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What IS Right Effort...?

bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
edited June 2015 in Meditation

For me when I establish mindfulness on the breath when sitting in meditation on a few occasions I feel part of the world but its like i'm not part of it, there is a peaceful feeling of seclusion, a feeling of being in harmony that arises quickly, always right at the start of closing my eyes and watching my breath, like within seconds, I don't always find it though, sometimes I feel I have to find the right type of mindfulness, in some of my meditation sessions I feel drowsy and many thoughts will arise when I don't put in enough effort, or if my heart isn't into meditating, it helps to have confidence in myself, if I feel my mindfulness isn't right then I open my eyes again and start over, I sometimes restart several times if feel that my mindfulness isn't right, its kind of like tuning a guitar, it can be frustrating sometimes, that feeling of harmony is hard to get, I've only felt it a handful of times, not many, its not always there, but I think I know how to get it, but I usually continue anyway even when that feeling is not there, that is when I feel that my mindfulness is at least sharp enough for me to stay with the breath without controlling it, thoughts do arise but not many times, but it doesn't weaken my mindfulness for me to notice breathing happening on its own after a little while, but I prefer to have that harmonious feeling at the start of my meditation though.

What do you consider to be good mindfulness/Right Effort in your meditation?

Comments

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Having the intention of renunciation in my meditation would help.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Engaging brain before putting mouth in gear....

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I don't know if you mean only when meditating or just generally being mindful - it appears you mean only when meditating, but that's all wrong. Mindfulness 'should' go on most or all of the time and it's a flow sort of thing. I mean hey, once you're born into this world it's flow all of the time -- like the white feather in the movie, Forest Gump. It has its stops but it floats. We're in the river -- that's how I think of it. I don't know where you get your notions from, but it's not helping to think in terms of having to stop and restart!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Sometimes I am more mindful than others, but mindfulness is always good.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @federica said:
    Engaging brain before putting mouth in gear....

    What do you mean?

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Perhaps its not my mindfulness that needs to be in tune, but it is myself.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @bookworm said:
    What do you mean?

    Think good, long and hard before you utter a single syllable.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @bookworm said:
    Perhaps its not my mindfulness that needs to be in tune, but it is myself.

    The two are separate, are they......?

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Bhikkhus, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial; and the pursuit of self mortification, which is painful, ignoble, unbeneficial. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata has awakened to the middle way, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebsut001.htm

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @federica said:
    Think good, long and hard before you utter a single syllable.

    I don't understand what you mean?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @bookworm said:

    There's the pot calling the kettle black....!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    As I said. Pot, kettle.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Did I say something inappropriate?

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Pot, kettle?

    I'm not understanding what you are saying.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "What do you consider to be good mindfulness?"

    Shaken but not stirred [up]

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I'm past it and have moved on....

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I'm not sure about "good" mindfulness.
    But plain mindfulness is being present here and now, aware of our body, our mind, our feelings and our perception of the world, without getting carried away by either, and without assigning any emotional gradation to the experience.
    It's usually a non-verbal experience.
    Your description, @bookworm, sounds to me as if you had overintellectualized the experience.
    Of course, probably just my impression.

    howlobsterShoshin
  • @bookworm said:> What do you consider to be good mindfulness in your meditation?

    Continuity is good!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @bookworm said:
    What do you consider to be good mindfulness in your meditation?

    As usual I feel @how has described it well.

    Mindfulness is attentiveness. For me it is not about:

    • Knowing oneself
    • Attaching to harmony, or anything else come to that
    • Trance
    • Bliss
    • Serenity

    etc.

    no sir

    'Attention, attention, attention' as a zenith once said ...

    This attentive awareness, cognitive minding, mindfulness is present before, during and after formal sitting.

    So all of the above may occur in or out of formal sitting, they may occur during yoga, prostrations, contemplating the dharma, walking on the beach etc.

    So too do thoughts, sensations, not-being, oneness etc arise.

    Nothing of any import. All is Mind. <3

  • @lobster said:Bliss

    Bliss?! Sheer luxury!

    lobster
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Since it leads to increase in wholesome states and to the decline of unwholesome ones, then it is worth pursuing.

    lobsterBuddhadragon
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    @DhammaDragon to be more accurate, it is about getting all eight factors of the path working together.
    BuddhadragonShoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    shamata is hard work. but remember it isn't the goal but only a tool.

  • DaozenDaozen Veteran

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Right_Exertions

    The Four Right Exertions (cattārimāni sammappadhānāni) are defined with the following traditional phrase:

    "There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for:
    "[i] the sake of the non-arising [anuppādāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
    "[ii] ... the sake of the abandonment [pahānāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
    "[iii] ... the sake of the arising [uppādāya] of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
    "[iv] ... the maintenance [ṭhitiyā], non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen."
    

    These may be summarized as:

    1. Restraint (saṃvara padhāna) of the senses.
    2. Abandonment (pahāna padhāna) of defilements.
    3. Cultivation (bhāvanā padhāna) of Enlightenment Factors.
    4. Preservation (anurakkhaṇā padhāna) of concentration, for instance, using charnel-ground contemplations.
    

