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Are you mindful?

There was a time I read everything I could obtain on dharma. Some books again and again. The gradual over many lifetime models seemed slow track and based on assumptions of rebirth that were not certainties in all dharma. So basically I had a choice of two models, the fire path of vajrayana or zen. Vajrayana seemed potentially dangerous and zen incomprehensible.

Practically all spiritualities, stressed the need for mind training. One particular book (forget the name and author) that did not seem to have an affiliation, stressed the value of 'mindfulness' or in the moment awareness.

Static formal mindfulness is found in sitting and movement based awareness is possible in a range of activities. This mindfulness is something we can attend to and eventually notice the same attention in others ... if we are mindful ...

Being mindful at all times is possible in my experience and can lead to continual insight into ones study. Do you practice this current mainstream favourite?

EarthninjaVictoriousnamarupa

Comments

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @lobster said:

    Being mindful at all times is possible in my experience

    in my case, i found it is hard at 'all times' to be mindful

    during the meditation, yes

    but other times it is on and off thing

    by the way, on what do you mindful?

    in my case,
    when i see things i try to be mindful that it is just four elements and a colour

    when i hear things i try to be mindful that it is just four elements and a sound

    sometimes i can be mindful but not all the time

    still i do not try to be mindful of tasting, smelling and feeling things because it is more harder than trying to be mindful on seeing and hearing

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Do you practice this current mainstream favourite?

    Yes..... mindful on the cushion and mindful off (cushion time being a deeper form of moment to moment mindfulness)....

    What I mean by being mindful off the cushion is, at times a thought pattern may take centre stage (preoccupying the mind) and if defilements begin to creep into the flow, out comes awareness's Dharma secateurs (antidotes) to nip those nasty defilements in the bud...It's my way of operating in the conventional world with an ultimate goal in mind...

    In other words negative thought patterns are no longer allowed to live long-term, rent-free in my head space...

  • @upekka said:
    in my case, i found it is hard at 'all times' to be mindful

    :)

    Exactly so. It is practically impossible. When I first started ten minutes was quite an achievement.
    It is very much a disciplined practice, most easy during simple repetitive tasks. One has to remember the mind 'has a mind of its own'.

    Continual mindfulness is an attainment and people do attain mindfulness in my experience.

  • @Shoshin said:In other words negative thought patterns are no longer allowed to live long-term, rent-free in my head space...

    I like that! Evict those pesky squatters!

  • ShimShim Veteran

    I have to say I have some issues with mindfulness. It sounds somewhat clinical and commercial to my ears, like there was an invisible trademark sign hanging around. (One of the reasons might be that both Finnish and Swedish language (and in many others, I presume) there's no translation so people keep using the English word and it sounds absolutely hideous. I'm a language nerd, you know).
    Another thing is the mainstream thing. Surely it can't work if it's something so popular! B)
    But well, I still try sometimes. Not for spiritual reasons but just when my head gets too noisy. Even my doctor has recommended it to me so I guess I'm almost obliged to try...

    @Shoshin
    Are you, by any chance, a gardener? :D

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited August 2015

    A person who is constantly aware that all conditions are impermanent(sabbe sankhara anicca) is likely to be one who has fully awakened. Such a person sees all phenomena as constantly arising and passing away.

    The rest have various degrees of awareness from none at all, or only during meditation retreats to certain times in daily life. We get pulled in by the attractive powers of those sankharas time after time.

    Heedfulness is the Deathless path,
    heedlessness, the path to death.
    Those who are heedful do not die,
    heedless are like the dead.

    Explanation: The path to the Deathless is the perpetual awareness of experience. The deathless does not imply a physical state where the body does not die. When an individual becomes totally aware of the process of experiencing, he is freed from the continuity of existence. Those who do not have that awareness are like the dead, even if they are physically alive.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/d_heed.htm

    lobsterEarthninjaBuddhadragon
  • Very interesting @pegembara <3 I have not come across this use of the word 'dead' in dharma. In Sufism it is used in the opposite way. The lesser self (monkey mind, egoic self) has to 'die' so that a more comprehensive being (Allah) comes into awareness. The eventual continuity of this process leads to transcendence in both Sufism and Dharma.

