Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/15/13 7:41 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) Chuck Kasmire 12/9/13 10:53 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/10/13 6:55 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) Chuck Kasmire 12/10/13 12:11 PM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/11/13 5:04 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/11/13 5:18 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) Ian And 12/24/13 12:27 PM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/10/13 7:16 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) stuart chas law 12/10/13 6:46 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/10/13 7:25 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/14/13 7:22 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) triple think 12/14/13 10:12 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/15/13 7:28 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 12/24/13 5:30 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 1/2/14 3:42 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 4/10/14 4:57 AM
RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated) No-Second-Arrow Z 4/21/14 10:09 AM
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/15/13 7:41 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/9/13 5:25 AM

Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts

Hi,

This is my first post, so i wanted to introduce myself properly. It's going to be quite elaborate, so now is the time to decide you're gonna skip this thread ;-) I hope this is the right thread to post the introduction, I didn't discover an introduction thread.

I'm a 48 years old woman, european (so pardon my english, please), living in a busy household and my big dogs and the cats make it busier still :-)

Unfortunately, i've been 'blessed' with severe major depressions and yearly SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, kind of a severe form of the commonly known winterblues, which affect me some 7 months of the year). It seems a hereditary condition, since it runs in the family, grandmother, mother, and others). I wouldn't have mentioned it right away, but this is how I came to meditate. I was dealing with a severe depression and around the time I met a good psychiater -who helped me tremendously with good meds- and a psychologist, someone dear to me started 'nagging' me once again that I ought to try mindfulness, which to me was a weird new agy kind of thing (boy, was I wrong). At that point I was desperate, so I decided to give it a try. I read a couple of books from Jon Kabatt-Zinn which made a lot of sense, did meditations like the one he did with the people at Google.
I was very surprised how good it felt and after a couple of months I got curious as to where that mindfulness stuff came from and I discovered the teachings from the budhha and when I tried to get over the weird pompous language which was kind of offputting at first, I started to discover that he actually made a lot of sense and more and more I could verify my experience with what the buddha said. On top of that, I had some big and small surprises with meditation; my memory is very bad the last couple of years, probably due to medication and randomly I noticed getting some memories back and not during the meditation itself, which was astonishing, because I initially assumed all these experiences from people happened during meditation. Not neccesarily important ones, but it was very surprising.
Gradually I noticed that I seemed to get more of a pause between thinking and saying unskillful things, which made a difference, I was getting less volatile.
One other impressive thing is that my way of thinking is changing dramatically. All my life it felt like I was on camera, being judged and scrutinized by every single person who happened to walk by. Gradually this feeling was at first replaced by a kind of "so what, if people judge me!", then it changed to "people have way more important things to do or think about, than judging me" and now the feeling of being judged is completely gone! I just have the notion that every person is different and that's ok.
Maybe a year ago I started to realize that concentration practice is way more important than people say, so I've been experimenting more rigorously with it, starting with the courses Gil Fronsdal did, on Audiodharma.org. Experimenting with separate concentration sessions versus incorporating it with insight practice.
I could get to access concentration relatively easy, but the jhana's were a different story. Unexpectedly people would come home, slamming doors, a cat would crawl on my lap, lovingly putting nails in my legs, or dogs would walk with their nails on the hardwood floor.
A couple of months ago I finally reached the first jhana, but it has been really hard to reproduce it. At first I had the "Yay, I reached jhana!" effect, so now I changed more in the sense that I don't really care how that particularly session will turn out and that made it easier. But lately it seems I only get a kind of invalid jhana, where piti and sukha disappear fast and then I'm left with "shoot, what am I supposed to do now?" The last couple of 'jhana sessions' I decided that sinceI'm quite concentrated, I might as well switch to insight and look for the three characteristics.
I also started noting, hesitantly. More like experiments, so hours would go by and then I would remember: "Oops, I was supposed to note everything". But now I notice that - even if I don't do it much yet - I start to experiment vibrations. Usually some tinglings in my body, but one day I opened my eyes and everything I saw vibrated for maybe half a minute or so. Also, I've had maybe 4 nights the last month that before I dose off, I get tingly feelings in my head, neck or shoulders. Not unpleasant, except one time when I got tingling of the upper back, then it stopped, then it returned ten to thirty minutes later. This repeated maybe six times or so in that night. What was quite scary though was that as soon as the tingling would start I would experience a mortal fear. I would get really terrified. When the tingling stopped, the fear would stop too. Then it would start again. Even though I was terrified, it seemed a confirmation that I'm doing things right - things are starting to happen - and this was enough for me to start thinking - during the fear: " Relax, impermanence, not self and suffering at work. It will pass."
This episode convinced me that noting is a very important tool, so I'm getting ready to start to note more seriously. One question that does come up is: am I supposed to give up reading? Because those two don't match and I love to read (buddhist) books, articles and sutta's.
I've had one other very strange experience outside of meditation, which lasted for hours, but I asked about it on 2 other forums and not sure if it's appropriate to talk about it here as well.

