Welcome to my blog thread.
This is the intro I made in the intro thread to get a little bit of an understanding of me but below that I share more about my current practice:
Interest in dreams… well, before recently, not at all.
Recently I was on a retreat and saw the power of dreams.
During the retreat I fell asleep while meditating yet I maintained awareness while still meditating. Then, I woke up while meditating too, all while maintaining awareness. I realized that maybe I could do this same thing while falling asleep. So that night I was able to immediately enter that state and fall asleep while being aware. What appeared was disturbing violent and sexual dreams but also the Flinstones. I could see the mind and dreams as separate objects. Was able to sustain that for 20-30 mins before actually falling asleep. This happened during the rest of the retreat too. Was able to observe which breath I fell asleep on.
A few days following the retreat while deep in a meditation I investigated the context surrounding the disturbing violent dream and had a massive cry-my-eyes-out session after unearthing 20 year old sadness.
I’m still able to fall asleep while being aware given the right conditions. I write down a 10 min review of my day noting any situations I reacted to anything, then meditate for 10 mins before going to bed. Then it is like I decide to fall asleep then am aware. I’ve had purifications during the night too as am able to guide the mind to forgotten memories that contain the unpleasant stuff.
I like what Andrew says in his book: follow the fear.
Everything he said about being a spiritual warrior sang to my heart too. Thank you, Andrew
For now I’m now just using this practice as a tool to investigate memories and understanding my own mind better to be both more aware and skillful.
About me more generally:
Grew up in NY, Canada and MN and have lived many other places since then.
Currently living in the Bay Area and moving into the Nyingma Institute (Berkeley, CA) in January.
Meditator 6+ years although within the last year going full speed following The Mind Illuminated with guidance of my amazing friend Tucker Peck who coincidentally is on one of the podcasts here. I have a very dedicated and determined practice.
I work in tech although I have a feeling my life will go in an even more spiritual way of life after living at the Nyingma Institute. I’m pretty interested in just living a simple life, honestly.
Summary of my current daily practice:
a. Dream journal
b. then, either qigong, or neuroptimal (a neurofeedback machine)
c. then, 2 hour sitting following TMI
Specifically to increase body awareness. Low body and sensory clarity has been, in general, an issue for me.
Seems to help. Honestly not sure if it has a long term benefit though.
Evening (still tuning this but it’s a start)
a. an hour before bed an alarm goes off to signal that I need to turn off electronics and prepare for bed
b. then, journal - writing where I reacted to things during the day and how I can be more skillful
c. then, journal - writing down things I’m grateful are or about good things in the world
d. then, go to bed, try induction techniques
Why journal before bed?
While a dream journal is great for increasing memory recall of dreams but I want to increase memory recall of emotional events in general rather than forgetting them. It also seems to have a side effect of me thinking through how I feel about things more clearly during the day.
And writing gratitude directly afterward is a nice positive ointment to soften things after having reviewed possibly negative experiences.
Paying attention to body sensations, often in the upper torso area (parasympathetic nervous system area)
A lot of it is simply slowing down, allowing the body to feel feelings instead of trying to avoid
Paying attention to how I feel all the time
If I notice day dreaming, I’ll switch attention to the upper torso
If I feel in a haze, I pay attention more directly to sense experience, e.g., the pressure of sitting on a chair or the temperature on the front or back of my body
Past random things and thoughts:
was very beneficial to help me break the idea of how I was previously practicing meditation. IMO it is more focused on certain types of states or experiences and may lead to spiritual bypass so people can maintain their states. I didn’t transition during the course. Recommended if you are a skeptic around awakening. Although if you have a strong distrust of Jeffery Martin, probably not a good idea.
This brings fear and unpleasant experiences to the foreground. It destabilizes my sitting practice about 2 weeks though. There are insights gleaned without purging too. I recommend it if you are open to it.
Transcranial neuromodulation unfocused ultrasound (brain zapping):
This seemed to be helpful. it was over the span of a week. it was placed on areas of the brain related to spatial awareness. I got zapped immediately after a 10-day meditation retreat.
I’ve included all of my practices to provide a greater context. Dreaming is another piece of the puzzle. It provides greater emotional awareness, greater memory recall and a faster feedback loop of how unconscious mind is processing (or in some cases not process) emotional information.
I’ve barely started with the dream practices (a month) so really right now I’m trying to establish some vague base line and see where it goes.
I would say at the moment I’m largely focusing on understanding or releasing emotional layers. While there are certainly deeper insights to be had, the mind is less sticky by dealing with all white noise coming from unresolved, buried and ignored feelings.