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SigmaTropic SigmaTropic 5/13/18 8:42 AM
RE: SigmaTropic SigmaTropic 6/27/17 3:00 PM
RE: SigmaTropic SigmaTropic 6/27/17 3:12 PM
RE: SigmaTropic Daniel M. Ingram 6/28/17 3:08 AM
RE: SigmaTropic Noah D 6/28/17 3:55 AM
RE: SigmaTropic neko 6/28/17 5:07 AM
RE: SigmaTropic SigmaTropic 6/28/17 8:30 AM
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RE: SigmaTropic SigmaTropic 7/8/17 1:42 PM
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SigmaTropic
Answer
5/13/18 8:42 AM
Backround:

Short term goals: Increase awareness of subtle energy in body, increase total conscious power, develop piti, increase depth and ease of jhana access, develop ability to end proliferation and suffering as it arises, develop ability to transform sexual energy. 

Long term goal: Elimination of all suffering

Method: "The Mind Illuminated" Upasaka Culadasa, "Way of Energy" Master Lam-Kam Chuen

Current Practice: 30 minutes of Qigong daily, 1-2 60 minute formal sits daily, walking meditation sporadically, general daily life mindfulness of craving. Stages 6-7 in TMI. Novice in WOE.

History/tentative path progress: I was introduced to meditation in October 2016. The 1st A&P occured in January 2017. I Got in contact with my teacher, a long-time student of Culadasa, in January. Had a suspected cessation experience in February 2017. I Crossed A&P again in mid-March 2017. Obvious dukkha nanas from mid March to roughly the beginning of June 2017.

In my most recent talk with my teacher, I told him that I had a noticable increase in suffering caused by craving lately, and he brought up the possibility that I had stream entry. This was basically brought on by me describing for him how suffering proceeds lately and describing being able to go from a high state of suffering/mental proliferation to complete peace almost instantaneously by just deciding to. My current instructions are a practice to transform sexual craving into metta, and practicing/investigating the cessation of suffering described above to make the "decision" happen sooner and sooner. He also suggested I should get better at jhana, but beyond that no specific on-cusion instructions. All things considered, there is less suffering overall than when I started, and the feeling of having a choice/the ability to temporarily stop suffering is new, so whether I have stream entry or not the fact is there is still suffering so there's no reason to stop.

Edit: Linking previous log on r/streamentry: https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/logs/23sigmatropic

   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/27/17 3:00 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
60 minutes, breath at nose to start, attention was wobbly with subtle partial thoughts/some images/words. Proceeded to body scan systematically, straight throughout body, attention stabilized early into body scan. Proceeded to spine/right leg, spine/left leg, spine/both legs. Prana wave felt vaugely as traveling electric sensation internally, not as vivid as cutting edge state. Subtle dullness was a significant challenge after attention stabilized, alternating between over-agitation and increased energy to relaxation and decreased energy. Overall a baseline sit. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/27/17 3:12 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
60 minutes, emphasis on enjoying the breath, no dullness at beginning, breath developed into trampoline sensation between eyes. Proceeded straight to body breathing, starting with spine/legs. Prana felt vividly, warm pleasure appeared in awareness, mind was glad, pre-jhanic tremors appeared. Pleasure not attended to, tried to include arms and torso in attention, prana sensations faded in clarity, pleasure still in awareness. Subtle dullness set in, went back to nose breath to stabilize energy, spent the rest of sit alternating between lower body breathing and nose. Slight observer sense arose, ended sit at nose breath, trampoline sensation at nose and notable lack of effort, stillness, content, brightness. Close to cutting edge.   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/28/17 3:08 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Nice descriptions. Good to see how Culadasa's stuff performs.

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/28/17 3:55 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Nice descriptions. Good to see how Culadasa's stuff performs.
FWIW In our group SPUDS* we've seen at least 5 people attain to some sort of path/permanent shift using Culadasa stuff.

*Seattle Pragmatic Underground Dharma Society 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/28/17 5:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Daniel M. Ingram:
Nice descriptions. Good to see how Culadasa's stuff performs.
FWIW In our group SPUDS* we've seen at least 5 people attain to some sort of path/permanent shift using Culadasa stuff.

*Seattle Pragmatic Underground Dharma Society 

Feel like opening a thread for this? I'd be curious to read more emoticon

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/28/17 8:30 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Note: it will quickly become too time consuming to update every sit. From now on only new observations/developments. That being said:

Recently been trying experimental off cusion practice of inclining mind toward pleasant and interesting aspects of sense contacts. Recently there has deveoped an awareness that all sense contacts are multi-faceted, containing both pleasant and unpleasant aspects, which are selected for based on current mental intention and previous conditioning (this is a theory). During daily errands and chores etc, practice is basically intend for mind to filter sense contacts looking out for pleasant aspect. I like to think of it as pleasure mining- its there, you just need a mechanism to sift through and select for pleasure. I'll call it "pleasure goggles". Unpleasant aspects bounce off, pleasant aspect of sense contact then leads to small mental blip of pleasant mental state, which is sometimes correlated to body as pleasant sensation, sometimes not. When resting in this kind of awareness, repeated blips of mildy pleasant mental states come repeatedly, gladdening mind. Preliminary experiments have led to playful relaxed mental state. Continuous concentration is necessary, or else mind falls into default mode. Interestingly default mode interpretation of sense contacts is still in backround awareness but doesn't disrupt flow of pleasant blips. It will be interesting to see how this practice holds up starting from a suffering mental state. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/29/17 10:00 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Developments/Observations

Jhanic development focusing on Culadasa full body method/ Brasington pleasure Jhana:

What seems to work is first finding pleasure "sweet spot" in chest/nose breath. Zooming in on the sweet spot breath becomes effortlessly rythmic and pleasurable. Fully indulging in pleasant aspect of rythmic breath without strain or effort reveals more subtle prana sensations pervading chest/thorax. From there gently allowing arms and legs to get involved in rythmic breath cycle leads to vivid full body sensations, like waves. Sign of imminent jhana is when sense of doing falls away and I become the breath sensations-i.e. slipping into "groove". 1st full full body jhana seems more satisfying than 1st pleasure jhana (Brasington), more potent happiness, bodily bliss is more internal and smooth and enjoyable. Maybe I'm jumping straight into 2nd? 

Usually it's a toss up whether I can get into the rythmic effortlessness that seems to be required for full body jhana. Sometimes as scope exands breath gets more intentional feeling. Doesn't seem like I have found the right conditions for full body jhana on demand, just sometimes conditions are right. 

I still don't think I'm doing the Brasington jhana right, or maybe the piti isn't developed enough for it. Often there is gross body shaking and vibration, electric piti that's more outer shell of body, buzzing sensation, usually pretty agitating, lose sense of pleasure and jhana collapses. Only when I really hit it well is there pleasant internal moving piti, and bubbly pleasure on exterior, pleasure seems to fluctuate. About half the time I get close but no cigar and it's like an engine revving that wont turn over, just a lot of bodily vibration and electric piti that not really all that pleasant. Open to suggestions here.  

"Metacognitive Introspective Awareness" - Culadasa

Basically just intending to have two minds, one watching breath or body region, one watching the watching. I think I have it but it only works with relatively small object, say, nose breath or half body breath. This may be lack of enough conscious bandwidth. If thought arises, disregard content and just be aware that a thought has arisen. If new intention arises, be aware of intention without specifics. It usually proceeds with a vauge hint of what the thought was about, but mostly an awareness that thought has arisen. Intentions to move body region/scope of attention are fading from being coming from "me" to just being something that's being observed. Intention to move scope or go from breath at nose to different area seems to come without notice and proceed by itself. Seems a lot more pleasant to just watch meditation happen than actually have to do anything. 
 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/30/17 9:36 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Tension

Lately theres a tension that's preventing me from settling down. I was dealing with an intense facial/arm bobbing kriya for a month or so, and the Qigong and body breathing seems to have calmed down the involuntary movements. But lately the energy seems to manifest as a tension preventing me from fully settling down. I feel it at the end of the outbreath as a "not quite enough air" sensation deep in the belly region, which can develop into a subtle tension that gradually travels upwards into the base of the skull, where it seems to manifest as subtle dullness. Thats what it feels like at least.

Feels like it's ether caffeine related or a sign that effort is becoming a hindrance. The feeling is more common in the morning sit after tea, but in the evening sit there's noticably less of this sensation.

