Ashley's Practice Log 3

Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/17/24 5:30 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/17/24 5:30 PM

Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/17/24 5:31 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/17/24 5:31 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Back into the head/mind stream in today's sit. Back up into or near that dreamy state. I will sort of dip into it and then back out again, is what it feels like. No distance between "me" and sensations, anything I see, hear, feel, think, etc. A deep calm. Sensations are like little eddies that spin up and then subside.

Three sits today, 45 minutes each.

No sit during the day, just my poor planning and time management.
Tried to meditate before bed, did for maybe 40 minutes before I fell asleep, would have sat longer but the sleepiness got me.

50 minute sit early afternoon, another 1 hour sit late afternoon. 

Gentle noting, more labeling early on, less or no labeling later on. Relaxing into the sit. I feel very good even though it seems as though nothing much is happening during the sit. I do notice subtle shifts in concentration, and subtle shifts in where attention is focusing during different parts of the sit... For some strange reason?? I got really frustrated and really averse to the sound of a helicopter. For literally no reason at all, not a clue why I had such extreme irritation at a helicopter that I just wanted to go away. Later in the sit, much more relaxation and lightening of body and mind. No more anger-triggering helicopters... There were a few times when it felt like attention is not focusing on anything in particular, and I just notice broad, vague, space... No-particular-thing-ness... Until something specific pops out again. 

1 hour sit. Just relaxing, noting, going along, all sense doors, trying to just note thoughts as thoughts, NOT go into trances even if nice-feeling, noted a lot of thoughts about work, and occasional thoughts about practice, sort of "how is this sit going", checking in with the sit type thoughts. Nothing that difficult or negative during the sit, in the middle I lost the flow of noting, readjusted, resettled and continued on.

But off-cushion, though!! I feel a mind freakout coming on, I am getting so easily and overly irritated, frustrated, annoyed, by some particularly annoying people in particular. Like, gonna tear my hair out if this annoyingness does not LET UP. 

Obviously I know that if there are any practical solutions to make any particular situations better in daily life I can do those things, but aside from that... letting thoughts and emotions just be what they are... can be difficult. I see the trap of getting stuck in this stuff, and I know not to do that. But, there is this feeling of, "There is ALL this extreme irritation and feeling bothered and annoyed and frustrated, so what do I DO with it?" There is that wanting to DO something with it, DO something about it. The feeling is - I can't just let it be, right, I've got to DO something about this. I CAN'T just let it be, and I MUST judge myself for feeling this way, etc. etc.

I guess I already know what to do. I know well enough to let thoughts be thoughts, emotions be emotions, however powerful or captivating. It's obvious what to note, obvious that I can just note it, obvious that I don't HAVE to get sucked into it.

So. May I bravely experience this moment and wisely avoid reactivity!!!!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

50 minute sit. Very strong concentration today. Thoughts not totally gone of course. But quieter and more in the background. Noticed a few subtle shifts in concentration. Maybe 40 minutes in, there was a very pronounced and sudden onset of uniform tingling in the face and hands. Not so subtle!

There is normally a sense of something solid/stable in the center, like my vantage point from which I view/sense all other sensations. There was a loosening up of this sense of a stable thing in the center, sometimes seen as just more shifting and changing sensations, not solid and stable, after which I'd almost feel like I'm moving/bouncing around with attention, like I am located "there" wherever the sensation is that attention is currently noting/noticing. Sometimes it would "stabilize" again as though I'm back at the center point "here" watching "there". I watched this solid/stable sense of being at this center point, because it kind of bothered me that it felt so stable and permanent, so I watched and it would sort of "break up" sometimes into component sensations.

Very good, very relaxed, concentration very strong, very good sit. 

Feeling much better today off-cushion also. No getting overly irritated and annoyed.
Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 5/18/24 9:13 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/18/24 9:13 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 555 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Nice Ashley!! Youre logs are awesome, well written, good practice 
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/18/24 6:58 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/18/24 6:58 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Thanks! I'm doing my best to recall more detail when I can.
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/24/24 5:16 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/24/24 5:16 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Okay okay okay. Not such a good week. Sleep troubles, a little sprinkling of work stress, schedule disruptions, a bit of sadness, flat mood, tired of stuff, a bit frustrated, a tad overwhelmed. Once again just wanting everyone to leave me alone and stop needing me for a long while and just give me some peace and quiet for a long long time.

