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  #71  
Old 13-09-2022, 11:20 AM
JustASimpleGuy JustASimpleGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Gem
I'm here on the mindfulness mission, and breath awareness is simple as a practice, too simple.

I suppose that's why I settled on mindfulness meditation vs. Pata˝jali's Yoga Sutras, though to be fair the Yoga Sutras are a complete system in and of themselves. That is it contains components similar to the Eightfold Path so it's more than just meditation. The Eight Limbs.

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I remembered Jon Kabat-Zinn from the talk linked earlier in the thread, and listened to a few of his videos. He says everything in plain language, no fluff, which is really good for understanding.
That's what drew me to Jon Kabat-Zinn.

All that being said I'm also keenly aware of and interested in the intricacies of the philosophical components and that's what draws me to Advaita's Jnana Yoga. I think if one looks close enough there are similar ethical and moral components across all three traditions along with associated practices. Most Advaitans employ Pata˝jali's system of meditation but I prefer mindfulness.
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  #72  
Old 14-09-2022, 07:41 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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The Buddhist philosophical structure is circular, like spokes of a wheel, whereas the yoga format is fractal in form, like the growth of a tree. Maybe this accounts for differences in philosophical format.

I also think there are irreconcilable differences regarding God and self, but mostly because Buddhism isn't particularly concerned with self-theory, and the no-self, non-self stuff is contextual in meaning; not absolute like an answer.

Other than that, it's the same basic 8 path. The Buddhist one probably culminates in equanimity rather than bliss --- but that's from someone who knows nothing about yoga, but has heard about Patanjali, and definitely and gives him the benefit of the doubt. I imagine it's a lot like Buddhism. There is a 'true message' in there somewhere, but it's not very well understood.
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  #73  
Old 14-09-2022, 08:54 AM
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[quote=Gem]
The Buddhist one probably culminates in equanimity rather than bliss -[quote]

The Eightfold Path is often described as the Buddha's prescription for finding enlightenment and entering Nirvana. Nirvana is seen as the ultimate state of bliss, you cannot go beyond it.
There are Sutta's/Sutras which may help....
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  #74  
Old 14-09-2022, 11:45 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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I always liked this video about nirvana. It's a reasonable enough perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odWIPhj-ivo

The first minute is just a rundown on the story of Buddha's enlightenment, and the talk starts after one minute. It's one of my all time favorites, so I've posted it many times before (you know I just repeat things, as I said before )
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  #75  
Old 15-09-2022, 06:45 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Personally, I'm not concerned with abstractions of the future, and since this is the truth of myself as I am now, there is only observation and examination of the physical/mental interplay and my own contentedness with 'this as it is'.

Everything else like Jhana (whatever that is) and all the things, the overall purification etc., is of natural consequence to the stillness of my conscious awareness.

The breath is a good object to start training the mind with because it is extremely refined - all you do is feel this single breath, then the next, with complete attention and ardent awareness of every delectable detail. That's all. No addition.

I recommend using a timer and sitting up straight (cuz reasons). My opinion is anything less that 30 minutes work is selling yourself short, and an hour is pretty much perfect - a bit difficult, but doable.

A timer helps with persistence and determination. Without a timer you quit whenever 'you don't feel like it'. Some days the allotted time is wonderful so no worries. Other days it's rough as guts. But do it in full no matter what. Almost always you find when at first you didn't feel like it, later you are so glad you did it anyway. When you notice the whiny voice start whinging like a little bword, "I don't feel like it, wah wah wah," meditation is already noticing, This is negativity... is that now going to rule my life? You will notice the positive one is also is there, quieter with deeper conscience, always knowing what is for the best. Be honest about that and walk the path of truth.

The immediate benefits should be feeling just a bit more relaxed, little more patient and contented during the day, maybe a bit friendlier and probably a bit more attentive in noticing little things that you might usually miss.

The only warning is, if done in the 'pure observation/nothing added' style I suggest, the purification will release straight away in the first session (though you might not recognise the signs), and self-care is necessary because exposed 'wounds' are sensitive and delicate. As much as possible one needs a 'protected space' and crude, brutal people who 'get in your ear' etc. have to be kept away.
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Last edited by Gem : 15-09-2022 at 11:51 AM.
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  #76  
Old 15-09-2022, 11:37 AM
JustASimpleGuy JustASimpleGuy is offline
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I recommend using a timer and sitting up straight (cuz reasons). My opinion is anything less that 30 minutes work is selling yourself short, and an hour is pretty much perfect - a bit difficult, but doable.
I'd say 45 minutes to an hour is a good range and for beginners maybe two 15 minute sittings to start then increasing 5 minutes every week or two. And yeah, from my perspective a timer is essential. I use my phone and the most serene tone for the timer function.

