Yuki's practice log

Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

Yuki's practice log

Posts: 81 Join Date: 10/21/12 Recent Posts
Hello, I have been practicing Vipassana meditation for some time on my own.  Recently, I think I've kinda hit a wall in that I cannot readily evaluate how I'm doing by myself, e.g. in terms of placing myself on the map and so on.  So, I would appreciate any comments about my practice. 

I usually do the following set of practices in order:1.  Visualizing light flowing from the top of my head down to the ground 2. Concentration practice on breath and  3.  Noting insight practice at loud or silent.

In daily life, I do my best to note my thoughts and inquire into the subject.

Following is a description of my typical sit.

1/12
So I start noting physical senses...mostly sensation of my fingers touching each other or butt touching the ground.  I also note that immediately after the physical sensation of touch there is noticing of the position of the fingers or how the legs extended in space.  I note these as "extension".  Interspersed with these physical sensation is a fast flashing of random images in my visual field.  I note these as "image".  There is a moment when these sensation seems to be coming from the "center" in my sensate field...kind of like clustered in a small patch there...  Such effect ceases after while and sensations seems to start mingling with each other...like snow..especially in my visual field...I note these as "snow".   There is also persistent light tingling on my face.  From time to time I get caugt in a kind of dreamy state...often accompanied by feeling of kind of passing out and emotion of sadness, grief, fear etc.  I come to myself and note such instance with "emotion".  I cycle such instances of dreamy states until the session ends.

Thank you for reading and I would appreciate any advice you have.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Yuki: Thanks for sharing. If you want useful advice it's best to post in a continuous way what you are seeing in practice. As for this description some of it seems like moving into Arising and Passing away territory and some of it sounds like you could be hitting light jhana, but based on this short entry the opinion of anybody who gives you a definitive answer is worth what you paid for it. I'd encourage you to consistently write up what you are experiencing. Your practice seems solid, you are clearly able to notice and relay your experience, and so this will be helpful to others, as well as allowing you to get more helpful input. Be well. -Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Thank you Bill, for your advice!  I understand that one post about my sit would'nt give much information, and I'll try to continuously post my experience.  I'm hoping I can objectify my experience better by posting here.  Best, Yuki
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

Posts: 81 Join Date: 10/21/12 Recent Posts
1/13
I've been this problem where when I do extensive noting practice, there is an excessive energy build-up in my head leading to generally unpleasant experience.  After doing quite a bit of noting practice yesterday, I had a lot of mental activities...voices, scattered dreams..this morning...and so I decided to just do concentration practice today to calm things down.  I did a light flowing visualization that I described in my post, followed by breath meditation.  In breath meditation, rather than passively watching my breath, I tried to certain breathing pattern used in Zen..breath in short, then breath out long...bringing the breath down into the tandien region and keeping some tension there.  After doing this for a couple of minutes, pleasant sensations are felt such as cotton-like sensation in my throat and warm sensation in my lower body and my mental activity lowered quite a bit.  I also tried to keep my attention generally in lower body area, and extremities of the body like skin of my hands and feet.

This session seems to have helped some and so far I am feeling a little more clear in my head and stable.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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You're welcome. Your descriptions are great. And you had the right idea with bringing your attention lower when the pressure becomes uncomfortable. This at times happens as concentration builds. If the pressure is felt to be predominant in the forehead another thing to try might be to place the attention right in the center if the pressure centralized rather than spreading across the length of the skull. Keep us posted.
Also below is a link to some somatic practices that emphasize release and are good for grounding if you feel the energy building up, but do whatever works for you.


10Points
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

Posts: 81 Join Date: 10/21/12 Recent Posts
Thank you for the link, Bill.   I incorporated the somatic release session before I go to sleep as you can see below in my log.  It gave me new way to see my experience and was helpful.   I also really liked Reggie Ray's article on four foundations:   http://www.lionsroar.com/blood-bone-space-and-light/ that views the four foudations as stages of meditatation which seems particularly relevant to me at this point.   Do you know if there are any books by Reggie Ray that may go into this kind of thing in more depth?
Yuki
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

Posts: 81 Join Date: 10/21/12 Recent Posts
1/13-1/14

Daily Investigation:
Inspired by Reggie Ray's article http://www.lionsroar.com/blood-bone-space-and-light/ , during the day, I tried to investigate the physical sensation and things that make up that sensation.  For instance, I would focus on my hand touching something...  It seems to me that this experience consists of several things.  First, there is an image of a hand touching something.  Then, there is a kind of prioception or spatial awareness of how my hand is situated.  Then, there is the tactile sensation.   These aspects also seem to reveal itself in temporal order...  An image of a hand touching is the first thing that appear, but upon noting it, it immediately dissapear or change into something else.  Spatial awareness of the hand is subtler, but it seems like it is a part of the image of the hand that lends it its seeming reality.  This too dissapears upon noting, leaving in its trace just tactile sensation of pressure. 

At this point, I think the transition from mindfulness of body to mindfulness of feeling in the above article seems especialy relevant.  I note "pressure", but I am not entirely sure that it is the pressure that I am noting.   In fact, since pressure cannot exist apart from the noting mind that says it is pressure, noting mind seems redundant.  Divested of that noting mind, what is left seems, as Reggie Ray says in the article, "When you get right down to it, it just feels like intensity".

Reggie Ray talks then talks about the transition into mindfulness of mind which is mindfulness of the emptiness behind that energy, but my concentration isn't really strong enough to see this part clearly... I kind of slip back and forth to the images and the seeming reality of spatial and tactile sensations.  Perhaps more practice with concentration may help to see this more clearly.

Night lying meditaiton:
Before sleeping, I tried the grounding meditation in the first part of the 10 point practice that Bill posted.  I tried to sense the tension, conceptions and pains felt in each part of the body, releasing it through the points of my body contacting the ground down into the earth.  After going through each part of the body, the voltage-like energy takes a front stage.  These energy are not really evenly spread in my body...it is the strongest in my head, almost entirely absent around my abdomen where persistent pain is felt instead, and but felt subtly in my heart, around the arms, sacrum and my legs.  After some time, dreamy thoughts starts to appear.  What is interesting, however, is that usually, I am kind of sucked into these throughts like I am falling to sleep, but this time, these dreamy thoughts simply bursts and dissolve into the background of the electric energy that persists in my head space.  Then, I get few kriyas in my feet...and lastly in my abdomen, followed by a small bliss energy that spread in my abdomen.  After the kriya, there is no more dreamy thoughts...but there were quite a few reflecting and speculation going on, and I lost the concentration eventually ending the session.


Morning sit:
I began with the usual visualization of light flowing down.  Then, I continued with the breath meditation, focusing on the tandien area keeping some pressure there while drawing breath into it.    From time to time, I try to feel the ground under my but or legs and visualize  the energy releasing down into the earth.  Not much more to report than this.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Sorry if I keep hijacking your thread, but awesome post. When even the sense of intensity fades and there is just vivid movement beyond definition, when even movement and vivid are seen to be designations that don't contain the experience, that's emptiness. It will arise organically for you I'm sure if you continue. Your post about noting giving the object the designation of pressure that it does inherently have suggest that you already have insight into this. You have great insight, and are good with words, so keep posting. One way to build insight and focus on feelings that I found very useful in the past was to keep the attention on the whole body and note any mind states that might arise. How long have you been practicing for? Any major milestones so far along the way?
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Thanks Bill, no problem hijacking my thread at all!  Actually, feedback from someone advanced on the path has been one of the things being sorely needed, so I really appreciate your input.

