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My Insight Meditation Practice Log [John Power] [MIGRATE]My Insight Meditat

My Insight Meditation Practice Log [John Power]


John Power - 2014-03-21 20:40:26 - My Insight Meditation Practice Log

Background
I meditate in the Mahasi Sayadaw noting tradition with the abdomen as anchor and sometimes I practice 'choiceless awareness'.
During my first 10 day retreat I experienced a lot of pain during the first 3 days because I didn't had a proper meditation cushion and my legs didn't had support. So I suffered great pain, but suddenly in the evening of day 3 a shift had taken place during meditation. Almost all the pain was gone in just a second and the pain that didn't go away was reduced by at least 50%. I was calm and felt great. I quesss this was the 3th nana.
Before my second retreat I meditated a lot and noticed that I could see everything arise quickly.
During my second retreat I was meditating and suddenly I had a black out. When I came back I was overwhelmed with enthousiasme, rapture and bliss. Maybe 4th nana A&P.
After my second retreat I had a year of really changing moods in the negative way. I didn't want to go to school and work, but I just did. I told myself everytime 'everything is changing' 'this too shall pass'.
During my third retreat I prepared by meditating 6 hours a day a week before the retreat(offcourse I did also meditate one hour a day over the entire year) so I already had momentum during the retreat. But during the retreat I experienced a lot of sleepiness because I spend to much effort.
It was like  Sayadaw U Tejaniya said in 'Food for thought':
22. The more you concentrate or focus on an object, the more energy you use. This makes the practice diffi cult and tiring. Your mindfulness may actually slacken. When you then become aware of this, you will probably try hard to build up the level of mindfulness again. Which, of course, means using even more energy, and this snowball effect burns you out during a long retreat. 23. When you put in too much effort to be mindful, you will spend your energy too quickly and therefore you will not be able to maintain mindfulness throughout the day. If you practise in a relaxed way, you will conserve energy and be able to practise for long periods of time. If you are a long term meditator you cannot afford to waste your energy. Meditation is a life long under taking; it is a marathon, not a 100 metre dash. 24. See each and every moment as a valuable opportunity for the
development of awareness but do not take the practice too seriously. If you are too serious about it, you become tense and are
no longer natural.


I took the practice to seriously and spend to much effort. That's why my mindfulness slacked and I became sleepy. The teacher could not help me, and said that it had to do with the first days on a retreat. But I already had momentum because of the intense practice before the retreat. So I decided that it was better to leave the retreat at day 4.

I have had pain in my butt, upperback and neck for more then one year(on and off). In my meditation I just got straight to my abdomen as anchor or was practicing 'choiceless awareness.' I accepted the pain and it was never as painfull as in the retreat so I didn't bother to investigate this pain for a long time. Sometimes I looked at the pain but never longer then a few minutes.

EDIT: I wrote more detail on the background after reading this: http://alohadharma.wordpress.com/the-map/equanimity-2/.
I thought that I was in 3 nana, because of the pain and stifness, but I read that this can also be the lower equanimity.
This made sense when I thought about my past experiences. I can look at the pain and then there will be vibrations, warm, moving. I can sit for more then one hour. There is much stifness but it doesn't bother me that much just as I descripted above.
I never saw lights, so I assumpted that I wasn't that far. The meditation sometimes was boring during the second retreat after the black out because I could note very much but there was nothing special after that. Maybe because the nana's/insights were not so spectaculair and just subtle I felt like I didn't made progress. I am still insecure though but can see the thougts and feelings and laugh at it. Sometimes I do things even if I feel insecure, I don't identify so much with my experience. But sometimes I still get a red head or are sweeting when talking to many people. Hmmm....what do you think?


21 March 2014:
Today I read 'the progress of insight' chapter in the book MCTB from Daniel Ingram. I noticed that the pain could be the 3th nana again to learn more about the three characteristiscs. So I did as mentioned in the chapter and investigated the pain and how it arises and passes. In two sessions the first was 20 minutes and the second 60 minutes.
During both sessions I saw that the pain was constantly changing as wel in intensity as in place, as in warm and vibrations.
During the second sessions the pain became less and I focused again on the abdomen. The breath became shorter and shorter and then I couldn't sense my breath anymore. During this there was pressure on my chest and there was a unpleasant feeling like I needed to breath. Because I didn't breath at that time.Then the breath came back and was very short. 
Then I needed to get up to do my duties unfortunately.

