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Alex's practice log

Alex's practice log
Answer
2/7/17 6:57 PM
Practice dharma for 4 1/2 years.
right now this moment I am reading this: http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/atmananda/atmananda_quotes.htm

really into Gre Goode's stuff right now 

276. LONG PRACTICE MAKES EVEN WRONG APPEAR RIGHT. (A story) (239)
There was a palace cook who usually diluted the milk for the king, keeping a portion
of the milk for himself. The king got accustomed to it and believed it was pure milk.
Subsequently, a new cook came and gave the king pure milk instead. This upset the
king’s stomach. At first, the king thought that the new cook was in the wrong and
scolded him for negligence. But eventually the king understood that the old cook had
regularly cheated him.
This is exactly the nature of our view of the Reality. We are so accustomed to its
perverted form that we take the form alone as real and take no note of the substance.
At last, when the Truth is revealed to us by the Guru, we look back and recognize our
long-standing mistake.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
2/20/17 8:58 PM as a reply to Alex.
did a one day zen retreat on saturday.
I have been maintaining my 3 hrs a day meditation commitment.
Business/work is super up and down, pretty frustrating.
Sleep has also been a bit disturbed as well.
With the sleep and business problems (possibly dealing with businessbankruptcy), the practice has shown a new side.  Yes, concentrating is harder with all this crap happening.  But, wow it is a refuge, I can step away and not be in that world, rather in the world of peace and experience.

Changes in practice:  much greater bifurcation between narrative and experiencial.  In the experiencial the self falls away.

A quick note:  I do enjoy noting with others on skype or on facetime,  send me a msg if you want to note some time.  I note most mornings with my one noting partner.  But enjoy Dharma discussion and noting with others as well.  It's refreshing.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
3/12/17 11:30 AM as a reply to Alex.
So over the last three weeks I have gotten some insights around how greed is a significant hindrance for me.  To correct this I am doing a lot of Metta and also emphasizing Dana, generosity etc.  Does anyone have any suggestions around this issue?  

I tend to respond well to to the intellectual approach.  So, I was woundering if anyone knew of a book that discussed greed and generosity as the intellectual door is salient with me.
thank you everyone.  

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
11/24/18 5:00 PM as a reply to Alex.
In the DN's right now,  probably desire for deliverance. 
Following thoughts are arising:  it's all such a tricky situation with no clear resolution:  You see how experience can't satisfy.  You see how having this knowledge is a burden and really uncomfortable putting in your a queer spot of  'no escape'.  But, you also see how ignorance of this state of affairs is also an unattractive option.  So, I guess getting comfortable with it is all that can be done.

Ah well.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
11/25/18 5:59 AM as a reply to Alex.
Yeah, that's about right. There isn't some "other way" that allows us to avoid life, but we can get smarter about how we relate to it. 

This is the classic realization: all the things that "aren't suppose to happen" like injury, bankruptcy, illness, loss of fame, mistakes, etc. are happening all the time. It's a non-negotiable part of life. But it's not a personal failing, it's life. (Which is why Buddha's first truth: things ain't perfect, is scary yet comforting.) Some of that stuff is beyond our control, but our relationship to it, our worldview, can become more mature and resilent.

So one of the main goals with practice is "how do I bravely face the difficulties in my life, yet avoid creating unnecessary problems?" Trying to create perfect system (desire for deliverance) and freaking out when we realize it isn't possible (re-observation) never works, but usually we have to watch our mind go through DFD and RO many times and see for ourselves that it's basically more freaking out. Totally normal, no big deal. But after we are conscious of DFD and RO, once we have "knowledge of DFD" and "knowledge of RO" then we are able to relax all those freakout habits and just sit.

Usually there is some emotional content, feeling the freaking out and then feeling like we want to cry when we realize there is no hope... but then --- if we have done our practice right -- then our giving up turns into equanimity. EQ is simply not fighting when all of these habits of freaking out pop up into the mind. We watch our mind do it's thing without getting dragged into the drama.

Here's the main caution: if you go too fast into this stuff, then you just retraumatize yourself and further encourage the freak out. You need to be kind to yourself, explore bravely, but also respectful of what you can handle. It's okay to sometimes practice for shorter periods or to take a break for a while. Similarly, if you go too slow by try to ignore the freaking out by saying "oh, it's nothing. Shargrol says it's just a freak out, I don't need to pay attention" --- then you don't really learn the lesson of these nanas. You need to experience what is happening. You need to become intimate with your own mind, even if it is freaking out, and create a safe little space for all your freakouts to emerge and be welecomed and witnessed. The freakouts just want to be heard. They want to communicate their concerns. You basically want to say "it's safe for you to freak out, I'm listening to you, but I'm am not going to totally freak out. I'm going to sit here and watch the freakout come and go. And if I need to take a break, then I will."

Hopefully that makes sense. A lot of times we start meditation hoping that it will "get rid of" the stuff we don't like about life. Instead, it helps us become wiser by fully experiencing the things we don't like, by seeing the truth and the false in our normal habits of mind. Our minds want to be able to see the truth of life clearly and live a much fuller life as a result. We truly want to live in the real world. But our minds also want to protect ourselves from ever encountering anything dangerous or scary. So it's a balance of being able to see things as they are, without creating a lot of unnecessary drama.

Meditation is creating a safe environment to look into our self-protection habits and explore what it might be like to drop some of our protections --- but we need to do this gently and respectfully otherwise we'll just keep reliving all the freak outs.


Hope this helps in some way!

 

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/3/18 8:39 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Hey Shargrol
Thanks for your response.

"So one of the main goals with practice is "how do I bravely face the difficulties in my life, yet avoid creating unnecessary problems?" Trying to create perfect system (desire for deliverance) and freaking out when we realize it isn't possible (re-observation) never works"  -Nicely said.  Thank you.