I also had a sudden inability to stay seated during meditation. I was having a hard time sitting more than 15-20 minutes and just wanted to go do other stuff. I thought maybe I just felt too uncomfortable on the cushion, physically and mentally, and I was just unwilling right now to experience it. But I think it's also that - if I feel that meditation is not going very well, like I'm very distracted, bad practice, etc... Then I feel unwilling to commit a whole hour to bad practice, feeling that it is a waste, I ought to spend that hour doing something else, and I should wait until I can do better at it. 

I just need to sit and practice anyway, let it be bad, if it turns out that way. One thing meditation has shown me is how stupid it is to have the mindset of "waiting for the perfect conditions". That shit ain't never gonna be perfect, things never really settle down, and if they do it's not for long, I will never "arrive", there is no "just get through this day, this week, this month, this whatever, and THEN everything will be all good!" 

Sometimes, I sleep bad, and feel sad, and feel unhealthy, and feel overwhelmed and busy. Sometimes, I sleep well, feel happy, feel healthy, and things go smoothly. Things change. Then they change again. Then they just go and keep on changing. And through it all I attempt to live and practice.

The last few days I have had some good sits again. Yesterday's sit in particular was surprisingly full of peace, much peace, lots of peace. Peace with everything! Good and bad. Relaxation, but not falling into trances. Very still. Good concentration. A few "falling asleep" head drops earlier in the sit because I was kind of tired, but I felt more alert later on and had some of those "brownout" kind of moments where things briefly fade or drop away but I remain alert, no head drops and not sleepy. Little to no restlessness.

I have also noticed that some of my reactive patterns seem to have gone *poof*! or, maybe they'll be back someday who knows. But I often notice long after something happened that essentially no internal reactions were triggered. Not indifference! Just not any of that unnecessary emotional reactivity, and believing thoughts, and suffering, which it turns out always just got in the way of simply "getting on" with things and handling/dealing with whatever just happened.

Other reactive patterns remain, and some of them feel so stubbornly entrenched I don't know if they'll ever go away. I wish I could make them go away.

I am also reading "Wake Up to Your Life" by Ken McLeod!
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 5/24/24 8:51 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/24/24 8:51 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounds like you might have had the common experience of touching on EQ, life and maybe less time practicing causing a falling back into reobservation, and then finding EQ again.

One thing to consider: practice becomes really solid when you sort of secretly wish Reobs would happen so you could get a good look at it. In other words, "I don't mind having a sit where I want to get up after 15 minutes, because then I'll be able to really study my reactivity and know it so well that I won't get duped again!" emoticon  

Not something to be egotistical about, but rather more bravery plus respect for reobservation plus a lot of faith in yourself and your practice. 

Definitely keep consistent daily practice going.
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/25/24 8:34 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/25/24 8:34 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
One thing to consider: practice becomes really solid when you sort of secretly wish Reobs would happen so you could get a good look at it. In other words, "I don't mind having a sit where I want to get up after 15 minutes, because then I'll be able to really study my reactivity and know it so well that I won't get duped again!" emoticon

Thank you, I will keep this in mind! Back to regular practice... maybe (I'll do my best!!)
Ashley K, modified 1 Month ago at 6/6/24 6:27 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/6/24 6:27 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Have been feeling bad for being so easily annoyed, frustrated with family this week, for wanting a break and some quiet...

1 hour sit today. I remember I sensed vastness. Sensations were clear enough... But it was like the sit itself and the direction of the sit felt very vague, like I wasn't going anywhere or progressing in any way.  I was not putting any pressure on the sit to go a certain way or for certain experiences to arise, and I wasn't judging this feeling of vague direction/progress as good or bad. It's just what the sit felt like.

More feeling kinda flat off cushion and some extra ill will off cushion. So, practicing letting these feelings and associated thoughts be as they are, letting the ill will be as it is without suppressing or trying to fix. Wow even after all this time though it is difficult not to want to try and fix or change the ill will in some way. I guess because it's 30+ years of habit.

1 hour sit.

40 minute sit. Really really long pauses between breaths for some reason, was very noticeable.

Feeling all the same familiar "problems" bothering me again. Feeling like everything in my life is just a huge time and energy suck, some days I struggle to get any meditation time, kids and work expand to fill every nook and cranny of my life, I thought I had it all figured out, funny to see I obviously did not.

When I get all worked up about stuff, I can see clearly it is the same old stories coming up again, I can see and feel clearly what happens if I believe the thoughts, and I can observe the reactions in the body and the mind. So, not exactly getting lost in it. Easier to be at a more mindful level, even while bothered or getting worked up. So, that's good, at least.

50 minute sit. In this sit I just felt... tired, tired, tired. Not sleepy tired - tired of applying techniques and methods, tired of using effort, tired of trying to get somewhere, tired of trying to achieve anything. I'm tired, tired, tired of it.

