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Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 9/29/16 5:48 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Ostaron 9/29/16 9:13 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 9/29/16 12:08 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/3/16 3:23 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Banned For waht? 10/4/16 6:23 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/4/16 7:05 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Noah D 10/4/16 9:48 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Banned For waht? 10/4/16 12:24 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Noah D 10/4/16 4:46 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/6/16 1:59 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Stirling Campbell 10/5/16 11:15 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/6/16 1:27 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log bernd the broter 10/6/16 2:55 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/6/16 1:39 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log bernd the broter 10/7/16 2:19 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/8/16 1:16 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/6/16 4:05 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/8/16 1:55 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/13/16 2:21 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/15/16 3:21 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 10/28/16 4:33 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/7/16 4:09 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/7/16 4:40 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Joe 11/7/16 9:51 PM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/8/16 5:35 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Noah D 11/8/16 8:14 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/8/16 9:40 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Noah D 11/8/16 10:55 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/9/16 4:34 AM
RE: Tacitus - Practice Log Tacitus Eth 11/14/16 3:17 PM
Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/16 5:48 AM
Hi all.

Hope you do not mind a noob opening a practice log. I have often found it frustratingly hard to find some writing of other noobs. Hopefully this can provide some resource (eventually) to some other noob.

For those taking the time to read my thoughs, thank you and feel free to comment/discuss or give advice. I am very much here to learn, and those nudges and ideas often are great reminders if nothing else emoticon

A little about myself:
  • Male 35-40 category
  • Married (happily mostly)
  • 1 kid (also mostly happy)
  • I have quit my job to do some self improvement. This will last to 31 December 2016. Then I must decide on the future. Deadline is also my incentive to have urgency going forward. Thus I have about 90 days to go!!
  • Started a log at Streamentry, but reddit feels wrong for logs, so trying my luck here.

A little about my practice:

  • Been a lurker here for 12 months, got a great deal of respect for you lot, thanks for being a resource!
  • Read a fair bit of Daniels Ingram, Right Concentration (Leigh brasington), Listened to a lot of Shinzen Young, Vinay Gupta, Pawel (here at dharma overground) find his approach extremely interesting but have a real hard time really understanding how to start that kind of practice, Culadusa TMI (is now the fundation for my current practice)
  • Medtated for about 18 months now, on and off, rarely above 15 minutes, not consistent practice.
  • Had some practice when I was around 15 ish.. Wonder if I have somehow got to stream entry, if so I have no recall, but the last 20 years have been pretty tough and medics have never found anything wrong.
  • I have been sitting for the last 40 days, so practice is becoming more stable, though variation in time of sitting is big. Longest sit is 60 minutes and I guess my average formal sit is not around 20-25 min. Minutes a day can vary between 15 and 140, so Im still not very consistent on length
  • In TMI mappings im probably at around level 2, sometimes dropping to 1 and more frequently taking trips into level 3 territory
The essence of my sittings are walking throught the 6 prep steps in TMI (Motivation, Goals, Expectations, Dilligence, Monkey Mind, Posture) and then try to zoom in to the sensations in/around the nose by walking through the 4 steps to get a clear perspective between attention and awareness. Current focus is to gladden the mind (try to observe) when the mind notice that it has lost the object of attention wholly/partially, then show my mind the that the "intention" is to follow the sensations at the nose.

It feels like I am closing in, at times, to be able to sence the beginning,endings and pausen of both in and out breath. Generally however my impression of the breath sensations are fairly crude. I have frequently "forget" to pay attention, and at times I really do go for minutes of mind wandering.

Generally I work on trying to be positive and kind to myself, use carrot and not whip, as Im typically pretty decent with others but pretty nasty on myself. So far I would say my average mood has definitively been lifted a notch or two.

Adjustments outside of practice

I try to make adjustment in my life to enhance practice and probability of a permanently improved way of life if the adjustments become stable.
  1. Exercising 3 x a week now (doing pretty good)
  2. Quit candy and other obviously unhealthy chewable stuff (Doing good)
  3. Quit Energy drings (totally) and limit myself to 1 coffee a day (doing good)
  4. Quit alcohol for 180 days (am at day 10 or so)
  5. Write a log every day (minimum is noting how the committments are doing, and how many sits and minutes, good so far)
  6. Found a dedicated place to sit (going to start when I get my zafu, and Buy a zafu (on its way from Amazon)
  7. Start a moning practice, Want to get up at 0600 to have a lenghy morning sit (Total Failure so far) 
Try to not implement to much too fast, less I overload my will, and create way too much aversion and then failure

From October the plan is to start picking off some new challanges as I feel pretty stable on all the above (ex getting up in the morning)
  • Cook dinner 3x a week (my ambition is to learn to love to cook, and happy wife is happy life) and I think cooking can be a great mindfullness practice.
  • Make breakfast 3x a week (support my ambition to get up to practice, and nice for the family)
  • Read at least 1 book per week
  • 15 min a day doing Memory building techniques (I think this in many ways will be beneficial also to meditation pracitce)
  • Start with Yoga and Increase to 4x a week of exercise (Yoga counting, improve ability to sit, body strength, flexibility)
  • Start training for Lucid dreaming (I think it will be highly valuable for mediation/reflection practice)
  • Join the No-Fap
  • Reduce your procrastination score ( Im bad at procrastinating on a lot of things) Starting a practice of "just do it" vs. "it can wait" will remove a ton of suffering.
  • Do a 90 min. session at least 1 time during October
  • Do a 10 min. strong determination sit at least 1 time during October
The cook dinner is definitively a "gonna do bullet" prioritation on the others are up for discussion emoticon taking advice in other words....

