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Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?

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Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 10/26/13 4:29 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/26/13 5:54 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 10/26/13 8:42 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 10/27/13 4:02 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/27/13 6:51 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 10/27/13 7:23 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 11/9/13 12:18 AM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 10/27/13 10:07 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 11/8/13 11:56 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 11/9/13 9:50 AM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 11/10/13 8:10 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 11/11/13 11:46 AM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 11/16/13 7:18 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 11/16/13 9:34 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 11/19/13 7:21 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 11/19/13 8:19 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 12/10/13 9:58 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 12/10/13 11:19 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 1/12/14 3:22 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Richard Zen 1/12/14 3:35 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? triple think 11/30/13 1:56 PM
RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions? Jenny 1/12/14 3:27 PM
Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
nimatta
Answer
10/26/13 4:29 PM
Greetings all:

As some of you know, beginning of August I experienced an A&P followed by DN and a change in vision that persisted off the cushion. It was a fluid warping in my vision. This was diagnosed as a persistent migraine aura when it wouldn't stop for weeks. (I have atypical migraine, longstanding, but I've never seen a migraine aura that was like this, and there is no way that the timing was merely coincidental).

Since that event, I took the advice of many here to back off meditation. I did, but, interestingly from at least 2 perspectives, I have missed and longed for meditation practice. Nonetheless, it has been hard to make myself sit down and do what I long to do.

Yesterday I did. I went to a group sitting at my workplace, during lunch. I was resolved to practice concentration on the breath. The sit was only 30 minutes. After a few minutes of arising distractions, my mind settled down. I felt very calm, alert, and sweet.

Probably about 15 minutes in, however, I noticed that my breathing was so slow and shallow that it was hard to keep my faster mind on it at all. It was as if there was lack of syncopation.

At the same time, though I had my eyes shut, this hazy violet-colored light imposed itself on the center of my vision. I've seen much more dramatic shard-like fast-moving "lights" with eyes opens before, so I didn't think much of this and tried to return my attention to the nearly absent breath.

However, the purple haze emoticon started growing. So I decided, "Well, perhaps I should observe this and not the breath since this is what is calling for attention." So I remembered instructions about neither fearing nor attaching to "lights." I was interested in intention, as I usually am when I "see things."

But the light then started changing its shape, almost as if showing off. It kind of turned into diagonal ripple-waves, and then flipped into a new shape and spread throughout my vision. OK. I was cool with it. But then this FEAR arose from the pit of my stomach, with a bit of light-headedness, out of the blue. I tried to gently rein in attention to the breath, but nothing doing, and I soon ended the session.

I don't know what this kind of thing amounts to, but do you have any advice what I should do with it if it arises again?

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/26/13 5:54 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hi Jen,
The sit was only 30 minutes. After a few minutes of arising distractions, my mind settled down. I felt very calm, alert, and sweet.
My experience is that 20-30 minutes can be really useful. Sometimes I find that when I sit for longer periods, I dither the first half of the allotted time. Not always, but it's something I noticed. So if one trains with 20-30 minutes then the mind is really well prepared to use a larger chunk of time when it's available/more naturally arising. The mind then isn't trained to dither away those first incredibly useful minutes.

I don't know what this kind of thing amounts to, but do you have any advice what I should do with it if it arises again?
I think you did the just-right thing with it: study it, test it relative to the breath, see for yourself.

Me, I get sort of a steady blue light/sphere arising. Like you (and others) there can be some flashing and I still get the thought, "Huh, what causes that?" And then usually, for me, the mind will be flooded with bright, bright white lightness. There's usually joy arising with that naturally.

I'll move attention to that light, until that joy can be overly energetic, almost athletic, so then I return to the nose/upper lip area and let the intensity calm down. THen I pay attention to the breath in the body, the sensations. The body, for me, will become boundaryless sometimes at this point -- such as no hands, just hand-blobness which then spreads to the whole body as deep comfort. Sukkha. Vibrant rock-like body.

That's what I do when the mild colored sphere of blue light arises for me. Once in the deep contentment phase I sort of intend to be just that, without any other reaching.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/26/13 8:42 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I'm used to a brightening of the retina when concentrating well and I find it's a good sign but one you don't want to ruminate about. Just keep with the object and when pleasant sensations arise then use them as a meditation object. When concentration practice is really conditioned in you it can go on it's own while you sleep and you'll have more access to dream content which can involve colourful shapes and detailed images. I've had pink/violet/blue/red/green colours depending on what lights or sunlight is hitting my face.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/27/13 4:02 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thank you, Katy and Richard. I think maybe fear arose as a result of my trying to wrench my attention away from the light and back to a coarser experience of the breath--and then not succeeding. Also, my recent crisis with vision probably made me apprehensive about any new, unusual mental "visual" thing arising.