Last evening sit there was a nice development- proceeded from pleasant breath at nose, no breath tension, hung out with breath in the body for a while until energy started to fall, some jhanic factors present also a little dullness. Went back no nose breath, energy stabilized, breath became shallow, breath sensations were distinct, went for 1st pleasure jhana and closely missed. The tension came back as I was very settled in and breathing very shallow focusing on the pleasant energy flowing down the back and internally. Felt it take off but concentration was broken by breath tension. What's interesting is that after this I stabilized again on nose breath trampoline-like sensation and decided I was sharp enough to just drop all effort and see what happens. There was a distinct sense of the breath re-stabilizing as I was effortlessly drawn to the breath nimitta, in awareness I noticed the breath sort of re-organizing, like I had been breathing wrong the whole time! The breath stabilized on its own into a different pattern, and I spent the last 10 minutes or so just watching the breath nimitta without any sense of effort or tension whatsoever, from a witness-like state. The bell rang and it took an act of will to pry myself from the breath. I'll be playing with this little revelation in the days to come.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/8/17 1:42 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Marijuana induced vibratory experience of some kind

On July 4th I smoked some pot for the first time in many months. This is not a thing for me and it will likely be a long time until I do it again. That being said, the experience was worth mentioning because it was traumatic and seemed like an imortant insight was realized. That being said, it was drug induced so this should be taken with a grain of salt. After smoking the mind started meditating seemingly on its own as I sat in front of the TV with my wife. I could hear another TV in the other room, and people were hanging out taking, etc. It was as if all sensory inputs were completely cut off from their normal interpretation. The TV show was a collage of images and sounds, each as a discreet vibration, or bubbly wobble of sensation. The other noises were meaningless vibrations intemingled with the TV vibrations. There were physical vibrations, very bubbly, fast and pervasive. Thoughts seemed to also break down into vibrations. The part where Daniel talks about vibrations and intereference patterns during the A&P comes to mind, and the various vibrations took no meaning. The mind could only make sense of the different patterns of wobbles by playing with the emphasis of attention to tune into different frequencies, much like tuning a radio. I inclined the mind toward the pleasant vibrations and seemed to enter a light 1st jhana just by tuning into the pleasant vibrations in the body.  This was reality for about an hour or so until the effects started to wear off. The vibrations became finer and finer until reality smoothed out and the experience faded eventually. This was traumatic, and that's all I can say, but I think it was important. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/8/17 3:39 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Suffering about rejected sexual advances 

Went on vacation for the week, normal routine was considerably thrown off and my mindfullness was deteriorated by lack of sleep, agitation due to lack of routine/struggle to maintain practice during vacation. Lack of sleep and sexual advances to wife not being reciprocated led to short episodes of high suffering, which were shut down by strong intention to stop suffering and recognition that suffering was optional. It's as if the suffering only continues until I remember that I don't need to suffer and become willing to shut it down. Then with a deep breath and a strong decision not to suffer it releases with a few concentrated breaths into a mild to intense peace depending on the degree/length of suffering. More suffering for longer = more peace when it is released. The suffering is most intense when sex/lack thereof is involved, and it's as if the self is stubborn and won't recognize the suffering present. In this case I've been finding the energy in the root chakra and taking a deep breath, pulling the energy up to heart chakra, repeating as necessary. So far the energy has manifested in the heart chakra as mild joy/goodwill, although I'm not sure if I'm just manufacturing that feeling on purpose because that's what's supposed to happen.  

Main seated practice lately has been full body breathing/jhana. Jhana entry wasn't working the past week with the lack of sleep and change in routine, so I've just been doing the full body breathing, soaking in any peaceful and pleasant feelings. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/10/17 3:24 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Keeping it simple works

Sit down, start breathing, find pleasurable breath and stick on it. wait around for 10-15 minutes then jhana just seems to happen. No finding pleasant sensation or any of that crap. The breath itself just becomes blissfull if you wait around long enough without doing anything else. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/14/17 8:38 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
60 minutes, more practice with strong intention/resolution for metacognitive awareness. My practice has been scattered lately but I've resolved to stick with the TMI method and actually follow the stage 6 method. So just holding the intention seems to work to make it happen for me, I tell the mind to watch itself and don't neccesarily know what that means, but weirdly it just works. Attention was more or less exclusive throughout the session, and the trampoline representation/nimitta of the breath was faster and more detailed than I've seen in a while. It seems that working with this new intention is the way to go while I expand the conscious power. I was told by one of the co-authors of TMI that for the adept stages the conscious power has to be pretty large or you won't get anywhere, even if you have stable attention and can do the stage 7 jhanas. So for now I'm going to make a strong resolution to make a focused, consistent effort to expand conscious power and stick with it until I can breathe with the whole body and hold the metacognitive awareness. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/16/17 8:25 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Key realization about stage 6 TMI:

One must strive for metacognitive awareness while doing body breathing, working up from smaller areas to whole body while maintaining awareness. Before I've been just straight body breathing, not giving to much conscious effort toward staying aware. 

Also I've started to notice an inward current of prana on the inbreath that I wasn't discernng before. In some areas when I'm particulaly aware and sharp I can discern an outward wave, an inward wave, and both expansion and contraction sensations. Still have a long way to go until I can feel this in the entire body simultaneously and be minfully aware, but it's coming along. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/17/17 2:52 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Random note:

Probably better to start with chest/abdomen and work outwards keeping metacog. More pleasant/less tension inducing than starting at feet/and and working inward. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/26/17 1:11 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Weird Black Moments/Fruitions?

So this has been happening fairly regularly but I haven't really made a big deal of it but today one happened that seemed to be a little more clear and stronger. 

I'm going along like normal just following the breath at the nose and I was particularly tuned in and aware, and the breath was pulsy. I happened to be paying attention to the prana sensations in my left arm, then all of a sudden out of nowhere the visual field goes black. It seems like it happens in an instant and after the blackout there is a sense that I just skipped something or like a glitch in the matrix. After this thing the ambient sound seems to come back with somewhat of a clicking sensation. The after part kinda felt nice today. This time it felt a lot more clear so I'll keep seeing what exactly is going on if it happens again.   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/31/17 9:29 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Full Body Breathing/Jhana/Meditation

It seems to work to start with open awareness of everything in consciousness, then refine down to body sensations, then breath sensations in the body. This works better and full body jhana comes reliably, but it's still unstable and requires effort to maintain. Weirdly jhanic factors arise sometimes before refining to breath sensations by just focusing on bodily sensations all at once. There's no dullness whatsoever when I take this approach. Theres also a strobing effect and the breath sensations come in discreet packets traveling around. I feel fast vibrations that are barely discernable at the very threshold of my perception which are interesting.  I think I've been a little too dogmatic in folllowing the TMI instructions and not having fun with it and staying curious. I think I'll keep taking this approach for a while then eventually try to watch mind while doing it. I'm also noticing what I'm becoming more and more convinced are fruitions. They are mostly just blank gap moments where the re-emergence feels pretty clicky and sudden. I've noticed I'm very peaceful for hours after it happens, although there's not so much of an immediate effect.   

Qigong

Blissful, deep peace pervades the mind and body sometimes just standing there doing wu chi or balloon posture. Big fat grin for a while afterwards. Although I haven't seen third jhana yet, it seems like what I think of as having characteristics of third jhana. This state comes along the less movement I can manage to make during the postures. 

Daily life 

I seem to have ready access to some sort of higher state that is deeply peaceful. It's a kind of peace that I have never experienced before starting on the path that feels very deep and profound. Metta flows effortlessly without volitional control when I am really flowing in this state. I get there by sort of inclining the mind toward it and concentrating. I can hang out there for a while and it doesn't seem to fade completely before I incline the mind again. Part of me wants to deconstruct this peace into it's component sensations, but I've been really curious about it and testing it out. It's almost like a well of peace bubbling up from somewhere in my belly. I've tested it when I'm agitated or hungry or tired, and it delivers.

 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/24/17 9:11 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I haven't updated in a while because I went on retreat (12 days, solo). I stayed in a small house on my teacher's property and meditated all day for 12 days and met with him for 10-15 minutes every day. In terms of meditative phenomena, nothing really extraordinary happened that doesn't normally happen in my daily life practice. I struggled to keep the investigation going during walking meditation, and wasn't mindfully aware of everything during waking hours. There were several instances of spontaneous jhanas and the body being perceived as fast vibrations, but again, not really deeper than what happens in daily practice.

My relationship to practice has been purified. I don't think of practice as something that if I put x amount of hours in and really try super hard than I'll surely get to y level of enlightenment in z amount of time. I sit down to practice because a process that I'm a part of and not really in control of leads to the thought of "how about some meditation". When I sit a process happens where I attend to an object and various other processes play out and meditation occurs. This is not really in "my" control. So I think meditation and perhaps meditative progress will happen regardless of whether I try to force anything.

An interesting thing happened after the retreat. The realization that there's no one here controlling the process led to a decrease in motivation to practice and some drug use. The drug use tanked practice for a few days but practice still happened. The drug use stopped because it seemed silly and was just a dead end and a delay of the inevitable. Practice took a hit for several days after the drug use (probably some sort of unconscious thing being worked out), and now for the last 10 days or so practice is happening on its own accord without any sense of forcing anything or doing anything. I just sit down and it happens every day.

The previous sense of ease and lightness has returned, practice is pleasurable and rewarding, and my overall level of happiness and flow with life is higher than ever. I'm kind of perplexed that this is looking more and more like a baseline state.There's a part of the mind that wants to label this ease and flow, but when I think about it that's just ridiculous. I'm happy, and life is flowing like a river without resistance and theres a confidence that things will continue to just happen on their own. When sit I'm mostly just sittting in open awareness until pleasant sensations come up and just flowing with the pleasant sensations and breathing energy into them, imagining them expanding, etc., mostly just enjoying sitting there. Usually after some pleasure soaking I've been soaking in metta for a while until the bell rings.  



 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/25/17 10:59 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Officially taking a temporary detour from strict TMI practice

So to expand on the retreat report another pearl of practical truth that seems to stand out is the fact that feeling the breath in the body is somewhat of a toss up and has a lot to do with unconscious process that one cannot control directly. On some days I was able to feel body breath sensations quite clearly and on other days there was a very mysterious muting of these sensations. One interesting pattern i've noticed is that during genuine, heartfelt metta practice, often body breath sensations are readily discernible even though they are not the object of attention. There was a metta recently where I ended up in a jhana with full body breath sensations. 

