170604 What does fear feel like?

Woke at 0500. Yoga nidra with Julie Rader, her of the dolphins and meeting a teacher in a cave near the beach. She brings in elements of visualisation and guided meditation. Slept a little afterwards until 0630. 

AM 45 minutes 

Breathing in for four, out for eight, a clearing, resetting and grounding breath. As yesterday, groans and moans on the exhalations. Tightness in lower jaw and shoulders. Moving through the body, realising how scattered the mind is, subject to subject, fear nearby. On noticing this I calmed down and could feel that the jumbled thoughts were responses to the fear, moving moving. Again, what does it really feel like, fear? It’s been so common in my life but it’s still a stranger to me; I know it from afar. Inviting it closer, easing nearer. Nausea. Fizziness at the solar plexus. Intense awkwardness and lots of energy seeming to be swirling like a whirlpool or vortex. Reactions easing as the sensations were felt. No sense of anything changing but maybe the intensity was fading. I could only handle so much of this directness, it seemed and attention was drawn elsewhere: legs tight and a slight headache. Sleepy. The feeling I need to rest and rest. 

Aiming for steady days, with so much happening this month: two essays to finish (tidy), presentation about myself for 15-20 minutes, portfolio to put together, skills assessment, interview for next course. Step by step, acknowledging achievements. 

My sleep is improving, averaging 83% over the month, up from 70% or so the month before.

Evening sit a bit dreamy and full of pleasant sensation, like drifting off into sleep…

Tree I sat next to at lunchtime, chatting with a friend, beautiful even in death:

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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:

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.

“May there be peace among the gods, 

in heaven and among the stars; 

may there be peace on earth, among men and animals; 

may we not hurt each other; 

may we be generous to each other; 

may we have that intelligence which will guide our life and action; 

may there be peace in our prayer, on our lips and in our hearts.” 

– Sanskrit Prayer.

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.

For a while

Stop for a while
Don’t do anything
Conversation
Browsing
Listening
Reading
Watching
Stuff
Stop stuffing yourself
Media
Food
Stop for a while
Sit down
Lie down
Stand down
Nothing special
In breath or in posture
Don’t do anything
It’s okay
Your back is got
Don’t wonder by whom
Or argue if it’s true
Or believe it so
Your back is got
How long is a while?
Awhile
Don’t put on the brakes
Trying to stop thinking
Think
Don’t think
Breathe
Don’t breathe
Relax
Don’t relax
Squirm
Resist
No control
For a while

Daily Photos 2016-17: 341-365

Here is the final batch of photos taken each day. Spring abounds, with fresh greens, blossoms, the fading of the daffodils and the arrival of bluebells, taking the project full circle. These are mainly taken in Hampshire, with a couple in the Cotswold village of Burford.

 

Brockwood Conservatory
Battered daffodils
Medstead church
Bank of primrose
Bird Zero TR Mountain Bike
Sheep at Krishnamurti Centre
Magnolia in full bloom
Brockwood Assembly Hall
Clarky Campbells
Cherry blossom
New 2016 pound coin
Grandparents, aged 95
Burford church at dusk
The Hill, Burford
Stitchwort
Straight trees
Young bluebells
Sheep Dip Farmhouse
Blue tit
Spring weeping willow
Magnolia and Brockwood Tower
Brockwood Park School West Wing
Apple tree, brick wall
Brockwood Cloisters
Cherry tree in blossom

Daily Photos 2016-17: 301-340

Here is the next batch of photos taken each day. Winter transforms to spring and nature brightens. No trips during this period, so all the photos are in Hampshire.

Log fire
Tree circle
Winter sunset
February sky
The squirrel is dead

Spring clouds
Magnolia flowers
Yoga space, living room
Tropical fish
Sunlight through bark
White butterfly
Crocus
Snowdrops
Brockwood Burial Mounds
Living room
Gulls
Cheriton Mill
White primroses
Leaf seat
Brockwood South Lawn
Kingsgate Winchester
Alresford Steam Train
Lebanese Cedar
Daffodils
Buttercross Winchester
Blackbird
Apricot blossom
Walled garden
Yellow flower
Brockwood Rose Garden
Winchester skyline
Cherry blossom
Krishnamurti Centre Brockwood Park
Tame pheasant
Brockwood Water Tower
Dangling blossom
Leaves in the wind

 

 

Daily Photos 2016-17: 251 to 300

Here is the next batch of photos taken each day, taking us from Christmas to the first spring flowers in February. This period included a trip to the Lake District but mainly contains pictures from Hampshire, through this cold, bright, mostly dry winter.

