone on Sundays. Today, I noted outloud at a rate of one per second for the entire 3.5 hours. Also, I noted (silently) while at work, and whatnot, as much as possible.
Driving practice was fascinating and wonderful.
First drive (1.5 hours): Got very sleepy. Noted sleepiness, and lots of pain. Thoughts were slippery and in background, so mind wandered a lot while noting would go on autopilot. Very hazy, but stuck with it.
Second drive (1.5 hours): More alert. Less pain. Toward the end, many sensations of wonder, fascination, awe, curiousity, amazement, etc.

1/15/12
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Practice: Noting outloud at about one per second for entire hour non-stop
Phenomena: First twenty minutes, noting joy, wonder, delight, tingling, itching, hearing, etc. Mind was wandering while noting. Then, I started to get more pain, and aversion. Pain got stronger, lots of aversion, doubt, and then lots of sleepiness. Last twenty minutes were very very sleepy, and aversion. Last ten minutes, so much pain, that I got into lying down position, then less pain. Tingling, hearing, different thoughts, moods, etc.

Nighttime:
Woke up in the middle of night and couldn't fall back to sleep. Spent a couple hours noting outloud. Severe pain, sharp pain. And more pain. Suffering, anger, frustration. Etc.

1/16/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Severe pain throughout sit, about 70% of notes were “pain.” Lots of aversion before sitting on the cushion. Then waves of aversion, restlessness. Waves of anger, fury, resentment. Waves of sorrow, sadness, pity. Etc. Worry, anxiety and stress, with some future thoughts, planning, etc. Some craving, some memories, some images, etc. Lots of body sensations: tingling, cold, warmth, itching, hearing (as usual). Shifted postures quite often throughout sit. Very difficult and painful to sit still or remain in meditation.
Practice: Noting outloud at about one per second for entire hour non-stop. Noting whatever sensations I was aware of, and also noticing whatever else I could notice.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 4:20 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 4:12 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 1674 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:

1/15/12
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Practice: Noting outloud at about one per second for entire hour non-stop
Phenomena: First twenty minutes, noting joy, wonder, delight, tingling, itching, hearing, etc. Mind was wandering while noting. Then, I started to get more pain, and aversion. Pain got stronger, lots of aversion, doubt, and then lots of sleepiness. Last twenty minutes were very very sleepy, and aversion. Last ten minutes, so much pain, that I got into lying down position, then less pain. Tingling, hearing, different thoughts, moods, etc.



Are you sitting addithana goenka style though the pain? If one is observing sensations with the intention to be equanimous with them then sitting with the pain might be part of such an approach. But if you are noting, the wonderful thing about this approach is that one can note everything mental in the process of lifting one's but cheeks to relieve the pain: 'intention' (to move), pain, intention, moving, lifting, relief, relief, pain, intention, moving, , touch (of feet on ground as one walks to lie down), touch, touch, moving, touch (of bed linen on skin), touch, movement, relief, pleasure, relaxing-thought, pleasure, vibrations, etc etc.

In other words, I wouldn't feel that one needs to sit through the pain Goenka style if one is noting as the whole field of experience , mental and physical, is still being objectified, even though one is relieving the posture that is causing pain.

Nighttime:
Woke up in the middle of night and couldn't fall back to sleep. Spent a couple hours noting outloud. Severe pain, sharp pain. And more pain. Suffering, anger, frustration. Etc.


Is this pain due to posture or something else?

1/16/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Severe pain throughout sit, about 70% of notes were “pain.” Lots of aversion before sitting on the cushion. Then waves of aversion, restlessness. Waves of anger, fury, resentment. Waves of sorrow, sadness, pity. Etc. Worry, anxiety and stress, with some future thoughts, planning, etc. Some craving, some memories, some images, etc. Lots of body sensations: tingling, cold, warmth, itching, hearing (as usual). Shifted postures quite often throughout sit. Very difficult and painful to sit still or remain in meditation.
Practice: Noting outloud at about one per second for entire hour non-stop. Noting whatever sensations I was aware of, and also noticing whatever else I could notice.


Why don't you switch it up with a bit of walking meditation then sitting then walking and so on. That is how I did it on the course where I got 1st path. As soon as my butt cheeks or knees started getting to numb and causing great discomfort, I'd get up and continue the noting while stretching my legs out as I walked outside the pagoda, continuously noting at the same time.

To others who may have been observing me at the time, it may have seemed like I wasnt meditating very well, as when one is aiming to be eqaunimous with sensations at all times a la sweeping method, the intention may be leaning more towards sitting still as a buddha statue for great lengths, but in my own experience I was still immersed in aversion and only slightly disidentified at times when doing this approach.

Instead, I shifted the way i practiced and allowed for whatever phenomena to arise and be noticed and noted, mental or physical. It wasn't now a challenge to sit still and ride out pain (which can be useful at times but if mental reactions are overflowing then maybe allow the mind to note 'relief') as even the intention to move and releve the pain was part of the field of experiecne that was noticed and noted.

If one just accepts hey, this is discomfort, hey, this is the intention to move, hey, this is moving, hey, this is sensations of release and relief, hey, this is pleasure, hey this is relaxation, hey, I'm continuously disidentifying with phenomena even though i'm not sitting still for great lengths like a stone buddha, hey, holy shit....why was I causing so much pain for myself thus making it difficult to objectify phenomena?, hey, 1st path woohoo! (this was my own experience)

Just my two cents.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 6:01 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/16/12 5:17 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Do you remember the first time you got to the equanimity nyana? What caused it to happen? (What was different a few seconds in that had not been the case a few seconds before?)

why do you ask?

I ask in an attempt to point to something which might help handle unpleasant phenomena/dark night stages.

If you noticed what the difference was clearly, or you can look back at the times you've gone from re-obs to equanimity and see what all those had in common... it's a mental inclination, a different way of looking at things, different way of relating to things, perhaps. And that way of relating to things isn't only accessible in the equanimity nyana.. i think that kind of mental inclination would help make progress regardless of where one is on the path (e.g. if one is in the dark night stages and one takes that approach one will go through the dark night stages more effectively).

