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First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/5/13 8:05 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log triple think 12/5/13 8:40 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log T DC 12/5/13 8:58 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/6/13 10:51 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Bailey . 12/12/13 12:05 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Nikolai . 12/27/13 5:52 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/9/13 12:47 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/10/13 3:57 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/11/13 9:20 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/11/13 2:24 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Nikolai . 12/11/13 2:53 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/11/13 3:32 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/11/13 6:30 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Nikolai . 12/11/13 7:15 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/11/13 8:54 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Nikolai . 12/11/13 10:49 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/12/13 12:49 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/13/13 9:15 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/13/13 1:59 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/13/13 8:19 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/13/13 10:29 PM
A&P Travis Gene McKinstry 12/15/13 8:18 PM
RE: A&P Nikolai . 12/15/13 10:09 PM
RE: A&P Travis Gene McKinstry 12/15/13 10:58 PM
RE: A&P Nikolai . 12/15/13 11:19 PM
RE: A&P Travis Gene McKinstry 12/16/13 9:57 AM
RE: A&P Travis Gene McKinstry 12/16/13 2:01 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/16/13 7:03 PM
Sense of self Travis Gene McKinstry 12/17/13 10:53 AM
RE: Sense of self katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/17/13 1:27 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/18/13 2:22 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Richard Zen 12/18/13 10:14 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Nikolai . 12/19/13 3:11 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/20/13 5:05 PM
Future Goenka retreat Travis Gene McKinstry 12/24/13 10:45 AM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Richard Zen 12/24/13 11:24 AM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Travis Gene McKinstry 12/26/13 7:20 PM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Richard Zen 12/27/13 10:07 AM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Travis Gene McKinstry 12/27/13 10:21 AM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Richard Zen 12/27/13 1:02 PM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Travis Gene McKinstry 12/28/13 10:20 AM
RE: Future Goenka retreat Nikolai . 12/28/13 3:20 PM
Strange sense Travis Gene McKinstry 12/28/13 9:58 PM
RE: Strange sense Nikolai . 12/28/13 10:20 PM
RE: Strange sense Travis Gene McKinstry 12/29/13 11:41 AM
RE: Strange sense Richard Zen 1/5/14 12:01 AM
RE: Strange sense Travis Gene McKinstry 1/7/14 7:54 PM
Cause and effect Travis Gene McKinstry 12/26/13 9:42 PM
RE: Cause and effect Nikolai . 12/27/13 6:15 AM
RE: Cause and effect Travis Gene McKinstry 12/27/13 9:50 AM
RE: Cause and effect Nikolai . 12/27/13 1:32 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log SeTyR ZeN 9/11/14 10:41 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 10/30/14 12:06 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log SeTyR ZeN 10/31/14 11:08 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 12/31/13 11:18 AM
Update on practice Travis Gene McKinstry 1/2/14 10:32 AM
RE: Update on practice stuart chas law 1/3/14 12:25 PM
RE: Update on practice Travis Gene McKinstry 1/3/14 7:59 PM
RE: Update on practice stuart chas law 1/3/14 9:52 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 1/4/14 7:51 PM
Noting practice update Travis Gene McKinstry 1/10/14 9:43 AM
RE: Noting practice update Dream Walker 1/10/14 6:02 PM
RE: Noting practice update Travis Gene McKinstry 1/11/14 8:42 AM
RE: Noting practice update Dream Walker 1/12/14 4:12 AM
RE: Noting practice update Travis Gene McKinstry 1/12/14 9:54 PM
Another update Travis Gene McKinstry 1/14/14 5:27 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 1/16/14 2:07 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Dream Walker 1/16/14 5:00 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 1/16/14 6:42 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Dream Walker 1/16/14 8:48 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 1/17/14 8:04 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Dream Walker 1/17/14 11:31 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 1/19/14 6:00 PM
Equanimity Travis Gene McKinstry 1/21/14 8:28 AM
RE: Equanimity Dream Walker 1/21/14 11:26 AM
RE: Equanimity Travis Gene McKinstry 1/22/14 9:18 AM
RE: Equanimity Dream Walker 1/22/14 10:43 AM
RE: Equanimity Travis Gene McKinstry 1/22/14 12:25 PM
RE: Equanimity Dream Walker 1/22/14 2:47 PM
Goodbye to Equanimity for now Travis Gene McKinstry 1/23/14 3:57 PM
Aversion subsides, sometimes Travis Gene McKinstry 1/26/14 10:32 AM
RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes John Mckinstry 1/26/14 11:47 AM
RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes John Mckinstry 1/29/14 1:51 AM
RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes Travis Gene McKinstry 1/29/14 8:17 PM
Strong aversion Travis Gene McKinstry 1/30/14 4:25 PM
Understanding of aversion changing Travis Gene McKinstry 2/2/14 8:55 AM
RE: Understanding of aversion changing Nikolai . 2/2/14 2:19 PM
RE: Understanding of aversion changing Travis Gene McKinstry 2/3/14 9:25 AM
RE: Understanding of aversion changing John Mckinstry 2/4/14 3:49 PM
RE: Understanding of aversion changing Travis Gene McKinstry 2/6/14 9:47 AM
Tiredness Travis Gene McKinstry 2/12/14 8:40 PM
RE: Tiredness Dream Walker 2/13/14 12:11 AM
RE: Tiredness Travis Gene McKinstry 2/18/14 9:07 AM
Dissolution Travis Gene McKinstry 3/1/14 8:29 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 3/3/14 8:00 AM
Current practice Travis Gene McKinstry 3/16/14 10:38 PM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 3/29/14 9:48 AM
The hospital log Travis Gene McKinstry 4/5/14 6:52 PM
Bored Travis Gene McKinstry 4/10/14 7:55 PM
RE: Bored Travis Gene McKinstry 4/22/14 1:22 PM
Hurricane of experience Travis Gene McKinstry 4/12/14 11:41 PM
RE: Hurricane of experience Travis Gene McKinstry 4/15/14 1:48 PM
One more month Travis Gene McKinstry 4/20/14 12:08 PM
Infrequent EQ Travis Gene McKinstry 5/8/14 6:35 PM
Concentration Travis Gene McKinstry 5/11/14 8:07 AM
RE: Concentration Travis Gene McKinstry 5/11/14 10:21 PM
RE: Concentration stuart chas law 5/14/14 1:11 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Simon Ekstrand 5/14/14 9:34 AM
RE: First thread, First practice log Travis Gene McKinstry 6/18/14 9:44 AM
First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/5/13 8:05 PM
I'm new to this whole forum-stuff. This online sangha community is too beautiful to ignore. Thank you all for the kind advice and guidance.

In about 3 days I will begin what is a second attempt at a solo concentration meditation retreat. The first time I tried this I lasted a full 24hrs before getting too restless (obviously believing too much in the mind stories). However, those 24 hours were still the most interesting 24hrs I had ever experienced and I'm attempting to not hold onto them coming into this retreat.

What happened was I had been focusing on the breath for a couple of hours. Sitting for an hour or so, meditating on and off (as my mind would wander often) and I began to get frustrated. I started to get upset at myself for wandering then gave up on the retreat in whole. Once I gave up (hint hint), I sat down and just closed my eyes. I immediately entered access concentration and began having sights of what seemed to be the nimitta (if I spelled that right). A few minutes later a strong burst of piti began to arise and permeate my entire being; I feel like a rush of nice, beautiful adrenaline ran through my entire body and my heart began to race a little. I began to breath faster as if I was running and this lasted for about a minute, dissipating my concentration and the nimitta dropped. I awoke from that feeling better than I've ever felt with more confidence in the path and teachings than I've ever had.

Ever since then I've taken the path more seriously and haven't been able to think of much else.

I'm going to try for jhana this retreat again. If things to work out as hoped then next retreat I'll cultivate access concentration and move right into what Daniel explains in MTCB as vipassana meditation; simple noting.

I hope you are all having insightful practices.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/5/13 8:40 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
hi Travis

Simple routine suggestions.
Based on a typical 30min./Day sit practice w/ say Saturday 8 hour sit.

It is good to employ the first 30 waking min. not moving from waking position much if at all.

It is good to employ the last 30 min. waking if meditation does not tend to anxiety, agitation or unrest.

Adjust to suit.

for 3/4 to 8/12/16/20 hr. sits, best to rise (mindfully) when stiff, stretch, bend, walk etc. and then resume. Eat as necessary.

upekkha
nathan / triplethink / =>++3Bird>

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/5/13 8:58 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:


What happened was I had been focusing on the breath for a couple of hours. Sitting for an hour or so, meditating on and off (as my mind would wander often) and I began to get frustrated. I started to get upset at myself for wandering then gave up on the retreat in whole.


Ya, somewhat in the same vein as triplethink, it is good to break up sitting practice with some walking. What I find most beneficial, and generally what I have encountered on the few extended sits/retreats I have done is a half hour sitting meditation followed by ten minutes walking meditation repeated for several hours, probably 3 - 4 is good. Then a bit of a break, and then resume. Personally I don't think I could just sit and meditate for several hours, that sounds rough (on the body and mind).

The point isn't to go as hard as you can, it's to do it well. If you are not concentrating hard enough, try harder; if it's too hard, back off. Meditation isn't asceticism; remember the middle way.

Travis Gene McKinstry:
I'm going to try for jhana this retreat again. If things to work out as hoped then next retreat I'll cultivate access concentration and move right into what Daniel explains in MTCB as vipassana meditation; simple noting.

I hope you are all having insightful practices.


Personally I am not sure you are proceeding in the right order here. While concentration is good, the concentration required to access the jhana's is not likely to be found in a meditator who has not yet done noting or has reasonable concentration already (access concentration). IMO a more logical sequence of practice would be: noting -> access concentration -> noting -> some insight (stream entry) -> jhanas. The jhanas aren't necessary for stream entry, and are perhaps not the best and most attainable goal for beginner meditators.

However I have little knowledge of your practice off which to base advice. How long have you been meditating? How much do you sit? Where do you think you're at?

Cheers, best of luck

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/6/13 10:51 AM as a reply to T DC.
Appreciate the feedback, very helpful.

I see your logic in the order of my practice. It seems like a better idea to do what you suggested. I'll try that.

I've been 'practicing' for about 6 years but actually INTENTLY practicing with stream-entry in mind for a couple of months.

Where do I think I am? To be completely honest I have full faith (I believe) in the teachings but I feel a bit lost on what insight meditation actually is, as in what I'm actually noting/looking for and the path of progress. Meaning, do I keep noting until stream-entry or do I change it as I progress?
I don't have too much experience in meditation, and I have a strong background in the actual teachings. I'm 22, very motivated, and practical.

I meditate everyday for at least 10 minutes but have never actually sat for any longer than 45min.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/9/13 12:47 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I find the first day of this 12 day retreat a bit challenging for several reasons. First off; the mind seems very restless and there are lots of body aches I assume from not being used to sitting for such long periods of time.

The first session seemed very beneficial and went well; I was able to note with accuracy and sped for a long time. I also started twitching a bit which I've never done before (and no I wasn't cold).

Every session after that I've tried keeping my mind on the task; note everything but it keeps wanting to go into the stories. So far I have planned out a total of about 12 hours of meditation during the day spread out with about an hour each session. I've mixed in some walking meditation and standing as well as some laying meditation.

Any advice or tips would be helpful emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/10/13 3:57 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Middle of day two and I can report some insight at this stage.

I've been doing the Mahasi technique of noting every little thing I can though out the day and at times I'm able to stay with it for a while, other times not so much. This morning I was able to do it for a while (being about a straight 20min) and my breathing seemed to start increasing with my noting. At this point I didn't use actual mental notes as these seemed a bit too slow. I had been explained by Daniel through email earlier that this would happen eventually.

The insight I can report is that of being able to see ever so slightly what everybody means when they say 'there is only mind and body'. I'm starting to understanding the point behind 'eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness' and so on. I'm still a bit deluded in terms of mental formations as those are still drawing me in and creating stories.

I've also learned to let go of aspirations of stream-entry (although it sounds great) because it had started to stress me out a bit. This happened by reading some posts on this website.

I'm attempting to increase my meditation time to about 25min each sitting with more than 5 sittings per day. I also alternate somewhat between sitting and walking meditation.

My need for sleep seems to have increases slightly, which I find a bit interesting but nothing to write home about.

Any and all advice or perspective is much appreciated emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 9:20 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Third day of the retreat and things are going 'well'. First off I want to say thanks for this sangha, all of you have helped tremendously thus far.

I've been noting my butt off and I'm beginning to see how there is only mind and body. This face is becoming more and more apparent. The one thing I can't seem to understand is if the mind is just perception, feeling and consciousness, what 'controls' consciousness? I feel something moving the consciousness. Much like when I try to do concentration meditation; there seems to be a force that brings the minds' consciousness back to it's object, what is this 'thing'? Is there even a thing or is that another illusion?

