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Welcome! 27 Jan 2014 11:36 #18209

Raised Catholic, naturally became atheist at age 12 or so. I am strongly in the scientific camp, have been for many years. I am a Physician Assistant in Kentucky.

Have been interested in buddhism and meditation for at least 30 years, but not practicing. It never occurred to me that there was any point in it, thought it was all above me.

But then I read Daniel Ingrams book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha a little over a year ago. Have been practicing steadily ever since, about 30 minutes per day, focusing on the breath, just trying to build concentration. Have been on Dharmaoverground. Really wish I had started 30 years ago but hey, need to give that up!

I really want to go on a retreat but my business, wife, kids and grandkids have other plans for me!!

I'm only doing formal sitting a total of 3 hours a week or so, but I do a lot of walking and walking meditation, usually 60-90 minutes about 4-5 times per week. I really want to amp up my practice via noting throughout the day.

I have a lot of responsibilities that keep me from meditating, ideally I could start getting up an hour earlier every morning to sit.

Real glad to have found this forum.
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Welcome! 27 Jan 2014 13:50 #18211

Welcome!
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Welcome! 27 Jan 2014 15:55 #18212

real glad for your enthusiasm, Curt!
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Welcome! 27 Jan 2014 16:03 #18213

welcome Curt
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Welcome! 27 Jan 2014 16:25 #18214

Curt Welling wrote:
I have a lot of responsibilities that keep me from meditating, ideally I could start getting up an hour earlier every morning to sit.

Welcome. Re the quote above, if you could just do that you will have gone from 3h/wk to 10h/wk. Seems like a simple way to amp things up PDQ.
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Welcome! 28 Jan 2014 04:47 #18220

Welcome Curt, there are a few people here who have really busy lives and have managed to build practice into their lives as well, so I hope you can find some help in constructively doing that too.
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Welcome! 28 Jan 2014 06:12 #18221

Welcome Kurt!
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Welcome! 29 Jan 2014 05:38 #18238

Curt Welling wrote:
... I'm only doing formal sitting a total of 3 hours a week or so, but I do a lot of walking and walking meditation, usually 60-90 minutes about 4-5 times per week. I really want to amp up my practice via noting throughout the day. ...

Welcome Curt! I’m a real fan of walking meditation myself. I do it for several hours per week, mostly on my way to and from work (30 minutes each) and longer walks on the weekends. I see it as high quality practice. It’s a great complement to sitting and was for me the way to bring meditation into everyday life. Walking is such a prevalent activity, even if it’s only for a short stretch. Nowadays, most of the time I stand up and walk somewhere, it might be only a couple of steps, the practice mode automatically kicks in. So, good luck and have fun!
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Welcome! 25 Mar 2014 12:19 #19064

Hello all-

Jim here -- I was directed to this site and community via kennethfolkdharma.com, where I kept a practice journal (under the handle Neversummer) and was fortunate enough to get some feedback from current members of the Awakenetwork community. I currently live in Colorado and enjoy camping, backpacking, traveling, mountains, rivers, indie rock and outdoor concerts, and of course (most) all of the interesting twists and turns of the contemplative path.

My practice history, as clipped from my practice journal intro:

* Around fourteen years of daily practice, 20-40 minutes, just following the breath and trying to be mindful. I had no teacher during this time. Around the tail end of this stretch of time I have good reason to believe I went through A&P and the dark night (I had no knowledge of vipassana meditation or Therevadin maps during this time).

*Followed this with about 1.5 years of doing Reggie Ray’s Tibetan shamatha and body-based techniques (I’ve found these to be a wonderful foundational practice for all other practices I’ve done since). During this time did two 3-day solo retreats.

