woofy's log

The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/6/24 1:08 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/6/24 1:08 PM

woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I waited about a month but guess I will finally start a log now.

About a month ago I tried, I think, one of Ingram's insight meditations described in his book, where you look for where the sensations of self are at. If I remember correctly he described the back of the head looking at the front of the head, and if he looks at the back of the head it is from the front of the head. I tried the same thing and I noticed, I think, it feels like my sense of self is behind me when I try to perceive sensations on the back of my head. That was interesting.

Other than that, insight wise, I've tried mahasi style noting, and at night before bed, another practice Daniel describes, where you put your two index fingers on your knees (though I put them anywhere that is convenient while I'm laying down) and try to sense sensations in both at the same time and notice that you can only perceive one at a time, and to know which you are sensing in any moment, as it seems to flicker back and forth.

I'm a little confused about mahasi stlye noting though. I think Daniel states or implies at least that you want to speed up as you go along and you eventually are going so fast you can't even label anymore and have to resort to just thinking "bip" or "dip" or something to keep up. But I read a guide that said you should note like... once or twice per breath, I think, and I watched a youtube video of mahasi's vipassana instructions and it says to note neither too fast nor too slow, so I'm not sure what I should do. I was trying to note the sensations of the in and out breath, and the pause, as fast as I could, but haven't tried it in a while, especially due to the confusion.

It is also unclear to me why noting it makes it insight meditation as opposed to if you just try focusing on the sensations without noting, and why that makes it more samatha, though I heard of when your mind is fast enough to drop even the bips and go to just noticing, too. I am not sure why you can't start out that way, though. Maybe you can, but there must be a reason Mahasi Sayadaw recommends the noting? Culadasa in his book seems to imply you will get insight following his method though, even though you only note (or he uses the word label) distractions, so you can "know the faces of your abductors".

Anyway, as January went on my concentration got worse and my motivation dropped, so I went from meditating 3 and a half hours a day to about 1 and a half hours per day, and I stopped doing insight meditation as much. I am back to just trying to get through stage four of TMI, but am no where near where I was at the end of December concentration wise, and I do not understand why I could get so close to 5, almost 6 seemingly even, then fall back for no apparent reason. I asked my teacher and also the TMI sub reddit, and they both recommended taking a break from TMI and trying another practice, like do nothing meditation or metta.

Speaking of do nothing, I tried a live guided meditation with Ralph Andradez of Unified Mindfulness some Wednesdays ago, and it was pretty amazing. My horrible concentration became very good and it was so easy, it was almost enlightening, until I tried doing the do nothing meditations on my own afterwards, and it would not work at all anymore, so that was discouraging.

I said I wanted to do 5 hours a day at the beginning of this month, but as it turns out, it is actually very hard to get to 5 hours a day, a lot harder than it looks for some reason. However, since last Thursday, I decided to do a self lead retreat, and since doing that, I have much more easily got to 5 or 6 hours probably due to the change of mindset from daily life to retreat mode, except for days I have had to work (I don't have any days off accrued yet and I can't afford to lose the money). It seemed fine because out of the 9 days I chose, I only had to work 2 of those days, and I cancelled my other obligations for that week, but I had to work an extra day because someone called off and I had to fill for them, so that's a bummer, but it is still 6 free days out of 9. I work today so I don't expect much, I lost the retreat mood actually and am not taking it seriously anymore, which is partly why I am here (I intended to start this log after the retreat was over, which will be after Friday.) I will take it seriously again starting tomorrow, though, and hopefully these last 3 days go well, but Leigh Brasington says to not bring expectations on a retreat, so I'm trying to keep that in check. Also since things haven't been going well lately, I kind of expect nothing, but expecting nothing also seems bad. I should just not expect.

Saturday night I had the best metta meditation of my life, though. I used to have decent 15 minute ones in 2017 and 2018, then stopped for a long time only to attempt to return and finding all the metta dried up, but the last meditation of Saturday, I had 45 minutes of strong (for me at least) metta, and I felt pretty uplifted. Instead of continuing with TMI, for the rest of the retreat I will try to replicate that, and hope sometime after (a week? or a month?) I will get back to TMI with a fresh mind, or something.

Oh, I also tried fire kasina on this retreat. My plan originally was to do a mixture of mahasi noting (mainly during the day) and fire kasina (at night when it is dark and it is easier to get afterimages), but I have done no mahasi noting and only did fire kasina the first few days, because I got very frustrated. The first half of a fire kasina sit goes fairly well, I get a very bright orange dot to follow for a good while. Since it is orange and not like, blue or purple, it must be mind generated and not retinal burn, right? That's interesting, and it is enjoyable to follow, somewhat. However, half way through the sit, I stop getting the orange dot and instead just get a diffused blue mist that is vague and there is no dot, even if I stare at the fire for 5 minutes. I don't know why this happens. I have heard Ingram talk of the "murk", but this is happening on like the second half of my second fire kasina session, which seems way too soon to enter murk territory, and I don't even know if it would be that anyway. Also, I think the diffused blue mist originates from the body of the oil lamp I am using, as it is a orange/amber/gold color and seems to leave a blue afterimage, that then changes shape. I think, it has been a few days since I experienced it.

If I take a slow deep breath, like fully filling my lungs over the course of 5 seconds, then hold it for 7 seconds, and breath out over 10 seconds, I get sensations similar to having done wim hoff breathing or other similar breathwork, and my vision changes. If I'm staring at the fire, the lamp will change shape and the chimney will disappear, and everything else in vision will disappear, with there basically only being the fire mainly, as the lamp is vague in my peripheral vision. If I do this with my eyes closed, I will get a bunch of vibrating static on my eyelids, like TV snow. It seems this might be good for insight meditation, but taking deep breaths like this have made me go unconscious temporarily before, so I don't know how much I should do it and I don't know if it causes brain damage.

