New practice.

New practice. Stuart Charles Law 12/16/12 11:41 AM
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Dukkha - nana through Sankharupekha - nana stuart chas law 5/12/14 11:47 AM
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Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... Stuie Law 2/5/16 1:13 PM
RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... Stuie Law 2/8/16 4:48 AM
RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... C P M 2/8/16 8:07 AM
RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... shargrol 2/8/16 8:57 AM
RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... Stuie Law 2/8/16 8:20 PM
RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... Stuie Charles Law 12/11/17 10:13 AM
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RE: Aaaahhhh. Kundalini....... Stuie Charles Law 12/22/17 1:04 AM
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closing down sale, everything must go...... Stuie Law 4/7/16 2:25 PM
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 12/16/12 11:41 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/16/12 11:41 AM

New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Been off the cushion for 48 hours now (with the exception of 40 minutes Calm Abiding session. Silent. For which i'm the bell ringer, Sunday evening, at six.) Infected ear has become a perforated ear drum, so a little off colour.

My biggest question or query now is ... what is my new practice going to look like? Was concidering going all the way back to two hours per day, 40 minutes morning, 40 minutes midday and 40 minutes evening, but surfing the DhO i see that 2 hours per day is nothing more than bare maintenance.

After my brush with samadhi (a wonderful first sit, and three high level repetitions) which i've come to think of as "sitting down with the elephant" with sits of 4 to 5 hours per day (mainly 4) i don't want to be going back to "maintenance only" style of just two hours. am making a statement of intent now: I want a practice that ensures regular jhana experience with relative ease In return i'm willing to put in 6 hours of sitting, sorry not sitting but meditation per day. I have been wrestling with what my new daily practice will look like and the following popped into my head .., for the want of anything better ... a place to start from.
5am to 6am, one hour sitting meditation.
6am to 7am, one hour walking meditation.
7am to 8am, one hour supine. Then a repetition of that am block at which ever three hour pm block decided on. Can anyone out there tell me ... is a three hour block of meditation made up of one hours sitting, walking, and supine as good as a straight three hour cushion sit. I can only make an hour with the legs in the 1/2 lotus before cramps follow and i've not sat three hours in any position let alone the tailors position, so will have to give it a go!

Might just give it another 48 hours to allow the static in my ear to lessen. Damm, but i'm glade i have this forum to which to bring myself and my problems. And you people so, so much further along, still having the concern to take the time to address us newbies

Much Metta for the assistance already rendered. Thank you a guys.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 12/20/12 4:40 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/20/12 4:40 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Two days into my new routine. Two, three hour sits broken up into 60 minutes sitting, 60 minutes walking and 60 minutes of supine meditation. Way to early to be experiencing anything, but here is an amusing happening. Was at the chemist getting some scripts filled, busy day, pre christmas, when i noticed i was in a light state of access concentration and wondered if i could deepen it ... next thing i know two sales staff were trying to raise me out of my whatever with some concern, until a smile reassured them. I was quite chuffed about that. Chuckle chuckle ... This meditation stuff is just about the most thrilling thing i've ever done. It's so wonderful to have all these new happenings to this blase' old biker. Thanks for this precious human life...
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 12/22/12 12:32 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/22/12 12:32 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Have made a slight structural change to my meditation ... Have dropped the supine as i've done it far to easy, which makes me think that despite the feeling of wellness at the end of supine, i've been taking 40 winks. So, out with it and back in with another hour of sitting. Leg position optional. Tried a full lotus sit and managed a whole couple of minutes before i was pushing that pesky left foot urgently off my right thigh. Some resistance to walking meditation, would like to deepen access concentration here. Bit of clock watching in last 15 to 20 of three hour sit/walk/sit.

Much more aware of my dreams. Normally are not. Had three really lucid dreams, the last being a most vivid end of days vision of death dance of the earth and moon at the end of times ... Weird

At all midway points from sitting i had the urge to sit more --- so even at 6 hours i haven't found my base line yet. Thought 6 hours have been harder.

Would love another taste of Samadhi ... YES PLEASE MISTA MEDITATION MAN!!!emoticon
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago at 12/22/12 12:38 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/22/12 12:38 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Sounds good. I went into a concentration state once when I was in the doctor's office waiting for him to show up (15 minutes or so); when he finally came bursting into the room it was overwhelming. He was talking really fast, using a lot of emphasis, and was giving off all this restless energy. I just smiled and felt like I was an LP record watching someone at 78 (you know what I mean). Happy trails! I get what you're saying about supine meditation. I know exactly where that would take me. emoticon
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/9/13 4:41 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/9/13 4:41 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Got through Christmas. Normally the silly season is associated with chronic depression but meditation has slowly been reeling that "given" back to what is becoming a new reality. Small depression front caught up with me a couple of days prior to New Year. Unfortunately i didn't sit through. First break in over 14 months sittings!!! Been doing Anapanasati practice for the same length of time and struggling to know just where I was, and that was providing me with some angst, even though i have Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's book Anapanasati Mindfulness with Breathing, . Then i picked up my latest book, Alan Wallace's The Attention Revolution, Unlocking the power of the focused mind. According to him i was at stage 4, Close Attention but i didn't want to go any further with him because i wanted to improve my access concentration, then i found that being able to count the breath on the exhalation from 1 to 10 through to 30. Then count the inhalation on the in breath 2 X 10 times, that was all the access concentration needed to move to Insight meditation. I can hold the breath on counting for a full hour without losing it once ... but i still hadn't touched on Jhana yet and i had set that as a target, prior to moving on. I may be grasping for this goal, thus putting it out of reach.

What about the next chapter in Wallace's book, "settling the mind in it's natural state"

Having read the instructions and understood them, i thought ok here goes! Vase breathing to settle the mind then allow thoughts to just arise and pass with no comment on anything (My background thoughts are so quiet now that i thought this would be ideal for me!) BUT KEEP IT ALL VIVID. I instructed access concentration to be available at the commencement of the meditation and it was. So then it was just a gentle cycle of watching the breath, yes, that's ok ... watching the thoughts yeap ...watching my self, yes. AND THE BIG THING IS... I asked myself to deepen my concentration and it happened, i felt a deepening of access. So then every time it came around, I asked that it be deepened. Then i realised i was back in that happy place and that Samadhi had come out to play. It feels as if my inner teacher has been given his instructions. I feel so much better. Lost that floundering feeling i had for so long. Samadhi appeared before first bell, so i'd gotten deep quickly, 7 to 10 minutes. Had a delicious 45 minutes of the most vivid, open eyed meditation, ever. I'll give Alan Wallace the next 12 months and lets see what transpires.

Dharma Overground rules.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:35 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:35 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
I was so 'full of it' when i stated that 6 hours meditation was easy. Pratt! ... couple of days after that i was on nothing, zero, zip. And those few days were the biggest gap in meditation in over 14 months. 6 Hours, in two blocks of 3, plainly was my "wall" Anyway i'm back on the mat with 4 hours a day and i'll leave it at that until i've bedded in Alan Wallace's Settling the Mind in it's natural state. I'm getting concentration... and now and again i'm able to manipulate it. I was given a taste of jhana (Hard as the Hobs of Hell) right at the every beginning that gave me the where with all to get to here. Now just a couple of days ago i have another full on hour of wonderfully deep meditation with such clarity and vividness such as i've never seen. I see a pattern establishing here. Gift; work; achieve: I was given my first gift about 18 months back when i was slung off into jhana and that gave me the motivation to work at re reaching that wonderful place. Now... i haven't got there yet but i'm coming really close and in the confusion of "where to next!!!" i've been given another gift of what more advanced meditation practices are returning to their practitioners. So now its rather not so much whoooo look at what i,ve achieved but. Whooo, put the work in and look to what i can achieve. I have been through so much of this site and the return on investment has been absolutely wonderful. To all past and present contributors, from my heart ... thank you.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/13/13 1:40 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/13/13 1:40 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
It's 4:47 and past first light ... i've just pulled another all nighter. I couldn't go to sleep without meditating, as the preceding 4 x 1 hour sits had all given me light to heavy access concentration. Started the session with vase breathing and settled the breath in very quickly as i now seem able to do. light grade access concentration was with me almost from the get go and i once again experimented with requesting that the access concentration i have be deepened ... it took more time than before, BUT IT WAS. Four more times i repeated the request with positive results each time. I didn't need a fifth, i was in what i've come to recognise as Samadhi, past concentration, and solid as a rock. Really firm. Twenty minutes into an hours sit. Stayed with me the rest of the sit. Had a lot of pins and needles and bliss bombs in both hands which sort of suggested that were i to stay sitting might be a precursor of nimitta but was already rather chuffed with what had been achieved and called it quits. Shouldn't have... Thought the session would be good and it was. Not had a premonition about a sitting previously!
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/16/13 9:38 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/16/13 9:38 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Lost a couple of days due to stupidity. Worked out in the noon day sun (in the tropics) and became dehydrated. Very distracting.

Came back today with just two hours but boy what a good couple of sittings they were! Both sessions had me in Samadhi before the first bell. Stayed with me all of both sittings with a slight reduction in the last 1/4 hour of the last sit. I am just so f****** grateful that i have at last, been able to summon up a repeatable, verifiable, tangible, concrete benefit from this hard won race, called meditation. But my mind was still nagging at me, eightfold path, so i looked up a small outline on the Noble Eightfold Path i have and reread it. Very quickly it became obvious the amount of work i had put in on this Plan For Life over the past 18 months and that the calmness and peace i have, are indicative of the fact that i am in the right place at the right time. I have made a big dent at the mountain of factors i had going against me, and the result is a peace of mind as yet unknown to me previously. A huge gratitude is on me. Who do i thank for the miraculous feeling of well being, i've experienced since this evening. Jhana is now just a word ... not this great and glorious goal i MUST reach. In it's own time it will happen, of that i am sure. I just don't need it to be tomorrow anymore!

Trawling this forum every night like a deep sea fisherman has stretched my mind so much in these past few short weeks. I'm gunna say it again ... Thank you Dharma Overground. Pathetic words for such life changing exploits. Much metta to all beings.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/20/13 12:08 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/20/13 12:08 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Everything has become a problem. Don't want to sit (and things are going well for me in this regard too, so there is no reason for this avoidance) I copied this little bit of Dharma out from somewhere. Wish i could give it an author ... The robbers of non mindfulness always seek to enter the mind of one who is making efforts on the path. When his carelessness allows them an opening, they snatch away his mindfulness, his virtues, and as a result he winds up in a wretched state. Everything is a bit of a problem. Its all happening so fast. Just come off some sort of high and i can now sympathise with advise on false feelings of enlightenment. Then there was a period of days when i was so tensed across the top of the shoulders and back down to the middle of the back, suddenly that washed out to be replaced by this aversion, all when things where going so smoothly, mmm.
Very restless and and a tad short with all. Not at all where a was just a few short days ago. Four hours per day is the sitting times i've contracted with myself and i'm only averaging three. Shits Me... sorry...

It gets hard doing this shit on your Pat Malone... Wooo feeling sorry for myself.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/20/13 12:28 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/20/13 12:28 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Spent all day with my actual Sanga Sunday, six of us on a committee, and that only served to highlight just how lonely it is out here ... Even with all the little sweeteners that get dropped periodically in my lap. Thank all the gods for my virtual Sanga. I'd love to sit with you guys. Would that i could ....
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/23/13 12:03 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/23/13 12:02 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Samadhi in the morning and Jhana at night???

Had only two of my allotted four hours meditation. Crazy as it is they ended up being the second and third best sittings i had had! I've been gifted an example of what could be on two separate occasions now. Once right at the beginning when i was slammed into Hard Jhana and then again just recently, with Samadhi. Samadhi has been repeatable and verified on numerous occasions since, though not as deep as first. And now yesterday i achieve a very hard samadhi in the morning and i think Jhana in the evening. It was more and different than samadhi, but not the door slamming hardness of my first accidental encounter with jhana. there was no nimitta preceding the event either but it was the hardest hours sitting i've had. By hardest i mean that i was locked into the experience without the need for maintenance by me. Meditation was managing me!!! The thing i did differently ... I listened to a dharma talk on Audio Dharma, teacher 2 regarding her concentration experiences,and she related that she relaxed into her meditation more. Of late, i have been instructing my mind and body what to do, so instead of instructions, it was relaxation and boy oh boy didn't my body respond to that! Straight away the feeling was different and the journey down more satisfying. Just relaxed into the whole thing. All in all, the best days sitting i've had. And i should be over the world. Break out the bells and whistles ... I got Jhana ... But instead of that i spent the day beating myself up for not having sat for my contracted four hours. Shit i'm a fickle bastard.

I've been a seeker all my adult life, it's been an obsession. Now i appear to have found a "way" that has it's own amusement park attached ... I am not being disrespectful, far, far from that but boy What A Ride!!!

It's so lonely though. Don't feel depressed... but highly introspective.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/24/13 8:31 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/24/13 7:49 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Ok ... i'm shitty! Dark and pissed off. What small amount of wisdom i have says that if in fact that is the case then it is time to do an accounting of my pros and cons. A little, where am i now, in comparison to where i was just a few short years ago. Up front and just for starters. Just in the last 24 hours, here on DhO, i have read an old 2009 saga of a person with strong bi polar disorder and the problems they where experiencing. Boy oh boy, my heart went out and back in time. Three, four years ago now Depression was my default position permanently. Not so much depressed as "Hard core" chronic depression. Throw Schizoaffective disorder (a cross between schizophrenia and bi polar) into the ring, plus the fact that i'm a non drinking alcoholic and you have just the beginning of the picture of what i was like. I was going to post those facts here when i first found this site but i thought i'd hold on and do what i've done to every problem that has confronted me since i found meditation... just keep on throwing more mediation at the problem till it goes away, and crazy as it may seem but it has worked a bloody treat with nothing thus far being able to resist. Now my default emotional position is contentment and peace. Never felt before feelings of contentment. We all have that riotous racket of voices within but i had a specific personal dialogue that was foul and filthy, that came on with the onset of mental illness as a teenager. They have all gone man. It is quiet up there when i stop thinking. Having done the pro's i guess it's now time to balance this with the con's ... Ok ... i'm shitty! Dark and pissed off.

Personal freedom from myself has been the unexpected pleasure of this prodigious journey. What would i have done without you guys ... wow, don't quite know. It would have been a shite load longer as well.

Practiced only 1 hour of meditation today and now it's 11:31 at night.

Samadhi is available to me now at anytime, making toast. Dipping my tea bag, right then just thinking on it!!! It's just a matter of thinking of it, then a slight sideways slip and i'm in the zone. My eyes just zone out and it's on me. That's got to be a neat a!

Metta to all beings.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/28/13 2:10 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/28/13 2:10 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Been off air, for the past few days. Cyclonic weather up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia. Both internet and mobile phone down.

I made the point that Samadhi is available to me all the time. I'm sorry that has panned out to be untrue. Samadhi was available to me for a bit over a week and i was able to call it up without any trouble or time on the cushion but it has failed to stay with me. Negative feelings are exploring ways back into my newly opened mind. Very feeble attempts in comparison to what they used to bring against me. I mean nothing ground shaking by "newly opened mind", it's just that i have this more open feeling for what i'm doing and considering.

Metta to all, with thanks ... Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 1/28/13 9:47 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/28/13 9:47 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts

Single Pointed Concentration



Boy oh boy... this ol' train just keeps on rolling. Woke up this morning wanting to sit, so got myself together with my cushion and a little flat sided blue glass bead i started using as a sight marker on a large carpeted area where i meditate Sunday, with my local Sanga, and found myself in one of the 1/2 dozen sitting places i have around the house. Anyway i have a little bead of blu tac which i put on the flat side of the glass bead, then i can attach it to any wall surface, however high i want. A couple of months later i read about Kasinas.

Set up and sat.

Samadhi very early but with a difference... This was getting deeper all the time and it was obvious! About the 10 minute mark i realise that i'm fixcated with what i'm looking at, and it took me another couple of minutes to realise that i'm in an altered state... single pointedly concentrating. Rock Hard and bright as a diamond. !00% no effort to remain in this condition. Again, meditation is managing me!!! Stay cool dude, don't blow it. Faint little buzzy feeling in my hands ... careful ... just relax into the feeling, and then my eyes dimmed and blurred and i thought that was it until this funny feeling started rising, so slowly like a mist rolling out and up my body, what is this??? This is new to me ... what is this... i feel something, but what ...!!! It's a feeling, but not one i've experienced before. Something going on with mouth, whats wrong with mouth ... nothing, it just wants to smile. The funny feeling couldn't be that piti ... sukha thing i keep on hearing everybody else but me get. Could it!

I just re read my entry to check how it looks and feels and just reading about it bought tears to my eyes. That's about the kindest i've ever allowed my self to feel in my life. The Bloody Wonder of this path.

No living idea where i am but really, really happy to be here.emoticon
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/3/13 9:21 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/3/13 9:21 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Three or four days since i made an entry. Have hit the plateau i expected too! sitting hasn't suffered. 5 hours 40 minutes today, the 40 minutes is my Calm Abiding meditation group here on the sunny Capricorn Coast of Australia. Our group is only two, three months old and whilst we've had around 8 to 10 people at various times, mostly 2 to 3 per sitting across Christmas and New Year. Hope for more after new school term starts.

Don't know if i'll continue to post here ... I've dug up just about all the most useful subjects and info i can find and that which i haven't is beyond my limited computing skills to find.

There seems to be no interest in these plain ol' practice logs. I can't seem to attract any attention, let alone from the people i would most appreciate speaking with. Besides i want to continue to develop Shamatha and Calm Abiding to their logical conclusions ... It has been beyond belief just how beneficial they both have been for me. they have bestowed peace on me.

Meanwhile best i be polishing up the old lamp, i got me a path to find.

Maybe come back, when like the rest of you i'm on the Vipassana trail.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 9:49 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 9:49 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Can't leave ... you people, this place, Daniel's book.

It would seem that forever and a day i have seen so much material written regarding gaining good Shamatha skills prior to moving on to insight practice. Now, when i fully decide to go for broke on my concentration skill, every thing i seem to put in front of myself to read is saying that it is best for the yogi if he develops concentration or Shamatha and Vipassana together.

Well i can't do that now, as i have a fairly established Shamatha, Samadhi practice, more than enough to start immediately with Insight. I have Daniel's book and "Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice" by the Venerable Sujiva, a Theavadin monk from Malaysia who works out of Australia as well. So i guess it's time to get stuck back into it. Sooner started ... sooner finished. I would like Steam entry in this push if possible. I think i have enough PMA (Positive mental attitude) to get there.

Practice related... I'm still on 4 hours, which suddenly don't seem so much but i tried 6 hours a day just a while back and buggered that up! So 4 hours a day is where i be at!!!

A week or two back i started getting a funny little pinching and twitching in the tip of the nose and in my top lip, really early in my sit, and this seems to now coincide with a new and more stable level of absorption which i don't know what to call ... but seems rather Bloody nice.

So Plan of Attack ... Read up on Daniel's and the other Vipassana book, then plonk my ass on a cushion and get on with some Insight Meditation...

Was experiencing some rather nasty cycling of my schizoaffective disorder just a few short days ago but a talk with one of my actual Sanga assisted wonderfully for me, for that. Things are just so much easier now than they Ever have been. I don't seem to have the same ownership of any of my cycles, nor are they reaching into my daily life and fucking with it as they most often did!!! Oh they are still there ... but if i am mindful enough, their effect is minimised. The truth is my whole life has changed in the most major of ways man!