    This populist, 'simplistic' (but not simple to do) is very effective IMO. I make no apology for once again posting this zen advisement ...

    Attention

    There's an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, 'Please write for me something of great wisdom.'
    Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: 'Attention.'
    The student said, 'Is that all?'
    The master wrote, 'Attention. Attention.'
    The student became irritable. 'That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me.'
    In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, 'Attention. Attention. Attention.'
    In frustration, the student demanded, 'What does this word attention mean?'
    Master Ichu replied, 'Attention means attention.'

    Source: Charlotte Joko Beck. 1993. Nothing special: Living Zen. New York: HarperCollins. 168.

  • KarikoPuppiesKarikoPuppies Veteran
    edited August 2015

    I couldn't figure out the word mindful and looked up and found it in korean and I am still not sure what this means!

  • In the Pali mindfulness is "sati".

    KarikoPuppies
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    In the Pali mindfulness is "sati".

    Thank you sooo much, Spiny!
    that really helped, I typed sati with the korean names of that 7 factors of enlightenment and I could find the right one out of 7. yay~!
    It's fun looking up things that I don't know, you guys are inspiring!
    thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it. : )

    ok...
    now that I know what that means,
    so I can say that
    I am not mindful at all... its totally the opposite, train wrecks most of the time.
    when I practice I have so many thoughts passing by ( a lot of them are totally useless thoughts )
    I've been told that its ok and natural ( sign of being alive, I've been told )
    so I could just let it come and disappear or whatever happens just let it be.
    I have gotten better though I must say.

    pegembaralobsterEarthninja
  • ShimShim Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Attention

    There's an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, 'Please write for me something of great wisdom.'
    Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: 'Attention.'
    The student said, 'Is that all?'
    The master wrote, 'Attention. Attention.'
    The student became irritable. 'That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me.'
    In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, 'Attention. Attention. Attention.'
    In frustration, the student demanded, 'What does this word attention mean?'
    Master Ichu replied, 'Attention means attention.'

    Source: Charlotte Joko Beck. 1993. Nothing special: Living Zen. New York: HarperCollins. 168.

    I just found this story in a book that I'm reading (Anthony de Mello: Awareness.) Had a deja vu moment. :D

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @KarikoPuppies Your are mindful the moment you notice that your mind is restless. When the mind is still, know that. When there are thoughts, know that also. Conditions are changing all the time. Sabbe sankhara anicca. The practice is to be mindful and not to suppress those thoughts.

    You Are Not A Condition! But if you are not mindful you become a condition.

    Metta

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

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I like that! Evict those pesky squatters!

    I give it an LOL and an awesome! B)

  • @silver said:
    I give it an LOL and an awesome! B)

    Sorry, only @lobster has the hidden wisdom to do that! :p

    Earthninjalobstersilver
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2015

    From my zafu...

    To be mindful is to be aware of the incoming, passing and departing data from our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, feelings & mind.

    To meditate is trying to be aware of, but not trying to affect, any of that data by grasping, repulsing or ignoring any of it.

    I find it interesting that in order to manipulate the passage of that data, one or two of those sense gates need to be focused upon to the** exclusion** of my awareness of all the others.

    Perhaps this is just the way of my own conditioning & how I've learned to manipulate the data flow but it seems that as long as I can keep a simultaneous awareness of all of those sense gates, the passing data remains largely unmolested.

    How do others notice the arising and fading of awareness?

    ShoshinEarthninja
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 2015

    When the pupil/karmic pattern is ready the Master/Mindfulness will appear!

    Being mindful of ones mind fullness is an art and practice makes perfect (I've found that practice is ongoing never stopping)

    @Shoshin
    Are you, by any chance, a gardener?

