2.2 Mindfulness Q

The Elements of Meditation Practice 2 - Mindfulness
15 minutes
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Anyway, I'm curious what that was like for you guys. Any questions about that? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So I thank you for saying that I tried to give you guys two options. So one option for being more even hovering, and just noticing what was going on having a more open attention.

And that's perfectly fine. I love sitting in that way. Some people find that they like to work in a more narrower mode, you can still work in a mindfulness way in a more narrow mode. It's the distinction is slightly, it's a bit subtle, but in a concentration practice, you don't really care how something is changing. You don't really care about noticing all the little details of it. You just want to hold your attention there and you keep going and subtler and subtler and it's really about being one pointed and kind of, in a sense merging with what's going on.

Ultimately, in a in a mindfulness practice. You may have a narrower bandwidth, but you're really interested in how it's changing. How it's moving, what it's revealing maybe what other things are connected to around it, like how it's being activated. So you're it's kind of more of an intention is more around self knowledge, but self understanding. So it's it's a slightly different intention that you have with a mindfulness practice. So it can feel quite similar.

That's something many teachers will just teach you. One practice meditation and don't say that includes like my teacher concentration, equanimity, clarity, those are the three skills you're building. So he wouldn't distinguish between those two, but traditionally, within Buddhism, those are presented as two different paths, and I find them quite different. So you'll be able to remix or rework these building blocks in the way you like. And when we get to the end, we'll talk about what that looks like. In practice, should you be trying to come back to a place where it remains in Yeah, it's a great.

So the question is if you're getting deep into, say, a mindfulness practice, and you notice that instead of really sort of merging one pointedly with the object, which might be the long term goal of concentration practice, you're more in the midst of it, what should you do? I mean, if you're, if you're if you're that level of attention to detail, I would just sort of stay with that. It has to do with the intention that you're building in the practice. The intention of concentration, practice is really about peace. It's about simplicity. And so you're not getting into big questions about who you are.

And what this is you're just letting things be very, very simple. Whereas a mindfulness practice is more like I want to learn about myself. What's How do I change what's going on? And that by the way, that insight process, you probably know, it goes very deep. Like it starts out as being we're paying attention to thought patterns and emotional patterns. And but it eventually starts to become we're paying attention to the whole activity, the mind itself.

So the way in which the mind constructs this sort of balloon that we live inside this, this, you know, this balloon of sensory experience, you start to see how that is constructed. It's pixelated, you know, and you can, and that becomes that sort of turns into, in Buddhism, what I call a true insight practice or the progress of insight. Because you start out, you're really trying to deconstruct all of mind experience, watching it, come and go. And so if you're finding that you have a facility along there, that's a wonderful, that's a skill, and you can keep deepening along that line. Yeah. So again, it's going to depend like I, you know, there's different teachers, they're gonna tell you different things at different times, like sometimes it's like, you know, I'm gonna sit down, I'm gonna do concentration practice, I'm just going to commit to this practice and is one thing and it's makes sense to stay with that.

You want to build up that habit. But other times you're sitting in an opportunity arises, or a particular challenge, and then it's like so you can stay with your initial commitment or you can move into that opportunity. Maybe the best thing to do is decide ahead of In the beginning my practice Am I going to be open to grace to weirdness to challenge and explore it or do I want to just really practice being a samurai and staying on this and kind of deciding for yourself I been very add distractible, almost always go with the exploring. But my concentration sucks. So I need to get better at it. You know.

So that's the balance that you know we're always inside that. Yeah, great questions. Yeah. For some reason, I felt like very uplifted sort of, you know, animated almost. Right. And then the second time, it's sort of, there's almost like melting wax like a lot of parts of my body were sort of dislike some section just go.

Like this pyramid of melting wax in a good way. Yeah, that's very interesting. The melting is very much the it's the letting go. The softening the opening, like the areas of tension and you realize you've been holding, they start to let go. And there can be that, that wonderful feeling. But at the flip side, sometimes you can melt so much that you just turn into a puddle and you lose awareness, you know?

So but I it's interesting how the different practices affect us. And my view, Elisa. Thank thing. I don't know, anyone else noticed that? Something like that? Yeah.

But good to know me. So again, this is another value of understanding that we all have different nervous systems, it's like different kinds of intentions or practices are going to create different effects that it might be that might be the thing that you need right now. So being kind of being aware of this, I call this like being your own teacher, you know, knowing how like what's going on, in your experience, not necessarily looking for the answer, because there is no one answer about how to do a practice that there is absolutely not and anyone tries to tell you that is completely deranged. Like, it's just, it's just not true. You know, there's so much variety in how we are so Learning how to like, be curious about your own kind of taking responsibility for your own practice and is a huge part of it. And and it's that's a lifelong learning process too.

But it's very thrilling. It's very exciting because you start to realize that you can kind of, you know, you have a lot of autonomy around how you are. And you can create different effects when you want like, boot up. There's different effects like your video editor. Special Effects console of the mind body. Yeah.

Yeah, great question. That's, that's a wonderful question asking about the difference between exploring versus exploring as just thinking about something which is and it's absolutely true that it's very, they blend right and very easily one into the other. When I when I talk about exploring, what I'm trying to get at is being with the direct extension sense of what's going on. So the direct experience of hearing, so listening, the direct experience of feeling in your body, so you're sending your attention around and you're feeling different sensations, like the knowing is the happening in the body, the body is knowing that, but there can be a sense of the head, thinking it's doing it, the heads kind of look down from up here. And we can be aware of ourselves up here, kind of looking down at her body, and then we can go and start tripping out about it, you know, all these overlays of images about it.