Hmmmm I guess it's just one more thing for me to investigate emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 2:24 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So I posted this in the diagnostics arena but was advised to post it here in my practice log, so here goes!

I just got out of a 45min meditation (intended to do an hour but had an event happen).

I was doing noting meditating, quite well, very fast and with good accuracy (although not the best) then suddenly I felt a pull to focus, so I did. That spot happened to be my breath underneath my nose on my upper lip. I focused on that for a second or two and made a resolve to 'enter jhana' (whichever jhana my mind would allow) because it seemed I had reached access concentration.
After this resolve was made I started to get really focused and expansive. I started to expand a lot and it felt as though my hands were really far away (I was sitting in a chair meditating). Then it felt like my body was essentially empty and my attention was able to flow through it and focus on whatever it seemed to want to. I had a difficult time noting quickly, noting seemed to slow down substantially and so I just noted one or two things at a time. I focused a bit on the feeling, what was going on and everything I could note, then my ear started to become insanely itchy and my focus seemed to break.

Anything of value just happen or is this another one of those 'hmm interesting…. but not important'- events?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 2:53 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
So I posted this in the diagnostics arena but was advised to post it here in my practice log, so here goes!

I just got out of a 45min meditation (intended to do an hour but had an event happen).

I was doing noting meditating, quite well, very fast and with good accuracy (although not the best) then suddenly I felt a pull to focus, so I did. That spot happened to be my breath underneath my nose on my upper lip. I focused on that for a second or two and made a resolve to 'enter jhana' (whichever jhana my mind would allow) because it seemed I had reached access concentration.


Possibly 1st nana/1st jhana.

After this resolve was made I started to get really focused and expansive. I started to expand a lot and it felt as though my hands were really far away (I was sitting in a chair meditating). Then it felt like my body was essentially empty and my attention was able to flow through it and focus on whatever it seemed to want to.

Hard to say, possibly 1st nana/2nd nana/3rd nana or even 4th nana. Unsure.

I had a difficult time noting quickly, noting seemed to slow down substantially and so I just noted one or two things at a time. I focused a bit on the feeling, what was going on and everything I could note, then my ear started to become insanely itchy and my focus seemed to break.


Possibly 2nd or 3rd nana.

Anything of value just happen or is this another one of those 'hmm interesting…. but not important'- events?


Like I said, it is hard to diagnose with such little info. Though it seems clearer that you have gotten to at least 1st nana of mind and body and moving into newer territory by the sounds of your last post. (usually one finds the newer territory to have a WOW factor the first few times around, but the mind will acclimatise to the new cutting edge over time.) With posts likes this last one that really focus on the the phenomena arising and passing, it will become clearer where you are and what you are dealing with and how to proceed from there (i.e. more noticing and noting and developing equanimity/specific neutrality towards phenomena)

nick

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 3:32 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hmm that is interesting. Thanks for the reply Nick.

I forgot to menton (I don't know if this is important) but at one point I started to focus on the point between my eyebrows and that made me feel like I was being 'pulled' into something.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 6:30 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
In my down time (when I'm feeling outrageously restless or anxious) I've decided I will contemplate the idea of a separate self and here is what I've got so far;

The sensations obviously have no separate self/observer because they are just receiving input from the outside world. Much like a cup of water can receive vibrations if one taps on the cup. Because the water received these vibrations does not indicate in the least that there is an observer.

'Well what about the fact that we can recognize this vibration? A cup of water can't recognize this vibration, it just receives it. To that I say there are cameras and computers that 'recognize' faces, temperatures, people etc. yet have no separate self. The act of recognizing is just aligning the right elements so as to get the 'right' result. For example; if one were to set up a thermometer underneath a rocking pin that switches on a fan when moved, one gets 'recognition'. The mercury inside the thermometer expands when heat is present, the mercury thermometer will expand at the top, rocking the switch to turn on another switch which completes an electrical circuit to the fan motor which will spin the fan and cool down the area. Recognition? I think not. More like the Goldberg affect in a more complex configuration.

'What about feelings? I can recognize a good and bad feeling, the fan cannot!' Feelings are based upon a very rudimentary concept; that of evolution and survival. Humans will prefer 'good' feelings, like a warm blanket on a cold night or food in the belly, because it is conducive to our survival.

Thoughts are an easy one. The minds' main job is to react. It is a big reacting organ (of course it can do more than just react, although some do not believe so), that is it's main purpose. So when something comes into contact with a hot pan, let's say, a hand, that hands neurons have specific 'devices' to 'recognize' a hot surface. Much like mercury, the neurons have devices that will expand and if expanded enough (stimulation threshold) it will complete a circuit that will send electricity to the brain telling it 'these neurons in this location have received this amount of depolarization (the hand is really hot) and a decision should be made to move the hand to a cooler location (get your hand off the hot pan). A reaction/description/summary/thought of what just happened will be made, 'that was hot' and conditioning will occur (most likely).

What about consciousness? This is an object making an impression on a sense organ (ear, eye, nose, mouth, body, mind) and the awareness of that object.

Where, in all of this, is there a separate, observing, in-control, self? I don't see one...

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 7:15 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
In my down time (when I'm feeling outrageously restless or anxious) I've decided I will contemplate the idea of a separate self and here is what I've got so far;

The sensations obviously have no separate self/observer because they are just receiving input from the outside world. Much like a cup of water can receive vibrations if one taps on the cup. Because the water received these vibrations does not indicate in the least that there is an observer.

'Well what about the fact that we can recognize this vibration? A cup of water can't recognize this vibration, it just receives it. To that I say there are cameras and computers that 'recognize' faces, temperatures, people etc. yet have no separate self. The act of recognizing is just aligning the right elements so as to get the 'right' result. For example; if one were to set up a thermometer underneath a rocking pin that switches on a fan when moved, one gets 'recognition'. The mercury inside the thermometer expands when heat is present, the mercury thermometer will expand at the top, rocking the switch to turn on another switch which completes an electrical circuit to the fan motor which will spin the fan and cool down the area. Recognition? I think not. More like the Goldberg affect in a more complex configuration.

'What about feelings? I can recognize a good and bad feeling, the fan cannot!' Feelings are based upon a very rudimentary concept; that of evolution and survival. Humans will prefer 'good' feelings, like a warm blanket on a cold night or food in the belly, because it is conducive to our survival.

Thoughts are an easy one. The minds' main job is to react. It is a big reacting organ (of course it can do more than just react, although some do not believe so), that is it's main purpose. So when something comes into contact with a hot pan, let's say, a hand, that hands neurons have specific 'devices' to 'recognize' a hot surface. Much like mercury, the neurons have devices that will expand and if expanded enough (stimulation threshold) it will complete a circuit that will send electricity to the brain telling it 'these neurons in this location have received this amount of depolarization (the hand is really hot) and a decision should be made to move the hand to a cooler location (get your hand off the hot pan). A reaction/description/summary/thought of what just happened will be made, 'that was hot' and conditioning will occur (most likely).

What about consciousness? This is an object making an impression on a sense organ (ear, eye, nose, mouth, body, mind) and the awareness of that object.

Where, in all of this, is there a separate, observing, in-control, self? I don't see one...


Is this experiential or simply intellectual knowledge for you?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 8:54 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

Is this experiential or simply intellectual knowledge for you?


Intellectual. I know what you're going to say emoticon

I imagine it's best to think of these things if one isn't going to do noting practice than to get lost in thoughts and whatnot.

I really do appreciate the feedback though.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/11/13 10:49 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Nikolai .:

Is this experiential or simply intellectual knowledge for you?


Intellectual. I know what you're going to say emoticon

I imagine it's best to think of these things if one isn't going to do noting practice than to get lost in thoughts and whatnot.

I really do appreciate the feedback though.


So now the idea is to make it experiential. Take that curiosity into your sits. What is the felt sense of existing really made up of ? Note those compoundings.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/12/13 12:05 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Personally I am not sure you are proceeding in the right order here. While concentration is good, the concentration required to access the jhana's is not likely to be found in a meditator who has not yet done noting or has reasonable concentration already (access concentration). IMO a more logical sequence of practice would be: noting -> access concentration -> noting -> some insight (stream entry) -> jhanas. The jhanas aren't necessary for stream entry, and are perhaps not the best and most attainable goal for beginner meditators.


+1 +1, no need to work on the jhanas for now, proceed to insight meditation

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/27/13 5:52 AM as a reply to Bailey ..
J .:
Personally I am not sure you are proceeding in the right order here. While concentration is good, the concentration required to access the jhana's is not likely to be found in a meditator who has not yet done noting or has reasonable concentration already (access concentration). IMO a more logical sequence of practice would be: noting -> access concentration -> noting -> some insight (stream entry) -> jhanas. The jhanas aren't necessary for stream entry, and are perhaps not the best and most attainable goal for beginner meditators.


+1 +1, no need to work on the jhanas for now, proceed to insight meditation


One could argue that one is still accessing 4th jhana territory when hitting the 11th nana so technically, yes you need some level of access to the sane territory, how deeply absorbed is a different thing. And having quck access to 4th jhana could lead to quick progress via turning to noting phenomena in e 4th/11th nana.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/talking-in-jhanas.html

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/12/13 12:49 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

So now the idea is to make it experiential. Take that curiosity into your sits. What is the felt sense of existing really made up of ? Note those compoundings.


Thanks for the guidance.

Interestingly enough, all the senses are now 'reporting' what seems to be a kind of static… I'm slightly seeing this static that I label as buzz, I hear a static (when it's quiet enough) and I feel this static… just interesting to note.

Sometimes its tough to notice the static and keep labeling because there is so much static happening that I can't keep up.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/13/13 9:15 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So day three is in the bag now.

Something interesting happened yesterday. I was doing my usual noting meditation when I started to really get a sense of what a tragedy it is having a human body. Pain here, discomfort there, then a positive thought crossed my mind and I thought, 'how is it possible that the mind can think such nice thoughts yet my body go through such pain?' And it hit me. Slightly. I realized because they are two different things and that 'I' am neither of them. If I was something, I was the awareness looking at all of it, possibly the consciousness.

Interesting stuff emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/13/13 1:59 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Just did an hour session of noting and I wanted to write this down in the log for reference.

At the beginning of this retreat I felt strong urges that 'felt' like they were hard to not conduct. For example, if 'I' felt an itch, it was hard for 'me' to resist itching instead of noting/staying still. There is just body and mind, and that's apparent. The body senses something by one of the sense organs and consciousness, which is in the mind, acknowledges it. Then the mind proceeds to identify it, decides whether or not this phenomenon is a good or bad thing, then finally makes a decision about what to do.

These pains and urges come and go, another thing that is quite apparent. The back will have pain for a little bit then it will subside. If the brain acknowledges this pain and decides to do something about it and command the body to change positions, it is apparent that this relief is highly temporary. Either the back pain will come back or something else will happen and the brain feels like something should be done. Is it important to understand why? It seems as though there is a 'baseline' state that the brain is always reaching for. A state in which the least amount of physical, emotional and mental pain exist. And instead of the brain and that whole cycle taking the blame (which it can't really since the five forces are just steps on a complex Goldberg model), the 'self' does, or that false sense of 'me'. Which is apparent now where the suffering Buddha talks about comes from.

If there is no 'me' to begin with, then 'I' can't take blame when something bad happens. If someone says something 'hurtful', and there is a sense of self, the 'self' will take blame for it. But if there isn't a sense of self, the words will come off as not pleasurable and it will be understood that this is because of multiple factors including habits, conditions the brain is used to or not used to which it will cling to or push away, etc. And there is no necessary reaction that must take place.

It seems as though the mind/brain need something to blame. The brain prefers to have an entity to blame so it can make sense of things. And making a false 'self' is the quickest way to make sense of all of this.

Back pain has returned and there is a sense that seems to go from the back, to the brain, back down to the back. Over and over. Almost as if there is a 'hey, this isn't comfortable' and a response as 'ok, something will be done'. Back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over until something is done.

Something was done and suffering remains. In the feet, various places on the body in the form of itches and twitches, mental restlessness and so on.

It does seem apparent that emotions have subsided for a good majority of the time.

The mind constantly wants things. 'Life is suffering'.

This desire is caused by ignorance. Ignorance that says obtaining these things will cause happiness. 'Suffering is caused by ignorance'.

Although it's known that there is no satisfying; the mind will always want. So should one continue to give ones 'self' what it wants? No, that won't help anything. Avoid all things the mind craves for? No, because that won't exhaust the mind's desires, merely change them. So what is one to do? 'There is a cessation of suffering'.

By understanding impermanence (nothing stays the same so to base happiness on a moving ideal or object is like building a house on sand), unsatisfactoriness (there is no satisfying, so stop trying), and no-self (there is no self to satisfy, no self to blame for bad things, and no self to direct/observe/decide). This destruction of a sense of self to satisfy comes about when the right elements are brought together. 'There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering'.

