Richard's insight practice

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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago.

Richard's insight practice

Posts: 1626 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Just organizing what I've done so far and creating a practice thread.

Okay I've been doing many different practices: Noting "arising of thoughts", "gone", staying as "shinkantanza" (do nothing), "viewing all senses at the same time", "jhana jogging", "no-self" 2nd gear KFD concentration practices. They all work in their own way.

I started off with horrible concentration and after months of practice with audiodharma.org audio streams and in 2008 I got a first jhana. I started insight practice after that but it was weak and more like concentration instead. I started noticing that 2nd and 3rd jhanas with piti and sukkha while I was attempting vipassana. Once I got to noting more consistently (after being recommended to this site:grinemoticon, I could just let go of the noting in the later part of the mediation sittings and hook up with the vibrations of the senses. Once that happened there was a shift where I thought my head would explode (probably A & P). Continuing to note I still didn't feel any dark night symptoms until I noted more accurately the 3 characteristics. The noting was too much focused on impermanence and ignoring not-self, and especially dissatisfaction. Once I started noting dissatisfaction after every mental striving a lot of my habitual enjoyments and negative mental habits were appearing obsolete due to the obvious dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction lasted at least 3 weeks earlier this year. Once I started noting at work more, shifts happened and there was a gradual feeling that I could get relief while noting the most unpleasant emotional arisings. This became more confident even when dealing with difficult people (Cluster B typesemoticon ).

This site helped with understanding no-self along with 2nd gear practices:

Anatta

Once equanimity started appearing it was like bursting for air in a sunny ocean after being down in the murky depths. The feeling of sanity was very encouraging. It was so encouraging that I started getting lazy. The equanimity was literally vibrating in my skull and the reactive part of the mind loved to go dormant giving the senses more vibrancy. The equanimity left me satisfied before, during and after fun activities. Yet this equanimity fades and has to be regenerated. I fell into reobservation which was 10 times worse than the dark-night experiences I had before. Thankfully they only lasted a couple of nights and equanimity would return again and again feeling more natural. Reobservation still happens but it's more like a vague unease or restlessness that reappears but with less force than before.

Now more recently looking at Nick's blog and some of his comments plus Tommy's experiment and I was getting a little confused while using Shinzen Young's instructions for Shinkantanza "just sitting" (which are similar but slightly different in approach) to just staying with all your senses at the same time. Both of these practices have been a help. With Shinkantanza I can let habitual thoughts go where they please and I ended up concentrating up to equanimity instead. I knew that wasn't really the practice because there's still too much habitual concentration intention. Now with applying the same practice but allowing all the senses to appear as they are at the same time it's easier to see the meditative striving for meditative states being similarly stressful as any other mental striving.

So yesterday I decided to return to basic noting (despite wanting to avoid it as too much striving) with the knowledge in the prior paragraph. Before I noted I just easily let go of any striving and stayed with all the senses (including taste) and then started noting. As I started noting I could tell when a new thought was arising but as the thought started it was very weak and then I noticed that the senses were still clear in awareness during this arising. When the thoughts made more thoughts and got more intense then they would start obscuring some of the senses. While noting the arising and the passing away a sense of elation started coming back again. So my practice now will be focused on staying with the senses first and then noting cessations or allowing shinkantanza. The noting nudges me in the right direction despite some interference with awareness.
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Richard Zen:

Now more recently looking at Nick's blog and some of his comments plus Tommy's experiment and I was getting a little confused while using Shinzen Young's instructions for Shinkantanza "just sitting" (which are similar but slightly different in approach) to just staying with all your senses at the same time. Both of these practices have been a help. With Shinkantanza I can let habitual thoughts go where they please and I ended up concentrating up to equanimity instead. I knew that wasn't really the practice because there's still too much habitual concentration intention. Now with applying the same practice but allowing all the senses to appear as they are at the same time it's easier to see the meditative striving for meditative states being similarly stressful as any other mental striving.



Nice insight.

Just a clarification. I may have talked using those words before : "staying with the senses'. Although helpful to see it as action of forced 'staying' in the beginning to a degree, but ultimately there may be a linguistic trap here. The word 'staying' can subtly manifest into 'trying' to stay with the senses and that is actually the opposite of what one does when triggering recognition of apperception in my experience. With 'trying', the mind then selectively segregates the field of experience into 'parts' to pay attention to, when apperception has no segregating going on at all. The 'trying' aspect is the mind trying to grasp at some aspect /part of experience. Aaaaaah, apperception, I want to perceive you!

Apperception does not have that grasping quality, so to cultivate recognition of it, pure sense contact as it arises should be simply 'recognised' as it arises, rather than 'stayed' with. This word is less likely to lead the mind into 'trying', although it could....'trying to recognise' may occur. Being aware of the 'trying' overlay is useful as it arises.

Nick
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I agree. "Stay" would be the wrong word. After last night it's clearer to me that what we normally look at as the self is like you say: a zooming in on phenomena to look for what is to like or dislike. All thoughts feel like they have a wanting behind them and it's clear how pervasive habituation really is and how impersonal many decisions are and how foreign some reactivity is when you're clearly looking at it. emoticon Just allowing the reactivity to subside and let the senses (which are already working) come to the foreground on their own illuminates the remaining tension that's there. That remaining tension just feels like wanting without any particular object which is quite dangerous in the wrong environment. I have more respect for how much of a dark veil strong emotions are. Just thinking about a hateful person in my past and exacting revenge is a perfect way to blow mindfulness out of the water. That book by Thich Nhat Hanh "Understanding our mind" and how he uses gardening as a metaphor for developing new habits is the key. Developing a habit of a peaceful mind and making choices and actions based on a clear mind over and over again will atrophy the old habits (probably not completely) and strengthen the new habits. There are only two ways I can see now. You have to either develop a strong desire to change habits (which is exhausting mentally) or conserve energy from wasted mental movements and use them towards those same worthwhile goals.

There's still enjoyment in noting and it's important to note with more subtlety so one is not in a "meditation practice" but just getting on with life. Relax the body fabrications and then relax the mind fabrications to allow the clear seeing. At this point I don't see wanting disappearing so it makes sense to then find something that's worth wanting:

Yogi toolbox Good Practice

* Noticing the difference between superficial feelings and core drives.


