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adam's practice journal Adam . . 10/25/12 4:05 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Tommy M 4/16/12 12:19 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/16/12 12:28 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Tommy M 4/16/12 10:02 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Magada Rtinguindin 4/16/12 5:36 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Tommy M 4/16/12 10:13 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/16/12 12:24 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 4/16/12 1:44 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/16/12 5:02 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Tommy M 4/16/12 10:09 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/17/12 6:38 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/17/12 9:25 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/17/12 1:53 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/17/12 7:31 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/18/12 12:50 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/18/12 6:02 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 4/18/12 6:40 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/18/12 8:49 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/19/12 6:39 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/19/12 5:57 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/19/12 8:50 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/21/12 11:13 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/22/12 11:22 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/23/12 6:37 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Nikolai . 4/23/12 6:59 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/23/12 7:14 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/25/12 1:58 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 4/25/12 5:52 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/25/12 6:44 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/26/12 4:57 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 4/28/12 2:44 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/5/12 2:50 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/5/12 4:52 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 5/6/12 7:13 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/6/12 9:04 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 5/7/12 5:44 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/7/12 6:51 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 5/7/12 10:16 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/7/12 11:04 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 5/7/12 11:38 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 5/7/12 1:59 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/11/12 2:24 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Nikolai . 5/11/12 4:16 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/11/12 4:54 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/19/12 5:00 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 5/27/12 5:05 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 6/6/12 12:34 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 6/6/12 5:15 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Brian Eleven 6/6/12 5:35 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 6/6/12 6:15 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 6/15/12 9:50 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Jon T 6/15/12 10:34 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 6/15/12 11:13 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 6/18/12 12:00 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 7/28/12 8:22 AM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 7/31/12 10:00 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 8/9/12 7:06 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 8/24/12 3:18 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 8/28/12 9:26 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 9/5/12 3:27 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 9/5/12 8:01 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 10/25/12 4:15 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" aaron . 10/25/12 5:44 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" End in Sight 10/25/12 6:16 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 10/25/12 6:28 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 10/25/12 7:02 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 10/27/12 3:14 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 11/3/12 6:30 PM
RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode" Adam . . 11/16/12 10:17 PM
adam's practice journal
Answer
10/25/12 4:05 PM
after having experimented with plenty of techniques and given at least a few of them a sincere try i think the type of practice which is most effective at affect reduction is the 'direct mode' practice as described by Kenneth Folk. i'm not totally sure that what i am doing matches up perfectly with that - I am essentially fixing attention on affect as it is felt in the body and not allowing it to invade my thoughts or way of perceiving things. i suppose i differ somewhat from the practice as described by him in that i do not treat the grounding of emotions as an end in and of itself but as a means to dissolving the bodily aspects of those emotions, which happens of its own accord if they stay 'grounded' and my attention remains fixed on them without creating any new affect.

i have been way more inspired to practice than ever before because of how fast progress has been going and how clear the whole path is when you do this type of practice. getting motivated and sincere about practice has perhaps been my weakest point as a meditator, this sort of practice is great for me because in watching affect dissolve one can see very clearly how the development of this skill will lead to the end of suffering.

after the big surge of progress over the last 4 or so days i seem to have slowed back down a bit, there were a bunch of energetic effects over a few days which left my body feeling soft and open as opposed to the previous tension which i was grudgingly being equanimous towards. perhaps there is a sort of 4NT cycle of insight in which one sees suffering and begins comprehending its cause, then goes through a period of energetic realignment which leaves one with a reduced amount of suffering. this is approximately where i am in this hypothetical cycle, i would guess that the next part of the cycle would be simply seeing the subtler levels of affect present, back to the first truth.

my chest and gut feel very open and comfortable for the most part although there is some tension present, the head tension is a bit coarser, they are all becoming more clearly dhukkha. I will continue with the method, which seems to be the same no matter where you are in the 4NT cycle, which is maximizing equanimity and awareness of stress in the body - next step is realizing that the suffering present is in fact intentional tension.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 12:19 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Sounds like you may be overcomplicating things for yourself here.

Would I be right in thinking that you're trying to eliminate affect entirely? If so, there are better ways to go about this than what you're describing since the method you're using will not lead to the outcome you're looking for. Just watching emotional states pass away does not lead to the end of suffering, you need to find out how and why they arise in the first place so that you can cut the chain of dependent origination at it's root.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 12:24 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
I've noticed that it is really important not to put the cart before the horse and call the affect tension before you really see that it is tension. you have to just look at it as a sensation, once its cause is seen and you know it is tension that knowing will just translate into relaxing, but if you go 'calling' it tension before you really 'see' that it is tension you'll try and push it away because you are giving it the label of 'optional' before you can actually take the other option.

this practice is very much about what you *don't* do (consciously)

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 12:28 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Would I be right in thinking that you're trying to eliminate affect entirely?


yes

the method you're using will not lead to the outcome you're looking for


how are you so sure of this?

you need to find out how and why they arise in the first place so that you can cut the chain of dependent origination at it's root.


that is sort of what i am doing, being aware of the suffering as a sensation until it is clear that it is tension, by that i mean seeing that it is caused by ongoing intention (that part is sort of speculative as i can only infer that this is what is happening)

anyway what would you suggest instead

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 1:44 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
after having experimented with plenty of techniques and given at least a few of them a sincere try i think the type of practice which is most effective at affect reduction is the 'direct mode' practice as described by Kenneth Folk. i'm not totally sure that what i am doing matches up perfectly with that - I am essentially fixing attention on affect as it is felt in the body and not allowing it to invade my thoughts or way of perceiving things.


Sounds close enough that it's probably leading to the same state(s).

The key to direct mode, as I understood and experienced it, is the continuous directing and re-directing of attention to "ground" the affect. However, there is a subtlety here: the amount of "force" or effort or whatever that's required to get this result isn't always the same at all times. The more you try, the more affect you generate; so it's helpful to match the effort you exert with the effort that is needed to keep your attention working in the right way.

So, a practical suggestion: once you get good at this practice, see if you can progressively use a lighter and lighter touch, and yet retain attentiveness. (Don't hestitate to use a heavy touch when you need to, just remember that if your concentration is good, it may not be required, and if you stick with the practice long enough, you can slowly move to a lighter and lighter touch as your default.) That's what worked for me (though I didn't necessarily think of it in these terms at the time).

If you're examining what's pleasant and what's not pleasant, and seeing that more clearly over time, I'm confident that any reasonable practice that involves attentiveness will work, and it's just a matter of determining what plays to your strengths and life circumstances.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 5:02 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
thanks for the tip on lightness of effort, not sure exactly what to make of it, i think i was doing it intuitively already but i'll keep it in mind.
-

i started putting too much emphasis on trying to drain away the physical sensations of affect, what i really should have been doing is just grounding the subtle aversion which manifests all over the whole body, 'skin crawling'. the fact is if emotions are completely grounded they will just go away themselves, which i said a few times already here but was forgetting.

note to self - the experience of emotions as body sensations should be treated as the end in and of itself, even if i can't remember why this type of experiencing is pleasant.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 5:36 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy M.

I am Martin and I live in Scotland. I'd like to get in touch with you but I didn't manage to PM you. Can you answer this message to my e-mail address (verbeke_martin@hotmail.com)?

Thanks !

Martin.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 10:02 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
how are you so sure of this?

