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William Quixote’s Mediation Log

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William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/22/13 11:28 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/22/13 11:26 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log Fitter Stoke 8/23/13 10:14 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/24/13 9:16 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/24/13 9:17 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/24/13 2:14 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/26/13 7:16 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/26/13 7:22 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/30/13 6:23 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/30/13 6:25 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/30/13 6:29 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log jer mur 8/30/13 11:53 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/30/13 11:35 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 8/30/13 11:36 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/2/13 11:33 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/2/13 11:33 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/9/13 1:10 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/9/13 1:11 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/9/13 1:11 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/9/13 11:47 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log Dream Walker 5/28/14 10:58 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/11/13 10:17 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:53 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:53 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:54 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:54 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:54 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/16/13 6:55 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/19/13 7:46 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/19/13 7:46 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/21/13 8:20 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/21/13 8:21 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/21/13 8:21 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log Seamus O 9/22/13 4:30 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/22/13 11:01 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/24/13 5:48 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/24/13 5:48 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/25/13 8:22 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/26/13 7:17 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/29/13 6:19 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/29/13 6:20 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 9/29/13 6:20 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/1/13 7:42 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log Seamus O 10/1/13 9:22 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/2/13 7:24 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/3/13 6:27 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/3/13 6:29 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/4/13 10:26 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/7/13 11:03 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/7/13 11:09 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/7/13 11:30 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/8/13 11:33 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/9/13 2:30 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/10/13 4:32 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/12/13 9:47 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:44 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:45 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:47 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:48 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:50 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/17/13 8:55 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/18/13 7:57 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/18/13 8:51 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log MangaDesuYo 10/19/13 8:21 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/19/13 6:17 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log MangaDesuYo 10/30/13 1:08 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/21/13 6:38 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/21/13 7:24 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:31 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:32 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:33 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:36 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:38 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/27/13 8:39 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/29/13 7:00 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 10/29/13 7:04 AM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 5/24/14 5:19 PM
RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log William Quixote 5/28/14 10:39 AM
William Quixote’s Mediation Log
concentration log
Answer
8/22/13 11:28 PM
Brief introduction:

I am new to meditation. I started mediating 4 weeks ago after reading Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha.
Since starting, I’ve mediated every day, for a median of 25 minutes. My focus so far has been on developing concentration. Overall my hope / plan is to work on concentration and jhanas first and then move to noting based insight practice once I’ve developed strong concentration.

After reading his book, I emailed Daniel with some questions and he suggested I join Dharma Overground so here I am. : )

I will be logging my practice in this thread. Thank you in advance for any help and advice I later receive on this site. I hope someday to reach a level where I can pass the good advice I receive now onto others. Thanks!

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
concentration log
Answer
8/22/13 11:26 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 22, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes
Location: Outside on my roof (don’t worry its flat and edges are at least 20 feet away on either side so no safety concerns)

Subjective Notes:
Started with object of concentration as breath. Initially focused on breath. For a while, I had several thoughts pop in and out of head, but they didn’t lead to long chains. Thought pops up, happens, is gone. At some point in this stage I thought a fly or bug had landed on my head and tried to brush it off (in retrospect I don’t think a bug really landed on me).

I continued concentrating on the breath in my nostrils and thoughts got less frequent and lighter so that they didn’t distract me from the feeling of breath on my nostrils; however I could tell I was still having them periodically. I maintained focus on my breath, but was also aware of my other senses, I could hear birds chirping, I could hear cars drive by, I could feel the wind blowing on my face and in my hair. I could smell the scent of barbecue in the air as breath was drawn in. I could feel a sense of hunger in my stomach which intensified whenever I got a strong whiff of the barbeque smell.

I kept my focus on the breath and after a while I paid less attention to these other feelings, but they were still there. After a while I saw a light behind my eyelids that was whitish tinted yellow and felt a pleasant sensation partway between the warm feeling after you hear a good joke right before you laugh (80%) and the feeling of leaving a party with someone hot (20%). I shifted my attention to the pleasant feeling but remained aware of breathing.

Time seemed to pass slowly and the pleasant sensation got more intense. At some point I had an unconscious and instinctive fear reaction which disrupted my concentration and things dissipated. I put my concentration back on the breath and quickly was at the state where thoughts were remote but I noticed other senses. Things progressed from there as before, but with a few differences. The light behind my eyelids was whitish blue instead of whitish yellow (blue has been more normal for me since I started meditating). When it came again, the pleasant feeling was less pleasant than before, but still nice. As the pleasant feeling expanded it felt different than the last time, instead of expanding quickly and mentally, it felt more physical like a me-shaped balloon inside my body was being inflated until it pressed against my skin.

Sometime between the first pleasant feeling and my timer going off I stopped being aware of most sensations outside my mind. I’m not sure if I stopped feeling them, or if I just stopped noticing or being aware of them.

For awhile afterwards, felt very non distracted and focused. When I decided to do something I did it immediately. Had few back ground thoughts. Also felt a bit shell-shocked (in a positive sense), like after watching a great film that really hits you.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/23/13 10:14 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Will T Murray:
After a while I saw a light behind my eyelids that was whitish tinted yellow and felt a pleasant sensation partway between the warm feeling after you hear a good joke right before you laugh (80%) and the feeling of leaving a party with someone hot (20%).


This sentence made me burst out laughing.

This is good. Extend your sits. Don't be alarmed if the pleasure seems more subtle as you go along. That's supposed to happen.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/24/13 9:16 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Will T Murray:
After a while I saw a light behind my eyelids that was whitish tinted yellow and felt a pleasant sensation partway between the warm feeling after you hear a good joke right before you laugh (80%) and the feeling of leaving a party with someone hot (20%).