So if you notice that happening, just go Yeah, that's the thinking process. It's awesome. Just notice the thinking of it, the what was happening and try to go back into the direct sensation. However, even more weirdly, you can also explore those images and that talk. And it just means if you're noticing it happen if you're noticing the imagery, if you're noticing talk then you're not in it, but there is a constant way in which the knowing is constantly being like everything is arising and the knowing and the thinking can well up and then it takes us away. And that is the challenge.

Meditation you're continually these upwelling zz are taking you away and you kind of realize you're inside the thing you're looking for, and then you can see it and then you're no longer in it. It's like these invisible whales that swallow us up. So it's just, that's a, that's the vigilant side of a mindfulness practice, oh, I've been drifting, or I'm daydreaming, or I'm lost in this thought, I kind of know that's happened. And I go back to it. And each of us will have different challenges. You know, some classic, the classic is something good as the classic three challenges or like, there's this sort of dissociation dreamer challenge of being kind of lost in you know, you're kind of not really there.

And that's, that has a, there's a particular way of working with that, trying to be vigilant around that and noticing it, but being, you know, nice to yourself. Then there's the kind of like, the more of the fight challenge like you're in this sort of reactive irritable mode, rehearsing grievances and, and that has its own flavor and quality. And then there's kind of more of a flight mode, you know, the fear anxious planning, worrying about stuff making endless lists and far beyond lists become necessary is one that I'm prone to. I'm putting all three of those actually. So they held there, they all feel a little bit different but kind of noticing what your rackets are and going, Okay, this is just, this is part of my, you know, conditioning. It's okay.

Probably it had some adaptive strategy at some point. But now you don't necessarily want to be feel like you need to be faded to repeat it. So you just let yourself feel it out. Yeah, totally. Right. So maybe I'll just repeat that.

That's a terrific point. I was actually thinking about Doing normally I lead a mindfulness practice with labels. But I didn't want to overwhelm people with too many tools and steps and pieces. But Traditionally, the way a lot of teachers teach a mindfulness practice, is they use labels, they use notes. And that's what your comment was that it really helps to clarify things a little bit to it prevents you from getting into these big thinking loops, because you're just sort of like a sportscaster calling up the place. Yep.

Like thinking, feeling, judging, hearing. And that's absolutely a legit strategy. I highly recommend that some people find labeling can be actually lead to too much thinking. It can it I think, is the skillful use of thinking to hack thinking, but it just depends on the person. Sometimes it can get confusing for some people as well and it takes it can take a little getting used to but can be very clarifying. So thank you.

Yeah. Just focus on the breath. Ignore the distractions. Yeah. Again, a lot of it has to do with the intention of what you're interested in doing for a practice. So you're saying that you have an intention that some Sometimes you'd like to meditate for to be this get peaceful and relaxed.

But sometimes you really like to explore some of these more creative dimensions of your experience. So there's, that's the legitimate intention for meditation, you can use that it's really tricky. exploring those spaces and not getting sucked into them. And particularly, you're talking about the dream space. Like when I talk about the dream space, the sort of image space that is ventually becomes dream space. There's more to dreams than that.

But there's this strong imagery piece. And there's the images that we start, we notice on the surface, but as we go get more and more clear about our experience, we can start to see that there's actually this sort of subterranean flickering of more imagery, and we can get more clarity about that we can start to see how They're linked to different feelings. And that can be a deeply productive place to explore. But it's very sticky. It's like it's, as you go into it, it's so easy just to get lost in the dream. And if you want to get lost in the dream, that's okay, too.

But it's not necessarily building up the mind, the way a mindfulness person would do it would be to go in that space, but really trying to stay kind of having space around it. And it's very hard because it's those images are designed to kind of suck you in. So that's why they don't talk about working with imagery a lot. I mean, so that so that's not true within other traditions of Buddhism, they talk explicitly about generating your own imagery. But not it's less than the exploring what's going in there. But there are other practices.

There's like Young's active imagination or our shamanic practices are all about following deliberate currents of visualization and letting yourself and you can learn a lot that way, like a classic sermonic type practice is to go into kind of that ideation that visualization face, and let yourself be surprised by what happens and just follow along with the kind of story there. And the way in which it becomes healing or helpful is not through the deliberate cultivation of clarity and equanimity and concentration, although maybe doing those things, it's more for the way in which we start to relate to our experience is inherently meaningful. So you're developing capacity to find meaning in your experience, that is a different dimension of freedom, you could say a different dimension of development, but it's a perfectly legitimate one. So this is why this is what we do at cc we talk we will explore lots of different techniques because they have different intentions.

So I think it's, I think, I think the way to do it is to make a decision at the beginning of your set, what is it you want to do if you want to explore those spaces and you make an intention to do that, and you do that, but you don't do it when you're if you're making commitment to try to build up your clarity or your concentration and then you end up in Dreamspace. And you go, I may as well just get lost in the dream. Because it's fun, that you can do that, but you're not going to be really doing much concentration, clarity. And since you've given yourself this time to do that, you know, why not just try to stay with what you start out to the mind also works, the more you repeat something, the, the stronger the pattern become. So you want to give these techniques a shot.

That's why they say stay with one, you know, choose, we'll talk about this at the end. But till choosing a practice, to have a go to baseline practice is a really good idea. I mean, that's the classic metaphor people use now it's exercise for the mind and heart, you know, it's like you're doing a work, you're getting a little workout. This is your this moment, this place is sort of like your, it's the gym, you know, it's a place where you're being really deliberate, you're in a relatively simple situation where there's not a lot of distractions, hopefully, it's kind of a pure culture. So you can really train these muscle groups, these attentional groups up in a more robust way, as opposed to when you're being pulled in all these different directions and you're kind of trying to do it. So that's what the value of sitting practices But of course ultimately it's about bringing that out into into life.

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