The Mind Illuminated archive

TCMC 13 January 2011


TCMC 13 January 2011 Part I – Q & A is first audio below
TCMC 13 January 2011 Part II is the second audio below

Automated transcription

Does anyone have any questions or anything particular on your mind that they'd like to address this heating? Jeff. We are supposed to stay in the present moment and be mindful. Today, while I was sitting on my porch, enjoying a cup of tea. Really enjoying it. I realized that one of the things I was having with that cup was the very, very very first time we had ever tasted that tea. It was still with me. And And I was kind of remembering that because the certain setting of that was so bad it us. And you know my porch isn't bad, but then I realized as I was trying to become more present with this particular cup of tea then it wasn't as good as the first one?

And and if I was... And I was kind of doing battle with... Well, what is on tier? I I am enjoying this cup of tea and simultaneously, I have this memory, but oh, no, No. I'm supposed to be present here pushed that memory away and and bear with this one. And and it's a pretty good cup tea but, you know, nothing food compares to your first time. And So I kind of thought I really have to ask where my head is supposed to be with this cup of tea because I had such pleasant memories. And are we supposed to issue memory?

No. No. Absolutely not. To have a memory is an person the present moment. To become lost in that memory that's way you don't want to do. Mh. So how do you... You want to remain in the present. So you know, in the experience you were having have heard recollection spontaneously arose. And i have a lot of interesting qualities too that you describe. You said that according to your memory, which really or actually, we'd say occurring to your present moment. In in that precedent your present moment.

Experience of that memory is it seemed like the fatigue was better the first time you had. Yes. Right. But if if you then really taste the tea that you have, you realize this is an experience that you you can't compare on the basis of memory. So the reality is that you you have a memory that carries with it, this idea of this concept construct that that the team was better than. Or the experience was better. Maybe what make the might had even been great if you. You could have it test tea and the present teeth side by side face and the other I said.

Oh, this is not really good there. Well. But the experience might have down. You first time experiences gonna do like that. So yes. So I don't have to push away a memory just because it's not present. No. Idea, the idea of mindfulness and the idea of present, it's it's being real and it's not trying to create some artificially con controlled state where most natural thing that the human mind does I mean, actually your present moment experiencing every month is a construct based entirely on your cumulative past experience.

Right. And so to not to deny that would not be coming to a place of reality. And so when memories come off they're part of present moment experience. Is when we a memory comes up we proceed to get lost in. We mow it over and we and we think about it. And we lose all touch. Or not even all. Don't don't need we don't need to to resort to extreme statements nuts. But when you lose touch to a greater degree than he would like to with the present moment. That's what you don't mind do. The same thing with the future.

We do have thoughts of the future as matter fact... That's something that our human minds do all the time is is consider and contemplate the future. And even if you start to examine closely, you find this almost possible to distinguish. The the past and the present future from each other because they all ming in. As a part of the present moment. But it's when we become lost lost in fantasy about a future, which almost certainly won't never happen. I have a thought about the future is one thing. To engage in planning, but even when you're you're planning as you develop your mindful awareness, you're able to engage in planning for the future while field being fully present for the present.

Because find for the future. Is something your mind is gonna, you could be fully present while dropping carrots and top cares is what your hands are doing. But you have mindful and you have presence that goes beyond just the carrots in the night. The same thing with applying for the future, the direction you like move. And this is the challenge. Intellectual activities like planning for the future tend to consume all of our consciousness capacity. So we lose awareness of present. We lose mindfulness.

So what your towards is to be able to function. I you need to, but without losing that sort completely. Okay. Okay. That help? Absolutely. I was... It it eliminates my stop thinking that then you get into that little dialogue quick don't think of an elephant. Yeah. And and I I absolutely didn't wanna go down now. Yes. Yes. You know, the thing is I'm so weird that whatever words we use and how we try to describe things. They're always they're always unclear to a certain degree. They're always inaccurate to a certain.

And so we say something, meaning the best thing but remain present, you know, the b is fully present as you can. And that seems to imply that memories or thought issues versus? It's it's easy to carry it to to mean something more than than what that'd be really intended too. It's it's good for you to have phrase that It isn't the thought that's the second class citizen been it's the getting lost. Mh. Yeah. Right. Well thank you. That is a very good question. Thank you. Yes. So I just obviously came in.

