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Everything posted by ardacigin

  1. I mean the simultaneous cultivation of the following skills moment by moment: Stable attention, introspective whole body awareness, conscious relaxation, dropping of self-efforting, equanimity, tranquility, meditative joy, energetic investigation and diligence. By flooding the tension area with the qualities of mindfulness – concentration, awareness, joy, tranquility, sensory clarity and equanimity - you are helping the unconscious - animal levels of the mind to untie their own "knots". The tension pattern will start to break up on its own. With time and disciplined practice. Hope this helps.
  2. There are two ways of learning relaxation, because there are two distinct levels at which a person can relax.Think of it as surface relaxation versus deep relaxation. "Surface" refers to the surface conscious mind, "deep" refers to the deep unconscious mind.Surface relaxation is what most people think of when they think of relaxation. It's voluntary relaxation, like a progressive relaxation where you make a conscious effort to relax.When a person sits to meditate I think it is the smartest to do whatever possible to relax the overall body. This is what I recommend everyone to do as a baseline standard before doing anything else. It is the conduit to powerful spiritual practice.I usually try to get an overall sense of the body relaxing. I call it a "settled-in" sense. For example, I notice that during sitting sometimes my shoulders will come up and tense up, so I'll relax them as an act of conscious intention. Same thing happens to my jaw as well. This form of relaxation, although it's valid and useful, is also limited, because there are certain things that you can't relax intentionally, like the kind of intense sensations that come up when you stub your toe. You can't go through a progressive relaxation, and just relax the sensations going on in your stubbed toe.And what about the sensations that go with a stubbed ego? For that type of phenomenon, it is desirable to learn about a second kind of relaxation which I call deep relaxation.Deep relaxation deals with the source of tension which is deep within the unconscious mind and way out of the range of conscious control. I know. This is the million-dollar question: How can you relax tensions that are not within conscious control? By observing them with heightened awareness, accepting the tension as is in a state of radically reduced craving and self-clinging. Deep relaxation happens when this directed relaxation occurs without ‘you’ trying to relax. Automatically.With practice, the neuro-programming of your brain and body changes so radically that the body rests in a state of pysical relaxation as a default position. Not only this relaxation makes it easier to concentrate on the breath. It allows for deep meditation to flow into our chaotic daily lives as well. How do you think master-level meditators continue to meditate deeply while doing demanding tasks like working, talking, walking, watching videos, listening and reading? These people master body relaxation as a way of life.Their minds have changed their operating system from tension to relaxation. How does this occur? With practice. PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! Continue doing this body relaxation technique until you make this radical shift from surface relaxation to deep relaxation.With more directed conscious relaxation, the faster you’ll progress towards automatic deep relaxation. But if you stop putting in the effort somewhere along the learning process, you will not make the leap.As you gain a little more skill in relaxation, I suggest that you do this technique on your own in stressful situations. Now lastly, let’s talk about why tension occurs in the first place.The tension pattern that we observe in our bodies is a conduit into the unconscious mind. It tells us that the mind, at its core, is not at peace. It is conflicted. The ego congeals and manifests itself as tension. By flooding the tension area with the qualities of mindfulness – concentration, awareness, joy, tranquility, sensory clarity and equanimity - you are helping the unconscious - animal levels of the mind to untie their own "knots". The tension pattern will start to break up on its own. With time and disciplined practice.Paradoxically, the quickest way to have it break up is to stop wanting it to break up. In a specific manner. The attitude of wanting it to break up adds subtle new knots.For the really deep relaxation, a person has to be willing to watch tension with mindfulness, without desiring relaxation. And remember! How do you do that? By practicing relaxation on a daily basis with observation, discipline and resolve. Much love, Arda
  3. Exactly! This is how I formulate it as well. That gentle and joyful direction of attention back to the meditation object is the key to progress in the beginning. Almost everyone I know develops tension and craving (aversion and desire) to this process and makes it a form of torture. This is something the mind ascribes to this activity. The more you positively reinforce, the easier meditation will get for you. That is why I see a lot of value in conscious physical relaxation in sits and daily life. It informs the consciousness of new and more effective ways of interacting with the world and people.
