170603

Woke at 0420 for a pee behind the tent, the sky just breaking and the birds begun. 45 minutes yoga nidra with Tim Rowe, he of the soothing voice. Then got real cosy against the dawn chill under my duvet, tucked up tight, just a little breathing hole. Slept through to 0730 and in my dream I was looking for my dad, lost to me. I could hear his faint music coming from one of the many tents in our old back garden. I looked in a few but no one was there. Then I looked in the garage which was more like a cave but my vision faded, and I couldn’t see a thing. He was near but not in there. I’d have liked to have made contact again. 

The blindness has been common in my dreams over the years but recently dreams seem to have been more about making connections between aspects of myself.

Lovely morning, some sun salutations at the top of the field, sun climbing over Swanage Bay. Caught the sun in my skin.

Possions by the side of my bed in the tent:

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170602 Acton Fields

Towards close of the day at the campsite, a pleasant atmosphere of families chattering and distant conversations, the smell of charcoal in the calm air. It’s not a noisy place and every person I’ve met has been friendly and happy to be here. The mist cleared revealing the white of The Needles over the sea. Helped a lady alone with her tent, she was really struggling to figure it out. Later she asked me to help move it as she’d pitched on a bee hole!

A short visit to Corfe Castle, the first time inside for me. Cromwell blowing it up created a unique ruin.

Wrote more of the counselling essay this afternoon, about self development needs and blocks and ways to overcome them. 7/8 done now, and after I can focus on the presentation. I aim to finish and polish both essays tomorrow.

Short walk this evening at Shell Bay and a little paddle near the ferry, short excursions being all C can manage right now, mostly just wanting to rest. 

I liked this phone box on the beach; really it’s between two beaches, to the harbour (ahead) side and to Studland Bay (behind).


Felt more relaxed as the day went on. Meditation for twenty minutes, the sounds all around becoming part of it, no resistence.

170601

Yoga nidra on waking.

AM 20 minutes

Emotions moving in cycles. The clear necessity to meet each one as fully as possible with my whole being, there being nothing else to do. Sitting with perceived rejection. Sitting with the awkwardness of having upset someone. Wanting people to like me and all to be smooth. Fear of presentation at college, images of everything I’ve been through in that circle and with that group, a feeling of care and support remaining after the fear dissolved. 

Afterwards I was left with strong feelings of independence and liberation, acknowledging my repeating of patterns of relationship, of using people to cure loneliness and seeing it doesn’t work that way.

I’m facing being truly alone, the feeling I ran from all those years ago. It’s okay this time.

By evening, pitched up in Dorset, at a new site next door to Tom’s field, which looked crowded and claustrophobic compared to the wild openness of Acton Fields. Views to the sea at Swanage and the Purbook Hills

170531

Up late so instead of sitting I listened to a long yoga nidra by Maalika Shay Devi Dasi. It goes deep, through all five koshas or sheaths of our being. From Yoga Journal:

The outermost layer is the physical sheath, which the sages called the food sheath, not only because it is made of the food we take in from the earth but also because it will ultimately become food for other creatures. Encased by the physical sheath, interpenetrating it and transcending it are the three layers of the subtle body: the pranamaya kosha, or vital energy sheath; the manomaya kosha, or mental sheath; and the vijnanamaya kosha, or wisdom sheath. Deeper than these is the anandamaya kosha, the bliss sheath.

It’s good stuff if you have 80 minutes and not as woo as the above might sound. I was conscious throughout except for, interestingly, the guided breathing section. Ended relaxed, towards 8am. 

At one point during nidra I suddenly met a reluctant petulant aspect of myself, standing. He resolutely had his back to me and to the world and just didn’t want to know. He was angry and refused to communicate. I lingered, caringly, curious, glad to meet despite the back and the lack of communication, as there was a connection and immediate understanding of a long term upset part of me. I am pretty sure it is this aspect of me that used to fight others at school. A healer recently met him too. She said he said ‘Go away, I’m pissed off!’ to her. I wonder if there aren’t parts of us stuck at various stages, in various states, and I wonder if in sitting, in yoga, in gently listening and being attentive these start to free up. It seems that way. 

The photo is one I found yesterday in going through my papers. 1990s pissed off Duncan, age 27.