About access in dreams--very interesting what you say, Richard, because before what I interpret as the A&P Event occurred beginning of August, I had had several months of very frequent lucid dreaming, which I had not planned or consciously intended. In the dreams I would realize I was dreaming and then sit down to meditate--every time, without fail. And then whatever happened in the meditation became the dream. What I interpreted as crossing the A&P happened in one of these dreams, the last one I had, and the zenith of it was this kaleidoscopic paisley retinal type of phenomenon that was very rapidly moving and that my mind kept up with, micro-moment by micro-moment, easily. It was extremely clear and profoundly changed everything somehow.

My current goal is to leave off vipassana (although and because my mind goes there naturally) and work longer and harder at stabilizing concentration and really knowing what I'm doing in this area. Others here have suggested metta practice, and I agree that I should do that more, too. I feel I have to keep "starting from the beginning" in my practice because I've experimented all over the place rather than stick with one slow, sensible course. Maybe that has been valuable learning, too, in a way, but I'm 49 and don't feel I should possibly waste more time by being inefficient. I feel that I'll be better able to handle DN next time if I master beyond access concentration first. I'm too fragile for "dry vipassana," and I accept that.

I had started reading Shaila Catherine's book a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up today and found that working with the nimitta was the very next section, which I just read. Before this read, I had been unable to find in books or on the Web any detailed instruction for this. She makes clear that when it appears one should gently support it without "heaving" demands on it, intruding on it, or becoming fascinated with any shimmering that starts in it (which did happen for a few seconds Friday). She says that this "counterpart sign" of the breath is the sign of the "whole breath," as opposed to the coarser perception of breathing, which at this point fades, along with clear bodily boundaries. I've often experienced the loss of bodily boundary and the loss of perception of coarse breathing, and I've often seen dramatic "firework nimatta" that look like shards of broken mirror, but I've had this more central and steady puff of light only one other time that I can remember. I guess I'll sit with it more productively next time.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/27/13 6:51 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hey chica,


My current goal is to leave off vipassana (although and because my mind goes there naturally) and work longer and harder at stabilizing concentration and really knowing what I'm doing in this area. Others here have suggested metta practice, and I agree that I should do that more, too. I feel I have to keep "starting from the beginning" in my practice because I've experimented all over the place rather than stick with one slow, sensible course. Maybe that has been valuable learning, too, in a way, but I'm 49 and don't feel I should possibly waste more time by being inefficient. I feel that I'll be better able to handle DN next time if I master beyond access concentration first. I'm too fragile for "dry vipassana," and I accept that.



I think you have a great plan in place and I've heard good things about Sheila C's book. So good luck.


So that is awesome, imo, that you identified metta for your object of meditation. I do want to say that I think the arc of meditation is very similar no matter the object. Therefore, I think the fear is going to arise again no matter what you do. However, the metta practice -- especially if it can be applied with sincerity and immediacy in your daily life at the first whiff of stressful mentation/sensation, will be very helpful to conditioning your mind so that whatever it receives it will be able to do so with the compassion we have and give to stressed children,elders, animals, etcetera . (Also, in case it is anyone's fear that metta could render one a blathering fool about real, stressful problems: it does not. It does enable the ability to start observing problems closely which leads to tackling them...)


Okay, Jen, good luck. Also, I'd like to suggest one thing: give the experiment on concentration a good chunk of dedicated time: like 6 weeks and apply it as sati (in daily mindfulness) and samadhi (specific focus training). Just my two cents. You're already reading what I've heard is a useful book.

All right, Jen, go for it and good luck =)

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/27/13 7:23 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Thanks, Katy, for the additional suggestions. I will definitely see to those, too.

I used to be terrified of flying in commercial airplanes, for decades, but meditation enabled me to fly with very little in the way of nervousness arising. Just sitting upright in the open-hearted meditation posture helps me with fear, so I do that in airplanes and cultivate goodwill toward all beings. When I was following a Tibetan tradition and attending a center regularly, I was practicing calm abiding with the breath but always beginning by cultivating bodhichitta and working through that same compassionate awareness during my days at work--beginning with compassion for myself. Because if it doesn't start with myself it is difficult for it to be solid for anyone else. When I drifted into more technical kinds of meditation, I inadvertently set aside too much this metta emphasis.

