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How to practice mindfulness effectively? - Dhamma Wheel

How to practice mindfulness effectively?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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EricJ
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How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby EricJ » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:36 am

In the past few days, I have had a surge of viriya, and I have decided to truly commit myself to Dhamma after a hiatus (if it is possible to have a hiatus before you've really gotten off the ground, that is.) It has happened so suddenly, but I feel more confidence in the Dhamma than I ever have before. I find I am able to meditate multiple times a day for longer periods of time (samatha variant of anapanasati). I'm also going to be moving to Portland, OR from rural Arkansas, which I find encouraging because my opportunities for group practice and teachings will be dramatically expanded. I'm also going to use the move to formally Take Refuge with a bhikkhu/teacher.

This brings me to my question. Although I have been practicing anapanasati 2-3 times per day, I feel some confusion about how to approach the world and myself in amindful manner. Specifically, it seems that there is so much to be mindful of that I sometimes don't know where to start, whether I should jump from object of awareness to object of awareness, or if I should just focus on my breath at all times. Does anyone have any advice about effectively cultivating sati? Also, is mindfulness a faculty which is gradually strengthened? Even when I feel I am being mindful (most noticably after meditation sessions) I eventually begin to lapse in and out of awareness. Also, I would appreciate any general advice for strengthening my practice in this stage, regardless of whether it is related to the subject of mindfulness.

In Dhamma,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

Shonin
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Shonin » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:45 am

As I see it, mindfulness can be of two main types: concentrated on one particular phenomenon (eg, the breath), or generalised, with awareness remaining in the here and now without following any particular phenomenon.

Either one can be practiced. The latter may be easier to practice as a default, paying attention to your internal state, sensations and external phenomena as they arise and practicing the former when there is something specific to focus on and when gathering your awareness.

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Goofaholix
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:11 am

Notice when you are aware, notice when your attention is fully with what you are doing, and notice when it has been drifting off somewhere else and you've just realised it.

That's all you need to do, you don't need to get bogged down in noting techniques, though they can be helpful at times they can also be quite bothersome. You just reinforce awareness by continually noticing what it's like to lose your awareness of the present moment and what it feels like when you are fully aware.

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Sobeh
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Sobeh » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:55 pm

I have a heuristic which tells me that sati notes the arising, persisting, and ceasing of body senses, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Noting the breath reminds me of anicca, and I try to simply note anicca (or anatta) whenever I recall the breath.

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retrofuturist
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:37 pm

Greetings Eric,

See...

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Reductor
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Reductor » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:17 am


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IanAnd
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby IanAnd » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:05 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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EricJ
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby EricJ » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:30 am

Thanks for the replies thus far. Maybe I was looking for a philosophical secret that was never there? I find the Bahiya Sutta helpful: "In the seen will be merely what is seen..."

I have another question. I have been reading and making an outline of Venerable Thanissaro's "Wings of Awakening: Part II." I am finding this enormously helpful. I would like to clarify something about satipatthana meditation practice. I have gleaned from this article that in establishing the frames of reference, one starts with the body as object (through anapanasati, for instance) and develops strong concentration to the first jhana. Once this is accomplished, one can extend the frame of reference to encompass feelings (the rapture of jhana, etc.) and gradually move through the other two frames of reference, all the while observing causal relationships so as to develop skillful qualities and diminish unskillful qualities.

Is this a correct interpretation?
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

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effort
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby effort » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:28 pm

i found out its better to choose the easiest object at the moment, so if in your daily life you are washing then you can choose between awareness of seeing, moving hands, mind, breath... anything thats mind could stay with that better.

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gavesako
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby gavesako » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:09 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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bodom
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby bodom » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:13 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Reductor
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Reductor » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:37 pm


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EricJ
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby EricJ » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:54 pm

I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

Reductor
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Reductor » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:12 pm


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EricJ
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby EricJ » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:36 pm

Thanks for that article suggestion, Ven. Gavesako. I will read through it.

And thanks to all who have helped clarify some of this material. :anjali:

Today, I was meditating (anapanasati). My breath became more refined and short as I was meditating, and I started having some intense sensations. For instance, I worried that my breath was too short and that I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I wasn't in pain or anything. It just felt kind of overwhelming and intense. But I managed to keep the focus on my breath, taking an occasional longer breath or taking more breaths. Also, near the end, I felt as if I was leaning/drifting to in other directions (as opposed to remaining upright), but I don't think I was actually moving. So, here are my questions:

1) Is this normal? Is it progress?
2) Should I actively strive to make my breath more refined, quiet, and short?
3) Should I worry about the shortness of breath?


Many thanks,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

Reductor
Posts: 1381
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:51 am


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Zom
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Re: How to practice mindfulness effectively?

Postby Zom » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:28 am



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