The interesting thing though, is despite the low dose of fire kasina, I would at bed time see relatively vivid colors on the back of my eyelids. Also, when I use my crystal ball for kasina, if I'm lucky (which usually I am not lucky) I get a large blue orb as an image, and the orb is also blue, but then I can't get anything from it, then at bed, long after I haven't looked at the orb really, I will get the blue orb kasina behind my eyelids anyway. Like thanks, kasina, for hiding during the actual meditation then coming out when I'm trying to go to sleep, lol.

Going to sleep, I also got a creepy sense of a presence in the room, and I was afraid to open my eyes, then when I did fall asleep I dreamed of breaking nobile silence to talk to people about the creepy things I was experiencing in order to ground myself. I felt better in the morning.

This post is a lot longer than I thought. Hopefully future posts can be recounted in fewer words, though I did cover a month of activity.

tl;dr, I didn't meditate 5 hours a day and my concentration got worse, leading to me meditating even less. I did a little vipassana that was a mostly neutral and not eventful experience, minus the interest of my sense of self being behind myself when I look for sensations on the back of my head. A guided do nothing meditation went wonderfully, but doing the practice on my own went poorly. I started a self lead retreat in which I was able to get to 5 or more hours a day except for work days, and since I am getting nowhere in concentration multiple people are recommending I temporarily try something different than TMI, so I am going to try metta primarily for the rest of the retreat. I might try do nothing or fire kasina randomly as I feel like it, if the urge comes, or crystal ball kasina (works better in the light than fire kasina).

Also for people who don't know anything about TMI stages, stage 4 is when you overcome strong dullness and gross distractions. Strong dullness is sleepiness, and I only deal with that in the morning, otherwise I'm fine and it isn't much of a problem. Gross distractions is when more than half of your attention is on a distraction rather than the meditation object. I have this frequent experience of watching the breath in the background, but the forefront of my mind is thinking about whatever random thing it wants to think about at the time. I need the breath to be the primary thing and the thinking in the background, or not at all.

Stage 5 you increase the overall power of mindfulness through body scanning, so your mind is powerful enough for stage 6, where you subdue subtle distractions, attaining single pointed stable attention on the meditation object. Stage 7 is effortless stable attention, and I'm not sure beyond that as I haven't read that far.

I am not sure how often I should update. I probably will after the retreat. I want shorter posts than this in the future, so maybe more often, but in the moment, it feels like I have nothing to say until I sit here and end up typing so much. We'll see. Thanks. This is where I'm at as of February 6th, 2024
Adi Vader, modified 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 10:36 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 10:36 AM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 291 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
If you are interested in Mahasi style practice, his instructions are available in his own words across multiple books. Some of these are free to download.

​​​​​​​A paid book is The manual of Insight. Though it goes beyond only the techniques and instructions.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 2:42 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 2:42 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for the recommendations. Looks like that will take a while to read but I'll see what I can do
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 2:52 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 2:52 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 339 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
The instructions themselves shouldn't be more than 8-10 pages iirc.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 6:06 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/7/24 6:05 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
What is this glitch of going to post something, and it just instead takes me to the front page and deletes my post? That was a lot of wasted time. It's happened more than once

It's good to know the instructions are only 8-10 pages long. I guess that would be the meat of it. I wonder what the other 745 pages are about

I had another good metta session today. I'm thankful I can generate metta now, as I was totally dry of it before just recently. My teacher Ollie Bray gave the advice of, imagine a button, and if you press it it will make someone you wish be instantly filled with happiness, and ask yourself if you want to press the button and why, and the answer should come as a feeling, and that feeling is metta. It worked for me instantly and now I don't even need to imagine that, I seem able to just generate metta out nothing sometimes, though I still use phrases and visualizations of various kinds to support it, until it is strong enough to just bask in

I still mind wander a lot doing metta, but where as in TMI it feels frustrating and unproductive, it still feels productive during metta because I can still feel the metta and it feels healthy

At first the feeling of metta had a harsh iron or penny "taste" to it. That's weird to say, I don't know why it was like that, but now it has smoothed out and feels more natural

During my session though, the memory that I am getting a new phone tomorrow made a pleasant feeling arise. As far as I can tell from Daniel's book, that would be metta's near enemy, desire, right? What do I do about that? Ignore it? Is it bad to feel joy from something material? I've always had mediocre outdated phones all my life, and this will be my first flagship phone (an s24 ultra), so I'm excited about it

That said I do notice the downsides of getting such a phone. Like last night I was highly conflicted about whether or not I should use a screen protector. A screen protector would make it more reflective and lower the screen's natural anti reflective qualities, and I hate seeing myself in my phone screen. On the other side, having the screen get scratched would be miserable. I spent a whole hour thinking about it and calculating the likelihood of it getting scratches, and if I could go without a screen protector, or if I would regret that decision, and I still don't know. So there is suffering involved, but the joy seems to outweigh the fear in theory, but maybe it doesn't and I just don't notice. Getting something so expensive and fancy feels like a good way to get insight into dukkha

I also started reading about MIDL. Someone told me some people who struggle with TMI go to MIDL and find success there, so I hope it helps. It reminds me of the 6 R's so far

If MIDL and TMI really doesn't work, maybe I was just meant for Mahasi noting, since as far as I understand, it can recruit your over thinking mind on your side and use it as an object of getting insight. I just fear doing dry insight though, as I don't know if I can handle the potentially strong dark night that could cause, not having the refuge of samatha and jhanas to cope with. My entire life has been a huge existential crisis about death and not existing, and when I first got into meditation I couldn't even look at the words "no-self" without feeling horrified, so I feel I am ripe to literally explode from dark nights. As such, I'm conflicted. I suffer a lot and want an end to suffering, so I want to make progress on the path, but I don't want to become a casualty to the process

I don't know if I'm a desirous type, aversive type, or ignorant type, and if knowing would help me know what would be best for me. Remembering my young childhood, I really enjoyed fun and pleasure, so I feel like I was a desirous type, but in middle school I became very depressed and critical, so that seems like an aversive type. I haven't fully recovered from the devastation middle and high school did to my personality, so maybe I still am. But I also tend to spend the vast majority of my days, especially then, in my imagination as someone else living a different life, as my personal characters I draw. So that's a lot of ignoring real life. Also I play video games and watch a lot of youtube, so all the seems ignorant type to me. I also am clumsy and bad at gaining skill, which feels like ignorant type but I could be wrong. As such I think I lean ignorant type but maybe I'm way off