170530

AM 1 hour 

It’s hard to remember the beginning of the session, the end of second-half being so different. I do remember a moment when I came together, aware of the breath. Before that, scattered in the hundred directions and suddenly I was back, me, simple me, good old me, watching, aware. The session is coming back to me now, I remember I’m moving through the body, feeling all the sensations, aware of the familiar fear, its focus on the upcoming presentation about my personal journey and development, to share with the counselling skills class. This focus and context meant that as I moved through the body feeling it all, the presentation started writing itself, as if my story is right there in my body. I am no longer afraid of it, more excited to share something real. Ideas were doubling up freely and fitting into place. If this is not proper meditation I don’t care, its meaningful and valuable to me. Once I’d gone through the body a few times and the main structure of the presentation had formed, a delightful stillness eased through my whole being. I rested there. And then areas of tightness were super apparent and attention moved to these spots, such as behind the eyes and at the lower throat. And then it was naturally over and the timer went to begin lovingkindness, in which I felt very sleepy and restfully content. Now I feel I could sleep peacefully for some hours after a stirred up few days. I’m going to give myself half an hour before work instead of yoga.

… 

Such a good day, back together, balanced, energised, well.

Good progress on assignments this evening.

Sat in the sun for supper with an old friend back from Thailand and New Zealand


PM 20 minutes

Breathing in four out eight really helps relax, release, ground and balance. Ten minutes first half, then feeling sensation, penetrating deeply, easily feeling the whole body in blissy tingles and yet restful. 

170529

AM 1 hour

I’ve been afraid for much of my life, the sensation familiar and to be avoided. And yet I don’t really know what fear is. It seems that it’s a projection of a future event based on the past memory merged with imagination. This is combined with a fizzy sensation in the chest and solar plexus, fizzy and a bit sweet like the beginnings of nausea. And there it was, dominant of all sensation as I sat in the post dawn. At first there was the usual skirting around it, thoughts bouncing off it, generated by it, imagination of the presentation in mid June. I’m not sure if I got closer to the fear or the fear got closer to me but there was a point when I truly didn’t know what the sensation was any more. It was brand-new and and unknown. From here my thoughts about the subject became clear and even logical, rational in its imagery of the future event, even going round each classmate and realising there is nothing to fear in any of them, and that the fear really relates to past events not the future.

In the second half of the meditation was dreamier and less precise, but within this I felt a deep rest, perhaps deeper than sleep. I ended with the usual five minutes of loving kindness meditation, only this time with my eyes open, me on the mat, speaking aloud.

Before sitting it became very clear what my compulsive browsing and checking for newness online is about. It starts when there is something I don’t want to feel and I reach the phone. Once this chain of avoiding sensation begins, it’s almost automatic. However the chain can be broken at any moment given awareness, and this happened this morning after a minute or two online.

170528

When I look this way and that way and everything I look at is disturbing, there’s no settledness or peace to be found. An old familiar feeling, much of my life being like this, bouncing around in mild panic. Even the assured undertone so prominent over the last weeks this morning seems to have dissipated. 

Anyone who’s got my back seems to be a long way off , even if I know they are down the road, across a lawn or just a text away, and thus Sunday morning I feel isolated in my fear.

An essay to finish, another to write and a personal presentation to prepare and give on the 15th. From a high on Thursday at college – the support, the togetherness, the genuinity – to this troubled morning. 

I claim one and resist the other, hoping for escape in sleep or frittering time away online. It’s time to get up and journey a few steps to the bathroom then mat.

AM 1 hour

Dared to sit with it despite the compulsion to KEEP BROWSING. The very word ‘browsing’ suggests shallowness, the movement of fleeting interest. Sitting still is the opposite of browsing, the very physicality of the stationary body rippling into the brain sending messages of ‘this is what we’re doing right now, it’s okay.’ 

The fears on waking were felt deeply, in and of themselves rather than a me doing something to them. Emotions have their own story to tell, there’s nothing to do about them. Yet I try.

Moving through the body, thoughts intensifying then relaxing as I went. Then last ten minutes I stayed with the most intense physical feeling, a spot mid back, right of spine. Immediately the back arched, the right arm and hand stiffening, flexing.

Final five minutes, loving kindness, meeting myself, saying hi. May I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be liberated. Then the same for someone I don’t know well, someone I like, someone I dislike, the local community, the country, the continent, then: may all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be liberated.


PM 20 minutes

It’s about inclusion, acknowledging everything that’s going on, or as much of it as possible. For example, after about 10 minutes a ground of bliss took over from the more usual state of to-ing and fro-ing on realising there is nothing to do. Settling into the bliss I thought: this is it, nothing more to do but settle here in this loveliness. But then I also noticed a feeling that I can’t wait for the session to end. But if it’s so blissful why the urge to stop? So the bliss was partial and the urge to stop was partial, and unrelated. Yet in a peaceful state the other activity of wanting and doing is easily identifiable and in its recognition of itself, it more readily fades or  dissolves, or is at least understood.

The last birds awake called out. Two men arrived (back) at the retreat centre, an aeroplane passed over.

Finished my assignment on ethics, so tomorrow it’s on to the personal development writeup.  I can combine this with preparing for the presentation.
Began to watch the rather good Paterson, before my 9 o’clock screen curfew (apart from writing this.)

