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Nonsense
Answer
1/14/16 11:05 AM
Feel free to challenge any of my delusions herein.  I mean this.

2016-01-03

2016-01-05

Yet another practice log!  How about today?  Nope, no meditation yet - only
thing worth mentioning are some lucid dreams after waking early this morning
and remaining there. Dreamed of a video display, seemingly 20" at a distance
of the length of feet, then directed images to appear on the screen.  It's
always a vivid dream when there is a perception of color.  Woke up, went back
in and the dream was a blank gray space.  There was an activity like grasping
an invisible railing on a staircase, then slowly alternating hands to pull up
the staircase with great effort.  Reaching the top, a robotic voice declared
"HOT" and I woke up, having wrapped myself too tightly in a blanket.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/5/16 6:52 PM as a reply to Chris.
Oh cool, you are going to describe some of your lucid dreams.  I get a lot of dreams and lds with me watching things on a screen.  lately there have also been split screens with many subsections each with diff videos.  A few times I was thinking it was so cool that some part of me probably understood all that!  I also get a lot of dreans where I am moving uphill, upstairs, or climbing something with great difficulty as if massive gravity is against me or something.  Kinda hilarous about the robot voice too! 

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:03 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Oh cool, you are going to describe some of your lucid dreams.  I get a lot of dreams and lds with me watching things on a screen.  lately there have also been split screens with many subsections each with diff videos.  A few times I was thinking it was so cool that some part of me probably understood all that!  I also get a lot of dreans where I am moving uphill, upstairs, or climbing something with great difficulty as if massive gravity is against me or something.  Kinda hilarous about the robot voice too! 
Wait a minute, I just realised that this is my first lucid dream (induced from
wake like this) in nearly a decade.  I forgot about recently deciding to try
to do them again.  During high school, it was happening spontaneously, became
thoroughly annoying (as I was trying to get some rest, not endlessly falling
into lucid dreams all night).  After those times, it became infrequent.  I had
a clear dream a few weeks ago, but those are different.  Setting early alarms
and (somehow) waking up before they go off, then staying still and waiting for
them, makes this method possible for me.  Knowing that a maintenance person
was going to come into my apartment this morning (whether I unlocked the door
for them or not) and the anticipation kept me from falling back into deeper
sleep.  Three distinct instances of lucidity were noticed: the first was a
flash of white for a moment.  I recognised this instantly (these are naturally
available altered states of consciousness with which I am familiar with).  I
repositioned myself and went back in for the video-screen dream.  At first it
was something abstract (I want to say airplanes), then it switched to a video
game with scrolling colored text menu panels.  Red, blue, red, blue; the panel
colors alternated and I kept with it to prolong the dream.  The next time took
longer than before; I resumed a comfortable position after some fidgeting and
went back in.  This dream started and its contents were unexpected—there was
nothing anywhere except this gray.  I have no idea why I felt like climbing
stairs, or why it was so much damn effort to do so.  Almost like doing a
vertical climb.  Then, pop, robotic voice noting the increasing temperature as
"HOT" to wake me and prevent myself from sweating.  (Imagine the Doctor Who
series' Dalek voice.)  After waking up from this and recalling the sequence in
the reverse order I experienced them, I wrote the following: "hot, pulling up
gray stairwell hand then hand to top; GAME; scroll red and blue; video on
computer screen; collapse."  Interesting, I'll set another alarm tonight and
attempt to repeat the conditions.

I was alternating sitting positions and watching star trek.  One of these
positions has to become sustainable and easy eventually.  I'm not yet back in
my default mode, after having spent much of the past two weeks with family.
At home, I have as much silence as I want, but when I'm elsewhere, others like
to keep the TV on most of the day.  The endless noise and commercials takes a
few days to a week to drain out of my discursive thoughts, then it's quiet
enough.  I started to carry earplugs for when I want to lie down and meditate
away from home.