*Followed this by reading Daniel Ingram’s book and starting to do vipassana meditation in late 2011. I found the level of specificity with regards to practice and its effects to be very appealing. For me, vipassana practice consisted of stabilizing concentration and then dropping awareness into the body and looking through the “lenses” of the three characteristics (primarily impermanence – just noting the rapid arising and passing away of any phenomena that happened to come up. Which I guess puts this practice in the “choiceless awareness” category). When I described this practice to others, it was in the sense of perceiving the body as something much more akin to a flame or a star than a solid object. I eventually incorporated noting into this practice (first via Shinzen Young's techniques, then Kenneth Folks "triple noting" technique).

*Went on a two week Dathun retreat (with Reggie Ray's sangha) over the holidays in late 2011 where I did a mixture of all of the practices described above, plus dipped my feet in the Mahamudra waters. Crossed some spectacular territory here – energetic openings, supernatural craziness, the whole nine yards.

*Practice became discursive as hell for the next few months and was marked by a certain kind of periodic energetic upheavals involving anxiety and heart charka activity (again, more on this later). Nevertheless practice still seemed “productive” – there was still a sense of progress.

*Practice settled down somewhat during the late spring of 2012 and became much less discursive. Interestingly, this coincided with the introduction of the tsa lung/nine breathings of purification practices from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s “Awakening the Sacred Body.”

*Went on a 9 day vipassana retreat lead by John Travis in late July – early August 2012. By this time I was able to get into the jhanas and use them to stabilize my vipassana practice (even though I couldn’t experientially parse out the jhanas or tell one from another). This was by far the most productive stretch of practice in my life. We also did some mahamudra/non-dual stuff near the end of the retreat.

*post retreat, practice was extremely stable, blissful, equanimous…

I started posting on KFD on November 13, 2012. Around that time, I'm reasonably certain I attained a path (though I'm not sure which one) -- just a profound shift in the field of awareness, the space in which phenomena (including suffering) are accommodated. Much more room for everything. From that time up until the present, my practice has consisted of:

*What Kenneth Folk calls "strata of mind" practice, combining "first gear" and "second gear" -- Just stabilizing the witness and then letting the strata unfold one after another, up and down. I went through a pretty intense dark night period last summer, and coming out of that I've noticed that I tend to skip certain strata and end up in others for relatively long periods of time (it had been very orderly and sequential before).

*Basic vipassana noting practice

*Jhana practice using techniques from Ajahn Brahm's "Mindfulness, Bliss & Beyond" (yes, he's quite the fundamentalist and I don't agree with his philosophical outlook -- but the way he teaches these practices, the word choice, the outcomes, etc., works for me).

*Shikantaza, or the "just sitting"/non-dual practices. There's much more to say about this -- I feel like this is where my most recent, permanent insights have come from. But, I think a new practice log is the place for that? For those of us who posted on KFD, will our logs be moved over here? Or would it be best to cut and paste?

In any event, happy to be here!
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Welcome! 25 Mar 2014 18:41 #19067

Jim wrote:
*Shikantaza, or the "just sitting"/non-dual practices. There's much more to say about this -- I feel like this is where my most recent, permanent insights have come from. But, I think a new practice log is the place for that? For those of us who posted on KFD, will our logs be moved over here? Or would it be best to cut and paste?

Welcome, Jim and thanks for that detailed intro. Regarding your question, please start a new practice journal as I am still a ways off from getting the KFD data imported and, likely, they would be read-only anyhow.
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Welcome! 26 Mar 2014 10:58 #19072

Welcome, Jim. Good to have you here.
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2014 11:42 #19109

Hi all

Thought I would just formally say hello. Joined a few weeks ago and very much a lurker, also a beginner.

Meditation is something I have been trying to make a regular practice for years and years (even did my undergraduate dissertation on Zen back in 98!)

Recently started again, a few good days and weeks off and on but lapsed again in the last week. Something inside me keeps telling me I need it, depression, pain and fatigue are long-term companions. There was a period last year when I was coming off antidepressants, practiced most days and it was the best I had felt for years.....but I lapsed.

I realise this place is for serious practitioners so I feel very out of place here but reading the forums I was struck by the friendliness and openness, also the way people willingly share knowledge and experiences with very little ego.

