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From effort to effortlessness

Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
edited June 2015 in Meditation

Being mindful as a meditative technique, may be very difficult to do, with an overly active mind. There is no way to quantify how much time we spend with our attention entangled in Mind (conscious metal activity). However from my own limited experience I would have to say it is fairly high. I would say more than 50% of our day is being spent entangled or identifying with thoughts and emotions. And I feel that is a very conservative approximation.

So let's say 50% of our time is lost in mind (random thoughts created from interaction with the environment; past thoughts; future projections; fragmented emotions; inner conversations and residuals from the aforementioned). 40% lost in daily activity in automatic pilot mode (performing normal daily activities in an unaware manner while being lost in thought). So actually one could say, we spend much more time lost in mind than 50%. Because We are also sometimes lost in mind during performance of daily activities. And 10% awareness of body when It's irritated (e.g. itching, sneezing, hunger, pain and such). Maybe more than this if we suffer from some bodily ailment.

Now please keep in mind these numbers are only used for demonstration purposes. They are far from accurate and completely different for each person. This is ONLY an example.

So how effective would mindfulness practice be for a person who's mind is like this? Do you think that someone who has lived with a condition of mind such as this, could simply jump into mindfulness practice So easily? It's possible depending upon the nature of the individual. But for many very unlikely.

So we may want to begin our practice first, with a method that will be useful for reducing mind's wandering and proliferating. If mind wanders too much, how can we possibly stay mindful within This very moment? We are always in the moment. But in this case we are unaware of it in detail. We are lost in an ocean of thoughts. It's always running from here to there. Like a monkey bouncing around from tree to tree. Most times active and moving.

So we must make effort to reduce it's activity. This way mindfulness practice is more effective because mind is less active. This extends the gap between thoughts which is fertile space for realizations to occur. If our mind (conscious mental constructs) is less active, then our attention or awareness tends to flow more naturally. It flows where ever needed instead of being caught up in always thinking.

In the beginning, it may be necessary to restrain mind. We are simply training so that it will become habitually one pointed. We may eventually no longer need to restrain it. One pointedness becomes our natural state of being. But in the beginning there may be the need to apply effort to reach that point of effortlessness. Then there is blissfulness. This blissfulness is simply neutrality. We become neutral in our responses and way of thinking.

So what is this natural mindfulness like?
Well one's attention need no longer be restrained. Our awareness flows naturally. Without effort. And because we no longer identify with thoughts and appearances, they are like shadows with no power. They subside as quickly as they have arisen. And sometimes nothing comes up at All. Just silence there. No self referencing either. Mind is no longer. So is ego. But since one is not yet at the end of the path. Self image will be reborn again. Then death; then rebirth. Over and over and over until finally, possibly, maybe, never again.

So we practice for complete realization by recognizing our true nature and abiding there. Consciousness becomes habituated to this stateless state. It becomes our normal way of being. And as We spend more time this way, more of those nasty defilements and their sources fall away. They fall away because we are knowing directly the peace of non being. We know the feel of non suffering. So there is no desire to revert to our old ways.

Please remember that such words as 'non being' are a poor attempt to express that which is prior to words.

Should I continue to make effort to be mindful?

There is no effort required. It happens naturally. For example one is driving down the road. There is awareness of the eyes blinking; the feel of the hands on the stirring wheel; the sensation of one's rear end touching the seat. The vehicles in the front; the vehicles on both sides; even vehicles across the median are all seen clearly. The bird's flying at eye level of one's windshield; that single piece of paper blowing across the road. Even clear comprehension of the movements and sounds made by the passenger beside you. All this is known in an instant. With no effort at all. One's awareness is 100% at the sense doors. Not usually as it normally is lost in thought. The vividness is extraordinary Because remember our attention is now naturally 100% in the moment.

Awareness is free to flow in all directions. There is no identification and recognition, so sensing many objects at once is instant. No need to name or describe appearances.

Now awareness is not always panoramic. Sometimes its focus is a single object. At that moment nothing else exists. There is only one pointedness. Even when the senses skim over many objects; because there is no identification Or recognition everything is of one taste.