So, if it's understood correctly, the mind must see for itself how all phenomenon are impermanence and unsatisfactory in order to give up satisfying itself which gives way to destroying that sense of self. Seems simple enough. Look at every single phenomenon for a long enough period of time to understand their impermanent and unsatisfactory nature, which will cause the mind to give up (equanimity?) and shake the sense of self.

One sees the impermanent nature by speeding the mind up to see each rising and falling of each phenomenon. One cannot do this without the mind speeding up. Otherwise it all looks solid, like a blur, or a static that is moving too fast. Although I'd imagine seeing a blur or static is better than seeing solidity.

The only question that reminds; how long does it take the mind to speed up to see these things clearly enough to 'want' to give up?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/13/13 8:19 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
After a fair degree of confidence that I was in Mind and Body, I now think I've reached cause and effect only because as I noted my breathing increased. I felt a shortness of breath which caused me to breath quicker. When I focused on one thing it slowed down, then again and again. I test this several times to be sure.

Then towards the end my breathing got a bit bumpy. It didn't feel like one whole breath in but rather two, and so did the out breath.

Anyways, whether or not I'm in that stage I'll just keep noting emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/13/13 10:29 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Sure think that was the A&P, although I could be wrong.

Felt my concentration increase dramatically, I turned a little expansive, then it felt as though something big was about to happen. I kept bracing myself for it but it never really came. I got up from the meditation and felt great. Very happy, very warm, very focused. It was very easy to focus on phenomenon.

If I reached the A&P I guess I'll know tomorrow, being that I'll be entering into the dark night.

If not, just another strange experience emoticon

A&P
Answer
12/15/13 8:18 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Ohhhh hahaha that was A&P….

Wow. I understand now why Daniel says it's a memorable experience.

If anyone has any questions about what's that like and leading up to that stage, let me know emoticon

RE: A&P
Answer
12/15/13 10:09 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Ohhhh hahaha that was A&P….

Wow. I understand now why Daniel says it's a memorable experience.

If anyone has any questions about what's that like and leading up to that stage, let me know emoticon
What is an A & P in your own words?

RE: A&P
Answer
12/15/13 10:58 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
What is an A & P in your own words?


Well, I would say it is the mind becoming aware of two of the three characteristics in more depth.

The three characteristics is a stage where the mind seems to start considering them.

A&P seems the mind understands impermanence and suffering a bit more. There is lots of pain in life/reality; it can really suck. But all of it arises and passes eventually. If one is to continually allow the push and pull of desire and aversion control intentions and actions, more suffering will happen. But if one can sit with the mental and emotional pain and be O.K. with it (being ok means understanding it won't last), then reality is a bit more bright.
I think that's why it's such a memorable experience. The mind is finally being o.k.

What do you think Nikolai? Did I understand that well?

RE: A&P
Answer
12/15/13 11:19 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'll hold off till you start describing what comes next in your practice. Carry on!
:-)

RE: A&P
Answer
12/16/13 9:57 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
I'll hold off till you start describing what comes next in your practice. Carry on!
:-)


haha anticipation!! that'll be noted a bit I'm sure.
But alright. Thanks again for the feedback. It's really appreciated.

RE: A&P
Answer
12/16/13 2:01 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
So I'm not sure if this is my 'next' meditation experience but it is really hard to focus right now. Maybe it's just the day.

Good days and bad days.

We'll see if this lasts until tonight.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/16/13 7:03 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Lots of posts today, I know.

I'm in a 'meh' mood and I'm finding it hard to focus on anything.

I explained to my brother I feel both like I don't want anyone around me but also don't want to be alone.

Angry, annoyed, frustrated, etc.

Let's hope its not just a bad day and instead is a sign of progress.
This sucks.

Sense of self
Answer
12/17/13 10:53 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'm doing noting but a bit more focused on this feeling of 'self'.

I kept asking 'who am 'I', who is doing this thinking?'

What 'I' keep finding is a dead end. 'Is it this pain in my back?', meaning, 'is it 'I' who decides this is painful and not pleasant?'…no.

'Is it this feeling of restlessness? Do 'I' feel restless? No. The body feels restless. Some set of conditions made the brain release chemicals to make the body feel 'restless' and the mind associated 'me' with that feeling.

Hmmmm where is this 'me' that 'I' keep sensing?? Is it Contact or consciousness? The seemingly 'in-control' observer who decides where to pay attention? It's hard to look at that part because it seems as though where 'I' am trying to look is at the act of looking itself. Much like shining a flash light onto itself.

It seemed to happened this morning with the first meditation session. There was a point where a thought crossed 'my' mind and another thought immediately followed that said 'that isn't my thought' and a rush of some good feeling overcame me for a bit. Felt a bit like excitement or maybe joy. Then my mind clung to this and 'I' asked 'who is clinging to this feeling? 'Why' isn't necessarily important because 'why' depends on whether or not it was pleasurable (and it was). So who?'

Who?

This question starts with the assumption from there is a 'who'. Is there a who? I'm told no. If there isn't, where does this feeling come from?

Does this feeling come up like any other feeling? Like restlessness? Or happiness? It's a set of chemicals that are released? If so, when? If I can expose this process to the mind (stimulus, contact, perception, pleasurable/not, mental formation --> feeling of self), then maybe it'll pop…….

The sense of self seems to come up after other feelings…. why? And how?

After the recent meditation session there is a strange feeling I'm not sure how to describe it. But my head feels like it's under pressure and I almost feel like I'm going to blow up or something… very difficult to describe...

RE: Sense of self
Answer
12/17/13 1:27 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Hi Travis,

I find it very hard to reply to your thread without somehow weighing in, like, "Good" and colouring and contributing to expectation and good and bad notions. So what can I say? I appreciate reading your account of practice and wish you (and me) continued self-study.

After the recent meditation session there is a strange feeling I'm not sure how to describe it. But my head feels like it's under pressure and I almost feel like I'm going to blow up or something… very difficult to describe...
So here I've heard some people call a head pressure "iron skull" and I've called the sensation of my head tightening "Octopus head", as if one were wrapped on my head. Maybe you're describing a different pressure and maybe there's a medical underlying.. but I did myself and I do here tell of people reporting this when they are beginning to see thoughts and feelings arise and looking for the agency/causality there.

It would, again, be a huge disservice to anyone's practice to suggest there are foregone conclusions and, ultimately, I feel a practice does not depend on the comments of others, like mine here, but ultimately sincere effort and home-grown knowledge of that.

Um.. so good luck.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/18/13 2:22 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Very discouraged today. Trying to not to put importance on emotions/mind states but it's difficult today.

Been unable to focus on anything for more than a minute or two. Keep getting lost in thought. Lots of negative thinking.

Just posting this to see if anyone has any advice on how to get out of it or how to deal with it.


Thanks emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/18/13 10:14 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Keep practicing and accepting this monkey mind bouncing around. Trying to stop things is not it. By watching things release on it's own because you aren't clinging is how it works. It's counterintuitive. You get out of the way of the mental habits but you don't add to them. By not adding more narratives, to your habitual narratives that will come up, you will dry up the fuel of clinging. You have to wait for relief to happen.

It's very expected that all the negative mental habits will come out. That's a good thing. It's almost like acne that boils up before it clears.

Under certain situations I found myself overly agitated I would just stop and watch some TV or do something I like and then get back into it when I felt better. The withdrawal symptoms get weaker and weaker over the months and years but it's harder at the beginning. I would also continue that Zen practice you've done. Just bare awareness can help a lot and notice when you're trying to intentionally do something and don't. Let the habitual stuff just arise and pass away and they weaken in strength.

The problem with concentration practices is that they repress these habits and when the benefits fade they just come back again. You want to target the clinging mental habits. And when I say target I just mean notice it and let it pass. Deconditioning habits is a gradual thing.

Make sense?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/19/13 3:11 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Very discouraged today. Trying to not to put importance on emotions/mind states but it's difficult today.

Been unable to focus on anything for more than a minute or two. Keep getting lost in thought. Lots of negative thinking.

Just posting this to see if anyone has any advice on how to get out of it or how to deal with it.


Thanks emoticon


Hahaha, perhaps it was a&p after all. The trick is to simply accept it as it is. Hard as balls but possible. In the process you cultivate an equanimous standpoint(which later on is let go of as well) but in the meantime, start to accept you have flipped the switch of no return and now have to navigate your numerous negative tendencies. Make sure to get lots of sweaty excercise In Between sitting and recognise the Nama and rupa of the experience as the negativity arises and passes. And express those feelings that dog you here as a good outlet, people here get it.

What makes an experience negative? Know the answer to this completely and the cessation of such negativity will present.

Nick

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/20/13 5:05 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Richard: Thanks for the pointer. I'm trying to, its difficult.

Nikolai: I appreciate the advice to 'express the feelings' through here as people here 'get it'.

It's tough to do that cause I feel so irritated and annoyed and alone all at the same time. It's difficult not to take it out on those people around me. I try my best to see these feelings as just causes and conditions and not 'me'. That they are all part of the mind and body phenomenon.

It almost feels like meditating caused me to be irritated because my mind had gotten used to being calm perhaps… I don't know… sure feels like crap though.

What makes an experience negative? I wanted to reactively answer 'conditions' but I already 'know' this and the mind is still… bleh. I appreciate the koan though and I'll work towards understanding it.

Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/24/13 10:45 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So practice is somewhat steady now. I'm trying to keep a consistent 2-3 hours of meditation everyday, while trying to me mindful in between sits. I'm doing 30min meditations (as these seem to be the longest I can sit without being totally lost in the mind stream yet still derive some benefit).

In May I'll be attending a 10 day Goenka retreat, which I'm excited for but also a bit nervous.

I read Nikolai's blog on the Hamilton Project and do believe it to be possible to reach SE on a 10 day retreat; I just have to prepare in advance.

I'm thinking a progression to 4-5 hours total of meditation a day before I go on the retreat. Any ideas/advice/tips?

A side note; I read Mahasi's book 'Practical Insight Meditation' and in that I didn't quite get the feeling that noting fast needs to happen. I got the feeling that Mahasi says to note at a regular speed and your mind will naturally notice things that at first were very subtle. Yet in MCTB by Daniel Ingram I got the feeling he encouraged yogi's to note as fast as they could. Are these two slight nuances or did I misunderstand one?

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/24/13 11:24 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
A side note; I read Mahasi's book 'Practical Insight Meditation' and in that I didn't quite get the feeling that noting fast needs to happen. I got the feeling that Mahasi says to note at a regular speed and your mind will naturally notice things that at first were very subtle. Yet in MCTB by Daniel Ingram I got the feeling he encouraged yogi's to note as fast as they could. Are these two slight nuances or did I misunderstand one?


From what I gather it's making sure the noticing is happening before the note. Everyone's skill level is different. I happen to get a lot out of slow noting and sometimes just bare awareness. Even more importantly is noticing if there's too much laxity or restlessness. Sometimes the fast noting makes me more restless and relaxing the body and slowing down the noting improves things. Here's Gil Fronsdal's view on some of the trap doors:

Gil Fronsdal - Mental Noting

Others have different opinions on whether you should just follow the retreat instructions to a tee or to just practice your method to a tee because it's your time. I'm sure others will chime in who have been on Goenka retreats.

Good luck!

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/26/13 7:20 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Good luck!


Thanks for the encouragement.

The mind seems to have accepted the nature of itself (being that of a monkey) a bit more. This acceptance is becoming more apparent as 'I' start to have more insight into cause and effect. Being that there is no self, control is not possible, and therefore one should not try to control things, rather, accept them as they are. And try to understand them.

Lots of back pain, which I'm trying to consider as a blessing as I can try to understand one of the three perspectives, that being 'dukka', a little bit more.

Cause and effect
Answer
12/26/13 9:42 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So I posted in another thread about how I realized that if there is an illusion of a separate self then there is also an illusion of choice. A few members confirmed this claim for me and encouraged that I keep investigating this sense of control; what/who seems to feel in control?

Well I've been looking during meditation (both 'formal' and 'informal' meditation) and I found that the next place that seems to be emitting a sense of control (and it seems like the last place) is this sense of which sense-door to 'look' at. I imagine it has to be something like the sense-door with the largest stimulus will get the attention/consciousness 'shone' on it. I can see (or at least it seems as though I can) during 'formal' meditation that all of these things are causes and conditions.

Is there another place I might look or does it not really matter? I'd appreciate very much some feedback from anyone who has treaded this water before emoticon

RE: Cause and effect
Answer
12/27/13 6:15 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
So I posted in another thread about how I realized that if there is an illusion of a separate self then there is also an illusion of choice. A few members confirmed this claim for me and encouraged that I keep investigating this sense of control; what/who seems to feel in control?