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Eric G - 2014-03-21 21:07:39 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

Sounds good.  Were there any sensations or awareness in the black out?  Just curious.

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John Power - 2014-03-22 11:51:38 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

@Eric G: No sensations or awareness in the black out. After it happened I realised that I had been away and felt much rapture and joy.

22 March:
40 min: Less pain and tension. Just like yesterday I can observe the sensations of the pain with equanimity, and I focused more on my abdomen because that was more prominent then the 'stifness'. and sensations.

second 40 min: Less pain and tension again. I focused the entire time on my abdomen and the sensations where not intense.
I watched my abdomen but were still aware when some other object became dominant.

60 min: I started with 'choiceless awareness'' and when a sensaton became more dominant I would investigate this.
There were spasms in many parts of the body,  there were itches, vibrations, stifness, warm. And ofcourse other sense experiences. There were images, unpleasant, pleasant. Assumptions when there was hearing and then a image.
There was a lot. There was also a desire to get insight.

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John Power - 2014-03-23 14:59:51 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

23 March:

About 1 hour and 30 min: I could stay with the abdomen for a long time and notice other sensations as well. I felt like I was leaning to the right and that my abdomen was at the left. Then after watching the abdomen for sometime I couldn't see so clearly anymore. I was more in my thoughts and recognized it a few seconds later. Spasms and sound I could still recognize the beginning, middle and end.

60 min: A  bit the same as the first sit. The time went by so fast.

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John Power - 2014-03-24 13:14:46 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

24 March:

This morning I had a sexuel experience, just like I had during the second retreat.

50 min: It seems like mindfulness is slacking and I got lost in thoughts more and more. I notice the content of the thoughts and sometimes they seem more like dreams. When switching to 'Choiceless awareness' it seems that I get less lost in thoughts.
Still sensing spasms, vibrations and itches, but no pain or stifness. So overal it seems cloudy, but can still recognize some objects arising, some staying and some passing.

60 min: After 30 min my breath just stopped, no movement in the abdomen for a few seconds.Then I started breathing again and after a few breaths it stopped again. Then I breath normally for some time and then again no movement in the abdomen, then breathing normally and a short time after that no movement in the abdomen again. So it happend four times. I experienced this before but then it was just one time and there was a lot excitement but this time I was just equanimous and watched what happened.

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John Power - 2014-03-25 07:13:24 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

25 March:

In the morning in bed I watched the abdomen and I controled it, then it became shorter and shorter, untill there was no movement in the abdomen. I can do this when I want it, so the experience I had yesterday might just be a controlled breath.

40 min: I felt a lot of sensations in the abdomen and especially on the left side. I was often lost in thought but came back rather quick. I think I have a concentration excess and need more energy.

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John Power - 2014-03-27 12:09:09 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

27 March:
While asleep I had a 'nightmare' I saw things were I am afraid of, but I could look at it with equanimity. There wasn't much impact.
Just like yesterday evening I am tired today. There is a feeling of unease.

60 min: There was equanimity and joy but also a bit dreaming and going along with the contents of the thoughts, but I came back after a few seconds.

In begin morning there was a feeling of unease, then one hour later there was a feeling of joy, then after lunch there was a feeling of tiredness and unease, then after one hour, there was a feeling of anxiety. So I quess it is DN time...

40 min: Almost the same as the first sit. In the beginning I can see a whole range of objects, the breath, the vibrations, hearing. But then I become more and more in a dream state where there will be thoughts and when I recognize that there is thinking, it takes 3 times or more noting to disappear. There is also stifness in the upperback but I can watch it without aversion.

During the day I am not really concentrated, almost as in a dream state, even while noting.