I fell off the wagon for about 5 or 6 months and I'm just building back up at 2 x 25 minutes. I usually settle in at two 45 minute sittings, one morning and one evening. On weekends I sometimes slide a third in during the day and especially if I'm out in nature.
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  #77  
Old 17-09-2022, 03:16 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Wandering mind.

This is not a problem and we can't control it. We don't choose to wander away, nor do we choose to notice that we have wandered away. We just wander off unawares, and suddenly, for no reason, we notice we have done so. That's why when we do notice we lost track of the breath, we simply accept, mind wandered off, and resume meditation.

Maintaining constant awareness for a whole minute is very good. Mostly, mind will wander more frequently. Because of this, most teachers add something like counting, controlling etc which enables a longer attention span... but it's not correct. That is how the ego through aversion to erratic mind and craving for better attention elicits the volition to distract you from a 'just aware of what is' state, and returns you to the state of 'making it as I want it to be'. That volitional state is opposite to the state of pure observation which enables the purification.

This mindful meditation is 'pure observation'. As my teacher once told me: "all you do is observe; dhamma does the rest".

We sit up to meditate but the attention won't do as it's told. You intend to just feel the air, but after some seconds, it's off with the fairies, remembering the past, imagining the future, anything but being aware and experiencing the actual moment of living. But that's not a problem. At some point maybe after a couple of minutes, you notice mind wandered away, and without the slightest judgment or opinion about that fact, simply resume feeling breaths, one at a time, one after the other.

When the mind just wanders off, that doesn't reduce the calm or depth of mind. The depth and calm is only affected by judgment-ergo-reactivity. For example, if your attention is generally about 20 seconds and you incorrectly and adversely judge that to be inadequate, your reaction will agitate the calm and the 'wrong effort' to 'make it as you want it to be' will impede the free unwinding of purification. Contrarily, the reaction produces impurity ('generates sankara').

20 seconds attention, 10, 30, whole minute or 10 minutes makes no difference. It is what it is and it can't be controlled, so simply resume time and time again until your allotted session time is up.

If you notice that your opinion about your wandering mind, your judgment about how erratic your mind actually is and your aversion toward that fact is agitating the mind, and there is a negative narrative like, "I'm useless at this", "It's not working (for me)", "It's hard and I don't feel like", "my ADHD...", "Ill never get it" - you can see how it's all negative and conflicting with your actual intent. That's not great, but it's normal and you can take insight from it. You can know truly within yourself how judging lived-reality incites reactivity, the reaction agitates the mind, and the judgment's narrative is all about 'me, mine, my and I'. That's how the judgy/reacty thing is 'feeding the ego'. That's how ego is parading as 'me' without you even knowing it.

If you could follow this reasoning in some part, you should of your own understanding know why we don't add on to pure observation. If you were counting breath you would have done so from the judgment of your erratic attention, the adverse reaction to that, and the compelled desire to have a longer attention, thus inciting the volition to fabricate counts to 'make it as I what it be'.

Mindfululness is completely different. We simple notice and accept the truth: my mind is much more erratic than I thought it was - Resume mindful breathing.

The mind is better trained in this way. We know it makes sense that what you practice improves. If we practice attending we get better at it. After a month you find your attention span is longer and the length of time you drift away for is shorter on average, and are happy enough with continual improvement.

The motive is very important. If you do this because you think you can get what you want, this is the the wrong meditation or that purpose. This meditation is impelled by what is or the best.


This is how I'm going to say it.

The first truth "This is suffering" is already known. I have misery and I spread my pain with intent to hurt others. E.g. every time you get that impulse to elicit an adverse reaction from someone else, you can easily notice how that originates from adversity in yourself. Then it's a simple discernment: is it for the best that I generate my own suffering and cause others to suffer? If not; better stop doing that.

That judgy/reacty thing I mentioned has to stop in you for both superficial and profound, and for obvious as well as sublime reasons.

The confounding factor is, it runs deep. There's deeper trauma that we call 'deep sankaras', which we can't process right now without losing the plot and doing more harm than good. People have to stablise the balance, strengthen the equanimity, so that they are able to 'just observe' their contents as they are without judgment, adverse reactivity, avoidance, resistance and denial. I'm not going say that's an easy path. I'm going to say it gets pretty rough, but the instinct is certain - it is for the best.