  4. Why Concentration is Not Enough? - Attention & Awareness Dynamic Explained We all have the experience of focusing on a task singularly and very intensely. From common meditation wisdom, you might think developing an exclusive state of intense concentration is what meditation is ultimately all about. However, this is only a part of the picture. For all beginner meditators, mindfulness and awareness collapses instantly if you narrow down attention strongly and forcefully. This is one of the fundamental reasons why you still experience distractions and sleepiness while trying to be more mindful. Even after years of meditation. Let me explain: Paying attention to an object without greater peripheral awareness is how we normally live our lives. Even without mindfulness, we’re always paying attention to something. But with mindfulness, we pay attention to the right things, and in a more skillful way.This is because being mindful actually means that you’re more fully conscious and alert than usual. As a result, our peripheral awareness is much stronger, and our attention is used with unprecedented precision and objectivity. Mindfulness is the skillful interaction of attention and awareness. Attention analyzes our experience, and awareness provides the overall context and background. When one or the other doesn’t do its job, or when there isn’t enough interaction between the two, then we respond to situations less effectively. We may overreact, make poor decisions, or misinterpret what’s really going on. Awareness provides the context and the background of events and experiences. It is open, inclusive, and holistic. It’s concerned with the relationships of objects to each other, and to the whole. Why aren’t we naturally more mindful? Why does mindfulness have to be cultivated? There are two main reasons. 1- Most of us have never really learned to use awareness effectively. 2- We don’t have enough conscious power to sustain mindfulness, especially at the times when we need it most., The result of this is something I like to call Awareness Deficit Disorder: chronic use of attention until awareness fully collapses. For instance, do you experience the moving sensations on your left foot’s toe while watching Inception? An advanced meditator can experience the body fully while also wholeheartedly engaging in the movie.Body awareness is only the first step. They can watch the movie intensely and also simultaneously examine their minds, habits and mental reactions. As a beginner meditator, you are singularly focused on watching Inception, - which is a fantastic movie - trying to follow the sequences of events.But awareness is fully collapsed. You are not aware of the body sensations as much. Final Advice: The most deceptive beginner mistake while trying to balance attention and awareness is to quickly re-direct attention back and forth between the breath sensations and the body (or distractions of all forms). This technique is called intentional attentional movement.It can be used effectively in adept stages of meditation. However, at its currently applied form, it is not helping you to develop greater levels of awareness and mindfulness. The Solution: You need to maintain the stability of attention first and while the attention rests on the breath, now you start to experience the entire body and mind with awareness. This is how you develop mindfulness. You need to keep these two modalities of experience in metacognitive awareness. Keep meditating with this in mind and you'll get to know your mind at deeper and deeper levels with diligent practice. Much love, Arda
  5. Well, this is exactly the misconception I'm talking about. Just concentration and stable attention with strain and intensity will collapse awareness due to lack of conscious training and as a result distraction and sleepiness will arise. After some level of access concentration is attained, back pedal on breath concentration a little bit and spread the body awareness, introspective and extrospective awareness while attention is still in touch mainly with the breath at the tip of the nose. Doing this will develop awareness efficiently and quickly. Introspective awareness is awareness of thoughts, sensations and feelings. Extrospective is sounds, sights and touch. Both can be attended just with awareness while attention is observing the breath sensations.