How else would I be sure of it?

that is sort of what i am doing, being aware of the suffering as a sensation until it is clear that it is tension, by that i mean seeing that it is caused by ongoing intention (that part is sort of speculative as i can only infer that this is what is happening)

It may just come down to a difference in the way we're describing things.

anyway what would you suggest instead

You may or may not be doing this already: See how craving and aversion are the same thing and come about in the same way, look at pleasant, unpleasant and neutral affective responses and see what causes them to arise. Pleasant and unpleasant are two sides of the same (imaginary) coin, neutrality is the potential for either to arise.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 10:09 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
the experience of emotions as body sensations should be treated as the end in and of itself, even if i can't remember why this type of experiencing is pleasant.

This is something which will likely occur if you practice well anyway, from this point you can begin to investigate what causes those emotions to arise in the first place and dismantle their underlying belief structures. The reason why this type of experiencing is so pleasant is because "I" am not involved, it is affect which gives rise to this sense of "me". Hope that's of some use.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/16/12 10:13 PM as a reply to Magada Rtinguindin.
Hey Martin, I'll drop you an email tomorrow. I just checked out your own practice thread but thought I'd respond in this thread quickly as it's 4am... emoticon

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/17/12 6:38 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
ok thanks tommy, i will try and finish working on this grounding skill before figuring out the causes of emotion, but in doing the grounding there is clearly some sort of development in terms of amount of affective experience. it's not just dissociation/disembedding but i don't really know what else it is.

-

Been in a good EE since last night, lots of natural wonder. the decision to focus on just the grounding seems to have really done its job, i will keep this up. i am finally beginning to get a grip on the altruistic idea of this practice, i can really see how this makes people around me happier. i don't really have much resistance right now, so i will take Jill's advice and switch up my pattern, no TV no distractions etc. will report on how it goes.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/17/12 9:25 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
the EE is still going strong. i didn't report on the sense of actual pleasure that has been building since last night as i assumed it would pass. it's still going, feels like the pure non-orgasmic third jhana pleasure that has been purged of coarse excitement, it is experienced throughout the entire body, even the head - something i haven't experienced before, and increases in intensity when sitting and when closing my eyes. the developmental potential of this practice is more obvious at the moment, when emotions can't invade mind-states due to grounding they can offer up no defense, and so they just pass away, perceived clearly to be unnecessary suffering.

the revelation that the grounding should be treated as an end in itself is really important, that seems to be what is driving me right now.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/17/12 1:53 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
the pleasure was obscured for a while, i was still aware of it but it was tainted with pain, mostly in the back around the top of the spine - which was where the pleasure seemed to 'originate', this was enough to make me prefer that the whole [apparently linked] sensation would go away. it persisted like this for a while and i kept trying to ground everything as i had been before. unexpectedly it seemed that the grounding was causing the pain, i remembered EiS's tip about using as little effort as possible, i eased up and the pleasure returned as it had been before.

i know some others have mentioned pleasure something like this - is this just a natural sensation in the body which is normally obscured? it seems fairly strong and constant and it is strange to think that it could be so totally obscured - but that last episode seems to point that way.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/17/12 7:31 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
i turned the effort down and just kept turning. mindstates were allowed to exist, depression, anxiety, doubt, they come up with their crushing convincingness.

i turn towards the intuitive self-distraction, watch some tv etc.

i realize i am being an incredible idiot and take a 5 minute sit. after 30 seconds everything is good... no, great, again.

note to self - too much is better than too little.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/18/12 12:50 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
big note to self: ground everything, everything, everything.

spent the last 5-6 hours in a state of witness, non-grounded, i was grounding every clear emotion but there was still a inner 'real' space. looking back i don't even know specifically which sensations i wasn't grounding, head? face? back?... i just know that i kept evaluating and thinking about my experience, some sort of emotional selfing mindstate. attend only to the feelings, only the body, if you start evaluating your experience you aren't grounding EVERYTHING, so it sucks. there really are only two mistakes in direct mode practice:

1. not attending to everything as a body feeling (too little grounding 'effort)
2. trying to attend something which is grounded and thus tensing up around it and trying to hold it still (much better mistake to make)

there is only one action in direct mode practice = ground. you don't have to think about it or make decisions or evaluate how good your experience is or whatever... just ground and ground... doing practically anything else knocks you out of direct mode... it's like Richard says - try to possess it as your own and it will vanish as quickly as it appeared... or something

more on this - you really can't be the wave and ride it. this means you can never fully see or understand all of experience if you are going to 'be' it. your head can't poke out of the water even to get a little glimpse, you have to put away the fear that things will go wrong without you watching it... be the sensations.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/18/12 6:02 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
ah ok, the inner space thing seems absolutely key. i think it is due to not grounding some stuff on the face, chest, and arms - the front facing stuff, the stuff that makes you think you are located somewhere and pointing in a certain direction. with continuous and complete grounding, which meant EFFORT, the inner space totally dissolved for a while. the most important thing to remember when dissolving the inner space is that you don't need to step out of your experience and look at it from the outside, resist the urge, bring it back to this experience here, resist, resist, resist each moment again.

i took a drive out to get a burger for dinner. i make this trip often, i used maximum effort (not meaning 'trying' but simply not allowing any effluent, no flowing out, no inner space) the whole time and it was amazing, the most striking thing was the moment i pulled back into my driveway and it was the same moment as when i left, there is normally a sense of coming back or having 'done' something, this time it was literally the same moment when i got back, it was really as if i had been unconscious the whole time, the only way i know that this wasn't the case was that i could recall the specific bodily memories of the trip.

i will continue with this cue of minimizing inner space/collapsing the distance between me and experience/being the sensations.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/18/12 6:40 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
I think I agree on a practical level with everything you wrote. It seems like you have the implementation of the practice down (how to ground, how to find unnoticed things to ground) pretty well. Just keep on doing it! Make whatever effort you need to make to keep it going as close as possible to 24/7. (Remember, my tip is to match the effort you make with the effort that's required at that time...at any particular point, it could be a lot of effort or a little. It's a fair assumption that, at this point, more effort is required than the amount that you would exert if you were just hanging out and not thinking about practice.)

By the way, do you currently have claim any MCTB path attainments? I'm interested in the interaction between paths (having or not having them) and whatever attainments come out of direct mode.

i know some others have mentioned pleasure something like this - is this just a natural sensation in the body which is normally obscured?


I think the normal human state just involves a pleasurable bodily experience. (Not in all cases though.) Don't know why.

? it seems fairly strong and constant and it is strange to think that it could be so totally obscured - but that last episode seems to point that way.


I had the same thought when I was working on uncovering and separating bodily sensory experience from affect. You dig for awhile, and it's a surprise what you find!