Not sure if it would help.. I remembered that moment clearly (re-obs to equanimity first time) and understood the distinction but i still got hellishly caught up in stuff (and still do, though less+less). But reflecting on it helped when i remembered to.

hah an apt analogy, perhaps - previously when i would get really painful cramps (of the few-seconds-of-high-intensity-pain kind) i would freak out, tense my muscles, bend over, try to rub the area, etc... last time i got one i somehow managed to just relax and not move at all, instead, and the cramp did a weird contortion thing and then smoothed out entirely.

EDIT: And maybe you already know what I mean intellectually, but try reflecting on it explicitly, on as subtle/simple a level as possible (not conceptualizing but trying to get 'underneath' gross/coarse experience, at the simplest kind of mental inclination). A hint might be: if you figure out how to incline the mind in that way, and then you form a chain of reasoning of why it worked (e.g. "oh i thought about this using this analogy and it worked"), and then you keep trying to do that (e.g. thinking about that analogy), you will forget the inclination. It isn't about memorizing some words, it's simply about remembering how to do it consistently (mindfulness).
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:05 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:05 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
try reflecting on it explicitly,


Yes, I will try that, if the moment arises for such a reflection (ie. a clear moment of seeing that transition). I do get some of what you're pointing at, because the Dark Night gets easier everytime, mostly because there is some kind of knowledge of how to get through it. I will keep it in mind, thanks.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:16 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:16 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
Are you sitting addithana goenka style though the pain?

No. Except maybe there have been a few times where it seemed like it'd be useful. I'm not sure I get what the difference is between "observing sensations with the intention to be equanimous," and the noting approach you describe. They seem sorta the same to me, except in the later instance there are mental notes being made for each sensation that is observed.


Nighttime:
Woke up in the middle of night and couldn't fall back to sleep. Spent a couple hours noting outloud. Severe pain, sharp pain. And more pain. Suffering, anger, frustration. Etc.


Is this pain due to posture or something else?



I don't know. I started a thread about it in February of 2010. At that time, I thought it might be due to a previous injury. It was suggested that it might be chronic pain. Or, it might just be lots of deep rooted sankharas. The later description seems most accurate to me right now.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/363935


Why don't you switch it up with a bit of walking meditation then sitting then walking and so on.

Mostly because I haven't yet seen any need to do that. I'm not intentionally sitting through the pain, I'm just existing through the pain, since the pain doesn't seem to be dependent on posture in any way that I can fathom, and often is worst when I'm not sitting (sometimes my addithana sits are quite comfortable, and the pain comes later)

when one is aiming to be eqaunimous with sensations at all times a la sweeping method, the intention may be leaning more towards sitting still as a buddha statue for great lengths, but in my own experience I was still immersed in aversion and only slightly disidentified at times when doing this approach.


Yeah, I still dont' see the distinction you are making. My most recent 10-day, I basically spent the entire course in bed, lying down. Except for the mandatory group sits, instruction periods, and discourse. When I was strictly following Goenka's technique, I found I could sweep just fine lying in bed, too, or walking, so I'm not sure why it was a posture thing.

At any rate, thanks for the comments. I think that in summary, I would say that I am pretty much doing whatever I know how to best relieve pain and I'm not making any efforts to cause pain to myself. If I knew how to relieve the pain better, I would probably do that.

- Daniel
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:17 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily Life:
After the morning sit, I had a lot to do, and was feeling very darknightish, so I decided to just drop the practice somewhat, relax, be happy and get stuff done. Some mindfulness was interspersed at times. But, I was able to get stuff done with little bleedthrough.

1/17/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: I mindlessly set the timer and sat on the cushion and it took maybe about 3 minutes before I even realized that I was supposed to be meditating. Then, I noticed lots of thoughts (planning, analysis, arguing, discussing, fantasies), and the usual body sensations (tingles, itching, cold, warmth). And, anticipation, lots of tension and tightness. Then, stress, worry, aversion, and more tension, tightening and contracting. I had some waves of relaxation, and at one point, a wave of pleasure. At one point, I had two very strong contractions centered around the solar plexus, very tight and unpleasant, followed by quite a bit of surprise, wonder, alertness, confusion, etc. Quite a few times, the mind would just wander off, and I wasn't noting for a bit, but sitting still and rather comfortable. Then, I would start noting, and would start to fidget and shift postures, lots of discomfort, and pain and tension and stress, and restlessness, and anxiety, and frustration. This continued, with intermittent noting and fidgeting. With 15 minutes left, I decided to get up and start walking, which helped with concentration. I noted the cold of my feet, seeing, hearing, itches on my face, and thoughts, planning, aversion, fantasies, etc.
Practice: Once I realized I was supposed to be meditating, I started noting outloud. This continued intermittently for 45 minutes, without continuity. The last15 minutes were all outloud noting while walking, at a rate slightly faster than one per second, like maybe 3 notes per 2 seconds.
Evaluation: It was useful to notice that noting wasn't continuous, and to be aware of what the goal was (continuity).
Map: Dark night?

EDIT: By the way, this morning sit, where I got up and started doing walking was prior to my reading the response from Nikolai wherein he suggests walking meditation. In this case, walking simply seemed like the best way to handle the energy that was presenting itself at that time.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:54 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 3:54 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
Why don't you switch it up with a bit of walking meditation then sitting then walking and so on.

Mostly because I haven't yet seen any need to do that.

I actually want to recommend walking meditation for another reason. You said:

Daniel Johnson:
I mindlessly set the timer and sat on the cushion and it took maybe about 3 minutes before I even realized that I was supposed to be meditating.

Try dividing your 60 minutes with 10 minutes of walking meditation at the start, followed by 50 minutes of sitting (or 15-45 or 20-40). Take this walking meditation time to concentrate and to establish mindfulness. Get your mind set up to understand what you are about to do, by walking first. Then, when you sit, you will already be mindful, and should have a lot more momentum for the duration of the sit.