Venerable Ayya Khema

Since each one (feelings-pleasant, painful and neutral) disappears to give room to another one, could we then say that each time one disappears and gives rise to another one that the “me” has disappeared as certain entity and arises as new one? It never occurs to us to say a thing like that but that would be logical, wouldn't it?


Yogi toolbox Lifestyle Approach

"This is where the Buddha ran into the central paradox of becoming, because the craving and clinging that provide the moisture do not have to delight in the field or the resultant becoming in order to bear fruit. If the mind fastens on a particular set of possibilities with the aim of changing or obliterating them, that acts as moisture for a state of becoming as well. Thus the desire to put an end to becoming produces a new state of becoming. Because any desire that produces becoming also produces suffering, the Buddha was faced with a strategic challenge: how to put an end to suffering when the desire to put an end to suffering would lead to renewed suffering.
His solution to this problem involved a paradoxical strategy, creating a state of becoming in the mind from which he could watch the potentials of kamma as they come into being, but without fueling the desire to do anything with regard to those potentials at all. In the terms of the field analogy, this solution would deprive the seed of moisture. Eventually, when all other states of becoming had been allowed to pass away, the state of becoming that had acted as the strategic vantage point would have to be deprived of moisture as well. Because the moisture of craving and clinging would have seeped into the seed even of this strategic becoming, this would eventually mean the destruction of the seed, as that moisture and any conditioned aspects of consciousness the seed might contain were allowed to pass away. But any unconditioned aspects of consciousness—if they existed—wouldn’t be touched at all." Thanissaro Bhikkhu: The Paradox Of Becoming.


Never mind! That answered my question. emoticon Wow what an embarrassment of riches.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Shinkantanza 1 hour: Allowed all the senses to be as they are. It seems to work in a reduction of mental stress. The trick is to avoid intending or trying to stop automatic thoughts. The only weird thing was that in a diffuse focus I couldn't feel my hands. Once you focus on them they come back. emoticon I'm noting all day. Noting is improving by staying with the vibrations of experience (95%) and then noting 1Hz (5%).
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Noting Vanishings 1 hour: Getting used to this is difficult but I can see the value of it. I used the breath as an anchor to note "gone" when the breath changes from in to the out breath and if sounds like traffic subside I note that as well. When thoughts pass away I note the vanishing. The challenge is not to note arisings and allow them to be in the background. I find this practice is better at showing no-self vs self for me. When a thought arises or a scenario is imagined (like conversations with others) the sense of self is quite strong. When thoughts are gone it's back to the senses. There's a sense of clinging to thoughts when focusing on noting vanishings. It's like I'm impatient to wait for the thoughts to vanish but the Papanca is addictive and forceful. As I got used to it there was a powerful jhana and plenty of tranquilizing restfulness. The thought interruptions still had a agitated quality like they were interfering with the pleasing restfulness. With more practice this will get smoother.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Noting Vanishings 1.5 hours: Trying to note "vanishings" from fine vibrations in the body and vision. Had to note "frustration", and "dissatisfaction" along the way. The thoughts intervened regularly but were noted and abandoned. There were some drop outs 1/2 an hour into the meditation. That was rough. The vibrations were so fast I tried too hard. The face was tense and had to be relaxed a couple of times to reduce strain.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Did a little bit of retooling.

1 hour Great perfection (let senses appear in foreground)/Shinkantanza (let go of intentional noting)/HAIETMOBA (only note total experience):

Big relief. As I started with the above instructions in order the jhanas started appearing on their own with no object other than awareness. My brain likes to talk about the dharma and describe the experience so mental noting was replaced with HAIETMOBA which is like noting all sensations at the same time and that pure equanimity that first blew my mind a month ago came again except with little effort necessary and a feeling of normality like I'm getting used to it. The only concentration necessary is to ask "How Am I Experiencing This Moment Of Being Alive?" when the mind wants to describe the experience. The beauty of HAIETMOBA is the computation power needed to do it is less than basic noting. Of course when noting is done properly then I expect all the practices lead to the same result. My vision was a little distorted like having doors warp and melt. I was blinking but it happened even then because the concentration was so spot on. Once attention is allowed to include all senses the vision returned to normal. HAIETMOBA sends you into the senses much like quick noting so the brain feels a little bit of concentration tension but much less than with individual noting. The sense of self is still there but it feels like it's erroding. I'm just going to do this all day and as much as possible to see if there is any tiredness.

EDIT: This was a help also:

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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Yesterday the HAIETMOBA practice worked well but it must be constantly applied to keep the relief going. Anger disappears faster than when using mindfulness but it can also return fairly quick when the practice stops. There isn't much tiredness in this practice but when returning to conceptualization for conversations one has to remember to recultivate the practice to avoid more papanca.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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1 hour cessation noting practice: Just allowed the natural senses to be in the foreground. I inclined the mind towards all vibrations and inclined the mind towards the gaps between vibrations and felt very restful throughout the day. There's still a little bit of addictiveness to the waves which may have to do with dopamine. The withdrawal symptoms are still less than in the past and despite feeling a little like...



...the mind lets go into tranquillity.emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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HAIETMOBA during hiking: I'm starting to understand how to equate thoughts as automatic along with the 5 senses. When thoughts and emotions arise there's less of a sense of trying to stop them. Once I'm rooted in the present moment the question HAIETMOBA isn't needed but just the answer. As emotions and thoughts happen automatically they quickly vanish and I don't identify with them as a self. Sometimes it's funny when an old mental habit or rumination appears. By feeling like those automatic thoughts are just fine there's no need manipulate anything. You don't add fuel but you don't stop thoughts.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Noting cessation practice this past week: The only difference now is that I can notice strong waves all over my body and especially in my head. They are pleasant but one almost feels like one's face is warping in and out.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Great perfection/Shikantaza/HAIETMOBA daily practice:

I find I get tired of this mindfulness a little less now and I can see the value of continuing to plow through the tired parts of the day with the same acceptance. It makes you reverent towards the power of habitual tendencies and to develop more dispassion for them. When doing this as a sitting practice I find that sitting with the vibrations as they get thicker and thicker the hindrances pull me in physical tension but let go almost like some external force is nudging me one way or another and I'm just looking at it instead of reacting to it. The labeling part of the noting is feeling more coarse now and I just want to drop it now and just see clearly with the senses what's there. I suppose "riding the wave" is a good metaphor.

