Message Boards Message Boards

Practice Logs

Droll Log

Droll Log
droll practice log
4/18/14 4:41 PM
Background: I'm Dedekind and I've been meditating regularly for 6 months. At a very young age I believe I crossed the A&P experimenting with binaural beats, self-hypnosis, and meditation. Years of precocity, mild depression, and anxiety later and, sure enough, I've wandered into a spiritual community. Now I'm droll.

Short-term goal: Deeper concentration (now with added metta!) for increased clarity, stability, pleasure, and 'stuff'ing (if you will)
Mid-term goal: Stream-entry
Long-term goal: As far as I can get

About my practice:
I've been meditating at least weekly (usually a few times) for the past 6 months, and almost daily for the past 6-7~ weeks. I usually practice noting/'do nothing' and occasionally concentration practice or a stab at metta. A typical insight sit goes like this: I make a resolve, start out with mindfulness of breath noting 'rise' and 'fall' for 2-3 minutes, then I note in aggregates -- feel/see/hear-in/out for 5-10 minutes, then I drop most noting to tweak my attention more finely and balance effort/acceptance for 10-20 minutes until I feel a weight lift, unpleasant vibrations dissolve (many from my navel), I feel an upward pull and I'm in low EQ. With daily practice of at least 45 minutes I can reach low EQ with reasonable reproducibility. Once I reach EQ my thoughts often become too seductive and subtle for me to catch and I get lost and sometimes fall back. But, I've had some success from low EQ with a mixture of gentle mindfulness, 'do nothing', and cultivating 'specific neutrality'. There was a period of a week or so when I was consistently reaching states from (mid-high?) EQ that seemed formless-y. I would get a markedly increased sense of space (even more so than my normal EQ) and gradually I would feel my body image almost completely disappear. The first few times the feeling was disconcerting; I had a few moments of sudden grasping along the lines of 'Ahh, where am I?' But the grasping was fleeting and mostly amusing at the time. One time I was so tuned out from my body that I genuinely wondered if my alarm was set loud enough to scare the death out of me. I've also had many times in EQ where I feel a sudden rush of energy upwards, then it's gone. The rush is never unpleasant, usually neutral, and once or twice has been pleasant.

I also try various other wacky experiments on myself like neo-Reichian therapy, nootropics, belief-tampering, and other such Jedi mind tricks. I'll likely include some comments on these practices too. I'll try my best to keep it on the meditative side of psychonautic.

I'm hoping that upkeep on this log will serve to bolster my motivation, and that I will learn from any replies. Feel free to drop me any questions or comments if you feel so kindly inclined.


RE: Droll Log
4/18/14 5:35 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Sat for 40 min. Started with concentration on breath, then switched to insight, then switched around through the whole sit. I didn't experience as much positive emotion in the concentration as a couple days ago, although I did feel the bliss block in my throat. When the block became too distracting I would switch back to investigating gently (esp. in the throat area). The concentration and minor pleasure that the concentration brought on helped my clarity during the insight. I believe I'm getting better at spotting the nanas during my sits. Entrance into dissolution is something like coming down off an adrenaline rush, or any other stimulant (although I think “diffusion” would be a more fun title). I believe I reached mid-EQ today, but my mind was too sticky to let myself go into high-EQ. Towards the end of the sit I noticed that a stream of judgment was going on the entire time that I wasn't sufficiently clear about investigating, more subtle layers of aversion and clinging. I also noticed sluggishness/brain fog after I stopped the sit. Either my energy was lax during concentration or aversion crept in disguised as sluggishness. I feel a dull ache in the top of my throat; hopefully it's a temporary symptom of some purification process. The other day I was attempting to catch thoughts as they began and break them into syllables. Perhaps I should give that more practice, as it was slippery business.

Been reading Monster and Magical Sticks: There's No Such Thing as Hypnosis by Steven Heller. He teaches and gives case studies of an Erickson-inspired, pre-commercialized-NLP-based form of hypnosis (that which doesn't exist). The parallels with meditation are satisfying. Heller identifies three 'systems': kinesthetic, visual, and auditory (cf. Shinzen Young's Feel/Image/Talk). By observing each patient's use of language, body language, and eye movement he bases his hypnotic approach on inferring one's “conscious output system”, “unconscious input system”, and in some cases, the “out of conscious system” For example, I believe my “stream of judgment” was simply the auditory system being out of conscious. Among other things, Heller goes on to make the case that hypnosis is an everyday phenomena, and that we are, in fact, being hypnotized all the time to some degree or another (hence, There's No Such Thing as Hypnosis). Brings up some disturbing questions about certain technological devices. I wonder if hypnotic susceptibility changes with meditative attainment.