Thanks, again!

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
10/27/13 10:07 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
About access in dreams--very interesting what you say, Richard, because before what I interpret as the A&P Event occurred beginning of August, I had had several months of very frequent lucid dreaming, which I had not planned or consciously intended. In the dreams I would realize I was dreaming and then sit down to meditate--every time, without fail. And then whatever happened in the meditation became the dream. What I interpreted as crossing the A&P happened in one of these dreams, the last one I had, and the zenith of it was this kaleidoscopic paisley retinal type of phenomenon that was very rapidly moving and that my mind kept up with, micro-moment by micro-moment, easily. It was extremely clear and profoundly changed everything somehow.


The profound change is the keeping up with changes in your experience. The trick with insight is to see the thoughts "trying" and the pain involved with that. Thoughts can't make you experience reality in more detail. Just noticing the vibrations hitting your eye consciousness/ear consciousness etc is enough and keeping acknowledgement with what's happening keeps you from clinging. On Kenneth Folk's app he advises 2000 notes to reach a peaceful mind-state. The refreshing with what's happening really helps in daily life including noting any moods or analysis going on, plus how it feels in the body when appetitive and aversive thoughts appear. These notes of course have to be very gentle and pure bare awareness is better if you can keep it consistent and not solidify in a concentration state or spacing out into stories. Noting helps to keep you honest and helps with noting mind-states and subtle thought manipulation that hasn't been clearly seen before. It's easy to sit and think about meditation instead of actually meditating. emoticon

With concentration it's all about the concept of the breath and trying to stay in that "realm" of mind which is similar to other enjoyments in life except you can do this without buying anything or need other people. There's still some clinging to mind states, and possibly making a "conceptual meditator" during practice, but there are worse things out there for sure.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/8/13 11:56 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:

The profound change is the keeping up with changes in your experience. The trick with insight is to see the thoughts 'trying' and the pain involved with that. Thoughts can't make you experience reality in more detail. Just noticing the vibrations hitting your eye consciousness/ear consciousness etc is enough and keeping acknowledgement with what's happening keeps you from clinging.


Yep. Passages of this happen. Of course, the discursive ray butts in. Its guise is intention trying to self-dislocate. Then I have to relax into, let go of, it--somehow without hiding from or obfuscating it.

On Kenneth Folk's app he advises 2000 notes to reach a peaceful mind-state.


Rapid noting/noticing made me bonkers. I seem to slip easily into "seeing things" and don't stop after I'm off the cushion--vibratory, warping, etc. Hence my landing in the hospital with diagnosis of persistent aura of migraine. I've been thinking, along with others here, that I should try to build up my concentration (which is fabricated overtly) and pay strong attention to metta--that maybe clocking more experience this way will confer some foundational trust that will prevent my so quickly fipping out during mind acceleration. I need to address fear, or maybe live a bit more gradually through it till I let it go. My path goes right through the heart of this fear. I suspect fear is simply a bad habit I formed and feed from delusion.

The refreshing with what's happening really helps in daily life including noting any moods or analysis going on, plus how it feels in the body when appetitive and aversive thoughts appear. These notes of course have to be very gentle and pure bare awareness is better if you can keep it consistent and not solidify in a concentration state or spacing out into stories. Noting helps to keep you honest and helps with noting mind-states and subtle thought manipulation that hasn't been clearly seen before.


This all-day-long noting has become a cultivated habit of the past 2 years--not that I do it or even remember to take the effort to do it constantly, but I do at pretty regular intervals "refresh" with what is happening. The bit about not solidifying or spacing out into storyland is an apt reminder. It is so, so easy for bare awareness to slide down a rabbit hole or two million. Then I alight awareness on that as soon as I catch it and notice the subtle thought manipulation involved at both levels (the rabit hole and the pulling out of said rabit hole), which recognition often seems new, as you say. Of course, I'm paid to be an editor, so I absorb into my editing work for a solid hour at a time, but I rise to take walking breaks and notice every 30 to 60 minutes for 10 minutes. I sit with a meditation group at work during Friday lunches, which is quite lovely.

