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Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas

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Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/25/17 11:46 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/27/17 4:56 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/27/17 10:39 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/29/17 12:04 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/29/17 10:25 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 5/30/17 9:50 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/4/17 11:17 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/4/17 11:17 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/4/17 11:18 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/4/17 11:25 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/6/17 6:32 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/6/17 10:50 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/7/17 11:19 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/9/17 1:23 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas alguidar 6/9/17 9:59 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/9/17 10:58 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/9/17 11:20 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Marcus 6/10/17 2:40 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/10/17 11:13 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/10/17 11:25 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/11/17 11:15 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Dileep 6/12/17 12:34 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/13/17 12:52 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/13/17 12:33 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/13/17 10:10 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/15/17 12:03 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/17/17 12:35 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/18/17 12:49 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/18/17 10:15 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/19/17 10:31 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/21/17 11:43 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/22/17 2:56 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/23/17 9:43 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/23/17 10:59 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/26/17 7:05 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/27/17 9:44 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/28/17 1:14 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 6/28/17 10:22 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 7/2/17 10:19 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 7/5/17 11:14 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 7/5/17 11:32 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 7/7/17 3:42 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 7/9/17 9:25 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 10/19/17 5:00 AM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 11/23/17 8:10 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 2/2/18 11:47 PM
RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas Mettafore 2/15/18 7:13 AM
I just decided yesterday while talking to a friend to pratice sincerely solely on cultivating the Brahmaviharas in order; rather than Vipassana or Anapanna shamtha.

25/05/2017:
In order to avoid analysis paralysis (which I am very prone to), I just looked up few threads here and followed the Gil Frondsal audio guided meditation while taking a walk in the evening. I sat down in the lawn when it got more into the main part of the meditation. The affect was quite positive by the end of the session. I really liked his technique:

(While inhaling): May I be | (While exhaling) happy
(While inhaling): May I be | (While exhaling) healthy
(While inhaling): May I be | (While exhaling) safe

26/05/2017 (7:16am - 8:16am)
I skipped the preliminary part where Gil mentions about starting with Aum and jumped right into the phrases as above. In the beginning I had a feeling of safety. Concentration was good.

Later, the affect turned into numbness and depressive (which is understandable considering my past); although concentration was still good and could stay on things. Sometimes, tingling sensations in my feet. Sometimes, the phrase gets slurred into other random words and forgetfulness for a few seconds. Depressive affect subsided for a few minutes and came back again. I would say it was a good sit. Could more or less handle it.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
5/27/17 4:56 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Surprisingly good impact in daily life. I didn't expect this to happen in the first day itself. I had the courage and inclination to connect with my friends on the phone; which is not often. Also, practiced Metta in daily life wishing people who come in view.

27/05/2017 (9:04am - 10:04am):
Same practice as above. Chanting the three lines in co-ordination with the breath wishing Metta to self. Decent, steady concentration (access??). Frequently feel pleasure in the heart chakra region. Slight aversion or apathy at times, but mostly overall neutral affect.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
5/27/17 10:39 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
28/05/2017 (5:14am - 6:14am):
Same phrases. Repeating the three phrases to wish Metta to self.

Moderate to intense fear arose;  especially felt in the lower back and tummy region. The fear is intense enough to bring thoughts of going back to bed. Felt knots in my head (top right); which sometime unknot with a jerk in the head.

Metta surprises me everyday. It seems like a powerful insight tool. My theory is when one is trying to cultivate a wholesome quality; they are bound to come across the unwholesome hindrances blocking it. Kind of like, the knight has to defeat the dragons before rescuing the princess.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
5/29/17 12:04 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Probably the most productive day I had after a long time. 17 pomodori timer lengths of work. Unfortunately, I succumbed to lust (fapping); which I notice can arise quite strongly from my previous experience with dabbling in Shamtha. But, I try not to get hung up on it and ruin today.

29/05/2017 (7:04am - 8:04am):
Slight negative affect. Getting burning sensations in lower back, groin etc. Attained collectedness (access concentration??) in maybe half hour. By the end of the sit, remorse is somewhat subsided.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
5/29/17 10:25 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
At night, I was reading the book Practicing the Jhanas; which inspired me to practice an impromptu round of meditation using the Anapana method as per Pa-auk instructions. It was fairly easy to stay on the object (anapana spot). However, due to my previous wrong practices during depression; shifting head pressures on the right side of my head arose.

30/05/17 (5:48am - 6:48am):
I practiced the three phrases of Metta to self as above. Placed gentle attention on the heart chakra as pleasure arose there. Head pressures arose at first due to the previous day's anapana attempt. Could for the first time very easily notice the mental suffering associated with the shifting head pressure; a kind of malaise or misery. Ussually, I just acknowledge this and move back to the pleasure generated in the heart center when the phrases are mentally uttered. The pressure in the heads subside somewhat.

