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Jehanne's practice log

Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/22/14 10:53 AM
I've been lurking around DhO a few months now after having rekindled my interest in this thing people call meditation. Time to start my own practice log! emoticon

Something about my background: I was participating actively in a diamond way buddhist center for maybe a year around 2009. At the same time I was going through quite a lot of material on buddhism, including the MCTB, which duly impressed me. My practice was daily, maybe an hour or a half a day. I participated a few day retreat during this time (phowa) but it was heavily lecture based, with much less daily meditation than I would have liked.

Some memorable experiences from the tantric meditation period include being able to hear sound coming from children's playground maybe a block away and somehow profoundly sensing and realizing that I AM THERE. That I am not limited to this body, but rather all by sensual experiences are me, and being me is in this way more flexible than I had previously thought.
Second experience was right after finishing up a mantra/visualization meditation session. As I opened my eyes, I felt as if my body was bigger than my standard flesh-and-bones body. I was sort of gently vibrating all over, and these vibrations were extending beyond the boundaries of my body.

Ok, enough of the past! So, where am I now? I re-read MCTB in the fall 2013 on a bus commuting. I developed quite serious determination to give this thing another try. During christmas holiday I arranged time to meditate every day for maybe two 40min sessions.I try to make time to sit with my eyes closed everyday. 10 minutes is the minimum, but I try to do several 40-50 minutes sessions when personal life allows it. I also pay attention to the sensations when walking, or in the elevator etc, when I remember to do that.

My main short term goal would be to develop insight to the extent that I can understand what people are talking about, when they say everything is vibrating. I think I maybe saw a glimpse of that on 2009 as I described above, but after starting again I haven't gotten much further other than being able to note maybe 2-3 times per second quite consistently. Distractions occur from time to time, depending on the day. I have this bugging feeling that I am not doing it right or something, but after reading the DhO I can't say that I'm doing anything different than people seem to be doing here. It's probably just that I have t be patient and keep doing it!
Samatha-wise I would like to improve my concentration and learn to recognize the different jhanas. At the moment I am at a phase where I think I can attain access concentration maybe 50% of the time. I've used breath, lights behind my eyelids and candle flame as an object.

The visions behind my eyelids are the most recent addition to my list of concentration objects. The first two times I tried, I noticed after about 10-20 minutes that blue circles started to appear at the center of my visual field. I was able to focus on those and noticed a clear shift in my concentration, the background noise disappeared. Success! The next few times I tried doing this I was unable to get anywhere past the initial background noise.

Using candle light as a kasina object was surprisingly productive the first time I tried. I had read Daniel's description of what is supposed to happen (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB%20Bill%20HamiltonS%20Model?p_r_p_185834411_title=MCTB%20Bill%20HamiltonS%20Model). I didn't expect much, but instead I was sky rocketed exactly through the phases I remembered reading. After closing my eyes I first saw this noisy, textured background. But suddenly a clear red dot was visible and the background noise completely disappeared. I was watching this dot as it chanced color, acquired green and purple rings and I even saw a tiny star circling in the middle! At some point it became completely black and also disappeared. It was a bit hard to keep track of all that was happening, but this experience blew my mind as it was EXACTLY as described, no question about it! The next few times with a candle light didn't even go to the clear, initial blob phase, I was just observing the noisy background. Trying again this week I was able to follow the phases at least three time to the disappearing black dot.

I like to think that I'm somewhat visually oriented. The elaborate visualizations in the vajrayana tradition come relatively natural to me, and I have incorporated these visualizations to my current practice from time to time. For example, I did a certain visualization and mantra recitation recently and at some point the mantra started to feel like massive stone wheel that was rotating heavily in my mind.

The thing I like about MCTB and DhO is to be able to find descriptions of actual meditation experiences and attainments. This sort of thing was completely lacking from the diamond way approach. There were no maps, and any directions on how to meditate were considerably less clear than what I have found here. I asked many times how am I supposed to know I am doing this right, and never got any useful answers. Only after reading extensively afterwards I've come to the conclusion that they, too, were onto something. The method was just not right for me at the time.

I hope to maintain a balanced and healthy attitude towards this meditation thing, and also to keep practicing. This log is to be a reminder of that and also where I was at this time.

