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Polly Ester’s practice log 4

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Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/18/19 6:33 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/18/19 4:28 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/19/19 5:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/19/19 5:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/19/19 5:50 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 10/16/19 11:07 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/16/19 3:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 10/16/19 7:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/17/19 12:36 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 10/26/19 5:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 10/16/19 10:57 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/20/19 5:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/20/19 8:12 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/21/19 5:37 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/21/19 2:22 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/22/19 1:28 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/23/19 5:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/23/19 2:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/23/19 3:13 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/21/19 10:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/22/19 12:20 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/23/19 2:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/23/19 4:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/24/19 4:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/25/19 5:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 7:20 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 2:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 2:45 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Jyet 9/25/19 3:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 8:12 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 8:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 11:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 3:43 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/25/19 2:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 3:33 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 3:27 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 9/25/19 4:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/26/19 4:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 5:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 9/26/19 10:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 6:54 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 1:16 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/26/19 4:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 5:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 9/26/19 5:28 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 5:51 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 9/26/19 10:39 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 12:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 9/26/19 4:32 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/26/19 9:25 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/27/19 9:14 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/27/19 5:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 9/27/19 5:22 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/27/19 5:31 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/27/19 6:12 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/29/19 5:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/29/19 6:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/29/19 11:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/1/19 2:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/2/19 2:29 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/4/19 3:50 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/5/19 8:38 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/5/19 6:24 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 4:38 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 shargrol 10/6/19 7:28 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 8:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 8:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 11:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 1:43 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 4:16 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 4:38 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 8:01 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/6/19 8:22 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 2:32 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 5:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 7:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 7:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 10:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/7/19 10:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Milo 10/8/19 10:16 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/9/19 12:53 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Milo 10/11/19 2:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Milo 10/11/19 2:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/11/19 4:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/8/19 3:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/9/19 1:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/9/19 2:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/10/19 2:20 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/10/19 8:27 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/12/19 1:57 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/11/19 5:03 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/11/19 7:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/11/19 9:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/12/19 1:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/12/19 7:32 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Demoxenos 10/12/19 7:59 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/13/19 3:20 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/13/19 7:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/14/19 1:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/14/19 5:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/15/19 2:30 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/16/19 6:30 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/16/19 7:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/16/19 3:29 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/17/19 7:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/17/19 7:51 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/18/19 5:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/18/19 1:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 10/19/19 1:19 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/19/19 7:20 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 9:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 10:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/19/19 6:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/19/19 12:27 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 6:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 12:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 2:01 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/20/19 7:17 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/21/19 3:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/22/19 3:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Siavash Mahmoudpour 10/22/19 3:29 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/22/19 3:42 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/23/19 12:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/24/19 1:26 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/25/19 12:55 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/26/19 10:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/26/19 10:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/27/19 11:23 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/28/19 7:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/28/19 6:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/29/19 3:32 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/29/19 12:12 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/30/19 2:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/31/19 4:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/31/19 7:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/31/19 10:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/31/19 9:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 10/31/19 9:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/1/19 10:01 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 11/1/19 10:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/1/19 2:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 11/1/19 2:21 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/1/19 5:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 11/1/19 8:27 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/2/19 12:53 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 11/3/19 4:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/3/19 4:42 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/2/19 5:22 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/3/19 7:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/4/19 12:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/5/19 3:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/5/19 9:39 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/5/19 11:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 5:27 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 7:58 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 9:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 spatial 11/6/19 9:16 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 9:18 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/7/19 8:49 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/9/19 11:41 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 1:23 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/10/19 11:51 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 12:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/11/19 4:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/11/19 6:03 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/8/19 2:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/8/19 2:28 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 curious 11/8/19 12:55 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/8/19 2:57 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 1:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/9/19 2:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 10:45 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 5:51 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/11/19 6:13 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/11/19 2:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/12/19 6:07 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/12/19 3:03 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 1:19 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 12:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 4:33 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 9:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/15/19 12:12 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/16/19 7:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/16/19 10:25 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/16/19 12:37 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Lars 11/16/19 7:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/16/19 11:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/17/19 2:06 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/19/19 4:29 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/19/19 10:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/19/19 12:54 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/19/19 2:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/19/19 3:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/19/19 3:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/19/19 3:52 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Bardo Cruiser 11/20/19 1:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/20/19 8:57 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/20/19 2:40 PM
Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/18/19 6:33 AM
Just starting this new log while I still remember to do it, because yeah, the old thread was way too long both to load and to navigate. Content will follow later on. Metta to all.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/18/19 4:28 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Jhanas are more accessible and deeper. They draw me in like they haven’t for a long time. I won’t take this access for granted this time, but treasure it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/19/19 5:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Did vipassana while travelling to work (Shinzen type noting) and found 1st, 2nd and 3rd jhana developing (light versions, of course) and my body feeling like an energy field. Where my hands touched each other and my lips touched each other there was a continuous flow rather than boundaries, and the flow knew itself. 

Perception seems to have a new layer of complexity added to it. It may have to do with the relation between details and larger patterns. It could be that I just sucked at it before and finally have developed what others already had. 

At a job meeting there was a profound calm and the sense of activity at the crown of my head. Hard to explain.

Did 1 h + 4 hours of formal meditation, the latter when I was finally alone. In fourth jhana the murk behind my eyelids arranged itself in complex kaleidoscopic patterns. The body fell away gradually, as a response to the feeling that fourth was very heavy and dense in all its chrystal clear and serene beauty. Formlessness wasn’t entirely stable but clearly evolving and reestablishing itself over and over. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/19/19 5:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

At a job meeting there was a profound calm and the sense of activity at the crown of my head. Hard to explain.


Good.  <edit>  And also that light jhanic mindfulness of the body has been one of my standby states. Somebody posted a beautiful poem on DhO a while ago written by Ananda in later life, mourning the passing of the old ones but finding solace in mindfulness of the body.

So again, good.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/19/19 5:50 PM as a reply to curious.
Thanks! I wouldn’t at all mind to have that kind of calm as a default position. Definitely not there yet.

I read today that Shaila Catherine recommends students of the dharma to travel in order to put their equanimity to test and have it evolve. I don’t need to travel to put my equanimity to test. With poor executive functioning I find that there are challanges readily available in daily life. No need to go on a search party for them. I do agree that it’s great practice. Practicing in the midst of daily life challenges clearly speeds up the progress.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/20/19 5:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I forgot to write yesterday that I noticed that feelings vibrate and that noticing some feelings made them autoliberate.

This morning I had to deal with an emotionally challenging situation affecting someone I am responsible for. Sadly but not unexpectedly the insights did not automatically kick in to release me from suffering. I still feel rather contracted, although meditation techniques did give some relief while travelling to and from the meeting. Shinzen style noting has a very grounding and stabilizing quality to it. I think there’s a point to the slow pace in that regard. The slow pace means letting go of all other impressions and of control. When I get into that calmness jhanic factors arise pretty quickly.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/20/19 8:12 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Michael Taft’s latest SF Dharma Collective guided meditation, ”Turning the world inside out”, was the ultimate letting go (well, ultimate for my limited options). The first shamatha part instantly made my hands and face into energy fields. A few moments in, I decided to silently recite the Jonang aspiration prayer, as I find it very helpful, but I could hardly find the words. Concepts were starting to fall away. Then I was getting embedded in a silky cocoon, or maybe I was getting out of it instead after being wrapped up in it. Silky veils were drawn away from my face. So soft. Breathing was so much easier. The air was crisp. The bodily sensations were starting to fall away. Then there was a bell and it was time to call up the boundless space. All objects fell away. Then an intense awareness. Bright. Feelings of letting go. Void. Then I don’t remember much until I was back in brightness, which felt very intense now. Then I was at the threshold, realizing that I was at the threshold. I focused on void again. Nothing. And then there was this very brief electrical type of snap, the kind of snap that sometimes arises when electricity is plugged in. It was an unknowing event. Maybe I had a cessation from a formless realm, maybe not. Whatever it was, it was followed by gentle bliss waves of relief and a feeling of unsolidness that lasted for a while. The nada sound is still loud. As I dwelled in the meditation, I then felt a short A&P followed by typical dukkha nanas traits rushing by and then calm again. Then the bell rang and there was a dharma speech.

Today I celebrate one year of systematic and dedicated practice. I am so grateful for this time and for all that has been offered me, not least on this forum. It is beatiful to be able to read about everyone’s practice, experiences, ideas, and insights and to see all the compassion flowing between people supporting each

By the merits accrued through all our virtuous acts,
May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping.
May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/21/19 5:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
:-)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/21/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday evening: 90 minutes of Kundalini yoga and gong meditation. I was careful in those exercises that involved too intense breathing and squeezing of the energy up through the spine. No need to force any energy through this spine - it knows the way just fine on its own. During the gong bath I believe that I was in rather hard third jhana. It was clear and dense and still. Large parts of the body fell away, but not completely, and it was way too heavy to be any of the formless realms. It was very equanimous but lacked that special neutrality and chrystal clarity of the fourth jhana.

This morning: 75 minutes of Vinyasa yoga.

This afternoon/early evening: 60 minutes of ”doing nothing” meditation. I felt very unsolid and the nada sound was loud. There were still periods of thoughts catching my focus. I felt a bit distracted since one of those favorite people that I don’t get to meet very often is staying with me for the weekend and I knew that I wouldn’t want to let her wait too long. Thus my time for meditation was limited, and that made it hard to just let go completely. There were moments of immediacy and moments of floating.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/21/19 2:22 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Michael Taft’s latest SF Dharma Collective guided meditation, ”Turning the world inside out”, was the ultimate letting go (well, ultimate for my limited options). The first shamatha part instantly made my hands and face into energy fields. A few moments in, I decided to silently recite the Jonang aspiration prayer, as I find it very helpful, but I could hardly find the words. Concepts were starting to fall away. Then I was getting embedded in a silky cocoon, or maybe I was getting out of it instead after being wrapped up in it. Silky veils were drawn away from my face. So soft. Breathing was so much easier. The air was crisp. The bodily sensations were starting to fall away. Then there was a bell and it was time to call up the boundless space. All objects fell away. Then an intense awareness. Bright. Feelings of letting go. Void. Then I don’t remember much until I was back in brightness, which felt very intense now. Then I was at the threshold, realizing that I was at the threshold. I focused on void again. Nothing. And then there was this very brief electrical type of snap, the kind of snap that sometimes arises when electricity is plugged in. It was an unknowing event. Maybe I had a cessation from a formless realm, maybe not. Whatever it was, it was followed by gentle bliss waves of relief and a feeling of unsolidness that lasted for a while. The nada sound is still loud. As I dwelled in the meditation, I then felt a short A&P followed by typical dukkha nanas traits rushing by and then calm again. Then the bell rang and there was a dharma speech.

Today I celebrate one year of systematic and dedicated practice. I am so grateful for this time and for all that has been offered me, not least on this forum. It is beatiful to be able to read about everyone’s practice, experiences, ideas, and insights and to see all the compassion flowing between people supporting each

By the merits accrued through all our virtuous acts,
May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping.
May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.

I have a bit of time now for a longer response to this lovely post. First, congratulations on your energy and dedication Linda/Polly, by which you have been able to make so much progress. People do seem to progress in different ways under different circumstances. And it is not quite as linear as we think. My own journey had some really clear landmarks, but also up to a dozen events in 2nd/3rd path territory that contributed to progress. Some were hugely profound, others were just A&Ps-type events that somehow stirred stuff up or peeled back another layer of the onion (TM Shargol). Compared to a standard Mahasi-style path of insight, I would at times be way ahead in some things and way behind in others. So from my perspective it went seems to be First - Some stuff that went on and on and on - Start finishing up third - I feel done - But I know I'm not - Yes I am - Not I'm not - Yes I am - No I'm not - Ah! ....  emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon !!!!

Your recent posts clearly show major progress. Where it is I don't know. In 'some stuff" I think, but with hints of greater advancement in some areas (although that can fade). But it can been seen not just in your phenomenological descriptions but also in your writing, and in your reactions to the world. The path seems interminable (until it isn't). So keep on going, but equally, enjoy where you are.

For now, my advice would be to try to get really great control over your jhanas. It doesn't have to be all of them, but see if there is one you can summon in a mild form at any time. Try turning it on an off throughout the day. Try living with it as a background hum. And then see if you can do the same with one or two emotions.  Or nanas.  But one step at time.

May you flourish.  May you unfold into your full potential. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/22/19 12:20 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
One hour of shamatha (breath). Mostly silky, calm and heavy, but instances of feeling surpringly light all of a sudden. It started pleasantly vibrating, but the vibrations calmed down very fast as I was naturally drawn to the calm rather than the pleasure. There were some kriyas on the way there. There were some instances of intense immediacy. I believe they followed a brief snapping sound that arose a few times.

I have tried to maintain a light jhana in the midst of daily life today, but most of the time I forgot about it. It clearly takes practice. When I remembered it, a very light version of third jhana seemed to be most accessible. Or maybe it doesn’t qualify as jhana, I don’t know. Whatever it is called, the calm acceptance and the feeling of silky smoothness make a good approach to life. It is worth the effort to cultivate it. If I set a clear intention every morning, it might be easier to remember it more often.

As I was about to start my shamatha session, alone at last (I need to watch out not to become too much of a loner from this practice, neglecting people around me), my neighbors made a lot of noice in the hallway. The echo multiplied the noice. I think they were honking a horn, maybe a horn attached to one of the children’s bikes. A thought arose that it was so typical, but annoyance did not follow the thought. Instead, the next thought was ”Are they having fun?” I listened more carefully and heard children and grown-ups laughing together and talking happily. I think the grown-ups had helped a child to attach the horn to the bike, and now they were taking delight in testing it together. It warmed my heart and I thought ”Bless them!” I love that my neighbors prioritize letting kids be kids and having fun together over keeping quiet in the hallway. I closed my inner door, smiled, and shivered with happiness. That was a great way to start a shamatha session.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/22/19 1:28 PM as a reply to curious.
Thankyou from the depth of my heart, Malcolm!

Yeah, I believe I’m somewhere in ”some stuff” too, but right now that’s a pretty good place to be. The practice is challenging but not too challenging. I can see a way forward. I don’t know where it will take me, but I trust that it will be worth it and in the meantime I’m learning fascinating stuff.

True, not linear. I have never been much of a linear thinker anyway (selfing noted) - I believe linearity is overrated. Nonlinearity can be frustrating, though, so I will probably regret saying that. Anyway, some of my recent daily life progress is actually stuff that I learned several years ago. I had to unlearn much of it for a while in order to learn other stuff, to get more balance in my compassion, and the road there meandered quite a lot and had many bumps in it. A lot has also faded and I have needed to cultivate it anew and more systematically. So much work remains. The layers seem infinite. No need to get bored any time soon, or ever. Much of it will probably fade again, and ”I” will need to reestablish it. I’m counting on that. Right now I think I am in a sweetspot with access to stuff that I can only access from here. I will eventually have to let go of that in order to keep moving. I will follow your advice and practice technical skills while things are accessible, though.

I will keep going as long as I’m alive. I know now that I was trying to avoid it for a long time, hiding out in ignorance, but now that I have seen that, it cannot be unseen. Meditation is the one thing I can always bring with me, which seems like a very paradoxical thing to say as it teaches us not to hold on to things. But that is also why it can’t be taken away. The letting go cannot be taken away. It is such a blessing to know that what I treasure most is the letting go. I do struggle a lot with clinging. I mean, I can barely let go of worn-out clothes, old notes and things that might come in handy some day, I’m a digital horder (I have so many old text files that it was quite the challenge to move them into a new back-up system - text files! I thought they didn’t take up much space at all!), and I fear losing my job and find many changes difficult. But somewhere deep down there is a knowing, or a seed to a knowing, that all I really need is to let go. That is an embryo of profound peace.

Namaste!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/23/19 5:50 AM as a reply to curious.
Okay, so I seem to be able to turn something on in the midst of daily life just by remembering that I should do it, but I’m not quite sure what it is that I’m turning on. It opens something up in my head and makes it easier to breath. There is movement behind my face. The movement reminds me of third vipassana jhana, which could be pretty violent at times (turning my senses inside out). There are pressure sensations and sort of the opposite. I guess that’s expansions and contractions. At the same time there are also silky veils being swept around and very smooth and subtle silky vibrations on my lips and a sense of a continuous energy field inbetween them. Malcolm, would you say that this is the threshold to a light third jhana? Or something else?

I can feel that there is a lot of resistance for some reason. It triggers my tics. The tics make me more contracted and much less equanimous. The background hum of jhana, if that’s what it is, can easily be turned off by giving in to the tics, since they are reactive by nature and clear manifestations of craving and aversion. Meeting them with an equanimous approach leeds to instant jhanic factors. Unfortunately the default mode is giving in to them, although I know all this. There is a negative feedback loop. The impulses are very strong. I guess working on being mindful and equanimous with regard to my Tourette’s is key to moving forward.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/23/19 2:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This day has offered excellent opportunities for practicing mindfulness and equanimity. I’m finally on my way home now after spending eight hours travelling to another town with my cat to visit a veterinary hospital. Another hour remains before we are at home again. Poor cat. He had to stay for observation as they needed a urinary sample (which they didn’t manage to get anyway). I don’t drive, so we are travelling by bus, train and tram. After waiting for several hours (walking around outside in the cold and sitting on a bench reading), I did an exercise from Shaila Catherine’s book Focused and fearless while waiting to talk to the veterinary. I observed thoughts as thoughts and feeling as feelings for a few minutes in the waiting room with noice from a TV and a hungry belly and worried about my cat of course. Within a few minutes that exercise led me to see the floor dissolve into waves and I was completely calm. So I guess mindfulness, equanimity (the approach, not the stage) and concentration are available. It’s just a matter of applying them.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/23/19 2:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda/Polly - I think you are describing some piti. That is good, and is absolutely enough for the exercise I have been recommending. If you can turn piti off and on at will, and keep it going as a background hum, that will be excellent.

On being mindful and eqaunimious about the tics. Hmnn, as a starting point yes. But once you are mindful and equanimious, try to get insight into the dependent arising of the tics. Observe them closely, and try to spot the contact, aversion, thirst, inflaming, urge, becoming (becoming being the tic occuring and simultaneously burning in the feedback loop). Don't try to suppress them, or resist them. Just try to clearly see the whole process with insight.
 
When you see the links very clearly, you can renounce them or let them go if you want - at the point of thirst and inflaming. But that is not as important as not suppressing them or resisting them. When the feedback loop is broken the tick will naturally be emitted with reducing frequency (not that this matters).

M.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/23/19 3:13 PM as a reply to curious.
Good. Will do.

I know. That’s what I meant. I have done that several times. I know that it works - neither resisting nor giving in to the tics, just investigating the feeling behind the impulse and noticing it arising and passing away without really affecting me the way the story about it claims that it will. That makes the urge dissolve and leads to calm. It’s just that it tends to come back even worse as there is resistance, especially after a meditative breakthrough. There are many more layers that need to go through the same process before it will last. After all, a neuropsychiatric condition is pretty hardwired.

As for what circumstances make the impulses arise, I have investigated that for several decades. That pertains to that whole chain too. It is the curious investigation of the urge that makes the difference, that is, breaking the chain. The urge says ”if you don’t do X, the feeling will be unbearable”. When I calmly wait to see what will happen instead of reacting, it turns out to be a false alarm. For all those decades, knowing the chain of suffering in detail did not help. I never realized that it was a false alarm, because the urge was so strong and so convincing. Investigating the physical feeling of it with curiosity, inspired by Shinzen Young’s talk about mindfulness and equanimity, was groundbreaking. It was one of the first practices I did as I started my daily practice.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/23/19 4:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
If I were to choose two feelings to maintain in the background regularly, I think I would choose compassion and equanimity. They seem like very beneficial qualities to cultivate. Still, there are times when compassion can do harm. I have seen what effect compassion with abusers (of different kinds) can have on the victims. Timing and balance are essential. I do believe that understanding is necessary in order to make the abuse stop, but there is a time and place for everything. Victims need to be taken seriously and have their support in place before having to witness everyone focusing on the emotional needs of the abuser. As for equanimity, verbal expressions of it do not do it justice. They can easily sound like indifference, which can be harmful. I’m not sure I believe in choosing feelings as default like that. I think it might cause harm. Being able to reflect critically on thoughts and feelings and choose which ones to engage with and act upon is another story. That I believe in.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/24/19 4:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Last night I fell asleep while meditating after a long exhausting and challenging day.

This morning: one hour focusing on seeing thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings and being open to absorption whenever accessible. This focus makes reality seem unsolid. Thoughts and feelings vibrate into being and vibrate out of being. Some tentacles remained sensitive to the needs of my sick cat, so full absorption was not accessible, at least not for very long. There were brief instances of both first and second jhana. Getting into first jhana is very much like blowing soap bubbles. The effort needs to be carefully balanced. For me, even the breath leading into first jhana feels very much like the breath in blowing soap bubbles, but with the nose rather than the mouth. Second jhana is less sensitive as it regulates itself.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 2:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This does not feel like review. I’m out of the sweetspot where anything is possible. I’m going to assume that I somehow inclined myself back to the post eighth junction of the previous path, had better access to jhanas for a while and had some fruitions, and now I have inclined myself back to the current path. It probably deepened something and gave me a few glimpses of what is to come, but insights of this path still need maturing. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. At least I got to have back to back fruitions.

Yesterday I did some investigation on what leads to piti in daily life. Intense rapture comes from turning to the divine (making a conscious choice about how to act and finding that it makes the world a little bit better, or feeling deep gratitude for what is) or to the immediacy of the moment. Mild piti is trickier. It can be difficult to know whether it is weak (=less concentration than with intense rapture) or subtle (=more concentration than with intense rapture), so I need to be careful about conclusions. Clarity needs to be part of the assessment. I don’t even know exactly what qualifies as piti or something else. Like seeing waves (pretty large ones) in the floor/ground - is that piti?

I also reflected on right speech, as I happened to do it a few times. It was very clear that right speech is not universal. No rules can be claimed about it. It is very situated. One occasion was a pretty banal compliment to a stranger at the pharmacy. It came from the heart, but it could have landed wrong. Not everyone appreciates compliments from a complete stranger. I had an intuitive feeling that she would be happy to hear it, but I had no idea that she would be that happy. It seemed to be exactly what she needed to hear. She thanked me profusely, and later approached me to thank me again before she left.

The other times were during a seminar. We had a doctoral student visiting us from another university, and we were giving her feedback on some work in progress (fascinating work!). My colleagues had great comments, all from their own perspectives and based on a solid ground of competence. I had a feeling about what she really wanted to do with this text, which would explain all the elements that my colleagues found disconnected from each other. I helped her to spell out more explicitly what the connection was, what her unique contribution could be. I could tell that it was exactly what she needed to hear. My colleagues also saw that it solved the problems. I made a few such comments that landed very well. Afterwards she approached me to thank me. She seemed moved. She took my hand in a way that was not just a greeting. It felt like magic had happened.

Any of these speeches would have been very ordinary in any other context. They could have been unhelpful too. Unwelcome. The situatedness was what made them right. I couldn’t have planned for it to happen. It was just... obvious... what needed to be said in those very moments to those very people.

I did some formal meditation as well, but that didn’t go very well. There was dullness with moments of clarity. There were a few instances of glimpses into fourth jhana that did not last. At all those instances, I had been thinking about the clarity of fourth jhana. That seemed to call up the fourth jhana, which is pretty cool. They were just brief glimpses, though.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/25/19 2:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

The situatedness was what made them right. I couldn’t have planned for it to happen. It was just... obvious... what needed to be said in those very moments to those very people.