Sorry Know what you just talking about. But the last piece reminded me i thing, that I not repeating anything. But getting to a point, you know, thoughts are so easily. Oh you could grow same. And it seems that, like as soon I think become aware that it's a thought it's just, like tends to manage. It intense when it just to dissipate. Yeah. And so finding that kind of balance... I mean, I'm interested in watching. My mind faking. Mh. You know? Getting that kind of vantage point. I was wondering if you had any recommendations on how to get to that place where you can might.

Why than mind doing these things. And the thoughts do pass relatively quickly with in that position. They don't immediately like there that is when. I'm like, oh, okay. Got. So that why it's between not getting something or nine. It's all just like. Just disrupting that process that's going on anyway. Yes. Becoming aware of your thoughts from being able to allow thoughts is it's a subtle thing. Now what a couple of fun on one one that we have is that you know, as a matter I heard it once described as the Sean Maiden phenomenon as soon as you look at a fuck in the spirit.

Shit you. If you do... This is actually... U. Someone was teaching it from the practice where you you where you actually watch your thoughts. Know And if it it's really funny thing you say, okay. I'm gonna sit down and watch my thoughts. And every time the thought comes as soon as you look at it, it's gone. You know and it's a a strange experience. It's it's one of those sp that the mine does. You can be aware the thoughts taking place in and the the periphery of your conscious awareness. While your focus is on on something else.

I'm sure you've had that experience yes. And when you do that, you'll notice that the degree to which you allow attention to go towards the thought. Actually gives that energy. Otherwise, a you know, they... It's like they arrive with a certain amount of energy and they'll go on until that's gone and then they disappear. But the more attention you give them, the more life it gets on them the longer that they less. And that's if you're not... That's if you're staying in that place where you're sufficiently une gross in the thought.

Because if you come english thought it continues on until it becomes exhausted in a different way easily, it evolves into early thought that know you feel yours. But if you if you maintain that certain amount of distance, you'll see that it's very, dependent upon the amount of attention that you give a thought for how long it can. This is where this is where you learn to watch slides. It's like, you know, you get a a a tune or a song in your head, you know, and was hard to get rid of it. But he learned to go ahead and do what you're doing with it in the background and the the the more you get, you know, agent at it that the the longer just stay around.

So you really have to learn it let it be there and ignore it. That's the only way you can get it to go away. And it's... It it share some of the same qualities with that. I I think the what you really are asking, i what the answer is. Is learning to be aware of thoughts in in the periphery. But without focusing your attention on them and going into that maybe make something into. Yes. I think when they dissipate, like I've got the bret here. I see it. Mh. It's like, I I think probably from a place of knowing how grossing it can be.

Mh. I could be just this like, laser like, and come back to the right? Yes. So I guess it is a about. No. And so there is that kind of additional doing that from a a place of reactivity, maybe. That meditation. Try bringing your attention back more champ. So you... You're you're not cutting the thought off, but you're just... You're letting it be there. And out of what What you might discover, the my experience is that these thoughts continue at a sub subconscious level. And and what we're really saying is when they come to the surface and they emerge, and they're not...

The thoughts aren't really disappearing. So well, well, sometimes they exhaust in a sense that the thoughts done. But there's some kinds of thoughts that you'll notice that they keep res and it's the same thought. And if he can get good at I'll i'll letting yourself to let the thought be, then you'll start to notice these things. You expect to discover a lot about the way your mind works, you realize. And reminds... There's certain things your mind always thinking about, you know, the thoughts on and on, and they come to the surface, then i go back beneath the surface.

And I find this is the explanation for by you know, so actually what happens in our ordinary experiences is we'll suddenly think of the solution to a problem. We'll suddenly remember something that we didn't do. That we're supposed to and so on and so forth. This is going on all the time. And my interpretation of this is that that the mind has the capacity to entertain a whole lot of things at the same time. And most of them are are taking place at a subconscious level. And we're only, you know, we're only consciously aware of those that, you know, like they kind approach the surface and that we're aware of and then we suddenly remember not or we suddenly can see the answer to the problem Or not.

And kind of the follow to miss that question on this topic I another who's my teacher saying wants to silly the question. The question was how I get a song out my head when Mh. When I'm trying back to me. If I have, you know, she like, I have both in note once you said, actually, don't have focus once. But, you know, that there been studies down whatever that your going is actually very quickly toggling about fourth. When do you either have your breath or do you have the song mind? How said that...