I bitch, i whinge, but damm, how bloody lucky am i to have these resources at hand.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/16/13 12:35 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/16/13 12:35 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Feeling a bit depressed. My actual Sanga is having Calm Abiding Meditation weekend workshop at our gompa. Only $160 but can't afford it dam it! There are a couple of other workshops later on in the year and i can't do 'em all. I'd forgotten how expensive it can be, being a devotee, i can't even afford the course costs let alone paying the poor bloody teacher. My people are good and kind and make it quite clear, that money is not the object. I feel my financial burdens keenly though.

Practice wise, am on four hours sitting a day but have backslid'en yesterday. Up this morning at 2 am, but no inclination to sit. This prevalence of mine for feeling sorry for my self must stop. Every small object that might derail my quest for Stream Entry is, dam it. Only thing between me and a great sitting practice is my sometimes missing discipline. Mind you with my passion, it's a wonder that i'm still around. i'm normally burnt out by end of the first 6 months and at the 12 month mark, that's all she wrote! Just looked up my old journals and it's less than three years since the start of my meditation rocket ride!!! What a trip...

Three years from Atheist to Buddhist Believer

One of my sanga, a true spiritual friend of the best possible kind, (On'ya Danny Boy) noticed that it was starting to become very I, I, I and Me, Me, Me. I want Jhana... I want Stream Entry. Not much A! Give me a break. That's the Full Monte! I don't know how many times have i seen it written ... Don't grasp!!! it makes harder. Well that seems to be so for me at the moment. I want this deal too much. To the point where it's affecting my daily sitting ability. I need to get off my own back perhaps, give myself a break... Enjoy the ride, as i've read more than one advanced yogi say.

Sorry, but it's all "Shit and Tracks" for me and i've got scent! Bullheaded and Ambitious. Wrong ... wrong ... wrong.
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/16/13 4:43 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/16/13 4:32 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Feeling a bit depressed. My actual Sanga is having Calm Abiding Meditation weekend workshop at our gompa. Only $160 but can't afford it dam it! There are a couple of other workshops later on in the year and i can't do 'em all. I'd forgotten how expensive it can be, being a devotee, i can't even afford the course costs let alone paying the poor bloody teacher. My people are good and kind and make it quite clear, that money is not the object. I feel my financial burdens keenly though.

Practice wise, am on four hours sitting a day but have backslid'en yesterday. Up this morning at 2 am, but no inclination to sit. This prevalence of mine for feeling sorry for my self must stop. Every small object that might derail my quest for Stream Entry is, dam it. Only thing between me and a great sitting practice is my sometimes missing discipline. Mind you with my passion, it's a wonder that i'm still around. i'm normally burnt out by end of the first 6 months and at the 12 month mark, that's all she wrote! Just looked up my old journals and it's less than three years since the start of my meditation rocket ride!!! What a trip...

Three years from Atheist to Buddhist Believer

One of my sanga, a true spiritual friend of the best possible kind, (On'ya Danny Boy) noticed that it was starting to become very I, I, I and Me, Me, Me. I want Jhana... I want Stream Entry. Not much A! Give me a break. That's the Full Monte! I don't know how many times have i seen it written ... Don't grasp!!! it makes harder. Well that seems to be so for me at the moment. I want this deal too much. To the point where it's affecting my daily sitting ability. I need to get off my own back perhaps, give myself a break... Enjoy the ride, as i've read more than one advanced yogi say.

Sorry, but it's all "Shit and Tracks" for me and i've got scent! Bullheaded and Ambitious. Wrong ... wrong ... wrong.


Have you tried continuing your samatha practice but then allowing some time to start a noting practice? If you are interested in 1st path as talked of on the dho, some form of samatha practice or whatever makes the mind more malleable and pliant then when ready switching to noting has consistently given good results, as far as i have read of, and experiencd myself. You seem to have a lot of craving arising for this and that, perhaps noting such tendencies and including them in the mix will move things along. Noting coupled with a strong samatha practice can be quite a powerful practice. Though if you can get up to 4th jhana via your samatha practice without much hassle, perhaps start noting then.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/17/13 5:39 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/17/13 5:39 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Oh my goodness gracious me, Nikolai. You hit the nail on the head soooo precisely. My goal was to achieve 4th Jhana, then cross to insight, and i have been careful to steer clear of any discussion on noting or insight procedure as i wanted to come to the party with an open mind. Not after having tried a little bit of this ... and a little bit of that!

My problem is that i can't achieve jhana, let alone 4th. My concentration is good and improving all the time, and i think i am brushing closer, insofar as that i am, of late, developing what i had hoped was going to be jhana country but i've been getting impatient with my progress and considering moving to insight practice now. What i need is some direction, and i am very grateful for your contribution Nick, on how to achieve jhana. I have been an avarice reader of anything and everything jhana related but unable to translate that to the cushion or into my practice. I have a this thing whereby after a short period of time i slip into this concentration area where my eyes sort of half cross and that is the indication i'm in this new zone. Every thing is fairly firm and not needing manufacturing or maintenance by me. I had to interrupt the writing of this entry to go be the bell ringer at our Sunday evening 40 minute Calm Abiding sit and i was in this repeatable zone for 30 of the 40 minute session. I stay in the zone for 10 or so minutes then i appear to come out, but if i just hang out there for a couple of minutes max then i'm into a slightly deeper concentration. But it is not anything like the hard Jhana i was gifted shortly after starting my practice, a couple of years back. This is where it all gets a bit confusing for me. I'm inclined to follow Nick's advise and continue on the path of Shamatha, until 4th jhana. I had almost convinced myself to go the Vipassana route and what do they call it "Dry Noting" Heck ... what the hell would i know!!!

Thanks to all of you here ... even when i'm pissed off and cranky, there seems to continue to be some forward momentum, however slow it might seem to me.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 9:13 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 9:06 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Been fooling myself the past week or so ... to the point where my sittings are suffering for it. I wondered what would happen if i started backsliding a month or so ago, well, i found out. Things that where there a couple of weeks ago have gone. I have not had a sit for some time with any hard single pointed concentration and Samadhi has been absent for about the same length of time. All i have done is drop a few sits ... but, i held a fall back position in case of sever procrastination. The thought of two hours minimum a day, slid it's insidious way into my brain and that was all it took for the forces of Mara to delight in fucking with me.

I got to much grasping going on man! I don't want it, and sure as hell don't need it. To that end i'm just going to relax completely. No more Jhana's, no more Stream Entry, no nothing. And i have decided to continue working on samatha, with no goal in mind for the foreseeable future. Saw a map for the first time in ages just last night and i hardly even register on the dam thing after three years of meditation. I look to a period of consolidation. Hopefully at four hours minimum per day.

Fighting the fight ... keeping the faith
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 3:43 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 3:14 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Been fooling myself the past week or so ... to the point where my sittings are suffering for it. I wondered what would happen if i started backsliding a month or so ago, well, i found out. Things that where there a couple of weeks ago have gone. I have not had a sit for some time with any hard single pointed concentration and Samadhi has been absent for about the same length of time. All i have done is drop a few sits ... but, i held a fall back position in case of sever procrastination. The thought of two hours minimum a day, slid it's insidious way into my brain and that was all it took for the forces of Mara to delight in fucking with me.

I got to much grasping going on man! I don't want it, and sure as hell don't need it. To that end i'm just going to relax completely. No more Jhana's, no more Stream Entry, no nothing. And i have decided to continue working on samatha, with no goal in mind for the foreseeable future. Saw a map for the first time in ages just last night and i hardly even register on the dam thing after three years of meditation. I look to a period of consolidation. Hopefully at four hours minimum per day.

Fighting the fight ... keeping the faith


Seems you need to learn to direct and sustain the flow of thought/mind, as it seems to be the monkey mind jumping onto objects of desire or of aversion. These two jhanic factors, directed and sustained thought, will begin to subdue the hindrances, which is your current problem. They will also condition the arising of other factors involved in the 1st jhana. Once mastered with the abiltiy to call up, maintain and cease at will, it is just a matter of letting go of the grosser aspects of each jhana to move to the next jhan on up. But first things first, directed and sustained thought/ flow of mind does not seem apparent inyour posts.

You notice how the flow of mind takes object after object after object, craving this, averting from that, doubting this, doubting that, getting dull, jumping here and there. Work on this deeply engrained habit first. You could practice directing the flow of mind onto any object at a time for set periods of time, perhaps for a set amount of breaths at a time. Notice how the mind does not want to do that. Staring at an object for long periods, or holding it in the mind, is not the habit of the mind. Accept it. Accept that because of simple habit, it is thus. Accepting it will temper the frustration that seems evident by the way you have expressed yourself.

1st step: accept current state of 'monkey mind'. Forget the three years meditation, i should be here or there by now. Accept current state of mind. Relax.
2nd step: direct thought towards some aspect of the field of experience and sustain that directed thought.
3rd step, notice how difficult that can be. Monkey has too much space to move and wander?
4th step: utlise a way to fill up that space where the monkey wanders off to so that it cant move anywhere but to object of directed and now sustained thought.

In the anapanasati sutta, the buddha continuously in sequential order gives more than one objective/object for the mind to develop samatha. I think there are reasons for this, one of them being to give the mind much more to do than simply stare at one object continuously. Go to access to insight and find the sutta and see what im talking about. The notion of giving the mind more to do than simply stare at one object will begin to train the mind to 'direct and sustain thought'. This is where you begin to master samatha. Oh, and notice also that the anapanasatisutta instructions call for a fullbodied awareness quite consistently. The flow of mind towards the objects does not have to be narrow, it can be as wide as the whole body. This may be why often yogis talk of getting quite concentraed and calm via noting choicelessly and perhaps more panoramically. When your awareness is as panoramic as possible, there is little to no space for the monkey to jump to cos noticing and noting directing thought/ flow of mind.

Other options

Have you tried kasina? Another option to train to direct thought. Notice in theinstructions in the link given that the mind is given something more to do that just simly stare at the kasina object. With whatever kasina object you use, i advise also to stare at it panoramically, that is to train the mind to become aware continuously of the periphery of vision at the same time as the centre of vision where the kasina object is. Training the mind in this way will lead one to a more panoramic awareness which is still aware of other apsects of the field of experience in the centre, and the tendency to narrow focus to the exclusion of the rest of the field of experience will be avoided, as concetration headaches and frsutration and more space for the monkey to jump around seems to be the danger and risk for a very narrow and segregating focus. You can learn to notice details in objects in the centre of exprience from that peripheral awareness viewpoint. This will help and develop skills for later as well, it will also lead quicker, in my experience, to more calm and relaxed mind.

When you learn or start to get the knack for directing thought where you wish it to go for set periods of time, then you can use any object at any given time to keep re-enforcing this habit. At work, walking in the street, talking to people (directing the flow of mind to listening and understandng 100 percent to what the person is saying. This habit will then get very strong, and the malleable and pliant mind that wills itself into this jhana and that jhana will be apparent, and then discernment has its firm base to break it all apart.
Just my two cents. Figure out your current problem, which seems to be an inability to direct thought, gathered from what you have posted, and work on that first. Then all the rest of the desired and craved experiences will be given a chance to take shape.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 9:59 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/19/13 9:55 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Wow ... what a moving feast of info that is!!! Nick, give me a couple of days to follow up on your suggestion re the sutta and to tease apart the plethora of stuff. Hell's teeth man! That is Meat and potatoes... Thanks for taking time to care and share a!

I just recently started using a Kasina object and have found it really good for directing my attention.

Much Metta

Stu
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/20/13 12:37 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/20/13 12:37 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Wow ... what a moving feast of info that is!!! Nick, give me a couple of days to follow up on your suggestion re the sutta and to tease apart the plethora of stuff. Hell's teeth man! That is Meat and potatoes... Thanks for taking time to care and share a!

I just recently started using a Kasina object and have found it really good for directing my attention.

Much Metta

Stu


This is how i took the anapanasatisutta imstructions. It worked for me.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/yogi-toobox-anapanasati-sutta.html

Experiment and see what works for you.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/20/13 6:24 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/20/13 6:24 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Make of this, what you will but i had two sits today that would seem to suggest i'm on the right path... Was getting carried away with what i was coming to see as meditation aids, such as sound, music and guided. So in line with what i've decided is a return to basics, my sits are going to be on the cushion, hour long and unaided by anything other than my teachings (that which i've learnt to be true). First sit, light samadhi, then small period of single pointed concentration at the end. Second sit, a few hours intervening but all time spent in Dharma teachings. The last sit at about 3:30 this pm. One hour, broken up into two half hour lots when i changed very mindfully from the tailors sitting position to the half lotus. Then almost straight away i had what i thought could be a minitta sign. Now it wasn't where i thought it would come from, the Bliss Bombs i get in my hands but this was a prickly sweep up my neck and into the rear left quadrant of my head. Ok so work with it and see if you can expand over the rest of your head ... slight movement towards the crown of my head then the sign thinned out and gone. Small wait then another sign, able to bring over the head and gone ... third sign, over head and part way down torso before it stopped. Didn't disappear, just stopped, there is where i started to pull, struggle and coax the bloody thing a bit roughly around the rest of me. That i was able to do till i was all enveloped in the nimitta. Next my eyes went this half crossed feeling, and i decided to explore the feeling of that and quite quickly my eyes crossed further and i felt out this area too, then, in what would seem the impossible, the eyes crossed further still! By the time i had became used to this development i was in a place of new understanding and the only place i knew like that was my accidental brush with Jhana over two years ago. Now this place wasn't as flash as my memory but it felt like jhana. bugger, i thought i had had a real time jhana experience but i've just realised that there was no piti, or is it pitti and sukka(?) so no jhana, bugger. Must be a heavyer samadhi, No problems... New territory, new places to explore. Hey ... after all, this is only a practice log. Gives me more determination than journal entries. With the huge inbuilt benefit that the Dharma Overground has. That being... review by my peers vis-a-vis Nicolai. That's rather special, mmmm.

Gunna sit now, see ya.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/21/13 11:34 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/21/13 11:30 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Nick, a little more detailed reply to your post. Since you posted this i uncovered a thread about mental illness and meditation here on DhO suggesting that it's perhaps not so good for those of us that have Schizoaffective disorder to note, so i'm going to give that advice some credence for the moment. The thread went on to say that developing the hard jhana's is the more recommended route. I have picked up on my own, and your advise and am finally starting to take it a bit easy on my self and already it is showing in my meditation, which i'm also taking back to my Mahayana roots ... Calm Abiding Meditation.

As for 1st Path ... it is with the greatest of reluctance that i absolve myself of that ambition and carrot like goal. It was getting like a Sales Goal from my previous life, i lusted for it, more than my first Harley. I am one deluded boy. I should be like the Tibetans and address my self as ... the deluded one .

Much Metta Nick.


the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 12:09 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 12:09 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Hey again Nick, if you looking ... I took your advise and looked up the Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) translated from the pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and it has changed from the first time i read it???? I don't know but this time there seems to be a beauty in the way they are set out. Different from the confusion of my first reading. Yet another reason to be glade of heart. The feeling my reading left me with is, just how deep and broad these instructions are and that if i cared to explore them further and turn then into a practice, i would be rewarded. I'm gonna start and study the sutta in a closer way for a while. Thanking you in anticipation mate!

Much Metta

the deluded one
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 1:19 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 1:19 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Hey again Nick, if you looking ... I took your advise and looked up the Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) translated from the pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and it has changed from the first time i read it???? I don't know but this time there seems to be a beauty in the way they are set out. Different from the confusion of my first reading. Yet another reason to be glade of heart. The feeling my reading left me with is, just how deep and broad these instructions are and that if i cared to explore them further and turn then into a practice, i would be rewarded. I'm gonna start and study the sutta in a closer way for a while. Thanking you in anticipation mate!

Much Metta

the deluded one


Cool. Master each part. Don't skip or jump. Each step supports the development of the next. Have fun.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 5:26 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 5:26 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Stone the flaming crows mate. I don't have to ask what that was!!!

I just had the Hardest hours meditation yet. Third major episode in my meditating life but i don't need to start a new thread asking what the f was that. It was the Hardest, rock solid, swear there was a steel reinforcing bar up me back, instead of a spine, case of what i will for now, call... Full On Samadhi. Much stronger than my first taste of this region. I first thought i might have been in pre jhana territory, as there was a lot of funny stuff going on. Like misfiring nerve endings going off in various parts of my body. Like little bombs they were, causing me to jerk and twitch like a puppet on a string. And i've found a home for my crossed eyes ... twitching nose end, top and bottom lip spasms. They are the precursors of what i will from now on (for the want of a better word) call Hard Samadhi. And i didn't fall into it by accident either. Started with quick start. A three breath thing were i breath in really really deeply and exhale very, very slowly on the first breath. Same with the second breath, and the final one, i breath in as hard as i am able ... hold for 10 seconds, then again let it out as slowly as i am able, then i resume normal un monitored breath. That always leaves me "breathing in long" So, as per Nicks instruction i decided my first trial sit will be "breathing in long, i am aware i am breathing in long" ... "Breathing out long, i am aware i breath out long" No more no less. That was to be the first weeks work, Ah! I didn't last til the first 1/4 hour gong. All sorts of cloud cockoo land stuff going on, twitching's ... spasms. Alms, legs, toes, fingers, prickly scalp. Whoopy, this was not what i signed up for, but if you are passing it around i'll have my share of that thank you!!! When the first gong went off, i didn't know if i'd been punched, bored or drilled. Then it was just a matter of sitting with it and exploring. Nothing could throw me out, all the blinking, eye stretching, mind games, Nothing!

And finally, if your out there Nick, in the last 1/4 hour, i got a glimpse of someone or somebody. Is there such a thing as, The Watcher, or The Observer i've heard of out there??? I had this very, very strong feeling of being observed, and for the briefest period of time i caught a glimpse of this, i ... me ... it. Most strange! All i had to do was stop trying so hard and all this is happening.... Dam

That should be good enough to keep me going for weeks, but you watch, by Monday i'll find something to bitch about.

Much Metta

the deluded one
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 7:30 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/22/13 7:22 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Stone the flaming crows mate. I don't have to ask what that was!!!

I just had the Hardest hours meditation yet. Third major episode in my meditating life but i don't need to start a new thread asking what the f was that. It was the Hardest, rock solid, swear there was a steel reinforcing bar up me back, instead of a spine, case of what i will for now, call... Full On Samadhi. Much stronger than my first taste of this region. I first thought i might have been in pre jhana territory, as there was a lot of funny stuff going on. Like misfiring nerve endings going off in various parts of my body. Like little bombs they were, causing me to jerk and twitch like a puppet on a string. And i've found a home for my crossed eyes ... twitching nose end, top and bottom lip spasms. They are the precursors of what i will from now on (for the want of a better word) call Hard Samadhi. And i didn't fall into it by accident either. Started with quick start. A three breath thing were i breath in really really deeply and exhale very, very slowly on the first breath. Same with the second breath, and the final one, i breath in as hard as i am able ... hold for 10 seconds, then again let it out as slowly as i am able, then i resume normal un monitored breath. That always leaves me "breathing in long" So, as per Nicks instruction i decided my first trial sit will be "breathing in long, i am aware i am breathing in long" ... "Breathing out long, i am aware i breath out long" No more no less. That was to be the first weeks work, Ah! I didn't last til the first 1/4 hour gong. All sorts of cloud cockoo land stuff going on, twitching's ... spasms. Alms, legs, toes, fingers, prickly scalp. Whoopy, this was not what i signed up for, but if you are passing it around i'll have my share of that thank you!!! When the first gong went off, i didn't know if i'd been punched, bored or drilled. Then it was just a matter of sitting with it and exploring. Nothing could throw me out, all the blinking, eye stretching, mind games, Nothing!


