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spatial's practice log

spatial's practice log
Answer
5/22/18 10:17 AM
I feel like I'm on the verge of something. I have a new willingness to experience things. I am able to sit still for an hour with practically no movement.

Previously, I would obsess over the movement of the breath, and the adjustments I would have to make to keep my balance as I moved with each breath. Now, I can observe myself making those adjustments, or not making them, and I am willing to experience each one.

I can observe feelings of discomfort, nausea, restlessness. I can observe myself wanting to eliminate them. I can observe the ideas my mind generates about how to eliminate them. I can observe how it affects my breathing.

I notice when my mind goes to "how much time do I have left?"...."30 minutes!? This is torture!" I notice how that affects my breathing, and I can feel other unpleasant sensations in my abdomen as a result.

I can feel myself gripping muscles to prevent pain. I can feel the pleasure of releasing those muscles as I realize I don't need them to stay upright. I notice how fleeting that pleasurable feeling is, and I notice my urge to try to hold on to it, and I am willing to simply sit still in response, and experience the nausea that comes as a result.

I am aware that a lot of these feelings and thoughts and sensations are still very solidified. But, I can feel things loosening a bit. I'm not sure what sense of self I am still holding on to, but I'm sure it must be there somewhere.

I worry about my knees. Sometimes I feel pain, but I don't know if it's coming from my knees, or the muscles surrounding them, or both. I think I will experiment with other postures. I should also get back into yoga...

I mentioned to a friend a couple weeks ago that I felt I had unwittingly gone off the path somehow. Over the past couple years, I had acquired so many insights into the nature of things, that I felt I really understood something fundamental. But instead of pressing on in the direction that led to those insights in the first place, I somehow tried to tie it back to satisfying the desires that I had before the insights occurred. As a result, I ended up frustrated and resentful.

I felt this morning as if I would be willing to experience absolutely anything, *as long as it doesn't lead to permanent injury*. Will this fear prevent me from going further? I will keep practicing and see what happens.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/23/18 8:27 AM as a reply to spatial.
I sat in a chair this morning, to give my knees a break from kneeling. I spent a lot of time thinking about posture. I suspect this is to be expected, because I am not accustomed to meditating in a chair, and have not yet found a stable posture. Concentration was in and out.

I was able to observe a lot of sensations and thoughts. I noticed recurring thoughts, and I noticed how disconnected they were, and how my mind kept trying to reconstruct them. Thoughts about how irritating this was, about how I think I know just what adjustment to make to sit upright.

I had the sense several times that I was leaning far to the left. No idea if it's true. I was able to sit with these sensations and notice the images in my mind for a while. I let myself count three breaths and then adjust a tiny bit. It felt better for a while and then went back.

I noticed myself falling into a deeper concentration state and then snapping out of it at least 4 times. I don't know if I was falling asleep or what. It felt like a startle response, and I felt safer after it happened. I have a feeling it would be great if I could catch this response before it happens.

I noticed my foot feeling like it was falling asleep, and I noticed my urges to move it. I noticed the feeling of my fingers touching each other, and then gradually felt those sensations disappear. I noticed myself wondering if my fingers were still touching. When I was done meditating, I noticed they were.

I could feel the muscles in my back and neck working hard to support me. I suspect this makes concentration difficult.

A couple times, there was pulsating light in my vision.

I noticed myself trying to go deeper into concentration by recalling images I observed in previous sessions.

I noticed myself getting frustrated that there were so many sensations I wasn't clearly noticing. I tried to make a real effort to observe everything. I felt discouraged, and felt a little panicked that my meditation was so unstructured and graspy.

Did 10 minutes of metta practice at the end. It was very hard to focus. I suspect a lot of this is because of the chair. Not sure if I should try to adjust the chair, or continue to sit with this and learn more.

Still think I'm moving in a good direction, though. I think there's a lot more dust that needs to be kicked up.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/24/18 8:02 AM as a reply to spatial.
i find it VERY hard to meditate in cushion, so much pain. Burmese/half lotus/seiza...

As an experiment,

Try to sit as confortably as possible  in your best chair/couch, not giving a shit about posture.

report back. emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/24/18 8:29 AM as a reply to spatial.
Started off with really good concentration. I could observe the breath in minute detail. I felt like I could follow it through its whole cycle, and observe a very tiny sensation beneath my nostrils.