What I am not tired of, is sitting for meditation. That's all I want to do is, just sit. I just want to just. Sit. Nothing else, none of that effortful technique applying, none of that trying to get somewhere, none of that trying to achieve anything. None of that energy!! None!!! I don't even care what does or does not happen in a sit, I just want to sit. If nothing happens, fine. If things get crazy, fine. If things are calm, fine.

I actually feel a huge relief, after feeling all of that. It is okay to feel tired of stuff, it is okay to just sit. What feels right is just accepting that this is how things feel and how things look right now, tomorrow or next week they'll look some other way, and I'll accept that too, just the way it is. I can accept and work with exactly the way things are, right now. And that's good, because it's ALWAYS right now! haha.

I'm feeling more relaxed and less stressed about meditation practice. I want to relax the pressure I put on myself to get in enough practice time.

2 sits, each 45 minutes. Sits felt like forever. Took a long time to settle, weaker concentration. But at least in the last 10 minutes, actual good practice (noting without losing mindfulness).

Problems... it is like, at one moment, a "problem" is just totally non-existent, no thoughts or feelings about it whatsoever... Then the next moment, whammo blammo! The problem is completely reborn, all over again. Then the mind is busy with thinking about it and trying to figure out how to make it go away again. So I am seeing this happen.

Feeling mildly depressed again. For today's sit I was so sleepy that I did a combination of standing and walking to stay awake.

50 minute sit, 30 minute sit later, then 30 minutes before bed.

Two 30 minute sits today. Second sit much more relaxed with stronger concentration compared to recent sits. Feeling more aware and mindful off-cushion. Feeling particularly aware of my tendency to default to a pessimistic or sour attitude about certain things.

Lately I've been searching around to see what kind of meditation centers/Buddhist centers are around my area. And I happened to find that there is a small Buddhist temple for women only 5 minutes from my house, run by a thilashin trained in the Burmese tradition. Maybe one day I will go and check it out. It is free to visit and meditate and to speak with the nuns there.

I think I sat for 50 minutes today. Things are still feeling kind of vague, like I said in the beginning of this post, like direction/progress is not clear and I am not sure what things will even look like next day or week or month. I mean, the reobs-y stuff is obvious, maybe I'm just still floating around in that space mostly and hence the vagueness of direction/progress. It is alright.

45 minute sit in the morning, 50 minute sit in the afternoon.

Pretty much same. Noting, labeling if I need it, dropping labeling if I don't, and just feeling around for emotions, urges, but also noting sights, sounds, body sensations... In many recent sits, my attention has definitely wanted to hang out more with external sensations, but today's sit went a little more inward again. I could very clearly note urges, those quick, nearly instant, pre-verbal sensations, that come just before a narrative thought/subsequent story-making and associated sensations... I felt that this is the clearest and earliest I have ever noticed these urges.
Ashley K, modified 13 Days ago at 6/29/24 9:52 AM
Created 13 Days ago at 6/29/24 9:52 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
I have not had a formal sit in two weeks. I had some good sits early in the month, but work became incredibly busy and stressful after two people on my team left. Then a third person left, from another team who had specific expertise I needed for a project... So I was suddenly so busy and stressed trying to figure a bunch of things out.

Thinking mind seemed so so so strong, like just constantly thinking, thinking, thinking, resisting, resisting, resisting, controlling, controlling, controlling, I am sure the work stress helped fuel that.  So generally, I felt like a mess mentally, so many things were bothering me, I was sleeping poorly, which then left me too tired to do so many of the things that would actually help reduce the stress and mental chatter.

So, my focus was on working hard and resolving the work issues, while supporting my health and sleep as much as possible, and ultimately, I was successful, and now the peak stress period is over.

I thought earlier this month about what I would do if I already had stream entry. I decided I would probably:
1. Relax
2. Enjoy the fruits of my practice
3. Continue practicing

I did indeed feel more relaxed, not in a rush - not looking to delay things, but I'm just not in a rush, you know? 

And, amidst everything I just sort of lost all interest in practicing and logging. I mean, I didn't totally lose interest. It just didn't seem like a big deal, temporarily. I was wanting to do more formal practice again, I just didn't feel a huge push to do it.

I did finally have a formal sit yesterday. It was pretty good, easy, I mean I didn't forget how to meditate, note, concentrate.

This "break" from practice was no big deal. I don't think cramming in practice was the thing for me to do this month. The way this month went is just the way it needed to go. All was well and all is well.

It is a good thing that a bit of that crazed seeking energy has gone. Like I said above, now I will:
1. Relax
2. Enjoy the fruits of my practice
3. Continue practicing!