Let's see how it goes! emoticon

-J

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/23/14 4:53 PM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Jehanne S Peacock:
I've been lurking around DhO a few months now after having rekindled my interest in this thing people call meditation. Time to start my own practice log! emoticon

Welcome to the Dho!
Jehanne S Peacock:
My main short term goal would be to develop insight to the extent that I can understand what people are talking about, when they say everything is vibrating. I think I maybe saw a glimpse of that on 2009 as I described above, but after starting again I haven't gotten much further other than being able to note maybe 2-3 times per second quite consistently. Distractions occur from time to time, depending on the day. I have this bugging feeling that I am not doing it right or something, but after reading the DhO I can't say that I'm doing anything different than people seem to be doing here. It's probably just that I have t be patient and keep doing it!

It looks like you are doing well...keep it up. I've found daily practice to be the best indicator of success in my path...every day getting to the furthest spot you can get and working there with noting and the three characteristics. Phenomena seen clearly, noted to keep from getting into the content and sometimes gently seeing that the sensation/thought is not me, doesn't last, and doesn't satisfy.
Jehanne S Peacock:
Samatha-wise I would like to improve my concentration and learn to recognize the different jhanas. At the moment I am at a phase where I think I can attain access concentration maybe 50% of the time. I've used breath, lights behind my eyelids and candle flame as an object.

Recognizing the different Jhanas takes a bit of repetition thru them and also not getting in your own way intellectually thinking they have to be "more" than what you are experiencing. Yes, fully absorbed descriptions are super obvious and intense but notice the differences every time you feel a shift...notice what the differences are, and especially notice the shifts. Then reread the descriptions and see if there is anything useful. Trust your experiences as they unfold and take notes.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/24/14 7:58 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Jehanne S Peacock:
I've been lurking around DhO a few months now after having rekindled my interest in this thing people call meditation. Time to start my own practice log! emoticon

Welcome to the Dho!

Thanks!

Dream Walker:
It looks like you are doing well...keep it up. I've found daily practice to be the best indicator of success in my path...every day getting to the furthest spot you can get and working there with noting and the three characteristics. Phenomena seen clearly, noted to keep from getting into the content and sometimes gently seeing that the sensation/thought is not me, doesn't last, and doesn't satisfy.

Good to hear you think that emoticon

I did some noting practise this morning on the bus. I scheduled 20 minutes, but unfortunately I found myself sleeping at the end. In the beginning I was able to note quite ok, although I was interrupted by a wandering mind from time to time. Labeling the sensations is a bit tricky for me, cause I tend to swich to auto mode, where I'm just mindlessly repeating the last label. If I'm simply alert and notice different types of sensations, I don't fall into this trap, but then it's possible that the mind starts to drift more easily. I have to look more closely into that. Also during the working day I try remember to pay attention to the bare sensations when I can.
For some reason I kind of take it for granted that the thoughts are not me. I dunno if I'm thinking this somehow funny, but I just don't know how to relate to the idea that my thoughts are somehow me. I don't know what me is, either, so could be that I'm just as confused as the next guy and just don't know how to put in in words emoticon

Dream Walker:
Recognizing the different Jhanas takes a bit of repetition thru them and also not getting in your own way intellectually thinking they have to be "more" than what you are experiencing. Yes, fully absorbed descriptions are super obvious and intense but notice the differences every time you feel a shift...notice what the differences are, and especially notice the shifts. Then reread the descriptions and see if there is anything useful. Trust your experiences as they unfold and take notes.
Good luck,
~D


This is a good tip, not expecting anything more than what you experience. At one point I was very interested in the models and wanted to keenly know where I stood with respect to the models. I assume I don't have enough experience, and therefore I feel like it is easy to get tricked and somehow start to feel that the tiniest experience is somewhere very far in the maps Although I can understand that the contrary as you explained, can occur easily too. At this point I'm thinking more along the lines of "who cares" with regards to the maps. I've found it interesting that I've had a handful of experiences that actually exhibit some sort of recognazible pattern in them, namely the candle light kasina and light behind my eyes.

