Daily Entry: August 29th, 2020


Intention (2200 the night before)

Let's go to the dilapidated mansion! Alarm set for 0400 for WBTS. Will practice watching myself fall asleep. Hope it will lead to proper WILD in WBTS.

Thanks for the dreams I'm about to encounter, however they may occur.

Oh! Also, I will grab this notebook and start writing the moment I wake up!

Wake-Back-to-Sleep (logged at 0400 this morning)

Actually skipped this (more in Wake below).

Wake (logged at 0700 this morning)

I woke up to a 0400 alarm in a groggy state. I think I wrote the haze of the abstract dream in that state and went back to bed, completely forgetting WBTS.

Around 0530, I woke up again, but decided that it was too late to wake up and do a proper WBTS. I'd probably not be able to fall back asleep. I did a kind of quick mental one wherein I thought "I want to go to the delipidated mansion" and also "I want to watch myself fall asleep." Around the time my limbs relaxed, I lost focus and thus didn't manage a WILD. Think it was close, though.

Abstract Lines

My breath dreamed as sketches.

Something I've been doing during meditation when connecting the stages of the breath, is imagining my breath as a continually updating graph. The graph is basically time on the x-axis, and how full of air my lungs are on the y-axis. I imagine an quick acceleration of intake of breath, followed by it slowing down as my lungs fill up, until no air is entering and I'm shifting to the pause between inhale and exhale. And then a similar setup occurs on the exhale. I use this visualization to try and contrast the speed and amount of air flowing into and out of my lungs between breaths, and also try to see how much of a mirror my exhale is to my inhale (I feel like the pressure in my lungs makes the acceleration of the exhale faster than the inhale one).

Anyways, I think this dream started out as that, but then the lines shifted into a kind of calligraphy. Further, when I visualize in meditation, it's a skyblue line on a white background. But in the dream it was white lines on a black background. And though the separation between inhale, pause, exhale, pause isn't explicit in meditation, in the dream the lines were broken around the places where the shift in stages occur.

I feel there was more to this dream but all I remember is the graph I'm more or less familiar with in meditation transforming into that calligraphy.

Visiting Friends

At friend's parent's house. Might've started as call to friend's parents. But now I'm at the house. I'm talking about all the books that helped me that I read. "Did the friends that recommended these books, did them seem different after they read them themselves?" I found this question difficult to answer. I'm pacing all over their house. Talking on the phone with them now.

I find a pair of tiger striped exercise pants. It reminds me of something, but I continue talking. I'm stuttering and really having trouble with the question. I give up and change the subject.

"You guys temporarily moved out so David or Pat could live here alone, yeah?" (Names changed even though it's their dream versions.) They seem as if they don't understand the question. In real life, this did not happen, potentially related to that?

I eventually talk about how hard the question was to answer and how I found those exercise pants. We all have a laugh.

Suddenly, it's night and Pat is visiting his parents. The sliding door leading to their backyard has become an entrance to an arcade/bar. There's a wait to get in even though there's no line and no one seems to be inside save one or two employees.

Pat and I talk a bit. About what I don't remember. While waiting to get inside, we order some sourdough bread. It's delicious. Finally, we can pay to get inside. I wonder if since we're paying to get in, all the arcade games that I see are free-to-play. I never find out.

As Pat goes to pay, an employee comes and picks a fight.e Pat avoids the conflict and deescalates. As we entre, he tells me he needs to make sure things are alright and made right and goes to talk with the employee some more.

I explore a bit and see a drink mixing station. Pat shows up and tells me an apology will be accepted after he makes the employee a drink. He asks me if I want one, but I don't. I grab some ice and water before the dream ends.

Distraut and Superheroes

I'm hanging out with my friend Andrew and a dream-native significant other of his. We are walking around admiring the BLM protest art. We find ourselves back at the beginning, but looking around all the protest art has been painted over or otherwise erased.