Right speech is not any person’s accomplishment. It is a potential of the moment itself being unfolded.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 3:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Feeling touched reading about your encounters with fellow human beings. You where using the word divine, not a Buddhist term I know, but to me also it feels divine at those times when the moment unfolds itself just rightly with a sense of love and compassion, awe and wonder.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 5:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
... This focus makes reality seem unsolid...

Seem?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 8:12 AM as a reply to Jyet.
Jyet:
Feeling touched reading about your encounters with fellow human beings. You where using the word divine, not a Buddhist term I know, but to me also it feels divine at those times when the moment unfolds itself just rightly with a sense of love and compassion, awe and wonder.


Thankyou! Yeah, it’s probably not part of the lingo, but that’s the closest word I can find. You put it into words very well, I think.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 7:20 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
... This focus makes reality seem unsolid...

Seem?



I’m only talking about phenomenology, not making any ontological statements. Seeming unsolid and being unsolid do not preclude each other. I know that science says that matter consists mainly of empty space. Yet, matter often seems solid. At other times it does not, but instead seems unsolid. In this case I was talking about more than matter. More like the fabric of existence. I’m not entirely sure what science says about that, more than suggesting that it might all be information made into a hologram, but I wasn’t talking about science.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 8:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This has been yet another challenging day, going to the veterinary with another cat. I didn’t have to travel as far this time, but since I don’t drive it was still logistically a bit complicated. Then we got a prescription for a medicine that was only available at a pharmacy in the outskirts of the town. I went there, still with my cat in a cage, because it would take too long time to go home first. When we finally arrived at home, I realized that I had forgotten the presciption food and the cat toys that I had bought, so I had to go back to the veterinary again, which took quite a while. These things are exhausting for me, even though I know that they are luxury problems for many people in the world. Anyway, I decided to see this as an opportunity for practice, seeing thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings. I wrote notes about it on paper. I’ll try to decode them and write them here:


Frustrating circumstances, exhaustion: deciding not to engage with stories about it, but be present to every moment of it as best as I can —> feeling of expansion. Acknowledging that I’m still sad and tired and hungry while at the same time feeling expansion —> rapture: shower of pleasantness/relief to start with, then relaxation and subtle very silky and smooth tingles on, in and between the lips. One can be sad and tired and hungry AND accepting and present to the moment. There is no need to repress the

Practicing seeing thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings rather than identifying with and being caught by them. It is difficult withthe tics, as they are compulsive. The tics get much more subtle, but there is still acting on many of the impulses even though it is hardly noticable.

When I return to seeing thoughts as thoughts etc after forgetting it for a little while —> rapture showering through the body, then expansion, then tingling in hands, lips, face, scalp. Pressure towards third eye. Energy field between lips. More third eye pressure. Then waves in the bus floor. The road looks unsolid. Got off bus. Scalp tingling. Showers of piti.

Don’t know if piti remained in the background while talking to staff at the veterinary’s, but as I was finished and got out, it was there. Tingling scalp, shower of piti, silky smoothness of lips, subtle feeling of energy flowing between lips. Rapture from feeling the cold without judging it. Smooth tingles spread. Then waves in the ground. Visual flickering. Colors look differently (less automatic adjustment to light conditions in interpreting colors). More showers of piti. Pressure against third eye. Visual dissolving of walls inside bus.

Fascinating how attention moves systematically to cover different fields with different degrees of detail as the visual image is under construction. The field in the center is larger now than it used to be. It has most details but also most micro-flickering as it is updated more frequently (point by point). Peripheral fields are to a larger extent constructed from memories. I know from before that peripheral flickering can be grosser and rather comical, if noticed.

Change of bus. Rapture again when resuming investigation. Wow, freezing can be pretty amazing when not judging it. For a while, anyway. Then not judging gets harder. The same development again —> waves in the ground. Turning that into a story makes them go away.


I estimate that this daily life meditation took about an hour and a half.

I don’t know exactly why, but now I’m shaking and the nada sound is loud. My body doesn’t feel entirely solid. I feel no conscious fear. I have had some food now and am comfortably resting in my bed.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 11:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I took a yoga technique class for one hour. Before the class I lay down on the mat for 20 minutes or something. I almost immediately got into absorption.

After I have given my cats their medications I will go back to the yoga studio for a meditation class. The description of it sounded like it’s Kriya yoga, but I’m not sure. I’m not planning on switching techniques, but it’s good to have access to a teacher. I have been to this teacher’s yoga classes a couple of times and I felt that he knew what he was doing energetically.

I forgot to mention that I did 75 minutes of Hatha yoga yesterday, which felt very stabilizing.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/25/19 2:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:


When I return to seeing thoughts as thoughts etc after forgetting it for a little while —> rapture showering through the body, then expansion, then tingling in hands, lips, face, scalp. Pressure towards third eye. Energy field between lips. More third eye pressure. Then waves in the bus floor. The road looks unsolid. Got off bus. Scalp tingling. Showers of piti.


Good. You are extending mindfulness to other frames of reference. So this is a good time to read what Uncle Sid said about maintaining mindfulness of the four frames of reference. I have copied it out in full, as more people seemed to get enlightened in the old days when the oral tradition did not use abbreviations.


"O bhikkhus, should any person maintain the Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for seven years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge (arahantship) here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning (the Third Stage of Supramundane Fulfillment).

"O bhikkhus, let alone seven years. Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for six years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone six years.  Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for five years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone five years. Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for four years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone four years. Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for three years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone three years. Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for two years, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone two years. Should a person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in this manner, for one year, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone a year. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness, in the manner, for seven months, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone seven months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for six months, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone six months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for five months, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone five months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for four months, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone four months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for three months, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone three months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for two months, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone two months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for one month, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

O bhikkhus, let alone one months. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for half-a-month, then, by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"O bhikkhus, let alone half-a-month. Should any person maintain these Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for a week, then by him one of two fruitions is proper to be expected: Knowledge here and now; or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

"Because of this was it said: 'This is the only way, O bhikkhus, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the Four Arousings of Mindfulness."

Thus spoke the Blessed One. Satisfied, the bhikkhus approved of his words.


Note: For me, 72 hours continuous mindfulness of the four frames of reference (including during sleep) opened the door to third.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/25/19 3:33 PM as a reply to curious.
Reading that led to tinglings of the scalp, lips and face. I made sure to not skip any lines. That kind of build-up of a text does something.

I had to google frames of reference and found a whole book. How do you stay mindful of all that while sleeping?

I’m trying to increase my mindfulness throughout the day as I feel that it is needed. I occasionally dream that I meditate, and I tend to hear signals from my cats while sleeping (as I did with my child when s/he depended on me), but otherwise I guess mindfullness takes a nap too.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/25/19 3:43 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
After I have given my cats their medications I will go back to the yoga studio for a meditation class. The description of it sounded like it’s Kriya yoga, but I’m not sure. I’m not planning on switching techniques, but it’s good to have access to a teacher. I have been to this teacher’s yoga classes a couple of times and I felt that he knew what he was doing energetically.


It was hinduistic meditation. The lingo was somewhat different, with emphasis on the spirit and getting rid of the ego, but much was similar. There was a brief dharma talk about becoming less reactive, purification of the body and mind, and compassion. There were some chanting, pranayama, and a guided meditation. The guided meditation started with focusing on the breath but then used the third eye as an object. That suited me very well today as there was already a pressure to the third eye. There were some visualizations too, and I was actually able to do them (except for visualizing the building next to the yoga studio - I had no idea whatsoever of how that building looks, and I forgot to check afterwards as well) as I nowadays can visualize things.

It felt very nice. I enjoyed feeling the energy in the room. I felt happiness and deep calm throughout the session and still do.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 4:23 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:

Note: For me, 72 hours continuous mindfulness of the four frames of reference (including during sleep) opened the door to third.

Could you describe more about what that experience was like? Also, do you mean continuous simultaneous mindfulness of the four frames of reference?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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9/25/19 6:54 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Okay, back in the sweetspot... I felt the need to meditate some more, so I lay back on my bed. I almost instantly was drawn into fourth jhana where I saw geometric patterns and had a chrystal clear agencyless focus that felt deep and dense. Then the density diminished and there was light spaciousness but not formless. Then there was an electric activity in the crown of my head, then the back of my head where a cord connected me to the earth and sort of pressed me down. There was an electric connection between back of head, earth and hands. It was a movement inbetween these states and a state with activity in the third eye and a state with activity at the top of my head. There was also something going on with my eyes and electric nodes in my arms. Movement back and forth, over and over again. Then something new happened. All these areas connected together and with additional areas around my body. My whole aura was buzzing, from above my head to below my toes and out on the sides. It felt balanced and tensionless but also freezingly cold. Then I really had to go to the bathroom so I gradually emerged from this state. I was so cold!

There were some snapping sounds in my head somewhere too.

Wow, where did the time go? I seem to have been in these states for at least a couple of hours, maybe three.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
9/26/19 1:16 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I almost instantly was drawn into fourth jhana where I saw geometric patterns and had a chrystal clear agencyless focus that felt deep and dense.



The geometric patterns were not flat, but curved in 3D space. They seemed to be made up by stars in dark space, but very symmetrically.

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9/26/19 3:27 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I had to google frames of reference and found a whole book. How do you stay mindful of all that while sleeping?

I’m trying to increase my mindfulness throughout the day as I feel that it is needed. I occasionally dream that I meditate, and I tend to hear signals from my cats while sleeping (as I did with my child when s/he depended on me), but otherwise I guess mindfullness takes a nap too.



Or maybe I actually do stay mindful while sleeping sometimes, come to think of it. I was just reminded of it because I once again came into that deeply restful state that I visit sometimes, fully aware and with a feeling somewhat similar to absorption despite having no focus whatsoever, and unable to intentionally move. In that state I find that my mouth sometimes opens itself to let out a loud outbreath that is sometimes smelly. There are also occasional kriyas that are very similar to jerky movements during sleep. It isn’t formless, because I can still feel my body. I’m just not in control of it. That could be due to sleep paralysis, I guess. In that state I am very aware of my state and of my body, and sometimes dreamlike scenes pop up and then I’m aware of that (they didn’t this time). I never counted that as lucid dreaming because I thought I couldn’t be sleeping since I was aware even outside the dreams.

I spent about a couple of hours there this time. I no longer feel like I had too little sleep. The nada sound is loud. Breathing is very easy.

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9/26/19 4:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
curious:

Note: For me, 72 hours continuous mindfulness of the four frames of reference (including during sleep) opened the door to third.

Could you describe more about what that experience was like? Also, do you mean continuous simultaneous mindfulness of the four frames of reference?

Hey Spatial. For me, mindfulness during sleep was a byproduct of intense meditation and mindfulness, rather than something directed. After a while I found that part of the brain was asleep, but another part was semi-awake and continuing to be mindful. So my awareness became contiunous even when asleep.

Mindfulness of the four frames of reference was not simultaneous. At first it was progressive - body, feeling, mind states, dharmas - steadily learning to perceive the five aggregates of clingining and the chain of dependent arising. Not all at once, but able to switch between them to notice anything that happens to arise. So you might be walking along absorbed in mindfulness of body through motion, when you see something that causes disgust - so then you are mindful of the feeling of disgust, as it arises and passes away.

Having established the ability to be mindful, the next step for me was to be continuously aware of the energetic feelings of the body, or of the fluxing nature of reality in the sphere of perceptions. At first I concentrated on rapid noting of the phenomena and their three chracteritics, but eventually I just becam absorbed in the construction of reality from the energetic flux. 

Your mileage may vary!

Malcolm

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9/26/19 4:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I almost instantly was drawn into fourth jhana where I saw geometric patterns and had a chrystal clear agencyless focus that felt deep and dense.



The geometric patterns were not flat, but curved in 3D space. They seemed to be made up by stars in dark space, but very symmetrically.

Yes, in a grid with identical distances between them, right?  Maybe a hundred or slightly more?  Not quite as bright as Sirius - maybe more like Alpha Centauri?

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9/26/19 5:02 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
spatial:
curious:

Note: For me, 72 hours continuous mindfulness of the four frames of reference (including during sleep) opened the door to third.

Could you describe more about what that experience was like? Also, do you mean continuous simultaneous mindfulness of the four frames of reference?

Hey Spatial. For me, mindfulness during sleep was a byproduct of intense meditation and mindfulness, rather than something directed. After a while I found that part of the brain was asleep, but another part was semi-awake and continuing to be mindful. So my awareness became contiunous even when asleep.

Mindfulness of the four frames of reference was not simultaneous. At first it was progressive - body, feeling, mind states, dharmas - steadily learning to perceive the five aggregates of clingining and the chain of dependent arising. Not all at once, but able to switch between them to notice anything that happens to arise. So you might be walking along absorbed in mindfulness of body through motion, when you see something that causes disgust - so then you are mindful of the feeling of disgust, as it arises and passes away.

Having established the ability to be mindful, the next step for me was to be continuously aware of the energetic feelings of the body, or of the fluxing nature of reality in the sphere of perceptions. At first I concentrated on rapid noting of the phenomena and their three chracteritics, but eventually I just becam absorbed in the construction of reality from the energetic flux. 

Your mileage may vary!

Malcolm


That sounds pretty similar to what the process has me doing, I think.

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9/26/19 5:04 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I almost instantly was drawn into fourth jhana where I saw geometric patterns and had a chrystal clear agencyless focus that felt deep and dense.



The geometric patterns were not flat, but curved in 3D space. They seemed to be made up by stars in dark space, but very symmetrically.

Yes, in a grid with identical distances between them, right?  Maybe a hundred or slightly more?  Not quite as bright as Sirius - maybe more like Alpha Centauri?



I don’t know how bright Alpha Centauri is, but that sounds reasonable. So yeah, that sounds like a very precise description.

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9/26/19 5:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yes, fascinating. I don't know exactly what that is, but I think it is something to do with rewiring of the visual system, and thus a very good sign.  Intersting that you saw exactly the same as me. In MCTB 2 Daniel reported seeing something similar but in his case it was grinning skulls in stead of stars ... oh to be a wizard!  I only saw it once, but saw dappling of the waking visual field multiple times, not to mention tunnel vision as a precursor to A&Ps and little mini cycles. 

Keep going!

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9/26/19 5:51 AM as a reply to curious.
I have only seen two skulls and they were in bad resolution and not part of any pattern. Also, they were pink. Not good for my image, haha.

I have seen geometric patterns made out of stars before, mostly flat patterns but not exclusively, always in fourth jhana. This form of curving was new to me with regard to star-based patterns, but I once (in review) saw a version of the flower of life as a moving thoroid. I found a similar image on the internet afterwards but had never seen it before. Earlier when the star-based patterns have been none-flat, they have been sort of clustered on different distances, as in a pair of binoculars when looking at trees and birds far away.

I had the feeling that something had happened to my vision after those fruitions or whatever they were a few days ago. Something that made it possible to see both small details and larger patterns at the same time, or at least as close to each other in time that they compose an image together.

Are there more than one insight cycle to go through in order to get second path? I kind of have the feeling of having completed a new insight cycle but not having completed a new path.

Did the ground often move in wavelike shapes for you when you were in the middle paths?

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9/26/19 9:25 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I just spent two hours in a heavy but unsolid buzzing state beyond thoughts and with loud nada sound. I have no idea what that was supposed to be.

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9/26/19 10:39 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This discussion about visual stuff is fascinating to me. During my retreat last year, a whole bunch of weird visual things happened. I feel like there were certain transitions that occurred, which were marked by specific visual events. I don't know exactly what the transitions were, and I have various hypotheses floating around in my head. I am dying to share this and discuss it, but I don't want to hijack Linda's practice log, or lead anybody off the track by encouraging meaningless comparisons of subjective experience.

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9/26/19 10:49 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
spatial:
curious:

Note: For me, 72 hours continuous mindfulness of the four frames of reference (including during sleep) opened the door to third.

Could you describe more about what that experience was like? Also, do you mean continuous simultaneous mindfulness of the four frames of reference?

Hey Spatial. For me, mindfulness during sleep was a byproduct of intense meditation and mindfulness, rather than something directed. After a while I found that part of the brain was asleep, but another part was semi-awake and continuing to be mindful. So my awareness became contiunous even when asleep.

Mindfulness of the four frames of reference was not simultaneous. At first it was progressive - body, feeling, mind states, dharmas - steadily learning to perceive the five aggregates of clingining and the chain of dependent arising. Not all at once, but able to switch between them to notice anything that happens to arise. So you might be walking along absorbed in mindfulness of body through motion, when you see something that causes disgust - so then you are mindful of the feeling of disgust, as it arises and passes away.

Having established the ability to be mindful, the next step for me was to be continuously aware of the energetic feelings of the body, or of the fluxing nature of reality in the sphere of perceptions. At first I concentrated on rapid noting of the phenomena and their three chracteritics, but eventually I just becam absorbed in the construction of reality from the energetic flux. 

Your mileage may vary!

Malcolm

Very interesting, thank you!

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9/26/19 12:47 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
This discussion about visual stuff is fascinating to me. During my retreat last year, a whole bunch of weird visual things happened. I feel like there were certain transitions that occurred, which were marked by specific visual events. I don't know exactly what the transitions were, and I have various hypotheses floating around in my head. I am dying to share this and discuss it, but I don't want to hijack Linda's practice log, or lead anybody off the track by encouraging meaningless comparisons of subjective experience.



Oh, but please do! Sounds interesting!

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9/26/19 4:32 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
spatial:
This discussion about visual stuff is fascinating to me. During my retreat last year, a whole bunch of weird visual things happened. I feel like there were certain transitions that occurred, which were marked by specific visual events. I don't know exactly what the transitions were, and I have various hypotheses floating around in my head. I am dying to share this and discuss it, but I don't want to hijack Linda's practice log, or lead anybody off the track by encouraging meaningless comparisons of subjective experience.



Oh, but please do! Sounds interesting!

Alright, I wrote a long description, and I've posted it my practice log.

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9/27/19 9:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Following Shaila Catherine’s writing, I’m now trying to to deepen and stabilize first jhana. I want to be able to develop a nimitta that is stable enough to follow. I took an hour to just focus on one small point between the nose and the upper lip no matter what. When joy and happiness arose I let them permeate the breath at that small point. Sometimes there was light that seemed to signify the breath, but it wasn’t stable enough to follow so I didn’t. I did not move away from the breath. Sometimes a thought would arise but I did not engage with it. With a lower standard for first jhana, I was there, but the fact that a thought would sometimes arise and I could still hear sounds sometimes (such as my cats fighting next to me but also the traffic outside on one occasion) means that it wasn’t full absorption. I wasn’t able to follow a nimitta either. But it was heavenly. I regret that I booked a yoga class so that I had to interrupt the session, because it felt like I could do this for the rest of the day. There were lightness, waves of pleasantness that felt like they would almost lift me, showers of delight throughout the body over and over again (it was impossible not to notice that although it was outside the point of focus, so I guess that was a bit distracting), and calm happiness permeating my very being.

Leaving that state I feel vague unpleasantness. I’m feeling slightly low.

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9/27/19 5:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Amazing how just focusing on one tiny spot can make you high. How is that even possible?

I kept focusing on that point between the nose and the upper lip while walking to yoga class. Of course I had to widen the focus for safety reasons due to the traffic. While in this focus, the world was visually rocking up and down with every step. The brain didn’t compensate for the movement.

At yoga class, after reading Shaila Catherine’s description of it, it finally dawned on me exactly what feeling is sukha. It’s the one that makes me not want to ”get back into my body”, as the yoga teachers usually say, after resting in shavasana. That feeling! I have it so often that I didn’t realize it had a name. I never really knew how to describe it either. I guess I thought that’s just how meditation feels. When I describe the breath as smooth and silky, that’s when I have led the sukha into the breath. It’s not a very good description, but it was the closest one I could come up with. I guess it would be more accurate to say that the breath is saturated with sukha so that the mental wellbeing replaces the physical feelings of the breath.

At home I did close to two hours of shamatha on the breath. The evening is not as good for concentration as the afternoon for me. I still got high, but it was unstable.

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9/27/19 5:22 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Amazing how just focusing on one tiny spot can make you high. How is that even possible?

I don't know the full answer to that, but something I've noticed:

When you focus on one tiny spot, you need to tune your attention to a higher degree of sensitivity. This seems to open up awareness throughout the whole body. As a result, it seems like you automatically start using the body in a way that is mechanically more efficient, even just tiny things like breathing, balancing your head, or moving your eyes. I think this leads to a decrease in feelings of heaviness and being "not high".

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9/27/19 5:31 PM as a reply to spatial.
I guess. Interesting explanation. Thanks!

And people are paying lots of money for dangerous and illegal drugs to get similar feelings! So unnecessary!

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9/27/19 6:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I guess. Interesting explanation. Thanks!

And people are paying lots of money for dangerous and illegal drugs to get similar feelings! So unnecessary!


Often the motivation for going towards drugs, is not to get high, it's to run away from something, from an emptiness inside, from some dark emotions, from not feeling loved and etc. Getting high is a short lived byproduct, which will go away after sometime, and after that an addiction would be left, and the person doesn't have much choice, and would need the drug, to function in a way close to normal. And the substance would be an essential part of the person's life, something like going to bathroom, you don't have much choice about it, you do it to eliminate some pain and uncomfortable feelings.

This is a simplified version of the real thing.

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9/29/19 5:21 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
You are right, of course. That’s why it’s probably a good thing that jhanas aren’t available for such purposes. Any such hindrances make them unreachable.

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9/29/19 6:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Both concentration and clarity were poor yesterday. After hours of trying to get somewhere, I feel asleep while listening to an entire metta retreat with Bhante G. I needed to feel something wholesome, and it made me feel gratitude and reverence for a while.

I think my hormones are messed up, probably some pre-menopaus shit causing my hormonal cycles to go haywire, which seems to effect my nana cycling as well. My concentration skills are not strong enough to deal with that, so I guess I’ll just have to wait for conditions to improve. Meanwhile, I’m paving the way.

I did a guided body scan by Jon Kabat Zinn to wake up some clarity. It always does something when I’m out of touch with my body. I blanked out over and over again, with dullness or microsleep, but managed to go through the entire body. Towards the end there was suddenly a very brief jolt of fear that left heat in my solar plexus, and then there was clarity for a while. I think I moved on into misery after that.

I think I know what the clicks in my head are (not the beeps - they are an entirely different story). They occur as hearing opens up to the outside again after that has for some reason been turned off, which can happen for a number of reasons, gross dullness included.

This round in the dukkha nanas is seriously depressive shit. I’m already on antidepressants (chronically) so medications won’t help. It will pass, though, as it always does. Weird that it feels like it has been like this forever. I know that I had a great yoga class yesterday morning and felt wonderful. A&P of course. So, I guess this is where I’m at on the current path. Not as much ”in control” as I had hoped. Equanimity feels very far away right now. Then again, it always does when I have the pms from hell. It will pass.

Metta to all. May you be well.

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9/29/19 11:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did this guided metta meditation with Bhante Gunaratana: https://youtu.be/a0UUkLme5UE. It felt like mercy. I warmly recommend it for anyone who feels low. It does something that goes beyond the words. Hey, even my sick cat felt it. She came to listen with me and lay down on the ipad to feel every vibration of his voice. My nose has been swollen the last two days, but listening to this opened it up and made breathing so much easier. Thanks to Bhante G I was then able to do an hour of shamatha without getting dull. All jhanic factors were there except for the onepointedness. Given my condition today, I consider that a miracle. Now the nada sound is loud. Maybe clarity is coming back. I’m out of the mental hell hole, I think. I’ll send the link to Bhante G:s metta meditation to a friend who is heartbroken. Maybe it will help her feel better too. At least she is the kind of person who will appreciate the thought.