RE: Droll Log
4/19/14 9:21 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Regarding hypnosis, I highly recommend Waking Up by Charles Tart. He explores the idea that we are lulled into a hypnotic trance all the time. It's based mostly on the teachings of Gurdjieff, and thus he talks about using Gurdjeffian self-remembering to break the trance. Self-remembering is basically just mindfulness in daily life, if I recall correctly.

A question-- I'm a little confused as to how pre-path cycling works. Some say that you have to start all the way at the bottom and work your way up to your cutting edge with every sit, which seems to be what you are describing. But I, personally, was stuck in insight stages for weeks or even months at a time. MCTB seems to describe the progress of insight in this fashion as well. So, how does it work for you? Do you start at the bottom with every sit or do you hang around in your cutting edge most of the time?

Also, a pointer-- if we take the seven factors of enlightenment as our guide, the factor to cultivate in Equanimity is Equanimity itself.

RE: Droll Log
4/19/14 10:34 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
I actually ran across Charles Tart and Waking Up last night. He was (is?) a researcher at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. I often muse about working there one day. I'll definitely give it a read now that you recommend it. If you haven't read Magical Sticks then I recommend it wholeheartedly. Entertaining, educational, enlightening.

I'm also confused as to how prepath cycling works. This is just a guess, but I think one has to work up to their cutting edge each sit, but it becomes faster/easier depending on regularity of practice and how deep one's cutting edge is. I think Florian had a good post on it somewhere

RE: Droll Log
4/19/14 11:27 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
I think Florian had a good post on it somewhere

He usually does emoticon

RE: Droll Log
4/21/14 11:27 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
The past couple days I've been sitting with my eyes open. Although I've tried walking meditation before, sitting with my eyes open felt unnatural for the first few minutes. After 10 or so minutes I adapted to the unnatural feeling and strange visual phenomena. Today I felt like I was approaching my highscore in EQ; after a light concentration warm-up my noticing phenomena was nearly as inclusive and natural as I've ever felt it. Certainly, my body felt the most relaxed, whole, and subtle as it ever has. I have to attribute due credit to Reichian exercises for helping my relaxation. But, I was still aware of a subtle stream of expectation whenever I notice improved clarity, concentration, and equanimity. I wonder what's worse: being aware of remaining identification and not being skilled enough to catch it all, or being unaware of remaining identification and thus apparently unable to make progress.

Zen teachings always seem particularly appealing to me when I'm at my cutting edge. The more I contemplate philosophical problems at this stage the more I ponder language. To the best of my knowledge, Zen is the tradition with the most disdain for the illusions created by language.

You should know that arousing practice in the midst of delusion, you attain realization before you recognize it. At this time you know that the raft of discourse is like yesterday's dream, and you finally cut off your old understanding bound up in the vines and serpents of words. This is not made to happen by Buddha, but is accomplished by your all-encompassing effort.

RE: Droll Log
4/22/14 5:04 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Continuing to spot the stages more readily. It took about 10-15 minutes for the DN stages to start. It took another 25 minutes to reach low EQ. I've been body scanning around my neck and head to chase the sensation of thinking or Witness. It's something I should have done much earlier, there's a lot of sensation there. Also, I more often find it necessary to motivate myself before sitting.

This is that which is written of Abraham in the Book of the Beginning: “An horror of great darkness came upon him.” One is reminded of the mental echo of subconscious realization, of that supreme iniquity which mystics have constantly celebrated in their accounts of the Dark Night of the Soul. But the best men, the true men, do not consider the matter in such terms at all. Whatever horrors may afflict the soul, whatever abominations may excite the loathing of the heart, whatever terrors may assail the mind, the answer is the same at every stage: “How splendid is the Adventure!”

If the DhO had signatures this would be mine.