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/18/12 8:49 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
no path attainments. i was going by "josh r s" for a while =p... adam is my real name, i was going incognito (as josh) because i thought that some admin was on a mission to ban me as my accounts (i was here as 'adam' before i was josh) were getting locked, i was going to mention this when i made this thread but i was too embarrassedemoticon

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/19/12 6:39 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
anywaysss..
this morning was outside of direct mode for some time, constantly trying to go in but thinking that i had to deal with stuff, had to remain separated from experience, had to hang out in the inner space. the pull towards inner space was very conscious, i wanted to go there, in direct mode thoughts still happen but they are muted in a way, they are thought but they don't make 'inner sound' there is no space in which they echo around. this is scary because it seems like i can't think, and 'stepping back' to make sure that i can is the same thing as creating inner space.

this reminds me of my attempts with absorption concentration, you have to just do it, just keep inclining towards immersion in the experience, you can't step back and watch it or understand it because it is the opposite of stepping back

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/19/12 5:57 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
a bland day, i seemed to be grounding as effectively as i was previously, the inner space was intermittent. i don't know exactly what i was missing, as i assume that if i ground every mindstate to its affective feeling counterpart i will be totally without mindstate/totally without inner space/totally immersed in experience/directly perceiving. however i suspect that a continuity/momentum of total-grounding is needed to really create that closeness. the momentum doesn't have to be much - after about 60 seconds it kicks in, but during that 60 seconds you have to be actively inclining towards being the sensations, it won't do itself, you can't step back and look at the state you've created because the state you've created is the lack of stepping back and looking at it.

same realization different day, i will spend the next 3 hours with as close to continuous grounding as i can manage... seeya then dho

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/19/12 8:50 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
a good ~3 hours it was... eyes open, walking, sitting, standing... inclining towards the sensations, grounding away the inner space, silencing the introspection.

very content, lots of nice closeness, i noticed that my behavior even down to body language was much more harmless. the tick really is to keep from trying to figure out how to evaluate and how to feel about your experience, you just go go go, intense consciousness of the body, being the sensations, grounding the inner space and time, without looking back or looking around, looking back and looking around is the suffering. my normal instinct in practice has always been to do something, then step back and gauge the results as compared to a specific set of goals. this practice is basically awareness without any stepping back.

it's alot like holding an inflatable ball under water, you hold the attention at the sensations and keep it from bouncing back out and creating a witness. at one point the inflatable ball lost a good amount of air and only then did i realize just how nice it is when the ball is immersed. hopefully the ball will continue to lose air.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
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4/21/12 11:13 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
it's been ~3 days since a proto-blob has broken off and begun a life of its own, the bodily energy of emotions has been perceived clearly as bodily energy without any inner space or emotion. it's simply awesome. reading about this practice i thought it would just be a stepping stone that wouldn't be enjoyable in itself, but it certainly is. i highly recommend this practice, i don't think you need much qualification to do it, perhaps some concentration.

there is definitely more development going on, the grounding is becoming more and more automatic. there haven't been the usual daily momentary dips into depression or sadness which marked my practice up till now, simply because the space in which those things occur is grounded and is seen to be the result of misperceiving bodily energy (clinging? becoming?). i will continue in this vain until it seems that it takes absolutely no effort to ground absolutely everything (i actually think i am close to this point) at which time i will start figuring out the roots of the energy itself.

edit: scratch that last bit - if the emotions are totally grounded i don't even see a need to do anything else, i will keep my mind open however and see what i think when i get there.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/22/12 11:22 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
i've realized that the actual cause of direct mode is, rather than attending to the affective feeling, not attending to the mental aspect. i also realized - with the help of nikolai's recent HP post, that the most free and peaceful state i can currently attain is the state in which i am not attending to anything, so that is what i am now pursuing. i am currently in a full PCE - it is so interesting how my fingers keep reaching across the keyboard =] my hands seem huge and everything seems way closer to my eyes, i am really going to pursue this thing.

shinzen young's description of shikantaza - "Let whatever happens happen. As soon as you're aware of an intention to control your attention - drop that intention."

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/23/12 6:37 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
i started falling slightly off track with this, which was still almost all felicity, only problem was a lack of constant alertness. this lead to something that has happened before where after trying to "focus on nothing" and getting that lack of attention wave 360 degrees awareness thing, i start losing a solid way of practice and end up kind of drifting in thoughts a lot of the time. what then happened before and happened again is that i start trying to fabricate the 360 degrees awareness by widening and widening attention out as far as i can make it, but there is still a sort of contraction and tightness when i do this, its just wider.

nick gave me a good pointer on this one - the concrete 'thing to do' is to mash up the periphery visual field with all the rest of experience and make everything periphery, which is much different from widening the center until everything is center. when this is done you get an experience which i described a month ago (as josh r s) as follows:

So, what I've spent a pretty good amount of time doing is this: by trying to pay attention to everything at once, what I've actually been doing is widening the fabricated "edge" of attention. An image might help, the way I was conceiving of attention was that it was a sort of rubber band, you could push it outwards and thus pay attention to stuff everywhere or you could let it fall back inwards on its own. The rubber band was some kind of affective thing which I was pushing out so that it layered on top of everything, so that "i" was inhabiting everywhere at once.


to sum this up: i had a hard time dealing with the advice in the negative "don't do this" form which is how i interpreted the thing, as "don't focus," it led to losing a clear direction. this led to trying to find a way to practice positively "do this" which i could only find via mimicking the 360 degree awareness with fabricated 'wide attention.'

but, this is fabricated and the wrong direction, the actual the thing to do in the positive is make everything the periphery (not the center) by mashing the periphery with everything. this little trap of fabricating and mimicking unfabricated, automatic awareness is something to watch out for.

RE: practice journal - approximately "direct mode"
Answer
4/23/12 6:59 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
i started falling slightly off track with this, which was still almost all felicity, only problem was a lack of constant alertness. this lead to something that has happened before where after trying to "focus on nothing" and getting that lack of attention wave 360 degrees awareness thing, i start losing a solid way of practice and end up kind of drifting in thoughts a lot of the time. what then happened before and happened again is that i start trying to fabricate the 360 degrees awareness by widening and widening attention out as far as i can make it, but there is still a sort of contraction and tightness when i do this, its just wider.

nick gave me a good pointer on this one - the concrete 'thing to do' is to mash up the periphery visual field with all the rest of experience and make everything periphery, which is much different from widening the center until everything is center. when this is done you get an experience which i described a month ago (as josh r s) as follows:

So, what I've spent a pretty good amount of time doing is this: by trying to pay attention to everything at once, what I've actually been doing is widening the fabricated "edge" of attention. An image might help, the way I was conceiving of attention was that it was a sort of rubber band, you could push it outwards and thus pay attention to stuff everywhere or you could let it fall back inwards on its own. The rubber band was some kind of affective thing which I was pushing out so that it layered on top of everything, so that "i" was inhabiting everywhere at once.


to sum this up: i had a hard time dealing with the advice in the negative "don't do this" form which is how i interpreted the thing, as "don't focus," it led to losing a clear direction. this led to trying to find a way to practice positively "do this" which i could only find via mimicking the 360 degree awareness with fabricated 'wide attention.'

but, this is fabricated and the wrong direction, the actual the thing to do in the positive is make everything the periphery (not the center) by mashing the periphery with everything. this little trap of fabricating and mimicking unfabricated, automatic awareness is something to watch out for.



The term 'mash up' can sort of connote a sense of 'trying' to achieve a result. This is a trap. I think simply 'recognising' is a better term. It is simply the 'recognising' of the manner in which the brain cognises the periphery of vision (as well as recognsing that the centre of vision seems to be cognised differently) and then allowing that periphery manner to also be the way the brain cognises the centre of vision (and then to cognise all sense contact at all sense doors), then you will bypass the subtle movements to 'try' and get results. It is not about getting results, but seeing how one's mind habitually segregates phenomenon where fabrications leap from. When the mind ceases to pay attention in in this narrowly focused way, then apperception or rather the simultaneous bombardment of sense contact will be experienced without any segregating out or narrowly focusing on bits and pieces from the field of experience.