When looking at thoughts it's like investigating the automatic senses and looking from that vantage point at thought habit tendencies. The feeling of "I" is very related to the thoughts for me. The practice relieves the stress via acceptance over anything that is there but the dispassion comes from finding the repetitive tensions annoying. If I eat enough but still get some cravings to eat more than I need to, I can also enjoy the pleasantness of feeling lighter and knowing that more fat will be burnt over night because I didn't indulge. I will notice at any uncomfortable sensations when I do fall off the wagon which is much better than judgment and guilt. It's always good to look at the pleasant ignored from the unpleasant and unpleasant ignored in the pleasant. There's more to the reality and desire and aversion is just zooming in on aspects and ignoring others.

I'm also losing a little weight because drinking water in place of just eating is often enough to kill the craving. When you're thirsty sometimes you can think you're hungry as well. This tactic is similar to the book The Power of Habit involving the habit cue. I learned to control nail biting by simply clipping my nails as soon as possible before I start gnawing on them. The habit tendency isn't gone but a healthy replacement ends the problem. If I drink water before I eat more carbs then the need to consume more carbs is greatly reduced.

There's also a subtle stress when the mindfulness lapses so getting in touch with the senses ASAP ends any papanca tendencies with mapping and meditation striving.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Shikantanza "do nothing" 1 hour: This is the practice I needed now. I think I have been repressing the thought process still too much with noting. By allowing all automatic thoughts and all natural senses without trying to add or subtract from anything from the experience was greatest relief for me so far. It was like watching a a kaleidescope of phenomena arise and passaway on its own. There is still a little bit of clinging left but that's because I haven't mastered this practice yet. The sense of self is retreating from the whole back of my head to just my top of the spine connected to my head.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Feeling great all day to day. The entire Shikantanza process is pervading my life. Aversion is down. Sanity is up. Thoughts (even bad ones) are okay. Everything seems okay. Tonight did another 1 hour of it. There was a pop in the back of the top part of my skull where time very briefly disappeared but I didn't get any bliss wave and I feel pretty good just like yesterday and today. My brain revved up some major 3rd eye pressure without any attempt to concentrate. Otherwise just more of the same which is just fine by me.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Shikantanza "Do nothing" practice: Allowing thoughts to naturally pass away along with everything else has been very powerful for me. I was house sitting recently and had nothing to do so I played a video game. You know when you suck at a level and you have to redo the entire level again and again? Normally that would cause agitation but by not repressing any thoughts (negative or positive) I could feel the tension like a muscle start to tense up but then I found it easy to get out of the way and let it let go automatically. There's nothing that needs to be "done". I've been allowing this to happen all day everyday and it feels like there's nothing for "me" to do. Desire seems so obvious now. I can just bring up images of something desirable and thinking about desirable details just creates increased desire. Then I think of some responsibility I'm procrastinating on and bring the desirable details of positive benefits of dealing with this responsibility and a new healthy desire replaces it. All that's left of the dukkka nanas is some chest anxiety or fear but it's much more attenuated now. Much of it is from thinking if there is anything more I should be doing. It's just more stuff that arises and passes away naturally.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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2 hour vipassana noting: Trying to note and not stop thoughts was the goal for today. I got intermittent jhanas along with bright results in the retina, and the noting naturally dismantled the jhanas. The self definitely feels like thoughts. I will see an image of a future self and it feels totally fake. The self feels more like a dream than reality. I'm finding that gentler noting is the way to go and sometimes slower noting (like every 3-4 seconds) to really soak in the experience is helpful. I've also been doing some concentration practice on the sensations of the spine/neck/back of skull to zero in on the location of the self. It seems to loosen things up in that I'm able to notice my experience shake and vibrate with every heart beat, but I got strong 3rd eye pressures in the forehead that really distracted the practice. I need to relax the facial muscles a little more. Still the result is a nice warm vibrating feeling the mind with little stickiness.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I'm just walking around letting experience (including thoughts) arise and pass away. There's no real meditation. The only doing is making sure to pay attention to the senses while not stopping thoughts I'm also not allowing thoughts to proliferate so much that I check out of the present moment.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Just for fun I decided to do pure samadhi practice for an hour. I found that it was easy to stay with the breath and any cognitive interruptions didn't last long. It was like a teflon brain. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I got no jhana factors at all and I could tell the brain felt like it didn't need the practice and it just hurt my head with large 3rd eye pressure in the forehead. Even relaxing the tension while still practicing was painful (hello 3 characteristics!). The closest thing to a "jhana" now is simply doing the Shikantanza/Great perfection/HAIETMOBA (whatever you want to call it) practice and enjoying the vibrations in the senses. I can get the same results with quick light noting practice. Even those nice feelings are not something to attach to. They are starting to feel a little crude. It's almost like your brain likes basic table wine, but then when you try above average wine the basic won't do. I'm assuming when I try outstanding wine then the above average won't do either. emoticon

The next step is to keep presence in the senses all day and especially when on the computer, reading, working, and talking to people. I can still "checkout" and attach to thoughts in those activities so more clear seeing is needed to get back to reality.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Reading test with Shikantanza: I had a novel that I started some time ago that I didn't get very far into. I decided to pick it up again. There was a little avoidance but I just remembered how the present moment is just that, whether I'm reading or doing anything else and the aversion naturally came and went. Then I started. In the past I would use concentration practice to repress thoughts and try and read but of course repressing thoughts makes the reading very sterile and lifeless. At the time it seemed necessary to block out thoughts because the mind could go on a tangent which would also reduce the quality of the reading.

This time I just allowed thoughts to gently arise and pass away. This allowed more depth of understanding and more patience to look up unheard of vocabulary (I was reading a Patrick O'Brian novel with lots of nautical terms). When I did get caught up in thoughts it was usually when I read something that reminded me of myself or people I know (self-referencing). I allowed those thoughts to come and go but I didn't add to them so I was able to get back to it pretty quickly. Some aversion sometimes comes in because the mind likes to start something but not to finish it. Just letting that aversion come and go on its own relieves it. After about 1 1/2 hours I could feel the tiredness coming in. The aversion picks up and here I can see taking a break makes sense and then returning replenished I'm able to continue. The aversion I think comes from not accepting limitations but also not testing the limitations to see how much further one can go before one is truly tired. If one is throughly engrossed in an easy reading novel I can see them go on for hours reading but at the same time some difficult books can reward patience if one is willing to stick with it.