RE: Droll Log
4/22/14 7:26 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
What watches the Watcher? ;)

RE: Droll Log
4/23/14 10:46 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric M W:
What watches the Watcher? ;)

Bee here nowemoticon

or is it watchers all the way down?

RE: Droll Log
4/23/14 1:21 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Beats me. As a kid I spent too much time thinking about thinking about thinking ..., needless to say I got no where. RAW presented this paradox (attributed to Russell) in Quantum Psychology

Well, to proceed, we have now an "external universe", very large (comparatively speaking) and a model of same, much smaller (comparatively speaking), the former "outside" us and the latter "inside" us. Of course, some correspondence or isomorphism exists between the "external" and "internal" universes. Otherwise, I could not get up from my chair, walk to the door, go down the hall and accurately locate the kitchen to get another cup of coffee from something I identify as a Coffee Maker.
But where does our head exist?
Well, our head obviously exists "inside" the "external universe" and "outside" our brain which contains the model of the" external universe".
But since we never see or experience the "external universe" directly, and only see our model of it, we only perceive our head as part of the model, which exists inside us. Certainly, our perceived head cannot exist apart from our perceived body as long as we remain alive, and our perceived body (including head) exists inside our perceived universe. Right? Thus, the head we perceive exists inside some other head we do not, and cannot, perceive. The second head contains our model of the universe, our model of this galaxy, our model of this solar system, our model of Earth, our model of this continent, our model of this city, our model of our home, our model of ourselves and atop our model of ourselves a model of our head. The model of our head thus occupies much less space than our "real" head.
Let us, for Jesus sake and for all our sakes, at least attempt to clarify how we can have two heads. Our perceived head exists as part (a very small part) of our model of the universe, which exists inside our brain. We have already proven that, have we not? Our brain, however, exists inside our second head - our "real" head, which contains our whole model of the universe, including our perceived head. In short, our perceived head exists inside our perceived universe which exists inside our real head which exists inside the real universe. Thus, we can name our two heads - we have a "real" head outside the perceived universe and a "perceived head" inside the perceived universe, and our "real" head now appears, not only much bigger than our perceived head, but bigger than our perceived universe. And, since we cannot know or perceive the "real" universe directly, our "real" head appears bigger than the only universe we do know and perceive - our perceived universe, inside our perceived head.


Returning to our two heads: Lord Russell never carried this joke, or this profound insight, beyond that point. With a little thought, however, the reader will easily see that, having analyzed the matter this far, we now have three heads - the third containing the model that contains the "real" universe and the "real" head and the perceived universe and the perceived head. And now that we have thought of that, we have a fourth head ... And so on, ad infinitum. To account for our perception of our perception - our ability to perceive that we perceive - we have three heads, and to account for that, four heads, and to account for our ability to carry this analysis onward forever, we have infinite heads ...


Of course, having mentioned Buddhism, I might in fairness add that the Buddhist would not accept "I observe that I have a mind." The Buddhist would say "I observe that I have a tendency to posit a mind."
But that, perhaps, allows the felix domesticus to escape the gunnysack, as Mr. Fields would say.

Can't wait for my confusion to defuse

While we're posting silliness: this is how I feel in EQ The weather outside is weather

RE: Droll Log
4/23/14 1:30 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
There was a guy on here who got stream entry in a very short amount of time just by watching the Watcher in EQ. I should probably dig up that thread, it was pretty good...

RE: Droll Log
4/23/14 2:00 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Relevant to my interests, although it might make me too gungho.

Just had a peak at your practice log. Prepath, possibly crossed A&P at a young age, in DN-EQ limbo. You have my sympathy.

RE: Droll Log
4/23/14 3:17 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I think I'm more in the "where the hell am I" part of the Theravadin maps. Dropped out of EQ about a year ago and I guess I'm just basically trying to A&P again... I guess? emoticon

RE: Droll Log
5/8/14 2:17 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
The following entries were lost in the migration. Some of Eric and Dream's posts were lost. Sorry.

My exams ended today. Been slacking: only a few hours of meditation the past few days. 