A common theme lately has been an emphasis on metta and pleasure. I mainly just start in open awareness, taking care to really enjoy and savor breathing in a natural and effortless manner. This brings pleasure that has an excited, almost contracting mental sensation along with warm, pleasant spinal sensations. These are usually somewhat subtle but very soothing. I've been gently resting attention on these sensations along with a general sense of the breath as a sort of combined object, and allowing the pleasure in the spine to move outward to limbs. This primes the mind for metta. For the metta, I've been doing whatever phrases feel right, usually "may I be happy", "may she be peaceful", "may he be joyfully at ease", "may you love", but just sticking with the feeling more than anything and not really worrying about the phrases all to much or if I skip one. Sometimes there's fireworks and sometimes not, but the after effects of the practice have left me in a distinctly non-dual mindset. The samatha is strong lately.  

Also in daily dealings I'm using the pleasure goggles practice described in one of my earlier posts to good effect. 

As always, open to suggestions and advice. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
9/7/17 8:07 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Metta/Samatha thoughts/update

Sitting practice:

Starting with open awareness, then finding a groove with the breath cycle by letting it flow freely, linking up pleasant spinal piti with breath cycle, encouraging it to spread and grow to limbs. At this point i've been getting very choppy detailed breath pulses at the nose, which I've been lingering on for a bit, finding the pleasant aspects of this sensation and allowing it to spread. The focus lately hasn't been very rigid, but I'm kind of exploring whatever senations are interesting and pleasant, with a general mindful awareness of where my attention is focused and generally defining a scope of attention as Culadasa emphasizes heavily. 

After some of this I've been moving into metta, which has been pretty vanilla lately but I had a bit of a breakthrough the last couple days with wrapping up the session imagining the metta energy radiating off of me in clearly defined quadrants, one at a time, until I radiate metta energy in all directions to the universe. This sort of thing is commonly suggested, and it has left me quite high during and after. 

Taking metta to the street walking to work and back, where I hold a a general sense of radiating metta energy, and when I pass people imagining them being very happy and joyful, or somehow transmitting my joyful mindset to them. 

I haven't had as much time for sitting lately, mostly limited to 45 minutes in the morning, so just trying to focus on the metta for the time being. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
9/11/17 8:00 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Generating Metta 

Culadasa's instructions call for generating the feeling of metta via memory before proceeding to send metta to oneself and others. The way I accomplish this could be dangerous for some people and I wondered whether it was very wholesome until discussing it with my teacher, but he thinks as long as the intention is pure, the way in which metta is called up doesn't matter. 

I have a fair amount of experience with drugs. I've found drugs can imprint strong memories of certain mental states. These mental imprints can be used skillfully. 

Culadasa: Generate a feeling of being free from suffering, lacking nothing, and being completely content. 
Me: Remember the feeling of euphoria and freedom from mental stress induced by using opiates. 

Culadasa:  Generate the feeling of being free from ill will, at peace with everyone and harboring no quarrels with people:
Me: Remember the feeling of tripping on magic mushrooms, specifically the mental states involved with being at peace with everyone. 

Culadasa: Generate the feeling of being filled and overflowing with loving-kindness, etc. 
Me: Remember the first time I took ecstasy and the overwhelming love for everyone around me

Culadasa: Generate the feeling of being truly happy with the simple bliss of being alive 
Me: Combine all the previous mental states and hold a composite mental state in mind

This is a powerful way to generate the positive mental qualities, and once I have this strong mental state going, then when I'm sending it to other people, I simply wish for them to feel each aspect of what I'm feeling, so the drug flashbacks are only necessary in the beginning to get things rolling, then I simply give away this awesome mental state to others. 

This seems to be the best way to conjure metta that I've found after lots of experimentation. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
9/16/17 2:22 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Practice update

Lately the metta has been strong and sits are consistently bliss baths. My non-metta practice is basically open awareness, find a mildly pleasant sensation, enhance the pleasant sensation, breathe into the pleasant sensation, expand the pleasant sensation, and at some point in this process I'm falling into jhanas 1/2. This whole "access concentration" business doens't seem really necessary. The more I do this, the baseline leavel of pleasure seems to be increasing steadily with every sit, so I'm gonna keep heading in this direction for a while and see where it goes. After soaking in pleasure, the mind can easily break up the breath into lots of little bits as long as I keep the pleasure in mind.

A couple sits recently I've come across a new state that I can only call "God Mode". The energy level in this state is like nothing I've seen before, and the mind is super sharp and spacious and everything is pleasant, there's a confident joy, but not to the point of being distracting, although it's not a jhana because I can switch objects at will without losing the sense of power and confidence.

Suffering

There's been very little gross suffering to work with lately. There was more "not getting laid" suffering recently, which led to some mental proliferation. As usual, once it became quite obvious what was going on, I recognized it as a practice opportunity, and I decided to stop suffering. Now reflecting on it without the suffering, I see it as an unfavorable, dissatisfying thing that is happening, but there's simply no point in suffering, and I'm over it.

There's some subtle dissatisfaction peppered into most days, but I'm seeing this suffering more on the level of unpleasant physcial sensations. This type is more transient and hard to apply any minfulness to, because as soon as I notice it it's gone.  

Path?

I guess I'm going with the working hypothesis that I have 1st path. The last two months have been very peachy and blissfull and lacking in any Dark-Night/Equanimity type cycling that was going on for months prior. Also no fruitions in a while. Wouldn't mind hearing other's take on this.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
10/13/17 8:38 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Metta 

I consulted a long time metta practicioner about the metta, and he had some great tips to share. The intention of goodwill is at the root of metta. The pleasure, piti, joy etc. is a manifestation of that intention, and not really the point. He says that all that's necessary is to maintain the intention as the sole object of meditation. After working with this the last week or so, I'm getting a feel for maintaining the intention as an object, and letting the rapture just be there, without getting lost in it. Phenomenologically, this has led to even stronger and more constant feelings of love, pleasure, joy, etc. which reinforce the intention. The joy seems constant enough most of the time to make an object of meditation for metta jhana, but at the moment I'm going to keep getting a more clear sense of the intention itself. 


There's been fairly constant pleasurable waves of sensation with each breath, trembling, lights, sounds, jerking movements, excitement, etc. along with rock-solid attention and very little sense of effort. My conscious bandwidth is still not great, so I've been taking the pleasure as the object and expanding it with attention to as big of an area as possible while maintaining a sense of awareness of everything, i.e. avoiding getting lost in the object, which leads to sublte dullness. It's kind of exactly like the stage 6 TMI practice except I'm taking pleasure sensations as the object.  If the pleasure dies down or is hard to find, or if subtle dullness tries to creep in, then I conjure up some gratitude for the dharma and my fortunate situation in life, find the pleasurable sensations of gratitude in the body, and then take those as an object.

I had a few more fruitions, and talked with my teacher about how they present phenomenologically. I've had some doubts because they often don't seem like such a big deal, just a gap then what feels like a shot of adrenaline. He agress they are fruitions, but I don't think he's in the camp of cessation = path. He advises to just keep doing what I'm doing because there's clearly unification going on, and with more unification the cessations will have more of an impact, according to Culadasa's theory. I've sort of just taken his example of not analyzing what things mean, just letting things happen. I'm suffering a lot less, enjoying small things a lot more, my mind isn't doing things it used to do to create suffering, and I'm fine with that, depite wanting to name it.     

 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
10/20/17 8:56 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
It looks like the pleasure and piti that's been plentiful in the last couple of months is subsiding, and there's been some emotional content lately that is familiar from my last experience with the dukkha nanas, or "dukkha nana lite" in Culadasa's system. Whatever it is, the same stuff is coming up like clockwork; wanting to quit grad school, pure, unadulterated sadness, self pity, wanting to renounce the world. It really not that bad though, mostly because I've seen the same pattern of mind-states play out before in a very similar way, and it feels in a subtle way more like watching "me" suffering, rather than being lost in suffering. Overall there's been a huge increase in general amount of thought, and general uselessness of said thinking. 

There's been a lot of pseudo-dullness lately. It's a weird place where there's no pleasure, some restlestness, mind is just kind of bored not really sleepy, but having random disorganized thoughts, doing it's own thing I guess. I've been just sitting with a lot of this for the last few days. 

So I've been changing my MO lately and have done a few sits just doing choiceless awareness, no noting, just observing. This has been pretty fruitful. I'll give a rundown of the last sit because it was quite powerful and naturally removes thinking, so I'll be doing more of this for a while. 

45 min, just sit, diligently trying to notice clearly every bodily sensation and thought with precision. 

Starting off, mind was drawn to legs, noticing what felt like micro-contrations in leg muscles in quick succession. Breath ripples were also noticed in between various leg sensations. Various quick effort-applying thoughts here and there, trying to notice everything. Eventually some rapture started to develop, I noticed the mind liked the rapture and wanted more. Various body breathing sensations, nose breath ripples, spinal pleasure, fast tingles were noticed, one after another, and mind could only see one sensation clearly at a time. Effort dropped off, strobing sensation with staticy tingles in each strobe on back side of legs, then torso started swaying, attention moved more to upper part of body, noticing breath ripples, various sensations related to torso swaying. A rush of excited energy started moving up spine, whole body vibrations, then pleasurable vibations felt move over scalp into third eye area. Thoughts about cessation, anticipation, excitement, etc. Nothing happened, things slowed down, breathing slowed down, everything died down, not a whole lot happening at the end, then the bell rang. 