Also I'm cursed to just make long posts, I guess. I do so on the other forum I use and because of it no one reads my posts, lol. I also type long messages to my friend and they often say tl;dr. So I'm sorry. Maybe the people here are more patient about it, though

I hope this post sends and doesn't delete itself again
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 8:30 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 8:30 AM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What is this glitch of going to post something, and it just instead takes me to the front page and deletes my post? That was a lot of wasted time. It's happened more than once

Yes, the DhO software can be glitchy. I suggest copying and saving your posts before clicking the "Publish" button. Save the copied post to a text editor. That way, you can easily re-post the deleted comment if the glitch nails you again. You can also do the reverse - create your posts in a text editor and then paste them here.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 12:38 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 12:34 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I'll start doing that. Also I didn't mean to post the same thing twice. It lagged and didn't post so I posted again, then it came out twice, it seems

Also I'm getting a lot of advice on reddit. One thing says that joy creates concentration more directly than just trying to create concentration, or concentration creating joy, so I guess I need to take more pleasure in my meditation sessions. Unfortunately thinking gives me pleasure too, though, so maybe that is the problem and why I do it so much. I need to associate pleasure with concentrating somehow. The association is there a bit but my mind still prefers thinking
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 12:36 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 12:36 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I deleted the second duplicate post for you.
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 1:24 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 1:24 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
It sounds like you have not really settled on a meditation practice. Choosing one thing to do for at least a few weeks is often helpful. As you have a teacher, I would ask them, and then just do whatever they say. If it doesn't work, you can ask the teacher why the thing they suggested is not working. 

One of the goals of meditation is to reduce confusion, including confusion that we didn't even know was going on. If we ask the mind to switch from one exercise to another, it tends to stay confused. 
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 1:52 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/8/24 1:52 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 339 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
The Woofy Hermit
Also I'm getting a lot of advice on reddit. One thing says that joy creates concentration more directly than just trying to create concentration, or concentration creating joy

I've found that it sort of compounds. Concentration creates joy, and concentrating on the joy creates even better and more pleasurable concentration.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 12:48 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 12:48 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
Finished self lead retreat. Overall it was worth it because I unlocked decent metta and increased my drawing productivity multiplicitively, since I had it in my schedule to draw between meditation sessions. My schedule I formed had about 7 hours of meditation a day in it, but I maxed out around 5 or 6, usually because I couldn't wake up on time or felt compelled to go to bed early. Then it dropped dramatically to 2ish hours on days I worked, and went back up to 3ish hours on the last few days. So in that respect it is kind of lousy and not as intense as I had hoped, and I didn't get my highest hopes granted, but that's to be expected with the intensity I did. I'll just try to focus on the wins I did get.

It is extremely hard to stay focused at home and to cut self off of distractions completely, and it requires a lot more will power. My teacher said doing self lead retreats are notoriously hard, but are less hard when you've had some experience with residential retreats. I've never done a residential retreat yet. If I can find a ride, I'm thinking of trying the Bhavana Society in April, May, or July. We'll see what happens. I am scared though and it makes me avoidant, mostly fear of traveling, social anxiety (despite nobile silence but being in the presence of others is rough for me), and fear of not adjusting to the schedules and rules of the retreat well. They make you do chores, which is fine, I'd like to help, but I have this fear that they'll ask me to do something and I won't know what I'm doing and screw it up, or do a bad job and get in trouble.
-----
I just did a 30 minute meditation and for the first 15 minutes did metta, then switched to the breath. I tried something new, of switching my object of attention to be my body during the pause between the end of the out breath and beginning of the in breath (the other pause seems non existant because I start the beginning of the out breath imperceptibly fast after the end of the in breath)

Doing this, I think I had stage 4 focus like, 60% of that 15 minutes, which is significantly better than what it has usually been. Actually, it was more like 80 or 90% until I got excited that I might have found the secret and started thinking about wanting to tell you all

I've heard this from Joseph Goldstein a long time ago but never really tried it, then heard it again from the youtuber Sam Roff recently and wanted to see if it would help

They say nothing is really going on at the pauses so your chance of getting sidetracked is highest there, but I think it helps me because it resets my intentions everytime I make the move, and after setting an intention I can follow along for like 4 or 5 breaths usually. If the intention I set is the same one I sat last though, it doesn't seem to count, but since it is different intentions it wants to work

I remembered another thing I developed on my own that seemed to help me in the past too, that maybe I should try more, and that is to consider the usefulness of my distractions. Instead of just labeling them, I think whether or not it was beneficial to me to think that or get sidetracked by it. Was this thought really necessary for my wellbeing? Was this thought so important it had to happen now instead of outside the meditation? Sometimes the answer can be yes but then I set it aside to think about more after the meditation, but most of the time it is no. I don't know if others think this is a good idea, it seemed helpful to me though

Hopefully with more practice, and also getting better at adding in intentions to be aware of subtle distractions and be metacognitively aware of what attention is on at any given time might be the way I conquer stage 4. I hope it works out
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 1:09 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 1:09 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I remembered another thing I developed on my own that seemed to help me in the past too, that maybe I should try more, and that is to consider the usefulness of my distractions. Instead of just labeling them, I think whether or not it was beneficial to me to think that or get sidetracked by it. Was this thought really necessary for my wellbeing? Was this thought so important it had to happen now instead of outside the meditation? Sometimes the answer can be yes but then I set it aside to think about more after the meditation, but most of the time it is no. I don't know if others think this is a good idea, it seemed helpful to me though

This is an interesting idea but I'd personally be reticent to do it. It would introduce a lot of extraneous "stuff" into what is meant to be an observational process focused on whatever the mind brings up. It could cause a lot of thought loops that could then derail the mediation itself. Your idea of doing this evaluation after a meditation session makes more sense in my view.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:33 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:33 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
This is an interesting idea but I'd personally be reticent to do it. It would introduce a lot of extraneous "stuff" into what is meant to be an observational process focused on whatever the mind brings up. It could cause a lot of thought loops that could then derail the mediation itself. Your idea of doing this evaluation after a meditation session makes more sense in my view.
Okay, thanks for the insight. I'll try to see if it works after the session
thumbnail
Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 7:09 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 7:09 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
If I can find a ride, I'm thinking of trying the Bhavana Society in April, May, or July.