Im sure I have forgotten a Ton, and probably talked about a bunch of nonsence, but thats how it will be I guess emoticon

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/16 9:13 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Good to see you here, Tacitus! Looking forward to following your log. 

You're trying to start/change a lot of habits this month, so here's a small suggestion: Keep a stupidly simple log of how you're doing. It can be as simple as a page in a notebook or on a cue card, where you track each of your habits and put an "X" on days you followed through. Aim for 80% consistency. 80% is still really, really good. You'll build an excellent momentum, but without the pressure to be absolutely perfect. Will help you have a light touch with that whip. 

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/16 12:08 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
Hi Ostarion, Thank you very much, got that base covered

1 / 08:15 / 35, XX, XX / 10 = Excercises this week / When I got out of bed / Nbr of Minutes per session / nbr of days without alcohol
This is teh core of my log, if nothing more, this info is what I will prioritize to get down.

The other upcoming changes will have to be introduced gradually else im gonna faceplant ;)

BTW. Got my zafu today!!!!!!!!!! 

Again, thank you!

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/3/16 3:23 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.

30.9.16
5 Min meditation

Practice collapses on days where I do not have extended solo-time. The introduction of a morning routine is essential for stability. Reading "moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer, practice of memory castles and other mnemonic techniques seem to complement or Excercise similar faculties. Imho, seems that someone that is good at meditation, will be good at building memory castles, and partially the otherway around, especially if one practice any form of visualization technique. Perhaps Pawel has some Ideas, big natural memory individuals often seem to be having synesthesia of some form or another, while practitioneers of mnemonic techniques are basically through technique imprinting memory in the brain by similar means as those with syesthesia.

Joshua specifically mentions the "danger" of hitting the OK platau, the level where you are basically happy with where you are and thus fail to improve your practice afterwards. Could be anything form typing fast, to language or sports, sollution is to be methodical and document progress to ensure that if progress stops, one must look for the reason why, change the approach etc and "force" yourself to move into "uncomfortable" practices to keep improving. Basically, always practice at a level where you will often fail to keep improving at maximum speed, once you feel comfortable you are very likely to hit a platau.

Really think quite a lot of meditators can find some unexpected motivation/inspiration in "moonwalking with Einstein". I will consider starting a 30 min a day training with this in mind. But not yet.


1.10.16
10, 15 Min meditation

Weekends are bad for practice. Cannot "escape" for practice easily. I am rehashing this, but morning practice is something I need to start
.
Practice: Do not have enough effort in practices. How to balance urgency (not getting stressed) with self kindness...?

Wonder if meditation is different from other forms of excercises? All "gurus" seem to say that the longer the better and no break seem to be required. When excercising a mucle group, one needs propper break, and after a while it is advisable to have an extended break. My own experience from training is that an extended break often result in a way stronger comeback after. Anyone got an experience? Or am I totally off-base?

Time for some new changes and goals:
  • Read a book a week on average (should be easy, did one this week too)
  • Make 3 dinners a week (medium/hard)
  • Minimum of 30 min meditation per day (should not be too hard, but would rather have it feel like a chore once in awhile than not sitting)
  • Nbr of exercises up to 4x a week by starting Yoga
  • 1 meal a day should be a juice meal (looking forward to this one, but wont stress this one too much)


2.10.16
10 Min meditation

3.10.16
25 min meditation
Sensations of breath becoming stronger when I feel more of a sense of urgency, focus on the sensations, count to 10 then down to 1 again. Just keep counting, think that is the primary thing right now.

Nice to keep log, shows so well, when practice is collapsing, it has now. Focus, urgency and dicipline needed. Morning session is a bloody MUST for me.

Book to read this week is " Extreme Ownership How U.S Navy Seals Lead and Win"


RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/4/16 6:23 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
why you improve yourself if you die at the end anyway?

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/4/16 7:05 AM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Rist Ei:
why you improve yourself if you die at the end anyway?
Good question, figure it is one of those questions I really should have asked propperly of myself before starting the improvement program, rather than solely go with my instinct. What motivated me is:
- I have had a pretty rough ride for the last 18 years, and at some point in the last couple of years the sum of "pain/frustration" has reached a level that is unsustainable for me. I felt that if I continued at the same track I would smash into a wall mentally, become a shitty father, a crappy husband and generally have a crappy time for the remainder of my life, and then possibly reduce the quality of the future life of my child as well. So basically the crap I feel to today can have ramifications for the next 100 years for myself and those I care for.

But I think it all boils down to the following bullets:
- I think the cumulative suffering/crap in my life can be substantially reduced by changing
- I think the cumulative happyness can be massively improved by changing
- I have this inner drive that is urging me towards spiritual change (that I really cannot explain)
- I do not want to be filled with regret when/if I grow old, that I did not do what I wanted, and turned into a shitty father
- I do not want to be afraid, and Im afraid of withering away, and I am afraid of dying atm
- I want to be  a more fully functional "thing" while Im here, and I see that this is possible

Basically boils down to having a better time at the party while it lasts I guess. 

How about you?

