mindfulness and thinking
- Is it possible to be mindful and to think in a purposeful way about something? Often, if I note thinking, it disappears, but this is the random thinking that plays across my mind. What happens when I have to think about something purposefully? For instance, I have to do a math calculation but want to do so mindfully. I assume that is possible, but I would like to have a detailed explanation of how that works. For instance, in terms of mind moments and the idea that there can only be one object of attention at any given moment, can there be mindfulness and (purposeful) thinking at the same time, or do mindfulness and thinking occur in successive mind moments?
- Don't try to ride two horses at once.
Solving a maths problem, or most other worldly problems requires skill in dealing with concepts.
Mindfulness for the purpose of developing insight requires the observation of realities, leading to realisation of the mental process of thinking as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self.
Where the second kind of mindfulness can come in useful is when a worldly problem seems to be insoluable, and so one gets frustrated, anxious, or confused. Then one can switch to contemplating those mental states to purify the mind, and thus regain mental composure.
When one ceases to struggle to solve the problem with excessive desire, and the mind becomes pure again, then the solution may become clear, or perhaps one will realise that the "problem" really did not to be solved at all as it was just something that arose from unskilled thinking.