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Talk: Understanding Dullness

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A Model for Understanding Dullness

Master Culadasa explains the trap of dullness with concentration.

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Culadasa: [00:00:00] I'd like to give you a model away and understanding donors that might help you to appreciate it. There is this classical way of viewing a stream of consciousness as consisting of individual moments of consciousness. And you don't need to accept this as being literally true, but it's a useful model.

Understand certain meditation phenomenon, including dullness that the stream of consciousness consists of discreet moments of consciousness, arising and passing away on each of those moments, consciousness takes an object. And then in the next moment, it can take the same object or a different object and so on, and these moments are occurring.

They're very brief and they're occurring very rapidly in this seat. Now there are water are said to be non perceiving moments of consciousness. Actually, I referred to this earlier in terms of the deep Gianna, when you're in deep sleep or unconscious, the moments, the stream of consciousness continues, but the moments of consciousness, the individual moments of consciousness are all non.

So deep sleep is different from being awake and that the moments of consciousness in deep sleep, all of them are non perceiving or the vast majority of them are non proceeding. Even in deep sleep, there is sun perception as opens out, but the vast majority are non proceed when we're awake. Most of them are perceiving moments of consciousness and there may be some non proceeding moments interspersed.

So in a given interval of time, say when you're aware of three different things at once, that means that of all the moments of consciousness in that period, some of them are taking each of those three things as an object. And that's how all three things. But there's also some of those moments of consciousness that are non perceiving as the proportion of non perceiving moments of consciousness increases.

That's almost, that's the increase in Belmont. Dullness is on a spectrum between being totally away and deep sleep. And actually where we live most of the time in our daily lives is somewhere in the middle with, somewhere between 40 and 60% of our moments of consciousness are non perceiving.

So from an ordinary person, Daily state of awareness. They have the capacity to become far more aware than they are by converting those non proceeding moments to proceeding them. But also at the same time from your normal waking state, like when you sit down to meditate, you can't sink gradually deeper and deeper into subtle dullness has as gradually more and more of those.

Perceiving moments of consciousness become non perceiving. The reason that dullness is conducive to single pointedness and concentration of course, is if you drop out all of the distractions. And they become non perceiving and all you've got, maybe only a one in 10 or one in five moments of consciousness is perceiving the meditation object and the rest are dullness.

Then you feel very focused and very one, but you have no clarity at all. But the meditation object is very unclear. I was singled pointed. We had no moments of non proceeding. Single-pointed you have no moments taking another object. You add what you would ideally have in single point and single point. It is very few moments that are non perceiving.

And to the degree that you become aware that the, there are non proceeding moments, which is to say the degree that you become aware of the presence of dullness, then you turn that. Yeah, which is to say to you increase the power of mindful awareness because the power of mindful awareness is the number of moments of consciousness that are both perceiving and focused on the same object.

So this is why we can speak of the scattering as being of two types, scattering to other objects. More scattering to dullness either one of those in any given interval, you're going to have fewer moments of consciousness that are focused on the auditor throughout. So two kinds of.

The model I'm spraying. So to where I start off with meditation, I'm really agitated. So I'm trying to bring it down and then I'll have 30 seconds of really good meditation. And then it goes into Dalton. I like, I just switched from, the object has been the same the whole time, but I went from the extra thoughts to no thoughts.

Yeah. Yeah. And that's what I like about this model that you can take those experiences and it gives you a really clear way to visualize and to, [00:05:00] but if you're sitting there and dullness for work for a period of time and you can't get out of it is it better to just get up or while. And then go back or force yourself to get through to us certain period, or we're out there ideas, but, okay.

Yeah, you're saying if you, the question is if you're sitting there for a long time and with a lot of dullness and you can't get out of it, is it better to get up and do something else for a while? And again, Now that's not an alternative. That is one of the totally legitimate ways of getting out of Dolmans.

Whenever dullness is present, do whatever you have to, but preferably not anything more than you have to bring yourself out. And so the principle with dolmas is as soon as you're aware of it, apply an antidote, try to apply an antidote that is strong enough that bring you out of the adult, out of the dullness for a reasonable period of time, at least several minutes, five minutes say, okay if you were willing yourself out of dullness, United say is as the weakest anti.

And we'll work, but it will only work with the mildest form of dominance, anything stronger than that, willing yourself out of darkness. It's you'll experience the state of sinking. You will yourself out of it. And within a millisecond, you're sinking back into it again. And you bring yourself out in a symphony.

And sinking means you didn't apply a strong enough handle that, that maybe come out of it and you stay out of it for several minutes. Then you're Andrew was sufficient and the dullness may come back again, but then you just apply the appropriate antidote. Again, if you've applied all the reasonable antidotes that you can, while sitting on the cushion, then the proper thing to do is to stand up.

You might try meditation. Standing up, but you could try walking around, you could go and wash your face with cold water and then go back and sit down. You can do walking meditation. These are all totally legitimate. Whatever you need to do to bring yourself out of the antidote are out of the dullness.

That's what you do. And then once you've done it, then you go back and you sit. And you don't be worried if the dullness comes back again, as long as you brought yourself completely out of it stayed out of it for several minutes before it comes back, because training yourself to permanently overcome dullness is a function of repeatedly recognizing dullness successfully applying an it.

So it's not a, it's not an either or it's yes. That's one of the things that you do when you need to, the only thing that would be less than best practice. As you sit there. And instead of trying other antidotes, like taking deep breaths and clenching your muscles and meditating with your eyes open and expanding your meditation object to the whole body and to environmental sounds, the only mistake would be to not do any of those things to sit there in dullness and without having tried those, letting the dullness get deeper and stronger to find me and say, okay, I have to get up and walk.

Okay, that would be less skillful practice. More skillful is recognized in men applying appropriate antidotes and going to the stronger ones as necessary, but not hesitating to.

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