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Chris' Practice Log

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Chris' Practice Log
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8/26/18 1:10 PM
Hello everyone, I've recently started meditating again (on and off for some years) and am actually managing to meditate regularly (more or less) for now. Hopefully, with this log here in public, I feel a bit more motivated to keep it that way emoticon

As for now, I will mostly meditate according to Culadasas The Mind Illuminated.

What I've noticed after about one week of practice: It's funny how sometimes you think you're not getting anywhere in a given meditation sit, but over several sits, you're actually moving slowly forward. So slow in fact, that it's sometimes hard to notice progress. (Which is probably one reason why one could be tempted to slack off after a while.)

11.08.2018

Started to meditate (again). Meditated in the morning for ~30 minutes, simple concentration on the the breath (no concentration on separate sensations / no insight meditation). Noticing each inbreath and outbreath. Noticing distractions / thoughts as they come up and letting them go. Concentration is good overall, only subtle distractions arise. About Stage 4 or 5 in The Mind Illuminated.

12.08.2018

Meditated for ~30 minutes in the morning, basically the same as yesterday.
Resolve to meditate each morning before work.

13.08.2018 - 15.08.2018

Trying to meditate as best as I can before work for ~30 minutes. Having problems with subtle and even strong dullness because it's early in the morning and I don't have enough time to really "get awake".
Stopped meditation short of 30 minutes on some days and tried meditating in the evening, where dullness is somehow weaker but not as good as on the weekend. About Stage 3 to 4 in TMI.

16.08.

Stopped meditating after 10 minutes due to strong dullness and tried to make up for it in the evening.

17.08.

Meditated ~20 minutes in the morning. (Concentration)
Meditated 30 minutes in the evening, switching technique. Changing from concentration to insight almost immediately after sitting down (I'm usually pretty quick at getting a somewhat good concentration).
Meditating on "Who am I?" / "What is awareness?" (trying to see / investigate what makes me me / who the watcher is) for a while. Somehow get an image of a tube (=awareness) in which sensations arise, but otherwise can't really "get" anything.
Later switching to trying to comprehend all of the sensations / stuff that makes up my experience (sensations, thoughts, feelings, awareness etc.). Somehow intellectually (but not on a deeper level / insight level) realizing that since all of these things are impermanent and that sensations, thoughts etc. are not me, there can be no self in every moment.
Another switch: Trying to see impermanence in random sensations which are coming up (concentration on breath and focusing attention on whatever sensations arise).
Another switch: Playing around with thoughts and intention by repeatedly thinking "hello" and trying to investigate what thoughts actually are and how they arise due to me wanting to (aka intention). Can't get a hold of intention itself. Noticing that thoughts somehow can have a "position" in the "thoughtspace", although that is probably just added visualization.
Overall concentration/clarity is good, it seems like this investigative style is more challenging for the mind, resulting in less dullness. In some moments, subtle dullness has still arisen but could be overcome by quickly noticing and using intention to increase clarity. Also, some subtle distractions (thoughts, planning on how to journal my current experiences) were perceived.
This meditation style is neither annoying nor pleasant for me, meaning I have no problem sitting for the planned 30 minutes while, when doing concentration meditation before, I would sometimes get the urge to stop meditating, although that would be noticed and faded quickly afterwards.
(To whoever might be reading this: Is this "mixed" style of insight meditation any good?)

18.08.

Meditated ~30 minutes in the morning.
Focused on the breath and noticed any sensation arising while trying to deepen (but not narrow) my concentration on the breath.
Some subtle distractions arise (mostly planning on how to write whatever is just occuring into my journal), no dullness.
Meditation feels subtly pleasant / fundamentally "OK", there are no itches, aches or numbness. After a while, tingling sensations arise mostly over my whole back and a bit into my forearms (this is piti, I presume?). Some brightness appears in my "visual space" (eyes are closed). I stay on the breath and notice how these sensations come and go, but grow a bit stronger the better I focus on the breath, with the increase occurring during the outbreath. Can't really solidify these sensations, they completely disappear after some breaths even though concentration is mostly the same. This happens multiple times throughout the meditation.
Tried to switch to some insight meditation (noting / comprehending sensations that make up my experience) but there is not really a motivation to do so, so I quickly stop and just sit there in this moment, attention loosely on the breath.
There is some subtle, but pleasant / peaceful afterglow after the meditation.

19.08.

Meditated ~20 minutes in the morning. Very similar to yesterday's sit.

20.08.

Short 10 min sit. Became a bit bored.

21.08.

10 min sit. Can't concentrate properly, also too much dullness.

25.08.

Meditated 20 min in the evening. Very clear, almost no dullness (only very subtle near the end). Mostly concentration on the breath. Halfway through noticed any sensation coming into my awareness and let it go. Tried to comprehend all sensations that make up my experience. Beginning to see that it's impossible to focus on all those sensations at the same time, instead my awareness is quickly jumping between them. Tried to understand what this means for no-self, but can't really get to anything. (Intellectually: In any moment, only one sensation can be observed, therefore there is no constant self, it is impermanent. Does one observed sensation in every moment mean that only one sensation can be felt at the same time, as well? And the mind would make up an illusion which "updates" every time a new sensation comes in from each bodypart. But at the same time, it should also only be possible to only focus on one of those "mind illusions" at one time, and attention is quickly jumping between them. Should be observed in my next meditation)
At the end, feeling some very subtle frustration/uselessness of the process of insight as well as some very subtle craving for an answer/understanding to just be done with it. (Has this something to do with desire for deliverance? Although that would mean I have passed some dark night nanas. I haven't really felt any uncomfortable sensations, everything was pretty "OK".) Tried to somehow "surrender" in answer to this, but nothing came of it.
At the end of the meditation, just concentrated on the breath like I did in the beginning. Noticed a very subtle dullness.

26.08.

15 min meditation in the morning. A lot of subtle dullness, noticed how exterior and interior awareness faded away and only the breath was there. Distractions were greatly reduced. This was actually pleasant, in a way. (But as described in TMI (The Mind Illuminated) Stage 5, this is obviously not the way to make progress).

RE: Chris' Practice Log
Answer
9/9/18 7:43 AM as a reply to Christian.
02.09.

15 min meditation in the evening. Pretty "up and down" throughout, there were moments with a lot of piti/vibrations (especially in the beginning), but also moments with lots of distractions. Also, subtle dullness throghout the meditation (except for in the beginning).

05.09.

Similar to 02.09. Meditated only 5 minutes, quickly noticed that it's relatively useless. (I know that you can sit through that and note, but still didn't feel like it. Didn't get much sleep and had some "real life" annoyances recently).

06.09.

5 min.

08.09.

10 minutes in the morning. Simple concentration on the breath. Clarity is much better than meditating in the evening (weekdays).

09.09.

15 minutes in the (early) afternoon. Concentration is good overall with few distractions. In some parts where concentration is especially good, piti arises (and also goes away after some time). When trying to see the sensations that make up the breath (focusing on the belly area) I find it hard to single them out, it's like they are some solid block. It doesn't help that the sensations are constantly changing due to breathing in and out. Also, at times it feels like sensations (generally) are somehow very subtle, they can't be really grasped. Very similar to thoughts (which are sensations after all), they are kinda just "there" in this mindspace but can't really be grasped at the same time. (This description would probably fit more things like awareness and some other stuff.)
I assume it becomes easier to untangle sensations and see them a bit more clearly with more practice.