My vision was pulsating quickly. I felt at times as if this was synchronized with my perceptions of the breath. Perhaps it was only the exhale. It came and went.

Strong urge to swallow. Felt like mouth was overflowing with saliva. Could feel the pressure building up behind my lips. Felt horribly disgusted by this. Decided to sit with this sensation for a while.

Worried I might become a crazy person who didn't care if he drooled all over himself.

Decided to swallow just a little. Realized my mouth was nowhere near overflowing.

Just make this stop! Can't I just be enlightened already??? How much of this do I have to go through?

What if meditation is always just more and more observation of unpleasant sensations, and I just go deeper and deeper and nothing actually changes?

I alternated between this type of thinking and equanimity several times. Was able to observe these thoughts pretty clearly, and my urges to react to them.

I can clearly remember a time when these thoughts would have completely derailed me. I have all the same pain I've always had, but it doesn't freak me out as much now (time will tell, I suppose!).

Noticed clearly how my eyes want to move to whatever part of the body I'm observing. I think this is tiring for my facial muscles. I tried to stop this, and sometimes was successful and sometimes it caused a great deal of stress. This might be worth working on.

Examined some thoughts with curiosity, to observe their static nature. This has been particularly fascinating to me lately (how thoughts are not the dynamic movies they claim to be).

Was able to observe sensations throughout the body pretty well. Some doubt about whether I should focus on the breath, or scan freely. I didn't seem to have a plan in place.

Was certain my lower body would be numb when I finished. This wasn't the case.

I think it's good to journal some of this stuff. Reflecting on my experience makes it easier to see patterns. On the other hand, I wonder if I'm casting it in a specific light based on how I want to perceive it, rather than it being an objective log of what really happened.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/24/18 8:24 AM as a reply to alguidar.
alguidar:
i find it VERY hard to meditate in cushion, so much pain. Burmese/half lotus/seiza...

As an experiment,

Try to sit as confortably as possible  in your best chair/couch, not giving a shit about posture.

report back. emoticon

I've experimented quite a bit with this. If I'm too comfortable, I tend to fall asleep. If I'm sitting in a couch, I eventually become very aware of how unsupportive the couch is, and how I either feel like I'm collapsing uncomfortably into it, or straining to keep myself from doing so. I cannot find any kind of chair or posture where this doesn't become a problem after 20 minutes or so. I've had the best luck so far in seiza while sitting on a stack of yoga blocks, as this is where I feel the most grounded and don't have to work so hard to support my spine. I feel like it's difficult to find a posture that simultaneously allows my spine to be free but also works with my lack of flexibility in my lower body. 

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/24/18 9:05 AM as a reply to alguidar.
I've been sitting in a comfortable chair, spine curved, for a couple of years; and I've made progress in samatha/vipissana. Being perpetually sleep deprived, dullness is my main hindrance. So, whenever I feel dullness setting in, I immediately get up and move to the seiza chair. The stress on my back, and the postural instability,  are enough to re-energize the mind. At some point, I switch back to the chair.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/24/18 9:08 AM as a reply to spatial.
Great reports on your practice sessions, spatial.


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RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/25/18 4:29 PM as a reply to spatial.
The vibration in my vision is almost always there (with my eyes closed). The frequency changes. Not sure if it was always there before noticing it a few days ago, or if it's new.

I think I'm seeing where to go with this. I think the vibrations need to be made slower (or is it faster? or is this completely unrelated to anything? not sure...)

There is a steady stream of physical sensation. Much of it I can perceive as vibration. Very little of it remains solid after examination for too long.

I can do this with sounds too, to a degree. The halfway bell on my timer did not sound nearly as solid as it did yesterday morning.

Yesterday, I sat at the piano, closed my eyes, played one note at a time, and really paid attention. I just wanted to spend time hearing the harmonics and beats. It is fascinating how much of our world is closed off to us, because we just solidify it.

Two days ago, I became fascinated by this "Yanny vs Laurel" illusion. I spent 30 minutes training myself to be able to hear it both ways. I think this is a related endeavor, somehow.