Nick

Edited x 3

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4/23/12 7:14 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
interesting, the language does make a difference. thanks

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4/25/12 1:58 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
i think that i am practicing the no-focus thing a bit before i am really ready (then again it wasn't suggested as a practice, just a pointer). I can do it, I can turn off attention and let apperception go uninterrupted, but i can't do it consistently enough, my mind is a bit too dirty, the defilements pull me away when i have no object. i will go back to the breath following 6R style practice, it clearly leads towards the same thing e.g.:

RELEASE: When a feeling or thought arises, the meditator RELEASES it, let’s it be there without giving anymore attention to it. The content of the distraction is not important at all, but the mechanics of HOW it arose are important! Just let go of any tightness around it; let it be there without placing attention on it. Without attention, the tightness passes away.


however it is a bit better for beginners without much concentration and with rampant defilements as it allows for an object.

I will stick with this, keeping the no-focus tip in mind, and i will surely use it in situations in which the hindrances are suppressed, and at some point i expect i will return to it as a primary practice but maybe not.

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4/25/12 5:52 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Very inspiring read josh/adam. Keep it up!

It seems to me that your circumstances often coincide with my own.

Is it correct that you are not doing the grounding practice (aka. direct mode) anymore? If so, can you explain (again) why?

[quote=shinzen young's description of shikantaza]As soon as you're aware of an intention to control your attention - drop that intention.
Wow. That's really spot on.

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4/25/12 6:44 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
well, i stopped with the grounding to focus exclusively on developing the no-focus type thing. i initially had great success and triggered a PCE so i stuck with it for a bit. after the initial energy blast that came with thinking that i was actually right on the edge of ending suffering, i lost the ability to stick with no-focus throughout the entire day without stopping, so now i am taking the breath as an object to help keep mindfulness more consistent. grounding would work too, as in that one has affective feelings on which to ground (different use of the word) attention, in fact i think that the positive effects of grounding came from not feeding the mindstates with 'focus' rather than being aware of the affective feelings, the affective feelings were just a useful place to get attention stuck on so that it wouldn't go bother with the mindstates and the emotional content.

the breath can serve that purpose of being a useful place to get attention stuck and keep it from feeding mindstates, but it is special in that it can also be used to 'breathe into' areas of tension and create states of jhana. ideally i think i would place attention nowhere and thus feed no craving, but that simply isn't sustainable at my level of defilement and concentration.

edit: adam/josh is a bit of a mouthful =p my real name is adam i swear hehe

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4/26/12 4:57 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
those theoretical benefits of 6R's i mentioned are really coming into fruition practically. the effects in terms of equanimous and peaceful mindstates mimic those of the other two methods i was doing, but there is also the use of the breath on tension, and i entered jhana without trying to at all. previously i had thought some degree of inclination or focus or something was necessary to get into jhana, but today it worked with literally nothing other than full body awareness+relaxation on the in&out breath. practice was more constant, everything was good. i will hold off on posting updates until I hit a wall or some big development occurs, because i think this practice is quite simple and little needs to be said.

recognize that a distraction has arisen
release that distraction from attention
relax the tension
resmile - smile (i dont do this, i already feel happy while doing this and that smile creates face tension)
return to object
repeat - kind of unnecessary since its drawn as a circle

sidenote: a great dhamma talk, extremely clear about emotion and what to do to cause it to be relinquished - he translates 'bhava' as emotion or habitual emotional tendencies or habitual tendencies as he thinks becoming is too abstract and not useful, i agree

http://dhammasukha.org/Study/Talks/audio/MN-002-120326.mp3

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4/28/12 2:44 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Interesting couple of experiences.
1. Massive gravitational shifty thing. I've written about these previously they are these big senses of movement or energy flowing out of the body. This time it felt like constant fast sideways somersaults, just the movement aspect, the stuff that happened was perhaps too idiosyncratic to really be worth posting. i've associated these things with tension drops, this time it was focused on the crown area, seems to have stuck for now.

2. Possible experience of 5th jhana, simply following the instruction of being sensitive to the breathing throughout the body and relaxing/releasing the stuff that comes up. i went through the pleasure of 1st/2nd/3rd to 4th and then it just kept getting less and less centered until the sense of 'edge' was shifting in and out, there was definitely alot more room to deepen it, it wasn't very dramatic but i am pretty sure it was the direction of 5th jhana.

feel the breathing throughout the body
relax/let go alertly

Only problem currently presenting is some sloth, what exactly is sloth/dullness? i can't quite understand how it is tension as relaxing it seems to make it worse. the proper response is simply increased 'alertness' and 'energy' but i don't really know what they are either.

looking at it theoretically i'd guess that sloth is a subtle aversion and attention bounce created phenomena and alertness is crushing the bounceback so that attention just stays with what is being attended to... but who cares, i don't really need to understand it in terms like these as the experience and the response are obvious.

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5/5/12 2:50 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
i am going back to do-nothing type practices for as long as they work. very simply i do not compare or objectify anything, which means no focusing, no conceptualizing, no past, no future, no practice, no progress, no stress... just pure awareness, which really is what is going on anyway.

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5/5/12 4:52 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
well - it didn't last very long, spent a while near PCE and then lost the objectless concentration and couldn't quite get it back. went back to the breath - not really worth trying to do the objectless thing, simply too advanced. immediately coming back to the breath though, perhaps because of a new perspective on things, i had one of the strange energy re-alignment/gravitational shift experiences which i associate with a drop in baseline tension, usually localized to whatever area the weird energy stuff was felt, this time it was in the head again.

all is going well, i'm kind of treating this like a 2 gear practice - gear 1 is breath meditation with focus on physical tension relaxation and gear 2 is basically do-nothing.

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5/6/12 7:13 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
Only problem currently presenting is some sloth, what exactly is sloth/dullness? i can't quite understand how it is tension as relaxing it seems to make it worse. the proper response is simply increased 'alertness' and 'energy' but i don't really know what they are either.


Sloth / torpor is based in tension, but seeing that was, for me, a fairly advanced (and surprising) thing. (It's similar to how daydreaming or spacing out is based in tension, if that makes sense to you.) I wouldn't worry about it if it's not clear to you, but maybe keep the idea in the back of your mind and see if it doesn't become clearer at some point.

(It helped me to separate it into

1) tension itself, as a background for
2) "blobs" of attention bouncy wiggly dullness stuff to form

where the sudden presence of or increase in 2) was seen to always be preceded by the split-second prior presence of or increase in 1).)

As for how to deal with sloth / torpor, some practical advice might be to try relaxing it in a different way. Tension from sensual desire or aversion can be countered in many ways; one can relax the process of fabrication in the first place, but one can also counterbalance those tensions with fabrications of opposing experiences (such as relaxed feelings), leading to less fabrication overall. But fabricating stuff that would counterbalance sensual desire or aversion is likely not to help with sloth / torpor (likely making the problem worse), and it sounds like you may be doing that, by fabricating relaxed feelings and becoming even more tired on account of that. And yet, relaxing the process of fabrication can still be effective, if you can figure out how to do it.

Also, keep in mind that piti, and not just energy, counterbalances sloth / torpor. (As does investigation, but I suspect you may be overweighted in that; but you could try it.)

