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Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log

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Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 4/13/15 8:04 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Dream Walker 11/21/14 7:33 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Not Tao 11/21/14 7:57 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 11/25/14 1:26 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Dream Walker 11/25/14 1:51 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Gerry V 11/25/14 2:17 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/2/14 1:03 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/4/14 10:59 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Teague 12/6/14 10:25 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/7/14 1:47 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log x x 12/14/14 5:58 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Nikolai . 12/15/14 2:33 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log x x 12/15/14 8:24 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/15/14 4:44 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/16/14 2:23 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/17/14 12:51 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/18/14 12:26 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log x x 12/19/14 3:08 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/20/14 12:26 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 2/12/15 2:04 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 3/24/15 9:22 AM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Jenny 3/24/15 4:55 PM
RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log Matt 12/16/14 2:26 PM
I'm in the middle of a transition that started just after my first  (Dec 2013) retreat.  It was Goenka, his voice and my work took me from zero to, I believe, beyond A&P in just 11 days.  That was great, but I couldn't find any kind of teacher support in the month after I returned home.  So, I fell in with the easier-for-me-to-meet-locally Mahasi crowd and this unruly bunch on DhO emoticon.

Part of the issue has been my location/style choice for my second retreat.  In the last few months I'd planned on returning to the place of my first retreat, Goenka at Kaufman TX and for that reason have been focusing on practicing Goenka body scanning.  But the doubts about the efficacy of body scanning had me being afraid that I wouldn't want to follow Goenka instructions at the Goenka retreat, and that would be a second precept problem for me.

While mulling this, I remembered that we are graced here in New Mexico by the availability of the Southwest Sangha, a non-denominational retreat center, that cheered me up, so Mahasi/breath/noting seems to be my path forward.

Here's some actual practice:

This morning I awoke to the alarm and started my 65 minute meditation timer.

Still in bed, I put all my attention on the rise and fall of my abdomen.  It seemed like I'd experience 5-10 cycles of breath before finding myself wandering, noticing that in 2-20 seconds.

At about the 30 minute point I noticed my mind wandered to my practice waffling.  I was half way between wandering and returning to breath when very suddenly I felt a huge shift in my perspective.  It was as if my body had dramatically expanded, I felt like I occupied a body 10x normal size.  It wasn't that everything was scaled up though, because my sense was that the breath sensations were very tiny, almost out of sight down there inside my huge body.  It was a very visceral sense of being expanded.  It was a sticky sensation, moving my arms around did not shake it off.  Unfortunately, right then the family arose.  As soon as I stood up it went away.

I often had that experience when I was quite young, it would happen when I was in bed, perhaps when drifting off, or I would notice it in the middle of the night in a waking period.  This is the first time I've had this experience as an adult meditator.

I'm interested in anyone's take on this big-body thing.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
11/21/14 7:33 PM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
It was as if my body had dramatically expanded, I felt like I occupied a body 10x normal size.  It wasn't that everything was scaled up though, because my sense was that the breath sensations were very tiny, almost out of sight down there inside my huge body.  It was a very visceral sense of being expanded. 
I'm interested in anyone's take on this big-body thing.

Been calling it the "Marshmallowman effect"™ Here is a link to it and some other fun body distortion stuff
Interoception, Proprioception, Cortical homunculus, Body distortions
Fun stuff, it means you are at first jhana. The energy can become quite uncomfortable. Each time this happens I know I have started a new cycle from the beginning.
~D

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
11/21/14 7:57 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Interesting, you think that's insight related?  For a while I was calling that the "sphere of infinite space" - where the body would expand out - but then I started to hit an even spacier version of it later on that seemed to go all the way instead of just inflating the body. Could never figure out what the first inflating was supposed to be. Try paying attention to the sensations that make up your hands. After a while I couldn't tell where they were anymore in relation to eachother, haha. Fun stuff. emoticon

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
11/25/14 1:26 AM as a reply to Matt.
Teague's posts inspire me to report. Thank you Teage! emoticon  DW's replies encourage me too.

