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,