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5/6/12 9:04 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
As for how to deal with sloth / torpor, some practical advice might be to try relaxing it in a different way. Tension from sensual desire or aversion can be countered in many ways; one can relax the process of fabrication in the first place, but one can also counterbalance those tensions with fabrications of opposing experiences (such as relaxed feelings), leading to less fabrication overall. But fabricating stuff that would counterbalance sensual desire or aversion is likely not to help with sloth / torpor (likely making the problem worse), and it sounds like you may be doing that, by fabricating relaxed feelings and becoming even more tired on account of that. And yet, relaxing the process of fabrication can still be effective, if you can figure out how to do it.


hmm. it hadn't occurred to me that i was fabricating relaxed feelings, i figured i was just relaxing fabrications. but now that i look, yes, i am fabricating relaxed feelings. i am also occasionally relaxing tension, but most of what i was labeling as relaxing tension was more fabricating those feelings. kind of druggy now that i look at it in this light. i guess no fabrication can be perfect, but those relaxed feelings have the definite downside of dullness. thanks for the insight.

should i try to focus on pleasure instead? or maybe not fabricate feelings at all, i am less confident in the practice i was doing because now it seems that i was just drugging myself with relaxed feelings. lol, at least i've mastered making relaxed feelings.

btw, i think that the relaxed feelings would actually be piti and the pleasure = sukha. piti is classified as sankhara and sukha classified as vedana, also thanissaro bhikku translates piti as refreshment and fullness often - which matches what i am experiencing with 'relaxed feelings' very well.

also - do you think that cultivating these feelings of fullness would lead towards some sort of wearing down of defilement by itself? or is it just a way of being high all the time? the piti-cultivation definitely suppresses the hindrances (other than sloth, which only comes up in formal sitting), and i can do it all the time, but is it going anywhere?

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5/7/12 5:44 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
hmm. it hadn't occurred to me that i was fabricating relaxed feelings, i figured i was just relaxing fabrications. but now that i look, yes, i am fabricating relaxed feelings. i am also occasionally relaxing tension, but most of what i was labeling as relaxing tension was more fabricating those feelings.


What of all the clarity you talk about at various times? Where is that coming from?

should i try to focus on pleasure instead? or maybe not fabricate feelings at all, i am less confident in the practice i was doing because now it seems that i was just drugging myself with relaxed feelings. lol, at least i've mastered making relaxed feelings.

btw, i think that the relaxed feelings would actually be piti and the pleasure = sukha. piti is classified as sankhara and sukha classified as vedana, also thanissaro bhikku translates piti as refreshment and fullness often - which matches what i am experiencing with 'relaxed feelings' very well.


As far as I've seen, piti always comes with sukha on the side, so the easiest way to tell if you're cultivating piti is to see whether your experience is also pleasurable. (Not 100% diagnostic, but suggestive.)

also - do you think that cultivating these feelings of fullness would lead towards some sort of wearing down of defilement by itself? or is it just a way of being high all the time? the piti-cultivation definitely suppresses the hindrances (other than sloth, which only comes up in formal sitting), and i can do it all the time, but is it going anywhere?


Paying attention, in context of right view, seems to wear down the defilements, so if whatever you're cultivating is helping you pay attention, I expect it would be effective in the end. And it would be more effective to the extent that it counterbalances and removes other tensions.

However...you seem to go back and forth between different practice ideas. This isn't necessarily a problem in itself, but in conjunction with subsequent doubts about your implementation of those ideas (as revealed in this post), maybe it is. Why not stick with direct mode, if that was working? If you can implement it well, it's fairly straightforward, and you would likely see results from it.

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5/7/12 6:51 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
What of all the clarity you talk about at various times? Where is that coming from?


i don't think i mentioned thought in the context of breath practices, maybe in reference to unfocus type practice.

As far as I've seen, piti always comes with sukha on the side, so the easiest way to tell if you're cultivating piti is to see whether your experience is also pleasurable. (Not 100% diagnostic, but suggestive.)


there is some pleasure on the side, i stopped worrying about that and cultivating jhana because it seemed that i was relaxing the process of fabrication which on the speculative side seemed to be a really good idea and on the experiential side hindrances seemed quite suppressed other than 'dullness'

Paying attention, in context of right view, seems to wear down the defilements, so if whatever you're cultivating is helping you pay attention, I expect it would be effective in the end. And it would be more effective to the extent that it counterbalances and removes other tensions.

However...you seem to go back and forth between different practice ideas. This isn't necessarily a problem in itself, but in conjunction with subsequent doubts about your implementation of those ideas (as revealed in this post), maybe it is. Why not stick with direct mode, if that was working? If you can implement it well, it's fairly straightforward, and you would likely see results from it.


the doubts were focused around your point that i was actually fabricating relaxed feelings which i didn't realize, which seems like it was a big thing to miss so i started questioning what i had been doing recently to constantly miss it. what i am certain of is that hindrances other than dullness were very suppressed, i've been keeping the 8 precepts with very little difficulty, definitely less sensual desire+ill will.

so that's the plus side for that practice, with direct mode and 'no-focus' there is perhaps more clarity but i shift in and out of having the hindrances suppressed, seems like breath = less desire/aversion and direct mode = less delusion. maybe i should pick one of these and stick with it and also not read stuff on the DhO which makes me want to try other stuff.

both sides have their benefits... i really don't know lol i will do a day of direct mode to compare with what i've been doing and then make a decision.

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5/7/12 10:16 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
What of all the clarity you talk about at various times? Where is that coming from?


i don't think i mentioned thought in the context of breath practices, maybe in reference to unfocus type practice.


No clarity (or stillness) in context of past concentration practices you've done, based on breath?

the doubts were focused around your point that i was actually fabricating relaxed feelings which i didn't realize, which seems like it was a big thing to miss so i started questioning what i had been doing recently to constantly miss it. what i am certain of is that hindrances other than dullness were very suppressed, i've been keeping the 8 precepts with very little difficulty, definitely less sensual desire+ill will.


It sounds like whatever you were doing was effective, and possibly just needs some kind of tweak.

so that's the plus side for that practice, with direct mode and 'no-focus' there is perhaps more clarity but i shift in and out of having the hindrances suppressed, seems like breath = less desire/aversion and direct mode = less delusion.


Or, maybe you can find a way to combine the mindset that gets you one type with the mindset that gets you the other type, like some kind of chimeric merging of the two? Might work, might not...can you do direct mode with an emphasis on noticing breath or breath energy?

maybe i should pick one of these and stick with it and also not read stuff on the DhO which makes me want to try other stuff.


Maybe...is it a matter of reading about a practice and thinking it's the latest, greatest thing, specifically suited to you? Or something else?

(Because in the end, it all comes down to discernment and relinquishment, however you get there...)

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5/7/12 11:04 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
No clarity (or stillness) in context of past concentration practices you've done, based on breath?


sure, but with what i have been doing recently it hasn't been a big factor - just relaxation and a sense of 'fullness' this hasn't been quite the same as what i was doing before with breath

is it a matter of reading about a practice and thinking it's the latest, greatest thing, specifically suited to you?


yep

(Because in the end, it all comes down to discernment and relinquishment, however you get there...)


i tell myself that plenty lol

my plan is to just do direct mode/no focus/becoming the sensations, those things all started merging for me into one practice which is basically being alert to whatever is going on without focusing on anything. not 'meditating' but not getting distracted. i've had trouble with being able to do this consistently, but i think i can pull it off if i leave the option of switching techniques off the table.

i'll probably also keep from posting anything and maybe even reading anything about practice. i'll keep that up for the rest of May and see what happens.

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5/7/12 11:38 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

is it a matter of reading about a practice and thinking it's the latest, greatest thing, specifically suited to you?


yep


Maybe forgetting about the idea of organizing by different practices, and just thinking about different ways to develop your mind at different times will be helpful.

A pianist doesn't choose between "romantic style" or "jazz style" or "classical style" or whatever when they play, they just choose the qualities that they think will sound good in the piece, and the (named) styles are just vague ways of talking about a bunch of different qualities, some of which may be emphasized more than others in a piece, some of which may not even appear in a particular rendition of a piece, some of which may be combined in a particularly attractive way...