Keep it up. You are shifting a habit that is not conducive for peace (mind jumping here and there) to one that is (not jumping here and there) by learning to direct thought to where one wishes (the breath and knowing its length, etc) . So it takes some time, effort and persistance with the instructions. When able, outside of official sitting times, keep the directed thought going. This will then lead into the next sitting time, linking up and maintaining momentum as this is key to mastering. You will see a positive effect if done persistently. When able, a minute here and there while at work, on the toilet, in the shower, having a cup of tea, in between posting on the DhO, train the mind via directing and sustaining thought towards the natural breath by knowing that you are breathing long, short, whatever length. Try not to manipulate the breath too much. Let it be natural. Try and see if you can do one entire minute at a time without directed thought getting interrupted. If it gets interrupted and simply try again and again. This is a way to master it. Moving to the next instruction will seem more natural with ease when the current instruction is no problem for you.

And finally, if your out there Nick, in the last 1/4 hour, i got a glimpse of someone or somebody. Is there such a thing as, The Watcher, or The Observer i've heard of out there??? I had this very, very strong feeling of being observed, and for the briefest period of time i caught a glimpse of this, i ... me ... it. Most strange! All i had to do was stop trying so hard and all this is happening.... Dam


I don't know what your experience is as more phenomenological explanations would be more helpful at seeing what's going on. If you are serious about following the anapanasati sutta instructions, you may probably see all sorts of side effects arise and pass due to following the sequence of instructions. Let such phenomena (the twitching, spasms, prickliness, the witness experience etc) arise and pass as they may and don't let the mind get too carried away by them. Simply accept them as part of the field of experience for the moment they are arising, and then come back to directing thought towards the curent instruction followed. Very simple.

Recognise, accept, back to directing thought. Rinse and repeat.

That should be good enough to keep me going for weeks, but you watch, by Monday i'll find something to bitch about.


How about instead, you recognise the deeply engrained habit of projecting/fabricating something that is not conducive for peace (proliferating about bitching in some non-existent future), accepting such a thought/feeling as it arises and as it passes of its own accord, and then..back to directing thought?

Momentum and a relaxed effort (persistence) is key.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/23/13 6:30 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/23/13 6:30 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Don't know what to feel from my big Samadhi session. I am an old 'head' from way back and to tell you the truth i'd been looking for anything trippy. But i didn't expect that. I thought i'd be up for a re match but i'm reticent now. I've done three sits since and i made sure i didn't throw myself back there. That's knocked me off my perch somewhat a! I think i've been approaching my meditation in a somewhat cavalier manner. Nicks words brought that home to me, and i feel that perhaps i ought just give myself a little talking to. This is serious stuff and i need to lift my game. Stop acting so flippantly. That shook me.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/24/13 6:40 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/24/13 6:34 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Don't think i even sat once yesterday. That sensational sit, when was it, friday night i think, threw quite a large spanner in the works. Tried sitting today and just squeezed out a bare 30 minutes at lunchtime. Knew i had my Mahayana Calm Abiding meditation at six pm. I normally ring the bells for start, intervals and finish but another good Dharma buddy, Barb offered to bring her lap top with it's high quality gong timer. Expected the same reluctance as i'd felt since saterday morning, but no, i was in a light samadhi for about 30 of the 40 minute sit. Comfortable, easy and with no evidence of the previous days reservations. My confidence returns slowly. My arrogance seemingly scorched out of me. Mind you, if this lack of arrogance stays with me it will have been worth the entry fee.

Again i have to thank the DhO for providing me with the place through which i can access the likes of Nikolai and Co. I am a yogi of very very, limited means but here on this forum, i have YOU and all the wonderful advice that you've handed out over these past few short years. My deepest regards for your collective wisdom and generosity. Thank you.

Much Metta

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/26/13 7:19 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/26/13 7:16 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
It's 10:30pm and i've done 5 hours sitting today. Still somewhat gun shy after Fridays "Big Samadhi Sit." I'm coming back slowly and don't want to push myself into that country again until i'm more used to the affects. Seeing a marked increase in my samadhi or concentration. To put a figure on it, i would say that since Saturday my level of concentration has gone up another 15 to 20 percentage points, and it's taking me next to no time to achieve it! Maybe 5, 10 minutes, if that. BE AS GLASSis my only instruction to myself. Solid but transparent, a pyramid of glass.

As is the case with all Buddhism, i had to give something away to get that increase in samadhi/ concentration. And i did. And it was a major shift in paradigm. But that's not for public consumption. Not yet anyway.

Practice wise i'm on holidays till i feel more robust. 4 hours sitting time per day is still is still my objective.

Getting to the point where i will be able to sit for an hour in the full lotus position. Tied myself up for 35 minutes today, not bad for a silly old plodder that couldn't sit to start with, just two, two and a half years ago. Good on me!

Haven't even started formal work on the Anapanasati Sutta yet. Something to look forward to.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/26/13 1:18 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/26/13 1:15 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
G'day Nick. I just slid across and read the recommended chapter of the Hamilton Project on the anapanasati sutta in the yogi toolbox, and i am gobsmacked. You've done the work!!! I can't believe that in five posts you have probably advanced me more so than i have myself in 15 months. It would seem you've been around the DhO since it's inception. Thanking you in anticipation.

Much kudos to you sir.

the deluded one
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 12:32 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 12:32 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
G'day Nick. I just slid across and read the recommended chapter of the Hamilton Project on the anapanasati sutta in the yogi toolbox, and i am gobsmacked. You've done the work!!! I can't believe that in five posts you have probably advanced me more so than i have myself in 15 months. It would seem you've been around the DhO since it's inception. Thanking you in anticipation.

Much kudos to you sir.

the deluded one


No problems. If you feel inclined to share a phenomenological description of your putting the anapanasati sutta instructions into action, feel free to do so here. Such descriptions allow others to see what is going on at the sensate and a mental level which is telling of where one is at. They will then be able to offer advice and support as will I. If you don't feel like sharing publically, you can PM me what is going on the DhO PM system.

The instructions are quite simple really. Our mental habits of never being satisfied, of segregating and cutting up the field of experience into 'things' to then react towards with craving or aversion or dullness, are strong. Such simplicity is often made complex by such habits. Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder to oneself that it doesn't have to be complex. Then back to directing thought to something more conducive towards the goal of awakening rather than running with the lifetime habit of thought jumping about and directing (and misread as) 'you' into all sorts of dissatisfaction!

Keep it up!

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 6:38 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 6:38 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Bugger just lost a page and a half of dialogue Damm!

this will be brief Three one hour sits, one bad, one indifferent and one excellent. The last two were Kasina, a 16 cm chocolate brown bread and butter plate. Anapanasati sutta, "Breathing in long, i'm aware i am breathing in long and, breathing out long i am aware i am breathing out long." 10 minutes in, nothing. 20, nothing. Then at thirty the Kasina began to dim around the edges and pulse slightly. Rode the breath down til it and i disappeared for the briefest of time, then i was in a very pleasant spot that was not samadhi and not jhana as there was no pitti or sukkha. Very comforting, no maintenance to uphold the state. Good moderately hard concentration awareness. I know now that it's the breath for me ... if i can get the breath to disappear, that's when things start happening. Have to work on my description of these things that are occurring to me, you guys need the info to react to. There are so many skillful and competent yogis on this site. I'm not overly endowed in the intellect department, so will have to lift my game.

much Metta

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 2/28/13 11:48 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/28/13 11:48 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
I open our local gompa (meditation hall) every Thursday afternoon for anybody that might care to use the library, which i look after, have someone to meditate with or just pop in for a chat. And that's great but we've just had over a weeks worth of rain here in Central Queensland and the ants are going crazy. Sat down and within 10 minutes i had them all over my body. What a marathon effort to sit! One poor sentient being meet his demise after biting me painfully in the arm pit. Old habits die hard. Didn't make me feel any better so finished off the second hour doing walking meditation to avoid the problem. Got my 4 hours in but not a lot of return on investment.

Read a hand out on a Shamatha workshop we held in Rockhampton last year and it suggested a supine meditation position using the Anapanasati Sutta. Up till that point laying down to meditate meant one thing and one thing alone, la la land! But i have better concentration skills now, so maybe this time... Well, there were three times where sloth and torpor almost got me but awareness was good enough to pull me out prior to sleep consuming me. I was amazed at how quickly the breathing came under control. I had the fan on me at the foot of the bed and was using the brand name in the middle of the fan guard, so eyes were busy, mind was busy (anapanasati), breathing, long and slow. So able to pull the breath down. 20 minutes in, deep satisfying samadhi. No lights, bells or whistles ... just an extremely good solid samadhi, the kind you just know is going to build a good and satisfying practice. It's bloody wonderful that i am starting to see that this wild ride has a destination and that i am capable of bring home the bread of life, which for me at the moment is Meditation. On the side, if your listening Nick, i tried to send a pm the other day and i couldn't get the service to work. Not used it before, will try again later. Cheers mate.

By the by... I've been crying like a bloody baby of late. why? I think of how lucky i am to have this wonderful opportunity, or a good feeling will just appear out of nowhere and that's it, that's all she wrote, i'm off. The sense of gratitude is immense. All quite amazing.

Much Metta.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/2/13 4:59 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/2/13 4:55 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts

Caution



Proceed with extreme care




Meditator under instruction




Put in about four hours study on the Anapanasati Sutta today and i have used the word samadhi way to liberally. All i'm experiencing is Preparatory Concentration. Access to Jhana equals Full Concentration. And another new one for me Neighbourhood Concentration is just before Full Concentration. There you have it.
So in ascending order they are:

Concentration
Preparatory Concentration
Neighbourhood Concentration
Full concentration, or Jhana.

Or that's according to Buddhadasa Bhikkhu writer of the book Anapanasati, Mindfulness of breathing. Really enjoyed my study time, spliced in between three hours meditation, with one more to go, i'll do that at bedtime. Keep on working at my supine position.

After three hours of ... "Breathing in full, i know i am breathing in full ..." i think i'll want a free style sitting to finish up with.

Practice went well, the only slightly negative note was that for the second sitting of the day my ribs were sore from over inflating my lungs in the first sit. Eased off after that and no more problems. This initial practice may take a little longer. I want to see how longgggg i can cultivate the breath. That'll be interesting. mmmm

Much Metta

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 6:11 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 6:11 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
The best and worst of weeks. Personal set backs and arresting reminders that one is not as far along the path that one thinks one is. Disappointing but informative.

About a week into Anapanasati (Mindfulness of breathing) an e book by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, i got off buddhanet, a week and two days actually... Was going to continue with introducing new stuff on a weekly basis but come time to add this weeks task, i find myself moving as far forward as my study allows. Such a lot to learn. So far to go but and it's a big but... i am so much more content. To a large extent the craving has left. I'm not even sure it was craving ... yes it was!!! But i was so frustrated at my lack of wisdom and seeming inability to teach my way into the Jhana's. It would appear this book is to my means of furthering my education in this direction. Whether it takes me to my goal or not is ok too.

Running low on funds, so may be a day or two off site, til the golden eagle shits again.

Much Metta

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/25/13 9:06 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/25/13 9:06 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Hi everyone. I'm back after a twenty day "down time". Started with the fact that i was to be off air for a while due to lack of funding but that degenerated into a full on break down. Unhappiness, aversion and a negative attitude towards sitting had slowly come upon me, to the point where stopping became my only alternative. There were a few hours of meditation involved in the break but nothing of substance.

I asked of myself the big question... "Am i even going to continue on the road of Buddhism?" Twenty days off the cushion did what no other thing could do! Allowed the return of fear, doubt and general unease. Not in the major way they were prior to meditation but there they were, all bright and perky, ready to join in the fun. All i have to do to have this slowly degenerate back to pre meditation days is .... nothing!

End of sob story, i'm back.

Today's stats ... Three x 1 hour sittings, two x 30 minute sits and 1 hour's walking meditation. All kasina sits but what i'm excited about is the fact that my breath seems to have enjoyed the break and has come back very relaxed. Breathing seems to have learnt a little while i was on holiday. Starting is long and wants to stay long and there seems to be no need to discipline the breath as it's doing the right thing, all the time. Hopeful that this improvement is permanent.

Figure that i might factor in a break (a genuine holiday) from meditating this time next year as it's over 18 months since i last took time to refresh myself... That could be a big reason behind the recent crisis. mmmm.

Feels good to be back now. Thanks for being here for me a!!!

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/26/13 7:49 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/26/13 7:49 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Stats for the day. 4 x 1 hour sits. Shit of a day and i'll continue to have them until i've rebuilt my "head of meditative steam" back up. I've got to make sure that in future i protect that head of steam whilst i take regular holidays, at lest once a year. To prevent what i think was burn out. Mind you, the green give away has got to have a reasonable bearing on this matter.

Well, I can look at taking five of the precepts now because i'm fresh out of intoxicants and don't drink ... haven't for some thirty odd years.

Renouncement is the name of the game and i'm playing deadly bloody serious!

At the very bottom of a hodge podge of emotions, there is a small voice that's trumpeting my success at throwing away what i see as the last of my gross defects of character.

Good on me .... yeah!!!

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/27/13 9:39 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/27/13 9:39 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Hi guys,

Woke slightly to the sound of rain then slipped back into sleep without realising it. Woke again as the rain got very heavy but this time with a fright that left me struggling to control my breathing for some minutes. Very rude awakening at 'round 4:30am. Once i had things more under control i thought about a cup of tea, then coffee dropped into my mind, so for no reason whatsoever i made that.
Jumped back into bed and grabbed my prayer book for the practice of Calm Abiding Meditation. Started with the blessing on one's speech and followed in with the Mantra of Manjushri (my favorite Bodhisattva) then The Refuge and Enlightenment Thought, The Four Immeasurable Thoughts and the Request for Teachings i always ask for if it is my intention to study and listen to Dharma talks. From there it was into the Reflections on Calm Abiding Meditation and a small life long prayer for His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

I had dropped all prayers and such a long while ago, thinking they were just so much dross but bringing them back in again i am very pleased with how my meditations are progressing. Only for the morning session.

I then finished my cup of coffee wondering if the unaccustomed jolt of caffeine would have any effect on my sitting....

Been having some trouble with my half lotus sitting position, holding me up with discomfort in the last 15 minutes of my hour long sits, so adopted the tailor's position with my buckshot filled meditation cushion on it's edge, which sits me up higher and takes the pressure off my ankle. So assuming the position, having set my timer for an hour, i sat. Now even tho my meditation regime has been shit over the past twenty odd days, the anapanasatti work i've been doing is starting to lengthen my breath quite markedly. The peak of my inhalation and the peak of my exhalation are where the lengthening is occuring. I'm also doing yoga breathing that requires you to completely fill the entire lungs every breath. At the moment i'm doing all Kasina sittings as this gives me more things to concentrate my mind on.

My sitting was not unusual in any way but it just flew by. My meditation bells start with three gongs, then 1 gong every 15 minutes. Timing wise, i've got the 15 minute segments in my head to the point that when i'm "on track" i am aware of the 15 minutes passing by a factor of 10/15 seconds, but this session the bells were or seemed to be going off every 5minutes With my breath lengthening it's getting slower and slower and i can feel myself falling more deeply into my meditation and this, i know now, is the area i need and must develop.

Great sitting!
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 7:39 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 7:39 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Haven't posted my log for four days so, Briefly here it is...

Wednesday: 4 hours, on the cushion, tailor's posture. Couldn't follow my breath for the count of ten, the entire sit.

Thursday: 4 hours, on the cushion, tailor's posture. Still crappy sits. Took half an hour to do 3 x counts, 1 to 10.

Friday: 4 hours, on the cushion, tailor's posture. Slightly better access concentration, definitely better sit but still crappy.

No more twenty day breaks for this little black duck, i don't care how bad i might feel.

Had my good Dharma buddy, Dan the Man call on me and we chewed the fat about death, dying and the Bardo. I have a heart condition and i asked him to be my wing man when i die. He accepted, most invigorating. My sittings the next day (Today) were much improved (Thanks Dan).
Saturday: 4 hours, on the cushion, tailor's posture, might not look as good as the half lotus i usually use but i get through the hour easy, whereas with the 1/2 lotus, i'm looking to move by minute 40. Gonna stay with tailor's sitting position as i think i'll be able to hold out for 90 minute sittings if i need to go that way. Dan's visit really cleared the air for me in that all today's sits have given me access concentration and the 3 x, 1 to 10 counts were quick, easy, clean and i stayed with the object of meditation the entire hour with ease. Thinking very strongly about doing a solo retreat, in my own home. Never done a retreat and am rather short on the old cash, i'm on sickness disability pension. Think i'll look very soon to doing a three day one using guide given here in the "Slackers guide to stream entry". I'm excited about the idea now. Cheers a!

the deluded one
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fivebells , modified 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 11:37 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 11:37 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
It's great that you're so devoted to your practice. If you devoted a little of your time to enjoying the experience of the breath and investigating the causes of wandering attention, you would probably progress very quickly.

The Joy of Effort (See especially the part starting with "The primary technique the Buddha taught Rahula was breath meditation," about halfway through.)
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 4:30 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/30/13 4:28 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Fivebells, Many thanks a!

That is Meat and potatoes to a starving man. It'll take many readings of that little gem to extract all the wisdom. It's your sort that drew me in to this site and now keep me here. This place begins to assume a position of great spiritual importance to me. I am humbled by your caring and sharing. Be well mmm.

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/1/13 6:32 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/1/13 6:32 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Haven't finished sitting yet today (it's 20:30 & still one sit to go.) but i wanted to report a bit of an attitudinal shift it would seem. fivebells gave me this essay of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's called The Joy of Effort, i've read 5 times now and it has made quite an impression on me. I would seem to see that in my cushion time as well. This morning i sat and used my counting intro and for the life of me again i couldn't get to one round of ten complete but there was no angst. I wasn't overwhelmed with joy but my mood was a lot more positive and delightfully lighter. Instead of castigating myself i was relaxed and shifted the object of meditation to the counting rather than waiting for access concentration to come on board, quite enjoyed what would normally piss me off!!! The next two sits counting was prompt, even, and no mistakes were made, leading easily to access concentration. Again the mood was light but the depth i went to was lower than ever before. I feel i am on the verge of gaining what Ajahn Brahmavamso calls the "Beautiful breath". My breathing was slow, long and relaxed just 20 minutes into the sit and in my 2nd last sitting it felt like my face was being pulled towards the Kasina. (All my sits now are Kasina for the moment) All in all, another great day in Sunny Queensland, Australia. And another vote of thanks to fivebells.

Today: 3 x 1 hour sits (one to come). Tailor's posture. I'm loving this tailor's sitting position as it requires no maintenance, just assume the position and do it. I had been practicing on the side to sit in the full lotus position (could hold for up to twenty minutes) but that can all go to buggery now. What i look like now is of no concern, results count.

Catch you guys later.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/3/13 2:33 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/3/13 2:33 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Hail, fellow travelers...

3 x 1 hour sits Tailor's posture
1 x 1 hour supine Corpse posture

Just started a book called Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice, A Pragmatic Approach to Vipassana, by Ven Sujiva from Malaysia. And in it, quite early in the piece he makes an observation that reclining or supine meditating leads to sleep. That was enough to challenge me, so instead of getting up at the end of my midday sit, i eased myself off my cushion, right beside the bed and slid back onto my bed. The idea being that this way i wouldn't need to gain access concentration, i was already in it. In the first 15 to 20 minutes i had 5 micro sleeps where i fell off the object, a Kasina, hung on a chest of draws across from the end of my bed. These were only fractions of a second in duration and couldn't in any way be considered to be sleep. Then to remedy this i thought i'll try Anapanasutti, breathing out long i know i breath out long and that was the end of the any inclination towards sleeping. Gunna give it a go for a bit and see. Could be a valuable adjunct to my kit of meditative tools. I don't know if it'll be of any use to me but it was very easy to do two consecutive hours in meditation. The first time i've completed a two hour sit.
My dream of gaining hard samatha jhana's prior to switching to insight still persists but i've relented to the point where i've just started the above book. I've had it for a couple of years but have stayed away it and any other material here and else where relating to insight so that supposedly when i did start to study it, i came with a clean slate but what the heck... "In for a penny ... in for a pound.