2016-01-05 summary: quick lucid dreams for the first time in a while; basic sitting posture
endurance practice.  TV, reading and writing.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:03 PM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-06

No more lucid dreams today.  Watched half of the videos on Kenneth Folk's
youtube channel while sitting on the floor.  I went outside and did my usual
walking meditation circuit, then came back inside and sat for maybe five
minutes.  Watched more star trek, then replaced the screen with a lit candle
(about 15 feet away and less than two feet below eye level).  I stared at that
intensely for at least forty minutes.  I started with a cross-legged position
on the couch, constantly noting "seeing", interspersed with thoughts, hearing
(computer fans, fish tank), noticing itches, etc.  I used earplugs to hear the
breath and diminish the number of distinct sounds.  I anticipated pain in my
left leg, which always falls asleep first.  Instead of noting "pain", I tried
to keep it at a level of bodily sensations, and instead noted "tension",
"heat", etc.  It never got to an unbearable level; I stood up to relax my
foot.  Even more surprising was that my foot and part of my leg were asleep.
I stood and the feeling came back well enough to stand on that leg without
difficulty within two minutes.  I sat back down on the couch in a regular
chair sitting position with a pillow at my back to allow my feet to reach the
floor and resumed staring at the candle for some time.  My eyes could no
longer focus and keep one image of the candle.  I laid down on my side on the
couch, then shifted to the other side and fell asleep until 4am.

Visual effects while staring at the candle were typical.  This was at night
and was the primary source of light.  Shadows cast by the candle on the
surroundings sometimes highlighted at the edges, at which time I noted
"seeing" distinct from seeing the candle alone.  There was no reason to turn
away from the candle.  When an airplane passes in the window, when feeling
bored, I kept looking at the candle but still noticed the other things
happening.  Staring at the candle intently, infrequently blinking, not
performing saccades, and not moving the head, is the cause of an interesting
effect of visual persistence (also of its impermanence).  Vision around the
candle strobes in and out from defined edges everywhere touched by the light
of the candle, to the other extreme of nothing being visible except the center
of the candle.  It's as if someone turned down the lights with a smooth dimmer
switch, then started turning them back up, over and over.  The candle flame
did not move; did not dance; this change in brightness was within the eyes.
Any movement of the eyes would destroy the effect, bringing defined edges and
full brightness with every saccade.  There was no reason to cultivate this,
having seen it before.  I once spent an entire town-hall meeting at work in a
room full of people doing this, probably to their bewilderment and horror.  A
group of people were heading to the meeting room as I came out of the
bathroom.  Caught with nothing in my hands, nothing my pockets, no
distractions available to me whatsoever.  While everyone else did not listen
to the (admittedly pointless) group phone call with the CEO and whoever wanted
to call in and ask a question, I stared out the window at a point between some
branches on a tree outside while listening.  The same visual effect was
present there.  I could see everyone all at once immersed in their
distractions: laptops, cell phones, talking, fidgeting.  My preferred
activity, were I prepared, would have been drawing or writing notes.  I sat
motionless, noticing reflections in the windows of everyone, reflections of
vehicles moving outside, etc.  If I moved my eyes, the full-brightness thing
would happen.  If I kept them still, the smaller unavoidable movements of the
eyes and body would cause the edge-highlights.  The strobing effect that
happens during this (noted earlier with the brightness of the candle) made
everything seem eerie and green-tinted.  It has a slow rhythm to it whenever I
watch this aspect of it.  Attending to it in the way of expecting to hold it
at the low point is enticing, but unattainable.  With the candle, I got tired
of trying to hold it at near-darkness and let it be.  I've already thoroughly
explored the tricks of the eyes as I know them.  Holding the eyes unfocused on
points of lights, then going deeply into that.  Using minimal light input to
see a scene with eyes closed for an instant.  Looking at the closed eyelids or
background noise.  Determining where a scene in vision is using input from the
left or right eye, then playing with the addition/subtraction process
underlying binocular vision.  Squinting, then riding the beam of light to any
point of focus, then jumping off of it.  Noticing the count, origin, and
curvature of reflections.  These things momentarily distracted me when
noticed, but unlike some other sessions, I didn't spent the entire time
cultivating them.  The basis of this session was noting "seeing".

