in evolution
writings about the process…

archive for August, 2009

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.28


3o minutes

lauren is leaving in a few days… which could easily bring me out of focus, and does throughout the day. as many say though, these sources of potential pain also becomes the sources of the most potential growth, as we can see the sources of our pain coming together. i am better than i have been at seeing these sources early, and trying to catch them before they spiral, unconsciously, out of their normal control loops.

very clearly exercise prepares the body for meditation – i went on a 10 mile bike ride with lauren before meditating, and my body has not been this comfortable for 30 minutes in recent memory.

i caught myself thinking about someone else during my breath. then trying to trace it back. it seemed selfless enough, to be thinking about the welfare of someone else.. but as soon as i could trace it back 20 seconds into the past, i realized the thought started with ‘what am i doing later today?’ -> ‘i need to do something that requires something i don’t have’ -> ‘this other person has it’… and then i was onto the other person. these thoughts, in their hidden way, seem to always start spiraling from some unsettledness, some anxiety, however slight.

tried another technique today. within a half hour, it is very easy for me to get completely lost in though for several minutes, without realizing what has happened and catching it late. something i had done long ago but not recently, thinking it might be bad, was count inhalation and exhalation seconds- 10 in, 20 out, resulting in about two slow deep breaths per minute.

counting every second results in a tradeoff – it’s harder to allow the ‘moment’ to last for more than 1 second. but it’s also much easier, by providing a sub-pattern to the breath, to stay focused. i was able to keep focus on counting the entire 30 minutes, which never happens without me losing breath focus, if i’m only focusing ‘in general’ instead of subdividing.

eventually i traded off – i would count seconds during one or two breaths, and then take one or two uncounted breaths, knowing it wasn’t some indefinite amount of time to hold focus. it seemed a useful construct, oscillating between total local focus, and looser global focus. by the end of the half hour i was in a clear, beautiful state of mind, and opening my eyes revealed a crispness in the white room surrounding me.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.25


3o minutes

been in florida for 5 days, meditating every day (also with my mom!) – this morning did 3o minutes. really suffering from some back issues still pulling my focus away. two or three moments, however, where the blood in my eyelids felt just a little bit brighter, where it felt as if, just during one inhalation and exhalation, someone had poured oil into my skull, where the thoughts flowed smoothly, unobstructed. and then, as if someone rang the doorbell, back to the pain, the posture.

if we let ourselves dig deeply enough, if we let ourselves get to the real bottom of things, at the root of every anxiety-inducing thought is inward desire – the ego speaking through a veiled cloak about what it wants and needs. as soon as this becomes conscious and that cloak is recognized, everything starts to change. without the desire can be no pain.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.18


1o minutes

i could swear that when my eyes are closed and i am sufficiently still, i can see my visual field [the red and purple swirls of blood flowing through my eyelids, beautifully backlit by the sun entering my room] vibrate back and forth, ever so gently. is this corroborated in literature? is it a scanning pattern?

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.16


45 minutes
2o minutes

Still splitting time between focusing on the physical body (back comfort) and mental awareness. Had some good discussions with people recently about meditation – it always feels to me like it’s taken as this completely esoteric fruity thing, whereas with the recent developments in neuroscience it seems so much more easy to explain how it can be a technique for us to find higher states of happiness while improving the lives of everyone in our society.

Now that neuroscience has validated spiritually transcendent states, how can spiritual transcendence and our studies of it not function as an entire field of science, in fact possibly the most important field in our current lives? What is the potency of all the sciences that aim to increase the span of a life, if they do not also increase its depth?