Cheers

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 6:53 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 6:53 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Friday

2 x 1 hour sits. Tailor's posture
2 x 1 hour supine. Corpse posture
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 7:44 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 7:44 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
First ever multiple hour sits. My "on the cheap" one (maybe two) day at home retreat went as follows ....

Start 4:30am wake, cuppa tea.

Prayers 30 minutes

1st hour. Sitting. Tailor's posture.
2nd hour. Supine. Corpse posture.
3rd hour. Sitting. Tailor's posture.

Breakfast

4th hour. Walking.
5th hour. Supine. Corpse posture.
6th hour. Sitting. Tailor's posture.

Lunch and break

7th hour. Supine. Corpse posture.
8th hour. Sitting. Tailor's posture.
9th hour. Sitting. Tailor's posture. Hours 8 & 9 were the first ever two hour straight. No pause or break. Hours 1 thru 3, 3 to 5 minute toilet, reset pacing gong break. Same 7 thru 9.
Various levels of moderate access concentration. At the conclusion of the day i felt as if i had been wrapped in cotton wool.

My meditations are so much more restrained since i had that twenty day break. Prior to that something was happening almost every second day. I miss the action. Liked the fact that each progressive hour seemed a little shorter than the last.
Quite pleased with my first ever 9 hour day and multiple hour sit. Well done that man!
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fivebells , modified 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 2:13 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/6/13 2:13 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Congratulations, very solid work.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/7/13 12:03 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/7/13 12:03 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Cheers, fivebells
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/7/13 1:02 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/7/13 1:02 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Sunday.

Fully decided to do an identical day to Saturday. Got to the walking hour after breakfast and for the first time i experienced access concentration whilst walking. Suddenly felt that i was trying to walk with drunken legs. Very strange ... had to turn up the speed to prevent falling all over the place. Made the last twenty minutes quite taxing. Looking forward to prone posture, steady up this drunken body. About 10 minutes into supine meditation and i was plainly overcome by sleep and headed off into the Land of Nod, more like passed out.... Resurfaced at about twenty past 2 in the afternoon fighting to escape sleep and wake up. I normally wake easily but this time it was a struggle to bring myself together.
Had lunch and as i host a Calm Abiding meditation group every Sunday night at the local community centre, decided to give the rest of my two day intro to retreat style sitting a miss.

Now i know how easy home style retreat sitting is, i'll be doing a lot of it. So, even though i didn't get the two days in, i am extremely positive about things!

2 x 1 hour sits. Tailor's posture
1 x 1 hour supine
1 x 1 hour walking. ......................So got my normal four hours in but wished i hadn't gone to sleep, bugger it!

Stay well all...

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/8/13 6:58 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/8/13 6:56 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Monday,

Wake 4:30 Cuppa
Prayers and setting of motivation

Sit 1 hour. Tailor's posture
Supine 1 hour Corpse posture
Sit 1 hour Tailor's posture

Breakfast and Dharma podcast

Walking 1 hour Meditation
supine 1 hour Corpse posture
sit 1 hour Tailor's posture

Lunch and Dharma lesson

Sit 1 hour Tailor's posture
Supine 1 hour Corpse posture
Sit 1 hour Tailor's posture

I finished the supine hour prior to lunch and there is a two minute break between 3 gong finish and 3 gong start of next session and i thought i'd have a mini break but that turned into an hour and ten minutes sleep. Supine position let the side down again but this time i am going to persist as i'm not overly keen on walking meditation.
Gained access concentration quite quickly and by the third hour of the first session i was in Single Pointed concentration for the majority of that sit. The rest of the day was unspectacular. Don't think the unnecessary sleep did my day any good, wasn't needed.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 8:19 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 8:19 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Contra to all indications on this site, i have stayed the course of wishing to achieved a level of jhana absorption prior to swapping over to Insight or Vipissana. To this end i am prepared to have a daily practice of anything from 7 to 10 hours on the cushion to bring this requirement to fruition. Consequently my practice will be a boring list of the hours sat and posture adopted. My levels of absorption have deepened of late but i still expect it to be a task.

On the spiritual side of things, i have undergone instructions to commence a Lojong 7 point mind training practice and on this recent retreat i had the greatest of pleasure in Taking Refuge from which i feel a wonderful sense of direction and peace.

The upshot of all this is to say goodbye to this community until i am ready to do that which you all seem so proficient at, Noting.

Many thanks to you wonderful people who have guided me thru a. Your bloods worth bottling. May the blessings of Manjushri be on this site and all that use it and i hope it's not too long before i'm back here noting my bum off.

Be well, stay well.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 10/15/13 11:41 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/15/13 11:41 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Hi guys, i'm back.

Six months further along the track, developing my concentration skills. Little bit closer to jhana territory but not as close as one would like. Access concentration coming along well, with a few incidences of what Ajahn Brahmavamso calls the "Beautiful Breath" which i delight in achieveing, so not as far along the track as i would like but never the less happy with what i've got. Able to keep discursive thought at bay for a full hour long sitting practicing anapanasati, so i guess i can't complain a!

The reason i'm here is because about a week ago i was, and am, doing 3 to 4 hours of sitting per day and in between hour long sits i've been devouring Dharma and or dharma related books. I'm the librarian at my only available Gompa (Mahayana meditation hall) and we've got a sweet little collection of a couple of hundred books. Well at the end of the day and after my evening meal i thought i'd catch a little tv time for the first time in 3 or 4 days. Chose to look at a program on the early times of jazz music in which they showed a New York street scene showing heaps of people strutting their stuff in their sunday best round about 1918. I was lying on my bed propped up by three pillows and i suddenly experienced a feeling of piti creeping up the left hand side of my back and into the back and top of my head ... now i thought that this is really strange as the only time i experience piti is when i'm meditating, so whats going on??? I have the three characteristics listed on my dressing table mirror, Anicca, impermanence. Dukkha, suffering. Anatta, no self. And in the wink of an eye i was aware that all the people pictured where dead as would i be if it weren't for a couple of heart operations and my ongoing medications. And there it was... my first real insight into death and dying. My own and every ones. No big deal you might say but the insight was so powerful it knocked the socks right off of me and left me reeling, knowing that it was time to start the Buddhas own thing, Vipassana meditation.

Spent the next few days rereading MCTB and Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation.

I host a 40 minute, Calm Abiding Meditation evening every tuesday night and when i got there early this evening i publicly announced my intention of commencing Insight Meditation, so home i came and the first sit was a guided insight meditation of 40 minutes which passed uneventfully. So after a cuppa tea and a piece of toast i sat with the view to doing a hours sit. Because i have very little to no discursive thoughts i was able to just note the rising and lowering of my abdomen and the occasional sound on a quiet tuesday night just prior to the bewitching hour. Really good Samadhi, then a period of about 20/30 minutes of the beautiful breath, then slowly surfacing round the 50 minute mark, for a good hour. Sweet man ... really sweet.

Anyone out there with some good advice for a virgin insight meditation neophyte, give 's a yell .... I'm all ears.

Kind regards

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 10/20/13 7:18 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/20/13 7:18 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Five days since my change to insight meditation and they have not been the kindest of days. I have been assailed by doubt and depression and my mind is doing it's best to reject my efforts to impose this new regime. All sorts of objections and obstacles filling my mind and free time with a million and one reasons for not sitting and doing this thing. Was sort of looking for some kind of medal, congratulations, or "For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow"/i] followed by a resounding slap on the back for the effort and will i've put into achieving the level of Calm Abiding that i have. As a retired singer and front man of a weekend working band, i loved (and love still) a bit of adulation, and when it wasn't even forthcoming from members of my Gompa i become a bit put out.

I guess it's really only here (Dharma overground and other sites like it) that this kind of effort is understood as you are the guys and gals putting in the effort to do this thing. I'm going to try not to put myself down for this resistance my mind is showing for stopping some thing i've been doing for three years, with all the where with all i've been able to muster and cut myself some slack. Count the time off as a bit of R&R.

My stubborn mind always shows resistance to new ideas, ways, paths. Rather glad i've posted this as it's been 5 days since i've posted on my log and this has helped me to ease up on myself. You guys and this place are good for the one thing i'm trying to rid myself of ... My ego.

Be well

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 10/25/13 8:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/25/13 8:05 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
I feel so silly....... its about ten days since my change from concentration to insight meditation.

Because i've had no prior experience at insight work, i figured after reading some Mahasi Sayadaw (i think that's correct) that i would start right at the very beginning and just look to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen and any discursive thoughts that arise, which i thought would be the bear minimum owing to the excellent concentration skills i've been able to develop in the past two, two and a half years of working towards jhana attainment.

Concentration on jhana for me was with the idea that having acheived it, it would be the ideal place from which to venture forth into insight country.

Entrance to jhana territory has been denied me (for now) but the pursuit of same has lead to strong access concentration being established. But here's how much of a beginner i am. During the first 30 or so insight sits, i sat and watched the abdomen from breath one and waited to see what would happen and i was so bored to think that after two and a half years i could be back to such a basic beginners form all over again. What i had forgotten was my skills in access concentration.

It came to me like a bolt from the blue. Concentration on the abdomen from breath one is beginners territory!!! I am not a beginner.

Count myself down from 1 to 10 three times and there i am in access concentration, it only takes me 5 or 6 minutes to do and suddenly i have a stable and absorbed place from which to observe this new method of meditation, it might not be the all encompassing jhana vantage point i was looking for but a million klicks from where i was in those first thirty odd sittings.

I've been on this course for a couple of days now and it's a much more involved place from which to take on the investigation of insight and i'm back fully in absorption and happy with my sitting sessions.

This is a much more pleasant place for me to be, but am i doing the Right Thing ????

Comments and criticisms welcome. I would hate to be barking up the wrong tree.

Be well, stay well.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/5/13 9:17 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/4/13 9:26 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Gosh, only 10 days since my last entry but i've been all over the place like a mad mans shit. Very deep into chronic depression which i thought meditation had or was freeing me from. Not a happy chappy, what!

I came at Buddhism and meditation through the Mahayana Sakya school and it has been my meditative path that has and is bringing me around to a more Theravadan point of veiw especially with my growing interest and research into the Vipassana tradition.

Depression had me so closely and completely down that i called out to my favourite Bodhisattva, the sword whelding Manjushri .... Bodhisattva of wisdom and was quite taken a back when that was answered in a most direct fashion. I'm not a man of faith but synchronicity (like shit) happens!!! Long story short, woke this morning thinking maybe i can sit. Normal sitting for me at this stage is an hour so i set my bells and got to 45 minutes before aversion set in, so, go with the flow and sat 3 x 45 minute sessions and started a fourth which i gave up on.

I'm quite blown away at how quickly and deeply my depression set in and can only guess that it's my aversion to change (going from concentration to insight meditation.) that caused this massive car wreak. I happened to be looking through a Vipassana site on the net when i noticed a small statement of S N Goenka which said "if you are lost with any problem, then go back to kindergarten ..... Anapanasati"

This i have most gladly done. RIP Sir and thank you.

Kind regards, Stu

the deluded one.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/5/13 10:51 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/5/13 10:51 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Decided to log a bit more frequently, for a while anyway. I read Nikolai's essay on the dark night in the Hamilton Project and it set me to thinking that maybe the depression i've been suffering (since early teens) has been Dark Nighting. Very early in my life i came to the belief that i had this hidden Self Destruct Button, that every few months some evil shade of my inner self would delight in pushing, thus destroying to a greater or lesser degree every thing I set about doing my entire life. I had a nasty childhood under an alcoholic father and it has been hard to know who or what caused what!!!

Starting meditation at the grand old age of 60 was the best goddam thing i ever did do.................. So grateful for it and this refuge, Dharma overground.

My thoughts after reading that essay on the DN are that i have to do two things, one, write down what occurs during my depressive episodes (hard, but must do) and two, practice through them rather than turning to what i've always thought of as healing sleep.

The journal will be helpful in recognising if i am having a cyclical event. Then perhaps i might even find out where i am in this fucking mess!

I will continue to root around in this and other forums seeking whatever small clues to my way forward, but i do get a bit pissed when i read about people that have been on this forum for the same or lesser time than i that have powered on, achieving jhanas Stream Entry and more. I know i shouldn't compare, but cut me some slack here, i'm human and with my rotten health record.... running out of time.

Decided to change my posture too, from half lotus to seated on a chair, looking to do longer sits. Set my computer meditation bells but forgot to switch on the speakers so thought i'd guesstimate my sitting time and ended up doing an hour 50. Not so hard seated on a chair. Four hours sitting time up for the day.

Be well, stay well.

the deluded one
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/6/13 8:48 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/6/13 8:44 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
It's 11:25pm here on the eastern seaboard of Australia and i've just got up from my 4th hour of sitting. 1 x kasina, 30 minutes metta, and 2 hours 30 on Mahasi Sayadaw noting.

If i'm going to do 4 hours a day sitting i might as well keep on developing the one thing i do have going for me.....Access Concentration! Plus according to one advanced practitioner kasina work leads to jhana territory, as does Metta hence the reason for that 30 minutes.

Really pleased to report that sitting on a chair for meditation has been a breeze and is overcoming the hesitancy i was having pre cushion time, in fact it's gone from slight aversion pre meditation to a sense of anticipation. All in all a real positive move and it's not taking me five minutes to get myself up from the floor after a 90 minute sitting.

And all of my sittings since i started reading up on Goenka 10 day retreats have been rock hard, with my refusing to move a single muscle apart from the respiration system and eye blinking. I like the discipline.

Since i'm out of my depressive episode (fast turn around time for me) i''ve gone from the temporary anapanasati back to the rising and falling of the abdomen that comes with the Mahasi technique, and i've restarted reading his book on Google books. Why am i so reticent to throw myself into noting from second one at waking to last second prior to sleep????? i know it would aid me in the right direction and speed up my progress as well. I so wish i had a fellow traveler somewhere near that i could thrash out my stupid aversions with. Maybe i need to have that conversation with myself, here with you guys as witnesses. I know my hesitancy is foolish and there is a part of me that would really like to get it on... i just need to give myself permission to do so.

So often i can't see the wood for the trees. I'm my own worst enemy, without a doubt.

the deluded one
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/6/13 1:09 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/6/13 1:09 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
It's 11:25pm here on the eastern seaboard of Australia and i've just got up from my 4th hour of sitting. 1 x kasina, 30 minutes metta, and 2 hours 30 on Mahasi Sayadaw noting.



Hey Stuart

I would love to know about how the noting practice loos like in your experience of it since you are doing quite a bit of it by the sounds of it. What are you noting? How are you noting? What labels do you use? Is it choice less noting or with an anchor? How fast do you note? What is the mental and physical experience like during the two hour experience of noting? Any issues?

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/7/13 8:37 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/7/13 8:37 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
G'day Nick,

Please forgive me.... i have misrepresented myself.

At the moment all my sits (with the exception of a few days ago when i sat unstructured for a period of 1 hour 50 minutes at anapanasati) are of an hours duration, what i gave in that post was the sum total of the day. My cock up! I will endeavour to be more concise in my reporting.

As far as my noting is concerned i'm somewhat let down by the fact that it's so much like anapanasati at this stage. I gain access concentration and discursive thoughts are so few and far between that for minutes and minutes on end the only thing to note is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Nothing else is happening to note!!!!! In point of fact with anapanasati i had grown so used to piggy backing the breath that i became one with it, and it was a most stimulating ride. With the abdomen i haven't become as well acquainted so it's a bit light on for fuel/grist for the mill.

It's taken me some years to gain this level of access concentration which i feel in my gut is just a gnats breath away from hard
Samatha jhana and maybe i should not enter this state for insight, it's so tight that it's letting very little in, apart from that which i wish to set my mind to.

I love meditation with my whole being, but i feel so lost as i begin this new venture. It's only been weeks since i struck out on this path.

If i could only draw up the where with all, to do the full time waking hours noting. But i feel like a little kid who's afraid to look under his bed.... 'cause I Know there's something there, just waiting.

I'm so sorry that there is so very little for you to sink your teeth into. Your past assistance has been so hugely beneficial.

Thanks for reading my log... it's pretty neat to know that people with your ability and insight have got your back. It gives me strength.

Cheers a.

the deluded one
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/7/13 2:13 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/7/13 2:06 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
G'day Nick,

G'day Stuart,

Do you live near Melbourne? I'm based in Melbourne.


As far as my noting is concerned i'm somewhat let down by the fact that it's so much like anapanasati at this stage. I gain access concentration and discursive thoughts are so few and far between that for minutes and minutes on end the only thing to note is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Nothing else is happening to note!!!!!


Pardon my French, but bollox to that! There is always something that can be noted. It's possible you are 'looking for' a particular experience to note? What about the experience of "not having anything to note"? it is alos an experience that arises and passes, no? Any experience can be noted. it matters little what note you use as long as the noticing happens first. You could note "nothing", "nothing", or "space" or perhaps the eyesight arises and passes "seen", or perhaps a sound or smell or the sensation of sitting, the act of not knowing what to note, "not knowing", "not knowing", or even note "confusion", "confusion", or if there are no words for the experience coming up, maybe rely on a note just for that experience eg "nothingness", "nothingness" This experience of 'not knowing' what to note can often occur when the 7th jhana aspect of nothingness crops up now and then, it may not be the hard jhana type of experience, but it is an aspect that is solidified somewhat in the samatha 7th jhana. Note the experience of 'not knowing' what to note as "nothingness". Keep using that word when that experience arises (as it still is an experience and any experience can be noticed and noted regardless of the type of label used). It is LOOKING AT not LOOKING FOR.

In point of fact with anapanasati i had grown so used to piggy backing the breath that i became one with it, and it was a most stimulating ride. With the abdomen i haven't become as well acquainted so it's a bit light on for fuel/grist for the mill.


You dont have to use the abdomen. None of these approaches are written in stone, mate. One can use the breath as primary object and when the mind wanders, then note that wandering and what the mind falls on apart from the breath. When the urge to return to the breath occurs, then keep observing the breath. Rinse and repeat.

It's taken me some years to gain this level of access concentration which i feel in my gut is just a gnats breath away from hard
Samatha jhana and maybe i should not enter this state for insight, it's so tight that it's letting very little in, apart from that which i wish to set my mind to.


Use that level of concentration to stop being deluded. There are some arguments that say samatha can really never be devoid of insight. You know in your heart that samatha calms the mind ---> that is insight. Though there is more insight one can gain by directing such a calmed mind to ALL the aspects that compound together to create that sense of 'calm' to discern how it all comes together (and eventually disintegrates).

I love meditation with my whole being, but i feel so lost as i begin this new venture. It's only been weeks since i struck out on this path.


Have you got Skype? If you want, we can chat on skype. Or email: nhalay (at) gmail dot com

If i could only draw up the where with all, to do the full time waking hours noting. But i feel like a little kid who's afraid to look under his bed.... 'cause I Know there's something there, just waiting.


That is why we are all doing this. You wouldn't be participating here on the DhO if you didn't really want to look there.


the deluded one


You sign all your posts with this. I personally would question how attached you are to it as a nickname. It might be somewhat funny for you to do so and it may bring some relief to call yourself that as it puts 'you' in a neat box and we like to be placed in neat boxes. It's comforting. But even though experience is coloured by delusion, I would drop its use. Why? Belief is a very powerful force of the mind. It shapes our experience and often we are not aware of how a belief that triggers habitual thought loops (like "I am the deluded one") can shape our practice. I'm not saying you aren't deluded. Everyone here suffers delusion to some degree or another (as I currently see it), but how about simply signing your name instead. No doubt you will have some thoughts come up, or maybe an urge to do or not do. Notice the urge to sign your posts like so and note it. Question the reason for doing so. What compels you to do so? How does that compelling urge manifest? Is it accompanied by thoughts and/o sensations? Is it being justified in some way? How does this belief/view shape my reality and practice? If that belief were not there, how would experience be different? Contemplate and note all of this.