The walking mediation, for me, works like this.  I had long ago chosen an easy
circuit from my front door to a neighboring apartment complex, back to my
door.  I've timed this; it's between thirty and forty minutes.  I stare at the
ground as it comes at me, leaving a persistent perception of movement when
closing the eyes.  I can't close my eyes for long; there is too much feces
from waterfowl everywhere not to watch out for it.  If I walk past a person, I
don't look at them, or I smile at them.  There is no desire for eye contact
during this.  The routine makes unexpected events more memorable.  An older
woman asking for directions to the apartment office snapped me out of this
concentration soon into one such walk.  Cars honking, (thinking I'm not paying
attention to them, as if the Doppler effect wasn't a thing), dogs barking
(startle effect), precisely discerning the engine sound of another of my exact
make and model vehicle, disgust of trash, changes in weather or road
conditions, slipping on new ice, seeing the same produce degrade for days,
responding "hi" to people who can't help but greet me, etc.  All the while
counting off "Right, left" with each footfall.  Why not "Left, right"?  I use
the capital letters to distinguish the "starting" note.  It becomes a cycle
after a while, but distinguishing the peak and a trough of the cycle is
unavoidable.  "Left, right" is my default; using "Right, left", is more
effort.  Whenever the attention slips whatsoever, the noting goes back to
"Left, right", and at that moment attention has slipped.  Yes, I know there
are different ways of doing walking meditation, such as noticing the
up-down-plant motion of each foot, but that's not what I'm going for here.
Noticing like this affords no excuse not to do this whenever walking.  Door to
door without skipping a beat is not difficult; this is one of the basic
requirements of this practice.  Yet thoughts still remain quick enough to come
between these notes, sights happen effortlessly, and all the mind states
associated with seeing feces, trash, nature happen with ease.  The path itself
became invariable after the first week of doing it, but is sometimes
lengthened, though never shortened.  Why is this?  To avoid… avoiding.  Seeing
something and changing course is not intended.

Summary: watched youtube while sitting; walked around outside; candle
concentration.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/6/16 9:20 PM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
Setting early alarms
and (somehow) waking up before they go off, then staying still and waiting for
them, makes this method possible for me.  
Setting alarms to disrupt sleep is a common inducement method.  Sleep normally for about 5 hours, the body seems to really only need the 5 good hours for most people, then set hourly alarms.  Some even get up and walk around a tad before going back to sleep, that may be needed for htose who can resleep really easily.  Then as you are going back into sleep, try to remain conscious.  Repeat 3 or 4 times per morning, it's a  very effective inducement method for LDs or OBEs (or using LDs to launch OBEs), but there is the irritation of having to wake often that deters many people.  Nevertheless, in general, sleep disruption tends to increase chances of LDs and OBEs.  Personally I seem to  have more and more intense experiences when traveling away from home too. 

As for the alarm clock thing, pretty interesting to realize that a part of your mind knows EXACTLY what time it is even when sleeping. I started doing the prealarm wake when I was in college, maybe because my alarm was so obnoxious, I wanted to wake up before I had to endure it.  At some point, I realized I could just tell my brain when to wake me up and I didn't need the alarm.  I'll sometimes set the alarm as a backup if I am worried but turns out it's not needed.  Anyway, you might have fun trying it, just tell yourself when going to sleep what time you want to wake in the morning, instead of setting the alarm machine next to your bed, you can set the one inside your head.  ;-P  

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:04 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:

As for the alarm clock thing, pretty interesting to realize that a part of your mind knows EXACTLY what time it is even when sleeping.
Sometimes I wake up and instantly know that I'm late
for work, and that I must leave within the next ten minutes. I spent a lot of
time in the last couple years avoiding clocks, avoiding knowing the time, and
instead letting myself wake up whenever, wherever. It's a fun game to guess
the time before checking a clock and getting within ten minutes of the actual
time. It's even more fun to be correct! Seeing sunlight when waking is nice.
It's more fun to use the color of sunlight and position of the sun to know
what the time is, and I've got a good window in my apartment where the sun
shines through before noon.  The people on the other row of apartments facing
this way have shades to block the end-of-day sun; more annoying than useful to
them. I can see the change in position of the earth as a skew of the sunlight
against my wall, which adds another dimension of interest to it. It's more
narrow than wide at the present time of year. I conspicuously placed a prism
to shine rainbow light across my living room in the morning, which gives me
easy access to colors and another point of light to notice. Once I was
sleeping on the couch and woke to having distinct colors visible through each
eye - the prism was shining right on top of me. I knew what the time was
instantly.  Cloudy days are impossible for this.  Maybe I'm not making a point
here.  Look at it this way: instead of time being some number on a computer
display, the experience exists everywhere.  Defaulting to that is more
skillful and interesting.  The accuracy is debatable, but I feel that I'm not
losing anything by doing this.  My foil has been this rice cooker I bought; it
has an always-on lithium-ion battery; I have to leave it plugged in and
displaying the time.  I could set it to an inaccurate time, but I'd adjust to
the offset; this would require more-than-never frequency of changes.  I've got
a millisecond clock on my right-most computer monitor more often than not; I
can't say I'm adhering to this effort any longer.
Eva M Nie:
I started doing the prealarm wake when I was in college, maybe because my alarm was so obnoxious, I wanted to wake up before I had to endure it.  At some point, I realized I could just tell my brain when to wake me up and I didn't need the alarm.  I'll sometimes set the alarm as a backup if I am worried but turns out it's not needed.  Anyway, you might have fun trying it, just tell yourself when going to sleep what time you want to wake in the morning, instead of setting the alarm machine next to your bed, you can set the one inside your head.  ;-P  

You seem interested in lucid dreaming, so I'll post my previous writings on the subject for you.