    In other words:

    "to be diligent amounts to keeping up one's concentration with balanced but dedicated continuity, returning to the object of meditation as soon as it is lost" -- Analayo

    Or finally, simply:

    "just keep coming back" -- Pema Chodron

    Namaste

    lobster
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Jeffrey said:
    shamata is hard work. but remember it isn't the goal but only a tool.

    There was a monk in Tang Dynasty China who was practising sitting mediation very hard, day and night. He thought he was practising harder than anyone else, and was proud of this. He sat like a rock day and night, but his suffering was not transformed. One day a teacher asked him "Why are you sitting so hard?" and the monk replied "To become a Buddha!". The teacher picked up a tile and began polishing it, and the monk asked "Teacher, what are you doing?". His master replied "I am making a mirror". The monk asked, "How can you make a tile into a mirror?" and his teacher replied "How can you become a BUddha by sitting?".

    -- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Buddha's Teaching pp 99-100

    lobster
  • @Daozen said:> "just keep coming back" -- Pema Chodron

    Mindfulness is certainly the key.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    The middle way is the key.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2015

    ^^^ good thing there are 84000 Dharma doors ...

    EarthninjaDavid
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    so do we take door 42,000 or 42,001?

  • KennethKenneth Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @federica said:
    so do we take door 42,000 or 42,001?

    Suddenly an episode of "Lets Make A Deal" breaks out. No wait, only 3 doors there. I'll take door number 2.

    @Daozen said:

    "just keep coming back" -- Pema Chodron

    Short and sweet, I like it. Man, some sits it's just over and over and over again. Hindrance number 4 is my biggest problem.

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    @bookworm said:
    For me when I establish mindfulness on the breath when sitting in meditation on a few occasions I feel part of the world but its like i'm not part of it, there is a peaceful feeling of seclusion, a feeling of being in harmony that arises quickly, always right at the start of closing my eyes and watching my breath, like within seconds, I don't always find it though, sometimes I feel I have to find the right type of mindfulness, in some of my meditation sessions I feel drowsy and many thoughts will arise when I don't put in enough effort, or if my heart isn't into meditating, it helps to have confidence in myself, if I feel my mindfulness isn't right then I open my eyes again and start over, I sometimes restart several times if feel that my mindfulness isn't right, its kind of like tuning a guitar, it can be frustrating sometimes, that feeling of harmony is hard to get, I've only felt it a handful of times, not many, its not always there, but I think I know how to get it, but I usually continue anyway even when that feeling is not there, that is when I feel that my mindfulness is at least sharp enough for me to stay with the breath without controlling it, thoughts do arise but not many times, but it doesn't weaken my mindfulness for me to notice breathing happening on its own after a little while, but I prefer to have that harmonious feeling at the start of my meditation though.

    What do you consider to be good mindfulness/Right Effort in your meditation?

    Either go from absorption to being mindful of objects(feelings/mental activities) or from being mindful into absorption. No matter.

    It is not about feeling right. It is about doing right. Going from breath to being mindful of feelings and mental activity.

    According to Miyamoto Musashi. Make the everyday stance the fighting stance and the fighting stance the everyday stance.

    It should be the same thing.

    Practically, this helps me.

    Drowsiness can be due to too much focus, too narrow focus. Remember lots of things are there in absorption no need to tighten it too much, if the focus becomes too tight you loose track of the path and goal and drowsiness ensues. Widen the object of focus. Find the inspiration for the cultivation.

    When the drowsiness is persistent: Go to bed. Or sleep sitting for a while. Just stop fighting and let it go.

    Being too agitated is best cured with calming breath meditation and tightening the focus, making it narrower.

    Dont restart(you cant actually, mind has moved on already). Frustration is a mental activity. Study it. Where it arises, How long it lasts. When it disappears. Learn how not to let frustration arise again.

    Right effort is (as you well know) Encourage good inclinations arising, remove distractions, keep good factors and prevent hindrances from arising.

    Hope some of it helps.
    /Victor

    JeffreylobsterNamada
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Jhana born from the noble eightfold path is the best.

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @bookworm said:
    Jhana born from the noble eightfold path is the best.

    That was interesting. Can you expand? Have you tried Kasina too...or?

    I never found the inspiration to endure. But when culivating the path focus comes naturally.

    /Victor

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I'm not sure if I know how to, I haven't attained jhana from right concentration. And no I haven't tried kasina, I might If I go on a retreat.

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    If I had to list the Noble Eightfold Path, I'd probably struggle to do so, but I like the way they can fall into three headings:

    1. Living an ethical lifestyle.
    2. A practise of compassion.
    3. The cultivation of wisdom (via mindfullness/meditation).

    I generally don't break stuff down into the individual parts and think, "I will now practise 'right effort'". I'll just try to be ethical, kind, and get some meditation in and I think that covers the 8fold path.

    Victorious
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @bookworm said:
    I'm not sure if I know how to, I haven't attained jhana.

    I dont like words like jhana and sotapanna. I have no idea what they mean or rather what other people would like them to mean. =) . They are much like the word "Feminism".

    bookworm
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