As for my practice history, I started doing sitting meditation about 4 years ago.  In these years, stage-wise, I think I have mostly been in dark night with some moments of clarity interspersed between.  I have been to a few introductory meditation sessions with teachers of Theravada tradition, read a few books on nonduality (especially, direct-path teachings) and did some self-inquiry.  Other than that I dont have any retreat experiences nor have I had a chance to do longer sits due to other responsibilities, which I wish I would like to have.   Only milestone that I could definitely speak of would be before starting this whole meditation thing, I had series of extremely vivid lucid dreams which had started me seeking...which on hindsight I recognized to be A&P event after reading Daniel's MCTB.   From then, life circumstance has changed such that those moments of clarity has been largely lost.  So, at first my meditative attempts has been motiviated by trying to re-creat those lucidity and clarity. 

When even the sense of intensity fades and there is just vivid movement beyond definition, when even movement and vivid are seen to be designations that don't contain the experience, that's emptiness

Yes, I think I do not yet see things with clarity at that level yet.  At this point, I think the designation-less-ness of experience is my main interest when investigating the experience, which I think for me comes about when I am noting something, understanding that noting it as such and such doesn't completely capture the experience, and from this, sinking into the more fundamental aspects of that experience (which is felt to be "intensity", "energy", "impermanence" and so on).

Thanks for the advice about keeping attention on the whole body and noting mind states.    Noting mind states and thought is quite difficult for me at this point....I get into ruminating over how to note thought or mind-state..creating more thought and generally get tangled up in them...perhaps noting thought and mindstate in the background of whole body awareness like you say would help me with it.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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No problem, I am enjoying reading. I'm going to give you your log back for now, and respond if something strikes me. The only other thing that I would say is that nothing moved me through the stages of insight so much as noting, so if that's what you're looking to do it's good to stick with that in some way. If you ever want to talk about this stuff or practice in an interactive way on skype, just send me a message here. I look forward to reading more. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Thanks, I appreciate your input.  I will message you when I need more interactive help with this. 

Right now, I tend toward prioritizing building concentration and tuning into body energy type practice, but I understand that noting is more effective at moving through the insight stages.  I may possibly try to sit longer and incorporate noting practice after the concentration practice I do. 
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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No problem. Interested to see how it plays out for you.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/14-1/15

Daily Investigation:

I continue to investigate sensory experience.  Mostly I investigate the breath sensation and bodily sensation of touch.   These are easiest for me to see their 3 chracteristics, and when my eyes are closed, since it is obvious that these sensation are ever-changing, disappears upon noticing, luminous and so quickly show their mirage-like nature.   Sense of hearing and seeing is more difficult.  WIth seeing, sometimes I stare at something for long time and eventually the visual field starts to contort, cotton-like effect starts to happen at the periphery of my visual field, and edges around the objects start to shine.  I think these effects are part of 3C, but unlike with the sense of touch, with seeing my mind tends to attribute these effects to visual illusion rather than a hint of reality.  For hearing, I think 3C seems to show more clearly when I perceive the sound to be coming from inside me (e.g. focusing on its centerlessness aspect), while when I perceive the sound to be coming from a particular direction, then that triggers various conceptualization about what that sound is.

Morning sit:

I started with the light-visualization and then breathing into tandien.  In the begenning I mostly kept my attention to the tension in the tandien area.  The energy starts to build in my lower part of my body, which eventually spreads to the whole body.  Then, various thoughts come up, which I noted as "narrating", "planning", "self-pitying thought", "criticism" etc.  Most persistent are the thoughts that is trying to decide what to note and how to note...which easily spins out of control ending with tangle of thought.  So, I decided to leave my thought and pay attention instead to the movement of my abdomen.   Mind subsides somewhat, piti like effect such as tingling on my face starts to happen, while my main attention is with the movement of the abdomen.  I pay special attention to the dissapearance and appearance of the movement.  The interest with the movement allows me to further sink more deeply into the experience, but when I could start to go deeper, unfortunately the time is up (30 mins).  Perhaps I should start doing longer sit.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/15-1/16

Daily life:
At work, whenever I notice a certain mind states or thoughts I try to note them.  I noted "self-pity", "narrative", "shame", "criticism", "speculation", "blame", "embarrasment", "hesitation", "confusion", "anger", "calm", "doubt", etc.  During commute, I tune into one or several of the sense-spheres, and movement of my body, and observe their 3C's.  In the beginning, as I observe how the sense data changes in time, impermanence starts to show.  Then, as I tune into their impermant nature, pheonomena starts to lose their specificity and a more mirage-like aspect starts to show.

Morning sit (1 hr):
Preliminary practice: Light-visualizaiton, metta and breathing into tandien.
After preliminary practice, I transition into noting practice, with movement of the abdomen as the central object.  I especially note the dissapearance and appearance of the movement.  After some time, my legs start to become sore so I tune into their sensation.  At first, I noted pain and numbness spread over the length of my legs.  After some time, the solid pain starts to decompose into small pricks and heat and cloud-like numbing sensation.  Also, there is quite a bit of "narrative" thoughts going on which I sometimes note but sometimes just ignore.  There is also mind-states such as "self-pity", "guilt", and "doubt".  I tune into the sensation of "doubt" (actually, on hindstate, this was more like "anxiety" than "doubt", i.e. there is the thought of which I was not confident about, and then the feeling of anxiety showed up which I noted as "doubt") and quickly I find that it has an associated physical sensation in my throat-heart area...felt as tension.  As I tune into this tension, it starts to decompose into smaller prickly sensation as well as some heat, then dissapears.   I tune into other sensation of tension in my head and around sacral area.  Eventually, the tension reduces down, and leaving spacious and calm state in which I continue to note the movement of the abdomen as well as the contact of my but with the ground.   I noted this as "calm". 

On review, I am not yet so dexterous with the noting practice.  I spend too much time finding the labels rather than noting the phenomena.  So, I am taking the labeling part slow...labeling a phenomena, tuning into the phenomena for some time, and then another label and so on.
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mysterie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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yuki, may i ask how you practice metta?

i would like to incorporate it into my practice, but i get confused by the different techniques for it i have read, and find it difficult to remember a complex sequence of intentions with my eyes closed.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Hi mysterie,

Actually, I have not done metta practice for while, and I am taking it up again.

How I do the metta practice is that I do it after I do what I called in my log light-visualiztion, where I simply visualize (or feel, hear, etc. doesnt have to be limited to vision) a nectar-like luminous substance flowing down from the top of the head down to the ground (I think this visualisation is taoist in origin, it is also known as Nanso no Ho by famous Japanese Zen master, Hakuin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakuin_Ekaku).  

Finally, I visualize the luminous substance filling my whole body and gathering into my heart.  This feels rather soothing and easily gives in to positive emotion needed for metta.  So, from this place, I start reciting to myself "May I be happy" focusing on the emotion of friendliness toward myself, then I do the same with compassion toward myself, good-will toward myself and then equanimity toward myself.  Then I do the same sequence directed towards my friends and family, and then to all living beings.  This is how the whole sequence goes, but if you find the complex sequence difficult to remember, perhaps choose just one emotion, one object, etc. that feels most natural to you?  In fact, more often than not, I focus on just one type of emotion, e.g. compassion, and repeat those phrases only.