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10/1/19 2:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday I did metta. I was planning on doing shamatha on the breath afterwards but fell asleep instead.

This morning I did 1 h 45 minutes of shamatha on the breath. There seems to be some defense mechanism in play, because as soon as I’m getting somewhere, I either tense up, have distracting thoughts, get dreamy or have intense kriyas. There is light involved, but I’m not sure I can distinguish between the light associated with the breath and other kinds of light. I just know that some of it is associated with the breath but not all of it, and they blur into each other. There is probably a lack of onepointedness.

My mood is much better. There is a calm trust. I hear the nada sound and see visual flickerings. Fascinating how the visual attention goes about to cover an area selectively. I’m not fast enough to uncover the exact algorithm, but I can tell that there is one. Or several ones, depending on how narrow or wide one’s focus is.

My avoidance issue is trying to tempt me to distract myself from finishing my text manuscript, but the anxiety isn’t very strong today. I’ll go and get started with the work now. I see you, Mara!

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10/2/19 2:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday and today have been busy as I have a deadline and I’m late for it, but during relaxation before and after yoga classes, jhanic factors have been strong (after initial moments of noticing the activity of the mind as a chaos of waves). Yesterday I felt like there was a silky aura around my head, which was very pleasant. During the day today I have done micro-hits of seeing thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings. That was a relief, as my ongoing writing project makes my mind very entangled because of all the complex connections I need to transform into something linear. It surprises me how much joy comes from seeing thoughts as thoughts and feelings as feelings. It sounds so boring, but it isn’t. And after the showers of joy, it has a very calming effect.

Today there was also a meditation class at the yoga studio. We did some chanting and some pranayama: breathing out rapidly by way of drawing in our navels, with more space between the outbreaths than in fire breathing, and then breathing a couple of deep breaths, and then holding our breath while focusing steadily on the third eye. Then we did fire kasina (although the teacher called it something differently, and we were to see the flame in the third eye when we closed our eyes), which was considered a cleansing exercise. After that, we meditated by way of visualizing the candle flame in the third eye. At the end, we focused on the crown chakra. I could feel energetic activity there. Then some chanting again, and some talk about training in compassion, love and patience in daily life, one virtue at a time (for a week or something).

Now I mainly feel concentrated, happy and peaceful although I’m also aware that I may have to stay up all night to finish that text manuscript. The stress is there too, but it stays in the background and isn’t very strong.

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10/4/19 3:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m still doing my daily practice, but right now nothing new seems to be happening. My body is recovering from allergy vaccine shots.

May you be well.

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10/5/19 8:38 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m considering the possibility that I have been stuck in the early nanas for the last days. That would explain the weird tensions that I have had and the problems with the breath being messed up. And the clarity with loud nada sound etc is the 3C nana. This would also explain why I suddenly only have access to a light version of first jhana. But... Did I go through review? I’m not sure. I may have. There is also the possibility that this is still the first nanas working towards second path. I don’t know what to think. I’m pretty sure that I crossed the A&P several months ago. I guess that could have been the A&P of the previous path if I inclined myself back to that, I suppose, but I don’t know... Either I’m still working towards second path or I have started working towards third path. In case it is the latter, maybe I should resolve to get back to review before I cross the A&P. I had planned to stay longer in the second review and learn technical stuff rather than rushing into newbie territory again. Confusing!

I did 90 minutes of Vinyasa yoga today, then 40 minutes of fire kasina, mainly because I was freezing and felt that I needed more fire. The fire kasina was stuck in newbie territory. There was a red dot (small and not as detailed as I know it can be) and it got a halo and it turned dark and it vanished whereas the background remained and then there were purple swirls. The candle looked like it was swaying and the nada sound was loud. In the end there was a yellow dot with a red halo, but it didn’t last long. Then I lay down to do shamatha. I did that for almost 1 h 50 m and I only got into a very lite first jhana. That was after a long period of weird tensions and ridiculous difficulties in staying with the breath. I haven’t had such difficulties since the last time I was stuck in newbie territory. This feels very similar.

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10/5/19 6:24 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hm... I think maybe I did it. Resolving to go back to review did something. I could feel something change. Like reality was suddenly more open, less fixed. Then I got into jhana just from listening to a dharma talk. After that, I got a visitor so I didn’t get the opportunity to test some more - until now. I managed to get into first, second and third jhana despite needing to pee AND lying next to a man who not only snores but also throws himself almost wrecklessly in different directions while sleeping. That’s got to count for something. It was very light versions of jhanas, of course, but still. The last few days it has been difficult even with the best of conditions.

I have been wondering what resolving means more precisely, how one goes about to do it. It seems like it may be enough just to trust that it will happen. Okay, cool. I can do that. Daniel said that it was possible (generally speaking) and that it is easier before one has crossed the A&P, so I trusted that it would work. I think the trust made it work. So thankyou, Daniel!

So what changed? Except from the fact that I can suddenly focus, there is a different feel to things. There is a background feeling of unsolidness. Fluidity, sort of. And I feel in touch with things. And perceptions are smooth, silky.

Maybe I’m just suggesting myself into feeling all this, but in that case, at least it seems to grant me access to jhanas for a while.

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10/6/19 4:38 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yeah, it seems like it worked, because now I’m fairly certain that I had two cessations again. I think I’m going with the hypothesis that second path has been landed after all.

At a morning walk there was piti from being present to the beauty of the trees, and the piti led to sukkha.

Back at home I did a short pranayama exercise and then 40 minutes of fire kasina. The candle was dancing, and there was more action to the dot than yesterday. My nose did regular ticking sounds as I was watching the candle, probably from opening up the airways because my nose was running as well. The dot went through many transformations in color, with several layers of halos sometimes, but not so much in shape, and remained for longer periods, and when it finally faded away, the murk felt alive. The nada sound was loud. Sitting was easy. I didn’t care about my legs getting numb. That was partly due to equanimity, partly due to the fact that I have finally learned how to sit (firmly resting on the seat bones, or whatever they are called in English, rather than putting weight on the legs, and then letting the spine rise up from there).

Afterwards I lay down on my bed for an hour to just follow my breath. I was feeling unsolid. I could easily feel where the breath started, paused, started again, and ended, and I could feel that little twist that it makes both at the end of the inbreath and (in the opposite direction) at the end of the outbreath. Yet, I seemed to forget what I was doing. Some dreamlike scenes flashed by, and then there was a blip followed by a click and a whooshing of overwhelmingly loud nada sound as hearing came back. I started following the breath again. There were blisswaves, strong ones. Then there was another blip with another click and whooshing of overwhelmingly loud nada sound. Then even more unsolidness. I started following the breath again but felt that it was finished for this time. The unsolidness is still there. I think I’ll have a bathroom break, maybe start preparing some food, drink something, and then get back to meditating. I’ll dedicate this day to the darma.

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10/6/19 7:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sounds really good Linda. If indeed you're correct, congratulatons!

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10/6/19 8:02 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Oh, thankyou! I can’t be sure, of course, but as a working hypothesis it is currently helpful, because it helped me to resolve my(not)self back into a point where I can do the practice that I wish to do. That is, work on technical skills and precision with regard to nanas and jhanas.

It is so cool that an intention together with trust can change things so radically. I mean, I just wrote it here and thought ”Yeah, of course, that’s what will happen. I haven’t crossed the A&P yet so no problem” or something like that, and then, content with that decision, I cleaned up at home while listening to a dharma talk, took a bath, went grocery shopping (listening to another dharma talk), then lay down to finish listening while waiting for my guest to arrive, and suddenly I found myself in jhana again without trying. And I knew that once my guest was asleep, I would get into jhana again. I didn’t mind being interrupted by attending to my beloved guest, but I also didn’t mind that we would only meet for a short time, because then I would get back to meditating more intensely. So I was able to have a great time for a couple of hours and then pick up the meditation from where I left it and deepen it once he had left this morning. Suddenly it is so easy again! I’m deeply grateful to Daniel for a talk we had a few months ago, right after I had been stuck in the early nanas last time. He talked about resolving to get back into review and made it sound so... possible.

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10/6/19 8:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Listening to Leigh Brasington at the SF Dharma Collective youtube channel. Finally someone gives me a name for that weird state where I sometimes end up when I am concentrated but need to recover. It has sort of a jhanic feel to it while it is also not focused on anything (not even on nothing), but it is different from the eighth jhana, so concentration seems like the wrong word for it. It is a fully conscious oblivion. Totally useless for anything but rest and purification, as far as I can tell, but effective for those purposes. Like being dreamlessly asleep although one is conscious of the state. Nineth jhana! Apparently the Buddha used to go there to recover/rest from his back pain. At least I’m in good company! I wonder if this is the state aimed at in restorative yoga (which is developed for recovery in people who are chronically ill and exhausted).

Also, the clicking sound in coming out from an unknowing event (without a subsequent powering up of the reality) was described. Apparently that is how auditorily oriented persons tend to experience the ”winking out” that Leigh Brasington says is common in the 6th jhana. Okay then! I think I’m mainly kinesthetic but that would be irrelevant to the formless realms, I guess, and I’m certainly more auditory than visual.

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10/6/19 11:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did an hour of shamatha during which I was able to detect the exact moments of transfers from first to second jhana and from second to third jhana. It was a very clear experience but I don’t know how to put it into words. It was sort of a letting go that resulted in a gradual but marked descending while at the same time also an increased sense of weightlessness, and I think that neurotransmitters were being released, different ones in the different transitions. I’m talking specifically about the shifts now, not the charachteristics of the jhanas.

After that, things didn’t follow the arch. Instead of fourth jhana arising, there were energetic experiences at the back of my head and the top of my head. I tried to resolve to get into fourth jhana instead, and I used Leigh Brasington’s description of its quality for that purpose (quiet stillness), which turned out to be a bad idea since it doesn’t have the right connotations for me. I had one of those winking outs and then I may have been in that nineth jhana of conscious oblivion. That’s quiet and still, allright. There is nothing there. I think the quality of chrystal clarity is more important for my navigation if I want to resolve to get into fourth jhana.

Trying to navigate and getting lost took energy. I need to build it back up again.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/6/19 1:43 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Metta seems to rather reliably build up the energy again, but I need help with it. I need to listen to somebody saying things that make ”me” feel it. Cultivating the feeling from scratch is still too abstract for me. Going through the ritual of gradually including more and more beings requires too much from this brain’s poor executive functioning. Luckily there are many metta recordings available on youtube. This time I listened to Ayya Khema. It was a very short recording but it did the trick. It took me all the way to third jhana. It seems to always start with purple swirls. Those are not nimittas, but they seem to be a sign of relaxation. Early in my practice I would follow them with my gaze and sort of hypnotize myself, but that only made me forget what I was doing. Not in the good letting go way, but as in poor mindfulness with regard to what is happening and how much concentration and clarity there is. Nowadays I just let them swirl as much as they like in the background. I don’t focus on anything visually. I let the eyes relax. That way, the swirls don’t take away my focus.

Then I tried to focus on the qualities that would lead me into fourth jhana. That didn’t work very well. I blame nature, because it is calling (I shouldn’t have had both tea and juice in my break). I did notice, however, that the nada sound became louder. That’s when it dawned on me: maybe the nada sound is my nimitta? I’m not a visual person, and kinesthetic impressions aren’t really the way to go into fourth jhana as one is supposed to let go of any physical sensations. But the sound is always with me in the jhanas. I do recall merging with the sound. So I focused on the sound and tried to merge with it. I could feel that it made things happen, but it was counteracted both by the call from nature (aversion) and by my excitement about the discovery (cravings).

All this time I have been watching out for a visual sign, and sometimes seen embryos of it, but the auditory sign was there all along. I wonder how many times I have mentioned it in my log. I know I have written ”the nada sound was/is loud” many many times.

When I think back to all the times I have been in fourth jhana, I cannot recall one single time when the sound hasn’t been a prominent, yet taken-for-granted quality of it. The sound of silence. Or perhaps more accurately, the sound of stillness. Or the sound that makes stillness vital, crisp and chrystal clear.

This endeavor took about an hour.

Edited to add:
If the nada sound is my nimitta, I have Michael Taft to thank (even more than I already realized) for stumbling over the fourth jhana in the first place. He thought it was important for me to investigate other modes than just physical sensations, which was the easiest part for me. He wanted me to investigate self and impermanence in inner visuals and audio. I found that very difficult at first. The more I focused on it, the louder this sound was. I thought it would suffice as auditory impermanence since it is after all a vibrating sound (they all are, of course, but in this sound the vibration is detectable). So I focused on it. And I found that it worked. I had no idea that I was doing shamatha. I thought I was investigating impermanence. I guess I did a bit of both. It wasn’t the sound that directly led to SE, but trying to follow the bouncing sensations of the ”subjective point” (my kinesthetic version of watching the watcher). So it turned out that for me kinesthetics was crucial in getting to SE after all (and by that time Michael had changed the instructions to include all senses; he just wanted me to get some balance, I guess, and I’m thankful for that), but I never would have done that investigation that way if it weren’t for the clarity of having been in fourth jhana.

I always had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t really the impermanence of the sound that was in focus. I considered that a flaw. Still, I found it helpful to focus on the sound. I just didn’t know why. My intuition said that I should go with it anyway, and so I did. And then I just intuitively took up the investigation after fourth jhana had been firmly established, which made the jhana gradually fade of course. The latter is why I remember having thoughts and physical sensations ”in fourth jhana”: the jhana had already started to fade, as I had switched back to Vipassana, but the concentration was still high. That makes sense. It straightens out many question marks.

Now that I know (think I know) what took me into fourth jhana, maybe it will be more accessible for me. It also helps me in teasing out what is what in my practice. Yay!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/6/19 4:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oups. In merging with that vibrating sound, I followed it into cessation in the space between the sound waves, or something like that. Twice. They seem to come in pairs nowadays, the cessations. It went so fast that I don’t know if I there ever was a moment of absorption before the blip long enough to call a jhana.

I cultivated the sound through metta. I listened to a dharma talk on absorption by Ayya Khema and a guided metta meditation that ended the talk. It took me to first, second and third jhana. Then I put in an effort to get out of jhana to take off the headphones so that I could hear the nada sound the way I’m used to hear it. I had prepared mentally for that timeframe. Then I cultivated the feeling again, which made the sound stronger. I listened intensely to the sound. I noticed that I can listen to it in different ways. One way makes the sound split into different frequencies. I guess that was the kind of listening geared towards insight. The other way first made the sound intense, almost painfully intense, but then it sort of spread to other domains and partially became light, which was utterly fascinating and definitely something one could get aborbed into. But then it also made me curious, so I couldn’t help but investigating its impermanence as closely as I could. I had to see if the gaps in the light were the same as the gaps in the sound. I guess they were.

Coming back manifested as before. A click immediately followed by overwhelmingly loud nada sound, sort of like the feedback sound of bringing a microphone too close to a loudspeaker, although it doesn’t hurt the ears since those are not at all involved in this hearing. The first time around I was so surprised that I just kept going. Then it happened again, not long after the first one. It manifested the same way. Or maybe the first one was less overwhelming and the second one was intense like feedback. Yeah, I think so. Then it sank in what had happened and I observed the aftermaths. There was very apparent impermanence in audio, vision and kinesthetics for a long time. It took time for the vision to stabilize enough for me to read properly.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/6/19 4:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Now the entire world is flickering in all the senses but I still can’t tell for sure if that’s the pathway to fourth jhana.

It is close to midnight but I don’t feel sleepy after all this meditation. I’m still curious. Maybe I should watch some netflix or play a stupid game on my ipad to make the mind dull enough to sleep. I hear sleep is good for you. I don’t want to go all extatic and then have to deal with sleep deprivation tomorrow.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/6/19 8:01 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I am trying to sleep, but can’t help meditating while waiting to fall asleep. I just realized: those weird tensions that feel like someone is tearing my sense organs and my face apart, there is no process entity that does this for some symbolic reason, haha. It happens because that is where I put my attention. The attention makes those parts stand out because pressure sensations are amplified there, from the attention. The sense of movement is because attention moves (or rather arises and passes away at different points). It is exactly the same thing as what happens in the two finger tips touching exercise. Nothing more magickal or less magickal than that. The phenomena I investigate exist because I investigate them. I feel like I’m in one of those movies where people are trying to change the present and the future by way of going back to the past to change some critical event, and then in the end it turns out that changing that thing was the very action that caused the catastrophy in the first place. But I guess the one thing doesn’t preclude the other. In a way there was a process going on that aimed at shredding my(not)self apart and turn my senses inside out. There’s just that small detail about reverse causality.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/6/19 8:22 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I am trying to sleep, but can’t help meditating while waiting to fall asleep. I just realized: those weird tensions that feel like someone is tearing my sense organs and my face apart, there is no process entity that does this for some symbolic reason, haha. It happens because that is where I put my attention. The attention makes those parts stand out because pressure sensations are amplified there, from the attention. The sense of movement is because attention moves (or rather arises and passes away at different points). It is exactly the same thing as what happens in the two finger tips touching exercise. Nothing more magickal or less magickal than that. The phenomena I investigate exist because I investigate them. I feel like I’m in one of those movies where people are trying to change the present and the future by way of going back to the past to change some critical event, and then in the end it turns out that changing that thing was the very action that caused the catastrophy in the first place. But I guess the one thing doesn’t preclude the other. In a way there was a process going on that aimed at shredding my(not)self apart and turn my senses inside out. There’s just that small detail about reverse causality.



Completely unknowingly, I gave myself the clues that led to stream entry. Ironically, this makes reality reductionist and magickal at the same time, but hey, so does quantum physics.

Oh yay, Dirk Gently’s holistic detective agency is really a documentary.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 2:32 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I’m really on to something (yes, yes, I realize the irony of talking about it as an achievement, but one has to start somewhere and if somebody who’s brain is wired similarly to mine happens to read this, perhaps a cookbook recipe could come in handy).

The sound of stillness really seems to be a valid nimitta. I believe it is talked about in some old texts too, although I have no idea which ones or how trustworthy they are. Some people call it the nada sound. Others talk about it as inner sound and pairs it up with inner light. It sounds pretty much as a chorus of crickets, or perhaps as white noice, but it doesn’t come through any sense organ. The inner light doesn’t come through any sense organ either. They both emmanate from the mind. I guess how they manifest is a matter of interpretation, and most people seem to be visual. I’m not. Anyway, I’m testing it out as a working hypothesis, and so far it seems promising. It turns out that it makes things happen AND with a certain critical degree of absorption, it doesn’t seem to matter what sensory mode one starts out with as they all seem to merge into one. I really had the sense that the sound was white light, and the detectable vibrations in the sounds seemed to correlate with fluctuations in the light. They were the same.

I started with listening to a short (and abruptly ending) metta (or at least some of the Brahma Viharas) recording with Ayya Khema, on forgivness. It seems to work very well for me right now. As it ended so abruptly, I stopped to check whether something had happened to my ipad, but it really does end mid sentence. That took me out of my light jhana, but I could recall the feeling and get back in quickly. For a very short while I focused on the breathing to strengthen my access concentration a bit. Then I focused on pleasant feelings parallelly to the breath, then entirely on pleasant feelings. I’m now once again trying out the hypothesis that a narrow focus is not necessary for jhanas, only for some jhanas (which according to Leigh Brasington are not the ones that the Buddha talked about; I wouldn’t know, but regardless, it seems more helpful right now to go with the jhanas that I can actually access). There were plenty of pleasant feelings to focus on, throughout my body.

In the beginning it was rather buzzy (albeit in a gentle way) together with a sense of floating and also a sweet silky wellbeing (first jhana). This time I knew that the buzzing wasn’t something independent but responding to intentions. Of course, intentions are dependent, too, but they still work. So I played my part in the Dirk Gently investigation and assumed agency over my intentions for practical purposes. I felt that I could make the piti do whatever I wanted, but I didn’t have time to play around, so I just resolved for it to calm down to stillness, and so it did.

First it calmed down the piti and put the sukha in the foreground (second jhana). There I focused on that sweet feeling of just relaxing and letting go. I had no inclination whatsoever to move any body parts or do anything else, and that was a great relief. I enjoyed the peace that comes from that, which for me is a bodily sensation although it has nothing to do with the touch sense. It makes the body as such fall more and more into the background, but apart from the remaining piti, there is also still a sense of having access to some energy field, and I enjoy feeling that there is a balanced flow there, if that makes sense. This is not piti/kundalini. In energy terms, maybe it is more like prana. I don’t know. I know too little about these systems. Maybe it is just a sense of presence. Please bear in mind that I make sense of the world in kinesthetic terms. Much of my conceptualization is based on the sense of touch. I often ”visualize” things kinesthetically. Some piti remained too, but the distinction is important.

I cultivated sukha for a while, and the remaining piti naturally subsided. At the same time I shifted my focus more and more to the nada sound. According to Leigh Brasington, it doesn’t seem that important what object of meditation one uses as key once the key is used anyway, so I figured I could just as well use different keys depending on what worked for the current purpose, as long as I didn’t hesitate or doubt. I think timing is essential if one is to shift objects like this. Intuition has been helpful so far, so even if I want to develop the technical skills for the purpose of reliability, there is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water. When I shifted my focus to the sound, some vague visuals appeared. I’m synesthetic and often find that other senses open the door to visual thinking for me. The vague visuals had to do with movement. It looked like I was moving in space, away from something. Somewhere around here, there was an unknowing event. I don’t know if there was any gap in experience, but there was a subtle sense of coming back and a very brief sound that had some resemblence to what usually arises after my cessations. If it was a cessation, it was probably a very brief one and one that involved a minimal amount of subminds.

Anyway, there was a clear sense of deepening. During the movement there was also a sense of increasing pressure, as if sinking down to the bottom of a pool (third jhana). I can see why that description is so often used. The sense of pressure seemed to correlate with the sensations from my eyes relaxing more and more and thereby sort of a sinking of the eye bulbs into their cavities, as if they were moving further back into my head. (Do they really do that when they are relaxed? If so, why?) I probably rushed things a little too much here. I don’t recall taking time to build up the equanimity. I should probably learn to do that. I think I was too attached to the remaining sukha. It had been a fairly deep third jhana (for being a light version). I felt more and more parts of my body fall away: the lips, the hands, the feet, most of the face, the arms, parts of the legs and torso. I loved that. That should have been a cue for building up more equanimity before I proceeded, but I wasn’t exactly thinking much. I probably need to resolve that beforehand, so that the set intensions can guide me when I no longer have a sense of choosing.

Instead of building up the quality of equanimity, I went all in with regard to the sound, and first it led to another phase of movement, further down, with increased pressure and extremely relaxed eyes. Then - lo end behold - first there was a bright disk, and then everything turned white! It really did. But I wasn’t equanimous enough. I reacted with excitement, which made it go away. I tried to merge with the sound again. It did make things brighter, but not white. White sparks, dots and disks appeared and disappeared. I was approaching fourth jhana, but I wasn’t there. I wasn’t equanimous enough. This eventually resulted in some tensions from trying too much and some piti coming back, and of course I came out of jhana. It was very educational. Apparently I have a tendency (while lying down) to sometimes curve my back and raise my chest up as if I’m aiming at a halfbridge pose - one of the asanas that I like the least in yoga. No wonder I have a hard time getting into jhanas when I do that. I probably look like I’m trying out for a part in a rip-off of The Exorcist. Or maybe it’s just a very subtle movement. I hope so.

The metta recording took about ten minutes. The rest of the meditation took slightly more than an hour. Then it was time for yoga class (Vinyasa, 75 minutes - great class today).