I was thinking of doing an intense retreat in Pa-auk perhaps in a month or so; however I think anapana method is not suitable for me. I am guessing my upper two Chakras may be messed up somehow. Perhaps, I can find a suitable substitute by finding a Metta retreat instead.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
5/30/17 9:50 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Yesterday, was slightly stressed. Came across some difficult learning material. But, I had one of my best Metta sessions during a 15 minute break, significant concentration. Had another half hour session before sleeping. Since, I am sticking to two meals, I seem to have some extra time before bedtime.

31/05/2017 (5:16am - 6:16am):
Mostly feel low-level negative affect such as remorse or doubt about future. Feel some cool pressure above navel region. Negative affect subside s for a few minutes and feel cool, intense pleasure in heart cakra region.

Coolness somewhat continues after practice.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/4/17 11:17 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Went with family to a Desert tour yesterday with other business associates. Felt awkward and not participating in conversations a lot of the time.

01/06/17 (approx 7:05-8:05):
Same Metta practice. Repeating the three phrases as before. Mostly pressure on the right side of the head; similar to maybe a leech or bat stuck to your head. Slight negative affect. Pressure dissolves into itch vibrations later providing slight relief. I think interactions with strangers is slightly emotionally taxing at the moment. I am sure as I increase the exposure gradually; like with weights in a Gym I'll be able to handle it.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/4/17 11:17 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Definitely feeling more hindrances in Daily life. Maybe, the past 2 days I was distracted with other things. I think when I am able to ramp up to peak productivity again; these will bother me less.

(02/06/17) approx 8:05-9:05:
Some pressure in head. Easing at times. Slight negative affect.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/4/17 11:18 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
The night before, too much electrical buzzing energy in the head and itchiness all over the body. Succumbed to PMO. But, provided relief and calm.

03/06/17 (6:40am - 7:40am):
Calm sit with some negative affect.

Decent daily practice. I feel Metta more expansive and less painful when directed to large swathes of people together.

04/05/17 (approx 6:05am - 7:05am):
Three phrases mixed with Metta to other close people as well as larger categories such as: all insects, all females, all vertebrates, all mammals, all males, all devas, all brahmas etc. Consistent sticky cool pressure and pleasure in heart region; but it doesen't make me smile. Feeling restless near the end of the sit.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/4/17 11:25 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Had some wonderful results in daily practice yesterday. Could feel delightful and wonderful Metta in the supermarket while sending it to random customers. Definitely increases my Saddha in the practice.

I figure a slight change in approach might have helped. I was listening to an audio of Sujato Bhikkhu's Metta retreat: His teacher Maha Chat Chai (sp?) suggested to start with a few minutes of bare awareness (or Goenka/ Mahasi style) to bring the mind to a more neutral state in order to allow clearer comprehension of negative and positive states. Works great as it arms the mind with ammunition to clearly see negative affect instead of suffering it for a long time during the sit.

05/06/17 (7:01am - 8:01am):
Decent sit. Using the three phrases. But, randomly mixing the objects of Metta. Some good affect. But, frequent restlessness towards the end.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/6/17 6:32 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Yesterday, I experimented with the Compassion (Karuna) phrase "May I be free from suffering" and "May X ( or X(s)) be free from suffering" in daily practice. Seemed to be more effective than the Metta phrase at the moment. Succumbed to lust. Too much meditative Piti tends to trigger it. Started some weight training today.

06/06/17 (approx 1:30 pm - 2:30pm)
Experimenting with the Compassion phrase again. Interesting results. Seems to bring up mental suffering but am able to watch it with significant equanimity most of the time but not always. Now, the order of Brahmaviharas is making sense. One needs to build happiness or Metta "muscles" before moving to compassion or Karuna and directly facing your mental Dukkha.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/6/17 10:50 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Interesting daily practice. I decided to sleep on time about 10pm. While lying down, I was repeating the Compassion phrase. Plenty of bliss arose to the extent I could not get much sleep until later. Hindrances were very scant. I mixed it up with Metta and noticed Metta was very plain compared to Karuna. Karuna felt more "heartfelt" and "deep" and" blissful".

Since I was not getting sleep, I sat down repeated the phrase and then switched to Anapana. This was great since there was more space and the usual pressure in the head which arises was bothering me less.

I lied down again repeated the Karuna phrases; noticed that the pleasant affect turned neutral. Perhaps changing of Jhana/Sub-Jhanas?

07/06/17 (approx 6:30am -7:30am):
Repeated the Karuna phrase, mixed with Metta phrase. Mostly neutral but somewhat potent affect all over; bit itchy. Somewhat stable concentration with occasional restlessness. Switched to anapana at times. Good sit.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/7/17 11:19 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Feeling some cramps, due to recently starting weight training. My mind seems to start playing music when to evade pain it seems; which is somewhat distracting.