I had a funny dream the other night. I was meditating and was able to land some sort of concentration state over and over again. The dream was very realistic, I could see only the things I see normally with eyes closed, and the state I landed felt very much like to ones I've experienced. It wasn't a lucid dream or anything but was kinda interesting in any case!

-J

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/24/14 10:48 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Jehanne S Peacock:
I did some noting practise this morning on the bus. I scheduled 20 minutes, but unfortunately I found myself sleeping at the end. In the beginning I was able to note quite ok, although I was interrupted by a wandering mind from time to time. Labeling the sensations is a bit tricky for me, cause I tend to swich to auto mode, where I'm just mindlessly repeating the last label.
Speed up the noting and see what that does for you.
Jehanne S Peacock:
I had a funny dream the other night. I was meditating and was able to land some sort of concentration state over and over again. The dream was very realistic, I could see only the things I see normally with eyes closed, and the state I landed felt very much like to ones I've experienced. It wasn't a lucid dream or anything but was kinda interesting in any case!
I'm a firm believer in dream work...I look at it as free extra practice. I usually rise up the vipassana jhanas in bed to as high as I can get before drifting off to sleep.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/26/14 12:39 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Ok, I did 20 minutes of formal noting practise yesterday, with the aim to note as fast as possible. I noticed I was unable to actually label stuff I noted any faster than usually, so I just proceeded with trying to be aware of my attention as is spontaneously touched different things quickly.

Usually, when I have tried to be fast, I've noticed I tend to try to direct my mind from event to event and this leads to a mild panic because I feel I should be noting the next event and I can't seem to find stuff to note quick enough... I know this is silly, all kinds of stuff is happening constantly, so there is never a shortage of things to note!
Anyway, yesterday I was able to note quickly and effortlessly, and with enough skill that I actually felt like I was doing it right, somehow. I noticed a shift, kinda like what I have experience doing samatha practice, where I felt I took a step back inside my head and was watching from there all the noting that took place. Also, the field of perception that was laid out in from of me like a table-like flat surface (I had this feeling that the field was made from Lego brick -like surface) seemed to tremble a tiny bit, which led me to think that maybe this is some sort of pre-effect for all the virbations that's supposed to occur at some point. All in all, it was a good session. Didn't feel like I was stuck and I was highly motivated the whole day. I took every possible 5 minute period of solitude to sit with my eyes closed and try to note as fast as I could.

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
2/27/14 5:18 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Didn't have enough time to sit properly yesterday. I managed some 10 minutes plus trying to note during the day. I know I'm not doing this out-of-the-cushion noting anywhere near as diligently as is possible, but I'll keep trying. I've found that evening walks with the dog are a nice setting for this. It's usually more calm and quiet than in the bus, plus I can't fall asleep while I'm walking emoticon
I have a vague memory that the beginning of the session I was somehow able to feel more concentrated from the start than I was some week before, let's say. I'm not sure, though.

One possibly related thing I noticed yesterday:I got into an argument with someone at home, and I was getting really angry. Normally things could start to get out of hand, me not acting as skillfully as I could (think: throwing stuff etc..) but now I almost automatically stopped what I was about to do. Then I reached for the next "unskillful" thing, but automatically dropped that too. This happened maybe five time consequtively, after which I decided it's time to meditate a bit. The fight was over after that, yay! emoticon

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
3/3/14 5:27 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
The last three days I've done meditation as usual.

On Friday I did some short sessions of noting/generally being aware of stuff and noticed it was very easy and enjoyable to slip into the meditative state. So I arranged the time to sit formally for 20 minutes. The overall feeling was that it was easy and fun.

Saturday I did a 40 minute session and the biggest effect that I noticed was that my shoulders became incredibly stiff right at the beginning of the session. I've never experienced such from meditation, and I was using my standard posture sitting legs crossed on a cushion. I also noticed at some point that I was sitting in a really hunched back posture, and hadn't noticed how it had slipped into that. Overall experienced wasn't happy and enjoyable, but not terribel, either, except for the shoulder stiffness.