    If you call growing weeds gardening, then yes, I was pretty good at that :lol:

    It's still a work in progress....but I am becoming more and more efficient at digging out the weeds from their roots :)

  • ShimShim Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    It's still a work in progress....but I am becoming more and more efficient at digging out the weeds and their roots :)

    Ah, okay. Those dang weeds!
    I just wondered because of the word "secateurs" :D

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 2015

    On a more philosophical note (I just realised this is in Philosophy-not very mindful of me :) )

    I see cushion time mindfulness as 'just' awareness of the somewhat intricate workings/functioning of ones karmic energy pattern...

    Off the cushion this insight/awareness can help to guide/steer the karmic bundle of vibrating energy in a more wholesome direction....

    If I were to beat my self up every time I made a mind full slip up (it happens^^ :) ) I would be just reinforcing old neuropathways patterns ( falling back into old 'habits' so to speak)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Shin in a way, we are all gardeners, BuddhaDharma sows the seeds and it is left up to us to cultivate, nurture and grow the wholesome and dig out the unwholesome from their roots, and we are all issued with Dharma secateurs which we can use for nipping things in the bud and also for pruning if and when necessary :)

  • @pegembara said:
    KarikoPuppies Your are mindful the moment you notice that your mind is restless. When the mind is still, know that. When there are thoughts, know that also. Conditions are changing all the time. Sabbe sankhara anicca. The practice is to be mindful and not to suppress those thoughts.

    You Are Not A Condition! But if you are not mindful you become a condition.

    Metta

    Thank you so much for kindly explain it to me! I will keep that in mind. its really thoughtful of you and I really appreciate it. :)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @how said:
    From my zafu...

    To be mindful is to be aware of the incoming, passing and departing data from our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, feelings & mind.

    To meditate is trying to be aware of, but not trying to affect, any of that data by grasping, repulsing or ignoring any of it.

    I find it interesting that in order to manipulate the passage of that data, one or two of those sense gates need to be focused upon to the** exclusion** of my awareness of all the others.

    Perhaps this is just the way of my own conditioning & how I've learned to manipulate the data flow but it seems that as long as I can keep a simultaneous awareness of all of those sense gates, the passing data remains largely unmolested.

    How do others notice the arising and fading of awareness?

    It appears that there is two types of conscious awareness. One is like a spot light and the other like a flood light(encompasses everything)

    The spot light awareness seems to have vested interest in the object. Like reading a book.

    Even this spot light awareness can be perceived as an phenomena. It moves by itself. Like when a branch falls behind you, it turns onto the branch. You never decided to do that. It just happened.

    Even this movement can be per curved through mindfulness.
    You are aware you are focused on an object.

  • @how said:
    How do others notice the arising and fading of awareness?

    As arising and fading ...
    ... which sounds very trite ...

    The constant is the non existent and that does not arise or fade.
    ... even more trite ...

    Mr Cushion has his own utility belt now ...

    Kundo
  • @how said: I find it interesting that in order to manipulate the passage of that data, one or two of those sense gates need to be focused upon to the** exclusion** of my awareness of all the others.

    I'm still not clear what you mean by "manipulate the passage of that data". Doesn't the manipulation occur once the data has "arrived"? I don't see how this relates to where our attention is focussed.

  • @Earthninja said:It appears that there is two types of conscious awareness. One is like a spot light and the other like a flood light(encompasses everything)

    I'm not sure about that, I think awareness always has an object.

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    I have a very bad case of monkey mind. Right now I'm just trying to get him to calm down and have a banana.

    lobsterKundo
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman you can be fully engaged in something with conscious attention but there is another awareness that is totally aware of surroundings etc.

    Like if you are thinking but somehow manage to step over a branch. You can also disengage the attention but still there is this awareness.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I'm not sure about that, I think awareness always has an object.

    I thought so, too, but apparently there's another level where the subject object dichotomy disappears. Hasn't happened to me though.

    Back to taming the monkey mind.

  • @0student0 said:I thought so, too, but apparently there's another level where the subject object dichotomy disappears.

    I would express this as saying that there can be experience without self-view.