Bring the practice into as many avenues of your life as possible. Don't simply relegate it to the cushion. Start to include it in little acts such as this....signing your posts. Such a simple act but often done without discernment and usually on automatic. Break that act down into its compounding aspects both mental and physical and note those aspects as you notice them. Let go of that need to classify yourself as some 'thing'. This is a good step in the direction of cutting the fetter of identity view. Start questioning all your acts and beliefs. Why am I doing this? What is the experience that compells this mind body organism to do shit that sucks (or eventually sucks)?

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/8/13 12:02 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/8/13 12:02 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Damm me Nick,

I feel like a side of beef that's been carved up in preparation for the butchers window. Taken apart into it's constituent pieces. Naked.

Withdrawn into access concentration ...... denied

No discursive thoughts ...... denied

Only the abdomen ...... denied

The Boogy Man ...... denied

Sign off statement, seen through for the egotistical farce that it was.

If i do love the Dharma, as i say i do, then introduce it into the totality of my life.

I had the biggest belly laugh for your response to my Boogy Man under the bed Statement. Your so right - it's what i'm here for alright but i can't believe that at 62 there are still things i'm reticent about.

Skype stuartclaw11
Email stuartcharleslaw (at) hotmail dot com dot au And most unfortunatly i'm not close to Melbourne but up here on the Central Queensland coast at Yeppoon.

I'm going to have to take some time out to redirect my efforts, trying to drop off the I and ME. Strip myself down. Be more ruthless .... rid myself of the public mask/face.

Thanks seems to be so inadequate an expression for the depth of discernment you have bought to my practice with your advice.

I feel as if i have something to work towards now, but should the aloneness creep in again i'll Email you and see if you have the time for a Skype session. Please feel free to intercede at ANY time.

Kind regards Nick

Stu.
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/8/13 1:46 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/8/13 1:46 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:


I feel as if i have something to work towards now, but should the aloneness creep in again i'll Email you and see if you have the time for a Skype session. Please feel free to intercede at ANY time.

Kind regards Nick

Stu.


No problem stuart.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/9/13 10:50 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/9/13 10:50 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Just for the time line. A week ago yesterday i had a slight stroke effecting the left side of my body. All mobility has now returned but again an up close and personal reminder of the impermanence of all things. It's taken the full week to really sink in.

Four heart attacks, radio frequency ablation (on the heart) and a triple bypass. Its no wonder i want to give this thing (stream entry) a good go.

I'm really tired of Samsara. So tired...........
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/11/13 6:51 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/11/13 6:51 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Sorry about the little "Pity Party" i threw myself above, but i'm back on track and coming to terms with my new reality. Missed a few days sitting but with the intervention of Nick and listening to a fair bit of Thanissaro Bhikkhu on Dhamma talks and writings, i feel a lot better.

After reading and absorbing Nicks posts i thought that i'd try using my best strength Anapanasati, rather than reinventing the wheel and using the rising and falling of the abdomen to start noting work.

Meditation today consisted of a 90 minute sitting, 60 kasina work and 30 noting. One hour Noting and another 90 minute session of noting, for a sum total of 4 hours.

Kasina work requires no explanation.

Noting, again the start ... there seemed to be nothing to note so i'm noting "nothing ... nothing" and then bringing in the barking of the little native gecko's on the walls, as "hearing ... hearing" wind activated temple bells the same, occasional surfacing road noise. In fact anything that impinges on any sensory level what so ever. Then there came these little embryonic thoughts or sounds like "k" or "l" which seemed to be the most frequent. Not words, but the very beginnings of them. This might sound crazy but they seemed to be hanging on the "walls" of my mind, unformed sounds trying to resolve themselves into something complete. So i just noted them as words and went about my business. Next to be noted where full words, deeper into the hour and in the 90 minute sit from about the 60 minute mark it started to be passages of words that i noted as thoughts or thinking/planing as i mentally started working out what i was going to be writing here in my here in my practice log. So Nick was right, there was stuff there but perhaps with the fact that i was trying so hard to make the rising and falling of my abdomen my pathway to noting i was not being sensitive enough to see/hear, it/them. Just using my whole breath (no anapana spot) seems to be my saving grace. I didn't have to work at that at all. That side of it just looked after itself. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's words where right there. Relax into your meditation, feel for what is right.

Thanks so very much Nick. Your ability to see through me just blows my mind. I'm not used to being so obvious and transparent. Much respect Man.

Kind regards all.

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/12/13 7:57 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/12/13 7:56 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
90 minutes noting

60 minutes kasina

40 minutes Mahayana Calm Abiding group sitting that i host every Tuesday evening

60 minute noting

Sum total for today 4 hours 20 minutes.

Morning session of 90m noting was very similar to yesterdays, noting high end sounds such as the Black Cockatoos as they wing their way past my place coming from the far west to feast on the cones of the extensive Norfolk Pines here on the coast. The raucous calls of the flying foxes as they roost in their tens of thousands in the mangroves at the bottom of the hill i live on. The sweet little 'cheep' of the honey eaters that fly into the room were i meditate, and other more mundane things. Then come the unformed words and their occasional fully formed relatives. Still not much and the noting speed seems to be once every 2 to 5 seconds.
The last hour of noting (this evening at 21:30) had a plethora of material to note. At the group Calm abiding sitting i was asked what the words Bodhicitta and Manjushri meant in the dedication of merit at the end of our prayers and meditation, and so gave a little run down on Bodhisattvas and how they relate to Samsara. This ended up being a full blown lecture in my noting meditation and after i got home from the group sitting and before my last sitting i had a cup of tea and watched a tv show on my all time favorite politician of all time Paul Keating the 24th Prime Minister of Australia and material from that was sprinkled like confetti throughout my sit. The noting rate was up from once every 2 to 5 seconds too once every couple of seconds. Much more material to note. I really like the "whole breath" being the bearing agent of my noting because there is no stress on me, it's just there ... fully supporting me without needing to be regulated or watched in any way, unless i choose to be with it.

Feeling more comfortable with this form of practice now.

Kind regards all.

Stu
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/12/13 1:12 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/12/13 1:10 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:


Noting, again the start ... there seemed to be nothing to note so i'm noting "nothing ... nothing" and then bringing in the barking of the little native gecko's on the walls, as "hearing ... hearing" wind activated temple bells the same, occasional surfacing road noise. In fact anything that impinges on any sensory level what so ever. Then there came these little embryonic thoughts or sounds like "k" or "l" which seemed to be the most frequent. Not words, but the very beginnings of them. This might sound crazy but they seemed to be hanging on the "walls" of my mind, unformed sounds trying to resolve themselves into something complete. So i just noted them as words and went about my business. Next to be noted where full words, deeper into the hour and in the 90 minute sit from about the 60 minute mark it started to be passages of words that i noted as thoughts or thinking/planing as i mentally started working out what i was going to be writing here in my here in my practice log. So Nick was right, there was stuff there but perhaps with the fact that i was trying so hard to make the rising and falling of my abdomen my pathway to noting i was not being sensitive enough to see/hear, it/them. Just using my whole breath (no anapana spot) seems to be my saving grace. I didn't have to work at that at all. That side of it just looked after itself. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's words where right there. Relax into your meditation, feel for what is right.


When it seemed like nothing to note, I would get interested in the totality of the experience of 'nothing to not'. What phenomena gave the impression there was nothing to note? A thought of nothing to note? A very neutral sensation? An image in the mind's eye? When I did that I would the realise I was missing the plethora of noises hitting the ear or the neutral sensations in my body or a tension I was ignoring or a subtle movement to look for something 'special' to note. This very act of 'looking for' something to note was the thing to note. Then I also saw the embryonic thoughts arise and pass in an instant because there was insight now and not an automatic lunging on and continuing of that thought. The mind's posture was not one of immediately identifying as self but one of wtf is arising and passing right now and now and now and now etc.

It's good to see your noting practice do similar things, Stuart. Momentum is key.

Nick
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/13/13 6:03 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/13/13 6:03 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Don't really know how to report my last 90 minute sit. It finished only about 90 minutes ago. I'll try... step by step.

I read Nicks comments on my sitting of the 12th of November and thought to myself, ok so, look further into nothing to note.

Counted myself 'up' (one to ten on the exhalation, three times) and into access concentration. Then decided to try strengthening my absorption by doing some breath work (anapanasati) for five minutes prior to noting. Then commenced noting but before i could report any thing to myself i was drawn into the meditation, completely absorbed into act, only aware on the very surface that meditation and mind had become one. Time was immaterial but i still had audio and visual input. I've had a jhana experience quite early in my meditation career (That's what used to motivate my pursuance of this thing) and it wasn't like that, i wasn't cut off from all external stimuli but every thing was muted in every way. I was just at one with the fact that there was nothing to note from this vantage point. Later on i became aware of this cavernous area and an internal light source above my eyes that was brighter than the external Late afternoon light. Also later in the session, somewhere after the 60 minute mark nimita style lights were appearing to me internally but instead of being steady they were pulsing. About the 70/80 minute mark normal service resumed and i was noting full on completed thought lines, trying to explain that which had happened.

I know the score. Enjoy it, note it, don't get attached and move on ...... but gee wizz, wtf was that????????

Just as a parting thought... 6 months or so ago i was on this site regularly and reporting on my continuing quest for jhanic states by development of my concentration skills. Underscoring all my efforts was a sense dissatisfaction and unhappness. Now it would seem that my default state is one of very quiet joy.

I'm thankful to all of you here that have created this wonderful virtual Sanga. With special thanks to the sites creator, Daniel and my guiding light Nick.

Kind regards all.

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/15/13 10:28 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/15/13 10:28 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
I don't quite how to post this update. I've had about 6 sittings since i last reported and they have all been vibrantly different. From strobing light shows to laid back and mellow. As i've posted before i'm not a religious type of guy but over the last couple of days the feeling of connectivity with The Buddha has become extremely strong. I've gone from being a person who felt very lucky to have hooked up with something extraordinary, to feeling a real time commitment to someone or something called The Buddha. I am feeling the power of His message not as historical texts but in my gut and heart. I don't mean in a Mahayana sense where i'm suddenly taken by a need to make a 100,000 prostrations to a statue, but on a visceral level.

My last sitting (just got up) my noting wasn't in jumbled words and or thoughts but in one word statements like Love, strength, pride, peace, commitment and i periodically checked to see if i was scripting it all, which as far as i was able to tell i wasn't, external stimuli still required noting. But the whole sit was up close and personal devotion to The Buddha. At the same time i've felt an overwhelming sense of love for the people utilising this site for such profound reasons. Maybe it's just a stage .... and This To Will Pass!!!

On a parallel to the above my access concentration is getting deeper by the day. My last sit i counted up to ten, on the exhalation three times, then some anapanasati to reinforce it but by the time i was at three lots of ten, i was almost at the stage of the 'beautiful breath'. Which when i get it (on the rare occasion) normally takes 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour, now something approaching it was available in 5 to 6 minutes, without being called forth. It would seem that all that time (read years) spent on concentration practice is now showing a dividend.

I know these posts are not very factual and full of flowers and feelings but at the moment i'm feeling quite taken a back by this new episode on my meditative path.

To those of you following my convoluted travels. Peace be with you, mmm.

Kind regards

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/19/13 10:24 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/19/13 10:24 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Depression is on me once again. I have tried extremely hard to sit through it but i'm unable to. I normally describe my depression as chronic or clinical but it's a bit more than that. The last medical description of my state of being was as, suffering from Schizoaffective disorder. A cross between Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder.

Age is moderating it's affects as is meditation. I want so desperately to sit through these bouts but it's not something i'm able to do.

The quickest way through is to relax into it and sleep as much as possible. More so than my heart condition it was depression that took the ability to work away from me.

Medication and meditation (three years) have given me back a modicum of normalcy. But i'm unable to penetrate this final veil.
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/21/13 2:55 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/21/13 2:55 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
About 3pm this afternoon i felt the need to sit. Washed some clothes and hung them out to dry then read a few pages from one of the books i have out on loan from my physical sanga ... The Four Noble Truths by Venerable Ajahn Sumedho.

Decided to have a shower prior to sitting and the thought come over me that considering the state i've been in i should use the shower as a cleansing process, a baptism if you will. So that's the mind set i had, leading up to the sit.

Feeling spiritually clean i set my meditation chimes on the computer for an hours sitting, 3 to start, one on each of the 1/4 hours and 3 to finish. Its not something i do prior to each sitting but i know its something i SHOULD. Set a motivation. So i did so .... Seeking to have good results from access concentration, then a mindful session of vipassana, remaining at all time on track.
Used till the first 1/4 hour chime to gain absorption and strengthen it, then shoved off... Fantastic sitting, no bells or whistles, no side shows, just a very clean insight sitting with excellent noting from 1 to 3 times per second. In the hour i had just one note of zoning out, every other second of the rest of the sit i was right there. Come the end i had the presence of mind to dedicate my good fortune to all beings and finished in an excellent, well rested frame of mind.

The reason for such detail about just one little session is that it occurred just 6 days into a major depressive episode.

This is to remind me that prior to taking up meditation i could be days or even weeks into a major depressive bout before it even dawned on me that that was the problem i faced. It's only now with the blessing of hindsight that i can see how bloody far i'v come.

Six days ago things were looking black, now i feel i've come out the other side of what was shaping up to be major league depression in just 6 days!!! This may not be indicative of a new paradigm but Hells Teeth, i've come a long, long way.

Tonight we feast!!! Fish and chips for tea....

Thank you and kind regards to all

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/22/13 6:28 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/22/13 6:28 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Only did two hours meditation yesterday and i'd caught up on a truck load of sleep over the past few days so i pulled an allnighter doing 5 and a half hours sittings after midnight. 2 hours kasina and anapanasati and 3 and a half in insight. Nothing special to report for today but i do want to register a new mindset.

As i've previously related, whilst working on achieving jhanic absorption it was all "shit and tracks" I must do this ... I must reach that and with my health problems that was just another bee up my bum, goading me along at a breakneck mental speed but leaving me feeling spiritually bankrupt!

The frantic need to achieve, the need for results has over the past few weeks been lifted from me. Don't get me wrong, i still want to gain Stream entry very strongly but not with every fiber of my being, not to the exclusion of all else. Give me five minutes and i could very easily change my mind but the weight that takes off my shoulders is immense. That joined with the contentment at having also won access concentration and i feel a certain small level of satisfaction. Not that much of an achievement when i trawl through this forum and see the amazing feats that some of you yogi's are accomplishing, some in what for me are nothing short of "light speed" time frames. Oh god .... i have gotten so envious of some of you!

I feel somewhat like the Little Steam Engine of my far gone youth .... "I must get there, I will get there, I shall get there"

Dam! i'd be up shit creek, without a paddle .... without you guys and this forum

Be well and stay well a.

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/23/13 12:43 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/23/13 12:43 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Gosh! I feel for you good folk that follow this convoluted practice log, as i drag you all hither, thither and yon on my travels.

Two comments, one by Daniel Ingram, the other by Nick have set me off this time. Under the discussion on concentration, subject Kasina work, i noted where Daniel stated that if you where serious about doing some kasina time, then what about 16+ hours a day for a week or so. Now i used to feel very righteous about my 4 to 6 hours of meditation per day (less than 4 of late) till i read 16+ which really sunk in this time for some reason. The other tid bit was by Nick regarding the 4th jhana ... that, being able to access this place, then you were not far from stream entry.

What would happen if i went back to my concentration practice, where i'd convinced myself that i was only a poofteenth of an inch off gaining jhana (but very unhappy that i hadn't) and put some 16 hour days in! .... If... i had the intestinal fortitude!!!

This line of thought came from the fact that the first hour of my four hours sitting time today was a pretty average insight sit.

Wanting something more than just average, I decided rather than do another kasina sit, i would go back to concentration using anapanasati style breathing or what i'd come to call "Piggy backing the breath".... Following the breath over each minuscule lump and bump and 'knowing' the complete breath in every detail. Also, previously with concentration work i wasn't counting myself into access concentration prior to commencing but letting it develop naturally.

So in i went ... Count myself up to ten, three times, and by the end of the first count my breath was really slow and coming down all the time. Further and further with each successive count, lost my count on the first one so ended up doing 4 counts and being well under absorption by the end. Straight on to the breath and hang on like a limpet. No discursive thoughts, and the sit was over in no time flat. Sssshhhiitt it was good!!!!!!!!

Now i thought to myself, self! this is very good. But if it's as good as you would like to think it was it must be repeatable so i determined to do it twice more and the results were identical....... I specifically looked for any discursive thoughts in the last sit of the day and counted three in the entire hour. Two being single words lasting a fraction of a second and a third being a line of thought expressing that not one single in or out breath was identical in any way shape or form, which i took to be an expression of Anicca as in the three characteristics.

This is my strength .......... I should be playing up to it. Shouldn't I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looking for comment.

Kind regards

Stu
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Stuart Charles Law, modified 8 Years ago at 11/24/13 11:54 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/24/13 11:54 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 72 Join Date: 11/25/12 Recent Posts
Feeling over whelmed and unrewarded for the brief time i've been on the path of noting and insight meditation. You guys are just to far ahead of me and i feel amateurish and unable.

I need my meditation to be working for me, making me feel good not exposing my vulnerabilities, making me feel inadequate.

Big vote of thanks to Nikolai. It felt good to have someone in a watching brief. Would have spoken with you, when invited, but i just felt too shy.

Back to Alan Wallace, his books and Shamatha.

Would that i will be able to come this way again in some future time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thrice thank you.

Stu
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/25/13 12:21 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/25/13 12:21 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law:
Feeling over whelmed and unrewarded for the brief time i've been on the path of noting and insight meditation. You guys are just to far ahead of me and i feel amateurish and unable.

I need my meditation to be working for me, making me feel good not exposing my vulnerabilities, making me feel inadequate.

Big vote of thanks to Nikolai. It felt good to have someone in a watching brief. Would have spoken with you, when invited, but i just felt too shy.

Back to Alan Wallace, his books and Shamatha.

Would that i will be able to come this way again in some future time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thrice thank you.

Stu


Hey st,

Just say hi on skype when you see me online annd we can just shoot the shit. No pressure to achieve nor do anything in particular. It helps to talk over thngs.

Nick
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 12/5/13 7:51 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/5/13 7:51 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Stuart Charles Law,

I've been reading your posts and I've noticed one thing in particular that I thought may help; it seems as though there is a large emphasis of importance put on whether or not your meditation session is going 'well' or not. I'm very much a beginner like you but my background was a bit more Zen and I think what their practice has to say is important.

Essentially, what I've learned from the Zen tradition, is that one should not be concerned whether or not the meditation session is going well or feels nice or whatnot. If one concerns themselves with that one is not meditating. I've also heard it be said that once one has lost their meditation object, they are not meditating. Whatever you do, all day everyday, focus on the breath. Find joy in it and begin the steps towards jhana like the Buddha instructs. But no matter what, don't lose your object.

Keep on practicing with diligence. You are doing great. Your posts helps people like me see we aren't alone.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/8/13 8:00 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/8/13 8:00 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Travis,

i appreciate your thoughts.