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John Power - 2014-03-28 08:56:31 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

28 March:

50 min: meditation on the abdomen with  a more ranged view. More choiceless awareness, as I think this is helpfull when in dissolution.

Conclusion: The same dream state.

I tried: candle flame meditation.
Staring at a candle flame for 10 - 15 min. I saw the changing of the flame and how the flame is blue at the bottom and then few parts tranparant and then orange. I repeated noting 'seeing''seeing''seeing'. Then the background was getting unclear and sometimes everything was unclear. Everytime changing. Then I closed my eyes and had difficulty keeping them closed.
I saw a black spot in the middle and the background was red/orange (like watching the sun with your eyes closed). It was hard to watch the black spot and keeping my eyes closed. So then I decided to open my eyes. I blew the candle out but while I was doing that I could hear the wind out of my mouth very clearly. The flame was still there so I blew a second time, again I heard the wind clearly. Then I saw the smoke in the air, more clearly then usual.

A interesting experience, but I am questioning If I will do it again. I want to learn, understand the true nature of reality. So insight is my primairy goal. Can this practice help to get through the insights of the Dark Night? The concentration will probably increase but is that good at this stage? Meaning that the five faculties/seven factors of enlightenment should be in balance and I think I am in dissolution now, so I am already in a dream like state. 
Thanks for your help in advance!

30 min: meditation on the abdomen. There was a warm feeling in the lowerback and in the stomach. There was also a annoying  feeling in my shoulders. The last few weeks I don't have a strong feeling towards the objects in meditation, but the whining sensation in my shouders did give me a unpleasant feeling. Further more there were vibrations over my back, arms and shoulders.

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John Power - 2014-03-29 08:42:31 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

29 March:
30 min: More equanimity, it is al okay. I can feel if some experience is pleasant or unpleasant, but the intensity is almost nothing.
Thoughts come and even 'embarrassing' things I think of what I did, don't bother me. What every comes, comes.
During this session there was wanting to stand up and do something, but the wanting was really subtle, so the urge was almost none. So I just noticed it and kept meditating. Also lately I see that I am more forgetfull. So for instance when I write this, I have to search how to spell some words, while normally I just know how to spell it. But this doesn't bother me, it is how it is and I have no controle, no need to worry. During this session I have contemplate and think about the three characteristics while experiencing the experciences. Normally I would just notice it but now I keep reminding myself, this is impermanent, there is no controle and if I attache to the experience it will make me suffer. It is a fun thing to do because I am calm and equanimus so the three charateristics are understood for a part and when contemplating I enjoy that I have some wisdom. I also think about where I am at the map, but this also doesn't bother me, it's just a thought and curiousity.

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John Power - 2014-04-07 06:34:35 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

6 April: When doing lying meditation before going to sleep, the breath became shorter and then no breath at all. 
There was rapture and I became very warm and begin to  sweat. I get the sensation of the whole body spinning.  There were itches everywhere. Then the itches slowly reduced in intensity but the warmth and sweat stayed. I felt at my feet and these were also sweaty. I then decided to turn over and fell asleep.

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John Power - 2014-04-07 10:17:55 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

7 April: 
35 min meditation: When I sat the breath was calm and natural. I just followed it, with ease. Then it became shorter and shorter again, but I kept observing. The breath became very subtle. Later the breath became better observable again and slowly became shorter and subtle again. It was like there was a metal plate at my abdomen, my abdomen could not rise and fall much. Then slowly the addomen could rise and fall more and more until there was just a subtle breath.

60 min: More and more calm and equanimus. Still got lost in thoughts sometimes, but that doesn't really bother me.
There were vibrations in my abdomen, normally I would see the elements in the abdomen like stifness, warm etc, but this time I felt also a few subtle vibrations especially when the abdomen stood still (when exhaling ended).

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John Power - 2014-04-12 13:34:05 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

12 April:
40 min meditatie: mindfulness becomes more and more continuous. When I meditate I just sit and watch. Before there is watching there is a intention to watch. Desires and aversions are very quickly seen and have almost no intensity, 

A couple of days now in daily life it seems like I wasn't aware for a few seconds but then I suddenly realise what had happened. For instance I remember what I had thought, what feelings there were, what I was doing.

