The Mind Illuminated archive

TCMC 19 May 2011 (1 of 2)


What is karma? What are the results (i.e., the fruits or vipaka) of karma? How did the Buddha re-define Karma? What are intentions?

Karma is one of the most powerful influences on our lives. How can we change or improve our Karma? Can mindfulness modify our karma? Is there a more powerful method of modifying our  karma?


Automated transcription

Good to see you. How's everyone doing? You may be cutting in now I did. Not move this for. What should we talked about There had been a request for some follow up on the carlo discussion the last time you were here. I had thought that we would do that afternoon. To basically continue the the discussion. And may go on beyond Tonight as well. That's a good it's a really good topic to be talking about and if we can Yeah. If we can we're straight that and could solid clear that would be great. Yeah.

What's self I'm not sure what's all it needs at least get a really practically useful understanding How. Anything okay. Anything else? Yes. I know just urge to me something to talk about. May or may not be an relevant, but I've it just seems really clear to me right now that When setting I there each character has a different disposition. So there are three main character types and wires. Basically, ether and air water fire and earth. So each person could has more or less of one of these things.

And then you talked about aggregates. So each one of us is made up of all kinds of different things that make, you know, this physical who we identify us. Based from the meditation I feeling like the excess of air and ether in my mind is a is making it harder to get to a calmer statewide mind isn't so active and I'm noticing that in in insomnia to it's that time when my mind like, nothing happens it just... That element just kicks in and it becomes very active and agitated. So it seems like that has a big influence in my ability to progress meditation.

I don't know if that's a big stretch imagination or that actually may have something to do with my own ability to have that... That element seems to be distracted by this distracting... Distracting element whereas if i was more in the body, you know, more earth them, it would be easier to settle down. Have less agitation. Well, I guess what you just said is really very true. When you're blind, that's part of your mind. Because it's really just one part of your mind that is is very not always this constant.

And activity. Right? That's the problem. And really the best the opposite that opposite fact is have really strong body really in your body. It's good to recognize that. But Now allowing that there's there is no control. So it goes back to the idea of. Permit what we actually have control over and not and making ourselves accident prone. So the more we do these things and retrain online to become more body based, but it doesn't seem like That interest is the danger. But not like, not necessary. Like sorry.

But that you're not in downs. There be where you are if they have the kind of problems you do? Forever. You know However you got to the place where you are right now, you'd have a lot more control over who you are and how things go for the future and most of us narrowly realize. So these are chiefs for understanding that. So I think, you know, what you're describing. If I understand correctly describing the car? Constant kennedy the the Idea part of your mind is always worrying even about this having.

Maybe worries not the right word. Not necessarily... Yeah. Tangible thinking... Thinking about something around. And sometimes it's just noise it's that's not... There's no words. It's it's actually, like my brain is making a a it's emitting a noise. And maybe it's like, no, not nothing verbal, but it's agitated. It's very. But there's no thought per s. So I don't know if if... You know. So there's... Yeah. So that's that's there's this... Let's just call education. I think everybody... Everybody has experienced it.

Sometimes everybody years like might would you seem like you made the all night revision mine. Just with okay. So the difference that you're talking about is you're saying, well, I'm a person. I have not just something to happens. Vacation from the time to time is happening to me also the time it's getting old. It it seems that that other people when they have left them that person as a certain balance of that or not or these other elements. That's right. And if you were to talk to everybody else room.

If that's not their main problem or something else some of the be things that Aren't complementary and work with them. So Yeah. We all... Each of us has are getting unique and kilobits that make us so which has its both its benefits and it's problematic side. But what I have found on. And I think in principle. That's what ideas like error versus search and things like that. You you're speaking of then not data system. They're addressing is that a mind that is is strongly rooted in body awareness.

His my that is thought agitated and doing all thinking making noise. It's not in that educated states. So you're absolutely would be right? Cultivate that body awareness in in whatever ways you can't and that will that will help to shift to balance for you. And is that something that you already been working on? Continue? Yeah. So thanks mike. Yoga and she known. I alec cheek on here movement breaths awareness. So you're performing movements that need to be done in a very precise way. And you're coordinating now with your voice your breathing in statement.