I never used alarms until after college.  They were never necessary to wake up
at a decent time, either because it didn't matter (sleeping in until 11,
others waking me, etc.), or I woke myself up on time.  Once I started using
them I realised why I didn't need them.  When I do attempt to use them, it's
ineffective; I turn the alarms off without being aware of doing it.  At most I
will remember "yes, I remember being awake long enough to hit that button".
The thing that works is putting my phone in a sealed box or a different room.
I used a horrid "QUACK" alarm to encourage myself to get up quick enough to
avoid it, and also to (once!) confuse people into thinking they are hearing
the actual birds outside my apartment.

Practice today:  Same walking meditation, sat for less than five minutes upon
returning, then laid down and focused on feeling the legs and breath for at
least an hour.  40 minutes on the computer, then laid down resolving to access
the highest jhana I can manage.  I have no idea if I am doing anything
specific and claim no attainments in that area, but I can report what
happened.  I sat with my hands on my chest, fingers interlocked.  This later
became a solid lump perceivable at the edges where the chest was rising and
falling.  Instead of locking onto the breath touching the nose the entire
time, I jumped off of that to the nearest body sensation that seemed to be
somewhat persistent.  I maintained watching the breath from a slight distance.
The mind became quiet; all the random thoughts were in the background and
couldn't deter me from my goal.  Ignored noting when those thoughts came up.
Bliss?  Check.  One-pointedness as the base?  Check.  Rapture?  Yeah.  I
probably still have a too-conceptual understanding of the formless jhanas, but
attempted to see what they were about anyway. I thought of the space in my
apartment and on my route of the previous walk, then started moving around
that space in my mind thinking about actions I would be doing at each
location.  What I would look at, what I would be cleaning up.  No, this wasn't
making a future to-do list, but imagining each area and moving onto the next
as soon as one thought followed the next.  This stopped, and I heard faint
sounds coming from outside.  Earplugs.  The hands were a solid block and the
body felt great.  This seemed to be a step above previous attempts; the most
probable reason was the complete dropping of the attention at the breath.  I
didn't spent much time there.  This lasted for at least an hour fifteen.  The
end is never cut short due to boredom or some stupid thought of needing to do
something.  First, a thought of intent to stop for some reason manifests.
Ignoring it must be the default choice, otherwise I'd be stopping every
session at a whim.  A valid reason for stopping always follows the intending
thought.  Once that has reached its breaking point, I open my eyes, or get up,
or start moving, etc.  Most of the thoughts during this were commentary on
what was happening, which was preferable to irrelevant thoughts.  The activity
was noticing the eyes straining to see nothing and then relieving that strain,
then going back to noticing the entire body at once.

2016-01-07 Summary: Walked, laid down and noted touch sensations, laid down and did
concentration on the body with new success.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:06 PM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-08 Summary: Two sessions of concentration practice lying down.  Mostly spent today reading.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/9/16 2:42 AM as a reply to Chris.
Just wanted to say... cool practice log.  Looking forward to reading more.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:05 PM as a reply to Noah.
2016-01-09

Reading Ken Wilber's "No boundary" today and last night.  I have the physical copy of "Spectrum of Consciousness" now.  Read "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" in one sitting. (couldn't help it! emoticon )  I'm shocked by how much of this book makes intuitive sense to me already.  I feel I know exactly the point it's getting at.  My automatic reading setup (cursor moves by itself, keeping the current line of text centered and large enough to be read from all the way back at the couch) is great, but this was a new ebook so there were many errors to stop and fix.  I now have an immaculate text-only copy.  Subsequent reads will be done at increasing speeds, if necessary.  Naturally, I practiced zazen while reading about zen.