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/10/13 5:57 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/10/13 5:57 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
It's 14 or 15 days since i once more "pulled the pin" on participating on this site. Sorry ... i'm on and off like a light switch. I thought i'd taken all my depressive cycles into account, but there was one more i hadn't considered. This one rotates in a 12 monthly cycle and came into effect from when i can first remember. My Dad (long time passed) was a bad alcoholic and the "Festive Season" was party time for him and "take cover time" for the rest of the family. My Mom took the flake for a while but rather earlier than i would have liked i came to light on his radar and stayed there till i left home at 14. The residue of his guy's drinking has chased me down 6 decades of my life and it was only once i stopped running long enough to pick up a few words of wisdom form the Buddha's Dharma that i seriously started reclaiming my life. The Triple Gem looms large now in my life and i derive great succour from this forum and those that participate.

I'm here ..... warts and all.

Had a very relaxed day with three hours of great meditation under my belt and another to come as soon as i finish this post.

While i've got you, i would just like to say thanks for your help and assistance throughout this past year, and i hope the next one holds only that which you can handle.

Be well, stay well.

Stu
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 12/10/13 8:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/10/13 8:49 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Stu,

Your determination is impeccable. And I mean that in full sense of the word. Your behavior (practice) is in high standards when in comparison to a lot.

You face many issues and situations (as a lot of us do) but you keep trudging on. It's absolutely beautiful.

Keep trudging on. You've got this sangha behind you in full support.

I read your posts and your determination encourages me to keep going, keep meditating, keep noting. No matter what emotional state I'm in.
I hope you continue practicing nobly and you continue to be involved in this sangha.

Travis
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:04 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:04 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Travis,

Dam it man, i don't quite know how to respond to that .... but i'll try.


I used to work very keenly and hard to earn pay rises and bonuses, but a good complement would have me slaving for 6 months.

I find that that is still the case!!! Your kind words will bolster me and follow me down the hours, days and months to come. Thank you very much for taking the time to post these words and i hope that the karma they generate bounces right back at you.

Sangha means everything to me.

Yours in the Triple Gem Sir...

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/20/13 8:50 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/20/13 8:50 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
It's ten days since my last practice post, and over those ten days things have been resolving themselves slowly.... I've had a couple of two hour practice days, one three and one four and a half hours of sittings, the rest has been Nil, Zero, Zip, None.

Had made up my mind to get over my feelings of inferiority and take Nick up on his offer of shooting the breeze, nothing special, just having a chat (but because he's someone who's influence over me and my practice has been profound, especially after reading so many of his major postings both here and on The Hamilton Project over the past couple of years it's been hard to speak with the man) and finally i opened up Skype and pressed the button to Do The Deed .... Well you wouldn't believe it but my poor old second hand computer decided that that was the precise time my equally old headphones and mike would choose to become inoperative. Any way, long story short, i've still not got to speak with the Dude. We live in hope!

But stealing over me has been some basic awareness of the fact that there is and has been a very major shift in the way that me, myself and i deal with each other in the place i call my mind.

The amount of discursive thought has been very significantly reduced!

The volume nob has been turned way down low!

When i lay myself down to sleep there are no dictates, imperatives or arguments demanding my attention, i sleep!

In times of idleness there are no "instant replays" of embarrassing, demeaning or degrading real life happenings requiring once more the routine of shame and repentance!

I have some small control over what it is that i wish my mind to think upon!

I am a whole heap happier with my mental condition!

I am experiencing some calmness and equanimity!

Had this become known to me as little as a few months ago i would have experienced GREAT happiness and rejoicing but as it is there is nothing but a quiet small satisfaction. Peace of this magnitude has never been part of my life. The Triple Gem is alive and well .......... residing within. I have no living idea how long it is that this will continue in my life but for this small time i am exceedingly grateful. I found myself drawn by circumstances to share the benefits of meditation with a complete stranger in the waiting room of my Doctor this afternoon and the wonderful woman said "I need that which you so obviously have in your life"

I have been saving for a couple of years and i have enough to pay for the round trip and participation costs of the 1200 klicks to my nearest Goneka 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat.

I can't stop this journey now.

Not when i have come so far.

Kind regards mmm.

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/22/13 9:17 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/22/13 9:17 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Four hours practice today. Anapanasati breath excercises.

Have enjoyed coming away from noting and the anticipation i put myself under when i started this line of enquiry. Me thinks i'm not ready in retrospect. The feelings of peace and contentment seem to validate my decision and for that i am greatful.

Going back to work on the Anapanasati Sutta as Nick suggested i do quite some time ago, has been well rewarded already. Only done 9 hours work on it in the last three days, and today in the last session i felt the most absorbed i have ever felt in concentration practice, with a very strong feeling of accessing something even deeper as feelings of piti rolled around under my scalp when in through the open window flew my nemesis... the local bush cockie (cockroach) (i can stand the big huntsman and trap door spiders .... and the snakes, but those bloody flying cockies give me the tom tits --shits) warm evening, 'bout 11pm sitting with just a pair of shorts on and the damm thing lands on my stomach and scurries it's way up my chest, resisting the urge to smite it, i'm on my feet in a trice, sweeping it off onto the floor. Sat down and quite quickly returned to good concentration but not to the level i was previously on, bugger it!!!

I am so 'made up' for this time of year... historically Christmas has been my worst time and here i am feeling exceedingly peaceful and calm, all because i was blessed enough to fall into the Triple Gem just three short years ago.

What a massive turnaround that's been for my life.

Kind regards

Stu.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/28/13 11:16 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/28/13 11:16 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
I'm sorry if this is a bit off subject (practice logs) but it concerns me greatly, for in it i see the possible termination of this wonderful virtual sangha of mine.

Over in recent posts the "Piss taking" antics of Sawfoot in relation to past life experiences of others in this Sangha, starting with Mr Daniel Ingram himself.

I've read Mr Ingram's comments and they frighten me greatly. I've only been using this forum for a short 12 months and i'm afraid it might well be taken from me!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am nothing to this forum. An uneducated, tail ending, Baby Boomer, with very little in the 'Smarts' department in comparison to the high flyers and soaring eagles i read so much about within this fantastic community here. I constantly see people coming in and joining this forum months after me, some even in recent weeks, and racing ahead with simple ease and great grace. Where i, in the overall scheme of things, bumble along, treading water and going backwards, but there is nobody out here in my real world that has anything like my actual practice and even my real time sangha are sick of listening to what i'd like to say. They all have working jobs or responsibilities that require their attention in the here and now. I DON'T.... THIS IS MY LIFE.

Medically i'm lucky to be here.... 5 heart attacks, radio frequency ablation (on the heart) and a triple bypass. Mental well being i'm not even going to go into, suffice to say such problems have hounded me down 6.2 decades of my life.

Since i found Buddhism and this place, i've experienced a peace unlike anything else in my entire 62 years of living. This place and you people mean everything to me.

Please don't let this refuge of mine be threatened.

This i ask in the name of the Triple Gem, The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sangha.

Let us all find grace, in our own way and in our own time.

Thank you.
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 12/31/13 11:31 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/31/13 11:31 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Stuart;

I agree with you. The people who make this website what it is couldn't be traded for al the gold in the world.


I also wanted to share a realization I had the other day. I thought of you when it happened. Perhaps it will help your practice. Maybe not. Whether or not you use this won't effect me in the least bit.

While doing insight meditation, I had come to realize the impermanence and fluctuating nature of the mind (if only a little bit). What I realized is that it seems a majority of meditation experiences (maybe 60-70%) will be 'negative' or not ideal, meaning; they won't be pleasurable. Luckily one can use this as a blessing, much like the teaching of the first noble truth; Life is suffering. This includes meditation.

You seem to have great determination and honestly it motivates me tons (another reason why I wanted to post a reply to your thread). Use it! Meditation gets crappy, because we realize the truth of the moment. And this gave rise to the second part of my two-fold realization;
Most technology seems to have the sole purpose of pulling us away from the moment, from reality, from now. Think about it; what is a cars' function? To get us there faster. What about music (in most cases)? To sweeten the moment a little bit more. And television? That's an obvious one. What about the less obvious ones? Like clothing? Why do we wear it? To keep us warm (if the moment is cold), to hide the body's true form (true, reality), or perhaps to protect (that's a noble reason to wear clothing, but not a popular one).

From this I realized that most technology, like stated above, keeps us from right now.
What does this ultimately mean? To me, it means many things. But I'll leave it at that. Maybe it will spur some insight or perhaps discussion.

In any case, I hope your practice continues!
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 12/31/13 10:22 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/31/13 10:22 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Travis,

first and foremost i thank you and greet you with respect that you would be caring enough to think of me and make a connection that something might be of benefit to me and my practice. Namaste emoticon

I first want to place on record where i perceive my practice to be (back in it's infancy once more) and what it is i intend trying to do with that practice.

It's become somewhat clear that i think i came to vipassana a little early and have been overcome by my inability to 'see' and 'practice' insight without quite a deal of distress and disharmony thus resolving me to stay in a samatha practice where i feel more comfortable and less vulnerable.

Because i came to this form of life practice so late and i'm a driven and result oriented type of person i may have pushed myself, perhaps, beyond my abilities. My life experience is such that i feel a very strong need to protect this small bubble of calm abiding that i've managed to ensconce my self in! Hence the rapid and confusing pull back to a concentration practice.

But with the Anapanasati sutta i have (i hope) the best of both worlds. The 16 steps of anapanasati take me in the first Tetrad or four steps right into my home base, contemplation of the breath and the body of the breath in it's totality... pure samatha or concentration practice. Through to the Fourth Tetrad, contemplation of Mental Objects, pure (so i've learnt) vipassana or insight territory!

Now i've come to understand that i can take this as fast or as slow as i want, weeks, months or years... and no matter where i am in any one of those 16 steps, if i experience discomfort disease or fear it's just a matter of slipping back into the familiarity of the breath and all it's beauty.

This past couple of weeks has produced a lot of mental static for me which has just added to my confusion but listening to a series of retreat instructions on the Anapanasati Sutta on Dharmaseed and practicing just being with the breath has bought me back somewhat.

What i take you to mean Travis, is that once i feel more comfortable with where i am, then to push out and be prepared that not every sitting is going to be the pleasure i find in my concentration practice. And to be prepared to sit with that inconvenience in the cause of advancement, pushing the envelope and developing my practice.

That's worthwhile. I can handle that. If i'm prepared prior to emerging from my trench i'm more able to survive the onslaught a!

Loved your clothing analogy, bought a smile to my face and laughter to my lips. Cheers mate!

Kind regards

Stu
Ivo B, modified 8 Years ago at 1/1/14 12:40 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/1/14 12:40 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/11/13 Recent Posts
Took the time today since there's no kids around and no job and I've read through whole of this thread. I find it inspiring. I'm nowhere near where you are. I might have experienced access concentration a couple of times but that's it. So in the sense I'm looking up to you and your experience and meditation reports are valuable to me.

Thanks again for sharing your practice log and please keep it up,
I.
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 1/2/14 10:26 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/2/14 10:26 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Stuart,

It seems, from my perspective, that you have good guidance emoticon

Sometimes I get discouraged from not making any progress (seemingly) and I go out looking for motivation to go sit and cultivate the correct mental factors.
Recently I stumbled upon a post I long ago replied to and rediscovered a series of letters sent from a yogi and her teacher. The letters are amazingly motivational and the story itself spans about 7-8 years. The lady is in her 70's.

Reading stories like that helps me remember that it's not too late to start, and it's a matter of slow progress. With patience and diligence, one will awaken.

The link to the post is here and the actual series of letters and whatnot is here.

It's apparent that you're blog and practice is motivating many people. It's possible (as I'm sure you've considered) that it's helped more people than who have replied to it.

I hope that gives you some motivation to continue your practice emoticon

With meta,
Travis
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 1:27 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 1:27 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Ivo,

I get such a big kick out of meeting up with my much loved sangha members. Thanks for coming online and giving me yet another "shot" of PME Positive Mental Energy!

The fact that absence of both work and kids allowed you time to digest my time line is of GREAT comfort to me. The fact that you have both children and work and are on The Path via this platform, Bloody well amazes me! Much Metta to you my newly found friend. Following The Path with those responsibilities must place you under some pressure. You will be in my thoughts.

I'm not in the position to assist you, but i to had problems with the notion of access concentration, i'm not very literate with computers so can't make a link to the information i'm talking about for you but it was Tommy M and the info he put on the net under "Access Concentration-Down To Earth Dharma-Blogger" that helped me become aware that i could access this state and with practice it came down to 3 counts of 1 to 10 which ended up taking as little as 5 to 6 minutes and i was safely ensconced where you want to be. Give it a try for a while and see if it works for you to my friend a.

Come back to me if it does or doesn't. I've also found a lot of assistance with Nikolai's stuff over at The Hamilton Project.

Kind regards

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 9:36 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 9:36 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Travis,

thank you, thank you, thank you. Thrice thank you for that link to that wonderful female, or should i say Vpasika. I've just this moment finished those 100 odd entries with great joy and admiration. What a fan-bloody-tastic time line that represents a!

That inspires me to redouble my efforts and try to gain just a small part of her path and wisdom.

In the entry prior to yours on my time line Ivo B stated how he had read my entire line from beginning to end in one sitting and it reminded me that that was one of my intentions i had when i first started to post on this forum. To be able to go back and reread my own stuff to see if there were any cyclical or other patterns emerging that i might learn from, but i'd taken so much time in constructing each of my entries, making sure that they were as accurate and free from exaggeration as was humanly possible for me, that i got sick of checking them so much so that i'd unknowingly set up an aversion to them. So thanks to Ivo i read my time line thro' from whow to go and the biggest single thing that came out was the freedom and peace that this process has given me.

Far out!

That's what i gained from that Vpasika and her letters to her Meditation Master, her rising levels of peace!

I'm nowhere that even registers on her time line or any of the attached maps here at the Dharma Overground, but i am a vpasaka (the male equivalent of a Vpasika) a lay follower of the Buddha that has taken the Precepts and taken Refuge in the Triple Gem. The rest and peace that doing that and pursuing Meditation as seen here, is now something i know in my heart. No place on any map but a hard won prize never the less.

Depression is no longer my constant companion, there in some small ways perhaps, but not constantly. New Years eve and new years day brought about lots of family trouble which wanted to bring out the old violence in me to stay and Multiply like the virus it is. But again several nights of heavy duty meditation took it from me. And through this all, i have a feeling of peace that never before has been a part of my life....

Travis, you and Ivo have both given me a wonderful gift. The gift of hindsight. Thanks for that a!

Again Travis, your comment on my having good guidance .... the only guidance i have is what you see here on my time line. The majority of that being from Nick (Nikolai) whom i look up to with great respect and one from fivebells which i liked. The rest has come from the avarice trawling i've done of this and other Buddhist sites across the web.
I'm also the librarian at my real time Gompa, read Mahayana Meditation Hall. We have a small library of a couple of hundred books which i've sifted thro' time after time.

Finally i was reading thro' your time line earlier this evening and your entry for the 12/31/13 jumped out at me. Regarding the lack of knowledge on meditation and meditation matters outside this forum. It's pretty bloody grim, there seem to be so few of us that are motivated to practice and driven with our need!
I used to go to my Gompa twice a week. Once on Thursdays for Dharma study group and once on Sunday for religious studies and a forty minute Calm Abiding silent meditation. It's a round trip of nearly a 100 klicks and my poor old Toyota ute's now twenty six years old and in the main there are so few that want to walk the walk and talk the talk. In fact it's rather damm lonely out here, mmm.

Kind regards

Stu
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 10:11 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/3/14 10:11 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
That inspires me to redouble my efforts and try to gain just a small part of her path and wisdom.


That's exactly what I was hoping it would do emoticon don't give up until you reach the end!

Depression is no longer my constant companion, there in some small ways perhaps, but not constantly. New Years eve and new years day brought about lots of family trouble which wanted to bring out the old violence in me to stay and Multiply like the virus it is. But again several nights of heavy duty meditation took it from me. And through this all, i have a feeling of peace that never before has been a part of my life....


This is good, obviously. But like the Master and his student had discussed, don't get settled in to the peace. Because if this happens you won't continue your practice! Keep on keepin' on

Again Travis, your comment on my having good guidance .... the only guidance i have is what you see here on my time line. The majority of that being from Nick (Nikolai) whom i look up to with great respect and one from fivebells which i liked. The rest has come from the avarice trawling i've done of this and other Buddhist sites across the web.
I'm also the librarian at my real time Gompa, read Mahayana Meditation Hall. We have a small library of a couple of hundred books which i've sifted thro' time after time.

Finally i was reading thro' your time line earlier this evening and your entry for the 12/31/13 jumped out at me. Regarding the lack of knowledge on meditation and meditation matters outside this forum. It's pretty bloody grim, there seem to be so few of us that are motivated to practice and driven with our need!
I used to go to my Gompa twice a week. Once on Thursdays for Dharma study group and once on Sunday for religious studies and a forty minute Calm Abiding silent meditation. It's a round trip of nearly a 100 klicks and my poor old Toyota ute's now twenty six years old and in the main there are so few that want to walk the walk and talk the talk. In fact it's rather damm lonely out here, mmm.


Yes the path that we've taken is lonely. It's unfortunate that more people don't take up this hardcore meditation practice.

I had detailed on my practice log of an experience I had recently with a small meditation group here in Denver. The people were all nice and respectful, but I got no feeling from anyone that they were practicing 'hardcore' like we here on Dharma Overground. Does that make us better than them? Not at all. It's just unfortunate from our perspective that there aren't more people with whom we can share our experiences with. The thing is; we don't need more people to share these experiences with. We have the book MCTB by Daniel, we have this website and we have countless of resources to look upon other people's experiences. Plus we have each other: the other members of this website and myself.


Nikolai has also been guiding me. He is great help.

I wouldn't qualify myself to something even remotely close to a teacher, but a friend in the Dharma is priceless (I think). So consider me as such; a friend in the Dharma!

Perhaps we can be pen pals (the email version). If you're interested let me know. If not, this website works just fine in keeping us all connected.

Anyways, above all; keep practicing! Don't give up. And remember; mind states and emotions are just as impermanent as the weather.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 1/9/14 11:16 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/9/14 11:16 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Finally got to talk with Nick on the 4th of January and it was quite illuminating. My problem was that my first go at insight meditation or noting had gone very wrong and i was making a bruised and hurried exit back to samatha or concentration practice with my tail firmly between my legs and feeling very confused with everything! Nick's very quiet and low key response was to assure me all was ok and that i could and should fall back to where i was last most comfortable, to which i said that that would be in a rather high state of access concentration (that's why i thought i was ready to start insight as my concentration felt really secure and highly comfortable for me). Prior to talking with Nick i was preparing a fall back position based on Anapanasati that i sort of hoped would lead me more comfortably (in the long run) back to insight. Nick went on to say that the state of access concentration, if that was where my comfort existed, was what i should start with... quietly start to open up or tease apart this place of familiarity. Gently ask questions of where i thought i was and of my surroundings. Really easy and very matter of fact. In less than 30 minutes i was a hell of a lot more calm, quietened down and a little bit excited that i was heading back to familiar hunting grounds.

Being that i had been working with anapanasati, i thought i'd better just brush up my concentration skills. So a couple of one hour and a two hour kasina sits. Then a couple more single hours and my first 3 hour chair sit, again kasina work, then yesterday, in another first, 2 by 3 hour kasina sittings, felt great apart for a bit of angst in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the last sitting. Today i had to go out of town for a few hours but on my return i felt ready to explore! So a hour to warm up then a 2 hour sitting and an hour to come down again.

I was half an hour into my two hour sit and firmly into access concentration when i decided it was time to go look see.