170526

AM 20 mins

After a shorter yoga nidra after a lie-in after a good morning conversation with my ex, after a slow waking up, the end of my dream finding a node of some sort, like a leyline but marked in the walls of an old house, a single line diffracting into twenty or more. My dreams more coherent these days, less lost, figuring out rather than stumbling about. This is good.

Sitting: peaceful in my former bedroom, warm in the late spring morning. Body and mind at relative ease, memories of last weekend’s intimacy, last nights intimacy of a very different kind and this morning’s different again; intimacy, connection, sharing something real; the false ideas encountered and espoused online yesterday a mere shadow.

Bed at 2030, no evening sit

170525

AM 30 minutes 

On waking at 630 it’s so easy to slip into half an hour of Facebook, Reddit, news. It starts with a simple: ‘I’ll just check…’ I noticed this morning the compulsion to check only came when an unwanted feeling arose, the learned solution being to distract. And in the background a slight fear of going to the mat. After thirty minutes I’m full of online and then I’m ready, for a reduced sit. But still I sat and that’s what matters and that’s good; by the end of the next thirty minutes the fizz and series of reactions to that initial unwanted thought-sensation has calmed and I’m able to feel it at its source. And the thing is, it is only ever sensation. There’s that basic choice: attraction or repulsion, aversion or craving, towards liked, away from unliked. From this basic movement all the frittering and chain reaction stems.

Then I got into a fun but angrifying tussle on fb with an ex Brockwoodian who used his sharp intellect to expound his so called inquiry. It winds me up, his curruption of Krishnamurti in an arrogant facsimile. I too quickly responded and he tried to pick my words apart. He has a clear mind but none of it seems genuine, he never admits to struggling with anything and it’s ideas about ideas at the end of the day. I defrienfed him but not before I’d called his writing arrogant, conceited and I called him a K-bot.

I’m feeling so much more these days and that anger I felt at his preaching under the guise of questioning stayed with me, merging with every anyoing character at school who I’d sometimes even physically fight. On walking into college I suddenly realised: hey you are angry. This acknowledgement made it all okay and not something to resist. And then in skills practice I didn’t even talk about it but about stepping back in the education system, things out of my hands, paranoia and shame. Even though it was a practice it felt real. It was real inquiry together not like the intellectualism of this morning.

We also opened our letters to ourselves written at the start of the course and I cried just looking at the envelope, feeling the genuine difference between now me and then me, then me writing to the now me ‘…my dear future self’. Fantastic course.

170524 A body in the woods 

AM 30 mins

Soon after sitting there was a sudden awareness of the whole organism, whilst being aware of the breath at the diaphragm. In that sudden moment everything shifted from me ‘doing’ awareness and doing breathing, to the body’s sensation itself. The abdomen then moved in and out rapidly and there was an ache there. My feet flexed and pointed and my back arched forwards. The body took over. After some minutes of this intensity, things settled down into a relaxed easyness, still the awareness of the whole rather than parts, and in the whole –  wholesome – feeling, thought was subdued, as if it knew its place.

Yesterday’s headache and aches and fears dispelled in the night.

PM 20 mins

Near the end of a walk after work I decided to sit outside for a change. I left the path and ventured deeper in the ancient woodland. In a half shaded spot I found a fallen tree and on it I sat, sometimes eyes open sometimes closed. I now understand why it is said to begin inside; the wonder of nature was all around and I wanted to look and take it in instead of going within. Also the flies were checking to see if I was dead or had something tasty going on. 

Feet in the leaves of 2016, 15, 14, 13, the light flickered as the trees swayed and the sun slowly moved in the sky. I imagined woodland animals shyly approaching like in a film but none did or there were none and it was just me on the tree surrounded by untouched nature.

170523 Sugar spiked

Am 1 hour

Sitting with uncertainty, the feeling of a situation being out of my hands now, dependent first on the action and word of another, then dependent on the decision of a university. The next years of my life out of my control. 

Sitting with annoyance, frustration in another’s actions tinged with arrogance.

Both sensations fading within minutes, slight returns as the hour unfolded, an underlying shiftiness.

Sitting with nerves in chest and belly, the familiar yet new sensation of tingles, awkward sweetness, powering reaction and thought. Unaddressed this would run all day and night would come and next morning will be the same. Sitting and not responding, breaking this cycle in stillness, sensation seen anew.

Deep aches in the eyes and a fatigue that is not relieved in sleep, only touched in the undoing of aware non-doing.
Pm 5 mins

Felt off today, probably sugar in yesterday’s lunch. Headaches, tired, didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. Did have a good conversation with Ashleigh at lunch about her art classes and then we went to see the old geodesic structure hidden in the big hedge.