There is only one. Not many. Consciousness does not differentiate in the slightest. Differentiation is now a choice. To say that there is only one is also an error. Everything simply is.

There is a quote I would like to reuse from a recent post of mine because I feel it is related.

There's something we must all remember. Suttas and all doctrine have been interpreted by many mind's before being put into print. How can one know whether they are valid unless one has known for oneself. If what I express rings true to any of you then take what has been said to heart. If not simply ignore my words. I take no offense. The Suttas and such are simply guides. That is all.

VictoriousEarthninjaShoshinDavidBunks

Comments

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Tony_A_Simien said: So we may want to begin our practice first, with a method that will be useful for reducing mind's wandering and proliferating.

    Are you basically talking about sitting meditation as a foundation for developing mindfulness? I've found mindfulness to be like a positive "habit" which does become natural after a while, and it makes experience richer and more vivid. However mindfulness isn't just about being in the moment, it has the important function of developing insight.

    lobsterTravellerBuddhadragonmmo
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Tony_A_Simien said:
    Awareness is free to flow in all directions. There is no identification and recognition, so sensing many objects at once is instant. No need to name or describe appearances.

    Now awareness is not always panoramic. Sometimes its focus is a single object. At that moment nothing else exists. There is only one pointedness. Even when the senses skim over many objects; because there is no identification Or recognition everything is of one taste.

    This is so pleasant that I sometimes forget to rise back into practice and instead just abide in the pleasure of thoughtfree, constructionfree calmness. Nothing wrong in that but the wise would probably frown...at least a bit. :).

    On the third hand Ajahn Brahm calls himself a meditation junkie so... peace love and understanding my hippie friends.

    And if any Doubter would like to question what this is good for practically then try doing a IQ test with the monkey mind intact and then one after it is silenced.

    Many Cheers
    Victor

    EDIT: I forgot the huge bear hug. Sorry. Here you go! <3 .

    lobsterTony_A_Simien
  • 0student00student0 Explorer

    @Tony_A_Simien

    Why do you say "we" throughout? I mean if you're talking about yourself, why not use "I" instead?

  • 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
    edited June 2015

    Because his situation is not unique. I think he encompasses everyone to INCLUDE himself in these posts. He does not isolate himself from the hurdles we all face...

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Nice post @Tony_A_Simien

  • @0student0 said: Tony_A_Simien Why do you say "we" throughout? I mean if you're talking about yourself, why not use "I" instead?

    It's a convention when giving dharma talks.

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @SpinyNorman

    Are you basically talking about sitting meditation as a foundation for developing mindfulness?

    Not necessarily. Mental activity can be subdued by other methods. Continuous internal mantra recitation and anapanasati for example. These were my two main methods. But I rarely practiced them seated with eyes closed. They were always done during the activity of daily life. So now mindfulness naturally happens as a result.

    However mindfulness isn't just about being in the moment, it has the important function of developing insight.

    Yes absolutely. I agree 100% wholeheartedly. That is its primary function as a meditative practice. I did mention that in the post above. It was only a one liner. Because my writings are so long winded the message may have been lost. Perhaps I should have placed more emphasis on the importance of insight. It is most essential. It is the primary tool for cutting through defilements.

    But for This post the emphasis was not there for that aspect of the practice. I simply wrote down whatever flowed out, however it flowed. That's how I write. I don't actively engage in trying to think about what to write. I simply type as it comes out. Then proofread and edit for clarity if necessary. If I make the effort to think of something to write nothing happens. I need a catalyst, then I allow it to happen naturally. This forum and all of you are the catalyst.

    I wrote:

    This extends the gap between thoughts which is fertile space for realizations to occur.

    In other words, insight.

  • @Tony_A_Simien said: In other words, insight.

    A model I find useful is that of developing tranquillity and insight ( samatha and vipassana ), which are 2 sides of the same coin ( samadhi ). I'm talking about them here as qualities of mind, not as specific methods or practices.