For better or worse I'm entertaining the idea that I may have attained stream entry. About 6 weeks ago, after listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast, I was lying in an unusual position on my bed, meditating informally without much effort. Suddenly I became aware that something had just occurred, similar to when a light flickers and you wonder if it was your imagination. Naturally, I thought, "Was that it?" Afterwards it seemed something had subtly shifted, and, I felt light, couldn't wipe the grin off my face, and I felt like laughing. Of course, I was (and am) well aware I could have been scripting/hypnotizing/wishful-thinking myself. I remember thinking, huh, if that was SE I'll always remember getting it after listening to Vincent and Sally Kempton, weird. After an hour or so I just shrugged it off and forgot about it. 

Fast forward to today, I sat for a half hour and it seemed like I was in low EQ at the end. Most of the complex vibrations had slipped away and my attention shifted upwards. When I stopped meditating I maintained more heightened mindfulness afterwards than usual. After awhile (dunno how long, 30 minutes perhaps) I notice I'm experiencing mild typical A&P phenomena: heat, synchronized attention with vibrations that appear mostly in front, lights, etc. I think, "How can this be? I just got to low EQ" I decided to maintain mindfulness as I went about reading to see if I can catch the stages more clearly. Sure enough, I got a mellowed out dissolution, onto random anxieties (esp. in solar plexus region), onto feeling generally irritated with complex vibrations starting around the edges, onto an intensification of the aforementioned. ReOb went on for 10-15 minutes, at which time I felt the vibrations start to wane from the lower stomach. I thought, "Good, I'll just pay more gentle attention now and see if the EQ deepens and ends with a fruition" I did this successfully for a few minutes, got distracted, then suddenly I see lights vibrating in phase with my attention, intensity vamped up, and my body got hot. 

My understanding of cycling is poor, but this doesn't seem like the same prepath practice as a few months ago. At this point, I don't know whether I'm scripting myself into perceiving cycling, or I have just subtly denied SE for 6 weeks because I had higher expectations for its effects on my life. In any case, I am currently one deluded yogi. Yeah, yeah more attention to thoughts of progress
Not sure exactly what I was expecting. Deep down, a panacea. Realistically, improved concentration and a less-sticky mind.

Ya, interdazting. 

I'm not sure what happens if I just sit. It's difficult to tell how much of my paying attention is contrived and how much is my natural baseline. So, I can't be sure if I'm fooling myself. I haven't tried calling up jhanas, but I've never been cognizant of which jhana (if any) I'm in during concentration. If a dry insight worker gets SE, how could they call up jhanas? And, as to the fruition: before I noticed the first A&P referred to in my above post (I was in low EQ), I was reading Kenneth's new book and I was wondering if I had SE. I closed my eyes for a minute or so and tried to call up a fruition. Nothing. Then, a few minutes later I noticed the A&P starting. Did it just show up late? Dunno. I know that I've never caught a fruition happening, so if they are happening I'm not sure how they feel, so I suspect it's difficult to call them up instantaneously. My metta practice does seem different in that my attention is more pliable, if that makes sense. 

My plan is to work on concentration and see if I can identify some jhanas and then deepen or call them up sequentially. Possibly I'll try do-nothing and see if I cycle.

If anyone reading this thinks I'm fooling myself, don't hesitate to let me have it. Thanks, though, Eric and Dream for being so kind.
Alright guys, to make this speculation a tad more scientific I just sat paying just enough attention to spot stages. Only when I felt sure I was in a stage did I record the time and stage. In the gaps I wasn't as sure I wasn't scripting, so I left it blank

8:31 Dissolution
8:34 Fear
8:38 A&P
8:40 Dissolution
8:41 Fear-Misery
8:42 EQ
8:44 A&P
8:46 Dissolution
8:50 EQ
8:52 'What was that?'-moment, bliss, A&P starting shortly after, (was a longer and more pleasurable A&P than usual)
8:58 Dissolution
9:01 WWT-moment, bliss wave
9:04 WWT-moment, brief bliss wave, A&P

After that my meditation was way more blissful than it usually is, so I felt myself solidifying and clinging, so I stopped recording. I definitely have been resisting the A&P. When I let myself go more it was much more blissful. Even if I don't have SE, I'm glad I did this experiment.
Eric: Me too. It just occurred to me that the maps are advantageous if only because trying not to get wrapped up in them is such challenging practice. So, I figure if I have it I have it. Or, maybe it has me

In other news, I was trying to establish jhana but the maddening sensation of needing to yawn kept appearing every time I experienced an increase in bliss. But, when I appeased the urge the yawn was never satisfying. In retrospect it was a humorously frustrating practice. 