Otherwise hiding away. Watched the first of the new Twin Peaks which was equally violent, scary and somehow funny. I hope Cooper gets to stay out of the Black Lodge. We need him.

170522 Return to two hours

Am 1 hour

Half an hour or twenty minutes is more appealing but it’s easy to rush fizzily through those shorter sessions, underlying states remaining unaddressed.

Scattered on starting, recent elements and images and incidents bumping off each other, a sense of flying and bouncing around, or rather each element bouncing off the last in a series of reactions. The force behind this quickly traced, revealed as an unsettled sensation in the brain itself. In awareness this unsettledness rapidly eased and there was a tangible feeling of a grounded steadiness, a return to myself, a centredness.

Physically an old pain to the right of the spine, stiffness of the neck and then tight hands stretching out, of their own accord. Each undoing.

By the end a sense of resetting and new beginnings, independent yet connected. 

Pm 1 hour

Actually looked forward to it when I thought ahead during the day, to the peace and space.

Of course when it comes down to it there’s not a whole lot of peace. But there is a touching on the real, a shift from head to body, and a definite undoing of the day, incidents, episodes and speech replaying itself, once only, then falling away as awareness moved through the body.

Extremely tired when it came to the pelvis and hip area, suddenly lapsing into dreams, from being quite awake seconds before.

Tension freeing from the deep muscles of the face, feeling intense around the eyes, then mouth, then neck and shoulders.

I give five minutes at the end now for loving kindness meditation, though this evening I was drifting off by then.

Warm, sunny day. Good progress at work, mind relatively settled.

Lunch in the sun with one of the principals of the school, who I haven’t really talked to since the January staff week.

A wander in the grove and after work another walk, down part the peacock house, views to Sold Winchester Hill awhile.

An hour on the ethics assignment for college.

161005

Evening ride along the bridleways nearly to Upper Weild as the sun set. Puncture! Tire had gone down a bit overnight, but not a lot so I pumped it up and set off, checking it regularly. It was only when I went fast downhill on the way back that it very quickly it deflated. Rather than push it all the way back, I asked a lady if I could leave it in her garden while I walked home for the car. The sun set as I neared.

Otherwise a quiet day, alone in the office. Lunches at the school are getting quite posh, today with a quiche and veggies in white sauce. Sat in the sun out of the wind with friends.

Did a seven minute workout last night from the wahoo app, thirty second each activity then ten seconds rest. Slept well on it and will do another tonight. Getting to sleep pretty early and my sleep quality average is back in the upper seventies after dropping in the late summer.

161004

Attempting to write every day, starting from now, inspired by a Zen Habits post. I don’t tend to sit in the evenings these days so writing can be sort of instead of that. 

Half day at work then home for a rest before counselling session: abandonment, controlling my environment, shyness, being part of a group, the new course and the new group. Good to have that ear available and that support and encouragement to go into things. As Derren Brown said last week, we are fine paying for gyms and things to aid our body but we shy away from spending money on our mind and emotions, as if it’s something to snigger at. I see acceptance of counselling growing. 

MTB ride afterwards, along the usual track, part of the Ox Drove way. So much fun. Already wanting to upgrade my bike, which I will for a Bird once I sell my ebike. Now or in the spring. Now I reckon. Will soon run out of light for evening rides though. Mornings?

Feeling good these days and glad to be more engaged with activity than in the gap between level two and three. Looking forward to the class Thursday.

160927

First run on my Boardman Comp mtb this evening. So much fun. Makes me not want to commute by bike anymore along the roads, just so I can get back and go for a track ride. Tyres were too pumped at first and so I was bumping along and it was hard on the hands. Let some air out later and all good. Then discovered the adjustment to the air forks, so I can play with that next time. The uphills provided the workout I need and the downhills were just a blast. Nothing steep, just a run to Wield to the north east.


The Boardman 2016 Comp mountain bike.

Enjoying the qigong too. A good way to start the day after my 6am sit. Then luxuriously back to bed to a snooze along with some gentle music. Yesterday was Maclemore’s first, a good listen but not snoozeable to.

Lunch at the Krishnamurti Centre, my day to eat there rather than the school. Spiked chilli beans. Chef had put chocolate in and I didn’t find out until afterwards. I now feel a bit unbalanced and buzzy. Hopefully not too strong a hangover feeling tomorrow, which the sugar can bring. Not sure about cocoa on its own as I haven’t had it for years.

160925

Went to see Derren Brown, who talked on the subject of his new book, Happiness. Basically it’s based on stoicism and most of what he said makes a lot of sense, especially the not getting involved in things you have no power over and daring to let them be fine. He was good at dismantling the myth of positive thinking and of trying to get somewhere. Once the basics are taken care of there is nowhere to get to.

