There are two types of practice I have been getting confused between and recent conversations from this thread have helped reveal that confusion more clearly which has provided me an opportunity to ask for some help clearing it up. @how wisely mentions in that thread some practices focus on comfort and that the Buddha paid little attention to seeking of comfort or discomfort, calling this path "the middle way". The middle way according to many descriptions I've come across appears rather comfortable hence I have some confusion.
While the Buddha did not seek comfort, was the middle way comfortable?
I don't understand how this works in experience so I'll try explaining a portion of how I see it through experience and maybe someone will be kind enough to help.
I've been spending too much time involved with thoughts and feelings of late but when I take a break and notice I'm in the present moment, I attempt to recall I'm not my thoughts, feelings, perceptions, the situation... so I don't need to be so closely involved in them (Like being lost in a movie or character and suddenly remembering you're at the theatre or just reading a book). This detachment usually accompanied by a really nice deep breath and a solidifying sense of being "here and now" in the present moment.
If I'm allowed more time aware of being here in the moment, I like to sit on my cushion near the wall. I close my eyes (sometimes open) and concentrate and relax myself as fully as possible into the awareness of breathing. It usually starts to feel pretty nice if the earlier recalling was strong. I just stay like that as long as I can until something distracts me. If it didn't work well, I usually get distracted by a thought or feeling and that pulls me into another "movie" or "character". Sometimes it can be revealing if I remain unattached, sometimes it can be sense-indulgent if attached. If I follow the thought or feeling attached, I often forget that "here and now" sensation and become involved with thoughts and feelings again, proliferating them. If I follow the unattached thought, it often leads me to some bit of understanding that usually ends in sutta study on some concept I'm trying to understand better.
The above description of practice appears to be focused on comfort.
Some days thoughts and feelings are a tempest and if there were a being to experience them, they would be tormented and push away. Other days thoughts and feelings are tranquil and if there were a being to experience them, they would be pleased and cling toward. I understand there's past karma involved here in shaping present experience including thoughts and feelings. The tempest and tranquil days are a result of past karma. They happen until past karma is exhausted.
Is the practice to increase the frequency of "tranquil days" or to transcend the beings experience so tempest or tranquil come and go all the same? A marriage, a divorce, a birth, a death, the body responds, the thoughts respond, the feelings respond, but there is no being there? The tears still flow, the smile still forms but there is no being there to push it this way or that which makes new karma? Is this how past karma is worked off and future karma is not made?