The first time I tried this (after some advice from tarin[1]) I noticed a more-or-less positive effect, though one I couldn't quite quantify, so I stopped doing it... but, looking back, I think it would have been helpful to keep it up. Something to try, anyway.

[1]
tarin:
- do walking meditation before sitting (never mind that novices rarely get any noticeable effect from walking meditation - just do it whole-heartedly and then go sit).
- establish clear mindfulness well before sitting down (for maybe 5 or 10 minutes). do it with the kind of intent alertness that you would have while listening for the whistle at the start of a race, or that you would have if you heard an animal move nearby in the woods. walking meditation can serve this purpose very well for some.
[link]
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 4:01 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 4:01 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
Yes, I will try that, if the moment arises for such a reflection (ie. a clear moment of seeing that transition). I do get some of what you're pointing at, because the Dark Night gets easier everytime, mostly because there is some kind of knowledge of how to get through it. I will keep it in mind, thanks.

That one is a particularly obvious/beneficial one, but also try to do the same (reflect on transitions explicitly) in other circumstances, like:

- "I mindlessly set the timer and sat on the cushion and it took maybe about 3 minutes before I even realized" - the transition of realizing what you're supposed to be doing (mindfulness) vs. not (mindlessness)
- "At one point, I had two very strong contractions centered around the solar plexus, very tight and unpleasant, followed by quite a bit of surprise, wonder, alertness, confusion, etc." - the transition of unpleasantness to surprise
- "Quite a few times, the mind would just wander off, and I wasn't noting for a bit, but sitting still and rather comfortable. Then, I would start noting," - the transition from mind wandering to starting to note again (not the act of the first note, but the transition resulting from the mental act of noticing that the mind has wandered)

I say this because I've noticed in my own experience that when the mind shifts in a certain way it's kind of 'unstable' for a little, until new 'stability' is reached for and created (and then fueled)... but often that new 'stability' is caused without having really taken a good look around at what was going on when the mind was still shifting. potentially good insights to be had in that unstable period.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 9:06 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 9:06 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Daniel Johnson:
I mindlessly set the timer and sat on the cushion and it took maybe about 3 minutes before I even realized that I was supposed to be meditating.

Try dividing your 60 minutes with 10 minutes of walking meditation at the start, followed by 50 minutes of sitting (or 15-45 or 20-40). Take this walking meditation time to concentrate and to establish mindfulness. Get your mind set up to understand what you are about to do, by walking first. Then, when you sit, you will already be mindful, and should have a lot more momentum for the duration of the sit.


Thanks for the recommendation. Actually, this one instance was quite a surprise... it was like "oh, look at that... I'm just sitting on a cushion and not meditating! how silly." It's usually more like I wake up with mindfulness, do my neti pot with mindfulness, set the timer with mindfulness, and by the time I'm sitting on the cushion, I've got a ton of momentum and am very enthusiatically confronting the sensations of the moment with full awareness. So, when I write in a report: noting continuously for the entire hour, it usually means from a few minutes before the sit, to a few minutes after at the very least. I'm trying to just do it all day with the rare exceptions where I need full attention on the situation of my daily life.

In this case, I'm not totally convinced that ten minutes of walking would've been the same ten minutes of mindlessly walking until I woke up and realized that it'd be a good time to start. That seemed to be just the way the mind was this morning.

Anyway, thanks. If nothing else, this is good confirmation that I'm on the right track! emoticon
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 9:08 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/17/12 9:08 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
also try to do the same (reflect on transitions explicitly) in other circumstances


Thanks, yes. I will look into this.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/18/12 8:17 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/18/12 8:17 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Daily life: Did about 45 minutes noting outloud in the car while driving to meet my family. Some anxiety in a light bubly, almost pleasant kind of way. Feeling very sensitive, and the anxiety was like the feeling of such intimacy with my family in such a raw and sensitive experience.

1/17/12
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Pleasant and calm with strong awareness at beginning. Watching thought formations come and go. Lots of light anxiety, like a bubly, hardly-irritating anxiousness. Noting those thought and emotion clusters come and go along with body sensations (tingling, itching, coolness, warmth, hearing) imaging thoughts, planning, remembering, analysis. Kept with a panoramic awareness, staying with present moment experience. After about a half hour, more sleepiness, haziness, spaciness, with intermittent spacing out and then more mindfulness. Remained sitting (mostly because someone was in the other room and I hadn't prepared them for the possibility that I might stand up and start walking in the middle of my meditation.) Something of a battle with sleepiness and drifting. But, also noted sleepiness and the softness, pleasant sensations, etc. along with it. Many more pleasant sensations. Delight, happiness, enthusiasm. With maybe ten minutes left, sleepiness mostly went away with more clarity, and faster, more accurate noting. Insights at times throughout. A little bit of pain in the last few minutes, but not much. When timer went off, I was too comfortable to move, and hadn't shifted posture at all during sit, so I sat for another 30 seconds or so before standing up to turn off the timer.
Practice: Mostly noting at about one per second inside my head (not audibly.) Sometimes noting at much faster rate.


Side note: Also, I was looking at transitions, like Beoman suggested. I'm not sure if I noticed what he was pointing at, but I found it definitely increased my fascination with life. The transitions were incredibly fascinating, how one moment something would be going on, and then in the next moment, something completely different... like: “wow... where'd tha... whaaa? Huh? Why... .wow!” Noting: surprise, fascination, etc.

Nighttime: Lots of stress, worry and anxiety, with aversion. Very interesting noticing all the little sensations that make up the feeling of stress.


