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My Practice Log: Meditation, Magick, & Miscellaneous

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My Practice Log: Meditation, Magick, & Miscellaneous
emotions samatha dzogchen death meditation log kasina
Answer
9/30/13 5:46 AM
This will be a catalog of the progression of my practice. I'll be taking note of psychological, energetic, and emotional changes that occur as the result of training. Here's some background information. I've been meditating for a couple years, but not seriously until a few months ago. I practice about 2 hrs every day, but am working on increasing the amount of time in sitting meditation. I've attended one Goenka 10-day, but did most of my training in Thailand with Wat Phra Dhammakaya on a 90-day retreat in Jan 2012. I was too young at the time and still a beginner. I had no idea about the amount of confusion and doubt that would arise as a result of jumping into a 90-day retreat with such little meditation experience. I could say that the retreat put me on the fast track of screwing up. I did all the things I was urged not to do such as, practicing other meditation techniques while on retreat. It's astounding how stubborn and attached to attainment I was during those months. I realized that my reason for switching practices every other day was because I kept doubting the technique I was instructed to do. The doubt was a result of what seemed to be lack of progress. If I had just followed instructions and stuck with the practice then surely there would be have been vastly greater benefit. A lot of things have happened in my life since that retreat. My father passed away one-year ago. After he was gone I really had to grow up. I know the DhO is all about super technical material and what not. Kenneth Folk mentioned that because of the technical approach that the Hardcore Dharma movement is very attractive to males but not so much to females, thus this movement is mainly a masculine one. Now I'm not a very emotionally oriented person, but I definitely have the capacity to explain, to the best of my ability, the emotional transformations that are arising and which I will continue to experience. So in other words YES I will be talking about my feelings on this log. emoticon I text messaged a friend yesterday saying that a year ago today was my fathers funeral. When I wrote this text I had actually said that today one year ago was my funeral. I've accidentally referred to his funeral as my own funeral in this way on other accounts as well. When he passed away I didn't have the same emotional reactions my other family members were experiencing. I was very much at peace with his passing although it was still painful to say goodbye. The reason I'm bringing up my fathers death is because it had a massive influence on the way I approached my practice. During waking painful emotions or feelings would not arise along with thoughts and memories of my Dad. It was as if the pain from his death wasn't even there. The pain was below the surface and this would always manifest in dreams in which I was running around looking for him or crying about him being gone. Surprisingly during the day none of these feelings would be present. One morning a few months after his death I was in bed with my girlfriend in Boulder, CO. I woke up from a dream about him with tears in my eyes. Suddenly I started crying my eyes out but It wasn't because I missed him. There was just tears and heart ache but not based on any particular memories. There was only a simple knowing that this sadness was about my dad. I cried until the somatic charge was released or exhausted. That was the first time I had really given full attention to an arising and passing emotional experience. After the funeral it seemed that a part of "me" had died. I used to have that kind of innocence that young people always have. People have this burning desire to explore, express their humanity, and to embrace life. That flame of passion and innocence, the same energy that was essential in the creation of the greatest works of art, felt totally extinguished in me. With this extinguished yearning came dispassion and thus stability in meditation. Basically, I stopped fucking around as far as my spiritual path was concerned. I began practicing Dzogchen after receiving transmission from Namkhai Norbu and just a couple months ago had found an excellent theravadin teacher, thus beginning my practice with Dhammakaya Meditation for the first time in over a year.

I will gauge my practices using the stages laid out in B. Alan Wallace's book, "The Attention Revolution". With my current job I could definitely get in 6hrs of meditation if I practice for 3 hrs straight in the morning and before bed. I know many people on the DhO practice Mahasi Style Vipassana and consider it fruitless to be spending such an amount of time on Samatha. I think otherwise. I'm aiming to meet the standards that Buddha laid out. I would love to master the Samatha and Vipassana practices as taught by Pa-Auk Sayadaw and his students Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder. My current teacher in Dhammakaya meditation expects nothing short of what is laid in B. Alan Wallace's book. In order for people to understand this log they may need an understanding of what Dhammakaya meditation is. It's a breach of Samaya to discus certain aspects of my Dzogchen practice, but aside from those particular subjects I am able to discus the progression of my training.