  6. This is your formal technique. See, attention can move around in daily life. When you are watching Inception, attention should be fully focused on the sequences of events but awareness should be fully open, holistic and deep with body and mind. Yeah! Awareness can take care of them and increase tranquility and equanimity while attention is on an object. Yeah but this dynamic is keeping attention on the object AND THEN spreads the whole body awareness at the same time. It requires more conscious power and mindfulness to do it. You don't switch from pain to whole body etc. Switching implies attentional movement which is not what I'm advocating for beginners. Awareness deficit disorder (the exact way I describe it) is 100x deeper and challenging issue to deal with. This is how every non-meditator spends their life in. Once you develop stronger awareness and attention dynamic in meditation, it will permeate your entire life. Attention deficit disorder is also similar in the sense that stronger introspective awareness cues you into the fact that boredom arises or distractions appear. This makes it easier to form intentions to keep doing the homework etc. It is a deeply integrated feedback loop. That is why both are needed and so essential to understand the dynamic interaction. Analysis is just an aspect of attention. Logic is also tied with attentional movements. But each are different. Your formal practice should facilitate this dynamic deeply. Once you rise out of the cushion, it will persist. Eventually, you start to live there. But this will take a few years even if you are diligent Alertness and calmness is a result of your tranquility and equanimity skills which you also should be developing in meditation. Tranquility is contentment and calmness. Equanimity is non-reactivity to pain and pleasure. Samatha vipassana techniques facilitate the growth of these skills with mindfulness.
  7. See, self-development has its issues. It never addresses the core issue, only the symptoms. It is just a stage you need to get past once its usefulness is over. Self-help not only reinforces a 'real self' but reinforces craving which pulls you further into the illusion you are real and you need to manipulate the reality to reduce suffering and increase pleasure which stands in stark contradiction to shocking truths waiting for you in spirituality. There is a lot of suffering in the self-help paradigm. Be conscious of it and slowly move beyond it.
  8. See, I've always had chronic fatigue and brain fog for the majority of my life. In this post, I'd like to let everyone know what happened after a recent spiritual development related to profound physical relaxation in daily life. Just because one can experience a lot of joy on demand doesn't necessarily mean all forms of suffering, fatigue, brain fog or tension have disappeared. After listening to Leo's issues on food coma, fatigue and brain fog, I've decided to go deeper on this issue for myself. Before the recent spiritual development, I was experiencing significant levels of sleepiness literally after every meal. I had to sleep 1-2 hours just to feel normal or to crank up joy. Not just that, but I also consistently feel dullness and sleepiness come over me in meditation and daily life. This also meant brain fog and lack of sharpness mentally. I initially thought this was due to the high levels of carbs I've been eating these past few months. Bread, pasta etc. However, I could normally eat any food and feel perfectly normal. Something must be happening internally that produces these reactions to the food I'm eating.ü See, these are learned habitual sensitivities. For many people (excluding medical cases), eating a variety of foods is perfectly healthy and doesn't produce chronic fatigue. Remember your 9 year of self. Was he/she picky about eating some bread fearing the 3-hour brain fog afterward? No. This is an issue developed with time, not an inherent genetical disposition you are cursed with forever. Now, these past few months, it doesn't matter what I eat. Veggies, meat, fruits etc. I experience brain fog and fatigue right afterwards. I needed to sleep. I felt very intrigued by this sudden change. This kept happening for months on end. This was affecting my thoughts, motivations, and energy levels significantly. Even the access to jhana and joy on demand. I was waking up in a state of annoyance and frustration before meditation. So I needed to figure this out. I took supplements - Didn't work. I changed my sleep cycles significantly and started magnesium supplements to improve sleep quality - Didn't work I tried to crank up the joy in my mind to combat lethargy - Occasionally worked as a temporary solution I needed to find a deeper solution to coax out the root. In my recent meditations, I was feeling this profound relaxation. I thought nothing of it. It happens. Then it goes away. Well, apparently some part of my mind took this cue and allowed me to see these mind-blowing levels of tension I was building up and reinforcing in daily life my entire life. Yes, even when I was experiencing a lot of joy and going deep into jhanas, I was not aware of this much unconscious tension. I thought to myself: 'Wow! I can't believe this tension. No