That's the essence of training. Remaining calm, balanced and still minded no matter what happens.
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Last edited by Gem : 17-09-2022 at 04:09 AM.
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  #78  
Old 18-09-2022, 05:34 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Wandering mind II

This post, like that previous, is about wandering mind.

We first need to understand how the Buddhist texts reference 'awareness' of the breath in 2 ways:

The first way is 'mere awareness'. This means just awareness or only awareness (without anything else). I have also heard it called 'pure awareness', 'pure observation', 'just observe', 'non-doing', 'see it as it is' and other things.

The second way is 'ardent awareness'. This means looking closely. Examining, so you know what it is like on a subtler level in more intricate detail.

In addition to 'mere-yet-ardent awareness' there is also 'understanding'. This means examining the feeling with a more nuanced understanding of its underlying/intrinsic nature of change (by being acutely conscious of the detailed way in which it changes).

In the discourses they say 'I know it is a long breath, I know it is a short breath, but that doesn't mean that is all you know. We can know if the breath is long, short, deep, shallow, faster, slower, which nostril it favours etc., and everything about the indescribable detail of its intricate array of subtle changing sensations.

In the discourse there is an analogy to illustrate that we need to observe in the same manner as a highly skilled woodturner (google satipatthana). To do his intricate work, the woodturner fondly devotes all of his attention to his task and takes a calm, confident, careful and familiar approach to his lathe. His attention is finely honed and extremely precise so he knows the exact length, grading and depth of his carves. He has a feel for it right down to the intricate grains of the wood, and his cuts are exactingly precise. That's the manner in which breath is observed. With complete attention and calm-yet-ardent conscious perception of the most intricate subtleties of the feeling which breath produces.

Approaching the breath in this way we find there is a subtle yet profound difference between 'focus on breath' with 'mere awareness' and honing in with 'ardent awareness' to discover as much as possible about what the sensation is like, while also gaining a more thorough and refined understanding of its underlying nature.

By honing in like this, you undertake a close examination that requires full ardent attention, and this is the best way to not only increase attention span, but to also enhance your sensitive perception and begin to penetrate through the physical and become aware of subtler and subtler levels.

Hence, Buddha summed up by defining the meditation as "ardent with awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, observing sensations in sensations, having removed aversion and craving towards the world".
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  #79  
Old 23-09-2022, 05:49 AM
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I myself am at a stage where selflessness means just that. Without self. The ideas of seeking are not really gone as the issue is not not seeking it's no seeker. Delusion all springs forth from ideas, from memory, from the idea and dream of a continuous self. It's a difficult realization to communicate to another as it has no content or substance other than an experience without self that does not continue and is not held, who would hold such a thing? It's just now as it is with no effort or interference of a me.

When life is an ongoing experience of selflessness, who is there to meditate or be mindfulness. All of that is grounded in ideas, in words, and such things have no place in an emptiness void of a self. Such a state can't be contained or represented in any words. And like I said, it is not a matter of it not being able to be expressed in words, there is no who existing to take part in such a mental activity. The I is known far away from such things. The I no longer dwells in mind or has any fondness for it or it's activities.

There is nothing to it at all, if something is always a word or words. We all live before the word, before we take refuge in the word. And from that refuge we seek the other. But there is no connection between the two.
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Old 23-09-2022, 06:38 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Yes without self. How will 'seeking' fit in with a selfless observer?

It would be 'seeking into' rather than a 'seeking for'. Seeking into is looking deeply. E.g. if you feel something, you can also feel the smaller feelings that make up the larger feeling. Hence one is not seeking feeling that is not present now, but looking more deeply at the feeling that is.

Because I am pedantic and I know it, I resist elaborations as much as I can, but I can't help dissecting this notion of self because selfless or no self or non-self is pretty specific in practice.

The essential understanding is how ego is constructed. How do we maintain a false sense of self for so long without once noticing it is 'not-me'? I imply it is something we do; and therefore, selflessness is ceasing to do those things.

In meditation, ceasing to do that which perpetuates the ego is the outcome of the 'just observe' principle. Of course add ons like counting, controlling etc are self-generated, so it logically follows, don't do that.

It's actually easy to not do the intentional, volitional activities arising from surface level desires and aversions, but unintentional ones will happen. For example if you trained meditation with counting, that will keep happening unintentionally, no problem, just don't intentionalise it anymore.

The hard category is compulsion. You get uncomfortable, start reacting, and before you know it the mind has lost 'just observe what is' and started trying to make it 'as I want it to be'. Notice where 'I' lands in that paradigm?
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