I was reading some of your practice logs a couple of weeks ago and noticed that you read this book about motivation with conventional world pursuits. Your comment here about noting "appetitive" thoughts reminded me of this. I need to lose a lot of weight that I gained from many years of taking migraine preventive medications that are known to cause rapid massive weight gain via several metabolic mechanisms. I'm seeing a new integrative medicine doctor who is addressing a complex web of genetic and autoimmune health issues. To a large extent, she has to help me rebalance at the cellular level and heal up organ systems for my metabolism and energy to recover. However, maybe it would help, meantime, if I didn't eat like a pig. emoticon In general, my self-regulation is poor with regard to eating, sleeping, expending energy, keeping my home environment uncluttered and nonchaotic. This all my sound petty, but, honestly, it seems to me that my practice ought to help with the mundane level of awareness and its effects, too. Any suggestions appreciated.

It's easy to sit and think about meditation instead of actually meditating. emoticon


For sure. I'm cerebral, come from academia. I catch myself reading dharma instead of practicing--all the frigging time. I did once read, while doing so, that reading dharma does "count" as practicing, too. emoticon A few months before the few months leading up to A&P, I did read, read, read dharma books. It seems that this incubation was necessary and helpful, but I am trying to balance theory/method with "the real thing" more and more.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
jhana nimitta
Answer
11/9/13 12:18 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Hey, Katy. I wrote the following at the end of my workday:

"I saw the violet-colored nimitta again today when sitting with the lunchtime meditation group at work. (Interesting that, so far, it arises only when I'm sitting with this group.) Once again, it scared the bejesus out of me for some reason. I start feeling eclipsed by it, like my head is going to buzz until it pops off and I'm going to convulse or crumble or something. Very odd. As I tried to brave up and calm myself down out of the fear rush, the nimitta just completely vanished. After a few minutes of my just breathing, it reappeared and started growing again. I felt the crazy fear arising again. This time, though, instead of fighting the fear, I just thought and actually said to myself, "OK. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!" And at this the violet light intensified in color (intense violet) and brightness, and it stretched across my visual field and steadied. It is the counterpart sign of the breath; it is what you want to happen. It is the sign that you can soon enter into the first jhana. So it is odd to me that if I had to screw it up it would be by reacting with fear instead of, say, attachment or self-congratulations. I think the fact that it disappeared when I tried to talk my fear state down is interesting. It is as if I had to just accept and sit completely honestly with my fear for the light to grow, intensify, and brighten. This is some sort of clue."

Then tonight, I chanced across the following quote:

"Peace is within oneself, to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it." --Ajahn Chah

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/9/13 9:50 AM as a reply to Jenny.
For insight I would recommend the Anapanasati sutta and learning to relax the body/limbs/mental distraction. Try and use this during work. There's nothing wrong with losing mindfulness when doing good work it's more like learning to let go of the distractions that lead to unnecessary mental stress. By relaxing the disturbing thoughts like relaxing muscles it can help you be one with the task because you're not trying to be moment by moment mindful. Full mindfulness will just eat up all the processing power so intellectual work can't be done. Fill the mind with work and use basic mental relaxation to go back to the task. When you lose your sense of self with good practice over time it's like everything is normal but the habit of self-referencing starts going away. You might even get a little angry because you realise it wasn't a habit that was needed to function properly but just the opposite. Self-referencing isn't needed to defend yourself. It isn't needed to think. It isn't needed make decisions. It isn't needed to take action.

For weight-loss I haven't done much but I did understand that "out of sight, out of mind" maxim does help. I lost about 15 pounds simply by not buying typical desserts and chips. When they aren't in my kitchen I can't eat them. In a meditative standpoint you would want to get a little disgusted with food by noticing how crappy you feel when you eat too much. A really important thing I learned recently is that by imagining enjoyable desires I often don't think of when they are completed or missing. I could eat out or cook a meal. My cooking isn't great so the impulse is quite strong to eat out. Just by imagining eating out can create desire but to extend that imagination to include finishing the meal and paying the bill and then going home emoticon the craving goes down. I did this yesterday and ended up in the grocery store instead. I made some nice burgers with healthier ingredients and bought a lot of food for the same price as eating out in a fancy restaurant.

Imagine the repetitiveness and the unpleasant aspects of eating too much, eating the wrong things, eating as distraction and the natural aversion can be used to your advantage. We use aversion all the time to avoid things we don't like but if we forcefully add imagination towards unpleasant aspects of what we are habituated to it's easier to develop disenchantment and be free of it.