 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
11/9/17 9:01 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
jhana thoughts 

Get there by recognizing/remembering in mind that everything is indeed perfectly perfect. Feels like contructing a mind state with images of bright light percolating through body removing stress and pain, imagining jhanic pleasure and convincing mind that the jhanic pleasure is real not imagined. Jhanic states are just mind conditions so why not just construct the mind condition directly. I think I'm skipping straight to "3rd Jhana" this way, but might not always work. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
1/6/18 8:34 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
It's been a while since I updated this log, and now I'm back at it. 

formal practice has tanked in the last two months. I've been dealing with a chronic health condition and stressful life situations. The depth of suffering that I've been experiencing is new. Self-identification has been very strong, as well as identification with the "poor me, life is woe" attitude. The good news is that this health problem seems to be in remission, and momentum for formal practice is building. I'm experiencing more equanimity and contentment and re-establishing how to get to a place of peace on command. Revisiting the fact that none of this is solid or "me" has beencomforting when all sensory experience seems to be unsatisfying and threatenting. 

Basically I've had a healthy dose of suffering and I've been a little humbled by this fact. Still not enlightened. 

I'm done with the game of mapping, thinking, aspiring, furture-thinking, etc. All that crap is just mind doing mind. 

Formal practice has been part "rigorous attention to the present moment" by continually checking, chencking, checking to see if I'm fully experiencing the present moment without trying to modify anything, staying in the body, and "sitting". 

I've been also just messing around with sinal breathing pranayama, to bodily breathing, then trying to break up the nose breath into little micro-sensations. Breath is pretty nice and clear/vivid but there's room for improvement. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
1/17/18 8:27 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Practice is slow, 30-40 minute sessions of either metta or noting. The noting sessions are hard, mind tends toward dullness and it's hard to keep up the diligent investigation when all I'm noting is itching, breathing, hearing. I'm noting waiting, boredom, nothing going on, and noting the dullness as it arises. Eventually the noting becomes less and less frequent and I forget to keep noting, then remember again, note remembering, note waking up. I don't have many thoughts but I can usually note thoughts as they arise, sometimes I get lost in a thought for a few seconds and come back. It seems like the dullness and boredom cause the distractions.  

Sometimes things get interesting and there's lots of tiny bubbling muscle contractions, I'm noting those with a beep. Lots of times I'm experiencing way more  sensations than I can possibly note and I don't know what to label a little quark of movement so I just watch and try to resolve the sensations more and more, something akin to vibrations can start to happen.  

There's a visual blackout that keeps happening that seems to be triggered by a sound because every so often a sound will be experienced simultaneously with a loss of visual perception and a sensation of skipping a track. I think it's probably just a sort of micro-startle reaction where my eyelids contract due to the sound and the visual field seems to black out. 

Totally not enlightened (yet). 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
3/30/18 8:37 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Momentum seems to be building up again. I haven't updated this log in a while, so here goes. 

Metta is still the main practice. I've simplified my view toward metta, taking the simple intention of wishing whatever characteristic (typically free from suffering, filled with unconditional love, filled with unconditional happiness, etc) on whatever person (myself, someone I care deeply about, someone I feel compassion for, someone I'm neutral toward, and all beings). The intention is to focus on the true intention of goodwill throughout and remain aware of my mental state throughout. This works well, lots of piti/joy arise, but those are secondary to the actual intention of loving kindness itself. The mind is more interested in the spacious stillness beyond pleasure/pain. 

In daily life mindfulness has organically increased by a lot. Every moment not doing uber-intellectual work is being utilized for practice. When walking, focusing on the space between thoughts, resting in still mind, remaining equanimous to joy and contentment that often arise. Liking/disliking and ovious sensations are noted, especially thoughts. Physcial correlates of liking/disliking are begginning to be discerned clearly. Investigating physical sensations related to mental states arising has been quite fruitful. I'm getting fairly familiar with the physical sensations involved with joy, contentment, happiness, and how different flavors of these positive mental states contain physical correlates. 

One interesting observation is smiling with eyes and mind also has physical correlate around cheeks which is pleasant and internal warm flowing stream of piti around spine can be easily correlated to these positive states. Often the smiling with eyes and mind will completely turn a neutral or slightly less mindful/irritated sort of state into a slighlty joyful, positive state, mindful state. I'm also playing around with arousing a strong "me" sensation, which seems to be felt in the body around the base of the skull as a somewhat pleasant tingling sensation. 

Often, the sense of "me" receeds into the background, things start doing themselves, vision becomes different, more panoramic and inclusive. Decisions ping in mind as clear object arising and fading, intentions clearly perceived as mental objects and body follows intentions without a sense of doing anything. "Doing" sensation often comes along with tension in spine and aversive dullness. Different from biological dullness which has a pleasant aspect to it. 

I'm taking a more involved role in this practice and my daily life is my laboratory. Mind is finally getting disillusioned with positive/negative, pleasure/pain game and results of that are wonderful. Opinions and preferences have physical correlates which disturb body/mind. Sexual desire game has stopped completely without doing anything. Getting disturbed by others' disturbance is not arising. I haven't suffered over this at all in easily a few months. Disillusionment with all egoic based media games is strong, facebook dropped like a hot potatoe. I'm listening to less music and more aware of mental state when listening, often strong joy will arise which is good for investigating positive states and holding intention for equanimity. 

I've also become curious about lucid dreaming recently. I will report more once I have more data, but I seem to have a natural knack for it, and after talking with Dominic about this he got me inspired to make it a nightly practice. The first technique I'm trying is the MILD technique. Basically you just repeatedly throughout the day repeat intention verbally and in writing the intention to have lucid dream. When falling asleep, you imagine a dream and becoming lucid, while reinforcing intention to become lucid during dream, until you fall asleep. You also write down as much detail on any dreams in a notebook or whatever. I'm excited about this. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/12/18 9:35 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
An awakening has happened.

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/12/18 10:27 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Seems to be contagious of late emoticon

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/12/18 1:55 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/21/18 3:11 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Whatever happened here is wonderful. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/26/18 5:19 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
What it feels like to be like, totally awakened- random positive states that seem to be associated with the shift that predominate for most of the day

internal channels of smooth energy, external tingling sensations on skin, mental disposition of gratitude or apparent quiet. Gratitide sensations emanate from heart center like a warm swirling sensation

Continuous flow of walking breaks down into individual sensations of rolling, stretching, reaching, swinging. Other sensations come in but focus is drawn to the walking/breathing. Each breath is felt flowing in a rythmic pattern from lungs to feet and toes, more prominent in lower body. Nostril sensations mix in, experience can tend to feel somewhat choppy and still frame-like, eyes start blinking more. Prominent mental objects are derived from seeing people walk by. Other mental objects arising going about daily business tend to be harmless chatter of a warm and optimistic character. Not much future oriented or past oriented thought. 

Mental objects ping in quickly as discreet entities, there is a clear progression from sense contact, mental evaluation of liking/disliking/neutral, for liking objects follows a pleasant physical sensation that can be anywhere but tends to emanate from the throat area. Sometimes there is grasping, mental progression away/ self judgement from object leading to tension in the body. Other times the progression stops at the pleasant physcial sensation, followed by an understanding mind/body sensation which is mixed with a tingly gratitude sensation, sometimes followed by a blip, jolt of energy, then contented calm sensations felt as internal energy emanting from heart. This goes on and on in various flavors with thought. Sometimes I don't care to pay attention as much and get lost in thought but there's some kind of automatic moderator on thought because it sometimes leads to physical tension felt as a course sensation throughout the body, usually when the thoughts are self-centered or delusional.  

Unpleasant physical sensations become ok (grasping stops) after a few seconds to minutes of being in this state, joyful energy can arise in the body. Pleasant physical sensations felt throughout the body as discreet pockets of joy can sometimes arise mixed in with the unpleasant sensations, distinct from the internal flowing and skin tingling. 

Self or centerpoint or whatever seems to be forgotten quite easily. Visual field can become more brilliant and shimmering. Neutral sensations can take on pleasant qualities. 

Suffering states

in general, magnifying glass on suffering has gotten much stronger. Grasping is much easier and automatic to spot. Usually wake up in the grasping state (sensations of heaviness and tiredness in body), notice the grasping, within 5 minutes of sitting upright in bed grasping stops. Irritation arises as a quick jolt of tension in the chest that shoots down to the floor. Various negative responses haven't arisen at all for nearly a month. Grasping is quite obvious and there's not a lot of self judgement, just watching, then it goes away and "good" state of mind comes back.  

What has fallen away

wanting to talk about meditation
drive for validation
drug cravings
sex cravings
excessive eating
need to fix myself 
a huge chunk of future and past oriented thought
baseline default state of "getting to the next better moment"
caring what other people think 

What may have brought about this state 

"meditating on the mind" TMI stage 9 clear experiences that everything is mind-generated
seeing dependent origination and seeing a sense object without craving for the first time followed by deep sense of understanding and joy
various other smaller things and surrender to a sense of total and utter inability of the self to fix the problems

Now that I got that out of my system, I'm just going to keep living my life and see what happens. If anyone has any thoughts I would love to hear them. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/26/18 6:35 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Cool.

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/28/18 11:35 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Some contraction and story telling last night. The sense of observing the story waxed and waned, physical heaviness, strong familiar pull to buy into the story. Woke up this morning still being pulled around by this story, watching the physical tensions coming up. Sat for an hour and just focused on the breath, nothing special. Intuitively came away from the sit with an intention to accept every little sensation that made up my universe until further notice. 