I'll be out by then, but DM me and I can probably help you get a ride from like DC or Winchester emoticon
The Woofy Hermit, modified 2 Months ago at 2/13/24 8:38 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/13/24 8:38 AM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I'll be out by then, but DM me and I can probably help you get a ride from like DC or Winchester emoticon
Thank you, that'd be much appreciated!
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/8/24 10:26 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/8/24 10:26 AM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
Still meditating daily. After about a week of metta I went back to the breath, but have meditated between 20-60 minutes a day as a compromise on taking a break people suggested. Near the end of February and early March, my concentration started to improve slightly again, as it occasionally does, but my last two primary meditations it has gone back down, continuing the cycle of going nowhere.

Today I talked with my meditaiton teacher. They suggested trying real time check ins where I monitor what my attention is doing in real time instead of just checking on what happened the last few seconds like the book suggests. These can last for a minute or however long seems useful, then after that, go to the breath again and notice the introspective awareness and intend to have it as long as I can, and try to notice when it starts to fade and see if it can be opened up again, and if not, do another real time check in.

My current problem is I do check ins and they give me some introspective awareness at first but then they just stop working, so hopefully this helps. We tried it in a short guided meditation and it seemed to do well, but I'll have to see how it does over more time.

He also said I could do mindful reviews, but unlike the book suggests, they don't have to be 30 minutes. Just a minute or so a few times a day or just have a short reflection on the last hour or so every hour, whatever works. Mindful reviews is what TMI suggests in one of the appendix where at a point in your day, you sit for 30 minutes and go over everything that's happened since your last review and give it retrospective mindfulness, and notice if there was any times where your mindfulness collapsed and caused problems. I never really did them for long because sitting for 30 minutes to do that seemed tiring and not very useful, but knowing it can be shorter makes it easier to want to do, because it doesn't  seem like something that would take 30 minutes to do.

Something that might be some progress though, is one day in February, and today of all days, I feel kind of blissful, which is something that used to happen a lot in 2017 but stopped, and it feels very nice to feel nice like this. I don't know how often it will continue to happen or how long it will last. I also feel very sad, because Akira Toriyama died and Dragonball is my favorite thing there is, so that is shocking and a huge downer, but the good feelings started when I was talking to my meditation teacher.

I am also trying various nootropics and hoping that helps my cognitive abilities, and if they can help my mind recover from having quit effexor again. Long ago nootropics seemed to help heal my mind from the damage of psychiatric medications so I wonder if that has anything to do with anything. Effexor is a terrible medicine if you want to not be stupid and have a half decent memory. It also causes withdrawals so bad they cause hospitalization even while tapering, so...

There's my update for now. Hopefully I start to see improvement with this advice and other things.
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 5:07 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 5:07 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I had an insight regarding my meditation while meditating

The normal instructions of just bringing your attention to the breath and to bring it back without judgement anytime your mind wanders does not work for me at all. I've done that so much and it never gets to a point where it stops wandering

I think I figured out that I need to pay more attention to how my mind works instead, and by that I mean, really try to understand what introspective awareness feels like, what not having it feels like, and very importantly what it fading feels like. On the surface I think I know what having it and not having it feels like, but maybe I could know it even better, and what I do not really know is what it fading feels like. I will have it and focus on the breath until suddenly I don't have it and am not, and I do not realize this has happened until later, and I can't know the exact point of when things went wrong. It is just there or it isn't, there doesn't seem to be an inbetween, but I need to discover this inbetween state or create the possibility of it so I can notice it and correct

Having my primary concern be learning about introspective awareness instead of trying to focus on the breath seems like it might be a lot more productive, and it is having introspective awareness that would naturally likely lead to having continuous focus on the breath and not getting caught in distractions. Learning how to make introspective awareness continuous is one of the main points of stage 4, but it doesn't really say how to do that other than to intend to be constantly vigilant, but either that intention does nothing for me or I don't know what it means and do not know how to make that intention properly. More specifically trying to just know the state of introspective awareness at any moment sounds like a clearer or better intention than placing attention on the breath and intending to be vigilant of distractions, because the mind just fails unlimitedly at the latter one. The breath can still be an anchor but it won't be the part of experience I highlight anymore while I attempt to see if this new way of thinking works at all

I sure hope it does. I've been stuck a really long time and finally having a breakthrough would be so relieving. Maybe others complete this goal of understanding introspective awareness from just following the traditional instructions, but my mind doesn't seem to work that way and I need to think about it differently, I think. Inb4 none of this works or makes sense and I'm still where I am in the next 3-4 weeks
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 6:06 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 5:38 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Nice !!

​​​​​​​When I started meditation I didn't do noting practice or being aware of the breath or any of that stuff. Where I really started was just bringing awareness to my senses, bringing awareness to my experience, bringing awareness to awarness. I would get tangled up in thought, relax and return to body-mind awareness, over and over and over again until I got better at it. 

Specifically and this is important, just being aware of whatever I was naturally aware of, not moving attention to any specific place in the body, not trying to force attention to be any shape or depth, just this awareness of experience. 

I got to momentary concentration and pretty far into the deep end of meditation with just this practice and investigation of the three characteristics. (Investigation of the three characteristics can be just noticing in awareness the phenomenological qualities of impermanence, suffering and no-self : see MCTB chapter on three c's)

​​​​​​​Noting can be added, awareness of breath can be added but fundamentally just relaxing into this experience such that we can be aware of the senses was all I really needed then and all I really need now. 

To what degree does it feel like you can surf your attention? Even for a split second? 