Next I want to apply the Shikantanza practice to actual intense studying and memorizing. In the past I would probably have to syke myself up and power through it despite the reactivity (very painful). Or study with no breaks and bash the self-image if I didn't continue farther. It'll be fund to try/not try while studying. To study without a goal would be valuable.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Note on old habits: I used feel sorry for myself a lot in the past and just recently I tried going in that same direction again. This time my tears were a lot less, the pain was less and the clouding of experience reduced. It lasted maybe 30 seconds and then I'm back to normal again. It seems freakish but at the same time quite healthy. This makes getting into a positive mood much easier. For those just starting on the practice after around 4-5 years (sooner if you do retreats) it really does get better. emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Shikantanza: It's getting easier and easier to dwell in the senses. Some recent troubles with family members that recur regularly are now feeling less of a bother. I get less worked up. The drama is less engaging. I'm also noticing that fear and inhibition is starting to weaken in a more noticable way. I seem to care less and less what people think of me, and (even better) I care less and less what "I" think others think of me. emoticon In the past I could feel a harsh reactivity in the chest when thinking about the judgments of others and now I'm identifying less and less with it. The rest and elation is becoming less explosive and more normal. When I think about things I would like to achieve in the future, I'm more interested in what I'm doing about it now. I need less instant gratification.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Shikantanza: I think I had a turning point last night. I continued the practice as usual but I noticed that letting go is becoming much easier. I saw non-conceptually that 99% of my internal thinking and talk is about likes and dislikes even in indirect ways. By letting go of having to like or dislike anything it led to a jhana like experience except with no effort. The experience was so beautiful I was crying tears of joy with gratitude and relief. It was like the best clear indication of the three characterisitcs except with this practice there was nothing to do and nothing to achieve. Just let go. Unfortunately the experience was so overwhelmingly good that my brain wanted to conceptualize it and rehearse the results. Of course I let that go to and I want to keep letting go all day. I have to be careful because this letting go wasn't something that had to be done it was done all by itself simply by clear seeing. This was just a beautiful taste but the new habit has to take time to settle. The only real effort in this practice is to use willpower to keep seeing just for the sake of it. The concentration object (if I can even call it that) is just awareness or nothing. I didn't have to "concentrate" on it. It just happens on it's own. The last layers of fear and inhibition are starting to crack.

The experience is like AUTOMATICALLY letting go of something painful simply because it isn't necessary to function normally. The letting go also has a refreshing feeling of "there is nothing to need". Of course the "I" wants to feel like this all day but the "I" must be reminded that it is not needed to do this. emoticon There is also something deathlike in that I feel more and more accepting of death and imperfection in life. The near feeling before this nice experience is "I'm okay in just dying right here" except it's not suicidal but just deep acceptance that death is a natural part of life.

EDIT: This might be 4.2/4.3/4.4 Equanimity according to Daniel's Jhana/Nana table. At least the descriptions feel right.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Richard, your thread is excellent and packed with good information and insights. Your descriptions are spot-on, and your practice looks really strong.

Try just turning that lens of investigation back on that sense of "I", see how it's not present in that instant of clarity, how it only happens after the fact and how it can be seen to go into cessation the same as anything else.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I'm probably still enjoying the equanimity to the point of distraction. Scanning the entire skull makes the location of the self move but not really dissolve, but with that clarity in a higher equanimity it's hard to "do" anything like looking at the self behind the eyes when less doing is what gets you to equanimity in the first place. I still have to reconcile this with what AEN's book states regarding realization versus experience. Also that post above from Thanissaro Bhikkhu on how to not let desire to eliminate desire and aversion also become a point of moisture of craving. It leaves me to do nothing but on the other hand there is still a doing in just paying attention.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Scanning the entire skull makes the location of the self move but not really dissolve, but with that clarity in a higher equanimity it's hard to "do" anything like looking at the self behind the eyes when less doing is what gets you to equanimity in the first place. I still have to reconcile this with what AEN's book states regarding realization versus experience.

Try the self-enquiry method and, rather than "scanning" just observe, in the cool ease of Equanimity, how the mind seems to bring all these different sensations together to create this idea of a self; there's no such thing as a self to be found anywhere, it's just the aggregates coming together to create an imagined, continuous and permanent "I". Rather than looking for it to "dissolve", see how there's nothing solid to it in the first place, just more of the same transient dance of sensation as everything else seems to be made from. As you're already aware, there's no "doing" as such but don't get complacent while in Equanimity 'cause what you need to see clearly is already happening with spacious, crystal clarity 'in front' of you right here and now. Use it to your advantage!
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I've been really busy with work but what you said is how I'm slowly progressing. I find that when I get caught up in thoughts now the senses can be even more of an anchor and the thoughts are passing away now and I feel more identified with the senses as opposed to identified with the thoughts. It's like I think a series of thoughts (including mildly negative self referencing) and I just let it run out of it's own steam and and my senses return to the foreground. Sometimes I return to the senses with a smile at what was being thought. I even returned to a bit of noting as a reminder to let the senses be the foreground.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Current practice is still developing more dispassion and disenchantment. I'm starting to get to what Nick was talking about in not zooming in to subjects. I feel like the 2 modes of "self" are credulity and incredulity. I'm incredulous to a "self" when I allow all the senses to be the foreground, and credulous to a self when I'm describing my experience or being lost in thoughts. The best description I can give is that when I notice the granular structure of my vision I feel more hemmed in like slightly 2 dimensional, and reality doesn't seem so real. The reality is hitting my senses in the present moment and is not distant at all and the feeling of expansiveness and reaching out in distance to the 3 dimensional sensual world is my conceptual self doing it's usual dwelling and searching for likes and dislikes. I'll just keep on with this Shikantanza practice because it's still yielding more insights. There's still a little more pain left when I start enjoying the present moment and the self wants to dwell on likes and dislikes as I try to reach out via projections. Of course I just let it go on it's own steam. I'm not sure if my practice is still too repressive. I feel less repressive than before though, which is encouraging. When I go for a jog and just be with my automatic senses my experience is a little "strobing" and "movie like" in my vision. There's also a feeling that I can just stay closer to thoughtless for longer periods of time. The elation of being just in the senses is getting more normal but still quite exquisite.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I went on vacation recently and it helped a lot. Getting out into nature helps to atrophy old day to day habits so when you come back you start making some changes. During long drives I listened to the Happiness Advantage by Achor and it helped out with one problem I had with the depletion of willpower for changing habits. I've been wanting to exercise more but always fail to do so. The example to change that scenario by Achor was to sleep in your gym clothes. The problem with willpower is that it drains but what I got from that famous willpower book was that you were supposed to strengthen it. The problem with that is while you're doing it what are you supposed to do in the meantime?