I also do this lying down before I sleep or when I wake up at night, this tends to give me better sleeping experience and clearer dreams.   But in those instances, I shorten it to a simpler version, just feeling warmth gathering in my heart, and then do metta.

By the way, I learned the idea of transitioning from bodily awareness into metta from meditation link below:

http://onedharmainternational.com/meditation/

Hope this helps.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/16-1/17
Day
Sensation seemed to appear quite magnified during the day perhaps due to longer sit in the morning.  It was both pleasant and unpleasant.  Pleasant in the sense that everything was brighter and 3Cs appear more clearly, unpleasant in the sense that unpleasant sensation like pain and negative emotion also got magnified.  I mostly noted these negative emotional states during the day whenever I notice them.


Morning sit (1 hr 15 mins)
Preliminary practice; Light-visualization, metta and breathing into tandien.
I start by noting the movement of the abdomen.  From time to time, thoughts and emotion comes up which I note.  Again narrative thoughts are the most persisitent.  Towards the middle, I experience a kind of a perceptual shift...where the object of attention seems to get micro-clustered in one area of my attention field.  Thoughs are less and mind-states are substantially calmer.  At this point, I drop the labeling and simply pay attention to the act of noting or attention.  I continue with this bare awareness for the rest of the sit.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

Yuki's practice log

Posts: 81 Join Date: 10/21/12 Recent Posts
1/17-1/18
Night investigation
Over the course of a typical day, quality of energy I feel changes.  Typically, energy is smooth and luminous in the morning, and gets active in the evening.  This active, jumpy energy at night seems to go well with a more active body-scanning meditaition.  So, before I sleep, I did a body-scanning meditation from the toe up to the head and down, but since the sensation is flashing rather quickly, I do not stay with one sensation for so long, but jump around.  When I lie down, energy is quite active that I feel parts of my body throbbing and vibrating.  Finally, there was a point when as I seem to pass into sleep, there is this a gathering of voltage-like energy in my heart followed by a shrieking voice..quite scary.  Then, I slept.

When I awoke, motivation to continue with body scanning practice was there, so I continued my investigation lying down.  However, this time I did not limit my focus on just bodily phenomena, but also tried to include thoughts and mind-states.  In fact, when I think of the practice in terms of finding the fundamental characteristic of all phenomena (3Cs), then I guess body and mind (thoughts and mind-states) should all reduce to awareness of 3Cs, such that there should be no conceivable boundary between body and mind.  I also think that awareness of impermanence, in particular, can be thought of as awareness of an energetic aspect of phenomena.  So for practice, I thought of trying the following; I first try to tune into energy-like aspect of bodily phenomena, investigating their 3Cs, and bootstrapping the understanding gained from that onto thoughts and mind-states.  When I investigate the thoughts in this manner, I can see more clearly how they are similar to bodily sensation, except in the quality (frequency?) of their vibration.  Mind-states are more difficult.  I think negative mind-states usually is accompanied by bodily tension, and so is easier to get a handle, but positive mind-state is harder.  In terms of energy, I guess positive mind-states have a kind of smooth, fine, subtle, and in-the-background kind of texture.  In any case, investigating in this manner seems to integrate the bodily aspect with the mind aspect more.

Morning meditation
This morning after doing light visualization, I tried metta practice more throughly.  At first, I tried it in a usual sequence.  Then, I saw how I am partly facing the problem of just following the sequence mechanically without much juice.  Out of metta, karuna, mudita and uppekka, I found just karuna toward myself to be more real.  Actually I tried metta and mudita, and kind of just discovered the sadness of the fact that I had these emotions much more strongly in the past.  That sadness, I tried to turn into mudita.  Admittedly, there is a kind of bliss in the feeling of pity toward myself and others that is purifying.  This bliss sort of gave away to a more expanded awareness.  Then, I turned into a more vipassana mode where as I am aware of breath, I noted these feeling of compassion, expansion, thoughts etc.  I continued this for the rest of the sit.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/18-1/19
Day Investigation:

Issues I noticed during yesterday's metta practice (or I should say karuna practice) as it relates to vipassana is on my mind.  Out of 3Cs, I tend to look more into impermanance, but I thought that dukka is easily seen in the context of karuna practice.  For instance, when I say "May I be free from suffering", I usually focus on various suffering experienced by me and bring compassionate feeling towards them such that blissful feeling results.  It seems that this is kind of in line with noting negative mind-states such as anger, greed and delusion, seeing their fundamental unsatisfactoriness and letting them go.   So I see how karuna and vipassana of dukka has this common ground.  Also, when I look at my life, suffering is most acutely felt off-cushion, in my work and family life.  I complain so many things in my mind during the day off-cushion.  So, although I am far from bringing it off-cushion, I see how it might be a good idea now to look at dukka keeping compassion in the background during daily life.

Morning sit:
After preliminary practice, I do mostly breath meditation.  Anapanasati Sutta is especially on my mind.  I bring my attention to long breathing, breathing into tandien and keeping posture erect.  After some time, a more whole-body awareness results.  This is the third step of the first tetrad.  Then, the fourth step is 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.  Now, bodily fabrication I think are things like length of breath, tension in tandien and tension to keep the body erect.  Attention to these things naturally suggests ways to calm them; breathing long smoothes the bodily process and keeping attention in tandien and posture leads to bodily stability.  So, I guess that first three steps are concerned with getting familiar with various components of breath and these components as a whole, while the fourth step is concerned with getting familiar with causal connection among them such that they can be calmed.

When the body calms, attention naturally becomes subtler such that it naturally tunes into the energetic, or prana-like aspect of the breath.  I believe this is going into the second tetrad.  Dynamic and active part of prana I think is piti, while calming and soothing part of prana is sukka.  This seems relevant to how the quality of energy unfolds during the night from when I sleep to when I wake up and meditate.  When I get into bed at night, energy is quite active and voltage-like, lights, pulsing in various places of my body, kriyas, and gross pleasurable sensations.  I also have quite active dreams in the middle of night, many of which has this active quality. On the other hand, dream in the dawn and morning meditaiton sit is generally quiet, so sukka is more paramount.  Thinking of my exeperience during the night toward dawn in this way in terms of the sutta gives me a better understanding about my experience.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/19-1/20
Night Investigation:

I woke up probably around 4 am and since I couldnt go back to sleep, I started investigating.  As usual I focused on bodily sensation, looking at them in terms of impermanence.  For instance, I focus on my thigh pressing against the ground.  The sensation starts to flash and become luminous.  In this process, the conception "thigh" and "ground" are the first things to go upon noting.  I also notice that nothing in this experience indicates that it is a "pressing" sensation either.  The experience can perhaps be described figuratively as luminous fluctuation happening in void... but it is really without designation, it is only the thought that gives it any kind of qualities such as "thigh", "ground", "pressure", "luminous", "void", but in fact thoughts themselves are also without designation.  So, it seems that although I need to see the emptienss of an object of contemplation, but also must see the sensation of investigation into the object, which is expressed in thoughts as empty as well.  So, I look into thought processes.  Thoughts gets expressed through words or images.  Words or images are empty in a way similar to the way I have seen the sensation of thigh touching the ground to be empty.  However, it does not stop me from really feeling the believability of thoughts like "I exist" or "my wife exist" etc.