Walking mindfully this morning, accepting hunger sensations and discomfort sensations, there was a noticable shift into a more open mental space, sense of not trying to pick apart anything, just being genuinely human and confused. Increase in vividness and clarity of all sensations, subtle blip, then a huge release of pleasurable sensations from heart center, tingly sensations over outer sheath of body, gratitude and complete peace. I've been high as a kite ever since. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
4/29/18 12:16 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Note 

When a thought passes through awareness with midfulness and non-idenitication, there is a pulling of awareness toward the thought accompanied by a wavelike sensation in the head, then when the thought passes the rolling wavy sensation travels down the base of the spine. I thought this was just breath sensation but it's becoming more clear that this is some physical correlate of thought. 

Lots of dharmic thoughts and I'm so enlightened thoughts were coming on a few weeks ago along with a more internal irritating and course sensation in the thorax, which is jagged and transient. These thoughts have lost the aformentioned physical component and arise more easily and pass like the regular non-identified thought sensations. 

Meditation on mind

starting with metta and more or less effortless exclusive attention, moved intention to include everything in attention and let attention and awareness merge. Mostly waiting around watching mind, then a subtle shift occured into a more open mental space. Mental sensations of spaciousness and openess, with some efforting sensations at the base of the skull to keep awareness/attention merged. Interesting things started happening after the shift to a more open space. There seems to be a less active, default state where mind is perceiving body breath, piti sensations, along with inclusive ambient noises, etc, and not contracting around an object. Some sounds will cause a slight contraction, and mind repeatedly labels sound with an image, evaluation, pleasantness or unleasantness, subtle physical correlates of pleasant or unpleasant. These different parts seem to be sanwiched on top of each other but somehow distinct. Bodily sensations which the mind contracts around also have similar things like location, pleasant/unpleasant, and mental moving toward or away accompanied by physical tensions which seem to radiate from locus where sensation is felt. 

This state of emptiness continued during a walk to the grocery store with wife, familiar awe reminiscent of psychedelics, floating and physical lightness felt mostly in legs, and subtle amounts of sanwiching/separating of different layers of experience. 

I talked with my teacher about the shift and he believes it's 2nd path. Hearing that was sort of not suprising, and the "me" from a couple years ago would have wanted to throw a big party or something, but all these "me so awesome yey" thoughts and intentions seem to always come with a jagged, course physical tension and slightly nauseated sensation. 

From now on I'm going to work with this irritating "me so awesome yay" sensation and continue the meditation on the mind. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/2/18 11:05 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Read your entire practice log Sigma. Lot´s of intresting stuff.

May i ask a few questions? 



1) How did your relationship to your body changed? What happens internally when physical pain or disconfort arises? Do you feel that peace  can subside even when the body "malfunctions"?


2) In what way did relating to others changed?   Do others still trigger you annoy you in the same way ? 




     

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/2/18 11:26 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Have been reviewing stage 4 TMI gross distractions due to the following pattern. 80-90 minute sits, when using breath focus, lots of rapture and joy emanating from base of spine and showering over head and down back in the first 10-15 minutes of sit, breath sensations distinct and break down into pleasant bubbles of joyful energy, jhana tugs at mind, in/out of 1st, then eventually there's a drop on an inbreath, breath rearranges and things get muddled, peripheral awareness wants to collapse, breath becomes less distinct, spacey subtle dullness, move to body scanning, not much details, distractions start piling up, work with stage 4 practice for about 10-15 minutes, mild discomforts and inability to find comfortable breath are predominant, then a return of energy, return of postural integrity, physical pliancy, breath becomes very subtle, complex and technical, more rapid vibrations in peripheral awareness mostly centered around legs and feet, spaciousness of mind and imperturbability of attention to breath become predominant factors, no great pleasure or pain, mind just sitting there NGAF and focused for last 40 minutes or so. This is all taking a long time so I'm trying to sit for longer than 80 minutes when I can, because at the end I feel like I could sit for easily another hour or more in that state. 

I feel effects and mind states reminiscient of A&P starting to appear in the form of great confidence, joy, clarity of mind throughout the day, mind is in vipassana mode inspecting every mind state, physical correlates of subtle craving and aversion are crystal clear with little effort.

Last night there was a knot in my shoulder and I just started breaking this sensation down into pulses of tugging, tension, spiny radiating tingles, mind movements, images, etc, then the frequency of these wobbles slowed down, kept doing this with other dissatifying sensations, evetually mental joy developed and "psychedelic" effects were noticed. Still not sure what exactly this means but theres some sort of mental perspective on phenomena and sense of self in relation to phenomena that I'm calling "psychedlic". 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/2/18 12:24 PM as a reply to alguidar.
alguidar:
Read your entire practice log Sigma. Lot´s of intresting stuff.

May i ask a few questions? 



1) How did your relationship to your body changed? What happens internally when physical pain or disconfort arises? Do you feel that peace  can subside even when the body "malfunctions"?


2) In what way did relating to others changed?   Do others still trigger you annoy you in the same way ? 




     

Hi Alguidar, 

Glad to hear this log is useful to others. 

1.) In general I'm far more aware of physical pain and discomfort than I was, like before there was a veil of dullness produced by the subconscious to partially cover these things up, and so these subtle discomforts came out as an aversive dulness and dissatisfaction/irritation with no discernable source. After this shift the subtle discomforts of life are seen much more clearly as they appear for what they are, and the mental craving of "make it different, make it different" mostly doesn't arise, and when it does, tends to be clearly seen for what it is and just another object. When a discomfort arises such as being hungry, legs tired from being on feet, knee pain, etc., there can be a period of observing the craving response along with the sensation, then the craving drops and the discomfort is still there, but the mind is glad and often other pleasant sensations arise and displace the unpleasant sensations. This can turn into intense joy and develop into peacefulness at times.  

2.)  I have much more patience and understanding than I used to. In general I'm more open and friendly with people, and people keep telling me I seem very happy which makes me sort of uncomfotable, like I must have given off a stormy vibe in the past. I feel more connected and warm toward almost everyone, which I feel as a warm, silky, delicious spacious sensation in the heart center. I've been working on a volunteer project for a few hours a week that I sort of just spontaneoulsy and intuitively sought out as a way to express this peaceful happiness. There's been a weird effect that may just be imagined, but people seem to be becoming very accomodating of me, almost like there's a force field around me that melts people's defenses and makes people want my approval. I've been getting this weird effect lately where my mind just spontaneously assigns certain people as Buddhas based on some intuitive feeling about the person. This is getting more frequent, so who know, I may just decide that everyone is a Buddha eventually.  

I still get triggered and this manifests as a crystal clear unpleasant physical sensation of various flavors. For annoyance it tends to be a sharp, out-of breath sensation in the chest that shoots downward. I don't really get angry and never have, even before starting to meditate. I guess a lot of my triggers from other people are annoyance. I am seeing through a lot of potential stories of "me vs. other" that start to arise when someone sets off a reaction. On the more shadowy side, I tend to see others's suffering in how they speak and react to things, and my judgements and opinions on these things will ping in as mental impressions with physcial tensions, like my mind is always watchful for suffering in it's various forms.   

 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/11/18 7:33 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
See cause/effect in mental states brought on by sense contact is sort of compelling me to restrain the senses like the Buddha taught, i.e. averting eyes from attractive sight-objects, not putting condiments on food, avoiding music as much as possible, not getting wrapped up in pleasurable states without mindfulness, etc. In putting effort into this area the mind is more quiet and serene, but I'm striking a balance as to not-overdo it just out of craving itself because that's just more craving which leads to more unpleasantness. It's interesting to observe the mental pull-push that goes on when one is mindful of sense restraint. 

Also using thought as a tool rather than thinking of thought as some sort of enemy. If I find myself thinking a lot, I may as well incline the mind toward useful things to think about such as the ten recollections. Mindfulness of death and recollection of my own generous acts is most relevant right now, but this whole idea that one can actually use the thinking mind to add fuel to the fire of mindfulness is genius. The mindfulness of death has added some intensity to just being aware of what's going on moment-by moment, and the recollection of generosity can be used to gladden the mind leading to more intensity and concentration. 

The mind seems to be rebelling and sitting concentration is poor, but off cushion concentration is oddly strong. I'm tentatively going to keep going with this celibacy/renunciation trip because the mind is rebelling, and that's interesting. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/12/18 7:15 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Glad to hear this log is useful to others. 

I have read all your logs including the ones on r/streamentry (not a stalker) and have found them to be very useful indeed.  It is inspiring to read.  Thank you for sharing your experiences in such detail. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/13/18 8:40 AM as a reply to Charlotte.
Thats wonderful to hear emoticon

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/13/18 9:19 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Broke through a little concentration funk and for the last couple days sits have been powerful. Body is pliant, don't want to get up, lots of really pleasant sensations, body sort of feels like a field of circulating pleasant energy with a wavelike circulation to it for each breath. Jhana seems redundant when I get to this place. The samatha continued all day yesterday and out waking with wife I felt like I was in a metta jhana the whole time. 

I'm experiencing a new phenomena with my wife where I'm seeing her inner sweetness and Buddha nature more and more readily. I got the strong sensation or illusion that she was to one of the entities that I've interacted with in the past during DMT trips, specifically the soul deity that completly cleansed my soul and gave my soul exactly what it needed but that I didn't know it needed. This sensation is subtle but extremely pleasurable in the heart center and there's visual distortions and some sense of synthesia, like the visual representation of her is "felt" in the heart. The "volume" of this perception is still low, but it seems that the volume can be turned up or down due to unknown causes and conditions. 
  