Thoughts, however, are more intrusive. I can pretty easily see them as still images. But will they break down further into vibration? Perhaps if I observe them for long enough, and catch enough of them. They don't seem to be as constant a stream of input as physical sensation, though. Does that mean by sense of physical sensation needs to be refined further, until it as at the level of resolution of thought?

Thoughts always seem to be images or sounds, not words. Words seem to always be accompanied by movement in the vocal tract. So, they are not pure thoughts. At least, that's my perception.

There are other senses of mental activity, though. Realizations, questions, excitements, frustrations. I'm not sure if those are accompanied by images always. I get glimpses of them, but I don't know what their content is.

I think this is why stillness is necessary. There needs to be enough steadiness for things to decompose. The cats meowing, for example, is unpredictable, and distracting. My reaction to it, though, became predictable.

Sitting still for an hour like this was impossible a month ago. This is progress.

I tried to observe the breath fully. Sensation disappeared at my nostrils at times. Then I realized I could follow the breath elsewhere. I have a lot of letting go to do. It occurred to me over and over that as long as I'm observing something, I'm progressing. Even if it's not what I *wanted* to observe.

I've tried a few different vipassana techniques (scanning, noting, just watching). The technique always seems to get in the way. It slows me down way too much. Not sure if this is because of lack of practice, or because I'm doing it wrong, or because I need more concentration, or what. There's a big difference between a verbal awareness of sensation, and the direct, raw contact with that sensation. The techniques seem to encourage the verbal awareness too much, which feels like daydreaming rather than experiencing. What seems to work better is to wait for something solid to appear, and then trying to notice as many details as I can about it.

It's so easy to fall into "wanting things to decompose". Instead, I need to remind myself to just look for more things to notice.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/26/18 8:37 AM as a reply to spatial.
This was not an easy session this morning. It amazes me how quickly it can change like that.

I decided to try no technique, and simply sit for one hour.

I noticed restrictions in my breathing due to my posture.

A lot of thoughts about how difficult it was. I tried to observe these thoughts, to separate myself from them.

I noticed strongly how I was identifying with so much. I was discouraged that I would never be able to penetrate through that. I reminded myself that I need to tease things apart more. I'm not seeing everything.

On a related note, I started to realize more about the connection between my posture and my breath constriction. This made me feel more discouraged, because I I felt like there was no way to clear that up.

Spent some time observing how some actions are performed by "me" and some are performed by "my body". It drives me crazy trying to see the difference. I tried to look into the nature of those thoughts as well.

Started to worry I was compressing nerves in my legs and would end up with a serious problem as a result. After 45 minutes or so, I switched to lying on my back.

10 minutes of metta, very hard to stick with the phrases, as I kept daydreaming, possibly falling asleep. Although, I had the sense that I could somehow synchronize the phrase with speed of my thoughts if I did it very deliberately.

Part of me says this was a good session, because it gave me a lot to observe. But, part of me says I am somehow conditioning myself to be averse to meditation, and I am going in the wrong direction. Not sure what to do.

I want things to go well. I don't even want to talk about them when they don't go well. I want to feel like I have a handle on this. Why is equanimity easier sometimes and harder other times? All I wanted to do was sit and observe unpleasant experiences, but somehow they got the better of me.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/26/18 3:58 PM as a reply to spatial.
Spatial --

There's a big difference between a verbal awareness of sensation, and the direct, raw contact with that sensation. The techniques seem to encourage the verbal awareness too much, which feels like daydreaming rather than experiencing. What seems to work better is to wait for something solid to appear, and then trying to notice as many details as I can about it.

Do some research on dependent origination aka dependent co-arising. It will help you sort through this. It's what you're getting glimpses of when you observe the different components of what at first seems to be one object.

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RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/28/18 8:16 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Do some research on dependent origination aka dependent co-arising. It will help you sort through this. It's what you're getting glimpses of when you observe the different components of what at first seems to be one object.


Do you think that it is worth trying to understand this better (through reading, etc.), or by digging in more with observation in my practice?

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/28/18 8:17 AM as a reply to spatial.
Practiced for about three hours (over 4 or so sessions) yesterday. It was all over the place.

This morning, things went pretty well. I decided to give Goenka's technique another serious try.

Start by concentrating on the breath. Mind wanders. I let it wander, and then tune back into the breath when it presents itself.

