The Mind Illuminated, a journal: Day 2

TMIIntro

Introduction: page xviii, The Mind Illuminated

These are reflective notes on my experience of practicing Culadasa’s 10 stage meditation system. The notes in this post are from my second day of practice in the system. For an introduction to this project, see this page. Occasionally I will post edit the journal. Any post editing is [in square brackets like this].

The note in the margin of the introduction above, “separateness is not an illusion or a mistake…” expresses my own view. This is reflected in some strands of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, in which I’ve practiced. In Buddhism ‘ego’ is usually a translation of ‘atman’ which is, historically, a concept in Sutra. Generally in Vajrayana view the ego is irrelevant and not problematized.

Day 2

[I chose the Mind Illuminated system to practice because I thought it would be a good system to deepen my capacity for concentrative focus.

In Stage 1 of TMI the suggestion is that having your eyes either slightly open or closed will work. I started the practice before having read the chapter on stage 1 and then decided to keep sitting with my eyes closed because it was, indeed, proving interesting and useful in contrast to my norm. So from here on, unless I state otherwise, I practice this system with my eyes closed for meditation.

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The Mind Illuminated, a journal: Day 1

Life_is_a_distraction

Foreward: Page xvi, The Mind Illuminated

These are reflective notes on my experience of practicing Culadasa’s 10 stage meditation system. The notes in this post are from my first day of practice in the system. For an introduction to this project, see this page. Occasionally I will post edit the journal. Any post editing is [in square brackets like this].

Day One

“I’ve already read the forward and introduction of the book. Started reading the overview today. 

Walking meditation (described in TMI appendix 1)

Mind mostly thought free during this exercise. I found the attention to physicality made it very easy to let thought go.

10 mins ordinary speed, walking around the house:

  • Before starting, I noticed mild resistance. Thought I’d rather sit. 
  • Noticed the different sensations moving from carpet to hard floor and back. 
  • Started with noting, this happened unintentionally, noting sensations in soles, legs, body.
  • Soon dropped that & focused attention on soles of feet. Maintained attention for the ten minutes. 
  • Noticed slight boredom at some point, concentrated harder on sensation in soles and it was superseded by enjoyment.

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Journaling a staged path

My_mind_illuminated

Over the past month I have been practicing the staged system outlined in John Yates (a.k.a. Culadasa)’s book The Mind Illuminated. I kept a journal of my daily practice, which I will publish here.

To navigate chronologically through this series scroll to the bottom of the page and use the ‘next page’ and ‘previous page’ links. There is a summary of the series with page content and links on the site overview.

My most recent posts were about the renunciative worldview associated with the Buddhist path of Sutrayana – and yet Vajrayana has been my chosen practice and primary worldview for twenty-five years. Inevitably my ideas about Sutra are embedded in Vajrayana perspective. I regard detachment, renunciation, purification and equanimity (all Sutric descriptions of meditative experience) from an etic perspective. That’s not to say that I haven’t had and appreciate some of those experiences. However, ‘inside’ Vajrayana, they have distinct, different functions. They may even be described uniquely using the language of Tantra or Dzogchen.

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