Then again, this may be a conceptualization of a nice state, but that's the best way I can describe the experience in terms that are familiar to me. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/17/18 8:31 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I talked again to my teacher and he says that I'm sometimes getting to stage 9 and he encouraged me to do meditation on mind when I get to stage 9. He asked about physical pliancy, I told him I think I'm getting a "shallow version" of it where theres a contented comfort in the body and no pain or discomfort and could sit forever, he just smiled and said yeah, that's it. I think this state is similar to what I described earlier as "God Mode" a few months back.  

So current instruction, which I'm writing down so as to follow, is to climb up the TMI stages and continue unifying the mind, recognize stage 8/9 territory, and do meditation on mind.  

Another fruition happened last night, clear entrance and exit with senses shutting down quickly but sequentially in sort of a diplike fashion with the actual skipping at the bottom of the dip, and skipping to about half a breath in the future. There was a loud pop when hearing re-established and a clearly different mental state. It seemed to leave quite an imprint because afterwards there was a distinct sense of seeing through all sense phenomena and it felt pointless to keep meditating, like I had seen what needed to be seen. I'm suppose this means I'm still cycling through some sort of review stage, but the catharsis of this fruition might have signaled the end of review, who knows.   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/21/18 1:59 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Just a thank you for keeping up with your journal all these months. Finding your posts from late last year to be helpful in helping me resolve to keep practicing during difficult periods. 

Interested in how your awakening has impacted your relationship with the worldly pursuits you mention (grad school, marriage, etc.). I've been in renunciate mode for the last few months and have developed an attitude of "first awakening, then reevaluate/reengage worldly priorities".  I'm not sure if this attitude is helpful or warranted. Thoughts? 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/23/18 5:25 PM as a reply to Zachary.
Zachary:

Interested in how your awakening has impacted your relationship with the worldly pursuits you mention (grad school, marriage, etc.). I've been in renunciate mode for the last few months and have developed an attitude of "first awakening, then reevaluate/reengage worldly priorities".  I'm not sure if this attitude is helpful or warranted. Thoughts? 
My worldly priorities have changed significantly but this didn't happen all of a sudden with a specific shift or anything like that. Before I wanted money, prestige, admiration, etc. Now I just want a roof, food, and free time. Luckily, working hard at worldy pursuits makes both things possible. 

I think the most sane way to go about this whole enlightenment project is to defer to worldly common sense, i.e. if I want to go on a retreat for 3 months then I should make sure I have a roof and food when I return, and not totally shoot myself in the foot and miss out on worldly opportunities/ go into a lot of debt, alienate myself, etc. Also in my experience it's not really a first this, then that sort of thing, there's a lot to be said about working with the current status quo with a goal in mind, and figuring out how to make it happen while still being a sane person. If my behavior would objectively be deemed insane by conventional wisdom/professionals then it might be a good idea to reconsider. Part of this project is becoming a better functioning, more compassionate, loving, and ethical human being, and on the way there it's good to honor that goal. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
5/24/18 8:10 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Something that I've been seeing but haven't been able to put words to yet is this aspect of the inconstancy of awareness. When I get to a certain "size" of mind, there is the object of attention which is sort of just there being watched at the center of this realm of awareness, with the awareness seemingly a constant backdrop entity, permanent and unchanging, possibly "me". When I get to a larger "size" of mind, then the act of watching the object in the middle of this backdrop of awareness becomes possible, and the next level of mind seems to be observing what awareness is doing. This awareness entity fluxes and grows bigger and smaller with a distinctly visual sensation. There doesn't seem to actually be a real visual cue, but its like I can sense that there's some mind channel involved with vision that is interacting with this "knowing" of awareness. The bright white light visual nimitta seems to flux and change and move somewhat correlated with this quality of how awareness is moving, but the nimitta also comes and goes seemingly unrelated to how awareness is fluxing.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/2/18 12:39 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Things have been quite somatic lately, for the last week or so I've been in some sort of persistent dry, dull feeling "pain" felt in the body, I thought it was sleep deprivation as I've been sleeping a lot less in general for months now, my mind seems to not "want" to sleep for more than 5 hours a night. There was a spontaneous falling into some DMT-trip-esque state where there was a not-so pleasant sense of coming outside of myself and observing this "process" as a cold, impersonal interaction of conditions, mental impression, sensations, and just a general sense of looking beyond the veil and seeing myself as vibrating enity just resonating with the environment in a very impersonal way, and as this was going on a small glimmer of compassion was noticable in the background. Phenomenologically this was mostly just a mental perspective without any actual vibrating physical or mental phenomena, but that's the label or concept I think of to describe this transient mental perspective shift.   

I rode out this dry icky feeling for a few days, seated meditations were mostly dry and dull, with some points getting jhanic when I was able to brighten the mind. Something popped open last night with fruition. I had an interesting sit where jarring piti sensations were all encompassing, starting with pin pricks at various points in the body and vibrating in course jagged pathways, meeting up with similarly harsh piti emanating from the base of the skull. My whole body was like a pond during a rain storm with the piti being the raindrops and radiating outward. Sweating profusely and various momentary releases of slightly more tolerable electricity from base of skull downward to root chakra and out feet with involuntary jolts were happening, then a shift into equanimity, sensations still there, fruition, piti changed, more warm and pleasant, internal bubbling of contented joy filling from belly, then boredom and the " it's done, why are you still sitting" thing. The mental reset is nice, today the painful dry sensations are totally gone, replaced with more satisfactory pleasant flowing energy, contented mind state, but this too is impermanent and I think I'm getting the (clinging > accepting > it's all mind anyway so who cares > contentment) message. 

I described this cycling pendulum swing to my teacher, with my experiments in sense restraint and celibacy (which, at my present level of understanding proved to have a subtle element of aversion to pendulum swings, trying to combat clinging by ignoring objects-wrong!) and he said something to the effect of "get used to it". So I think I would like to get even more intimate with these physical manifestations of subtle clinging and become more accepting of them.    

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/3/18 9:05 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Some state

There was a state that persisted last night for a while. It was quite magical. I'll try to desribe it. There was this complete automaticity, complete lack of agency or sense of ownership. I took a walk with my wife in the midst of this state and was having a conversation and it was oddly happening by itself while the act of speaking and listening was just this flow of complex tones, energetic resonances, and pleasurable waves of vibrations. The act of walking and breathing had this same aspect of every little sense experience oddly having a pleasurable ripple effect through the energy field in the body, colors and the sense of dimensionality and vision expanded, the spectrum of colors was spectacular. It was as if every sense experience was experienced as 3-D and vibrating with bliss. The sense of space walking through a street covered with various different trees was a very visceral and pleasurable experience, with this sense of space aspect feeling oddly like a distinct entity or object, with the dimensionality and interplay of complex colors and shapes vibrating in the body/mind with a similarly multidimesional mental inpression. This state was so over-the top blissful all I almost couldn't handle it. There was suffering in this state, knowing it would end, watching the mind be fascinated with what was happening, and while these thoughts were similarly just part of the field of experience, transient and having an odd dimensionality to them, like I was viewing these transient thoughts like an object in mind from various perpectives as they arose and passed. 

Cool glimpse, but impermanent.   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/13/18 7:41 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Jhanas 

I seem to be able to call on the jhanas pretty easily at the moment by lightly intending to do so. This doesn't require "access concentration" and these jhanas are pretty blissful. 

J1 I incline the mind toward the sensations that make up J1, namely bubbly pleasure on the surface of the body. I sit for a few seconds intending this way and a rush of excited energy seems to accumulate in the spinal region, I sink into it and the blissy vibrations start to prevade the body, with nice circulating energy in the background from spine to feet. This jhana fluctuates in intensity and I seem to go in and out of it. Some of the sensations have an irritating buzzy quality.

J2 Mental joy develops and becomes the predominant experience, I rest pretty effortlessly on the mind filled with joy. The more I rest into it and let it do it's thing the stronger the joy gets. There's some more internal flowing pleasant energy from the spine to extremities, but this is in the background behind the joy. There's an eye-focus right in front of the eyes. 

J3  The mind starts to notice a more fulfilling contentment and there's a sense of moving back a little bit and taking in the bigger picture, seeing things from a more detached perpective. This state is really nice and sustainable, the physical pleasure is subtle, moving slower, but very soothing. I could rest in this state forever it seems. 

At the moment these states are a bit smeared together and the transitions aren't crystal clear, but very blissful. I'm suprised by how easily these are happening. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/16/18 10:18 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Today I feel very much like what Culadasa describes as having mastered stage 10. The mind feels quiet and imperturbable, with a lot of contentment and equanimity. Sense objects aren't very compelling strangely, and there's a very deep optimism and wonder with life. 

The jhanas seem to be grabbing the mind soon after sitting, today I didn't have any speficic intention to do anything, just sat and let whatyever happened, happen. I rose up through the 3rd and landed in some very clear, bright state without a ton of pleasure or anything, but a lot of detachment from experience, almost like the mind didn't care what happened. I'm not sure it was fourth because I was getting a little distracted at times by the physical pliancy aspect.  