Anyway, I've studied the progress of insight and I'm pretty sure I've yet to experience "Mind&Body", though I do realize that all these depressions could lead one to think 'Dark Night'. But that's just nurture and nature, in my opinion. Nothing of these insights seem to have happened, but I keep an eye out to 'see' the difference between mental and body, particularly during walking meditation, when I can intellectually grasp the difference between intentions and the body walking.
So, enough for now. I haven't been depressed in two years, by the way, thanks to the meds and the meditations and the impact buddhism has had on my life. Do suffer from the other SAD symptoms, like craving for carbohydrates, sleepiness, etc. And I aim to meditate some two hours a day, usually divided in at least two or three meditations. But sometimes it's one hour and sometimes two and a half, so it varies.
I really appreciate comments, have browsed around the site for hours, lurked for a couple of months to get a feel of this place, read 'the' book and learned heaps. Also, I'm glad that there are some female members who participate regularly.
Thanks for reading this. Have a nice day!
Edited to add link
Chuck Kasmire, modified 10 Years ago at 12/9/13 10:53 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/9/13 10:53 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Sylvie,
But lately it seems I only get a kind of invalid jhana, where piti and sukha disappear fast and then I'm left with "shoot, what am I supposed to do now?

I think it's pretty common to have some 'beginners luck' as we can follow the directions without trying to seek out a previous experience. When jhanic qualities come up try to see how they came up - what you were doing at that time - and when they fall away try to see how that came about. It's very much like learning any other skill - concentrate on what you are doing (attention/perception) and not on the result (piti/sukha).

Fear and Tingling: Any practice that allows you to be sensitive to what is going on in the body - particularly when you can bring some relaxation to it - is going to bring up these tingling sensations. Most people are not aware of them as they spend their time in their head wrapped up in thoughts. Fear is deeply rooted in the body. As you become more sensitive to the body this is going to come up. You are in effect releasing it and there is a kind of therapeutic feeling that comes with these practices as a result - it seems like the right thing to do.

By the way, some jhana teachers consider the tingling you are experiencing to be piti that is arising. If you look into the pleasant aspects of this sensation you can take that as your object for jhana. Thus allowing you to move back into a jhana practice if you so wish.
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Ian And, modified 10 Years ago at 12/24/13 12:27 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/9/13 10:50 PM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
No-Second-Arrow Z:

I'm a 48 years old woman, european (so pardon my english, please), living in a busy household ...

Hi Sylvie,

Welcome to the DhO.

No-Second-Arrow Z:

I was very surprised how good it felt and after a couple of months I got curious as to where that mindfulness stuff came from and I discovered the teachings from the budhha and when I tried to get over the weird pompous language which was kind of offputting at first, I started to discover that he actually made a lot of sense and more and more I could verify my experience with what the buddha said.

That's good that you enjoy reading and studying the discourses. They are the best source for instruction and study. Besides accesstoinsight.org, you can fine quite a few good sutta translations (in English) at http://www.palicanon.org/. Best to find them in your native tongue, though, if you are able.

No-Second-Arrow Z:

On top of that, I had some big and small surprises with meditation; my memory is very bad the last couple of years, probably due to medication and randomly I noticed getting some memories back and not during the meditation itself, which was astonishing, because I initially assumed all these experiences from people happened during meditation. Not neccesarily important ones, but it was very surprising.

Gradually I noticed that I seemed to get more of a pause between thinking and saying unskillful things, which made a difference, I was getting less volatile.

