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How would someone describe acess concentration

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I'm practicing  concentration  of breath. I really stink at at. I can remain  in asana for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. My daily practice is generally 2- 2 hour sittings daily. The sittings are a piece of cake now. no pain
 Mentally, I daydream my ass of .nothing of importance just random whispy thoughts..I dont think I will ever reach a jhana. But I would like to reach access concenteation..what does it feel like. Is there psychological benefits to sustaining acess  concentration. And making that part of my daily life. I guess I need to trudge through this. I'm leaving my meditations disappointed

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/5/19 3:16 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
The brain is plastic, so training it to access concentration will develop new pathways in the brain. Since there is a lot of debate about what qualifies as jhana, that also affects the criteria for access concentration. I think many agree that access concentration means that one is able to stay with and continuously return to one's meditation object well enough, but I don't think there is any concensus about what is well enough. However, I don’t think one needs to worry that much about whether or not one reaches a state called access concentration, because the benefits come from doing the work rather than from enjoying the result. The work is directing one's focus back to the chosen object, again and again. Even if you find that you need to do that constantly, don't despair! That means that you get lots of opportunities to train the mind and build new pathways. 

Best wishes for your practice and wellbeing.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/5/19 3:39 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I would describe access concentration as the first "click" of focus with the object. Your relationship to it doesn't fundamentally change, but you are able to stay with it without much effort, and find it without much effort when you get briefly distracted. It's akin to noticing an attractive person in a crowd - you still see everyone else, but your mind naturally discerns and follows that particular face among the many.

Then first jhana is another "click," and from there the rest of the jhanas flow a bit more smoothly and continuously ime.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/5/19 3:40 PM as a reply to Matthew.
I like that description.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/6/19 4:54 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
fundamental "truths" are just based on how many people can agree on the same principle. Following this paradigm, access concentration is defined as being able to stay with any object of focus with little to no obstructions or gaps in attention. Training in concentration places no importance in what the object is, breath, mantra or whatever. If you want to exercise your capacity for inquisition I suggest you either stay on a single object for an entire sit or maneuver through varied focal points in intervals... If your sessions are bordering the hour mark then chances are you already reached this point. Try to recognize any drifting emoticon

I separate access concentration in two forms, negative & positive. This is just for categorization purposes, neither is good nor bad.

The negative fits the description I mentioned above. This condition remains within the realm of the mind. The practitioner can stay in this state provided they upkeep their meditation. 

The positive requires a bit of unpackaging. Our brains crave stimulation, and in the absence of such faculties, it will create its own. The mind is like an addict fiending for the next hit and when we close our eyes, we shut out the external world, its source. Thus prompting visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory hallucinations. The higher brain activity is a byproduct of meditation, and incidentally allows for centers in the complex that don't normally exchange information to suddenly start communicating. We perceive the universe in 3D but our brains are able to operate in higher dimensions. This makes hallucinations even more difficult to battle. But when this mental tug-of-war is seen through, a second state of "stillness of the mind" can be achieved. This isn't abandoning the mind, rather its effectively rearing it, activating the brain's perceptual system. In this state, concentration is like a telescope and a microscope at your disposal. This state can also be sustained with meditative management but its more easily returned to base. Practicing in this can be dangerous as it can induce synesthesia or worse so I think it's safer to not explore this territory before developing a "third eye" or unbiased lense for filtering actuality from fuzzy perceptions. 

I don't regard dreaming as proper meditation. Once you start daydreaming, you have stopped meditating. If you wanna play around with imaginative phenomena, you are on the right track. But if you are trying to realize Jhana, then I advise you to stop following that. I know some cultures like Daoism center their approach around the imagination and getting lost in thought... This opens a novel realm of investigation for sure, but it doesn't align with ultimate reality or divine truth. It's a slippery slope but that's just my personal take on things. Having skewed intentions might be harming your practise.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/6/19 10:20 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I can relate Mathew. I would also like to know about this topic.

Is it true that those with access concentration do not waver in their concentration?

It sounds very idealistic to me. Or, can concentration include the entire process of the mind wandering and then bringing it back?

I've never experienced the mind without wandering at some regular intervals, except when the mind entered into a hard jhana, but other than those times it always wanders. Please just tell me how it is for you as this is central to what many people teach and may actually be incorrect.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/6/19 10:28 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:
I can relate Mathew. I would also like to know about this topic.

Is it true that those with access concentration do not waver in their concentration?

It sounds very idealistic to me. Or, can concentration include the entire process of the mind wandering and then bringing it back?

I've never experienced the mind without wandering at some regular interals, except when the mind entered into a hard jhana, but other than those times it always wanders. Please just tell me how it is for you as this is central to what many people teach and may actually be incorrect.
It's an endless pursuit. You got it partially right, those in access concentration do not waver in concentration...while they are meditating! We can use these techniques and translate them into our daily lives but the afterglows are difficult to maintain, and without appropriate care, they fizzle out in a few hours... 

But think of what's going on underneath, we are laying down new layers on top of synapses each time we practise. Over the course of one's life, concentration is capacitated tremendously more than the average lived experience these days. 

I've meditated all my life and my relation to the local benefits are a staple of meditation. I can sink deep into meditation and stay in profound states all day and still go about my business. The neurological link with the muscles is more acute and that helps to exert oneself to their maximum capability, I'm also more aware of my joints and their entire degrees of rotation. Neurogenesis is stimulated. Makes reading more fun....
But the "mind" is sort of like muscle always returning to a base. Every now and then I'll take a hiatus from meditation and notice my performance return to its sober state.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/6/19 10:19 PM as a reply to Mista Tibbs.
MT,

I've had some experiences that would presume a high degree of concentration, but the concentration was never 'unwavering' as the descriptions of access concentration go. It was always wavering, but I would sustain the meditation by returning quickly to the object. Has anyone else experienced consistent wavering meditations and still 'progressed'? Or is this a cut and dried thing. You either can do it and progess, or not. Those lucky enough to be able to do so and those who can not, and may never be able to.

Anyone with data/opinions on this would be appreciated.

RE: How would someone describe acess concentration
Answer
11/7/19 12:59 AM as a reply to David S.
David S:
MT,

I've had some experiences that would presume a high degree of concentration, but the concentration was never 'unwavering' as the descriptions of access concentration go. It was always wavering, but I would sustain the meditation by returning quickly to the object. Has anyone else experienced consistent wavering meditations and still 'progressed'? Or is this a cut and dried thing. You either can do it and progess, or not. Those lucky enough to be able to do so and those who can not, and may never be able to.

Anyone with data/opinions on this would be appreciated.

I have attention deficit, and my concentration definitely wavers in many of my meditation sessions, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting stream entry and what I believe is both second path and the A&P heading for third path. Nor has it stopped me from climbing the jhanic arch. There are times when my attention doesn’t matter, because meditation occurs on its own. I’m not in control. It just happens. So don’t worry about it! Just do the practice and it will take you through it.