And so the result of this is a really really strong body awareness. Has a lot of different know, yoga and other things like that kinda change the sample thing, but This is the kind of thing that I would recommend for somebody just experiencing saying a lot of the of cloud activity, a lot of agitation and attendance. Whenever you're not actually busy doing something, otherwise, you know, engaged plugged in, fulfilling some tasks, attempts to just sort of grab up and spin its wheels then then to do that kind of practice if helps get heat more more grounded in your body and strengthen the actual tendency or everybody has an actual tendency for audio awareness i mean good function in world.

We didn't. Right? So it's just it's it's a question to strengthening a call today because I think that's when there. And by doing so. Since i really can't... Be body tactile physical component of awareness can't really coexist at the same time with intellectual analytical abstract verbal thing. So that helps she reestablish evidence. So we're not on the cushion. That's what I've been paying more attention. I'm just noticing that one. Since not... When you're on the cushion. The same thing you can, you know, focus more on the on the body awareness.

A up more awareness on the cushion than just walked... You know, I'm not working if I'm not saying my computer working, then it does seem that that is that there is some thought going on rather than body wise. Even while you're working hearing a computer, you can still you can train yourself to still tune your body. I hasn't match i. That's why of the problems that a lot of us have. We work with computers. We're working with mines sitting in a chair, and we forget about our body until we've been sitting there for several hours and suddenly realize this.

It's very uncomfortable. But we were shedding all that enough So it will also be physically beneficial to. Know when you're doing that kind of while working an over to keep track of what's. Okay. Just tim. Sarah And you ever had anybody complain about noticing too much. How i seem too much. Yes. Yeah. What are you thinking? Yeah know, As you we've talked about the over years my practice is going from sitting to. And sometimes I feel swamped while I. And i'm unable to turn it off So but you what what kind of noticing too about are you referring to?

I you noticed physical sensations noticing thoughts and ideas, memory. All of it. Have depending on what's happening in the moment. Well, that's... Yeah. I I think I told you that in every retreat I was in australia. That talk with chaser around how And that's how fast present moment was. We said go find out. So I my ask what medication I was doing that. And I finally like I was standing in the reads. The moment was just slightly part of the fan. Okay? And it's not this is sergeant pleasant. It's it's it's like yeah.

It's just all the time. Yes. If you're mind is. To educated active if you're too intensely aware of many things, like victims are comfortable. That what you're saying? Yeah. Which is which limits your ability to really pay attention to anything in particular. Right? Sometimes, yes. But not all the time. Well, the the whole idea calling the line is really to stop the concept movement. And the different kinds of activities that are taking but not to stop them necessarily. But at least to slow them down and particularly to bring up to a place where they're serving your needs and a really important need that we have.

Is to be comfortable and happy in the press moment. So if your attention is as hyper active and it's making uncomfortable happy that it's not serving your needs. And so this this would be a classic kind of situation of where... Well, the what you need is the benefit that comes from. Training your mind to be more more call or still or go. I was everything that we've talked about at all the panels. There all ways to do that. But when I talked to you before you're basically saying that you're this something you have.

A lot of trouble that must be same stuff work that well freely. Because your ability to he tried a lot of different practices from different teachers and you still find that that your mind is is particularly accurate. So no wanna make it for cheaper temporarily inactive the no, you don't wanna go to the other extreme. They just wanna remote it down and Enough like they say you wanna get to that place where you can gets more surface. You're own comfort. You're happy. Has your ability to do what you wanna do.

So. And you know, some people... Some people's brains work differently and that's what intention deficit disorder areas and if things like that. So in those kind of cases, sometimes you have to take a little bit. One of the things that We do in meditation. Just where to adopt at different vantage point to step back from the activity of the line. So that we can... It's still going on, but we're not caught that we're sort of one step for removed. And and when that happens, we... Even though our mind is active, we experience a kind syllabus.

Know what talking to about. Well, I'm talking about watching your mind. Has your mind is doing whatever it's too. So that's i it's hard for me to thank you. Have anybody else... How's I talking about kind make words that would work better? That's to me the the metaphor of stepping back or moving to higher level. Or you know, put it yourself in in a place where the the observer, the the consciousness that the watched that has involved in all of this is removed from the activity, allowing the activity and keep going on not trying to to struggle against it.

But standing outside of it. Not not clicking. Yes. Like taking the car out here. Putting it neutral. So here's still moving, but you're not engaged Well, yeah. That the idea not being yeah have not been engaged. Your there's that sense of separation have It's actually where where we all wanna get to. We all want to discover the still point. There is... There is is still a point. That is... It is in fact the origin of our consciousness are where. And we approach it by cultivating that state of being the una observer of the phenomena that are going on the film on that we are that mind is.

