The Mind Illuminated archive

TCMC – 2 December 2010

TCMC 02 December 2010 Part I – Q & A is first audio below
TCMC 02 December 2010 Part II is the second audio below

Automated transcription

What's happening you your practice in your lives and stuff? Yeah. Katie. Well, I find that... As I getting more relaxed, which I wanted to do. I I, you know, Attended to ten my mouth and that's what I'm trying. And so I've got doing that as much, but now it's harder for me to make myself do anything. I mean, when I sit down with practice, you know, I I really realize when I'm getting chance and I stopped getting tense, but then it's hard to make myself I'm relaxed. So I I I don't... I... It's I don't know.

It's hard to notice when I thinking instead of looking at the breath. And you know, I'm on the breath so little lately that it's it's like I might as well be you know, doing something else. Right. But I've improved in that. I'm not tense and you not as tense. And but Anyway, I just... you know, that whole irrespective awareness or whatever you call, it it just you know, it it was so associated with my attention that I I don't know how to get it back. Okay. Well, Alright. So if I understand what you're saying is learning to relax physically, has somehow undermine your ability to focus your attention.

Exactly. Okay. And So now you need to learn to get back the the focus of your attention. Without tens up. Okay. Well, first of all, it seems to me and you can tell me if to sound right to you. The... What this is telling us is that you have a he probably developed a a deeply ingrained habit. Not especially dissimilar to most people, but maybe maybe a a bit stronger of in order to concentrate your mind and focus your mind. You have always used some kind of muscle tension to support therapy. Getting getting fierce with it.

And I don't think that's not I think with few exceptions, probably most people can relate to that. You know, and you see somebody concentrating on some task they i you see they tense up. Right? Just scrunch up the muscles with their faith. So we all kind of do that. And so what you're finding and and and that is that relationship is one of when I am concentrating. I also tense my muscles and what you're finding is now going the other way. When I relax all of muscles in my body, my mind relaxes too.

Okay. Well, What I would suggest that you tried doing with that? Is you, you're aware of your body, your body's all relaxed now and you deliberately relax it shift your attention to what's happening in your mind. And maybe I should ask you typically lately since you've you've been able to relax the body and this problem all what do you do at that point? Do you focus on the sensations of the breath and try not to have thoughts? You tell too much. But I I do sometimes use your method of breathing in and out and feeling my toes and breathing in and out and going up my body.

And And that helps a little bit, but even then, I just go off into, you know, into thoughts. I just... I... There's a method that I talked about a few months ago and I don't know whether you're here when I talked about or not actually, I because it was about December January was about a year ago. Where you sit down you latch? And the first thing that you do is you just become aware of all the sensations in your body and the sounds that you're hearing and you just get into that space of being aware of physical sensations at every kind.

You've got your eyes closed. So there won't be much in that way. Although you may be aware of you know, patterns behind our eyelids or got a sort of grayish red color or something like that. But you just spend a little while just being fully present in your body and was amd sounds, so forth. And then you... And allow your attention to move freely amongst all of these things. So you you pay attention to a sound for a moment. Then you may explore, scan your body and feel with different sensations in different parts of your body.

So your attention is actually moving. But the one thing that you're doing is you're keeping your attention moving between different physical sensations rather than going into thoughts, especially thoughts about the past through the future or what's happening somewhere else? And you just do this for a little while and you feel awake can alert and you know your body's relaxed and if it starts to tense out, because you're paying attention to your body you just let go of it. But you're awake your alert you're hearing all the sounds, you're feeling different sensations you're you're being really present.

That after doing that for a short time, then just exclude the sounds and and other sensations and make it just bodily sensations. Just the feelings of touch pressure coolant warmth, you know, whatever there happens to be, it's in the body itself happening at the surface of the body or inside the body, you know, but it it is the body that you're paying attention to once again, Don't try to pin your attention the movements of your attention down, more than just combining con confined them to the feelings in the body itself.

And do that for a trip period of time in through this period, it's still quite easy to notice if you're becoming tense. Let go it. Right? But you're still awake kind of where. You're still... you know, as it matter of fact just at this point, you should start to be aware of the distinction between physical relaxation and mental alertness and that there two different things because you're being mentally alert and where of your bodily sensations while you're at the same time, intentionally, looking for potential tension and I didn't go of it.

