Meditation Journal Entry 25 | 1998

I just meditated for 25-40 mins. In the blue room of the house.   The mind became calm eventually–but followed many thoughts.  Probably because this one is tired.  One felt numbness.  One was presented with many visual photos –mostly of demons and ghouls–like stuff at an antique shop we saw days ago and the Aztec stuff. One saw the mind as a mailbox to put (hang) thoughts onto.  Mind is a depository to hang things to use later.

One saw thoughts being hung up on the box as one let go of each one in the mind.  One felt some joy today as one realized that we all are human.  One felt very happy to be alive and openly smiled a few times.  One felt numb, light, and unbothered by outside noises–on just kept bringing the focus back to breathing.  The butt hurts and the foot fell asleep–floor is very hard here. I say these silently to myself as I watch the breath:

Breathing in One smiles to the self.

Breathing out one relaxes.

or

In:  Non-attachment

Out: Let it all go

Meditation Re-Starts Journal Day 1 | 1998

Meditation Journal

1998

This morning at maybe 6:30 as one was sitting on the balcony of our 7th floor hotel room in Melbourne, Florida one saw a gentleman walking along the beach below coming towards where one was. It appeared as if he had noticed this body sitting there, but one could not be sure because there were probably 100 other rooms facing the man as well. The man appeared maybe 60 – 70. He stopped about 120 yds. Away, crossed his arms and stood staring up towards one. At this time one felt strongly that this man was looking at ones self.

So there we stared for perhaps 2-4 minutes. This body moved not a bit, nor did the man move. Many things went through this mind at this time. One felt threatened at first–then had a realization that this man could not harm one from our current positions, nor would he ever be able to identify this face if we passed right by each other at some layer time. No threatening gesture was made save the staring.

One had a thought that one didn’t wish the man to feel any threat coming from one’s own self because it may appear to this man as if this one was threatening him by watching him walk down the beach when he thought he was in seclusion away from prying eyes. One wondered how soon the man would break the stare and continue on his way. One wondered if the stare should be broken or if something could be observed here.

One chose to observe. One tried to make peace thru the distance. One closed the eyes to lessen any threat. One felt no “self” so the man would not see a self and feel threatened–nor would he feel any ill-will. One imagined no self, no time, no thought, and no man staring and blanked out for a time.

Upon opening one’s eyes the man still stood staring–but then turned away–arms still folded and walked toward the water with his head down–perhaps questioning why he had bothered to stop and stare at this body. Perhaps he wondered if this one slept–or had died. This one closed the eyes again and thought of nothingness.

When the eyes opened the man stood again, much closer this time–perhaps 80 feet away and looked right at one for a short time with his arms crossed. This one remained motionless and the man turned and walked off out of sight. One thought briefly to raise one’s arm and wave to let the man see one meant no harm or threat–but this didn’t happen.

Instead, one attempted to know the man thru this space without any communication save us looking at each other, strangers from a distance.

Day 8 – Intensive Meditation Practice

May 2009 Intensive Meditation | Day 8

Virtually no back pain still. My ‘luck’ is holding…

If I thought it rained a lot yesterday – today it’s a flood. The rain came and went no less than 10 times today – sometimes for periods of an hour or more. Just when you think it might stop – it poured down.

I stayed in the room nearly all day and did no exercise. I don’t like to ride the motorcycle in the rain as Thai people turn from the worse drivers in the world to just plain scary in the rain. The sirens were going off all day – accidents around town. Seriously – I’ve seen the results of 4 accidents in 3 days recently while it’s been raining. That’s only 4 that I saw… how many were there? Probably 100.

I spent the day writing up sales pages for the various web sites I’ve built. This one I won’t sell, but the rest can go. I spend far too much time updating them and posting stories and articles to them. What I really should do is focus on writing books since it’s what I think I can do well and I’m so tired of having 15 web sites running at once.

Today I did no meditation and very little mindfulness. I did check in to see what the mind was like a few times during the day and it was very quiet – nothing stressful going on – and no numbness in the body like I was experiencing some deeper state of calm. Just a normal day without anything but working on web pages today.

Oh – we did do a video about eating durian today. You can find that at “www.JoysThaiFood.com” blog as soon as we get it up there – might be a few days as the upload is 12MB and it requires a fast internet connection, which I don’t have at home.

Sawasdee krup…..

Day 10 – Intensive Meditation Experience

May 2009 Intensive Meditation | Day 10

Unending Mindfulness

I thought of changing the title a couple times – as it just spilled out and wasn’t very well thought out. But, the more I look at it – the more it makes sense. It was as if mindfulness was there anytime I checked. It was almost like a full day of mindfulness. It started in the morning with a ride on the motorbike. Then transitioned into a few hours on the computer. I found that the plastic chair I type on is a really good place to sit and close my eyes. Very comfortable. Maybe sitting on the floor during meditation is for people in India without chairs or something flat to sit on up off the ground.