Right now I believe my energies are as perfectly balanced as they have ever been. It is very temporary, of course. It wasn’t long ago that I was very low, and yesterday I was pretty hyper. Tomorrow... Who knows? But at this very moment I’m enjoying this high but calm energy, lightness, fulfillment (which has very little to do with outer circumstances; those are actually challenging in several ways that are way beyond the scope of this forum), and whatever this is. The best equanimity I have ever experienced. You are very welcome to remind me of this next time I seem to have lost faith. This kind of equilibrium is possible.

In daily life I’m gradually shifting my sources for wellbeing both to more wholesome stuff and stuff that is better for the world than my previous sources of (what I mistook for) wellbeing. For instance, I used to buy myself flowers sometimes because it made me happy. Not very expensive ones, but still... they didn’t last long and I hear that conditions are often really bad for the people who grow some of the flowers (I didn’t realize that until recently). Now I rather give the money to homeless people who sit outside the shop. Not just out of bad conscience, as before, but I have noticed that it makes me many times more happy to give the money to someone who needs it more than I do than to spend it on something that is so unnecessary as flowers on the table. If I’m in the mood for eating something that I know will give me an allergic reaction, I can make myself happy by way of deciding to help someone with those money instead, and then I can let go of the craving (unless I have the pms from hell - that happens) because it is weaker than the happiness in knowing that somebody in need can eat a decent meal that day. I know that these examples are very banal and don’t make much difference in the world, but the difference is in me. I crave less for myself. I cling less. This doesn’t make me a better person per se, of course, but it makes it easier for me to choose actions that are beneficial for others. That is one of the main things I was hoping for. I have very poor executive functioning and some issues with being impulsive, so if the good choices are too difficult, I’m not capable of making that many of them, but I would like to. This proves to me that I’m on the right path. Not that I doubted - I actually didn’t - but I definitely don’t mind tangible results. More results in that direction would be wonderful. These are very small steps to a less self-centered life, but wow, they are so liberating! It is such a relief that this is possible. That I can actually change my wiring for the better by way of just letting go. Just like that. Worrying less about me and mine has nothing to do with guilt and shame and much more to do with just finding it natural to put things into proportions.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 5:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

The sense of pressure seemed to correlate with the sensations from my eyes relaxing more and more and thereby sort of a sinking of the eye bulbs into their cavities, as if they were moving further back into my head.

I went back in and realized that it also has to do with the ears shutting themselves to the world more and more.

I felt more and more parts of my body fall away: the lips, the hands, the feet, most of the face, the arms, parts of the legs and torso.

I forgot to mention the tounge. I specifically noticed the tongue fall away. That was cool.

I listened to a guided meditation by Bhante Gunaratana on the Brahmaviharas. In the very beginning I was distracted, but soon I was drawn in. The recording was about 30 minutes long, I think. By that time I was in third jhana. Parts of my body had fallen away and equanimity was getting strong. It was already bright. As the recording ended, the nada sound was loud. It felt natural to shift focus to that directly. It took me further down. I felt the eye bulbs move back into their cavities and the ears shut more and more. The nada sound transformed more and more into light. It was white and suddenly completely silent and still and chrystal clear. There were a number of unknowing events here. I’m tempted to say that they were fruitions, but they were so many and so close to each other. I don’t know if that is plausible. After each of them, the sound came back overwhelmingly strong, but it was soon silent again. The last of them felt like a kickstart. There was a brief fear respons. I think I even made a sound because I was so surprised.

The sequence of multiple unknowing events kind of reminded of being in delivery with very little pause inbetween the labor pushes, but with no pain. It was automatic, no sense of being in control whatsoever. During labor it is impossible to breath, but here it was either impossible to experience or the experience was so minimal that it stood out as a gap in comparison. It also reminded of multiple orgasms, but with total absence of craving and completely equanimous rather than lusting. I’m not sure that there really were gaps. Something formless is also possible.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 7:08 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It keeps happening as I try to sleep. The nada sound draws me in and the world gradually disappears (kind of like like when one breaths in too much nitrous oxide during labor) and then I blank out and come back abruptly. One of these instances, my whole body jumped as I came back. It was as if somebody had brought me back with an electric shock. There are no bliss waves. I’m thinking that the unknowing events of today may very well have been dips into something formless. It seems likely that the nada sound is such a strong jhanic trigger for me that it can draw me into a more refined jhana before the mind has been adequately prepared for the shift. Thus I get abruptly spitted out. Ayya Khema warns that one shall not focus on the trigger too soon, because that will make the jhana collapse. I need to learn to resist the pull into next jhana.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 7:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It keeps happening as I try to sleep. The nada sound draws me in and the world gradually disappears (kind of like like when one breaths in too much nitrous oxide during labor) and then I blank out and come back abruptly. One of these instances, my whole body jumped as I came back. It was as if somebody had brought me back with an electric shock. There are no bliss waves. I’m thinking that the unknowing events of today may very well have been dips into something formless. It seems likely that the nada sound is such a strong jhanic trigger for me that it can draw me into a more refined jhana before the mind has been adequately prepared for the shift. Thus I get abruptly spitted out. Ayya Khema warns that one shall not focus on the trigger too soon, because that will make the jhana collapse. I need to learn to resist the pull into next jhana.


However, the suffering door could perhaps also be a possibility. It did have something unsettling and creepy about it, and it was drawn out and probably fitted the description of death-like, and it really felt as if the world was taken away. Uh, I don’t know. Something to investigate further.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 10:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It keeps happening as I try to sleep. The nada sound draws me in and the world gradually disappears (kind of like like when one breaths in too much nitrous oxide during labor) and then I blank out and come back abruptly. One of these instances, my whole body jumped as I came back. It was as if somebody had brought me back with an electric shock. There are no bliss waves. I’m thinking that the unknowing events of today may very well have been dips into something formless. It seems likely that the nada sound is such a strong jhanic trigger for me that it can draw me into a more refined jhana before the mind has been adequately prepared for the shift. Thus I get abruptly spitted out. Ayya Khema warns that one shall not focus on the trigger too soon, because that will make the jhana collapse. I need to learn to resist the pull into next jhana.


However, the suffering door could perhaps also be a possibility. It did have something unsettling and creepy about it, and it was drawn out and probably fitted the description of death-like, and it really felt as if the world was taken away. Uh, I don’t know. Something to investigate further.


Uhm... It happened again, with a few near misses and two gaps. What the... After my last post I solved a jigsaw puzzle on my ipad trying to get sleepy. Then I was hungry so I made some popcorn and watched an episode of a Turkish netflix series. Then I lay down to sleep, but as soon as I closed my eyes and relaxed, I was drawn in again. As it happened, a scene flashed by involving ripping out my heart (which for some reason felt completely normal). Then I remembered that a similar scene had flashed by earlier as well. I didn’t think much about it at the time because I had been watching an episode of a series with vampires (or upirs) earlier. Thinking about recognizing this put me in analyzing mode so I was drawn out again. But then as I relaxed again, I was drawn in anew. It just wasn’t possible to relax without being drawn in. I let it happen. It felt like it happened in slow motion. One of the times I was drawn in, there was another scene (something less bloody) but I can’t remember it. Observing that there was a scene interrupted the process temporarily, but then I was drawn in the next time I relaxed (again in slow motion). Now the nada sound is really loud again. It is five o’clock in the morning and I haven’t had any sleep yet. Why do these things insist on happening when I should be sleeping? Yeah, I know why, of course. Because that’s when I relax enough. But I need to go to work this morning, and I’m tired now.

I’m going to assume that these events are fruitions through the suffering door now. Cool.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/7/19 10:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, and I distinctly noticed gasping for air when coming back one of the times, as if I had been holding my breath for a while. I surely did not do that while being conscious.

(By the way, I forget to mention with regard to moving from third to fourth jhana earlier that before the white disc appeared, black and white statics dots organized themselves into symmetric patterns.)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/8/19 3:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Weirdly enough, this very busy and hectic day has felt just fine despite severe sleep deprivation. I have been equanimous and pretty efficient and content and managed to do more than I had originally planned. My tics have very suddenly diminished (they will probably come back again, like they have before, as they are hardwired). Making priorities didn’t feel draining today like it usually does.

I haven’t had time to meditate yet, but I figure that I covered it early in the morning, in case I fall asleep now that I finally have time to do it. The nada sound is loud as soon as I give it attention. There has been a background sukha throughout the day.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/8/19 10:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It keeps happening as I try to sleep. The nada sound draws me in and the world gradually disappears (kind of like like when one breaths in too much nitrous oxide during labor) and then I blank out and come back abruptly. One of these instances, my whole body jumped as I came back. It was as if somebody had brought me back with an electric shock. There are no bliss waves. I’m thinking that the unknowing events of today may very well have been dips into something formless. It seems likely that the nada sound is such a strong jhanic trigger for me that it can draw me into a more refined jhana before the mind has been adequately prepared for the shift. Thus I get abruptly spitted out. Ayya Khema warns that one shall not focus on the trigger too soon, because that will make the jhana collapse. I need to learn to resist the pull into next jhana.


If you are willing to share, about how long does it take you to move through the first four jhanas, if you look at the transitions relative to each other? Personally I've found that these days I move through the first three with relative ease and then do sort of a relatively slower slide into 4th, so that a larger portion of my sitting time is spent in the 3-4 transitional space. There is often some crossing back and forth between 3-4 that is not present with the other transitions too. On the other hand, I used to find that I needed to spend a lot of time in the 1st and 2nd jhanas to fuel any further progress but this doesn't seem necessary any more. It's more like the other transition times into the first three jhanas have decreased drastically while the transition to 4 has decreased less drastically. I wonder if this is what Ayya Khema is talking about?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/9/19 12:53 AM as a reply to Milo.
I think what Ayya Khema meant was that concentration needs to be strong enough and the right intention needs to be there before doing the transition. It seems reasonable that with practice and the right conditions that takes less time.

I recognize myself very well in what you describe, although it is clear that you are ahead of me. I believe that I used to get back into first and second to fuel up quite often (without knowing that was what I was doing, as my precision was very poor with regard to the jhanas - after all, my main focus was on vipassana), but now I don’t think I do that as much. I remember there being much more piti in my practice before compared to now. Now, on the other hand, there seems to be a great distance between third and fourth and a very gradual difference between them. I often find myself somewhere inbetween. My precision with regard to fourth still needs a lot of practice. I don’t have reliable access. I’m hoping that finding my trigger (the nada sound) will help with that.

Would you say that Ayya Khema, Leigh Brasington, Thanissaro Bhikku and Doug Kerr (if I remember his name correctly) teach a similar approach to shamatha? So far I find that their teachings are compatible whereas they are often contradicted by others. I believe Culadasa and Kenneth Folk fit in pretty well too, but I don’t know the teachings of everyone well enough to be sure. I’m reading Shaila Catherine and that’s quite a different story in which one needs to fully absorbe with the nimitta to reach first jhana. I believe Bhante Gunaratana shares that approach.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/9/19 1:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I wonder what’s up with the crackles as from static electricity that I often experience right outside my physical body lately, especially around my head.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/9/19 2:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today after work I had a yoga technique class, then a class in Ashtanga Yoga, and then a meditation class. I also got to learn how to use a neti pot, which was very cool (I’ll try to make it a regular routine). Felt like a mini-retreat. I have never been in better shape than right now, both physically and mentally. It is more than I have expected from life. It is such a mercy. I have finally got a real grip on the ujjayi breathing too. It really does give the body lots of energy. I wish they taught that in physical education at school.

In the meditation class we did some chanting, did some pranayama, had the neti pot demonstration (I got to try it out, and wow, it was actually very did some more pranayama, meditated, and did some chanting again. Although the meditation was far too short, it was the first time I climbed the jhanic arch while sitting up. I felt that it was close to a cessation too, but that last letting go was lacking. (I was close to cessations in yoga class too. I’m starting to get a feel for how to get there. It’s all about just letting it happen. Free falling. Even just relaxing the gaze with eyes open can make it happen.) Body parts fell away almost immediately. The nada sound was loud, and there was white centered light (most of the time like a little cloud, but sometimes a more concentrated spark). Today I realized that when they talk about focusing the drishti (gaze) on the third eye, they actually mean relaxing one’s eyes completely straight forward. Why don’t they just say so?

Today I printed out my practice logs. I wasn’t aware of how much text it is. I’m so grateful for the format of this forum, because printing out the entire log was very easy. No need to print out one post at a time. Thankyou!!! Downloading the log was also very easy. Yay!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/10/19 2:20 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’ve been reflecting some more on the moments leading up to cessations, at least some of them. It seems like the visual field gets wobbly. The murk usually looks a lot like images of space, but during these moments, space gets wavy, as if it was bent and gently shaken. It seems to be the same fenomenon that sometimes makes the ground dissolve into large waves when the mind is still enough and the gaze relaxed. I have thought of this as related to jhanas, but maybe it is more accurate to think of it as just letting go of the dual reality. Maybe it can lead to cessations if met with total equanimity and awareness. I believe so.

I used the neti pot this morning, but it didn’t go as well as yesterday. I think I put too much salt in the lukewarm water at first, because it burned just like we were told that it would with too much salt. Also, it felt like I was choking. Maybe it was too cold. It was very unpleasant, and afterwards I felt that smell that usually follows choking on water. I only did one nostril (I figured that at least it run out through the other one anyway) and did not empty the pot. I’ll try again tomorrow. I think it had some positive effect despite these limitations.

I feel such a calm. Peace.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/10/19 8:27 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The calm and peace permeated the working hours before lunch, and during lunch I was doing some correspondence and felt more equanimous than ever. I also talked to a former colleague (still a colleague, sort of, but now we belong to different divisions) whom I have worked close to and consider a dear friend, and she thought I look radiant nowadays. Then, just like that, I was knocked out from equanimity by a letter (email). A wonderful letter from someone dear to me. Someone I haven’t actually met and probably never will meet but have come close to in our correspondence. Weird how positive feelings can be so unsettling compared to peace and equanimity. The dukka in strong positive feelings became very obvious. It was a shock to my system, physically apparent (I got sick). An hour has passed since I read the letter but I’m still shaking. Okay, I do realize that I have a crush on the guy, apart from loving him as a friend which I also do, but he is hardly the only person in the world I have a crush on. In fact, I lost count a long time ago. But not all crushes are like that. Despite what it might seem like for readers of this log, I am a very stable person. Hm, selfing noted. And actually, there is no such constant me. Sure, I could tell a narrative of how I always stand firm on the ground and bounce back to a balance point that is very sane, rational and constructive, bordering on utterly boring. I could just as easily tell a narrative of what a turbulent life I have led and how I tend to attract chaos. Both stories are equally true and equally untrue. Weird how some behavioral patterns sometimes team up and take on the role as the true I, and how at another time a different set of patterns team up to present a totally different true I. Okay, that actually helped. Thankyou, log!

Okay, so now I’m curious as to what makes some behavioral patterns team up so strongly and so suddenly everytime I receive a letter from this guy, even in the deepest equanimous state I had ever experienced. That is definitely worth investigating. Perhaps I could consider it a trigger practice. A positive trigger, but a trigger nonetheless. I hope I will be able to deal with it wisely because this friend is a keeper.

Paradoxically, this is exactly the sort of reflections we share in our letters. His reflections usually help me to develop my outlook on the world and on life because he adds nuances and perspectives that I couldn’t have foreseen in the interaction or come up with on my own (one of the reasons he is a keeper). Hm, maybe that is also why he knocks me out of equanmity like that. It is actually a rare quality. People in general are rather predictable (it’s a horrible thing to say, I know). I often know exactly what to expect. That enables a feeling of control. I have a complicated relationship to control that involves both attraction and aversion. I often find it draining and dissatisfactory that so much social interaction is predictable (although it also often amuses me, and it can be a source of safety). I tend to cherish the surprises. Yet, uncharted territory can scare the shit out of me (while also fascinating me). Wow, these are excellent leads with regard to my practice! I need to investigate the sense of control with regard to social interaction and the selfing that it is associated with.

Still somewhat shaken but I’ll be fine. I don’t feel like I’m a helpless victim of feelings that just sweap me away anymore. I don’t even feel like an I. This reaction did challenge recent progress, but when investigated, it illustrates the three C:s very clearly. If I ever were to doubt them, I could look at this and it would prove them to me beyond doubt.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 2:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I think what Ayya Khema meant was that concentration needs to be strong enough and the right intention needs to be there before doing the transition. It seems reasonable that with practice and the right conditions that takes less time.

I recognize myself very well in what you describe, although it is clear that you are ahead of me. I believe that I used to get back into first and second to fuel up quite often (without knowing that was what I was doing, as my precision was very poor with regard to the jhanas - after all, my main focus was on vipassana), but now I don’t think I do that as much. I remember there being much more piti in my practice before compared to now. Now, on the other hand, there seems to be a great distance between third and fourth and a very gradual difference between them. I often find myself somewhere inbetween. My precision with regard to fourth still needs a lot of practice. I don’t have reliable access. I’m hoping that finding my trigger (the nada sound) will help with that.

Would you say that Ayya Khema, Leigh Brasington, Thanissaro Bhikku and Doug Kerr (if I remember his name correctly) teach a similar approach to shamatha? So far I find that their teachings are compatible whereas they are often contradicted by others. I believe Culadasa and Kenneth Folk fit in pretty well too, but I don’t know the teachings of everyone well enough to be sure. I’m reading Shaila Catherine and that’s quite a different story in which one needs to fully absorbe with the nimitta to reach first jhana. I believe Bhante Gunaratana shares that approach.


Well, Ayya Khema was Leigh B's teacher so they definitely share some similarities : )

I'm not sure about the others.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 2:41 AM as a reply to Milo.
Also I generally class jhana teachers into light/sutta style (Leigh B., etc.) that tend to emphasize tactile jhana factors as handles for moving between absorptive states and combine those states with simultaneous wisdom practice, and heavy/commentary style (Ajahn Brahm, etc) that tend go emphasize visual nimitta and heavily hypnagogic jhana that is then exited and used as preparation for non jhanic wisdom practices. Either style seems to be a good tool.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 4:46 AM as a reply to Milo.
Makes sense. I had noticed that Ajahn Brahm was in the same hardcore category as Shaila Catherine and Bhante Gunaratana. I agree that both kinds of practices seem to be good tools. It was just confusing in the beginning before I learned to distinguish between those two categories. Now it all makes sense, and I can even pragmatically make use of some advice from the more hardcore category in my light jhana practice to enhance concentration without getting all confused. For now I’ll focus mainly on the light jhanas. I don’t quite agree about something you said, though. I have found that the wisdom practice isn’t as simultaneous as I used to think it was. I have noticed that the investigation takes me out from the absorbed state, to the threshold of it. I need to make that distinction, because that makes it so much easier to compare qualities between the different jhanas. I need that comparison right now, as I’m learning to navigate.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 5:03 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday I did a session of hatha yoga and then went to a class of restorative yoga but stayed in shavasana almost all the time in order not to interrupt my meditation. However, I found that it wasn’t so good for my back, so I had to lay down on the side instead. They had a shortage of good yoga mats due to a special event, so it was pretty much like lying on the floor, and doing that for 90 minutes isn’t ideal, I guess. Thus, the quality of the meditation wasn’t great. I was tranquil enough not to be disturbed by loud instructions and people’s movements, but the clarity and bliss were lacking, and I wasn’t clever enough to switch into vipassana. Back home I did a guided meditation by Michael Taft, his latest at SF Dharma Collective. I think this was the first time I got the deep belly breathing just right. I did a ujjayi version of it, now that it finally comes natural to me, and it brought a lot of energy and relaxation. With the ujjayi version, it also made sense to make the outbreath longer. There were enough oxygene and energy, so the long outbreath didn’t cause dullness. Something happened during that breathing. I think I got back into the review phase equanimity. It was a very sudden shift that changed everything. Hard to explain. The static crackling/sparkling of my aura came back. The air was easier to breathe. Everything was suddenly lighter and easier. Unfortunately, I was still exhausted. I think I may have triggered a histamine reaction by doing yoga again after so much yoga the day before. It was too much for my body. I needed to rest. So when I abandoned the ujjayi breathing according to the instructions, I soon fell asleep. After all, it was bedtime. It would have been wiser to skip the yoga classes yesterday and instead meditate earlier in the evening. Lesson learned.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 7:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did Michael Taft’s guided meditation ”Dropping out of the machinery of mind”, and I think that was the one I did yesterday too, not his latest one, because the latest one wasn’t posted yet yesterday at the time I searched for it.

I think it took me into the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception. Body sensations tend to fall away for me even in formed jhanas fairly often in the current phase, but in this particular state I cannot recall thinking or perceiving anything, and yet I’m sure that I was conscious. When the bell rang I was surprised, because it went by so fast, but I wasn’t sleepy at all. I was aware of perception coming back as perception. Visual flickerings and the nada sound were suddenly there, recognizable, and I could both hear and understand the content of what Michael was saying perfectly clearly. I was aware of suddenly thinking again and realized that I hadn’t been for a while. Weird. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/11/19 9:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Then I did Michael’s latest guided meditation. This session was different from the previous one for me. In this one, the world remained (although there was a moment when it was about to disappear, but I wasn’t sufficiently equanimous; I was too enthusiastic), but I didn’t. There were lots of impressions but very little conceptualization and no centre. This is a very familiar state for me (or for not me), but it isn’t always accessible. When it is accessible, it is effortless. It is a state that I have often dropped into in order to rest. I used to call it being non-responsive, or just being. I thought it was an autistic thing.

Now I have this weird feeling that there is sparkling activity going on around my head, especially right outside the back of the head. The nada sound is also really loud and there is a feeling of unsolidness. I’ll go back into meditation.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/12/19 1:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
You are very welcome. Michael is my former teacher whom I have the greatest respect for.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/12/19 1:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Okay, so now I’m curious as to what makes some behavioral patterns team up so strongly and so suddenly everytime I receive a letter from this guy, even in the deepest equanimous state I had ever experienced. That is definitely worth investigating. Perhaps I could consider it a trigger practice. A positive trigger, but a trigger nonetheless.
[...]
when investigated, it illustrates the three C:s very clearly. If I ever were to doubt them, I could look at this and it would prove them to me beyond doubt.


Sure, it is worth investigating, but not now. I’d like to stay in review for a while longer, to work on my technical skills and precision with regard to jhanas and nanas. Dear universe, there is no need to act on every whim that comes up in this easily distracted mind. Staying in review is totally fine for now. Could I please get some more technical practice, for the benefit of all sentient beings?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/12/19 7:32 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have been meditating for close to four hours today so far. Taking a break now. I think I’m in that weird territory where review and the early nanas of the next path are overlapping each other. There is this feeling of unsolidness and yet the feeling of being trapped. I have unclenched a lot, as new tensions arose continuously.

I have been in dreamlike territory. For instance, I was Hansel in the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, leaving trails of candy for myself to find in the woods. The candy came from the witch’s cottage, although I hadn’t been there yet. The candy was beautiful. I think I knew I had to let go of the candy now while I still wanted it in order not to want it, or because I would later realize that I didn’t need it anyway, or because letting go of that small pleasure would lead to something greater. Something like that. I’m not sure if I left the trail to find my way back home or to find my way to the witch’s cottage. Apparently I’m continuing on the Dirk Gently theme, now with a Jungian twist.