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/4/16 9:48 AM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Rist Ei:
why you improve yourself if you die at the end anyway?

A type of statement made only by folks who aren't enjoying themselves.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/4/16 12:24 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Yes its awesome how well you understand why people take refuge in dharma, Noah.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/4/16 4:46 PM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Rist Ei:
Yes its awesome how well you understand why people take refuge in dharma, Noah.
emoticon

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/6/16 1:59 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
4.10.16
 
28 Min
Much mind wandering, forgetting to appreciate “noticing the forgetting”, remembering most of the time to re-inforce the intention to follow the breath. Breath sensations are crude, notice when In breath start, same with out breath, but not when they end, and not the pause.

25 Min
Similar to first. The “mental” barrier to me initially going to 60 min sits is back.
Average mood level way higher after second sitting. Clear to me that 60 min a day is highly beneficial to me. Have however noticed that dreams seem to become a bit more lively and nightmareish with longer sittings.


5.10.16
24 min
Counting the in breaths..trying to pay attention to all the sensations, loosing attention, failing to appreciate the realization of having lost the attention. Pretty good at re-focus attention at the sensations in nose. Not clear perception of the awareness. Solidly in level 1- 3 by Culadasa standards. Still a noob.


18 min
Same stuff, little more calmness. It feels harder somehow to go for longer sits at the moment

18 min
Sensations around the nose are crude, wonder if Im a little bit slower than a lot of other people. It does seem that people “think” in different ways. Perhaps my highly “internal monologue” is somehow making concentration on sensations harder?Did notice some weird vibrations at my forehead, it then moved down both sides of my face. Probably nothing



RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/5/16 11:15 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Tacitus Eth:

Have however noticed that dreams seem to become a bit more lively and nightmareish with longer sittings.


I'm not trying to scare you, but be aware that practice this intense is going to dredge up your shit. Be ready to let go and try not to struggle as fears and other obscurations start to arise in your daily life. This is the normal detoxification process. As your practice deepens, these issues won't have the purchase in your psyche to make much of a dent, so keep your head down. Having a teacher to fall back on with questions and issues is VERY helpful as this process unfolds.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/6/16 2:55 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
So many things you want to improve. All at once. I find it hard to believe that this will work.

If you have free time until the end of this year, I highly recommend going on a meditation retreat or 2.
I think almost no one manages to get into deep meditation without doing a couple retreats in the beginning.
This beginning period is really important since many people have trouble finding something that works for them.
Don't underestimate the challenge(, though it might come easy for you).

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/6/16 1:27 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Thank you, warning appreciated, and I really do not know what is in store.  I guess I had just expected "crap" to start coming up at a later stage, I got a long way to go and aint got no guru to talk with yet. Will ramp up effort to find one if anything becomes difficult to handle. Aint there yet, mostly feeling the positive effects only so far.

Thanks

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/6/16 1:39 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Hi bernd teh broter, thanks for your suggestions.

So many things you want to improve. All at once. I find it hard to believe that this will work.
Yes, I do a lot of changes now, my motivation for them is however to improve the conditions for having a good practice going forward. I do not seek perfection in these changes, but to uphold them as well as i can and get some momentum to change more difficult things. I am failing very much in getting up in the morning for that session, but it is very hard to be dissatisfied given how many other changes I am succeeding in at the moment. These changes, along with some of them now having been in practice for over a month gives me confidence that I will be able to hold on to most of these for an extended period so that they become "the new me" and not something I have to "fight". I try to love all these changes and persuade my brain that they are good for us.

If you have free time until the end of this year, I highly recommend going on a meditation retreat or 2.

You are not the first to suggest this. My plan was to manage a 90 minute hard determination sitting, and then book a 10 day silent retreat. That was my game plan at least, I figure it will 1. be a great motivational factor to keep pushing for some very solid sits, and if I manage 90 min hard sitting, I should be well accustomed to my Zafu and handle the stress of a 10 day retreat emoticon?

You think this is a bad approach?

Thx


RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/6/16 4:05 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
6.10.16

40 min
Longest in a while, getting back real calmess, breath at times becoming smoother/softer/nice, not able to keep observing that for long periods though. And really want to get up often even if it is nice, also taking a little bit of time getting used to zafu. Back pains (not severe) and same with butt.

Some tention/insecurity in the hours after this sitting. Might not be related. Will be interesting to see if this continues.

20 min
Weird tension feeling in jaw, not able to relax it, then went away, later came a feeling of having something large and a bit warm in my mouth, then tension between and above eyes, also some pressure behind eyes. 

Post sitting, tension, feeling of need to burp, uncomfortable feeling behind solar plexus area.
Puzzling...

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/7/16 2:19 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Tacitus Eth:

If you have free time until the end of this year, I highly recommend going on a meditation retreat or 2.

You are not the first to suggest this. My plan was to manage a 90 minute hard determination sitting, and then book a 10 day silent retreat. That was my game plan at least, I figure it will 1. be a great motivational factor to keep pushing for some very solid sits, and if I manage 90 min hard sitting, I should be well accustomed to my Zafu and handle the stress of a 10 day retreat emoticon?

You think this is a bad approach?
I never tried to do a 90 minute determination sitting (I guess you mean no moving at all?). I don't think I can do it. But it's not important. Practice needn't (imo shouldn't) be about torturing yourself. Retreats are very beneficial without long sitting times. Even if you do only, say, 9*45 minutes per day, this will still be very helpful and very different than no retreat.