My browser spell checker does not work in the edit window, and pasting from another editor means adding in back line-breaks, so I'm just writing this post 'live', no spell checker; my pardons for poor editing.  Better a poorly spelled post than no post at all. :-|

I've beeen sitting (and/or laying) 1-2 hours a day.

Tonight I resolved to try to remember enough to write something useful.

I set a timer for 5 minutes and 65 minutes.  Been ramping up the length of my sitting.

I start with 'cell phone LED' kasina. emoticon  I hold the phone in my lap and look at the LED for 30 seconds, then turn it off and watch the afterimage evolve, just as a concentration warm up.  I don't have a good setup so my eyes get different exposures/angles on the light, and it's not really still so the afterimage is a jaged blob with  spurs on it and it's hard to see the finely evolving details I saw the first time I did it a few weeks ago. I wandered a bit in thought which seems to turn off my eyes, then I note the thought and turn on my 'seeing' again and find the afterimage.  That happend a few times.  Near the 5 minute mark, returning from the wander, the afterimage is actually black with a noticable bright ring around it.

After the 5 minute mark I enter my normal waffling phase about just what the heck my object of focus is.  I start with the sensations on the upper lip between the nostrels.  Within a few minutes I can feel all the breath there.  Between breaths I can feel a slightly full sensation there/wamth/tingling, and always the pulse throbbing.

Within 5-10 minutes the sensations from all over everywhere else generally swell up and I start to feel, might as well spread the love, give everywhere some attention.

I waft attention over my whole body, checking in.  I have a general sense that I can feel my whole body at once a warm throbbing and tingling that at a glance seems to extend everywhere.  When I look closer, I note that there is less complete full sensation in my front and back torso, but there are patches of liveliyness there.  All the big  muscle groups are alive with tingling.  Just read Shinzen Young say that the tingling is just an awareness of the blood flow, which I find completly believable, I had kind of formed that hypothosis myself.

I spent a minute or two trying to feel the tip of a big toe.  Every 5-15 seconds or so, I notice the effect DW (I think) mentioned, that I can feel my attention jerking back from the toe to my core awareness, as if the self is checking in or something.  It's just a flash of not-on-toe, then I'm back to feelilng what is happening on the end of the toe.

The head area is chocked full of sensations, I end up spending most of the remaining ~45 minutes there.

I spend a bit of time thinking, "I don't know what the heck I'm doing, is this vipassana or concentration?"  Danial I.'s advice, "just keep noticing everything is all you have to do" keeps me going.  Then it's "where am I at in the path?  This is important, cause the instructions change depending on where I'm at!"  Just notice.

I guess what I did mostly was choiceless awareness.  I notice a particular sensation, give it attention, notice how the sensations change over time.  Then another thing comes up, and I go there.  When a thought comes up, I notice the attendent feeling and watch it come and go.  When some kind of judgement or charictarization comes up, I notice that general cloud of stuffness, watch it come and go.  Those are harder to de-identify from but eventually some more mundane sensation asserts it's self and I investigate that.  Sometimes I get a noticable buzzing from the non-head body, it lasts a few seconds and fades back into the very low roar that's going on down there.

I noticed that the body sways slightly occasionally and there is an aspect of cranial sensations that responds to that, as if the ballance process is adjusting to body movement, and that adjustment process is feelable.  I can just decide to sway left/right a bit and there is a noticalbe 'current' that flows left right across my skull.

Tonight, as often before, around 40 minute or so, I start getting occasional pin-point tingling sensations on my face, usually just one at a time.  I have a fond feeling for those, because once many months ago, I had one, ignored it for a while, then turned equanimous openness awareness towards it, and felt a dramatic pancake of my awareness *into* that pinpoint. It was kind of dizzying and unique, it was like I had merged with the sensation, and it had expanded from a pinpoint to much larger in extent.

