Rachel Graber

  • rachelgraber
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7 years 8 months ago #94290 by rachelgraber
Rachel Graber was created by rachelgraber
Okay, I think I need moral support (and, perhaps, some sort of weird social accountability) to keep me going. Hence, a practice journal. I've been getting frustrated lately, and it's been really hard to sit, because I feel like I'm going absolutely nowhere. So, uh, yeah, I guess this is my first journal entry.
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  • Antero
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7 years 8 months ago #94291 by Antero
Replied by Antero on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Welcome Rachel, looking forward to hearing more!
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 8 months ago #94292 by rachelgraber
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I try to sit for an hour. Admittedly, I have a tendency to float. I started on a chair, then moved to the edge of the bed . . . I get really restless. A few days ago, I would have said bored, but that's not what it is, exactly. Now, I'd say it's distractibility (which my spell check doesn't like). My mind goes floating off in random directions, and instead of noting it in a disembedded fashion, I get caught up in it. I did finally remember Meg Ryan's name . . . Meanwhile, something in my back and shoulder area is always hurting (which I note). Really, I feel like I'm noting the same things over and over again, and without any sort of novelty, my thoughts come rearing up and I get lost in them again. I decided to focus on the feeling of distractibility and such, and I end up with a tight and fiery stomach. But then, lo and behold, no focus, and I get back into getting caught up in the internal narrative. I think the light bulb needs to be changed . . . uh, I get distracted in regular life, too! <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->
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  • Antero
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7 years 8 months ago #94293 by Antero
Replied by Antero on topic Re: Rachel Graber

&quot;rachelgraber&quot;:7l0jlomb wrote: I try to sit for an hour. Admittedly, I have a tendency to float. I started on a chair, then moved to the edge of the bed . . . I get really restless. A few days ago, I would have said bored, but that's not what it is, exactly. Now, I'd say it's distractibility (which my spell check doesn't like). My mind goes floating off in random directions, and instead of noting it in a disembedded fashion, I get caught up in it. [/quote:7l0jlomb]

Great report Rachel! One thing that may help you to get you practice going and not be distracted is focusing on each foundation of mindfulness in turn and noting them separately for a while. First sense perceptions, then feeling tones and when it goes smoothly it is easier to note emotions and finally thoughts.

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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 8 months ago #94294 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Seriously? A thorium reactor? I only practiced for 1/2 hour today. Even though it seems like an eternity when I'm practicing, it somehow felt really short. I tried to focus on physical sensations and their transitory (impermanent) nature. It worked for a short time, then I was back to thorium reactors and other equally random things. Whenever I noticed this happening, I stopped and regrouped. At times, when I really needed to reel it back in, I focused just on the sensation of my breath on the inside of my nose. Again, it worked for a short time. I keep starting to write and then erasing sentences. I suppose that means I don't have anything else to say.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 8 months ago #94295 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Antero, I'm sorry I did not thank you earlier for your help! I really appreciate it! I've never been on a forum before, so I'm not sure about forum etiquette. I'm afraid I dropped the ball the past few days. I meditated Tuesday, but immediately crashed, and yesterday I was booked from 6 AM to 10:30 PM, at which point I was about to fall over. The exciting news is that my bench came in - I didn't migrate at all today! I again tried to focus on entirely physical sensations. I know Dan Ingram stresses not to get caught up in raptures, but at least when I'm having a rapture, be it pleasant or unpleasant, I feel like I'm doing something right. Intellectually, I know that's not a good thing, but emotionally, I want . . . confirmation. So anyway, like I said, I tried to focus on physical sensations. Once again, my mind wandered and I repeatedly went back to my breath. I was told if my body rocks, I ought to stop it from doing that, because it's the result of a conflict between my mind and my body. Thoughts? That's all I have to report. I think the hardest thing for me is to just keep going when I feel like I&quot;m not getting anywhere.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94296 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Nothing interesting to report. I was less caught up in thoughts this time, and I managed to mostly ignore the soundtrack in my head. I feel like I was noticing the same sensations over and over. Mostly it was itching and tickling, and then it was the heaviness of eyes and head I usually associate with sleepiness. And, lo and behold, now I'm sleepy!
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  • Antero
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7 years 7 months ago #94297 by Antero
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&quot;rachelgraber&quot;:30yenkqo wrote: I was told if my body rocks, I ought to stop it from doing that, because it's the result of a conflict between my mind and my body. Thoughts? That's all I have to report. I think the hardest thing for me is to just keep going when I feel like I&quot;m not getting anywhere.[/quote:30yenkqo]

No worries Rachel <!-- s:-) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":-)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:-) -->

Sometimes the body will do things on its own when we sit. These movements are called kriyas and can be intense at times even manifesting as spontaneous yoga asanas. IME this is how the awakened energy manifests itself and the body, being totally honest as it alway is, goes with the flow. I would choose non-manipulation and let the body find the position where it can help the flow find it's optimum course.