I am concerned that I am trying to focus my eyes really hard on my nostrils. A lot of pressure in my face.

Build up a good amount of concentration, and then try to tune into sensation at the top of my head. Nothing. But, I don't want to move my eyes there. Don't want to concentrate too hard. Just wait for it. Nothing. Mind starts to wander. Bring the attention back to the breath.

I work this way systematically through my upper body. Sometimes there is sensation, sometimes none. I am trying not to use my eyes. I am trying not to block out thoughts, but rather perceive the sensation through the noise of the thoughts.

I go into a deeper concentration state. I feel sensation throughout my body. A lot of vibration. My vision alternates now and then from dark to light.

I'm not sure if I'm doing the technique right. I can't seem to sustain the attention necessary to move part by part through the whole body. I always lose my place or start skipping around, or just decide to screw it and feel the body as a whole.

I feel imbalances in my posture. I feel anxiety caused by this. I feel myself trying to correct it.

I remind myself over and over that anything I feel or think is ok, and to refocus on physical sensation. The anxiety calms down, and I feel more settled.

I worry that I get attached to the positive feelings, the feeling of concentration, the excitement of a meditation that is going well. Equanimity with respect to negative sensation is easy to understand; just don't move when you feel it. But how do I practice equanimity in the face of positive sensations?

By the end, I was pretty concentrated. Large parts of my body had totally dissolved into (pleasurable) vibration. I am always so stiff when I stand up. Hopefully that will improve over time.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/28/18 8:24 AM as a reply to spatial.
Do you think that it is worth trying to understand this better (through reading, etc.), or by digging in more with observation in my practice?

Spatial, it's entirely up to you but I'd suggest you try both. It may help you to know what you're looking for and the reading is a "might help, can't hurt" kind of activity. It certainly doesn't prevent you from digging in deeply in your meditation sessions.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/29/18 9:02 AM as a reply to spatial.
This morning was quite an interesting meditation.

It started off with the usual discomfort and obsession over posture. Observed how the breath kept moving me off balance. How I kept adjusting. How frustrated it made me.

I had an idea bouncing around in my head: "meditation is not physical... it is purely about training your attention." What if I really took that seriously?

I observed the breath. Very hard to concentrate. I tried following it, but my mind kept wandering. Every time it wandered, I tried to bring it back. Frustrating and nauseating.

Ok, let it wander. This isn't physical. It's just about my mind. The frustration and nausea is not mental. Obviously, "trying to bring it back" is doing something more than the meditation really calls for.

Let the breath gently intrude on my mind-wanderings.

I've been down this road before, but this morning was a bit different. It occurred to me, "I can use the breath as a weapon to dissolve my experience." When the mind wanders, let it wander, and focus on the breath. The experience doesn't disappear, but the breath introduces disruption into it. It becomes slowly harder to concentrate on the experience. And eventually I'm back at the breath, or perhaps a new experience interrupts.

I played with this for a while. I would be pulled into thoughts, sensations. I noticed how the breath made it hard to really latch onto them. Just let them break up into little pieces.

Once I felt reasonably secure in this, I switched to Goenka body scanning. I tried the exact same technique. Focus on the top of the head. No sensation. Get distracted. Ok, let the sensation at the top of the head dissolve my distraction. Nothing.

Attention goes to sensation in legs. Great, let the sensation at the top of my head dissolve the experience of being with my legs. Now we're getting somewhere... This is exciting. Great, let the sensation at the top of my head dissolve the experience of being excited.

Once I felt something at the top of my head, I moved down my body bit by bit in this manner. I practiced dissolving absolutely every experience I noticed I was having, using the awareness of sensation of the body part I was focusing on.

This brought me into a deep state of concentration. My body felt still and I could feel subtle sensations everywhere.

There was a moment of fear. As my body was losing solidity, I started to panic with the thought that I might actually dissolve my entire being. And what if it didn't stop after the meditation? What if I ended up with some kind of dissociative identity disorder? I decided to go with it, and used the sensation of my body to dissolve that train of thought.

I was half expecting to achieve stream entry right there. But, I think that was just a preliminary defense mechanism. There's a lot more self that needs to be dissolved. Yet, the path seems a bit more doable at the moment.