And so then, as sort of a third stage in the process. By this time, part of what you'll have noticed would be all of the different sensations that are related to the bra nothing nose the chest stabbed and i everything else. And now just con the movements of your attention to within that group of sensations. So now you're not, you're you're you're not focusing on on itch or pressure or warmth or cool. The only thing that you let your attention rest on are the sensations that do at the rest. So you might observe at the abdomen for a while at to nose for a while.

Both at once, move it around. Just play with it do whatever. But you're still alert on a way, kinda where And then as... And so that's any sensations in the body associated with the graph. So then you move to the last stage which is to narrow that down to the sensations of the breath in one place at the at the tip of the nose if that's what you're using or at the abdomen that's what you're in the habit of using. You usually use the nose. Right? Yeah. Okay. So then... And throughout this whole process, you're you're sustaining this alertness this this a aware alertness and you've been doing this at the same time that you're aware of and letting go of any tension in the body.

So try doing it that way so by time you get to that point, those are two different things. The relaxed body and they alert mind, you know, right now they're not linked together anymore. So the body relaxes mind does now. You know, So try it out just as a way of getting into the into the practice into that point of focusing your attention on the sensations of the breath. And then see if you can sustain now. And I would say the don't hesitate if you need to to go back through this process more than once or or move backwards to the stages or whatever.

Until you can get to that place where you can stay alert, you can develop respect wearing, so you can practice following the breath even while your body still rely. Does it sound doable? Well, that's alright. You know, because it's not like you're gonna go back to being three years old and have to go through all the years between then and now again. You just have to go back to being three years old, long enough to solve this one particular problem. And, you know, once you... Once you're at the place where you're on the sensations of the nose and your alert, But the body is still relaxed, then you're then you're back to now.

Okay. Let me know how it goes. Anyone? Anything happening that... Yes. Well, I've been i'm for the last pdf or me. You know, my attention has gotten better at looking internally. But when as is happening now, internal gets kind of loud, my ability to focus externally is not what it used to be. Yeah. I was sort of meditating maintaining internally and not listening to you and kept trying to listen to you, and then going back going back to internal meditation. Mh. And does that sound familiar? Anybody else?

If if I I think I hear what he's saying is you... For one reason or another, I don't know why, but somehow a few minutes ago, you developed a pre preoccupation with something internal. And even though you wanted to listen to what I was saying, you kept going back to that and going back to that to such degree that you couldn't sustain your enough attention on what I was saying to follow on. Yeah. It has my meditation is making the intro more clear and save you and a problem actually just works. That problem gets worse.

Yeah. Yeah. Because the internal is becoming clearer... Well, it... You know, one possibility is what you're calling the internal whatever it is. You haven't told sort yes it doesn't matter. That it's more relevant, important and interesting to you than what I was talking about there. No. That's... No. Neither. And and I'm taking, but don't we all have the experience and even what it is that we're having difficulty attending to on another occasion, we might we might have been more interested in more fully attending to it.

It's the fact that on the balance in the moment, this other thing is has much more power attraction. Holds more interest. Even if it's the fact that that the clarity with which you're seeing that and the sal that you can observe within it, it that may be what's making it more interesting. It's more important. So... Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. So it's pretty common experience. And you'll have a, you know, you'll you'll continue to have that experience to some degree or another even, you know, ego when you become an extremely adept medi.

But you'll be an awful lot more skilled at dealing with it. The ability to let go of something that is interesting in favor of something that also holds the value, but not as much immediate appeal. That's actually the sort of thing that we do when when we're meditating. We had a lot of experience thing that when we're meditating, our combined gets called and our mind functioning in a very superior way. So subconscious thought processes are making connections making marvelous connections between things.

And these pop up into our minds. And I'm sure that you've had that experience. Your meditation is going really well, but now wow. There's these brilliant thoughts coming out. She's really idea as he insights. And it's really hard to say with meditation and there's is brilliant idea. If anybody had that experience... Yeah. And it's it's very common. Everybody has that experience. And the way you have to practice when that happens is to take that really idea and Talk it away. Promise yourself that he'll take the time to look at it at another time.

And go back to the medic. But that's more easily said than done. That's where it becomes a training. You have to you have to keep doing that. Every time this brilliant idea wants to take you. Right? This is one of the few places in the whole process of meditation where the word discipline actually applies. Most of the time all you're doing in meditation is is exercising intention, your intention to direct your attention to one thing rather than another. But this one place where there's something else that is so interesting in a queuing that you have to exercise discipline to let it go.