I figured an energetic paradigm would probably be able to account for the block. My experiments have convinced me that neo-Reichian exercises are the most powerful way to clear up muscle tension and stir up energetic debris. For the first time, I tried Dr. Hyatt's entire first set of exercises in a continuous experiment. By the middle of the last exercise 'Quick Breathing' I started to feel energy move around on my neck and spreading to my ears. By the end of the exercise I felt the energy spreading to my eardrums and parts of my face. I've previously experienced energetic phenomena around most of my body, but never around my neck/face/ears. The feeling was bizarre. 

Kenneth Folk claims that gradual awakening does something positive for the energy body. Can more than a correlation be claimed here? Does clearing up muscular tension and hence allowing more energy to flow contribute to enlightenment? I can certainly say that my body feels more integrated and whole when energy is flowing to more parts of it. My brief meditations after neo-Reichian exercises always feel more natural and effortless.

RE: Droll Log
5/13/14 12:33 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I'm now convinced that I did indeed attain SE on 3/14, and I'm also somewhat convinced I attained 2nd path on 5/8

Here's my second path story. On the evening of 5/8 I became to notice that the DN I was experiencing wasn't passing like the cycles I recorded here on the 5/1. After 30-45 minutes of gentle practice it began to wane, relieved I grabbed my ereader to relax before bed. Having just finished a different book I was perusing my library for something new, when I came across the partially finished SSOTBME. On a passionless whim I clicked the book and quickly began to wonder why I stopped on such an interesting page. After this
IHVH in the cabalistic system is a fourfold formula for consciousness manifestation translated as “I am that I am”
I paused to think. The discovery of MCTB has led me on a spiritual journey this past half-year that (among many other things) has cursorily included the Western occult tradition. In my study I had never read the Tetragrammaton translated as "I am that I am", but I had encountered the phrase before in some Eastern context. The first time I encountered the phrase I felt a fuzzy intuitive sense that it contained some deeply profound meaning, but I couldn't ascertain what. As you can imagine, when I encountered it again in connection with the Tetragrammaton I was fascinated. So, I closed my eyes and for no consciously apparent reason I repeated the phrase mentally as if calling it out, "I am that I am", I (seemingly) instantaneously felt a very very vague sense of understanding or recognition at some level, then ?????, then I was back with a jolt. It was most surprising. I opened my eyes with a vague smile, feeling completely different in the subtlest of ways. I felt like (and have felt since) that a significant portion of the sense of do-er has dissipated. Also, the metaphor of 'untying the knots' seems incredibly appropriate  to me now. I've also come up with a couple metaphors of my own: it's like I had been studying an insanely complex painting for a long time, and suddenly some lines or objects are missing but I can't determine exactly what. And, it's like when an operating system or application just got an update and I can't tell what's changed but I've noticed an unmistakable difference.
Since that event my level of suffering has seemed consistently reduced and I also hadn't felt the urge to apply more than gentle mindfulness. Using just gentle mindfulness I believe I've noticed fruitions more often; I think I can differentiate between noself and suffering fruitions. Noself fruitions are silent and cleaner, while suffering fruitions feel vaguely violating in an imperceptibly fast way, like a quick shot from the doctor (Daniel, obviously).

About an hour ago I sat casually without a timer and started prodding my chakras gently with my attention. After a few minutes of that I switched to some mindful noticing and quickly found myself in the most intense A&P of my life. It had all the phenomena I've come to know and love from an A&P, and more. It felt almost (but not quite) formless due to the decreased sense of self. Also, the lights I saw were of more various colors than I'm used to seeing, and at times I felt almost completely overcome by the intense vibrations and the sight of fluxing clouds of color.

I believe I just hit the A&P for second path. I remain open to the possibility I'm deluding myself, but I do have some reasons to believe my quick progress is possible: I have very seriously made the intention to go to 4th path, I do various energetic and meditation practices in high dosages in order to get at the thing from every angle, I've read MCTB at least twice, I've read a good amount of Daniel's reading list, I try to follow instructions to a tee, I put in a lot of effort, and I'm very young. Although, I have no teacher and I've never been on a retreat outside my house. Whaddayathink?