I had subtle tics disturbing my concentration even after I had been able to let go of the larger tensions. There was a thought about wanting the chrystal clarity of fourth jhana. That felt very wrong. Of course wanting fourth jhana won’t help. That’s not how to set the intension. Then there was a thought about allowing the clarity to unfold on its own, let it be welcome. Some thought promised not to resist. I could feel that when I let go of the tics, I started drifting away into emptiness, and it was good. Later resistance (tics and tensions) arose anyway, and there was the thought ”but I promised...” and then another thought reminding me that there is no continuous I that can make such promises. Resistance will arise because not every pattern feels safe enough to let go. So I did some Brahma Viharas practice. I came up with something like this:

May safe trust embrace us all
allowing for liberation of ”me” and ”mine”
and for the union of wisdom and compassion.


I sent that outward as well.

I had the touch sensations fall away without being in jhana. I guess it’s true that if one doesn’t move, there will be no relevant touch sensations for the nerves to report. Jhana probably makes it easier to remain still, but it isn’t needed for the body to start falling away.

I tried to focus on the breath. When I did, I had no difficulty following it to the end. I just didn’t remember to do it for very long. I could hear the nada sound (it is always there), but it didn’t draw me in like before. When I managed to focus on it, the visual field became brighter. It fluctuated a bit, but then there seemed to be some resistance again. There were even fear responses in my body sometimes although I didn’t feel the emotion fear.

For a while I felt that doubt was a very tangible hindrance. I don’t doubt the path per se, but it felt as if it wasn’t going anywhere, and apparently there was a feeling that it should be going somewhere. For a while I focused on the thought ”Anything is possible”. It did result in some of those sparklings around the head. I’m half-jokingly starting to think of them as a sign of having mana, magic power in games like WoW. It also resulted in clicking sounds behind the nose opening up and making it much easier to breathe.

In the end I found myself digressing downwards towards more stillness in the jhanas, but they were very light. I reached third jhana but it was third vipassana jhana with that familiar feeling of backward hands. Concepts remained and even a sense of agency. I could easily move my body when I decided to take a break. I was even able to make such a decision (or believe that I could). That’s a very shallow jhana, or rather merely the threshold to it.

I have listened to some brief dharma talks about the power of intentions today. I think I need to learn more about working with intentions, because this ADHD brain cooks up a lot of intensions out of boredom that are not thought through or even fully conscious and it affects my practice.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/12/19 7:59 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you for sharing and those sound like some rich dreamy states. I'm also interested in learning about intentions, and more broadly about speech acts that come from "another place."

Just now I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh's translation of the Diamond Sutra in which the Buddha says:
If you are caught in the idea of a dharma, you are also caught in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. If you are caught in the idea that there is no dharma, you are still caught in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. That is why we should not get caught in dharmas or in the idea that dharmas do not exist. This is the hidden meaning when the Tathagata says, ‘Bhikshus, you should know that all of the teachings I give to you are a raft.’ All teachings must be abandoned, not to mention non-teachings.”
This image of the raft reminded me of your image of candies on the trail.

The raft serves temporarily to get one to the other shore (where one realizes there is no other shore?)
The candies serve temporarily for a return trip (where one realizes there is no return trip?)

The raft is a tool for "current you."
The candies are so much weirder; a tool for future you (how will you know what she wants)?

No insight here, just wanted to share the connection emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/13/19 3:20 AM as a reply to Demoxenos.
Thankyou! It does have a resemblence to the raft. I like it. It takes some time to build a raft, I would assume, so in a way that is also for the future.

...

I meditated for another three hours, almost, without really getting somewhere despite feeling unsolid the whole time. As soon as the visual field started to get wavy, either I reacted too much or one of my cats interrupted. In the later part of the session, I was in light fourth jhana territory or close to it, but I think I had run out of energy by then. Anyway, I did get there by way of following the nada sound, and I managed to stay there for a while.

Somewhere in the session there was a very sudden and forceful kriya that left me wondering what happened.

I seem to have a histamine reaction in my body. That usually sets limits to my practice. Or maybe it’s the other way around, I don’t know. It could be 3C territory of next path. My upper back is contracted and hurts. It’s not from sitting, because I have been lying down, but I guess it is possible that I have been lying still for too long.

EDITED TO ADD:
Oh, I forgot - for quite a while, when I was absorbed into the nada sound, it felt like liquid was being poured down alongside my head, or like something melted and was pouring down. It was very tangible.

Also, I noticed that something happens automatically as concentration increases: a vacuum is created between the toungue and the palate. That probably contributes both to the sense of pressure that increases as I reach third and especially fourth jhana, and to opening up the paranasal sinuses.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/13/19 7:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Trigger warning: contains bloody scenes.

I lay down focusing on the nada sound for 1-2 hours. It took me into first, second and third jhana and then I think I landed somewhere inbetween third and fourth jhana, with body sensations falling away. Somewhere down the line there was a dreamlike scene where I stuck my hand and wrist into a meet grinder and just watched the process without feeling anything in particular. That reminds me that I forgot to report a similar scene yesterday where I ripped out my aorta. It felt like a completely normal thing to do. No fear whatsoever. No deathwish either. It didn’t even seem relevant, as I didn’t identify with the body.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/14/19 1:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
During the night I woke up from sleep in the midst of fourth jhana. I immediately recognized the chrystal clarity and deep neutrality and the feeling of eyes being pushed back into their sockets. The stars of the space organized themselves into a few different symmetric patterns. I focused on the brightness of the stars, and then everything brightened until it was white. I could feel my ears closing for outer sounds. Then I fell asleep again.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/14/19 5:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I meditated for 1 h 50 minutes most of which I spent in and out of first jhana and direct awareness of it, interspersed with weird tensions. It feels pretty much like the 3C nana heading towards A&P. Bubbles everywhere. Loud nada sound. What is it with this impatient mind and its impatient intentions? I said that I want to stay in review!

Impermanence is very obvious in the flickering visual field and in the bubbly body sensations, like sparkling soda in every nook and cranny. The nada sound sounds like a chorus of crickets. Lots of crickets.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/15/19 2:30 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
1 hour of shamatha in the morning. There was jhanic access but it was unstable due to reoccurring thoughts about work.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 6:30 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have had a couple of really bad days out of touch with both my practice and my body. Yesterday evening I did a couple of guided meditations just to get some help relaxing both body and mind. Then I fell asleep. I woke up feeling like nothing mattered, except my kid, and had very low energy. Now during lunch I did a body sweeping, guided by Ayya Khema. Mostly I just wanted to get away from everything. It felt like it wasn’t going very well at all, but then, suddenly, like from nowhere, I disappeared and came back as in an electric shock. And suddenly there was clarity. The contrast was huge. The world and I were so unsolid that I could barely see during the first moments after I had opened my eyes. The nada sound rings loudly like a field full of crickets.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 7:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Now the sense of static electricity around my head is back. Inside the head, it felt as if things opened up. The eyes are more prown to relax back into their cavities again. I’m equally exhausted but now that’s just a feeling that doesn’t belong to anybody. The world is vibrating with sensory information that is floating around. My face and ears are hot and blushing. Breathing is suddenly easier.

I finished a jigsaw puzzle that I had started before the meditation, and it went so much faster because pattern recognition was much better.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 10:57 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

At a job meeting there was a profound calm and the sense of activity at the crown of my head. Hard to explain.


Good.  <edit>  And also that light jhanic mindfulness of the body has been one of my standby states. Somebody posted a beautiful poem on DhO a while ago written by Ananda in later life, mourning the passing of the old ones but finding solace in mindfulness of the body.

So again, good.

Hi Curious. Would you be able to point me to that poem please?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 11:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks! I wouldn’t at all mind to have that kind of calm as a default position. Definitely not there yet.

I read today that Shaila Catherine recommends students of the dharma to travel in order to put their equanimity to test and have it evolve. I don’t need to travel to put my equanimity to test. With poor executive functioning I find that there are challanges readily available in daily life. No need to go on a search party for them. I do agree that it’s great practice. Practicing in the midst of daily life challenges clearly speeds up the progress.

This is such a wise approach. I have come to see this as intrumental in the way I overlay practice onto to everyday human activities. Loving-kindness on public transport, bodily impurities walking down the road, the five aggregates in conversation and so on. I'm quite a visual person and so I often see peoples innards doing what they do - the heart beating, the lungs expanding, muscles contracting, skin hanging. But there are more nuanced and dynamic things to notice in people especially during complex human interaction. They are the teachers in one sense. The unconscious mind sharpens those who wish to be more conscious and this is a humbling excercise. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 3:14 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Thankyou, that’s inspiring. I haven’t come to meditating on bodily impurities yet, at least not deliberately. When I was a kid I used to think about how my body was full of muscles and bones and yucky stuff and it freaked me out. Lately there have been some spontaneous dreamlike scenes during practice having to do with ripping out my heart or my aorta and stuff like that, but they just flash by. I don’t know how to deliberatly use such themes in my practice. I have started to practice the Brahma Viharas in daily life, though, mainly by embracing the opportunities that are given as I recognize them. 

Hm, actually, now that I think of it, daily life actually offers plenty of opportunity to practice with regard to bodily impurities. Even that smell from the sewage treatment plant can be seen as an opportunity to practice. That thought did cross my mind today when I felt the smell. I've got to say that particular part of the practice is not one of my favorites, though. That's an area where I'm not particularly equanimous normally. I think I may have to approach that particular area gradually in order not to have too strong backlashes.

Thanks for inspiring me to keep going!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 3:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
In the afternoon I got sick due to a histamine reaction and it knocked out the balance again (I don’t deal well with sickness, as it makes this ego feel very sorry for itself; something to work with), but ashtanga yoga and a meditation class in the evening restored balance, for now, thankfully. Dealing with a sense of self is so exhausting, really. When one thinks about it, it is actually pretty strange that it keeps popping up so persistently. It should be obvious by now that it only causes suffering. Why not just let go of it?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/16/19 7:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Lately there have been some spontaneous dreamlike scenes during practice having to do with ripping out my heart or my aorta and stuff like that, but they just flash by. I don’t know how to deliberatly use such themes in my practice. I have started to practice the Brahma Viharas in daily life, though, mainly by embracing the opportunities that are given as I recognize them. 


During my retreat this summer, there was at least 1 one-hour sit where the entire time was spent like this. My body was mutilated and assaulted in every conceivable way, and it just kept getting faster and more intense until it became fun. I wonder if this is a common phenomenon.

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10/17/19 12:36 AM as a reply to spatial.
It wouldn’t surprise me. It is probably something one has to deal with in order to let go of the ego’s strong grip.

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10/17/19 7:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This has been a hectic day. I practiced vipassana during a 2 h long seminar today. It was a formal seminar where one of our doctoral students got feedback on his thesis work by two different opponents, so the rest of us mainly listened passively. That is challenging to my ADHD brain, so practicing vipassana was really helpful. I investigated cravings and aversions (including restlessness and various distractions) and the interplay between thoughts and feelings. I also investigated dukkha and mind states (or whatever the right term is), what enabled me to stay alert. Apparently spontaneous cultivation of the Brahma Viharas, as opportunities arise, are very helpful. I managed to cover all the four Brahma Viharas. The last one was particularly helpful. That was a wow-moment. 

In the evening I was overwhelmed by papancha due to too much going on in my mind, so I mainly focused on relaxing in my evening meditation (about one and a half hour) and then allowed myself to go to sleep afterwards. I started out with just taking in what was going on in body and mind without engaging with it and then shifted to shamatha on the breath. The breath partly transformed into light and nada sound but my concentration and energy were inconsistent. I decided that being relaxed was still a success, given the circumstances, so I went to sleep content directly after the session.

In the middle of the night I found that my dreams were repeatedly interrupted by suddenly getting into fourth jhana, if that is possible. At least being in fourth jhana woke me up from sleep. Or maybe it was a state inbetween third and fourth jhana. It had that distinct flavor of strong equanimity and chrystal clarity, and it felt completely secluded, but it wasn't visually like a white sheet. It seems like light sleep has some quality that renders fourth jhana more accessable. Do I really have to fall asleep to let go enough? It is weird, though, because as far as I remember, the dreams involved lots of complications and dukkha. Maybe there were other occurrings inbetween that I just cannot recall. Anyway, it is pretty clear that meditation goes on just fine without a doer. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
Answer
10/17/19 7:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
This has been a hectic day. I practiced vipassana during a 2 h long seminar today. It was a formal seminar where one of our doctoral students got feedback on his thesis work by two different opponents, so the rest of us mainly listened passively. That is challenging to my ADHD brain, so practicing vipassana was really helpful. I investigated cravings and aversions (including restlessness and various distractions) and the interplay between thoughts and feelings. I also investigated dukkha and mind states (or whatever the right term is), what enabled me to stay alert. Apparently spontaneous cultivation of the Brahma Viharas, as opportunities arise, are very helpful. I managed to cover all the four Brahma Viharas. The last one was particularly helpful. That was a wow-moment. 

In the evening I was overwhelmed by papancha due to too much going on in my mind, so I mainly focused on relaxing in my evening meditation (about one and a half hour) and then allowed myself to go to sleep afterwards. I started out with just taking in what was going on in body and mind without engaging with it and then shifted to shamatha on the breath. The breath partly transformed into light and nada sound but my concentration and energy were inconsistent. I decided that being relaxed was still a success, given the circumstances, so I went to sleep content directly after the session.

In the middle of the night I found that my dreams were repeatedly interrupted by suddenly getting into fourth jhana, if that is possible. At least being in fourth jhana woke me up from sleep. Or maybe it was a state inbetween third and fourth jhana. It had that distinct flavor of strong equanimity and chrystal clarity, and it felt completely secluded, but it wasn't visually like a white sheet. It seems like light sleep has some quality that renders fourth jhana more accessable. Do I really have to fall asleep to let go enough? It is weird, though, because as far as I remember, the dreams involved lots of complications and dukkha. Maybe there were other occurrings inbetween that I just cannot recall. Anyway, it is pretty clear that meditation goes on just fine without a doer. 

I don't remember now whether it was during the evening meditation or when waking up from sleep, but there were distinct "back in review" sensations: static crackling around the head and rhythmical ticking sounds and kinesthetic sensations. They came together with breathing more easily and a sense of anything being possible.  

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/18/19 5:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m wondering, though... The sense of there being static electricity crackling around the head, it also sounds like an A&P thing, right? I don’t know what to think. And if it’s A&P, how do I know whether it is the A&P from a previous path or from the current path?

I’m also wondering about the access to jhanas. I know that it is limited by hindrances and depends on building up a momentum over time, but it still seems to vary with the nanas as well. I’m not sure exactly how much, though. If there is access to fourth jhana, does that mean anything with regard to what nana is ongoing? Or can that happen anytime?

When I listen to people teaching the jhanas, they don’t seem to find it relevant to even talk about the nanas. Do shamatha practitioners not struggle with insight progression getting in the way of their jhanic access? Can they maintain reliable access to all jhanas over time just by maintaining a diligent shamatha practice?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/18/19 1:46 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The gentle electric crackling continued to build up. During the day there was a racing heart beat. I went to a soft meditative yoga class where we warmed up the spine a lot. I was in light jhana even before we started, just from lying down on the mat, and during the class I felt my aura and hands buzzing with energy. Sensations were getting more and more finegrained and started to separate from each other until they were... yeah, pretty much like confetti as in the interview I listened to today. That was a very illustrative analogy. Very finegrained confetti, though. Maybe more like that horrible glitter that one can buy in small pots, for craft purposes (the kind you can never get rid of because once you or your kid has opened the pot, you have it everywhere). Then I started to have pleasant shiverings moving upwards through the spine. They continued on the way home frome yoga class. When I came home I sat on the mat for 30 minutes. I didn't set a timer. I just resolved to sit for 30 minutes before I lay down. I'm starting to learn how to sit correctly, so I focused on getting it just perfect. I have noticed that it really makes a difference, energetically, and I'm very sensitive to blockages. When I sit correctly, it is quite comfortable (well, at least in the A&P, which this apparently is). My legs don't fall asleep and my back and neck don't ache. Now I can finally get into jhanas while sitting (I did during yoga class). I could feel that there was a nice flow of energy. I noticed that the bandhas were very helpful in keeping the body in a stable position. I still find it easier to let go while lying down, though, so when 30 minutes had gone by, I lay down on my bed (which has a hard mattress that enables the spine to be straight). I used a pillow to come into a slightly heartopening position. I turned the palms of my hands upwards to open up the shoulders. I focused on my breathing and made it very soft and smooth, and champagne bubbles were building up. The nada sound was loud. I tuned into it, and it made the champagne bubbles shoot up through my spine and explode in a soft bright foam in my head, like when one pours the champagne a little too fast into the glass. There was no popping of the bottle, because the bottle was already open. There was no barrier. This repeated itself a few times. It was very undramatic.

The reclining part of the session was close to one hour long. 

Okay, so I guess that was the A&P. I'm going to assume that it was the A&P of the current path, which I believe is heading towards third. Although I have continued to have fruitions, I have (looking at it in retrospect) seen the nanas body and mind, cause and effect, and the three characteristics, interspersed with some remaining review going on parallelly. That was fast. Okay then. I was fearing being stuck in the early nanas for a while without access to jhanas. I'm not very good at dealing with poor concentration. It makes me irritable and cranky. I'm not as afraid of the dukkha nanas. I might regret that in the days to come. Still, I find the theravadan maps tremendously helpful in dealing with the dukkha nanas, because they make them predictable and unpersonal. Thanks to them, I know that "this too shall pass" is true. However... my kid depends on my being constructive and reliable on Tuesday because that morning we will have to deal with a very delicate matter. It would be a mercy to either be back in A&P by then or visit equanimity for the duration of the meeting and during travelling time. For my kid's sake, I resolve to be at my best at that time. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/19/19 6:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I used to think that I loved the A&P, but that was merely a story that I kept telling myself. Now the dukkha in it presents more clearly and I can see that I don't need to get on that emotional rollercoaster. It insisted on drawing me in, engaging me in wired up thoughts, but as I started writing about it, it was suddenly clear that I can choose to disengage from it. Just like that. Okay then. That certainly simplifies things.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/19/19 12:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I just spent 1 h 20 min experiencing the world as I know it dissolve and reappear, dissolve and reappear, dissolve and reappear over and over again, in a soft, mellow, pleasantly drowsy state. If dissolution can be like this, I understand why people like it. It certainly is restful, and actually interesting.

Before that, I did a couple of short guided meditations on the five elements. I had a feeling that I might need to balance them, but now I can't remember exactly why. It probably had to do with getting grounded. Oh, now I remember that I was also wondering whether people's choice of kasina objects could mess things up with regard to doshas in Ayurveda. I believe I might be a vata, and I was wondering whether focusing too much focus on space and/or emptiness could make me unbalanced. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/19/19 1:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

When I listen to people teaching the jhanas, they don’t seem to find it relevant to even talk about the nanas. Do shamatha practitioners not struggle with insight progression getting in the way of their jhanic access? Can they maintain reliable access to all jhanas over time just by maintaining a diligent shamatha practice?



Let me know if you figure this out. I suspect that they either (a) haven't progressed very far in insight, (b) are naturally super-talented at jhanas and have no hindrances, or (c) have indeed struggled with insight but don't mention it when they teach, because they are just parroting the words they heard from their teachers, rather than teaching their personal experience.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/19/19 7:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
Sure, and you tell me if you figure it out? Deal. I have been wondering for a while now.

The alternative A seems unlikely to me, because at least for me, access depends on insight and I have a hard time understanding how jhanas would not lead to insight whether one likes it or not. Still, apparently that is possible for some people. As for alternative B, yeah, maybe, but... are there really people without hindrances? I mean real human people. If so, I'd really like to know what their secret is. C seems to be a possibility, but I'm not so sure that's true for all of them. Maybe they are just not into mapping and think of it in other terms? Maybe that's the advanced course that they haven't got time to get into on the recorded dharma talks? Or maybe they have really learned to call up nanas to their liking from previous paths? I hear we are supposed to be able to do that. Still trying to figure that one out. Maybe I'm unconsciously so geared towards continuous insight progress that the intention to do that is not really there. I did manage to get back into review when I decided to, so maybe it is as simple as that for them. Or maybe all the talk about getting into momentum refers to a rather lengthy process of getting into the right nana, either on the current path or on a previous path. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 6:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Did a 50 minutes long letting go meditation. As soon as I noticed being caught up in a thought, I let go of it, and it dissolved into vibrations in visual, kinesthetic and auditory spaces, and maybe in something that vaguely reminded of taste or smell. In the beginning it felt like I was free-falling, but with nothing to grasp onto and nothing to crash into, the motion soon turns into stillness. The letting go resulted in brightness and lightness and loud nada sound.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 9:05 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

When I listen to people teaching the jhanas, they don’t seem to find it relevant to even talk about the nanas. Do shamatha practitioners not struggle with insight progression getting in the way of their jhanic access? Can they maintain reliable access to all jhanas over time just by maintaining a diligent shamatha practice?



Let me know if you figure this out. I suspect that they either (a) haven't progressed very far in insight, (b) are naturally super-talented at jhanas and have no hindrances, or (c) have indeed struggled with insight but don't mention it when they teach, because they are just parroting the words they heard from their teachers, rather than teaching their personal experience.

It suddenly dawned on me: this is of course why both Ayya Khema and Thanissaro Bhikku say that sometimes one needs a wider focus in order to get into jhana, and why Daniel talks about knowing where to widen one's focus in fire kasina. In some nanas the narrow focus doesn't work. That isn't pertinent only to vipassana, but to shamatha as well. Of course. So in dukkha nanas, one gets into jhana by way of widening one's focus. Instead of focusing on breath sensations between nose and lips, one focuses on breath sensations in the entire body, even outside it if possible. Thereby one can make use of the peripheral clarity and be busy enough with the breath to prevent other ideas from sneaking up on the mind and occupy its free capacity. In the lower nanas, on the other hand, one needs to make the focus really sharp, because that's where the capacity is. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 10:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

It suddenly dawned on me: this is of course why both Ayya Khema and Thanissaro Bhikku say that sometimes one needs a wider focus in order to get into jhana, and why Daniel talks about knowing where to widen one's focus in fire kasina. In some nanas the narrow focus doesn't work. That isn't pertinent only to vipassana, but to shamatha as well. Of course. So in dukkha nanas, one gets into jhana by way of widening one's focus. Instead of focusing on breath sensations between nose and lips, one focuses on breath sensations in the entire body, even outside it if possible. Thereby one can make use of the peripheral clarity and be busy enough with the breath to prevent other ideas from sneaking up on the mind and occupy its free capacity. In the lower nanas, on the other hand, one needs to make the focus really sharp, because that's where the capacity is. 
I tested it empirically, and it actually works, even in dissolution. The widening cannot rely on touch sensations, though, because those need to be let go of as one climbs the jhanic arch (or sinks into the jhanic abyss). In the first jhana, I focused on pleasant sensations from the breath in the entire body. (How could I forget that? I have done so intuitively from the beginning of my practice, but now that I try to maintain a systematic shamatha practice, I somehow became to rigid). That was so much easier, and it allowed both piti and sukha to build up. Then there was a shift. Those electric crackles came back, and it felt like my aura was loaded with mana. That feeling was more self-sustaining. Second jhana. After a while the energy gradually came to stillness, with remaning clarity. I allowed the widening to use the visual and auditory fields as the piti subsided. The nada sound can fill up a larger space pretty well. Third jhana. When everything was suddenly chrystal clear and bright white (approaching fourth jhana), the surprise and excitement took me out of jhana. I had to build it up anew. Next time instead a clear tone arose (whereas the hearing out was gradually more cut off), with the same result. So now I know how to do. I just need to cultivate equanimity to a greater degree so that inner light and sound do not tilt the balance. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 12:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did shamatha in the bathtub for 30 minutes. It opened up for a lot of colors. The whole rainbow was swirling around.