I was treating the whole thing with kid gloves. I realised that i thought of this place as rather constricted, almost womb like so the first move was to see if i could give myself any more room and instead of the walls being tight or restrictive, they where, it felt like an insulating material which was quite easy to compact and push back. Very carefully over about 15 to 20 minutes i was able to make the space of a regular sized room with little, in fact no, impact on my state of absorption. I then called in the biggest problem of the holiday period, that being the restless feeling of potential violence i felt when my Sons girlfriend was beaten by party goers next door to my wife's place on new years morning, only an hour or so after i left the place. I was flabbergasted that i could still feel such strong urges to set about collecting revenge! After so much work on trying to loose my old ways of thought and action. Without setting up any emotion i was able to look at the problem and see that whilst my reaction was of the old self, the response was the me of now. Let go of that which is not mine today. Put yesterdays feelings back in yesterday. Live in the eternal present. Then i asked myself "was this discursive thought" and was able to lay it away without it provoking any further comment. I'm sure another couple of things happened which i can't recall right now but it was about this time that i realised that there was NOTHING about this state of access concentration that was fragile in any way, state or form. I could run around, jump up and down, and nothing it seemed could loosen me from this refuge. I tried to deepen it by doing the same exercise i do to gain access concentration, that being a simple (now) count from 1 to 10 three times. I've done it so many times it's now become a very simple process, but no, i couldn't deepen it any further. Maybe worth pursuing tho'. Stayed in that state for the rest of the two hour sit but got a bit restless in the last 15 minutes. Looking forward to repeating this for the sake of verification.

All in all a really different meditation than anything i've ever done and i'm quite taken aback that this access concentration is so tough and malleable. Don't know where i'm going but at lest my boat is re floated and back 'at sea'.

Thank you so very much Nick.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 1/17/14 7:01 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/17/14 7:01 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
To use a sailing analogy, i seem to have reached the doldrums. Not in the sense of being low in spirit but completely empty of anything. No depression. No euphoria. No positive. No negative. No motivation. No feeling.

So different from anywhere else i've ever been. There is not a need to practice nor a guilt for having not.

The only thing that remains is a daily need to be here. I am once more working thro the discussion thread on concentration and staying in contact with all practice logs and recent posts. Read some wonderful stuff. Thank you.

Strange.
Ivo B, modified 8 Years ago at 1/27/14 11:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/27/14 11:49 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/11/13 Recent Posts
stuart chas law:
To use a sailing analogy, i seem to have reached the doldrums. Not in the sense of being low in spirit but completely empty of anything. No depression. No euphoria. No positive. No negative. No motivation. No feeling.

So different from anywhere else i've ever been. There is not a need to practice nor a guilt for having not.

The only thing that remains is a daily need to be here. I am once more working thro the discussion thread on concentration and staying in contact with all practice logs and recent posts. Read some wonderful stuff. Thank you.

Strange.


Sailors caught in doldrums do one thing. They hunt storm clouds and wind generated by them. That's how they get to the other side. Keep on keeping!
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/13/14 1:47 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/13/14 1:47 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Crazy times!!!!!!!!

It's only looking back now that i can see that i've been in a slowly growing, more and more persistent depressive state. I would venture to suggest that it's my level of practice that is changing how i slide into clinical depression, and regular markers that used to arise and flag an oncoming 'event' are just not there anymore making self diagnosis difficult as i've not past this way before.

Most confusing!

Thought that a bad month of practice, where the only meditation i got was that, that i snatched from the mouth of the black dog would leave me in a catch up phase, but no. The 5 minute, 10 minute, 20 and 40 minute sits stolen from the jaws of my disease seemed to have done the job. I come back to being able to sit for my usual hour sessions just a few days ago to find a very high state of access concentration available to me.............

Absence of the hindrances, breath, light and slow, less work, becoming effortless. Then i clearly recognised that there were other things contributing to my state of meditative being. I experienced them once before when i was gifted a couple of hours of deep jhanic experience some 3 or so years back. (THE most wonderful meditative event i've ever had the pleasure of undergoing and one of the prime reasons for continuing to follow this path.)

Three of the five Jhanic factors were in attendance on me. Vitakka, vicara and ekaggata were alive and well and dwelling inside my head for a short while. Still no piti and her buddy sukha was missing as well.

I was unified. Nothing could have moved my mind for that short period of time. It was so content to just be were it was. And all so easy!!!!!!!! Only lasted for twenty or so minutes and i fully expected there to be the usual fall back to a much lesser mind state the very next sitting as usual, but no, not quite so absorbed as at first but falling levels of samadhi followed me for the next couple of days.

Later in that same sit i had my first big insight experience with anatta ... Everything was going so smoothly, my breath, my heart, my quiet (oh so quiet) mind, then suddenly the realisation that 'I' didn't need to be here.... this was all operating, without a 'Me.' On auto. I was superfluous, not needed, rendered obsolete! Rather rocked my boat to know this on such a gut level

Probably no big deal to all you experienced insighters out there but big time to this little samatha rider. And proof to me that the path i've chosen to follow is beginning to look the way i had hoped it would. All that time ago.

Thanks for looking in on me, fellow travelers.

Kind regards

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/19/14 12:47 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/19/14 12:37 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Six days have passed since i addressed this, my practice log. When i last spoke with you guys i was of the opinion that i had under gone a period of deep depression. The approach of which i had not recognised. Well that has been proven to be wrong. Please bear with me for a moment, ok

I live on a very small income and i'm always on the look out for ways to save money, and the Buddhist community i belong to is some 50 klicks away in a city close by. I was going to my Gompa (Mahayana meditation hall) twice a week, Thursday for Dharma study group, the subject of study being an early 14th century commentary on meditation, which i don't fully agree with, being more of the Theravardin persuasion, so i thought "There you are ... drop the study group and save a 100 kilometers worth of fuel." To easy. The other trip to my Gompa was Sunday for Sadhana practice and a Calm Abiding meditation session. Well i host a Calm Abiding meditation group in the town i live in sooo, really i could drop my Sunday trip to Rockhampton as well and there is another 100 klicks worth of fuel saved.

Weeks and then months went by and the Ananda Buddhist Centre was hosting our prime teacher Lama Chodak Rinpoche for a three day work shop on the Lamrim. By this stage i was feeling very depressed and not up for three days of anything, let alone Mahayana teachings on the stages to enlightenment! But one of my Calm Abiding group who's situation is worse than mine asked if i could take her up to speak with Lama Chodak from whom she had received some great advice some 19 odd years ago.
So i took her up for the Friday night talk and thought that would meet her requirements. So many of my Sangha approached me and asked me to return for the weekend that i felt directed to attend. The upshot of that decision being that right from moment one of listening to the Lama's teachings i felt as if i was being hit by dharma bullets, dissolving my resistance to both my sangha and the dharma.

Moral of the story... If, like me, you've taken Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, turn your back on them at your peril.

By the end of the second session on the Sunday i was feeling better in a thousand ways and resolved never to make this error again. At 63 years of age you think i'd know better, huh!!! Well, it's recorded now and hopefully i won't repeat that mistake.

Whilst i was up at the Gompa i picked up a favorite little book of mine, Sayadaw U Pandita's In This Very Life and two things popped out at me very quickly. 1/ How walking meditation can improve your state of concentration prior to assuming your seated session, even just 10 minutes. So i tried it and was very impressed with the result. So i've now instigated 15 minutes of walking meditation prior to all seated sessions. 2/ Because this book is every much a manual for insight meditation, I was once again set along this line of thinking and then this morning i was listening to a 90 minute dharma talk by the Theravardan Nun Ayya Khema (deceased) in which she states with emphatic emphasis that neither concentration nor insight meditation should be done alone or one without the other. So i'm gonna give it another try. But this time i'm not going to throw all my eggs in one basket. I'm just going to introduce a 15 minute segment of mental noting into my one hour or one hour fifteen minute meditations. To that end i tried it this morning on my first sitting for the day and found that it brought a lightness into my concentration practice, that may be just because it's a NEW THING, we'll just watch and see for the moment.

Thursday last week three hours seated concentration meditation
Friday, two hours seated concentration meditation
Saturday one hour seated concentration meditation plus 6 hours Lamrim teachings
Sunday one hour seated concentration meditation plus 5 hours Lamrim teachings
Monday Three hours seated concentration meditation
Tuesday Five hours seated, one hour walking split into 4 X 15 minute sessions prior to seated meditation

Concentration practice has very obviously strengthened over the last few weeks, despite all the drama.

Feel very sure about my path of Sama Samadhi, the Buddha's way along the Noble Eight-fold Path. The way of Jhana.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/23/14 8:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/23/14 8:05 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Since Thursday i've been doing a 1/2 hour walking prior to all one hour cushion sits.

Thursday 3 x 1 hour concentration sits. 3 x 1/2 hour walking for a total 4 and 1/2 hours. Two hours Dharma teachings at Gompa

Friday 3 x 1 hour concentration sits. 3 x 1/2 hour walking for a total 4 and 1/2 hours

Saturday same but achieved the Beautiful breath for approximately 50 minutes. A sitting of special note.

Sunday 3 hours 40 concentration, 4 sits 3 x 1/2 hour walking, total 5 hours 10.

Looking to get meditation back up to 6 hours per day. Concentration seems to be gaining momentum. Having problems with right knee and hip socket. Loath to go to a chair sitting because i am just not getting the same quality of outcome from chair sits, no matter how careful i am of form. Also resting wrists on knees whilst sitting. Was getting soreness of right wrist with hands in lap. Arms resting on knees seems to be opening chest better and assisting with keeping back straight.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday all include three to four hours of teachings off the Dharma seed web site. All related to my work of the moment, concentration.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/24/14 9:27 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/24/14 9:27 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Decided to commence 6 hour practice days today. Method ... 3 x 1 hour lots of walking meditation followed by 3 x 1 hour lots of concentration.

Also regularised my time of sitting. 6 am till 8, 12 noon till 2, 6 pm till 8.

Seemed to have improved hip and knee problem by lifting my hips higher than ankles. Just using two buck wheat husk filled cushions.

Finished first day just 5 hours ago. Feel very peaceful.

Thought i might have "had" an A&P event earlier in the month, seems like every one and his dog is getting them. But after some research i'm again thrown back on the rocks of not even being near to registering on the "maps" Pisses me off, being such a non achiever.

"Such is life" as was the last words of one of our infamous Australian Bush rangers. (Outlaw)
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/25/14 6:37 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/25/14 6:37 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
6 hour day as per above. Nothing of any consequence. Just gotta push on and see what comes.

What will be, will be. Sorry about the sour grapes in yesterdays log. Not right speech or right action!
Ivo B, modified 8 Years ago at 2/25/14 12:21 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/25/14 12:21 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/11/13 Recent Posts
Hello Stuart!

You're doing some serious meditation right now. Putting in some serious hours. How do you meditate? What s your meditation technique. Go into details if it's not to much of a burden. What's happening while you sit. Beginning of sit, middle, towards end. Keep it up!
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/26/14 8:39 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/26/14 7:22 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
G'day Ivo,

I'll come back and answer your question in detail as i think of it as a good opportunity for me to question where, what, why and how for my own edification. But i've just had a Sitting of Note and i really want to get it down on paper whilst it's still fresh in my mind. Please bear with me my friend a!

What a bloody ripper!!!

Back a bit...... lunch time sit a real stinker. Rapidly going off walking meditation as the first 10 minute session of walking was the best i've had since i started this just a few days ago. Wasn't getting so absorbed in the walking segments of my recently instigated regime and that was leading me down and the sitting portions seemed to be dumbing up to meet the progressively worsening walks.

The hindrances where afflicting me badly. I was bloody well lost in lust like crazy and the hindrances were something that i was pleased to see coming more under control. It has seemed that i have introduced walking meditation and my base line practice was being all shot to shit!

First time in a long while i got up 40/45 minutes into a 60 minute sit.

I was dreading the 6pm sitting. Not looking forward to it at all. So, time came round and the aversion to the idea of walking was f-ing powerful and by 8, two hours later i thought that if i don't do something soon I'm gonna waste a bloody night and not sit at all!

Stuff this, better to do two single seated sessions and at lest keep up the 6 hour goal for the day. Consider dropping walking completely but think on it over night.

Address the cushion and the wall and sit for a session of 1 hour of concentration, in a rather agitated state to start with, bugger it! 2 or 3 minutes in and notice i am already into access concentration. That'd been missing for several sits, but had returned early and strong. In fact i was surprised at just how strong and readily available it was. Look to calming the breath...... i've been doing some breath lengthening work to hopefully engender the Beautiful Breath as Ajahn Brahm calls it. Got a whiff of it a few days back. Sure enough in she comes, about 10 minutes into the sit i am able to manipulate the breath to the point whereby the body wants to take over and places the breathing on auto pilot. By the time the first 15 minute chime rings i'm on auto with my eyes, locked on to my small kasina object on the wall some 50cm (18") away and i've lost all control of the breath. This is new territory for me!!!

My small kasina object, a twenty cent silver coloured australian coin some 1&1/8" in diameter starts to weave back and forth on the wall. It's attached with Blu tac! Next thing it slits into two about the same distance apart as my eyes, clear as a bell. My eyes start rolling back in my head and someone is shining a spot light fear smack into them. Everything goes white ..... I have a WTF moment and the chimes are ringing for the end of the session. My internal time was twenty, twenty five minutes into the sit and real time was 60 minutes, times up!

Just wanted to add the fact that for the three or four days preceding this event i've been dogged by pain in the neck,shoulders,
shoulder blade. Hip and knee on right side. Also rather strong feelings of lust culminating in today's noon sitting. Just things that have been out side my norm.

I have no living idea what has just happened but i'm hoping that it is an indication of the onset of the Samatha Jhanas!!! My first goal on this oh so frustratingly but fantastic journey.

Any help or assistance in diagnosing this powerful happening would be nice, or is it just one of those moments not to get attached to and get on with business and see what shakes out. Huh?

Maybe i should have put this in the concentration thingo, thread?
Ivo B, modified 8 Years ago at 2/26/14 1:38 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/26/14 1:38 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 42 Join Date: 2/11/13 Recent Posts
Cool stuff. Try not to loose momentum and please do keep posting. I love readin this shit. Hopefully it kicks me in the but so i finnaly start sitting and stop with all the reading im doing. I have real problems with doubt, together with perfectionism and fear you get a perfect excuse for research instead of doing some serious sitting. Inspite people constantly reporting progress i dont sit. I buy more books. It cant all be a lie. So posts like this, from what it looks like and feels like sincere people give me incredible strenght and belief in the path.
Dont stop, it looks to me like you have a lot of time to dedicate to this practice. Your practice inspire couse im identifying with you in some way.

Cheers mate!

(Written on mobile device)
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 2/28/14 11:54 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/28/14 11:54 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Damm me if i haven't had an encore!!!

Two nights since my experience which i'd come around to believing was my Arising and Passing Away....

Woke the next morning feeling somewhat flat, knowing i was going to be away from home base for the next 12 to 16 hours, i took the opportunity to sit prior to leaving, so went straight to a seated (cushion) session and began practicing what i've come to call "My Concentration Practice" And all i can say about the sit is that it was one of extreme equanimity. No highs, no lows, no access concentration, no nothing .... very pleasant, agreeable and time passed with ease but no emotion! Went up to the City, to my family home and succumbed to the enthralling temptation and tried to explain what had occurred. How stupid am i???? I was meet with looks of incredulity, then slight smiles and finally words to the effect of "Look! the silly old bastard is off with his crazy Buddhist shit again." Time to shut the hell up!!!.

Did what i had to do and about 4 pm headed out to my Mahayana Gompa for our Dharma study group. I have a dharma friend that attends, he was the guy that introduced me to Mr Ingram's Dharma Overgound. Whilst waiting for him and the rest of the team to show up i got another hours sitting in our beautiful meditation hall, with the same kind of result (equanimity) as that morning. To cut a long story shorter, i got to speak with Dan (G'day Mate) after study group and explained what i had experienced. I followed it up with places to look up the experience (here and else where) and returned to my seaside town of Yeppoon. Last sit of the day round 1 am, with the same bland result.

Woke late and had a meeting of the fellowship of Al-Anon (for friends and family's of alcoholics) and then a lunch with a friend of mine. We were to 'do' a meditation sitting, three of us, but when one called at three to cancel i was overcome with exhaustion and headed home to crash! Woke at 8pm that night, got some tea and listened to a Dharma talk at Dharma Seed on concentration then decided to sit about 10pm.

Decided that i would have a session of walking meditation as that is what i was doing prior to my 'A&P' event which i was coming back to thinking of as a Jhana sitting.

Was wondering how to deepen my walking meditation and decided to walk slower and note four sections to each stride. Lift ....push ....lower ....feel, put on some meditation music, a 60 minute cd "Buddha and Bonsai" and set off.

Quite concentrated at the end of the hour so sat facing the wall and addressed my small kasina object and could feel my concentration slowly deepening, not as fast as two nights ago but coming down slowly sort of one degree at a time.

Beautiful breath kicked in reasonably soon and developed at about the same rate as my concentration. Fifteen minutes in and both breath and concentration pushing down.

Eyes starting to fixate on kasina object now. Feeling that this is leading to another Jhana type event and waiting for my eyes to see the kasina starting to oscillate. Nope! but getting lower and lower. I was then questioning was this "Real Access Concentration or Real Samadhi! Huh?

Deepen and Deeper. Now i'm waiting for the nimiter (spot light) to appear, no ... Deeper and deeper. Then came the first hint of piti, crawling around under my scalp like goosebumps, slowly getting stronger, ebbing and flowing, (ooowww, this is different) becoming more intense then easing off and leaving me in the most alluring state of being that i've ever experienced.

Minutes and minutes went by, so delightful, so wonderful. Thirty minutes into this session, this is not Jhana, as i am aware and mindful. Cognizant of everything. Totally "with" the experience. 45 minute mark.... drenched in the sensual nature of whats happening to me. Suspended in this place of perfection. Delighted in being alive and exposed to this more and more sexual thing that was happening to me.

About 55 minutes in and i have a small pressure point on my right inside heel, piti comes to the rescue, like anti bodies around a problem cell. Attacking it with joy, more and more intense, concentrated in this one small area. Then, slowly it started migrating, getting more and more sexual the higher it ventured up my leg. By the time it hit the base of my spine it was a massive fireworks sky rocket leaving a splendiferous tail shooting out in all directions. Sooo colourful!!! Up my spine it crawled.... in slow motion ... to explode orgasmicly in my head, showering out all around me. (Three chimes, one hours up) Left in the after glow of this wonderous event. I am stunned! Some minutes go by, maybe five and i start laughing insanely until i cry. It's over... I unhook my legs and sit there for a further five, ten minutes. Basking in the after glow, before intoning my personal dedication of merit and mumbling thanks to a glorious Buddha for leaving behind something so wonderful that even the likes of me can avail themselves of........
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/1/14 8:47 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/1/14 8:47 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
What do i do?

Where am i going?

What will my practice look like?

I've been doing this thing for so long.... To now have such a concrete thing in my life. An anchor point. Knowing that i am now "On the Map" Feels soooo good, but the questions it brings up are numerous. Looking back i can't see any mark left for a Mind and Body event. A Cause and Effect event. The first thing to come up on my radar that was something i could recognise was a brush with The Three Characteristics, in so far as i had an experience of no self just a week or so ago.

Is it possible to have such a mild knowing of Mind and Body, and Cause and Effect that it dosn't register?

I read somewhere that if one had reached the Arising and Passing Away with out using Vipassana or insight practice, then now was the time to bring this into your life. Now was the time to join together Samatha and Vipassana or concentration and insight. But i still don't feel ready for this and prior to this very obvious A&P thingo my avowed destination was the Samatha Jhana's.
This is where i thought i could use jhana, as a home base from which to 'hang out' and investigate the things i had to!

I know i'm being a pain in the ass, but can anyone assist?

Now that i've had the A&P i can see how close to jhana it is, so maybe it wouldn't take too long to reach out and grab this asset and add it to my meager armoury, mmm.

Any kind souls out there that can help in any way. Please feel free to blow the dust from my eyes.

I suspect the answer to be that which i lest want to hear ........It's time to note your bum off ol' son. Stop pussing out and get on with it.