I'm in the middle of reading this book which compiles all the willpower tools found in different books. It's pretty cheap on Kindle and quite short:

Willpower 12 tools

I guess this could be "the powers" for my mental outlook. emoticon As I get working on this I'll give it an expanded review.

To reduce weight further you would have to understand that people need about 1,500 calories just to lay in bed all day. Most people only need about 2,000 calories in a normal desk job day. If you can find easy ways to measure realistic meals so you don't breach those you will need less exercise to maintain a weight-level. You would want to measure meals you actually want to eat and portion them in a way that it would be easy to remember how much you are supposed to eat.

The danger of course is that when people "eye" the portions they always put more. emoticon Strict measurement would be like noting to keep you honest.

The other danger is that eating delicious meals is a huge part of everyone's understanding of an enjoyable life so it's necessary to not remain too idle or you will eat what you are used to enjoying (for me fancy restaurants or New York Fries with butter chicken poutine:grinemoticon. When Christians say idleness breeds sin they aren't too far from the truth. When people are bored they do short-term addictive behaviours so having important things to do based on your values reduces the amount of time addictive behaviours can interfere.

Then the last danger I can think of is that you are so busy being busy that you don't make time for cooking. This is why cooking is such an important skill and time has to be made for it. If you cook delicious healthy meals you will WANT to eat your cooking. My cooking is slowly improving but if it's a lousy plain sandwich I will probably eat out. I also recently bought a rice cooker because burnt rice is not exactly appetizing so these little things are making my food taste better to counter my foodie inclinations to find a fine restaurant or even cheap fast food out of desperation.

I'm also using an app called Chains. It's based on the Seinfeld idea of doing daily tasks you have to do and not breaking the chain. Like the book recommendation puts it, it takes approximately 45 days to change habits. Once you succeed in changing one habit you'll naturally want to start changing others. One habit at a time is best for me because doing too many things is so much pressure. When a habit is complete I'll move onto another one I need.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/10/13 8:10 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks so much for this, Richard. You've given me a lot I think I can work with here.

I love to exercise and was always a gym rat, but I've been combating chronic fatigue syndrome for years now, much of which has been secondary to long-undiagnosed hypothyroidism. I have a new holistic doctor, and she has already found 6 abnormal lab results that, alone, would each point to fatigue. So I have great faith that this doctor will help rebalance things with nutrition, supplements, etc., so I can regain my energy. I've never had a thin body type, and never will, but just exercise and eating healthfully and reasonably kept me at my high school set point. But the endocrine problems and the weight-gaining migraine meds wreaked havoc. Currently, if I work out for an hour, I'm wiped out for 3 or 4 days. Perhaps this will soon change and I can enjoy a more active lifestyle again.

I don't buy treats and sweets, but they are around at work all the time. I have a new job at a corporation that provides free drinks/coffee and dozens of free snacks 24/7. I have to be gluten-free, so that makes most sweets off limits, thank goodness. I think what may help is bringing nonsweet, healthful afternoon snack and thinking really, really hard before putting anything in my mouth.

On a positive note about my new workplace, they also subsidize my lunches (and will prepare supper for cheap too). They use all organic vegetables grown on their own farm--they have a low calorie, "heart healthy" and gluten-free menu every day. The salad bar is gorgeous. They even have health educators on the cafe floor to teach people proper portions. So this is all very helpful and fortunate for me. My new corporation provides me onsite healthcare, labs, pharmacy, social workers, fitness center, etc., etc., so it is almost as though I live in a monastery. All my needs are taken care of, which supports my practice. They even have a meditation garden with a labyrinth.

Chains sound interesting. Hmm. I'll look into that, too. I've downloaded the Willpower book.

That is an excellent point about filling time with tasks that support deep values. I tend to spend way too much time online, in idle chatter places (not here, of course). This is an addiction because I'm tired and avoiding something. It was the unease at the edges of such "pleasures" that first motivated me to begin meditating.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/11/13 11:46 AM as a reply to Jenny.
I agree that internet forums can be addictive. When I stopped posting on them (except for this one) I had so much more time on my hands to do better things. Lots of trolls on there including youtube. I felt like a loser for spending so many hours on them then I realised that there were people spending double that time there and it became clear that people with unhealthy lives are over-represented there.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/16/13 7:18 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Oh, I never read YouTube comments. As my son says, "They will give you cancer."