That night I had dream that started to transform into a lucid/sleep paralysis kind of state. I recognise this from the twisting sensation that permeates all my experience, and I typically try to resist it, because I've had some extremely frightening experiences under this state. It seems that I finally gave in to the feeling. What happened next was that I was feeling a tingling sensation starting from my chest area that I have occasionally when doing concentration practices. I remember I was flying upwards, my arms wide open like I was flying, looking up, there were these sparkles around me in black space, kind of like fireworks that are about to explode, and I was thinking: "FUCK YEAAH THIS IS IT!!!", thinking about A&P type of thing. Then suddenly I everything returned back to normal, no explosions or anything fancy. So yeah, don't count your chickens before they're hatched emoticon

Sunday I had a rather normal noting session for 20 minutes. I remember being somewhat annoyed by the fact that I may be doing the noting thing not diligently enough. I mean, I have a feeling I am starting to do this noticing more concentration-style than 3 characteristics-style. That I'm actually concentrating on noticing the things changing and appearing and disappearing. I think what got me to suspect this more is the fact that I was perhaps getting a similar jhanic(?) experience as with my eyes closed, namely bluish circles appearing in my center of vision. I've read tips about focusing more on the endings of sensations, and I have been trying to implement that. It's easy to do with passing car sound, or some click coming from household equipment. But it's more difficult to do it with thougts and physical feelings.
I also did a couple of rounds candle light concentration, which turned out to be business as usual.

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
3/3/14 2:17 PM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Jehanne S Peacock:

That night I had dream that started to transform into a lucid/sleep paralysis kind of state. I recognize this from the twisting sensation that permeates all my experience, and I typically try to resist it, because I've had some extremely frightening experiences under this state. It seems that I finally gave in to the feeling. What happened next was that I was feeling a tingling sensation starting from my chest area that I have occasionally when doing concentration practices. I remember I was flying upwards, my arms wide open like I was flying, looking up, there were these sparkles around me in black space, kind of like fireworks that are about to explode, and I was thinking: "FUCK YEAAH THIS IS IT!!!", thinking about A&P type of thing. Then suddenly I everything returned back to normal, no explosions or anything fancy. So yeah, don't count your chickens before they're hatched emoticon
Congrats!...you passed the test (fear overcome this time). You might get some more tests along the way but don't worry about it to much...meditation will get you ready for them.
Jehanne S Peacock:
Sunday I had a rather normal noting session for 20 minutes. I remember being somewhat annoyed by the fact that I may be doing the noting thing not diligently enough. I mean, I have a feeling I am starting to do this noticing more concentration-style than 3 characteristics-style. That I'm actually concentrating on noticing the things changing and appearing and disappearing. I think what got me to suspect this more is the fact that I was perhaps getting a similar jhanic(?) experience as with my eyes closed, namely bluish circles appearing in my center of vision. I've read tips about focusing more on the endings of sensations, and I have been trying to implement that. It's easy to do with passing car sound, or some click coming from household equipment. But it's more difficult to do it with thoughts and physical feelings.
I also did a couple of rounds candle light concentration, which turned out to be business as usual.

Noting will get you to jhanic states too. You are trying to stay in the present by noticing reality present itself with minimal interference of the mind. Concentration tends to exclude reality while you stay in the now. Don't worry about what arises when noting...it's just more things to note. I get visuals too. Note seeing. Note seeing. Note seeing. emoticon
Good luck,
~D

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
3/28/14 3:05 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
I have been doing irregular meditation for the past three weeks. Less formal sitting, more noting and generally being aware during every day activites, plus some occasional visualization stuff while going about my usual business! I have nothing specific to report from those sessions. However, a few things have happened which I'd like to report here for future reference.

I've had a couple of occasions where after a dream I enter into this state which is not quite dreaming and not really awake, either. The characteristic things here are black and white, geometrical visuals which are constantly moving. The black-and-whiteness has a similar visual style as the colors behind the eyelids when keeping eyes closed. What I mean is that the colors ar not very clear and pure, they seem more see-through or like oil on the surface of water. But yet somehow the geometrical patterns are very clear. Black and white squares with smaller, different colored squares in the middle, all lined up and moving like a conveyor belt. Some cogwheel and handheld fan type of visual, with many fine, moving lines were visible on the other occasion.

Before one of these visuals I had a dream, where I visited my dead grandmother's house. I heard someone come in from the door, and exited another door at the same time. This led me to a corridor with three doors, each having a distinguishable creaking sound when opened (old doors!). I remember walking out the third door and thinking about the three characteristics (the dream was very clearly symbolic in this sense) and then I entered the visuals.