After some imvestigation, I became sleepy, and fell into a kind of trance state, feeling of being pulled up into my head.  Then, I felt a ball of energy drilling down through the right channel into abdominal area, turning in direction and shooting upward.  Quite painful.  After this experience, I felt more luminous and open.  I felt a kind of subtle light emanating from the root chakra.  In this half-awake state, dreamy thoughts started to arise into my consciousness like bubbles.  These thoughts come in an intereting way, it often comes in pairs: image or sound and physical sensation.  For instance, I heard a voice of my wife, then I am responding to it accompanied by the feeling of my throat moving, or, I may imagine a female-figure accompanied by warm feeling around sex chakra.

The dreamy thought also seems to express something about duality.  For instance, my wife's voice and I am responding to it, or my brother fighting with a foreigner.  These thoughts seems like a good target of contemplation for no-self.  I wondered where the sense of "selfhood" or more generally sense of "agency" comes from, and I see that it seems to come from a thought of duality (I and you, I and my wife, my brother and foreighner etc.) and some physical sensation, often a sensation in one of the chakras, that gives reality to that thought.   This hints at deconstructing a dreamy thought by seeing the emptiness of the thought component and also seeing the emptiness of the chakra sensation.

Morning sit:
I mostly did breath meditation, especially focusing on the third and fourth step of the first tetrad.  My attention tends to get localized to nose area or abdomen so I tried deliverately to feel the whole body when breathing so as to develop the third step.  This resulted in a light-feeling almost like floating.  Then, in the context of this subtle feeling, I tried to calm my breath and other bodily processes.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/20-1/21
Daily Investigation:
Mostly noting practice during the day.  I note in terms of six sense spheres or activity such as walking, standing etc.  However, I eventually just note "knowing" or "sensing" for each instance of sensation.

Morning sit (1 hr):
Following the breath for few minutes and turn to just noting "knowing".  Concentration isnt so great this morning..with sensations appearing like a haze or a fog.  The thoughts are slippery...they are like a net of siper web creeping up all around me but hard to get a handle on.  However, any sensation comes at least with a knowing of it.  So I just continued to note "knowing".
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Yuki: Thanks for sharing your notes. It's natural at times that attention may be less sharp, one might feel more of a sense of strain as though the meditation keeps slipping away. Be easy on yourself, and just notice, or note the different qualities of attention. Even if that is "confusion", or "lost in thought", or "dissapointment". I struggled mightily with doubt when I first began practicing noting due to my sense that I was not doing it right. I noted "doubt" as much as any other sensation. Allowing the things that seem a struggle like doubt or being lost in thought to be noted in the same way as the sense of transparent phenomena when the mind is sharp did all sorts of useful things to my practice, and in turn, my life. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Bill, thanks for responding to my notes and your advice.  I've been trying to note negative mind states during the day, but these sensations (as well as wandering thoughts) are quite slippery these days...more like an underlying sense of malaise.  This was adding difficulty of precisely noting them.  

Actually, you say about just noticing or noting the different qualities of attention.  In this case, do you always give them a label in your mind? or just noticing them and perhaps taking time to feel into their quality?  Point of labeling in relation to noting has always been a stumbling block for me, perhaps in part due to my bilingualism...slower linguistic processing makes my mind note or classify a phenomena long before it finds a word for it.  So, I tend to adapt simple labeling scheme like six-sense spheres or just noting "knowing" or "sensing".
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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No problem. If it is an underlying physical sense of malaise then it may be manifesting more physically. You could note physical sensations. Or you could practice focusing on one of the four foundations of mindfulness at a time, and then once you have a sense of comfort there work with noting in a more integrated way.
I understand what you are saying about the noting feeling like it's adding something to the process or in someway constructing, which in a sense it is. None the less, it is useful in the process of letting go of to continually notice what is presenting, and noting is a useful way to watch the kaledioscope of experience morph and change. In my experience doing it consistently brings about insights organically and there is no need to search out the three characteristics or emptiness. As this relates to your question, I would just note as best as possible what is coming up: Not sure exactly what you're seeing, "uncertainty", seeing the empty nature of a thought "emptiness", or "thought", etc. I would focus on just labeling the phenomena as consistently as possible for the time being since that seems less clear for you right now.
If it feels cumbersome, and your attention is strong, and you are noticing the changing nature of experience in a consistent way such that the note is blocking the continuity of attention then drop it, but I don't think that's what your saying.
It is also useful to note out loud. I thought this seemed strange when it was first introduced to me, but it worked really well.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Bill, thanks for your advice.  Underlying malaise is sensed as physical tension, so I think I can note these relatively easily.   As for consistent noting, I tended to shy away from it for verbal cumbersomness and preference for looking into 3Cs or concentration-type practice, but taking your advice I'll try to note as consistently as possible and see what happens.  I will also try incorporating noting out loud.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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I think many people have that response to noting. If you need someone to walk you through out loud noting in a detailed way let me know, there are links online, etc., but you seem to have a solid practice. In my experience looking for the 3c's is less productive and more prone to scripting than just noting in a serious, consistent way. When I began to note seriously as a practice annica and annata showed up in an organic way without my having to parse them out from my experience, which led to stream entry shortly after. I still don't see dukha so clearly, perhaps the vajrayana in me: With no ground, where and what is suffering? Perhaps it's useful to label certain things as such as an act of renunciation. Look forward to reading more.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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I tried a more consistent noting practice last night and this morning as noted in my log below, and although I can't hit it exactly on the nail so to speak, I feel good with it.  Thanks for setting me on a track.  I have Kenneth Folk's instruction on noting from his website which I am following, but If you have other good links, I'd appreciate it.  You are so right about scripting...with 3C's I think there is for me always a danger of spiralling into abstract thought, while noting seems to just keep me on observing phenomena.  Your comment about suffering is interesting to me, renunciation being a more appropriate term...I think I am too embedded to see it yet.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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You're welcome. Kenneth's noting was going to be my suggestion. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/21-1/22

Night session:
Before sleeping, I basically lied down on my bed and did noting practice at loud until sleep overtook me.  I noted: "touching", "image", "stomach tension", "stomach pain", "shoulder tension", "heart tension", "throat tension", "head tension", "face tingling", "root warmth", "leg warmth", "energy", "head luminous", "root luminous", "shame", "embarrasment", "guilt", "compassion", "self-aversion", "narrative", "voice", "sleepiness", "dreamy thought", "argument", etc.

After some time, ebb of sleepiness comes to take me and interrupt my noting.  Basically I get identified with a dreamy thought, then a bodily bliss or kriya happens, and I come back to myself to note.  So, although I have been aware of the events such as "sleepiness", "dreamy thought" and "bliss", it was quite difficult to note these.   Noting practice seems to give me much clear view of the process of coming of sleep and forgetfulness...my dream was also somewhat clearer than usual too.