08/06/2017 (approx 7:00am - 8:00am):
Repeating the Karuna phrases with some Metta phrases in between. Switching to bare awareness for a few minutes for clear comprehension of negative vedana. Mostly neutral sit, with some mental pain due to exercise cramps. Occasional restlessness. Ok sit.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/9/17 1:23 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
So, yesterday I aimed to complete a final project on a course I am doing on Udacity. Unfortunately, it was too overwhelming and I become stressed out. I succumbed to bad habits such as PMO. By 7 pm, I called it a day, and wrote off my losses.

Visited the nearest mall with my mother; and had a hearty dinner.

Well; at least I am grateful that 5/6 of the past days have been relatively productive. Just before, I started this log I was thoroughly confused, unproductive and slightly hypochondriac; so things have changed pretty fast since I talked to Dan. Also, I am grateful to Jon Sonmez of Simple Programmer from whom I learnt about Kanban Flow (a misture of Trello and the Pomodori technique.).

Now, I am working an average of 12-13 Pomodoris a day, exercising nearly daily, sticking to two meals on most days (this seems to help with Shamtha, I think) and ofcourse my daily meditation practice. Ofcourse, the challenge is to stick steadfast to the process when things get tough. I have had quite a few good starts before and they've lasted 6-12 months. This time I want to stick with a Sangha or friends who can help me with bad times.

Currently, I am reading the book "The Power of Habits" by Charles Dunhigg. It is an amazing read. I am getting some great ideas; such as logging my cues (triggers or inflection points) for bad habits, substituting routines etc. Particularly touching is how Starbucks trains its staff to deal with angry customers by proactively telling their employess to write down a solution in their work books and role-play with their supervisors. They have an acronym called LATTE: Listen to the cusotmer, Acknowledge them, Take action, Thank them, Explain why the mistake ocurred.

09/07/16 (approx 8:45am - 9:45am):
Start with some bare awareness. Mixing Metta and Karuna phrases. Sticky energy in forehead. Some strong anxiety for few minutes. Mostly neutral and negative affect.

I am still not sure where I would like to take my life. I had an insight a few years ago about my life which still affects me till this day. I will perhaps write about it in another post.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/9/17 9:59 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
nice blog, im considering doing some of your practices.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/9/17 10:58 PM as a reply to alguidar.
Thank you emoticon . Glad you could find some value.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/9/17 11:20 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Yesterday, I had a lazy weekend day. Mostly, reading a book and play some ping-pong. I woke up semi-conscious today, with dreams and some awareness of my breathing. There was strong pressure in between my eyes. It was weird. Maybe, my sinuses are acting up because I am drinking milk to gain proteins? Maybe, I missed some exercise yesterday; so energy is building up in my head and making me slothful? I don't know. I got to be heedful the next few days. I have a feeling my old habits may be showing up.

I just finished the book the Power of Habit finally (excluding the appendix). The last chapter was a scary story about a woman squandering all her inheritance on gambling. But, it ended with another story about a bloke named William James who was the only mediocre person in his family. He was contemplating suicide at age 28. Then, the thought ocurred to him "I will assume for the present-until next year that free will is true. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will."

Long story short, this approach completely changed his life for the better. Later, he would famously write that the will to believe is the most important ingeredient in creating belief in change (sound like Saddha or faith in Buddhist lingo). From my Buddhist understanding, Will like any other mental formations is Not-self, Unsatisfactory and Impermanent.  Nevertheless, this seems to have been a wholesome and fruitful approach for him. Daniel has writtten about assuming full agency in the beginning of the path somewhere in his book. Perhaps, I will check it out again.

10/06/2017 (6:45am - 7:45am):
Still feeling pressure in my head. Spreads to the entire forehead. Are these headaches disabling my prefrontal cortex and enslaving me to habits? Switch between Metta and Karuna phrases. Bare awareness in between to get a handle of the sensations comprising the affect. In the hand, stick to "May all beings be happy", "May all beings be free from Dukkha". Feel slight positive affect at the end which make the whole sit kind of worthwile. Pressure subsides somewhat.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/10/17 2:40 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Mettafore:

10/06/2017 (6:45am - 7:45am):
Still feeling pressure in my head. Spreads to the entire forehead. Are these headaches disabling my prefrontal cortex and enslaving me to habits? Switch between Metta and Karuna phrases. Bare awareness in between to get a handle of the sensations comprising the affect. In the hand, stick to "May all beings be happy", "May all beings be free from Dukkha". Feel slight positive affect at the end which make the whole sit kind of worthwile. Pressure subsides somewhat.

