Mindfulness – My First Journal Entry on the Topic

8/25/95 FIRST JOURNAL ENTRY ON MINDFULNESS, BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT – WITHOUT THOUGHT

This was an unexpected find. I was looking back through some .DOC files and there were some with my meditation journal notes that I haven’t posted here… Then I noticed – wow, that one says Aug-25-95. That’s an old one. I opened it up and relived the experience I’ll post below. Amazing experience that I remember to this day… just being in the pool at my apartment complex in Tampa, Florida. I had read some eastern philosophy and religion books. I read some zen books – they were the most interesting because they were the most mysterious. What is a koan? When the mind can’t solve it – what happens? That was pretty interesting back then. Even now- I play with the idea that I’m setting up koans that have no answer when I ask myself – WHY am I meditating? I’ve not come up with a great reason yet. Or, WHAT is enlightenment? There’s no answer I guess until one experiences it. Maybe it’s phenomenological – specific to one’s self and everyone has a different experience. I’m more a believer in that sort of idea about it at the present moment.

Anyway – so here is my first experience…

25 August 95

Very First Experience with _______ (whatever it is…)

This evening after working out and hitting the volleyball at the racquetball court I went to the pool to relax. It was dark, about 8pm. I saw with a child’s eyes for the first time in years. Some call it (beginner’s mind). I looked at everything as if it were new. I saw things in a way that I haven’t seen since I was very young. We overlook so much when we are caught up in the web of the world’s works…

I saw the light reflecting in the pool’s bubbles. I saw what looked like the water on fire where the underwater light was across the pool. The fire seemed to leap up above the water and sink back down. It was because of the waves in the water–or was it?

This magical moment transitioned into something that affected all I saw.

I saw the beauty of the sky, the apt. complex and the many reflections of the lights in the water and on the waves. I saw the distribution of bubbles tending towards randomness. Words and concepts cannot describe this “BEING IN THE MOMENT”, for sure. I was there. I was just part of this scene, I was “one” with everything that I was experiencing! It’s the most incredible feeling! I had no thoughts outside of what was there. I experienced and did not try to control what was there. I was a part, not seeking mastery of my surroundings. I put labels on nothing–I just experienced.

[what it would be like to be in the moment 24 hours a day??]

The experience lasted about 5 minutes. When it was over – there were some residual effects. A calm mind remained. A clear mind without a lot of thought.

Before I wrote this I sat on the couch and thought about the experience.

My thoughts were that we as humans are, above all else searching for control over others and over our environment. All of our strivings are towards this end. In relationships we marry because we seek to control (limit) the person we marry. We seek to make ourselves more content and happy by limiting the acceptable behavior of the individual we seek to marry. We are more at ease and comfortable after this point because there is no longer the unknown of what the other person will do. Marriage constructs a set of boundaries that will not be crossed by either individual and is enforced not only by that other individual, but also by all of the peers/family/and other social groups interacting with those individuals. Social pressure to conform to a group of norms for the purpose of limiting behavior and increasing the sense of control over one’s destiny is the goal.

We are always searching for CONTROL! Control in all aspects of our lives is what is most basic to our strivings. In marriage, as above, in family (control so that we get what we want), in occupations (control of who we control, and who we are controlled by), religion (control of the afterlife, emotions, feelings, actions, etc.). In adolescence begins our quest for control over our lives–on a major scale. Though at the preschool level we too are looking for ways to control and manipulate our environment in order to please us and make things more bearable for us. We are always searching for ways to please “I” not others. We seek pleasure and avoid pain–but the motivation behind this is control. When we control the environment we minimize pain and can maximize pleasure.

Zen is completely the opposite. There is no “I”. There is only “being”, “doing”, “experiencing”. Being in the moment according to Zen is different from what Hamid (a friend I have that taught simple meditation practice after our practicum at the Florida mental health center) believed. In Zen the person is aware of all of the beauty surrounding him. What Hamid said was that we are lost in the moment and are “doing”. Maybe he simplified it for the clients and some of the staff who couldn’t begin to grip the concept?

**********

That was it. I remember how surreal it was – as if I were wide awake and dreaming this magical moment that was untouched by thought, time, words, memory.

Nice to think about…

This was the moment that fueled my curiousity about meditation, mindfulness, and all of it… I was already interested enough to read some about it – but this gave me my first direct experience of something other than the reality I grew up with for the previous 30 years. This was the point where I realized there is something more to life – something invisible, that must be sought out…

Constant Stillness 5-16-09

Over the last few months there’s been this constant stillness of mind that is always there. If I stop typing right now – it’s there – instant empty mind. No thoughts. It’s funny… it’s the state that I used to try to reach before with sitting sessions. Now it’s here – what’s to try for from this point forward?

