The Mind Illuminated archive

TCMC 21 July 2011 (Part 1)

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Yes. Good afternoon. It's good to see you all here. So everybody doing well i? Okay. You anyone have anything on the ryan in particular? Especially anything to do with meditation. I think we have some new people here? It's good to hear you. Welcome. Thank you for joining us. And if... Well, this first half hour is is just a question and answer period. And then we'll do a forty five minutes and then we'll have a break for tea. And then after that, we'll have a darn on. K? So do you have any questions, please?

Please ask them. Okay. Okay. Yeah. It's. The first one has do with so. And it's not about the state thomas, but it's about use word illness Mh. For me, that word is real majority because of my own personal district. Early on like the school has labeled no. Because I couldn't see the blackboard. So that when I hear that I am searching into the cycle. Erica is all over again. You know all that. Personal history. I figured that out fine. So maybe follow me i can even But okay. So that's one. It's not really like question guess.

It's just the know my thumb. Okay. What I like best about it is when you said now you figured out, maybe it won't bother to you. I hope that's true. Let's see. Let's see if. Also. I know it's like... I've heard teach about the stages of meditation that we go through. And I I have a difficult time with that. I guess because I don't Well, I'm and I feel and zip there's within tags not in intense, but there's, like, the way I describe it is being on the beginning and I don't know that that's in any of those and stages and my page maybe it is and I don't know.

But it's a state of peaceful lives and it seems to be sufficient for me. And and at the same time, I think I'm not doing this ten stages has a medication. I haven't experience john. Therefore why i'm a failure. I get that feeling. You know? When I hear about the steps and the stages, And so I have a lot... I mean, I'm happy where I am. I know that probably I don't need somewhere and there are many other ways to be in this process, but I don't know. Maybe you could address that as if... Okay. Guess my question.

The way that you have... The way you teach this process of meditation Includes moving, you know, not like locks step, but moving into various states of consciousness. And Guess my question is, is that necessary that you understand exactly where you are? And If it's not is it necessary to move through the states of consciousness as described? I guess it's cha Data or somebody, I'm not sure if who but describe those stages and meditation and How teachers say Everybody goes through a certain stages.

You know, everybody goes through a certain status. And I guess my question is, is not true? Are they all the same for everybody? And does everybody have to experience at some point, john. And if they don't, because I proved that John not is only... I mean, it's a condition state. It's not a I think condition should state. If the ultimate goal is to reach an un unconditional state then aren't there several ways to get there. I guess that's question. Okay. Well, there's there's a number of things there.

First of all, I just want to make something clear. John are not in themselves a part of the stages that have been described. You can. You can access the From anywhere from the six stage to the tenth stage and the quality of the Genres that you experience. Will be more profound. But they are not a part of chimps the can't stage. And well, I I I just wanna kinda get John out of the rate. Now, I really wanna talk about stages in the other things two sick. You don't need to experience the John at all before before you reach get like stream metric.

There's absolutely no required. Just like there's all kinds of practices. You don't need to have ever done or even be capable of doing. All they are is his needs to me at they're their eighties. And, yes, Jana, like, everything except Nirvana is a condition state. And so the only reason for identifying Janna as a condition state is in case somebody should be likely to mistake it for Med laurent. That's the only reason for mentioning the fact. Because absolutely everything else. Here's a condition state.

Just like as John is just a kind of practice, and it's there's a kind of experience associated with that's need. Okay. So then let let's go to talking about the stages of. And they were first formulated by the buddha not in the form of ten stages, but rather Yeah. Twelve separate versus More or less described the same products process. And then it was a song divided them up and knocked ten into nine, and it was kamala later on it expanded on that and had a lot of other good stuff too today. And there is a problem with the whole thing about stages.

Because... It suggests a degree of linearity that is it's there but not nearly to the extent that people are prone to. Think that videos. Another problem with it is that, you know, we we tend to rate ourselves as to which stage we're at. And if we've been practicing this long and we're still only at that stage, then it must be something wrong with this. Or if we started practicing the time something else did it they're this stage, but we're it. You know, all these kinds of all these these kinds of things are problems with stage.

What they really are, there are There's skills that a person needs to acquire there's obstacles that a person needs to overcome. And they do happen in a particular order. The reason they happen and the order is is it's just a very fundamental thing about the way we are. Like, standing up has to come before walking. It just has to. Right? And it's that kind of thing. There's nothing mysterious about it. It's just... Idiot it is the way it will happen. The stages are describing a sequence in which you develop certain skills and overcome certain obstacles that is the easiest way to progress.

You if you If you try and cultivate these skills in the wrong order, it's gonna slow you down in enormously. If you don't succeed in overcoming a particular obstacle, it's gonna keep coming back and why you over it over again. No matter how good your meditation becomes in other ways. And so in order to succeed end achieving any particular degree of medi state allows you to have certain kinds of experiences. The most effective way to do that is if you could have reference to a system like these stages that say, look if you do this first before you do that, it's gonna work better than the other right now.