Just realized, 'fondness' is something I can note.  I'm a bit attached to that original experienced and it effects my attendence to tingling points.

At some point I simply tune into individual sense doors, it's pretty obvious that they work one at a time.  I notice the watery feeling in my mouth, and get a sense of a kind of sharp taste there.  There's a sharp smell in the air, the old wood in the room and the coldness of inspiration, I 'turn on' my eyes (the room is completely dark) and am aware of seeing the darkenss inside my eyes.  I tune into ears and there is a rich spectrum, from high pitched tinitus to diverse lower freqencies that seem to be coming from inside my head.

A few times, just from lust, I notice the gathering forces around the base of my spine and I put awareness there, openness there, that releases a wave up the spine and torso of nice strong tingling that lasts about 10-20 seconds and peters out.  Tonight, again just from lust emoticon I play with the minimum amount of openness, very gentle breathing, to cause a steady trickle of tingling, and that lasts about a minute and I'm bored of it.

A few months ago, I tuned into the many muscles (or something else that responds to commands) in the area around and behind the eyes.  Now, late in my sits I accidentally loosen one of those muscles and it seems to widen the path into my awareness.  Visual flickering arises, I spend time just trying to open to that and observe it.  Tonight it was mostly only in the left eye. ??  In general, the throbbing tingling vibrating sensations in my skull are not symetric.

There are times when the whole field of sensation rises up and I just try to be open and non-selective.  I start to feel excitement and then just note it.  This happens a few times.

Around 60-65 minutes I get the feeling that I'm done.  I try to note those things and just chill, or maybe fool around in some way, instead of just getting up.

Am I spending too much time in my skull?

Is this obviously EQ, or not EQ?  I've been not worried much about placing myself on the map, but now I'm worried that I should try to know where I'm at, because it would be helpful to know.  To know when to back off and let it happen as opposed to more focused approach.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
11/25/14 1:51 AM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:

Is this obviously EQ, or not EQ?  I've been not worried much about placing myself on the map, but now I'm worried that I should try to know where I'm at, because it would be helpful to know.  To know when to back off and let it happen as opposed to more focused approach.
Hey, great stuff Matt. Your investigating lots of cool stuff. Looks like your getting some pay dirt. Whenever a shift/change of state happens try to notice the signpost of what happened right before and right after. Sometimes this thinking will kick you out of the state but as you become aware of the signs they can be good indicators of where you are at.
Not to script you but I noticed that the nada sound/meditative tinnitus increased dramatically in third jhana. I noticed the increased blackness behind my eyes as fourth jhana. Sometimes only one eye would go online like you have noticed. I would also get other visual things happening right after shift to 4th jhana.
Other things to notice - 3 characteristics....the sensation is not you, not permanent and not satisfying. Anything you investigate that seems permanent or you or satisfying....stay with it and see what happens.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
11/25/14 2:17 AM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
Around 60-65 minutes I get the feeling that I'm done.  I try to note those things and just chill, or maybe fool around in some way, instead of just getting up.

I get almost the exact same thing happening to me. I set my timer to 1 hour and 20 minutes, and inevitably around the hour mark, I will want to check my timer. I feel like there's not much to note, things feel well and I feel like I should be done. What I do, is just note the desire to check my timer, the desire to stop sitting. Then I'll note restlessness as I start to squirm, and boredom as I force myself to sit until the timer rings. 

I noticed a lot of similarities in your post to what I've been experiencing in my sits, very interesting.

Gerry

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/2/14 1:03 AM as a reply to Matt.
Arg, some twitch of my mouse just backed my browser up to a blank edit window, making 20 minutes of writing disapear.

Long story short: the newish (not first time but not that common) thing tonight was a few very abrupt dump-outs, from my panoramic state to just feeling like I had not been meditating at all, just sitting there stairing at the dark with my eyes open.

