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Everything is a learning experience

That's what mindfulness is about. It is not about mechanically noting things - anyone can do that, and besides that's pointless. We note things in order to gain insight. So all life is a learning experience - you keep your eyes and ears open, learn new things. That's mindfulness. It is not about your breath, thoughts, awareness. It is about life.

wangchuey

Comments

  • 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 April 2014

    Mindfulness means you are aware of your responses to outside stimulii, to perceptions, and you act skilfully accordingly.
    Mindfulness is about how you respond to things, not how you absorb them in the first place.
    Mindfulness means you are watching your'self' every step of the way.
    it actually little matters WHAT'S going on "out there" - it's far more important that you carefully measure what's going on "in here".

    personZenshinStraight_ManThailandTom
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited April 2014

    It's learning through direct experience and without requiring thought, as opposed to what we normally take learning to mean.

  • Mindfulness means accurate perception of what is helping and hurting along the path.

    lobster
  • @federica said:
    Mindfulness means you are aware of your responses to outside stimulii, to perceptions, and you act skilfully accordingly.
    Mindfulness is about how you respond to things, not how you absorb them in the first place.
    Mindfulness means you are watching your'self' every step of the way.
    it actually little matters WHAT'S going on "out there" - it's far more important that you carefully measure what's going on "in here".

    Exactly. What happens outside is just a trigger, how we respond is important and must be observed. For instance, someone may be trolling. That's just a trigger. How we respond to that trolling inside - is there anger or frustration, or is there acceptance? - that's the key issue. These things inside must be noted and understood.

  • 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.... are we done here, then?

    :o)

    ThailandTomKundo
  • Applying what you have learned is part of the practice or else everything is just words and images on a hardrive without the actual experience. I think mindfulness is one of those things that can be used many ways in both learning and experiencing. Just as our senses can be used to read, listen, watch a movie, or actual experience.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited April 2014

    I half agree. Mindfulness is about noting and being aware of our thoughts and feelings. Your overall point though, I think, is what is the point or benefit of doing that? We're not training to be mindful just for the sake of being mindful, the benefit, as you say, of being mindful is so we can gain insight and improve our lives.

    JeffreyZenshin
  • jaynejayne Explorer

    I see mindfulness as being fully present in the NOW so if I'm trying to think about what I'm learning, what I'm feeling, I'm not fully present. For me, being mindful is being fully aware of the Present moment, not thinking about it, just experiencing it

    JeffreylobsterCitta
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I don't think one can simply discount X Y or Z. For people just starting out, learning how to notice and follow the breath is the first step of mindfulness. Until one can do things like that, there isn't much chance of bringing that awareness into every day life. If you cannot note your breathe, you will have a much harder time noting your reactions much less learning how to understand them and change them.

  • Maha Ati
    by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
    part 7

    To provide for this eventuality many classes of preliminary meditation practices have been developed over the centuries of buddhist practice, the most important being meditations on breathing, mantra recitation, and visualization techniques.
    To engage in the second and third of these classes, personal instruction from one's guru is required, but a few words on the first would not be out of place here as the method used varies little from person to person.
    First, let the mind follow the movement of the breath, in and out, until it becomes calm and tranquil. Then increasingly rest the mind on the breath until one's whole being seems to be identified with it.
    Finally, become aware of the breath leaving the body and going out into space, and gradually transfer the attention from the breath to the sensation of spaciousness and expansion.
    By letting this final sensation merge into complete openness, one moves into the sphere of formless meditation.

  • If somebody in your life causes you alot of suffering than you should keep that person around because through suffering you will grow.

  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran

    @federica said:
    Mindfulness means you are aware of your responses to outside stimulii, to perceptions, and you act skilfully accordingly.
    Mindfulness is about how you respond to things, not how you absorb them in the first place.
    Mindfulness means you are watching your'self' every step of the way.
    it actually little matters WHAT'S going on "out there" - it's far more important that you carefully measure what's going on "in here".

    Uh, it's probably best to pay attention to what's "in here" and what's "out there."

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @heyimacrab said:
    If somebody in your life causes you alot of suffering than you should keep that person around because through suffering you will grow.