What you have described is good practice. This kind of meta cognitive awareness of practice itself is important. Being internally aware of how practice needs to deepen is great stuff. 

Some people get to where they need to get to with noting or following the breath but for me personally just coming into direct awareness, even in just the basic way I was able to back then, really blew those practices out of the water. They did nothing for me but make me kind of tense and annoyed.  

I do encounter from time to time people who have similar issues with these practices but sometimes people don't have this intuitive "I can just be aware of things" insight. It's very difficult, for me at least, to point people at that if they haven't intuited it themselves. 

​​​​​​​Reading through your old posts... You seem to have already intuited this. What has stopped you adapting the practice?
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 6:09 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 6:09 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
Thanks, that's encouraging that I may be on the right track

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by surfing attention though, so I don't know if I can or not

Thanks for sharing your practice
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 6:33 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 6:33 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
"know the state of introspective awareness at any moment"

​​​​​​​What does this mean to you? How would you do it? How does one practice that?
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 7:29 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 7:29 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Can you feel, hear, see the shape of your experience? When a thought arises what does it arise into? Can you be aware of the thing that thoughts arise into? 
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 8:22 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 8:22 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
By knowing the state of introspective awareness, I mean knowing if it is there or not and how strong. Introspective awareness being a meta awareness of what the mind is doing and whether or not it is what you want it to be doing. I've gotten to the point where I can actually have the breath in my awareness for a whole meditation sit, but it is while my attention is primarily attending to thinking about stuff more than it is clearly observing the breath sensations, and it seems that isn't very useful. I want to put all of my attention on the breath, but despite that intention, introspective awareness collapses and I go to just thinking about any random thing for minutes at a time, not realizing that I'm not doing what I want to be doing anymore. Some imply this is supposed to just solve itself after a while but it hasn't solved itself for me after 7 years. Culadasa says this continuous attention comes from having continuous introspective awareness, but just intending to be vigilant at all times is not developing it for me, so I thought I'd pay more mind to the sensations and experience that make up this introspective awareness itself and if there is any way to develop it to be constantly there for at least the duration of a meditation sit by learning more about it directly instead of passively from just trying to focus on the breath. I still have to do more meditation sits and experiment if whether or not this is doable or a viable idea, but I tried it in the session I thought of it and it seemed like it might be more productive than what I was doing before. I think I need to learn how my mind works better if I'm going to get it to develop in any direction, rather than just trying to develop it on its own, because right now my mind cannot stay on a task fully for more than a minute without it finding something else to do instead, no matter how much I want it to just do the one thing I want it to do. I guess that might be due to no-self and what not, but despite no-self, evidently other people train their mind to achieve super human levels of concentration and perceptual clarity so the experience of getting your mind to do what you want it to do exists, and I don't know how to do it

And being aware of the thing thoughts arise into? I am not sure but I think that may be describing what introspective awareness is like. With introspective awareness it feels like watching the contents, actions, and state of the mind from outside the experience itself, and you have the ability to instantly correct for any mistakes. When introspective awareness is lost, it feels like you are trapped inside your mind or are your mind, and despite experiencing everything, you don't really know what is going on except a really narrow slice of experience, so you can't correct for anything because you can't see what is wrong

Introspective awareness spontaneously arises on its own, and completing stages 2 and 3 of TMI, it does much more frequently than when I started meditating, but it still constantly fades as often as it comes up, and doesn't last very long. Sometimes I start feeling like I'm getting better and the gaps will shorten, but then it always goes backwards again every time

Sorry for the long answers, I don't know if I explained myself well. If you are introspectively aware, you would be aware of the movements of attention and know what your attention is on at any given time, so if that is surfing attention, then I can only do it for short periods of time before become unaware of what my attention is on again. I hope meditating on understanding the quality of this knowing/meta perspective/whatever it is lets me learn how to maintain it indefinitely, so I can then go back to giving all my attention to the breath (or whatever), and thoughts will be just happening in the background instead of sucking me into them and me following and getting involved with them
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 8:47 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 8:47 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Ok, alright...

I have no experience with Culadasa, I have no opinion on or knowledge of his work or system. I have no experience at present with people who found his system useful for the elimination of suffering. They certainly may exist, they just don't speak to me personally about it. 

I've gotten to the point where I can actually have the breath in my awareness for a whole meditation sit, but it is while my attention is primarily attending to thinking about stuff more than it is clearly observing the breath sensations, and it seems that isn't very useful.

It actually is useful if you have the right approach. So if you wanted to hyper focus the attention on the breath then we would be in the world of concentration practice, if that's what you want to do then I am not the guy you need to talk to, if you want to cultivate insight then there may be ways in which I can help. I am suggesting that you notice you are aware, you're aware there is breath, you're aware there is thoughts, you're aware you're getting distracted. It seems obvious now from what you've written that you are comfortable sitting and doing that yes? At least sometimes or for stretches of your experience. 

With introspective awareness it feels like watching the contents, actions, and state of the mind from outside the experience itself, and you have the ability to instantly correct for any mistakes. When introspective awareness is lost, it feels like you are trapped inside your mind or are your mind, and despite experiencing everything, you don't really know what is going on except a really narrow slice of experience, so you can't correct for anything because you can't see what is wrong

But can you notice that you are trapped inside the mind? If one could notice that then one would by definition be in a sort of meta awareness. When do you find yourself in either experience? From my point of view you could be describing a lot of different things. This shift could easily be defined by the change in feeling tone between the first and second nana. It could be the difference between having momentary concentration and not having it. When you have this style of awareness you're talking about, how do you get it? Or does it just happen?

What happens if you just relax and let whatevers happening happen? If you try to do nothing but stay relaxed? This isn't so much a practice instruction as it is me trying to gauge what that experience is like for you. Try do this for 5-10 mins before you next reply. Tell me what you notice, how does it feel, etc. 

Have you worked with exploring the three characteristics of your sensate experience? Noticing what thoughts, emotions and experience are made of? How they come and go? How they move through experience?