I noticed various times when I checked in with the mind and body that the body was already tingling in my hands, arms, feet, and legs… as if ready to go into the numb state where I can’t feel them. It’s days like these that are best spent meditating all day – but I had so much work to do on the computer that I forced myself to sit and do it for a couple hours. After I ate 6 bananas and drank some water I thought I was ready for a trip up the hill. I rode over on the motorbike and found few people there. The sky was threatening to open up with showers for the 47th time in about 5 days. The rain has been unpredictable lately with the remnants of the cyclone that went through Burma. I’ve not seen it rain so hard here in May. We’re not even in the harsh rainy season yet and already I’m sure we’ve had 2 feet of rain in some places in May.

Well, there was no chair at the mountain top today so I sat on the concrete as the wind howled. It had just finished raining hard and everyone had climbed back down the steps – including the two monks I spoke with for an hour. I was all alone at the top. I cherish those times as I really enjoy sitting there to meditate. It’s very quiet. In Thailand, that’s hard to find as it’s a pretty noisy country. As I write this there are 3 young guys in their late teens two doors down chatting loudly and being teenagers. It’s 9:15 pm and in an hour I’ll be ready to sleep. They won’t – but hopefully, they’ll go inside and shut the door. Don’t they get eaten by mosquitoes? I shut my door at 6 pm because there’s far too many outside. Some people just let them feast.

So, I sat for maybe 40 minutes on the ground. Then my back began to hurt a bit. I headed over to another spot where I can sit on a raised concrete slab that’s maybe 16-18″ off the ground. I sat there for about 15 minutes – and still, some back pain. I decided to do some walking meditation… that went well. Very peaceful with nobody running around at the top of the mountain!

Then I sat for a while as the numbness really started to take over as I walked. I sat another 15 minutes and then sat with eyes open and relaxed – just enjoying the present moment.

What an amazing day, as I think back on how peaceful it was… A day spent in mindfulness is an amazing thing. I thought very little today, a nice change of pace.

Happiness of Another Dimension

I was looking through some of my links and found one to a guest post I did for Life Optimizer a while back on “happiness”.

I wrote about the happiest – most joy filled experience I’ve ever had (well – had them a lot of times). The phenomenal bliss that around Jhana 1.

I think you’ll find it interesting.

I tried hard to describe the experience in words – but of course – words pale in comparison to the real deal.

Happiness of Another Dimension >

Mind Stops… Hiccups Too! 4-9-08

This morning I was anxious to eat breakfast. I had kow pad gai (skinless chicken breast over jasmine rice). It also comes with a baggie of chicken broth with scallions and black pepper. Really delicious and it’s my usual breakfast here 20/30 days each month.

I developed the hiccups. They were strong. I sat through it for a minute thinking they’d go away. This seemed like a strong case of them because they didn’t slow down or stop. I tried an experiment – just let it go – clear the mind… thought stopped and I was just experiencing an empty mind.

The hiccups stopped. I ate my breakfast in comfort!

Strange that the mind would have something to do with hiccups as I’d think it was a physical reaction to something – involuntary. Well, it is involuntary. I guess I thought there was no way we could control them voluntarily. It will take another couple tries to confirm that it wasn’t just good timing and the hiccups would have stopped at that time anyway, but interesting.

Other than that I’ve been experience brief periods without thought that just come and other times when I let everything go and it comes because I did.

I’ve been thinking about the future here. I spend entirely too much time on the computer – and for what reason? Not sure. I make a little money from ads on my web sites and it’s enough to live on. Do I need to do more? I’ve worked really hard for over a year to get to this point. If I worked that hard for another 18 months and had the same output it wouldn’t be worth it to me.

Is now the time to get rid of the computer, get a bike and go explore Thailand by bicycle? That’s one of the ideas floating around in thought right now. What else…?

I was thinking, why not create a place where visitors can come to meditate – where there is no agenda. No schedule. No classes. No anything except we provide a place for them to meditate – many places. Some in the woods, some in caves, etc. Just a place where meditators can come and do as they wish – their own practice. Not everyone wants 10-day Vipassana meditation courses like the ones we have plenty of here in Thailand.

Just some thoughts…

What is the Point of Nirvana? 9-27-07

Meditation history (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format

9-27-07 Today I climbed the steps at the mountain at Wat Tham Suea again. A Thai boy of 8 years old kept up with me as we sort of raced to the top from steps 300 to 1200. At maybe 30 steps away from the top he was exhausted and had to stop to rest. I stopped a little ahead of him and waited for him to catch up so he could be the “winner”. I stayed at the top for a couple hours, at times sitting… and other times standing and walking around… I decided to climb into the rocks that the monk showed me the other day. (Video link at bottom of page). There were a few too many people at the top of the mountain and I thought I’d try that quiet spot in the rocks.

As I climbed over through the jagged limestone rocks someone called out in Thai, “Tum Mai Dai kup”. I called back, “mai chai, die kup”. (You cannot do that) and I responded, “Not true, I can do this”… To which he didn’t respond. I’m sure he was concerned about my safety as the rock peaks are treacherously sharp.

I reached the place and folded my long-sleeved shirt underneath me. I took off my shirt because I wasn’t visible from the Chedi observation area and it was quite warm in the sun.

I sat about an hour and the mind was very calm. The body, while still “there” felt very relaxed and comfortable. As I sat I realized that some questions were on my mind.