By sleeping in my gym clothes the path of least resistance is to go exercise as opposed to changing into other clothes. The author wanted to learn guitar but in order to do that he had to use his 20 second rule by removing the TV controller batteries and moving them 20 seconds away to make it painful to watch TV and then by putting the guitar and stand in the living room the path of least resistance was to practice guitar playing. I currently have added an RSS feeder program to news so I just open the program and quickly see the headlines and only read what I want to and it's saved a lot of time. I used to be addicted to reading tons of news I didn't need to. Make it easier to do the new habits by removing obstacles and add obstacles to old habits. One shouldn't have to rely on willpower alone.

On the meditation front I found a larger realization that the I really am just the senses and that the sense of I in the past was just concepts arising and passing away. It feels more natural and normal now to just be in the senses and then to pick and choose which arising thoughts are worth following and letting the rest just drop away. It's almost like my skull is feeling hollow of self while still feeling okay. The less "I" do about it the better.

EDIT: Shinzen Young's explanation on how the sense of self behind the eyes in equanimity is also conceptual is starting to make more sense now.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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2 hours of Shikantanza/some noting "gones": Some of the last realization (which happened more with presence during daily life) is filtering into my meditation practice. Equanimity is starting to get boring. Even if mental interruptions and dispassion is handled easily my brain is seeking out more clarity by looking at the endings of thoughts in particular. When the thought ends I'm back into the senses with lots of presence. This is similar to what Eckhart Tolle says about viewing the pauses between thoughts. Yet it's better if the brain finds this true because it desires to relieve pain than to simply follow a meditation practice. Any prior mental talk about meditation gets dropped as well. The suffering is still there in equanimity but because it's much less than before it requires more consistent comparision between being lost in thoughts and being here now with all my senses. The constant comparison shows the brain the subtle pain that's there that should be let go of. Even though I feel damn good the small dark night reminders (old weakened mental habits returning etc.) tell the brain that more refinement is possible. It really is that question that Tarin used for his AF chart. "Do I want to think about this or be in the present moment?" Except this question is asked without words or concepts. It's just feeling subtle agitation while lost in thoughts and letting go into the senses over and over again and getting that little bit of relief over and over again.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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There's definitely more of a shift that's becoming habit and being introduced into work. I find that dependent origination is easier to notice. When my brain is thinking about something really interesting the addictive part of the amygdala starts up and the mental talk/clinging gets revved up and the attention focus feels solid. Now that it's easier to let go more often my work patience has gone up a lot. The self referencing feels ridiculous and the brain can now see it isn't necessary to do that constantly. Rote work is becoming less boring. By being in the senses more the separation between me and the atmosphere feels a lot less. Sometimes when driving home it feels like I'm watching someone else's hand on the wheel. As soon as the brain starts getting caught up in thoughts I can detect the slight pain of likes or dislikes and it makes more sense to just come back to the natural senses. The most important part of this is that it's feeling more normal and not a mind state.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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well said
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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This particular quote from AEN's book is really helping me to get away from subtly manipulating thoughts. There's more room to allow thoughts without feeling guilt if there's a lot of thoughts. Less pain is good. emoticon

11 th December 2010
We often think that thought is obscuring our 'experience of Nowness' or 'experience of
Presence'...
As if the present moment is what is actually present in the absence of thought.
But have we actually look at thought itself... the actuality of thought.
Isn't thought itself an arising happening now? If we look nakedly at the manifestation of
thought... we discover it to be of the similar vivid intense presence as that which is
experienced in the absence of conceptual thoughts.
Thought too is Presence, is Nowness, is Awareness, whatever you want to call it (they
aren't an inherent substance but merely words pointing to the vivid and insubstantial
arisings of the moment)... it is vivid, bright, clear, though insubstantial (like anything
else). It is non-dual: there is no separation of a thinker and thought... there is just the
vivid appearance of thought.
Maintaining awareness, 'living in the now', presence, and so on, therefore does not
require getting rid of thought or 'remaining in the gap of no-thought' like what many
teachers teach.

Maintaining presence can be done 'within' thought itself... by dropping all striving (to
maintain any particular state of presence), resistance and clinging, and simply and
mindfully letting all experiences including thoughts to arise and subside in its own
luminous and empty nature.
Remember as I said before: thoughts aren't the problem, clinging is.
By being awake 'within' thoughts, we stop ourselves from getting lost in our thought
stories... we are present to the entire field of experience rather than narrowing our
focus on our mental chatter. Whatever arises is allowed to unfold and then subside on
its own without clinging or rejecting.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Also instead of asking myself "Who am I?" I find it better to watch my mind get lost in thoughts, then let go of clinging and then ask "was that a me?"
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Richard Zen:
Also instead of asking myself "Who am I?" I find it better to watch my mind get lost in thoughts, then let go of clinging and then ask "was that a me?"


This is really working. Today I felt just present and coreless for most of the day. I can let go of my "self" as just being more thoughts while feeling completely normal and not in any state. If there's clinging it's easier to let go now. Staying with people and their conversations is easier and when my mind does get lost there's no guilt because it just arises and passes away because of conditioning, and also it isn't a me. Thoughts aren't an interference. Concentration is vastly superior this way.