    I wouldn't advise people who are being physically or mentally abused to stay around the perpetrator......I'm sure that's not what you meant though.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I'm not sure I agree with that, @heyimacrab‌. I understand what you are saying, and most certainly people who are difficult/challenging help us learn and grow. But that doesn't mean you purposely put yourself in bad situations to force yourself to learn something. There is a reason Buddha said not to spend your time on foolish people. But, what that means of course is a bit open to interpretation, as usual. Often times when you submerge yourself in toxic people and situations it just causes more problems. Not only that, but it allows the person who is harming you to continue their behavior and thereby earning themselves more negative karma just so that you can earn positive karma, or lessons. That doesn't seem quite like the right way to go.

    Bunks
  • @heyimacrab said:
    If somebody in your life causes you alot of suffering than you should keep that person around because through suffering you will grow.

    I tried. I didn't grow, although my ulcers did. So no thanks. I'd rather kick them out and stay happy.

    Bunks
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @betaboy said:
    ....anyone can do that...

    Very few people can do that consistently in my experience.

    Kundo
  • 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

    @SpinyNorman, I'm inclined to agree.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited April 2014

    I definitely agree.

    I am unsure of the way that you are using 'insight' here @betaboy.

    Insight capital 'I', in Buddhism is used in a specific way.

    Its not about gaining information.

    Its not even about improving anything..

    Its the English ( and unsatisfactory ) way of describing a process whereby a realisation the real nature of things arises in a non-verbal way, as a result of one pointedness..

    Mindfulness ( sati in Pali or smriti in Sanskrit ) is part of the process by which one pointedness is reached.

    Another translation of sati or smriti is 'recollection'.. not in the sense of remembering, but in the literal sense of re-collecting our scattered thoughts and bring them back to one pointedness.

    One common way of re-collecting our thoughts is by mindfulness of breathing.

  • Aspiring_BuddhistAspiring_Buddhist Seeker of the Buddha Within WA Veteran

    Mindfulness is, arguably, my favorite aspect of Buddhism.

    Before I started down my Buddhist path, the only thing I was really mindful about was putting LEGO pieces together.

    Otherwise I stumbled from one mindful-less moment to the next. That is to say, I reacted to life instead of being proactive about it.

    @betaboy said: So all life is a learning experience - you keep your eyes and ears open, learn new things. That's mindfulness. It is not about your breath, thoughts, awareness. It is about life.

    @betaboy Could you clarify the first and third sentences for me? They are, to me, a little contradictory:

    "You learn by perceiving and interpreting new information, not by awareness and thinking."

    As for the awareness, breath and thoughts you mentioned...

    While there is value in seeing the destination (as it gives us something to aspire to), its the road we travel on that is important. Yes, Buddhism is about dealing with life, but practicing mindful breathing, thinking, and awareness is how we learn to successfully navigate the road, that will lead to the improvement in our lives.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited April 2014

    @Citta said:
    Another translation of sati or smriti is 'recollection'.. not in the sense of remembering, but in the literal sense of re-collecting our scattered thoughts and bring them back to one pointedness.

    One common way of re-collecting our thoughts is by mindfulness of breathing.

    as far as i have read about anapanasati sutta, as per my understanding: the word sati (in pali) means recollection or remembering - means we keep the meditation object, which is breath, in mind - we keep remembering that we have to bring attention back to breath.

    sati is used along with word sampajanna (in pali) which means awareness - to be aware of what is going on currently.

    in anapanasati sutta it says - a monk heedful, ardent and alert - heedful or mindful of meditation object breath, ardent means zealous and alert which comprises of being aware what is currently being observed and to note when the attention has moved from breath to something else and then bringing attention back to breath.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited April 2014

    Not quite @misecmisc.

    'Remembering' has the meaning of recapturing something that has past..an event, a sound, a taste and bringing it to mind.

    We don't' remember ' in that sense during anapanasati..

    Sati means that we develop more sensitivity to the fact that our mind has found another object than the breath..and this gets more and more subtle..

    We then collect our thoughts again..we 're-collect' them and return to the breath.

    ' Remembering ' is a an activity of the cognitive process..

    Sati/smriti is not.

    It is bare attention.

    For most of us sati/smriti does not come naturally. It is a faculty 'indriya' which has to be learned.
    It does not equate fully to anything to be found in a text of book of psychology.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    @Citta said:
    Not quite misecmisc.

