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  1. 5 points
    The idea of the "dark night" that arises/may arise in meditation practice can create confusion, in part because of the loose way in which the term is used. From the perspective of the developed insight tradition in the Theravada, practitioners need to distinguish between pain that arises in the course of meditation because the practice uncovers painful experiences from one's past or present (e.g., any unresolved traumas/difficulties/conflicts/etc.) and the entry into the universal characteristic of dukkha. Regarding the former, in my personal opinion if one is committed to a meditation practice over time (months/years), one would have to be either very emotionally balanced or using one's concentration to suppress unpleasant psychological states to escape the arising of some kind of painful psychological states. Their arising is, again in my personal opinion, to be welcomed, because then we get the opportunity to go though what we need to go through. We get to experience consciously and without resistance our psychological scars and eventually let them go. Perhaps outgrow them. This is part of the natural therapy of meditation practice. Then there is the specialised meaning of "dark night" when it refers to what is called dukkha nyana, or "understanding of pain." Here, the pain refers to a deep, perhaps even unconscious, recognition of the structure of experience itself, the fact that we are not in control of all the circumstances that shape our own lives and that therefore we inevitably suffer, and there is nothing we can do about this. This understanding is an indication of depth of practice, because it is by no means obvious. It can be experienced in a variety of ways, depending on the unique circumstances of each person. Some practitioners skip over it briefly, barely noticing it. Some practitioners spend decades in it, and it dominates their lives. And every variation in between. In one sense, we don't have to concern ourselves about this universal characteristic because it will arise when conditions are ripe, whether we have heard of it or not. And it will cease, once we let go of it. In any event, whatever happens in the course of meditation practice is just natural process. Provided the practitioner has reasonable mental health and resilience, there is nothing to worry about. In brief, whatever happens in meditation is what is meant to happen.
  2. 5 points
    I have not posted for a while, and want to explain why. First, though, Merry Christmas to everyone, and our best wishes for the New Year; surely it will be an improvement on 2019! Shortly after my last post, Liv, Adrian (friend and ace diesel mechanic, and fellow crew member for trip back) and I drive 1,100km in a camper van to outfit and service Sea Biscuit. On the second day, I accidentally/carelessly pulled the engine room hatch down on myself, while standing in the engine room—my left hand was on the floor next to this hatch, which weighs about 30kg. It was a combination crush/sever injury: I nearly lost my index and middle fingers. I ascertained that all tendons were OK, and that no bones were broken, and then we went to work: Liv and I made butterfly bandages, pulled the edges of the profusely bleeding wounds together, bandaged the first two fingers, and got back to work. After doing all we could to get her ready, Tropical Cyclone Owen appeared and, combined with a massive low in the Bight, was the cause of all that horrendous weather the East Coast experienced recently (the one with the cauliflower-sized hailstones). Only today have I felt like doing any kind of exercise, so restarting the count. Day 1 SLS x 5 x bodyweight Ball of foot SLS, negatives, two sets of 5 SLS x 5 x 8Kg Best wishes to everyone for 2019
  3. 3 points
    Sun - Rest, considerable DOMS in legs. Mon - Lower. Mixed it up with goblet squats, sumo DL and walking lunges (weighted this time) Days 3+4 done. Moved to low carb diet today, Ill probably stick to same stuff daily pretty much; 3 egg omelette with cheese for breakfast, chicken cottage cheese and homemade soup at lunch and some meat and veg for dinner... no veganuary here LOL!
  4. 3 points
    January 3, 2019 Joe's Daily Jam All-Fours-Dog-Peeing-on-Fire-Hydrant Exercise x10 lifts each leg Thanks to @Nathan for this suggestion. A very interesting exercise for me! Especially with care taken to maintain a neutral pelvis. I initially felt like my abdomen was trying to sort out which muscles were needed to properly stabilize! Didn't feel a piriformis contraction initially but did feel some adductor resistance. Played around with pelvis position (neutral or tucked), and also with leg external/internal rotation. Overall, I feel like I could benefit from this movement. I'll keep it up. Kneeling Quad Stretch x10 breaths Much easier to maintain level hips...perhaps the muscle activation in the previous exercise aided in this? Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x5+ breaths Lying Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Some Kind of Side Bend x5 breaths Seated Piriformis x5 breaths Stationary Lunges x10 each leg As with the kneeling quad stretch, really feeling neutral pelvis stability in this movement. Encouraging. - ANOTHER FLEXIBILITY NOTE: Tailor Pose is nearly a comfortable sitting position. I'm shocked to be at this point, as I could never tell where the restriction in this position was before.
