Woke with the dawn, around 0700.
No meditation or yoga nidra, but an hour in bed with my love.
Breakfast: sugar-free cornflakes, pink grapefruit juice, granola and grapes.
Shaved in preparation for Movember. Here’s my profile: http://uk.movember.com/mospace/2918297
To Portsmouth, Gunwharf for shopping. Looking for jeans and a winter coat but found neither I liked enough. Next year I’ll see if I can buy no clothes whatsoever. We always go our separate ways when shopping. It’s easier and more enjoyable that way. No lingering in women’s clothes shops.
Home for lunch: stew of butternut squash from the garden, green beans and onion, with lemon juice.
Online meeting (gotomeeting) about the new Krishnamurti website we’re developing across the four foundations. Only lasted an hour.
Discovered it was the warmest recorded Halloween day in the UK, at 24C
Walk around a local loop at dusk, along the lanes and down to where the farm shop used to be, then up the ‘hobbit lane’ a sunken lane, roots visible along the banks. Atmospheric in the sunset hour. Then back through the west wood after the horse paddocks.
Yoga from the Hittleman series, but not following the timing to the dot, learning that to count detracts from feeling for micro-adjustments.
Pointless on iPlayer, hanging due to sharing internet with too many others.
Supper: Baked potatoes, sugar-free baked beans, cheddar.
Last Autumnwatch of the series. Always an enjoyable watch.
Browsed Reddit, saw this Halloween dog:
The fourth stage of my Wayfarers Walk hike. This walk is a loop, with the first half on the long distance path to Dummer, then back to Deane via North Waltham, Steventon, and Ashe. The source of the River Test is at Ashe. The walk crosses the mainline railway, the M3 and the A30.
To lose control, such relief from doing doing, minding, watching, concerning. In the safe space of sitting alone, to lose control is easier. Not that it’s something to do: now I’m going to lose control. Nor is it an aim. It comes surreptitiously, in the midst of intensity, with a strange mix of bliss and pain, mixed up together so I don’t know what is what. Controlling has ceased. Even coming back to the breath smells of control, like it’s a good thing to do. But there’s a pain in control, a conflict, a should. It also smells of suppression, like it’s too painful there, so come back. Okay, I’m back, so now what? Stay here. Still control, subtle direction-making. No, to let all this go, without wanting to let it all go. Allow cessation.
When we visited Sweden in July we lived on a small island in the archipelago near Trosa. A swan couple with four babies also lived there, having won the territory from another family with two.
Music: About Time (Theme) by Nick Laird-Clowes
Leaving the high downs and headed south east, deeper into Hampshire, passing by North Oakley in this sparsely populated area.
An inner argument over how fast to move the attention was soon over, and a natural pace was easily established. It felt like more of a direct connection, relationship, link, between attention and sensation. As I continued downwards a strong anger and a deep sadness, the sadness seemingly coming from below and the anger raging upper right, I would say within the brain but it’s not quite clear if that’s where these emotions really were. On recognition of its actuality rather than thinking anything about it or applying anything to it, the anger was gone and so was the sadness. Any jumps of energy into a reaction of head shaking were in the split second of starting ended in some kind of relaxation response. A deep warmth then started to spread through the left shoulder and upper back. Really very warm, a welcome warmth. Staying closely in touch all the way down the body, the strange nervy numbness of a heavy left leg, a tight holding in the groins. A sharp pain and stabbing in the upper abdomen, on being listened to, addressed, met, unfolded images of being pursued, fleeing for one’s life. But not images from real life but from films, even if the feeling was that it was real. Overall a much more steady approach, without choice.
am 1 hr
An inner sound like a warm wind in the centre of the head and when it comes there is nothing else.
An absence of a decision maker, a body and mind together.
An awareness of the whole body, to split into individual parts is meaningless and unnecessary.
Minimal or no reaction to various sensations manifesting.
I am not different to the sensations.
A going behind the watcher, the system unfolding within a context unusual.
Not an I behind the I, that’s another trick, nor a ‘true self’.
Very existence itself, centred in this organism.
am 1 hr
I wondered why there is this sense of pressure, almost a mild panic, as all I’m doing is sitting here, there’s nothing to do, nothing expected of me. I felt the pressure deep within the mind and came upon a lid of some sort, with a great force the other side, seemingly the source of the pressure. There didn’t seem to be any way to take the lid off, but I left it with the notion that it was undone slightly.
Previously, an agitation and knowing that if not addressed right now, it will continue the whole day through and all I can do is hope that it’s eased tomorrow. Ah, the great tomorrow, master of delaying tactics. Feel now. When I feel as fully as I can, things to do change, shift.