    'Remembering' has the meaning of recapturing something that has past..an event, a sound, a taste and bringing it to mind.

    We don't' remember ' in that sense during anapanasati..

    Sati means that we develop more sensitivity to the fact that our mind has found another object than the breath..and this gets more and more subtle..

    We then collect our thoughts again..we 're-collect' them and return to the breath.

    ' Remembering ' is a an activity of the cognitive process..

    Sati/smriti is not.

    It is bare attention.

    For most of us sati/smriti does not come naturally. It is a faculty 'indriya' which has to be learned.
    It does not equate fully to anything to be found in a text of book of psychology.

    my understanding says that it is not so.. sorry..

    sati is not bare attention - even in buddha's teachings, bare attention does not come but what comes is yoniso manasikara meaning appropriate attention or skillful attention - which means to attend to things skillfully keeping suffering and ending of suffering in view.

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    No need to apologise @misemisc.

    We disagree..thats fine.

    _/_

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited April 2014

    @betaboy said:
    That's what mindfulness is about. It is not about mechanically noting things - anyone can do that, and besides that's pointless. We note things in order to gain insight. So all life is a learning experience - you keep your eyes and ears open, learn new things. That's mindfulness. It is not about your breath, thoughts, awareness. It is about life.

    Lets go back to the OP.

    @betaboy says that 'mindfulness' is about noting things in order to gain 'insight'.

    He doesn't define insight, but we can possibly glean his meaning from his next sentences, he says that life is a learning experience...no doubt true or it should be.

    He goes on to say you 'learn new things' How ? ' by keeping your eyes and ears open...'

    Again that sounds like good advice.

    However it begs the question, is that what the Buddha meant by mindfulness orinsight ?

    I would suggest that it is not.

    The word the Buddha used was sati in Pali.

    Now sati is not simply a means to gain insight in a mundane sense..it is not for example figuring out a maths problem. Or realising what it is that annoys your girlfriend/boy friend about you.

    Valuable as those insights might be in their own way.

    The insight ( vipassana ) that sati leads to is into the three marks.

    Sati enables us to see directly the truth of dukkha, of anatta and of anicca.

    Sati ( mindfulness ) is described in the suttas as a very unusual faculty.. it has to be learned.

    It is one of several faculties ( indriya ) that arise from Right Concentration..

    So in brief, if we simply take our understanding of a term translated into English, from its mundane meaning, we may miss what the Buddha is saying.

    jaynepommesetoranges
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    @Citta said:
    The insight ( vipassana ) that sati leads to is into the three marks.

    Sati enables us to see directly the truth of dukkha, of anatta and of anicca.
    Sati ( mindfulness ) is described in the suttas as a very unusual faculty.. it has to be learned.
    It is one of several faculties ( indriya ) that arise from Right Concentration..

    my understanding of Buddha's teachings says: sati along with sampajanna and ardency leads to nimitta, which leads to jhana - so right mindfulness leads to right concentration - which leads to jhana - where the mind becomes still - so that from that vantage point it can see the 3 marks of phenomena, from which insights arise, leading to panna(wisdom), which further enhances the conviction in the path, which further leads to strengthening of morality and concentration.

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    Is that your experience @misemisc ? Did things unfold for you just so ?

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    @Citta said:
    Is that your experience misemisc ? Did things unfold for you just so ?

    no, it is based on my theoretical understanding only. my meditation is a total chaos, i am even not able to watch my natural breathing properly, leave everything else(which seems totally out of scope).

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    Ok...

    I was trying to address the points that betaboy raised by clarifying the use of language..

    What you have outlined is accurate in terms of the Theravadin understanding.

    The Mahayana view takes off from a different platform.

  • I think sati can best be described as a short form of "realization".

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    @wangchuey said:
    I think sati can best be described as a short form of "realization".

    I think you are conflating the means with the end.

  • wangchueywangchuey Veteran
    edited April 2014

    I understand realization is a big word, but in my opinion, there's a bit of it in mindfulness. You're taking a mirror and "realizing" everything going on basically.

  • CittaCitta Veteran

    Something to chew on...thank you.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2014

    In the 7 factors of enlightenment, mindfulness ( sati ) is the basis for investigation of experience ( dhamma-vicaya ), which leads to insight.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Factors_of_Enlightenment

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