Daily life and mindfulness

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Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 2/14/08 4:21 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/14/08 4:21 PM

Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Soakn108
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

So, I guess it follows that in our day to day living we practice mindfulness and noting of what we are doing and when we are distracted from being attentive we note the distraction and then return to being mindful and noting of what we are doing. When working, do the task and when say a thought arises not relevant to the task at hand we note it saying "thinking" and return to the job.
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Florian, modified 14 Years ago at 2/14/08 6:59 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/14/08 6:59 PM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
I have attempted this a few times in the past, only to lose it quickly. Since then, I have done noting practice only in meditation. My work day is about to start - I'll give this a try today, and see if the practice during meditation has been any good.

Cheers,
Florian
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 14 Years ago at 2/16/08 3:47 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/16/08 3:47 AM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Mindfulness in daily life at work is a tough issue sometimes and it depends on what you do. Much of what we do is about thinking, and so is about the content and letting the content do its content thing, rather than paying attention to more ultimate aspects. Particularly if we do something fast or that involves a lot of rapid talking or multitasking, more formal insight practice can make those things more difficult or more slowed down. In the fast-paced ER where I work, formal mindfulness would be nearly impossible, but the general intention to stay present to what is happening helps in general terms. I have had slow jobs that gave more time for formal practice, and there I didn't find it getting in the way or causing conflict between working and practicing.
Hokai Sobol, modified 14 Years ago at 2/16/08 7:25 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/16/08 7:25 AM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
I find the standard notion of mindfulness - developed as it was in specific lifestyles, either monk or forest yogi - somewhat a misfit in many cases. Staying present is a challenge as well, but may also retain some unnecessary connotation of self-awareness that gets in the way with getting things done or making things happen. A state of flow is what one could go after (since it is not limited to one person), using then mindfulness/remembering to anticipate and plan the mode of activity, and also to reflect on what has been happening when one pauses. Technically, also using discernment (samprajanya/sampajanna) as an aid to noticing whether a flow state (or mushin or any other similar term) is present or not, and what sort of energetic configurations are being perpetuated.

Secondly, there's also a value in getting lost in activity for its own sake, especially if its a clearly virtuous activity, or else a neutral activity. Thirdly, in post-meditation in various circumstances one would hopefully move beyond sensation into the pursuit of meaning and emergent novelty, making all contemplative virtues a basis, not a goal or purpose, of all such activity. One could also let go of self-awareness and overt intentionality, and immerse oneself into the performance of whatever is the task at hand (so to speak), and rely instead more on contemporary skills of performance and excellence. Mindfulness/discernment are then naturally brought to check on your states (energetic body) and mindframes (covert intentionality) from time to time if needed, though one also learns to trust the nature of mind AND one's mind.

The same can be applied to the sphere of family life and intimacy, with its own set of principles. In short, when complexity or speed or intensity get in the way of simple bare attention, it's my experience one should switch the mode of attention. Losing mind and mindfulness is also a skill, though an obstacle for novice. Just my two cents.
Hokai Sobol, modified 14 Years ago at 2/17/08 11:44 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/17/08 11:44 AM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
I thought I'd add a significant point: the relationship between daily life and mindfulness, and more specifically between mediation ("on cushion") and post-meditation ("off cushion") changes quite a bit in different stages of the path, whether beginner, intermediate, advanced, or post-realization. Actually, the relationship tends to oscilate from contrast to identity and back, in a dialectic manner, so it's difficult to give a generalized assessment of this important issue.
Nathan I S, modified 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 5:54 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 5:54 AM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
I tend to think that complicated tasks or involved actions, like conversations, can overwhelm "daily life" mindfulness, if one is shooting for 100% of the time. Rather than worry about how difficult or impossible it is, I'm more interested in being able to catch the breath, or body, or feeling states when i can, and when doing less involved tasks (e.g., walking to the bus)--after some time this gains it own momentum. You'll find that even in a conversation you can still pay attention to the breath. Like Daniel says, "slow jobs", meetings, etc. give plenty of space for more formal practice.
Hokai Sobol, modified 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 7:49 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 7:49 AM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Hi all -
from reflecting on simplicity vs. complexity in itself as being more/less conducive to practicing mindfulness, it becomes obvious we're sliding into a rather constricted definition of mindfulness, namely, as attention focused on very simple events, which definition itself stems from the emphasis on "bare phenomena" or fundamental dharmas. I don't contest the usefulness of such definition within limits of specific techniques, but mindfulness can and should be allowed and trained and even challenged to take anything as its basis - much more complex qualities, including the totality or the whole experiential range at once (when I say "experiential", I don't mean just sensations but also abstract thinking, imagination, the whole range of will, but most importanlty the very quality of awareness with or without the separate-sense contraction), and not just self but also others and the environment. Such mindfulness, and such real-time discernment (or samprajanya/sampajanna), based on fluid awareness (i.e. unfastened attention), should be a match for any sort of comlexity, if developed properly, including maniacal multi-tasking. Within that practice, then, focus and panorama arise of their own accord depending on a number of conditions.

The widespread idea that mindfulness is "attending at one thing at a time", makes sense only in ultra-time (10 or more cycles per second). But it should never mean that we need to slow down to a zombie pace in order to live a conscious life, or even in order to train mindfulness. In fact, one of most effective forms of training presence and clarity is to speed up, and maintain speed thereof until subduing the laziness of attention. To relax and be alert has nothing to do with slowing down. Any thoughts?
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Vincent Horn, modified 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 4:10 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 2/18/08 4:10 PM

RE: Daily life and mindfulness

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, a couple of thoughts on that:

1) I think the way you are broadening the definition of mindfulness, to not just include "bare phenomena" is in alignment with the way I've been seeing Alan Wallace use the term lately, which is that it simply the factor of mind that remembers. That broader definition of mindfulness seems more helpful.

2) In terms of "unfastened mindfulness" or choiceless awareness, I think this broad type of mindfulness is way more useful in hectic work environments or busy situations.

3) That being said, I wonder how easy it is to maintain without a firm grounding of insight and/or concentration...?

Good stuff!

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