  5. 3 points
    @Matt Hill, take a look at yourself in the mirror: what you see is precisely a unique set of tensions; these are intimately related to your patterns of flexibility. All the lines in one's face (and elsewhere in the body) are formed by tension. This is why the deceased look so relaxed, too: the mechanism creating tension (our thoughts) has been disconnected. The major texts on this are Wilhelm Reich and Antonio Damasio, but that's a huge amount of reading and each requires a fairly deep understanding of the fields that each write in; both are listed in the Reading section (the "6 'Rs"). The Cliff Notes version is that each of us presents ourselves to the world in an unique way, and holds ourselves and moves in a unique way. Damasio was the first to discover that emotions are physical properties of held tension, rather than "mental" ones (although the closer you look, the harder it is to distinguish between these). So "butterflies in the stomach" or feeling anxious is the stomach lining fibrillating, in reality. Every other aspect about ourselves is similar. Acquiring new ranges of movement, and decreasing one's resting muscle tonus simply opens up options that did not exist before. Last point in this huge subject is that no living thing responds to stress be opening, lengthening, and relaxing: it is always the opposite movements. Opening yourself (this is what ST is really all about) redresses these natural, hard-wired protective mechanisms, and creates new ways of being. There's more, but this really is a HUGE topic: even your idea of yourself is a collection of habits, which are literally recreated and modified moment-by-moment. According to the Buddha, none of this is real (in the sense of being absolute or unchanging) and one of the goals of meditation is to have the insight that this is accurate (the core teaching is anatta, or no-self, if you want to look this up). It's a long way down this rabbit hole!
  6. 2 points
    When I did that search the other day, I saw them mentioning on Reddit that the imported stuff could be bought in the nicer department stores there. If you can't find anything, though, let me know - I can always send it! Well, the tea ceremony is truly an art and can always be refined further, so keep practicing That said, you don't have to be a master to make delicious matcha. You'll have it down in no time, I'm sure!
  7. 2 points
    Day 13; the SLSs did not happen B x bodyweight x 60; that got the pulse going!
  8. 2 points
    On a side note, I've had cold showers everyday about the last two weeks. I started it last year but never actually committed to it. Very easy to get started when it's 30+ degrees though haha. It's funny though the change in responses to the cold water. Even when it was super hot out the shower would be uncomfortably cold and I could only last small periods under the water. Had one yesterday when it was only about 18 degrees outside and I hung out under the cold water for a few minutes with no real level of discomfort. It didn't feel warm but it didn't feel cold either.
  9. 2 points
    January 4, 2019 Glute Strength Work All-Fours-Dog-Peeing-on-Fire-Hydrant Exercise x10 lifts each leg I allowed pelvic rotation into the movement this time while doing the exercise with a straight leg. Significant contraction in the hips, although I can't yet figure out what specific muscle is working most. My whole body needs to brace for this. Stationary Lunges x10 each leg Religious devotion to level hips. Joe's Daily Jam Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Lying Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Some Kind of Side Bend x5 breaths Seated Piriformis x5 breaths The ease with which I can get into the starting position for this stretch is a testament to its effectiveness, and the effectiveness of the routine it's a part of. Encouraging work.
  10. 2 points
    Fri - Gym lower plus 10' elliptical, and the customary 1k warm up row. Repeated the 4x4x120kg BS. Got a couple of weekends skiing coming up starting next weekend so going to have a bit of a push on leg lactic endurance; sorely(!) needed based on the 3x20 walking lunge steps. Day 1 of 4 dry weeks in the bag, and will switch to a low carb, high protein diet from Monday, really do need to shift Christmas excesses!
  11. 2 points
    Happy New Year everyone! Sun - Tue. Still taking it easy to shake cold. Wed - Gym full body including PHP and DL Thu - Travel then Battle of Bulge starts! I'm going to give some thought to a new program focus for the next few months too.