wonder I'm feeling fatigued. In fact, I remember having this physical tension as 7 year old kid laying down to watch cartoons. This tension is such an instinctual way I operate AND I was reinforcing this without knowing every day' This tension was there on my shoulders, over my torso and chest, preventing deep relaxation. Reducing the effectiveness of all joy and jhana practices by introducing strain and tightness. This tension was affecting my relationship with others. Every time I saw someone, I was tightening up around the same way (shoulders and torso) in a learned habitual manner. This subconscious tension has finally risen up to a conscious level I can work with. Now back to brain fog and fatigue: This exact same physical tension was using extreme levels of energy in my body and mind AS I'm eating food. I've realized this was the culprit to my entire fatigue and brain fog issues. Because this tension broke up in every aspect of my life. (while walking, talking, thinking laying down etc.) In this case, I tighten up around the act of eating food. As I'm moving the spoon to my mouth. Chewing it. Looking around. As my mind stopped its tendency to contract so many muscles both in the act of eating and in daily life, I was able to eat donuts, bread, chips etc with zero brain fog or sleepiness afterwards. Normally, I was waking up extremely groggy and frustrated regardless of sleeping 12 hours, 8 hours or 6 hours. Regardless of whether applying all sleep protocols. After this profound relaxation, I was waking up refreshed and joyful after 6 or 12 hours. Doesn't matter. My body is resting fairly deeply in daily life as well. My meditations have improved DRAMATICALLY. I feel like now I'm in a spiritual development where I can do 3-4 hour sits without moving. Easily. In fact, I'll let you guys know my experiences right after doing such a practice. Now I'm getting used to this new baseline of mindfulness and profound relaxation. I'm shocked how so many varieties of personal and health issues were resolved and evaporated by this baseline relaxation. I'm extremely motivated and happy for this new chapter in my spiritual development. I can't wait to share my experiences going forward. Feel free to let me know your questions. Much love, Arda
  9. That is great. Really happy relaxation helped with your headaches I don't eat donuts or sugary food normally. I needed to test if sleepiness would come over me again. Thankfully, my entire being has gotten important cues about not wasting energy unnecessarily. I still feel very sharp, relaxed and focused in daily life. No brain fog whatsoever. It is important to eat properly, nonetheless
  10. @yungtrippa Don't allow your mind to compartmentalize daily life with its activities and spirituality. Surely, you can't maintain the peak of DMT realization all of a sudden but if you use the simple but effective lessons of awakening to daily life with a strong spiritual practice, your hectic life will slowly resemble more and more the awakening realizations.
  11. I just re-watched this lesson. The title and the main subject of the video appear too basic and simple, right? Well, not so fast. Don't be fooled by its simplicity. This lesson has the potential to help you work with many deep personal, spiritual and health issues. I did watch this video at the time it was released. As a meditator, I liked it. But I didn't purposefully practice it. Well, that was a mistake Here are my experiences after embodying profound relaxation and body awareness: Leo does give great insights here. Practice intentional body relaxation in daily life. Take this very seriously. Much love,
  12. Thanks. I no longer experience brain fog after this profound relaxation. In fact, I never felt this sharp and light my entire life. I've just eaten a sandwich. Zero sleepiness. Alert. I don't think it has to do with my diet. But I'm sure it is effective for some people.
  13. Definitely don't get bummed out about the tension coming back. Keep releasing it. Continuously in each moment. You'll develop mindfulness, sensory clarity and equanimity with this training. Shinzen would be proud
  14. @Igor82 My posture is not perfect Especially after this relaxation business. I can sometimes slouch and completely drop my arms and shoulders down like a dead fish while walking etc, but it feels incredibly restful and rejuvenating. I'll try to balance it out with an acceptable level of muscle tone.
  15. I've basically realized the sleep wasn't refreshing due to lack of rest one gets in daily life. You might think you are relaxed in daily life but really inquire: 'Do I spend each moment regardless of typing, walking talking in a state of profound relaxation?' In fact, sometimes I've started to feel even more relaxed and restful actually sitting upright in meditation compared to my earlier sleeps laying down in bed. This is unbelievable. You might be shocked how one can have more rest sitting cross legged compared to laying down but this tension was so prevalent that I couldn't even rest properly in deep sleep. So, simply try this: 'Maintain introspective awareness of effort and tension in daily life, continuously release it. Immediately observe its positive effects. Repeat' Let me know if this helps.
