Checking In

Michael Skinner, modified 11 Years ago.

Checking In

Posts: 3 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi,

I've been reading these threads quietly for a while now and I've decided to make my own contribution. I'm starting to feel a bit lonely/isolated doing this thing (which is compounded by living alone in a foreign country and not speaking the native language) so I thought it would be good to confide in this community of like-minded people.

I've been cobbling together a morality / concentration / insight routine in the time that I have outside of my pretty time-consuming job. Whenever I'm walking around I try and do formal metta practice, directing metta phrases inward and then outwards when I see other people walking past. I do a 20 minute Iyengar yoga routine twice a day, which I figure is a bit of concentration and a bit of morality; couched in Buddhist terms. I'm pretty sure it gets insight practice moving along too, or at least gives some relief from some of the soreness and stiffness that comes about as a result of insight practice. If I'm honest with myself, I'm only doing about 1/2 hour a day of noting practice. This is what I wanted to talk about. I've been experiencing these phenomena:

* A really intense seizing up of the neck, like it's being gouged with a low voltage cattle prod.
* Chattering teeth.
* Rapid in/out breaths followed by really slow ones and then it's as if the breath almost stops entirely.
* Twitching of the muscles in the ears.
* Swaying and shaking.
* Some eyelid movie phenomena: sometimes a diamond forms in the centre; sometimes a moving X, where like the X's arms are moving up and down like scissors; plus some mild sense of perspective shift, like the whole backdrop becomes a bit more spacious; and, very short flashes of white light at the periphery. Sometimes I see eyes forming among the darkness and fluro flotsam, too.
* Weird vibrations experienced seemingly just outside of the body's bounds: sometimes it feels as if I'm sitting on top of a motor doing low revs; sometimes I feel this kind of "scanning" sensation running up and down my back, I kind of liken it to a photocopier's laser.

None of this stuff has really blown me away as yet. I keep noting things like "expectation", ie, I want this thing really to crank into overdrive and completely overwhelm me.

I'd love some considered opinions on these things and thoughts about where I might be along the road. It's my guess that I'm on the cusp of an A&P event and that if I redouble my discipline and effort, I should cross it before too long. But, I might be way off with this self diagnosis. I still feel very much like a novice and I only made this thing like a big priority a few months ago.

With metta

Michael
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Michael,

Welcome!

To me, A&P sounds like a good guess, keep practicing and see what happens, review your past experiences and so on to see how you got there, maybe review the MCTB chapter on the dark night in order to be prepared for it.

That's an impressive line-up of phenomena you've got going there. When I think I hit A&P I often review the list of "ten defilements of insight", or some other reminder to simply keep up the practice, rather than get sidetracked by my fascination with this kind of stuff, to solidify these experiences or aim for them to arise in order to have a good look, all under the pretext of "noting it better" - your noting "expectation" sounds like the right thing to do.

Cheers,
Florian
Michael Skinner, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 3 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Florian,

I think perhaps I am becoming a bit preoccupied with the phenomena and should work at just noting and accepting whatever arises. The physical and ethereal body sensations are definitely more prevalent and arise more regularly than thoughts. However, I find emotions/intentions the most insidious and slippery sensations of all - it's as if they're pulsing away constantly and I often neglect to note them, and, when I do, I have a knock-on thought of "oh, that's been at it for a while."

I also wanted to ask a question relating to earnest and sound noting practice. Lately, I've found that using mental notes for bodily sensations and ethereal energy kind of stuff has become a hindrance. Because these sensations occur pretty rapidly, I've found it easier to drop mental notes like "pulsing" "tingling" etc and just observe or use a single-syllable kind of noise like "da" or something. However, I'm still finding it beneficial to use notes like "vision" "thought" etc, for mental phenomena, otherwise I tend to get caught up in the mental phenomena. Is this combination of "wordy" and "wordless" noting good practice, or am I just being lazy and should I use words for absolutely everything?

With metta

Michael
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Michael,

You're doing fine, by the sound of it. Short notes for fast stuff are great. BTW, Vincent once recommended "hearing" as a note for both external sounds and thoughts, and I found that very useful.

Don't be too concerned about getting preoccupied with those spectacular phenomena - just note them and move on. "Accepting" is a bit of a vague word: you want to acknowledge and keep an eye on them, not indulge them. Note how it is to be a skilled meditator. Note the hesitation to disturb a trippy experience. Note the regret when the trippy thing is gone, and the anticipation as the next one builds up.

Be prepared for the dark night - whatever your current experience is on the map, if you continue like this, you'll hit the dark night, and maybe even if you don't continue like this.

Cheers,
Florian
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
You could try stopping meditation for a while, and opening the blocks in the front channel and in the legs, this may avoid dark night altogether (in exchange for a less spectacular development).

This would be done by practicing the microcosmic orbit (and eventually the macrocosmic orbit).
Michael Skinner, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 3 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi Bruno,

Thanks for the suggestion - I've never heard of the micro or macroscopic orbits, however... please elaborate.

With metta

Michael
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Checking In

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Microcosmic orbit:
http://dragonyoga.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/microcosmicorbit2.gif

Just do a sweeping focus vipassana like meditation through those points. Go up through the back and down through the front.

In fact, in order to get very intense energy symptoms under control, it is better just to work in the front part of the orbit for a few months, which is where energy goes down. As you work there, eventually you will feel "releases" in that area, and you will feel that "energy can go through." This helped me getting more grounded.

Macrocosmic orbit:
http://www.earthpeoplefoundation.org/images/microcosmic_orbit-small.gif

You add the legs to the mix. Down through the front of the torso, continuing down through the back of the legs, up the front of the legs, then up the back of the torso, etc, focusing on each point in turn.

Another thing which is really good for grounding, are the three amigos of rooting. I do these every day emoticon

Bruno