It appears that you are already benefiting from your practice. Congratulations!

No-Second-Arrow Z:

A couple of months ago I finally reached the first jhana, but it has been really hard to reproduce it. At first I had the "Yay, I reached jhana!" effect, so now I changed more in the sense that I don't really care how that particularly session will turn out and that made it easier. But lately it seems I only get a kind of invalid jhana, where piti and sukha disappear fast and then I'm left with "shoot, what am I supposed to do now?" The last couple of 'jhana sessions' I decided that since I'm quite concentrated, I might as well switch to insight and look for the three characteristics.

Don't worry about any disappearance of piti and sukha. Just maintain your focus on the pleasantness of the breath, and oftentimes you will fall right into an absorption meditation without really trying. A good website to dig around in to learn about Jhana is Leigh Brasington's. And yes, if you feel as though your concentration level is high, it's perfectly natural to use that time to practice insight. Very good (and insightful) of you to notice this. Keep thinking for yourself and following your natural intuition about how to practice. It sounds like you're doing a good job. emoticon

No-Second-Arrow Z:

This episode convinced me that noting is a very important tool, so I'm getting ready to start to note more seriously. One question that does come up is: am I supposed to give up reading? Because those two don't match and I love to read (buddhist) books, articles and sutta's.

No, you are not supposed to give up reading. Keep reading the things you enjoy reading and pondering about what you are reading, especially the suttas. Noting is only a tool to be used when you want to focus on doing it, not something you need to practice all the time as though it were some kind of therapy. As your mind becomes more calm, you may start to notice more and more things about what you are experiencing, as this is one of the benefits of having practiced noting: you begin to notice more and more about what is going on in the present moment. Noting can help you to stay centered in the present moment, but you don't have to be constantly noting in order to achieve this. It begins to happen naturally. And that is called mindfulness. Okay?

No-Second-Arrow Z:

And I aim to meditate some two hours a day, usually divided in at least two or three meditations. But sometimes it's one hour and sometimes two and a half, so it varies.

This is good! Two to three hours a day can be very beneficial to one's practice. Keep up the good work!

In peace,
Ian
stuart chas law, modified 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 6:46 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 6:46 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 68 Join Date: 12/8/13 Recent Posts
Hi Sylvie,

Sorry i have no words of wisdom for you, but i read your first post with growing fraternal feelings. I'm 62 and clinical depression as been a constant companion down through the decades and whilst good medications have succeeded in centering me up reasonably well the only thing that has bought back a modicum of lasting enjoyment was my stumbling into the Triple Gem (the Buddha, Dharma and Sanga) and then a couple of years ago having this forum recommended to me by one of my actual sanga.

Your journey seems further advanced than mine but i just felt compelled to wish you well and sincerely hope you gain as much if not more than i have from this unique forum and wonderful people.

Be well, stay well.

Stu

Queensland, Australia.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 6:55 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 6:55 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
Chuck Kasmire:
When jhanic qualities come up try to see how they came up - what you were doing at that time - and when they fall away try to see how that came about.

Yes, I agree and for that reason I wrote in my meditation journal (not online) what was working, what was not working, stuff like that. Very helpful.

Chuck Kasmire:
Fear and Tingling: Any practice that allows you to be sensitive to what is going on in the body - particularly when you can bring some relaxation to it - is going to bring up these tingling sensations. Most people are not aware of them as they spend their time in their head wrapped up in thoughts. Fear is deeply rooted in the body. As you become more sensitive to the body this is going to come up. You are in effect releasing it and there is a kind of therapeutic feeling that comes with these practices as a result - it seems like the right thing to do.

When I first read this, I thought "Nah, how could I be unaware of that much fear?" But when I thought about it some more, it actually made sense, because as far as I can remember I am very nervous, it feels like a buzzing in the solar plexis (is that proper english? It's just beneath the breast bone, in the center). Even when I think I'm relaxed, usually it just keeps going.

Chuck Kasmire:
By the way, some jhana teachers consider the tingling you are experiencing to be piti that is arising. If you look into the pleasant aspects of this sensation you can take that as your object for jhana. Thus allowing you to move back into a jhana practice if you so wish.