Facebook is and always has been a huge addiction problem for me. Quite literally, the stress around the edges of any pleasure there is what motivated me to learn meditation, which led to my embrace of the dharma, N8P. A few days ago, I read that a new study has shown that reviewing the "Likes" one's Facebook postings have earned stimulates the part of the brain that processes rewards. In other words, it conditions through reinforcement of behavior (ie, checking Facebook).The suggestion is that this is part of what makes Facebook addictive: It is where people go to manage their reputations (or social approval).

I live in the Bible Belt, among many conservative careerist people. I have few friends IRL. My friends tend to be from the progressive western or northeastern states--or other countries. And so Facebook is one of the few ways I have conversation with them and with my son, who went to college in the fall. So it is hard for me to just quit it altogether, yet the deeper my practice and steadier my mindfulness, the more I think I have to either suspend my account or set a program that allows me in only once a week for a short span of time. I don't know. I notice that my state of mind usually deteriorates on Facebook, and it is a den of wrong speech that takes "killing time" to an all-time low. Still, I haven't quit.

I finished the Willpower ebook. It made me think maybe I should try the programs that lock me out of FB so I won't have to use up willpower to resist going there. I think another solution is to replace that forum with this one. That way, if I spend time online, it is at least thematically aligned with my deeper values and goals.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/16/13 9:34 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
I live in the Bible Belt, among many conservative careerist people. I have few friends IRL. My friends tend to be from the progressive western or northeastern states--or other countries. And so Facebook is one of the few ways I have conversation with them and with my son, who went to college in the fall. So it is hard for me to just quit it altogether, yet the deeper my practice and steadier my mindfulness, the more I think I have to either suspend my account or set a program that allows me in only once a week for a short span of time. I don't know. I notice that my state of mind usually deteriorates on Facebook, and it is a den of wrong speech that takes "killing time" to an all-time low. Still, I haven't quit.


I would strictly use email with those people you need to talk to. Let them know you want to stop Facebook. You're getting triggered by real needs to communicate to important people but by using FB it's weakening your resistance to just stop there. Concentration practices are all about inertia. Once you start it's hard to stop but once you start useful projects then you don't need to stop. I find that replacing these periods of time with actual meditation is a good idea, because meditation is something to look forward to. Eventually you can replace it with other tasks but just stopping and getting used to using meditation as a refuge will replace something negative with something positive. Using Metta practice during this time can get you to add more positivity to something negative for you. I would typically use noting because consistent noting really does let you feel better and de-cling from any inertia to continue a habit. If that's too dangerous for you then maybe an Anapanasati Sutta practice where you relax your body and thoughts while concentrating and fill your processing power with what's happening now. Relaxing the body and relaxing the thoughts feels different from hard noting.

Jen Pearly:
I finished the Willpower ebook. It made me think maybe I should try the programs that lock me out of FB so I won't have to use up willpower to resist going there. I think another solution is to replace that forum with this one. That way, if I spend time online, it is at least thematically aligned with my deeper values and goals.


Yes. Making changes that replace negative ones for positive ones makes your brain want to move to something else, though I still think that replacing this site with actual meditation is even better. You want to get to the point that you don't feel like doing anything and then start adding activities that are important to you in the long run. Getting disenchanted is a huge part of changing your habits. Like the willpower books begins with, it's important to also find internal motivation to do things you like to do. By adding some hobby or just concentrating on the benefits of completing a task you need done instead of Facebook you can get the positive motivation to take action on them. Positive motivation is very healthy. We do it all the time when we dwell on desires but to purposefully add beneficial details of our imagination to projects we procrastinate on can create the motivation we need. Purposefully creating craving for good things is not a bad thing because those causes create good effects.

By dropping those trolling sites I used to roam on for years I've gotten more time and I'm cooking for myself more than ever. It's a positive thing I look forward to. I'm working through a salad recipe book now and there's lots of tasty alternatives to my usual green salad. I'm learning to do some indoor grilling as well so I can eat my own steaks and start grilling some fish. Ahi tuna and Arctic char are next on the menu. Yum!

Good luck! It's hard to change habits as psychologists will tell you but if you're relentless you can. That 45 day goal in the book is a nice one because it gives you a realistic goal.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/19/13 7:21 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen,

Your suggestions are wise. The way you explain them really clicks with me--to use meditation right at the moment of temptation. To replace that addiction with a sort of ground zero "not clinging" and make return to that my "refuge." Then later add in wholesome activities deliberately. Perfect!