This sentence made me burst out laughing.

This is good. Extend your sits. Don't be alarmed if the pleasure seems more subtle as you go along. That's supposed to happen.


Thanks. With regard to extending my sits, I’ve read in a few places that begins should start out slowly and not ramp up too quickly. What do you think is a reasonable length that someone with about 4 weeks of experience should strive for?

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/24/13 9:17 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 23, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes
Location: Inside in a dark room with my air conditioner running

Subjective Notes:
Started off slightly more distracted as I was mediating after a run and my heart rate was still high. My mind jumped around a bit and went down some tangents before it settled.

Eventually I settled my attention on the feeling of breath in my nostrils. I held it there until I no longer felt lured away by thoughts. Stray thoughts still arose, but fewer than yesterday. Thoughts tended to be meta (about the meditation itself) rather than random.

I kept my attention on the breath in the nostrils and eventually noticed a light, fainter than last time an whitish blue in color and a pleasant feeling which was also fainter than last time. I switched my focus to the pleasant feeling and felt it expand and become more intense. At some point I lost it again but don’t have a clear idea why or how.

Again I reset by attention to the breath and felt a pleasant feeling that again expanded balloon like inside me. It felt less intense but spacious, like the dark behind my eyelids was larger than usual.

Overall everything today felt less intense than yesterday. Was my concentration just weaker? I felt clarity afterwards but not the same feeling of having been hit with something big.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/24/13 2:14 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 24, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes
Location: Inside in a sunlit room with my air conditioner running

Subjective Notes:
It took longer than usual to settle concentration on my breath. From that point it took longer than usual for thoughts to fade out so that they slid by in the background. Several times light arose behind my eyelids (mostly white with hints of grey). The pleasant sensation never became very strong so I never moved my attention from the breath to a pleasant sensation and I reminded focused on the breath in my nostrils the entire time. Towards the end my attention was quite firmly focused. My timer caught me by surprise at the end, often I’m slipping by the end and expecting it to ring any moment, but today I wasn’t thinking about the timer at all.

A few times my attention snapped back on and settled on my breath, but I didn’t feel that it had wandered off anywhere. More like it had just turned off and then come back on. It reminded me of the sensation of having attended class with far too little sleep and starting to fall asleep at my desk, and then the motion of my head starting to drop down would wake me up. Except here it felt like it was all mental.

When I tried to get up my right leg was totally asleep, so my sitting position is probably off.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/26/13 7:16 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Sunday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/26/13 7:22 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 26, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes
Location: Inside in a dark room with my air conditioner running
Subjective Notes:

Poor session today. It took longer than usual to settle concentration on my breath. My attention / concentration was off today, throughout the entire session I had period long thoughts / stories / images that my mind wandered off into. These were more dreamlike than my usual distracted thoughts.

Light never arose behind my eyelids and there was no pleasant sensation. Weakest session in at least a week. Adding insult to injury, both my legs were asleep when my timer went off and I fell over when I tried to stand up and turn it off.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 6:23 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 27, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 18 minutes
Location: Outside on rooftop early morning

Subjective Notes:
I set my timer to 25 minutes and sat down and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. My attention quickly focused on the breath and mostly stayed there. Extraneous thoughts were few and most of the time not very distracting.

After a while white light (with a slight greyish tinge) was visible behind my eyelids. After a while I felt a pleasant sensation. I smiled at it and felt additional good feeling (more emotionally toned). I focused on it while still maintain awareness of my breathing. As time passed it got more intense. At some point it was at the most intense it has been thus far (meaningful, but not crazy. Less intense than a seriously depressing movie is depressing). I mentally congratulated myself for having my most intense concentration state thus far and immediately lost concentration by so doing.

I reestablished concentration on the breath and repeated the whole process including again losing concentration by congratulating myself on how well my concentration was improving.

I felt like I’d had a pretty good session at that point and had a feeling that I was done for the day and had reached a natural stopping point so I stopped.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 6:25 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 28, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 10 minutes : (
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
I set my timer to 25 minutes and sat down and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. After not too long my attention focused on the breath and mostly stayed there. Then the doorbell rang and I had to deal with a delivery guy : (

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 6:29 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 29, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes :
Location: Outside on a rooftop

Subjective Notes:
I sat down and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. For some reason my attention never fully set today. It kept wandering off every few minutes and then I would startle back into awareness and refocus it on my breath.
I suspect that tiredness may be fogging my concentration; I haven’t been getting enough sleep recently. I’m amazed people can focus at retreats where they need to get up at 4 AM.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 11:53 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Maybe you should push it up to 45 mins even if it feels like hard work at the start. It will quickly become normal to do so usually my meditation doesn't even really start going properly till about 20-30 mins in!! What you said about wandering off every few minutes its normal at this stage. Someone said in another thread that it is usually better the first few times but then the novelty wears off and then the real training starts!. I found it to be like that as well, not that i'm an expert or anythingemoticon

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 11:35 PM as a reply to jer mur.
Thanks for the suggestion. I pushed up to 45 today based on that. Felt pretty good. I’m traveling next week so it may be tough to fit longer sessions, but I’ll try more of these as soon as I’m able.