But usually I sense these tinglings outside of meditation, so just in daily life. Usually when I'm resting or something. So, that's probably not piti?
When I reach the first jhana, the piti element feels like an exploding ball, in the center of my lower torso. Then it subsides, builts up again, and so forth. Showering piti? Before I reached the jhana I felt piti building in access concentration, but then it felt like a warm flood surging through the body, with an upward quality. But ever since I reached the jhana that quality of access concentration changed, no upward sensation anymore. On reading and listening to Leigh Brasington I experimented with focusing on the pleasant quality, but I have a bit of difficulty with that. Also with 'expanding the piti', can't get it to my limbs. But I keep experimenting and I've learned heaps already.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 7:16 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 7:16 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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Ian And:
That's good that you enjoy reading and studying the discourses. They are the best source for instruction and study. Besides accesstoinsight.org, you can fine quite a few good sutta translations (in English) at http://www.palicanon.org/. Best to find them in your native tongue, though, if you are able.Ian

I have the Samyutta Nikaya, which is very beautiful. And "In the buddha's words". Truth be told, I dislike reading in my native tongue, all the reading I do is english. I'm not a native speaker, but english is my preferred language. I study those links as well, mostly accesstoinsight. I know some people here are no "sutta heads", but when I'm in doubt, I'll check what the buddha had to say. In the beginning I was quite shocked when I realized how many modern teachers are referring to the Visudhimagga that much. Sometimes it seems to be preferred to what the buddha himself said. And some things are in direct opposite to what the buddha plainly stated.
Ian:

No, you are not supposed to give up reading. Keep reading the things you enjoy reading and pondering about what you are reading, especially the suttas. Noting is only a tool to be used when you want to focus on doing it, not something you need to practice all the time as though it were some kind of therapy.

Pheww, that's a relief, thanks emoticon
I appreciate your comments, I always enjoy your point of view.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 7:25 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 7:25 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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Stu, thank you for your very kind words. It's hell to have to go through severe depressions. But I recognize what you said; this practice is very important and it offers real relief. It has become easier to recognize that the feelings you have are actually impermanent. And the thoughts we have don't hold up at all under close examination. That really helps. Of course I don't expect to get rid of depressions for 100 %, but I have a couple of extra tools to deal with them now.
As for the journey; you probably know as well as I do that it is not a race and insights change day by day. So, as long as we just keep walking we'll make progress, I'm sure of that!
Take care, you and all the other people here who deal with stuff like this!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 12:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/10/13 12:11 PM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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No-Second-Arrow Z:
But usually I sense these tinglings outside of meditation, so just in daily life. Usually when I'm resting or something. So, that's probably not piti?

What are the boundaries of meditation such that there is an inside and an outside? This is something I look at nowadays.

Have you ever looked at Michael Olds site BuddhaDust? You might enjoy it. He has an ability to present the depth of his experience of this path in contemporary language - with a sense of humor and play. He has a glossology that is I think unique among Buddhist sites and a good way to explore pali terms. Here is the link for piti.

His definition: Piti, whatever it is, has a carnal side, and that must be accounted for in the translated term. I believe the best term is probably "excitement". I usually use "enthusiasm" to avoid having to explain that this is a good kind of excitement, not a distracted sort.

So if you find this tingling sensation as pleasant such that it kind of draws you in then it may develop into a more 'formal piti' so to speak. Something to play with.

No-Second-Arrow Z:
But ever since I reached the jhana that quality of access concentration changed, no upward sensation anymore. On reading and listening to Leigh Brasington I experimented with focusing on the pleasant quality, but I have a bit of difficulty with that. Also with 'expanding the piti', can't get it to my limbs. But I keep experimenting and I've learned heaps already.


You'll probably find that it comes and goes. With regard to the limbs - might try looking for it in your finger tips or palms first and then see if you can bring it up from there.

"But I keep experimenting" - that's the key!
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:04 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:04 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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Chuck Kasmire:

What are the boundaries of meditation such that there is an inside and an outside? This is something I look at nowadays.

I see your point and I agree that there should not be a boundary, but...If I experience them in daily life and not while I'm 'sitting' than obviously there is a boundary, whether I like it or not. I'm guessing it's because in daily life I forget to stay mindful, when I'm busy running around or talking to someone. It gets a bit better, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Chuck Kasmire:
Have you ever looked at Michael Olds site BuddhaDust? You might enjoy it.