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.13 mantra


3o minutes

life is indeed a miracle. how do we keep this in our minds, how do we, who are most amazing in our ability to appreciate something one moment and take it for granted the next, how do we keep this ever present in our minds, and in fact travel oppositely on that path, to realizing deeper and deeper truth in that sentiment?

after yesterday’s back pain issues, I focused most of the afternoon on comfortable sitting using techniques from Esther Gokhale’s ‘8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back,’ – highly recommended reading. I do believe that using her techniques and no other physical therapy or drugs, my back problems will go away – indeed after one day of merely being more conscious about my back, I can sense changes in the overall level of pain.

so today, i could get back to focus. 10 minutes of breathing, letting thoughts go, and then continued relaxed breathing with mantra repetition – i haven’t tried much of that in the past, and it’s an odd feeling, a little embarrassing, to be repeating something out loud in my apartment by myself. hard to feel like i’m putting the proper emotion into it. but something happened in the last 2 or 3 minutes; each breath, each mantra repetition, slowly sank into a deeper place. it took 10 minutes of doing it before i noticed anything like that, but it felt promising.

as often is the case, the world was just a little brighter and crisper when i reopened my eyes.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.12


15 minutes

not doin so well. impossible to keep focus, my back is in too much pain right now. definitely need to get past this back pain before i can make any real progress on anything else. it’s like maslow’s hierarchy of needs – if you don’t have air, you aren’t thinking about employment. if you don’t have employment, you aren’t thinking about intimacy. if you don’t have intimacy, you aren’t thinking about respect of/by others, and if you don’t have that you aren’t thinking of self-actualization. going right back to the bottom, i’m in physical pain. how can i be focused on things five rungs up the ladder when the bottom one is broken?

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.11


25 minutes

Had a good session – not that I was remarkably clear or anything like that, but more that I have been getting better at taking the pressure off of myself to ‘do better’ meditating – it’s easy to see frustration if my mind keeps traveling. but at the same time, at any point, all you can do is bring your thought pattern back to the breath, to the center, and try to create that new feedback loop; to hope that your body/mind starts to catch those things more immediately, at closer to the root, and that you can transcend them in time. when i catch my mind wandering i try to give myself a few seconds to think ‘why does my mind want to go here?’ and then focus back on the breath. slowly it seems to be working; the irony being that, independent of progress, the fact of having meditated in the am completely shifts the experience of the entire day. or so it seems.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.o9


15 minutes outside

no technology, and a short time given our late wakening [which was great]. now that i’ve been taking things up normally to 30-60 minutes, doing 15 has gone from being an imposition to a trifle, and i feel that difference massively as the time goes by during meditation. usually i spend a good deal of the time wondering how long it’s been, coming back to issues of time. now i went into it thinking ‘i barely have enough time to get going,’ which changed my thought process in a large way.

there is a stillness underneath silence. the silence itself seems to represent 1% of the available stillness. for a few moments today, i felt 2%. it is a smoothness, a lusciousness, a lubricated and hydrated sensation.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.o8


6o minutes
3o minutes outside, 3o minutes with interval timer

I went outside to enjoy meditating in the sun, but my thoughts were a little overwhelming – I was distracted every few seconds for the first half hour. So I came inside, and kept realizing that it wasn’t really being outside; my mind was just very ‘loud’ at this specific time. So, I figured it was energy better spent focusing on my breathing over everything else – pulled out the interval timer at 24 seconds and focused on timing my breaths. It seems to provide a reasonable baseline of progress, if the work on emptiness isn’t going very cleanly; it seems almost like a halfway step – at least the breaths are regulated, which seems to calm the body. Also spent a good deal of energy focusing on my posture and spine.

spiritual diary 2oo9.o8.o7


35 minutes

Very conscious today of my breath. Of not putting any pressure on focusing, but just trying to actually count my breaths. I stretched for a few minutes first and then got to 66 breaths when my timer buzzed, so although it’s hard to tell if I missed any breaths [it’s quite possible i lost focus and repeated or ignored breaths], it definitely kept a pretty solid center to keep returning to. It really changes things to be counting etc – in some sense you are applying focus to a definitive quantitative part of the brain, so for me it seems easier to keep it busy that way than ‘with nothing,’ but then again, you’re applying more thought than just focusing on the breath in general – utilizing the language instinct, etc. Maybe it’s a stepping stone?