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Eric O's New Practice Log

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Eric O's New Practice Log
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6/1/13 8:49 PM
I haven't posted in quite some time. My practice is still going (relatively) strong. I've been sitting for 45-60min every morning, and about the same duration, only maybe 4 times a week in the afternoons.

A few weeks back I had an experience I've had twice before that I can only presume is an A&P type event. All three times I've woken up in the middle of the night and, for whatever reason, been drawn to paying attention to my breath. My concentration was locked on and following it was nearly effortless. I could switch to body sensations and very easily follow them as well. Very quickly, I got into a fairly deep concentration (more so than I can remember reaching in my daily sits) and I'd have this experience that I can only describe like dropping a rock into a pool of energy. There's an "energy clap", and then I was left in the wake of it feeling its reverberations. Equanimity was pretty high, and each time I fell back asleep fairly quickly afterwards.

So between that and a few other things, it's been a year since some of my "experiences" and can fairly confidently say that I still haven't hit SE. I think my sitting has matured some, although I feel like recently it's slowed down some and I'm having some difficulty motivating myself to continue. I'm restarting my log to try to keep up my motivation.

Practice tonight started off well. I've been starting my sits with concentration practice, focusing on the breath at the rim of my nostrils. From there, I shifted to trying to watch the 3 characteristics of body sensations, particularly at the skin level. That started with pretty large somewhat bubbly sensations that were fairly pleasant. Had some mind wandering, and thoughts about a few things going on in life (trying to sell our home, wife and I expecting our first child, etc.). When I noticing thinking, I tried to see that thoughts are just transient.

After a few minutes, the sensations at my skin level really smoothed out. They were very fine and somewhat more challenging to notice and follow. I think my mind wandering got a little worse during this period.

Soon the sensations at the skin turned back up into more fine, tingling/itching types of sensations. They're pretty prominent wherever I placed my mind. Towards the end of my sit, I lost my mindfulness and actually lifted my legs (I generally sit on a stool) and sat in a more squat-like position with my feet out in front of me. This is a nasty little habit that I picked up when I tried to do strictly concentration practice for a few months - I remember some teaching (also from my Goenka retreat) that said in concentration, if you're uncomfortable, feel free to move and return to concentration as quickly as possible. Well, now I'm having a difficult time getting out of that habit...I'll notice my inclination to do that a few times in the sit, but miss it one time and I'll have moved.

Comments, questions, and motivational speeches welcome emoticon Thanks for reading.

RE: Eric O's New Practice Log
Answer
6/1/13 10:14 PM as a reply to Eric O.
Hi Eric O.,

It's nice to read you again.

wife and I expecting our first child
Congratulations. Hope you're both doing well with the pregnancy.

So between that and a few other things, it's been a year since some of my "experiences" and can fairly confidently say that I still haven't hit SE. I think my sitting has matured some, although I feel like recently it's slowed down some and I'm having some difficulty motivating myself to continue. I'm restarting my log to try to keep up my motivation.
(...)
Comments, questions, and motivational speeches welcome


You know, it seems people come by stream-entry in many seemingly different "wraps", but the core of the matter is that one has become able to attend the mind without over-attending the mind. Truly, the mind just enters equanimity easily.

I usually bristle at the thought of a daily sit at the same time (which is very common advice) but between reading you and Daniel Johnson, I want to say, yes, just sit at the same time every single day for one month, early morning pre-dawn, if possible. Just 15 minutes even.

Can you just try 30 days? Same time, every morning? No expectation, just breathing. If you fall over asleep, no worries, but do complete the 15 minute sit. This trains the mind in "no exit" for cravings.

RE: Eric O's New Practice Log
Answer
6/2/13 9:32 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
Hi Eric O.,
You know, it seems people come by stream-entry in many seemingly different "wraps", but the core of the matter is that one has become able to attend the mind without over-attending the mind. Truly, the mind just enters equanimity easily.

I usually bristle at the thought of a daily sit at the same time (which is very common advice) but between reading you and Daniel Johnson, I want to say, yes, just sit at the same time every single day for one month, early morning pre-dawn, if possible. Just 15 minutes even.

Can you just try 30 days? Same time, every morning? No expectation, just breathing. If you fall over asleep, no worries, but do complete the 15 minute sit. This trains the mind in "no exit" for cravings.


Hi Katy. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on so many people's logs. It's very helpful.