    To put it in simple terms, when the mind is calmer it is easier to see what is going on. But it's also the case that paying attention has a calming affect.

    Tony_A_Simien
  • @Tony_A_Simien said:Because my writings are so long winded the message may have been lost.... I simply wrote down whatever flowed out, however it flowed. That's how I write. I don't actively engage in trying to think about what to write. I simply type as it comes out.

    Well that's OK, but personally I find prose easier to understand and follow if there is a little structure.

    Tony_A_Simien
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Victorious

    This is so pleasant that I sometimes forget to rise back into practice and instead just abide in the pleasure of thoughtfree, constructionfree calmness. Nothing wrong in that but the wise would probably frown...at least a bit. :)

    Yes one can become easily addicted to Samadhi, no doubt! Then the essential point of the practice would be lost. This type of Samadhi bares no fruit Because we are only subduing defilements not eliminating them. The function of tranquility practice is to subdue them so there is space for investigation. When we attempt investigation with a busy mind, too much activity may interfere.

    So Samatha practices are one half of the practice. Vipassana is the other and the most essential. We may not refer to our practices as Samatha or Vipassana but those are merely terms for calmness and investigation. We try to establish calm through some method then observe ourselves.

    But what if one's normal daily mental state is naturally thoughtfree and silent?

    This simply means that our consciousness is prepared at all times for investigation. We need not actively investigate. Investigation happens naturally. Because we are mostly thoughtfree, we can more easily recognize mind's identifications, attachments, desires etc. when they do arise.

    So then our practice becomes naturally Cittanupassana. Consciousness observing mind. Because there's nothing there when something does pop in we know Instantly.

    Now please don't misunderstand me. I'm not advocating thought annihilation. One does not have to Be thoughtfree. One simply has to not identify or give substance to thoughts.

    But in my case, as a result of practice, this is how it is for me. Of course not completely. Occasional thoughts will always be There.

    Just so you know @Victorious , you were the catalyst for this post. It actually started as a reply to a comment you made to me.

    Mindfulness through an entire day is still my struggling goal. I have not thought about mantra recitation to calm the excited mind!

    pegembara
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @0student0

    Why do you say "we" throughout? I mean if you're talking about yourself, why not use "I" instead?

    Because it is as both @SpinyNorman and @federica have said:

    @SpinyNorman said:
    It's a convention when giving dharma talks.

    @federica said:
    Because his situation is not unique. I think he encompasses everyone to INCLUDE himself in these posts. He does not isolate himself from the hurdles we all face...

    They are both correct.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Because his situation is not unique. I think he encompasses everyone to INCLUDE himself in these posts. He does not isolate himself from the hurdles we all face...

    @federica -- With the passage of time, I have learned how to cope with responses or assertions that insist on ersatz inclusiveness: Where "we" and "one" and "people" pepper the scene, I simply stop reading. I am happy to listen to and credit you, but I am unlikely to fall for the gimcrack of "we."

    Sorry to be the contrarian (I realize there is a convention involved), but it seems to me that Buddhism is founded partly in responsibility. Cozy and safe is not so much the point -- responsible is the point. A so-called -- or richly-imagined -- 'Dharma talk' is for the benefit of the listeners and, to my mind, needs to be delivered outside the realm of social safety. In this way, the listeners are offered the food rather than (however solemnly) being force-fed.

    But that's just me.

  • 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

    Thanks, @genkaku, but it is sutta/dhamma talk convention, and as I said, it encompasses both speaker and listener. so while I understand your stance, I'm not drawn to agree with it.

    :)

    lobster
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Tony_A_Simien said:
    But what if one's normal daily mental state is naturally thoughtfree and silent?
    This simply means that our consciousness is prepared at all times for investigation. We need not actively investigate. Investigation happens naturally. Because we are mostly thoughtfree, we can more easily recognize mind's identifications, attachments, desires etc. when they do arise.
    So then our practice becomes naturally Cittanupassana. Consciousness observing mind. Because there's nothing there when something does pop in we know Instantly.
    Now please don't misunderstand me. I'm not advocating thought annihilation. One does not have to Be thoughtfree. One simply has to not identify or give substance to thoughts.