I've pressure on my forehead on at least 3 10-day vipassana-retreats for multiple days, between the eyebrows, on the bony part of the nose, forehead, ... it was fairly distracting, until I got that equanimity was the way to go. First it stopped bothering me, then it melted (broke down) into different kinds vibratory sensations. Hope this is of some use.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/10/17 11:13 PM as a reply to Marcus.
Hey Marcus,

Thank you for your observation. What you say is absolutely true. They used to bother me, too. Now, I just take it as part of my practice.

I've been on almost a dozen retreats. My experience has been similar. It does get better or melt at EQ. But, for me personally it returns again.

Now, that I'm somewhat happily productive, it bothers me much less.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/10/17 11:25 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Fairly productive for a Saturday. Aiming to finish my online course and finally write a blog post for the final project today.

11/05/2017 (06:56am - 7:56am):
Interesting practice. I start with a few minutes of bare awareness followed by some Metta phrases and Karuna.

Then, I focus mainly on Karuna phrases. I get into a decent rhythm by going in order (self, close person, friendly person, neutral, enemy, all). Later, I also try the reverse order which elicits sensations in reverse order(quite cool). When it gets closer to enemy, it gets harder (mind contracts?).

Most of the time, I feel some pressure in right side of the head with somewhat intense fear building up. Sometimes, I forget my phrases and start over. Sometimes, I get some visions, or sensations which forces me to start over.

This definitely seems like Bhanga Nana (Knowledge of Dissolution) and Bhaya Nana (Knowledge of Fear) territory to me. Kind of confirms, you cannot really say that Shamtha and Vipassana are separate practices.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/11/17 11:15 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
I worked somewhat longer hours yesterday. Ironically, it was difficult to sleep as the mind is still energetic from the interesting work. So, I slept somewhat late, distracted by Reddit at times.

12/07/2017 (6:46am - 7:46am):
Started with bare awareness. Few minutes of Metta phrases; then groove into Karuna phrases. Following the order as yesterday (Self, Close Person, Friend, Neutral, Enemy, All). Then, I figured it would be better to focus on each for a few minutes. For eg. "May all beings be free from Dukkha" for some minutes followed by "May my <insert Enemy name> be free from Dukkha" and so on.

In the beginning of the sit I feel pressure in the right side of the head; similar to a wrench thrown in machinery. Later, it eases as concentration settles. Can see somewhat clearly the negative affect which goes along with the building up of pressure. Lost in thoughts sometimes.

PS: The reason I use the word Dukkha, not suffering is because the word does not capture what the Buddha was trying to say:
http://www.leighb.com/bummer.htm

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/12/17 12:34 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Hello Mettafore,

Great to see that you are practicing Brahmaviharas. I have 2 questions for you.

1)What made you feel that, you had to continue only with Brahmaviharas?

2)Why are you not doing a mixture of Anapana Sati and Brahmaviharas or Vipassana and Brahmaviharas?

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/13/17 12:33 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Today, I woke up bit late. Succumbed to lust yesterday. Oddly, the practice was great. I am starting to see that lack of celibacy does not necessarily affect performance. I may be wrong.

13/06/17 (12:50pm - 1:50pm): Started with some bare awareness. Followed by warmup using Metta phrases. Then repeating Karuna phrases multiple times for myself ; then later a close family member. Great degree of mostly calmness with tiny bit of positive affect. Getting restless near halfway mark. Switched to a bit of Anapana. Pressure building a bit. Ramp down effort a bit. Pressure subsides and can feel the hindrances somewhat clearly; sometimes accompanying the concentration. Feels somewhat purifying. Restless at the end again.

Ussually rest a bit after Lunch. Had a decent decent samadhi lying meditation session moving in and out of sleep at times.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/13/17 12:52 PM as a reply to Dileep.
Hi Dileep,

Great questions.

1) I've had some long bad dark knights (or depressions in the past). Two of them lasting more than 5-6 months leaving me unable to work. I find the idea of building reliable qualities such as the Brahmaviharas a good foundation for my life and practice. I've heard with enough practice these qualities can be called on demand. To me, that sounds like resilience against depression and hindrances.

2) I started Vipassana in 2013 (starting with Goenka; switching to Mahasi <Chom Thong style>) and have done a ridiculous number of retreats. Each retreat has been interesting, insightful and at times dramatic. Sure, Satipatthana helps you illuminate the areas in your life, but isn't the only path factor. I feel it is time to balance by building Wholesome Samadhi. I try to remember what Vajiradhamma says in his book; that it is important to balance the path factors. I do unknowingly drop a few notes now and then as a habit.

