Day 415 & Fixed Meditation Progress/Ratcheting

Day 415 Record Keeping
Day 384 Fixed Meditation 
Day 330 Bodyweight Exercise (1x7 typewriter pushups)
Day 257 Writing (333 words, writing)
Day 430 Eating
Day 65 Dynamic Meditation = 75 (1 hour 10 min)
Day 12 Marketing = 66 (action)

Great sleep, great wakeup. I seem to have stabilized.

Dynamic Med Notes (1 hour 10 min):

-Towards the end several arisings of shoulders/nerves

Notes; a lot of negative arisings skittering across the surface of a greater calmness. Some of the texts talk about how states of mind are like a seat, that it’s not just a practice of being calm, it’s being seated firmly in calmness. This is something I feel is an accurate descriptor, and today I feel I’m seated solidly in equanimity.
-Multiple arisings - worry and fear as I write, with shoulders rising as it translates to physicality. But today these are all really minor. I feel like I’m getting into a groove.
-Getting a better handle at seeing frustrating pesky and small problems as PART of progress rather than antithetical to it.

Fixed Meditation Progress/Ratcheting
I’ve been reading quite a bit on the relationship between single pointed meditation and Vipassana.

The Buddhists don’t see single pointed meditation as a static state - Instead there are various levels to it. Access concentration, first Jhana, second Jhana, etc.

Many books suggest getting to access concentration in order to properly stabilize Vipassana. And indeed when I did try to switch from single pointed meditation to Vipassana it had a purifying quality. Thoughts were far more clear and distinct. It was easier to get into a calm state and let intruding thoughts arise and pass.

I’ve now started to begin with a brief relaxation using Anchoring, then switch to single pointed meditation, THEN switch to Vipassana.

I first started by concentrating on my breath - specifically the coolness of the breath as it exhales and inhales at the nostrils. I find this incredibly hard to concentrate on because I can’t really feel anything unless I breath hard. So I’ve switched to just visualizing a candle. 

I find using a timer distracting. So I’m following the old advice in texts by using number of breaths as a gauge.  Focus on keeping concentration for 1 breath. Then work up to 10.  Today I averaged 2 breaths.

These are brutal instructions, but it is surprising how fast I’ve progressed - something I’ve noticed whenever I’ve deliberately had any scale by which to measure sustaining single pointed concentration. When you aren’t just floating in the void of no goals and no scale progress occurs. Seems obvious, but in Hinduism there isn’t much guidance like a map for progress.  And without a timer or breath for a scale, you start to feel like it’s pointeless? And this is a lesson to be applied to all habits and self improvement - what’s the next goal? How do you gauge progress?

I’m still unclear what “Access concentration” means or what first jhana feels like, but I’m still researching it all.