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John Power - 2014-04-18 15:53:46 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

18 april:
40 min meditation: I was just sitting. Initialy focusing on the breath but there were so many things that I was watching at the same time as the breath. I didn't note, just watching everything. I was asking myself am I meditating? It was more like watching and sometimes I just noted a few things and then watching again. I could sit for as long as I wanted. There was equanimity, calm and joy. Before I sat, I had pain in my back, during the meditation, there was no pain, after the sitting, a little pain again. But the pain doesn't bother me, no reason to be upset. I quess I am in Low Equanimity.

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John Power - 2014-04-22 10:41:52 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

During daily life I can see that there is anticipation. For example when I see people walking towards me, there is the observing of thoughts like they are already passing by and me greeting them. Sort of anticipating or expecting or seeing how the situation can unfold. I am not dragged into it, there is just the observing of this experience happening and realising that it is thinking. Also there are thoughts about when I am in situations were I would be afraid in. I can see these with calm and laugh about them. I also notice that after a situation (for example; talking to my father in law), there is thinking about this situation and I can notice this quite quick but the thinking comes back for a few times.
I don't know were I am on the map, it is not that important, I just need to be mindfull just like I am doing for a few years.
Nevertheless there is still some desire to know where I am on the map. Can someone help me with that?

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John Power - 2014-04-23 16:18:40 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

This sitting when I closed my eyes, there was stillness and suddenly it seemed like my awareness was shaking. I looked at my eyes and looked like it was shaking, at the sensations and was shaking. Then it stopped and I returned observing the abdomen.
The experience became more and more spacious. There were tingling sensations. There was a pull on the left of the abdomen and then the pull became less strong and was only felt when inhaling. After a while there were unpleasant sensations, sort of stifness, I observed them and became unsatisfated and stopped the formal meditation after 50 min.

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John Power - 2014-04-30 10:48:59 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

Yesterday night, 29 April, I made a resolution. Going through the DN I will practise with persistent but relax effort and perseverance.
I will try to be as mindfull as possible in daily life with relax but persistent effort. I will also try to keep a one hour formal practise a day. May I go through the DN like this and may I arrive at EQ. When at EQ may I be aware that I have come this far because of persistent relax effort and perseverance. May I keep practising the way I did in the DN and do even more formal practise if time permits it. May I become a SE because of the surrendering and persistent relax effort and perseverance in the practise.

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John Power - 2014-05-03 18:25:20 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

3 May:
Lately I find it hard to breath. My breath is shallow and I have tension in my back (from my butt till neck). I also had stomach ache. Then the next day it is gone. Then today: hard to breath again and tension in my back and neck.
Then for a time it is gone and I can breath as normal, and then it comes back again.
I read about cycling during the day, I quess this is what is happening. There are a lot thoughts and it seems that clarity and haze are switching every now and then. Sometimes I can observe 3 to 4 senses at a time and then sometimes I get lost in thought.

60 min meditation: first there is clarity, then there are thoughts were I am sucked in every now and then, while I try to stay with the breath. There is the shallow breath and tension in the back and neck. Then suddenly there was a snap in my head and there was a warm feeling spreading from beneath through my head. I thought what was that? And was thinking about that while also staying aware of the body. Could it be the transition from RE-O to EQ, or something else? But then I try to see if there was something different, but no not really, still tension.

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John Power - 2014-05-06 16:36:56 - RE: My Insight Meditation Practice Log

6 May:

40 min meditation: While I was meditating there were thought a lot thoughts, some I noticed quickly and others I was sucked in. Then suddenly there was another discontinuety again, after that flickering when looking at my eye lids, then a warm feeling spreading slowly from beneath me through the body.

50 min meditation: Pain in my back and neck. When concentrated on the pain on my neck, it seemed like a wave of stifness. The breath became pulled in and it seemed like a metal plate was placed there, after a few seconds the breath was 'normal' again. In one occasion my neck was straight and I could not bend it forwards. There was a pull to keep it straight, after about 20 seconds the pull was released.