And so if you're to not usually, the first step in in moving in that direction is to call down the ordinary activity in the line that we're so usually so caught up at, and then we have trouble dis disengaged from. So we like slow that down. And that's good. Once we slowed it down a bit, and we can learn to step back and dis. To stuff to put in the clutch service to speak. But if you been if you... What what I'm really suggesting is if you're having trouble with this first stage of getting your mind, to slow down and call down enough then skip that stage and move to the next stage just being able to step back and let it happen without being coming out in.

To try to find the the still oil which the the observer awareness the consciousness cunning practice. Is that just. Okay. Yes. I was thinking of an observation boost. An observation booth that south of and you're in the observation goes and your. You can see what's going on below you. You can watch it, but all the sound and all the activity is muffled. Like you are observing it? That's a that's the sort of out four two. Fields make Except to what we're talking about is the witness experience is associated with.

Had increased level with clarity. So the muffled part of it is quite right on. Think I don't care. But what you're saying is the sense of being separated from i caught it up in... Yeah. That's right. Yep. Okay. I'm the subject subjective of all these people who can't quite get it to quiet I think I'm stuck in the other direction. I'm math positive. I've got to the point where I'll be Following meditation object and I'm still tending to fall into dull and kinda nod out. And And it's there's this really clear feeling that a part of me is being spot.

That going to sleep is the clever way of saying, I'm bored with this and going to go take you off into three wins so I can party party party. And that's how it it it wants to take me away from the meditation on object gong. Even while I'm not in in getting to, I I still know where my meditation object is. I i remember that you said that there are there's a a kind of a figure ground, and and And kind of pretending to to to wiggle knobs You get too closely focused on your object that's when you fall into dom.

And then there's some other direction. And me can't remember what you said. So let me try what What is it that would back me off from being too close to my meditation? I'm just back me out of that doughnuts? Okay. Yes. Well, you're... First of all, you're absolutely right, about your mind being slide. This city and sense days. This is a way for your mind for some part of your mind. This is a way for some part of your mind to reject what you're doing and saying, you know Yeah. And I can actually see that happening and it's coming out.

But I don't have the grip on it yet to say, oh have to change this. Yeah. Well, to Think of it in terms of an energy level of your mind. Okay? Know or how? Lots of metabolic activity, Atp being broken down buying cells or are firing and facing you know, and all of that. Which is final energy. And the state of the mind reflects that level of energy. When you become really focused and especially with you're awareness of things around you, the rate. The energy level of your mind, physiological, what's happening is that there's a lot less input to your cortex.

So it's not accurate. And the cortex now has fibers go the particular activating system. Which is appropriate named. And so there's less output from the... To the Har retailer ip the system. Part of the particular act systems java is that it sends signals back the cortex to bit a late connected. Mh. So when you get too closely focused, the energy level will of the line starts to fall and physiological terms. Everything starting to move towards sleep less less activity. This really important feedback to sustain waiting for us starts to go in the direction and that's with you.

Sleep and. Can take you all the way sleep it can take you to some intermediate stains and done. But whatever terms is convenient disney code, it it's an energy. And It's an it's an energy process that is stimulated my external input is also stimulated by internal activity. So when you feel the energy level your mind beginning to to fall, and you need the sync. One of the things that you can do instead of being so focused so closely is to broaden your awareness be more aware body sensations of external sound.

Things like that. Mh. Most likely, there's still thoughts going on in your mind. Right? Right? Okay. So without without engaging in thoughts and feelings and the other mental activity to taking place, you just allowed yourself to be aware of it. So being aware of body sensations, external sounds, what's going on in your mind. That's going to increase the activity levels is gonna increase the energy level and it's gonna help to sustain you somewhat from following us asleep. Think there is an other way that you can do this too, which is you take the process of observing the breath.

And you you... And and it will depend on just the level of skill that a person has. You trying to do this too soon It's not gonna work. But if you if you're your mind has developed, i stability of attention. You can focus in really closely on the sensations of the breath and trying to tease out the my yield details. And try to observe, you know, in the course of hand. There are anywhere from from three to four to a dozen distinct sensations in the course of the single inhale, you know, sensation of the house.