Thanks, never heard of him and I'm always happy to discover new sites.
Chuck Kasmire:
So if you find this tingling sensation as pleasant such that it kind of draws you in then it may develop into a more 'formal piti' so to speak. Something to play with.

I'll try that. It's not so much a pleasant feeling as much as that suddenly reality changes by seeing or feeling these vibrations. I mean isn't that incredible? The first (and only) time I experienced seeing this, I felt like I was in the Matrix! Meditation opens up a new world and a very unexpected one and - it may sound childish- but it's like I suddenly could confirm there is more to reality than what I saw.
Chuck Kasmire:
With regard to the limbs - might try looking for it in your finger tips or palms first and then see if you can bring it up from there.

Nice idea, I'll try that next time.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:18 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/11/13 5:18 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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Knowing I didn't have time to do some concentration practice, I went for half an hour of noting.
Since I've been reading a lot about noting lately, it's getting easier to remind myself what to note (well, yes of course everything that comes up, but a lot of it went below the radar).
So, I noted input from the sense doors, Vedana, thoughts, posture, breathing. At a steady rate of one per second, it was a very pleasant experience. It's nice when you start to become better at a new skill.
Sometimes, when it didn't go so well, I just started noting rising and falling and then after a while it got easier to incorporate other sensations.
I also play with noting specific things, like the 5 aggregates. Did that a couple of days ago and it was great. So, gradually I learn to see what kind of sensations there are and how to notice them.

Well, it's quiet now, i'm going to try another noting session. I learned early on that I don't have to react negatively when I get disturbed. A couple of years ago I would have been very irritated that they would disturb Poor Me and now I don't react at all, I'm just happy with the fact that I snuck in a couple of minutes of succesful practice.

By the way; is it just me or is this message board very slow lately? It takes minutes to load a page and I don't get that problem with unrelated web sites.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/14/13 7:22 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/14/13 7:22 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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So, this morning I meditated for 1 hour 50 minutes. I think it's been weeks since I lastly successfully entered the first jhana. I didn't make too big a deal of it, because I already learned how fragile and shy a jhana is; even thinking "Yes!" is too much.
I did wonder -outside of meditation - what the problem could be. It was not the hindrances - something I routinely check before getting really concentrated - and the five precepts were 'intact'. So, I sort of dismissed it, thinking that if I had been able to enter the jhanas in the recent past, then surely I would be able to do so again sometime in the future. I was able to get access concentration, usually, that is.

So, this time it felt like maybe circumstances were right and just maybe I could enter the first jhana today. But to my amazement I felt a little bit of fear when I felt I nearly entered the first jhana. That was quite a surprise, because why would I fear entering a jhana? Now, a couple of hours later, I think it might have been the fact that I'm very aware of the fact that the first insight knowledge is somehow connected to the first jhana. So I felt I needed to keep the experience of getting into the jhana fresh. So, maybe this had something to do with it? And maybe this was the reason I had so much trouble experiencing them lately in the first place.
So, I told myself not to worry and accessed the first jhana. Piti was very present and I read somewhere (here? or maybe Leigh Brasington?) that part of mastering a jhana (aside from the 5 things you need to really learn to really master it) could include practicing the strength of piti, so making it strong, weaker, make it disappear. To my amazement it went very smooth, even though it was the first time I tried,I could tweak it as if turning on or off the tab.

I'm still not quite sure if I'm able to access the second jhana, or not, for 2 reasons:
1. I know that vitakka and viccara are supposed to drop away, but I'm not sure if it happens automatically or if I make a choice to not 'think'. Because my thinking was not completely gone, but I just decided to 'let go' of the 'thinking' (not sure if thinking is the right word, as it is not discursive thinking, but a very soft background thing).
2. And what I also am not sure about is that I feel as if concentration (or tranquility?) becomes somewhat weaker and then it gets stronger again, something that feels like a pleasant tight pressure enveloping my head. Every 5 minutes or so it got stronger, like a blanket. Though it's not an unpleasant feeling, it's not piti and I always seem to feel it in connection with getting more concentrated, so maybe it's a physical sensation that signals concentration. So, is it just getting more concentrated, or does it signal the entrance to the second jhana.
I forgot to mention that I always feel a pushing sensation and then I tense my muscles as if I'm delivering a baby. This is incredibly weird - especially since I used these muscles to deliver 3 baby's and not at any other time - and the first time it happened, I was completely surprised. Because, it felt like a painless delivery, in the sense that the same muscles were activated. I'm wondering if it is piti as well. To me piti has a very specific quality and it goes together with that 'pushing' sensation, but at the same time it seems not entirely part of the piti. But then, sukkha is more of a mental feeling, I think. A deep kind of contentment and peace, so I'm not sure if maybe sukkha has a physical quality as well.

