Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Guidance on the path
Answer
3/21/18 6:01 AM
Hello!

I am new to the forum and would love some guidance on my practice and help to evaluate my current position in the progress of insight.
I have read the MCTB, and am re-reading parts of it, which has lead me here.
 

I have been meditating for 2 years, at first mixing concentration and insight meditation without structure. The last 6 months I have applied a structured vipassana technique, meditating daily and using noting. I mainly note the motions of the breath through the abdomen but also divert attention and note other sensations when they become predominant and afterwards returning attention to the breath. I have never been on retreat and am not able to right now, the last few months I have meditated ca 1 hour daily. 

I may have crossed the A&P but am still unsure. An experience about a year ago some what matches descriptions I have read. I had some realizations about how life just flows, without free will or control or a self, which caused deep gratitude and joy that lasted for a whole day before diminishing. I have had some other experineces as well but this one stands out the most and I understand there isa vast range in term how the A&P is experienced. 

My overall mood is good and very stable, this was also the case before I started meditating, mindfulness has become a great tool for daily life and dealing with mental noise and suffering. 

My concentration is improving and during some sessions I believe I am reaching access concentration. That is when I am able to stay with noting the breath and sensations for longer stretches (estimate 3-5 min), brief thoughts arise but I am then able to note them before being sucked in and lost. Recently I have been adding mindstates to my noting and also noting "self" when the sense of self is experienced and sensations are filtered through it and not felt directly. 

All help to figureout where I am on the path and advice on my practice would be greatlyappriciated and please let me know if there is something I need to add to describe my situation.

Thanks! 
-------
Johan

RE: Guidance on the path
Answer
3/21/18 1:32 PM as a reply to Johan.
Dear Johan,

There are many practices but it seems that you have chosen the mindfulness of the breath. If yes and you intend to stick to it, you will need to apply quite a lot of effort in the beginning weeks, note all distractions including mind states, e.g. thinking, hearing, etc. You can search for Applied and Sustained Effort <- This is the core of your beginning practice and is not avoidable...

You need to be able to stay with the breath exclusively until it feels like it has stabilized with lesser effort - the attention may feel somewhat absorbed and out of the ordinary stuff happens. This is Access Concentration. Keep building this and you can decide later on, whether to pursue Calm or Insight meditation. I would recommend that you keep going with Access Concentration until your choices becomes clearer.

All the best... emoticon

RE: Guidance on the path
Answer
3/23/18 9:06 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thanks for your reply!

I agree with your advice on concentration, I will prioritize developing this. If I evaluate my self in terms of the five spirtual facualties I feel that concentration is most likely the facualty which currently needs most improvement and learning to reach access concentration is heavly emphasised in the MCTB. 

//Johan