What does correct for mistakes mean to you?

​​​​​​​Are you familiar with this: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/3-the-three-characteristics/
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 9:11 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/10/24 8:49 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Sorry for the long answers, I don't know if I explained myself well. If you are introspectively aware, you would be aware of the movements of attention and know what your attention is on at any given time, so if that is surfing attention, then I can only do it for short periods of time before become unaware of what my attention is on again. I hope meditating on understanding the quality of this knowing/meta perspective/whatever it is lets me learn how to maintain it indefinitely, so I can then go back to giving all my attention to the breath (or whatever), and thoughts will be just happening in the background instead of sucking me into them and me following and getting involved with them

Noticing how we repeatedly get sucked into thoughts and coming to see that those thoughts are impermanent, dissatisfactory and not self is the practice. Over and over and over again. Deeper and deeper. 

When you are aware of attention and then you get knocked out of that awareness. What knocks you off? When you get knocked off can you get back on the board and start surfing again? How relaxed can you make that process? Instead of trying to be attentive can you let attention sort of do its thing? How early can you notice the thing that is or has knocked you off? How early in the thought chain? What thought is it? Is it the same thought or different ones? How does the thought feel? Where in your experience does it arise? What is it made out of?

Intuitively it seems a bit to me like maybe you are grasping too hard at concentration and reacting too much to the arising of distraction. When you notice you're distracted is it possible to just relax and return to attention?

​​​​​​​This may take some teasing out. Do a bit of practice before replying. 

*If we're doing concentration, or certain approaches to concentration then we have to suppress the mind wandering, which I find rarely helps it. If we're cultivating insight then the mind wandering becomes an object of practice, of inquiry, of exploration. Through careful application of awareness, relaxation and gently engaged phenomenological exploration we can let go of the habitual tendency towards mind wandering.
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 6:19 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 6:19 AM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Woofy, you mentioned having a teacher further up in this thread --- are you still getting advice from a teacher? 
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 4:08 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 4:08 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I have no experience with Culadasa, I have no opinion on or knowledge of his work or system. I have no experience at present with people who found his system useful for the elimination of suffering. They certainly may exist, they just don't speak to me personally about it. 
I see. I guess it isn't too common around here. It's where I started, though

It actually is useful if you have the right approach. So if you wanted to hyper focus the attention on the breath then we would be in the world of concentration practice, if that's what you want to do then I am not the guy you need to talk to, if you want to cultivate insight then there may be ways in which I can help. I am suggesting that you notice you are aware, you're aware there is breath, you're aware there is thoughts, you're aware you're getting distracted. It seems obvious now from what you've written that you are comfortable sitting and doing that yes? At least sometimes or for stretches of your experience. 
I'm actually interested in both. Culadasa says he teaches samatha vipassana meditation, which I guess is using strong concentration to gain insight. He says that is a lot less painful than doing dry insight, which I am afraid of what a dark night might do to me if I do nothing to mitigate it, but I'm also interested in trying just insight based practices more as well and maybe cultivating both, I'm not sure. Ideally I would get strong concentration first, but I've had difficulties getting it to develop past the brick wall I've ran into.

And yeah, right now it is easy to sit and meditate at least once a day, often multiple.

But can you notice that you are trapped inside the mind? If one could notice that then one would by definition be in a sort of meta awareness. When do you find yourself in either experience? From my point of view you could be describing a lot of different things. This shift could easily be defined by the change in feeling tone between the first and second nana. It could be the difference between having momentary concentration and not having it. When you have this style of awareness you're talking about, how do you get it? Or does it just happen?
While trapped inside the mind I don't think I really notice it, once I notice that is the case it naturally releases. Maybe feeling strong negative emotions can be an exception but that might be a different experience entirely, I'm not sure. And that is interesting, I've read about the nanas but am not sure how to tell if I've ever been through any of them. I feel like seeing thought as thought and body sensations as body sensations is obvious and the default, and don't understand what it means to not see things like that, but I am skeptical I could be in nana territory already so feel I just misunderstand what it actually is describing. Maybe the state of introspective awareness is just the first or second nana, or not, I don't really know. I've read Daniel's book and listened to him talk about in in various podcasts but it is still unclear to me.

What happens if you just relax and let whatevers happening happen? If you try to do nothing but stay relaxed? This isn't so much a practice instruction as it is me trying to gauge what that experience is like for you. Try do this for 5-10 mins before you next reply. Tell me what you notice, how does it feel, etc. 
I tried this for 10 minutes and for probably the first 8 and a half minutes I seemed to have a more steady natural introspective awareness. The breath eventually made itself known without me trying to deliberately pay attention to it, but in less detail. The mind constantly tried thinking but I would notice it doing that in 1-2 seconds and it would either trail off and end or finish the thought and pause temporarily before trying to think of something else and it would repeat, but towards the last minute I didn't catch it so fast and was just kind of sitting there thinking and didn't realize it until the bell went off. Most of my thoughts were narrating what was happening on thinking of how I would reply after finishing sitting there. Overall it was mildly pleasant, I think, though at one point started to feel an uncomfortable tension underneath my thighs and had some sort of discomfort in my tearduct, but it didn't bother me enough to do anything about them and I eventually stopped noticing them.

Have you worked with exploring the three characteristics of your sensate experience? Noticing what thoughts, emotions and experience are made of? How they come and go? How they move through experience?
I have tried this a few times. I am not sure if I'm looking for the right things or doing it right, but whatever I am doing when I do it, I try to notice any of those three qualities in my experience, usually whichever seems the most obvious at the moment but imperamenance is probably the default. I sometimes do this in daily life as well. Overall it is much less than my usual meditation though, but I often wonder what might happen if I tried it more. I probably would try it more if I wasn't afraid of being unprepared for a dark night, though I don't have a good idea of how much is usually required to get to that point, but I gather is varies wildly. I wonder if there is any number that is common for people, though.