  12. 2 points
    December 31, 2018 Joe’s Daily 6 Kneeling Quad Stretch x10 breaths Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Floor Lying Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Some Kind of Side Bends x5 breaths Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths January 1, 2019 Joe’s Daily 6 Kneeling Quad Stretch x10 breaths Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Lying Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Some Kind of Side Bends x5 breaths Lying Piriformis x10 breaths January 2, 2019 Joe’s Daily Set Medial Glute Strength Work As my medial glutes continue to strengthen, specific stretches for them start to feel more "right." So, I'm going to continue under the assumption that my pelvis stabilizers need some work. Today, I did an exercise that I don't know the name of. Kind of like this: Standing, tuck the tail and use one arm as a brace on a wall or supporting shoulder-height handhold. Laterally raise the opposite leg, with a slight pull backwards as well. Hold the maximally contracted position for several seconds. Being careful not to drop the leg at all, attempt to rotate the foot outward. (this isn't so much a medial glute exercise as an intense contraction for something deep within the hips...any ideas?) Repeat with the opposite leg. Kneeling Quad Stretch x10 breaths Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x5+ breaths Lying Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Lying Piriformis x5 breaths Seated Piriformis x5 breaths Thought I'd try a couple of different piriformis-specific stretches to gauge their respective efficacy. Seated piriformis appears to be the winner for now, although I'm noting increased sensations in the piriformis muscle during almost all stretches it is involved in.
  13. 2 points
    Day 7, while driving to Canberra and back on family emergency business B x bodyweight x 25
  14. 2 points
    Day 6, feeling legs B x bodyweight x 50 (this made me out of breath; I came upstairs and Olivia said, "What have you been doing?") The baithaks are really interesting: even though you'd think they'd be quads-only (because you rise onto the balls of your feet, unloading the posterior line to some extent, because the trunk stays vertical) if your glutes are active, they are pressed into service, too. As well, they can be loaded, and once 50 is regularly doable, that is what I will do. My hand is almost perfectly healed now, so goblet baithaks are back on the menu as are plyometric baithaks (pop off the ground each rep).
  15. 2 points
    31/12/18- Happy new years everyone! Deadmill (backwards walking on treadmill- killer warm up for the knees) 20s on/20s off for 5 mins Reverse Step Up- bw x 10, 5 x 10, 10 x 10, 16 x 10, 20 x 10, 25 x 10 Tibialis Raise- bw x 10 x 6 Sissy Squat- 5 mins total mainly used reps of 3 Seated DB Shoulder Press- 12.5kg DBs x 10 x 5 Ring Row- bw x 10 x 6 Doneski
  16. 2 points
    December 30, 2018 Joe’s Daily 6 Kneeling Quad Stretch x10 breaths This stretch is, for the moment, replacing the "boxing the compass" stretch. If I go into a slightly deeper lunge and begin to play with the leg angles, I can move the stretching sensation into different parts of the quadricep muscle, which is where I feel I need the stretch more. Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Attitude and intention significant impact the quality of this stretch for me. I'm much better able to sustain my body's weight on my elbows alone without residual muscular tension. Hanging Side Bends x5 breaths Felt like I needed a more uniform stretch along the side of my body. With the kneeling side bend, it's sometimes difficult to ensure uniform lateral stretching through the side of my body. Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths
  17. 2 points
    December 28, 2018 Joe’s Daily 6 Kneeling Quad Stretch Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Kneeling Side Bend x5 breaths Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths December 29, 2018 Joe’s Daily 6 Kneeling Quad Stretch Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Kneeling Side Bend x5 breaths Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths
  18. 2 points
    Tue - Sat - Got a cold from somewhere by Thu, so taking it easy to try and avoid that lingering. Fair bit of DOMS from the squats, looking back at my notes not surprising as way more reps at that weight than for ages as I've mostly been maxing at 100kg recently.