Then, around 65 minutes I was stairing at the dark, noticing the feeling of air on my eyeballs, fooling around with slightly more or less open eyelids, looking for a comfortable middle ground between eyes drying out and the tension of holding my lids shut, when I was struck by a very visseral vission or image or feeling or something of -me- staring at the dark.  Like I could really see me staring at the dark wall.  It was the *feeling* of air on my eyeballs that cue'ed the whole thing up and gave it legs.  The room is dark so eyes open/closed doesnt look much different at all but air on the eyeballs is quite noticable.

I investigated this feeling, found confusion about if I was watching or watched.  This seemed like pretty good ground emoticon so I sat with it for several more minutes after the 70 minute timer went off.  It was just my determination to log something at all, the urge to write this down that pulled me away from the sit.  Shinzen said 'if you really want to get enlightned, then sit for a *long* time'.  I wonder if I should have said, screw everything, just sit with this watched/waching thing for an hour?

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/4/14 10:59 AM as a reply to Matt.
Tonight was the easiest sit I've ever had.  No exciting fireworks, just pleasant light buzzing and tingling.

Since my last report I've been investigating the marked feeling of 'self' that comes from sensations around my eyes.  There are two situations:

Eyes closed: there are very particular sensations around the the eye-closes muscles.  When I tune into those sensations there comes with them a sense of self, like I'm seeing the guy making effort to hold his eyes closed.  Not exactly this, but something like that.

Eyes open: there are very particular sensations around the feeling of air on my eyeballs, the dryness on the eyes.  When I tune into these sensations I get a strong impression of me looking at something.

Most of tonight I simply pursued those 'self' experiences.  Eyes closed, feel those self-sensations, eventually they fade, or I wander off of them, I don't know which.  When I notice the wander, I either return to the same sensations if I can, or if not I go straight to eyes-open and invenstigate that situation, then start over.  I've been playing: if you are wandering, go look at the most apparent sense of self.  I have not worried about concentrating, just keeping on something that is easy to see.

A thought came up a few times: "can I find this sensations of self in other sense-doors?"

Edit: grammer

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/6/14 10:25 AM as a reply to Matt.
Some of your descriptions match what I experience with equanimity.  The feeling of being done with a session (though keep going), and the easy, firework-less sits to name a couple.  I also find that in EQ, doing any kind of formal technique seems kind of silly.  I'll try scanning and get about half-way down and just stop.  Or I'll note for about a half-dozen notes and then stop.  My intuition tells me that they're not necessary at that point (my intuition could definitely be wrong).  What I do instead is just keep checking things out.  Make continual investigations of things that aren't clear, and even things that already seem clear (becuase they could probably be clearer).  I do use some gentle sporatic noting, but usually only if I need help staying on track.  I also move my attention around from time to time just to keep a holistic view of experience.

-T

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/7/14 1:47 AM as a reply to Teague.
Teague:
Some of your descriptions match what I experience with equanimity.  The feeling of being done with a session (though keep going), and the easy, firework-less sits to name a couple.  I also find that in EQ, doing any kind of formal technique seems kind of silly.  I'll try scanning and get about half-way down and just stop.  Or I'll note for about a half-dozen notes and then stop.  My intuition tells me that they're not necessary at that point (my intuition could definitely be wrong).  What I do instead is just keep checking things out.  Make continual investigations of things that aren't clear, and even things that already seem clear (becuase they could probably be clearer).  I do use some gentle sporatic noting, but usually only if I need help staying on track.  I also move my attention around from time to time just to keep a holistic view of experience.

-T
Teague, thank you so much for feedback.  I've been wondering, am I really anywhere near EQ?  Maybe I'm on the non-EQ side of Dark Night.  I know that I'm the only one to tell for sure, but I'm ignorant of the terrain. I'll probably write a whole note in the 'claims' section.