Morning sit (1 hr)
After waking up, I did a metta meditation and continued noting about one note per 3 seconds.  I noted: "touching", "image", "stomach pain", "back pain", "shoulder pain", "remembering", "embarrasment", "sadness", "resistance", "regret", "hesitation", "argument", "isolation", "confusion", "doubt", "worry", "compassion", "hope", "interest", "joy", "distraction" etc.  I also experimented with faster noting e.g. one note per second, which seem to give me more energy and wakefulness but more restlessness and resistance.   Interestingly, perhaps because I was less prone to abstract thought pattern  due to noting, some of the emotions felt more down to earth and intimate, like...although I think "sadness" can be viewed as negative, it is also strangely blissful if I am not caught up in the mental story associated with this emotion.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/22-1/23
Night:
After lying in bed, I started noting, just focusing on the first foundation.  Things I noted: "softness", "hardness", "leg warmth", "ab pain", "ab tension", "throat tension", "shoulder tension", "chest tension", "head pressure", "head bliss", "head energy", "face energy", "face tingling".  Before I knew it, I was taken by sleep.  Then, in the middle of night, I woke up, so I continued noting in half-sleep state, softness of my back touching the mattress and breath.  At some point, briefly, it seemed as if noting was going on automatically, with no one doing the noting or observing.   When I got tired of noting, as sleepiness and dreamy thoughts take me over, I let myself note less and less.  This alternation between the dream state and wake state with noting continue until morning alarm.

Morning:
After alarm, I wash my face and sit to meditate.  Again, I focus on the first foundation.  Things I noted: "softness", "ab pain", "leg numbness", "forehead tingling", "throat tension", "chest tension", "ab tension", "butt warmth", "head luminous", "throat empty", "nose empty", "shoulder stiffness", "chest openness", "head openness", "energy", "feeling", etc.  By "throat empty", I mean when I look into location where I am supposed to find a sensation of throat, I do not find it, so I noted it as such.   Towards the end, dreamy thoughts and subtle feelings predominate which are more like mind-states than bodily sensations, so I noted these as "head energy" or "feeling", trying to keep my attention to bodily aspects of these states.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/23-1/24
Night:
Second foundation.  I had difficult time keeping the note going without falling into the trap of mechanical noting since labels are simple, kept falling asleep.  

Morning (1 hr sit, 20 mins walking, 30 min sit):
I started out doing first foundation, noting "tension", "warmth", "sitting", "energy", "throat empty", "head luminous", "chest tension", "legs impermanent", "mouth impermanent" etc.  However, eventually, mind-states started showing themselves more, so I noted them: "planning", "image", "shame", "arguing", "guilt", "uncertainty", "guilt", "pride" etc.   I noted slowly at first, but eventually tried faster noting about one note per second and sometimes even faster, noting triplets of sensations within one second.  This is because, sometimes things appear in rapid succession, such as "remembering (some incident)", "aversion (toward that incident)", "tension (caused by the aversion)", or, "throat sensation", "throat sensation gone", "throat sensation empty", clearly indicating causal connection between these sensations. 
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Yuki: Casuality seems to be becoming more clear, perhaps due to becoming familiar and skilled with the practice. Noticing how things change is annica, or impermanence. With more practice the value and potency in seeing this should become more clear, and clinging to impernant phenomena lessens. Keep up the excellent work, and keep reporting. It is a value to others. -Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Bill:  Thank you for encouragement!  I'll keep at it and see what happens.
-Yuki
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/24-1/25
Night:
I felt quite a bit of energy in my body as I went to bed.  The energy is quite chaotic and felt as vibration, voltage-like phenomena, kriyas, nausea, and random thoughts.  This made noting quite difficult due to the fact that the chaotic thought pattern would overtake my noting mind.  Eventually, I slept.  I woke up at night however feeling a strong energy shooting toward the top of my head.  This happened a couple of times.

Morning sit (1 hr, 40 mins):
Noting in an integrated fashion.  Like in most of my sessions, I start with bodily phenomena and progress towards mind-states and thoughts.  I try both slow noting and fast noting.  I cannot note mind-states so fast so I go slow with them.  I also tried the triplet noting which seems especially useful in seeing causality.

Day:
I am going about the day paying special attention to succession of events.  For instance, I note seeing a dish, and seeing or feeling my hand reaching it or remembering someting and my aversive reaction to what is recalled.  One thing that is unclear at this point is intention or decision.  It appears that seeing a dish is immediately followed by feeling my hand reaching for it...there does not seem to be a separate sensation that indicates a decision.  Perhaps, decision or intention does not exist as such but is an imputation of a doer onto sequence of events such as a sensation, a reaction (perhaps a physical tension) to that sensation, and another sensation that indicates some kind of movement.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/25-1/26

Night:  I noted lying down.  There was a bit of energy circulating in my body, felt as vibrations in various parts of the body, tingling at the top of my head and at the perineum and heat at the root area.  There are also small kryas happening in parts of the body esp. around solar plexus, followed by a release of energy.  Also images flashing quickly in my visual field.

Morning sit (1 hr):  Light visualization and metta, followed by noting.  Noting as usual, from bodily phenomena of touching, pain, tension, heat.  After some time, attention moves to subtler physical sensations such as energy, internal sound, and vibration.  Then, my interest turns towards mind-states and thoughts. 

Day: I'm paying attention to causal chain among the sensations as I go about the day.  For instance, I note such things as "image" -> "anxiety" -> "tension" -> "release", "hearng" -> "contraction" -> "release", "seeing" -> "moving", "seeing" -> "thinking" etc.

I'm interested in series of events that has a general contour of "appearance", "sustenance" and "dissapearance".   This is especially evident in sensation that accompanies some kind of attachment, because it is often sensed as a causal chain in which the following sensensations appear: an object of attachment (e.g. images or thoughts), mind-state or bodily-phonomena giving apparent reality to that object and sustaining it, noting it breaks the chain and leads to release.  So I am including labels like "contraction", "sustaining", "release" to note these events.

One of the interesting things is how I can incorporate noting in my daily life, especially working.  It is relatively easy to incorporate noting into routine things like daily chores because actions are more or less automatic such that I can direct my brain capacity to noting fairly consistently.  On the other hand, it is difficult to do the same with work, because it requires large percentage of my brain to the task at hand, while I notice that there is a large amount of interesting causal chains and mind-states that occur during work that simply doesnt happen on cushion.   So, to take advantage of it, I'm thinking that it may be useful to just note beginning of a certain task or action, maintaing a slight awareness of sustenance of that action while it is going on, and then noting the end of that action when it is done.   Actions and sensations that occur often at work: "reading", "typing", "editing", "speculating", "planning", "anxiety", "restlessness", "worry", "pride", "thinking", "anger", "dissapointment", "shame", "embarrasment". 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/27

Morning sit:
Sat for one hour in the morning.  I am working on consistency, speed and accuracy in noting.  It is relatively easy to attain speed with noting physical sensations.  I stumble with mind-states, however, not being able to come up with an appropriate label, but I do note such instance as "uncertainty", "anticipating", "tuning out" etc.  With physical sensation, although it is relatively easy to note, it is also easy for it to become routine and boredom often sets in.  I note it as "impatience" or "boredom", and try to extend the range of noting to include mind-states and more subtle aspects of physical sensations, e.g., for a leg touching a ground for instance, I try to distinguish the conceptualization of a "leg", and the actual "touching" sensation. 

