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Is "feeling present" what access concentration is?

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In MCTB in the concentration section Daniel writes:

"to get anywhere in meditation you need to be able to really steady the mind and be present."

I have been experimenting with different meditation objects, and while I usually have trouble staying with most thing (like the breath) I can almost immediately drop into a feeling of being present. It is a feeling of sacredness and stillness, very similar to what Tolle talks about.

My question is: is this feeling a legitimate meditation object? Also, is this what is described as access concentration? If so, then my meditation object is the state of access concentration?

People have suggested that this is actually the insight state of equanimity, though i am skeptical. Most people it seems occasionally drop into this...in nature, exercising, being creative, "flowing", etc...it seems too ubiquitous...and too accessible to be such a high stage

Thanks. I ask because in doing concentration there is a strong pull to fall into this state...and I usually do - but not without some worry/guilt that I am not actually doing concentration practice.

RE: Is "feeling present" what access concentration is?
Answer
11/3/13 7:13 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Access concentration is not equanimity. Access concentration is when you are one-pointed and sustaining in a consistent manner but your brain hasn't absorbed to the object yet but is prime to do so. You're not lost in thoughts but you aren't absorbed in the 1st jhana yet.

RE: Is "feeling present" what access concentration is?
Answer
11/3/13 7:24 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
I read somewhere that, if you're able to follow the breath for forty sets of inhalation-exhalation without getting lost in thought, you're probably in access concentration.

This is, of course, a total approximation, but I found it interesting to shoot for that and to try and observe the qualitative feel of that level of concentration versus how it feels at the start. I found that certain things changed roughly around that point, associated with an ease of staying with the primary object.

RE: Is "feeling present" what access concentration is?
Answer
11/3/13 11:52 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
In MCTB in the concentration section Daniel writes:

"to get anywhere in meditation you need to be able to really steady the mind and be present."

I have been experimenting with different meditation objects, and while I usually have trouble staying with most thing (like the breath) I can almost immediately drop into a feeling of being present. It is a feeling of sacredness and stillness, very similar to what Tolle talks about.

My question is: is this feeling a legitimate meditation object? Also, is this what is described as access concentration? If so, then my meditation object is the state of access concentration?

People have suggested that this is actually the insight state of equanimity, though i am skeptical. Most people it seems occasionally drop into this...in nature, exercising, being creative, "flowing", etc...it seems too ubiquitous...and too accessible to be such a high stage

Thanks. I ask because in doing concentration there is a strong pull to fall into this state...and I usually do - but not without some worry/guilt that I am not actually doing concentration practice.


Anything you can concentrate on is a legitimate meditation object. I'm not sure what you're feeling exactly, but if there's a pull to fall into it, it's probably great concentration practice. It sounds like you may be on the way to entering jhana, and it's often stated that jhana are very helpful for concentration practice because they are enjoyable to concentrate on. So don't feel guilty.

Access concentration is just being able to hold your mind focused on anything. It's not necessarily the feeling you're talking about.

Equanimity isn't some kind of inaccessible high stage, by the way. I've frequently entered it and my access concentration is very weak. Equanimity is part of the cycle that everyone goes through, so you've probably experienced it.