I'm pretty confused about what I'm doing, this morning I created something call MaGoHaSi [the name is supposed to be funny] meditation, it's like this:
  1. focus on sensations from left eye till ???
  2. focus on sensations from the right eye....
  3. focus on sensations from the right ear
  4. focus on sensations from the left ear
  5. focus on sensations from act of breathing air through the nose
  6. focus on sensations from the tip of the tongue.
  7. focus on the broad diffuse sensations in my forebrain.
  8. repeat
Edit:

I should mention other aspects of my sits: when I get caught by thought tracks I notice it, which stops that track and leaves a trace behind.  I try to lock onto that trace and watch it fade away.

This same technique applies to other events that are more vague, like subtle feelings or attitudes.  I suddenly realize something is part of my experience, and the act of noticing puts me apart from the experience, I try to watch it fade away.

Edit: An indicator of my concentration level sitting tonight (poor), a better name for my new Frankenstein meditation technique: MaHaGoSiKa.

At 60 minutes I found myself really just mechanically cycling through the sense doors, feeling like I'm just screwing around.  In reaction, I really focused on sensations from both eyes.  Shades and swirls of bright immediatly became apparent, then accompanied by itches on the face.  I relaxed, the itches went away, then I concentrated again and the itches came again. Then I just quit the sit.  I had set the timer for 71 minutes, so I felt like I was slaking off.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/14/14 5:58 AM as a reply to Matt.
If light pleasant buzzing or tingling happens, it can be very good to just soak in it. EQ is particularily tricky, usually investigation erodes it. If things are fine and easy, allow that feeling to intensify and spread. Sometimes people with noting practice or "search for sensations of self" practice find it hard to let go and enjoy EQ. It can feel like being lazy, but enjoyment (either tingly/buzzy or just the "glad to be alive" feeling) actually helps concentration and can lead into high EQ.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/15/14 2:33 AM as a reply to x x.
I mentioned doubts about what the heck I'm doing avove, so it's great to hear from you XX!..  Thanks for the notes.  I'm looking forward to carrying that approach into my sitting.  Indeed, I have had the idea that noticing sensations of 'self' were the right thing to do, I think DI suggests that at some point.  So much of MCTB seemed beyond me in the first two readings, I'm taking another look again to put things into more informed perspective.

When I busted loose of precise goenka body scanning and then left behind precise Mahasi noting of belly breathing, it's become all about tingling.  I now realize that I've been seduced by Jhana, more about this below.

Looking forward to a goenka 10-day at the end of this month, I've been taking stock of my situation.  My general feelilng is that I may be in striking distance of Stream Entry.  So I think about how to best honor my time with diligent preparation.  Came up with a short list for retreat prep, put it in this thread (comments encouraged!): 
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5632663

In particular to me:

In my case I feel that I don't have a clear understanding of the Jhannas 1-4.  Being able to hit Jahnna 4 with confidence is very helpful, required, no?  So, I noticed this video series when youtube dished this out to me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRdiOoTZC3A  'Guided tour to 13 Jhanas (part 1 to part 7).

Folk and Nick make Jhana 1-4 seem trivial.  Their words are not much different than the words I read in MCTB but hearing/SEEING them 'live' gave me a better feel for the subject and it was very familiar to my experience.  I then sat with a resolve to head straight for 4'th Jhana.  It seemed like (after a 5 minute anapanasati warmup) it took me maybe only 5 minutes to traverse j1-3.  It was so easy I still have doubts, that I may be scripting myself.

Then (in the same cirumstances, after my zippy path along supposed 1-3) I did this thing I've been fooling around with for a few months, it's to relax the space between my eyelids and the fore-brain.  It feels like both a muscular and vascular easing.  When I do that, I get a lot of sensations that seem like they are coming in my optic nerves, sometimes more or less on one side or the other.  Subtle flickering, pulsing and cooling.  And through that sensation I get the feeling of space beyond, kind of like I'm emerging through a waterfall into the light beyond. There are other shifts that have happened, I feel like I should do this a bunch more, see what is repeatable.