The fear actually seems a little silly as I write this. I'm not dissolving myself. I'm only practicing focusing on something other than the self, for a brief period of time. The self isn't going to disappear. It's just a new habit I'm building. And if I'm happier with no self, then I guess that's not a problem...

I used the same strategy in my 10 minutes of metta.

"May I be safe...fr.... Oh this is really cool! I can really focus! Sensation in body is really pleasant...where was I....? May I be free from...."

No, that's all just experience. My focus is on "May I be safe from danger."

Wait for it to come in loud and clear, as a single uninterrupted action. If it's hazy, if I'm distracted, frustrated, whatever, then just go with it and wait for the phrase to come in loud and clear.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/29/18 9:05 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Do you think that it is worth trying to understand this better (through reading, etc.), or by digging in more with observation in my practice?

Spatial, it's entirely up to you but I'd suggest you try both. It may help you to know what you're looking for and the reading is a "might help, can't hurt" kind of activity. It certainly doesn't prevent you from digging in deeply in your meditation sessions.

Probably a good idea. It's always helpful to be exposed to different ways of looking at things. Sometimes they lie dormant until they are activated by experience, and then things seem to really click... Thanks for the advice.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/29/18 9:43 AM as a reply to spatial.
In addition to finding a middle way between (1) just letting the mind wander and (2) being too tight around the primary object, you also seem to have found a way to see experience as process and watch it dissolve. Very cool. Great report!  

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/30/18 8:34 AM as a reply to spatial.
Not sure what to make of this morning.

It was pretty difficult for the first half hour. Not easy to concentrate on the breath, or even feel the breath. My mind was racing with thoughts. I could not find a comfortable posture.

I tried using the technique I thought of yesterday of letting the breath dissolve my experience, but it wasn't working.  I could recognize that the feelings and evaluations of "it's not working" were themselves experiences, but they seemed more solid.

After 30 minutes, things changed a bit. I noticed I wasn't really feeling the breath. There is a difference between the mental concept of the breath and the actual physical sensation at the nostrils. I realized the physical sensation has quite a lot of power, because it's real and ever-changing. Trying to dissolve my thought patterns using more thought-patterns is potentially frustrating, but using real physical sensation is another matter.

So, I tried to zoom in on the sensation. It was a very tiny sensation. But, once I found it, it gave me something to anchor to, much more stable than any of the thoughts or even the larger unpredictable movements of my body. 

Zooming to a tiny level has the effect of stabilizing the mind, I think because it synchronizes everything to a level which is not on the same wavelength of the rest of the experience that was preoccupying me at the moment. 

I noticed that the sensations and thoughts I was experiencing were wholly separate from my perception of the breath. It was surprising, because a moment ago I had been completely wrapped up in them.

There was a moment of blackness, I felt tingling through my whole body, and my vision "reset" itself to a more stable pattern of slow oscillating light. I felt much more grounded after that point.

The rest of the session was fairly uneventful, except once there was what looked like a flash of lightning. Not sure what it meant.

I believe it is good to spend some time really making sure I am sitting as comfortably as possible. Even to take a few minutes at the beginning of every session to work on this, rather than immediately jumping in to observing sensation with equanimity. I am hesitant to do this, because I don't want to obsess over discomfort. However, unpredictable physical pain and instability of posture is really distracting, and if I can eliminate it, I should. I do think that a big part of this is being able to tune the mind into a concentrated state, because it makes observation easier, as much as that feels like a cop-out to me.

And, I am going to stick with my viewpoint that concentration is not about developing concentration, but rather about breaking up concentration.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/30/18 8:35 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
In addition to finding a middle way between (1) just letting the mind wander and (2) being too tight around the primary object, you also seem to have found a way to see experience as process and watch it dissolve. Very cool. Great report!  


Thanks! I wish it were more predictable. Sometimes I feel like I can get it, and sometimes it's just an intellectual concept.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
5/31/18 8:43 AM as a reply to spatial.
I practiced for a bit yesterday afternoon. I was really getting the sense that I could dissolve any aspect of my experience. The sensation of the breath, or other sensations I chose, could be steadily maintained, while thoughts came and went. Body parts disappeared.