Well I've been looking during meditation (both 'formal' and 'informal' meditation) and I found that the next place that seems to be emitting a sense of control (and it seems like the last place) is this sense of which sense-door to 'look' at. I imagine it has to be something like the sense-door with the largest stimulus will get the attention/consciousness 'shone' on it. I can see (or at least it seems as though I can) during 'formal' meditation that all of these things are causes and conditions.

Is there another place I might look or does it not really matter? I'd appreciate very much some feedback from anyone who has treaded this water before emoticon


An experiment.


Observe some sensation/s in one foot with the intention to only pay attention to the foot sensation/s without attention moving away to some other phenomena. Do this for a minute before you read on.








Difficult to keep attention purely on the foot sensations? Probably. Do you get a tangibly felt sense of 'I' doing the observing of the foot sensation/s? Is there a sort of a reference point to those sensations on the foot? If so, where? If so, do you notice if attention jumps to any place in particular other than the foot sensations to give the impression that 'I' am observing the foot sensations? Or is it an ongoing uninterrupted experience of just the foot sensations without attention jumping elsewhere at all?

Now try it again and pay attention to what attention does. Is it staying purely with the foot sensations or is it jumping elsewhere? And if elsewhere what is that elsewhere?

RE: Cause and effect
Answer
12/27/13 9:50 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
It does seem to 'jump' somewhere else. I'll try to focus fully on the foot like you suggested and it seems to almost 'check back' somewhere around or behind the eyes, then go back to the foot. This seems to happen ridiculously fast and I'm not sure if I can observe right when it leaves the foot and checks in, but 'I' can notice the act of 'checking in'.

I'm going to assume this is where I should look a bit deeper. I'll try to focus on this 'checking in' and see what I can notice… or not notice.

Thanks again emoticon

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/27/13 10:07 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Being that there is no self, control is not possible, and therefore one should not try to control things, rather, accept them as they are. And try to understand them.


Be careful with that. You can make choices and gain control of many things, just not all things. You have to accept what you can't control but you still need to take action over what responsibilities you have. You can respond if responsibility exists.

It's the thinking part that can't make the choice or do the action even though it pretends to with imagination. It can look at options and decide what is a better one but the entire body is needed for the intention and action.

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/27/13 10:21 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Being that there is no self, control is not possible, and therefore one should not try to control things, rather, accept them as they are. And try to understand them.


Be careful with that.


Yes, I also posted that I realize the implications of having 'no control'. One could simply just use that as an excuse for everything. As I explained to my brother, as long as the illusion of a separate self exists, the illusion of control needs to exist as well or else indulgence in many things could happen and they would be 'out of one's control'; meaning they'd stop taking responsibility.

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/27/13 1:02 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Richard Zen:
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Being that there is no self, control is not possible, and therefore one should not try to control things, rather, accept them as they are. And try to understand them.


Be careful with that.


Yes, I also posted that I realize the implications of having 'no control'. One could simply just use that as an excuse for everything. As I explained to my brother, as long as the illusion of a separate self exists, the illusion of control needs to exist as well or else indulgence in many things could happen and they would be 'out of one's control'; meaning they'd stop taking responsibility.


That's good. I'm glad.

The last time this discussion came up I worried because many people were getting the attitude that nothing really matters and An Eternal Now made a good example: If you imagine you can run a marathon but you haven't practiced, the illusion is that you can run a marathon. But if you practice lots eventually you can. Or as Daniel advised to another poster. You can't experience anything other than what happens but the daydreaming part of the mind acts as if it can experience things that aren't happening.

It's not an illusion you have control. It's illusion that thinking is a concrete self that is doing the controlling. Everything is in place as before. The practice is to atrophy the self-referencing habit which is a thinking habit to create a fantasy world of possibilities of a self concept, and our brain releases chemicals and creates a chemical experience of the choice before you even choose it. It does so with gusto and releases lots of stress hormones when we imagine a lack of something or we lose something we like. So for example if I was a depressed person (negative habitual thinking) and I try to improve myself in some way my brain may go into a negative narrative habit and react as if the choice already happened preventing me (unpleasant stress) from making the difficult choice. It's good to get away from the idea that everything is an illusion because it does make many Buddhists not do enough to improve their lives. I posted before (I don't know if you read it or not) Kenneth's article on productivity and from his teaching experience just as many enlightened folks don't do more work than do. Yet most of us could greatly improve our lives if we did study more/organize more/achieve goals more.

It's all about the middle path. Nothing is eternal and permanently solid but it isn't completely nothing. It's in between those two. Situations manifest but disappear. It's like the brain receives stimulus impressions quickly and then the brain manufactures the rest with extrapolation so we can function properly with the innate but limited sensory abilities.

If daydreaming about likes and dislikes didn't release any pleasant or unpleasant chemicals it would be easy to see the difference because you wouldn't be able to be frightened by a mental image. Because our brains react to imagination we have this tug of war between what we really want to do versus short-term impulses based on beliefs/perceptions.

Whether the cessation non-experience is an example of being out of space and time doesn't change the fact that all people will be functioning with some time frame, even if you feel there's no self in there. I want people to get more done instead of less done because this practice can help with that. A lot of what people think is tiredness is really mostly aversion.

RE: Cause and effect
Answer
12/27/13 1:32 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
It does seem to 'jump' somewhere else. I'll try to focus fully on the foot like you suggested and it seems to almost 'check back' somewhere around or behind the eyes, then go back to the foot. This seems to happen ridiculously fast and I'm not sure if I can observe right when it leaves the foot and checks in, but 'I' can notice the act of 'checking in'.

I'm going to assume this is where I should look a bit deeper. I'll try to focus on this 'checking in' and see what I can notice… or not notice.

Thanks again emoticon



Yes. If it is just some 'not paid attention to' sensations behind the eyes that are giving the impression of a 'self' doing the observing of the foot sensations and they can be objectified, what does that mean for the notion of 'self'? Not just intellectually, go right in experientially and see what is happening in realtime. Notice those sensations and note them not as self but simply what they are, 'sensations'.

Experiment.

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/28/13 10:20 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard;

Your point is well taken. Thanks for this guidance. I have also met many 'Buddhists' who claim this type of practice; the practice of no effort. 'Letting these be as they are'-- which may be good advice for a control freak but this doesn't get practice done. This isn't what brings about high states of concentration and it isn't what brings about liberation.

Nikolai;

"Yes. If it is just some 'not paid attention to' sensations behind the eyes that are giving the impression of a 'self' doing the observing of the foot sensations and they can be objectified, what does that mean for the notion of 'self'? Not just intellectually, go right in experientially and see what is happening in real time. Notice those sensations and note them not as self but simply what they are, 'sensations'."

--When you ask, 'If it is just some 'not paid attention to' sensations behind the eyes that are giving the impression of a 'self' doing the observing of the foot sensations and they can be objectified, what does that mean for the notion of 'self'?' are you saying that these sensations 'behind the eyes' can be objectified and what does that imply about the notion of the self? Or are you suggesting that IF they are sensations then that means they CAN be objectified and this implies something about the self, which is something I should figure out?

Probably not as confusing as I made it but if you wouldn't mind clarifying that a bit that would be awesome emoticon

RE: Future Goenka retreat
Answer
12/28/13 3:20 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:


Nikolai;

"Yes. If it is just some 'not paid attention to' sensations behind the eyes that are giving the impression of a 'self' doing the observing of the foot sensations and they can be objectified, what does that mean for the notion of 'self'? Not just intellectually, go right in experientially and see what is happening in real time. Notice those sensations and note them not as self but simply what they are, 'sensations'."

--When you ask, 'If it is just some 'not paid attention to' sensations behind the eyes that are giving the impression of a 'self' doing the observing of the foot sensations and they can be objectified, what does that mean for the notion of 'self'?' are you saying that these sensations 'behind the eyes' can be objectified and what does that imply about the notion of the self? Or are you suggesting that IF they are sensations then that means they CAN be objectified and this implies something about the self, which is something I should figure out?

Probably not as confusing as I made it but if you wouldn't mind clarifying that a bit that would be awesome emoticon


Investigate and see if either those questions hold up in your own experience. I say experiment because in my own experience that is when shifts in perception occurred. Get curious and see if you can answer either question experientially.

Nick

Strange sense
Answer
12/28/13 9:58 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai,

I tried what you suggested, the experiment. And exactly what I did was focus (or try to) on a sensation on my foot, let, hand or face and stay focused on it. What seems to happen was as I tried to focus, my focus, of course, was not constant. It seemed to check back in with something behind the eyes, like I told you. But as I kept trying to do this I noticed two things;

1.) I couldn't seem to focus on anything without this 'checking back in' happening and my focus being diverted slightly. Now, whether this has to do with a lack of concentration or a false sense of self I'm not sure. But I do know that it was nearly impossible to focus fully on any sensation.

2.) If I tried to focus on this 'checking back in', something peculiar happened. It seemed as though I couldn't find it at all and if I felt like I got close to actually 'finding' it, my eyes and face seemed to vibrate in and out. Almost as if my face was bouncing back and forth. Not sure if this is important to notice or not.

Thanks for the guidance. It's very much appreciated.

RE: Strange sense
Answer
12/28/13 10:20 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Nikolai,

I tried what you suggested, the experiment. And exactly what I did was focus (or try to) on a sensation on my foot, let, hand or face and stay focused on it. What seems to happen was as I tried to focus, my focus, of course, was not constant. It seemed to check back in with something behind the eyes, like I told you. But as I kept trying to do this I noticed two things;

1.) I couldn't seem to focus on anything without this 'checking back in' happening and my focus being diverted slightly. Now, whether this has to do with a lack of concentration or a false sense of self I'm not sure. But I do know that it was nearly impossible to focus fully on any sensation.

2.) If I tried to focus on this 'checking back in', something peculiar happened. It seemed as though I couldn't find it at all and if I felt like I got close to actually 'finding' it, my eyes and face seemed to vibrate in and out. Almost as if my face was bouncing back and forth. Not sure if this is important to notice or not.

Thanks for the guidance. It's very much appreciated.


this is what i did when coming across something similar following daniel's advice at the end of the linked post.

RE: Strange sense
Answer
12/29/13 11:41 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I read that blog and Daniel's reply several times and I haven't seem to get a grasp on what exactly Daniel means.
Maybe this suggests I'm not where it seems I might be.

Either case;

You write that you can notice the blinking, then notice the sensations that seem to be you, then notice the blinking, then notice the you sensations.


I can notice the 'blinking' sensations, but I'm not exactly sure if I'm also noticing the sensations that make up 'me'.

Increase awareness of the transition or motion of attention that includes both of them, notice how they are part of the same moving, transient open field of attention, look at how attention or space or manifestation moves around, and begin to notice that they are all part of the same thing, attention/space/manifestation moving, blinking, attending, doing its thing, and stay with it, even if it gets creepy and particularly if it begins to hit close to home or shake the sense of a centre point or begins to feel like things are synching up.


Not exactly sure how to do that either.

It does, like I said, seem very difficult to fully focus on a sensation due to the fact that there is this 'blinking' or 'checking in' that almost thwarts my attention/concentration.
Again, not too sure if this has to do with my lack of concentration skills or not. Perhaps I should experiment with that and increase my concentration skills to see if this continues...

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
12/31/13 11:18 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Yesterday I went to a meeting with several other Buddhists to meditate and discuss Buddhist practice, meditation and teachings.

What I found was not many people have a strong inclination to talk about meditation as a means of hardcore practice like the members here seem to do. Of course I understand all of us have psychological issues or social issues that sometimes prevent us from meditating, so those things need to be talked about.

But in regards to talking about practice at a sensate level, really getting down to what's actually happening right now, those kinds of talk are few and far between in the outside world (outside meaning outside of this website).

I'm very grateful for this website and the kind of hardcore dharma and attitude it provides.

All that aside, motivation is very low today, and it was yesterday. It feels like somewhat of a chore to sit down and meditate. I'm trying to keep an attitude of curiosity and whatnot I guess today is just not the 'best' day.

Update on practice
Answer
1/2/14 10:32 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
It seems as though I might not be as far along as originally thought.

Nevertheless! Practice continues. I think I've made the correct assumption that concentration wanes to a point where the mind is unable to clearly see what's happening so I'll continue noting but couple that with more concentration meditation (anapanasati).

Motivation wanes at strange time during the day/week. There has been low motivation these last couple of days.

I'm reading a book titled 'Minding Closely: The Four Applications of Mindfulness'. It's a great book so far. The author used to be a monk and speaks of the four frames of references in terms of mindfulness meditation (mind, body, feelings, phenomena) and how one uses these to gain insight.
In it he details that some yogi's would benefit from first generating a lot of motivation right before the sit, keep it up during the sit and end the sit when one feels they can still keep going. He says it's important for some to not force a sit, that one should not get up when one is tired of sitting or frustrated or whatnot. Makes sense to me. It's much like working out; if you workout and stop when you feel like you could keep going, that helps you maintain motivation to come back the next day. But if you keep leaving the gym when you feel like you've spent too long in there, then your motivation to come again will be low.