Before that, taught yoga. Had to make the class a little shorter to get away on time. Went well and was enjoyable, words coming easier than they once did. It’s like they are immediately available to the tongue, whereas once, not so long ago, I had to work to seek them out and fit them to the action.

New mountain bike tomorrow, my first for 25 years when my Kona was nicked pretty much on arrival in Portsmouth. Since 2000 I’ve had hybrids. Keeping my Cannondale CX3 Cytronex ebike for commuting, this is for off road fun. Printed some routes at work; may take an afternoon off this week for it.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 19 September 2015

Sunday, 13 September 2015

07:25

Slept through to six-something again. Sleep pattern stabilising after a few weeks of waking very early?

 

Went to the monastery last night. They have a traditional (English) barn for meditation, chanting. It has a certain atmosphere, something in the air, and my brain quickly attuned to that quality of non thought, the difference between there and at home just now tangible. But in both places a feeling of not fighting, not fighting thought or sensation. I’ve learnt it’s not worth it; struggle leads nowhere and is simply a waste. Of course struggle takes place, but I am not consciously adding to it and it more easily dissolves.

 

But there’s still a lot going on physically. It is worth making the little effort to move through the body. I’ve spent a lot of time moving as far as say the eyes (from the top of the head) and getting lost in thought for twenty minutes. Easily done. That’s okay too, but perhaps not as ‘worthwhile’ as moving through the body. But maybe thought needs that space sometimes. Like how often do I just stop and think? Yet I’m not on the cushion to stop and think, as such, so a little effort to sense areas of the body does seem more… real, genuine, actual.

 

Monday, 14 September 2015

07:24

The rest after mediation is where the integration takes place for me. Like sivasana at the end of a yoga session, in the relaxation any understanding can be incorporated.

 

Despite thoughts of yesterday and of general work matters, there was a steady movement through the body, good connection. Some head shaking, and neck tension, also legs and feet aching.

 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

07:01

For those first fifteen minutes it’s not really worth trying to do anything. Just sit. The mind is going to be flirting about, and playing catchup on yesterday’s day. I guess this is why it is said best to sit twice a day, to unwind from, and go through, the day just gone, in the evening time. ‘Evening’ – how about that for a word! Evening out. But I’m evening in the morning, which is better than no evening at all I guess.

 

Then after those first minutes, it is possible for awareness to go deeper. And to see it is obvious why the mind is scattered and fizzes about, given that the body feels like *that*. So, to touch all of the body, maybe not in one go, certainly not at first, but to touch it part by part or gliding over it, and in that touching, that connection, both the sensory part and the mind feeling it, undergo a change. A change towards softening, quietening, the mind less reactive, more at peace and the sensations soothed. If not this natural stilling, then at least an authentic connection and a togetherness lost in busyness and overreaction.

 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

05:05

Even if not meditation as such, it is worth sitting quietly. The mind gets space and time to go through things, whether I like it or not, and the key situations from the day come to light – from my own and others behaviour. And without really meaning to I see things as they are. This is not easy as we are not necessarily nice people. The social cloak comes off when sitting, exposing the realities of who we really are. There’s all the talk of the ‘true self’ and ‘light’ and love, but the reality isn’t going to be like that, at least not at first. Yet through the eye-opening realisations of who we are in relationship, there is a watchful quietude maybe not apparent in the business of daily life. So, stop, sit, feel what is. It may not be pretty but it does feel it’s worth it. And what’s the alternative?

 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

08:38

Finger marks in my palm where the fingertips pressed so strong. I can feel they want to do it some more now but are typing this because my brain is overriding what they really want to do. To move into the tension and release it.

 

When at the top of my head, intense energy through the spine, particularly felt at the base, where it spreads in tingly blisses throughout the central and bottom pelvis.

 

Generally a bit scattered the last few days, even forgot to write, but did sit. Seem to be coming back together again, having learnt and unraveled some ravelling whilst out in the fragments.

 

No matter how much fun, connection, heart energy there is to explore outwardly, to keep coming back to oneself and integrating, that’s the ticket.

 

A general tiredness pervades.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 12 September 2015

Sunday, 6 September 2015

06:19

Went into a frenzy of body freaking out in its own awkwardness. Before long I thought, ‘This won’t do.’ And so brought my attention gently to the breath. Fairly quickly the breath became long and smooth rather than the panicky shallow it had been. (I’m never sure how much I’m controlling the breath.) Then the prime areas of sensation were apparent and I stayed with each until it dissipated: belly, pulled in and a bit stabby inside; lips pouting and needly; middle of the spine. Then I moved fairly steadily from part to part. Seeing if it’s possible not to compare with any previous times, better or worse. This includes moods and reluctance on waking up.