Summary: Sat and read books.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:05 PM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-10

Spent an hour lying on the couch with my fingers 
interlocked, headphones as earplugs, facing my largest window with my eyes 
closed.  There's a lot of snow and clouds today, so there is a light of 
extra-white sunlight bouncing around in here.  I kept my attention on holding 
my thumbs barely touching the entire time.  This led to incredible 
concentration and it was the most intense meditation session I've had yet.  My 
arms were strained a little because they weren't propped up at my sides, but 
notch by notch they yielded to gravity until hitting a final resting position.  
I was doing a similar easy-yoga exercise last night with my legs (soles of the 
feet together, knees bent, allowing it to fall to the ground spread open), 
while holding my hands in the position described in the zen book I was reading 
at the time. Notch by notch the legs yielded to gravity, until there was a 
sensation of pain (i.e., body saying "this is the last one before you need to 
stop!")  What's so great about it?  Less than five instances of hearing sound 
outside of the body.  Two separate instances of an itch—and they never 
returned.  The strain due to gravity on the muscles made them tremble on their 
own; more vibrations.  Concentration leading to more concentration.  
Vibrations leading to more vibrations.

I started out doing the fingers-touching-lightly thing back in 2013 when 
driving to work.  This commute was about fifty minutes to an hour and ten 
minutes on average; I had to find something to keep me interested and avoid 
getting irritated at other drivers.  I am left handed, so I was learning how 
to use the right hand alone to drive the car.  What to do with the left hand?  
It had only been a few months since researching anything about Buddhism for 
the first time in my life, so I probably had seen some image of a mudra and 
decided that would be the activity for my left hand.  It was not difficult.  
It did not take long to be able to hold this position from the time I got into 
the vehicle until the time I parked the car and clapped my hands when arriving 
at work.  All throughout the bumps of the road, sights, attention to the road, 
the hand position remained constant and kept its relative distances between 
the fingers.  I was holding the thumb and index finger together with the other 
three fingers not touching each other.  It was curious that there was a 
tingling sensation between the fingers when they were extremely close.  Later, 
I tried this at home with my entire hands (i.e., the classic praying posture 
except with an extreme attention to not touching and not-not touching.
It was possible to notice the air between the fingers, it seemed.  When that 
driving activity became too easy, I started avoiding braking if at all 
possible.  When that got too easy, I added recording voice memos.  Eventually 
I dropped this and mostly spin pens/pencils with my left hand, then right hand 
while driving.  The most curious part is that it required no obvious effort to 
maintain the hand position, or pen spinning activities, for an hour at a time.

It's amusing that I had ceased to consider using this in actual meditation for 
the entire duration until today.  I've done it in one form or another (such as 
palms-down on table and lightly lifting them) as the basis, but never held it 
this long before.  It will likely be a component of my practice from now on.  
The zen concept of naturalness is what I'm pointing at here.  It's one thing 
to sit down and focus on sitting, or quieting the mind, or seeing thoughts and 
then attempting to stop them.  It's another thing to continuously modify the 
sitting posture, constantly bring attention back to the sensation of touch 
(many times per second because of gulping coffee previous to starting this!), 
and then, oh yeah, that breath thing.  You build this scaffolding that makes 
it impossible to fall all the way down to discursive thinking, but at the same 
time you don't feel as if there is some effort constantly being expended to 
maintain this.

Somewhat impertinent: One continous mistake

Summary: Laid on the couch focusing on the fingertips with good concentration.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/12/16 1:02 PM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-11

Sat on the couch for an hour focusing on the fingertips.  Cross-legged is no longer difficult/painful all the time.  Sat on the couch listening to previously unheard lectures with Alan Watts while staring at a candle on the couch in different sitting positions, then lying on the floor, then finally sleeping on the couch.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/13/16 9:00 AM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-12

Finished transcribing page 160-171 of "The Path of Serenity and Insight" for two and a half hours. Walked outside; there is snow on the gorund.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/13/16 7:19 PM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-13

Stream of consciousness freewriting today for nearly four hours.  What better way to get a good look at thoughts?  For your amusement, I post an earlier freewriting (but not stream-of-consiousness) exercise from the beginning of december.  It's much more topical and relevant to the audience here.  Notice the mind desperately attempting to throw concepts together in order to find insight.  I admit it's all pointless and not worth reading.  What's interesting about it is not the content, but that I can write quickly enough to match the speed of the stream of thoughts without exception or omission.  This is no exaggeration.  I type in a sloppy mess and have tens of thousands of typos automatically corrected, all collected from typos I have made.  The intended word is always replacing the messy typo without causing errors (this is the rule).  Instead of getting annoyed at the errors, annoyed at time "lost" to editing, It's converted into something better.  I see that I typed "pour some coffee" instead of "tea" when I had no coffee, because I was listening to lyrical music at the time.  That's distraction; substituting one thought "I'm not drinking coffee today!" with the thought "write 'pour some tea' ".  What's even more interesting is what's not written here; thoughts about things that never occur frequently enough to become patterns.  There are no lines written about "man I wish I had more money", "so and so is an asshole", "I am always sad", "I am self-conscious about what other people thinking of me", "I'm bored", "I'm lonely", or "I feel guilty about X". This is typical for me not to think these thoughts now. It's not as if these are thoughts that were suppressed either.  What does it leave?