Previous to this, more physiological goings on, head shaking rapidly again, neck bones scrunching lightly like there’s little bits of plastic in there. Strong sensation around the left kidney but towards the spine. Lips like they are coated with chilly paste, no more like injected with the stuff, sharp fire throughout, then they scrunched into ridiculous pouts and grimaces before releasing slowly for blessed relief.
am 1 hr
Head shaking rapidly, intensity at sides of the neck where it meets the shoulders. A spot just to the left of the spine at the base of the neck, sharp. Feet flexed to their maximum at times. Arms waving then frozen in a certain position out to the sides, each different, for quite some time. Let them be. A relishing of being in the body, not just thinking of being in the body or cursory attention, as it can be in yoga nidra which I have been doing for the last couple of weeks while on holiday and afterwards. It has its value but it’s not the same as the purity of sitting.
Now that we are deep into summer, autumn looms and that probably means my third 10-day course, in November. Time to get serious. Not because of the course itself but that’s a prompt, a reminder that this is the real work. Have been reading the rather daft Isobela Losada who went on the 10-day, and through the complaining shone some value, another reminder of the depth of this ‘practice’.
pm 50 mins
It’s a bumpier ride after work, thoughts more active and fragmented, unfinished thinking about emails, conversations, happenings of the day. They fairly soon slid into a gentler pattern though. Some sharp pains in the neck. Some ache in lower back. Some jumping of sudden energy making the head shake, but in shorter bursts than this morning. Feel a little sick and slightly disorientated afterwards.
Again, letting dissatisfaction be my guide, without looking for satisfaction. There’s a nagging beacon within one can sense and draw near, or go near to. Not that time and distance have much meaning once you really go into it, get in there. A disgruntledness, a piece of grit, a concern or worry, doubts and fears, layered and intermingled with each other, seemingly wrapped around the beacon which is still sending its signal, should one not get distracted by all the layers. The beacon, full of energy is perhaps generating the seemingly incessant thought and concerns, images and imaginings. Or these layers are just doing their job of thinking they have to protect something. Nearer still and the boundaries of me and it, of watching and thing watched start to get ambiguous and then in blinding, intense moments without time, there is no difference. I am not and the thing is not. And I am the thing and the thing is me. It’s rather magical and a bit bizarre and at the same time the most genuine, natural happening. This all occurring within a strong yet relaxed physicality, steady breath without control, and a gentle mentality.
Where do thoughts come from? What gives them power, charge? Why are they enticing? When sliding into thought, is it a little bit like falling asleep? Is awareness wakefulness? Does wakefulness need any effort? What is the dizzy, ill area? Can it be dissolved, or allowed to dissipate? Need I do anything about anything? What do I have other than awareness? Is awareness even ‘mine’? Is it a default state? Where is peace to be found? Within that which is not peaceful? Love and awareness seem to go together, with care and gentleness. To be suspicious of any other action, doings. The hardness isn’t something I need to bring, it’s not necessary. Not to deny it but to feel it and hold it in loving awareness. Things start to evolve, shift, change, unfold, in light and delight. Where can light be found? In darkness itself.
am 30 mins
Gently gently headed to the gritty area, the area where things are seemingly not ‘OK’ and around which spin a million thoughts and trivialities. Gently gently approaching, through waves of nausea and a spinning sensation. Dizziness countered by the soft strength of the sitting posture, like the very stillness and soliditiy of that gives the ability to face all that moves, all that is slippery and false. Yet to dismiss anything as false is not to allow it to tell it’s own story. Like the high alert calling out for so long, which only wants to be held or touched or listened to or held. Make contact, always gently and easily.
pm 25 mins
After working out seemed a good time to sit, and I went outside into the warm July sun. Somewhere through the thoughts and breathing the notion: will I be satisfied with this meditation session by the end? The answer being no, it was easy to hone in on the gritty area, which is always calling out, and gently nourish it as this morning. Then thought and reaction ceased and it is easy to see any direction and choice within the relative stillness.
Back sitting after a gap while traveling, and then had a strong cold last week. During this time there were vague sessions of meditation whilst lying down. It’s not quite the same. While sitting there is more energy, alertness, and also it’s that bit less cosy, slightly more edgy. And still a feeling of great rest, or cessation, a time for nothing. Nothing to respond to, nothing to answer or to do something about. Something like aware restfulness, akin to peace. And yet the body is not at peace, waves of head shaking, mouth expressions, shoulder scrunching, and then a nausea rising, which I can still feel now. For the brain’s peace to be total, the body has to be at peace too, it seems, and this involves much undoing. I suspect a lot of life’s tensions get dumped into the body rather than going through it fully at the time. Poor shoulders and neck!
