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how much concentration/effort in mindfulness - Dhamma Wheel

how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
delora
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how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby delora » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:50 pm

Hi there. I'd like to share my experiences over a few years of practising day to day mindfulness. I am not sure I have it right. When I first started reading about mindfulness it seemed like it was a totally new thing to ppl - due to the way it was presenting. I'm more prone to think that is not the case - however the degree to which we are mindful, does vary. I still feel I am an early beginner, and have many questions...

I have often wondered how much concentration one should use for day to day activities of mindfulness. Any thoughts or responses would be appreciated..

1. I am likening the effort applied, to concentration. I find as I increase effort, my sensorial experience feels more concentrated. I am aware of space more.

I find this decreases the amounts of thoughts I have. This can be helpful and not helpful. As in, if I get too concentrated, even reading and studying can be difficult, because I find you do need a bit of thought here.

2. I find that the more effort I apply, or the more concentrated i am, the more my day to day experience changes. Particularly things like my writing and speech. I am more conscious, and concise in writing. Again, this can be a good thing, and bad thing. I find the less concentrated I am, the more manic and perhaps 'creative' I can be. At least when it comes to brainstorming. But these ideas are more hollow and less thought out. Is this a common experience?

3. So I wonder, how much effort or concentration do people apply? I am aware that the ajahn chah lineage ( particularly in the uk - like at amaravati monastery w ajahn sumedho ) talk about not getting too concentrated, and being 'natural', but this does confuse me, as i find myself almost forcing myself to be natural, and denying or 'pushing out' concentration - which seems a very unnatural thing to do!

I have also heard of people say that concentration can be a forced or unnatural process. In my experience, concentration does feel like holding back... all the time. This feels to have it's plusses and minuses. Certainly, I think many people have confused me as being intense or having a bad time, when i have been fine. I was wondering if ppl had any similar experiences.

hope this made some sense,
thanks~

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:47 am


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Sobeh
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby Sobeh » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:12 pm


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beeblebrox
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:35 pm

I think that sati is probably better translated as "recollection." It's basically keeping in mind the goals (hence the word mindfulness), as they relate to the Dhamma... like the , for example.

rowyourboat
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Location: London, UK

Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:27 pm

Hello Delora

Do you know for what purpose you are being mindful of? Mindfulness or concentrations are not ends in themselves.
I suspect some of your questions might be answered then.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

delora
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:08 am

Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby delora » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:38 am

spiny - thanks

ryb - I have to say, that I do get lost as to why I am being mindful sometimes. I know Ajahn Sumedho places a lot of emphasis on "being aware" and in the "here and now". But I have to say I do get rather confused. Mindfulness, sati.. these terms seems to have different meanings in different contexts, and I get the impression (this may be wrong) that people, incl Ajahn Sumedho, do see them as ends in themselves. If it is not, then what is the purpose?

Here is an excerpt from an article about mindfulness which loosely related to what i was asking:

"There were dangers. I remember once trying to cross a mountain road, holding my two-year-old's hand, and realising that I simply could not judge the speed of the oncoming cars. In the present moment they were frozen, and the next moment was not in my mind. I decided I must have gone a bit too far. I have no idea what happens if you push this even further, or let go of even more of the mind. I have no idea whether continuing this kind of practice all of one's life is either feasible or desirable, although there are many who advocate it. I only know that I worked hard at it for seven weeks and then stopped. Indeed the whole process seemed naturally to come to an end. "

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beeblebrox
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:34 pm


Freawaru
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby Freawaru » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:41 pm


Freawaru
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby Freawaru » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:54 pm


rowyourboat
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Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:04 pm

The purpose is mindfulness is no hidden surprise. It is hiding in plain view in the satipatthana sutta:

...he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body...

It is simply to see the arising and passing away of phenomena as it is happening now.

The perceiving of impermanence, bhikkhus, developed and frequently practiced, removes all sensual passion, removes all passion for material existence, removes all passion for becoming, removes all ignorance, removes and abolishes all conceit of "I am."

Just as in the autumn a farmer, plowing with a large plow, cuts through all the spreading rootlets as he plows; in the same way, bhikkhus, the perceiving of impermanence, developed and frequently practiced, removes all sensual passion... removes and abolishes all conceit of "I am."

— SN 22.102

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Spiny O'Norman
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Location: Suffolk, England

Re: how much concentration/effort in mindfulness

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:11 am



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