And when you let go, you know, you you let it be. You don't try to make it go away. You let it be you know it's there. You you know that the struggle between that and the practice is is going to continue to happen. But you just refocus your attention on on the meditation practice on the process of meditating. Rather than losing yourself in the process of thinking about this wonderful idea. And when you get good at doing that in meditation, then you'll also get good at those situations. They we all have everybody has some, you know, where you're reading a book, but some thought comes up, and your mind wants to think that thought and it will go over and say to itself all the words in the whole care direction and you'll get the end and you know you didn't really get what was in that.

Right? You know? And so you go back and start over, but you your mind keeps one me. This this is So good example of, you know, when I say, your mind is not one thing. It's a lot of different processes, and they're not always cooperating with each other. So one of the one of the skills you master in meditation is that of forming, really what you're doing is you're forming intention, you're and you're reinforcing that intention when this happens you're saying, my intention? Is meditation practice.

And then you let go of that thought or whatever it happens to be. It's not always a thought be memory things like that. But you let go of it. And you and you bring your attention back and you just you have to do it again five seconds later or thirty seconds later or two minutes later you just keep doing it. And eventually, eventually the mind is trained and you you enjoy of payoff from the process. But you'll find you'll find that you have the same payoff you're reading the book and you say, Darn, I'm not gonna rate this page again and and get lost halfway through the paragraph with this thought or concern I have.

And you find me you're able to do that? You intentionally set aside. I'm going to finish this chapter. Not all. Think about that. I would seemed me save yourself. And you're able to go back and you're able to you know, the intros awareness is part of this. If you're meeting a sentence, you can't monitor your own comprehension. Do I understand what's being said here? Have I fulfilled my own? Have I gotten what i need from what is being said? You can you can have an awareness of whether or not that's there.

Even while you're reading the words. And this is same thing this is developing intros awareness that exists side by side with whatever focused activity that you're undergoing. Just... So becomes the same thing as when you're meditating you focus on the meditation object. Even though you're aware of distractions that are trying to drive your way, even though you're aware of the the tendency of the mine to move towards those distractions and the need to bring them back. But you can evaluate in the moment.

Yes. I'm still with it. Now I'm starting to lose it now and back with it. Sense to you. Yes. yes. I I have on a process. I guess i'm kind of exploring right now. I just I just wanted to share that you like that thought about that. I I... So when I'm doing by meditation i'm focused that the the put the didn't else. And when I do that, for me, it's sort there's an orientation space kind of a flat plane it's sort around. Mh. I... I'm not really aware of anything else, but I'm very aware of that. So I you know, focusing on it, you know.

Thought my camera go. All of that, but I still... Have got. Which kind should he get? And all of sudden that space makes expands. If you even side of the ringing. Mh. When it's first start happened so it's i was looking because Right. Oh, can east breath is instead of just being in until space years. B. Yes. And then then it might expand out me the size of too tucson? And then maybe just on map here. Next i getting... But they get a certain point, you know, maybe sort of not much bigger than between here and.

That's far as I've got so works. Exactly. I think... And they is just kinda of gently faint the way I don't really try to stop that. Because I then twitter returns back. And I don't I can't really can... Just know it's happened. But it wouldn't start happening and was just play a little bit. Mh. And now it's spotted. So now I you know, like i wanting it happened very quickly here can go very far. That not that ten definitely terms it happened. Okay. I'm gonna. I I just sit there. But but when it does happen, you know, it seems to...

Seems to grow a little bit and and it's very very pleasant now. So it's something I kinda look forward to. Mh. Best. So that's anyway that's parse and got. I have just a five and Well, the first thing I would say just for the benefit everyone else that... It seems as though that the part of your brain in mind that deals with spatial things may be more well developed than than some of the other us. So, you know, you may never experience, but he's experienced or you may experience something like it, but not not to the same degree.

But that is that's actually that is is an expansion from here almost to to Phoenix. Sort to awareness or the breath becomes that huge. That's not really that's incidental. That's not what's really important. What's really important is if I understand it correctly, that corresponding to this expansion that you experienced in spatial terms is the fact that you are becoming very, very focused on on the breadth that's now huge. Is that not correct? And that is really to the exclusion of everything else.