The most distracting thing in that space is the little rush I feel in my heart area that I subtly note as 'excited' or 'overconfident'. 

This note will look garbled, because I've written it over several edit sessions... not gonna clean it up, gonna go sit!
Off to da cush.

Comments welcome!
Scripting = creating = giving shape to = fabricating.

Jhanas = fabricated

Keep scripting and doing what you are doing. Master the art of scripting/fabricating then when ready and stable, look into the causes for fabrications arising and ultimately droppi away and incline towards their dropping away.

Nick (my 2 cents)

P>S> Is anyone dealing with a buggy DhO when posting? Seems like I posted and it was seen to be under Matthew's name instead of my own. Weird. I deleted it, then it appears I may have deleted Mathew's post. But I backbuttoned to find it again and posted it here in the quote. Sorry about that, Mathew.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/15/14 8:24 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
It looks like Matthew replied to me, then Nick commented on that?

Well, in any case, I completely agree with Nick. Once you have the basic capacity, you can uses intention/resolve/remembering/fabricating to cover a lot of ground and find yourself at your cutting edge. No reason not to do that! emoticon

Kenneth oftened encouraged folks to focus more on jhana-lite and jhana rather than investigation once the yogi had a sense of the jhanas. Even mild jhanas seem to re-wire the mind more than dry noting practice.

Then (in the same cirumstances, after my zippy path along supposed 1-3) I did this thing I've been fooling around with for a few months, it's to relax the space between my eyelids and the fore-brain. It feels like both a muscular and vascular easing. When I do that, I get a lot of sensations that seem like they are coming in my optic nerves, sometimes more or less on one side or the other. Subtle flickering, pulsing and cooling. And through that sensation I get the feeling of space beyond, kind of like I'm emerging through a waterfall into the light beyond. There are other shifts that have happened, I feel like I should do this a bunch more, see what is repeatable.


That experience and eye position is pretty strongly associated with the domain of High EQ. You can ask yourself, in this state, Where do thoughts come from? Where does knowing originate? Where is the experience? This is a very gentle but very percise kind of inquiry. Don't be surprised if you can only do if for five or ten minutes or so when you are in this High EQ state.

And don't worry too much about getting to High EQ. It's not uncommon to shoot up there very quickly, almost without cause. There have been plenty of people that experienced SE after being in normal EQ, then having High EQ, conformity, etc., and path all happen in less than a minute.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/15/14 4:44 PM as a reply to x x.
Wow, DhO still rocks, emoticon thank you all for your considered and focused suggestions.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/16/14 2:23 PM as a reply to x x.
I don't know how to post. emoticon  Meaning, I'd like to honour valuable contribution to my thread by replying to the person who is helping me out.  I also want to make it easy to see a train of thought as it unfolds in the structure of the thread.  But there's my original train of thought, then there's the related trains of thought that arise (and pass) within this larger thread. Anyway....

X X, thanks for you contribution to this thread and this other thread: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5632663.  I took it all to heart, it was good. emoticon I find that it's easy for me to decide that the sit is done, because I traverse jhanas 1-4 then fall out.  But it's also easy to simply notice the subtle and gross sensations and do it all over again withing a few minutes.

Your mention of drowsiness reminded me of previous experiences, and the same thing today: I'll be in a dreamy state when I find my self in a short droop event that is strongly reminiscent of falling asleep while sitting up.  In the actual falling asleep (like in class or at a funeral/wedding/etc)  my head muscles relax, the head bobs forward/down slightly, there's a moment of delicious accelerating/dropping downward into a sleep state but it all jerks to a halt when I realize that this is not the time or place to be falling asleep.