See ya next time, with hopefully many formal sits to log again. And I hope all is well with all of YOU!
Ashley K, modified 7 Days ago at 7/4/24 6:50 PM
Created 7 Days ago at 7/4/24 6:50 PM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 94 Join Date: 4/14/23 Recent Posts
Had another sit today, easing back into practice. The break gave me perspective, though. I can still energize practice and commit to daily, consistent practice... But I am bringing a relaxing, calm, no stress energy to practice, not a frenetic, hectic, seeking energy that might drive things for a while, but will just burn me out eventually.


There is good in the bad and bad in the good. It's okay to be right here where I am right now the way things are just as they are. It really is okay. No matter how good or horrible.

Thinking of things being good and being bad... I am not currently feeling the pull of getting attached to things going well, being good. Like when, ahh, finally, there is peace and this and that problem is resolved and everyone is getting along and no one is hurt and things are mostly pleasant, that tendency to cling to it and be scared it will go away again, the tendency to try and get it to stick and stay and remain, is not currently there. Yes I do enjoy the pleasantness, but without a sense of clinging and needing it to stay or increase.

In my sit today, I did notice early on feeling a little anxious, antsy, with a drive to do and accomplish and be busy. Later on in the sit, I could see things as just "movement" regardless of what it was. Look at all this movement. Look at all this bubbling up. At one point I felt that I could sense the deep pain of being a "somebody".  And then the openness and peace of no longer being the particular "somebody" of that moment.

I got sick later and felt miserable but was glad I had already gotten a sit in.

Still a little sick but sat anyway. I sat just under an hour. Started out very difficult to keep sitting, it felt very boring, not wanting to settle and concentrate, not wanting to sit with good posture or keep still. Breathing feeling kind of labored, uncomfortable, uneven. I kept sitting. At some point things just settled, it was easy to sit still, breathing calm and easy and smooth. Near the end some triggers and story making, I could see that and not get duped, just more sensations. They passed. Then I just settled into noting without labeling. I had the sense that each moment is its own thing. Not tied to the next moment. There cannot be any knowing of a moment except when it is already here and now. There cannot be knowing/experiencing of past or future moments.

I sometimes do the classic, worrying about whether I am doing meditation "right", or doing enough, worrying about how to make progress. When I noticed I was doing that again today, I imagined it is like planting an apple tree, and then sitting and worrying about how to make an apple. But, you can't just sit down and make an apple. You can just make the conditions right such that the apple will eventually appear on the tree, and then have faith that the apple will show up. So. Stop trying to make the apple. Get back to practicing.

I sat just under an hour again. Nice to see the dramas of the mind and thinking and not have to do anything with it. Just watch it. Don't have to think about it, or own it, or believe it, or "ANYTHING" it. Maybe the most I need to do is just note it.
I have kind of been incorporating the spirit of "just sitting" into my sits. Kind of a combo of "just sitting" and "noting". Maybe they can't be combined, I mean, if I'm noting, then I'm not *just* sitting... well, anyway, remembering "just sitting" makes it easy to not get lost in or duped by anything that comes up. And, things can be noted if it feels necessary.

Sick again last night, very little sleep. Tired and busy all day. I did attempt some practice before bed.

Today's sit was very witnessy feeling. I had some "I" thought early on during a string of thoughts, something like, "I can handle that" and I just had a feeling like oh, that's just a thought. I felt that the "I" is very fickle. And pretty much just made up to fit into the narrative of the moment. And changes all the time based on the particular story/narrative. So I watched how the "I" that appears is very fickle, conjured up moment-to-moment in this and that narrative, this and that stance.

I had a sort of buzzy shift after which my whole body felt solid and stable like a statue, head to toe, and subtle fuzzy/buzzy sensations in my face and head and hands. Noting continued pretty much the same after the shift. I tried to get as close as possible to thoughts/urges arising within. At the end I was seeing a lot of very subtle manipulation going on. It is so quick and subtle, easy to miss unless you're watching for, well, at least a whole hour.
shargrol, modified 7 Days ago at 7/5/24 7:33 AM
Created 7 Days ago at 7/5/24 7:33 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Good stuff! emoticon
Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Days ago at 7/9/24 4:10 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 7/9/24 4:10 AM

RE: Ashley's Practice Log 3

Posts: 2921 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"tried to get as close as possible to thoughts/urges arising within. At the end I was seeing a lot of very subtle manipulation going on. It is so quick and subtle, "

Indeed very quick these are! I describe these as "mind jerks" as they jerk from here to there and have some sense of urgency to them. URGEncy.