 

Krishnamurti Centre Dining Room
Krishnamurti Centre Dining Room
Brockwood South Lawn cedar
Brockwood South Lawn cedar
Thaw and frost divide
Thaw and frost divide
Celandine and snowdrops
Celandine and snowdrops
Fire extinguisher practice
Fire extinguisher practice
Light, frost, shadows
Light, frost, shadows
Krishnamurti Centre Courtyard
Krishnamurti Centre Courtyard
Winter sunset
Winter sunset
Snowdrops
Snowdrops
Jaques Croquet
Jaques Croquet
Witch hazel
Witch hazel
Winter sky
Winter sky
Snowdrops in rain
Snowdrops in rain
Watercress beds, Old Alresford
Watercress beds, Old Alresford
Portsmouth Harbour from the Hard
Portsmouth Harbour from the Hard
New pergola beams
New pergola beams
Weeping Beech
Weeping Beech
Secret Garden
Secret Garden
Abbotstone
Abbotstone
Itchen at Winchester
Itchen at Winchester
Brockwood Henge
Brockwood Henge
Brockwood Staff
Brockwood Staff
Yewfield Guesthouse
Yewfield Guesthouse
Helvellyn Plateau
Helvellyn Plateau
View to Ambleside
View to Ambleside
Tarn Hows
Tarn Hows
Yewfield Sitting Room
Yewfield Sitting Room
Dusk sky
Dusk sky
Krishnamurti Centre maintenance
Krishnamurti Centre maintenance
River Itchen
River Itchen
Winter blossom
Winter blossom
Deer
Deer
New kitchen doorway
New kitchen doorway
Brockwood Park School
Brockwood Park School
Patterns in frost on windscreen
Patterns in frost on windscreen
Bathtime candle
Bathtime candle
Trees horizontal
Trees horizontal
Old Alresford Church, mist
Old Alresford Church, mist

Frost and lichen

Brockwood Park School Assembly Hall
Brockwood Park School Assembly Hall
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Swedish Christmas Lampshade
Swedish Christmas Lampshade
Pressies
Pressies
Christmas lights in garden tree
Christmas lights in garden tree
Light snow, Brockwood
Light snow, Brockwood
Ovington Church and Church Cottage
Ovington Church and Church Cottage
Houseplant flower
Houseplant flower
Breeding rams
Breeding rams

Winter flowers

Plate fungus; tree eating post
Plate fungus; tree eating post

Daily Photos 2016-17: 221 to 250

Here is the next batch of photos taken each day, taking us from late autumn into winter. The autumnal colours fade out and mornings get crisper, with some lovely morning sun. These pictures were taken mainly around Alresford and Brockwood Park in Hampshire.

Autumn meets winter
Autumn meets winter
Ponies in frost
Ponies in frost
Old Alresford Church, night
Old Alresford Church, night
Quebec House, Portsmouth Harbour
Quebec House, Portsmouth Harbour
Winter berries
Winter berries
Old Alresford Mausoleum
Old Alresford Mausoleum
Morning light through trees
Morning light through trees
Queen Elizabeth Country Park Blue Trail
Queen Elizabeth Country Park Blue Trail
Bungee flying
Bungee flying
Sunset tree, Brockwood
Sunset tree, Brockwood
Red sky in the morning
Red sky in the morning
Brockwood Dean
Brockwood Dean
Old Alresford Church, frost
Old Alresford Church, frost
Mossy World
Mossy World
Trees in mist
Trees in mist
Choosing a Christmas Tree
Choosing a Christmas Tree
Lapwings flying
Lapwings flying
Advent houses
Advent houses
Autumnal beech hedge
Autumnal beech hedge
Architects' gingerbread houses
Architects’ gingerbread houses
Old Man's Beard
Old Man’s Beard
Robin
Robin
Autumn leaves under trees
Autumn leaves under trees