I also had my first lucid dream in maybe 15 years! I remember I had this impulse to rip myself out of the normal dream, literally leaping forward, and then I was awake! I was again very excited about this and started to immediately think how to maintain this state. However, very quickly the lucidness began to wane, and I was bag in the sluggish, normal dream. I remember, however, that while I felt completely normal and awake, my perceptual eyes were looking at my physical body from the outside. This didn't strike me odd in the dream. Also, I think immediately after the dream, I had a visual thing, that resembled very much the things I saw before. However, this time the object was a rotating Buddha head!

The last oddity is something that makes me wonder if I should even mention it... But here goes! I was walking outside, listening to a podcast with earphones from my cellphone. These was this big truck type of thing brushing the sand of the street nearby, making it harder for me to actually hear what was said on the podcast. Then I had this crackling sound and felt like I had just received a small electric shock though my earphones! I wondered if maybe the brushes and sand from the vehicle nearby might have caused some static electricity effect, and was also considering maybe removing the plugs from my ears and not have voltage run accross my head, but decided then not to. The effect coudn't have been too dangerous, since I wasn't hook on to any sort of mains power line.

I didn't think it was in any way related to stuff on this forum, but after reading this bit of text from MCTB about A&P I started to wonder:
"Wild “kundalini” phenomena are very common at this point, including powerful physical shaking and releases, explosions of consciousness like a fireworks display or a tornado, visions, and especially vortexes of powerful fine “electrical” vibrations blasting down one's spinal column and/or between one's ears. These vortexes can be very loud. These sorts of experiences can occur quite unexpectedly and even off the cushion, such as in lucid dreams. They may be followed by various mixtures of wonder, excitement, bliss, extraordinary joy, and sometimes disorientation."

Emphasis on the parts that seems to fit my experience.

But yeah, I dunno what the hell that was emoticon

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
3/28/14 9:45 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Jehanne S Peacock:
I've had a couple of occasions where after a dream I enter into this state which is not quite dreaming and not really awake, either. The characteristic things here are black and white, geometrical visuals which are constantly moving. The black-and-whiteness has a similar visual style as the colors behind the eyelids when keeping eyes closed. What I mean is that the colors ar not very clear and pure, they seem more see-through or like oil on the surface of water. But yet somehow the geometrical patterns are very clear. Black and white squares with smaller, different colored squares in the middle, all lined up and moving like a conveyor belt. Some cogwheel and handheld fan type of visual, with many fine, moving lines were visible on the other occasion.

Before one of these visuals I had a dream, where I visited my dead grandmother's house. I heard someone come in from the door, and exited another door at the same time. This led me to a corridor with three doors, each having a distinguishable creaking sound when opened (old doors!). I remember walking out the third door and thinking about the three characteristics (the dream was very clearly symbolic in this sense) and then I entered the visuals.

I also had my first lucid dream in maybe 15 years! I remember I had this impulse to rip myself out of the normal dream, literally leaping forward, and then I was awake! I was again very excited about this and started to immediately think how to maintain this state. However, very quickly the lucidness began to wane, and I was bag in the sluggish, normal dream. I remember, however, that while I felt completely normal and awake, my perceptual eyes were looking at my physical body from the outside. This didn't strike me odd in the dream. Also, I think immediately after the dream, I had a visual thing, that resembled very much the things I saw before. However, this time the object was a rotating Buddha head!


Fun! I may have had a similar experience a few years ago. Have a look at these comments on Duncan's blog.

I also remember a rotating head from a dream around that time - but it was a green wireframe skull.

All in all, this sounds like the A&P in all its glory. Enjoy! And be aware that the dukkha ñanas follow this stage like thunder follows lightning, as Daniel puts it.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
4/1/14 1:17 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:


Fun! I may have had a similar experience a few years ago. Have a look at these comments on Duncan's blog.

I also remember a rotating head from a dream around that time - but it was a green wireframe skull.


Cool, thanks for the story emoticon

Florian Weps:
All in all, this sounds like the A&P in all its glory. Enjoy! And be aware that the dukkha ñanas follow this stage like thunder follows lightning, as Daniel puts it.