  • @Earthninja said:> Like if you are thinking but somehow manage to step over a branch. You can also disengage the attention but still there is this awareness.

    I would describe that as peripheral awareness. So if we were looking up at an interesting bird in a tree or engrossed in our thoughts we might well trip over the branch.

    I think awareness is analogous to a torch beam, we can point it in a particular direction but there is a wider illumination as the light diffuses out.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @Walker said:
    Sorry, only lobster has the hidden wisdom to do that! :p

    Do not overestimate the powers of the dark side. I was only able to do this once for reasons even I can not repeat. ;) My teacher once brought up a screen in MS Word that I had never seen before. It was technically impossible, not repeatable, an undocumented bug. No idea what it was.

    The wonderous truth of software is when software becomes 'idiot proof', cyber evolution throws up a more competent idiot ... :)

    Not so different from perfect mindfulness v monkey mind ... B)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think awareness is analogous to a torch beam, we can point it in a particular direction but there is a wider illumination as the light diffuses out.

    Oh ok, I see where you are coming from. Are you sure that this has an object? Can you have awareness without an object? Maybe the object and awareness of it are the same thing.
    But I digress.

  • @Earthninja said:Maybe the object and awareness of it are the same thing.

    There is really just experience.

    Earthninja
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I'm still not clear what you mean by "manipulate the passage of that data". Doesn't the manipulation occur once the data has "arrived"? I don't see how this relates to where our attention is focussed.

    Perhaps you missed where I delineated the difference between mindfulness and meditation.

    Mindfulness experiences the journey of data and our impulses to control them.
    Meditation experiences the same but attempts to not activate those impulses.

    The only thing that I think you could be talking about relating to "focus" is where I spoke of mindfulness actually becoming ** limited** through the specific focusing on one sense gate in order to obscure the other balancing sense gate inputs.
    One typical example of this would be "living in your head'' (the mind) by no longer being conscious of your bodies view of existence, in order to manifest a myopic view.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @upekka said:
    by the way, on what do you mindful?

    That is a good question. @how has described the difference between focus and awareness/mindfulness.

    This morning I did a focus/concentration exercise loosely based on Shingon techniques. I needed the discipline. Basically I went through the roman alphabet (In Shingon they use kanji or Sanskrit) I visualised each letter and kept the mind there for some moments. I was very much aware/mindful of the monkey mind which was very busy. This is why I chose the concentration exercise. Focus for me is never too tight or too rigid. There is benefit in very tight concentration but usually for mind gymnastics. I prefer to be gentle with my over used mind.

    However in the sense of mindfulness, either during sitting or day to day activity, I would recommend what @how mentions - get out of head based mindfulness. That is something I do a lot - being sensitive or mindful of the body and with the body. A good practice is doing things slowly and carefully rather than rushing into mistakes and avoiding 'chores'.

    Hope that is helpful. :)

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I would express this as saying that there can be experience without self-view.

    I don't think I could make that claim but oddly enough it can sometimes feel that way. Kind of a self-view beyond self-view.

    As if the wind blowing through the trees is as much self-view as the body I typically identify with.

    An experience without self-view does sound illogical though as without the self, how could there be any view at all?

  • @ourself said:
    An experience without self-view does sound illogical though as without the self, how could there be any view at all?

    <3

    Logically there can not. Experientally there can be trees, wind, mind, no-mind, moments between being and being something else where we are but also are not.

    We are not our flitting. We can through the emptying inherent in formal practice 'identify' with the non attached spaciousness. Yes identity is still self but slowly it gets bigger, more open, less certain of its static eternal being, less dogged by being something and focussed on a flitting 'us'.

    Perhaps we can think of emptyness as something that exists or flows through our attempts to grasp its non existence ...

  • @ourself said:An experience without self-view does sound illogical though as without the self, how could there be any view at all?

    This passage from the Bahiya Suttta describes it quite well:

    "Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html

    lobster
  • @how said:Mindfulness experiences the journey of data and our impulses to control them. Meditation experiences the same but attempts to not activate those impulses.