"Usually there is some emotional content, feeling the freaking out and then feeling like we want to cry when we realize there is no hope... but then --- if we have done our practice right -- then our giving up turns into equanimity. EQ is simply not fighting when all of these habits of freaking out pop up into the mind. We watch our mind do it's thing without getting dragged into the drama." -Also well said.  Yeah, hopelessness and acceptance (EQ) are so close, and even blend in and out of one another.  So interesting how that is.


Yeah, as you say, a balanced approach to the practice is the trick.

On a related note, so when I started practice, many years ago, I really wanted it to be a cure-all.  That's to say I took refuge in the hope that awakening would fix every thing, my suffering, my personality quirks, my sex life, my relationships, etc.  And, it did reduce the suffering by 90% and helped in many other facets of life.  But, now after years of practice, you see how so much is the same, so much is still so mundane.  In that vein, being around really advanced practitioner, yeah you notice something special in many/most of them.  But it is glaringly obvious that they are still just human.  The old dream that awakening fixes everything dies hard. 

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/4/18 7:18 AM as a reply to Alex.
But, now after years of practice, you see how so much is the same, so much is still so mundane.  In that vein, being around really advanced practitioner, yeah you notice something special in many/most of them.  But it is glaringly obvious that they are still just human.  The old dream that awakening fixes everything dies hard. 

This is well stated - and it reminds me of the book "After the Ecstasy the Laundry" by Jack Kornfield. There's nothing magical about awakening. It's the realization that there is "just this," all the time.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/6/18 4:05 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thought that is coming up today: In the past, life was lived in this set of grandiose dreams about the future.  Now it’s seen that it’s  “Just this. Just this mundane activity”.  Nothing to write home to mom and dad about. broad open, and not to noteworthy.  (Probably in low EQ, ñana-wise)It’s really kinda strange.
i suppose this is one of the fruits of living life more in sensate experience (mindfulness) rather than in thought.
Anyway. 

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/6/18 7:19 PM as a reply to Alex.
The transition from low-EQ to high-EQ is all about going the step beyond "just this" and getting gentlly curious -- very very very gently curious -- about "what notices just this?" In other words, after clinging and aversion have slacked and EQ dominates, it's time to get curious about the knowing mind itself. What knows "just this?" What is mind?

This is something that is before language so the question isn't answered with words, but rather discovered by connecting directly with the mind that knows.

Often there will be states that solidify (clarity, calmness, jhanas, etc.) which are great to dwell in for a while, it's totally good practice to really savor them. These states help condition the mind. But as they fade you can ask, what knew that? And what knows that it is now fading?

Hope you keep consistent daily practice going. It's very easy to experience a kind of divine apathy during EQ and slack off on practice!

Best wishes!!

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/7/18 6:36 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
It's very easy to experience a kind of divine apathy during EQ and slack off on practice!

Divine apathy, that's a nice way of putting it.

At a very basic level the insight cycle is just an opportunity to really feel the 3 poisons: desire, aversion, and indifference. The A&P we want to attach to--the power and clarity is so nice! We want it to be like that forever, and so right there we have the opportunity to feel and rest in the experiencing of that desire. And then the dark night stages--here we get to just feel the aversion rather than struggling with it (and giving up). And EQ, where we feel indifference (but can be tempted to simply check out).

I have sometimes noticed when investigating EQ a sort of slow and gentle creeping outward that happens with the breath, kind of like waves lapping further and further up the beach when the tide is coming in. There is a particular kind of patience that is required. Can't check out or you miss the show, but it is indeed a very gentle and relaxed curiosity that is required and that's something we don't get to practice much as adults in today's harried world of information-on-demand. It's more of a childlike and unhurried fascination--something is happening, but it can't be rushed.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
12/17/18 11:52 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
right now I am reflecting on the different forms of suffering
Anguish
apathy
indifference
slight malaise
the way the experience doesn't satisfy
the way we delude ourselves with ideas of the future.
confusion
pain in the body
desire for closure and clarity

I am sure that there are many more.   Just looking at it and being with it best we can.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
10/19/19 2:29 PM as a reply to Alex.
I'm interested in different types of mind, especially the awareness vs the ego mind.

It's getting clearer the types of arisings that these two states support:

Ego Mind:
controversy
tension
fight
me
other
doing
obligations
preferences
greed
hate
striving
uncomfortable effort
etc

Awareness:
non-doing
accepting
welcoming
allowing
being
bliss
warmth
a sense of supportedness (providence)
love
no-self
enthusiasm
easefulness
grace

The two mind states correlate to contraction and expansion.

RE: Alex's practice log
Answer
10/20/19 5:44 AM as a reply to Alex.
Nice. And it's importance to notice that "the knowing mind" is able to see both of those polarities and the entire spectrum. There aren't "two minds" there isn't even "one mind", it's all mind --- which should be a relief. Knowing that, you don't have to put one side of yourself into a battle with the other side of yourself.

This is what separates buddhism from a more simple "morality" based dogma. Buddhism's "middle path" recognizes that these two sides aren't always wrong or right, but rather being "literate", so to speak, with the whole dimension of mind is necessary for wisdom. And wisdom in action is "the middle path". You see what I mean?

Aspects of ego (understanding obligations, having preference) is okay, especially if we use the power of ego to see/learn that the obligation that benefits is an obligation to practice/investigate. That preference is okay, if we see that it is a preference for less suffering for all beings. So ego helps us out by being intelligent.

But ego will also mess things up if it tries to resist things too much. Only awareness is broad enough, open enough, inclusive enough to really help us navigate without creating more problems. The middle path between ego and awareness, or between extremes of pure-intelligence and pure-non-doing is how the good life is lived.  

(Sorry for the rant, hope this helps in some way!)