I do so love my concentration practice. It's given me much peace.


Kind regards

Stu.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/2/14 7:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/2/14 7:05 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Another one ... less intense, but still another event!

Today i went up to my Gompa for an hour of seated concentration, (part of my own practice) then at 5:00 pm it was the Sadhana of Refuge and Bodhicitta, then at 6 a 40 minute Calm Abiding meditation.

My own hour went well, nothing to write home about, very easy, very bright.

Come time for the Calm Abiding and then three strikes of the singing bowl and we're off. I'm looking at a white bottle of water blessed by the Dali Lama and suddenly my eyes cross and i see two of them and that's all she wrote ... i'm off. Eyes stay crossed. Beautiful breath comes in and i have piti crawling around under my scalp. Settles for a while then my body is flooded with rapture and bliss. Blows on through and repeats this pattern for the rest of the sit. Spasms of joy ripple up and down my spine causing me to twitch quite strongly, that repeats itself four times during the sit. Miniature fire works display going off in the back of my head about 10 to 12 times during the session, not as intense as the afternoon delight of a couple of days ago but still up there, and i'm swaying back and forth and from side to side across the length we're under for. The guy beside me during the sitting asked if i was ok afterwards, as he'd noticed my pitching about. Gave him the low down as i'd shared my previous experiences with him. He had guessed something was going down.

What is going on .... I thought the A&P was a one time deal, or does it very from person to person.

Input from anyone that's been thro this is most seriously sort

With thanks.

Stu
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 12:27 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 12:27 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Always good to see that your practice continues emoticon your posts help many people.

I hope all is well friend!

Travis
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 4:35 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 4:35 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
stuart chas law:
Is it possible to have such a mild knowing of Mind and Body, and Cause and Effect that it doesn't register?
Yes
stuart chas law:
What is going on .... I thought the A&P was a one time deal, or does it very from person to person.
You tend to get to your "working" area each sit and from there move forward in increments. If you are in the A&P you should see phenomena arising and passing away. (fireworks vary from person to person) The passing away will become dominate and then into disillusion. Next as you know is the dark night. Some people find noting accelerates the passing thru of the dark night areas. Noting makes it clearer too...sometimes a bit disconcertingly clear.
stuart chas law:

I suspect the answer to be that which i lest want to hear ........It's time to note your bum off ol' son. Stop pussing out and get on with it.
If your goal is stream entry I'd give noting a go. If you want to get thru the DN and into EQ...again I'd note some.
Enjoy the nice stages though...don't worry so much about the unfolding of your journey compared to the map. Find fun in the territories and jhanas then look back in hindsight at the maps as useful. (or when you feel stuck).
Good luck,
~D
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 7:35 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 7:35 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Hey Travis...........

Please forgive the lack of communication on my part. I've been turned very seriously inward for the past month or so. Dharma and the doing of meditation have been upper most in my mind.

I host a Calm Abiding meditation group here in the town i live in, for and on behalf of my Gompa, The Ananda Buddhist Centre and interest is such that my little group now numbers 9 or 10 people. I'm also having people approach me in other areas of my life seeking information on Buddhism and meditation.

The Dharma seems to be moving so strongly in my life at the moment. Bloody awesome Travis.

Stay well my friend a!

Kind regards

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 8:05 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/3/14 8:05 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Dream Walker,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to intervene. Again i will endeavour to implement insight style noting in my practice, it just feels so cumbersome. Perhaps i need to give it a decent trial period, stick with it for longer than i have in the past.

Yes Dw, Stream Entry was indeed my goal, but only as it applies as part of the ongoing path.

Damm me but i feel so privileged to just be on this Path.

Again, Cheers Dream Walker.

Kind regards

Stu
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 3/4/14 1:26 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/4/14 1:26 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
stuart chas law:
Again i will endeavour to implement insight style noting in my practice, it just feels so cumbersome. Perhaps i need to give it a decent trial period, stick with it for longer than i have in the past.
Well if you can notice every little thing that happens and keep doing it without any labels then more power to you. If you keep getting caught in the content....apply a label to the phenomena to dis-embed with the minds constant story. I always start with concentration then move to noticing and if the monkey mind is strong then I note to stop it. Sometimes I can just notice reality as it unfolds...but this was not often in the early days and is still not as often as I'd like now.
Good luck,
~D
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/4/14 7:19 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/4/14 7:19 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Saturday 6 hours meditation, 3 x 1 hours walking. 3 x 1 hours cushion sits. Concentration

Sunday 4 x 1 hour cushion sits. Concentration.

Monday 2 x 1 hour cushion sits. Concentration.

Tuesday 5 hours meditation. 2 x 1 Walking. 3 x 1 hours cushion sits. Concentration.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/5/14 7:20 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/5/14 7:20 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Wednesdays practice.

6 hours total

1 hour noting, cushion sit.

3 x 1 hours concentration, cushion sit.

2 x 1 hour walking.

Dream Walker advised noting. Sayadaw U Pandita in his book "In This Very Life" states what ever got you to the A&P keep doin'.
Have to re read the Sayadaw's book to just verify my take on his advise. And i think it about time i re read Mr Ingram's Core Teachings.

So got me some home work to do. In the interim, try to stay with 6 hour practice, at lest on the days i don't have to go up to the 'City'. But i'd like to do the 6 even on city days, if i can manage. What with my clinical Depression i want to see if the heavy practice can't get me through the dark night that's supposedly ahead. I seem to feel a more solid commitment to the Dharma. Lets see if i can solidify that commitment into practice.

Most grateful to have this forum, my practice and the Buddha's path!

Kind regards

Stu.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/6/14 8:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/6/14 8:05 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Thursday's practice. "City day"

6 hours.

1 hour walking

5 x 1 hours concentration. Cushion sits.

Walking has been the factor that i most let myself down with. Have now, or just recently split my pace into 5 segments ....
Lift ....Push ....Place ....Feel ....pause.

Made a commitment to 'be' with Every segment of the pace, every second of the hour ... Best walking meditation EVER. Very little to no discursive thought.

Most rewarding. Congratulations Stu.

Kind Regards

Stu
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/9/14 4:31 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/9/14 4:29 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
OK........... It would seem that the Arising and Passing Away, has arisen AND passed away!!!!

Now i'm left thrashing about, seeking a way through the plethora of information that's about But ONLY FOR THE FOLLOWERS OF INSIGHT

I'm left hanging on two small sources of information but they two have been coined by teachers and those following the Vipassana path of insight knowledge.

Meditation has reverted back a long long way. It was so, so easy to hold ones subject in a vise like grip and concentration was like a bear trap ... strong and lethal! Now ..... it's hard to stay seated let alone bring awareness to the party!

I got up at 4:30am, ready to do my first three hour block of meditation and was only on the cushion for two minutes before i was up looking for direction out of the latest mire i seem to have gotten myself into. Where to now??? So i'm googling the arising and passing away and the only source i have left is BuddhaNet and their "Development of Insight" talks. Where i stumble on the same few words as i got from Sayadaw U Pandita's book In This Very Life that lives within arms reach, permanently on my bed. (I sleep alone in a double bed .... half for me and the other half for a veritable library of books i'm constantly reaching for) And those words are ........................... What ever got you to this stage is what you need to get yourself to where your going.

So my answer is ...... Get back to the cushion and practice YOUR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE!!! Irrespective of how Good or Bad your sittings are, just do it!

I've managed to loose, waste, two to three hours of time but as usual the answer has once again come upon me.

I can't change horses mid stream... I can't reinvent myself as an insight practitioner this late in my meditation career. Unless i want to go back to being a student and slowly and thoroughly learn a new trade. And the short answer to that is No I Don't.

This f'ing well puts me outside the scope of all you beautiful people on this glorious site, and i so much want to be a "real" member of the Vipassana community Bugger it.

Why must i continually re invent the fucking wheel!

I've done it all my God dammed life and here i am in my mid sixties .... Still taking the road less traveled. Why am i so asinine, huh!!!!

If i can get to Stream Entry though .... it will have all been alright, OK, good, apples mate, wonderful, marvelous, etc., etc.

But why must i be so perverse mmmm?

Is there anybody out there that's been dumb enough to have done it MY WAY????
John Wilde, modified 8 Years ago at 3/9/14 5:03 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/9/14 5:03 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
stuart chas law:

Is there anybody out there that's been dumb enough to have done it MY WAY????


Oh, maybe one or two of us have tried it once or twice...
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 8:48 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 8:48 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Friday: 4 hours meditation 1 hour walking
3 x 1 hours cushion sits

Saturday: 4 hours meditation 1 walking
3 cushion sits

Sunday 4 hours meditation 1 walking
3 cushion sits

Monday 6 hours, two blocks of three hours
1 cushion sit. 1 walking. 1 cushion sit, in the am and repeat of same for the pm.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/11/14 1:27 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/11/14 1:27 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
My soul, would that i had one, my soul would fly were it possible to meet up with someone who has/is taken/ing the path of concentration and the development of Jhana to be the way towards the goal of Stream Entry. This is looking to be less and less likely the further along the Path i get. But such is life. Eh!

This is the single most glorious thing i have ever committed to. Thank the Gods that it is only now, in recent weeks that i stubble on the warning in relation to this road less traveled. Better not start. Once started, better finish. What i might try to say in a couple of pages, has been distilled by one more skilled to 7 words. Genius.

Please forgive my rant a couple of entries ago a! I was just having a whine 'bout the fact that everything here revolves around those of a Vipassana bent. And that's how it should be. I guess i just want some kind soul to grasp my hand and firmly and gently lead me to the promised land. That's not much to ask for .... is it?

Having attained the Arising and Passing Away, i feel that i can now push that boulder back up the hill a few more hundreds of times, mmm. She'll be apples mate. A!

It was that, having gotten to the A&P i thought, rightly or wrongly that i would have to take up Vipassana practice and once again all the old demons assaulted me. Full on. Three days of Noting at 6 hours a day, and the jim jams were firmly in control.

As soon as i stopped noting and went back to concentration, things improved dramatically.

We can but try. I may yet have to eat my words if my way yields no progress. Till then, Forward Ho!

6 hours practice today. 3 x 1 hour cushion sits. 3 hours guided, corpse posture, no sloth and torpor.

Kind regards,

Stu.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/12/14 7:51 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/12/14 7:51 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
5 hours meditation time. One walking, 2 x 1 hour and 1 x 2 hour cushion sits.
One block of three
One straight two hour cushion sit ... Real easy!

First block of three, from 5 am. Bit of a sleep in. First two hours ok, last hour crappy as anything.

Second session in the early evening was the 2 hour cushion sit i wanted to have a go at. First half hour i could feel my breath lengthening from minute one and during the second half the beautiful breath arose and locked down, then i started feeling the breath rolling back and forth over the Anapana spot just beneath my nostrils. The sweet spot felt about the size of a pea and then it really lite up and i could feel an awesome power collecting at this point, and i knew with great surety that this was going to be the jumping off point for jhana. How? Don't know, just feel dead set sure this will come to be.

I've got this extremely strong feeling that jhana is not far away... Vitakka was there. Vicara too. Piti rolling round the edges of my face, down my neck and thro the upper part of my chest. It, (Piti) has also found a new place to concentrate, forgive me being body specific but for a few weeks it's made itself very at home in my scrotum. Not only does it collect there but the feeling is every intense (non sexual) and from there it broadcasts a feeling of great comfort to most of my body from the abdomen down. Go figure! Sukha, happiness was evident in bucket fulls and it felt that if Ekaggata had been there i could have just spring straight into jhana.

I looked at Stream entry on the website Access to Insight. And there, in conditions required to enter the stream it states that of the Noble Eight Fold Path. What is right concentration ... Where a monk quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in ... the first through fourth jhana.
SN 45.8
So according to the "Boss" i'm on the right path.

Thro' the middle hours of the day i got in four hours of teachings. At the moment i'm working thro' Dharma Seed. org. On the subjects of concentration, stream entry, jhana and the three characteristics. One of the teachers in a talk on concentration stated that if your doing multiple hour sessions and that your having trouble staying on subject, then there is nothing wrong with taking a small break ... look out the window, gently take in the view and mindfully return to the cushion. I've tried this out for a period of days now and i'm really impressed with her little gem. I'm returning to the cushion with improved concentration. Works for toilet breaks, instead of trying to push through too.

Another little gem i picked up, as i have the time to invest in it is, if you have a problem, just keep throwing more meditation at it till it goes away. (Actually that's a home grown one of mine. But hey, it works for me!)

When i take the teachings i'm listening to into consideration i'm doing 7 to 10 hours of practice per day now. The reason .... I hope to cross the dark night with as little fuss as possible. I've had a life time full of Dark Nights and I've had enough!!!!
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/14/14 8:58 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/14/14 8:56 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Thursday 13th March. Lay day (day off) 2 x 1 hour cushion sits.

Friday 14th March. 7 hours meditation.
3 x 1 hour cushion
1 x 2 hour cushion
1 x 2 hour guided sit, corpse posture
3 x 1 hour teachings
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/17/14 10:56 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/17/14 10:56 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Saturday 15th March

4 x 1 hour cushion sits


Sunday No meditation time, off ill.


Monday Recovery day

3 x 1 hour cushion sits

Just a small observation of my sittings. Nothing much is happening in my sits but i'm achieving middling plus samadhi levels on all sits early in the session and am able to remain with the object of the meditation with ease and grace.

Posture is brilliant. Irrespective of leg position chosen, half lotus or tailor's, once assumed I'm immovable. I feel like a stone Buddha. And i am enjoying these Rock Hard sittings and pride rears it's ugly head.

Did a candle lit kasina sit as my last sitting tonight at midnight and it was locked down rock solid but completely relaxed. Good feeling once again.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/19/14 8:41 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/19/14 8:41 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Tuesday: Unwell again
5 x 1 hour cushion sits.


Wednesday:
6 x 1 hour. 1 candle lit kasina cushion sit. 1 guided corpse posture. 4 x 1 hour cushion sits.


Here are the details on the guided sit i did. www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio/312/18872.html A dharma talk by Rick Hanson, called "A road map from the Buddha." It's 1 hour 21 minutes long. I use the first part of the talk, prior to the guided section to establish myself firmly in access concentration to maximise the effect.

This is the second time i've done this guided meditation. Last time about 6 months ago. Both with good results. Today's sitting i got so deep into absorption i was reduced to tears at the end of the session and it took some 30 minutes for the effect of the absorption to wear off. Despite the water works

Cried on two other occasions this afternoon. Both whilst reading Sayadaw U Pandita's book, In This Very Life. Once over "this precious human life". After 5 heart attacks, a triple by pass heart operation on top of a very difficult emotional life, it's got me stuffed how i got here. Then to have the bonus of finding the Dharma ... so late in the game.
The other tears came after reading how the earth trembled 7 times through the Buddha's life.

I think the A&P is still with me to be this emotional.

Reading through Ian And's "A Practical Look At Jhana Practice" Last night, i found this little gem to make people like me, following the path of trying to get Jhana before contemplating an insight practice feel somewhat better about themselves. Well it works for me!!! It's in Part Four para 5 of Ian's Bloody brilliant Jhana series and goes .... "Dry meditators" therefore do not take the time to develop the jhanas before taking up vipassana meditation subjects, whereas "wet meditators" do develop jhana before undertaking insight contemplations.

Wetties Rule!!!

Cheers Ian. Your stuff really assists me.
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/22/14 8:27 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/22/14 8:27 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
I read John Smith's post over in the concentration category, where he quotes from a transcription of a Dhammatalk by the Ven Brahmavamso on: www.metta.lk/english/anapana.htm Part of the passage reads ... Anyone can watch a breath, an in breath and out breath, just once, but it takes a skillful meditator to be able to watch, say, a hundred or two hundred breaths, one after the other, without missing any. It is only when one can achieve that sustained attention on one chosen object that that quality of mind deserves to be called samadhi.

I took that as a challenge, a good place to put my supposed samadhi abilities on the line. And threw out the invitation to myself to follow each and every in breath and out breath for the period of the next three days. And to test myself further, to do it in blocks of 1, 2, and 3 hour nonstop sits and see how well my concentration training is going.

I lost mindfulness maybe 12 times over the three day period and then only for part of the breath not all of one breath.

So i guess i can rightfully claim some level of skill in the Samadhi or concentration stakes. All i need now is jhana, then i can set my sights on vipassana.

Thursday 6 hours all cushion sits. 1 x 3 hour block. 1 x 2 hour block. 1 x 1 hour

Friday 6 hours all cushion sits 1 x 3 hour block. 1 x 2 hour block. 1 x 1 hour

Saturday 6 hours all cushion sits 1 x 3 hour block. 1 x 2 hour block. 1 x 1 hour

Since A&P i am feeling extremely committed and very much dedicated. Taking up robes goes from a dream to an idea worth more sustained thought. Probably impracticable at 64 years of age. Bugger it!!!!!!!!
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 7:59 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 7:59 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Retraction of my statement in my last post.

So i guess i can rightfully claim some level of skill in the Samadhi or concentration stakes

What a load of shite! After listening to Pat Coffey's Dharma talk: Samadhi: Gateway to freedom.

On www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/136/17948.html

Pat talks about the fact that Vitakka, Vicara, Piti, sukha, Ekaggata should all be present for it to truly be Samadhi. My staying with the breath was all bloody minded brute force, no delicacy or skill that the above list of Pali words would imply.

Please forgive my over stepping my abilities and stating so publicly. One minute i'm feeling deadset in command of my practice and all that that entails, then in the very next second (as in right now) i feel ready to roll up the mat and go home.

This past weeks practice has been shitful. A couple of zero hour sitting days, a couple of one hour days and only one 4 hour sitting day and the quality of my sittings has been pathetic! No skill at all. Feeling and hearing every tick of the clock. cutting short my hours. In sittings of more that one hour, the second has been fudged at the 45 minute mark.

And i really could just up and walk away from this keyboard right now.............. Shit i feel so fucking woeful.

I miss my Dharma friend from my real time Sangha, Dan, sooo much. This is such a lonely pursuit. Sorry about the "Poor Me's"
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Travis Gene McKinstry, modified 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 9:46 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 9:46 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 7/26/12 Recent Posts
Stuart,

You take a lot of responsibility for your actions, that's good. I hope you're not taking them too hard.

Remember; you are only human emoticon Unfortunately like the rest of us.

First noble truth:
Life is stress/suffering
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 3:53 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/29/14 3:53 PM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
stuart chas law:
This past weeks practice has been shitful. A couple of zero hour sitting days, a couple of one hour days and only one 4 hour sitting day and the quality of my sittings has been pathetic! No skill at all. Feeling and hearing every tick of the clock. cutting short my hours. In sittings of more that one hour, the second has been fudged at the 45 minute mark.

Looks like you are progressing nicely...be very wary if your meditation stops changing....being a total rock star meditator followed by completely loosing it and everything is crap has happened to me many many times...It goes with the progress of insite.
You never know if your concentration skills are enough or not until hindsight. This made me think of you -
Florian Weps:
I like the Buddha's simile of the raft: it's a single-purpose throwaway thing cobbled together from whatever buoyant stuff you can find. Junk time, bad focus, frustration, the smile of your wife, a ray of the full moon, having all your buttons pushed, eating a nice meal, playing with your kids... whatever floats your practice, use it! This isn't an exercise in raft-building, it's an exercise in getting across, and it has to work only once, and it is a single-seater. There are people on both shores cheering you on, but you are on your own, so any advice must come from a distance, and what we are yelling through the noise of the rushing current may not be very helpful, but that floating plastic bottle just under the surface which only you can see will add buoyancy.

Good luck
~D
stuart chas law, modified 8 Years ago at 3/30/14 6:01 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/30/14 6:01 AM

RE: New practice.

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13