  19. 2 points
    Merry Christmas everyone! I've been training the last week or so with more intent and focus then before. Feels good to be back on some structure. 20/12/18- Jefferson Curl, Split Squat, Tibialis Raise 21/12/18- Ring Dips, Ring BW Rows, Push/Pull Sled, Stretch 24/12/18- Calf Stretch, J Curl/L-Sit, Backward walks on treadmill, Reverse Step Ups, Nordics/Couch Stretch 25/12/18- Cross Bench Pullover/Trap 3 Raise/Scott Curl/Ext Rotation 26/12/18- 60 mins stretch 27/12/18- Split Squat, Seated GM/Tibialis Raise, Sprinters Low Cable Pull Ins 28/12/18- DB Shoulder Press, Chins, Sled Push/Pull So far so good. Training Monday-Friday and may add in a slow run and some additional stretching on the weekends.
  20. 2 points
    December 27, 2018 Joe’s Daily 6 Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths Kneeling Quad Stretch Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Kneeling Side Bend x5 breaths Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths
  21. 2 points
    When I started, at age 27, my knees were up around my shoulders—so I was way stiffer than you are now. And the secret to straightening out your toes, ankles, and feet (third image) is to put something in between your bottom and feet that is just enough to let you sit in that position for time—ten minutes or so, every day. Rock back occasionally. And, if the toes/ankles part of that equation is the most restricted, put an additional thin support under just your shins (so the foot does not have to straighten as much). Using props like this to make any position actually do-able is the key. Same with the tailor pose: have soft, deformable supports under the knees (so between knee and floor); then do both contractions. Let the legs rest on the supports; in time, reduce the supports. All these techniques are explained in Stretching & Flexibility; that book is designed for beginners. As for timeline: that depends only on you. Go to our Youtube channel, too; look for RollStretch; the stick between the legs technique will get your bottom to your heels quickly.
  22. 2 points
    Day 3, waiting in city park for Liv, (negative SLS x bodyweight x 5) x 2; definitely stronger in these. Multiple attempts to stand up from bottom position. BBs (coming out of the bottom position fast enough to leave the ground) BB x bodyweight x 20 SSs (same idea, but flat foot position) bodyweight x 15 modest jumps onto concrete blocks, ~around 450–600mm x 5; I feel like I have lost a lot of spring, so these are back on the menu.
  23. 2 points
    Spent all yesterday at a spa, melting in hot water and trying to relax as much as possible. Did I manage to fully let any tension go? Not really, but now my skin is smooth as silk. Sadly I didn't have time/energy to meditate. ------ Deadlift: 1x5x132,5kg + 1x6x120kg Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (10-7-6-6) Dead hangs: 2 sets 1m10s + 1m05s ; meh.
  24. 2 points
    December 23, 2018 Joe’s Daily 5 Lying TFL/Medial Glute stretch xMany breaths This is one stretch where the level of concentration significantly affects the effectiveness of the release. There are so many angles to play with in terms of just how the TFL or Medial Glute are stretched. Additionally, the relaxation I've experienced so far in this muscle has dramatically changed the way stretches in completely different muscles feel. Like there's some kind of redistribution of elasticity. Floor Upper & Middle Back Stretch x10 breaths Elbow Backbend x10 breaths Kneeling Side Bend x5 breaths Wish I had a mirror for this one. Chair Seated Piriformis x10 breaths MTS L4: Baby flop ...shocked to discover how much improvement I'm seeing in this movement without stretching it directly. It truly feels like a flop now! L7: Seated Figure 4 Still feel some sharp pinching sensation in my left hip if I close the angle between my torso and left femur too much. Lunge x5 breaths
  25. 2 points
    I agree with what @ScottieFwrote above and want to add that "the dark night of the soul" can look and feel very different to different people, and some people do not experience it on the path, at least not in a way that would be recognised by many others who have written on this subject. I have had the experience that might be labelled that way—but it was not experienced as the kind of massive depression that (say) Eckhart Tolle writes about when it happened to me. Without going into detail here, I have experienced the deep reality of anatta, or no-self (and in Zen this is the 'small death' [death of the idea of self] that precedes the large death), but I found this as absolutely wonderful, and freeing. Sure, seeing clearly that the "I" that thinks it's me is not real was a frightening for a few moments (well, actually, I had no idea of how long it lasted), but to be honest, that realisation was a deep relief. Now I can get on with living! And, for sure, if you expect something to be really challenging, it's likely to be just that!
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