Where abouts am I?

Michael J Cassils, modified 9 Years ago.

Where abouts am I?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/12 Recent Posts
Hello!

I'm looking for a bit of assistance or verification to get a sense of where I am on the maps. A few weeks back I discovered one of the nastiest tricks the ego can play is to convince you it doesn't exist. That bubble popped and I lost my drive to practice for a while. My current state is that I simultaneously feel confused and like everything is okay and I can just keep going. I have a vague sense that there would be some benefit to figuring out where I'm at so I can level set and move on.

Background - I've been meditating inconsistently for ~6 months. Prior to this little break I was doing 20/30 minutes a day of insight practice using noting. There are two things which have been a constant nagging factor. 1 - I'm diagnosed ADHD inattentive type and on psycho-stimulants (concerta, 27mg) 2 - My interest in meditation came from a chain of events starting with psychedelic experiences. I noticed drugs are mentioned in the Dharma diagnosis thread which puts that fear basically to rest, it sounds like I crossed the arising and passing away during a trip and that kicked this whole thing off. My concern with the conerta is related to the idea of artificial concentration being not suited for the job at hand.

Present - Here are the notes from my last sit (this morning, 25 minutes)

Started with breath counting from 1-10 for five cycles
Staying with the breath is almost effortless, small thoughts bubble up in the pause between breath but they seem in the background and don't interrupt the counting
I notice the body settling and relaxing
After completing the 5th counting cycle I shift focus to my belly and start noting
Mind is quiet except for the notes
There is calm and contentedness
An internal hum arises, unsure of what to note it I observe it
the hum passes and I go back to noting the breath
Little pulses of internal sound arise - 3 quick pulses of hearing - eardrum twitching?
Continue to observe the pulses, there were 6-7 total groups of pulses
Calm and contentedness have passed away
Tightness arises in the belly and shoulders
Unpleasant feeling tone arises - anxiety?
Thoughts start bubbling up - concerns of 'doing it wrong', thought of making this post, wanting help, etc
Noting becomes intermittent/unsustained
Attention jumps around between sensations - whatever it lands on collapses
Switched back to breath counting, still possible to get through cycles from 1-10 but the background is much louder

At that point my timer went. I opened my eyes and everything stopped. My mind almost immediately dropped back to a calm/quiet state.

And that's it! I've been reading through a bunch of threads here and think I'm getting a sense of what's going on but I'd rather not make assumptions. Presumably part of me wants some validation as well.

I appreciate any help!

Michael
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Andrew Stewart, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Where abouts am I?

Posts: 52 Join Date: 2/27/12 Recent Posts
Heya Michael,

there's not much I can offer in assistance, but I'd just say that it seems to me that in some sense, there isn't a real difference between "artificial" attention and "natural" attention, from the perspective of using attention as a tool to observe and to note your experience. I would guess that one of the reasons psychedelics often tip people over the Arising and Passing is that such drugs often turbo-fucus ones attention on itself for a very prolonged period.

I guess the main drawback of having substances aid in your attention is that it might not help develop one's own "focus muscle", so that once you are taken off the substance, you wouldn't have as strong an ability to focus as you used to, and have to build up your concentration from whatever level you had before the aid of such substances, and deal with whatever problems that might entail (frustration at feeling you've gone a step back maybe). just an idea
Michael C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Where abouts am I?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/12 Recent Posts
Andrew Stewart:
Heya Michael,

I guess the main drawback of having substances aid in your attention is that it might not help develop one's own "focus muscle", so that once you are taken off the substance, you wouldn't have as strong an ability to focus as you used to, and have to build up your concentration from whatever level you had before the aid of such substances, and deal with whatever problems that might entail (frustration at feeling you've gone a step back maybe). just an idea


That's my main concern. I'll continue to work on concentration in addition to insight and then if someday I decide to go off the meds I presume knowing the territory will make it easier to rebuild whatever concentration is lost. Perhaps I'll take some time off from the real world and take a drug break to see how that impacts the concentration side of my practice.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Where abouts am I?

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Hello, Michael,

It's easy to undertake this practice and then get into a game of second-guessing oneself where meds are concerned, but the consensus I've gotten from Daniel's book and from the moderators on Kenneth Folk Dharma is that if you are on meds for a reason and you're doing well, just do your practice and keep the meds as they are. Chris Marti is fond of saying "Meditation is not medication" (he's had to remind me of this more than once), and Daniel mentions a yogi he knows who is bipolar, highly attained, and diligent about taking his meds. People without ADHD, who need no meds, have as much trouble attaining access concentration as someone with ADHD either on or off of it, I'd say--in other words, your medication is not allowing you to gain "false" access concentration, so don't pull that one on yourself. If you were on heart medication, you'd need to keep taking that, so treat it the same way. Maybe at some point in the future when you have a few path attainments you can reassess (or maybe not), but you don't need to fiddle with it now.

As for where you're at--it's quite possible you're in the Dark Night if you passed the A&P either with or without chemical assistance at some time. I hear hums, ear ringing, and even jackhammer heartbeats at different points on the path; all of these things are normal when we get concentrated. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself, however, is stop second-guessing yourself on the cushion and just note whatever is arising as it arises, no matter how pleasant, unpleasant, annoying, confusing, or disappointing it may be. You can record it after the fact in a practice thread, and over a period of time a recognizable pattern will emerge.

Laurel
Michael C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Where abouts am I?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/12 Recent Posts
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Hello, Michael,

It's easy to undertake this practice and then get into a game of second-guessing oneself where meds are concerned, but the consensus I've gotten from Daniel's book and from the moderators on Kenneth Folk Dharma is that if you are on meds for a reason and you're doing well, just do your practice and keep the meds as they are. Chris Marti is fond of saying "Meditation is not medication" (he's had to remind me of this more than once), and Daniel mentions a yogi he knows who is bipolar, highly attained, and diligent about taking his meds. People without ADHD, who need no meds, have as much trouble attaining access concentration as someone with ADHD either on or off of it, I'd say--in other words, your medication is not allowing you to gain "false" access concentration, so don't pull that one on yourself. If you were on heart medication, you'd need to keep taking that, so treat it the same way. Maybe at some point in the future when you have a few path attainments you can reassess (or maybe not), but you don't need to fiddle with it now.

As for where you're at--it's quite possible you're in the Dark Night if you passed the A&P either with or without chemical assistance at some time. I hear hums, ear ringing, and even jackhammer heartbeats at different points on the path; all of these things are normal when we get concentrated. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself, however, is stop second-guessing yourself on the cushion and just note whatever is arising as it arises, no matter how pleasant, unpleasant, annoying, confusing, or disappointing it may be. You can record it after the fact in a practice thread, and over a period of time a recognizable pattern will emerge.

Laurel


Thanks, that's helpful! Sounds like the game plan will be to just keep on, and keep writing in my sit journal. If any second guessing arises on the cushion I'll note it and move on.