I prefer not to start with Anapana. It gives me a headache in the right side of my head (due to my past practices). I have been fairly succesful getting access through BVs. Ocassionally maybe once a week I will switch to Anapana when I feel like. My heuristic, I guess is when the mind is wide and freer, it is safe to switch to Anapana.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/13/17 10:10 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Got up early. Feel something blocking sinuses?? Perhaps, I am lactose intolerant, or maybe just an energetic phenomena.

14/06/2017 (5:52am -6:52am): Started with few minutes bare awareness. Started Metta phrases, then Karuna phrases. Mostly stuck with Metta phrases throughout the sit. At the beginning of the sit; could feel pressure in my head.

A few days ago, I posted on a Burmese group regarding a Metta retreat. Someone suggested Pa-auk but they ussually start with Anapana. I told them I would prefer access through Metta because of the pressure I feel in my head. He mentioned that I was trying too hard and putting too much effort.

I have practiced for a decent amount of time. I ussually do not put as much effort as I did in my early days. I am guessing the excessive effort component comes automatically (as an analogy, one needs to adjust style when one drives a sports car as the accelerator is much more sensitive).

However, that advice stuck with me. When the pressure was building during this sit. I eased further. This can be done by adding micromovements like move the back slightly further, adjusting the head a bit, trying to gently make the breathing smoother if it is too mechanical. This had interesting results. Firstly, I could notice the negative affect accompanying the pressure, and later the pressure in the head was breaking down further into negative affect. Interesting sit. It seems I need to to be super gentle in the future when pressure builds up.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/15/17 12:03 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Some interesting experiences. Couldn't sleep. So, I was doing Brahmavihara while lying down at night. Cool sensation in heart. Found some Mudita (Appreciative Joy/ Gratitude phrases online). At times, energetic sensation at throat. Coincidentally, my threat has been somewhat sore for the past few days.

This seems like a good BV resource (http://visuteoh.net/teachings/metta-meditation-instructions.html) Thanks to Bernd the Broter for posting it. So, I tried I short sit with Mudita phrases such as: "I am happy. I rejoice for <insert what you are grateful for (material goods, qualities, friends, teachings etc.> the safe neighbourhood I live in." And, it can also be extended towards othe beings. Anyways, this worked pretty well. Was a joyful experience.

15/06/2017 (7:30am - 8:30am)
Got up slightly late. Started with few minutes of bare awareness. Then, moved to Metta phrases. Felt pressure build up. But, eased the effort a lot. Naturally fell into forgetfulness and deep felt (but not necessarily very afflictive) negative affect. Sometimes, the Samadhi is lucid or strong with the negative affect as the main object. This feels like a purifying process and a step in the right direction.

Meditation sometimes reminds me of the hindu story called Sagar Manthan (churning of the ocean). I don;t remember it in exact detail. But, the basic premise is that the Devas (Angels) and Asura (Demons) get together to obtain Ambrosia (Elixir of life; metaphor for Deathless??). They use a serpent wrapped around a Mountain with a Tortoise as the base to churn. On the way, they encounter a lot of gifts and sometimes dangerous poison called halahal.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/17/17 12:35 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Had a lazy Friday weekend yesterday. Was mostly watching the highly interesting Oliver Stone interviews with Putin, lunch with family and leaving a relative to the airport. Unfortunately, broke the chain and didn't meditate or exercise. Succumbed to lust.

17/06/2017 (8:10am - 9:10am):
Mostly stick to Metta phrases to self and to all beings. A little bit of bare awareness in between. A part of the head has moderately strong pressure (simialr to a wrench stuck in machinery). I use my newfound skillls in calmness and able to get the pressure down significantly with realease of bad affect accompanying.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/18/17 12:49 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Had some friends over for Lunch who were college and school mates. Was great fun. I tried to working later in the evening. But, it is almost impossible for me to mentally start on a weekend. Perhaps, I can learn to perform at the level of Elon Musk or Daniel who have 80-100 hour weeks. Right now, I am at 7-8 hours of decently concentrated work 5 days a week; which I gladly rejoice in this as I was nearly useless only a few months ago.

18/06/2017 (approx 6:00am -7:00am):
Few minutes of bare awareness. Mostly stick to Metta phrases and sometimes Karuna phrases. Negative, lonely affect but seems like progress as the pressure is slowly realeasing day by day.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/18/17 10:15 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Wow! Completed three weeks since I started this practice How time flies!

Yesterday , I was having a mild pressure in my head. Maybe, it was due to the decrease in food intake. Also, due to some type of infatuation. I think this takes a couple of days to pass. In the meantime, it is quite annoying.

19/06/2017 (5:55am -6:55pm):
Start with few minutes of bare awareness. Move to Metta phrases. Then move back and forth between Karuna and Mudita phrases. Wishing Metta to the crush, so that it eventually subsides.