I should have been more clear when I was saying I was having some difficulty getting motivated to sit. My morning sits I do every day for 60 minutes most days, first thing. Some days when I'm feeling particularly sluggish right off the bat I'll spend 15 minutes reading some passages out of the Middle Length Discourses to try and help liven up some energy/enthusiasm, and those days I'll only meditate for ~45min. But I'm pretty darn consistant on my morning meditations. It's just the afternoon sessions that I've been having some trouble with. Maybe I'm getting home late from work, friends have us over for dinner (or vice versa), or I've had some overdue yardwork to deal with. So some nights have just have a hard time either finding time or dedicating enough time. But I think you're right, maybe I just need to accept that shorter durations can be just as productive and helpful.

This morning: 60 minutes. It took the first half to get to a reasonable level of concentration. For the first 15 minutes, I wasn't even able to count to 7-8 breaths, so I continued on with concentration practice until I got to 10 a few times.

Today I had a difficult time sitting still. My thighs had a fairly unpleasant, high energy sensation. I noted aversion and thoughts about getting up and walking or running around. I had tension in my face and neck/shoulders that I kept noticing and relaxing. I had a few instances where I had an urge to twist my body and stretch. Noted a lot of itchy tingly sensations all over. My visual field was largely focused in front of me, and wasn't super narrow, but I wouldn't describe it as panoramic either. My body was cool despite the blanket I kept over myself, which is a noticeable difference from my typical sit about a year ago when I always felt hot.

It wasn't until maybe a minute before my timer went off that I was starting to feel more into the sit and so when my bell went off I decided to continue sitting until the next time my mind really got lost in thought. That gave me an extra 3 minutes or so.

RE: Eric O's New Practice Log
Answer
6/5/13 8:09 AM as a reply to Eric O.
From your opening post:
A few weeks back I had an experience I've had twice before that I can only presume is an A&P type event. All three times I've woken up in the middle of the night and, for whatever reason, been drawn to paying attention to my breath. My concentration was locked on and following it was nearly effortless. I could switch to body sensations and very easily follow them as well. Very quickly, I got into a fairly deep concentration (more so than I can remember reaching in my daily sits) and I'd have this experience that I can only describe like dropping a rock into a pool of energy. There's an "energy clap", and then I was left in the wake of it feeling its reverberations. Equanimity was pretty high, and each time I fell back asleep fairly quickly afterwards.

So between that and a few other things, it's been a year since some of my "experiences" and can fairly confidently say that I still haven't hit SE. I think my sitting has matured some, although I feel like recently it's slowed down some and I'm having some difficulty motivating myself to continue. I'm restarting my log to try to keep up my motivation.


And above:
My morning sits I do every day for 60 minutes most days, first thing. Some days when I'm feeling particularly sluggish right off the bat I'll spend 15 minutes reading some passages out of the Middle Length Discourses to try and help liven up some energy/enthusiasm, and those days I'll only meditate for ~45min. But I'm pretty darn consistant on my morning meditations. It's just the afternoon sessions that I've been having some trouble with. Maybe I'm getting home late from work, friends have us over for dinner (or vice versa), or I've had some overdue yardwork to deal with. So some nights have just have a hard time either finding time or dedicating enough time. But I think you're right, maybe I just need to accept that shorter durations can be just as productive and helpful.


Your practice seems, as you say, mature. It sounds plenty mature to me-- meaning you can sit and your mind knows the taste of its own equanimity- that deep pool, has stable sits, has ability to be moderately disciplined despite other obligations, has willingness with shorter and longer sits as needed, knows how to shore up the practice in a few ways (e.g.,your readings of the MN) when the practice needs all exits blocked or needs discouragement soothed.

Before stream entry I think a person just relies on themselves (and so I will not be yakking away in your practice thread non-stop!) and maybe a few trusted, old sources. There's knowing only they can do this for themselves.

Two things I know from equanimity before stream entry: clinging to its specialness and getting dissatisfied by its failure to arise again. These were both helpful to me: one inspired me about meditation (the specialness), the other (dissatisfaction) caused me to stop seeking meditative specialness and just sit and be content with breathing and having a basic tender wonder of breathing and the mind's comings and goings.

So with a newborn baby coming, there'd be lots of chances of sitting with basic wonder and strong attention emoticon Nice timing.


[a few edits, brevity]

RE: Eric O's New Practice Log
Answer
6/5/13 7:41 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
I just watched a shinzen young youtube on noself where he talked about babies and them having no-self down pat....until they do one day. I noticed with both my kids that they would just have a bit more conscienceness turned on in the mornings of some days...my wife would notice the same thing and we would look at each other and laugh.
Enjoy the fun,
and the hard work..
~D