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Mindfulness Practice (with transcript)


Q&A: Mindfulness Practice

Can you give us any tips for remaining mindful?

Master Culadasa discusses how the mind works and how the practice of mindfulness can help us.

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Student: Give us some tips for remaining mindful.

Culadasa: That is indeed the crux of the problem of the practice of mindfulness, is remembering to stay mindful. And I'll give you one tip; whenever you remember, and become mindful, trying to continue being mindful.

But you see, it's exactly the same thing that we experience in meditation. And as a matter of fact, meditation is the training that helps us. You sit down to meditate, you put your attention on the meditation object, and the next thing you know, it's gone. You go out in the world and you're practicing being mindful of your thoughts, and your words, and your actions, and the next thing know you've forgotten all about it. So it's exactly the same thing. When you remember to be mindful, you reinforce that. "Ah, thank goodness, I remembered to be mindful!" And trying to maintain that mindfulness as long as you can.

But one method that works really well to help you to be mindful is the practice of daily reflection. And you'd begin by simply choosing specific things that you want to be mindful of. There may be certain emotional states that arise, unwholesome mentals states, or it could be the practice of one or more of the perfections. But, what you do, in the process of reflection, is once a day you just simply remember those occasions in the last 24 hours when, first of all, those occasions when you did succeed in being mindful on those occasions. And rejoice in that. And then you also call to mind those occasions when you should have been, but you weren't. And that's the reminder. And so, the reason that you do that, is if you do that kind of reflection regularly, after a while you will start remembering more often to be mindful. But also, the application of mindfulness, even retrospectively, is still effective. It still produces a result. Maybe not as powerful of a result as being mindful in the present moment, but it will lead you towards that. And so that's the best tip that I have to offer.

And for those of you that have adopted that practice of keeping the book for six times a day, that is exactly that; so, six times, instead of the once a day reflection process, it's a six times a day reflection process. And it is focused on specific vows that you've taken. If you're doing that, that should help you to be mindful. One of the effects that you should find from that is it causes you to be mindful inbetween. So if you're already in the habit of using the book, then you've already got a really powerful tool for helping you to become mindful. I would just simply suggest that you extend it beyond simply whatever few vows that... you know, in the daily reflection, you start off with one or two or three simple things that are your focus. But the idea is that you expand that, so it helps you to become mindful all of the time. It helps you to remember to be mindful all of the time. It's that remembering part; the forgetting and the remembering. So you can use that book as a great tool, if you're used to using that. I could never get in the habit of doing something that often. But I did find that the daily reflection is a lot more manageable for people like me that could never remember to take the book with them, or never remember to write in it, or find it. So, you know, what am I going to say? *Laughs*

But that's a very good question, Alegra. Because you absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of this mindfulness, or how it works. And to practice mindfulness correctly, you want to be the objective observer. You want to see what's happening in this mental-physical accumulation of aggregates that you are. You just want to see what's happening. But to see it clearly. And without judgment, and without bringing "I" into it. Like, "oh, I shouldn't have done that", or, "oh, I'm so bad." Or "oh, I'm so... anything".

So the proper practice of mindfulness is being aware of what's actually taking place. And taking that awareness to deeper and deeper levels. And it does many things, but one of the important things that mindfulness does is that it provides feedback to all of those other parts of your mind as to what the consequences are of the activities that they initiate. And I can't tell you enough times, that you do not have "a mind", period. You have many different mental processes. Each one is relatively simple. It has a particular job to do, and a particular set of criteria by which it decides when to do its job. And of course, it's hierarchically arranged, so that there's simple mental processes, whose job is to turn on and off other mental processes.

But most of what you think of as your mind... pulling a number out of the air... I would pull the number 99% is unconscious. It's unconscious mental processes. And the only feedback that those unconscious mental processes ever get is what you are consciously aware of. And the quality of that conscious awareness is going to determine the quality of the feedback.

So if we choose a particular unwholesome mental state to apply our mindfulness to, the mental processes that produce that unwholesome mental state have been doing so for years, because their simple little program that they operate on says, "oh, when this happens or when that happens, get angry, or get sad, or be afraid" or whatever it is. And they keep doing that. And every time you're consciousness... whenever that happens, and what is in your conscious awareness is , "oh, I am angry" that reinforces that mechanism. And then when you say "I'm angry because he did this", then that prevents that... any kind of association between that unconscious mental process that delivered up that emotion doesn't get the feedback that, "oh, being angry makes me feel bad", because if it did, it would be less inclined to generate anger more easily. Or if it got the feedback that the anger creates all kinds of problems. But instead, it gets fed thoughts the justify the anger. And so it's never going to change. It's just going to get stronger and stronger. It's just going to keep on doing. All of our mental and emotional states are constructs generated by some part of your mind whose job is to generate those in order to produce certain kinds of results. And what you want to accomplish is to restructure the way that comes about.