Day:  I continue to observe the causality between phenomena.  Yesterday I was reading Mahasatipathana sutta, and there, in the section on mindfulness of mental qualities, with reference to external and internal sense media, buddha says to discern the sense medium (e.g. eye), the sensed object (e.g. form) and fetter that arises dependent on both (supposedly, mind-states such as greed that depends on the eye of the things seen).  This seems like buddha is saying to pay attention to causality among these triad of sensations.  So, during the day, I'm paying attention to things like conception of the head, the eyes, the face, the throat, the posture, the legs, the chest, or the abdomen, the object that is felt in the vicinity of these organs, e.g. thought, forms, tactile sensation, speech, gravity or orientation, movement, emotion, and fetters such as greed, anger, and confusion.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/27-1/28

Morning sit: (1 hr)
Mainly noting touching sensation, relatively rapidly around 2 notes per sec.  I tried both noting out loud and silently.  Eventually lots of images and dreamy thoughts start to appear as well as sleepiness, I kept noting them. The images and thoughts really just kept coming to no end, so sometimes I ignored them and tried to force my attention to the touching sensation or breath, but these sensations were also not clear and eventually the dreamy thoughts would take over.  This continued to the end of the session.

Day:
I am trying to focus on noting mind-states only so that I can notice this aspect of experience more (I always stumble on these).  So, on the train coming to work, I tried to consistently note only the mind-states about 2 notes per sec.  I noted: "attention", "alertness", "annoyance", "irritation", "uncertainty", "doubt", "distraction", "wandering", "dreamy", "sleepiness", "pleasantness", "joy", "interest", "concentration", "openness", "guilt", "shame", "regret", "aversion", "greed", "desire", "calmness".  When there is a relatively little distrubance or noticable positive qualities, I simply noted "calmness", which is like the default note. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/28-1/29
During the day, I was reading a talk by Ajahn Sumedho: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books9/Ajahn_Sumedho_Personality.htm, in which he talks about using sati to be aware of moments when the "selfing" happens.  So, being inspired by it I tried to incorporate "self" into my notes in my sits.

Night (40 mins): I use rising and falling of the abdomen as the central object, and observe thoughts as they come up.  Especially, I try to note thoughts that indicates "self" or "agency" which I guess most thoughts do in one way or another.  So, basically I closely pay attention to the sensation that seems to indicate self or agency.  At first, these sensations were pretty gross.  After noting them, they tend to become attenuated and seemingly turn into active energy in my head.

Morning (1 hr, 20 min):
I start with first foundation, noting touching and sometimes rising and falling of the abdomen.  Eventually, I turn to thoughts as I did last night and investigate the sense of self.  This time, I also try to note the sense of self as it comes up as emotion or bodily sensations as well.  I note them respectively as "self-thought", "self-emotion", "self-sensation" or "self-posture" and so on.  I did this for an hour, ate breakfast and sat for another 20 mins.  For this sit, I just focused on noting mind-states.  I played around with noting at different speed and how it affects the accuracy in noting as well as depth of concentration that results.  Noting constantly at high speed has the advantage of arousing energy at the expense of becoming mechanical and shallow, while slow noting can go deep but sometimes  induces sleepiness.  So, I try to vary my speed somewhere in between.  My note mostly center around "calmness".  At a certain point in time, concentration deepens, some pleasant sensations such as as if I am floating or opening into space happens, I note them as "lightness" and "spaciousness".
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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1/29-1/30

Night (1 hr):  Sat for one hour before sleep, mostly noting physical sensations and noting mental and physical sensations that seems to indicate self.

Morning (1 hr, 25 mins):  First, sat for 1 hr noting physical sensations and mind-states.  Quite a bit of mind-noise this morning and difficult to concentrate.  At first, I was noting in a choiceless manner out loud.  However, because mind-contents seems to overtake me, I decided to note focusing on abdominal movement.  Attention is quite hazy and not clear, as if I am blanketed in snow.  After meal, I sat for another 25 mins, this time noting which of the hand (left or right) I am sensing at the moment a practice Daniel describes in MCTB, to bring more clear awareness.  When I start this, I immediately feel prickling sensations at certain places in my body, which quickly subsides.  Eventually, mind stabilizes and feel of effort engaging in the activity diminishes, and noting of the fingers seems to be going about in an automatic manner.  After some time, however, things became somewhat mechanical, so to raise awakeness, I include other sensations such as my feet.  Then, the flickering mental sensations becomes more predominant. 

Some reflections:  Daniel mentions in MCTB that kind of a base-line for seeing impermanence is if one is distinguishing mind from body,e.g. physical sensations apart from the mental sensations (what he calls consciousness...flickering mental sensations).  For instance, I consider the tactile sensation of a "hand".    I am sure that the conception "hand" as well as the mental imagery of a hand that appears as I focus on my hand is a mental component.  I am also sure that "touching" sensation is physical component.  What I am not sure is that there seems to be a "spatial" component to the experience.  It seems at first that this spatial component is based on proprioception which is "physical".  However, I also feel that it is actually the mind that is constructing and placing a "hand" in an imaginary "space" in relation to other sensations. 

From what is said in Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception, it seems that brain actually integrates the proprioception in the joints to construct the relative spatial location of each objects.  So my understanding is that "spatial" experience also has two components, proprioception is the physical part and relative location of objects in a mind-constructed space is the mental part. 

Added: Actually, when I think about dreams which is purely mental, if dreams is particularly vivid, all the sensations are there...seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and thinking as well as spatial awareness.  Only difference from the physical experience is that dream experience  is inherently more unstable.  It is therefore easy to see that dream is impermanent.  I think the "flickering mental sensations" Daniel talks of is the experience of waking-state counterpart to the dream experience.  It is flickering, unstable, and is also subject to manipulation by will, e.g. using imagination, just like in dreams.   Physical component seems less so, and when I look into them, at first it seems like there is something permanent there.  Actually, if I really look deeper, it seems like what I get is more and more of mental flickering sensation, and I cannot really quite get to the physical sensation as such.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Yuki:   I'm glad you are posting so consistently. As I've said before I think your log is and will be of benefit to others so if you are able please keep posting.
          A couple of questions: When you speak about noting sensations pertaining to self, how do you draw the distinction between when idenftification is present or nor present? Second, how is everything going in a broad way? Are you noticing anything different off the cushion as compared to a couple weeks ago? Is practice easier, harder, the same? Whenever you have time. Thanks.

Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Bill: Thanks for taking interest in my notes.   I really appreciate your input.

Regarding your questions, actually drawing a distinction between identification/no-identification is difficult.  For instance, I get an image in my mind of someone or some idea, and there is some emotional reaction to that image, often a physical sensation in my throat or chest, that seems to indicate that I exist in relation to that person or the idea, so I noted it self.  However, when it is noted, the emotion dissapears or is attenuated.  So, I think when something is noted correctly and objectification is taking place, then there is no-identification.  

Actually, this is related to your other question about practice.  I have some difficulty with noting, kind of hung up with the verbalization part, although its getting somewhat easier.  Sometimes its a breeze and it seems like correct objectification is taking place as I said above.  Other times, I am obsessing about what label to choose for the experience, while other times boredom easily sets in with mechanical noting.  Sometimes I succeed in noting these mind-states as "doubt", "uncertainty", "boredom", but othertimes, I give in and change to other modes like just bare awareness or change to concentration practice. 