1/18/12
Sit/walk: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Started with usual body sensations: tingles, itches, coolness, warmth, hearing. Different thoughts, and emotions came and went. At a half hour, I felt a little bit of pain in my knees and lots of thoughts came about whether to walk or to stay sitting. Debating thoughts, analysis, commentary. I stood up and walked for about three minutes. While walking, very scattered, lots of thoughts, commentary, analysis, debate, confusion, difficulty focusing. I sat back down. More of similar thoughts, and body sensations. Some psychologizing. After a few minutes I got up to put some more wood on the fire because I was cold. Sat back down on cushion. More of similar thoughts, and body sensations. Also lots of doubt, confusion. Some thing that was like a sorta ordinariness or routine-ness mixed with the doubt. Some insights and enthusiasm at about the 50 minute mark.
Practice: Trying to note throughout. Noting was consistent for first 20-30 minutes or so, then intermittent with gaps of psychologizing, analysis, and different thought loops. Often returning again and again to note the phenomena that were arising.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/23/12 4:51 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/23/12 4:51 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/18/12
Sit/walk: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Noted a bunch of stuff for about ten to twenty minutes then fell asleep on the cushion for about ten minutes and couldn't remember what happened before that. Then, noting body sensations, haziness, mind wandering. Tired, and fidgety. Awareness & concentration was not strong. Lots of insights after the sit, but didn't notice much during the sit.
Practice: Trying to note, and also trying to just notice what was going on as best I could.

1/19/12
Sit/walk: 2 hours – evening
Phenomena: mostly lots of body sensations. Planning thoughts, remembering thoughts, lots of memories of the day, aniticipation, worry, some calm and happiness at times. The two hours passed very quickly.
Practice: Noting outloud, mostly at a rate slightly faster than one per second, but the rate changed some throughout. The noting was constant from start to finish, but the mind would wander, while noting of body sensations would continue on autopilot, then the thought train would be noticed and noted, and the reaction to the thought train being noticed (frustration, sadness, doubt, evaluation, criticism, confusion, investigation, wondering, surprise, etc) would be noted, and then there would be more presence, which would be noted, and then this pattern would repeat. I walked 10 minutes, sat 15 minutes and then repeated this throughout the entire two hours.

1/20/12 (My power was out, so I couldn't type up these notes until the next day. Hence, the shortage of details.)
Sit/walk: 1 hours – evening
Phenomena: Sleepiness, pain, exhaustion. Other stuff.
Practice: Noting, and trying to notice what was happening as best I could. Sitting for first 35 minutes, then walking for the rest of the period. Very difficult to walk, sit, or stand. Lying down for about 5 minutes near the end.

1/21/12
Sit: 1 hours – evening
Phenomena: First ten minutes were body sensations, tingling, some itching, coolness, etc. and thoughts mostly memories from last couple of days, and thoughts about meditation, anticipation, planning, analysis, etc. Then, sleepiness, and losing concentration, gaps in awareness getting stronger and longer. Then, I fell asleep probably for 5 or 10 minutes. At the end, I shifted into a posture which was a bit painful, but kept me alert for the last couple of minutes. Tingling, etc.
Practice: Noting pretty consistently with gaps of sleepiness and sleep.

1/22/12
Sit: 1 hours – morning
Phenomena: Started with hazy doubt sort of thing, with some restlessness, and a general sense of calm. Relaxation and building concentration for a while. Then, around 30 minutes, some very strong resistance. Very strong desire to be doing anything but meditating. Craving, aversion, etc. Waves of contractions of craving/aversion, tension, thought patterns of desire, and restlessness, etc. Shifted postures a number of times, resolved to sit for entire hour. Doubt, restlessness. A little bit of sleepiness toward the end. With moments of concentrating again on the breath. The hour passed very “quickly” in my mind. Very few gaps of awareness lasting more than a few thoughts or so.
Practice: Mindfulness of breathing. Kept coming back to the breath. A little bit of noting here and there, but trying to just be aware of the breath with as much awareness as possible.
Self-evaluation: Overall, it seemed like a good sit because I was able to stay with the practice, and keep going despite the difficulties. Still, I wonder if there is some way to improve the quality of practice.

1/22/12
Sit/walk: 1 hours – evening
Phenomena: Thoughts. Sleepiness. Tingling, hearing, itching, pain, coldness, warmth.
Practice: Using the “hand on water don't make a ripple” technique, and noting gently at times. Despite mostly being very sleepy, there seemed to be a lot of progress and insights.

1/23/12
Sit/recline/walk: 1 hours – morning
Phenomena: Thoughts. Pain, aversion. Irritation, struggle, suffering. Lots of rambling thoughts, planning, analysis, debating. Tension and pain mostly in arms, chest, back, stomach, shoulders, neck, face. Jumpy mind. Confusion, stuff, jumble.
Practice: Noticing and noting whatever I can, as often as possible.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 4:29 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 4:29 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
My last chance for a retreat before school starts next week...

ONE DAY RETREAT
Here are my notes for a one day self-retreat. Due to a lot of confusion, it is difficult to say exactly what I was practicing or if I was practicing it, or if I was practicing well. But, I think my practice was more or less to notice what was happening from moment to moment and to notice the sensations that make up the present moment experience. There was also noting fairly often throughout the retreat, occurring at different rates, and sometimes out-loud, sometimes only mental noting.

Going into the retreat, I was aware that I was in one of those phases of practice where the sensations arising are such that it seems I have no idea what is going on, what to do, or how to do it. As this has happened to me many times, now, on other retreats, I was able to recognize that this is simply an impermanent phase which will eventually pass. Nonetheless, suffering was high, and practice may or may not have been useful. I think, overall, I practiced as best I possibly could. I also think I made a lot of progress, and learned a few things in the experience. However, with all the confusion, I could be wrong about any of the statements made in this post. I guess I would call it my “best guess” of a retreat report.