As I already said on my other post it was Ona's interview on Being Ordinary that helped me find this place.

g
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2014 11:56 #19110

Welcome, Gareth. It may be just me, but my definition of a "serious practitioner" is someone who can't shake knowing they need it. How that plays out varies widely; the commonality is being unable to un-see something important about how he or she works. My vajrayana teacher calls it "suspicion of samsara"-- something strange going on here... :unsure:
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2014 12:32 #19111

I'd agree with Kate. In my experience if that nagging call to spiritual practice arises, it will nag until it is resolved through practice. The lapsing phase is normal. It goes away when one finally gets tired of stopping and starting and just commits to practicing. It can be motivating for some people to have an online journal, attend a weekly group, or work with a teacher to keep up the discipline until the practice takes over their life and they can't NOT practice anymore. :D God speed!
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2014 16:43 #19113

Welcome Gareth!
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2014 17:13 #19114

thanks all for your kind words and sagely advice!
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Introduction 16 Apr 2014 14:01 #19266

Hello all dharma friends, :)

Many of you know me from old KFD, where I had a long-running practice journal. After the site went down, I moved my journal to blog format:

apracticejournal.wordpress.com

I have really missed the community aspect of KFD, so I am planning to start my practice journal here soon.

I worked with Kenneth a couple of years ago for an extended period of time and as a result, several major changes (for the better) took place. After that I did a lot of experimenting on my own and found perspectives that are apparently described in great detail in Tibetan buddhist traditions of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. After some explorations, sidetracks, mistakes and discoveries, all logged in my journal, I started to seriously study Mahamudra in the traditional way.

Practice has been interesting lately. I just finished a week long retreat in March where things clicked and many lost piesces of the puzzle found their proper places. All in all this feels like a turning point, so it is a good place to start a new journal!
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Introduction 16 Apr 2014 14:34 #19267

Welcome Antero! I was wondering how long it would take for you to get over here. Glad to have you.
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Introduction 16 Apr 2014 16:43 #19268

Hi there, Antero.
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Introduction 17 Apr 2014 05:54 #19272

Great to see you here, Antero!
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Introduction 17 Apr 2014 09:15 #19275

Good to see you here, Antero! Welcome.
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Welcome! 18 Apr 2014 04:02 #19295

Thanks for the welcome! :)
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Welcome! 15 Aug 2014 19:25 #94885

Hello all! I've dabbled in "mindfulness meditation" for a while now (I live in California, you can't throw a rock without hitting a mindfulness meditation teacher) . Went on two Goenka retreats in the past three years, had some fairly intense experiences. I asked around to various teachers and no one was able to really address what was going on, other than saying "Just focus on the Three Characteristics" which was incredibly frustrating at the time - but looking back on it now, hey, is technically correct. Got discouraged and didn't really meditate outside of that.

Stumbled on MCTB, and things started to make a little more sense. I stopped reading at the points that were well beyond my direct experience, as words get too theoretical/heady for me if I haven't tasted it somewhat myself.

Last month went to a Shinzen Young/ Mahasi Sayadaw-style retreat and something just CLICKED. Since then have been sitting vipassana 1-2 hours a day, working on precision and clarity. Now reading through MCTB with at least surface-level direct experience recognition for most of it. Not sure what is next - there seems to be whole worlds that have now opened up in both in alluring content-type areas (siddhis, astral plane stuff, kundalini, emotional work) and within the different approaches to practice vipassana itself.

Really not sure how the path will unfold, but here I am right now.

Practice journal is here: opensit.com/u/jwen (where I met Antero - who led me here). I'm VERY open to comments, corrections, communication, so please do reach out!
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Welcome! 15 Aug 2014 19:27 #94886

Hi, Jenny, and welcome to Awakenetwork. Glad you found us.
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Welcome! 15 Aug 2014 20:15 #94888

Welcome!
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