    Could you give a simple example?

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Being mindful at all times is possible in my experience and can lead to continual insight into ones study. Do you practice this current mainstream favorite?

    No but brokenly. I still have not made it through the day. Sigh. But before being able to put aside major constructions of the everyday mind it is not possible to comprehend the Dhamma.

    So trying to be ever mindful in the everyday life is the Battlefield and the sitting down in contemplation is the Deep Down spearhead into the Dhamma Sea. Both benefit from each other.

    Cheers you Deep Sea dweller you!
    Victor

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited August 2015

    Yes but is that to say we have to train ourselves to see it this way or that this is the way it really is?

    If it was the reality would we have to train thus? And if it was the reality what is there to train thusly?

    The way it is worded is a bit tricky.

    There should not be a "when" you are not there if the reality is that there is only the sensed.

    Unless of course awareness does not require any sense gates and can manifest without the evolution of the brain.

    This brings us back to the idea of the ultimate truth being true self or at least true being if self implies something unchanging.

    Taking the relative with the objective, the objective truth changes just by the addition of every relative view.

    I guess it boils down to a question I would have asked Buddha had I the chance.

    Could there be awareness of the absolute without the help of the relative?

    I don't think anyone of us could claim to know this unless someone can remember something from before they were born. Even a past life won't do because it would have to be an awareness of between lives.

  • @ourself said:Yes but is that to say we have to train ourselves to see it this way or that this is the way it really is?

    The teachings on anatta and sunyata strongly point to this being the way it really is, so presumably the idea is to closely observe and investigate our experience in order to develop insight. That can be done both on and off the cushion.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    The teachings on anatta and sunyata strongly point to this being the way it really is, so presumably the idea is to closely observe and investigate our experience in order to develop insight. That can be done both on and off the cushion.

    The only problem there is that if there is only the observed then there is no experience we can call "ours". There would only be experience with no distinction between perspectives.

    If it were really the case then if we both painted the same flower, shouldn't they end being identical?

    Just to be clear, I am not asserting any specific view. I try to keep perspective from the middle of any extremes and so have questions for both sides of the fence.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I practice being mindful and am now better at re-mindfulness but am hardly mindful at all times.

    That would be my goal but I know if I try to rush it, it will be counter-productive.

    lobsterEarthninja
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2015

    It is difficult to discuss delusion verses reality when this is really just talking about views related to attachments as opposed to views which are not.

    The only obstruction that I've found to seeing reality has been my own conditioned behaviors.
    Nothing in particular needs to be seen in any specific way to see the truth.
    The truth can simply be that which is experienced free of such specific needs.

    So many spiritual hoops to jump through just to finally stop spinning ourselves.

    lobsterEarthninja
  • Mindful all the time!? No rest for the wikid?

  • @ourself said: The only problem there is that if there is only the observed then there is no experience we can call "ours". There would only be experience with no distinction between perspectives.

    Obviously there is the practical distinction of us each being in a different place physically and so having a unique point of view. I wonder though if our mental perspectives would be so different once we had dropped all the cultural and individual mental baggage? Presumably then we'd just see things as they really are, objectively?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Obviously there is the practical distinction of us each being in a different place physically and so having a unique point of view. I wonder though if our mental perspectives would be so different once we had dropped all the cultural and individual mental baggage? Presumably then we'd just see things as they really are, objectively?

    See, I'm often of the mind that we are in fact the same ever changing process of awareness and our individual aspects are more like scouts than anything else.

    I wouldn't put my faith in the notion but it does occur to me from time to time as being sound.

    I'm not so sure we could be objective in the absolute sense if we drop anything. I think it would have to incorporate everything without confusion. Perhaps we don't drop the baggage so much as organize it to our advantage. Like instead of packing dirty pants, we wash them first.

    In another thread there is talk of Buddha being omniscient. That he not only knew his past lives but everybody else's as well.

    Maybe to be completely objective is to see not only the big picture but to know it from all perspectives.

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