Perhaps this is my current issue…. we shall see.

As Nikolai says 'experiment'!

RE: Update on practice
Answer
1/3/14 12:25 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis,
G'day mate. I think i could really enjoy being pen pals with you my friend, i truly do, providing that you are ok with the fact that the Dharma has become my reason for living. Everything else i'm afraid comes a poor second.

I've sort of lost my number one Dharma friend in my real time sangha. We used to hang out at our Gompa and discuss dharma very actively but a new job and work commitments have stolen him away from me. I feel his loss keenly but he has family and new responsibilities. And such is life.

My E mail address is stuartcharleslaw@hotmaildotcomdotau and My Skype name is Stuartclaw11. I live some 50 odd klicks away from my family home, in our old beach house in the coastal town of Yeppoon in the State of Queensland, Australia.

Come back at me as and when you are able.

Kind regards Travis.

Stu.

RE: Update on practice
Answer
1/3/14 7:59 PM as a reply to stuart chas law.
Hey Stuart,

I'm glad you would like to correspond through email.

I tried your email,

stuartcharleslaw@hotmail(dot)com(dot)au and it didn't work. Did I put this in wrong? the (dot) is a . correct?

RE: Update on practice
Answer
1/3/14 9:52 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
G'day Travis,
Sorry mate it would seem they have dropped the .au on the end of my address and yes the dot is a fullstop. So now it reads stuartcharleslaw@hotmaildotcom

Cheers,

Stu

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/4/14 7:51 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So practice is getting tough again. I'm sitting everyday still, but for much shorter periods. I'm averaging about 15min a sit, with about 3-4 sessions a day.

When I sit, it seems agitation, restlessness, and aversion overcome the mind and body a lot stronger than ever before. Daily practice off the cushion seems to be somewhat random. Sometimes a lot of joy/bliss, sometimes a lot of aversion to being mindful at all.

Sometimes jaw pain (started when I started insight meditation), and sometimes great bodily feelings.

Random stuff? Perhaps. Who knows. PRactice continues!

P.S., concentration wanes a lot. It's tough to concentration on really anything, and I'm attempting to analyze this effort of concentration. Interesting stuff…..

RE: Strange sense
Answer
1/5/14 12:01 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
You need stronger concentration skills (which develop over time) and you need to practice insight with less manipulation or thinking about the meditation process. The thinking likes to pretend to be a self and that includes pretending to be a meditator via concept/rehearsing instructions/imagining. Increase the noticing and quiet the noting because you may make it seem like the intention to pay attention is a "self". Intentions are only intentions. Thinking about intentions is thinking. Breakdown the blob of self into it's components and watch them shift and move. The intention to pay attention and the striving is just more sensations and cause and effect. The final goal is to find that everything just happens including all your choices and actions. This doesn't preclude weighing options or making good choices. Everything that was there is still there but it's seen clearer and understood to not be self. Look at everything as an experience instead of something solid, fixed and permanent.

I would recommend you do some Shikantaza practice along with noting to loosen things up a little.

Shinzen Young - Return to the Source

Trying to check-in or manipulate or control awareness should be seen as only checking in or controlling. Super-imposing a self-concept to a checking-in habit is adding an extra loop that causes stress because checking-in usually has some kind of evaluation or judgment of ability and self-worth. It usually goes negative which means stress chemicals. It's more about seeing mental habits clearly.

 You don’t need to position your attention in any particular way.

 Let whatever happens happen, but as soon as you notice that you are doing anything
intentionally, stop.


This really helped me a lot when I first got to equanimity. Noting is still good to prevent complete spacing out but there can be a lot of agitation when noting is too conceptual and unskillful. Intending to note is just more intentions. I came back to noting after the above practice and my noting was slower but with a lot more detailed noticing of vibrations. Remember the vibrations will always be faster than your verbal noting. The noting can keep you from going into the waterslide of narratives but the problem is going into the thought "I'm spacing out" and then thinking that the thinking function is controlling the intention to return to the present moment.

The goal is to have intentions to do something and do it without adding an extra layer of: intentions to think about a self-concept (which is thinking) and the thinking pretending to control intending to do something.emoticon

RE: Strange sense
Answer
1/7/14 7:54 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard,

Your posts are like diamonds in the rough. I really appreciate you helping me out here.

Develop concentration skills, meditate with less manipulation and control, and increase noticing and slow down noting. Got it emoticon

Again, appreciate the guidance.

Noting practice update
Answer
1/10/14 9:43 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
A couple of days ago I decided to take up a formal meeting with a 'successful' teacher in noting/stream entry. I told her that I had been meditating about 30min each session and I was working up to meditate longer each session. She had told me to try to get to 45min a session because after 30min is when 'interesting' things start to happen.

She also had advised me to shoot for a total of 2 hours of meditation total a day as this seems to be the magic number, in her experience of working with people for stream entry. So, now I am doing 3 45min session everyday which comes out to 2 hours and 15min. I'm shooting for a goal of meditating for 3 times of one hour (to prepare for the Goenka retreat I'm doing in May).

So far it seems doable and somewhat easy to note every second or so. What seems to be difficult is noting twice every second. I guess it's like they keep saying; noting is like building a muscle. You can't lift 200lbs. your first try. Or even your second try. It may take months before you can lift 200lbs. The variables that decide this are vast.

After talking with this teacher via Skype I saw the transient nature of mind states a little more. Meaning, restlessness and anxiety seem to have less power now. We'l see. It's only been a couple of days.

RE: Noting practice update
Answer
1/10/14 6:02 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
A couple of days ago I decided to take up a formal meeting with a 'successful' teacher in noting/stream entry. I told her that I had been meditating about 30min each session and I was working up to meditate longer each session. She had told me to try to get to 45min a session because after 30min is when 'interesting' things start to happen.

I second this advice....it seems 30 minutes is about what it takes to get to a calm quiet concentrated state....and things do get interesting then....play around with the time though....you may need 45 minutes to get there in which case an hour may be what you need at first...or possily longer....only one way to tell....practice.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
She also had advised me to shoot for a total of 2 hours of meditation total a day as this seems to be the magic number, in her experience of working with people for stream entry. So, now I am doing 3 45min session everyday which comes out to 2 hours and 15min. I'm shooting for a goal of meditating for 3 times of one hour (to prepare for the Goenka retreat I'm doing in May).
Two sessions a day moves me forward, one a day keeps me in place and none a day slides me back. See what works for you. Also notice the time of day that works best for you....progress is about stacking all the things in your favor...time, food/blood sugar, rest, supplements, exercise, etc.
Geonka retreats break up the sessions into 45 minutes or so. Find a comfortable position that allows you to do 3 times or more a day without fatigue or undue pain. If you know what you need before you go they are very accomidating, but if you do not know you will get lumped in with the beginners and they will expect you to overcome the pain as part of the practice. My left knee would give out at 40 minutes every time and I would have to straighten it with a loud pop. They want you to have strong resolve but a pain that gets more intense and can be seen thru but returns more intense each time is a signal you are doing damage....don't hurt yourself. Find your perfect cushion/combo before...once there you probably will only screw yourself up trying to find a better position if you don't got it figured out yet.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
So far it seems doable and somewhat easy to note every second or so. What seems to be difficult is noting twice every second. I guess it's like they keep saying; noting is like building a muscle. You can't lift 200lbs. your first try. Or even your second try. It may take months before you can lift 200lbs. The variables that decide this are vast.

Remember you are not noting for noting's sake....you are training your attention and investigating with all your focus. Notice each note as if it were your first noticing with everything you can notice.(haha that's funny..say it three times real fast)...sloppy noting is better than nothing but it's easy to slip into rote patterns without actually seeing what is going on. (I catch myself doing this all the time)
Travis Gene McKinstry:

After talking with this teacher via Skype I saw the transient nature of mind states a little more. Meaning, restlessness and anxiety seem to have less power now. We'l see. It's only been a couple of days.

Dude, your totally doing the right things....keep on keeping on...
Good luck,
~D

RE: Noting practice update
Answer
1/11/14 8:42 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
D,

I very much appreciate the feedback/advice. This kind of feedback gives me motivation to keep sitting and keep noting.

I second this advice....it seems 30 minutes is about what it takes to get to a calm quiet concentrated state....and things do get interesting then....play around with the time though....you may need 45 minutes to get there in which case an hour may be what you need at first...or possily longer....only one way to tell....practice.


I think I might've noticed this. One has to 'play around' with the times they sit in order to see what is necessary. I'm going up to an hour to see how that feels.

Two sessions a day moves me forward, one a day keeps me in place and none a day slides me back. See what works for you. Also notice the time of day that works best for you....progress is about stacking all the things in your favor...time, food/blood sugar, rest, supplements, exercise, etc.
Geonka retreats break up the sessions into 45 minutes or so. Find a comfortable position that allows you to do 3 times or more a day without fatigue or undue pain. If you know what you need before you go they are very accomidating, but if you do not know you will get lumped in with the beginners and they will expect you to overcome the pain as part of the practice. My left knee would give out at 40 minutes every time and I would have to straighten it with a loud pop. They want you to have strong resolve but a pain that gets more intense and can be seen thru but returns more intense each time is a signal you are doing damage....don't hurt yourself. Find your perfect cushion/combo before...once there you probably will only screw yourself up trying to find a better position if you don't got it figured out yet.


I'm used to molding the mind into a schedule that I would prefer. When I used to work out we didn't wait until the mind was ready, we made the mind ready. This was for lifting weights. Perhaps it's best if I don't fight the mind like I did with weight lifting. I'll take that into consideration.

As for the Goenka retreat, do they allow chairs and back support? I'm sure I could detail you my life story here but I'll spare you the reading emoticon

Remember you are not noting for noting's sake....you are training your attention and investigating with all your focus. Notice each note as if it were your first noticing with everything you can notice.(haha that's funny..say it three times real fast)...sloppy noting is better than nothing but it's easy to slip into rote patterns without actually seeing what is going on. (I catch myself doing this all the time)


This is a bit of a struggle. I did realize that sloppy noting is better than nothing but that rote noting pattern is something I haven't noticed yet. Sometimes I'll get tired or restless and note every once in a while when I realize I've been lost in a thought train.
Lethargy and restlessness seem to big two hindrances the mind struggles with the most in my experience. I assume every has a hindrance or two they struggle with the most, so I'm trying to make the best of it. I guess this is where good timing with eating, sleeping and meditating might come into play.

Thanks again D.

RE: Noting practice update
Answer
1/12/14 4:12 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
As for the Goenka retreat, do they allow chairs and back support? I'm sure I could detail you my life story here but I'll spare you the reading emoticon

Yes, they allow chairs. Bring your own to make sure it works for you. (The ones they have may not) Lower back support is allowed if you need it. Know why you need what you need and be comfortable explaining why you need it. I got a backjack chair the second sit by asking but it was incredibly hard to find a way to support my lower back in the right way the rest of the retreat. I think that by far the biggest complaint the teachers continually get is about comfortable sitting...they probably get very tired of it after a while as there is no good solution beside working it out in advance by lots of sitting....thus knowing exactly what you need is refreshing for them....you are taking charge of yourself with hard learned knowledge of what you have found successful. Just remember that falling asleep due to too much comfort is a real problem too. They need to know in advance what you need to properly fill the spots in the room. Make sure you do so.
~D

RE: Noting practice update
Answer
1/12/14 9:54 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Travis Gene McKinstry:
As for the Goenka retreat, do they allow chairs and back support? I'm sure I could detail you my life story here but I'll spare you the reading emoticon

Yes, they allow chairs. Bring your own to make sure it works for you. (The ones they have may not) Lower back support is allowed if you need it. Know why you need what you need and be comfortable explaining why you need it. I got a backjack chair the second sit by asking but it was incredibly hard to find a way to support my lower back in the right way the rest of the retreat. I think that by far the biggest complaint the teachers continually get is about comfortable sitting...they probably get very tired of it after a while as there is no good solution beside working it out in advance by lots of sitting....thus knowing exactly what you need is refreshing for them....you are taking charge of yourself with hard learned knowledge of what you have found successful. Just remember that falling asleep due to too much comfort is a real problem too. They need to know in advance what you need to properly fill the spots in the room. Make sure you do so.
~D


Thanks again D. Appreciate the advice.



On a separate note, interesting things happened over the past couple of days.
Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about why gossip is good to avoid. I pretty much told her that it all boils down to whatever keeps you from this moment should be avoided and whatever keeps you to this moment should be cultivated and held onto, metaphorically. At that point a movie quote popped into my head about throwing out 'the trash', being, whatever is keeping one away from what matters the most; this moment.