Is this Nirvana? I was just going to say – “I don’t think so.” But, really – I’ve no idea. It’s a very different state. I’ve never met anyone in this state. I’ve read of it happening to a few people but it seemed to be a phase… It seems to be very similar to what UG Krishnamurti described and I’ll have to go back and see some of his videos to see if it’s a match for his experience in any way. I think he used to say that he talked and interacted when he did… and when he stopped – that was it. There was nothing there that was coming out. If someone interacted with him – he could interact back. Me too.

I think mine goes a step further though… I can also motivate myself to do things. I can work on websites, write articles, ride the bike, hike a mountain, etc…

When I’m not doing anything – consciously focusing on thinking and doing – it’s gone. It’s back to the no thought state. It matters little how engrossed I was in something before I go back to nothing. It can go back to the nothingness state instantly… without memories replaying or a nagging to get back to the thinking/doing state.

Very strange.

And so – it’s been this way for months… and I’ve sat to ‘meditate’ a few times – and yet – what was there – nothing – same as if i just walk around quietly or drive the motorbike, or whatever. I can react to things that are necessary – that stimulate me – I can respond.

I can consciously DO things – but, it has to be a conscious effort now. Before, my entire life… things came out of the thought circus that was always churning around… now it’s a concerted effort to actually do something or think something – unless there is an activity – a stimulation that demands response on the outside -and then I can respond easily.

Anyway – so that’s the current state of things…

Oh, one more thing.

I read something about the state of perpetual mind or something – and it reminded me of a state I’ve experienced while in Jhana in the past… it was a state where the mind felt as if it permeated the cosmos… it was infinite… boundless space – is how it’s described in Buddhist texts? I think something along those lines…

So, just without thinking I tried to feel the same feeling as what the jhana was like before when I meditated and went through the different levels and reached it…

it was there instantly.

There it was… that feeling that the mind was already everywhere. There was no feeling in my arms, legs… body. It was as if the body was gone at that time.

I stayed like that – sitting here on this chair for a short while – minute or so?

Then went back to what I was doing… giving it a little thought, but not much – I just got back on the computer and continued web development.

If anyone is having or has had a similar experience, please write me… I don’t know anyone personally that has had this. Thanks…  ( AimforAwesome [{ @ ]} gmail. c o m )

Another strange dimensional experience 3-16-08 >

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…

Comments on No Thought State of Yesterday 8-31-07

8-31-07 Comments on the process from yesterday.  I added a lot more here that I forgot to say during yesterday’s video. I don’t think I described the physical feeling very well yesterday, at least I wasn’t satisfied that I did. I went over more of what it felt like and what was going on during it.

This state lasted all the way up until I went to sleep about 9:30 pm. That was about 6 hours. I’m not sure that even when I meditated in 1998 and had a similar state that it lasted this strongly and long. Very interesting state… no thought… no emotion… no desire… no satisfaction or attachment to anything – so no dissatisfaction…  Yet, I was able to have conversation at dinner with my friend. Memory still worked and was used in place of reaction and emotions. I remembered how I reacted emotionally to certain things – but there was no emotional reaction at all. Much more in the video.

comments on the state video

No Thoughts. No “Me”. 8-30-07

Over 6 hours of no thought… no reaction. No emotion. No extra work being done by the mind. A state of high awareness and being precisely in the moment – but without naming things – without judging… without using much of the mind that used to be automatic.

Filmed at top of Wat Tum Sua mountain top temple before the thoughtless state occurred (next entry).  Wat tum sua scenery and some comments on meditation This is a small sized video display because it’s 12 minutes long and if it was a bigger size it would be a 47 MB download which most people wouldn’t bother with because too large. I think. If you want a larger one where you can SEE the scenery, ask me and I’ll whip it up. I saved the project it would just take another 15 minutes to convert it and get it together. It would take me about 4 hours to upload it with a good internet connection so it won’t be a quick process – but could do it at some point.

Climbed up to Wat Tum Sua and attempted to sit. It didn’t go well the first time so I just shot some video and photos for a while. There was a storm and from that vantage it was interesting to see different spots around the area getting rained on, others dry and sunny. There was no lightening – so my fears of a repeat of the lightening experience up there were few (see www.aimforawesome.com for my lightening experience article).  I went down a level and sat in a dry spot on a piece of concrete about 12 inches high at the base of a pillar. It was comfortable. The body was very relaxed and at peace. Soon the mind followed.

I then had a very strong experience of the state that lasted about an hour there. Instead of attach to it and sit there for hours after about an hour I opened my eyes and stood up and felt the state in that new posture… the state stayed for many hours – I was conscious of every one of the 1,237 steps down the mountain and during the motorbike ride home… more about it on the video.

the thoughtless state video

Update: 6-15-09

It was probably this event that triggered something. After this happened I wasn’t quite the same. I was still having thoughts – though they were less frequent. The mind seemed to find peace – equanimity and non-dualistic experience easily and without effort. There were many periods over the next 1 year when I noticed that the mind was quiet and without thought.

Now – june 15,09 I’ve been in a weird thoughtless state for a number of months.