WHY MEDITATE to reach nirvana? What good is it? Is there a point? Is it a good thing?

I decided to study that question in the state I was in… attention and concentration came quickly and I reasoned out an answer within maybe 30 minutes.

There really is no point to any of it. Yeah, surprisingly that’s the conclusion that I came to. There’s much too much to write about it – but, I’ll create a video or at least some audio to explain how I came to that conclusion.

Here are the 3 files that explain all of it… The first is my history of meditation – what happened in the past and what exactly I did. What the jhanas were about, and why I stopped meditating for about 9 years.

Meditation history – (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format – not edited, but maybe should have been a little bit…

This next file is a video I took in mid-September where I was unsure what I’m doing by restarting meditation. I am not sure WHY meditation or reaching nirvana is a good goal. What is the reality of it? I couldn’t reason it out that well here, but I had a lot of questions about “WHY”.

WHY? Video (24Mb)

The file above explains what the thought process was at the top of the mountain as I asked myself “WHY” in the relaxed, concentrated state of mind… and the answers that I reached…

The last file, another MP3 audio file looks at why I believe there’s no point in reaching enlightenment, and what I’ve learned by having jhana come… how the mind and ego have changed…

Enlightenment, no point… Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

I don’t believe thatmeditating at this point is a good thing for me. For others, it may be… If you meditate and you reach a point where you are relaxing the mind and you are not going into jhana much or at all you may find meditation very relaxing and a positive thing to do and keep up with.

I found it to be a life changing experience. The changes that came over me 9 years ago were devastating to my marriage at the time… they destroyed the ego for a time… They gave me a glimpse into nirvana and what happens when the mind stops thinking and reacting emotionally. I understood what it means to lose the ego… to find equanimity… peace… bliss…

For me, the changes that took place, and that I believe will take place again if I continue to meditate are too radical for me to take lightly. I had to really ask myself – what is the point of this…? I had to ask myself, if you really reach nirvana – WHAT THEN? Nirvana seems a very real possibility in my mind right now, considering all I’ve experienced recently… The process seems to have picked up where it left off.

Nirvana has been said to be a permanent change in the mind… a letting go to the point that there is no longer suffering because the mind doesn’t attach to anything…

That’s why I needed to question – what good is that state?

My answers are in this recording… enjoy… if you have any questions, send to:

aimforawesome@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to answer…

🙂 Vern

Video link (2nd time posted):
Secret meditation spot up Wat Tum Sua mountain – A monk shows me how to get there…
14.7Mb in size >

Reaction, Ego, Emotions Return 9-7-07

Reaction, ego, emotionality all return with a vengeance!  It seems that the last 5 days were filled with the mind being on edge. Most times were calm, yet, when a difficulty presented itself the mind reacted fast and very negatively. I think I’ve sworn more in the past couple days than during all my time in Thailand combined.

I have this idea that the mind noticed that it was slipping away… the ego was dissolving. Disenchantment with things was starting to take place again (1st time: 1999).

The mind revolted – it didn’t want to go away again. Meditation sessions were filled with a noisy and chatty mind – untamable most times – or only for minutes at a time. I could not just stop the thoughts like I used to – and have a mind that was without thought and reactions…  Very strange. Anyway, see the video if you want, there’s more to it than that.

Reaction, ego, emotionality video 9-7-07 >

No Me to Focus on Breathing 9-3-07

I was at Wat Tum Sua again today (Buddhist temple in southern Thailand). The weather was nice, cool and windy. No rain. There were very few people at the top. When I first got to the top and took off my shoes to go up onto the platform, there was a young monk sitting in some shade in the corner. I recognized him as one I’d seen at the top before. He was meditating. I have honestly not seen even 1 monk meditating in Thailand at a wat before except at Wat Pah Nanachat and Suan Mokkh.

I looked out at the mountains and he came over to me and offered me a soy milk box which I took with thanks. I spoke to him in Thai and he was extremely shy to speak, but wanted to speak it seemed. He was from Suratthani area and had been at the Wat Thamsuea for about a year. He was 21 years old.

Anyway, so I went to sit and meditate and found a place on the ground. I sat for maybe an hour and had varying degrees of concentration and mindlessness (vernlessness) as there was no vern to watch the breath. I had to focus on the breath to bring a vern back into the picture.  Odd to read this, I know, but, that is the experience. There is nothing there to watch the breath… no “me” so to speak. If I wasn’t trying to force something to be there to watch the breath – there is just nothingness. I am aware of things around… the air, the sounds, etc. If I open my eyes – I can see without a problem… and yet, still – there is no center point for where “i” am. It’s like no “me”.

Anyway, the video might explain better… I filmed as I walked down the steps, showing me at first – then showing the steps.

Walking down steps at Wat Thamsuea video > (.wmv about 4MB)

Update 6-15-09:

Still much the same. If I sit to meditate the mind is quiet already. There’s no sense following the breath because the mind is still. The body relaxes easily… now what is the point of meditation when I have this level of peace from the start?

I’d rather not ask Buddhists or consult books as I like to see how things play out on their own… probably the jhanas wouldn’t have come at all if I’d gone looking. Better just to see what happens…