Anyway, one thing happened at one time during this 'sitting', something that I haven't experienced before: suddenly I felt as if someone gently pealed away a very heavy layer from my forehead and then I felt that a kind of pressure had gone. I remember 'thinking' very vaguely; that's strange, I never knew I had that tight pressure there on my forehead. It was not that pressure from the concentration enveloping my head. It was very different from that.

For the most part I just let the jhana unfold, but now and than I looked for the 3 characteristics as I was very mindful and could see those with ease. And I tried once or twice to notice the differences between body and mind, in the hopes maybe it would trigger the first Knowledge.

After having entered the jhana I usually feel very content, peaceful and 'fresh' / well rested for a couple of hours, but this time it was extremely so; all my symptoms from the S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) were utterly gone! I knew and know that this too is impermanent and that's ok, but it was an immense relief to feel this way, even for a couple of hours, instead of having to wait until may or so. Maybe it felt so good, because the last couple of months I was feeling so exhausted and listless in the first place? It was the very first time I could really understand the buddha's words, when he said that the jhanas were a very safe way of feeling happiness in this world, without the dangers involved in wordly desires. Yes, I already knew the first jhana was pleasant, but not that pleasant that I would prefer this to a nice piece of chocolate emoticon
But this time it did feel better, though I don't see how I could ever get addicted to a jhana, as I heard to be the case with some people (or maybe that's just an urban myth to scare people away from the jhanas). Maybe I'm just to practical or something; I see it as a pleasant tool, which can teach me things and that's it.

Yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed reading an old thread here from Sister Khema about Dependent Origination
It was beautiful how enthusiastic she explained this. Of course I've read a lot about it, listened to podcasts, but the way she showered everyone with examples was very inspiring and it brought this topic so much more to life. I immediately focused on some daily life stuff and could see very clearly how D.O. was visible and how I could have changed the way I reacted.
This message board is loaded with treasures, so much knowledge, so much experiences, so many different views.
Well, that's it for today.
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triple think, modified 10 Years ago at 12/14/13 10:12 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/14/13 9:16 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

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hi No-Second-Arrow-Z

Thanissaro's - Wings to Awakening - is a good outline of the steps to take.

If the five hindrances are all flat-lined ( "All asteroids have been vaporized sir. No anomalous obstacles or disturbances linger in the void." ) the next thing to consider is the balance of the seven enlightenment qualities ( "Bring main thrusters online and prepare for shift to warp from impulse power." ). The other wings all support the balancing effort ( "Plot course and extend sensors to maximum range." ). Onward and upward.