I mean, maybe it's just that I believe tim, so I made that through much myself, but that's certainly true for me. And I I noticed exactly same thing happening. That I'm, you know, hosting on her, and then the a file was off and there with the thought when I what it's not the draft is still there. I said I completely lost the blast to by the moment, and then I might right back to third breast not And and these actually things happening. When I see the thought then it kind of vanish. It's so it's all encompassing on something and then realizing me not there.

Mh like like I'm like, oh? You know, No. Wait where no. No. All thought. Correct. Okay. This quickly quick top back forth that's happening. And I if i I don't know how to do that, that gentle thing you're talking about of action meaning for this on work consistently throughout also happening. Okay. Alright. What switches back and forth, but Toggle back and forth they jumps from here there. Is attachment. If you think of I I like to use there attention and awareness to make this distinction. There is a quality of knowing that we have all of the time that is distinct from attention, the focused attachment.

And it is continuous. Whatever it includes seems be more global. It's not so conceptual. It doesn't break things down into categories. And it's more holistic it's not so self refer. Attention, what this is other way of knowing what we call attention that's always focused and it can be here or it can be here, you know, i can with different places. But it can't aim two different places at once. And it's very different than this other way of knowing, which is much broader. So attention bounces back and forth.

Normally, we have what I'm calling awareness. Which provides the context for whatever we're focusing our attention on. And when we find that our mind is jumping around from one thing to another. It's two one thing. It's jumping from one thing to another that's in that field of awareness. Right?? So now if you have the experience for example, you're meditating and this thought or maybe a sensation in your knee. Because thought could be a sensation. I'm just using these as examples, but I want you to realize you could be both a metal or or a sensory thing.

And it could seem to you subjective that you're equally aware of both the sensations of the breath and your meditation and that thought of that pain. Now that's the case where what your mind is doing is the focus of attention is rapidly alternating. But you can remain focused on the ground or for that matter focus on the sensation in your need, and at the same time, have this broader contextual awareness. Simultaneously. So there is a kind of knowing that is narrowly focused and it does move around And play around with this in your meditation, explore these two different ways of knowing and come to...

They're very, very important because this this is really the the secret behind this mysterious thing that we call mindfulness or mindful awareness. Has to do with... Has to do with these two ways of knowing and integrating them. So what you'll see when you you'll have this broader show awareness and you'll have the focus of your attention when your attention is not very strongly focused. Certain certain items will stand out even though they're in the background what that means is your attention is quickly going to them.

And you can become aware of that, which I think you have. You've been able to follow it. Oh indeed, it's going back and forth. But now look behind that. And as you can even go so far as to do sort of a background for shift and let your consciousness reside more in that openness. You'll see that that attention and its movements then become really obvious if if you bring if you bring that state of awareness work with the foreground. K? So exploring that state of awareness and attention and try to kind of feel my way around the the differences and how to use them and shift stuff.

Like, i I'm trying to figure out what exactly is that awareness first that attention, you know, from the subjective internal point of you. And I mean, I definitely do... Am able to go to this place that feels very open. Very just like that, you know. And it seems and I don't know if this this fits. Seems that it's kind of more generally associated with the senses of, like, hearing and feeling, the awareness. And the attention seems not time. Would be more generally with, like, knowing and seeing and thinking, kinda more conceptual.

Though clearly can go both ways when you both. But... Because the... I don't know the understand. When I when I connect to those centers, it seems like it provides a sense of openness. Mh. And I'm not sure. If that's the awareness Of sensing or just like, kind of a a feeling that comes from those senses or what? Well, definitely, awareness has much more of a sense of c, and it accomplish this much more. I thought it's some other things about. The the contents of awareness can not to stay in the memory.

Very long. Mh k. Whereas those things you focus on stay in in memory comparatively longer. So... And and it's a very tricky thing. In a anyway, now if you start practicing in this way, trying to become aware of, we're awareness and aware of focused attention. If you try to start experiencing more directly, both distributed consciousness and focused consciousness. You're going... You're going to have sort of a sense a little bit like a cat chasing his tail. Or I don't know if you have tried there's a child, you know, trust step on your own shadow smooth.