Awakening to reality quote:

Also, the fact that you know you were distracted means awareness is present in the
distraction, otherwise you will never know it.
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Brian Eleven, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Richard,
Sounds Great!
I think I've had similar experiences by the sound of your descriptions. AEN pointed me to a Shinzen Young video which has been helpful:Do Nothing meditation
I can really relate to the feeling of no guilt when the mind wanders, since starting with the "do nothing" meditation I've been shocked at how much I try to manipulate my experience and suppress thought. When it works and I "do nothing" I feel incredibly open, light, energetic, and free, experiencing what AEN refers to as "I Am".
Unfortunately it's been peaks and valleys with this. I really "let go" and feel great then I try to re-create it and the mental constriction returns trying to force an experience. The longer I meditate the more aware I become that I'm really uptight! lol! Whatever you're doing, keep it up!
My only suggestion would be to keep it relaxed and fun.

Metta,

Brian.

And thanks for the updates, it's nice to know someone else is in a similar spot.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Brian Eleven:
Richard,
Sounds Great!
I think I've had similar experiences by the sound of your descriptions. AEN pointed me to a Shinzen Young video which has been helpful:Do Nothing meditation
I can really relate to the feeling of no guilt when the mind wanders, since starting with the "do nothing" meditation I've been shocked at how much I try to manipulate my experience and suppress thought. When it works and I "do nothing" I feel incredibly open, light, energetic, and free, experiencing what AEN refers to as "I Am".
Unfortunately it's been peaks and valleys with this. I really "let go" and feel great then I try to re-create it and the mental constriction returns trying to force an experience. The longer I meditate the more aware I become that I'm really uptight! lol! Whatever you're doing, keep it up!
My only suggestion would be to keep it relaxed and fun.

Metta,

Brian.

And thanks for the updates, it's nice to know someone else is in a similar spot.


Once that's done it's all about continued self-inquiry mixed with consistent mindfulness and letting go when clinging arises. The self-inquiry reminds you that there's no non-conceptual self and mindfulness lets you see the wisdom of letting go.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Where I am now with no self is that experiences and thoughts are known. This knowing doesn't have a substance or location. You can't grasp at it or conceptualize it. It just is. It's not solid. A thought of a "thinker" is just another thought. The "thinker" thought doesn't conceptualize other separate thoughts. It's just another thought. This is pretty fun, though there are deeper realizations. emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I've finished An Eternal Now's book. I'm definitely impressed. Reminding myself to look at the self concept as only a thought has got me to look at my Shikantanza practice further. Focusing on experience can be tiring and does require more realization to make the practice more effective. I feel that there's still a little too much aversion to thoughts, but less so than before. Reminding myself during the day there's no self by actually viewing the self-referencing as simply more thoughts kind of hems you into the present moment while allowing thoughts in. It's comfortable without being disconcerting. There's of course still clinging but there's more temptation to let go of it to get the relief. I'm still a little worried about rashly pursuing "letting go" involving a self-concept. If realization of dependent origination (DO) (basically everything including yourself breaks down into smaller objects ad infinitum) is what is necessary to remove clinging then reminding myself of this throughout the day will be necessary. When clinging arises I'll have to remind myself of DO to see how the realization unfurls the clinging to then avoid repressing the clinging with a fabricated "letting go". Reminding myself about DO during aversion will be an interesting experience. To be disatisfied with activities or scenarios because of DO is more natural than to feel guilt and repress desire/aversion.

Awakening to reality:

They may cling to an awareness even without engaging in labels or conceptualization, due to a subtle belief in an inherent awareness, for example. Telling these people to cease conceptualizing isn't going to help as they already had ample non conceptual experiences of reality and yet
are unable to overcome their inherent view. Therefore it is not non conceptuality in and
of itself that liberates... It is realization that liberates you from extreme views... And in
fact all views, hence called the viewless view.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Okay my Shikantanza practice has been changed with ruthless dependent origination reminders thoughout the day and during meditation. When sitting and doing nothing it's easier to get a handle on the vibrations in the senses and especially on the skin. When clinging/stress appears I just look at that as a sign that deep down the body believes in an inherent self. By understanding universal impermanence and letting go it's almost like instant relief and jhana factors start to rev up. The body sense appears to focus here and there while other parts of the body seem to disappear while the focus is somewhere else. In my sittings I'm feeling tingling sensations deeper in the throat and the back of the head. The sense of self appears to be a little version of me mimicking meditation while I meditate and is mimicking what I do throughout the day. This is definitely like the Wizard of Oz and pulling back the curtain. Similar to stories of the Buddha the brain assulted me with violent and super lusty female sexual images and movements doing it to me every which way and I just barely saw through them and didn't get lost in them. Psycho people were trying to shoot me with ridiculously scary smiles. Wow that was hard! You have to let go of everything. The Amygdala is packed with shit, lust, and over the top fears. That was almost overwhelming at times emoticon What's cool though is that there's more hope now that sexual desire and paranoid fears can be overcome with more practice. I can also see that with diligent mindfulness dieting might be more doable. You have to feel the aversion and craving and start letting go ASAP before the action takes place.

There was a point where the mind felt like it went into overdrive and the sense of self started to shrink like a collapsing star. Unfortunately there was some fear residue and the self narrowed to a singularity but didn't completely collapse. Seems like a near miss. Still I feel like I have replaced my butter knife with an exacto knife so I'll be continuing with this practice.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Day practice: After yesterday I've continued with the viewing of dependent origination on everything. Even viewing how my computer screen is made up of small parts helps with the letting go. As soon as any clinging starts appearing I remind myself of the impermanent nature of the object and it's easy to let go. Letting go repeatedly eventually leads to strong concentration and a peak experience but when the experience returns to normal a few hours later it's still a good experience. I can see how it can normalize. When I ran out of work I was given some extra work and coworkers were shocked at my lack of complaining. emoticon It's been the smoothest normal day in my life so far. No reason to stop letting go.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Similar smooth day today. The difference is that when old mental habits wanted to come back they weren't as powerful and I actually caught some wrong speech developing in my mind and some quick compassion came out that was unexpected and beautiful that prevented me from saying something unskillful. It's almost like even the thinking of it was unpleasant and it needed to be dropped. A couple of days ago my normal equanimity felt more like driving on a good solid road but with a few bumps and potholes. Now it's like driving on a newly paved road. Less sticky in DhO parlance.