You're probably right. I'll try to do my best also in the future, and I'll come and report back here when the shit starts hitting the fan, so to speak!

For the record, meditation has been very easy the past days. I look forward to to my timed sits, and I am experiencing no difficulties at all. That is, no physical pains, no problems with mind wander (it occurs, but less frequent and is really "less of a problem"). Let's see how long this continuesemoticon

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
4/16/14 5:45 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
After just a few days from my last post, I experienced a few things that could be relevant.
I regularly walk my dog in a nearby forest that has a decent path with some street lights. We do these walks pretty late, so it's usually dark. Some of the lights are out but I don't really mind as I can manage the familiar way even when it's dark. For the past weeks I've noticed that I've become somewhat scared to walk there when it's dark. I try to be mindful of this situation, and acknowledge what I can actually perceive in the woods, and I also notice how my mind is starting to create all these frightening screnarios. Sometimes I hear various sounds from the dark and my mind tarts to immediately think how someone's there and whether they are coming, or what if there's a rabbit and my dog starts chasing it and I break my leg and the dog gets lost... This goes on and on! I realize that it's just my mind playing tricks, but still don't really feel comfortable being there. The last time I actually decided not to enter the dark part and was just hanging under the last functioning light when it suddenly blacked out emoticon I decided not to enter the woods for a while! emoticon

After my first freafull walk in the woods I was laying in the bed just about to sleep. I was doing nothing in particular when all of a sudden I realized that my mind had displayed a highly detailed little movie clip of a rotting Venus of Willendorf -like corpse with rotting flesh dropping off of the thing. Later that night I had a dream where I entered a room with a massage table and there was a stiffened, gray corpse there with a crooked body and face that looked like it had screamed in agony. None of these imagenes really felt like anything, I wasn't terrified or scared at all. I just observed what was going on.

When doing formal meditation I have noticed that I get distracted by my thoughts very easily. It takes a longer time for me to realize I'm doing this. Sometimes it even feels like there is a strong current of thought that is just overwhelming me, and there is nothing I can do. On some occations, though, I have also been able to access some sort of jhanic states in between the floods of thought. So it's not all bad, but there are clearly periods when it's harder to keep my mind on the task.
I have been trying to think whether or not my concentration is more panoramic than before, but I'm unsure about this. Could be, but it is hard for me to describe with enough detail at this point. One effect I remember from last time I meditated was that I clearly experienced the half sphere of space in front of me. This space didn't extend for maybe more than a meter from my nose but I clearly noticed it's presence there.
I'm not eagerly waiting to get on the cushion, as was the case two weeks ago, but I try to arrange some 20-40 minutes of sitting every day. I have recently started to focus on my breath to practise concentration, and sofar the results have been motivating: I notice some sort of shift fairly quickly and consistently. After that (or if I'm not succesfull at the shift) I try to note as many sensations as I can. I start with mental notes if I have trouble focusing, but move quickly to just silently noticing stuff as they appear.
I've also noticed for the past two days a more positive and determined attitude towards meditation, both formal on-the-cushion and doing short practices throughout the day.

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
4/16/14 11:01 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Hi Jehanne

thanks for the report. Textbook stuff really.

Jehanne S Peacock:
One effect I remember from last time I meditated was that I clearly experienced the half sphere of space in front of me. This space didn't extend for maybe more than a meter from my nose but I clearly noticed it's presence there.


Jhanic stuff like this can be an interesting object for investigation: find out what the cues, the sensations are which indicate that there is "space" in front of you. Which cues are telling you about the extent, the direction, the volume? And so on.

Just in case you need motivation to keep up the practice.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
4/17/14 5:21 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
I sat for 15 minutes yesterday. I remember that I watched thoughts come and go, and they seemed to be in front of me, like I'd taken a step backwards and watch from there as the events took place. There were so many random thoughts that even though I was simply observing them as they occurred, I was still irritated and tired to this whole cirqus. I have a vague recollection that this is also textbook stuff..? I also remember that besides just thoughts, I experienced this visual imaginery of my head moving from one side to another and my mouth opening and closing, much like I was talking. Nothing actually happened physically. The experience was more like I had a ghost-body that was doing a thing of it's own, without me having any part in it. I found this to be sort of interesting and informative!