2016-01-14T00:18:23Z — Finished a solid two hours of practice.  I still had 
the brown tibetan letter 'A' ( ཨ ) visible on my computer screen.  Sun was 
setting, so I got to see the full change of light to dark.  Here's what 
happened.  Lit incense with the intent to sit down cross-legged on the couch.  
This was all.  Normally the game is to watch the point of fire on the incense 
as it burns and drops away, but instead I focused on the computer screen to 
avoid anticipating anything happening to the incense.  I focused my eyes and 
began to concentrate.  Three minutes into it there was a flash on my phone; 
got up and moved it to avoid seeing that again.  Solid hour and nine minutes 
of sitting after that.  It was painful at the end.  Known from previous 
attempts at sitting in this position was that my left foot would eventually go 
numb and the left leg would become painful.  This was resisted by yielding 
muscle movements only when necessary.  When the legs were trembling, the 
thought "yield" or "yield soon" would occur.  I would then allow myself to 
settle down in position, then move back up, then settle back down for a final 
new current position.  The increments became shorter as the sit progressed.  
The hands started out doing the cosmic mudra learned from the 
"Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" book, but over time the sticky fingers (not the 
thumbs of course) separated and became objects in their own right.  At the end 
of it, this was held as a useful distraction to avoid the huge amount of 
near-painful sensations that were coming from my legs and feet.  It wasn't 
sheer pain, like previous attempts, but intensely uncomfortable.  The hand and 
fingers were all spread apart yet still touching and there was no further 
position for them to take.  The legs slid down and down, the back had its own 
movements.  The cushions on this couch had some give to them to assist; this 
would have not been possible for this duration on the floor.  There were 
between two and four sensations of "This position is stable!  There is no 
trembling," but it was too known that it would not last.  It ended when I 
could no longer bear to continue this position.  The left knee was the 
culprit; it was sore for a few minutes and walking over to the computer was 
difficult.  I had maintained a fixed gaze on the computer screen with two 
short instances of unfocusisng the eyes before it all collapsed and went 
double-vision near the end when things got difficult.   The desire for the 
incense to "end already dammit" was so strong that maintaining focus at one 
point was impossible.  But I never moved to sneak a peak and see where it was 
burning.  Seeing tiny flashes of fire when the ash dropped was the only 
indicator.  There was one of these near the end, so I knew there was still 
some time before it ended, but it was impossible to last any longer.   After 
getting up and marking the time (after all, the whole goal here was making 
this my longest sit ever), I laid back down on the couch on my side and 
watched it finish burning out.  I then moved the blanket around my body and 
laid on my back.  No heat or fan on the furnace during this; I didn't want to 
have to deal with a variable temperature annoying me.  There was some residual 
concentration going on in my head, so I locked onto a slow throbbing sensation 
located behind the left eye.  It's obvious that I can manipulate this area 
slightly by moving some facial muscles.  When the vibration was subtle, I 
would encourage it by moving these muscles until it came back in full force.  
This went on for maybe forty-five minutes and was intense.  I got up after 
thoughts started to come back more often and was feeling "done with this".  
Few thoughts of being hungry in there, no thirst or need to use the bathroom.  
It was interesting.

Summary: four hours of writing, then editing.  Then, stared at a figure on my screen while insence burned as long as it could be tolerated.  Longest sit ever.  Finally, laid down and looked at vibrations still occuring due to the concentration.

I'm really trying to keep this thread on the level of describing things as they happen and not making wild interpretations of them.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/14/16 11:53 AM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-14

Late last night (this morning)...