What does correct for mistakes mean to you?
To go back to doing what I consciously intended to do originally instead of being pulled by unconscious intentions to do something else that displaced the original intention

Are you familiar with this: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/3-the-three-characteristics/
Yeah, I've read through that before and have heard Daniel talk about it a lot, and read Mahasi Sayadaw's version in his practical insight meditation book. I don't think I can accurately diagnose them in myself though, but sometimes I wonder if I've had an Arising and Passing Away experience. Typically I highly doubt it, but when I first started meditating in 2017 things became pretty great for a while and I had 2 experiences where I felt intense energy start coursing though my spine and it startled me. I usually just consider it quick experience of piti and that I might have accidentally stumbled into the first jhana for a couple seconds, but Daniel has said it can be as little as a ziiiiiip, so I don't know what to make of that. The next 7 years of my life would be incredibly miserable, but I think it was due to external circumstances rather than dukkha nanas, but I don't know if they could have been mixed together, though it should be known I was pretty miserable before this too, with a temporary half a yearish of being uplifted and relieved after following Culadasa's meditation instructions.

Noticing how we repeatedly get sucked into thoughts and coming to see that those thoughts are impermanent, dissatisfactory and not self is the practice. Over and over and over again. Deeper and deeper.
I see. Lately I have been noticing the lack of benefit the thoughts are having, I don't know if that counts as dissatisfactoriness. And when I have strange and spontaneous thoughts I just think "this is the 'just-happeningness' of the mind". I don't feel I'm getting deeper lately but maybe I just don't notice it yet, though there is probably a way to lock into it more, as I'm more concerned with how stable my attention can be than that, though I am interested in that and want to get to it, I just don't know when would be good.

When you are aware of attention and then you get knocked out of that awareness. What knocks you off? When you get knocked off can you get back on the board and start surfing again? How relaxed can you make that process? Instead of trying to be attentive can you let attention sort of do its thing? How early can you notice the thing that is or has knocked you off? How early in the thought chain? What thought is it? Is it the same thought or different ones? How does the thought feel? Where in your experience does it arise? What is it made out of?
For a while I don't know why I get knocked off, but it seems to just be my mind is obsessed with thinking, and the collapsing of introspective awareness happens the same moment a thought my mind deems interesting pops into it. It's hard for me to actually see thoughts enter my mind because while I am aware there is usually silence, then losing awareness happens in sync with the silence being broken. There are some exceptions though. Though yeah, I usually get back on board quickly, sometimes I never get back on board for the rest of the meditation though, but for it to be like that is less common. How early I notice it varies. The 10 minute sit I did by your recommendation I would notice it very fast. It can be 1-2 seconds or it can be like 15-30 seconds, or a couple minutes. It depends on the day and I am not aware of the causes and conditions that make it one way or the other. I think it is often different thoughts as my mind thinks many different things and can go on tangents of tangents of tangents, though sometimes my mind is so thrilled by a thought it will think it over and over again many times, or alternatively be so disturbed and upset by a thought that it might also obsess over it in similar fashion. When I don't have introspective awareness, thoughts feel like they are right directly in front of whatever the sense of me is, like almost touching close, and narrow perception where the thoughts take up most of my experience. I only can infer this through memory though, I can't experience this and be aware at the same time. If I am aware, it feels like there is 5-6 inches between me and the thoughts and there are more things going on in experience than just the thoughts. I don't know what you mean by what is it made out of.

Intuitively it seems a bit to me like maybe you are grasping too hard at concentration and reacting too much to the arising of distraction. When you notice you're distracted is it possible to just relax and return to attention?
For a very long period of time and even most of the time now I do just relax and return to attention, since most instructions say to do that, and that negatively reacting to distractions is counter productive. Having done this for so long without it working has started to frustrate me lately though, so sometimes I feel discouraged when I'm still in the same place or worse after weeks, months, and years of trying to follow these instructions. If I have a negative reaction though I try not to identify with it and just realize it is something that happened and I can't really do anything about it, just a part of the just happeningness.

*If we're doing concentration, or certain approaches to concentration then we have to suppress the mind wandering, which I find rarely helps it. If we're cultivating insight then the mind wandering becomes an object of practice, of inquiry, of exploration. Through careful application of awareness, relaxation and gently engaged phenomenological exploration we can let go of the habitual tendency towards mind wandering.
I thought this too about insight practice, which is why I was thinking of switching to it as a last resort since it seems to make use of my very problem. It's just I interpret insight practice as noting and I get conflicting instructions on how to do noting and it can be a somewhat agitating and frenetic practice I think. I never understood why you have to mentally state every experience you have as well, as the focus on the labeling part of noting becomes a priority over just experiencing what your attention is on, so there is something I am missing. It seems you do insight practice without noting though, so maybe that would be more useful. Or even continuing to work on my stable attention but have a more insighty attitude towards distractions, however one might do that. I was actually recently made aware of a system called MIDL and I wonder if that is that, actually. I forget what it stands for.

Woofy, you mentioned having a teacher further up in this thread --- are you still getting advice from a teacher? 
Yes, I actually just talked to them last Friday. What they said to me is partially responsible for my recent realizations I recently talked about. They made me feel as if though I haven't been actually focusing on developing introspective awareness this entire time even though I thought I was, so I considered it again and realize I need to make that my whole focus and change my approach. They gave instructions on how to do it, but some of the stuff I said were my own ideas, or at least insights into more of what I think they are wanting me to do. They mentioned getting a feel for what introspective awareness feels like, which maybe I take for granted because I thought I know already. I also thought what better way to know than to also intimately know what isn't it, so I follow their instructions for generating introspective awareness, then instead of making attention on the breath the forefront of my experience, I want to make the experience of introspective awareness the forefront, and see what it looks like when it is waning and eventually gone. They said to renew it anytime I feel it is fading, but my problem is I can't feel it fading because it is just there then is completely gone and I never notice it fading. I am unsure if it fades and I just don't notice it, or if it just instantly disintegrates, so I'm trying to figure that out. In the few meditations I've tried since I started looking for this it seems either or can happen, but when it fades it fades very fast and it feels really lucky to actually catch it, and catching it renews it automatically on its own. I don't know if that is normal, they kind of made it sound like you'd see it fading then do something about it, but I either do or don't see it and either don't have to do something about it or couldn't have done something about it anyway. I'm thinking of sending them an email with these new developments but I also if I should just keep experimenting and tell them when I talk to them again in a few weeks.