Although I do slow noting throughout the day (when I'm not absorbed in a job duty), I tend to leave my formal sits for the very end of the day (um, as in late night, before bed). I look forward to them, but somehow this joy translates into "saving the best for last," which is hilarious but sad. The more practical reason for waiting has been that no one will distract me after everyone is in bed. However, I see now the overriding benefits of sitting right after supper, at the time I would normally go online. I've also moved my workout times earlier. By working out at the fitness center at work before driving home, I avoid all the numerous home duties and hunger that persuade me to procrastinate and then to rationalize not going out again.

Changing the pathways I drift down will require persistent mindfulness until the old habits are replaced, but I will do it.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/19/13 8:19 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
Richard Zen,

Your suggestions are wise. The way you explain them really clicks with me--to use meditation right at the moment of temptation. To replace that addiction with a sort of ground zero "not clinging" and make return to that my "refuge." Then later add in wholesome activities deliberately. Perfect!


This is basically my experience (though some of it was inspired by Heidegger's concept of authenticity and resoluteness. A sort of "go away and come back" strategy. I didn't give up things that easily and when I did it was because I was so disenchanted with the repetitive distractions that I ended up sitting around doing nothing but noting. I still get caught in this sometimes but that is okay because it's better than doing the usual things. I'll just be walking around the apartment noting. It's actually fun to find doing chores more fun than TV. I never thought I would get to that point. This point is obviously when the aversion to boring tasks weakens and the disenchantment towards distractions strengthens. There's more to go. I'm starting to want to include more and more tasks with meditation and fill in the low processing power areas with gentle noting. The refuge is portable. Muaahahahhahahah!

This guided meditation will give you a cheap and easy (Advaita Vedanta) way of seeing consciousness (knowing) and how it can know a lot of things including intentions/gestures/actions/emotions and it remains just watching. It's there watching your thinking & working. The higher processing power tends to mask this but you obviously didn't have amnesia when you were working so the knowing was registering what's happening. The knowing isn't a benevolent watcher or a cold judger. Those are thoughts pretending to be consciousness. It's just watching. You can be embarrassed, sad, angry. You could be influenced by voices of people in your life floating in your mind and it's just there watching impartially so it can be a relief to remind yourself of that and let everything slide off like a non-stick pan, or Kenneth Folk's description of the eye of a hurricane. Don't cling or reject anything as it arises.

Vastness of Awareness

Jen Pearly:
Although I do slow noting throughout the day (when I'm not absorbed in a job duty), I tend to leave my formal sits for the very end of the day (um, as in late night, before bed). I look forward to them, but somehow this joy translates into "saving the best for last," which is hilarious but sad. The more practical reason for waiting has been that no one will distract me after everyone is in bed. However, I see now the overriding benefits of sitting right after supper, at the time I would normally go online. I've also moved my workout times earlier. By working out at the fitness center at work before driving home, I avoid all the numerous home duties and hunger that persuade me to procrastinate and then to rationalize not going out again.


Yes that sounds good. The path of least resistance can be used to prevent the wrong choice and limiting choices means limited willpower battles.

Jen Pearly:
Changing the pathways I drift down will require persistent mindfulness until the old habits are replaced, but I will do it.


emoticon Be careful with the "I'll do it". Only say that when you are just about to do a task. Use resolutions for one task at a time and keep the tasks small. You want little successes to build energy (dopamine). Make sure when you note that you don't start off conceptually. You have to really see in great detail what's in front of you before you say "seeing". Slowing down the noting is often better. When you get the groove you can tell that noting properly is 99% bare sensation and 1% noting just to keep you honest about continuance. Noting "doubt", "analyzing", "strategizing", "confusion" will help when notes don't come easy and you can always go back to just bare sensation to restart. Noting will never be as fast as actual change because future turns into past instantaneously. All of our "present moment" is short-term memory. That can be a powerful reminder when you're caught in thoughts or habits. "99.9999999 etc% of this clinging is already in the past". LOL!

Sounds like you're on your way.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
11/30/13 1:56 PM as a reply to Jenny.
will look at thread this week 3b back next Saturn have an Add maybe Ok? -3b
-------------------
hi U

have to post a brief one on 3ops so will read through later

only off the top as is typical initial response

this U likes the purple swirls and mixed with some yellow sparks 2

U?