6:30 PM Start
Sit – 35 minutes
Jumpy, scattered, thinking a lot
7:15 PM – Sleep
In the middle of the night, woke up with nightmares. Sat awake for a couple hours and noted, pain aversion, restless. Very strong and severe pain in body. Confusion.
8:00AM – woke up
Sit – 30 minutes
Strong memories with images, and emotions. Deep longing. Suffering. Restlessness, jumpy, scattered, pain. Confusion.
Breakfast/
Soak in bathtub
Lying in bed: noting, strong pain, depression, scattered, doubt, frustration, restlessness. Some fear and anxiety, some misery and sadness, some disgust. Struggling, effort. Suffering. Lethargic, fatigue, difficult to move or get out of bed. Confusion, confusion.
11:00-1:00
sleep for about two hours
1:00PM
Pain, dullness, frustration, exhaustion, fatigue. Struggling. Confusion. Sadness.
Lie down – 1 hour
scattered, thinking, pain, memories, longing.
Sit – 8 minutes
mind wandering for a couple minutes, then strong pain, suffering, restlessness, confusion, pain. Fatigue, exhaustion. Suffering.
Lie down -
Severe suffering, despair, analysis, frustration, confusion, hopelessness
3:00PM
Lunch
lying in bed: Pain, suffering, confusion, surrender, exhaustion, restlessness
Fruit smoothie
5:00PM
Sit- 20 minutes
thinking, confusion, analysis, suffering, frustration, pain, sadness, effort, struggle, calm, relaxing,
Soak in bathtub
Confusion, stuff, thinking.
6:00PM
lying in bed:
pain, etc.
7:00PM
Sleep
11:30PM
Wake up, lying in bed:
Insights,rapid and precise noting, with lots of thoughts and distractions. Pain, discomfort, thoughts, confusion, etc.
As hours progressed, more suffering, more confusion, severe pain, restlessness, fear, anxiety, stress.
5:00AM
Back to sleep
7:00AM
Wake up again, lying in bed:
Stress, anxiety, confusion
8:00AM
Final Sit – 1 hour
Thinking, confusion. Pain, restlessness. Etc.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 7:24 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 7:24 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
I just reread the Vipassana Hierarchy thread.

Step #8 looks very difficult. I guess that is my frontier. I guess that means keep working up to step 7 as best I can until I get that one down, and I'll deal with step #9 when I get to it.

Just for the record, this is super super difficult. It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done in life, and I've never worked harder at anything. And, I've done some crazy difficult things in life, so it's not just like I'm a lazy bum.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 9:39 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/25/12 9:39 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
Just for the record, this is super super difficult. It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done in life, and I've never worked harder at anything. And, I've done some crazy difficult things in life, so it's not just like I'm a lazy bum.

Difficult in what way? Could you expand on it? I'm just reminded of something Daniel said in MCTB:

MCTB:
What is so ironic is that awakening is hard but clearly not impossible, and not nearly as impossible as achieving psychological or emotional perfection. In fact, seeing sensations clearly enough to see that they are all just happening and coming and going is extremely straightforward once you finally realize that is what you are supposed to be doing. Further, when I think back on all the things I have done, including going to medical school, spending a year in India working as a volunteer there, and finishing a medical residency, I must say that the work I went through to get those things was significantly more than the work it took to get to stream entry and even arahatship. It is not that getting stream entry was easy, just not as hard as plenty of other things I have done.
[link]

Note that I'm not suggesting it should be easy or what-not, just curious what your perception of practice is like.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:10 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:10 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Difficult in what way? Could you expand on it? I'm just reminded of something Daniel said in MCTB:


Funny, that's exactly the link I was thinking of when I said difficult. I mean difficult in the sense that wandering around for 13 years, and sitting in meditation for 5000+ hours after hitting the A&P quite randomly and not knowing what happened, why it left, or what to do about it. And, eventually being told that there is some "stream entry" thing where things will change and get significantly better, but not knowing what to do to get there, what it is, or how to get there, and just keep trying, and sitting with my eyes closed and trying to practice for years on end. The whole time, knowing that I can't really stop because there is no other way out, and working my ass off as best I can to scrape up each little bit of progress. That's difficult. Way way harder than going to medical school and residency. I would much rather go to medical school. Medical school is straightforward, it is well know what is expected of a person, the measurements are clear and objective, the instructions are clear, and if you do the work, there is a given likelihood that you will eventually pass your licensing exam and become a doctor. If only there were something as easy as medical school, for getting stream entry.

And, yes... seeing sensations clearly, when it happens, (as Daniel said) is quite straightforward, and easy. At least, that's how it seems. So, I don't know what else to say. Confusion.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:10 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:10 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/25/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Started with flickering and pulsing around eyes, pains in head and moving through body. Tingles, and itches throughout body. Noting was quick and precise with thoughts, mind states, and body. Analysis thoughts, etc. Then, confusion, stuckness. Mind began to wander. Strong itch came on nose, very excruciating. For a few minutes I just noted the itch, and noticed the equanimity to the pain, and calm. Then, I scratched it. Mind wandered again. Tingling and itching and pain throughout body continued as before. Pressure in head and around eyes. About half way, strong restlessness, aversion, pain, suffering, confusion. Noting was strong and precise with the phenomena as they arise. Shifted postures a number of times. Aversion, anticipation, speculation, desire. Mind wandering. More pain. More confusion. More thinking.

1/25612
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: Started very calm, relaxed, pleasant. Focusing attention on sensations of breath. Tingling, pressure. Some small pains and tensions through head, chest, arms, legs, hips. About ten minutes with breath and then mind wandered. Then, back to breath. After about thiry minutes, mind wandered, became disinterested in breath. Switched to noting. Planning, stress, anxiety. Disinterest, dullness, confusion. Scattered. Some pain. Tingling across body throughout. More confusion. Jumpiness.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:16 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:16 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
And, yes... seeing sensations clearly, when it happens, (as Daniel said) is quite straightforward, and easy. At least, that's how it seems. So, I don't know what else to say. Confusion.

What makes you think you aren't seeing them clearly?
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:44 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 3:19 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
MCTB:
seeing sensations clearly enough to see that they are all just happening and coming and going is extremely straightforward once you finally realize that is what you are supposed to be doing.