Off the cushion, I see some difference, being able to objectify mind-states during daily life better..but not in a major way...Actually, I think it may be about what you say...letting it happen organically, which I do not understand fully.  I tend to be too manipulative or willing with the experiences both off the cushion and on the cushion.  So, I think I am trying to find a right balance there.
Yuki
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

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You're welcome. I am enjoying reading it. I am being reminded and learning new things as well. If you get caught up in somethig regarding the technique just let me know and we can skype/email/whatever.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

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Bill:  Thanks.  Actually, I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding practice.  I think I'll PM you about it after I type them up.  -Yuki
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

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Hmm, I could not find your name from the PM list.  In any case, I just wanted ask a few questions about conditions that led to your attainment of SE, intensity of practice that you were engaged in at the time, primary technique you employed, which part of the experience you investigated in particular if any or just noting whatever that arose in experience.  Did you also keep track of yourself on the insight map?
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

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Yuki: I found you and sent message. Check inbox when you get a chance.-Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

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Bill: Thanks. I'll check it. -Yuki
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1/30-1/31

Night, 1 hr
At first, I did a more concentration based practice, metta, visualization and watching breath.   For vippassana, after noting touching sensation for some time, I tried taking more time paying attention to the mental flickering sensation that appears after physical touching sensations, trying my best to distinguish these.  I mostly stayed with physical sensations, such as posture, numbness in my legs etc.

Morning, 1 hr
Again, did more concentration based practice.  Towards the end, I did noting practice as mentioned in MCTB e.g. noticing which hand I am sensing at any given moment. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

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1/30-2/1
Night (50 mins):
Start by noting physical sensations.  Then eventually, mental imagery and mind-states of doubt, aversion, and uncertain comes up.  After noting for a while, generally the sensation becomes hazy, and energy-like or TV-snow like.  Numbness in my legs sets in which I note continuously.  Even the pain seems to show a TV-snow like feature.  Then, I turn to breath which is luminous, smooth and quite pleasing.  I also try to sense the mind-states and thoughts as manifested as physical sensations in my chest and throat.

Morning (1 hr):
Starting with metta, and then noting.  I start noting physical sensation out loud as usual, touching sensations, heat, tension, tingling on the forehead, nose, mouth.  Noting is pretty clear.  My attention also fixes on the noting mind itself sometimes, so I note it as "noting".  Mind-states such as "doubt", "uncertainty" and "hesitation" come up.  My visual field, primarily front part of the sensate field feels as if it is covered in snow.  I then switch to silent noting.  It feels as if things are happening in a micro-space somewhere in a sensate field, noting mind is also becoming quieter almost like a wisper.  After some time, blissful state of mind appears like "calmness", "spaciousness", "contentment", "timelessness" which I note continouously.  Mind-states such as "narrative", "hesitation", "doubt", "impatience" appear, and its a bit of a challenge to keep my attention to noting while these mind-states try to take me to change the technique or stand up from cushion.  After some time, these quiet esomewhat.  Then, I notice how my eyes motion is synced up with how attention moves so I note these.  I also try to will my attention to imagination and better blissful states, while I also note the will to do so.  Sense of a "doer" or "self" is present that seems at times to be the noting mind, other times it seems to be the intention that comes before movement of attention.  I cant really pinn down where this continous sense of "self" comes from.  My attention also turns to feeling in the chest and my posture or feeling towards the void in my back that seems to be contributing to this sense of "self".  Eventually, I wind down noting more physical sensations 
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2/1-2/2

Night (40 mins):  I decided to work on the mindfulness of mind-states.  I laid-back with the noting, using the notes very sparsely, but taking more time feeling into the emotion, and bodily sensation as well as thoughts that are conditioned by the emotion.  Doing this, I realize there is this kind of an inner-dialogue or interplay between the stories told by the brain and heart reaction to it and associated bodily feeling.  So, I simply kept mindful of these interplays, noting the type of thought and mind-states from time to time to keep myself on track.

After meditation, I lied down, and I had quite a bit of energetic activities going on in my body, Kriyas in various parts of the body followed by blissful release. 

Morning (1 hr):  Continued to do mindfulness of mind-states as I did last night.  Again, I kept close attention to the interplay between the emotion (heart) and story (brain).  This time, I also asked the question if the story is the self or if the heart is the self.  In my case, the story seems to be more loaded with clinging, therefore, sometimes I tried to feel into the heart more to see what happens to the sense of self.  Kind of exploring the head, the heart and the sense of self.
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2/2-2/3

I've been listening to Robert Burbea's talk at Dharma seed and incorporating some of his teachings in my practice, especially in regards to his perspective for allowing more freedom with imagination, and sometimes actively fabricating stories to generate skillful mind-states and giving more space for concentration to arise.  So, in my practice, I'm using noting sparsely at the moment, to keep track and not to get too emeshed in the stories, but still allowing some bit of narrative to happen such that I can have time to observe them or even to cultivate positive aspects of them.  

My current life-style is that I am probably not giving enough room for my discursive tendency to express itself, so repressing this aspect too much in meditation kind of backlashes at me with dukka off cushion.  So, I'm allowing more room for this aspect on cushion as well.

Night (20 mins):
I mostly focused on doing concentration practice, although I guess it is partly insight because I am examining conditioning among thoughts, mind-states and bodily sensation.  I started with body-scanning visualization to establish whole-body awareness, and started with metta meditation.  Mainly, I focused on the feeling of karuna.  I thought of suffering experienced by me and others and this is felt as pain in my body, but this pain is "carried" within the feeling of karuna or spaciousness within the body.  Many stories spin out regarding pains, self-criticism, regrets, blame, shame etc.  Everytime this happens, I turn to the whole-body awareness and carry this pain within the feeling of karuna.  One thing I say is that for me, emotion is not felt so strongly as it used to be...it may partly be due to lessening of identification but probably also due to nihilism and some habitual repressive tendency.  So, I am kind of actively tapping into strong energy producing qualities of suffering in my body and associated feeling to stir up emotion of karuna.  After the session is over, I lie down.  There is quite a bit of energy felt in my body...and emotional release reactions happening at various parts of the body, mainly close to heart, places along the spine and at the root.

