Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Nov. 11, 2009

Hello Jacky,

It is good to hear from you, as always. I am doing reasonable well, and Nancy is doing quite well. We will be in California next week for the weekend teaching, at least if it is not cancelled, and hope to see you then.

I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing a fading of enthusiasm. You said, "I feel I tend to loose myself in practice", and I don't know what you mean by that. If you could tell me more, maybe I can suggest something.

What we call laziness is a basic instinct and it serves a purpose. Laziness arises when we begin to doubt that the results we are achieving are worth the time and effort we are putting in. So doubt and laziness are closely connected. They exist to keep us from wasting our time, but they are emotional compulsions, and not very subject to rational thought. As a matter of fact, they take hold of thought and turn it around, giving rise to further doubt and creating excuses for procrastination.

Bring as much joy and satisfaction to your practice as you can, and then find as much peace and contentment as you can within the practice itself. Don't let your mind turn it into a chore. Stay inspired about the Dharma, but most especially find that place in your own heart and mind that knows this is the right thing to do, and stay with it.

I think you are already doing that, and the problem comes with the rest of your life. You lose the joy and peace and satisfaction when you get too far from the cushion. It is very important not to have two different modes of living. When the bell rings and you arise from the cushion, keep on meditating. Pay attention to what is happening in your mind the same way that you do when you are sitting. Pay attention to what is happening in your body the same way you do when you are walking. Stay in the present as much as possible, and appreciate the perfection of what is happening now. Learn to flow with events in a kind of "living meditation". Whenever you find yourself lost in attachment to thoughts and feelings, remember to come back to being in flow.

These are just some general suggestions, but I would like to help in a more specific way if I can. Don't hesitate to ask. Sometimes just writing out the questions leads you to the answers, but I'll be happy to help you find the answers as well.

I hope you are healthy and that your studies are going well.


--- On Sun, 11/8/09, YUNCHANG LIU <> wrote:

Subject: How are you?
To: "Culadasa" <>
Date: Sunday, November 8, 2009, 6:47 PM
- Hide quoted text -

Dear Culadasa:

I didn't see you have recent posts in Jhana_Insight. There are
discussing some very interesting issues there and I want to hear your

For that reason, I am also wondering and want to know how are you? May
be you are in a retreat?

My personal practice is still going on. But there are some feelings
that I have and I want to get your guidance:

1. I feel I tend to loose myself in practice. I can still mostly keep
the schedule. But the enthusiasm slowly fades away. Recently I
sprained my ankle when I played basketball and caused the pain if I
sit long. Because of that, I tried to use the morning session to make
up some exercise (slow, but try-to-concentrated walking, I feel energy
level is low if no exercise, especially i am working a little bit
harder in my study now).

I know it is the natural phenomenon in meditation practice and that is
a hindrance. But why our mind works this way? Why laziness is our

Is it also due to the doubt - I feel little result (or no apparent
result )of sitting practice? That probably a reason.

So, dear teacher, how to recharge myself?

2. I feel the mind is developing two kinds of the mode: the sitting
mode in which I feel peace and relax; the daily motive mode in which
the mind lost itself and mindfulness and peace is hard to keep. I am
worrying about that this will be two real tendency and it will be
getting stronger.

So, how to maintain the mindfulness and peace in our daily activities?

Thanks, Culadasa, and it is glad that we will see you soon.

Best regards to you and Nancy!


Saturday, 8 August 2009

Aug. 8, 2009

Near sleep experience continues, which I believe as the result of my sitting:

Two or three weeks ago: body floating, less than one minute.
Yesterday: body spinning

like bubble jumping at neck,throat and vocal cords, gathering topically behind the ear (when working) or skull (when sitting);
When sitting, Qi feels like fuming the brain and head, somewhat pleasurable.

Add more frequent sitting or walking meditation after lunch, sometimes became a nap:)

I feel concentration is becoming a lit longer and somewhat can bring that into daily working...

Help Elaine with her exam, skipping morning or evening several times. I should not skip.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Aug. 3 2009

On Thu, 7/30/09, Culadasa wrote:

From: Culadasa
Subject: Re: [jhana_insight] Re: Michael's journal
To: "Liu Yunchang"
Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 6:13 PM

Hello Jacky,
Everything you have described here is quite normal in meditation. As the concentration begins to improve, it is not unusual to start becoming aware of enery or Qi. What you can expect is 1) it will become stronger, 2) it will be uncomfortable until it starts to move, 3) you will become aware of it moving, and 4) when it moves freely it will become pleasurable and your mind will also be very clear and very focused. Even though there is still some drowsiness and wandering, you are probably becoming aware whenever they happen much more quickly than before, and find they are easier to correct. This is an indication that your mind is becoming more calm and your introspective awareness much stronger.
If you lay very still for a long time, you will find that you completely lose awareness of your body, or if not the whole body, at least you will lose awareness of your limbs. This is the result of the sensory nerves that ordinarily inform your brain of the position and location of the parts of your body becoming dormant, what is called adaptation by physiologists. It is exactly the same thing that happens when you no longer feel your clothes against your skin - the nerve endings adapt and stop responding. If you place an object against the skin of your arm and are careful to avoid any movement, very soon you will not be able to feel it anymore. The sensory nerves that detect body position and movement, which are called proprioceptors, adapt in the same way that the touch sensitive nerves in your arm do, it just usually takes them a lot longer. When you sit very still in meditation, this often happens, and awareness of the body will disappear. If concentration is good and Qi is moving, the Qi will often feel like little bubbles under your skin, like the bubbles in a carbonated soft drink that form and then move up the inside of the glass. If the awareness of the Qi also disappears, then it will seem that your body has disappeared or 'evaporated'. Sometimes people feel like they are floating and become convinced they are up in the air. Other times your mind will supply images to replace the information that is usually provided by the proprioceptors, so you might feel as though your body is in an unusual ot even impossible position. I often feel as though I am standing when this happens, even though I am cross-legged on the cushion.
As Qi sensations become stronger, they often feel electrical. I remember being on retreat one time when every night when I went to bed I would feel an electrical tingling that lasted for a very long time, often until I fell asleep. The first night or two it was mainly in my chest and shoulder on the left side, and I thought to myself, if I didn't know better I would be worried that something was happening to my heart. As the retreat went on the electrical feeling spread and moved about. Then after about a week it stopped, and I felt disappointed. These novel sensations are often frightening at first, and then after they no longer disturb you, then you become attached to them.
As you say, the correct approach is to simply observe them and continue your practice. Their arising is an indication of improving concentration and mindful awareness. Their passing away only makes way for far more interesting things to experience and observe.
I hope you find these comments helpful.