A black hole appeared in my vision, and grew in size. It covered half of my vision, and then a new one appeared. The cycle repeated many times. I had the idea of allowing it to grow until it enveloped me. As it approached, I had an intense fear of disappearing. I decided to sit with the fear and let it approach, but I think I was distracted, and the black hole dissipated. I was slightly nervous that in my attempts to deepen my meditation, I was depriving my brain of oxygen, or threatening to burst a blood vessel, or about to cause a stroke or seizure, or something like that.

---

Not very concentrated this morning. Distracted by posture and noises from the kitchen. The noises made me angry, but I tried to welcome them as an opportunity to practice.

I wonder how much of this has to do with how well I slept at night.

15 minutes before the end, I changed posture to cross-legged. I'm nervous to do this, because I think it might be back for my neck and back, but I always feel that way about my neck and back no matter what I do with my body, so wtf do I know?

I felt my hair brushing against the back of my neck and imagined it was a spider. I noticed the image of the spider in my mind and felt tingling through my body. Just watch and return to the breath. My mind came up with another more detailed image of the spider crawling slowly. I saw the image frozen in time, and returned to the breath. Another image, spiders crawling all over my body, down my shirt and up my legs. Pretty terrifying, but I also saw clearly how my mind was trying to play this game. I thought "you laugh now, but what are you going to feel when you reach back there and find a real spider?" (I'm trying to put this wordless thought into words). But, it seemed clear to me that this really was just a game, and my whole experience of this was constructed in the moment. So what if there's a real spider later? It's only *right now* that I'm bothered by it.

RE: spatial's practice log
Answer
6/1/18 8:09 AM as a reply to spatial.
Well, no meditation happened this morning. I spent the entire hour working on posture.

A few things are on my mind:

- Concentration is very difficult when I'm straining my muscles and when the act of breathing itself threatens to knock me off balance.
- I think it is possible to solve this problem.
- If I solve it, my meditations will probably be much more productive.

I was reading an article last night that suggested a method like this:

1. Sit grounded on your sit bones.
2. Lean forward until you feel yourself starting to fall, then relax as much as you can, feeling the pull of gravity.
3. Lean back until you start to fall, and do the same thing.
4. Repeat over and over, making the movements smaller and smaller each time.
5. Pull up through your head, and relax.
6. Repeat until you are balanced.

So, I started my session with this.

I noticed I was in a hurry to find balance. I wanted to meditate as soon as possible. Once I felt balanced enough, I tried watching the breath.

And then I wasn't balanced anymore.

I tried this a few times, getting increasingly frustrated.

It became clear to me that I was not giving sufficient attention to my posture. I was imagining how much time was left on the clock, and how little meditation was happening.

After 30 minutes, I gave up meditation and decided to work completely on posture.

What I noticed while focusing on posture:

- sometimes not sure if my sit bones are pointing straight down or not.
- not sure if leaning forward and backward means rotating the pelvis, or moving from the bottom of the spine.
- even after I find a "balanced" position, I still find that I can let go and "slouch". This means I'm not relaxed enough. The relaxed position should support my spine.
- at each position, it is useful to take at least a full breath, to observe what effect that movement has on my balance.
- I believe it's possible to find a posture that requires practically zero effort, because I remember having found those balance points at times in the past (including, I believe, last night.)
- Sitting lower means the yoga blocks cut into my legs less, but it also means I worry more about my knees. It may be useful to get a meditation bench, but those seem expensive and I have no guarantee it would work better than what I'm doing now.
- I need to be aggressive about relaxing as much as possible, even if it means the routine will take longer.

It is a good idea for me to set aside time for no other purpose than to practice this balancing routine. I can meditate in a more comfortable posture until I feel I have it figured out better. I will have to run the risk of falling asleep, I guess! (And also potentially not be prepared for the retreat I have coming up in less than two months...)

There is a part of me that thinks this is either cheating or will lead to more obsession about posture. That vipassana is supposed to be about feeling your aches and pains and learning to be mindful of them, rather than trying to eliminate them.

I think it needs to be understood that yes, in meditation one should be mindful, but a posture needs to be chosen where mindfulness is possible. There are times where I feel OK sitting and watching my discomfort. But, if am constantly adjusting my posture, it is simply not meditation, no matter how much I am trying to be mindful. I need to proceed with determination, but also with gentleness.