Ended up on the floor doing easy yoga, such as holding the arms outstretched 
in a pillar behind me.  Trying to find a stable position that requires no 
effort against gravity.  Stopped watching the show and laid down on the floor 
in a supine position with no pillow for the head.  It was going to be 
uncomfortable for the back of the head, but the rest of the body had no issue.  
Moved the arms up at the elbows to hold the hands straight into the air.  
Whether they fell inward or outward towards the ground first is not important; 
both extremes were explored.  If I had to guess, I'd say that they fell 
outwards to the ground, felt the mat on the floor beside me (orienting in 
space) and the carpet on the right hand.  Back and forth movement of the arms 
until there were no gaps in the smooth action of the arms.  The arms settled 
with the hand left on top of right on top of the stomach.  The rule was that 
should any hand come within a close enough distance to imply a sensation of 
touch (to any degree) that the hand was to be raised the smallest amount that 
would avoid the touch.  This was too small an increment; it didn't matter how 
much the hand was lifted if gravity was going to bring it down again each 
time.  If gravity brought the arm down, then it was "on the track" and was in 
the right position.  Not a static spatial position, but a sure movement 
through space where the muscles would have the least amount of resistance for 
the entire range.  If the forearm was in the wrong position, then everything 
attached to that at the hand was in a useless position.  If the hand was in a 
useless position, then all of the fingers were in a useless position.  Getting 
it right from the arms all the way down took time, like annealing.  Back and 
forth with this the arms moved on the slowest cycle manageable.  The fingers 
wanted to touch to increase the number of points of contact and went into a 
position where only the fingertips were touching and the fingers were not 
allowed to contract and curl.  This had happened before, but knowing that it 
would be a useless position before the others were corrected, effort was not 
wasted on the fingers until the time came naturally to do so.  Necessarily, 
the shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands were all in 
solid, stable, perfect positions.  Caffeine had long since worn off, so there 
was a negligible amount of jittering in the fingers, but it didn't matter.  At 
least two fingers on each hand, (starting with the smallest and moving towards 
the index fingers) went numb and disappeared from attention.  This was 
observed with great clarity at the time it occurred.  The sensation of 
maintaining this construction of body and hand positions disappeared from that 
area.  It was unsettling to have a body part go numb with such clarity and I 
finally sat up to verify this to be the case.  Doing a simple fingertip 
touching exercise, I waited for the sensation to come back to all fingers, 
then moved to the couch.  This had been practiced for at least an hour.  
During this previous exercise, the pressure on the back of the head was the 
main point of suffering.  The head had to be moved at times to relieve the 
strain of holding this pressure at such a small point.  Moving the arms also 
moved the shoulders, which raised the back, which titled the head back and 
provided a more stable position, but the shoulders were not always in such a 
position.  After moving the arms back and forth, a position was obtained that 
raised the shoulders yet allowed the arms to lay parallel to the chest, but 
never touching it for more than a moment.  If desired, any muscles could be 
relaxed and lowered, then raised.  This was considered an easy way to find a 
superior position without waiting for gravity to do the same work.  It ran the 
risk of stepping over a notch and going down a wrong track.  For example, 
stretching one's arms to the sky and then allowing them to fall down as slow 
as possible, or to bring them down at an increased speed and to go down a 
close-but-entirely-wrong track.  The pressure on the back of the head led to 
intense feelings of throbbing pleasure in the head.  It was annoying that the 
feelings were so intense, but it could be "avoided" in the same way that 
moving away from a beach gets one away from the waves crashing at the shore.  
Like moving past a door where sounds are originating, the intensity is low, 
then spikes, then goes back to being low.  Calling it "intense" is an 
understatement, but it's not easy to describe further.  That there was a 
cyclic pulse of vibrations coming and going, interacting with other similar 
vibrations, was obvious.  I could, as it were, stand in the doorway or walk by 
it.  This was beside the point of maintaining the attention on the posture and 
hand positions.  At times, I was waiting for gravity to bringing the hands 
back into contact with either the chest or the other hand, and there was 
nothing to do there but keep the fingers outstretched and prevent them from 
touching one another.  At one instance of going from 
nearly-laying-hands-on-the-chest back to moving the arms out and away from the 
chest, there was the sensation of space between the hands.  This space had a 
size relative to the position of the hands and had arisen due to both hands 
being "on their tracks" and thus giving the space a definable shape.  While 
the arms and hands were filled with attention, the legs received no attention.  
There was no tension or pressure on them, as they were outstretched and not 
crossed or positioned in any way designed to generate attention or susceptible 
to pain.  Sounds, sights, urges to swallow saliva, and thoughts were invisible 
and could not be said to exist except in rare instances.  I was not using 
earplugs, but there were no sounds outside the body.  These vibrations were 
both and neither sound and feeling, and together they were too "loud" for 
anything else to be noticed elsewhere.  Futile attempts were made to "spin 
around" the sensations of vibration, to move the sense of direction and play 
with it.  Thoughts were the most prevalent, but could not distract.  The goal 
here was to make everything "disappear" so that attention was holding it but 
no effort was required to do so.  It was clear that the hands were closing in 
on this goal when fingers started going numb and literally disappear from 
awareness.  It was also clear that no work had been done on the rest of the 
body: breathing, the pressure on the head, the legs.  But here I was, laying 
on an uncomfortable hard carpeted floor with no cushioning for the head, nor 
any blankets or padding underneath.  And yet it was so near a position where I 
could relax and be in the most comfortable sleeping position imaginable.  A 
shortened form of this process was repeated on the couch wrapped in a blanket 
for a while longer.  More comfortable for the head.  The arms raised and then 
lowered, with the blanket touching on top.  The thought of of "holding up the 
world with it held tangent underneath an outstretched hand" seemed analogous 
to the situation, that the arms were held up by the blanket and not brought 
down by gravity was held but could not fall.  This was late into the morning, 
so I moved to bed and went to sleep without difficulty.

