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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > Buddhism

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  #1  
Old 29-02-2024, 01:14 PM
cryoldman cryoldman is offline
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how do you talk about mindfulness?

As this is the Buddhism section of the forum, I assume that you already know about mindfulness, more or less. I'd love to know how you explain it to someone else.

I've learned the hard way that talking about mindfulness to someone who has no idea what it is, is like talking in two very different languages.
As for me, here's my understanding . In briefest, mindfulness is to learn not to trust your own thought (feelings etc.) In fact, it's about to unlearn trusting it. Kind of developing a super-conscience or a guide to the rightness or wrongness of our thoughts.
Now you can see the big problem. Many people aren't familiar with this kind of learning. They always believe they are the ones who think, and they really know their own thoughts.

Here's a story of someone who was not aware of his own thoughts:
A guy is driving through the desert when one of his tires blows out. He gets out of his car and pops open the trunk to look for a spare tire and a jack. He sees the spare, but there’s no jack. “Oh, No!,” he yells. "I’ve got to walk back to the gas station I passed five miles ago!’”
So he starts walking. "I hope he has a jack," he says to himself. Half way there, he mumbles anxiously, "He better have a jack." When he’s almost there, he growls, ‘That son of a gun better let me use his jack!’”
Minutes later, he finally arrives at the gas station. He’s hot; he’s frustrated; he’s fuming. He sees the station owner in the garage, and he walks up to him and says, "Hey buddy! You can just forget it! Keep your damn jack!’”

Freud (1959) once told of a patient who was walking down a street and suddenly, inexplicably, broke into tears. Being psychologically-minded, the woman quickly reflected back on her state of mind just prior to the crying jag. Although she had not noticed it at the time of its occurrence, the woman now recalled having been preoccupied with a highly organized and morose daydream in which she had been first seduced, then impregnated, and finally abandoned by a local pianist who in reality did not know her at all.

So, if the man above knew mindfulness, he might see his (negative) thoughts (how he can deal with them is another story); and for the psychologically-minded woman, seeing her own feelings on the spot.
I believe that to understand mindfulness, you have to do something like breaking the fourth wall.
Recently, I've just learned the meaning of "breaking the fourth wall". I mean, I saw it in some movies before that a character talked back directly to the audiences, which was funny. Or in the theater, an actor might break the fourth wall physically by walking down from the stage, through the audience and out the door instead of exiting stage left or right.
Or when we are watching movie and so move with it (excite, scare, sad etc.) if only we can pull ourselves back to the reality, outside the movies, then, we will realize that it's just a movie.
So, yes, sometimes, we know what they think, but sometimes (and maybe so many times) we don't. If mindfulness (or being psychologically-minded) is not there, we might not be able to break the fourth wall of our thoughts (feelings etc.).
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  #2  
Old 29-02-2024, 02:09 PM
sky sky is offline
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Mindfulness.

The mind is full of the present moment and totally engaged without judgement or distraction. Imo....
Mind-full ness....
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  #3  
Old 29-02-2024, 05:04 PM
Maisy Maisy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cryoldman
I'd love to know how you explain it to someone else.
You explained it really well I think.

To explain it simply I would just say to try to keep your attention off of thoughts and thinking as an experiment. Try to notice when your attention is in the mind and then take it off the mind. Place the attention back in the now without ideas or thoughts beings a part of it. It's basically learning how we can take control of what we are experiencing. Like the story of the car jack in the first post. That man could have been experiencing the beauty of the world and full of joy as he walked to the gas station.

Making lemonade out of lemons.
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  #4  
Old 29-02-2024, 05:56 PM
sky sky is offline
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Mindfulness.

"Mindfulness (Sati) sees things as they really are. It adds nothing to perception and it subtracts nothing. It distorts nothing. It is bare attention and just looks at whatever comes up. Conscious thought loves to paste things over our experience, to load us down with concepts and ideas, to immerse us in a churning vortex of plans and worries, fears and fantasies. When mindful, you don't play that game. You just notice exactly what arises in the mind, then you notice the next thing. "Ah, this... and this... and now this." It is really very simple."