We're all a bit distraught by this. "It shouldn't be erased at all, but especially not before the problem is solved." I try to draw a comparison to WWII but I can't really find the words.

We end up talking about alternate reality fiction. A specific piece of fiction where the Allies became facist after winning WWII comes up.

"Isn't that a Marvel comic?" I ask.

"You haven't seen the movie?"

So, I find this movie and start watching it. The dream merges into the movie. In the same area where we were admiring art, there are now refugees waiting for a bus to safety. A fair amount of them appear to be anthropomorphic beings, of animal and inanimate object varieties.

A group of people come to attack the refugees and I intervene. At first, I'm a normal human with some sort of transparent bo staff. Looking back I feel like it was magical, but I don't remember it doing anything magical. After some time, my perspective switches to being a floating, anthropomorphic piece of construction equipment (looking it up now, basically an excavator, but there's two shove bits that form a mouth).

As the excavator, I'm constantly being thrown into some sort of trash compactor, but regularly freeing myself. Eventually, bo-staff hero who is no longer "me" helps me.

I don't remember anything else, continuously. But there was also a scene at some sort of "mad science" facility. A cat-woman is being experimented on. I, a woman scientist, am told to interact with the subject. As I interact, she transforms a bit, but so do I. This seems to have been the intention of the people giving me commands, but took me by surprise. Maybe a different dream entirely? Feels related.

Meditation (Day 85)

Intentions for the day:

  • Label the distractions, do it over and over so that it becomes automatic
  • Anything I have control over, try to do anticipate it mindfully
    • E.g. swallowing, introspective check-ins, even
  • Learn the various different ways I have to guide myself back to the breath
    • E.g. away from tempting distractions, away from posture distractions, away from pain
  • Trace distractions to source, see how much wandering happened
  • Try to note where the breath was when you label a distraction (attention, awareness, or forgotten)
  • Only adjust posture mindfully, microadjustments due to relaxation too (though just "relax" as a mindful cue is good)


So, I've kinda been jumping into meditation again without going through my prep process. I think I like this? Or, rather, I think there'll be value in alternating between a prep that's before meditation and a prep that's on the cushion at the beginning of meditation (aka the timer has already started). I did the 6 points at the very beginning of my meditation today, like I used to when I first started.

And it was excellent. However, it wouldn't have been so good without formalizing it in a document and using that document as a guide several times. Perhaps I could repeat the process and get the best of both worlds? Though, I have kinda tried that before, but then I end up "rushing" through it on the cushion. So, alternating may be better.

In any case, today, for sure, I never forgot the breath. And a gross distraction didn't occur until well over halfway through, I'm pretty sure. Gross distractions themselves were not too numerous, either, though they do still like to cascade when they managed to happen.

The process was just solid today. There was this kind of echo of focus on the breath that really let me connect the stages. It was like on exhale I was replaying the inhale. I tried to layer the previous breath in after a bit, but that was hard. I also tried to replay the pauses, but that proved very difficult, especially since the pauses aren't the same length as the breath. I think it may be doable, though. I'll play with it.

When I can repeat this experience regularly, I know I'll be ready for regular body scans (stage 5 practice). Though, I think it may be time to make some sort of trigger rule I can follow to do a body scan during an appropriate meditation.

In any case, today was another best meditation day! Woo! Always fun.

Also, reflecting on my dreams today... could the abstract dream have helped here? Hmmm....

Extracurricular Stuff

Lots of errands today, no extracurriculars. Tomorrow is weekly review, as well. Further, I think I could be doing more work on workdays, so I'm going to make that the "new project" priority next week.

Though, I say all that, I don't count:

  • music stuff with wife
  • dream journal (now a part of daily habits)
  • meditation (really ingrained into daily life)
  • studying Japaenese (though I want to level up this habit soon)
  • Anki in general (same)

So, like, I do plenty. Just want to tighten things up a bit and make sure things are getting the right priority.