 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

06:43

Forgot to write anything yesterday, on a day off, but did sit.

During the day yesterday, a closeness to myself. Realisations by thought that it doesn’t have to be busy, and so it drops away, leaving a refreshing directness in what I see and experience, a connection to what I’m doing. At some stage thought fires back up and in its moment of reboot, awareness is absent. Has to be.

Today, breath deep and smooth, some involuntary sounds of letting go, as happens in yoga, kind of groan moans. Able to move quite steadily throughout the organism. Noticing the areas I tend to skip over as ‘done’, like the fingers and toes. Go to the very ends, include all. This is possible but for some reason I prefer things to be incomplete, meaning there’s still places to hide, or where awareness doesn’t reach. Not necessarily in fingers and toes but in micro areas of the lower back, hips, legs and chest. Some minute twitching near right upper lip is ongoing.

 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

03:20

Days sliding by, a third of September gone. Where we are headed so quickly I don’t know.

Woke at two-something. Sat forty minutes in the dead of night. Emotions and concerns pale to nothing in the context of sensations of the body. Breath deep and full again. Lips tingling, pouting. Not much other movement. Deep aches in the shoulders and lower back. Body more flexible than ever as evidenced in last night’s Iyengar class. Stronger too from cycling three or four hours a week and press ups every couple of days. This complemented by yin yoga, with its long holds, every second day. Push ups one day, yoga the next works well.

 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

07:02

My heart is more open. I can actually feel it. Being more open I am more receptive and more freely giving. It is also more open to the old hurts from long ago, perhaps sparked by more recent events that remind me of then, such as miniature rejections prompting memories and feelings of old major rejections. From long long ago. More than twenty years. Abandoned by my father due to alcohol and his death. Abandoned by my then wife due to… disinterest? So when something happens now those patterns and grooves of thought and emotion are well established and are affirmed.

In sitting, the sensations and memories are right there. There’s little I can do to escape and I’m running out of tricks to avoid feeling. Vulnerable. But learning that vulnerability doesn’t have to equal weakness and fragility. Also aware of bitter conclusions and in the quietude it seems possible for the conclusion not to get locked in as fact, but to remain uncertain as to how it is and open to a new possibility of the conclusion dissolving.

This week and recently and at other times over the years, the experience of thoughts sometimes suddenly becoming more archetypal and dreamlike in meditation and relaxation, like one moment there’s thinking normally and then a sudden shift to a deeper level, which feels like the basis of thought, which then, because of space and awareness, realises its own uncessesaryness and ceases, retires, undoes, of its own accord.

 

Friday, 11 September 2015

06:50

Sleeping all through the nights these days.

Mid back physical focus today. It eased as I stayed with it.

Regrets. Concerns. Worries that I’ve wasted much of my life. But no clear idea how not to do so in future.

Second half more of a sense that everything is in fact okay. If there is any waste, it’s bowing to fear. Not to become mighty, but acknowledging fear and allowing it its rightful place and no more.

Less inclined to need sleep after sitting, more ready for the day. Probably because it’s seven a.m. not five. But also, a deep old tiredness may be lifting. Somewhere though, I feel I could sleep for a week. Is it possible to stay near the tiredness, giving and allowing it rest? Will see in yoga nidra now.

…yes, kept returning to the tiredness and there were many fallings away and a quick half snore with each.

 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

06:49

Refusing to fight and refusing to control has an interesting effect on thought. Suddenly there’s a whole bunch of space. It’s like giving thought permission to think and do exactly what it wants to, instead of leading to chaos and everlasting thinking leads to order and understanding and acceptance.

A daydreamy session five hours after going to sleep. That’s okay too. Why not take the attitude that it’s all okay? Of course, attitude, stance, a way, only can go so far. Within the arena an attitude creates, the attitude itself can be understood, itself understanding itself, and then something new can talk place; the attitude being a little old fashioned. So it only has its place a little while, but we have to include our stance.

Also with the body, I’m refusing to fight it. That really intense tension in the webbing of the fingers? Let it be. It then expresses itself to the max and drops away easily.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 5 September 2015 – Boys don’t cry

Sunday, 30 August 2015

04:23

Week four after the reboot. I do feel like this is new territory, although I’ve done it before in terms of consistence and regularity. I think after the first ten day retreat I sat morning and evening for sone months. But the uncovering and the sheer realness feels new. It feels like I am going to cry soon, for deep, unknown reasons. Maybe it’s the very exhaustion from this forty years of running moving shifting trying. Learning how to cease unecessary movement toward and away. What am I running from? Is it really so bad? Where do I want to go? Is it really so good?