At the starting, quite a bit of pressure. Later, subsides a bit. Occasional pleasure in heart chakra region.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/19/17 10:31 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Had great workout with 3 different types of squat. Sure, got the blood rushing. Later, I was feeling a trigger for lust. But, I instead meditated for 5 minutes, and the lust was easily gone. One of the reson I succumb to lust is that the release relieves the pressure in my head at least temporarily.

Had a fairly productive day. Thinking about what direction I shall take in the future. Maybe, something at the interesection of Machine Learning, AI, Computational Science and Meditation would be a good field to be in. I will soon create a plan for the next decade of my life. Was reading our fellow DhOer Shanmugam's elightenment story on his blog. Quite interesting.

I tried a few Upekkha (Equanimity) phrases while going to sleep:
"May I be calm"
"May I be peaceful"
"May I be equanimous"

20/06/2017 (6:02am - 7:02am):
Mostly, pressure in the right side of my head. I start with Metta and Karuna. Try a few Upekkha phrases. Stick mostly to Karuna and sometimes Metta for myself and all beings. Decently concentrated sit despite some pressure in the head.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/21/17 11:43 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Got up a bit late. Came home late with family from Intenational Yoga day celebrations. It is really fun giving Metta to large crowds. A little girl at the end was reciting a possibly Hindu prayer for world peace, which was almost identical to Metta prayers. Could feel warm energetic phenomena on my neck and shoulder from the direction of her voice.

Also, I can notice a noticable downgrade in mental state because I induldged in dinner. I think I enjoy living on two meals. The mental benefits are quite apparent. A little bit of hunger in your tummy keeps you active for some reason.

21/06/2017 (approx 7:00am - 8:00am):
Metta phrases. Significant pressure in head. Definitely, energy build up due to not succumbing to lust.

Later on, a friend who I was helping with an interview landed a high paid job. I was happy for him, but also a bit jealous as I am not full time in the workforce at the moment. So, I appropriately used Mudita (appreciative joy) phrases as an antidote. I like this tool emoticon .

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/22/17 2:56 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Paweł K:
Mettafore:
It is really fun giving Metta to large crowds.

you mean it like telepathy? scent? non-verbal communication?
I ask here about actual mechanism that in your opinion carry metta

also how do you define 'metta'?
do you sent some experience with more or less strictly defined 'taste' like eg. experience of Anahata or set of tastes (chakras/jhanas/other) or is it more dynamic receive->transform/amplify->send kind of thing?

when you give it what parameter you optimize for?
personally I open myself to 'send' anything when it is characterized by me as 'pure color'. For example developed chakras and jhanas have this quality, frution, etc. something that is satisfying in itself, usually glowing, even if its like glowing blackness or something. Do not optimize of any receiver, rather send it in broadcast mode in all directions however much spatial/temporal direction there is using all available ways to communicate. That is intention or rather optimization target

Also, I can notice a noticable downgrade in mental state because I induldged in dinner. I think I enjoy living on two meals. The mental benefits are quite apparent. A little bit of hunger in your tummy keeps you active for some reason.

I switched from few meals a day to like one small a day, with sometimes not eating at all for a day/two when I do nothing energy intensive like physical exercises. With job behind desk it seems enough.
Never felt better and surprisingly hunger is rare and actually quite pleasurable =)
Probably this: non-verbal communication

Suppose there is a large crowd of 1000 people in front of me. Just say in my mind with intention: May they be happy, May they be healthy, May they be safe and send Metta to the front. The result is mostly a pleasant sensation in the heart region and mind feeling more expansive expecially among larger crowds. I've experimented previously in malls and on the highway too with similar effect.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/23/17 9:43 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Did meditate yesterday but didn't post. Succumbed to lust. Mentally, it is bit of a relief as the energy builds up in the form of pressure, distractive mind and music that doesen't allow to focus but the drain of energy leaves you lazy which is olay for a weekend. Most of the family has flown out, so a bit lonely right now.

23/06/2017 (approx 5:15pm - 6:15 pm):
Start with few minutes of bare awareness. Mainly focus on Metta phrases to self and all beings. Feel pressure in throat, different parts of the mouth, strange taste in the mouth. Not much happening.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/23/17 10:59 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Feeling a bit lonely yesterday as nobody is at home. Call up a few friends to make tentative plans. Watching a few Andrew NG machine learning talks on Youtube. Feeling inspired to enter the AI field.