--- On Fri, 7/17/09, Liu Yunchang wrote:

From: Liu Yunchang
Subject: Re: [jhana_insight] Re: Michael's journal
Date: Friday, July 17, 2009, 10:56 PM

Dear Culadasa:

Thanks for your insightful inputs.

I am just thinking to write to you about my recent experience of practice and that seems also echos Micheal's experience.

First, as I have told you last time, a very strong(and it is getting really stronger recently) feeling of Qi is kind of leaking out of the body, traveling, tingling around the body(typically places: face, skull skin, neck, ears' area, the center of the sole and palm, anus, toe). Nowadays, I start to feel not so comfortable: the nerves and muscles feel like they are pulling each other and there are tensions. The mind still is easy to get into drowsyness and wandering, but I feel I can concentrate a lit bit longer.

Second, there were two unusual body experience, which I believe, somehow relate to my medition practice:

1. One day, after nearly two hours' siting (I usually have two sessions in the morning and in the evening respectively [1-1.5 hours each]. Before I go to bed, I usually try to remain the focus on breath and I fall sleep very soon), I went to bed. Few minuters later, I suddenly felt that my body, below the neck, had nearly no senstion, and the body like the water bubble vaporating. I was scared and soon I reminded myself just to be aware of the process and observe that. It didn't last long-probbaly less than one minute.

2. Last week, also soon after a hour or so sitting, I lied in the sofa and I felt there had sort of electricity connecting the whole body, also lasted like one minute.

I know I should just be with these sort of thing and keep doing my pratice. But, do you have simlar experience or testimony stories from other people, and what is the explaination of that? I know Daoist has a lot of literature explaining this sort of stuff. I am just curious.

But if you have any advices to my current pratice, I would be happy to hear.

Thank you very much.

I am very glad to hear from Peggy that you are doing very well recently.

I will not be able to join August retreat-I am applying the new chaplaicy program in UWest and that is the time for the new semester begining, but I definetly want to see and talk to you.

My warest regards to you and Nancy.

Sincerely yours,

Thursday, 9 July 2009

July 9, 2009 - a experience in San Diego

Date: June 25.

With Ven. Longyun, we went to San Diego to attend "Cognitive therapy and mindfulness."

We arrived at night. My mediation started from 9:30 to 11:30.

The experience: after formal meditation, I usually lie down and still try to mindful to the breath. That day, I did the same thing. Few minutes I lied down, suddenly, I feel my body like bubble evaporating. I don't think I had sensation feeling of the body, except the head. I was a little scared, but tried to remind calm and focusing that felling as I should do.

Ven. Longyun thought this was something would happen in the begining of meditation and something related to "Qi." If Qi unblocked, such thing will disappear eventually.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Feb.- June

1. Sensation on face: 麻痒(tingling and itching):像蚂蚁爬过(like ants creeping)。左前额最明显(left for head).
2. Like Qi congregating in forehead, skull, nose bridge, eye orbit area: heavy, uneasy of the breath. But sensation become strong. Recently spread to the center of the feet and palm, anus, legs and arms.
3. Have tried: massage, acupuncture, no noticeable release, try to intake more protein (powder, fish, pill, etc)
4. Regular practice: morning: 7-7:30 - 8-8:30am, 1 hrs or so; evening: 11-11:30 -12:00-12:30am. short session added when time allows.
5. Looks like can concentrate a little bit longer
6. Body: quite often notice tense of the shoulder muscle.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Feb.5 20009

In two cases: mind suddenly became very sharp after a quite long dull sleepy (may be 30 mins), but cannot sustain long;

In another two times, I have different experience about body: One time I felt like body became shorter (may be the feeling of lower part of body was not distinct) ; another time, I felt my hands locked each other (I was in "hand beneath hand" position).

Recent two days, I felt my pace of the daily activities getting faster unconsciously-I thought my average 3-4 hours meditation should slow that down.

I am sincerely considering to find a place to meditate full day in weekend.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

  • itching or electric-like feeling : lots of places, back palm, feet, epecailly faces (hair skin, mose and eye ares, earlode), in an after meditation;
  • recent days, i am have the apparent coolness, a bit itching-like, and dissolving-like feeling in my Right head during the practice;
  • Last night, after one-day class and work, and a "romantic period" with girlfriend, the sit was terrible, almost in sleep in the last half part of sit(one-hour).