After realizing this a bit more I felt very good for a while. Lots of joy at a constant level for about 30min. Immediately after this ended I felt flu-like symptoms. Body aching, headaches, nausea, etc. I assumed at that point I was sick, only to find out the next morning I felt back to normal. No aches, no nausea, no nothing. I've never experienced a cold for this short amount of time (if in fact it was a cold). That same day that I felt better, I meditated in the morning, nothing special happened. Then again after work (both were 45min sessions, the second one took place around 6 hours later) and I felt like I could meditate all night. I felt calm, peaceful and focused. My mind was 'watching' things at a calm pace, being attentive and relaxed like I've never felt. This lasted for about another hour or two after the session. I still feel it now (being about 3 hours later), only at a lesser level.

Whether or not this is significant, it was very interesting.

Another update
Answer
1/14/14 5:27 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Been doing a good amount of insight meditation now. 45min sessions, at least 3 a day. I average between 1 hour and 45min of meditation a day to 2 hours and 30min. Each session I try to keep to 45min, but sometimes I do 30min sessions.

Jaw pain has become very frequent and constant. Only seems to happen during insight meditation (whether 'formal' or not).

I think I'm beginning to see that with every sensation (including thought), brain activity closely follows. Whether it be to 'label' it as pleasurable or not, identify it, react to it (whether with thoughts or actions), etc. It only seems to happen when the sensation is clearly seen as ending. Once an ending is seen, mental activity seems to arise. Not sure if this is 'heavy' Cause and Effect, but it's interesting to see nonetheless.

I'm trying to see the ending of each sensation to see clearly whether or not mental activity proceeds it every time. Sometimes it seems as though a sensation is continuous for a short amount of time. I know it's not, so I will continue to investigate.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/16/14 2:07 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I've been doing 2 hours of meditation total everyday, plus or minus about 10-15min.

So far, not much has happened. I experience a sort of roller coaster in terms of attitude towards sitting. Generally I really want to sit, this stems from high discipline that is easy for me to develop.

During meditation however, is when the roller coaster begins. Sometimes I feel like 30-45min is a breeze, other times I can't wait until that alarm goes off.
Sometimes I'm somewhat focused on the present, other times not so much. In general I probably focus on the present about 50-60%, and it doesn't seem to ever go past 60%. A lot of times my focus is somewhere around 30% on the present moment during the whole sitting.

Today I don't work. I actually have no formal commitments today so I am aiming towards a total of 4 hours of meditation. I'm starting out with an oscillation between 30-45min (never below 30) each session with a 30min break in between. As the day progresses I'll increase it to 35-45min, then 40-45min, until I hit 45min sessions. When that happens (if the day isn't over yet) I'll decrease the time in between. Obviously I am also trying to stay present in between sessions; noting the rising and falling of the breath, left-right noting with walking, emotional/mental states, etc.

It's been about 2 weeks since I've started committing to 2 hours in total of meditation per day. No big changes yet, although my jaw has been giving me some crazy pain on and off. It seems like the pain comes, stays for a couple days, then leaves for a couple days. Lots of constant jaw pain (when it's here).

The formal meditation sits generally move between being stuck in mind stories, choice-less awareness and concentration meditation. I read a bit of Mahasi's book and he says to use the breath as an anchor. So when my focus is way off the mark, I'll focus on the rising and falling of the breath (concentration). Then, whenever it feels 'good enough', I'll switch to noting/choice-less awareness. My teacher recommended that I do noting meditation the whole time but I find this very difficult. My mind starts to feel tired (perhaps) or bored and I find choice-less awareness to be easier in terms of effort.

Anyways, I'm keeping this log up-to-date for if/when I reach SE, I'd like this log to be a reference or guide for others.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/16/14 5:00 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
During meditation however, is when the roller coaster begins. Sometimes I feel like 30-45min is a breeze, other times I can't wait until that alarm goes off.
Sometimes I'm somewhat focused on the present, other times not so much. In general I probably focus on the present about 50-60%, and it doesn't seem to ever go past 60%. A lot of times my focus is somewhere around 30% on the present moment during the whole sitting.
Welcome to the practice, not the perfection of meditation. I would say that with time you will see that every meditation is it's own thing and there will always be mind stories and different percentages of attentiveness. With experience you also get better at shifting types of meditations to the levels of focus...bad days count breath, noting, boost concentration, angry days metta, good days choiceless awareness etc...I shift depending on how things are going.

Travis Gene McKinstry:
The formal meditation sits generally move between being stuck in mind stories, choice-less awareness and concentration meditation. I read a bit of Mahasi's book and he says to use the breath as an anchor. So when my focus is way off the mark, I'll focus on the rising and falling of the breath (concentration). Then, whenever it feels 'good enough', I'll switch to noting/choice-less awareness. My teacher recommended that I do noting meditation the whole time but I find this very difficult. My mind starts to feel tired (perhaps) or bored and I find choice-less awareness to be easier in terms of effort.

I would definitely put some effort into noting for a whole session and bear down on it to see what happens...it's like lifting weights, you need to get the residing in awareness stronger and by doing it - results. It is tiring at times and boring at times and sometimes effortless just like the gym. Remember to bring up the 3 Characteristics every once in a while - The sensations are not you, not permanent and cause stress.
Good luck,
~D

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/16/14 6:42 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Welcome to the practice, not the perfection of meditation. I would say that with time you will see that every meditation is it's own thing and there will always be mind stories and different percentages of attentiveness. With experience you also get better at shifting types of meditations to the levels of focus...bad days count breath, noting, boost concentration, angry days metta, good days choiceless awareness etc...I shift depending on how things are going.


D, thanks again for the guidance. If I may ask, is it 'alright' that one does this (shift depending on how things are going) even at a level I'm at? Because that would be my response to you response down below; I shift pending on how things are going. Now I could see how this might not be a good idea earlier on in one's meditation path, which is why I ask.

I would definitely put some effort into noting for a whole session and bear down on it to see what happens...it's like lifting weights, you need to get the residing in awareness stronger and by doing it - results. It is tiring at times and boring at times and sometimes effortless just like the gym. Remember to bring up the 3 Characteristics every once in a while - The sensations are not you, not permanent and cause stress.


Your mentioning of this being like lifting weights is something I can relate with. Although it does get very boring, your response is motivating.

As for the 3 characteristics; I've been doing that almost everyday, if not every week. I figure since the progression of insight moves one through understanding predictably (which is why we have the maps), if one understands what is next on the path then one might accelerate this process by understanding what's next. In other words, it seems as though I may be at Mind and Body or Cause and Effect, in which case the next is 3 characteristics then A&P. I imagine seeing impermanence and no-self would be a good thing for one to realize on the stage I might be at. Stressing/suffering is something I keep coming into contact with as of late. My body aches, I was sick for a bit, my jaw hurts, etc.

Anyways thanks D for the guidance. Your responses are always appreciated.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/16/14 8:48 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Welcome to the practice, not the perfection of meditation. I would say that with time you will see that every meditation is it's own thing and there will always be mind stories and different percentages of attentiveness. With experience you also get better at shifting types of meditations to the levels of focus...bad days count breath, noting, boost concentration, angry days metta, good days choiceless awareness etc...I shift depending on how things are going.


D, thanks again for the guidance. If I may ask, is it 'alright' that one does this (shift depending on how things are going) even at a level I'm at? Because that would be my response to you response down below; I shift pending on how things are going. Now I could see how this might not be a good idea earlier on in one's meditation path, which is why I ask.

Sorry, rereading it I'm not being clear. By experience I mean beating your head against the wall enough times that you get to know what to reasonably expect should you continue to do so. Spend 45 minutes beating your head and see how often and when the wall collapses. You will only know this by doing it because sometimes the wall is flimsy other times not so much. Smacking it once and going oh how boring and tiresome, yawn, I guess I'll just sit on my ass and do nothing instead....~yay dreamytime ease~ once you callus up your noggin you will know the difference but will still have to check every once to see if the wall changes as your head gets stronger.
Wasting your time is useful to find out if it is really true. If true enough times then stop wasting your time. LOL... and have fun with it too.

I would definitely put some effort into noting for a whole session and bear down on it to see what happens...it's like lifting weights, you need to get the residing in awareness stronger and by doing it - results. It is tiring at times and boring at times and sometimes effortless just like the gym. Remember to bring up the 3 Characteristics every once in a while - The sensations are not you, not permanent and cause stress.

Travis Gene McKinstry:

Your mentioning of this being like lifting weights is something I can relate with. Although it does get very boring, your response is motivating.

As for the 3 characteristics; I've been doing that almost everyday, if not every week. I figure since the progression of insight moves one through understanding predictably (which is why we have the maps), if one understands what is next on the path then one might accelerate this process by understanding what's next. In other words, it seems as though I may be at Mind and Body or Cause and Effect, in which case the next is 3 characteristics then A&P. I imagine seeing impermanence and no-self would be a good thing for one to realize on the stage I might be at. Stressing/suffering is something I keep coming into contact with as of late. My body aches, I was sick for a bit, my jaw hurts, etc.

Anyways thanks D for the guidance. Your responses are always appreciated.

As for the 3 characteristics; they are always good to bring up during every stage. practicing them now and along the way get you ready for when it's time to use them to find a door to nirvana...and on it's own good investigating.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/17/14 8:04 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
D,

Thanks for the clarification. This makes sense. I'm going back to straight noting every session for the whole 45min.

I'm not sure if you can help me with this, but it seems as though with each sensation there is a mental thought or a mental recognition and imagining of it. For example, I hear water, then seem to imagine water right after. Is this something I should focus on or just keep noting? I imagine I should note no matter what happens… I guess I'm asking is this significant?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/17/14 11:31 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
D,

Thanks for the clarification. This makes sense. I'm going back to straight noting every session for the whole 45min.

I'm not sure if you can help me with this, but it seems as though with each sensation there is a mental thought or a mental recognition and imagining of it. For example, I hear water, then seem to imagine water right after. Is this something I should focus on or just keep noting? I imagine I should note no matter what happens… I guess I'm asking is this significant?

Ask your teacher, I'm total crap on the first 3 nanas I passed them unknowingly when I was young. I only know what I've read and being past it already I didn't memorize it. Sorry
~D

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
1/19/14 6:00 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
D,

Cool, fair enough. Thanks for being honest.



As for the rest of my practice log, I want to record some interesting notes happening recently. I'm not sure what it means, but what happens is while I'm noting, I notice ever so slightly what seems to be a slight tinge of restlessness right before an action. I tried to look closer to see if this was intention rising, but the only thing I could see was it feeling like restlessness. Then I realized that perhaps my restlessness is cause by me having too many intentions or too much of a 'to-do' list before meditation.

Equanimity
Answer
1/21/14 8:28 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I talked with my teacher two days ago about my practice and she is convinced that I've experienced A&P, but not of the same event I thought (which happened a month ago). She thinks I experienced it about a year ago when I was practicing concentration meditation. Either way, I'll believe her. She got Kenneth Folk's advice on the matter as well and he thinks so too.

In that case, she told me, since I experienced A&P a while ago, the experience I had about a week ago was most likely light Equanimity, which is very encouraging. To me that means the practice is in fact working and I am in fact doing it correctly. So far.

I read a bit of Nikolai's advice on another website about how to go from Equanimity to Nirvana and he suggested something like watching the passing away of phenomenon. I wonder if I have to get to Equanimity first… I'll note until Equanimity (whenever that happens again), and when it's there I'll focus my attention on the passing away of phenomenon.

It's curious to see other's reports of practice; many people report seeing/watching/hearing vibrations. I don't see those too much. I see a slight static, and sometimes it feels like I can feel a tingle in my skin which resembles vibrations but not too much. Sometimes it seems like I can see light flicker but I'm not sure if it's my eye(s) twitching or not.

Either way I guess it's best I keep noting as much as I can and perhaps increase my meditation time from 2 hours on average to 2 hours 30min. Slowly increase the meditation time till I get to about 4 hours by the time I do the Goenka retreat.