Fear presented itself physically with racing heartbeat.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 2:01 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think that if I didn’t have knowledge of the Theravadan maps, I would probably have ended a relationship today, in the disgust nana. Now that I do know them, I’ll just keep my mouth shut for a while. It’s a distance relationship, so no need for confrontation.

Wow, these are some powerful chaotic vibrations. Kind of cool, actually.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/20/19 7:17 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I think that if I didn’t have knowledge of the Theravadan maps, I would probably have ended a relationship today, in the disgust nana. Now that I do know them, I’ll just keep my mouth shut for a while. It’s a distance relationship, so no need for confrontation.

Wow, these are some powerful chaotic vibrations. Kind of cool, actually.



After writing that, the nana lost its grip and I felt nothing but peace.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/21/19 3:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have basically been a wreck today because my kid is going through something that is both tough and lifechanging, and tomorrow morning we have an important meeting and I need to be the strong one. Meditation has helped me through the day. I stopped a stress reaction with a 15 minutes meditation break, focusing on tranquility. It really helped. Later I was able to do an 80 minutes session, which was very needed. Now I have my voice back, and both the shoulder pain and the nervous stomach are gone. In the midst of this chaos, first, second and third jhana mercifully granted me access. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/22/19 3:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This has been a challenging day in many ways, so I listened to a tibetan guided healing meditation. It gererated feelings related to the Brahma Viharas, and I took those feelings as my concentration object during and after the guided meditation. I was surprised that first jhana showed up almost immediately after a day like this. Second jhana followed pretty soon. I could feel it activating those electric cracklings around and inside the head, especially the back of the head. I could both feel and hear them. There was chanting, and I could hear the voice dividing into several layers of tones. I cannot tell whether he was really good at forming such complex harmonics or if my hearing was like that due to concentration. It felt like listening to the chanting made something crack open inside my head. I could feel a pull towards third jhana, but instead of jumping right in, I focused on cultivating more equanimity. That inclination almost instantly manifested and naturally developed into third jhana. While simmering in that stillness, I felt a fierce kriya coming up, but the body didn't move. It couldn't. I investigated whether I could intentionally move, but the body seemed to have made up its mind not to, so to speak. There was no will to move, and thus I couldn't. It took a while for the willpower to come back. I didn't mind. It was deeply tranquil and pleasant. 

The guided part of the session was about half an hour and then I continued for another half an hour.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/22/19 3:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
This has been a challenging day in many ways, so I listened to a tibetan guided healing meditation. It gererated feelings related to the Brahma Viharas, and I took those feelings as my concentration object during and after the guided meditation. I was surprised that first jhana showed up almost immediately after a day like this. Second jhana followed pretty soon. I could feel it activating those electric cracklings around and inside the head, especially the back of the head. I could both feel and hear them. There was chanting, and I could hear the voice dividing into several layers of tones. I cannot tell whether he was really good at forming such complex harmonics or if my hearing was like that due to concentration. It felt like listening to the chanting made something crack open inside my head. I could feel a pull towards third jhana, but instead of jumping right in, I focused on cultivating more equanimity. That inclination almost instantly manifested and naturally developed into third jhana. While simmering in that stillness, I felt a fierce kriya coming up, but the body didn't move. It couldn't. I investigated whether I could intentionally move, but the body seemed to have made up its mind not to, so to speak. There was no will to move, and thus I couldn't. It took a while for the willpower to come back. I didn't mind. It was deeply tranquil and pleasant. 

The guided part of the session was about half an hour and then I continued for another half an hour.



Healing meditation?
Does it have a link?

And, nice!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/22/19 3:42 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
It was this one. https://youtu.be/AAVAUOSktNQ It ends pretty abruptly due to some sound issues, but by that time I didn’t need the guidance anymore.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/23/19 12:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I had to stay up late to work, so it was almost morning when I went to bed. I listened to that guided healing meditation again and was amazed by its strong effect. Although I didn’t chant myself but just listened, the vibrations from it definitely did something very tangible to my brain. I could feel it, in a very physical way.

Sleep deprivation is still not a good idea, though. I’m a wreck now, and yet I need to get up and get going. I really need to learn to deal with deadlines in a more mature way.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/24/19 1:26 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The nada sound has revealed itself to be an entire symphony - amazing to tune into and listen to.

Yesterday was a busy day with a workshop at my job together with Norweigan and American-German visitors, and at times I caught myself being restless. When I did so, I tuned into the stillness within. If I’m only trying to escape paying attention to the presentations, I might as well meditate, right? It turned out it made it easier to be attentive to the ongoing activity as well. Today will be an even longer workshop day, so I’ll try to stay in touch with that stillness.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/25/19 12:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today I have so far done a short guided meditation (Michael Taft at SF Dharma Collective); 15 minutes of Tibetan sound healing practice (the A mantra) followed by 50 minutes of meditation in a reclining position; 75 minutes of yoga geared towards meditation (asanas for warming up the spine, pranayama, Brahmari, mantra, meditation); and close to an hour of reclining meditation in a slightly heartopening position. After a tough week my shamatha has lost momentum. Most of the time I seem to land in some direct awareness mixed up with first jhana. The nada sound isn’t quite the symphony that I have come to know it as, but my mantras have layers of overtones when I chant them, as the vibrations fill up the empty spaces inside the head. Sound has come to be important to my practice. Singing mantras is very kinesthetic, too, which suits me well. I feel healthier now than earlier today. Breathing is much easier and there is a very pleasant stillness within.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/26/19 5:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thankyou, that’s inspiring. I haven’t come to meditating on bodily impurities yet, at least not deliberately. When I was a kid I used to think about how my body was full of muscles and bones and yucky stuff and it freaked me out. Lately there have been some spontaneous dreamlike scenes during practice having to do with ripping out my heart or my aorta and stuff like that, but they just flash by. I don’t know how to deliberatly use such themes in my practice. I have started to practice the Brahma Viharas in daily life, though, mainly by embracing the opportunities that are given as I recognize them. 

Hm, actually, now that I think of it, daily life actually offers plenty of opportunity to practice with regard to bodily impurities. Even that smell from the sewage treatment plant can be seen as an opportunity to practice. That thought did cross my mind today when I felt the smell. I've got to say that particular part of the practice is not one of my favorites, though. That's an area where I'm not particularly equanimous normally. I think I may have to approach that particular area gradually in order not to have too strong backlashes.

Thanks for inspiring me to keep going!

Yes, that kind of depth isn't for everyone. It can bring about insight and other experiences quite quickly with a good concentrated mind. I believe that's why the Buddha includes it in satipatthana - repulsiveness of the body and the charnel ground contemplations.

Contemplation of these things can be done as a means to manage intrusive thoughts about the mutilation of ones own body. In facing the truth of the body in a safe manor we normalise the very presence of the body, its functions, and its eventual perishing.

As a child I was deeply concerned about the body. It was all quite peculiar. It didn't make sense to me to have a body and to communicate that to someone else compounded to the issue. The answers to this issue I'm finding but not in the way I expected. :-)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/26/19 10:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I'm back in dissolution. I'm out of touch with my body and can't keep focus for a minute. I have clocked it. It only takes a minute to get from a chosen focus to some random scene that I haven't got the faintest idea from where it comes. First it was an airport scene, then it had to do with pies, I think. It makes no sense whatsoever. And it seems like thoughts and perceptions really dissolve into vibrations in a tangible way. If I can just remember to do so, I can observe it. Memory is slippery, though. This is such a confusing nana. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/26/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’ll try to make the best of investigating this confusion instead of being frustrated by it. At least in the current path it seems like there is some clarity to the confusion of this nana, not only about the fact that it is confusing, but also about how it is confusing.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/27/19 11:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have done hours of shamatha today with poor result. Body sensations start to fall away and the nada sound is really loud, but that’s it. At least I don’t get sleepy, but it’s like the oumph is lacking. I’m feeling rather low, more apathetic than equanimous.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/28/19 7:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I may have dropped down to the early nanas of the new path again. I thought it was surpringly quick, and that’s probably the thing. Still more to learn, I guess. So I’m still stuck in newbie territory, which is a horrible way to put it. There’s nothing wrong with being a beginner. The part of me that thinks so (some part must do since the phrase tends to pop up) really needs to grow up. I could do without the despair, though. I feel awfully depressed. It feels like I always have and always will, which probably means that I have pms and it will be over in a couple of days. It’s probably also the 3C nana, the worst part of it, when clarity is enough to see the three C:s in everything but not enough to see any way forward. Either that or I’m in misery.

I took an hour or so to check in with these feelings and really feel them. There was some peace in that. I could feel myself clenching up so I had to peel off layer after layer of tensions. It never ended. Then I was interrupted by the phone, which didn’t help since it was mainly bad news.

I could really use some inspiration right now, but I’m not sure anything external would help. This too shall pass. I’m writing this down because I’m pretty sure that I’ll otherwise forget it and idealize the road and jump to conclusions next time I hit a bump in it as well.

Hey, I think this actually did something. Something spacious appeared in my head and heart (?) and reinstalled some faith where there was pain. It’s like the nada sound vibrates in me. Weird. Still not feeling great, but now it feels much less personal.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/28/19 6:46 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Heh... It dawned on me that if I’m still cycling down to the lower nanas, then maybe I haven’t yet locked in the A&P of this path, so then it should still be pretty easy to get back into review. So I did. It was a clearly demarcated shift, like changing camera lenses. Suddenly other options were available. I was drawn into jhanas automatically. I didn't get above second jhana, though, so maybe that's a sign that I need to work on the A&P now. It was like the review had run out of oumph. It felt like when I was repeatedly drawn into fruitions, but the pull didn't take me all the way. Efter hearing disappeared, the pull weakened, like when during labor the contractions aren't strong enough. But wow, intentions really work! That is so cool! Just getting to change lenses for a while was quite the relief (I have a feeling that it won't last long this time) and illustrates blatantly clearly that there is no continuous essence to the self. It instantly changed my whole outlook on reality, my feelings, my thoughts. 

There was some electric crackling going on around my head, just like there was during review, but it was scarce like I didn't have enough of "mana". 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/29/19 3:32 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m not sure where I am at right now, but at least I'm managing. I'm on my way to another town for a health check-up, something that might develop into cancer if untreated for a long time but probably won't. Because of the long waiting list, I was offered to go to this other town for the check-up, so I'm spending this morning travelling. I'm not particularly worried about this check-up, but there are other things that worry me, having to do with my kid and even longer waiting lists. Thus, I squeeze in meditation here and there to get by. I meditated on the first train (with lots of distracting thoughts but also relief of tension in facial muscles and some unswelling of mucous membranes) and while waiting for the next train. That railway platform happened to be where I passed the A&P on the previous path. I think railway platforms are highly underestimated places for meditation. I enjoyed meditating there now as well, with my eyes open. That platform has a paving with fluted surface which makes it really easy to see wave motions in the visual field. It was easy to stay motivated since I had to stay attentive anyway in order not to miss the train (I have an attention deficit and have been known to forget getting onto trains although I was standing there). I opened up to a broad spectrum of sensations but was especially fascinated by the dance of attention in the visual field (oh, so much impermanence) and the way visual images are constructed. I also played with the visual field. It was easy to create the illusion that the fluted pavings were higher up in the air, standing out from the plain paving. It was equally easy to have everything turn flat, with the texture as a flat color pattern instead. Visual constructions can be deconstructed and reconstructed over and over again. That's pretty cool. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/29/19 12:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I meditated for 1 h 45 min and can’t report anything of interest except for the observation that the focus is really narrow right now, which supports my suspicion of still being in the lower nanas of the new path.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/30/19 2:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have felt like crap today, out of tune with everything, but I went to two yoga classes anyway, one technique class and one ashtanga vinyasa class, and now I feel much better, at least for the moment. I have noticed that ashtanga yoga seems to have that effect on me, probably thanks to the breathing. They really should teach ujjayi breath in school. I think many people would be much healthier then.

I seem to have a high blood pressure issue that correlates with when I’m stuck in the 3C nana of a new path. That and a weird headache that is especially intense at a few points around the eyebrows, with emphasis on the right eyebrow, at least this time around. I don’t remember exactly what points were painful the last time, only that the pain was concentrated to a few small points that time as well.

I forgot to bring my medications to work so I had to head home after lunch. As my headache had intensified, I took some pain killers and lay down to meditate. I had set an alarm to one hour before the yoga class so I had about 90 minutes to meditate, I think. I didn't set a timer for the session but thought that I would probably feel content in time for getting ready for yoga class anyway. It felt good to just lie down and meditate. I focused on the breath and I could enjoy it again. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the session, and concentration was still not good enough for anything more than an unstable first jhana, but I could feel that both clarity and concentration was somewhat better than yesterday and there were fewer tensions from the beginning (the latter possibly thanks to the pain killers, I don't know). I was grateful to be able to enjoy meditation again. Most of the time I do, but I find it very unsettling to be stuck in the lower nanas of a new path after the wonders of review. I guess having a headache and then getting relief from it gives some perspective on the cravings. A good lesson, although I'd really prefer to learn it without the intense pain. 

Suddenly I had the distinct feeling that time was up, so I opened my eyes and looked at my watch. It was one minute before the alarm would go off.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/31/19 4:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I seem to have a high blood pressure issue that correlates with when I’m stuck in the 3C nana of a new path. 

Or maybe not. That measurement seems to have been misleading, because now it's just fine. I don't recall ever having as low blood pressure as now, and that's with ADHD medication. I actually seem to have lowered my blood pressure quite a lot compared to my usual values, probably thanks to yoga and meditation. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/31/19 7:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I focused on my breath for almost an hour, until I suddenly forgot about the breath and fell through the bed. Weird thing. Of course, I didn’t really fall through the bed, but I had the subjective experience of doing it, and at the same time I sort of saw it happening from above, or maybe I just saw myself lying there and then fell back into my body? I’m not sure. I didn’t feel sleepy, so I don’t think that I was falling asleep. I could be wrong, though, I guess, but as I remember it, I was totally into the breath.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/31/19 10:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Note to (not)self: there is one practice that is always available, especially at difficult points in the cycling. That is investigating the three C:s of my urges to tic. Even if I’m at the moment more invested in shamatha than in vipassana, this is helpful, because the tics are blocking jhanic access. Maybe it would be a good idea to have this as one of my default practices, so that I won’t need to hesitate when things are difficult. Reminding myself of the three C:s of those urges makes a tangible difference in my daily life, as both giving into the tics and trying to suppress them are draining approaches, to put it mildly. Thus, motivation shouldn't be a problem even in the darkest of times. Just letting go and observing the sensations that arise and pass away gives relief and vividly illustrates the three C:s. It is strange, though, how difficult it is not to give into the urges at least in a subtle way. Giving into them definitely doesn’t help a bit. It just feeds the reactive pattern. Relaxing and letting go while tuning into the sensations that unfold doesn't lead to any of the discomfort that the mind so vividly and persistently imagines will take place. On the contrary, it opens up to flow and spaciousness. It wouldn't surprise me if preventing that is the purpose of them. Those reactive patterns are scared as crap that if I don't constantly twitch or sniff or make a sound, the illusion of being a continuous entity will just automatically dissolve. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/31/19 9:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Gah, I'm having the typical stage related TMJ tensions and I'm trying to appreciate it as progression, as is recommended in MCTB2, but it doesn't feel like progression and I'm not liking it. It's difficult to sleep when there seems to be no way to relax one's jaw. 

It clearly emerges as progression, though, because it predictably follows from mind and body and cause and effect observations.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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10/31/19 9:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Gah, I'm having the typical stage related TMJ tensions and I'm trying to appreciate it as progression, as is recommended in MCTB2, but it doesn't feel like progression and I'm not liking it. It's difficult to sleep when there seems to be no way to relax one's jaw. 

It clearly emerges as progression, though, because it predictably follows from mind and body and cause and effect observations.

Let the jaw get really tense, and stay there as long as it needs to. Try to feel how the jaw tension is connected to the rest of the body. It's not about the jaw. That seemed to have really helped me, anyway.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 10:01 AM as a reply to spatial.
Thanks for kind and helpful advice! You’re right, it’s not about the jaw. It’s created by the attention system, right?

First it felt like there were expansions and contractions and/or pressure changes in the cranial cavities, following a really slow wave pattern of four seconds per wave. Since you adviced me to investigate the connections with the body, I kept investigating. I noticed that the same wave pattern could be found in my hands and feet and actually throughout the body. The more I paid attention to it, the worse it got. It felt like my body was being torn apart. That reminded me of previous observations of how sensations of being torn apart is really created by my own attention. It works just like in that finger tips touching exercise. When the mind doesn't catch the arising and passing away of every tiny little point, it makes a continuous movement of the sensations instead. In the finger tips it felt like a little larva was crawling around. In larger areas, it can feel like something that would take place in The exorcist. When one zooms in, with enough clarity it feels more like carbon dioxide. It is really a fractal wave pattern of arisings and passings of sensations related to the attention sweeping through the area. There are layers and layers of waves of arisings and passings. The body is fluctuating in and out of consciousness. Tensing an area, or adjusting it in order not to tense it, creates the illusion of stability, hence the tics and the tmj issues. Letting go of the tensions (including the adjustments) leads to a feeling of having nothing to hold on to, creating a subtle fear of falling through the ground or falling apart or melting. But the sensations per se are really quite pleasant when I also let go of the directed attention and allow the sweeping to do its own thing. It's a very soothing ocean-like rhythm, until the mind decides that nothing interesting happens and lets go of sensing the body altogether. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 10:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks for kind and helpful advice! You’re right, it’s not about the jaw. It’s created by the attention system, right?
I can't answer definitively, but I will say that the description you wrote sounds a lot like what I've experienced, and I think you're drawing the same types of conclusions I did. 

During the last night of my retreat last year, I couldn't fall asleep because I had so much jaw tension. I felt like I was so wired up, and also so exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster the retreat had put me through. After trying for a couple hours to relax my jaw, I just gave in to it and decided to let it work itself out. What happened after that felt like thousands of knots throughout my body untying themselves over the course of the night. I couldn't sleep at all because there was such an overwhelming amount of piti in my body. I guess I still have "jaw tension", but it doesn't feel like jaw tension anymore, because it is so obviously connected to my neck, back, breathing, balance of my head, etc.

My current hypothesis is that all of those connections ARE the attention system.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 2:04 PM as a reply to spatial.
Were you in the 3C nana too? Letting tensions in my body unclench themselves is basically what I do when I’m stuck in that stage, and yes, that leads to a lot of piti. I feel bad for complaining, though, because I’m not very tense now thanks to my yoga regime. It’s much more of the compulsive tensions than actual knots. I tense up compulsively, but as soon as I let go, I’m just fine. What drives me crazy is the fact that I tense up like that when there is absolutely no need for it (tics of various kinds and more macro scale body tensions). As for the jaw, I can’t find the relaxed default mode. I seem to have forgotten completely how to rest it. What I have learned to do is to lay down and trust that it will take care of itself if I just let gravity do its job and let go of any voluntary muscle activity. However, sometimes it takes quite a while to get there.

I think it is what happens when we overpower our attention system in order to observe as The Doer, whereas in later stages we are able to use awareness more and step back from the control. We are not supposed to position our body in space manually like we start to do when we pay so much attention. It is supposed to be more automatic. So yeah, in a way it is the attention system, I guess. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 2:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Were you in the 3C nana too? Letting tensions in my body unclench themselves is basically what I do when I’m stuck in that stage, and yes, that leads to a lot of piti.

I guess that's what it is. I guess 3C is anytime the attention is primarily focused on physical tension? It's hard for me to tell, because it changes so quickly. 

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I feel bad for complaining, though, because I’m not very tense now thanks to my yoga regime. It’s much more of the compulsive tensions than actual knots. I tense up compulsively, but as soon as I let go, I’m just fine. What drives me crazy is the fact that I tense up like that when there is absolutely no need for it (tics of various kinds and more macro scale body tensions). As for the jaw, I can’t find the relaxed default mode. I seem to have forgotten completely how to rest it. What I have learned to do is to lay down and trust that it will take care of itself if I just let gravity do its job and let go of any voluntary muscle activity. However, sometimes it takes quite a while to get there.

This has been my journey for the past two years. I don't know if I've forgotten how to rest, or if I never noticed how much tension there was in the first place. I think it's probably both. It's better to just give in to the tension. I think the desire to eliminate tension is what prevents the insight cycle from progressing. When I give in, it feels like the attention has the opportunity to sync up with the body, and interesting things happen. I've had all kinds of guilt about this...feeling like I'm not taking care of my body properly, or deliberately getting myself wound up in meditation so that I can feel superior, or just deluding myself. The "voluntary muscle activity" gradually starts to seem involuntary the more I just let it all do its thing. I'm not sure there are "actual knots". Maybe it's all "compulsive tensions". Not sure. This is all very counterintuitive.

I wish meditation teachers talked about this stuff, but they don't, and I don't know why. It seems to me to be the most important thing, because it dominates my consciousness for such a large percentage of my practice. 

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think it is what happens when we overpower our attention system in order to observe as The Doer, whereas in later stages we are able to use awareness more and step back from the control. We are not supposed to position our body in space manually like we start to do when we pay so much attention. It is supposed to be more automatic. So yeah, in a way it is the attention system, I guess. 

Yeah, I think you're right. In order to pay so much attention, we have to hold everything really still. That's not always mechanically sound, even if it helps us pay attention.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 5:25 PM as a reply to spatial.
Hmmm... For me it feels like the compulsive tensions are what hampers progress. Letting go of tension is not driven by desire. It's just what happens when I stop making effort. However, paradoxically, stopping making effort can sometimes be very difficult. Michael Taft does talk about this. His guided meditations, available on youtube, have taught me to let go of tensions in an effortless way. I think I have done a fair share of giving in too, though. There was a period when it felt like all my senses were rather violently turned inside out, and I totally surrendered to that, although in retrospect I have come to realize that it was my attention that caused it all anyway, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time. I felt rather stupid when I realized that I had surrendered to myself, like in some weird masochistic self-indulgence. The compulsiveness I'm talking about now is different, though. It's more like a distraction from the meditation.

Yeah, it's probably very likely that phases where the attention mainly goes to bodily tensions are the 3C nana. However, if you feel like they are taking you forward, then maybe it's more of a darknight tearing one's self to pieces thing. 

It seems to me like you are very hard on yourself. I don't think I have ever felt guilty for not taking care of my body. My body is my business, nobody else's. And most of my life I have really not taken care of it. It is only lately that I have become a yoga nerd, to my surprise.

I think I'm much more hedonistic than you. I mainly meditate lying down. That way it is so much easier to remain still without hurting my back and neck. It seems to work just fine. Most of the time sleepiness is not a problem for me. When it is, I probably need to sleep more anyway, and then I meditate earlier in the day if needed. 

Hm... I notice that there is a difference to my feeling tone compared to the last couple of days. It probably was the pms then, because now the pms should be over and apparently I no longer think of everything as pointless and pure misery. It really felt like it would be like that forever. I believe your advice made a great difference, because it gave me something tangible to do to get forward instead of just feeling sorry for myself. It was exactly what I needed. I can bee such an Ior when things are difficult. I'm horrible to be around when I'm sick. Luckily I also mainly want to be left alone when I'm sick, so nobody has to be around me then. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/1/19 8:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Hmmm... For me it feels like the compulsive tensions are what hampers progress. Letting go of tension is not driven by desire. It's just what happens when I stop making effort. However, paradoxically, stopping making effort can sometimes be very difficult. Michael Taft does talk about this. His guided meditations, available on youtube, have taught me to let go of tensions in an effortless way. I think I have done a fair share of giving in too, though. There was a period when it felt like all my senses were rather violently turned inside out, and I totally surrendered to that, although in retrospect I have come to realize that it was my attention that caused it all anyway, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time. I felt rather stupid when I realized that I had surrendered to myself, like in some weird masochistic self-indulgence. The compulsiveness I'm talking about now is different, though. It's more like a distraction from the meditation.