So, the question is... how does a person come to upon the final realization that "that is what you are supposed to be doing?" I can read it a thousand times, and sit on a cushion and practice, but most of the time, I still don't really know what I'm supposed to be doing. I would happily just sit, and spend all day everyday seeing sensations clearly, if I knew how to do that. I think I'm getting better at it, however.
thumbnail
Steph S, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 1:08 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 4:57 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 671 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
"Still, Flowing Water" by Ajahn Chah addresses very specifically the issue of thinking one is not making progress or seeing clearly, amongst other things.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 5:00 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 5:00 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
... wandering around for 13 years, and sitting in meditation for 5000+ hours ...


I have just started following your practice thread, and I have this thought to share: The ancient stories tell of the Buddha coming upon experienced practitioners every once in a while and saying some simple thing to them that caused them to "get it" either on the spot or shortly thereafter. What one simple thing would you need to hear to precipitate sudden awakening?
thumbnail
Oliver Myth, modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 5:02 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 5:02 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 143 Join Date: 6/10/11 Recent Posts
Can you tell an affective difference between when you feel like you are "Spiritually progressing" and when you are not?

That could be a hint to "what am I supposed to be doing?".

Try being very gentle with your experience instead of forcing anything. Gentle... accepting.... aware of what just happened and what is happening... when thoughts about where you want it to go arise, just notice them...

Is not just being gentle a joy in itself?
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 7:47 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/26/12 7:47 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
MCTB:
seeing sensations clearly enough to see that they are all just happening and coming and going is extremely straightforward once you finally realize that is what you are supposed to be doing.

So, the question is... how does a person come to upon the final realization that "that is what you are supposed to be doing?" I can read it a thousand times, and sit on a cushion and practice, but most of the time, I still don't really know what I'm supposed to be doing. I would happily just sit, and spend all day everyday seeing sensations clearly, if I knew how to do that. I think I'm getting better at it, however.

Maybe you should try a naive approach to practice. For your next sit, just sit as if you had never heard of meditation. No reason to do it - kind of silly to sit really still with eyes closed for a while, but why not? Pretend you never heard of noting, though if you happen to start noting, don't forcibly stop it. And, just see what happens. Who knows what will happen?
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:44 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:41 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
 Tarver :
What one simple thing would you need to hear to precipitate sudden awakening?


Hey, that's a fun question. Dunno. I'll think about it.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:43 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:43 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
What makes you think you aren't seeing them clearly?

I don't know.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:57 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 5:57 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/27/12
Sit/recline: 1 hour – evening
Practice: Tried to do Mahamudra noting (outloud), ala the instructions here:
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/mahamudra-noting/
For about the first ten minutes, I did the listening (to distant ships) technique and used “listening” as my primary object. Then, I did more of the mahamudra noting without trying to listen, but every once and a while, I would give the listening another shot, and try to do it. It was very difficult to listen for distant ships and caused pain in my head. For noting, I tried to note any pleasant mindstate or sensation. At first, I was also deliberately trying to “transmute” unpleasant experiences, by responding to them with something that feels good, and then noting that pleasant experience. After about a half hour, this became very difficult to do the transmuting, so I just noticed what was going on, and kept trying to do a transmutation, or a listening, and every once in a while, something pleasant would come up and I would note that outloud. I still noted lots of things, somewhat automatically almost, but not outloud. I only made outloud notes for the things which were positive (or sometimes for things that were neutral, like “hearing”). I found the practice difficult, but kept trying to do it. I had some sense that all along there was something positive happening that I just wasn't noticing, but I couldn't find it much of the time.

Phenomena: Started calm, and enjoyed the listening exercise. So, enjoyment, and calm, and happiness, etc. There was some flickering images around the eyes in the beginning (as is usually the case when I sit to meditate after being in a higher stimulation environment during the day). I noted “listening, listening”. Then, occasionally, unpleasant mindstates or thoughts or pains, etc would arise , and I would respond with “acceptance, equanimity, calmness, allowing, welcoming, appreciation, enjoyment, amusement...” This went on for about ten or fifteen minutes or so. I kept going back to the listening and noting positive stuff. I had a short experience of softness and love that led to what seemed like very subtle bliss that lasted for a very short time, not even long enough to note “bliss.” [maybe crossing the A&P event? - though it really wasn't anything to write home about]

Then, there started to become gaps where I wasn't aware of anything positive [dissolution?], so I would just watch stuff arise and pass and then try to “transmute”, but no “transmuting” would happen, so I'd just keep watching stuff arise and pass, and then every once in a while a positive thing would come and I would note it. My mind wasn't wandering much during this time, as I was fairly aware of what was happening, and even noting things mentally through much of it. At some point, I saw an unpleasant mindstate arise, and then went to “transmute” it and realized that it was already long gone and I had no idea what the mindstate was or how to “transmute” it. At that point it became clear that things were passing away too quickly for me to “transmute” any of them. So, I sat and watched stuff. At this point, I had been fidgeting quite a bit, even opening my eyes at a couple points, and I started to lie down. Then, I was lying down for most of the rest of the sit, and moving fairly often to adjust posture.

I watched stuff arise and pass, and thought to myself that it wasn't really that bad, and so there must be some positive thing happening. And, so I looked for equanimity, but I couldn't find any equanimity anywhere. At one point, I found an “okness,” so I noted that. At some points, there was amusement at how difficult this practice was, so I noted that. And, at times equanimity was there, and calm, and quiet, and relaxation. But, mostly it was those sort of arising and passing blur of sensations, pain, confusion, blankness, etc. which I was simply noticing without noting outloud.

Toward the end of the hour, there was some strong restlessness, [reobservation?] and my eyes opened, and I was sorta fidgeting around and just kinda moving around and stuff. Then, I just sorta coasted to the end of the hour, but don't remember what I was noting, but I think I got a few more mahamudra notes in before time was up.

When the bell rang, I was calm and didn't feel any hurry to get up, but still in a lot of pain, etc.