And then there's this other thing that you might skip. But if you if you do it at this point, it's going to have a large effect on how things go in the future. So they you don't need to know about the sage at all. As a matter of fact, many people have meditate successfully and we're not aware that these stages existed. The reason I teach them is that I discovered a number of years ago a huge number of people that had been meditating a long time who were getting nowhere. And I realize it's because they didn't you know, they didn't have this really wonderful valuable information.

It's like a map. It's saying, you know, you can head off to a destination without a map, and you might eventually get there. That's not the question. But did you get there the quickest and the easiest and most enjoyable no satisfying way or not. So that's that's really what the stages are. So the there really is a temporal sequence in that if you have... For example, if you haven't overcome the tendency for your mind to be carried away by distractions. You might be able to have some very good experiences, but they're going to be very inconsistent unpredictable won't necessarily last very long.

Whereas, if you recognize that because long as my mind keeps get treated away by distractions, None of this is gonna work very well. Therefore, why don't I focus on overcoming the distractions? And up so are there methods are there ways to do that? And yes, there are. So that's that's really what the stages are about. Can I be one other question following up on? Yeah. Meditation is a... Is it tool. It's not pen. And if your patient is working, your life is changed. Communication is not yet right.

Your wife is staying pretty sad pretty much the same that you're starting to know have letters of something. But if your life is not changing and your view is not changing, fair to say that the meditation is not working you. Well, that's what I would say. I say that. About meditation and I certainly say that about any sort of the spiritual path or other pack that would engage in if the purpose of that app is to make you like better. If it's not making changes, then you need to rethink it. Thank you You're welcome Any thoughts from the rest of you About stages?

Yes. I have a question. I did a I just kind of have hasn't practiced Of same upon in concentration previously. But then more recently I've been doing Just one book from John Cabo book. Wherever you go there, you are census. I been trying to practice mindfulness. And he he he starts off in his first rainy with the breath and then and sense he talks a lot about the the sounds cable hearing and focusing mindfulness on on quality sensations. And These objects can change as different approaches come up in your awareness, then then can change from them to over the course of meditation.

How does how does that that triangle of practice? Fit into the nine or ten stages you've been restricted? It's... Well, you can use the... Could use the stages of meditation. To understand what that practice is trying to do. What that practice is doing without necessarily telling you this clearly that front, is it's teaching you did you have to gain some control over the movements of your attention? When you do that, you're going to discover that in addition to paying attention to one thing, you're simultaneously aware of a whole lot of other things.

And cultivating that awareness, as well as the attention is is really what he need to do. And that's that's what the that's what you're also doing in the in the stages. If you look at them you see it. And the the very first thing the very first obstacle is the fact that you keep forgetting what you're doing and your mind wander. And so that's the first one to overcome. If you can shorten those periods at mind laundry, and then having shortened down, if you can extend the periods when you can keep your attention stable.

Then if you can overcome whatever it is, it's causing you to keep forgetting what you're doing. Then you got a situation where you you intend to pay attention a meditation object. And you're also aware of all these other things, but you don't forget the meditation not object. Now you know what is happening in your mind. Aha there's my attention. It moves around. There's all of sudden stuff coming in going. Sound it grabs my attention, some of the stands off from the sidelines. It says come see. You know.

And And you realize like... Well, okay. My mind still pretty unruly. I it could stand a little more tam, or more stability. You develop that. So you're doing you're doing very, very similar things. So they're very consistent. As a matter of fact, I think that if they're properly understood, So you can take these stages and you can look at all the diapers meditation techniques out there. And you could say, on. Now I see what this is. And you can put it side by side with another. And oh, I see what's the same about these two?

And I see what's different on. So I think it is... I think it's a really useful... It's a really useful tool. That regard. And university universal? Thank you. What I one thing that confused me, I thought there was a between two was because we've... I've heard the with sync bank concentration. Practice because you shouldn't change the object. And yet, with mindfulness, you take as your object, whatever might come up. I mean, you can choose to we maybe just do sensations, but you can say she's to pick.

What you're comparing here is two different ways of practices. Each of which is a bit of an extreme and because it's an extreme it has its own problems. Now if you if you if you do a kind of single pointed of meditation practice where right from the beginning idea is that I'm gonna focus my attention and one thing, and I'm gonna be oblivious everything else. That's an unbalanced practice. You're not developing any skill in terms of awareness. And what you're gonna go through is so really, to is period where you focus in closely and you forget where you're doing or you fall asleep and it just happens over and over and over again.

Because The important thing about mindfulness is that it's using attention and as peripheral awareness together simultaneously. It's optimizing them it's developing them both together. If you go to a practice, like the kind of the kind of mindfulness practice they give it this label where you you pay attention to your breath example, But as soon as something else comes along, you have to look at it stick a label on it. And if there's something else you have a look at it, stick a label on it. And then there's nothing particularly left then you go back to the breath until something else comes up.

And in that practice, you're doing a really good job of cultivating peripheral awareness and a very minimal degree of control over attention. Basically, you're not so much controlling attention, but you're you're going along for the right it wants to go. So these are two, but there like two ends of the spectrum and they're both out of balance. What you need to do is to develop stability of attention simultaneously with developing peripheral awareness. And the most important thing about peripheral awareness especially in terms of what we usually refer to as mindfulness.