Thanks for everyone's interest. I hope I answered everyone's questions properly. Sorry I had to get to them the next day
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 7:43 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/11/24 6:25 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
While trapped inside the mind I don't think I really notice it, once I notice that is the case it naturally releases.

This is the beginnings of great practice

Having done this for so long without it working has started to frustrate me lately though

I probably would try it more if I wasn't afraid of being unprepared for a dark night

Can you see there's a bit of a cognitive dissonance here. You want to progress but you're also afraid to. 


 It's just I interpret insight practice as noting

Noting is just an approach to beginner level practice, though it can be useful deeper down the rabbit hole, it may not be right for you right now. Trust your intuition, work with your awareness, you don't need to do noting if that kind of labelling bugs you, especially if you can already be aware of things quicker than you can label them.  


My advice to you if you want to continue doing this is:

Continue to work with a teacher periodically. Continue to log here but where possible keep things about your phenomenological experience of practice. Day by day, week by week, whatever works. 

Keep exploring this whole relax and be aware thing. It's pretty fundamental stuff and your intuition seems to be shoving you in that particular direction anyway. 
The Woofy Hermit, modified 1 Month ago at 3/13/24 7:54 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/13/24 7:54 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
Oh, thanks for your response. I didn't get an email for some reason so I didn't see it until now

I will try to be phenomonological if I can remember to and if I can find the words to describe things. I assume that means just describing things as directly as possible without using other terms that might have ambigious meanings? I apologize in advance if I fail, it might be hard

Today during my meditation I was dealing with embarrassment and fear of judgement a lot so tried asking myself "what is afraid of judgement" among other similar questions. I don't really got a clear answer to that though other than maybe whatever "this" is, the center of my experience or whatever. I guess really there is just a bunch of sensations happening but it feels like they are happening to something, whatever is experiencing them. Daniel says sensations experience themselves without an experiencer, or something like that. Forgive me if I butchered his words. But I don't experience things like that right now, though I try to see what it means for a sensation to know itself. It feels like something in another location is aware of the sensation though, but I guess that's just a sensation and an illusion, but it is just an intellectual knowledge

I do think relaxing more and just letting things happen might be useful, though hoping it doesn't just lead to nothing but being lost in thought. So far it sometimes feels like it lets awareness be there instead of accidentally pinching it away

We'll see how things go
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 3/13/24 8:23 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/13/24 8:19 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
 Great
Today during my meditation I was dealing with embarrassment and fear of judgement a lot so tried asking myself "what is afraid of judgement" among other similar questions. I don't really got a clear answer to that though other than maybe whatever "this" is, the center of my experience or whatever. I guess really there is just a bunch of sensations happening but it feels like they are happening to something, whatever is experiencing them.

Learning to relax and soften in the face of difficult emotions is key to investigating dukkha which is one of the three characteristics.

Continue to notice the sensations happening, continue to notice the something, get distracted, relax and back to noticing.

​​​​​​​You might notice all the sensations are flickering in and out (Impermanence). You might notice that ultimately no matter what you do or think you're doing they actually just happen on their own and continue to happen on their own (no-self).

So it doesn't have to be like anything. That's important. We work with relaxing and feeling things the way they are. Now, if you start going off on a tangent of "oh it should be like this" or "oh it's not like what I read about" ... just feel that too, be aware of that, notice it and back to just relaxed awareness. You don't have to do much in the way of effort but the effort you exert needs to become sort of masterful. One is aware, that's relatively effortless, a big whirlwind of thought comes by and wraps us up and wheels us around, there is a tiny amount of masterfully applied effort to just gently relax and return to awareness when this happens. 
The Woofy Hermit, modified 12 Days ago at 4/9/24 1:17 PM
Created 12 Days ago at 4/9/24 1:17 PM

RE: woofy's log

Posts: 30 Join Date: 8/16/21 Recent Posts
I haven't posted as frequently as I thought I'd start because there isn't much to say, but I'll try to summarize how it's going

Not much discipline in daily life. My awareness is low and I kind of just go where my mood takes me. In the moment it feels like doing what I want to in the moment, but in retrospect there is a sense of just happeningness to it, especially when I reflect on how it isn't aligned with my higher ideals. Concentration quality in meditation is about the same, maybe a bit worse than it has been recently. Anytime I get lost in thought I just acknowledge how that happened on its own, so noticing no self I think

Healthygamergg got a new meditation lead person, and they lead a guided staring at a wall meditation. It was very trippy for me. Despite keeping my vision still on a particular point, the wall would have the sense that it is moving in a direction continuously, but it doesn't actually go anywhere. I can only think to compare it to a shepherd's tone I think it is called, the thing where it sounds like it is infitely getting deeper or higher

If I would take a slow deep breath and hold it about 7 seconds and slowly let go, my vision would warp radically and I'd not be able to see the wall anymore and instead see rainbows, then weird stuff idk how to describe, then my vision slowly comes back. It also makes my body tingle. All of this seems like impermanence, so I try to notice or acknowledge how I can never really notice experience standing still. I also wonder if  the visuals are some sort of conditioning wanting to dissolve. The ones caused by the deep breath is probably just physiological somehow, but what I get otherwise.

During that meditation I also saw images in the wall, mostly of my characters, and they'd even move or do stuff. It was entertaining. I feel I recall Daniel saying somewhere seeing images or faces in say textures in the wall or floor is a sign of one of the insight stages, but I don't remember which one. I think it was Knowledge of Mind and Body. I've always had this ability for quite a while, but it went away after being on the medication invega. I've stopped it a few months ago so I guess it is coming back

Basically my mind is unruly but I just try to relax and keep noticing that fact and what it is like, maybe wonder how it is happening or why it is happening like that. I hope I described my experience adequately. It records where I am at in this moment at least