In the meditation case I'll be in fluffy tingly mild light-show (what I now believe is) EQ state.  I'll feel a quick dropping down of my mental state as if it is falling into a luscious pillow but I always jerk out of it.  After the fact it seems much like I was falling asleep but snapped out of it.  Except there is no physical drooping like there is when real sleep deprivation is interfering with my regular life.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/16/14 2:26 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Scripting = creating = giving shape to = fabricating.

Jhanas = fabricated

Keep scripting and doing what you are doing. Master the art of scripting/fabricating then when ready and stable, look into the causes for fabrications arising and ultimately droppi away and incline towards their dropping away.

Nick (my 2 cents)

P>S> Is anyone dealing with a buggy DhO when posting? Seems like I posted and it was seen to be under Matthew's name instead of my own. Weird. I deleted it, then it appears I may have deleted Mathew's post. But I backbuttoned to find it again and posted it here in the quote. Sorry about that, Mathew.


Thank you Nick.  (It's more like 2000 dollars, there's no limit to the thrashing around you may have saved me.)

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/17/14 12:51 AM as a reply to Matt.
Tonight I set the timer for 40 minutes, within about 10 minutes I was in a very light state, what I would call 3'rd or 4'th jhana, but this all still feels new to me.  The step I played with for quite a while began to clarify: my eyes stayed shut (its a dark room anyway), but there's something I do that really feels like I'm opening my eyes in an internal way, which lets in a stream of sensations like sensations of seeing.  It's a nice feeling, and it's easy to lean into it.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
12/18/14 12:26 AM as a reply to Matt.
I'd been quiting my sits long before 70 minutes, so I just reset my expectations to around 40 minutes.

For the last several sits, 40 minutes has been good.  I hit what I'm calling high EQ within 10-15 minutes and cruizing all the way till the timer goes off, then sitting a bit more.

I noticed something tonight that I've seen a few times in the last week.  I sit within earshot of the house steam boiler.  Once or twice an hour a thermostat somewhere in the house tells the boiler to turn on.  Nearby, there is a loud 'click' that opens the gas valve so the boiler can go whoosh and start doing it's job.  When the sound of the click hits me, I get a bright flash all over my brain.  it's like the sound of the click is an xray that illuminates my grey matter.

Also, tonight the right half of my brain went into mellow tingly echo'y blissfull mode all by itself.  The left half was kind of normal, was feeling the world in a regular way.  I just beheld the contrast, then eventually things evened out.

Matt

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
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12/19/14 3:08 PM as a reply to Matt.
Sounds good!

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
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12/20/14 12:26 AM as a reply to Matt.
Sat twice today for 40+ minutes each.  Tonight I noticed something that has happened before but this is the first time in EQ: sensations that flow up into my head (from mid torso) precicely in phase with the breath on exhale.  There is a similar catagory of sensation on the inhale.  The feeling sort of reminded me of this other area of sensation I'm noticing, the sort of falling-to-sleep sudden dropping feeling that happens every once in a while.

Matt

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
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2/12/15 2:04 PM as a reply to x x.
x x:
That experience and eye position is pretty strongly associated with the domain of High EQ. You can ask yourself, in this state, Where do thoughts come from? Where does knowing originate? Where is the experience? This is a very gentle but very percise kind of inquiry. Don't be surprised if you can only do if for five or ten minutes or so when you are in this High EQ state.

XX and Nick, your 'just do it, fabricate away' has been very useful.  The last two sits are my new 'high'.  My method, right or wrong is this:
  1. sit down, note the tingling that I always have in my legs
  2. shift awareness to the close in on my face sunburnish feelings
  3. shift awareness to the feelings outside of that close-in spot
  4. do some kind of loosening thing that makes everything more open.
This morning it took me about 5 minutes to get to step 4.  It's really easy.  The immediate result does not feel solid but it feels repeatable, and it puts me in contact with sensations that I can track and that resolve to things I associate with high equanimity.

I've been trying to get clear on what is that step 4.  If almost feels like I open a flap somewhere high in my sinuses, and it's easy to move back and forth.  It's a bit of effort, but what's beyond is enticing so it's easy to just do it and get involved with what’s after.