I also took another walk in the dark woods. I was only really scared before entering the woods, but while in, I was ok. Even when another light suddenly blacked out haha emoticon

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
4/17/14 5:35 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:
Hi Jehanne

thanks for the report. Textbook stuff really.


Hey Florian! I agree it's pretty straight from a book emoticon "I must be in dark night"was the first thing I thought when I realized that I'm actually affraid of the dark. "Holy crap I just saw a rotting corpse!" was my second thought an hour later (ok, there were a few other thoughts in between..) and I actually shouted this outloud to my husband in excitement emoticon

Florian Weps:
Jhanic stuff like this can be an interesting object for investigation: find out what the cues, the sensations are which indicate that there is "space" in front of you. Which cues are telling you about the extent, the direction, the volume? And so on.


Yes, I'll have to keep looking closely! Yesterday I actually noticed some weird things that seemed to take place prior to some identifiable things. I think I still suck at noticing very fine effects.I don't even know what I really noticed pre-event, only that it seemed to be reddish and round.Yep emoticon I was actually glad I noticed anything at all! For the record, I think I have been able to notice the intention before the breath and then the mental image of the breath only a handful of times.

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
7/29/14 2:39 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Time for a brief update. After my last post I quickly moved from DN into what I consider to be very clear equanimity. The DN seemed to last only a few days, with the worst thing literally being the scares in the woods. I stayed in the EQ phase a few weeks maybe. Sitting was effortless and I increased my daily sits from 15-30 minutes to up to 2-3 hours. I'ts been too long to remember any of the details, but the overall feeling was that I was simply OK with everything.

Suddenly I dropped back from EQ. There was an incident in my daily life that may have contributed to this. All I know I was meditating 4-5 hours on Sunday, maybe with some resistance and not-so-OK-feelings, and then on Monday and the following week I didn't sit formally at all.

After this point it was very difficult to say where I was map-wise. I had one night when I was again spooked by the wilderness (..aka the acre of woodland in our suburb..) and after that I had a dream where I understood I was dreaming because the surroundings has such a spectacular sheen to them, after which I was drawn flying into a vortex and woke right up.

I have periods lasting days when I don't meditate. Then there are days when I do. I read a post where somebody had been in EQ->re-observation->EQ->re-ob... -cycle for a long time. I re-read the chapters in MCTB on re-observation and EQ and concluded that I might as well adopt the view that that's where I am. Now I'm trying to get my shit back together and meditate no matter what. No matter how tired or busy or headachy I am! 10 minutes a day is my promise. Already sat 45 minutes yesterday with this new resolution emoticon

I do noting. Or maybe I should say, I notice things, but I don't really like to add the mental notes. Not even a smal "dat" because I feel it distrackts me. Sure, I get distracted from being aware quite often actually, but I can rather quickly bring my attention back to the breath while simultaneously being aware of multitude of other things that take place. I'm scratching my head here thinking how to describe my sensate experience while meditating. I'll leave that to some other time!

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
7/29/14 6:23 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Hi Jehanne,

Jehanne S Peacock:
Now I'm trying to get my shit back together and meditate no matter what. No matter how tired or busy or headachy I am! 10 minutes a day is my promise. Already sat 45 minutes yesterday with this new resolution emoticon


Good. Keep going.

I do noting. Or maybe I should say, I notice things, but I don't really like to add the mental notes. Not even a smal "dat" because I feel it distrackts me. Sure, I get distracted from being aware quite often actually, but I can rather quickly bring my attention back to the breath while simultaneously being aware of multitude of other things that take place.