Even though its early, I’m noticing that when something is new it is easy to concentrate on, but then my mind gets used to it and is more prone to wander.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
8/30/13 11:36 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 30, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes :
Location: Outside on a rooftop

Subjective Notes:
I sat down and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. Initially my attention was jumpy so I tried counted breaths up to 9 and then back down from 9 to 1 for a while. After a little while my attention settled and I dropped the counting and just focused on the breath.
After a while my whole field of vision (closed eyes) was filled with a white light and I had a pleasant sensation throughout my upper body. Rather than deliberately shift my attention to the pleasant sensation, this time I kept my focus on the breath. The pleasant sensation grew (though not to the level of some of my stronger previous sessions) then went away after a while.
There followed a period where my concentration was jumpy again. I went back to counting then back to the breath and while my attention settled and I dropped the counting and just focused on the breath.
After a while my whole field of vision (closed eyes) was filled with a white light (less bright than before) and I had a pleasant sensation throughout my upper body (less intense than before). I tried to shift my attention to the pleasant sensation, but didn’t do it cleanly and somewhat split it between the breath and the pleasant sensation. After a while the pleasant sensation receded.
For the rest of the session I felt like my attention was solid, but not great. The light and pleasant sensation did not return.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/2/13 11:33 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: August 31, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes :
Location: On a plane in a cramped seat with load engine noise, overall very hot but with a stream of cold air blowing on my face, and with someone next t me frequently bumping my leg and staff occasionally tapping me to see if I want a snack

Subjective Notes:
Conditions were pretty adverse and it was hard to concentrate, but I sat down buckled up and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. I kept my mind mostly on my breath, but it was very seldom wholly on my breath. There were enough distracting or unpleasant physical sensations that usually at least one was getting through. I managed to focus enough to see white light behind my eyes at a few points but never experienced pleasant sensations.

Still, conditions like this have to be good practice, kind of like the equivalent of high altitude training for runners.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/2/13 11:33 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Sunday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/9/13 1:10 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 2, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 20 minutes :
Location: in a hotel room

Subjective Notes:
Set my timer for 30 minutes but my travel companions roused me to get us moving out after 20 minutes. I thought my concentration was OK for the 20 minutes. I saw light behind my eyelids and felt slight pleasant sensations in my upper body.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/9/13 1:11 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 7, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 30 minutes :
Location: Resting in a car

Subjective Notes:
As with most meditation this vacation, conditions were pretty adverse and it was hard to concentrate. I was rained on through an open window, distracted by thunder, and interrupted twice. In between interruptions my concentration felt good today, but I never got a long stretch.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/9/13 1:11 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 8, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes :
Location: On a plane with load engine noise, overall very hot but with a stream of cold air blowing on my face, and with someone next t me frequently bumping my leg and staff occasionally tapping me to see if I want a snack.

Subjective Notes:
Conditions were pretty adverse and it was hard to concentrate, but I sat down buckled up and focused my attention on the feeling of breath in my mid nostrils. I kept my mind mostly on my breath, but it was very seldom wholly on my breath. There were enough distracting or unpleasant physical sensations that usually at least one was getting through. I was also very tired and had woken up early to catch the flight after having been active and not sleeping well, so I think I frequently lost concentration by actually falling asleep.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/9/13 11:47 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 9, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes :
Location: Outside on a rooftop

Subjective Notes:
First day of practice after getting back from vacation. External conditions are finally under my control again.

Went for slightly longer session than usual, 45 minutes of solid practice of focusing on the breath. I had a lot of white light behind my eyes but only a little bit of pleasant sensation. The initial part of session was standard seeming. Midway in, I started focusing harder really feeling and concentrating intently on the intake and outflow of every breath. I then had a period of better than usual concentration with a somewhat weird experience.

My usual situation when concentration feels good is sometimes not being distracted and sometimes a thought comes up, but I don’t let it distract me and keep my focus on the breath. Today I would have my focus on the breath and it felt like I could feel a thought / distraction begin to be thought and move my attention back to the breath before I even thought the thought which would have otherwise distracted me. I’m not sure how long this lasted, maybe 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Its really hard to say.
After stopping meditation I lay down on my back and my head felt exceedingly clear. Lying down, I looked up at the sky and just looked at it and the sky seemed to be flickering / strobing. I didn’t have a clock so I can’t say exactly what its pattern was, but I’d guess about 8 flickers per second maybe. At the time I was clam about this and just watching it flicker, but after the fact writing this up I’m a little surprised / alarmed. This flickering reminds me of descriptions I’ve read of what happens in insight practice, but my practice so far has all been concentration practice (or at least I had thought I was doing concentration practice).

Is this normal? Could I be doing insight practice by mistake, is that even a thing that could happen? Can concentration spontaneously cause the sky to flicker after your done?

I would be very thankful for any clarity any of the more experienced site members could provide. Thanks! (I will cross post this experience on the diagnostic section of the site as well)

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/11/13 10:17 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 10, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Not great. I was very tired and my concentration seemed only middling. I tried counting at some points but found that I had better luck staying with the breath when I wasn't counting. The numbers were just one more distraction. Some white light but no pleasant sensations. At some point I tired concentrating on the light instead of the breath when it came up but didn't seem to get anything out of that.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:53 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 11, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
I waited too long to type this up so I don’t remember details.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:53 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 12, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: Outside on a roof

Subjective Notes:
I tried the “force a smile and then shift your attention from the breath to a pleasant sensation” method today after having focused on the breath for a while. It seemed to work and I focused on the pleasure and it built on itself in a feedback loop, so it was the most intense of my meditation session so far. I felt like I was forcing it though, that the feedback loop was happening because I was driving it, not because it was naturally just happening.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to ride the feedback loop all the way to where it was going as a thunder storm blew in and once rain started hitting me I knew I needed to get off the roof fast because being on the roof in a lightning storm is dangerous.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:54 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Friday Off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:54 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 14, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
This was the last thing I did today and I was quite tired. It took a while to settle down and my thoughts wandered off more than usual. Sometimes I wasn’t even aware they had wandered off and would come back to the breath with start like waking up. On the bright side though, after one of these returns I felt like my attention was uncommonly fixed and automatic, but this only lasted a while before my session ended.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:54 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 15, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Pleasant feeling arose a few times and I tired relaxing into them with limited success.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/16/13 6:55 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 16, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: Outside on a roof