24/06/2017 (6:40am -7:40am):
Start with a few minutes of bare awareness. Quiet. Mostly stick to Metta phrase for self and others interspersed with a bit of Karuna. Sometimes, the shape of the body is blurry. Some release in tension in the head. Feeling numb vibratory sensations in the legs. Sleepiness overall. Feels like Bhanga Nana.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/26/17 7:05 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Missed yesterday's log. The sit was mostly stickiness in the head and me thinking "another difficult period in the meditation, so I got to be patient". Sure enough, when the sit was over. Concentration ramped down and I felt happy affect. Yesterday I hung out with a friend from school. I got the opportunity to share my knowledge about Metta, Shamtha, Vipassana and my understanding of Buddhism. Then, we talked about careers and future direction. It was honestly a great feeling getting the opportunity to add value (hopefully) in somebody's life. Slept at almost at 2:20am. That's alright; it is the holiday season here.

26/06/2017 (8:00am to 9:00am):
Start with few minutes of bare awareness. Started with Metta phrases. Mostly ended up with Karuna phrases for a friend's relative who is chronically ill. Overall, the sit is quite peaceful probably due to the positive after effect of yesterday's meeting.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/27/17 9:44 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Met 3 friends for coffee yesterday. Was pleasant. One of them gave me some good career advice. Got home 12:20pm. Need to cut down the late nights. Significantly affects productivity the next day.

27/06/2017 (approx 7:15am - 8:15am):
Few minutes bare awareness. Mostly Metta phrases. Quite peaceful for the most part. I guess interaction with good friends influences the meditation well.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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6/28/17 1:14 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Succumbed to lust. Needed to pick up family from the airport. So, slept late again . Hope my productivity ramps back up to 14+ Pomodoris a day. Something is making me a bit nervous. I sent an initial draft to a prominent tech blog on Medium. They seemed to like it, but I need to improve it further before submitting according to their guidelines. However, attaching to the results (i.e., will it get published or not is disturbing my mind a bit). I guess my strategy is make a deadline, make a daily plan and stick to the process rather than the product. I guess I can build a mantra in my mind like "I will do my best; I hope this article benefits many beings."

28/06/2017 (7:52am - 8:52am):
Start with some bare awareness. Stick mostly to Metta towards self and all beings. Calm sit.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
6/28/17 10:22 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
I tried Anapana yesterday night. Some pressure building up in the head, but also melting down into recognizable hindrances at the same time.

29/06/2017 (approx 6:10am - 7:10am):
Started with few minutes of bare awareness. Some Metta phrases. Switched to Anapana. Quite a bit of hindrances coming up, especially restlessness and sleepiness, all in the backdrop of some calm.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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7/2/17 10:19 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
The day before on the weekend, I kind of messed up. Succumbed to glutonny, sloth, lust pretty much everything. Yesterday, my energies were low but somehow made it. Weight training really helps. Sometimes, I feel it is as important a habit, if not more than meditation itself. I've sent my online application for my Burmese tourist visa. So, pretty excited emoticon .

03/07/2017 (approx 6:00am to 7:00am):
Start with a bit of bare awareness. Mostly repeating Metta phrases to self. Getting lost and reverting to the breath sometimes. Restlessness somewhat common. I am starting to see the detrimental effect of sensual indulgence on the concentration.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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7/5/17 11:14 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Just got my Visa letter for Myanmar. Still awaiting the confirmation from Pa-auk for my retreat request before I book flight tickets. Oh, forgot! Happy Belated 4th July to all my American friends.

05/07/2017 (approx 3:00pm - 4:00pm):
Mainly did Anapana on the upper lip region. Most of the sit was calm. Last few minutes felt pressure on the right side of the neck and some song looping.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
7/5/17 11:32 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
06/07/2017 (approx 7am - 8am):
Few minutes of Metta followed by Anapana. Definitely seems like similar territory as during my first serious depression. However, due to my previous more than month long preparation in Metta, the mind is quite stable witnessing different things such as weird pressures in the head, tummy, back. Music heard ocassionally.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
7/7/17 3:42 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Cheat day, yesterday for food. So, had some awesome Pizza Hut.

07/07/2017 (approx 11am - 12:20isham):
Was a good sit overall. Started with bare awareness, few Metta Phrases and switched to Anapana near nostril and upper lip soon. Was steadily peaceful for the most sit. Probably access concentration. Then, some moderately strong sensation arose in the groin region. Followed by head bobbing. Icky contraction and relaxation in chest and head. Sometimes, the head falls towards back suddenly and possible to see some color. Probably, Kundalini phenomenon. Bit more negative affect later which can be seen somewhat clearly.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
7/9/17 9:25 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Finally reached Yangon, yeserday to attend my first Pa-Auk retreat. My second trip to  Myanmar. Went to the Shwedagon Pagoda this morning famous for the Buddha's hair relic.

10/07/2017 (approx 6:12am - 7:12am):
Meditated in front of the Shwedagon. A mix of Metta and Anapana. Energetic phenomena a bit too strong (probably due to the presence of relic?). Squeezing and solidifying sensation in lower back and prostrate region. Neck region feels inflexible as taffy. Strong energy in tummy region. 10-20% nice and peaceful.