That you can come recognize and identify and you'll see those same sensations being repeated. In Harry breath. As a matter in fact, if you refine your awareness through watching this, you'll even kind of part where notice when something changes. The breath is a little longer or shorter and having these sensations that make have change. So this is another way that you can energize your mind. By looking really closely on in on these detail. But if you haven't If you haven't changed your mind and enough potential stability going to that level it's going to raise the energy level up your mind.

With the effect that all of the sudden you have this barrage or flock and distractions and everything else so you're gonna go ahead the direction? What When I more closely, I focus on my breath trying to do exactly that and tease it apart. That's just almost to guarantee. Just Okay. So what's happening there is your your your becoming You're becoming focused in a way that rather than increasing the energy equipment like is contributing to to decreasing and and my guess is you're focusing in on these sensations and that they begin to to become unrecognizable as what they actually are take on different forms, kind dream like Yeah.

You watch for that. And you see that see if that's happening, you want to expand your. So you wanna use external sensory stimuli outside. So what what I was trying to ask was there's there was this statement you made a while back long while back now. About the the distinction between... I i already know how to do too close of focus and then there was this really... There was supposedly another error that if you broadened too far was as as unfortunate and extreme. And I I don't know how much is too much when I'm other thing just to say well, okay.

I'm not meditating at all in. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That's it. How much is too much of any of these things? This this system... This is why you learned from your own experience So when you when if you find that happening, if you don't you open your awareness and your you're you're allowing this other sensory input to help stimulate your mind. But that you reached upon. I don't think I'm a meditating where we obviously have too far. So so that's that is the range and that's of had nerve ours. Okay. At that history.

Okay. Lastly, we're talking about a statement absorption where you wouldn't hear a bell ring or a birds say, But you're not asleep. That's right. Would you what? But you're not a asleep. Not your So how are you because I've not experienced that? How are you incredibly alert and energized and yet when you come out of meditation, someone much says did you hear that fire engine and you say no? Well, these are... These correspond to different stages. Cultivation of these abilities on set abilities. Right?

And you're you start off cultivating certain abilities and then when you get to about the fourth stage, you start adding another set of abilities and you get up to the six stage and you're adding another set of abilities. And so these descriptions of what a meditation is like can reflect different stages. Now when you reach the point where you're not aware sounds, you're, you're not aware the higher agent going by. Okay. But your mind is really alert in way. So what happened you you trained yourself so that you have you have, tremendous intentional stability so that you can select a focus and sustain that focus and sustain it so stable that nothing trades into it.

And part of that process is there's actually a change let's say if you don't mind me going back to physiology. Okay. All of the sensory information that you're aware of first goes through a part of your brain called t. And then it relays it to the cortex zone It gets up to the cortex deck, you have you experience it to it. And... There's a certain stage in the practice where there's a classification of the census that takes place which means that you don't feel normal bodily sensations anymore. You just feel this you have an awareness of the body and it's very pleasant.

But you're not feeling pressure the cushion heat, cool air, and things like that. And you're not blind sweet. You're not familiar why you're super. You're very aware of what's going on in your mind. That what what I call the intros we're the awareness to us trying right? Is very powerful, but extra awareness, awareness of what's outside that's physical if i has pretty much fallen way. As a matter of fact physiological, it seems like it's just not going past this one level in the brain it's not going up to the next level.

The same thing true of sound. At this point, you tend to hear only there be ringing or buzzing or, you know, there'll be some sort of internally generated sound. And you will not be aware for example of the prior why things like that. Or if you are, it will only just be you distant awareness. That's really thing. So so what we kind out there. That's a little more advanced than what we were just talking about here. So at an earlier stage, it's important to keep that awareness of and explain that we're gonna see your phone into dogs.

Know you're allowing it falls way. That's it that's exactly right. And that's a very just as a general point. At at these different stages, at one stage you be doing something, which had another stage would be precisely the wrong thing to do. Right? At the sixth stage, you want to become single pointed. But in stages went through four and a half. And you you're right around there. That would be the worst thing that you can do because if you up to single pointed, you lose all awareness, you become really vulnerable falling a asleep to distraction at mind laundering all kinds of things like that.

But there's a lot of these things like this that what's appropriate for one stage is not necessarily appropriate for another. And we're gone wait past time to start the meditation That's... If you wanna stretch get comfortable. I think this was a good discussion about patient I like to.

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