Subjective Notes:
Seemed good attention settled quickly, did wander off a few times though, but I was usually aware they were wandering. Had several periods with a lot of light behind my eyes. Several times I had positive feeling / pleasure arise. I tired the “force a smile and focus on the pleasure” to get a feedback loop but it didn’t work and I lost it. I tried splitting my attention to both my breath and the pleasant sensations, but didn’t hold it and they were gone. Another time when it arose I tried relaxing into it for a while and that seemed to work for a bit, but then it was gone.
Strong mental clarity and focus with lack of noise for a while after today’s session.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/19/13 7:46 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Tuesday Off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/19/13 7:46 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 18, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Outside on a roof

Subjective Notes:
Weird day today. For starters, I tired sitting Burmese style instead of my usual cross legged style. I don’t know if that had anything to-do with the rest of the session being weird, but it started in a different spot. The next thing I did differently than usual was to let my mind wander for a bit right after I sat down and then bring it to focus instead of bringing it to focus immediately. Again no reason for this, just tried it.
Usually in a session this long my mind will wander away completely only once or twice. Far more often I’ll have thoughts form, think the first sentence in a chain of thought and then go back to the breath before it carries me away. Or I’ll feel thoughts forming frequently and go back to the breath before they distract me. Today my mind wandered away completely 6 to 8 times (ie a lot more) but when I was on the breath I was ON it. No beginnings of sentences, no stray thoughts, just the breath.
Not much light behind my eyes or pleasant sensation today, I think my mind wandering killed it.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/21/13 8:20 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 19, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Another day of trying Burmese style sitting instead of the usual cross legs. On the bright side my legs falling asleep is less bad.
On the down side, this was another day of meditation being weird. I think I stayed on the breath decently, but I didn’t get any joy or pleasure and saw no light behind the eyes either. Where did it go, its totally gone and it used to be there. My mind did feel clear afterwards though….

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/21/13 8:21 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 20, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes :
Location: Inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Sat in Burmese posture again. Can a posture change make all your progress go away? Stuff seems to have mostly stopped working. I got a few moments of seeing white light behind my eyes and feeling a relaxing pleasure feeling, but it was so brief and faint compared to what I was regularly getting before. Other than my posture I don’t think I’ve changed anything.

That said, I’m going to stick with my change to a Burmese sitting position. Even though the last several sessions haven’t been great, I don’t believe that a posture change could actually be responsible for that. In the long run, having my legs be asleep and numb and throbbing after every sit isn't sustainable so this posture change is not getting walked back.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/21/13 8:21 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 21, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: Outside on a roof

Subjective Notes:
Another weird sit. I’m finally seeing white light behind my eyes again at least. I had some very light joy and a touch of pleasant sensation, but only for a very short period of time. Longer than yesterday though. At least it’s an improvement relative to the two days immediately prior.
This is the first session where I’ve had to deal with a song being stuck in my head. My brain kept playing hooks and choruses from a concert I went to last night. Sometimes with a lot of effort I could get it to stop, but it was not relaxing. I had to really force my attention onto breath away from music and simultaneously split my attention on to watching whatever part of my brain that was looping the chorus when I wasn’t watching it.
Once I had managed to stop the music and semi rest my mind on the breath (or rest the part that wasn’t being vigilant about the music restarting) my mind felt really expansive. That was a cool effect but its not the effect I was expecting.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/22/13 4:30 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
I forget where I read it (I think here), but my technique for dealing with songs in my head (other than just listening to music less) is to switch my focus to the song, calmly trying to hear every single subtle change in the sound. This usually makes the song slow down, break up, repeat a little, warp, etc. When I feel less interested in the song, I go back to my primary object. There's usually a little back-and-forth for a couple minutes.

Gritting your teeth and forcing your mind onto the primary object can be useful, but I usually try less stress-inducing methods first.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/22/13 11:01 AM as a reply to Seamus O.
Thanks! I'll try that next time I've got a song stuck in my head. Seems like a much better approach that what I had originally come up with on the spot

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/24/13 5:48 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Sunday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/24/13 5:48 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 23, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Saw some light today and accidentally relaxed into some joy for a moment. The joy was fleeting on only popped up once, but I got a lot of white lights behind my eyes.
When my mind wandered off today I don’t think it got very far, I felt like I was noticing it quickly.
I wonder if I should be paying attention to the light behind my eyes. I usually just ignore it and stay on the breath and after a while I don’t even notice its there

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/25/13 8:22 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 24, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes :
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Had about 2 hours of sleep the prior night, so mental state was weird going in. Today I really focused on mindfulness trying to watch for my mind wandering rather than focusing on concentration.
It seemed to go well for a while, 20 minutes? More less, hard to say. At some point it either went really well such that I lost track of time or really poorly such that I fell asleep. The later half was messy with mind wandering and weird dreamlike states and visions. Decent chance they were actual dreams if I had fallen asleep. I came out of it and m eyes snapped open on their own about 30 seconds before my alarm went off. This happens a lot, I think my brain has a much better sense of time than I do.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/26/13 7:17 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 25, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes (only lasted 35) :
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Tonight’s session followed another night of very little sleep (maybe 4 hours) and no catch up for the prior nights backlog.
When I sat down today I was uncommonly fidgety and kept adjusting my position and how my arms were hanging. I tried something a bit different, I tried to follow my entire breath, all the way up and down rather than just focus on my nostrils or the spot below my nose. Seemed to work ok, but not wonderfully. I got less light than usual and no pleasant sensation / joy. But I was also dead tired, so hardly a well-controlled test.
Toward then end I had a weird experience of being forced out of meditation. I just felt that I needed to stop right now. I tiered to push through it but had no shot, Its like as a child if you tried to hold your breath till you turned blue your body would override you and force you to breath. I felt like my body just overrode me here and made me stop meditating. After that I went directly to bed and fell asleep instantly.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/29/13 6:19 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 26, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Didn’t take good notes, unremarkable session. Still not back at where I was at my best.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/29/13 6:20 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 27, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 25:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Didn’t take good notes, unremarkable session, was interrupted after 25 minutes