So you've got to provide the feedback. You've got to look at how it makes you feel, you've got to look at the consequences. You've got to go to a deeper level and say, "oh, this is coming out of desire. This is coming out of aversion. This is coming out of attachment to my sense of self" or "this is coming out of old programs... events from the past". When you can see that, that settles into the deeper layers of the mind and you start finding that what happens in the future is changed by it. And that's how you change your karma. So to practice mindfulness is to have as clear... you want to really see what's going on. There's that aspect of it not being fuzzy and vague. But to really see what it is and to see it clearly, to understand it clearly. When you can see what's going on... and the clarity means, what obscures it. See, clarity is the lack of obscuration, and what obscures it is all of that stuff you usually do; of blaming somebody else, or something else, or justifying it in your mind; or, in other words, in one way or another, seeing it for other than what it really is.

Everything that happens to you, every mental event, is a construct delivered up by your mind as a result of past programming. 100% true. There is no experience you have that isn't shaped by unconscious mental processes. So when you apply this clear, vivid, mindful awareness to what is actually happening in this moment, you provide the feedback that allows those processes to change in a positive way and to begin to free you from the kinds of problems that you've experienced before.

Also, the practice of mindful awareness, the other thing that it does, in addition to being a nice way of reprogramming the computer and doing instant psychotherapy to help get rid of all these... without having to go spend hours on the couch and everything is, it gets right to the root of things and makes the corrections without you having to go through so much inbetween.

But the other thing is, as your mindfulness becomes clearer and clearer, as you are more and more seeing things as they really are, you start to discover those truths which dispel the ignorance; creates the wisdom and dispels the ignorance that is your problem. If you are really practicing mindfulness, you are going to be mindful of the processes by which you make decisions and you generate intentions.

And one of the things you'll discover is that you don't actually make decisions, and you don't actually generate intentions. It's all of those different mental processes with all of their stored up stuff. That's what makes the decision. They have different strengths, and they have different objectives, and so they have different points of view. So you are really more like a big executive committee, and your decisions are the result of... you know that in a decision there's several things that get weighed sometimes, right? Well that's what's happening, and when you think, "oh, well I decided I'm going to do this", well, you didn't.

One of the things another part of your mind does is invent the story of who you are. And the storyteller, once the decision is made, and it happens after the decision is already made, the storyteller says, "oh, I decided". And if somebody comes along and says, "why?" well the storyteller makes up a story about that. But if you pay attention you find out, you start to see what's happened; you didn't make the decision, the decision arose. You didn't generate the intention, the intention arose. And the storyteller appropriates it as "mine". This was my idea, my decision, my intention, or something happens later on, and the storyteller's saying, "oh, why did I do that?" But somebody didn't attend the executive committee meeting when the decision was made. *Laughter* And that happens. That's why we make decisions that we regret; everybody wasn't in attendance at the meeting.

So there isn't a self in there making these decisions and you can start to see it.


Automated transcription

give us some tips for remaining mindful. Yeah. I can. Well, that is in indeed the crux of the problem of the practice at my is remembering to stay high. And I'll give you one tip. And that's whenever you remember, and they're kind line for. Try to continue But you see it's exactly the same thing that we experience in meditation. And as a matter of fact meditation was the training that helps us. You sit down to medicaid, you put your attention on the meditation object. Next thing, you know, it's gone.

You go out in the world, and you're probably just same being mindful pull of your of your thoughts and words and your actions. And the next thing, you know, we've gotten all valid it. So it's exactly the same thing. When you when you remember to be mindful, you reinforce that. Thank goodness. I never to mindful and trying to maintain that line to us as long as you can. But one vector that that I a method that works really well to help you to be mindful is a practice of daily reflection. And you begin why simply trying to choosing any specific things that you want to mind below enable certain emotional states state arise.

On also natural states, or it could do or practice one order of the perfection, but what you do and the process of reflection is once a day, we just simply remember those occasions in in the last twenty four hours when you... When first of all those occasions when do you did succeed and being mindful on those occasion. And rejoice in that. And then you also call to those those occasions when you know, you should hit them but you weren't. And that's the reminder. And so the reason thing you do that, it you and do that kind of reflection regularly.

After a while, we will start remembering more often to be mindful as. But also the application of mindfulness even retrospectively is still defective. It still produces a result not maybe not as powerful as a result. Mindful and impressive normal. But it will lead you towards that. And so that's that's the best tip that I have doctor. And for those of you that have the doctor to practice it keeping the book for six times a day. That is that is exactly that. So six times it's day once a day reflection process a six times a day in march process and it is focused on specific vowels that you taken.

Right? You could... If you're doing that, that should help you to be mindful. I mean one of the effects that you should find from that as it causes you to be mindful his screen. So used me if you're already in the habit using the book. Then you've already got really with power for tool. Or helping you to become mindful. I just simply suggest that you extended beyond simply whatever to vowels that... You know, in the daily reflection, you start off with one or two or three simple things that are your focus, but the idea is that you expand that.

So it's how she become mindful all over time. To help you remember it to be mindful all time. Instead of remembering. Right. We're forgetting and building remembering. So you can use that that book is that's a great tool or it needs to using. I could never get in habit of Him and I think that often. But I did find the daily reflection is this really that's a lot a lot more manageable for people like me for spanish. To never remember it. To take the list. They never remember they right that they just find it.