Is not what's going on around you and what feel in your body and the smells and the sounds. It's really important he is focusing in your attention on one thing but being peripheral aware of what's going on in your own mind. Because that's that's the true mindfulness for. The true my awareness. Now If you're practicing martial arts, you will use mindfulness practice. To make you very aware of what's going on around you. So that your body will automatically respond to whatever your opponent does. And if you try to do that using the attention capacity of your mind, you fail very quickly.

You gotta have no mind. But all the emphasis on what's going on outside. Martial artist pays no attention to What's on, sir. And that's why he can be such a well when he's not partial artist. I But what we wanna to do in meditation is to cultivate the intros where and at a certain point when we becoming single pointed all of that awareness of feeling and hearing and tasting and smelling and everything else. That does go away. But doesn't go away. So he's being aware of what's going on in your mind.

When you reach that point of single pointed does, if you've done it properly, you should be watching your mind. While in your mind is single pointed focusing on meditation. Then you've done what you really need to. Now you can carry that over into your life. No matter what situation you're in. You're aware, but what's really happening in the moment? And what's the most important part of what's really happening in the moment. You know, western and fight, I think. Is what's going on in your own mind.

So do you know what's going on in your online? Then you'd act fine wait. So Jeff. I'm message. You're doing with? I'm trying. To you better. You try to do. Yes. I do about four days. Yes. Okay. I don't meditate anything. I just sit pretty I can do it for fifteen minutes. And then my be wakes up. You were telling anybody the stages they? Well, the the way that I laid them out the first the first stage would be establishing a regular practice and you've done that. Although you could extend it to day.

But you establish it. The second stage is that you overcome the tendency for the mind to go on really long, mind laundering trips from one thing to another to another. And then you remember oh, Yeah. Supposed see may take. I do have that experience when you're trying to... Yeah. And we all it. We are... When, we start to to meditate, our mind takes these little journeys and that something like we suddenly realize that's happening. And so we come back to the meditation. So what's happening there is that you're forgetting what it is you intend to do.

And then your mind does what it ordinarily does it thanks about this and that reminds you of that and and the other thing just... That's the nine one right part. So the second stage is to reduce that mind laundering till as short as possible. The third stage is to get over the forgetting. So when you sit down to meditate, the whole time, you know, you you you don't ever really forget what it is that that you're there to be doing. And When you succeed in doing that, you're in the fourth stage in the first stage, you you're not always really focused on what it is you intend to be focused on.

There are other things that get like kind out they take your attention away. You don't completely lose awareness of the meditation object. So in the fourth stage, what you do is you you learn to keep those things from carrying either away. So you you keep whatever your meditation object hit, at the at focal point of your attention, you stabilize your attention on it. Other thing that happens in the first stage is you tend to experience a lot of dr, all us, things like that. And so in the first stage, you also overcome that.

So when you overcome, the those the strong forms of Donald dr us, and the tendency for you for the meditation to slip in the background and you be focused on some thought. When you overcome now, you're now in the shift stage. And the fifth stage, you realize that there's a subtle dull list that sets in. That you're bright and alert when you sit down gradually after five minutes, ten minutes is fifteen minutes, you're slipping into a sort of dull state. Even though you don't become dr and fall asleep, you know, you're not nearly as bright miller as you were before.

Stations about overcoming that problem. At the same time that you're doing that, you're still aware of all kinds of other things. Even though you're paying a meditation logic object, there's thoughts you hear things or you hear things and they cause thoughts, but they're going on in the background. But now you're ready to really clean that instead of having your attention focused on one thing but having all this other stuff running in background. Then the six stages is where you become single pointed.

Single pointed in a sense that you choose where you're gonna focus your attention on it let everything else just slip further and further away until it's just like in the background. Then and when you've done that here now in the seventh state. In the seven stage of doing this still takes effort for. You have to be vigilant and you have to make corrections. If you don't. The distractions will come back or the dol will come that. And so you practice in a way that at some point it becomes effortless and one it comes effortless then you're at the eight stage.

What happens about this time, your mind is unifying, You're experiencing a lot of pleasure. You're experience all strange sensations in your body. This is a very important development in your practice. You need to let that mature angel have that come together. That's what the eight stage is about. When it's become matured, it still gets very intense. And the night states is about giving an opportunity to let that subside become much more tranquil and like back develop. When that's happened during in the tenth stage.

When you first reach the tent stage, you have a great meditation and you'll get up. And for the first little while after you get out maybe the first five minutes or so, you have a lot of the same qualities to your mind that you have while you're in meditate. You're you're very focused. Your awareness is very sharp and clear. You feel very joyful. You feel very train feel very fun of. But within a short period of time, it just kinda goes back to everyday thing. The temp stage is about just keep practicing until that last longer and longer, so that, you know, it hasn't really gone away before the next time you sit down.

So next time you sat down he's just very quickly go from back to high quality. Okay? That's a brief summary of what nature yeah. If you go to treasury dot org, I believe the buttons call writings. Is that right? Obvious. Yeah. Click the button on dot treasury dot oracle writing. And there's a Pdf document that called meditation manual, which describes those stages. Right. And brief. Well. Great.

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