Nighttime: I woke up in the middle of the night, and meditated. I decided to go back to a more freestyle practice: “It's all just sensations.” I was just watching everything as sensations. Lots of insights.


1/27/12
Sit: 1 hour – morning
Phenomena: Thoughts, agitation, calm, confusion, frustration, seeing, looking, investigating, planning, discussing/commentary, surprise, interest, hope, despair, jumble, scattered, stuff, things, this, pain, restlessness, insights, imaging thoughts, theorizing, hearing, itching, tingling, pressure, relaxing, tensing, releasing tension, tightness, anger, trying, struggling, trying to figure it out, instructing thoughts, waiting, gladness
Practice: I mostly was going freestyle trying to just notice what is happening and notice each experience as sensations from moment to moment. I was noting throughout most of the sit. The practice seemed to go well. It seemed like a good and productive effort.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 6:00 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/27/12 6:00 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Steph S:
"Still, Flowing Water" by Ajahn Chah addresses very specifically the issue of thinking one is not making progress or seeing clearly, amongst other things.


I scanned through it. Perhaps you can say which part addressed that issue, or maybe put it in your own words? I didn't see whatever it is you were talking about.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 1/30/12 5:21 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/30/12 5:21 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/27/12
Sit: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Thoughts a lot at first, and tension and pain in head. Some clear noting. Embarrasment. Then, about 20 minutes in... a deeper calm and tranquility. Some grasping at the tranquility. Then, mind wandered a bunch, then around the last ten minutes, very sleepy and still wandering mind. Through most of the sit, I could feel the tingling on my face, especially the upper lip, and often was aware of the breath coming in and going out. There was tension in the head, around the eyes which relaxed some.
Practice: My head hurt after all sorts of thinking and discussing meditation. So, I knew that I had to sorta relax this part of my mind/face/head. I was mostly relaxing and trying to see what would happen.
Self-Evaluation: I don't know if this was good practice or not. It seemed at least to be less stressful than the other sits.

1/28/12
Sit/walk: 1 hour – evening
Phenomena: Thoughts. Mind wandered fairly often. Lots of tingling on face throughout sit. Calmness, lots of relaxation and releasing tension. Pleasant, joyful. Last twenty minutes, very very sleepy. Some walking, still sleepy and in pain.
Practice: Noting, but still with a freestyle approach. Appear to be gaining momentum with practice, more skillful noting, and insights into practice. Yet, still so much confusion (about the practice).

1/29/12
Sit: 90 minutes at Dharma Punx group in Santa Cruz – evening
Phenomena: Before ariving, meditation in car, tingles across face, vivid sounds. Relaxed. Enjoying the moment. During sit, more relaxed, tingles, enjoying moment, some drifting thoughts. During dharma talk, more relaxed, tingles, enjoying moment, many thoughts about the dharma talk, critiquing thoughts, analysis thoughts, etc.
Practice: More freestyle. Not sure what I'm doing. Mindfulness, being aware of what's happening as things arise.

1/30/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Relaxed, calm, enjoying this moment of being alive. Tingles, prickles mostly around head. Light buzz/tension patterns across face and body. Some love/longing from time to time. Listening, hearing. Some drifting thoughts here and there. Some pressure/tension/pain in head – more toward the beginning of sit, lessing after about 30-40 minutes. At about 45 minutes in, discomfort in legs, and pain. At 50 minutes, adjust legs. At 56 minutes, stand and walk for the last 4 minutes, mind wandering.
Practice: More freestyle. Not sure what I'm doing or what I'm practicing. Mindfulness, being aware of what's happening as things arise. Some noting.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 2/2/12 1:34 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/2/12 1:34 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
1/30/12
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Started a bit anxious and uncomfortable. Some pain, aversion. Tingling on face, hearing. At about 20 minutes or so, entered somewhat deep concentration – hearing pulsing sounds, listening to ringing and sounds in ears, very few thoughts (if any), just listening intently and enjoying the richness of the sound. Then, drifted into some thought loop for a couple minutes. More tingling, hearing, some pain. Fantasy, analysis, thoughts, etc. Some longing, and hurt over relationship issue. Stood to walk for a few minutes near the end. Fatigue, some slepiness at the very end. When bell sounded, a bit of shock, and strong tension for a minute or so.
Practice: Still not sure what I'm practicing or what I'm supposed to be practicing. Mostly, I think I've been practicing mindfulness, coming back to sounds, breath, or tingles on face. Noticing thoughts come and go, noticing change from moment to moment, changing, changing, changing.

1/31/12
I had a intense and emotionally charged conversation with someone (to say the least). For a moment I was tempted not to sit, and just to go to bed in the evening. But, then I caught myself and realized that this was a fantastic opportunity to meditate, what better object to penetrate by observing the sensations than this intensely charged cycle of thoughts. Unfortunately, after I sat, I went straight to bed, so these notes are from memory.
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Thinking about Issue, compulsion, planning, rehearsing, analyzing etc. Some intermittent thoughts about other totally unrelated topics. At times, joy, surprise, awe, wonder, fascination, delight. Some pain. Tingles and tension patterns throughout body. When mind wandered, generally it wouldn't last more than a few minutes, and mindfulness was pretty consistent throughout.
Practice: Paying attention to moment to moment experience, as best I could.

2/1/12
Sit/walk: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Thinking about Big Issue, some psychologizing. Compulsion, tension, contracting, some resistence. Intermittent strong noting and awareness. After about a half hour, some strong physical contractions. One contraction with a long moan, some crying. Restlessness, anxiety, fear, longing.... deep intense buzzing sensations across all the chakras like being hit with a large cosmic hammer. More contractions. Some walking meditation... shifting mindstates, some peace and calm. Lots of relaxing throughout. Tingles, hearing, etc (as usual).
Practice: Some noting, and lots of coming back to pay attention to the sensations of the experience.