So, now. What i say But that's a very good question, i i they you catch. You know, you absolutely have underestimate the importance of this mindfulness or how it works. And to practice mindfulness correctly, you want to be the objective of observer. You you want to see what's happening in this mental physical accumulation aggregates that you are. You just wanna see hap. But to see it clearly, and so without judgment without bringing i into it never oh, I shouldn't have done that or all lines are bad or lines.

So anything. Great bad So the proper practice at mindfulness is is b aware of what's actually taking place and taking that awareness to deeper and deeper levels. And the important... It it does many things, but one of the important things that mindfulness point does. Is that it provides feedback to all of those other parts of your aligned as to what the consequences part of the activities that they initiate and I can't tell you enough times that you do not have a emo period. You have many different mental processors.

Each one and is relatively simple it has a particular job to do in a particular set of criterion by which if decides when to do its job. And of course there's it's higher rains so that there's simple mental processes whose job is to turn on my network processes. But Most of what you think are is your mind? I Full number out of arrows, I would pull number ninety nine percent. Is unconscious. It's unconscious metal processes. And the only feedback, those unconscious metal processes ever get is what you are consciously aware of.

And the quality of conscious awareness is when they just handling the quality of the feedback. So If we choose a particular un olson mental state to apply online this two, the mental processes that produce that, I'm also angeles state. I've been dealing so for years. Because that simple little program they operate on says, oh, what this happens or happens, get angry or get sad or be afraid or or everybody risk. And they keep doing that. And every time your conscious this or whenever that happens, and what you skin your conscious awareness us is pretty all iron angry.

That reinforces that mechanism. And then when you say I'm angry because need desk, then that prevents that any kind of association between the that unconscious mental process that delivered up that emotion doesn't get the feedback to Oh, being angry makes me feel bad. Because if it did, it would be less streamlined lying to generate anger more easily. Or if they got the feedback that the the anger creates all kinds of problems. You know but instead, and it gets failed thoughts to justify the anger.

And so it's going ever gonna change. It's just gonna get stronger to even start with. This can gonna keep on doing that. All of our mental initial states are they are constructs generated by some part of your line. Whose job is to generate those, in order to produce certain kinds of results. And what you want to accomplish is to restructure the way that comes about. So you've got to provide this keep that. You've got to look at how it makes you feel you got to look at the concert. You got to look at you got to go a deeper level and say, oh, this is coming out of desire.

This is coming out the version. Is counting how that attachment been much sense of himself. This is coming out of old at the events apps beyond When you can see that that settles in the deeper layers over mind and we start finding that what happens in the future is changed by And asked how the you desktop how you change your karma. So So practice mindfulness is to help as clear You want to have you want to really see what's going on. There's that aspect of not being fuzzy and being that to really right that and to.

See it clearly. I understand it. But. When you can't when you could see what's going on and the clarity means what obscure it. See clarity is the lack of observation what those spheres is all that stuff you usually do. Blaming somebody else or something else we're justifying it in your life. Or... In other reason one way other seeing it for weather other than what it really is. Everything that happens to you, every medical event is a construct delivered at body mind does result hundred one hundred percent trip.

That's there is outside there is, no experience you have. That is it shaped by unconscious mental processes. So when you apply, it was clear, little mindful awareness to what? Is actually happening in this moment. You provide the feedback that allows those processes to change in a positive way. And to be into preview you the types your problems so you'd be experienced before. Also, the practice of mindful awareness, the other thing that does in addition to being a a nice way of reprogram the computer you know and doing is that psychotherapy to get rid all these, you know, without having road spend hours on couch everything and it's it gets right to the reader things and makes their corrections so without how go to through last minute between.

But the other thing is as your that's become clearer and clearer as you are more and more same things as they really are. You start to discover those truths which dispel the wisdom or dispel the gigahertz ignorance chiefs through as them dispel the ignorance. That is your problem. If you are really back the mindfulness this, you are going to be mindful of the processes by rich, you make decisions and you generate attachments. And one of the Discover, is that you don't actually make decisions, but you don't actually generate changes.

Yes. All of those different mental processes are all their stored up stuff. That's what makes the decision. They have different strengths and they have different objectives and so they have different points of view. So you are really more like a big executive eighty. And your decisions are the result that you know that... In a decision, there's several things to get weighed sometimes. Right? Well, that's what's happening And when you change... Up. Well, I decided I'm gonna do this. What you did one of the things for another part of your mind does.

Is the story of who you are. And the storyteller, once the decision is made, happens after the decision is already made. The storyteller says, oh, i decided. And if somebody comes along, it says why? Well, the storyteller makes that a story about that. But if you pay attention, you find out If you find you start to see what's happened? He didn't make through decision. The decision or arose, you didn't generate the intention the the intention for grows. And the storyteller it as mine This was my idea decision, my.

And or something happens later on, you know, in the storyteller tower we're saying How you doing that Right Somebody he didn't attend to executive community meeting decision. Yeah. And that happens. That's why that why in those decisions we regret. Everybody wasn't in attendance that they need. So...

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