But, as you say, for the moment you might be able to stick with doing something better if you take the option of doing other things away.

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5/7/12 1:59 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
A pianist doesn't choose between "romantic style" or "jazz style" or "classical style" or whatever when they play, they just choose the qualities that they think will sound good in the piece, and the (named) styles are just vague ways of talking about a bunch of different qualities, some of which may be emphasized more than others in a piece, some of which may not even appear in a particular rendition of a piece, some of which may be combined in a particularly attractive way...


I really like this idea. Instead of relying so much on utilizing the sceptical, categorizing intellect to determine how to practice, use artistic creativity and spontenaiety to tweak your 'composition of mind' on a moment-to-moment basis, going for what 'sounds' right.

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5/11/12 2:24 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
ok so it's gone pretty well for the first few days. there have been some lows but currently today and right now things are good so hopefully i can have some clarity in trying to express my questions about this, the issues are subtle and my discernment of them unclear, so be warned!

if i ask myself haietmoba, i seem to be doing an attention to a fabricated object of 'experience as a whole.' it seems to be the same effect as just "paying attention" to 'experience.' overall it is fairly pleasant. when i try to 'allow consciousness to show itself' or something along those lines, and drop the effort to 'pay attention'. what seems to happen is that i start thinking that i am not actually aware of anything, that awareness is simply not present. this doesn't make rational sense, because it isn't as if i am focusing on anything to the exclusion of everything else or am distracted, so one speculation is that 'knowing' experience in the moment is going on, but it just seems like it isn't. the other speculation is that when i try to 'not focus' i end up paying attention to a feeling of 'watcher' or somehow rest my attention on some 'feeling of being.'

also - should allowing experience to show itself cause pleasurable sensations all around the skin? i am not sure if those arise when i am doing fabricated or unfabricated attention.

i really can't tell what i am doing because trying to check changes everything, of course.

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5/11/12 4:16 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

if i ask myself haietmoba, i seem to be doing an attention to a fabricated object of 'experience as a whole.' it seems to be the same effect as just "paying attention" to 'experience.' overall it is fairly pleasant. when i try to 'allow consciousness to show itself' or something along those lines, and drop the effort to 'pay attention'. what seems to happen is that i start thinking that i am not actually aware of anything, that awareness is simply not present. this doesn't make rational sense, because it isn't as if i am focusing on anything to the exclusion of everything else or am distracted, so one speculation is that 'knowing' experience in the moment is going on, but it just seems like it isn't. the other speculation is that when i try to 'not focus' i end up paying attention to a feeling of 'watcher' or somehow rest my attention on some 'feeling of being.'


* because there is 'trying' involved. The 'trying' is the movemnt of mind to grasp and create an identity/relationship with the object. There is no 'try' in 'no focus'.


I would drop the whole 'is it fabricated or isn't it' thought stream and simply continue to ask HAIETOMBA and if it is fabricated, let it be there, maybe see it as fabricated but let it be there, and then keep asking HAIETOMBA, and just follow the same thing. Allow whatever is arising to show itself. It seems like there is some 'expectation' and 'trying' creeping into this practice?

Simply remind yourself that it is all happening by itself. Seeing occurs effortlessly, hearing occurs effortlessly. 'Trying' creeps in and co-opts the whole practice. This is simply letting go of that intent to 'try' and achieve something. HAIETOMBA, let the brain show you what it is cognising, let the body show what it is feeling, pleasantness or unpleasantness, it doesn't matter.

Notice that which is unsatisfactory (the trying) and simply recognise that it is arising, and don't do anything but recognise it. Usually simply recognising it arising is enough to stop fueling it. Ask HAIETMOBA.....recognition of the trying......HAIETMOBA........seeing, seeing, hearing, touch, touch.........trying to perceive and focus.....HAIETMOBA......and so on and on. What this is showing you is the arising of what is unsatisfactory versus what is not unsatisfactory, pure sense contact. Recognise it and keep using HAIETMOBA.

Felicity is also part of the actualist practice. it acts as a bridge from the tendency to fabricate to the recognition of the fleeting moments of pure sense contact. Felicity is a fabrication and a useful one at that. If you find frustration arising due to all those thoughts of 'is it fabricated or not'.....return to a sense of calm and well-being, a fabricated sense of felicity, then the mind will be more inclined to recognise the fleeting moments of pure sense contact.

Nick

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5/11/12 4:54 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
ah interesting, letting the fabrication show itself simply as another bit of consciousness is good. in fact, there is no such thing as 'fabricated attention' there is just consciousness, and then there are fabrications which are parts of the content of consciousness. previously i had thought of fabricated/not fabricated attention as a lens through which one views things, but if you look at it this way, fabrication is just a colored piece of glass sitting on the table which you don't have to hold up to your eye.

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5/19/12 5:00 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
i just had a pretty strong realization about how exactly mindstates are allowed to exist, what exactly one does with an affective feeling to create a mindstate. it's one of those realizations where when you look at what you realized it's like 'duh' but i saw it in an incredibly clear way, such that i dont see myself every having another problem with allowing mindstates to exist. the answer is ALWAYS an affective feeling and one can ALWAYS solve the mindstate by clearly perceiving the feeling. with this in mind, i will act as if i've gone deaf and blind and stay with the body, just grounding these feelings until i aint got no more mindstates, as i can tell right now that this would be a incredible improvement.

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5/27/12 5:05 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Entering direct mode has started to seem as if it wasn't dramatic at all, in fact it''s barely a change from normal experience. experience seems to be continuously neutral, the affective feelings arise and pass, but the thoughts to go along with them are super-attenuated and things are approaching completely continuous grounding.

there is some element missing from experience in a totally continuous way, something to do with introspection or believing in thoughts or something like that. it's as if i am no longer 'inhabiting' the thoughts at all, always on the outside. i will keep up simply placing attention on affective feelings until it seems like this type of perception has been developed completely.

edit: i should note that although this doesn't seem so important, it is really huge for me because i would so often spiral down in my thoughts and now it literally seems impossible for that to happen. doubt just doesn't exist in the same way.

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6/6/12 12:34 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
time to resimplify practice. a couple of days of bad moods made me realize i have done the same thing i always do:

find a new way to practice, have success, get upset when something goes wrong, keep getting upset due to getting upset...

so i am back to place attention on affective feelings in the body, not doing anything else... keep it simple

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6/6/12 5:15 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Me too Adam, same thing except for what 'technique' I returned to.

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6/6/12 5:35 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Me three!
I find myself either complicating practice, or trying to manipulate the results. Keeping practice simple is the most difficult, and productive instruction I'm aware of. Best of luck!! emoticon

metta,

Brian

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6/6/12 6:15 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
maybe our cycles have aligned

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6/15/12 9:50 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
I have to remember to never ever take an interest in "content." Although this is basically the main point of my practice - to ignore content and pay attention to affect in the body, I still find myself getting involved in content. Never ever even once mess around with content, this means 99% of my thoughts should just be seen and ignored, I don't have to think stuff out.


-


I've noticed a little delusion I've had, which was that my goal should be that I not react emotionally to anything. This isn't exactly right, because in actuality the emotions come directly from having certain perceptions, thoughts, etc. so my goal should be to not have those. If you take the first thing as your goal you might end up not realizing that you have to change your mental behavior, this is what happened to me. I thought that I would basically have the same thought patterns and the same tendencies but I wouldn't feel bad about them in any way, instead I should be taking the initiative in controlling mental behavior to make it more skillful.