What do you think causes the compulsiveness? Is there something about the meditation that you want to distract yourself away from? What happens if you resist the compulsions? What happens if you give in to them?

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

It seems to me like you are very hard on yourself. I don't think I have ever felt guilty for not taking care of my body. My body is my business, nobody else's. And most of my life I have really not taken care of it. It is only lately that I have become a yoga nerd, to my surprise.


Perhaps I am hard on myself, but I am also very honest with my thinking. I've paid very close attention to as many stories as I can find in my head, no matter how subtle, and I give them as examples. I don't mean to give the impression that I'm constantly freaking out about each and every one of these things.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Hm... I notice that there is a difference to my feeling tone compared to the last couple of days. It probably was the pms then, because now the pms should be over and apparently I no longer think of everything as pointless and pure misery. It really felt like it would be like that forever. I believe your advice made a great difference, because it gave me something tangible to do to get forward instead of just feeling sorry for myself. It was exactly what I needed.


I'm glad to hear that I said something helpful emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/2/19 12:53 AM as a reply to spatial.
I think it is the ego fighting back, trying desperately to maintain a sense of a continuous entity-self.

Right, of course. My interpretation was probably out of proportion. 

Yeah, still feeling better, and great to have a curiosity-based go-to practice at this stage that doesn't only mean pointing out the three C:s (which tends to make me miserable) but also involves a question (which adds some dopamine to the coctail; I am a researcher after all - heh, selfing noted). 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/2/19 5:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I started the day with 45 minutes of vinyasa yoga at home. I'll be travelling a bit today and then be social with two different persons who are both important to me, in different ways, so I squeezed in 40 minutes of meditation before I left home, just in case I'll have a hard time to fit it into my schedule later. It was pleasant. Some tensions were still there, but they didn't bother me much. Creative thoughts kept popping up, so part of the session turned into more of a brainstorming session. There was still a background awareness of vibrational flow in the body, with the breath as its center. Piti and sukha were there, but no absorption as the mind was too busy thinking. Investigation wasn't at its finest either, for the same reaon. I think my mood is temporarily improving and my need for sleep decreasing. I haven't crossed the A&P of this path yet, and if I get lazy now I might miss the opportunity for this round and drop back again. Thus I'll try to meditate on the train and on the subway and make some time for it in the evening as well.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/3/19 7:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Dear mind,
     If this rewiring (?) headache is scripted because of mapping, we need to have a serious talk.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/3/19 4:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I sorta get what you might be saying about the compulsiveness. Are you talking about all the little things you do to make yourself feel comfortable, safe, secure, etc, when you really should just be calming down your body and meditating?

If so, then I will say that I've gone through periods of really struggling with all of that. And I've found it very useful to play around with:

(a) Try to catch exactly when they start (or even before they start), and follow them to completion
(b) Challenge myself to resist them completely and sit perfectly still
(c) Exaggerate them, even if that means swaying back and forth or making weird facial expressions or sounds

This has also at times led me to feeling like my soul was being ripped from my body and shredded into a million pieces while Satan stood there laughing at me. As much as I wished I could have sat there just focusing on the breath, those things at times became overwhelming and impossible to ignore.

If you are talking about the same thing I am, I'd be curious to know how you relate to this.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/3/19 4:42 PM as a reply to spatial.
I don’t know... I have Tourette’s syndrome, so it’s neuropsychiatrically conditioned, hardwired. None of a, b and c works. They only make things worse. A modification of b works miracles though, that is, not with resistance, but with embracing the sensations that come from not doing anything. From letting go. Letting go of the urge and resisting it are two very different things.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/4/19 12:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I had to deal with some stuff today that makes me feel helpless. That would have been less difficult if it mainly concerned myself, but this has to do with my kid's health and wellbeing. I'll need to attend to work-related duties now, in the evening, to compensate for not being able to work during the day. I felt that I needed to maintain my meditation practice, so I squeezed in an 80 minutes long vipassana session just now. I was tempted to interrupt it several times, because thoughts popped up that I was afraid I would forget about, but I didn't want my brain to learn that practice is negotiable so I managed to resist those impulses. 

So did I learn anything? I don't know really. I guess I at least learned that I can trust my determination. Insightswise... not so much. Well, I confirmed once again that impulses are very temporary, and that overcoming them is just as temporary and thus needs to be done again and again. And that in the midst of that, some respite can arise again and again. I also noticed that there is a lot going on in my awareness, rapidly. Fragmented is a word that comes to my mind when I think of the experience. I noticed a lot of tensions that I could let go of without making it into an effort. Thanks to Michael Taft's guided meditations, I have learned how to leave it to my body to just stop doing the effort of clenching rather than making an effort to unclench. My introspective awareness seems to have developed enough to detect unnecessary effort more often now than before (I'm not sure of the time scale here). I can see how this is related to the three C:s. 

I'm pretty exhausted now and tempted to procrastinate my work duties. I find it difficult to know when that is Mara speaking and when I really should listen. I have a history of overcompensating for my disability in the past, leading to severe burnout, but I also have a tendency to procrastinate which leads to anxiety and further avoidance rather than real rest. I think some middle ground might be the wise choice here, like deciding a minimum work load before I get to rest. I think that would be the most self-compassionate choice, because then I wouldn't feel like a fraud and cheater but would feel that I can rely on myself. Just deciding that minimum is in itself overwhelming, but I know where to start, so I'll do that. Then I'll decide if I should set a limit in time or in result or if I can rely on my own feeling about it. Maybe I should set a maximum time limit, because I really do need the rest. I'm thinking of this as practice-related as well, in case someone wonders why I'm rambling about my work. I'm trying to rewire my brain in a healthy way.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/5/19 3:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A night of vivid dreaming got me thinking... I have the impression that relatively many people here are working with lucid dreaming. I haven’t been that interested in pursuing that because I kind of enjoy not being in control, but maybe it’s not so much about being in control as about training oneself to see through the fabrications of the mind. Obviously, I buy into a lot of crap in my dreams, accepting the weird premises of that reality frame, so I’m probably doing the same thing during the day. This night among other things I was being sexually harassed by a cute but very creepy mini elephant and spent the rest of that dream avoiding it. I kept thinking "what kind of cruel people would train an animal to come on to humans sexually?!", but it never once occurred to me that it was a bit strange that mini elephant pets were suddenly a thing without there being a DNA manipulation scandal, or that they were speaking fluent English, albeit mostly sleezy pick-up lines. I wasn't even that surprised that I could suddenly climb buildings and preferred that to using the stairs because it was faster or more convenient or whatever. I remember thinking that I would die if I fell but that didn't scare me. I'm normally afraid of heights (although when I crossed the A&P of the previous path I forgot about that and did some climbing).

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/5/19 9:39 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I meditated until I fell asleep yesterday after a long day. It started out with distracted thoughts of a creative kind (research-related and meditation-related), because I’d had an inspiring conversation right before that. My mind-speed had increased and the feeling-tone had shifted into something more optimistic. Despite being distracted, clarity was high. The breath was very pleasant and had that subjective quality of smooth flourescent smoke spiralling in and out. I could feel those electric cracklings around my head that I think of as ”mana”. I directed my attention back to the breath over and over again. Jhanic qualities arose as the thoughts calmed down. I had a vision of being ready for the A&P and opening up to it, and it filled my heart and made my body shake. I was surprised to have that happen during meditation, as it usually only happens when I’m totally overwhelmed by feelings or sensory impressions (non-epileptic seizures) which hasn’t happened since I started my daily meditation practice. I don’t remember anything from there. I probably fell asleep.

Then I had a dream in which I said a spell about opening up to the Vimuttimagga, which I haven’t even read, and I was hit by a force that filled my heart and made my body shake. I guess I should read it now, to see what I signed up for.

I was woken up by one of my cats at four o’clock in the morning. Maybe he thought I was already awake because my body was moving.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/5/19 11:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Bah, now I can't sleep. Too much energy. But my body needs more sleep than those 3-4 hours, especially at this time of the year when it is very dark here in Sweden. I downloaded the Vimuttimagga to my ipad in an app that allows me to make notes in it. I thought it might make it easier for me to navigate and process it. Now can I please have some sleep?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/6/19 5:27 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Okay... so I'm guessing this is the A&P of this new path. I was naive enough to think that concentration would return with it, but apparently I need to build momentum anew. It also seems like this new layer needs quite a lot of purification (taming is the word that comes to my mind; it's like a wild horse or something) before I can do anything useful with it. Fair enough. At least something happens. I like that.

I did one and a half hour of tuning into the process, and the breath was pleasant enough but my mind was all over the place. Sometimes it was extatic but certainly not calm and focused. I followed the spinning mind with varying degrees of success. For a while it felt natural to do noting. The labels just popped up on their own. Towards the end it was calmer but not very focused. I knew when the alarm would set off, though. That much awareness was there. At least I feel good, which is rather weird right now. The nada sound is really loud. I'm sleep deprived and have a histamine reaction from eating nuts, but I feel like if someone tossed me on the ground I would bounce up into the air. I think staying grounded is a good idea now. I'll make some steady food and get to work, and do a yoga class in the evening. This energy burst won't last, and I need to be able to get going in the following stages as well. 

I'm happy to see that this forum is getting really active, with lots of engaged posts and people supporting each other. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/6/19 7:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
OMG! While cooking lunch I listened to the deconstructing yourself podcast, the episode where Michael talks about deconstruction of sensory experiences. I realized that it is exactly the kind of map that I have been missing. It answers so many questions! It also confirms what I have started to sketch for myself, about the relationship between some different states and stages. There are more dimensions to it than one map in itself can cover. It also confirms what I have started to realize lately: some perceptual modes that I used to associate with jhana are not inherent qualities to jhanas but rather sensory experiences presenting themselves more closely to what they really are. I have been working with this rather intuitively, but I have been confused from time to time because I really wanted to map it and the maps that I knew of lacked this dimension and thus led me astray with regard to that, whereas being extremely helpful in other respects. Now I understand the different purposes of the maps - this one, the PoI map and the TMI map. This particular map will help me navigate and cover vipassana territory much more systematically. I can't wait to get started! And I have so many other obligations now! Whyyyyyyyy?!?!

I highly recommend this episode. I can't seem to figure out how to link to the specific episode in a way that actually works. Sorry.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/6/19 9:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I got curious about deconstructing sound so I listened to the sine wave A, 440 Hz, for one hour. This was rather draining so I don’t think I’ll stick to that pure tone. Anyway, I got it to sway, pulsate, mix with light, break apart into different tones with different qualities, and vary in strength. I don’t know whether that was deconstruction or hallucinations. For a while I couldn't recognize the tone itself at all. It was just a chaos of impressions that didn't mean anything.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/6/19 9:16 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I highly recommend this episode. I can't seem to figure out how to link to the specific episode in a way that actually works. Sorry.

https://deconstructingyourself.com/deconstructing-sensory-experience-with-michael-taft.html

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/6/19 9:18 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I highly recommend this episode. I can't seem to figure out how to link to the specific episode in a way that actually works. Sorry.

https://deconstructingyourself.com/deconstructing-sensory-experience-with-michael-taft.html



Ah, thanks! Nice!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/7/19 8:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today I was thinking that this is probably not a good time for doing shamatha, since too much is going on in my life and I risk only getting frustrated and cranky. Then I lay down on the yoga mat to relax for a moment before yoga class, and suddenly I was in jhana. 

I did 75 minutes of vinyasa yoga and then 90 minutes of restorative yoga which is basically reclining in different positions for a longer time while totally relaxing. I noticed how the PoI cycling started over again each time I moved into a new position, from mind and body to A&P verging on dissolution. I could also see progression according to Michael Taft's deconstruction map, from concept level to flow level. 

Back home I meditated before I went to sleep and had the same kind of development. Cool hos sensations change stepwise in accordance with the maps.

Reflecting on Michael's map, it occured to me that the "portal" thing I have seen a couple of times when focusing on the visual field with eyes open must be the nondual part where the object subjectively flickers in and out of existence. I also realized that the latest case of fruitions I had followed his map exactly. I was deconstructing the nada sound all the way. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/8/19 2:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I didn't get much sleep this night because my mind is going heywire (hello A&P). When the thoughts calmed down I spent time inbetween sleep and alertness and observed the visual effects. Wow, so many intricate patterns. Now they come in colors too. Flat patterns, layers of flat patterns, then three dimensional corridor structures with patterns on their walls, branching off in different directions. Constant movement. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/8/19 2:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I also had the kind of lucid dreaming, if it counts as such, where I was redirecting scenes to see slightly different versions of them. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/8/19 12:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I didn't get much sleep this night because my mind is going heywire (hello A&P). When the thoughts calmed down I spent time inbetween sleep and alertness and observed the visual effects. Wow, so many intricate patterns. Now they come in colors too. Flat patterns, layers of flat patterns, then three dimensional corridor structures with patterns on their walls, branching off in different directions. Constant movement. 

Do you ever move your consciousness into those visual effects?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/8/19 2:57 PM as a reply to curious.
Those have only appeared while I have been waiting for a train that would arrive any minute, so I didn't dare to... I have been drawn into something similar with the nada sound, though, when that dissolved into nothingness together with every other sound. Then it was white everywhere and absolute silence and then fruition.

Oh, sorry, those effects. Yeah, I was moving around into the threedimensional labyrinth with patterns all over the place. I thought you meant the portal ones.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/9/19 2:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday I did Kundalini yoga with a gong bath, which was very pleasant. My entire body was filled with champagne bubbles and it felt as if some liquid was pouring down alongside my face. In the end we sang a mantra for releasing unconscious blockages and being more patient. That made me shiver, and then there was calm.

Right now I have much more on my plate than I can really handle, which is very stressful, and previous burnouts have made me sensitive to stress. Yet, yesterday I was almost ridiculously happy for no particular reason. Not very effective, though. This A&P is much more of a trip than a boost in effectiveness. 

During the night I listened to Michael Taft's latest guided meditation at SF Dharma Collective. Although my mind was trying hard to keep spinning, sensations took over. My face muscled relaxed themselves immediately and the eyes relaxed back into their sockets even before Michael said so. I guess they have learned the drill. I noticed that as soon as I relaxed, it felt as if my body was floating on clouds or levitating. Direct awareness of the body took over but it still felt the attention waves, if that makes any sense. I focused on the nada sound and that focus made things happen to the bodily sensations and the light. When my focus made the sound divide into different tones, something corresponding happened to bodily sensations and lights. It was like they were all the same consciousness. 

Edited to add: there were some forceful kriyas too, and some really strong piti that made my body shake as if I was having a seizure.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/9/19 11:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Today I was thinking that this is probably not a good time for doing shamatha, since too much is going on in my life and I risk only getting frustrated and cranky. Then I lay down on the yoga mat to relax for a moment before yoga class, and suddenly I was in jhana. 

I did 75 minutes of vinyasa yoga and then 90 minutes of restorative yoga which is basically reclining in different positions for a longer time while totally relaxing. I noticed how the PoI cycling started over again each time I moved into a new position, from mind and body to A&P verging on dissolution. I could also see progression according to Michael Taft's deconstruction map, from concept level to flow level. 

Back home I meditated before I went to sleep and had the same kind of development. Cool hos sensations change stepwise in accordance with the maps.

Reflecting on Michael's map, it occured to me that the "portal" thing I have seen a couple of times when focusing on the visual field with eyes open must be the nondual part where the object subjectively flickers in and out of existence. I also realized that the latest case of fruitions I had followed his map exactly. I was deconstructing the nada sound all the way. 

Jhana can sometimes fall into your lap. I recall many similar instances where this has happened. As I read again, you have a great degree of awareness around the ephemeral nature of perception. This is lovely. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 1:23 AM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Thanks! Yeah, jhanas tend to happen on their own. They are like cats, they prefer to be the one who takes the initiative. All one can do is providing the kinds of conditions that make them feel that one is approachable but not too eager. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 1:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have started cycling the dukkha nanas of the current path. Yesterday I had so much trouble to stay focused that I missed getting off the train together with my kid (teenager). It turned out allright, though. Then I had spiking adrenaline for no particular reason at all - fear nana. Then there was a celebration for my brother's kid with other kids there and lots of noice, so I kind of lost track of the nanas. I have fallen back into the same kind of bodily pain that used to be the default mode before I started my daily practice; I tend to do that in dukkha nanas until insight is matured for that path. Thanks to yoga at least now I know how to keep my posture. That helps. I didn't get to do formal meditation until late at night when I was exhausted so after a while I fell asleep, but the third vipassana jhana was available with the kind of direct awareness of the body that its wider focus allows. I like that. It's restful to just give up the "control" and let the sensations present themselves without effort. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 10:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Crossposting to keep track:

Today I had the feeling that maybe I'm actually a "real" adult now (well, at least sometimes), because despite cycling the dukkha nanas and being rather exhausted due to circumstances, it was much easier than before to notice when I was being reactive and just stop it. Wow, what a relief! 

I also came to realize for the first time (embarrassingly enough, as that should have been obvious) that the reason that I often mixed up my kid's name with my sibling's name when being upset was not that the situation reminded me of what a tease my sibling was when we were kids, but that I was regressing to the age I was in when I used to fight with my sibling. And now it was much easier to just remember that I'm the adult. I didn't mix up the names now, but the topic came up.

Having ADHD, among other things, emotional reactions can happen very fast and show before I get a chance to inhibit the response (that is, the reaction). Being autistic too, controling the tone of my voice has always been difficult. While some autistic people tend to be under-expressive, I'm usually over-expressive, so if I'm mildly irritated or upset, the tone of my voice may indicate that I'm really angry. Repressing or hiding an emotion has never really been an option for me. I always need to find a way of dealing with it. Today's experience was liberating because the emotion just self-liberated as soon as I realized that the person that had the emotion hasn't even existed since decades ago. I totally see why Buddhist meditation + psychoanalysis can be an awsome combo. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 11:51 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks! Yeah, jhanas tend to happen on their own. They are like cats, they prefer to be the one who takes the initiative. All one can do is providing the kinds of conditions that make them feel that one is approachable but not too eager. 


I've never seen them described as animals before. Reminds me a little of animal tarot cards. It would be interesting to have a Buddhist set of animal tarot cards with a cat attributed to the quality of jhanas and perhaps a monkey representing various egoic traits. emoticon

When you've dropped out of jhana do you find that the mind returns with a little extra unconscious tendencies?

For me, I found this swinging from the highs of jhana to the lows of suffering an excellent teaching ground for developing equanimity. I think it stretches the mind in some way. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 12:34 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Bardo Cruiser:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks! Yeah, jhanas tend to happen on their own. They are like cats, they prefer to be the one who takes the initiative. All one can do is providing the kinds of conditions that make them feel that one is approachable but not too eager. 


I've never seen them described as animals before. Reminds me a little of animal tarot cards. It would be interesting to have a Buddhist set of animal tarot cards with a cat attributed to the quality of jhanas and perhaps a monkey representing various egoic traits. emoticon

When you've dropped out of jhana do you find that the mind returns with a little extra unconscious tendencies?

For me, I found this swinging from the highs of jhana to the lows of suffering an excellent teaching ground for developing equanimity. I think it stretches the mind in some way. 
I could easily see the Monkey King representing various egoic traits in a tarot deck. emoticon Since we are talking about tarot decks, I saw this piece on a museum for modern art recently and was fascinated: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/suzanne-treister-hexen-2-dot-0-slash-tarot-slash-major-arcania If you google Suzanne Treister tarot you can probably find more detailed images that allow you to read the texts. So cool!

I have definitely noticed this sort of backlash. I just didn't associate it specifically with dropping out of jhana, but more with a general revolt of the ego against the path. Maybe it was jhana-related, I don't know. Sounds like a great practice anyway. Come to think of it, yeah... Switching to doing more shamatha, I think this did increase for me. I found myself getting cranky when jhanas weren't accessable. It's hard to tell what is cause or effect, though (if such a distinction is even valid). I seem to have a tendency to get cranky in some specific nanas, and more so when I feel stuck in them, and that crankiness and craving certainly doesn't help in accessing jhanas. I have been thinking lately that it is actually the sort of lesson that I need, both to practice equanimity and to clearly see how the mind builds up the constructions and chains that lead to suffering. That instead of getting cranky I should remind myself that it is not necessarily the jhana that brings clarity but the lack of access could bring clarity as well. How I respond or react to that makes things clear that were hidden from my attention.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/10/19 5:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did Michael Taft's guided meditation "Meditating down the stack" again. Afterwards, during the Q&A, I fell asleep, so my memory of the session is a bit hazy. 

It took me a while to be able to develop sensory clarity in the belly region, but after a while, direct awareness took care of it and I could let go of control. I think my third vipassana jhana has more shamatha qualities now compared to before. It is calmer and more peaceful. Maybe I dropped back into the dissolution nana and had a clearer version of it than I'm used to.* That would make sense. I started out with clarity in the periphery whereas the center of my focus tended to disappear into a haze. For a while that made me change my focus several times, albeit within the scope that I had set out, namely breath sensations in the entire body or wherever they appeared. I could easily find breath sensations anywhere in the body and not restricted to the physical body. It felt like the sensations filled an egg-shaped volume including space that transcended the physical body. Something was pouring down alongside its shell and I could feel some of it touch my face. In the end of the session, there was clarity both in the center and in the periphery. 


*) crossposting from another thread to keep track:

I think the term dissolution is confusing if one talks about a specific stage because there is dissolving going on at various points of the path. I always had the nagging feeling that the term dissolution fits better with a separate scale having to do with another dimension of mapping than the PoI map that deals with the chronology of stages in the cycling. It seems to be more about what Michael Taft talks about in his deconstruction map for Vipassana. Dissolution the way Daniel describes it seems to be a different thing, and that phase occurs at that specific place in the sequence of the cycle. I think confusion or brain fog would be a better term for it, at least the way it tends to manifest for me. I have had chrystal clear experiences of stuff dissolving, but rarely in the dissolution nana. My experience of the nana fits quite well with what Daniel describes in his vimeo, though. 

