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TOPIC: Welcome!

Welcome! 06 Dec 2016 14:00 #105243

Hello all! My name is Rob,I'm 49, and I reside in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Currently, I'm not studying with anyone, although I am actively looking for a teacher. I have been an active meditator for two years, and am finding that as I progress slowly along the Path to Enlightenment, I'm reaching the limits of what I can do self-taught, and thus, I'm reaching out to thisr site in hopes of finding a supportive community to discuss, learn from, and perhaps put me in touch with a teacher within driving distance of Peterborough, Ontario.

I can see I have a lot of reading in my near future, and I look forward to getting to know new people and help this community however I can.
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2016 14:36 by Rob Dack.
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Welcome! 06 Dec 2016 14:56 #105245

Hey Rob, welcome! I hope you'll start your own thread and tell us about your practice.
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Welcome! 07 Dec 2016 08:58 #105251

Great to have you here, Rob. Welcome!
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Welcome! 07 Dec 2016 15:43 #105255

Rob Dack wrote:
Hello all! My name is Rob,I'm 49, and I reside in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Currently, I'm not studying with anyone, although I am actively looking for a teacher. I have been an active meditator for two years, and am finding that as I progress slowly along the Path to Enlightenment, I'm reaching the limits of what I can do self-taught, and thus, I'm reaching out to thisr site in hopes of finding a supportive community to discuss, learn from, and perhaps put me in touch with a teacher within driving distance of Peterborough, Ontario.

I can see I have a lot of reading in my near future, and I look forward to getting to know new people and help this community however I can.

Hi there, Rob. Good to have you here.

Perhaps another option might be to work with a teacher online. I and others here work with teachers via Skype. I've found it tremendously useful, and don't hesitate to recommend it. I know that other practitioners feel the same.

What kind of meditation practice do you do?
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Welcome! 08 Dec 2016 08:54 #105262

Hi Andy, and thank you for the suggestion about an online teacher - I had never considered that before. Is there somewhere on this site where teachers/students seek one another, or shall I just get used to some of the people on here and then approach them?

I currently practice Vipassana meditation, both in quiet and via guided meditation. I was using Samatha for about six months, but found the Vipassana more suited for me.
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Welcome! 08 Dec 2016 10:28 #105265

Rob Dack wrote:
Hi Andy, and thank you for the suggestion about an online teacher - I had never considered that before. Is there somewhere on this site where teachers/students seek one another, or shall I just get used to some of the people on here and then approach them?

I currently practice Vipassana meditation, both in quiet and via guided meditation. I was using Samatha for about six months, but found the Vipassana more suited for me.

You're welcome, Rob. Unfortunately, we don't currently have a spot for teachers and students to find each other. I'd encourage you to look around though. Read threads that interest you, ask questions, post comments, etc. You could also start a new discussion thread soliciting information and experiences with teachers.

Folks here tend to be pretty welcoming--there's not much getting used to that's required.
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Welcome! 12 Jan 2017 17:41 #105716

Hello everyone! I've actually been lurking here for several months. I've never really been one to make public or even semi-public internet posts. However, some recent discussion here about the community here and its future has convinced me that I ought to participate more.

A little about me, I'm a 28 year old guy living in Seattle WA. I've been practicing seriously for about the last 9 months although been on and off meditation for several years. I've been getting some lessons from Kenneth here and there. I'm looking forward to continuing to learn from this excellent community and to make some dharma friends.

-Andrew
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Welcome! 12 Jan 2017 20:19 #105722

Hi Andrew,

I'm in Seattle, along with 4 or so other peeps from pragmatic dharma forums. We usually hang a few times a month. You're welcome to join us!

-Noah
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Welcome! 13 Jan 2017 15:53 #105731

Wow, that's great to hear and I really appreciate the invite! I would very much like to meet other pragmatic dharma people in person as well as on the internet. Thanks Noah!
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Welcome! 13 Jan 2017 15:57 #105732

Andrew wrote:
Wow, that's great to hear and I really appreciate the invite! I would very much like to meet other pragmatic dharma people in person as well as on the internet. Thanks Noah!

Hey just sent you a pm. We're hanging tonight if you wanna join
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Welcome! 27 Mar 2017 09:54 #106390

Hi Everyone!

My name is Aikan, I am 26 years old and Norwegian. Like many of the other people making introductions here before me I have a history having an occasional sitting meditation practice. Once, I managed to sit for at least ten minutes every day for a whole year. Zazen style, inspired by Brad Warner. It doesn't sound like much, but I am still proud of the accomplishment.

In spite of not doing lots of formal sitting, I've managed to keep a steady hatha yoga practice over the years. Then I reached the point where I was continually being exposed spiritual and philosophical aspects of what is commonly referred to as yoga, and I simply couldn't keep ignoring that it wasn't a good fit for me. At all. So, I went back searching. Found some old links and bookmarks that rekindled my curiosity for the Tibetan Nyingma tradition(s) and Dzogchen.

Fast forward a bit, I came across the MCTB book and people saying that the 9-year-old-me's notion that "if the historical buddha did it, and all his students and neighbors did it, then perhaps we can too" wasn't overly optimistic after all. 1.5 months later I am here.