So, yes, it feels like I’m going to cry soon. Really cry. It comes often watching TV or films. Pretty sure it will come alone, whilst I sit early one morning. Is that what I  run from? Only that? What can be so bad? Why this moving moving moving away from something, or towards something nicer? It’s a lot of work. So I guess the start is stopping physically, sitting myself down regularly and consistently. And let it come. And learn that constant movement is not necessary. I can’t put on the brakes, other than stopping still. I can’t stop thought. It can be out in a position though, where it itself seed that it can gracefully retire.

At age 44 I’m feeling healthier in mind and body than ever before. My days are less fearful and I’m so much stronger.

Doesn’t stop this being the hardest thing I have ever done…

Monday, 31 August 2015

04:45

Paranoia seems to be based on shame. Shame seems to be based on… I don’t know, it seems pretty fundamental. Insecurity? Ack, the things I’ve done wrong in my life! And worse, I’d probably do them wrong next time around too. The paranoia is also that I don’t really know which are the wrong things, all twisted as they are. It has to do with discovery too, or rather exposure. The fear of being exposed as I am. And when I don’t know exactly what I am, this is very frightening. So is this part of what meditation is about, in the totally safe space of the mat, to uncover what I am, in awareness and equanimity, to face fears, shame even, and allow forgiveness and resolution? Maybe. It’s all *right there* as I sit; there’s no escaping oneself in all its facets. Again deep in the early morning, waking around four.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

04:36

Into September and at four a.m. there’s not much sign of dawn. It’s owls not morning birds I hear.

Awoke dreaming of chaos in the office and in the middle of it an ex boss returned but I couldn’t quite recognise her.

On sitting I felt tiny within an expanded padded body. A sensation I’ve felt a few times when listening to music and once or twice in sitting. It’s like I am very close, to what I don’t know – myself – and the body is further away, a big cushion surrounding me.

Back to basics, following the breath as my thoughts run wild about trust, friendship, not really knowing or understanding anyone, us all being trapped in our inner worlds and not really able or wanting to share the realities of this with anyone.

Keep sitting. Be honest with yourself if not possible with anyone else. It must be possible all round. What am I trying to protect or don’t wish to show? Needs and vulnerabilities.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

04:56

Into meteorological autumn we go!

Again, four something in the morning.

Very sore shoulders.

Neck tight. Found myself looking all the way to the right. I say looking; the eyes were closed.

Right hand contracted.

Mind inventing futures.

Through it all some kind of aware watchfulness and a knowing it’s all okay.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

05:38

A little later; slept till nearly five. It seems to be true that with meditation one needs less sleep. But I do feel I need a good rest, so will be taking time off work soon.

Mind wandering through work matters, now that personal issues aren’t a problem, at least for now. Neck less tense. Mouth stretching downwards, less about the lips, more the sides and towards the chin. Tummy drawn in like it’s massaging itself deep inside.

Some steadiness and togetherness but for the most part quite scattered. A little disappointing that I’m ready to stop at a little over half an hour, but I don’t want to push things. It has to be sustainable and I know when I push a little, practice soon ceases.

Friday, 4 September 2015

06:10

I’ve got to keep reminding myself of the last instruction I heard in my head that time: ‘Where are you trying to get to?’ it said. I.e. there’s nowhere to go. Easier to spot the subtle and not so subtle pushes and pulls towards and away in the mind. In savasana yesterday I honed in on the actual sensations of the brain rather than going along with them and bouncing off them, which is relentless and unsettling. What is settling is to stay right there with the grit, without force, and if there is force, to allow it to cease. I then fall several steps nearer to… ME. Or existence. Or life. Or the true self. Whatever. It isn’t really a thing but an energetic state. In sitting rather than lying, it’s harder as there’s the squirming body in the more energetic upright pose.

Going to experiment further now with some nidra.

Slept till 530 or so

Saturday, 5 September 2015

05:54

Those first twenty minutes can be very hard. Emotionally. Doubt. Uncertainty rife. Dependency, not actually on others but on them feeling a certain way towards me. ‘Must be well liked’. Not popular, that I’ve never known and don’t seek, but a certain level of buoyancy given by others liking me. And if that buoyancy is threatened or rocked, I get… upset. This seems never ending and relying on others this way is going to, does, distort friendships and twists honesty.

This all settled down in the second half as I came back to myself, so to speak. Soreness in neck and shoulders. Right hand was the main player, deep aches below the thumb and then in the pad just near the wrist.

Feeling fragile and feel like I need a good cry.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 29 August 2015 – Steady now

Sunday, 23 August 2015

03:18

Week 3 of the reboot.

Small reunion of old friends yesterday from a time when I wasn’t that well. Lots of bad hash all week and alcohol each weekend. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but I woke up sweating a lot, and much earlier than usual. Two-something. Sitting was very awkward, squirming on my cushion. I wasn’t consciously reliving any of those times but my body seemed to be. Was able to stick it out for 35 mins.