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
9/29/13 6:20 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Saturday Off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/1/13 7:42 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 29, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Very good day today.
Physical conditions different from normal were: I was slightly low on caffeine (1.5 fewer cups of coffee than usual for the day), the room was colder than usual, I could hear my washing machine in the background.

Mentally, I continued to really focus on pushing mindfulness more than concentration today. I also focused on not instinctively taking a big deep breath when the breath became subtle, but instead just sticking with regular breathing. Lastly, I went back to the Leigh Brasington approach of forcing a smile to start the process and then shifting attention to the beginning of feelings of pleasantness. In some of the above posts I’ve tried this before without result, but today it really hit so I may stick with this approach for a while to see if I can get to the point where I can reproduce it reliably.

For the session, I quieted down fairly quickly and put my attention on the feeling of breath in my nostrils. My mind generally stayed on the breath and I had fewer distracting thoughts than usual and they were short and didn’t pull my attention away, thoughts kind of just slid by on the edge. After a while I saw some white light behind my eyes and began to feel a pleasant tingling in my upper back. I smiled and put my attention on the subjective feeling of pleasantness. Time passed and the pleasant sensation grew in intensity. I felt like I was about to burst out laughing , as if I’d heard a really great joke. There was a little bit of twitching / shaking the way your body might shake if you were laughing really hard (note I wasn’t actually laughing, my mouth was closed and I was breathing slowly through my nose). Internally / mentally my mind was mostly focused on the bliss / joy. Periodically I did have thoughts or distractions, but in contrast to prior ties I’ve felt pleasant sensations, instead of a distraction causing me to lose the whole thing, it felt like my mind wanted to move itself back to the bliss / joy and naturally moved away from the distraction without me having to force it or lose my state. It felt pretty good to be able to relax and have my brain do what it was supposed to without me needing to micromanage it.

From descriptions I've read, that sounds a lot like first jhanna. What do you folks think?

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/1/13 9:22 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Yeah, that sounds like the "rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation" of the first jhana to me. Congrats on your improving concentration abilities! Keep it up and don't fret for a moment if the same state doesn't arise on schedule in the future. Just relax in how awesome it is to be able to calm the mind and rest on the breath. This is the advice I try to give myself emoticon

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/2/13 7:24 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: September 30, 2013

Style: Concentration

Time: 25:

Location: inside in a dimly lit room



Subjective Notes:

Another very good day today. I focused on the same points as yesterday and achieved much the same result.

For the session, I quieted down fairly quickly and put my attention on the feeling of breath in my nostrils. My mind generally stayed on the breath and I had fewer distracting thoughts than usual and they were short and didn’t pull my attention away, thoughts kind of just slid by on the edge. After a while I saw some white light behind my eyes and began to feel a pleasant tingling in my upper back. I smiled and put my attention on the subjective feeling of pleasantness. Time passed and the pleasant sensation grew in intensity. I felt like I was about to burst out laughing , as if I’d heard a really great joke. There was a little bit of twitching / shaking the way your body might shake if you were laughing really hard (note I wasn’t actually laughing, my mouth was closed and I was breathing slowly through my nose). Internally / mentally my mind was mostly focused on the bliss / joy. These were a bit more thin than yesterday though. Periodically I did have thoughts or distractions, but in contrast to prior ties I’ve felt pleasant sensations, instead of a distraction causing me to lose the whole thing, it felt like my mind wanted to move itself back to the bliss / joy and naturally moved away from the distraction without me having to force it or lose my state.

25 minutes in I was disrupted by a phone call. On the bright side though this means I had entered 1st Jhanna (if that's what is was) fairly quickly since I was in it for at least 10 minutes before getting the call.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/3/13 6:27 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 1, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
The sit was the last thing I did before bed, and I’d had a drink with dinner. I’m not sure what the relative contributions of each were, but my attention didn't come to a point the way it has the past few days. I had more stray thoughts and my mind even wandered all the way off on occasion. My focus tightened up a bit during the sit but never enough to call up light or pleasant sensations.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/3/13 6:29 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 2, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Another good day like the 29th or 30th. It started off a bit odd since I started the sit right after a run and when I calmed down my mind to focus on the breath I could really feel the endorphins from the run. I usually don’ get much of a runners high, but could really feel it here. It makes me wonder if I do get a runners high but usually just don’t notice it…

Very early in the sit when the endorphins were strong I tried to use the runners high as a pleasant sensation and switch my attention to it. Either I hadn’t been in attachment concentration long enough or the endorphins were the right kind of pleasure, but it didn’t work.

So I went back to square one, repeated what I had been doing and had another good day in the remaining portion of the sit.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/4/13 10:26 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 3, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Another good day.

Once again started right after a run. I didn't feel the big endorphins I did yesterday, but I did once again have the experience of trying to shift into first Jhanna early in the sit and it not working. I wonder if background endorphins have some inhibitory effect... Anyone have any experience with this?

