Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Klayton, modified 10 Months ago.

Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Posts: 4 Join Date: 7/8/20 Recent Posts
I want to progressively optimize my default mode of consciousness for gaining insight. I want to develop my perception, increase my mental bandwidth, and develop any other skills along the way. Only two stipulations: no sitting and no noting. 

I am trying to understand how to go about doing this. As I understand, the four domains are Body, Feelings, Mind, and Dhammas. Are you supposed to train and gain mastery in that order? Is it more of a "pick and choose" type thing? Also could someone clarify what "dhammas" are in this context?

As I gain continuity with an object, say the breath, do I "add" objects as I would weight to a barbell, such as the physical base? Should I just stick with one object and prioritize depth of perception?

Should I look for Impermanence right from the start or wait until I gain some skill/automaticity with the objects? 

Please unload ALL your advice! I have no idea what to do!
Sleeping Buddha Syndrome, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Posts: 681 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Study the sutta's. Adopt an animal.
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Noah D, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Posts: 1143 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Based on your approach/writing style, I believe you would gain the most benefit from Shinzen's system.  Join the Shinheads group on Facebook & ask your questions there.
Brian, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Can I ask for elaboration on why "no sitting"? You know that if you went into a gym and asked a weightlifter to help you get strong, they would tell you what to do, and if you followed their instructions about how to exercise, how to eat, how to sleep, etc., you would get strong like they are. In a gym, would you go in with conditions like "no triceps" or "no deadlifts"? If you add such things, you better have good reasons, because they have very good reasons for doing it the way they prefer to do it.

In the case of meditation, I'm gradually gaining the ability to do everything meditatively, that is, meditate while doing anything. The activities are gradually getting more diverse. At first it was meditating while reading, and then meditating while walking, etc. But it came from much more extreme experiences while sitting, where it's easier. Sitting is like training wheels. If you tell us why you don't want to sit, maybe we could provide a way to get around your objection.
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Jim Smith, modified 10 Months ago.

RE: Requesting Pointers for Progressive Mindful-Awareness Development

Posts: 965 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I want to progressively optimize my default mode of consciousness for gaining insight.
Do you mean prepare the mind to do insight, or do you mean gain insight?

I cover both below...

There is a lot you can do to gain insight without sitting or noting.
(Well, I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "no noting", is watching and noticing (observing) okay? You say you want to gain insight but you can't gain insight without at least watching and noticing (observing).)

My suggestions:

First

Notice the physical sensations in your body that accompany emotions.

Watch your mind during everyday life.

Notice when unpleasant emotions arise. Notice the cause. Was it a thought? Pay attention to physical sensations in your body that accompany emotions.

(Warning: This can make you more emotional, and if you have a lot of suppressed emotions it might release them. You should be aware of this when you decide if you are going to try it or not. Learning the relaxation exercises (below) can help make it easier to let go of emotions that might come out.)

Notice when unpleasant emotions cease. Notice the cause.

Do you notice some emotions are caused by thoughts or recognition of conditions, and other emotions seem to be just there for no reason - except maybe biochemistry? Is there overlap and interaction between the two types of emotions?

Maybe in some cases (not necessarily all) you will want avoid situations that cause unpleasant emotions, and favor situation that cause them to cease. Monks live in monasteries for a reason. Renunciation is part of the six stage gradual training for a reason. Consider the five precepts (I do not advocate a vegetarian diet) their purpose is to help you live a life with less mental turbulence that will be more conducive to practice. The internet can be a huge source of mental turbulence - if it is for you, consider if you might change how or how much you use it.

Later when you have some proficiency watching emotions...

Notice impulses (urge / intention to do something) the same way. What causes them. What ends them?

Notice where thoughts, emotions, impulses arise from. You'll see it is the unconscious - they arise unasked for, uninvited. They don't come from your conscious mind, they don't come from "yourself". Even if you are trying to solve a problem it might feel like you are using your mind, but where does the intention to solve the problem come from? If you feel like you are just observing everything, where does the feeling of being an observer come from? When you work through this by making observations, what do you feel in your body? (Emptiness?).

Where do sense perceptions come from? Do you decide to hear, or do you hear whether you want to or not? Notice that sense perceptions are the same as thoughts, emotions and impulses. 

Okay no sitting, no noting. But you will make much faster progress if you use some technique to realx and quiet the mind so you have the presence of mind to notice what is happening in it (prepare the mind for gaining insight).

What about walking meditation?

I strongly recommend relaxation exercises, both physical (where you move the body) and mental (where you just use the mind while you are lying down).

A very simple physical relaxation method is to just move every part of the body 10 times to release muscle tension.

A very simple mental relaxation exercise is to  visualize the colors of the spectrum, then notice each part of the body and try to relax it , then pause for a few breaths - continue repeating this starting over with the visualizations. When you feel like you are floating, just notice your breath. You will sink into deeper states of relaxation when you mind wanders so don't concentrate too hard.

Notice how being deeply relaxed state influences your emotional state. I find emotions are not present in a deeply relaxed state, and when I get up from it it is much easier to let go of emotions that arise without suppressing them. Sometimes letting go means "stop making" sometimes it means "accepting".

It can be helpful to learn to breathe in a pleasant and relaxing way - experiment - you can do this in everyday life rather than sitting meditation. Every breath can be relaxing and calming keeping your mind in a state where it can cultivate insight.

Do not expect perfection. Just do your best. Accept with good nature your imperfections.

Should I look for Impermanence right from the start or wait until I gain some skill/automaticity with the objects?

My approach is to just look for dukkha, sometimes it will be ego-dukkha, sometimes it will be impermanence-dukkha, sometimes it will be craving/aversion dukkha, and they interrelate anyway. When you find dukkha arising  you can consider if it is due to attachment to ego, attachment to something that is impermanent, a craving, an  aversion.

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