Monday, 24 August 2015

04:08

The now familiar routine but always subtly different. In order:

Lips pouting, then mouth stretched open, then intense piercings in the very edge of the lips, sort of like pins and needles but much sharper.

Right hand clawed, then flexed, culminating in white hot piercings in the finger tips and around the nails.

Stomach drawn in, up, tight, some digestive pains, mild.

Head shaking fast side to side.

Thoughts and emotions based on rejection, isolation, dependence on others to feel fully okay and validated. Then going through events of the previous day and recent days.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

06:45

Actually slept until 05:45! Not that long in total as I didn’t sleep until almost midnight. But longest for the last couple of weeks. Also sat for 43 minutes, about ten minutes more than the recent average.

Not easy. Pin point sharpness across tops of shoulders. Stiff aches in sides of neck. Grotty stabs in the lower digestive tubes. Tummy tightly pulled in. Some head shaking. Some arching forward while the belly was contracted for long periods.

Are these underlying sensations and tensions in the body what makes the mind so flighty? It is clear that I don’t want to go near them, to feel them more fully. Well, the curious meditative aspect does want to, but habitually I don’t want to. The trails lead in the other direction, well trodden and smoothed. It’s seemingly easier to flee. And maybe that is what I’m doing most of the time. Using lots of energy in: away away away! Staying gently in the vicinity is less energy consuming and leads to other possible destinations than the well trodden paths.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

06:23

Signs that the body is settling down, two and a half weeks in. No great movements; the head was shaking rapidly side to side at times, but short lived; some arching forward. But mainly, and for a full 45 minutes, sitting still, erect, relatively at peace.

With the body more stable, attention turns to the mind. And it’s clear there’s not a lot of stillness there. That’s okay. I would touch upon an area of the body and thoughts zoom away. Subject to subject, idea to idea, fear to fear. But not obsessing, just doing what it’s been able to do these 44 years. It knows little else. Underneath or over the top, not sure which, and probably neither, there’s a sense of growing stability beyond the flighty thoughts. I am refusing to control thought and get into that game. Anyway, the me who wants to control would be a part of the same flighty thought pattern. No, meditation seems to be nothing to do with me as such. Or at least nothing for me to do.

During the day, glimpses returning of a core self, kind of saying ‘hello once again, I’m still here waiting, all is well.’

Thursday, 27 August 2015

07:07

Yes, definitely calming down. Body wise, it was token gestures today: a minor lip pout towards the end, a little head shaking and some initial belly tucking.

Mind wise, very active, which is totally fine. To push for a quiet mind is not meditation. Moments come when there really is nothing to think about, and the space and stillness that present themselves are unrelated to what’s gone before. Whereas the train of thought and feeling seems to be always related to that which was previous.

In stillness or relative stillness, an energy then can do what it needs to do, wants to do, or naturally does. This is most apparent in the spine. I can feel the energy meet resistances in the body and mind, and the impact of energy meeting stuckness causes the jumping shaking body movements of the last weeks. If there’s no resistances it rushes and embraces in entirely its own way, resulting in blisses and tingles and who knows what.

My nights are steadier too, sleeping through to around six today. Quite different to earlier week’s three or four. And less tired on finishing a session. More than ‘less tired’ – energised. Although it is nice to have a good lie down a while. Further integration.

Friday, 28 August 2015

05:17

More awkward again today. The wheat from yesterday’s lunch? The old mushrooms of yesterday’s supper? But was able to stay with the body, after some initial daydreaming at 4-something in the morning. First light of dawn now as I write.

Lips pressing forward, upper jaw a bit tight. Right palm tense. A general instability throughout.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

07:11

Three weeks into the reboot and today I touched upon mediation. Or rather, mediation occurred. It’s at once foreign and familiar. Not something that can be remembered in the unusual way, and when it’s going on it’s both brand new and very ancient.

Breath was naturally deep and fluid, with some slight purposeful lengthening for the first minutes. I then began to move over the body, at first swiftly and haphazardly as was the state of my mind; despite just resting in sleep it was scattered and diverted.

After a few trips downs and ups from head to feet and back again and back again, more connection was felt to sensation and, again naturally, attention lingered and moved more slowly. As this happened the scatteredness of thought started to decline, the web of thought tightening like a net being gathered in. I don’t know if there was a gatherer; it just happened as the disparity became obvious.

More connection with body more attention of mind. I lingered on obvious sensation in shoulders, right hand. Head shaking came out of the blue and was intense and sudden and freer, and stopped as suddenly as it started.

Some tingles and bliss and, at last, rest.