Few people on FB recommended me to go to other centers apart from Mawlamyine like Pyin oo Lwin or Hmawbi village as they are less crowded. If any of you guys have done a Pa-Auk retreat, would love to hear your recommendation.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
10/19/17 5:00 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
19/10/2017:
So, it's been a while since I posted here. I was in Myanmar at Pa-Auk. Kind of bailed out after two weeks. I thought it'll take at least a couple of months to make "hardcore" progress. My mind rationalized that i'll be better off sticking to daily practice.

Another reason was a contemplative and compassionate friend in Thailand had just finished building a dog shelter. I definitely wanted to check that out. So, I went to Thailand for about a week.

Then, flew to Bangalore. Talked to some startups. When you talk to people you realise that only a fortunate few companies do well in the end. Others have to really struggle. Flew to Delhi where my brother was operated for a knee operation. Finally, back to Dubai.

I have been quite regular with the Metta-breathing combo. My overall emotional health is surprisingly good. The Buddha was spot on in the KAraniya Metta Sutta when he said that "This is Divine Living".

During breathing, I tried calming down the pressures that building. But, it just led to more wird pressure and stuff. I think a better way was just to acknowledge and let go of the pressure.

During meditation today, mostly the background mental fuzz (sensations?) dies down after some time of Metta chanting and it becomes peaceful with few thoughts in the background. I then switch to non-local mindfulness of breathing. I felt quite relieved as some of the head pressures were dying down. Don't know if it's first Jhana. Maybe, I should investigate the silence.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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11/23/17 8:10 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
I haven't posted in a long time. But, my daily practice is kind of tying together with the different types of skills I've developed..

Before lunch, I do some weight training while listening to a Dharma talk on YouTube. I got a very intersting insight from I think Ajahn Jayasaro who is in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. He explained that in their tradition, that some people couldn't attain Apamana Samadhi only Upacara Samadhi, so they reverted to Vipassana type investigation to get deeper. Some people got good Apamana Samadhi practice going. After the mind is recharged in Samadhi, it naturally falls out of Samadhi. That is, a good time to practice investigation.

I've been practicing Metta + Anapana Shamtha practice for a few months daily. This was very much in line with my experience. I noticed that sometimes the mind went deep into calm. Then, it naturally came out.

Today morining, after the mind no longer wanted to be in calm, I tried some gentle Vipassana practice. As I suspected, there was plenty of hindrances/defilements to work on with the added bonus of the calm previously attained. If that gets too annoying, I ussually revert to Metta phrases. Metta and other BrahmaViharas are a great subliminal medicine to administer to eradicate defilements in my opinion. Also, if the energy builds up too much, a good way to use it is through walking meditation.

So, in conclusion, one can use various tools in the Yogi toolkit according to the situation and inclination of the mind:
  1. Metta
  2. Anapana Shamtha
  3. Vipassana (Noting, Sitting)
  4. Vipassana (Walking)
PS: I will make an independent post, too.

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
Answer
2/2/18 11:47 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
On 31st January 2018, I think I had a significant breakthrough moment. I sat down for my evening meditation. This time I stuck to breath meditation. I was quite tired. After a few minutes, I noticed my mind had cooled significantly. Then suddenly, boom!
Suddenly there was a burst of strong bliss throughout my body. An analogy would be oil or hot springs suddenly bursting out of the ground. I don't know if it was a cessation or a strong first Jhana but it was definitely one of the strongest experience I've had outside retreat conditions. 
After a few minutes it waned and I went to sleep.

Next morning, I got up early. Something was different. I did not feel any stomach-ache I feel in the mornings which has been a somewhat regular symptom since my first 6 month long horrible dark knight. Now, it was gone! The morning meditation was relatively calm

On Friday, I got sloppy and didn't meditate.

Today morning, I did walking for almost an hour, then sat for around 35-40 minutes. I observed some interesting things. There were some quirky pains and sensations in the body as before, but they were much softer and refined. The remorse and other hindrances were also much refined and clearly seen. The pressure in my head was an order of magnitud-ish lower. Then I sat. Started with some Metta. Got the mind calm and almost thought free. Then switched to breath meditation. Very soon there was delightful sensation all over the body. Pretty confident it is access concentration or a decent first Jhana. Some pressure arises in the head but lower than before and doesen't bother much.

Soon, the bliss subsides organically and I seamlessy switched to not-self contemplation as suggested by Thai forest lineage teachers I've seen online

RE: Mettafore's Mettalog: Beginning the Brahmaviharas
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2/15/18 7:13 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Just started going on a one meal diet (Lunch only) 2 days ago. Some interesting and challenging hindrances coming up. Hopefully will be acclimated within a week.