My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Gerry V, modified 6 Years ago at 1/20/16 8:34 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/20/16 8:34 PM

My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 131 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Decided to make a new log. My last log began when I first started to take practice serious and this new one is starting off at a new beginning of sorts as well. I've been seeing what works, and what doesn't work for me and really seeing what brings about positive changes in my life, so this is this start of a new type of exploration.

I've been reading old threads and reading and listening to talks by Thannisaro Bhikkhu. His talks and writings have really been hitting home with me, the way he speaks about stress. Something I've noticed in my practice is the way my attention tends to get drawn to shitty sensations, which I think of as stress. This stress is increased when my attention gets on it. It tends to create a tension around the original sensation, I see this as attachment. What I do lately is that I'll notice when a shitty sensation takes a hold of my attention and instead of noting it till it goes away, I'll divert my attention to the periphery of this sensation or outside of it. This tends to dissolve the stressful sensation much quicker than sticking on it and noting it. It feels like attachments are almost always in the form of a tension and constriction in the body. Noting and sticking on shitty sensations was creating some pretty bad stress in my body, and if the goal of the practice is to suffer less, then why would I make myself suffer more? So now I kinda ignore the sensations. Maybe ignore isn't the right word, but it works in my understanding. I'm not really suppressing it by, for example, going back to attending to the breath and forcing myself to ignore it, it's more like "hey I know you're there, but I'm not gonna pay attention to you. You can stay as long as you want or leave, I don't care so I won't be attending you." . I just keep a diffuse attention in the body, and whenever my attention gets drawn in I intentionally draw it away to avoid the constriction on the sensations.

The results of this is that I feel way better throughout the day. I can handle stress better because I notice when my attention gets sucked into a sensation or thought, and I just let it go or let it be there with no attention payed to it. Idk if this is the correct way, and honestly at this moment I kinda don't care. I know that this feels way better than what I was doing and this is the way I understand letting go... not keeping my attention on it. This is no criticism on noting, but the way I understand it, it doesn't work for me. I need to let go. I see that sensations are shitty, but if I keep attending to them I'm only feeding them and growing them and stressing myself out. This is also why I like Thannisaro Bhikkhu's talks because the way I understand what he's saying is to let go of these stresses, not stay on them. I could be wrong, but what I've been doing in the past is not pleasant, and this is much better. 

I also feel conflicted because I've seen a lot of advise on here to "stick on" things until they dissolve and similar advise. Either I'm misunderstanding what sticking on means, or it just doesn't work for me, it only stresses me more out.

My theory of what will lead to stream entry, or whatever.. is that I keep letting go of things by not attending to them until they dissapear. This leads to those sensations not coming up as much and me being more relaxed and unattached to stress which leads to noticing subtler holding patterns which I can then let go of. I keep doing this until I'm left with the simplest thing and then that gets let go of as well and then a cessation happens. This is just my theory of how it will go. The way I was doing it, imo and in my experience, was creating more stress and creating a stronger identification to these stresses instead of just letting my attention to them go. What you attend to tends to grow which is probably why I was getting more stressed.

I could be completely deluding myself, but this works for me and I'm sticking to it for awhile.

Btw, a reason I'm writing this is because everything I assumed about practice has been shifting lately and it's been leaving me really confused which is why I kinda want people to see this and see if this is relatable to anyone else. Maybe I was doing noting wrong, maybe it's not for me, maybe I was going at it the wrong way. Idk. Which is why I'm here writing this, because this approach I'm doing is making me feel better.

Btw, if there's any specific Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks or writings you guys and gals would recommend, or anybody else with a similar way of teaching you'd recommend, drop me a reply on this. I'd appreciate it. 

Ok, that's it for now. I'll continue to update and see where this practice takes me. 
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 1:16 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 1:16 AM

RE: My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 202 Join Date: 6/9/15 Recent Posts
Gerry,

Don't know if you have checked this site out or not. Chances are you have, so I apologize ahead of time. :-)

www.dhammatalks.org/recommended.html

Or this: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/179/

And yes, I can relate to what you do and how you do it regarding your way of dealing with some issues that arise. I can only give you encouragement and metta. For what its worth emoticon
Gerry V, modified 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 10:54 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 10:54 PM

RE: My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 131 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Hey, thanks for the links! I'll bookmark them and listen to some of the talks whenever I have time.

It's also good to hear that other people are doing similar things that I do, makes me not feel like I'm going too far off the rails, so to speak. I'm still exploring this though, so I'm open to new ways of doing things if they prove to be helpful.

Thanks for the encouragement. I've been way less stressed and a lot more energetic since I began doing what I do consistently, so that's a plus. On the downside, I fall asleep at times when I meditate which never happened to me in the past, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I was probably tired.
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Incandescent Flower, modified 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 11:20 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/22/16 11:20 PM

RE: My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 87 Join Date: 10/27/14 Recent Posts
Gerry,

Just wanted to say I'm looking forward to seeing what this new direction in your practice brings, and I applaud you for seeking out a pathway that better fits your shoes. ¡Olé!

Kyle
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 1/23/16 12:09 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/23/16 12:09 AM

RE: My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Gerry V:

I also feel conflicted because I've seen a lot of advise on here to "stick on" things until they dissolve and similar advise. Either I'm misunderstanding what sticking on means, or it just doesn't work for me, it only stresses me more out.

My theory of what will lead to stream entry, or whatever.. is that I keep letting go of things by not attending to them until they dissapear. This leads to those sensations not coming up as much and me being more relaxed and unattached to stress which leads to noticing subtler holding patterns which I can then let go of.


My experience is that before a path-type shift there is the specific decision to 'let go.'  I would be having some internal dialogue like "hmmm it feels good to not be stressed in this way... I wonder if I could stay like this forever?"... and then woooosh, a wave of energy would rush up through my head, interrupting my consciousness, and my energy field would have this all-over tingling and this internal sense of knowing that something had changed.  So, I agree.  The key is getting deeper parts of my mind on-board with the moment.  In this case, being truly "on board" includes a specific feeling of *pleasure*, not just neutral clarity (although that too).

I look forward to reading more about your new approach.
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago at 2/2/16 11:57 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/2/16 11:55 PM

RE: My (new) ever-evolving practice log

Posts: 202 Join Date: 6/9/15 Recent Posts
You are quite welcome for the links. I hope they offer some small help. Or maybe big :-), ya never know!

I can certainly tell my practice has changed thru time. Some things worked before, but don't now. What didn't before, does now. Its all about riding the waves of change for me.

Changes in perpsective, outlook, attitudinal, etc. The biggest changes are those of understanding. Read, listen, try, Repeat. Things begin to fall into place.

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