Right now my main practices are shi-ne (samatha) meditation and yantra inspired yoga exercises, with a light seasoning of Chöd and Guruyoga sprinkled throughout the week.

Looking forward to getting to know this place, and you people!

~ Aikan

(Just to be clear on something; consider this my official apology for messing up with my spelling and grammar skills. Mistakes will happen. Trust me :) )
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Welcome! 27 Mar 2017 10:24 #106391

Welcome! Yes! :)
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Welcome! 27 Mar 2017 13:58 #106395

Glad to have you here, Aikan.
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Welcome! 27 Mar 2017 16:10 #106398

Welcome Aikan!
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Welcome! 27 Mar 2017 18:36 #106400

Hi Aikan. I've had an interest in Chod recently as a result of getting interested in Tsultrim Allion'es demon-feeding practice, which is a Westernized/'psychologised' Chod. I'm also pretty into asana yoga (Anusara for me, which is alignment-based and draws from the Tantric Shaivite tradition rather than Patanjali - I'm not a Patanjali fan).
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Welcome! 30 Mar 2017 03:30 #106429

Hi every3rdthought!

I really enjoy Tsultrim Allion's take on Chöd as well. My guess is that she's managed to make the ritual a lot more available to people, while still keeping the essence. As for Anusara; I've always wanted to try/learn at least a bit of it. It's one of those schools of asana practice which truly seems to value safety over performance, right?

Glad to find another moving person here, so to speak! :)
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Welcome! 01 Apr 2017 17:49 #106453

Anusara has a strong emphasis on biomechanics and alignment, which was one of the things I really liked about it (the other being the Tantric teachings).
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Welcome! 20 Jul 2017 13:45 #107304

Hey, everyone! I'm Flum. I've been snooping the last few days, so perhaps an introduction is in order. I'm 30, and I have two X chromosomes, which in practice-related communities I have found it best to mention upfront to prevent shock and confusion. I started practicing with The Mind Illuminated last year, and some unexpected things happened. I have a log up on r/streamentry but I really prattle on so I don't recommend it. :whistle: In any case, getting feedback and learning from other practitioners has been essential (especially as physical problems keep me from getting in-person teachings), so I'm thrilled that you are here and now I am, too. Besides TMI and Culadasa, I'm somewhat familiar with Folk, Ingram, Crouch, and Rob Burbea, and have benefited from all. Recently I've paused TMI and started doing some somatic and mahamudra practices, which are a blast. Nice to meet you all!
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Welcome! 20 Jul 2017 18:53 #107310

Welcome, Flum. Good to have you here.

I like Rob Burbea a lot. I picked up "Seeing That Frees" when it came out, and was impressed with it's reach and depth. There's a lot of good stuff in there. Now if only I could finish it...
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Welcome! 21 Jul 2017 01:22 #107318

Flumflumeroo wrote:
Hey, everyone! I'm Flum. I've been snooping the last few days, so perhaps an introduction is in order. I'm 30, and I have two X chromosomes, which in practice-related communities I have found it best to mention upfront to prevent shock and confusion. I started practicing with The Mind Illuminated last year, and some unexpected things happened. I have a log up on r/streamentry but I really prattle on so I don't recommend it. :whistle: In any case, getting feedback and learning from other practitioners has been essential (especially as physical problems keep me from getting in-person teachings), so I'm thrilled that you are here and now I am, too. Besides TMI and Culadasa, I'm somewhat familiar with Folk, Ingram, Crouch, and Rob Burbea, and have benefited from all. Recently I've paused TMI and started doing some somatic and mahamudra practices, which are a blast. Nice to meet you all!

To balance Flum's apparent humility, I would like to acknowledge that her practice log can be found here: www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/logs/flumflumeroo.

She's developed a bit of a 'reputation' on Reddit SE for exploring the path with incredible efficiency, describing it with precision & inspiring others (such as myself) to do the same.
Last Edit: 21 Jul 2017 01:23 by Noah.
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Welcome! 21 Jul 2017 09:57 #107327

Thanks Andy! Yeah, Rob really specializes in density. One time I tried to summarize his talks that revolved around the same topics as he presents in Seeing That Frees, writing up what happened in each talk as I listened to it. In retrospect I realized I managed to write down about 1% of what he was covering. It was equal parts alarming and thrilling.

Noah, you are blowing my mind. Your experience, knowledge and precision are so great it took quite a while to get over feeling intimidated and finally talk to you! :lol:
Last Edit: 21 Jul 2017 09:58 by Flumflumeroo.
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Welcome! 27 Jul 2017 05:44 #107394

Hello everyone. I have waited a day or two to introduce myself, until I'd had a chance to do some reading here. I've now looked at some journals, a few threads, and other people's introductions. My immediate response is - I'm totally out of my depth here! I'll tell you a bit about my history, and then probably retreat into the background again.

My first experience of meditation: initiation into Transcendental Meditation in 1971. I tried to keep up this practice - two periods of twenty minutes a day. And kept failing, mostly due to the pressure of work and life in London at that time. I had a few "odd" experiences outside of the actual sitting times - you might call some of them periods of dissociation, and others were more like insights or "profound" realisations.