- triplethink

considered one more brief note on plotting the course in 8 steps over breakfast

joyful appreciation
concern
kindness
peace
truth
purification
wisdom
liberation

take a step forward or back as necessary until arriving at the 'far out'
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/15/13 7:28 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/15/13 7:28 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
Hey there, thank you for taking the time for your beautiful answer!
I've got some 107 books, booklets and articles - all buddhist - on my cell phone, including Wings to Awakening; guess I need to change priorities here emoticon
Though I am aware of the seven factors of awakening, I haven't figured out yet how to implement them, other than it seems to develop somewhat automatically if you follow the 16 anapanasati steps. I like the anapanasati very much, but it has taken me quite some time to try to figure out what the buddha ment, since some authors said " it's just concentration practice", while the other ones claim " no no, it's vipassana" and than I've not even mentioned different views about 'the body' (breath body versus physical body). Anyway, I digress. So, thank you and I will start reading after I finished Map to the journey by Jotika (pdf), which is an incredible interesting book, also going through the (ten) insight knowledges.
In those 8 steps I recognize some paramitas (and a precept). To highlight one: metta. When I first came in contact with the buddha and his teachings I skipped hastily over those metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha sutta's. But gradually I learned more about them, for instance that metta is an antidote to ill will. And ill will I had plenty. I was irritable, easily angered and even though I tried, I could not understand why the buddha said (with his famous simile about a hot coal in your hand to throw at an enemy) that anger was unpleasant and bad for you. Because when I was angry I felt strong, I felt that I was Right. Gradually I started to examine anger and learned to feel that it wasn't pleasant to be angry; it felt very unpleasant in the body and even if my 'enemy' was nowhere in sight, he or she had managed to hijack my thoughts and emotions for hours. So, I decided to try out metta, not only to people around me but also to strangers. I've got two big dogs, so daily we went out, with my bike, and I started to greet everyone, and decided I wouldn't feel bad if I got unpleasant responses. Well, there were no unpleasant responses. One or two people looked puzzled and didn't greet back, but usually people suddenly smiled and greeted back. There was one man, who looked incredibly sad. I saw him almost daily. Gradually he started to smile back, even said a word or two and than a little miracle; one day he saw me coming (with the dogs and bike), he started to laugh, made a funny jump and waved his arm as if he was clearing the path for me. It felt sooo good to make his day a tiny bit better. So, metta; very, very powerful.So, while at first, I started to experiment with metta, to change my ill will habits, now i also do it, because you never know how it might affect someone, it might be the only positive thing in their day, even if it's just a couple of seconds.
I could go on and on about your other steps, but let's not emoticon
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 12/24/13 5:30 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/23/13 6:44 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
While I don't have little kids anymore, I do live within a 5 person household and all of them are home for the holidays, for 2 weeks. I'm very happy for them, because they are all utterly exhausted, but it does pose challenges. Most of them are turning their day/night rhythm around, while I go to bed early (with earplugs) and rise very early, due to one of my older dogs who has incontinence issues. So, my early morning meditations are often interrupted and during the day that happens as well.
These days, my attitude of just fully accepting interruptions, without getting irritated or feeling full of self pity, serves me well. This attitude is also helpful in daily life. More and more I try to see things without dividing them into good or bad, right or wrong. Especially after meditating that is very helpful, because every meditation that I would have labeled 'bad' a year and a half ago, turned out to be a lesson in which I learned what does or does not work, for instance, when dealing with the hindrances. Often I'm quite tired, so sloth and torpor is a frequent visitor and in the early days it often felt like a loosing battle. But nowadays I know that if I just hang in there it will magically disappear on its own when reaching access concentration.
Another thing that will probably come up during the holidays is Right Speech. This is something I practiced a lot the past year and I've made significant progress, but there still are people and situations where all my good intentions fly right out the window. So, I suspect I'll encounter some more situations where I can practice this emoticon Also, right (or wise, which I prefer) speech is very useful when I'm sending emails. Earlier on I would just hit the send button, now I let them stew for awhile and more than once I decide to edit it, or to rephrase sentences. More and more I'm also trying to see how the other path factors connect with each other.

The holiday has brought some unexpected financial gifts and I have to admit that I felt a bit greedy choosing books that were on my wishlist for a long time. But since they are all Buddhist books, well, maybe it's not all bad. I already have the Samyutta Nikaya and now I'm able to add two more to my collection, the Majjhima and Anguttara Nikaya. The first one, because it tends to be the one people cite the most from and the Anguttara I picked, because there are some very old suttas in there, I think chapter four and five in particular, if I remember correctly. And going by the descriptions, it's kind of - don't know if it's the right word - chaotic, meaning that if I just start with number one (though I know bhikkhu Bodhi added a thematic guide) I might encounter some surprises. I love reading, so I've got my reading cut out for me!