I definitely recommend introducing dependent origination reminders before letting go of clinging. It smooths it out with small doses of dispassion. It works pretty quickly. Just think about the impermanence of everything in you and around you and see how everything is built from tiny particles and realize that clinging to anything that isn't permanently solid leads to the same result. I'll still have to see how this plays out at work. Right now people are projecting stress on my facial expressions that I don't feel. emoticon I'm also trying to fabricate some smiles which I can see (like Shinzen's focus on the positive) magnifies the enjoyment so I can savour the results of letting go of clinging. This is definitely a nice shift. The confidence comes from knowing that I know what to do if old negative habits come back. I can see there's still more room for dispassion to continue. Staring out of the window at work and it was natural to feel more non-dual. The scalp and facial muscles are relaxed.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I've definitely seen why the realization is necessary to be used as a reminder. As the peak experiences of concentration and mindfulness fade it's necessary to remind the mind when it clings that the impermanent nature hasn't suddenly gotten solid. It's like a little check that can be done that throws you back into a effortless mindfulness. As this is done the thoughts arise and pass away and can be clearly seen to not be a self. Also today I noticed that clinging is like layers. As you let go of different kinds of clinging the experience improves. I noticed that clinging to thoughts about meditation was something I could let go of and the ease and the effort to keep mindfulness during work improved. The senses get a little quiet or sleepy when it happens so I can see how the lights can go out when you let go of everything.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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When practicing Shikantanza it's clear the impermanence side of things and letting go when there's clinging is also clear. The problem is no self. I find that there is endless commentary even in a subtle ninja creeping way. I'm good at mindfulness for the most part but the weakness is THOUGHTS. So I found some more techniques that will help me parse out the ME inside into more dependent origination.

This talk was very helpful in shining a light into the murkiness of thoughts. They are so fast and there are so many types.

Andrea Fella - Working with thinking and thoughts in meditation

Basically I will focus on this foundation of mindfulness to hopefully penetrate further. The preliminary step is to just count the thoughts as they occur (including thinking about the practice or thinking there are no thoughts) and as the clarity of which type of thoughts appear I'm going to label them. Eg. Sub-vocal (talking to myself or other repetitive commentary on anything, seeing (for projections), hearing (audio thoughts). If there are any rememberances of taste or smells (quite rare for me) I'll note them too. I also want to note my emotional reactions to the thoughts because that's often how they manifest for me and locate them on the body. Some craving or aversion starts up and quickly thoughts move around them but sometimes it's so quick that it's only the thoughts I'm noticing first.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I did about three hours of noting practice. It was still like Shikantanza but I started off looking at thoughts. Throughout the day yesterday I became more aware of the different kinds of thoughts specifically with counting and then noting the different types. Areas of weakness were very clear. I like to be "right" in mental arguments with people almost as a rehearsal and you can see a fake "me" projection practicing and rehearsing. Lots of angry results there but now I can note thoughts without stopping them. I just stop adding to them. This is a much better result. The clarity I've developed from previous vipassana practices make it easier. This morning during my longer sit I was actually just laying bed and started with the body vibrations even to the point of losing feeling in some body parts. Strangely the hands felt like a body "self" in that my mind could invent different locations for the hands to rest than they actually were. It's just another mental "self" that mimics reality but after some meditation time can do other things. I quickly moved up jhanas. The vibrations were nice because the letting go just makes it easier. It got to the point where the vibrations were so fast that it seemed solid. I was paying attention to thoughts of wanting results and thoughts of frustration but it was easy to let go. I can tell that I need to let go further. As I did it I got to a kind of equanimity that's a little "meh". It's very restful but the annoyance comes from expecting something to happen. Reminding myself of the Bahiya Sutta where senses are what they are and thoughts are what they are can show you how impersonal senses are and noting thoughts can vividly show how you can narrate your experience with a sub-vocal "self" which wraps around the senses. This is what I'm looking for. I could let that go and just try and let go of everything to develop a deeper rest.

Much more to come I'm sure. Letting go towards you-know-what isn't easy and requires time to get used to.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I think I'm getting back to normal again. I'm finding it hard to get more meditation in because I'm changing jobs and things are getting busy. The best part of the last few days is that reactivity is being seen more clearly. It's like dependent origination but basically the amygdala is blowing air into a thought bubble balloon that checks you out of reality. So I let go but I'm not in any mental state. I'm just normal. I just keep letting go and getting on with my day and activities. The mental desire and aversion is feeling more obsolete like it is just getting in the way with fear or useless distractions related to desire. If the reactivity is not intellegent enough to make good decisions it's because it's more equipped to a different lifestyle than in the concrete jungle. If I need to take risks then too much fear is just getting in the way.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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The only change recently is that when reading my mind was very quiet on its own. Like "graveyeard quiet". It coincides with letting go. With attachment the brain is noisy and with letting go it's less noisy.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Just re-reading an article on the AEN blog which I didn't fully understand before but I do now, in regards to thoughts. BTW I recommend reading all of it:

Dialectic of reflection and presence

The ultimate practice here is learning to remain fully present and awake in the middle of whatever thoughts, feelings, perceptions, or sensations are occurring and to appreciate them, in Mahamudra/Dzogchen terms, as Dharmakaya -- as an ornamental display of the empty, luminous essence of awareness. Like waves on the ocean, thoughts are not separate from awareness. They are the radiant clarity of awareness in motion. In remaining awake in the middle of thoughts -- and recognizing them as the luminous energy of awareness -- the practitioner maintains presence and can rest within their movement. As Namkhai Norbu (1986) suggests:

"The essential principle is to ... maintain presence in the state of the moving wave of thought itself ... If one considers the calm state as something positive to be attained, and the wave of thought as something negative to be abandoned, and one remains caught up in the duality of grasping and rejecting, there is no way of overcoming the ordinary state of the mind.”


It is a dualistic fixation, the tension between "me" -- as self -- and "my thoughts" -- as other -- that makes thinking problematic, tormenting, "sticky," like the tarbaby to which Brer Rabbit becomes affixed by trying to push it away. Thoughts become thick, solid, and heavy only when we react to them. Each reaction triggers further thought, so that the thoughts become chained together in what appears to be a continuous mind-state. These thought-chains are like a relay race, where each new thought picks up the baton from the previous thought and runs with it for a moment, passing it on again to a subsequent thought. But if the meditator can maintain presence in the middle of thinking, free of grasping or rejecting, then the thought has nothing to pass the baton on to, and naturally subsides. Although this sounds simple, it is advanced practice, usually requiring much preliminary training and commitment.