Note that there are retreats with different styles. For example, the Ajahn Tong retreats really push it to the maximum amount of practice time with something like 12+ hours per day. Goenka is really hard, too, for lack of walking meditation.
On the other hand, there are retreats with schedules of only 7-8 hours per day.

I have done both kinds of retreats, and I've benefitted from both approaches. The important thing is to just start somewhere, then see what works for you. The first few retreats you do usually teach you a lot about the basics which is simply really hard to grasp by doing 1-2 hours at home.


RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/8/16 1:16 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Re: bernd the broter
Thank you for your input.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/8/16 1:55 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
7.10.16

23 min
Sitting meditation, not on zafu as we are not at home, S trying to sleep while I try to meditate with focus on sensations of the breath around the nose. Managed throughout the day to remain rather more mindful, with focus often centering around the sensations at nose. There was a general level of calmness and smoothness. I have this lump of slime in the troat that often “force” me to swallow. It is exceptionally uncomfortable, I do not have much issues avoiding scratching an itch...but this is really uncomfortable for me.

8.10.16

18 min
Focus on breath sensations in around nose. Not much to say, really not able to concentrate much, not able to use dicipline/diligence to tough it out. Every session will at some time or another trigger moments where I REALLY want to get up and do something else. Those times I have continued my sit has often been really good, often I simply fail though.

Completed Extreme Ownership.

(liked it, grade it 4 out of 6)

Summary is basically: Couple of Ex Navy Seal dudes turned management consultants laying out their basic principles for how to create winning/dominating teams. Not a very impressive book in regards to writing style and way to stuffed with “bad guys/Hero” cliches (Easy for me to say sitting in my comfy couch with no war or military experience). The principles resonated with me, and it is imho a great book to read for leaders, or actually anybody, who want to improve themselves. It is full of stuff we really should know, but those kind of things we really need to hear once in awhile and in a context that might drive the message deeper.
What I got from reflecting on the book is stuff i really know already. I can really take way more charge of my own development and life in general, it requires however a vastly more discipline. I am testing and building that discipline as we speak with all my changes. It really is kinda pathetic that I still have not gotten up at dawn though.

Overall pretty happy with the status of all my changes, brain is getting used to them and not fussing too much. Need to keep driving home excercising for a couple of more weeks, and ramp up cooking emoticon.. 1st time this week (wife happy)

Cheers, smile, be happy, focus on breath, try some noting during off zafu.

Edit : Next book is "with each and every breath" Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff). Included link as it is openly available.
PS - Use Explorer and not Chrome for the book (dunno why but fail with Chrome)

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/13/16 2:21 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.

09.10.16

20 min
no comment


10.10.16
55 min
Practiced a bit more in line with WEaEB in terms of sensing energies. Feel that this might perhaps be more my style than the 1 spot around the nose. At least I seem to be concentrated way more, though not in an intense way. Guess I will have to experiment a little more with this. Feels more like body scanning than following the breath, guess there is overlap?
18 minTried to focus on sensations around the nose from the breath. It most definitively is harder for me, I also tend to not relax as much and getting strained in different parts of my face, am able to relax this by “breathing into” these areas, but often they revert once i re-connect with the sensations at the nose.


11.10.16

18 min
Throat/slime being a pain, I am having difficulty focusing staying still these days. I am however holding up a sort of practice, but a bunch of the joy is not as much present. Also pretty stressed out today, took critisizm very hard, then got angry, then retorted. Then got tired.


12.1.16
40 min
Sensation at the nose, trying to breath into stiff/sore/pain spots as they are provided to my attention. Having issues getting rid of the slim lump in my throat.

13.1.16
40 min
Dont know what to write, mind wandering, seems hard for me to get some nuances in the sensations of the breath. 
Including some focus on energy movement around the body.


40 min
Some periods with deeper concentration, still a good amount of “wandering”. 40 min is when I really get restless it seems.

30 min
Pretty similar to 40 min above. Im not getting into no deep state or whatever, the world does however turn pretty “quiet” at times and the breath sensations also do become more nuanced.

20 min

25 min

Generally a little more sensitive throughout the day.I guess this is the most minutes in a day ever emoticon reason for a little smile at least.

Been some mentally pretty tough days. Got a feeling of having lost the increased level of daily mindfullness. Can sense that I am gradually ramping up average time per day, but the variance is considerable. Cannot spot too much improvement in anything, a tiny improvement in concentration perhaps. Just gotta keep going I guess.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/15/16 3:21 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
14.10.16
46 min
Slightly increased level of calmness, perhaps a tad more concentration?


30 min
More concentration yes… more calmness definitively

15.10.16
30 min
More time being spent on the breath, a tad less mind wandering. Had a moment where I kinda got pretty good focus on a smaller point on the nose

30 min
Nothing special except when I heard a piece from miserables in the background, got goosebumps that quickly spread all over my body, felt like bubbles where jumping off my skin.

Have at times become way more sensitive to music, where goosebumps across the entire body is happening if a song resonates with me. Have always had some tendencies of this, but nothing like these experiences as of late. Also popped a tear or two when I listened to some music earlier today, this is extremely unlike me, I have pretty much had a dry tear channel for the last 10 years. Conclude that it is a consequence of practice. I think I have pretty much 15 years of pretty hard suppression of emotions, wonder what happens when/if that lid breaks…. Shit hits the fan?