2/1/12
lying: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Mostly tightness-pain. Pain in lumbar, so I was lying down for most of the sit. After about 40 minutes, I got pretty sleepy, so I walked a little, then lying down again. Tightness and tension through hips, down legs, up back. Sharp pain. Aversion. Tingling on face. Itches, hearing, soreness. Sleepiness, wandering thoughts here and there. Relaxed. Equanimity.
Practice: Noting consistently for most of the sit, some periods of sleepiness or wandering mind.

2/2/12
sit/walk: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: Tingles and itches as usual. Some pain. Planning thoughts, analysis, commentary, etc. tension and release of tension.
Practice: Started by just noticing everything arise and pass. Then, after about twenty minutes, it seemed like my mind was wandering a bit, so I started trying to note at a diligent one-per-second rate. This energized the awareness, but soon led to tension, struggle, trying, effort, restlessness, pain, aversion, etc. So, then I eased off the hardcore noting a bit and went back to just noticing stuff arise and pass with some noting, trying to adjust the effort so that it wasn't creating tension, but neither too loose and lazy. This was tough to do, and also somewhat confusing.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 2/15/12 8:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/15/12 8:18 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Haven't logged in for a while. Here goes...

2/2/12
sit/walk: 30 minutes – evening
Sleepy and went to bed after sit.... didn't take notes

2/3/12
sit: 60 minutes – morning
Phenomena: scattered, distracted, planning, stress, pain, restlessness, doubt, tingling, itching, cold, warmth, hearing, effort

2/3/12
Sit: 60 minutes – evening
Phenomena: Planning, excitement, compulsion, future thoughts, craving, investigation, curiosity, resignation, disinterest, commentary, analysis, stress, worry. Comfortable sitting for about 50 minutes, then some pain, moved position and kept sitting. Mostly calm.
Practice: noting, watching breath, and body sensations, investigating.

Been really busy, and haven't taken notes over the last week. I sat probably an average of half an hour a day. I continue to have so many insights and seem to be learning a lot and growing at a rapid rate. Quite happy about that. And, I'm enjoying the practice, and the multitude of layers of new things to discover. Also, I've really been enjoying sensations, breathing, atmosphere, sounds, etc. Even though I'm not intentionally practicing sensuousness, it seems to happen often anyway.

2/8/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
phenomena: happiness, contentment, thinking, planning, hearing, enjoyment, pain, dullness, haziness, fading in and out, calm, quiet, effort, love, enthusiasm, dedication
practice: noting

2/9/12
Sit/lie/walk: 60 minutes – evening
phenomena: thoughts, sleepiness, exhaustion, pain, tingling, body sensations, etc. planning, conversation thoughts, imaging thoughts, hearing, warmth, evaluation thoughts, desire, curiosity, enjoyment, etc.

2/10/12
Sit: 60 minutes – morning
Sat down, different thoughts happened, I noticed the quality of the thoughts, and paid attention to the sensations of hearing and the sensations throughout the body. Different patterns of tension, and release occurred throughout the sit, with some pain associated at times, lots of tingles, and itches, and twitches, pulses etc. The overall feeling was one of confusion for most of the sit, combined with a calmness, and somewhat of a blankness. Along with this, were different patterns of resistance, doubt, aversion, disinterest, etc. I paid attention to the comings and goings of different mindstates, body sensations, sounds, thoughts. There was relaxation, enjoyment, calmness, equanimity, curiousity, investigation, looking, waiting, watching, contemplating, considering, etc. There was some frustration along with the confusion. Things changed from moment to moment. I watched things change from moment to moment. There was a sense of self that seemed to come and go, sometimes the sense of self seemed to be somewhere or something other than myself, and sometimes it seemed to be me, sometimes it seemed that there was some self doing something. I guess I could say it was sort of flickering and shifting, in a somewhat erratic, often hazy, and elusive kind of way. This was closely related with the sense of confusion. There was some analysis and some attempts at commentary or explanations.

I sat the entire hour firsthand (not moving my posture at all) and felt quite calm, and relaxed with little sitting-type pain for the entire hour and even after the alarm sounded.

** Again, I was busy so didn't journal. I think I did about an hour of meditation on Saturday, an hour on Sunday, 2 hours on Monday, 15 minutes on Tuesday.... Some strong insights and dedicated meditation in bed Monday night.


2/15/12
Sit/lie: 60 minutes – morning
phenomena: started sitting with intense energetic electric edgy feeling, mildly unpleasant. Restlessness, muscle contractions, suffering. Worry. Lie down. Mind wandered a bit, disgust, nausea, discomfort, pain, more muscle contractions. Racing thoughts, pain. Shooting pains in head. Severe pain. Doubt, resignation, despair, hopelessness, defeat. Wanting to quit. More pain. Struggle. Stuck, confusion, trying to escape, wanting to escape. Look at clock – 18 minutes left. Thinking, planning, discussing, analyzing, tightness. More tightness, pain, discomfort, aversion, suffering. More energetic, buzzing discomfort. Look at clock – 4 minutes left, back to sitting posture. Pain.
Practice: Noticing the sensations of the present moment (with equanimity). Mostly noting them. Fairly consistent.
thumbnail
Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 2/17/12 5:06 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/17/12 5:06 PM

RE: Meditation Practice Thread (Daniel J)

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
2/15/12
Sit/lie: 60 minutes – evening
phenomena: Calm. Tingling, mostly in face area. Ease, ordinariness. Some laziness/drifting. Some drifting thoughts – planning, memories, etc. After about 45 minutes, some sleepiness. Last 5 minutes walking.
Practice: noting. To some extent, I was also trying to be vigilant and power the investigation to counter the equanimity driftiness.

2/17/12
Lying down: 60 minutes – morning
Sick and in pain, lying down in bed.
Phenomena: lots of pain, physical suffering and anguish. Some longer periods of mind wandering thoughts.

When not on the cushion, things are going pretty well. It seems like I continue to get happier and happier. More insights, more freedom, etc.

Breadcrumb