That nana seems to get less foggy with every new path, though, and I probably started out with more brain fog than average because of my attention deficit (which thankfully is not an awareness deficit). Maybe it will turn out that the feeling of total confusion is really my thoughts dissolving, and maybe I can learn to notice that happening, with remaining clarity. I have experienced that happening at one occasion (dissolving gradually, manifesting gradually, dissolving gradually again, manifesting gradually again, and so on). I think that was a case of a slow A&P that arose from the confusion. I happened while listening to one of Michael Taft's guided meditations, or rather afterwards during the Q&A part. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/11/19 4:47 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Those are unique tarot cards for sure! I couldn't locate the text anywhere. I'm intrigued by many of them. WWI, WWII and WWW would be an interesting read. I see there's an Aldous Huxley there too. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/11/19 6:03 AM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Did you do a google image search? You could try Hexen 2.0 as search word too.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/11/19 6:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I meditated in a reclining position for 80 minutes and got into that weird state where the body behaves as if sleeping whereas there is still awareness of being aware and direct awareness of bodily sensations, completely effortless. There were several sudden and loud outbreaths. I think I have caught a cold or something and the body is trying to deal with it. I can feel that something is going on in my throat and nose although it is subtle, and my muscles are sore. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/11/19 2:04 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did another meditation session without setting any alarm. I kept going for 1 h 35 min. In the beginning there was jhana. Then I seem to have run out of mana or something, and instead I was once again in that restful but aware state that is like lucid dreamless sleep.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/12/19 6:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It seems like the current layer I'm working on is somewhat less damaged by burnout, but it also reminds me of why I was prone to burnout in the first place.The nanas present themselves differently, I think. Fear now is more about being wired up by stress hormones and less about apathy and avoidance and shutdown. Maybe my stress hormones have actually started to work the way they are supposed to. That's a good sign, I guess, even though "the way they are supposed to" says more about the conditions for cave men than modern conditions. I'll try to avoid the traps that I used to walk into. I'll try not to get caught up in stories that lock in reactive patterns. Some patterns were easier to avoid engaging with when I lacked the resources to engage with them anyway. Now I need to step up my introspective awareness. That's both an interesting challenge and a necessary one. Some backlashes will probably occur. I need to be prepared for that and not let it go too far. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/12/19 3:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I meditated for an hour and then I kept the position for another 30 minutes or so because it was too pleasant to remain in it for me to want to move. I had that feeling of not being able to move. I have had some issues with mild dissociation before (not anymore), or at least that was my own diagnosis, so I have learned how to get out of states where it feels like motions is impossible. Thus I probably could have, if I wanted to, but I really didn't want to. I was using Michael Taft's latest guided meditation mainly as a way to masque the snooring from my partner R who was sleeping next to me, but my mind (or whatever it is that does it, if anything) did its own thing instead of actively listening to the guidance. After an hour had passed, there was a bell and then talking. I was listening to what was said but sort of meditating at the same time. 

But to start from the beginning... I started out with direct awareness. Then I got into that weird state that seems like lucid dreamless sleep. Maybe it is? I don't know. It doesn't have that concentrated focus of the arupa jhanas so I don't think it's any of them. Maybe it's some state that is talked about in non-duality traditions? Some primordial awareness? Maybe it's what Leigh Brasington talks about as the nineth jhana which is pretty much a state of conscious oblivion? Anyway, I had been very tired so I probably needed the rest, especially since I think I have caught a virus or something. There were so many loud outbreaths happening on their own (breathing out toxins, perhaps) that it sounded like I was snooring, and yet I was completely aware. I just couldn't do anything about it because the body did it on its own. After a while I was more alert and found pleasantness to focus on. It felt pretty much like I was having a warm but not too warm bath with some water or foam slowly and smoothly seeping down my face. The calm feeling of being submerged in water was gradually more emphasized whereas the seeping thing was toned down. It was very peaceful and had a neutrality to it that was at the same time accompanied by a pleasant feeling tone. That's where I was at when the bell sounded (or the bowl). 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/13/19 1:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today I have meditated for about four hours so far. The latest session lasted for 2 h 10 min. I started out with shamatha, visiting first, second and third jhana. Then I tried to follow the nada sound into the fourth jhana, but apparently I did more investigation than absorption, because I found myself in third vipassana jhana. I had tried to cultivate the quality of equanimity but didn't quite succeed. I noticed that at this moment there was a preference for vipassana jhana above shamatha jhana because I enjoy noticing and embracing the impermanence and the fragmentation of recognizable perceptions into something vibrational. I was on the verge of fourth vipassana jhana but not quite ready for it on this path. The nada sound grew stronger when I embraced the impermanence and the not self. It was a bit trippy. I tried to deconstruct external sounds. For brief moments the sound was like confetti being thrown around, but it was always interrupted by some new sound that appeared on a conceptual level. I tried to zoom inbetween levels of deconstruction. It's an interesting practice that I'd like to explore more. However, I have to eat something and then attend to some obligations before I go to bed.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/14/19 12:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Slightly more than an hour, reclining. Started with getting a feel for what needed to be done, where things needed to be going. I've had to attend to some scary and emotinally charged stuff today that also required much from my poor executive functioning, so I was a bit wired up in the beginning. It felt promising, though, vibrational and with a loud nada sound. Probably full reobservation as the dominating nana, the one that needs most working on even though the meditation session starts with lower nanas. I'm weird in the sense that I actually like reobservation. It makes things happen. That's interesting. I like the work of getting from reobservation to equanimity within the session. It's such a cool contrast when the shift happens. I allowed myself to just do what I felt like without having to be systematic. I focused on getting relaxed, without deciding about shamatha or vipassana, because that felt like the easiest way to get started. I thought that the process would lead the way after that. I felt curious about what it would evolve into. Reflections about this and that came up, temporarily hijacking my attention. Thanks to recent forum discussions, I thought of that not as a nuisance but as things are, not something to run away from. "Just this", I thought. "This is it". Then I investigated what that felt like, that very moment being all that there is. Not long ago I think I would have panicked and wished I were in a restful and wildly beautiful Scottish landscape. This time I didn't panic. It actually felt pretty good to open up to the moment being all that there is. It both took me into jhana and showed me brief glimpses of a very rich presence to the bright vibrancy of the moment (my mind's conditioning seems to be rather eclectic, so it doesn't care about whether something is Theravadan or non-dual, I suppose; not that Theravadan tradition wouldn't allow for non-dual experiences, as I'm pretty sure that it does, but if I'm mixing up the lingo, that is why). First jhana developed into second jhana, and the note "rabbit nose" popped up because of a recent thread where someone described second jhana as having their attention sort of glued to the breath at their nose and to how the breath made it wiggle or something like that. I never thought of it in those wordings before, but it really is a very illustrative description. It felt like nothing could have taken away that firm focus. The brief glimpses of vibrant precense to the moment helped in cultivating the sukha. The happiness quality was stronger than it has been for a while now. I think that would have been helpful in building a firm ground for climbing the jhanic arch, perhaps getting into fourth jhana and equanimity. It felt like there were possibilities for clarity both in the center and in the periphery. I was easily feeling the breath both at the nose tip and in the body as a whole and I was using multiple sensory modes. 

Then the phone rang. I knew who it was, and I knew that it was about the urgent matter that I have been dealing with today. I had been mentally prepared to have that phone conversation in the evening, so suddenly it was possible to let go of that firm focus. I will get back in once I have had something to eat. Maybe I have missed my great window of opportunity for today, as I'm now more tired, but that's just life. New opportunities will arise. I feel good. Stable and calm, peaceful. Not tired anymore. 

Hehe, a thought popped up: "Can it really be this easy?" I see you, Mara. Well, it can be like this. Just this. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/14/19 4:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yeah, I missed the window of opportunity for today. I just did another one and a half hour and although I enjoyed it, it didn't have that edge. That's okay, though. I don't mind the dukkha nanas, especially not when the cycling is fast enough for things to happen. This is one of the fun parts for me. I did some freefalling and enjoyed the transformation from wired up tensions through melting butter to liquid in weightlessness. For a while there was equanimity with clarity throughout the whole field of awareness but I didn't have the energy to keep up the focus. Thus the easily distracted mind of reobservation arose again and eventually the body said that it was enough for today. It feels really good to stretch  and move my legs around in the air, making them feel solid and strong again. This used to make me feel stagnated but now I don't understand why. There is no stagnation. There is just zooming in and zooming out. Now I'm zooming out a bit and experiencing embodiment, or manifestation as body. That's kind of cool. That vibrational flow of ephemeral and transient bips is also this. Right now I can move inbetween with relative ease. 

I feel healthy. That virus or whatever it was seems to have vanished. The exhaustion is on vacation. Breathing is easy again. The nada sound is loud. It has come to be associated with authenticity for me. 

Hm, I think accepting that the body felt like manifesting again brought back equanimity. Right. One reaches equanimity by being equanimous. As simple as that and as difficult as that. Ha, now a thought popped up again: "There must be a catch. It can't be this simple." I see you Mara. Yes, it can be exactly like this. Just this. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/14/19 9:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
During the night, I woke up in the midst of meditation, with the entire world rapidly dissolving into mere vibrations and almost vanishing, over and over again. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/15/19 12:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Practicing being less of a control freak in daily life. Quite the relief. There was so much dukkha in it that it made me sick. I can find better purposes for that energy. 

Practiced some very soft and slow yoga now that the virus or whatever it was is finally gone. Tried to be present to the moment. The visual field came alive. Looking forward to meditating when I get home. 

It is such a relief that some of the perception seems to have been emptied out. I just realized that I haven't felt that horrible tension in hearing for quite some time now, the one that manifested as some pressure changing squeeks in my right ear as if I couldn't decide whether to listen inwards or outwards. The accompanying irritation in my left eye is gone too. They seem to have been replaced by the nada sound, the sound that doesn't assume a hearer. The sound without any location. Even though it has drawn me in before, it still had no location. It drew me out from being located. If it has a location, it is beyond spacetime. Or maybe it is the opposite. It is everywhere, anytime. Or maybe that isn't really the opposite. Or maybe the nada sound has no location because it is the space itself. Yes. That seems to be the construction that resonates the most with my experience. 

That's typical. Most practitioners seem to describe space in visual terminology, but for me, that becomes very abstract. When I do experience space, it resonates very well with me but it still takes a long time before I realize that it is the same thing as what others are talking about, because for me it translates differently. I wonder if others that practice with the nada sound also have difficulties in visualizing things. Maybe the huge dominance of the visual sense is a western thing? 

Now I'm at home, curled up next to a warm and purring cat. Happy happy. I can feel the nada sound vibrating in me and around me, filling me up, bathing me, healing me. 

Maybe the nada sound is how emptiness manifests in spacetime, where it vibrates into existence. Hm, no... There is no emptiness outside spacetime that could vibrate into existence. Emptiness is not an entity. It is the absence of entityness. The absence of essence. The vibration just comes from nowhere, against all odds, just because it can. And that creation manifests as possibilities that come into being and take form, thereby conditioning further creation. The nada sound is the step before that, the opening to what is not yet locked in. A reminder that anything can happen anytime, against all odds. 

This is merely a construction, one that I may very well laugh at later on, but right now it is a helpful construction. Using the nada sound as a reminder of all that opens something up. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/16/19 7:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I was wrong - the nada sound does have location, sort of. It just doesn't cover the same field as external hearing. When I was adviced to follow one of the tones on the right side when the sound separates into several tones, that made sense to me. I had no trouble identifying which tones were on the right side. Thus I already knew the locations. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/16/19 10:25 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I focused on the nada sound on the right side for two hours. Okay, it definitively has location. It seems like different tones come from different parts of the brain. Weird. Am I listening to my brain? Doing this made things happen. Layer after layer of tensions dissolved. Perception changed. There were moments of centerlessness-ish, as if sensations in this body's face were sensations in that body's face - which is of course still a duality split, but of a different kind. 

It seems like when I'm conceptualizing, as I do know, the sound from the left side gets louder. If I just tune into locations on the right side instead, the sound from the right side gets louder and access to words disappear. Wow, this might come in handy. 

Edited to add: I think I sort of feel the tones kinesthetically too. That seems to be how I know where they are.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/16/19 12:37 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The friend who wanted me to try to listen specifically to the nada sound on the right side told me now that she had the same experience of not being able to access words. Thus it wasn't just my imagination. Maybe listening to the nada sound is a way of stimulating or tuning into specific parts of the brain? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/16/19 7:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The friend who wanted me to try to listen specifically to the nada sound on the right side told me now that she had the same experience of not being able to access words. Thus it wasn't just my imagination. Maybe listening to the nada sound is a way of stimulating or tuning into specific parts of the brain? 
I used to use the tinnitus in my right ear as my primary vipassana practise. From what I read somewhere when you focus on a sound in the right ear it's using the left side of the brain to process the sound. Since that side is used for language it makes it difficult to do both at the same time, like you're using up all the processing power of that side of the brain already so it has trouble doing the speech stuff as well. Could be total hokum but that's the theory.  emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/16/19 11:58 PM as a reply to Lars.
That's one possible explanation. The sound doesn't seem to come from the ear, though. It really feels like it is located inside the right side of the brain, weirdly enough. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/17/19 2:06 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm having a challenging day today, with difficult stuff to handle in daily life and cycling through the entire dark night. I'm grateful that this too shall pass. 

Earlier today I spent a couple of hours listening to the nada sound. 

I forgot to report that I did some Tibetan sound healing, I think it was the day before yesterday. I stopped at the mantra RAM because that was where I encountered difficulties in feeling the right feeling, and the overtones didn't come as easily as with the previous mantras. I probably need to work on that mantra. 

Now I'll meditate and then go to bed. No use trying to do anything more that requires executive functioning today, as I would most likely mess it up. 

I think I just went from desire for deliverance to reobservation. I know that it sounds weird, but that is quite the relief for me. Reobservation involves some energetic stuff, and that both feels familar and assures me that I didn't just imagine all of it. The mind speed is also something that makes me feel safe. I know that I will need to let go of the attachment to intellectual faculties, but I'm not quite there yet. Thirdly, reobservation kind of takes the lead. It makes things happen on their own. No need for me to be in the driver's seat. If I just surrender to it, it will be fine. 

I have been feeling a bit like I did when I was about to give birth to my kid, that moment when the head was passing through the pelvis, before the labor started. That was a horrible moment, much worse than the actual delivery. I remember wanting to squeeze my legs together and not letting anything in or out, and just forget about the whole thing - and at the same time I knew that would thankfully be impossible. When the labor finally started, it wasn't so bad. It took care of itself. The body knew what to do and just did it. All I needed to do was letting it. For me, reobservation seems to be that latter part in the analogy. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/19/19 4:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Meditation yesterday varied inbetween distracted/slightly agitated and relaxed but dreamy and dull. Not much to report. I remember rying to just be with the moment as it was, and random images popped up. Very random. It surprised me that all those images could just pop up seemingly from nowhere. 

Today I woke up in a bad mood. One of my cats woke me up several times during the night and I was cranky and a bit confused. I felt overwhelmed about all the stuff that I have to do. I knew that approach wasn't helpful, so I tried to warm up for the day by listening to teachings by Bhante Gunaratana whom I respect deeply. That made me fall asleep because all the recitations in pali and discussions about concepts took energy that I didn't have. Bhante Gunaratana deserves better than that. I probably needed the extra sleep, though. Then I did some Tibetan sound healing while taking a shower. That practice probably deserves better than my singing in the shower, too, but it did help. In the beginning, the mantras sounded like crap, but soon the tones were clear and harmonic with overtones and my mood was better. 

Getting out of the shower I was reflecting on my practice and realized that I used to be very content with just sitting for twenty minutes per day without nothing in particular happening. Just allowing myself that space would make me happy. That was a pretty good approach, I thought, and I played with the idea of just starting over. Meditating for the sake of meditating, nothing more, without investing identity in it. Easier said than done. I will probably have to start over again many many times. The ego is persistent. I like the idea, though. I decided to start a sitting vipassana practice again. I can't meditate for as long while sitting as I do in a reclining position, but that's okay. I'll start small. I can build it up gradually and combine it with reclining sessions. Sitting practice is easier to do in the morning than reclining practice as I get sleepy in the morning. I started with only twenty minutes, and it was nice. One of my cats joined me on the mat, resting his head in my lap. I mainly listened to sounds and let them coexist with the nada sound in my awareness. That was soothing. It had a spacious tone to it. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/19/19 10:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It seems to me like the first time I go through the dukkha nanas of a new path, they seem pretty easy, but that's just a quick overview. After that, it gets more subjectively personal, more emotional, more challenging. They interfere more with how I manage the challenges of daily life, which is tougher than dealing with the nanas solely in formal meditation. Right now they kind of suck. 

Edited to add: Or maybe this isn't really the dukkha nanas. It seems rather likely that I dropped all the way down to the early nanas. This could very well be the 3C nana, as I'm having the same weird pain around my heart and feel like I'm regressing to the maturity of an insecure school child (which hopefully doesn't show or affect anyone else). I'm so not good at dealing with the 3C nana. I guess here is my chance to practice. Yay... 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/19/19 12:54 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
feel like I'm regressing to the maturity of an insecure school child (which hopefully doesn't show or affect anyone else). I'm so not good at dealing with the 3C nana. I guess here is my chance to practice. Yay... 

I get this a lot in the woeful realms. Regression into teenage years is a big one with me. Sometimes it comes with memories from those times  and felt sense of nostalgia just to really put me in the role. I never enjoyed my teenage years. It was very tough. I liked the drugs; ecstasy, speed and cannabis but not the experience of being a teenager. There's a theory that these difficulties become trapped in us in some way and spiritual/meditative practise releases those issues. Based on my own experience, I tend to lean towards such a view.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/19/19 2:25 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
I'm in good company, then. That is comforting. I think it was earlier years for me, which would actually explain many of the seemingly random images that were popping up yesterday. They included my first pencil case and other images from early school years. They weren't so random after all, but said a lot about what patterns I'm dealing with right now. I was a mess in the early school years, very aware of being different but without any explanation as to why as I didn't get my diagnoses until late in life. Huge amounts of social awkwardness and insecurity. Some traumas. Massive existential anxiety. Poor child. 

I did 45 minutes now, just tuning into the moment. There is a lot of energetic flow going on. Loud nada sound. Some distracting stressful thoughts about stuff I must remember to check. Some pleasure in just tapping into the flow in the midst of all the stress. I think I'll be okay. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/19/19 3:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
When I was six, I was looking out of my window. We lived on the 18th floor of a block of flats and everyone looked like ants. I had I fair understanding of human suffering by that age and I could see the pretence in all the adults. As I looked, I said to myself "I don't want to be a part of this", and thus entered a deep existential crisis which I refused to move out from. I spent the rest of my life moving in and out of dark states not understanding what they were about. This is where I find myself now, face-to-face with that existential angst. Most of the fear has gone but the mind is still clinging to some aspect of that childhood experience. 

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11/19/19 3:23 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
I did the very same thing. In my case it was a family gathering though. 

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11/19/19 3:52 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Thankyou! <3

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11/20/19 1:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There's a very organic, human level to waking up that sometimes needs a different kind of attention. A softer attention. I've found this approach helpful with those deep psychological issues.

Nice log by the way. (-;

Great compassion

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/20/19 8:57 AM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Sounds like a wise approach. I usually try to stand back and let awareness do its own thing as much as I can because I have attention deficit, but that doesn't always work. In this case I didn't realize that old stuff was involved until you mentioned the possibility. It didn't come up on a content level except for those seemingly very random mental images that were not emotionally charged in any way. Therefore I didn't understand why those negative feelings and unskillful reactions to them arose seemingly out of nowhere. Well, not out of nowhere - I have some really tough things to deal with here and now. I just thought I should be able to deal with them in a more mature way, without feeling like a small child on the inside. If it is really the case that old traumas come up in the meditation like that, then it makes much more sense, and I think it's easier to deal with something that makes sense. If these are the patterns from that scared child, then I can have compassion for them and take care of that child, which sort of makes "me" an adult again and somwhat less unawakened as I can respond rather than react, or choose to engage with the more constructive patterns that also exist rather than get absorbed in the feelings from the past. 

Thankyou for your kind words!

---

I meditated for 80 minutes, with a quick bathroom break in the middle. My attention was still rather easily hijacked by emotionally charged thoughts about responsibilities and things that can go wrong, but not all the time. As I assumed that I was in the 3C nana, I started out with a very narrow focus, trying to pay attention to all sensations of the breath by the tip of the nose. It soon became clear that my assumption was wrong. When I focused on the tip of the nose, it disappeared wheras other parts of the face and the body as a whole stood out clearly. There was a lot activity going on around the third eye, so I tested to focus on that instead. That made the forehead disappear and instead the tip pf the nose stood out clearly together with other parts of the body. I tried a couple of further focus changes to make sure, and then concluded that I was in fact in the dukkha nanas after all. After a while, there was clarity both in the center and in the periphery, and an equanimous feeling tone appeared. There were moments of intense presence and a feeling of being synchronized. There was a feeling of reality being liquid; retrospectively I think it might be described like it was divided into countless of tiny drops of liquid, each one of them containing the entirety of it. It also had a kaleidoscopic quality to it. I think I was still too firmly anchored to stuff that needs to be worked through for me to merge with that ephemeral quality of reality just yet. 

This evening I have an ashtanga yoga class and then a meditation class at the yoga studio. I look forward to both.

I still have anxiety, so that was a very short visit in the EQ nana. 

Lots of flow feeling in the body, loud nada sound. The vibrations feel differently from what I’m used to in the dukkha nanas. More spacious, I guess. Less disharmonious. Less aggressive. That confuses me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 4
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11/20/19 2:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The ashtanga yoga class and the meditation class was exactly what I needed. What a mercy! That teacher has been home to India for a while now so both those classes have been replaced with other classes in the meantime. I knew that I missed this but I didn't realize just how much. Other teachers have held ashtanga classes but they didn't get the energy precisely right the way this teacher does. My ujjayi breath was a bit rusty now so I struggled a bit to get it right. The rhythm of this class requires that I get it right. Otherwise I feel like I'm about to faint. In other classes I can cheat without realizing it. What a difference it makes! The breath and the postures and the flow of the movements and the focused and calm effort to get the asanas right - that's a great lesson in equanimity. I was happy that my proprioception seems to have come back again. I haven't had much of that until I started with the yoga. I'm not kidding. I used to have very little awareness of how my body occupied space. I always bumped into things, dropped things and so on. I have noticed that depending on where I am at in the PoI cycling, my newly found body awareness varies a lot, which can be very frustrating at times. Now it was better again after a challenging phase. 

Only one other person showed up for the meditation class apart from the teacher (the same teacher as for the ashtanga yoga) and me. She was a complete beginner with exhaustion and chronic pain. We talked a little both before and after the class. It was a great reminder of how it started for me. It made me feel grateful for the practice of meditation and yoga. It has worked miracles for me. The challenges I face in the practice now are nothing compared to how it started. I felt so much compassion for her, and I think I managed to be helpful without pushing anything on her. We sort of had a moment. I think it may have been exactly the meeting both of us needed at that very moment. It also warmed my heart that she really liked the meditation despite the pain she experienced from sitting for an hour. She looked so peaceful after the class. Wow. 

I loved the sitting. We did some chanting and some pranayama and then sat. No dharma talk. It was a bit similar to Michael Taft's guided meditations, starting with focusing on deep belly breathing and then changing the focus. In this technique one is supposed to focus on the third eye. The teacher modified the instructions to suit a beginner. He told her to watch her thoughts as if they were a film she was watching rather than partaking in them as an actor. He also said not to worry if she got lost in the content, but instead just be happy that she noticed that and then go back to watching the thoughts. That seemed to work very well for her. It is a goid reminder for me as well. That compassionate approach works so much better than being discontent when the mind behaves like a mind. I found a way to effortlessly focus on the third eye: I listen to it. That makes the drichti follow the same direction. Earlier I have focused on the kinesthetic sensations of gazing towards the third eye, but that can sometimes cause tensions to arise. Listening to the nada sound in the third eye gives a more relaxed focus and also a more reliable one. This focus also made sound, light and touch (or whatever one should call experiencing of the body as a discontinuous gathering of countless sensations without clear boundaries rather than a separate entity) come together and synchronize. It was plesant and peaceful. Thoughts did come up, but often there was no need to finish them because they all felt like a dejavue. The idea was already complete without being conceptualized. Sometimes some part of the mind persisted in going back to the thought to conceptualize it, but it never added any nuance, so it calmed down. I allowed some brief metta to be conceptualized, wishing for the woman with chronic pain to be well. 

After the sitting we did some brief chanting again. My voice had become much clearer from the meditation. 

Now I feel peaceful. Peace of mind is such an underestimated quality in this society, isn't it? Not that long ago I think I would have thought it to be boring. It really isn't.