Those "getting distracted, getting back" loops are worth a close look. As contradictory as it sounds, you could try to pay attention during them, if you like. Takes a bit of relaxation, attitude-wise as well as body-wise - the kind of going-with-it that 4th jhana also exhibits - i.e. don't get tensed up mentally upon noticing that you wandered or were distracted. Sounds like you might be doing that already, so just keep doing it. Don't let me confuse you.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
7/31/14 2:38 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:
Those "getting distracted, getting back" loops are worth a close look. As contradictory as it sounds, you could try to pay attention during them, if you like. Takes a bit of relaxation, attitude-wise as well as body-wise - the kind of going-with-it that 4th jhana also exhibits - i.e. don't get tensed up mentally upon noticing that you wandered or were distracted. Sounds like you might be doing that already, so just keep doing it. Don't let me confuse you.
Hi Florian,
I think I kind of know what you might mean here. I feel like part of my mind is onborad the whole time the distraction happens. Of course it depends on the occasion. But typically I'm not stressing about it or tensing. However, now that I keep thinking about it, I think there is still a tiny bit of annoyance of not being able to hold my attention in all the time as diligently as "I should". But I'm only maybe 5% annoyed about this, does it make sense? emoticon

The other night while meditating I remember that I had these visual sensations flickering at a constant rate of maybe a few hertz. I realized again that these are probably the vibrations. I keep forgetting what is meant by "sensing vibrations" and seem to think I don't experience them. Now I remembered that I probably do. This flickering had an annoying quality to it, like mental noise or something similarly irritating.

I have also quite often (nearly daily) on the cushion these spontaneus body movements, where suddenly my upper body jerks forwards a bit. It just happens, there is no pre-warning or body sensation preceeding it that I am aware of. It is different than when I have a bad position, an I find that occasionally I correct that position only to realize afterwards that I was supposed to just note it, not do anything about it.

I'm facinated by the idea of looking into what sensations are telling me about the sense of space around me (as suggested by Florian in some previous post in this log). It seems absurd that someone can actually sense something other that "It feels like there is space around me", but I want to learn how to see it.
I had a dream where I was listening to some synthesizer sounds that had very open, spacious, feeling in them. I realized that it is just sound, the "spaceness" is coming from that auditory output, nothing else. I found that this could help me in seeing more closely the sensations that make up space etc. while meditating.

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
7/31/14 8:52 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Hi Jehanne,

5% annoyance ... heh emoticon Notice/note/explore/be with/observe/experience it in a relaxed way. Also notice in the same way the interest in quantifying or even minimizing the annoyance.

The space-implying sensations are fascinating to play with! One thing I find cool to do when some "point" or area within the implied volume is somehow more interesting (because it is associated with the location of some sensation maybe), to move attention back and forth along the imaginary line between that point and "this side", and do explore how the sense of distance and movement is implied when doing this.

Or whatever. Seems like you are doing fine. Keep going!

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Jehanne's practice log
Answer
8/15/14 12:51 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
I think I'm getting back into equanimity territory again, after my fall from there previously this summer. This is just initial speculation based mostly on the fact that it has been easier to get more sitting time done lately. We'll see how it turns out in the future. I must say, however, that it took a lot more time to climb back up the latter after my fall then I somehow thought. Had I known this, I would have kept a daily practise going on for those two weeks that I slacked and didn't sit formally at all... I promise to do better next time ;)

Anyhow!

The reason for this update was mostly to record a nice thing that occurred during yesterdays sit (only 15 minutes this time, I have been sitting several times a day 20-30 minutes at a time). I sat down to do some noting (I actually decided to do the actual notes, as I tried it once and was apparently served with much finer sensations to note as a result. Basically I do on-and-off noting and just noticing currently) and let my focus rest on the sensations that make up the blackness/space/surrounding volume that was there. I couldn't really say what I was sensing, despite the blackness, until I noticed a slow pulsation centered somewhere around the left bottom corner of my visual field. This was going on at around once per second or slower. It was as if the space itself was vibrating somehow allthought I didn't "feel" the space physically in the same sense as I have felt during some "peak"experience, but this is the best I know how to describe it!
I got interested and wanted to explore it more closely. "What the hell is this thing?" I was thinking. Then I apparently broke my concentration a little, and noticed that the pulsating was in the same rythm as my breath. HA! I had noticed my breath in the abstract, continuously-flowing, counterpart-image samadhi -style! Or at least this I how I imagine it goes emoticon
I then decided to will myself to higher jhanas, and probably was able to access the second, maybe even the third.

This was cool to me, because I haven't lately been able to get into jhana even if I've tried. And now it happened without the effort. Although I was trying to do noting... emoticon