I went back to focus on the breath, and today was about as one pointed as I've ever gotten. For a while it felt like everything went away and there were moments without background thoughts. Eventually that receded a bit and I was aware of my senses and there was a whole lot of white light behind my eyes. I moved into first Jhanna and it crept on slowly then built. I spent the rest of the sit in this state.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/7/13 11:03 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 4, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
A bit of a miss today.

I tried to focus on the same things as usual, but I was tired and stressed by the end of the week and my mind didn't quiet down well. I eventually settled and got some white light and some lite joy / bliss but I wasn't able to move into it, I just brushed against it several times. It was weird to feel it and know it from having been there before but not really be able to settle into it.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/7/13 11:09 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 5, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 25 minutes:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

I was interrupted by a phone call that I had to take about 25 minutes in. My mind was settling in decently, but nothing notable happened pre interruption

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/7/13 11:30 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Sunday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/8/13 11:33 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 7, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Good day, but had a bit of a weird start. I sat down with an intention to focus on the usual things that had worked well for me recently (mindfulness and letting the breath get subtle).

Initially, when my mind was quieting down I really heard my heart thumping and it felt very loud and pretty fast. I'm not sure if it actually was or if this was just an illusion.

About 20 minutes in my phone buzzed with a text message. I usually airplane mode it prior to a sit, but had forgotten today. Typically when I'm distracted midway through a sit my concentration is broken and I'm done for the day. Today I felt like I could jump back in, so I did. And it worked! My attention went right back to the breath in moments and actually stuck harder than it had been before I was interrupted. My neighbors dog started howling and I was only momentarily phased. I paused a moment to wish the dog well and then my mind went right back to the breath.

Usually at some point in my sits I focus on a pleasant sensation and forcibly shift my mind onto it, then it builds up and I forcibly shift my mind into it. Today it felt much more natural, like the state built up around my mind and then I was just in it. Much smoother and more natural.

Not sure how long I was in first Jhanna, but at some point my concentration flagged and my mind wandered off in the last few minutes of my sit. Maybe I tired it out by concentrating harder than usual..

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/9/13 2:30 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 9th AM, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Last night I was particularly tired so i moved last nights sit to this morning instead. I'm torn about if this is a good idea or not, but the fact is my sits where I'm exhausted are generally not very good and this one was great.

Sit was like the 7th without the distraction midway through. One odd thing is that midway through I felt my concentration really step up in a way that felt more focused and more expansive at the same time. Not sure if this was my minds concentration having warmed up, or if it was a physical kick from my morning coffee moving from stomach to bloodstream.

Also had a weird experience post first Jhanna in the later half of the sit. My mind felt super concentrated and I was really on my breath and I was basically clear of distractions and wispy thoughts. It felt good, but definitely did not have any of the pleasure or bliss of first Jhanna. It was preceded by a feeling of moving downward. The mind felt really concentrated and expansive at the same time. My visual field was almost entirely scrolling white light. From descriptions I've read, it sounds like third Jhanna, but I don't think I had second Jhanna between it and first and I'm recent enough on first that I'd be pretty shocked to be on third. So I'm not sure what that was...

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/10/13 4:32 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 9th PM, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes:
Location: inside in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:
Bhleh. Sat down tired and was tired throughout. My mind never completely settled and my body was fidgety. Not sure exactly how much was due to it being late and me being tired or to me sitting twice in one day. I lean towards blaming the time and tiredness.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/12/13 9:47 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 10th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: about 5 hours broken into smaller chunks:
Location: on an airplane

Subjective Notes:

Conditions were pretty adverse. Small uncomfortable cramped seats, loud engine noise, babies crying, weird smells, being bumped etc.

On the bright side, I had 5 hours of continuous time to practice which is huge. 40 minutes is a typical weekday. The block was broken into smaller sub sessions by the natural rhythm of the flight (food service, drinks, people getting up for bathroom etc).

For most of the flight I tired to concentrate and focus on the breath with only moderate success. I would focus on the breath for a while and then eventually my mind would wander to other things. But I was not being distracted by my environment, just by myself.

During the last hour and a half of the flight, I decided to really push and to focus on mindfulness first and foremost so that my mind would not move without me noticing it.

(Aside, one nice thing about keeping a log is that it helps notice patterns. Looking back, I'm noticing that all my really good days and every big step forward happened when I focused primarily on mindfulness rather than on concentration / focus. )

My attention stayed with the breath and after a while I felt pleasant sensations. Moving my attention to these while still being aware of the breath I let the pleasant sensation build and expand and pull me into first Jhanna.

I stayed in that state for a while enjoying the joy / bliss. Eventually that faded and I felt myself filling up with a different feeling tone. While the first feels mostly like a more intense version of the feeling right before you burst out laughing after hearing a really good joke this new state was more relaxed. Like if you had been working on a project for weeks, long nights, early mornings, working from home on the weekends and then you finally finish and it's done. So you leave work early that day before it's even dark out and you just go for a walk in the park feeling the sun on your face just being done and relaxed instead of stressed. I felt that feeling fill me and I just stayed with it and enjoyed it.

