Q&A: How do I develop mindful awareness and good concentration?
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Student: [00:00:00] Working with and accept the fact that some of the concentration that I had to be treated, but I definitely feel like I crossed the threshold and I don't know how long that'll last, as far as what's still going on at this point. And I want to get you reading through the chapters that you have on Jain site website and I'm not as I'm really thinking a lot about practicing at the level that I met. I'm really not trying to rush things and say, get too busy with. Trying to push my, this is clear threshold, light concentration to a steeper. And I find myself a lot of times when I start to eat bored or whatever state at that to really narrow the focus. And it seems like at least temporarily through active will, I can get to a deeper level of concentration. And it, it feels forced, but it also seems to be somewhat affected. A lot of times it'll drop out, but sometimes stay. And I was wondering It seems like we're at the, I couldn't say exactly where it is, but the idea is she scaled with the, I don't want to get to a point where I get great concentration. Cause I talked to somebody else who's been practicing for quite a bit longer than I have where they feel like they can get excellent concentration. But their mindfulness isn't there suddenly it'll just drop out and they'll be in Boston. I'm wondering. So one of the things you point out is really working on open-minded or for my new awareness.
And I noticed that's dense a lot so that it feels like my focus is more. Now I'm not as aware of what thoughts are going on around me. And it's not the same as what you'd mentioned, where does that idea that, they're Scots, but they're passing and they have a lot of clarity because of the focus.
It's more kind of a dullness in the periphery. How, what are some good methods for keeping up in minded awareness, but also keeping appropriate amount of concentration on the best. So it's still the focal point and then it's still. Yeah, it's
Culadasa: okay. Think of your thinking of your mindful awareness as being a quantifiable substance.
And so if there's less of it that is dispersed to the periphery, then there should be more of a where it's fungus and try to make that be the case so that when you're focusing in like this, you should. How's that sense that it's a gathering together of of the power of your mindfulness.
The other thing is you remember, I talked to you about expanding the scope of your meditation object to be your, if it's sometime you're focusing in very narrowly and you find you're starting to lose the vividness and clarity as a result at it, make the scope larger, but try to be just as restrictive.
You know what I mean? You could focus on dairy your hand in the whole torso and heart area, for example. And try to be as exclusive in that as you would be with just a small, hairy the tip of the nose, meaning that sensations other than the breath sensations and outside of that part of your body and of different sense modalities like hearing and so forth and thoughts that they'd be just as excluded as when you were very sharply focused there, but now you are.
Yeah, your mindfulness is of a larger area. So it has to be fully present because if it isn't, it will quickly disperse.
Student: Okay. Yeah, I have, I've been using that in my practice before I kind to pull it all in. Yeah. Let's say you, and you've suggested I do that anytime at practice, but I started to feel whether it's, I'm getting too exclusive on the breath and maybe all as well,
Culadasa: any time you feel like.
That the main thing that you have to deal with in the moment is dullness a subtle dullness. Then that's a good practice that's appropriate for right. That's in the fifth stage, that's mostly where you're concerned with the subtle Damas. And so you might use that kind of practice very frequently there, but no matter where you are whenever The other problems are when the primary thing that seems like it needs to be dealt with is the onset of that subtle dullness.
Go ahead and use that technique.
Student: And then how we shouldn't be that careful. Should I be about jumping around? I know I even ever want it to just feel from bloom that's fruit option, but early on where that you don't want to just, I don't want to be going to the body and then go into it. But I, before hearing that I is there just, is there a rule of thumb is probably, has never met.
Culadasa: And something like that, the most important thing is that before you start changing your you're making any changes in your practice in the moment. You need to be really clear on your mental state and the reason why you're dying and it should be crystal clear what the reason for it is.
And it's not just an urge or a [00:05:00] doubt or a feeling like maybe if I do this, it'll be better. If it's that, you'd have the, you can sense when those pulses are coming from somewhere else and you don't want to be responding to those impulses. The only real assignment is if you find it.
Changing what you're doing very many times in the course of one set that's probably too. Yeah. Once or twice or three times, maybe 10 or 15 times.