As of now my practice is much like a roller coaster. Some days my mind is sharp and stable. On those days I can stay with the visualized object for 5 minutes or possibly longer continuously before my mind wanders. On those good days I remember the object quickly after losing the visualization. When my mind is stable it's as if the visualization of the crystal sphere in my abdomen comes to life. Many people have said that visualizing an object causes tension so using the breath as a foundation for Jhana is better for the beginner. This seemed to be true when I began practicing the visualization technique again for the first time, but as the weeks went on my mind became familiar with it and now I just "watch" the visualization resting in space. Not much effort is required at this point and then of course my attention wanders. When my concentration deepens it seems that my body begins to disappear or I forget that it exists. For those short moments or seconds or minutes the only thing that exists is the object and a great sense of peace. On good days my entire body becomes light as a feather and a brightness within appears. The feeling of joy and peace arise with the feeling of lightness. If I can maintain my attention for long enough or if the quality of the mindfulness is subtle enough the preliminary sign and subsequently the counter-part sign will appear. I have only seen this once in my entire life. I was on the bus traveling from a Wat Phra Dhammakaya meditation center in Southern Thailand to one in Chang Mai during the 90-day retreat. In my bus seat I was meditating and entered this half asleep and half awake state which was totally absent of thought. I looked down and saw a brilliant crystal sphere as bright as the full moon. Now that I think about it that sphere is one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid my vision upon.

On shitty days during meditation sessions I get incredibly drowsy. Sometimes I stick through it to finish the 45-minute or hour long session and other times I get up and sleep or walk, but definitely drowsiness or torpor can be a major obstacle in my practice. At this point in my Dzogchen practice I am observing awareness itself, which is also taught in the Attention Revolution. Sleepiness is also my main obstacle with the Dzogchen gazing practice. I can maintain awareness for much longer while doing the awareness of awareness practice. I don't exactly have a estimated amount of time of maintained awareness. There are days when a great amount of heat arises within my body during the gazing practice. With this heat comes a high quality of clarity. The body becomes full of bliss in a way. I feel that I can rest in that stillness forever and then... my mind wanders . Vision and sound appears to be illusory although when this occurs I don't think reality to be an illusion with words. It seems to be a knowing or a feeling that perceives all data incoming data from the sense doors to be illusory or unreal.

Well that's all for tonight! Will update soon!

RE: My Practice Log: Meditation, Magick, & Miscellaneous
Answer
9/30/13 6:50 AM as a reply to Ryan Jaidsedha Burton.
Hi!

I used to follow your youtube channel before you deleted it... that was really interesting stuff.

When my concentration deepens it seems that my body begins to disappear or I forget that it exists

I can related to that; whenI work with energies visualizing them in my body, after a while my bodily sensations becomes almost transparent, and it's almost like the body is not there, like if attention turned away from bodily feelings in order totunejust with visual stuff.

I'm very much one ofthose who says that the stages that Wallace talks about are basically the same nanas that people go throught while doing insight stuff; in particular, stages 7&beyound seems to be quite clearly descriptions of EQ nanas and Hight Eq, while stage 6 would obviously be DN stuff. (here a thread exploring correlations between Wallace's maps, hard jhanas and the stages of insight)
My idea is that if you just observe things in that way, meaning, observe as much sensations as you can in the breath,or just stay still and observe thoughts arising, or just stay with a dzogchen kind of awareness, insight into the 3C is basically unavoidable. So, Itend to consider it as a form of insightpractice oriented toward the development of strong concentration using mental objects. Or, a form of concentration practice that leads to the arising of insight into the 3C as a consequence of the stability of mind; whatever, the two of them doesn't seem to me to bereally separable in that particular approach.

However,I red "The revolution of attention", and he talks about many ways of practicing (breath, counter-sign after stage 4, thoughts observation and then a more dzogchen-like kind of awareness); what specific technique are you using now? And what is your best guess about the stage you are currently in?

I'll stay tuned... bye!

Edit
PS: do you have some kind of informal practice or dream practice going?

RE: My Practice Log: Meditation, Magick, & Miscellaneous
Answer
9/30/13 11:32 AM as a reply to M N.
Mario,

Yes I really loved having that channel. I let it go because I felt unqualified to be teaching to the material that was on it. I'll start making videos again after I've become more skilled as a practitioner. I'm thinking to start again after absorption mastery or at least completion of the 9 Stages in Attention Revolution which culminate at access concentration. Wallace's definition of access concentration and Jhana are considered to be "hard" if not "Super-Hard Jhana" by Kenneth Folk and other members of the DhO. I was very much attracted to following the Insight stages since I had trained in Panditarama last year for about a month. I spoke with an Insight teacher a few months ago over skype, but I'm not sure if she is on the DhO. I was referred to her by Kenneth. She suggested that I'm probably in the higher stages of the cycle's of insight. At the time I hadn't considered being in the Insight stages at all. I guess I assumed that the stages didn't occur unless I was doing Vipassana practice. As of now I'm not concerned with following my progression through the insight cycles.

With the Dhammakaya Meditation practice I'm using a visualized crystal sphere. I'm at the 3rd stage of attentional development. At the 4th stage attention is no longer involuntarily drawn completely away from the object, which is something that definitely still occurs during my sessions. The same also applies to my Dzogchen practice, which is a form of introspection or awareness of awareness.

I don't have a current dream practice that I'm doing. I should definitely start though!