    Verbal mental activity seems to me just to be a very long way to travel between inquiry and realization.

    When it is silenced the mind settles at the answer/realization much faster. It is no coincidence that this mindset is advised for investigation of the mind/mental objects!

    And Musashi said. Make your fighting stance your everyday stance and your everyday stance your fighting stance. But as I said b4. Still struggling. Got kids and cant go to fast either. For instance had to relearn being angry so I would give them a proper parental response. Ha ha...sigh.

    Just so you know Victorious , you were the catalyst for this post. It actually started as a reply to a comment you made to me.

    Thanks and good on yer.
    Why have you started instructing/sharing over here Tony? Do you have a own group?
    Just curious.

    Thought about the mantra recitation a bit and can see how it helps. Recited much gatha when I was young. Will use etipiso baghava for now.

    /Victor

    lobsterBuddhadragon
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    But that's just me.

    Dhamma cultivation is ones own responsibility. For the properly honed mind it is possible to learn Dhamma lessons even from the IS. (I actually have so no joke).

    Not that I am comparing Tony to the IS. Just saying.

    Cheers older brother and much metta.
    Victor

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    So much effort ... so little to do ... <3

    rootsBunks
  • @Victorious

    Why have you started instructing/sharing over here Tony?

    No particular reason. I just happened on this forum one day while doing a search. I read a few posts and thought it was interesting. So I signed up.

    At the moment I belong to no other groups. And have no plans to join any more. Actually, although I blah, blah, blah So much in my writings; I am a very quiet and solitary person.

    Earthninja0student0
  • I do ok as far as tongue consciousness goes. I don't get too attached to tasteful foods, and I don't feel the need to spend money on eating out either. I'm ok with just making sandwiches or spaghetti at home.

    I think eye consciousness is my weakness though. I want that nice looking TV, car, clothes, and everything else.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @Victorious said:
    Why have you started instructing/sharing over here?

    Hopefully we're all still sharing around here, because nobody should presume that they are that far close to Enlightenment as to begin to instruct.

    TravellerbookwormEarthninja
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Everybody has something they can bring to the table for sure. Sometimes we've helped us (or the little "them" and "me") find it.

    @genkaku said:
    But that's just me.

    I have felt the same way sometimes... I think we (haha) have to remember that many of the teachings were given in response to certain questions asked. There is so much to digest and some of us are on different parts of the path than others.

    Edited to add that @Tony_A_Simien had a disclaimer in his post for us.

    Now please keep in mind these numbers are only used for demonstration purposes. They are far from accurate and completely different for each person. This is ONLY an example.

    This is one of those teachings that I love to hear differing takes on and I enjoyed the read once I got over the seeming generalisation.

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Hopefully we're all still sharing around here, because nobody should presume that they are that far close to Enlightenment as to begin to instruct.

    Ahhh but why is sharing better than instructing? ;) .

    And why do you have to be that far close to enlightenment to instruct in the Dhamma?

    There is a Dhamma lesson to be learned from the smallest bug...
    Not that I am comparing anyone to a bug... :)

    Tihi
    Victor

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    @Tony_A_Simien said:
    I am a very quiet and solitary person.

    Then you are in good company. Ha ha ha.

    /Victor

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    @Tony_A_Simien

    @Victorious said:
    Will use etipiso baghava for now.

    Ok Rookie mistake. :).

    I will use a (very short) part of the etipiso baghava.

  • 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
    edited June 2015

    MODERATOR NOTE (for those unsure):
    Several posts deleted due to thread derail.
    Which of course, will not recur.

    Earthninja
  • 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
    edited June 2015

    FURTHER Moderator Note: 1 more O/T post dated.

    @Victorious, perhaps I did not make myself sufficiently clear.
    Please re-read my above Moderator post.If you have further comments for Dhammadragon confine them to PMs.
    Thank you

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