Because as it expands, it doesn't leave much room for too much else. Is that right? So that's what I would consider to be important about this as you're experiencing... This is what would sometimes be described as a single pointed concentration. You know, and you might say. Single point. No this is huge. But the thing... The point is that huge or small it's it's excluding all of everything else. It's becoming so big in your mind that just doesn't leave breathing out. The other thing Is there a lot of clarity vivid?

How the how had details of the sensations when with this happens? Yeah. Very focused they're very present. And there's not know thoughts aware of that that patient. Oh you're you're very aware And is are you picking up on a lot of subtlety of those sensations that you might not know otherwise be aware of. Probably fill, it it it always... Amaze me that that the same kind of feeling that self showed small he'll be u so no and I guess that's right station. I haven't thought it that's that. No. I mean, mean with an artist background, they important thing.

I'm chirping it that way. But... Yeah. There's... It's very it's a very pleasant feeling. We now. It's the go and so I kind of enjoy writing that little bit. Just that yeah. Really. So that's how a a period of very focus. Concentration with a lot of vivid awareness is manifesting for you. And that's what's important about it. And, you know, of course, don't become attached to it, but definitely do enjoy it. You know, and... Yeah. Right with it. So you see where it's gonna take you. So you see where you can do with it next.

And don't ever don't ever become so involved with that that you completely lose the awareness of the mine that is experiencing this. That's if you... Yeah. You know what I'm saying the intros awareness, you know, which... Initially, Could you What's that? Could you say that again for some... That's a little confusing to me in the sense that Do you always wanna have a subject to an object? I mean... I mean, really? Or... Well, and not necessarily a subject and an object. Making another way to put it is And and also we're we're not talking about the ultimate end of the process here.

We're talking about steps along the way. But what you do want to do is to make your mind part of what's being known objectively. You want your mind to be part of the object. If you say subject an object, for me, this... When you say subject, I interpret with that, but this sense There there is a self an I me who's watching that object, observing that object. And what I'm encouraging you to do is to watch the mind as object while you're watching the sensations of the breath as object. Or whatever else happens to be did you do you happen to be using in your meditation?

To clarify that other ways of describing it is developing a meta awareness, so that you're not just aware of the object you're aware of yourself being aware of the object, which means that you'll know if the quality of your awareness diminishes due to dull or begins to shift or begins to scattered or whatever. Another way of describing it, it's as though you're stepping back, so now you're watching the mind meditate. The mind still meditating as fully as ever. And you're still aware of it as fully as ever.

But you're you're watching the mind meditate, you're watching in mind watch the object. Routed than getting lost in the object. Okay. So... And so if you wanna describe in terms of subject and object, you will still have at this point a sense that Well, there there's something that's watching this. And this this gets more refined becomes appropriate to describe that as the witness it seems like a personal consciousness. You know, there's no longer... It's no longer the usual familiar sense of a self knowing that thing or self knowing whatever.

But just as in imp quality consciousness, But even that is still inherently the subject as it it is still a watcher. And that's what's called a witness. And that can be developed. As a matter of fact, it's at about this point that you already wanna cultivate that experience of being the witness watching watching what's happening watching it unfold and being the the really independent observer of it. But that too is an intermediate space. That's not the end of the process. So so the is is non cell means not the self clinton's email.

Well, the the witnesses is the witness is a tremendous refinement. But there's still a duality there. There's not there's not an ego a personality, a person in that sense. But there's still a watcher and nowhere they is somehow separate from the numb. And so the witness, is a tremendous refinement. I call this the dual mystical state. And you can cultivate as a wonderful place to be. You find this still point inside yourself. And your body and your mind and the world are all in motion, they're doing their thing.

And the witness this perfectly still place that, you know, knows it knows everything that's happening, but is independent of and unaffected by It just knows it. And and that that is that is the witness there. Right. It's still dual. Yeah. There's another mystical state that I call the unified mystical state and that's where you lose any sense of that and it feels like there is no distinction between yourself and the rest to the world. And so when you look at the tree or the rock, it's like the tree and the rock knowing themselves.

There's only this one consciousness and it is It's it's it's not in the separate observer. So these these are all these are all things that in this continuous evolution progressively more and more refined ways of observing phenomena that we go through. And just gets better. I don't know where it ends yet. So I think I've gone on a bit long.

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