RE: Equanimity
Answer
1/21/14 11:26 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
In that case, she told me, since I experienced A&P a while ago, the experience I had about a week ago was most likely light Equanimity, which is very encouraging.
Oh, good on you. EQ is so nice. I spend lots of time there. There are lots of levels to it. Have fun exploring it, stay skillful and diligent.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
I read a bit of Nikolai's advice on another website about how to go from Equanimity to Nirvana and he suggested something like watching the passing away of phenomenon. I wonder if I have to get to Equanimity first… I'll note until Equanimity (whenever that happens again), and when it's there I'll focus my attention on the passing away of phenomenon.
Hmmm...how about you notice whatever comes up ...INCLUDING the passing away as well? Even though the nirvana spot is in the gaps between passing away and the next arising the onramp to get to the passing away is noticing the arising....or just notice everything you can and let your attention do the rest. The controlling nature/intellect/judger is what you are getting rid of...be wary of it's advice to control, think, and judge. When you get to the right area of EQ it will be your attention doing the work of noticing, that does "it" kinda on it's own....I don't think the switch is accessible from this side even though you sure as hell wanna reach out and grab the sucker..(note wanting, note wanting lol)
Travis Gene McKinstry:
It's curious to see other's reports of practice; many people report seeing/watching/hearing vibrations. I don't see those too much. I see a slight static, and sometimes it feels like I can feel a tingle in my skin which resembles vibrations but not too much. Sometimes it seems like I can see light flicker but I'm not sure if it's my eye(s) twitching or not.
Ya, don't worry about it...I experienced it the same way slight visual snow/static...the vibrations got more pronounced later on in the paths.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Equanimity
Answer
1/22/14 9:18 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
When you get to the right area of EQ it will be your attention doing the work of noticing, that does "it" kinda on it's own....I don't think the switch is accessible from this side even though you sure as hell wanna reach out and grab the sucker..


So does that mean I should aim towards deep equanimity by means of noting? Then keep noting? Or does my approach need to change?

Thanks again D

RE: Equanimity
Answer
1/22/14 10:43 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
When you get to the right area of EQ it will be your attention doing the work of noticing, that does "it" kinda on it's own....I don't think the switch is accessible from this side even though you sure as hell wanna reach out and grab the sucker..


So does that mean I should aim towards deep equanimity by means of noting? Then keep noting? Or does my approach need to change?

Thanks again D
Whatever you do now you will second guess later unless it works. What does Beth say? I would notice everything...verbally note until you don't...it will really kinda happen on it's own....try it and see what happens. When I was there I would kinda space out a bit too....not very skillful but it was part of my process that seemed natural. Might I have been able to nail it quicker? maybe. never gonna know now right?
Trust the process and the unfolding not your desire to control.
I know you are fired up and excited but most of us spend a bit of time in EQ. It took me a week or two to zip through the nanas then I spent close to 8 months around EQ ...go in dispassionately and without a timeframe.
(It's not the despair. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand. ― John Cleese)
PM me if you want to chat
Good luck,
~D

RE: Equanimity
Answer
1/22/14 12:25 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Whatever you do now you will second guess later unless it works. What does Beth say? I would notice everything...verbally note until you don't...it will really kinda happen on it's own....try it and see what happens. When I was there I would kinda space out a bit too....not very skillful but it was part of my process that seemed natural. Might I have been able to nail it quicker? maybe. never gonna know now right?
Trust the process and the unfolding not your desire to control.
I know you are fired up and excited but most of us spend a bit of time in EQ. It took me a week or two to zip through the nanas then I spent close to 8 months around EQ ...go in dispassionately and without a timeframe.
(It's not the despair. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand. ― John Cleese)
PM me if you want to chat
Good luck,
~D


I would enjoy chatting. How do I PM you?

RE: Equanimity
Answer
1/22/14 2:47 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
I would enjoy chatting. How do I PM you?

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Goodbye to Equanimity for now
Answer
1/23/14 3:57 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
For the past couple of days I've felt a very strong aversion to formal practice. As I walk around doing other activities I'm still attracted to focusing on the moment, focusing on current sensations, etc. but once I sit down my mind is restless, bored, and tons of aversion flows in and out many times during the sit. I can't remember the last time I felt this strong of aversion towards formal meditation.

I'm attempting to keep up a consistent daily practice but it's hard. It seems like the restlessness, anxiety and aversion are all subsiding ever so slightly… at least for today. We'll see I guess.

Aversion subsides, sometimes
Answer
1/26/14 10:32 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
There is still a good amount of aversion that arises during practice. It almost feels like I'm starting all over again; back to 30min a session (if I can even muster patience for that!), 45min is a real struggle, mind seems pretty scattered, and a 'what's the point' attitude towards it all.

I'm staying consistent, still meditating everyday. I haven't been consistent with hitting 2 hours like my goal originally was. I'm lucky to get 1 hour 30min in. I did just start school again and moved back into my car. These could be reasons. In either case, noting continues!

Still looking forward (somewhat) to the retreat in May. I'm thinking about taking 2 months off of work to do intensive meditation right after the retreat…..

RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes
Answer
1/26/14 11:47 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Seems as though we are going through the same thing... "What is the point?"

Break the traditional method of noting for the moment and get something you enjoy looking at. Once you have it, take the time to notice everything that you can about that object. Then, when the feeling of what-is-the-point leaves the mind go back to the traditional method. =)

Suggesting this because its something that has helped me. If I just try to stick with the traditional method I just continue to note the thoughts that brought me to the point of overwhelming unsatisfaction.

...and that doesn't feel good at all... your mind is in this seemly solid state of depression, your body aches and all the great things about this state of mind sticks around even when you watch funny cat videos.

RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes
Answer
1/29/14 1:51 AM as a reply to John Mckinstry.
As more time was able to set in I was able to learn more about this state of mind and learn a lot from fellow dharma-overground-followers. =)

Check it out:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5159079

RE: Aversion subsides, sometimes
Answer
1/29/14 8:17 PM as a reply to John Mckinstry.
Thanks for the replies John.

You've managed to motivate me a bit more emoticon BACK TO NOTING!

Strong aversion
Answer
1/30/14 4:25 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
A strong sense of aversion arises a lot during meditation now. Actually, on and off cushion. It feels like aversion towards meditation.

Not exactly meditation, just a 'why the hell am I still doing this' feeling. I'm going to ratchet my sessions down to 15-20min and see how that goes. Possibly taking a day off. Don't anybody worry, taking a day off doesn't mean I'm quitting emoticon

Understanding of aversion changing
Answer
2/2/14 8:55 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
So I've been slowly moving back up to 45min/session meditation sits and it seems to be 'working' so far. Meaning, I am increasing the time I sit slowly and it's not ridiculously difficult.

I understand intellectually that not every meditation session is gonna be all sunshine and rainbows…. the mind still seems to be identifying with emotions and feelings, strongly.

Yesterday I realized a small truth. A member asked me a while back 'what makes a sensation unpleasant? Know the answer to this and move on to equanimity'-- or something like that. And I think I understand what makes them unpleasant; identifying with them. The mind seems to still be identifying with emotions and feelings which is why 'I' feel so motivated when restless or anxious.

I realized this by noting (of course). I was noting feelings and I noted anxiety and immediately after I went to note wether or not it was unpleasant and realized wait a sec, anxiety is not unpleasant, so why do 'I' keep doing something about it (almost) every time I feel it? OHHH because I identify with it. I believe it to be 'part of who I am'.

I'm pretty sure I'm bouncing around Desire for Deliverance, Reobservation and LIGHT Equanimity. My meditation experiences seem to pretty much line up with these three lately.

First; I'm so RIDICULOUSLY mentally tired of all this crap the mind does… then, I can't focus or meditate for the life of me. It seems extremely hard to even sit for a couple of minutes. Then, (sometimes) I feel like I can meditate for hours.

-.-

RE: Understanding of aversion changing
Answer
2/2/14 2:19 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:


First; I'm so RIDICULOUSLY mentally tired of all this crap the mind does… then, I can't focus or meditate for the life of me. It seems extremely hard to even sit for a couple of minutes. Then, (sometimes) I feel like I can meditate for hours.

-.-


Progress.

Remember to get some physical exercise in at times, watch a comedy and have a laugh, eat some dark chocoalte (not too much), maybe hang out with good friends or family. It's progress wht you ae describing and many here have been there and done that over and over. Remember that progress through any stage regardless of the unpleasantness, pleasantness or neutrality of all the phenomena involved, is RAIN.

Recognition. Just notice it and back it up with a note if needed to keep you honest. "Seen."
Acceptance. "I accept its arising.....and eventual passing."
Investigation. Here rather than insinuate an incessant need to see the nitty gritty details, just add a little bit of 'curiosity' into the mix. For example, is there a difference between looking an object in front of you, whatever it is, or an experience of any kind, and then juxtaposing it with the same act of noticing but now infused or tinged with the simple notion of 'curiosity'? No need to try and impose a magnifying glass on an experience, just a gentle curiosity about what the stage of practice is 'allowing' to be recognised by perception. What is 'allowed' to be seen is stage specific. Accept this and accept whatever is "seen". When you get up to the 11th nana's highest level, then it's all seen. The whole mass of phenomena of the whole field of experience of mind and body, then it synchs up as there is no lunging to segregate by the mind...aaaaand zwwwwwiiiip.
Non-reaction. This will follow the first three steps, which can happen simultaneously or step by step. Depends on how developed you have this way of perceiving. It is a specific neutrality towards any given phenomenon which allows it to be, to arise and pass of its own accord, without giving yourself free license to express it and without trying to get rid of it. It is the middle ground.

Nick

RE: Understanding of aversion changing
Answer
2/3/14 9:25 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

Non-reaction. This will follow the first three steps, which can happen simultaneously or step by step. Depends on how developed you have this way of perceiving. It is a specific neutrality towards any given phenomenon which allows it to be, to arise and pass of its own accord, without giving yourself free license to express it and without trying to get rid of it. It is the middle ground.
Nick


Yes this Non-reaction is one of the more difficult ones for my mind to grasp it seems. So much identification happening with anxiety and restlessness that when things go and get 'interesting' strong aversion arises.

Thanks Nikolai. Your advice is much appreciated.

RE: Understanding of aversion changing
Answer
2/4/14 3:49 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I would like to add something that I'm sure you are aware of, but sometimes forget...

Non reaction takes practice.

There will be times where this is strong but then eventually I forget what I was doing and pooooof the mind becomes reactive once again. Just keep seeing it like passing clouds, like you mention to me before.

And like other people on here say, sometimes it feels like you are moving forwards and sometimes backwards.

RE: Understanding of aversion changing
Answer
2/6/14 9:47 AM as a reply to John Mckinstry.
John Mckinstry:
I would like to add something that I'm sure you are aware of, but sometimes forget...

Non reaction takes practice.

There will be times where this is strong but then eventually I forget what I was doing and pooooof the mind becomes reactive once again. Just keep seeing it like passing clouds, like you mention to me before.

And like other people on here say, sometimes it feels like you are moving forwards and sometimes backwards.


Yeah I'm starting to see that… Thanks for reminding me emoticon


As for practice, it continues with not too many surprises. Meditation is becoming a bit more consistent and perhaps predictable, I'll have to keep curiosity and 'beginner's mind' with meditation to avoid boredom.

Tiredness
Answer
2/12/14 8:40 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Not too long ago I was meditating and it seemed as though something happened… I'm not sure if I momentarily fell asleep or if it was stream entry, either way… I didn't nod my head (like people usually do when they momentarily doze off), although I did feel tired.

Another moment happened that is worth mentioning on here… I was in my car getting ready to fall asleep and decided to do some noting… I got lost in thought here and there then something happened and I didn't notice that it happened until it was done with. It seemed as though I could perceive things come and go at a very organized and clear level. I saw this arise, then that, then this, then that. I noticed there was a space between all of these sensations which was a liberating experience…

Not too sure if either of these are of value but there ya go. Ever since, I've been really lazy with meditation… I feel a slight push to go meditate and what not, just haven't because [insert excuse here].

Anyways, practice continues!

RE: Tiredness
Answer
2/13/14 12:11 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Not too long ago I was meditating and it seemed as though something happened… I'm not sure if I momentarily fell asleep or if it was stream entry, either way… I didn't nod my head (like people usually do when they momentarily doze off), although I did feel tired.
Sometimes this happens...noticeable things would happen afterwards if it was stream entry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
Another moment happened that is worth mentioning on here… I was in my car getting ready to fall asleep and decided to do some noting… I got lost in thought here and there then something happened and I didn't notice that it happened until it was done with. It seemed as though I could perceive things come and go at a very organized and clear level. I saw this arise, then that, then this, then that. I noticed there was a space between all of these sensations which was a liberating experience…

This is good stuff...This is what happens to me, I get to EQ and then space out into a dreamlike state and upon coming back phenomona arises and passes away with a clear space between. Look gently into the space each time it happens and see what there is to see. This is where the fruition is.
Keep it up. Don't stop and slide back, you're almost there.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Tiredness
Answer
2/18/14 9:07 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thanks D emoticon


As for practice, it continues slowly but surely. I'm trying to get back up to 2 hours of meditation a day (still). I'm at 30min, just been so busy with the new truck. Today I'll try hard for 1 hour total.

Got a retreat in 2 months I have to be ready for!

Dissolution
Answer
3/1/14 8:29 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'm experiencing what feels like dissolution as described by Dan in MCTB.

I wanted to get this on 'paper' for reference later.