Thoughts off on the theme of independence. Body still going through shakes and tightening and scrunching. Whatever I do – just sit, eyes open or closed, follow the breath or not, scan the body or not, within 5 minutes energy starts moving and it manifests physically as head shaking rapidly side to side. Invariably that’s how it starts, for the best part of a year and a half. Mouth contorting into extreme expressions, way beyond the day to day, faces I have never made before. Lower jaw as tight as it seems it can go before rapidly releasing. Felt like it could snap but I suspect there’s a wisdom in this that knows how far it can go, or the body itself knows. Some nausea again.
Woke around 5. Pains in the head, which have been around for a few weeks, quite strong. After some settling in and cursory scanning down the body, it was clear that pain was the strongest sensation, so stayed with it for some time. The sharp pain soon dissipated, followed by nausea, which became the strongest sensation. So I stayed with that some time, never getting to the point where I really would puke. It faded somewhat and the strongest sensation became tightness in the lower jaw, so I stayed with it for some time and it intensified before dissipating. Then I went back to the scanning back through the body. The one doing the scanning was but a humble servant, doing as was asked. It was rather weak and downtrodden, and I could see that my action is often weak and ineffective in the world. I could see a possibility for this to change, for fear to go to its proper place and for action to be purer.
Woke at dawn, which these days is around 4 am. Vipassana retreat would be easier in that respect at this time of year! Even for half an hour, some resistance to sitting. No strain, and I also want to, so it doesn’t take much will to sit myself down around an hour after waking. The reason I didn’t want to sit is fear of pain. So there it was. It’s really only sensation, feeling. I let it be and held it close, going into it without picking it apart. After mere moments I couldn’t feel pain anymore, looking around for it. Then felt lighter but thoughts continuing, along the lines of breaking free, doing something a bit different than usual, and all the planning of such excitement.
am 30 min
Better to sit for less time than not at all and stay in bed half awake, half aware. This way I’m more likely to sit in the evening too. Half an hour was nothing. So surprised when it was over, seemingly in five minutes. Looking at where I’m making an effort. Even to follow the breath there can be a load, a weight put upon the area of observation. The weight of doing something about something. The same with scanning over the body, the struggle to maintain the movement, the slight pushing. Looked at all the direction-making, seeking, grasping and wanting, and in looking, not condemning, as that is again effort, but the seeing somehow ends that action and awareness is cleaner, the looking clearer, but without comparison to the less-clear. Tremors of fear and a vulnerability and a new response of assurance from deep within that it is okay. Not “don’t be afraid” but that it’s all right. A feeling throughout of being very very close to myself, and any movement away short-lived and trivial. Less of the feeling of trying to get somewhere, instead staying nearer.
pm 20 min
Outside in the sun and breeze, the deeds of the day undoing and thoughts resolving.
Intense once again, on the edge of crying, screaming. Extreme tension in neck, jaw, back of shoulders, right hand. But it’s all okay somehow and I never think of getting up, stopping. Once I’m sat I’m sat. It’s the actual getting to sit down where there’s resistance. Especially in the evenings where it’s not really going to happen, the momentum of the day so strong. And yet it’s clear this is more valuable than absorbing more media, than having a ‘nice evening’. Let’s see if it comes. Now for some yoga.
More about the neck, but less painful, however dominating it is of the hour’s sitting. There’s no controlling the mind, off with its adventures and concerns. Some vague scanning of the body but kept returning to the back of the neck, into the shoulders. Head shaking started within minutes of sitting down and continued for the most part. Nothing else to report, while sitting; at night deep dreaming, related to the druggy days of the early 90s, as if those areas of memory are now being exposed. I’ve always felt that raw, scary dreams are actually good, if in the context of healing.
In the shaking of the head there’s also a tightness within the brain itself that gets touched by the shaking, like an inner headache relieved by the rapid movement. It gets stronger, is touched, and then it’s not felt anymore. Today awareness more freely throughout the body, down and up many times. Perhaps a lot more superficially. It seems to create something like a forcefield, or a surrounding of energy within which the body sits. Maybe it’s always there but the circle of attention down and up, down and up, makes one aware of it. Within it, healing seems to be possible. The body is free to shake, tighten, relax, vibrate, flex, flop, without movement being controlled. Meanwhile thoughts are going back over things, thinking unthought chains, dreaming, devising, remembering, but loosely, easily picking up and easily ending. Choosing has all but ceased. One hour passed in this very different time zone.