Andrew S's Log

Kuru, modified 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 5:08 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 5:08 AM

Andrew S's Log

Posts: 62 Join Date: 11/2/17 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

Decided to start a practice log. My main goal right now is to develop my concentration, mainly using Fire Kasina but also incorporating the Brahma Viharas and some Vipassana and lots of other things. Am a bit weary of Vipassana and DN territory (having had a lot of experience with that and also some significant "screwing up your life with DN bleedthrough" so I'd like to really power up my concentration as much as possible for the time being instead.
I want this to be a general log of experiments in various other trainings and learnings such as Integral Theory, Dual n back training, Tong Len and Lo jong, and painting.

Task 1: Read some of the source material on Fire Kasina to get a better understanding of what is and isn't described there.

I did a very brief 15 minute sit today with a tealight candle to get a taste for it. I've just done about 3-4 total prior hours of candle flame meditation in my life.

Did this sit at 11:45am on a sunny day with windows open. Started staring at the candle light, noticing the luminous quality of the flame, the sort of shiney wonder aspect of light and fire became apparent. Closed my eyes and within a few seconds I saw a negative-shape afterimage as a dark circle (the shape of the tealight candle) with vague dark red surroundings. Some thoughts distracted me and I opened my eyes and looked at the candle again. Two or three attemps later the little green dot appeared in the middle of the black circle. A few more attempts of this and I was able to get the green dot to stabilise for perhaps 30 seconds, with a clear sense of pleasurable "concentration" however feeble that was. Noticed thoughts in the background, including volitional ones and discursive ones, but they didn't remove my attention from the stable green dot. When a discursive thought with mental image did knock me off the green dot, I was quickly able to refocus on the visual field and "summon" the green dot back into appearance. Over the course of a minute or so it entered in and out of visual existence according to my concentration.

Was quite nice to do this for even just 15 minutes and I look forward to doing more this evening.
Tashi Tharpa, modified 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 5:39 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 5:39 AM

RE: Andrew S's Log

Posts: 244 Join Date: 4/4/18 Recent Posts
Nice. Looking forward to reading this...
Kuru, modified 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 7:02 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/8/18 7:02 PM

RE: Andrew S's Log

Posts: 62 Join Date: 11/2/17 Recent Posts
Thanks Tashi, nice to hear that..

So I was physically and mentally tired this evening but motivated to do some candle kasina anyway.  Set up a little tealight candle in the dark and watched it for 20 minutes. The corona in extremely mild reddy yellow light coming out of the candle was quite interesting to see, and how it extends and changes shape as the eyelids are progressively closed and the light pushes through the eyelashes.

The first two attempts at getting the dot are the strongest, and the green dot is solid with its red outline. The black circle is also quite strong and alive with its own red circle. Notice the shimmering/stuttering of the circle then the red dot as they strobe into the visual field. Interesting to note how the dot vanishes in a pop and can be summoned back in and it flickers in a particular way. You can almost feel that flickering sensation of the dot correlate with a flickering sensation on the skin or somewhere in the sensorial field that might not really be the body but its "there" somewhere. Almost like attention itself, something to pay more attention to in next sessions.

Interesting too how sometimes the dot seems closer or further away from the sense of "body" or "I" (the "I" sense seems mapped to the body somewhere behind the eyes while I'm doing this). The dot sometimes manifests closer or further away, there is a sensory perception of volume and distance taking place within the closed-eye-visual-field that clearly has nothing to do with volume-distance in the sense that is ordinarily mapped to the body, since I'm not moving further or closer to the candle.

The black circle starts manifesting with a blue halo instead of a red one as I begin to get more tired and my attention fades. The blackness also has become dark blue/black instead of a reddish black. Is more aesthetically pleasing. I'm tired now and so sometimes it takes 10 seconds for the dot to show up, very reluctantly, though once its there it might hang around for 3-5 seconds and then fade.

Is somewhat annoying that my eyeballs seem to drift somewhat and the dot moves and then my eyes automatically move to "follow" the dot, which causes the dot to move even more since its tied to the retina, and this clearly disrupts the solidity of attention.

Peripheral awareness and discursive thought is totally predominating with sleepiness and the centre of the attention field feels murky and so after 20 minutes I give it a rest.
Kuru, modified 5 Years ago at 5/12/18 5:05 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 5/12/18 5:05 PM

RE: Andrew S's Log

Posts: 62 Join Date: 11/2/17 Recent Posts
Just been through a mentally absolute rubbish two days and now I have popped out into a type of clarity. Seems like another A&P to Equanimity cycle has done its thing. I stopped tracking these a few years ago but they obviously continue. Total feeling of giving up on everything last night. And just these awful dense emotions and being lost in stuff. And then that sense of noticing just how much suffering there is everywhere. Like all beings are here intertwined and trapped in Indra's Jewelled Net of interdependent Hell together, feeding off of one another.
But feeling calm and mindful again. Haven't been sitting properly these past few days and I feel a renewed motivation to make good use of my time and fortunate circumstances and access to good dharma.

Did two 20 minute candle flame sits this evening (wanted to do one 45 min sit but got interrupted). Was interesting to notice the black circle flicker/strobe into appearance at first, and then become stable afterwards. But for most of the sit the dot didn't appear and I found it hard to focus.