Also have nightmares almost every night, they are getting increasingly vivid and I am remembering more and more of them after waking. If this continues I really should get started on a Lucid dreaming practice.
Been more “present” throughout today, that does not hinder me getting very angry, on the contrary, seems I am getting more angry/hurt than I can remember ever having done.

Overall, I guess this might be considered progress? Although I really do not feel very much "smarter" when on the Zafu..

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
10/28/16 4:33 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
16.1.16
Forgot to write down?

17.1.16
Forgot to write down?

18.1.16
Forgot to write down?

19.1.16
30 min

20.1.16
55,30,15 min

21.1.16

60 min Vinay Gupta Style
Cycling between 10 min concentration, 10 open awareness, 10 min try to focus on crappy feelings, repeat

30 min concentration, sensations of the breath at the nose.
This was a "aha" session, pretty much the whole session was spent with the breath in awareness without substantial mind wanderings. I am following TMI (culadusa, thought perhaps that I was at stage 1-3.. this session firmly confirmed that I am at stage 1 and 2 and got a taste of what mastering level 2 is about. Cool emoticon

45 min
diametrically oposite from the 30 min sit above, guess I really really wanted to repeat it.

22.1.16
45 min

23.1.16
55,58,15,22 min

24.10.16
22 min

25.10.16
Forgot ?

26.10.16
75, 45 minutes

27.10.16
75,30

28.10.16 - A status update.

Been pretty lax with my notes lately. Last 2 weeks has really been pretty uneventful, though with some clearly plesurable results for my practice. A couple of months ago everything above a 20 min sit felt like close to impossible, I have recently felt ok at the 30 min range, but last 2 weeks I have pushed myself somewhat. Seems 45-60 min is now fairly comfortable, usually with 1 adjustment in sitting style needed after 30 min. Half lotus from right to left foot elevated.

Longest sit so far is 75 minutes, 90 min target is acheivable and generally pains getting more manageable. (guess that might change later)
Guess I will keep pushing this limit gradually, eventually trying strong determination sits. Having extreme issues with a lump of slime in the throught that "needs" swallowing all the time, creates much suffering. It will be my main adversary in a strong determintation sit.

See positive benefit from longer sits and generally more minutes per day. August was about 5-600 min, September 1250-1300, October looks like 1800. The mental baseline is changing by generally being in a lighter mood, also har to describe but feel somehow a tad more present in my head with sort of a pressure inside my head.

Cannot however claim to be great at mindfullness during the day and other activities. Getting better at it while walking, but when talking I am really really unskillfull. Should just try to keep my mouth shut a little more and focus way more on what others are saying... anyway, work in progress I guess.

Am experiencing increased periods where there is no mind wandering, gross distractions are however like sand in sahara emoticon and getting some instances that I identify as dullness caused by to close focus on breath and loosing generall awareness. Having frequent nightmares now, increased overall sensitivity in a way that I can now better identify the things that cause a lot of mental turbulence. Procrastination and all the "stuff I should have done"

It feels like I am a bit of a slow student, but I have a feeling that the number of mind wanderings will decrease and the same with their lenghts going forward. The next challanges I guess will be gross distractions and forgetting (TMI). Also try to work mindfullness more and more into some of my daily routines.

Some Challanges for November(in non-priority order):
1. Have a 120 minutes sit
2. Average 100 minutes formal mediation per day for the month (3000 minutes)
3. Feel like you have mastered TMI level 2 (very little mind wandering)
4.Getting the hang of identifying gross distractions beforet they lead to forgetting (ambitious?)

Over and out.. (and please, do feel free to correct the noob if you think Im going at this in a bad way)

BTW. Wondering about contacting Kenneth Folk or similar. Anybody got some thoughts on the benefits of doing sessions with mentors like that at such an early stage as myself, or just a waste of his and my time?

Peace

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/7/16 4:09 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
28.10.16 - 40min, 22min (62 total for day)
29.10.16 - 40 (40)
30.10.16 - 22 (22)
31.10.16 - 50, 40, 30, 30 (150)
Postures: Cross legged or half lotus
Goals: Stabilize focus on the sensations of the breath at the nose. Then if focus is good enought that the mind almost does not wander, work to cultivate introspective awareness (dont really know how this will work) by noting what makes me "forget" the object (sensations at nose). Also try to move attention inwards to scan for thoughts.

The above basically describes how most sessions will progress from now for a while. I still have not mastered Culadasa TMI lvl 2 but find myself increasingly in level 3 also while sitting. Will make a note when I assume mastery of lvl 2.

At the first 30 min session today I found myself pretty out of meditation steam. Was pushing my limits, on the second 30 min I experenced the "Zen lurch" multiple times. Mind was getting quiet but some heavy dullness set in. Might have been too soon after food too.

Want to push towards 90 min sessions, as I see them enabling me to ramp up more sitting time. I generally find myself taking a decent break after each session, but those breaks do not really change much even if a session is way longer. Also I find that pushing borders a bit makes it easier to subsequently increase sitting times with increased concentration

01.11.16 - 30, 40, 40, 30 (140)
Reached some new levels of cocentration today. After going to bed I clearly identified how the muscles in the Chest/abdomen was the "machine" behind breathing. At least that is what it felt like, It is the first time I have actually felt that meditation have given me some special experience, though this was after the formal sitting.