Fruitions keep happening almost every sit, sometimes multiple times in a sit, and my pattern the last few days is just doing some sort of jhana, playing around with body sensations, fruition tends to happen, then in the afterglow of that take in the whole mind as the object. No big eathshattering insights, just peeling back layers of fabrication and getting the general experiential sense that all this stuff is just mind. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/19/18 8:49 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I've been doing the jhanas up until the 3rd or 4th, letting that stabilize, then letting attention encompass everything including the mind and the stillness of the mind. There's a mind state where this pleasant flux of bodily sensations, piti, breathing, sounds, and everything else sort of synchronizes into this all encompasssing spacious flow state. I've been letting that stabilize, and doing something sort of like the stage 8 "still point" meditation, and looking for something in the center of this flux that's unchanging and seemingly watching it all. I start this by noticing the stillness of the mind in contrast with everything else going on, then I start noticing certain sensation seem to perturb the stillness of the mind on some level in awareness, but theres still a part of the mind that's unchanged, which I'm focusing on with attention. So far it's apparent that there is something observing this still part of the mind, but beyond that I don't know. The still part of the mind seems to be physically a black hole of no sensation in the head somewhere, and distinctly in the "center" of all the other sensations, that's also slippery and can't be grabbed with attention. Last night I tried to really nail down this void and the pleasure and piti felt in the body totally threw me off. We'll see if I can get back to this place, it seems like a very still mind is necessary to see this void thing. Perhaps I shouldn't grab to much for this void.   

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
6/26/18 7:34 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
All this work and it's really quite simple. Just stop suffering.      

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/15/18 10:28 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I've been sitting for 1-2 a day as usual, there's some dullness and slippery mind coming up lately when I just observe the breath at the nose for the whole hour. Im coming to the conlusion that for my mind, by far the most effective antidote for all dullness and distraction is to expand the object, taking body sensations or body breath as the object. After a certain period of doing this, I can hit some sort of threshold and be able to switch to a small object like the nose breath and have the energy increase and steamroll into stage 7-8 and even 9 on occasion. If I think of it like taking all the energy from the body sensations and funneling that into the nose breath, then good things happen. I've had a few instances of the grade V, "levitating" type piti and well developed physical pliancy in the last few weeks, but this is not a consistent occurence. These things are pretty wild and exalted seeming when they happen.   

I'm doing a lot of jhana lite vipassana practice by tuning into the jhanic frequency of body sensations. I amplify the jhanic signal and it hits a critical threshold and flow happens, taking me from 1st through the 4th. I'm noticing how vibratory and impermanent the actual sensations of the various flavors of pleasure really are. It's weird how the "joy" of the 2nd jhana seems to be a certain oscillating mental state with more physical sensations showering down from the crown of the head, and the effortless vibrations of subtle bodily bliss. None of these things are in themselves joy, but this is what is experienced as joy. And it's weird how this set of physical sensations and mental changes to produce the "contentment" of the third jhana, where the physical aspects seem to originate from the belly region, there's more heart chakra involvement, and the mental disposition is somehow different. I'm noticing how if I attempt to really solify these qualities into one "thing" that one "thing" will seem to become more solid and the jhana will feel subjectively deeper and more satisfying in a way, but never 100% as there's always some inherent irritation with how the sensations are not solid. 

I've done a bit more of the still point practice after leaving 4th jhana, and there seems to be this thing where the still point can be subjectively experienced as a "me" if I cling to some notion of the still point being a "better" state than all other experiences with the inherent equanimity there, but without clinging to this notion, there is a sense that the still point is an object that can be observed by something outside of it (the apparent "me"), and I've seen it flickering and moving. 

I've had some extra heavy seeming fruitions the last two days after not having them for like a week. The bliss wave of these last two was super intense in a relaxed contented bliss sort of way. Like a super strong 3rd jhana. The last two I could definitely see that attention moved off the breath partially, the "phase shift" of something being clearly edited out, then a quick series of mental impressions immediately upon emerging from it that were too quick to discern clearly, a second or two, then an impressive wave of euphoria and bliss for the next 2-3 minutes. I'm still impressed with these although they are starting to feel like well-trodden territory and just another weird meditation quirk that feels nice and clears some stuff away temporarily. It seems like I'm in new territory because the "honeymoon" of the last few months has died down quite a bit. 

 





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RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/19/18 8:26 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
There's been something open for a few days now. This opening is nothing special really. I just don't feel like making a big deal out of anything, it's all just sort of a little bit humorous. There's stuff happening, and I'm mixed in with the stuff happening.   

Edit 

Wanted to make a practice note. I've been spending more time in 4th jhana and playing around with the sense of space and expanding that after hanging out in 4th for a while. I don't think I've found the 5th yet but a couple times there was a sense of spaciousness that kept getting bigger, and everything up to my neck in terms of bodily sensation was totally out, but I could still feel my head floating in this spaciousness. So perhaps j4/j5 but not quite full on j5. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/24/18 6:49 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Practice lately is sloppy, concentration isn't great at the moment. There's a lot of life stressors that are really digging at what I'm finding to be my "Big Issue". All this concentration work in recent weeks seems to have brought up a lot of stuff related to me always feeling inferior to my peers at school, me feeling like I'm just not good at what I do, and especially with the prospect of finding a job coming up and getting close to wrapping up a PhD, sometimes there's really jarring physical sensations and imaginary scenarios playing out in my head about failing to find a job, failing to succesfully defend my PhD, fears about things that might happen and a generally very low and unwarranted outlook on my worthiness in conventional worldly terms.

I have been involved in a 12 step recovery program in the past, and another thing that needs to be adressed is this idea that I have that I'm beyond all that, I've seen through the illusion of selfhood, therefore I'm cured of my addictive tendencies. I haven't really been working the program or keeping in contact with my sponsor, thinking that things have been so great in the last 5 months that I no longer need to address my longstanding problems with drugs. Hell, I can bliss out with jhanas way better than any drugs I've done, so why would I need to worry about a glaringly obvious drug problem? I had this idea in my head when I first got into meditation that if I could just do jhanas on command, I would be cured of my drug addiction. It's not really that simple it seems. There have been some nagging fantasies about using recently which have sort of blinsided me lately. So it would seem that working a recovery program is going to have to be integrated into this project and embraced, rather than viewing it as a burden. I'm looking forward to getting more involved in the recovery community and I've been longing for some real human connection lately. 

I can decide to stop suffering from this stuff and the suffering stops, but these thought patterns might be pointing to something in my psyche that needs to be adressed instead of just ignored or sidestepped as just another thing in the field. There's a certain element of self love that feels like it's missing from my practice since I've stopped doing so much metta. I have an appointment set up with a psychotherapist I was referred to to see if it's useful to talk through any of this, and I'm feeling like it's the right move for me right now, as it's free with my student insurance so why not.

I'm choosing not to own any of this or take it personally, but simply trying to do what must be done in the moment. I'm sort of over this idea of being something special or unique in any way. There's a certain peace in just flowing with the mundane, everyday existence without getting any fancy ideas. 

 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/24/18 8:10 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Hey Sigma, I just started reading through your log here. Very inspirational. I'm curious how MCTB helped you along the way. Did you use it in addition to TMI?

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
7/24/18 10:46 PM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
Hey Sigma, I just started reading through your log here. Very inspirational. I'm curious how MCTB helped you along the way. Did you use it in addition to TMI?
Yeah, I refer to MCTB quite frequently. In the beginning I had no idea what Daniel was talking about and it all seemed rather mysterious and mystical. I have found over time that his descriptions of the Progress of Insight rang familiar with many of my experiences with TMI, but with TMI the POI sort of presents in a more smoothed out and mild fashion. His phenomenological descriptions of things are really helpful. I especially like Daniel's high standards and I think MCTB has a lot of down to earth practical advice relevant to real people. His book made awakening an actual tangible thing that was worth pursuing and attainable. TMI has a vipassana component inherent to the practice, but MCTB actually makes it clear what insight practice is really, so when I was doing a lot of choiceless awareness for example I knew to look for the fine details and try to slice reality into smaller and smaller slices, to see what sensations are mental and what sensations are physical, etc, to notice the 3 characteristics, etc. I could write a lot more, but MCTB is basically like a field guide for when you're in the trenches so it's very unique and raw in that way. But in terms of method of practice and technique I've relied mainly on TMI. I think Daniel is spot on when he asserts that this stuff plays out in similar ways across different traditions and methods of practice, and so in that MCTB has been essential reading. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/5/18 10:02 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
So after the last post I started doing a little metta here and there and a bit of neurotic "stuff" seems to be subdued or purified by this. A 45 min metta sit every couple days or seems to chill out the system to keep me grounded. I could probabaly do just metta and be totally fine with that. I think some material came up last week that needed see the light of day, and it feels like some sort of resolution was reached regarding the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. I don't exactly know intellectually what this entails per se, but that little pocket of suffering came up and now there's this clarity and equanimity around around those things that's stronger then it was before. 

I certainly feel increasingly after each pocket of suffering that shows up and gets purified like either I'm done and the problem of suffering has been solved, or I'm experiencing what Culadasa talks about in stage 10. I'm not sure what actual stage 10 samatha is "supposed" to feel like, but subjectively I think I'm there a lot of the time. I will probabaly read this later and laugh, but this has to be noted because the samatha has been super strong in the last week or so.     





