Thoughts on Dynamic Meditation (so far)

Today’s 20 minutes got me really sensitive to the subtleties of this. I could feel a sliding crystallization of tension in my mind and in my shoulders. I used a specific technique to counter it - relaxation through anchoring. A thought I had day before yesterday was that I should get really technical about it - I should know tension and anxiety like eskimos know snow. Not only will the delineation of different categories of it help me focus, but it acts as Vipassana noting - separating my mind from being entangled in the feeling.

This type of dynamic meditation is very interesting in comparison to Vipassana and other schools of Buddhism. Vipassana is all about the controlled observation of the mindstream in order to gain visceral knowledge (jñanas) that change its (the mind’s) quality. In Vajrayana, visualization and ritual are used for the same purpose, and for some versions of Tibetan Buddhism mucking about with the Bardo - transitory states of consciousness like before death or dreaming - changes the state of the mindstream.

What I’m doing is purifying the mindstream through habit in order to prevent the arising of negative emotions. The more I think about it, the more I think I’ve stumbled on another school of Buddhism…if it works. I’ll have to come up with a name for it…

Either way, that purifying action is an important metaphor to keep in mind while proceeding.

Dynamic Meditation Revisited Party IV - Last Notes

I just did a 20 minute session while doing some work. It was pretty easy to track some of these things. Here’s what it looked like:

biting lip - anxiety - R
x3 minor anxiety arising - R
minor anxiety arising - x4 shoulders - R
x4 fingers - picking, flicking
x2 lip picking R
x2 caught minor anxiety
X5 laughing

As you can see a lot of these things happen in groupings. And a lot of these things have very clear physical markers - lip picking, picking at my fingers, shoulders tensing up.

The “R” was just my short form for Regular - as in I didn’t use any sort of specific technique - I just stopped it - these were all minor tensions in the mind stream.

“X2 caught minor anxiety” referred to catching it as it formed in the mind. And “X5 laughing” referenced that feeling of cheating at life, that true happiness that seemed to arise as I felt how easy it was to change this.

That feeling is really what I’m after - and it IS easy, but like the rest of this project, extending even the simplest things out across months (or in this case over the course of a full day over time) is very very difficult.

Buddhism and Dynamic Meditation

I’ve been reading a lot on Buddhism lately, and it seems as though some people view Nirvana as getting into this state of equanimity - of completely uprooting the possibility to have these negative emotional arisings at all.

In Vipassana, this uprooting occurs through visceral knowledge of the state of the world through repeated meditative practice. Through just observing the mindstream, you’ll gradually come to realizations - like realizing that we are not angry - anger has just visited us momentarily. This eventually (as far as I understand) will get us to this uprooting. 

There are other ways there - in Rinzai Zen you break the bonds of logic to attain sudden illumination, in Vajrayana you use visualization and ritual to get there (again, I’m still researching this stuff so please excuse my lack of understanding - and feel free to correct it). 

My method of dynamic meditaiton through habit formation is the “quit smoking” version of equanimity - that if you counter the urge enough times, the urge ceases to arise at all. The urge has to be countered minutely from second to second in the mindstream, but as far as I understand it, this might just be another avenue to Nirvana. Which is kind’ve cool.

Now all of this is theoretical - I’m very curious to see how (or if!) it will work - especially next to these thousand-year traditions.

Thoughts on Training Mindfulness/Dynamic Meditation/Equanimity

As I have mentioned before, I am not convinced of the efficiency of carryover in meditation. Most books on meditation discuss practicing it one time during the day, and letting carryover continue - your individual practice carries over to regular life.

I believe that training as close to “war time” conditions as possible is the best training you can get. A continual habit, like posture, is something that bridges the gap. And in my research, I’ve found Buddhist literature talking about it in this way - you first get into a state, THEN you focus on maintaining it.

Posture exercises may well work eventually, but it seems as though posture is something you have to continually practice throughout the day to get to your goal - being someone who has good posture. Similarly, there is a huge leap between someone who practices equanimity training for an hour a day and someone who is an unshakably equanimous individual.

I’m still researching and asking people for advice on how to best do this. After all, there are other continual habits I’ll want to induct in  my regiment later on. I’ve had limited success with one - noting every time I feel negative emotions (they tend to fall into common groupings) and using mental gymnastics that work to get beyond them.

This worked very well for a short amount of time, but the number of variables got to be too much for me to continue. And things slipped through. I could feel happy, I could bust pass pessimistic emotions, yet fear would fall through - I would continue to procrastinate like I always do. So:

1. The willpower required to do them all was too much because I was also doing fixed meditation as well. Fixed meditation is well on its way to habit formation, so I should try it again now.

2. The willpower required to counter all negative emotions is too much, so I need to focus on one at a time. Preferably a lynch pin, like tension/relaxation. Can you be angry or depressed if you are truly relaxed? Can you even be fearful?

3. I should use a timer approach and use spot checks throughout the day. 5 times a day, I do a spot check and relieve my symptoms and move on, increasing until it becomes second nature.

4. Another method is going from the gross to the subtle. Record, do all of the me negative emotion meditation throughout the day and later, once the method is established as a habit, push it for things that have slipped. After all, habits do not equal mastery. At some point you have to push past plateaus in a learning curve.

I’m guessing that for all of this, the SRHI has to be modified, omitting frequency questions. Presumably the further along the habit goes, the LESS you’ll have to do it.