Excerpt from
Mindfulness in Plain English
Venerable Henepola Gunaratana
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  #5  
Old 29-02-2024, 11:08 PM
JustBe JustBe is offline
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I had a work colleague who during our conversation, suddenly started to speak her thoughts never considered out loud, and consequently, I saw her entire body, mind react. She got hot, overwhelmed and she plonked on the chair in front of me totally lost in herself. As I observed the fullness of this moment in my own mindfulness, I simply said to her. I have a technique that might help you right now.

Stand up, draw an imaginary circle around you, breathe deeply, breathe out deeply, and blow it all out of you. At the same time, I said to her, imagine your hand is washing it all off your body, by sweeping it all off you. So off she went and did just that. She was struggling, but she did it with my encouragement and mindfulness. She came back, shifted, surprised and cooler.

My practice is just become it fully yourself. Wisdom teaches you discernment and awareness of others as they need. Everyone is different, with different needs. Just become the practice yourself. What moves from there is spontaneous abd right fit.
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Free from all thought of “I” and “mine”, that man finds utter peace. ~Bhagavad Gita
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2024, 02:41 AM
cryoldman cryoldman is offline
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Hi everyone,

From my heart, thanks.
I've practiced mindfulness for forty years. After I left my community (temple), sometimes I felt lonely as I didn't know to whom I could talk. It's so great to know I'm not alone.
And for the posts above, I've already learned some new facts of mindfulness. Thanks again.
Every opinion is very welcome.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2024, 08:39 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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It's a pretty nuanced subject, and although we like a little box tied with a neat ribbon that can be placed nicely on a shelf, the discussion is more like the philosophy behind the practice.
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Old 01-03-2024, 03:29 PM
Maisy Maisy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gem
It's a pretty nuanced subject,
I had a thought like that this morning. I think there are more layers to it or more elements one may or may not be aware of. Subtle and complex qualities. For example, the general idea is not identifying with the thought stream in ones mind or consciously noticing ones attention is in mind and consciously removing it or placing it elsewhere.

One nuanced thing involved in that is "the person" doing such activities is also a construct of mind. One can call it the "ego" or "person" or whatever. It is the conditioned self or idea of oneself most carry at all times of an identity based on history and memory and body/circumstances and so on. So the "one" doing the mindfulness as a practice or whatever is basically a "hidden" part of the mind stream and one IS keeping the attention there and identification.

So with this "blind spot" only a small part of mind is actually transcended during "mindfulness" and in fact one may not get much of a benefit at all as far as a revolution in consciousness. One's ego can even be made stronger with a practice such as this or any "spiritual" practice really as the "ego" is the one doing it. The conditioned person carried as habitual thought patterns.

These subtleties are found in concepts such as "selflessness" or "emptiness" or "non-self" or no-self etc. One may find "mindfulness" does not have to be a practice of "someone" and in fact requires no effort as it is just a natural state of what we are. Placing ones attention on the thought stream in fact takes effort or energy. Though we do it so much and so often it "feels" like an automatic thing. It becomes an automatic thing when ones awareness is low relatively speaking. A habit.
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2024, 08:09 PM
Gem Gem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maisy
One nuanced thing involved in that is "the person" doing such activities is also a construct of mind.A habit.
There is a no-self element to the kind of awareness that is mindfulness, and it's simple in principle to watch it all be 'as it is', but complex in practice due to habitual tendencies, so even though mindfulness means paying attention deliberately, distinguishing the reality of experience reveals the fabrications of the mind. With that self-awareness, when you know what you do (as opposed to 'know not what you do'), you can stop doing that, but it's very subtle because trying to stop doing is also doing, and the ability to let everything be 'as it is' is the master-key.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2024, 02:59 AM
cryoldman cryoldman is offline
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Hi Maisy and Gem,
I kind of agree with Gem (#7 ) and was going to return to being lonely (if not insanity) again, but Maisy's post about "blond spot" (#8) was so interesting, so let me share something here.
Before I typed "I've practiced mindfulness for forty years," though, I saw that very thought and knew it was a boasting, more or less. Still, I allowed it because of another thought arose: 'I'm just stating the facts. And I didn't lie'.
This begs the question: could some negative thoughts "disguise" themselves to be other thoughts, or even mindfulness itself?
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