  16. This realization happened while lot of strain and tension build up after a heated argument. Since I don't normally get angry or violent in daily life, this was a little unexpected. Right after I meditated, I said to myself: 'Wow! What is this tension on my shoulders? Let me intentionally release it every time I'm aware of it.Oh, wait. I can do this while walking talking watching videos, playing games eating food...Wait this tension was always there? Are you serious!' It became second nature afterwards This was a really spontaneous and effortless realization. My mind realized how it was producing this aversion and tension, not the external world and simply dropped it. I always knew tension can be dropped by this time shit got real and my mind dropped it. And it is a process. I can currently feel some tension on my shoulders as I'm writing this due to uncomfortable position the keyboard is in but then I immediately release it to a relaxing posture. My mind is extremely attentive to any strain or muscle tension at this point. I don't know what to say. This was entirely new and shocking to me. My meditations are almost pain free. Allow me to experience some more of this new baseline and I will formulate some advice and tips
  17. No. Teach yourself to enjoy your practice rather than brute-forcing with aversion and resistance.
  18. I've played Undertale. It was an all right game. A lot of people love it but I wasn't too impressed with it.
  19. You'll love Disco Elysium if you like Planescape Torment. It is extremely unique.
  20. I've purchased a PS5 on launch date. Currently playing God of War 60 fps on hard mode and I've got 3 hours or so left until I beat the game. My mind is blown. This is one of the best gaming experiences of my life. Just finished the final valkyrie challenge - Sigrun - on hard mode and it was fantastic. Forced me to use all the skills and techniques I've learned. I don't play games as often as I used to but here are my favorite games in no particular order: Witcher 3 Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 - (The first game is one of my favourite games of all time) Disco Elysium Planescape Torment Torment: Tides of Numenera Pikmin 3 Uncharted series Bravely Default series on 3DS Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward PoE series and Divinity 2 God of War PS4 Chrono Trigger The World Ends With You Castlevania: The Order of Ecclesia God of War 3 Fallout New Vegas Zelda Breath of the Wild Donkey Kong: Country Returns Doom 2016 Mario Galaxy 2 --- These are some of the best games I've experienced in my life.
  21. When you play video games in a state of mindfulness, you won't experience guilt. Even when you experience dullness next day, you'll be equipped with the skills to work with it. If it is not possible, due to strict mindfulness training, you'll feel better after a 20 min nap. Playing the games is not the issue. Your mental reaction of guilt after playing is. Be careful how you condition your mind and impute certain emotions with activities. Much love,
  22. Thanks. Glad you liked it. This is something you do when you realize there is an inaccuracy in your worldview. Not always Much love,
  23. You probably do know many things. But do you know what it means to know something? How do we know something to be true or false? Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion. Skepticism as a philosophy is a family of philosophical views that question the possibility of knowledge or its certainty. Philosophical skeptics are often classified into two general categories: Those who deny all possibility of knowledge, and those who advocate for the suspension of judgement due to the inadequacy of evidence. This is modeled after the differences between the Academic Skeptics and the Pyrrhonian Skeptics in ancient Greek Philosophy. Ask yourself these questions and self-reflect: 1- By what process am I making this claim from? What evidence do I have? What is the quality of the evidence? Is it direct or hearsay? 2- How do I know this claim to be true or false? How do I know I’m making an open enquiry without cognitive biases? Remember that true understanding arise through these key modes of perception: 1- Direct Experience 2- Contextual Framing 1- Direct Experience refers to the sort of intuitive and non-conceptual knowledge that arises after deep investigation of your mind and sensory experience. Its awareness is developed in meditation and psychedelics. If any information arises in conscious experience that conflicts with your existing worldview and understanding, you modify or replace your understanding rather than trying to fit your inaccurate wordview with how reality is observed to operate. This is how science is idealized to operate as well. You are merely applying this strategy to mental processes, perception, behaviours and cognition while utilizing attention and awareness in meditation. 2- Contextual Framing refers to the personal interpretation that is required to effectively integrate second hand knowledge to your mental patterns, behaviours and worldview. Verified knowledge is the process of personal verification of the knowledge regardless of the truth property. An information can be accurate and true but it is still second hand information if you don’t verify it. Generalized information needs to be contextualized and modified for your specific mental patterns to utilize the intended benefit. This results in an easier access to deeper levels of understanding. Much love,