There's a little bit of that because what we do as soon as we try to explore awareness, we're always shifting attention to some object. In the field of awareness. Mh. But bear with that. Just bear with that the. There's the the difference in feeling is maybe a really good thing to go by openness as opposed to to more folks. You when you you'll notice that the more focus you gotten the more of this awareness shrinks down and and dim down to nothing. And the other thing is that there is a very distinct sense of wholeness.

As matter as as you've become able to dwell in that place of awareness more. There is... It it it feels really pleasant. If feel everything feels really okay. It feels like, you know, you you lose that sense of being separate and apart from things. And you're just a part of the whole and it feels very good. Very comfortable. Very welcoming. Very open, very connected. So you can you can allow the sort of subject subjective emotional tones can help help you in your search too. Yeah. There's there's still some seats up with the front here those of you that are just arriving.

And I think there's whole stack of Questions there and we can make lots of room more. So... Mh. For. And yeah. There's there's for for more questions up here at the too. So it Yes. I imagine there's a lot of of, like, the brain chemistry and the hormones and the different things that are being secreted. Because of the in the brain, the ability the focus, awareness and certain times and one certain male and female and then certain agents. Maybe like, puberty versus menopause or versus middle age.

All those things all those factors of the hormones that are being experienced and set. Change your ability a lot in the practice of medication or all of those things that you mentioned, have that they influence our experience moment by moment. Call the time. You know, to they're all they're all saying different roles. And they impact on your meditation. That's why it's... you know, it's... If you think about how many different things are going on, you realize how silly, it is to expect to sit down today and predict how your meditation is gonna be or just expect it to be the way your meditation yesterday.

Because you're a totally different person with a totally bind with all kinds of different things going on that was is sat now yesterday. Those always gonna be these differences. So... But but no matter what you're age or a hormonal cycle of the day time and day or anything like that. There is. You're you're moving the whole complex dynamic system that is your your mind and brain and body. In a particular direction through the training. And and that's what is you're training your mind to be able to do certain things that more more effectively and more efficiently, then happens just as a result of you're reacting to world daily circumstances.

So you'll see the direction you're going. But, yeah, I'm not sure. Is is what exactly were you asking?? Oh just... I don't really know. I guess just thinking up about, you know, imbalances and brain chemistry that from the labs being imbalance saying the the, depending on all those plans that are always all these things. And then maybe even if they're not in balance, but, like, you know, I teach high school kids and meditation and, you know, just... There's so, like, different differences even in this room, how people are when they pass specials and it just...

It just go incredible. I feel like that... Yep. Wide fast channel for all things that I must be going off and people's those grains which have a lot to deal with. I imagine about between stable. Yeah. That's that's true. You we... None of us could even conceive or complex. So... What's going on. Yeah. There's approximately three pounds of jelly like stuffed inside yeah each hr. And what's going on there. There's more they calculated to be more connections between nerve cells than there are particles in the universe.

And so more connections trained nerve ourselves in one human brain, that there are particles in the universe. So that's that's rather they're amazing. Then facilitating from a brain injury. I mean, I I I don't really think I what questions. It's just that the training can be used for anybody in any with any imbalance or any balance, it's gonna be good for everybody as long as they have some kind of passion for it, like we wanna fly themselves. Yeah. So there's a lot of data showing not just a affects meditation, but backwards that meditation actually affects brain chemistry.

Right right. Like, certain pathology the way they are. The the way that they are in the brain will go away that certain age related weighs and we the brain declines. Doesn't happen and met too Mh. So that that's why I was talking drop the general trend there. It just he puts it much much better Sorry when you meditate all this stuff that's happening. Yes happens in better ways. Yeah. If as you have just reminded us, we are never the same twice. We all right a house on fire. How do we ever get stopped?

How do you ever end up with those repetitive obsessive compulsive, you know, and and if you're if you're really, like, in the throws of a, depression or something, that stuff can come up and come up and come up and just be back every day for months and years and and your it does know good to save. Gee. I have an obsession. It's still... If we changing as as as she reminds this the the chemistry changing all it, how in the world do we ever get to stuck? Well, we we're complex dynamics as sense and there's an infinite number of ways we can repeat the same mistake so...

And and there's an even larger incentive number where a larger infinity of ways that we can not get stuck in that place again.

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