-


When doing direct mode i often transition automatically to "no-focus" it's not something i do on purpose, but when affect is grounded it just happens naturally. My practice is still getting rid of mindstates by grounding affect, but when the mindstate is subdued it doesn't make sense to keep focusing on the affect, when i do that the affective feeling is actually intensified, so i just transition to "chill" mode where i basically do nothing whatsoever in terms of focusing/creating sankhara.

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6/15/12 10:34 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
this practice is antithetical to mine.

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6/15/12 11:13 AM as a reply to Jon T.
I used to do the intellectual investigation but I think just observing the affect in the body has the same effect. IME both lead to not creating affect due to seeing that it's stressful.

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6/18/12 12:00 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
moping, indulging in self affliction

Half wanting to stop and go into direct mode

Suddenly realize that the only thing keeping up "moods" is unwillIngness to leave them for the more pleasant dm... Previously thought that it took effort, but dm is natural when you let go of mindstates

Big sense of release, and suddenly the sensate world phased in with a sense of effortless continuity, as if I was seeing double and the two images moved directly on top of each other

Hopefully this sticks

I'd write better but on iPhone

edit: definitely not a shift, just a momentary experience

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7/28/12 8:22 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
It has started to seem like I am actually living in a different world. I always imagined more enlightenment would be like would be living in the same world but being totally happy about it. Now I realize that what actually happens is that I no longer fabricate these crazy things and the place I am living is just totally different. I remain capable of understanding the conventional truths being dropped but rarely do I believe in them.

The big experience that led to what is now an ongoing baseline change(my first real one it seems) was pretty interesting. I had been running with sayagi u kyi's vipassana instructions which observe sensations choicelessly (not choicely salt, iPhone) with a focus on not designating sensations with characteristics. Lots of fabrications dropped away during one sit of this, for one there was no longer an image of the "shape" of body consciousness, there was no leg or arm or edges, just a non-differentiated mass of undefined size. There was eventually no tension, no pressure, no buzzing just pain and pleasure. Then something I didn't even believe was possible happened, pleasure and pain even began to fade but they didnt quite go all the way, they stayed intermittent.

Since that experience (1 week) I haven't experienced gross suffering even once, the change was so quick that it has really shaken up my behavior. I found myself saying hurtful things to someone and crying (haven't done anything like that in years) while experiencing no bodily affect other than wellbeing. Such events have continued (in minor form) but are quickly tapering off. My practice is now simply keeping in mind the understanding of how experience is always non-conceptual and blissful. This even extends to affective feelings, they are the result of not understanding this blissful, non-conceptual nature of experience but they themselves are blissful. Experience for everyone is literally perfect always but they don't recognize this quality. This incorrect view is itself a non-conceptual blissful experience, no one can ever take away this aspect of experience. So keeping in mind this view and arguing away (with a quick glance at experience) contrary views, leading to a continual unearthing of this "new world" where there is only one thing to desire and it is everything.

Is this accurate though? If one focused in on a feeling or color and kept looking closer and closer at the pixels making up pixels do you eventually find just one thing? If so is all the information just created by imagination? Is this why Vedana is termed fabrication and referred to as disturbance in then Pali canon? My experience is going in that direction and that one experience in particular seemed really close.

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7/31/12 10:00 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
it became necessary today to take on a slightly more formed practice. when i try to stick with these totally wide open 'do nothing' or objectify nothing or 'rest in the nature of mind' things i often start to lose it after a few days. it is good to recognize this asap and shift to a more concentration type practice. in this case i am shrinking my reference to just body consciousness, which essentially means objectifying it and thus ignoring everything else but not objectifying things within it.

all concentration practices are an intentional objectification with the aim of preventing other unintentional objectifications, as one moves into more refined strata of mind one can 'safely' allow oneself to objectify less and less, but the first priority is to keep the unintentional objectification minimized. this is the buddhas strategy, it is why he didn't just teach 'objectify nothing'. depending on how scattered mind is you have to take on a narrower object, moving up the subtler objects of jhanas until you lose all objects in themeless concentration/PCE [1] and then not even fabricating vedana and moving into NS [2]

i will kind of play this a bit more like an 'artist' as EiS suggested somewhere, moving freely up and down the following spectrum, objectifying/narrowing as little as possible given the state of my mind

mindfulness of breathing (wherever breath is felt)
mindfulness of all of body consciousness
mindfulness of all sensations

at any time whichever is the most easeful is the correct one

[1]/[2] maybe... it does seem that one progressively loses fabrication. 2nd jhana there is no more narrative trains of thought - verbal fabrication. 4th there is no in&out breath - bodily fabrication. 8th there is almost no perception, themeless there is no perception, 9th there is no vedana - perception and feeling are mental fabrication.

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8/9/12 7:06 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
There are some defilements which I have always known were intentional, it had just seemed that for some reason I didn't need to stop doing them, that they were important somehow. Recently I have been focusing more and more on stillness of mind, and as it is becoming the norm, the defilements reveal themselves to be useless simply because their background is one of stillness. I keep seeing "oh I really don't need to think that thought loop" individual beliefs are apparently being totally cast off, there is an actual sense of real lightness in the body that comes with this.

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8/24/12 3:18 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Been noticing how the mind searches for security. There are moments of thoughtless object less searching, in those moments you can either seek solace in sensuality or views, or you can just rest, just allow consciousness to arise. Be the experience rather than the inferred experiencer.

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8/28/12 9:26 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
"No-selfing", as I call it, is basically trusting in experience as it is. If you want to stop believing in self you have to simply allow consciousness to arise. A perfect mirror to the universe. Whenever anything arises including reactivity, one is simply allowing of it, letting the mind be an untouched mirror for it.

Being a new college freshmen causes a great deal of not doing this practice, becoming a prism rather than a mirror. I am filtering things through 'selves' which comes with an ideal universe attached which is compared to the non-ideal. "I don't fit in here, things will be difficult here, everyone thinks I am weird, I wish I could just ordain, should I just keep to myself all the time? Will it bother people?"

Whenever I notice such things clearly, I simply be a mirror of the shifting prisms as well as the reality they are distorting. When this happens, the distortion dies out on its own, as do all conditioned things. In fact things seemed to cease almost instantaneously, they cease on their own as soon as I stop warping reality. If I keep warping the world around me there is continued nervousness or sadness or whatever, if I warp the emotion of nervousness there is anger or guilt or whatever.

Intentional rebirth occurring moment by moment. Wanting to annihilate rebirth is another form of rebirth. When there is just mirroring then it is seen that the self and its ideals aren't real in the same way as what is being mirrored, thus there is no suffering because the unreal isn't compared to the real. Different unreals can be compared though, so one can still decide what the best thing to do is. It is interesting that i literally always function better when simply 'mirroring' though it rarely seems to be the case that I will. This practice is fueled almost entirely off of faith for me, I still have to simply trust that things will be ok if I just accept all things. Perhaps this will be remedied when I experience a moment of true acceptance, not even the subtlest taking of birth - I think that is what cessation and stream entry is - the purest of pure PCE.

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9/5/12 3:27 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
continuing with basically the same thing. starting college has caused plenty of nervousness and aloneness etc. but I really am freed from this stuff when I become receptive. I am mostly just being aware of the body, everything happening skin and in is known in a direct way without being labeled or compared.

Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

[2] "Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.' When standing, he discerns, 'I am standing.' When sitting, he discerns, 'I am sitting.' When lying down, he discerns, 'I am lying down.' Or however his body is disposed, that is how he discerns it.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

[3] "Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away... when bending & extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring... when urinating & defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

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9/5/12 8:01 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
initial sightings of an interesting phenomenon. i started alternating between intentionally paying attention to the field of experience and dropping that intention. like "pay attention to body" and then just do nothing. in the periods right after dropping the intention before other stuff arises i notice that the sensations are still there and the only difference is the absence of mental vedana lying on top of the experience that was being attended to. alternated this for a while and the vedana started seeming more and more painful, after just a few minutes of this it became totally natural to drop the intention of "attention" which was just that sensation, and so to drop that sensation. for some reason the sensation seems to have actually become more painful.

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10/25/12 4:15 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
some comment on my 'meta-path' i seem to be slowing the rate at which i jump around from practice to practice. this is seemingly due to a dispassion towards the thrill of starting a new practice and with it a new identity. it's seen that this thrill isn't worth the fact that it doesn't really lead anywhere positive.

but, that said, i am switching practices from 'relax for 2-5 seconds' after having stuck with it for a bit over a month, because although it seems to work it doesn't seem to work fast enough for my taste. there was the benefit of keeping myself from judging myself but i think i've learned to deal with that reflex and can handle a more demanding technique. what i plan to work with now is purely the visual field, maintaining a wide attention to the whole thing at once as this seems to prevent lots of negative stuff from arising and seems to go in the right direction. i know i have seen daniel mention this as well as tommy but i don't know if they ever did it as a pure practice in itself.

i would try to be aware of all sense modalities but it seems like this is just asking too much as i tend to just oscillate between the senses, whereas if i stick with either the body or vision i can maintain the wideness and the conceptlessness better. i could do the body as i see little difference between the two senses, but im going to use vision because i seem to use it in daily life a lot more so i can maintain the focus on it more continuously through daily activities. also i like the idea of exploring new practices that haven't been done a lot, at least by our community, hopefully breaking some new ground in the process and adding to the knowledge here.

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10/25/12 5:44 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Hi Adam,
This reminds me of something I practiced a lot of at one time, which I got from Peter of the AFT. It was very effective. I could get into something like what the AFT website describes as a "excellence experience" pretty much whenever I did this. Sometimes it would trigger apperception.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/peter/selected-correspondence/corr-method4.htm

"The more I thought about what you said, the more I could relate to it. It’s like what I have heard Richard describe as if ‘bringing yourself to the very outer layer of your eyeballs’ and I liked the description so much I have also used it myself. I can also remember describing this shift of focus or of attentiveness as ‘like stopping hiding behind the curtains and bringing yourself to the very front of the stage’. And no doubt other people will have other ways of describing this process of becoming less ‘self’-obsessed and more interested in, and aware of, what is happening ‘outside’, as you describe it.

I have just found this piece from my journal that is relevant –

: ‘I used a technique that Richard suggested which was invaluable, and that was to try to mimic or move as close to the peak experience of being in the actual world when back in ‘everyday’ moments. I described it at the time as pushing myself as far as possible to the surface of the eyes – to be focused purely as my senses. This means definitely not creating a watcher or ‘Self’ with a different set of morals and beliefs – usually vastly superior to that which is being watched – but simply practising to establish a direct connection between the senses and the actual world. It is 180 degrees the opposite of the spiritual ‘awareness’, which is to focus on some blissful, still or peaceful space inside. The aim is to bring myself out of my inner world of the psyche into the actual world of my senses – to become fully engaged in the actual world as much as possible. It takes constant effort and vigilance at the start not to be sucked back into misery and sorrow, not to resort to malice.’ Peter’s Journal Intelligence

I found it interesting that I had to dig around in my memory to fully relate to what you were saying and on reflection I can see that this is not something I have to consciously make the effort to do now – I have become so accustomed to it that it has become second-nature now. But I do remember that it took constant stubborn effort at the time and I would find myself constantly falling back into not being here for long periods of time. This is not some easy thing we are talking of doing here – it is radically switching one’s focus 180 degrees from normal – ‘inside’, exclusive and ‘self’-centred – to not-normal –‘outside’, inclusive and unconditional"

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10/25/12 6:16 PM as a reply to aaron ..
aaron .:
: ‘I used a technique that Richard suggested which was invaluable, and that was to try to mimic or move as close to the peak experience of being in the actual world when back in ‘everyday’ moments. I described it at the time as pushing myself as far as possible to the surface of the eyes – to be focused purely as my senses. This means definitely not creating a watcher or ‘Self’ with a different set of morals and beliefs – usually vastly superior to that which is being watched – but simply practising to establish a direct connection between the senses and the actual world.


This sounds very familiar to me. I tried doing something like this for awhile in the past (like pushing all the tension in my body into an ever-thinner sheet collecting at the very outer membrane of the eyeballs in the process of focusing on the visual field).

Sometimes it worked really well, sometimes it didn't work at all, sometimes it was kind of murky, and I think I eventually gave up on it because it didn't make a good formal practice for me. But, now that I think about it, I wonder how it would have fared as an informal practice...

Interesting find, aaron.

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10/25/12 6:28 PM as a reply to aaron ..
dang i gave up on finding the 'outer layer of your eyeballs' quote... i read it once but haven't been able to find it since... thanks! the idea that it brings 'you' 'out of hiding' is an interesting point that i didn't remember

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10/25/12 7:02 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
wonder, relaxation, and spontaneity seem to be three major aspects of this practice. since sight is what i rely on most to get around, not using mental attention on it causes me to go into 'out-from-control' mode along with becoming relaxed and in a state of wonderment. i didn't realize until after writing those three qualities that are being developed that they seem to correlate with the dzogchen "bliss, clarity, creativity." also worth noting that a major dzogchen practice is skygazing which as far as i can tell is basically the same as paying attention to the whole visual field.

also important to note is that it takes a fairly continuous wide-focus for a few minutes before these effects start coming up.

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10/27/12 3:14 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
one more note before i leave for a while, wide visual perception seems to organically cause wide perception through all senses if there is continuousness of attention over a decent period of time. (5-10 minutes)

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11/3/12 6:30 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
This practice is very valuable for gaining insight into the nature of the attention wave, how it manifests experientially, how to incline the mind in a way to suppress it, and how to incline the mind in a way to rest effortlessly with it minimized. I never really understood the attention wave or experienced it so clearly as I do when I attempt to be aware of the whole visual field at once because it automatically suppresses the subtle "wiggles" in attention where parts of the visual field phase in and out. Trying to 'absorb' into a wide frame of reference seems to be the way I can most clearly incline towards PCE now, and so that's really all I am doing, trying to maintain an attention which is continuous over each second, over each millisecond, without the little wiggles and 'bounces' of attention. It is also clear that every little subtle jump is done out of desire, out of a sense that i really should be thinking about that or jumping my attention over to that, when I suppress the wiggles there is a sense of insecurity, as if shit will hit the fan at any moment unless I start jumping my attention around and narrating stuff. While effortfully suppressing the wiggles it is then possible to incline in a way such that the effort relaxes but only because the desire to jump attention around also relaxes. That's basically what I am trying to do now.

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11/16/12 10:17 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
I've been doing breath counting because lately the only measure of good vs. bad meditation has seemed to me to be whether I am undistracted. My best understanding of the end of suffering at the moment is stillness and quietude of the mind. I set a meditation minimum about a week ago of 2 hours a day and so far I have managed to stick to it. My practice atm seems all about hard work, stilling and quieting the mind via any means, replacing all thoughts with 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.