3bird

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
12/10/13 9:58 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:

All this is just awesome. Although I haven't been good about meditating as soon as I arrive home (I've been dealing with new health protocols, so a bit overloaded with goals), for some reason I've been just naturally not attracted to Facebook since I read what you wrote. It takes only a few days actively away for it to no longer pull and for it to reveal itself as a waste of time. I have been using the "replacement" technique when I'm tempted by something. They keep m&ms in glass canisters everywhere at work, for instance. When I start to cave toward the m&m's (usually when stressed under deadline), I get an apple instead and eat it. Somehow, this substitution thing is working for me. There is only that moment of almost caving. . . . and once past that and onto a difference positive choice, it is caker (er, apples). I think I can substitute the substitution with breath awareness next.

My doctor wants me to do some raw veggie/fruit juice cleanses. . . . This sounds tough to me, but once I started researching, it also became intriguing. Abstinence and renunciation, it struck me, can be felt not as lack but as a positive assertion.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
12/10/13 11:19 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Well I'm happy for you. The substitution trick is in "The Power of Habit" book.

You're not going to be perfect at first but it's the little successes that breed further successes because your mind will now have a precedent to rely on. Success counters failure schemas. People tend to believe in their abilities when they have a track record.

The meditation practice can create disenchantment with old ways and ironically develop passion in a different direction based on your major values.

When you hit that aversion again with temptations, you should try to stay with the body and feel the aversion there. Wait, and then watch it pass away on it's own. The craving or aversion needs lots of ruminating to keep going. I've done this in Safeway when I pass the bakery isle. I caved once and bought a cheesecake and ate it all over a week and gained some weight. I only caved after I successfully let go of a few impulses. After practising a few weeks I don't cave. I even notice negative perceptions of the taste (eg. too sweet) and aversion can be of help at that point. The impulses do not feel pleasant at all but when the relief comes it's great and then the mind starts enjoying the success which makes me walk to the vegetable isle. emoticon

The waiting is almost like asking the question "Am I okay without this?" This would be phrased as if asked out loud like you are checking to see if there is a medical emergency if the cheesecake is not eaten. LOL!

Yes this cognitive therapy stuff is fun when it works, and I think it works better with mindfulness.

Merry Christmas!

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
1/12/14 3:22 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
As usual, an interesting post, Richard. I did a vegetable and fruit juice cleanse when I returned from the holiday travels. I was surprised at how easy it was. One of my coworkers pointed out that I'm never tempted to go off my gluten-free restriction and that the reason is because I just thoroughly accepted that gluten is poison for me. And look how Bill Clinton became a vegan without slippage after his bypass made him just accept diet-style change. I've been reading Joel Furhman's Eat for Health, and at first I pooh-poohed what he says about eating being a social thing. But then I started observing closely all the social conditioning that actually does govern my tendency to reach for the peanut M&Ms at work (there free and everywhere!) when I'm feeling workload stress. Because I committed to doing the cleanse and accepted that I would be hungry, I wasn't even hungry. And the success was extremely pleasant. I think bringing subconscious stuff up to the articulated level does wonders.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
1/12/14 3:27 PM as a reply to triple think.
If you are asking about my purple nimitta, yes, sometimes there appear to be golden sparkles in the center and the purple "boils." My nimitta now always arises when I meditate, but it is unstable (shifting, wobbling off stage, etc.). At peak moments it flips to white and fills the mind. It has grown bright, no longer dim.

RE: Dim Violet Light during Samatha . . . Suggestions?
Answer
1/12/14 3:35 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I'm glad at the change. I think this is similar to what others have said when the Actualism phase was in full swing on the board. By practicing dealing with cravings then all cravings (including food cravings) start slowly having less sway. When I gave up buying lots of sweets I got used to not having them at home so I wouldn't eat them. I went from 215lbs down to 200lbs and despite a Christmas hiccup with food at work I'm down to 196 and I'm not really doing much other than getting disenchanted with craving. I sometimes skip meals when it's obvious I've had a big meal earlier in the day. There's also an enjoyment of hunger and eating when I'm really hungry. There was a time in the not too distant past when I was never hungry and just ate 3 meals + snacks out of habit. Most of these changes happened within a year. Not bad. I'll just have to see over time how it progresses.