The Mind Illuminated, a journal: day 20

Jhanas, monasticism and renunciation are conceptually and historically connected

These are reflective notes on my experience of practicing Culadasa’s 10 stage meditation system earlier in 2019. The records in this post are from my 20th consecutive day of practice in the system. All these posts are published retrospectively, with some added commentary. There is a page summary of my TMI series with links in the site overview. For an introduction to this project, see this page.

Day 20

I sat for 4.5 hours in three sessions today. There’s a sense in which I think I’m learning to calibrate a movement between concentrative ‘depth’ and expansive awareness. In the language of TMI, I think that would translate to the distinction between stable attention and peripheral awareness.

I find the intentional dissociation in the internalized, concentrative state quite ‘unnatural’. My somewhat inadequate description of this sensation is that it’s like a whole-body fizziness with deeply cocooned awareness. There’s no sense of being in situ. It’s like a suspension of contextual presence so as to expand ‘into’ sensational consciousness. The sensation isn’t relational or reactive.

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