"It's possible to make thought itself meditation... How do we go into that state? The moment you try to separate yourself from thought, you are dealing with a duality, a subject-object relationship. You lose the state of awareness because you reject your experience and become separate from it.... But if our awareness is in the center of thought, the thought itself dissolves... At the very beginning... stay in the thoughts. Just be there... You become the center of the thought. But there is not really any center -- the center becomes balance. There's no 'being,' no 'subject-object relationships': none of these categories exist. Yet at the same time, there is... complete openness... So we kind of crack each thought, like cracking nuts. If we can do this, any thought becomes meditation... Any moment, wherever you are, driving a car, sitting around, working, talking, any activities you have -- even if you are very disturbed emotionally, very passionate, or even if your mind has become very strong, raging, overcome with the worst possible things and you cannot control yourself, or you feel depressed... if you really go into it, there's nothing there. Whatever comes up becomes your meditation. Even if you become extremely tense, if you go into your thought and your awareness comes alive, that moment can be more powerful than working a long time in meditation practice.


My experience of the above even while typing and thinking is that it's like the thought bubble fills in the gap of a lack of mindfulness. That's why it's hard to do because it's about maintaining it all the time but at the same time not blowing tons of energy with noting or fabricated concentration. Thinking while mindful feels so different than thinking without mindfulness.

So this connects the noters and non-noters with the same prescription to be present to all phenomena. As soon as the practice is objectified and attached to it's just another divide being created.

I would like to close with a few final considerations for Western students of the further reaches of contemplative awareness. From anecdotal evidence, stabilizing the pure presence of rigpa in the ongoing realization of self-liberation appears to be quite rare, even among dedicated students of Dzogchen/Mahamudra. This tradition flowered in Tibet, a far simpler and more grounded culture than ours, which also provide a social mandala, or cohesive cultural context, that supported thousands of monasteries and hermitages where meditation practice and realization could flourish. Yet even there, years of preliminary practice and solitary retreat were usually recommended as the groundwork for full nondual realization which was sometimes described as the golden roof that crowns the entire spiritual enterprise.


In the meantime if it's hard to keep being present during thoughts because of the speed of mental activity in work or other emotionally turbulent situations then proceed as follows:

The question for modern Westerners, who lack the cultural support found in traditional Asia and who often find it hard to spend years in retreat or even to complete the traditional Tibetan preliminary practise, is how to build a strong enough base on which this golden roof can rest. What kind of preliminary practices or inner work are most relevant and useful for modern people as a groundwork for nondual realization? What special conditions may be necessary to nurture and sustain nondual presence outside of retreat situations? And how can this spacious, relaxed quality of presence be integrated into everyday functioning in a speedy, complex technological society like ours, which requires such high levels of mental activity and mental abstraction?

Since unresolved psychological issues and developmental deficiencies often present major hurdles to integrating spiritual realizations into daily life, spiritual aspirants in the West may also need to engage in some degree of psychological work, as a useful adjunct to their spiritual work, and perhaps as a preliminary practice in its own right. (Welwood, 1984, 2000). Perhaps for Westerners genuine nondoing and letting-be can only be fully embodied in a healthy, integrated way once one has learned to attend to bodily feelings and grapple with one’s personal experience in a Focusing-style reflective manner.[Link] That is why it is important to understand the uses and limitations of psychological reflection, and to study its role as a stepping-stone both toward and “back” from nondual presence – as a bridge, in other words, that can begin to unlock deeper qualities of being and help to integrate them more fully into everyday life.


Yet cognitive therapy will still have a sense of separation so one should keep going in the practice while not avoiding responsibilities:

While psychotherapy and meditation both led to a freeing of mental and emotional fixations, the meditative approach struck me as the more profound and compelling of the two, because it was more direct, more radical, more faithful to the essential nature of awareness as an open presence intrinsically free of grasping, strategizing, and the subject-object split altogether. At the same time, the reflective dialogical process of psychotherapy provided a more effective and accessible way to work on the issues, concerns, and problems of personal and worldly life – which meditators often tend to avoid dealing with. Yet I had doubts about the ultimate merits of an approach that did not address, and was not designed to overcome, the subject-object struggle that lay at the root of most human alienation and suffering.


And I can stay present in all this typing. I don't have to "own" the knowledge. The confidence comes from doing which is similar to the jhana factors in dealing with laziness & doubt. emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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Okay so I tried the new approach to let go of the past thoughts, future thoughts and even the present projections in a 2 hour meditation. I felt very good after this. Whatever negative mood I was in vanished. By squeezing myself down to the present moment as close as I could the mental formations were very jumpy and obvious to note. The jhanas didn't really appear and could barely start but that was okay. The concentration was enormous anyways. I could see how my mind was quickly (and quietly) moving into subtle thoughts on progress and analysis along with the usual interruptions. My eyes were open and some of my senses like vision and hearing were very clear. Any ear worms (which I get lots) vanished during this practice. To expand on the practice I started noting the aggregates I understand and I did this at a much slower pace. Just allowing the commentary to be there and to remind myself that the thoughts aren't a "me" which removes the stickiness of clinging.

With Tommy's suggestion I'll look into dependent origination in further detail and Greg Goode's Direct Path user guide which looks really meaty. emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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This current practice is changing already. I'm starting to get some fading with the letting go so some of the clarity is reducing. I remind myself wordlessly if what's happening is a "me" and the stickiness disappears. Also when adding the letting go I sometimes go up the jhanas but they don't last long because I don't lock into them. The letting go also creates a strange reaction with my eyes like they want to reverse with my skull and then a new jhana starts up and then fades.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Richard's insight practice

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I haven't been doing much meditation recently. I have lots of projects on the go. Reading The Direct Path by Greg Goode just keeps pointing back to the same consciousness that knows the senses and thinking. The clinging is going away more naturally. Watching Cloud Atlas just hammered in the point of interdependence and conceptual barriers but a movie only goes to the surface. Just the questioning of enlightenment and most phenomenal questions lead to that they are known. This creates a sense of wanting to abandon the questions (clinging). emoticon

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