One of the things I've noticed recently is that changes of mind state come on suddenly. For example today in the span of a second, my attention jumped to sensations around my tongue, water feelings (there's usually lots of saliva built up). Another: I was in a mildly visually psychedelic state, things quickly got darker at the same time as a flash of light, like a distant flash bulb went off high in my visual field, then I was in a quiet, dark, reduced mind noise state. Other stuff, like my whole brain feeling like it water in a fish-tank that sloshes slowly back and forth once, then back to what was before.

At the end today, unusually, when timer bonged 3 times, I felt zero physical reaction. Usually I get a little adrenalin rush around my heart when the timer goes off.

I'm still noting when the sensation of the sensations of a self observing things comes up, and it comes up now in more situations. For example, when I notice a thought or a feeling I try to catch it in the act, watch what happens to it as it passes away, notice follow-ups or echoes or remnants of that event. Often when the dust settles, the observer feeling is right there, as usual, centred around my eye sensations. Today a metaphor I've heard came to mind: that in vipassana we learn that we see the world through filters like looking through window glass, and we want to learn to see the glass. Seems a pretty good description of my experience.

As to noticing where things come from, (AKA fabrications???). I don't really know what that means, besides just noticing when thoughts come or go. Any elaboration?

Matt

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
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3/24/15 9:22 AM as a reply to Matt.
Long story short: I've kept up with practice, felt a dramatic shift in life experience lately. I feel very little afflictive emotions.  I walk around with a throbbing in my brain that is just under the surface, puffs out when I pause to reflect, or it swells out sometimes, un-bidden.  I go to sleep to the tune of pleasant bliss or mild flickering light show, wake up the same way.  When I sit the bliss or lights are easily amplified and persist for the whole 30-60 minutes.

I've been pondering my progress.  It seems like some things don't solidify until someone else I trust notes it based on my reports or I recognize what someone else is saying in their report. To me, this makes it seem like my 'progress' could just be my scripting based on others suggestions.  Or, it could be that so much of this progress is perfectly natural and my own scepticism or ignorance(traditional sense, about contemplative progress)  is what holds me back and validation from others gives me permission/confidence to believe I'm on the right path and let nature take it's course.  I tend to believe the latter, and think that the role of a good teachers is to drop those affirming comments at *just* the right time.  I hope that's what's happened with me cause I like what I'm feeling now.

Comments/questions welcome.

Thank you to Goenka for the ease with which I could try my first 10-day retreat, and online communities for giving me informative places to hang out and meet just the right people to connect with.

RE: Matthew Sexton's zero'th path practice log
Answer
3/24/15 4:55 PM as a reply to Matt.
Matthew:
I've been pondering my progress.  It seems like some things don't solidify until someone else I trust notes it based on my reports or I recognize what someone else is saying in their report. To me, this makes it seem like my 'progress' could just be my scripting based on others suggestions.  Or, it could be that so much of this progress is perfectly natural and my own scepticism or ignorance(traditional sense, about contemplative progress)  is what holds me back and validation from others gives me permission/confidence to believe I'm on the right path and let nature take it's course.  I tend to believe the latter, and think that the role of a good teachers is to drop those affirming comments at *just* the right time.  I hope that's what's happened with me cause I like what I'm feeling now.

X X pointed out what was in my mind right before stream entry (which, in retrospect, I think was actually second path), and that articulation reinforced the insight in a way that made it usable as a platform for my next insight, and then path.

I'm going to take a Mahamudra pointing-out retreat in July. That whole tradition is based on a master's pointing out to the student what is already, in essence, there in the student's mind. So I wouldn't spend a lot of energy concerning myself over whether the insights are "scripted" or "yours." So what if they are scripted? So long as progress is happening, then it is happening. I'm fond of placebos, too, so long as they work!