Eventually the plane started to land and that required me to come out of it. Best flight I've had in years. In addition to being very enjoyable I felt like I made significant progress in my concentration practice.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:44 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Friday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:45 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 12th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in an overly bright room

Subjective Notes:

Good sit, it was like the sit on the plane but shallower. If I reached a new Jhanna on the plane (I think I did) I also reached it here.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:47 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 13th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in an overly bright room

Subjective Notes:

Sunday. Started slow, mind wandered initially then settled. Focused. Drawn into first as smooth and quick as has yet happened. It's possible that what I've been calling first may be second since it felt like the step as I enter was drawn out and really long and stable this time, but that seems unlikely. Drawn into new one eventually but less stable than prior two days.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:48 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Monday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:50 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 15th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 20 minutes
Location: in an overly bright room

Subjective Notes:

Was super tired for this. Today's sit was the last thing I did before passing out at the end of a long day. My attention and concentration were both very poor and my mind wandered off on several occasions and never really fully settled on the breath.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/17/13 8:55 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 16th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Wednesday. Pretty good but not great, fairly tired to start with but not completely crushed like yesterday.

Everything felt super shallow up until the last part of my session. I got into first Jhanna but think I fell in and out a few times before moving to the next one (but it was really shallow / soft).
After that I had the weird thing from the morning of the 9th again. I was super focused and basically free of distraction and wispy thoughts and was extremely chill and solid. I just stayed solid in that state for the rest of the sit. I didn't think to check what I was seeing behind my eyelids, I was too into it to remember to look.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/18/13 7:57 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 17th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Focused on the breath and just stayed like that for a while. I stayed on it without doing anything longer than usual, then smiled and entered first Jhanna surprisingly quickly. I moved through into the next one that I had felt on the plane and then moved on to the state from the 9th again. This time I did remember to check behind my eyes and it was all white light but flickering rather than solid.

I stayed in that state for what felt like a while but eventually came out of it into just ordinary concentration. I'm not sure when I came out of it, but I noticed I was back in normal concentration when I noticed my mind being distracted and thinking non breath thoughts. At that point I smiled again and went back to 1st Jhanna and spend the rest of the sit there enjoying the joy.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/18/13 8:51 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 18th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Blehh. Lousy sit today. Didn't feel super tired but I guess I must have been (jet lag). Never really managed to concentrate fully. Was never just completely on the breath. I had a few shock back into awareness moments like I had nodded off.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/19/13 8:21 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Great Report!

Do you smile the whole session while following the breath?
Or after a while following the breath.. you stop following the breath and make a smile and put your attention on that?

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/19/13 6:17 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
Julian,

I got the technique from Leigh Brasington. Basically, you follow the breath until your concentration is warmed up and you are really on the breath. Once you feel like your concentration is strong you smile and hold it. Once you do that, you should feel a warm positive feeling that's triggered by / associated with smiling. Then, you keep following the breath, but put your mind on the pleasant feeling associated with smiling. Its partially physical and near the smile, but its more mental. Its the part of the feeling that lets you feel that a pleasant feeling is pleasant. Then you kind of hold that in your mind without being distracted or wanting it and it gradually builds. Then at some point you relax into the feeling and are in first Jhanna. It took a while to get the hang of, but I think its a pretty fast way into first Jhanna once you've got the trick of it.

As a further reference, Leigh Brasington teaches a lot of retreats focused on Jhanna and has a website with a lot of good content on Jhannas http://www.leighb.com/jhanas.htm and talks on Jhannas http://www.leighb.com/talks.htm.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/21/13 6:38 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 19th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Meditated in the afternoon rather than evening today.

Started by focusing on the breath for a while. I stayed on it without doing anything for a while. Then I smiled and focused on the feeling and was filled with pleasant sensation and then entered first Jhanna and was full of the feeling of laughter (joy). I stayed there for a little while, but not very long. After a while the joy / laughter feeling drained out and I felt like the feeling of freshly baked cookies and warm grandmas chicken soup was pouring out of my chest into my body and gradually filling me up. I stayed there for a while, longer than in the prior state. Then eventually that state also past and I moved downward into the super chill state from the morning of the 9th again.

I stayed in that state for a while and eventually went back to ordinary concentration (ordinary but much more concentrated than when I had first sat down). From there I smiled and pleasant feeling arose and I went through the whole process again; pleasant feeling into the feeling of laughter into the feeling of comforting warmth into a feeling of focused chillness. I stayed in that state of focus and chillness until my alarm rang.

I remembered to check behind my eyes again today and it was a field of dim white light that was present but dim enough that it showed up as a very light grayish light in front of the black background of my eyes.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/21/13 7:24 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Sunday off

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:31 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 21st, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

The "pre state" lasted a while. Can you have bliss without a positive feeling tone? Then I felt the joy/ laughter state. I idea popped into by head firmly and surprised me. The idea was that what I call first is second and my prestate is first. If that were true it makes things line up and warm and super chill are 3 and 4. That means its time to think about insight. Being surprised by this idea grabs me and breaks my concentration. I go through pre stage (1?) (does bliss always have a positive feeling tone? Can it be more neutral?) and laughter (2?) again. At this point I now want to check out the others again and since I want it nothing happens. I hang out in the feeling of laughter.
After some more thought (adding this note on the 27th) I don't really feel confident in the above. I'm not sure I am wrong, but if I had to bet with even odds, I'd think I might be off here. Regardless though, I do think that it might be time for me to start doing some insight work.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:32 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 22nd, 2013
Style: Noting
Time: 20 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