02.11.16 - 37, 60, 30, 60 (187)
Found it hard to concentration today. It feels like the breath sensations are most of the time "close by", but not in clear focus. Also having severe issues with swallowing all the time, am having the cold. Not same amount of satisfaction today as yesterday
This was however a record day in terms of total minutes of formal sittings...yay..

03.11.16 - 60 (60)
04.11.16 - 86, 30 (116)
Record individual sitting of 86 minutes.. yay.. Was not much of a problem, was actually a nice session where I introduced some variation. Focus on sensations at the nose, then after 15 minutes move to pain spots in the body to see if I can find some underlying emotions. This I cannot.
Got this suggestion at StreamEntry (reddit) to potentially start the "purge" process, It seems it has kinda started with me already. Think I have had hardcore nightmares every night for 3 weeks.


05.11.16 - 20, 20, 58 (98)
First two small sessions was ended because of interuptions. I now never sit down less i expect at least 30 minutes. If less time available I try to note, do open awareness or just breath sensation focus.
Was also interrupted on the last session. That session ended really nice, world felt smooth and soft and the breath was nice to follow. Cannot say that i Identify much more specifics/details however. Unsure if the niceness of the sit is dullness or not, at least it is not the kind that cause sleeping.

06.11.16 - 40, 40, 27 (107) Edit in total minutes
Concentration definitively better, spend less time to reduce mind activity, and by the end it seems pretty still (for my standards) I actually quit the last session  (40 min) because I was sure I had been there for 60 minutes at least, wonder if dullness is causing me to feel better concentrated than I actually am. Muscles and pains in general is not problematic lately, guess that is going to change at some point, but at least if really feels good to do sessions. Looking forward to them, and thus also more easy to do concentration when walking or spots of noting througout the day.

Still no insights... no very weird experience.. no increased capacity to "view/sense" details in the breath. But generally capable to stay on the breath more, mind wander less and shorter, and also forgetting (to pay attention to the breath) less often.

Guess its some kind of progress overall, though without the big leaps...

Cheers

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/7/16 4:40 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
07.11.16 - 90, ()
Timing and length: Morning - 90 minutes
Type: Concentration, focus on sensations of the breath at nose
Posture: Sitting, cross legged or half lotus
Summary: Lately I tend to loose track of time a bit, meditation timer is set to ding every 15 minutes, I still loose  track after about 45 minutes. Will try anyhow to section it up by time

0-30 min
Mind calming pretty fast initially, and counting breath to 10 (counting in breath) twice, then I move to silently pay attention to the breath. I do not firmly settle on a specific spot in regards to watching the sensations but move from the tip of the nose to the area above the lip to inside the nose. Seems like attention wants to watch the outbreath at one place and the inbreath at a different location. General comment (This movement seems to increase the mental conceptualizing of how the breath flows. If I more firmly set my attention at one specific spot it seems easier to sense more of the breath cycle. Start inbreath, end inbreath, pause, start outbreath, end outbreath pause, repeat. I still have problems identifying the end of both in and out breath clearly, and pauses also tend to get smothered in between)

Much variation, times with pretty decent focus with minutes of paying attention to the breath, certainly not talking single pointed focus as there is chatter and activity, as the main focus.

30-60 min
Moving around a bit, although I really should manage to avoid most of this as we are not talking extreme pain. Often "automove" without much thought. Periods where it feels as thought there is some tightening between the eyebrows, feels like a thin thread is touching the area giving a kinda soft touch. If I move focus to it, it is there for a little bit but shares no more information with me, then falls away. 

Periods where the nose feels like it is getting solid and hard/tense, sense of the coldness from the inbreath increases dramatically. Kinda peculiar feeling, though this is a sensation I have had many times, do not pay it much attention and try to re-focus on breath. 

60-90 min
Periods where I am sure I must be closing in on 2 hours, mental chatter about length, motivating to go further etc etc. Concentration not very great. Forgetting the breath more often, mind wandering at times (but do not stray far). Periods with sensations of movement in between the eyebrows, heavy solid nose. Then sensations inside my head, feels like parts of the brain is going solid/hard. Weird pulse started in a small segment of vision field, the core of the segment showing picksels (kinda like snow/static on old TV sets but in pink/black) this small segment pulsated and mestastized untill covering whole field of vision. 

Overall seem to sense a tad of frustration from not getting a firmer grip on the sensations of the breath. It still seems so illusive to me.
Worth commenting perhaps. I sense a lot of vibrations in and around the body, often when there is pain I can notice pulsations, though not always. Seem like most advanced folks speak of such things.. emoticon

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/7/16 9:51 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Hey man you've been mentioning the solid feelings/pressures in the nose e.t.c. I was getting this exact same thing and it was really annoying me (I still do actually) where it felt like someone was pressing on the bridge of my nose or I was going cross eyed or whatever.

I found actually that using the breath sensations Thanissaro describes I could dissolve then and move them around. Doing so was not only a relief but seemed to unlock some piti that was trapped in them and helped further my concentration.

I think it will all sort itself out anyway but I certainly felt I could help balance it by kind of feeling the breath soak it like a sponge and looking into the lump to see its constituent fuzziness. I've since been taught the 9 breath purifications by a Lama and there are 2 channels that run from the nostrils, over the head and from the base of the skull down to the navel where they enter into the central channel which goes straight up to the crown. In the practice you imagine breath in in a blue light and breathing out a smoky cloud of negative energies, 3 times through each channel (left, right and center). There seem to be many instructions online if it interests you.