 

 
 

  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/5/18 7:15 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Does metta, as instructed by Culadasa, bring up stuff for you? Or does it only generate positive feelings? I'm also curious how this affects contentment and joy in your daily life. Lastly, how does it affect your concentration? I have been thinking about doing 30 min of metta on Tue, Thur, and Sat instead of doing my regular evening sit. I have no experience with metta but am curious to see how it affects me.

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/7/18 7:52 AM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
Does metta, as instructed by Culadasa, bring up stuff for you? Or does it only generate positive feelings? I'm also curious how this affects contentment and joy in your daily life. Lastly, how does it affect your concentration? I have been thinking about doing 30 min of metta on Tue, Thur, and Sat instead of doing my regular evening sit. I have no experience with metta but am curious to see how it affects me.

I don't really follow the explicit instructions in TMI for metta, as I've done a lot of experimenting and exploring different ways of practicing metta. I can't say metta has stirred up any psychological stuff, if that's what you mean. 

For all the stuff you mentioned I definitely think metta is beneficial. It couldn't hurt to give it a try. I think it enhances any other practice, sort of like motor oil for an engine.    

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/7/18 8:49 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I'm getting a lot out of Daniel's new section on the samatha jhanas. Recently I've been getting into very clean, strong, stable states with clear transitions between the subjhanic sections of each jhana. These are purely will of mind jhanas, I tell the mind to assemble the first jhana, and it happens, and strongly, almost as strong as I can handle. The longer I stay in each jhana, the deeper it goes. Somehow this even gets boring, and there's always a sense of a pull onward to the next jhana, or getting bored with jhana altogether. How people can stay in these states for extended periods of time and not get bored is beyond me.  

After the fourth I've been more inclined to meditate on the mind rather than try to develop the fifth. Lately I've just been sort of watching the flux of sensations and seeing what pops out as important in the mind, and trying to keep the perspective "metacognitive" so that I experience the progression from sense contact to evaluation of vedana, to rejection or pursuit, and any physical sensations that seem to ripple out from whatever pops out as important. There's a section where Culadasa talks about an active state and an inactive state of mind, and I'm sort of seeing this, but it seems more interesting to just watch the flux, until everything that pops out integrates into the flux and there's a certain "suchness" of experience where mental activity, physical sensations, sound, perceptions of space, mental echoes of all these integrate into a vibrating, fluxing suchness. What's interesting is to play with the borders of the body and how malleable that perception is, forgetting that I have a body and instead inclining the mond toward the perception of bodily sensations as just an energy field. 

Depsite all this "cool stuff" going on there's this growing sense of simplicity and perfect mundane-ness to the day-to day routine, and I think what all these very cool and alluring experiences are showing me is that none of it makes me "whole" as a person. The real pudding is in the typical every day stuff and how much I can bring a sense wonder and joy to just walking to work or making a sandwich or taking a dump. 

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
8/21/18 5:29 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Currently I'm content with just going up to the fourth jhana, hanging out there for a while, then going back to the breath at the nose or the body breath and getting a fruition. I make sure the body breath or nose breath is vivid.  I can do this reliably every sit as long as I sit for about 40 minutes or so. After the fruition I sometimes don't feel the need to meditate any longer and I quit early. It's weird, when I sit there's a pull toward the jhanas, then that gets boring and there's a pull toward simple non-manipulation i.e. breathing, then a fruition and it's like, OK then, on with my day. 

There's a really nice bodily sensation that starts in the 3rd jhana, where my body feels like the most immaculate specimen of perfected biology, like a brand spanking new baby would feel. There's this utter perfection felt in the body that's not really pleasure but it's just a perfect feeling, so solid and vital feeling. I think I'm in stage 9 more now. If I just follow the breath there's a lot of joy and pleasure that starts immeditately, so it seems like the only thing to do is tune to the jhana station. 

I've been feeling most days like this whole thing is done. I don't feel like reading dharma or 'trying' to be mindful. I don't feel like forcing my mind to do anything, or trying to manipulate anything. I wonder whether this is "good enough" for me, or whether something will motivate me to 'strive harder' if that's even a thing. Suffering isn't really motivating me anymore, I mostly just sit everyday for kicks because it's fun and pleasurable. I've gotten everything I ever wanted from meditation, and now it's changing from being the most essential thing in my life to being just part of my routine, so normal and non-mystical. The path feels more and more mundane the further I go, despite having these unusual meditative abilities. Sometimes I feel pretty special in my head when I'm such an average guy in many respects but I have this cavern of treasure inside myself. I still have cravings and aversions, but weirdly where there was a sense of feeling bad about craving, I don't mind as much. It's weird. I still get annoyed with stuff, so there's no way I'm 3rd path. All the perceptual things people talk about (luminosity?) are still mostly foreign concepts to me. But there's this ever-present sense of everything being just as it's supposed to be, I bounce back to happy equilibrium faster and faster, there's a wonderful sense of bullet-proofness and fearlessness where before I was absolutely ruled by fear in various forms. I can't imagine improving much on this.
 

 I got a copy of Burbea's "Seeing that Frees", I just haven't really dug into any of the exercises yet, but it seems like that's what I'll move into next.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
10/17/18 8:50 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
I got a black rock with a warm, intense energy. My wife is now a Wiccan which I think is awesome. She's going to learn the basics before she starts trying magick.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
10/29/18 7:15 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
There's a thing that seems so obvious now that I think must be important. So when observing an object, be it the breath, a body sensation, the state of mind, etc. it becomes very clear that the object has a self-sustaining nature to it, i.e. keeps doing its thing effortlessly of it's own accord, but this fact is obscured by dukkha, in that the sense of an agent "doing" something is intimately tied in with a sense of strain or fatigue. This strain is noticable at it's root in the form of a sense object, mental evaluation, and grasping or aversion, and these root mental movements form the foundation of the sense of "doing" or agency, or the "me" doing. I've been observing this process and how the sense of agency arises out of these building blocks and the subsequent suffering that arises because of it.  I've noticed that this thing we call "concentration" really shouldn't be thought of as a "me" attending to an object, rather as letting the object be of it's own accord without grasping, and noticing the grasping that introduces the sense of self and superimposes it onto an object. When this process is noticed with sufficient clarity, the object concentrates itself. 

I have been watching how this basic process leads inevitably to the cessation of all formations when grasping is absent. Observing the mental territory in the vicinity of fruition hundreds of times and I'm coming to understand the state of mind that lets go has a dispassionate, laid back but attentive feel to it, and I'm noticing moments when the mind comes very close to checking out but comes back, and I notice a shred of mental "jurisdiction" if you will, a sort of reservation in the mind. These moments present as a partial shutdown of the senses, a sense of time-warping and in the fraction of a second as this is happening there may be something left that the mind is holding onto, like I'm still "doing" something. 

I had one sit where there were lots of partial phenomena, and about 6-7 actual fruitions, and even though I didn't spend any time in jhana or anything for that sit, just focused on the breath, there was something very healing about the before/after. 

So at the moment I'm less interested in jhana and more interested in the non-manipulation of experience.  

RE: SigmaTropic
Answer
10/30/18 5:39 AM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
Nice! Good stuff!!

RE: SigmaTropic
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1/19/19 9:30 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
The last couple months things have settled down a bit, and lately there hasn't been as much formal practice going on. In daily life, I'll go from practicing 3-4 hours a day to as little as a half hour sit per day. There's a "sameness" to things, I notice how everything that's happening, all the time, is just things arising out of awareness, and they all have the same basic nature to them. I've been doing a bit of awareness based practice when I'm walking or doing whatever, just placing my attention on the sense of being aware, and noticing how objects meet with the sense bases to give a blip, and these blips bounce of the mind which has a tendency to give a simple value judgement, good/bad, then there may be chains of mental arisings and then things inevitably disappear again into the field of awareness. I notice the mind's habit of isolating things and enlarging them, which zoomes in and shrinks the sense of awareness.

The way I place my attention on awareness is to basically try to feel my brain, defous my gaze somewhat, and pay gentle attention to the space between thoughts. The mind will tune into the perception of silence or stillness, which often involves some ambient humming of applicances, or cars passing by, or lab equipment, but there always seems to be some sort of ambient hum that helps to tune into. I feel for a resonation in the body with these hummings. I notice that there's this weird perception as if my mind is looking itself in a couple of mirrrors that's sep up to do that infinite bouncing thing that you would see in lke a funhouse or something. This somehow starts to feel like the watcher and the watched is exactly the same stuff. I've been really working to just saturate the mind with that perception. I've gotten into some pretty cool states where the "sameness" reaches a profound degree and the agency falls away. There's very little dukkha present in this state. 

Sitting practice after my last post I had a couple month period where I just sat and simply watched the breath, and that's it. If a jhana arose, cool, if some resistance came up, also cool. What else is there to do? I feel like this was necessary. Now I'm getting more jhanic again but still dusting things off and sharpening up. I still find body breathing to be a core technique and a very useful starting point. I'm finding new subtleties of the breath energy, and finding I can either direct the energy and the perception of it changes, for example, if the body is a sponge and the breath is water, and breathing is repeatedly squezzing and soaking the sponge, the breath sensations will reflect that, but if I think of it more as a dynamic energy with a defined path through the body, I can feel the prana channels and feel th breath moving through the body. If I get to a state where there's very faint breathing, the breath energy goes very slowly but there's more of a buzzing vibratory resonance going on with the energy. 

The jhanas seem to keep me sharp and seem to catalyze more flashy things happening, but I don't think any of the flashy stuff means anything at this point. Fruitions still provide a mental reset but it's nothing new anymore.