In 1973, I was introduced to a group practising what was then called Nichiren Shoshu, at that time a fairly unknown type of Buddhism from Japan. A lot of chanting and prayers, no sitting meditation. For a period of about six years, I became very involved - I married another member, I became editor of the monthly newspaper, and did a lot of activities - and there really were a LOT of activities ... meetings of various sorts, and social gatherings.

My marriage and my beliefs gradually fell apart, and by 1979-80 I had given up on both. For the next approximately twenty years I alternated between returning to TM and going back to Nicheren buddhism. Starting again, and giving up when I realised afresh that it was not right for me. But obviously still needing something and not finding it. They were very different practices, with very different effects - TM made me feel less stressed, chanting seemed to give me energy and purpose, and in additiion had a large support group attached.

In 2008 I had a period of illness coinciding with becoming 60, and decided to retire from work. I was still wanting to find the right path for me - by now I felt a need for a spiritual direction, but combined with atheism and a personal dislike of all religion (whilst nevertheless upholding the right of others to believe). I was doing a lot of reading, mostly about Buddhism. One of the books was "The Heart of Buddhism" by Guy Claxton, and this had a table to help you decide which form of Buddhism was most likely to be right for you. I followed the instructions, and the result was IMS - the Insight Meditation Society (US based). I had never heard of IMS, and live in the UK, but decided to search the Internet and came across a course which you could buy, consisting of a book, a lot of CDs, and access to a tutor by email. The course was supposed to take a year, but my mother became seriously ill, and in the end it took me two years to complete. This course, and its lessons and exercises - and the considerable help from my tutor - was responsible for my now established meditation practice. In addition I did an eight week MBSR course, in order to try to find a non-religious group to practice with. Though helpful in many ways, I did not find any lasting connections there.

Last year I installed the Insight timer app, to help with my meditation sessions. Expecting only a timer, I found more. Through the groups, I heard about The Mind Illuminated book, and have been reading and using this since. And have increased my practice from twenty minutes, gradually, to an hour. I have been unsure about moving from what was essentially not a goal-orientated practice, to a practice where I am trying to move through stages (I believe I am at Stage Four, moving into Stage Five - but sometimes feel I am back at Stage Two).

During the last few months I have once more been trying to find other people who practice a secular form of Buddhism - but with no success. I have also constantly failed to identify a possible teacher. There are quite a few Buddhist Centres within reach - London, Brighton etc - but all seem to have religious affiliations. I don't think I can deal with the ceremonies, ritual, prayers etc..

Finally, my reason for feeling the need for support at this time. For the last couple of years I have struggled increasingly with depression and negative thoughts, in my day to day life - NOT during meditation. It takes the form mostly of a very severe pointlessness/lack of meaning - often at night or in the early morning. I wake up with it already in my mind. I find myself desperately trying to think of ways to make my life meaningful in any way. I have had counselling - Existential Therapy and Person Centred Counselling, and also CBT - but this has not helped at all, and in the case of the Person Centred Counselling, made things a lot worse, to the point where I felt I was descending into total chaos.
Additionally , I have had some seriously upsettng experiences - an event where I felt I was standing on the edge of a black crater, looking down into nothingness, accompanied by a feeling of horror and emptiness; a prolonged period where I saw people (and I mean actually seeing them) with their heads just as extensions - their eyes, ears, noses, mouths as just holes for input, to keep the body alive; and another time when I just kept noticing people's teeth!

Forgive me for going on like that - I have not had the opportunity to express this to anyone before.

However, I have had hardly any of the experiences within meditation that many people here have had. Mostly, once I have got over the initial minutes of settling into a period of sitting meditation, I just watch the breath, concentrate on the breath, listen to sounds, etc ... but in peace, nothing wonderful happens, nothing awful happens. Very few thoughts. Very little forgetting. I mostly have a sitting practice, try to include a daily Metta practice. Occasionally walking meditation. Occasionally mindfulness of eating. Try to apply mindfulness to pain.

I've run out of steam now. Going to post this before I change my mind and go back to the background where I usually try to spend my time!
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Welcome! 27 Jul 2017 08:17 #107396

Welcome, Anne! I hope you get comfortable here and post a bit. You have an interesting history that we can learn from.
Last Edit: 27 Jul 2017 12:17 by Chris Marti.
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Welcome! 27 Jul 2017 09:09 #107397

Welcome Anne!
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Welcome! 27 Jul 2017 16:05 #107414

Hi, Anne. Sounds like you've been through a lot recently and it seems difficult, so welcome. Glad you found us.

Regarding TMI, I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but there is a popular group on Reddit for discussing "The Mind Illuminated," practices, effects, results, etc...: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/. Culadasa has also recently started 1-1 video sessions, if that kind of thing floats your boat.

Also, one of our members (Flumflumeroo) here is a moderator on that group: https://www.reddit.com/user/Flumflumeroo. I'm sure you could reach out to her either here or there if you have questions.
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