Anyway I got a bit specific but I've found that pressures and weird body feelings are normal and seem to be a sign of the rlung system starting to balance and clean itself and are a sign of progress, so keep it up!

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/8/16 5:35 AM as a reply to Joe.
Thank you for your input Joe. (sorry, my reply evolved into a session discussion too ;) )

I will very much take this into consideration. I just sat for 60 minutes and these sensations came up again. Mostly some light tensing up between the eyebrows, kinda like if somebody touched the area with a feather. Actually that sensation is with me even now when I am sitting here writing. When putting these areas in focus they either seem to vanish fairly fast into thin air, some seem to retain a bit of "substance" and might be movable. It seems I was able to first sort of disolve a sense of a tight jaw, then send the fragments of this sense down into my stomach. 

Not sure if this makes sense at all, or if I am just talking garbage.

This sit was meant to be sort of a "ok, where are your really on the map?" I have sensed some frustration with me wanting to push forward, while I do understand that this wont do my practice much good. I follow TMI Culadusa as a recipe for progress.

Pretty much the full hour after some initiall settling down was spent without significant mind wanderings, if anything it seems that the sensations of the breath is always very close by and that most "chatter" is mediation related. Ponderings of what I am doing, how to find the sensations, remindings of getting back to the breath, remindings to re-focus the attention to the breath sensations.

What was different in this session was I pretty much concluded that If I really have no saying in this brain except for my ability to use attention to affect changes, then I will set all my efforts into that attention, trying to see where it is and refocus it often. No point in getting frustrated at all, just re-focus, kinda like all the books say..haha

So after this session Ive decided to make my best guess of where on TMI map I am.

Have had about 100 days now with only 1 day of missing out. I spend more and more time in formal and informal practice, lately averaging 100 minutes or so a day so conclude that:   stage 1 of TMI is mastered. (establishing a practice)

I do not mind wander much lately, perhaps initially, or when pushing into record lenght sessions or total for day. Thus consider stage 2 to be mastered  although I guess I will re-visit this stage at time to time emoticon


Sidenote - My posts feel pretty much "all over the place". Sorry about that, hopefully I will be able to improve readability and stay on target more as I progress.

Cheers

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/8/16 8:14 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Tacitus:
I have sensed some frustration with me wanting to push forward, while I do understand that this wont do my practice much good.

If you learn to control this instinct, you can use it as a 'power' to accelerate your process.  But this would look a lot different than what is happening in your mind right now.  The correct method would basically be intention + imagination + devotion.  Intention is the part you already have: get stream entry (& other development).  You may have to transform this into a more general goal: reach my personal, highest expression of my practice.  The universe (magick), prefers general goals over specific ones, because it creates more options for synchronicity to occur.  

The imagination comes in when you allow yoursel to feel how this 'highest expression of your practice' might be experienced.  However, the trick is to then rapidly and completely forget about.  You can fill that void in your mind with gratitude and appreciation of what already is.  These two steps require devotion, because without framing this situation with something greater than yourself, you will not have the trust to forget about it, or the authenticity to be grateful for what is (& therefore what is coming). 
Sidenote - My posts feel pretty much "all over the place". Sorry about that, hopefully I will be able to improve readability and stay on target more as I progress.

Your posting style will naturally mature as your practice matures.  I wouldn't worry about this for now.  Keep posting specific details of your sits, it will be an important record later.

P.S. - Thanks for the recommendation of lucid dreaming on Reddit SE.  Its a great idea, although I don't have the bandwidth for it right now.

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/8/16 9:40 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Tacitus:
I have sensed some frustration with me wanting to push forward, while I do understand that this wont do my practice much good.

If you learn to control this instinct, you can use it as a 'power' to accelerate your process.  But this would look a lot different than what is happening in your mind right now.  The correct method would basically be intention + imagination + devotion.  Intention is the part you already have: get stream entry (& other development).  You may have to transform this into a more general goal: reach my personal, highest expression of my practice.  The universe (magick), prefers general goals over specific ones, because it creates more options for synchronicity to occur.  

The imagination comes in when you allow yoursel to feel how this 'highest expression of your practice' might be experienced.  However, the trick is to then rapidly and completely forget about.  You can fill that void in your mind with gratitude and appreciation of what already is.  These two steps require devotion, because without framing this situation with something greater than yourself, you will not have the trust to forget about it, or the authenticity to be grateful for what is (& therefore what is coming). 

Thank you Noah. This is kinda fun coincidence. Let me elaborate.
After my previous post I sat down again, pretty satisfied having kinda formally accepted that I should now try to "reduce the number of forgetting the object of attention and eliminate mind wandering fully". I sat down fully intending to follow the breath in greater detail than before because I sence that I lack detail in my observations vs. what might be possible at this stage. So I try to set my intention to follow the end of the in breath (around the time im at the middle of the inbreath), and during the pause to set my intention to the start of the outbreath. I realize that fairly quickly that this is simply overloading my "attention muscle" completely. Because I am basically intending " Pause --> (intend) to follow start of inbreath --> (intend) to start the inbreath --> (intend) to follow that start. I realize that I am controlling my breathing, and by imlication "cramming" more moments of attention into a span where I should really only pay attention to those sensations.