Morning (1 hr):
Continuing line of practice that I did last night.  This time, simply more focusing on the breath, mind-states, narratives and observing their interaction.  There is quite a bit of stories going on, and I allow these stories to happen just a bit and perhaps I note the category of the thought, or I simply turn my attention to breath or whole-body awarenesss.  Sometimes, I deliberately use imagination such that positive mind-states of contentment or karuna arises.  On hindsight, there was a subtle sense of restlessness, doubt and boredom, which I did not address well on cushion. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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2/3-2/4

Morning (1 hr 15 mins sit followed by 5 mins laid down):
After doing metta, focusing on the feeling of karuna, I started doing the noting practice.  I note relatively sparsely, being careful to pay attention to the phenomena rather than being caught up with the labels.  Noting is actually pretty smooth this morning, the phenomena arises one-by-one, and I just label them as they come.  My labels are pretty mixed, my mind seems to get interested in different aspect of phenomena at different times so I just adjust the labels accordingly.  For instance, I may be focusing on mind-states and how it transforms in time, labeling them from time to time what it is..such as "gladness", "joy", "calmness", "impermanence".  I also pay attention to the feeling-tone or vedana aspect of phenomena, as it seems that there is a major sense of "self" hidden there.  At other times, I look into thoughts, categorizing them, but also hearing the thoughts in different ways.  Generally, there is a kind of a sense that the thought is my thought, but upon closer look, it seems more apt to say that there are different dimensions to the thoughts.  For instance, thought may sound like my voice, but it may modulate to someone else's voice.  Also, some thoughts can seem to come from "unconscous" as if it is a voice of some foreign thing and not under my control.  I wonder where this sense of "being in control of" comes from.  So pay more attention to how this sense of controller is imputed on the senses.  Specifically, I pay attention to different characteristics of attention like "focusing", "tuning in", "open awareness", etc. etc. seeing if there is a controller behind them.  In any case, as I note, I try not to grasp to noting but kind of keeping a playful attitude with what comes up.  Finally, I lie down for some small rest time in the end stopping labeling and just feeling the whole body.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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2/5-2/6
Night: Mostly concentration practice following breath.  I notice that the sit feels somewhat different than usual.  The feeling is very light, quiet and spacious, with fast flickering happening on my mental screen and not much thoughts going.  At one point, the flickering seems to solidify into some 3 dimensional cloudy shape, which upon noting disperses.  There is also a wave of changing luminosity in my head area.

Morning:  Start with metta, then noting, then eventually settled down into concentration on the breath.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Yuki,

    Thank you for sharing your notes. Please say more about the experience of "changing luminosity" as you experienced it. Metta.

Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Bill:
Thanks for your question.  In my last night's sit, there was quite a fast flickering occuring in my vision and generally in the head area, faster than what I've experienced before.  It was steady at first, but then, at one point these flickering solidified into some nebulous object in 3D space.  After that, flickering sometimes surperposed to create slower waves of changing light.  I guess it was like different frequencies of flickerings were superimposed onto themselves to creat wave-like pattern, like moire pattern you see in the turning wheel in car commercials.
Yuki
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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No problem. Thank you for providing your log. It sounds great. -Bill
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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Thank you Bill.  -Yuki
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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2/7-2/8

Night (30 mins):  Just open awareness meditation.  There are quite a bit of thoughts and images coming up in meditation.  Eventually, I get into dreamy state, getting sucked into dream thought and snapping out of it.  I try simply to be aware of this process.

Morning (40 mins):  Again, quite a bit of thoughts, images and dreamy thoughts.  This time, I try to keep my attention on the breath while noting whatever comes up.  The difficulty is that when noting breath for while, the breath kind of loses its definition and intermingles with thoughts, ending up with fabrication of stories into which consciousness gets sucked into.  This process of getting sucked into story, and snapping out of it is also noted. 

Day: Doing some self-inquiry.  I focus on the sense of self.  Sometimes it is a feeling behind the images of another, sometimes it is emotion, sometimes awareness of physical presence, sometimes intentions behind thoughts and activities.  Then, when this sense is gotten hold of, I ask if this is the self, but upon observation, this sense changes, often into just energy or silence.  As what was taken to be the self was impermanent, it cannot be an  independently existing self.  
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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2/8-2/9

Night (1 hr):  Metta and then concentration on breath.  Again, there were quite a bit of dreamy thoughts happening.  I try to stay with the breath, but the perception of breath becomes very hazy as to be hardly indistinguishable from the sleepiness and thoughts that is occuring.  Then, I experience a kriya and come back to myself with a jolt.  This cycle continued.

Morning (1 hr):  Similar to the sit at night, except that I tried to note the dreamy thoughts and other phenomena.

Day: I was listening to Rob Burbea's talk on dependent arising.  He speaks about interdpendence among time, things and consciousness, and that seeing of lack of inherence of any one of them brings about seeing of lack of inherence about the others.  For instance, it is not possible to conceive of a thing apart from its being cognized, and a cognition apart from a thing it conceives.  Things depends on time because its existence/absence depends on its coming into being or having dissapeared, and time is inferred due to a thing somehow changing, coming into being, or dissapearing.   Interdependence between consciousness and time can then be understood through the link consciosuness <-> time because consciousness <-> thing <-> time.

Interestingly, and perhaps what may be relevant to my practice, Burbea says that reality or sense of inherence comes in degrees and that degree of inherence of any one aspect of the triad above is in proportion to the degree of the other two.  In other words, when a thing is felt to be very real, time is felt to be very real, and self is felt to be very real and vice versa.

This concept is probably similar to or if not saying the same thing as 3Cs, but I guess it is another way by which I can apply it to my practice.  For instance, an anger may come up, and I see how it is changing in time.  As it changes in time, its designation or perception of it as "anger" starts to lose its meaning.  Similarly, the degree with which it changes in time gets less and less, so that it seems as if the time is expanding.  So as impermance of a thing is observed, its designation loses ground, and so is the sense of time.  I can then repeat this procedure with respect to any thing that comes up in meditation.
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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2/10-2/11

Night (30 mins): Just metta meditation.  There is the phrase used in the metta on the one hand and there is the feeling of metta or karuna felt in the heart.  So I use the phrase in the beginning but when the mind settles into the feeling at the heart, I keep on concentrating on it.

Morning (1 hr):  Start with metta, and did noting practice.  There was quite a bit of thought and was difficult to keep noting in a choiceless manner, so I switched to concentration practice, keeping attention on the breath and noting distracting thoughts or mind-states when they come up.  Eventually thoughts become less and mind settled into a pleasant state, I then tuned into this pleasant feeling.

Day:  I am contemplating things that come up and try to see it as a "process", e.g. it is going on according to conditions and that it changes and none of these can be controlled and therefore not me or mine.  It is becoming easier to see mind-states that are not so outstandingly gross as not self.  Thoughts are more difficult, especially thoughts related to practice, thoughts related to spiritual matters, as well as thoughts related to personal issue that are occupying my mind at the moment as I seem to have put a lotof investment into these things.  In such a case, rather than focusing on these thoughts, I return to my breath. 
Yuki Saka, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Yuki's practice log

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These days my focus is on how I can increase my concentration skill given my time constraints and responsibilities from daily life (work, parenthood, etc.).   I think this would have to span many areas in my life, but particularly I am focusing on mindfulness and right view. 

For right view, there are attitudes I hold in relationship to my work, family, and even meditation in which I feel that I am imparting an inherent sense of existence of "me", "others", and "time", thereby increasing suffering.  So, reading and really studying about emptiness and getting into the mindset of seeing things in the right way is helping.  So, during daily life, I examine an experience and really trying to contemplate the absence of "subject" in relation to the "object", e.g. taking an experience in which there seems to be a "me" existing, and really tuning into the aspect of plurality, impermanance, conditionality, dukka and finding that there is no unitary, permanent, and independent existence there.  How this view is solidified into belief by language, thoughts, and habitual bodily actions. 

As for practice, I took up walking meditation this morning, and it seems to force me to pay more attention to the immediate experience of body movements and so on without getting into over-analyzing and scripting.   So, I am thinking of increasing walking meditation more.

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