What seems to of happened after the A&P (this time I'm more certain it was the A&P and not jhana) is a disconnect with a lot of things. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the insight of phenomenon Arising and Passing away kind of gives a 'why were you worried in the first place' feeling. I haven't been worried about spending money, although some might've called me Scourge because of my knack to save every penny I own. I've been eating like I haven't had food in years, and I've been overall just 'meh'. School doesn't motivate me and meditation barely motivates me. I'm not depressed…. it just feels like I don't care about doing anything about anything as of late.

My girlfriend has taken notice this shift in my behavior as well.

It also seems easier to dis-identify with thoughts, feelings etc. because I had seen how they'll just come and go anyways….

In any case, it's interesting to see how meditation can change the mind so profoundly. I explained to my brother and girlfriend yesterday that jhana meditation was like 'me' trying to get somewhere… I was putting in a large amount of effort. But the A&P seemed to happen all on it's own, and so did the shift in perspective. 'I' wasn't trying at all.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
3/3/14 8:00 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Wow. The A&P sure does change things….

Makes me wonder how much Stream Entry will….


Practice is becoming consistent more and more with each passing day. I'm still on 30min a day, just trying to keep that consistency down.

Current practice
Answer
3/16/14 10:38 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Interestingly enough, the more I progress in meditation the less I want to report it here.

I've realized that in the book MCTB by Daniel Ingram, he really speaks the truth in a good majority of the book (in my humble opinion). At one point one needs to accept responsibility for both the successes of meditation, as well as the failures. I wasn't doing that for a long time. I feel as though I am now. Anyway, I hope everyone's practice continues!

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
3/29/14 9:48 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'm not sure if it's progress or just a level of ignorance I haven't analyzed yet but my experience with mediation is interesting; it seems as though I know what to look for, but my mind isn't focused enough to find it. Several times while I'm noting at work I'll notice this slight 'pull' into one of the senses, as if for a moment I forget there is a self. I don't get 'pulled' completely, but something is happening.

I'm not sure. Self-diagnosis has never been my strong point. Nonetheless, practice continues!

The hospital log
Answer
4/5/14 6:52 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Less than a month before I go on retreat in Texas, as well as my brother leaving for Thailand.

I spent a good amount of time in the hospital the other day after contracting something horrible, the name of which is still unknown.

In any case, meditation continues. Sometimes when I meditate (at least recently), I start to feel a bit dizzy as if I've got the spins and I start to feel a bit nauseous. I'm not sure if this is related to the sickness but it's something to be noted of.

Everyday mindfulness is a lot easier now than it's ever been. I don't get lost in thought often and when I do it's quickly noticed. Some interesting things there...

Bored
Answer
4/10/14 7:55 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Back to the difficult part; seeing the three characteristics clearly.

The mind doesn't ever seem to be satisfied…. that's both a blessing and a curse. Obviously, as we know, it's one of the basis for our suffering/stress as people.

I'm struggling with that now. I can't seem to muster the energy/focus/motivation/whatever to sit for longer than 25min. I had a technique before that I used that seemed to work which was to just train my mind to be able to sit for long periods of time without moving my body. That seemed to work. I'll have to doitagain! <-- movie reference.

Hurricane of experience
Answer
4/12/14 11:41 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I have finally worked up to meditating an hour in total each day. One by one I'll get to four hours before my retreat… hopefully.

Today was interesting, the first session, nothing crazy to report. I was pretty mindful most of the day, then I meditate again in the evening and many strange things happened. The most interesting was when I started noting very quickly, it seemed like words in my head couldn't keep up with my experience, so I start using 'da' as a way to note a stimulus. After a while I was doing this quite quickly then all of a sudden my whole field of experience started to come in like a hurricane. It felt like one, looked like one and at times, sounded like one. It was interesting… hard to explain though.

It motivates me to keep up the momentum. I feel as though if I keep increasing the total amount that I meditate everyday perhaps I could get to equanimity before my retreat...

RE: Hurricane of experience
Answer
4/15/14 1:48 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Practice is getting a tad interesting now... I'm getting these strange in-your-face experiences. They are hard to explain but it's as if the sensation is RIGHT THERE in front of me. Almost as if there was a space between sensations and 'me' and now that space is closing once in a while...

It creates this feeling of having something put RIGHT IN FRONT of me for a second, then it's pulled away to it's 'normal' distance.

Mindfulness is prevalent throughout most of the day now... and meditation increased from 30min total everyday to 1hr 5min everyday. If consistency can happen, perhaps so can Stream entry.

One more month
Answer
4/20/14 12:08 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Less than a month before I go on my Goenka retreat!! I'm very excited….

I've been noting intensely for about 3-4 weeks now… meditating around 45min-1 hour everyday. I've got to step it up to 2 hours here soon….


Interesting note… When I am noting quickly I get these moments where I can see the mind process only one thing at a time. It's interesting…. definitely shows the truth of things arising and passing away. As for the stress part, that's becoming more and more apparent. Yet I don't think at the level required for deep insight. But the no-self thing is becoming VERY obvious….

I ask myself often throughout the day 'who is experiencing this?' which is not really meant to be answered, rather, to spur thought of sensations themselves and the whole experience.

RE: Bored
Answer
4/22/14 1:22 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Interestingly enough, I've been getting these experiences of feeling like 'I' am closer to the sensations I am noting. It's almost as if before, there was a space between the sensations and whatever was noting, 'me', whereas when this sensation happens it's like that space closes and 'I'm' literally closer.

Had to jot that down.

emoticon

What a strange thing meditation... who knew looking at sensations could bring about such dramatic chemical and neural changes.

I wish I had a fMRI or MRI or PET scan machine... I'd like to record the actual changes happening in the mind while approaching stream entry.

Infrequent EQ
Answer
5/8/14 6:35 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I've been able to hit equanimity several times now... I've realized that having a 'good' day/not irritating the mind is key to hitting equanimity early on in the day.

I'm sitting around 2.5-3hrs a day. Mainly during the mornings and first few sits I REALLY don't want to sit. There is either an extreme amount of aversion, or a small amount. Obvious with the extreme amounts of aversion it's very difficult to stay still. Although I find that if I can be ok with sitting still, either the next session or the one after will be the one I hit EQ. 

There also seems to be a feeling of losing control that is increasing as the days go on. Not in a bad way, but more of realizing that 'I' don't exist and the mind acts on 'it's' own-- meaning, what happens in the mind is just happening, there is no one or thing making it happen. They are all just happening.

Today I inherited some detrimentally negative news which I think tainted my sits for the rest of the day. It's been very hard to sit today.

On a positive note, I hit a strong form of EQ the other day. The best way I could find to describe it to my girlfriend was an intense feeling of everything being 'ok'. Nothing was 'wrong', or out of place. It wasn't even relief at that point, just 'ahh..... so it IS all ok'. I talked to Daniel about this EQ experience and he advised me to find some place where the phenomenon are arising and passing, and also where there is no self, and at that same place find disatisfaction with the fact that the mind is creating a dualistic reality. He said there is always something disatisfying about this, focus on it.

Less than a week before my Goenka retreat! I plan to be at AT LEAST 4hrs three days before the retreat. And possibly right before I leave around 6hrs. We'll see.

[EDIT/ADD] --->
Quick note to anyone reading; I've been cycling through the stages (as is expected) a lot. The first few times I went through them there were various degrees of intensity. At different sits, EQ was intense, Disgust was intense, etc. Today I'm assuming Desire for Deliverance is intense. Either that and/or Reob. Either way, boy it sucks....


Concentration
Answer
5/11/14 8:07 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Yesterday's sessions were strange. It was extremely difficult to focus on anything. There were multiple times I was feeling extreme anxiety/restlessness. At some point I was feeling a lot of fear (sounds like the DN I know). Where I might've been, I think, its pre- A&P because of the sensations I was feeling that are popular with the Three Characteristics. Who knows. At this point I guess it's not too important.

I read a post where a few members were talking about the possibility of hitting equanimity multiple times but not going anywhere after that. I considered my concentration to be low and perhaps I should do 15min of concentration first then 30min of noting.

RE: Concentration
Answer
5/11/14 10:21 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
^^ Not doing that. I talked with anothe rmember and they suggested that if I'm able to hit EQ as quickly as I have been then I don't need more concentration, seems like I already have enough.

Leaving for Goenka in two days! I'm very motivated and focused. Maybe I'll get SE, maybe not. Either way, I'll come back a wiser man emoticon

I've been realizing how important it is to surrender to this moment. I've been so caught up with noting EVERYTHING that I forgot to relax.  And for those of you wondering, yes I did note 'stress' or 'anxiety'.

Anyways, I hope everyone's practice keeps up. I'm so thankful for this website Daniel has made. This community is beautiful. I've learned so much about life and the mind through this website.

BACK TO THE GRIND! (note 'leaving website')

RE: Concentration
Answer
5/14/14 1:11 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis,

Man, i hope Goenka is everything you want it to be.

Go well, return safe.

Kind regards

Stu

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
5/14/14 9:34 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis Gene McKinstry:
I'm new to this whole forum-stuff. This online sangha community is too beautiful to ignore. Thank you all for the kind advice and guidance.

In about 3 days I will begin what is a second attempt at a solo concentration meditation retreat. The first time I tried this I lasted a full 24hrs before getting too restless (obviously believing too much in the mind stories). However, those 24 hours were still the most interesting 24hrs I had ever experienced and I'm attempting to not hold onto them coming into this retreat.

What happened was I had been focusing on the breath for a couple of hours. Sitting for an hour or so, meditating on and off (as my mind would wander often) and I began to get frustrated. I started to get upset at myself for wandering then gave up on the retreat in whole. Once I gave up (hint hint), I sat down and just closed my eyes. I immediately entered access concentration and began having sights of what seemed to be the nimitta (if I spelled that right). A few minutes later a strong burst of piti began to arise and permeate my entire being; I feel like a rush of nice, beautiful adrenaline ran through my entire body and my heart began to race a little. I began to breath faster as if I was running and this lasted for about a minute, dissipating my concentration and the nimitta dropped. I awoke from that feeling better than I've ever felt with more confidence in the path and teachings than I've ever had.

Ever since then I've taken the path more seriously and haven't been able to think of much else.

I'm going to try for jhana this retreat again. If things to work out as hoped then next retreat I'll cultivate access concentration and move right into what Daniel explains in MTCB as vipassana meditation; simple noting.

I hope you are all having insightful practices.


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RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
6/18/14 9:44 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I finally mustered up enough motivation/energy to post about my SE experience at a 10 day Goenka retreat. Or should I say 9 day....

The first 2 days I did concentration meditation as prescribed by Mr. Goenka himself. Those went well, I was able to stay somewhat focused for a good amount of that time. Now, Mr. Goenka actually prescribes 3 days of concentration meditation but I didn't do that.

After the first 2 days I became extremely anxious for SE and therefore started noting practice. All day on the third day I noted, and come the evening dharma talk I was doing pretty good so far.

Goenka talked about our human condition on how he understands it. Which is; he see's our stress/suffering stemming from a fundamental addiction(s) to satisfying our wants (temporarily) and avoiding stress out of duress. This teaching resonated hard with me. As I sat down to meditate that evening I felt as though EVERYTHING came REALLY close to a certain point in my head, then go back to normal. I thought 'huh, that was strange'-- then I was overcome with elation. I couldn't stop smiling/giggling/laughing. That night I had difficulty sleeping because I couldn't stop laughing/giggling. It was beautiful. Sounds like a jhana experience, but I've had some jhana experiences and this was nothing like it.

After I came back from the retreat I felt no motivation to meditate. It wasn't dissapointment or resentment, I just didn't see a need to. Now (more than a month later) I still find it hard finding a reason to meditate. I feel 'done', although I know I'm not.

I'm more than willing to ponder the fact that the above experince was not in fact Stream Entry. But it seems like the most plausible explination.

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
9/11/14 10:41 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Hi everyone,

In this little foot experiment, in my experience, it seems the I pops up somewhere around my amygdala/sub-vocal-cords, and disrupts what seems (lasts a splitnanosecon ) to be a vast equinanim-feeling sense of emptiness, which feels was already there in the first place ,  and is troubled and vanishes as soon as the I feeling is recognised and grasped i guess ?

I had to try 3-4 times and not cling on "i don't know what exactly", to finally perceive that splitnanosecond of what seems emptiness/being one undivided big thing.   

I am sorry if i sound confusing, i might use the wrong words.. i am a total neophyt in all this, quite lost ! emoticon

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
10/30/14 12:06 PM as a reply to SeTyR ZeN.
SeTyR Zen;

Sorry I didn't reply earlier.... but yes I am quite confused as to what you are saying. Can you explain?

RE: First thread, First practice log
Answer
10/31/14 11:08 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Hi Travis, no offense taken emoticon

Somewhere in the middle of this thread was suggested to try make an experiment with attention, focus and feeling your foot and watch what is happening emoticon