Then fairly suddenly, the breathing becomes way more quiet and I realize that I am not doing the breathing, the breath does not require my attention at all (something I intellectually see as an "off course", but experientially this was really a WOW!!!). Even if I was not really able to detect way more sensations from the breath, I realized that there is an ocean of extra time available for making those observations if I only let the breathing do itself. Will be interesting to see if It can be replicated... took a loooooong shower afterwards..thinking...damn... shit might actually be happening. And honestly at this stage I am mostly after prepping my tools doing Concentration (samadhi) and improving mindfullness, I dont particularly require or want insights now (though I know if it comes it comes).

My point of elaborating on this is that your comment on:
  intention + imagination + devotion.
would have made zero sence to me before. Though perhaps now... lets see..

Intention:
In my practice I have simply set the goal of awakening, this to improve life for myself, my family, friends, world. I guess this might seem foolish given that I have had no insight or anything, though I do have this "feeling" that it will be right/correct and I find that the goal motivates me to continually sit longer, practice harder. It also makes me fairly sure that stuff like Jhanas will be available to me eventually because I do not really crave them, they are simply a tool for progress down the path. Can this firm intention for awakening not work as the intention?

Imagination:

Will a vivid memory of the "highest acheivement" so far work? Or an imagination of how-ish I figure the next natural step in the practice would be?

Devotion:
Now this really is something that might prove challanging to me. The only think that does strike a cord with me is that: The world at the moment seems so patently absurd that this shit really should only be possible in a simulation (think Matrix). The share quantity and scale of irrational behavior should make it possible for me to basically go "forget it, and surrender to the Matrix".

Am I even in the neighborhood in terms of understanding what you were aiming at? 

Much appreciate your time and comments!

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/8/16 10:55 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
Intention - yes, firm goal of awakening, integrated progress in all 3 trainings; remember, the highest expression of practice that is possible to you at your stage

Imagination - yes to cutting edge memory, yes to how it might be, also allow idealism in for a short time (Buddha, arhat, whatever - what do these look like??) imagine a mind like an ocean, it's contents the waves, the flavor of consciousness is rapture, etc

devotion - sure, be in awe of the matrix, and knowing you are willing to sacrifice for your goal

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/9/16 4:34 AM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
09.11.16 - 40,41 ()

Perception of "new" breathing process seems replicable. When I sit down and start to putting intention into following breath, I gradually let go of much of the breathing. Eventually by end of 41 min sit the breath felt like it was in an infinity loop (picture the number 8) Where End, pause and start of a breath is at the bottom and top of the infinity loop. Starting to get more of a sense/ability to sense start, end, pauses in the breathing cycle, and the starting points that previously were so clear, has now fallen back a bit and is more similar to the other sensations.

It seems this new process also follows me after leaving the cushion, at least for a while. It also seems that I am letting a bit more go of the rest of my "doings". Example: When I walk it feels a tad more "flowy", I am paying more attention and doing less doing.

- Sittings are getting very quiet vs what I am used to
- Mild contractions, sense of mild coldness (comfortable) is becoming more of a constant presence once breath attention level is increasing/narrowing. I can focus on this sensation, but nothing much happens.
- Able to better visualize pain points and imaginatively connected a pain point with the breathing. Nothing really happening, but was a bit entertaining to follow and do.

Am taken by surprise once in a while by thoughts and end up doing small mind wanderings. It is very easy to revert to the breath now however. Also there is very little pain while sitting, and that which comes up is usually easily ignored.

Feels nice to be en a progress flow. lets se how long it lasts...

RE: Tacitus - Practice Log
Answer
11/14/16 3:17 PM as a reply to Tacitus Eth.
10.11.16 - 100 Min total
11.11.16 - 85
12.11.16 - 35
13.11.16 - 125
14.11.16 - 100

The last words of the last post kinda seems a bit prophetic at the moment. After my "breath is just a process" realization, I can see in retrospect that I got a bit hesitant, holding back a bit, less focus throughout the day. So obviously it did not last very long. 10th and 11th was had nice sittings with great concentration, then after the 12th it went down hard.

Right now the overall feeling througout the day is gone. I can sit for an hour and the feeling of mindfullness goes away almost instantaneously after the sit. My sittings right now are like:
- I am back at stage 2 TMI for a longer period, longer periods of mind wandering and forgetting the object all the time.
- After calming down it still takes little to get me destabilized
- Way Way more contractions in the face, mostly between the eyebrows, but also chin and other places, getting pretty intence and am really unsure how to deal with em. They might go away, but come back fairly fast if concentration builds.
- Seem to have pretty much lost "the breath as its own process" and back to forcing the breath.
- Struggle with sitting much longer than 30-45 minutes. Only last week that was peanuts...
- Feel some of the joy has left the building.

Conclusions:
- Try to build motivation, take more time to enjoy the pleasant feelings when they arise.
- Increase dilligence in practice and urgency (not stress), but make a firm intention to "get to know that breath fully"
- Spend more time on the pre-meditation process - Motivation/goals for session/expectations?/committ to dilligence/issues to cause monkeymind?/ posture.
- Spend more time taking inn everything and drill the attention gradually into a narrower field (TMI process)
- Listen/read a tad more Dharma for motivation/inspiration

Expectations certainly are pretty worthless. Going into a session and kinda expecting great concentration and resulting in pure struggle, and the inverse. Stillness of mind feels very far away right now.