Disclaimer: I used cannabis last night.  The lowest (i.e., non-zero)
amount possible to get what I need it to do: muscle relaxation.  I've lost
fascination with it, but it remains a useful tool when used like this.
Very much the same theme as the previous session with it.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/15/16 9:37 AM as a reply to Chris.
2016-01-15

Three and a half hour staring at a candle for its duration.  Had to alternate between standing and sitting on the couch cross-legged.  Focused on the breath the entire time.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/22/16 11:05 AM as a reply to Chris.
A bit short on details the past few days because I've been doing more reading than writing.  The verdict is that this is a very good book.

2016-01-16

"The Mind Illuminated" looks like a good book; acquired this today.

2016-01-17

Continued reading this book.  It's filling in a lot of gaps.

2016-01-18

Reading and transcribing.

2016-01-19

Reading and transcribing sections of this book.  Lying down for about an hour.  Sitting meditation before going to sleep for the night.

2016-01-20

Done reading.  Walking outside for half an hour.  Lying down following the breath for about 50 minutes.

2016-01-21

2016-01-22

scraped links to mp3 talks from culadasa's website. Otherwise, this would have been a lot of clicking.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
1/31/16 7:53 PM as a reply to Chris.
I've still been practicing daily (except when going to see my parents, though I still did it while going to sleep or alone).  Not much interesting to mention that hasn't been said already.  Today I had two hours staring at a candle while sitting.  One hour yesterday.  Fifty minutes the previous day.  You get the idea.  I've also been doing some yoga to stretch those muscles I'm using while sitting, or simply to make it less likely for me to fidget or fall asleep while reclining.  I'm logging the time spent sporadically but don't feel like copying it into here at the moment.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
2/6/16 11:29 AM as a reply to Chris.
Log here.  Still getting daily practice of at least 50 minutes to three hours, averaging an hour and a half.  Clocked just under six hours of meditation yesterday!  The most I've ever done. 30 minutes standing, 1:20 minutes lying down, 3:30 hours sitting, 30 minutes walking.  And then about seven hours sleeping, four hours watching star trek (hah).  I've now sit still for fifty minutes or more (the length of a stick of this incense I have to burn out) without moving at least three times now.  It's painful in my left leg, but I've managed through it.  Did some reasearch on nerves in the legs to better understand why this happens.  No real insights happening to report.

RE: Nonsense
Answer
2/23/16 8:00 PM as a reply to Chris.
Well, I spontaneously met what could be described as nothing other than an enlightened person today.  The odds of us meeting and speaking twice in a day (at the grocery store, then at a remote spot in the woods) were one-in-a-million.  Here I was, talking my first trip to this park six minutes away from home after living here for nearly five years, then walking to the westernmost point on the trail and seeing the same guy I had spoken with no more than an hour previous to the encounter.  He was just standing there on a small wooden bridge, as if waiting for me. My immediate exclamation was "I'm not even surprised."  Talked with this guy for a couple of hours.  He could see through my mind and found it to be uncommon.  This was someone who clearly had gotten the point of life and had traveled the world. By the time we had finished walking back, it was completely dark.  There were maybe ten other people total; I had went there expecting to find no other people.