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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94298 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Thanks, Antero! I'll just let my body do it's thing.
I haven't written for a few days, but I have been practicing. Since getting my bench, I've been trying to be particularly aware of my posture. I am a sloucher, and when I try to sit up straight, I over-correct and arch my back. As I attempt to sit up straight on my lovely new bench, I note the physical sensations this causes. I think my concentration level fluctuates. At times, I can note sense perceptions, feeling tones, thoughts and emotions, and at times, I wander off into the narrative of my thoughts.
I mentioned this before, but sometimes I feel like I'm noting the same things over and over. Part of that, I think, is that my attention is drawn directly to the strongest sensations. The ache in my back (perhaps the result of adjusting to better posture, or perhaps something else), perspiration (today's high without heat index was 101), and tickling when my hair fell into my face seemed to take primacy today. It took an extra effort to find something else to note, because these sensations were overpowering. The moment I stopped 'searching' for other sensations, my attention snapped right back to my back. Somehow, it's always the negative sensations I note. Hmm . . .
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94299 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Today, I practiced briefly in my office. It's another long day with very little time off. I took a 1/2 break. And now it sounds like people are starting to arrive for our volunteer orientation event, so I have to boogie, but today, I definitely noticed my pulse. I felt my pulse in my stomach, in my forehead, in the back of my head, in my foot. One other random thing - I've been having back issues today (I'm too young for this!); when I meditated, the pain separated into two distinct sensations. Instead of an ache or a sharp pain, it felt simultaneously frigid and scalding. Back to work.
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  • MuMuWu
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7 years 7 months ago #94300 by MuMuWu
Replied by MuMuWu on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Rachel would you be interested in talking about this stuff on skype (likely just text chat)? I can give you a hand with getting on track.

I'll msg you my skype account. I'm one of Kenneth's early students.

All the best!
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94301 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Now I'm cranky. I just wrote up a post, and it disappeared. Ah well, a nice reminder of impermanence. Brief synopsis: I noticed my mouth a lot, particularly my salivation (I wasn't drooling!); I salivated more when I was noting my salivation; some of my back muscles ceased to working in progression from the bottom of my spine to about halfway up my back - it ought to have been disconcerting, but it was just . . . notable (I know, I'm not as funny as I think I am). Once again, other than the salivation, the thing I noticed must was discomfort. Pain in my back, pain in my knees . . . I'm certainly not noticing subtle sensations with the gross sensations pushing to the fore!
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  • MuMuWu
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7 years 7 months ago #94302 by MuMuWu
Replied by MuMuWu on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Quick question - are you directing attention (trying to notice this and that, etc.) or are you naming things as attention moves from one object to another, naturally speeding up and changing the things being noticed on it's own?

For me the second way is the best way to approach this. You'll notice that if you try to, say, note the rising and falling of the belly or the in and out motion of the breath, attention will - all by itself - move to another object (usually thought of as being distracted) and you have to move it back to the breath. Well - what you'll want to do is simply allow the attention to move how it will, and note what it moves to. When you get a feel for this, all you are doing is labeling what attention is moving to on it's own.

This is key, at least in my experience to getting things flowing and progressing through the nanas, as a big factor of what the nanas are is exactly those natural movements of attention (what it moves to, how fast it moves, etc.)

Best of luck. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94303 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
I've been trying to do the latter, but I don't think my shifts in attention are speeding up, and my attention tends to remain on the same few, strong sensations (mostly the pain in my back). I've been out of town without internet access, so I haven't posted in a few days. It's a little discombobulating (spelled correctly on the first try!) to meditate in an unfamiliar environment. Even the sensations I noticed are different. I was pretty sick too, which gave me plenty to note. I should have brought my meditation bench, but it didn't occur to me when I was packing, so that undoubtedly also impacted what I felt. And now, I'm feeling a hollowness in my stomach that indicates I probably ought to eat. Hopefully, I'll post again after I meditate tonight.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94304 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Tonight's meditation was once again in a very different setting from most days. The physical setting was the same, but usually, I meditate with my fiance. One of our dogs requires constant supervision, so he has to be with us. If he's with us, the others want to be with us, and there are fun doggy dynamics. Ori, our dog with behavior problems, sometimes rolls around and pants loudly or whines . . . he's a rescue . . . I guess in the future, Jay and I will have to meditate separately, so we can watch the dogs for each other. The substance was similar to what it normally is, although I think maybe my attention is moving more quickly than it has been recently. On the other hand, I don't remember what I noted - I think it was mostly itching, the back pain, and noticing when I was getting caught in the inner narrative. And I frequently noted the smell of the applesauce cooking.
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  • Russell
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7 years 7 months ago #94305 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Try to report the actual vocabulary you are noting. When you say something like &quot;I frequently noted the smell of the applesauce cooking.&quot; What words did you use when noting that? Did you just say 'smelling' or did you go off or your story about what you were smelling. Try to simplify the notes. Since you said you are sitting with your fiance then maybe you can try ping pong noting with him to keep you both on target. It is very hard to get lost in thought when noting aloud with a partner.
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  • MuMuWu
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7 years 7 months ago #94306 by MuMuWu
Replied by MuMuWu on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Rachel, check out a post I did on my old journal. Posts are 460 to 466. Basically I took a tape recorder and described to myself without stopping what was happening in my experience as I sat. I called it conversational noting (in the sense that I wasn't labelling at a defined rate, but instead was talking constantly about what i was experiencing into the tape recorder as I sat motionless).