So, not much to tell meditationwise, but I did a lot of other stuff, for instance checking out the videos where Daniel gets interviewed in the Cheetah house. Very interesting, though probably not easy for people who are totally new to the buddhist path and haven't read Daniels book yet. Also checked out more thoroughle some websites - and pages, for instance the one where Kenneth Folk explains noting according to the 4 Establishments (Foundations) of Mindfulness. And The Hamilton Project Very helpful were these sites, though they left me wondering why some people explain that noting the positions / movements of the limbs is crucial (Mahasi Sayadaw), while others don't mention them at all At first I was mostly noting bending, moving, stretching, grabbing and all kinds of other bodily movements intensely, but now I'm not so sure anymore. Would love to hear peoples opinions about it!
I've been practicing the noting 'system' from Kenneth Folk, first of all because I like the division in the Four Foundations, second because I want to add more words to my existing noting vocabulary. Usually I just sit down a couple of times a day for 5 minutes, just practicing one of those four, next time another one and also mixing and matching categories, so that it will become more second nature.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 10 Years ago at 1/2/14 3:42 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/2/14 3:42 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you, loved ones and your pets are well.

The holidays continue and I still can't practice more than maybe 15 minutes. Not only people, but also sleep deprived and a sore throat, lost my voice.

One thing I forget to mention every time is that, maybe a month ago, my breathing changed during meditation. Although my breathing is clear and unobstructed, one breath in it's like I hear 5-7 little 'puffs', same thing on breathing out. It's very subtle, not as dramatic as the performance Daniel gave in the Cheetah house Vimeo I saw recently emoticon
More as if I would on purpose try to breath intermittently, only it's not on purpose. It's not a big deal, but quite funny.
I can't wait to pick up speed -or rather, uninterrupted time - to meditate longer and more often. I remember the days I didn't like to meditate, it was more of a chore, but the last year I really learned to enjoy it, felt more secure in how to do it.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 9 Years ago at 4/10/14 4:57 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/10/14 4:57 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
Big holes in this practice log. Life has been chaotic and at times difficult, so didn't do much, though I kept meditating at night, before I fell asleep. I decided to pick up my meditating again and my reading, because it's no excuse as I believe wholeheartedly in the Buddha's path.
I did practice right speech and such, so that has been very useful.
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No-Second-Arrow Z, modified 9 Years ago at 4/21/14 10:09 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/21/14 8:51 AM

RE: Practice log No Second Arrow (comments valued and appreciated)

Posts: 58 Join Date: 8/14/13 Recent Posts
April the 20th:

As I am getting back to finding my meditation mojo, I notice some things that disappeared when I meditated very little and now are returning:
Last year I aimed at some two hours meditating a day and noticed that my breathing started to change: I focused on my breath and usually I had a 'normal', calm and steady in breath and out breath, but I noticed that my in breath changed very subtly into a kind of a breath with approximately 5 little pauses in it. (Hard to describe as I'm not a native english speaker).
Allow me to draw an in breath which is normal: _______ and it changed into _ _ _ _ _
Same with the out breath. I'm not talking about something related to the heart beat or something. I'm not even talking about something important, but it's just strange that meditation changes all kinds of things in very unexpected ways. So, last week this kind of breathing returned.

Another thing that changed when meditating for longer periods a day was that during the meditation it felt as if part of my spine was shifted an inch or two to the right. That is, starting from just below my head to somewhere in the middle of my back it felt as if my spine was not in alignment with the rest of the spine. Not talking about bones, muscles and tendons, but the usual background feeling when you pay attention to your spine. Once again, not important, but kind of unexpected and strange, though a bit funny as well. This is returning very subtly as well.

Another change, also related to longer meditation sessions was that I got back memories from long ago. When I hardly meditated for a couple of months, that too disappeared, but now that I'm meditating more again - those little memories returned. I'm talking stuff from decades ago. Thirty, forty years back. Never thought about these things, until they suddenly pop up. Not even during meditation, but just in ordinary daily life. Never important (one example is that I remembered a type of paper that people used long ago - is blotting paper the right word? - , it was always lying on my fathers desk, I think) but I'm surprised to find these memories still existed somewhere in my brain, especially when they are not very important.

One little practical thing: I read or heard somewhere (maybe in Shaila Catherine's book Wisdom wide and deep?) that it might be helpful to count differently, when you aim to concentrate. Often people advice: breath in, breath out, count 1. But if you switch that - breath out, breath in, count 1 - it's often more helpful, because people tend to get distracted at the end of the out breath. Well, tried that and what do you know: it works! It really is amazing that such a simple thing makes such a difference for me!

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