As an experiment, I laid down on my back and just noted rising / falling of the abdomen for 20 minutes. Later on in the day, while walking around, I tried to note random things.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:33 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 23rd, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Tired. Concentration was mixed sometimes good, sometimes wandered slightly. Didn't sustain well. Even the distractions felt like they weren't really trying. The thoughts sliding by seemed like mumbles rather than fully formed thoughts at points. Towards the end, concentration was wavering and I just zoned out. I wasn't consistently distracted by thoughts but I wasn't consistently on the breath either, just zoned out.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:36 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 24th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Very tired and also stressed from work. Today I really tried to stay on the breath and to notice stray thoughts quickly and return to the breath. For a while this worked and thoughts quieted down and settled and I experienced some body bliss and pleasure and a bit of joy / laughter (but less than usual). I stayed there for a while, and my mind felt very clear. But then it's like my mind is tired. Stray thoughts come up and I don't notice them quickly. At least twice, I had whole chains of thought before noticing it, rather than just individual stray thoughts.
Midway through, my brain puts the jukebox on and I hear music in my head, but on another level it feels like I'm making it, not just hearing it. I look for the part of my mind that's making the music, but when I really look for what part of my brain is making the music it goes away and the music stops. I sit out the rest of the session as best I can and my mind feels very expansive and clear, but it's not particularly well concentrated and states do not return.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:38 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 25th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 40 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Another day of being crushingly exhausted and tired. Another day of poor practice with excessive mind wandering and no Jhanna. It sounds silly to write it, but I notice that I'm actually shocked I can't just "concentrate harder" and make the effects of sleep deprivation magically go away.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/27/13 8:39 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 26th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Finally got a good night's sleep last night. Today, I tried not using the smile trick and instead staying just on the breath to see what happens. The result was that I felt more body pleasure than I usually do (and with more positive feeling tone), and it kind of rises up around me and through me, but it doesn't stick the same way and doesn't pull me forwards so I just kind of move in and out of the early body pleasure states. My concentration felt pretty good in the sense of less mind wandering than I've had over the past several days. That's faint praise though since, over the last several days I was dead tired.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/29/13 7:00 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 27th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Mostly just worked on breathing, and relaxing and breathing in a way that was relaxing. I got into my pre stage without the smile trick by just staying with the breath. Then I somehow relaxed something and that weird pre stage feeling took on positive feeling tone and was body bliss. I'm amazed that i had managed to experience bliss as having a neutral feeling tone for a while. It's a bit worrying actually.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/29/13 7:04 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Meditation log date: October 28th, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 35 minutes
Location: in a dimly lit room

Subjective Notes:

Was really on the breath today. Very few distractions. Very few stray thoughts. Stayed on the breath long enough to get mild body pleasure / bliss without using be smile trick. Then used smile trick to move into the feeling of laughter.
I stayed there for a while and then moved to a feeling of contentment. Then eventually I got super chill to the point where my breath slowed down so much / or became so subtle I couldn't feel it any more. I stayed like that for a while. I felt two rows of tingling on the top of my and and for whatever reason this prompted me to try to "expand my boundaries" and push the edges of my sense of body outwards. I had only moderate success with that, and wasn't able to expand my sense boundlessly or even spherically. Instead, my sense of Proprioception pushed out in jagged tendrils. I imagine that this is what the Venom / Carnage suits would have felt like except with peace and equanimity instead of weird alien rage.
The experience was weird enough that when my mind tried to describe it the search for analogy broke my concentration.
I started from scratch but my mind remained very still and very focused and I got back to body bliss very quickly and much stronger than before. I just kind if hung out there for a while, pausing to send the world some metta. It's really easy to wish all beings positive feelings while being blissed out. I think this metta moved me along to the feeling of joy / laughter and I stayed there for the rest of the sit.
I really lost time here, I stopped when I felt I was done and it turned out to be 35 minutes. I thought I might have been sitting for over an hour, I haven't had time stretch out like that before.
My sense that its time to start working on insight is getting stronger.

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
10/30/13 1:08 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
William Quixote:
Julian,

I got the technique from Leigh Brasington. Basically, you follow the breath until your concentration is warmed up and you are really on the breath. Once you feel like your concentration is strong you smile and hold it. Once you do that, you should feel a warm positive feeling that's triggered by / associated with smiling. Then, you keep following the breath, but put your mind on the pleasant feeling associated with smiling. Its partially physical and near the smile, but its more mental. Its the part of the feeling that lets you feel that a pleasant feeling is pleasant. Then you kind of hold that in your mind without being distracted or wanting it and it gradually builds. Then at some point you relax into the feeling and are in first Jhanna. It took a while to get the hang of, but I think its a pretty fast way into first Jhanna once you've got the trick of it.

As a further reference, Leigh Brasington teaches a lot of retreats focused on Jhanna and has a website with a lot of good content on Jhannas http://www.leighb.com/jhanas.htm and talks on Jhannas http://www.leighb.com/talks.htm.


Kind of a late reply, though thanks a lot for explaining all this in detail! emoticon

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
5/24/14 5:19 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Got called for jury duty a while back and apparently they take your cell phone away even when you are sitting in te waiting room and not just in court. With nothing to do for a few hours while I waited to be called I decided to busy out some good old concentration practice and spend a few hours with pretty good focus. 

I think the bug may have bit me again so this log may come back online. 

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
5/28/14 10:39 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
A few days back I did a guided mediation of the 3 characteristics by rob burbea of Gaea house. I've been listening to his talks on dharma seed and likening them quite a bit. In particular I think he gives very good meditation instruction giving a sense of what to do and some factors to be aware of so that you can intentionally play around with them and tune in to what's effective for you. 

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/11124/

the talk had three meditation he suggests trying
Impermance
Sense relationship to experience. Feel aversion or grasping and try to relax it. Emphasis on allowing. 
Feeling things as not self. 

i liked 1 and 3 the best but didn't seem to have much luck with 2. Not sure why, maybe I don't have the sensitivity to see subtle grasping / aversion yet. 

RE: William Quixote’s Mediation Log
Answer
5/28/14 10:58 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
oops...responded to wrong post as the latest...deleted