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=" jaytek.net/KFD/KFDForumOld/kennethfolkdh...40&maxResults=20 "> jaytek.net/KFD/KFDForumOld/kenne ... Results=20
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94307 by rachelgraber
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Thanks Russell and MuMuWu! I'm afraid my labeling isn't as nuanced as that in the posts to which MuMuWu directed me; I suspect that more practice will expand my noting vocabulary. A very brief overview of today's practice in a hopefully more useful form: at the beginning, I noted mostly things related to my posture. I noticed the greater pressure on the left sit-bone than the right, I noted the dull ache on the right side of my upper back, and I noted the pain in my knee. I also noticed my aversion to these things as evidenced by my desire to change my position. Occasionally, I would also note itches or tickles, but my attention usually ended up back on one of those few things. I did, admittedly, end up shifting so my weight was more equally distributed. After about 5 minutes, I felt very calm for a short period of time, and the sensation of calm and quiet completely overwhelmed all other sensations. Then my body started to rock. I noted the sensations that went along with my rocking - the strain in some places, the stretching in others. At first, I particularly noticed the sensation of movement in my head. As I went through the rocking arc, sensations vanished then reappeared as I returned to the previous position. My attention migrated to my upper and lower back and my sit bones. Thoughts did, of course, spring up intermittently. They were mostly about a trip I'm taking soon and everything I have to do before I go and when I come back. And now, I'm too sleepy to type another word!
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  • Russell
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7 years 7 months ago #94308 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Using your post as an an example on how to simplify your noting:

fear, expectation, pressure, aching, pain, aversion, itching, tickling, shifting, calm, silence, rocking, straining, stretching, movement, planning thoughts, tired

<!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

That's it. Practice like that. One note every 1-2 seconds.
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  • MuMuWu
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7 years 7 months ago #94309 by MuMuWu
Replied by MuMuWu on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Russell, regarding 1 note every 1 or 2 seconds. That's a good pace obviously, and you'll want to note at least that, however I've always found it best to be to note each object that comes up and note that as it happens - without dictating a pace. The movement of attention has it's own rhythm and noting along with that rhythm always seemed to be the way to go for me. It really brings out the fact that attention naturally highlights one thing, then moves onto another thing. This pattern changes pace as the nanas progress, and seeing this pattern will make a lot of the standard descriptions of the nanas make a lot more sense.

One alternative, as in the example Rachel was looking at from my journal, is to not even follow the normal noting pattern, but to simply talk to yourself (preferably into a recording device) non-stop, out-loud in an objective narrative way, almost as if describing a scientific experiment in your secret labratory, about what you are currently experiencing. That seemed to work really well for me (though it was never a standard practice).
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  • Russell
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7 years 7 months ago #94310 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Totally agree Jayson, it all takes a life and pace of it's own once you get going. I was simply trying to show what a 'typical' noting session sort of looks like in a very simplistic manner, because a lot of people add too much complexity in the beginning.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94311 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Thanks for the pointers! I've been away for awhile, although I did meditate two of the four days I was gone. Today, I was planning to sit for an hour, but it ended up only being 42 minutes, because I was falling asleep. The general gist of my practice today: fidgeting with posture, rocking, pain in the right upper back, pain became hot and cold and well as pain, irritation (my dog was licking) as indicated by heat in my stomach, then back to the pain and the rocking, then moved to the chair, then heaviness, then feeling of consciousness being split in two by a revolving vertical disk (both a visual disk and a sensation), then more irritation, then moved back to bench, pain, falling asleep . . . ended 12 minutes early.
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  • rachelgraber
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7 years 7 months ago #94312 by rachelgraber
Replied by rachelgraber on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Alright, practice overview. I meditated with my husband, so we started out doing shamata (sp?), then we did some ping pong noting. The ping pong noting was sort of strange today. I tried to do sensation then mind state then mental objects, but while we were ping-ponging, I only really felt sensations for the most part. Occasionally, I got irritated, but I rarely thought. I can't really describe the trajectory of my practice well, but here's my best shot: posture, itching, heat, irritation, then sensations and thoughts faster and faster, itch, songs, images, ache in the back, itch, song, song, image, moving black and white stripes, irritation, desire to be done, agitation, irritation, desire to be done, ache, agitation. Desire to be done. Yup, that's about it.
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  • Bill29ish
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7 years 7 months ago #94313 by Bill29ish
Replied by Bill29ish on topic Re: Rachel Graber
Hey: Looks good. Keep journaling. Not to put any expectations on you, but it sounds kind of like 3 characteristics territory. Practicing daily if possible should make this clearer.

Bill
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