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Re: Dealing With Distractions in Meditation

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  • cosmic_yogi1
    This is why i appreci-love this forum. These practical and sensible techniques are a path toward the sublime ONE. Peace
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 2 6:18 AM
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      This is why i appreci-love this forum. These practical and sensible techniques are a path toward the sublime ONE.


      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety <no_reply@...> wrote:
      > An excerpt from Mindfulness In Plain English
      > By Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
      > When we speak of a distraction in Insight Meditation,
      > we are speaking of any preoccupation that pulls the
      > attention off the breath. This brings up a new, major
      > rule for your meditation: When any mental state arises
      > strongly enough to distract you from the object of
      > meditation, switch your attention to the distraction
      > briefly. Make the distraction a temporary object of
      > meditation. Please note the word temporary. It's quite
      > important. We are not advising that you switch horses
      > in midstream. We do not expect you to adopt a whole new
      > object of meditation every three seconds. The breath
      > will always remain your primary focus. You switch your
      > attention to the distraction only long enough to notice
      > certain specific things about it. What is it? How strong
      > is it? and, how long does it last? As soon as you have
      > wordlessly answered these questions, you are through
      > with your examination of that distraction, and you return
      > your attention to the breath. Here again, please note
      > the operant term, wordlessly. These questions are not
      > an invitation to more mental chatter. That would be moving
      > you in the wrong direction, toward more thinking. We want
      > you to move away from thinking, back to a direct, wordless
      > and nonconceptual experience of the breath. These
      > questions are designed to free you from the distraction
      > and give you insight into its nature, not to get you more
      > thoroughly stuck in it. They will tune you in to what
      > is distracting you and help you get rid of it--all in one step.
      > Here is the problem: When a distraction, or any mental
      > state, arises in the mind, it blossoms forth first in
      > the unconscious. Only a moment later does it rise to
      > the conscious mind. That split-second difference is quite
      > important, because it is time enough for grasping to
      > occur. Grasping occurs almost instantaneously, and it
      > takes place first in the unconscious. Thus, by the time
      > the grasping rises to the level of conscious recognition,
      > we have already begun to lock on to it. It is quite natural
      > for us to simply continue that process, getting more and
      > more tightly stuck in the distraction as we continue to
      > view it. We are, by this time, quite definitely thinking
      > the thought, rather than just viewing it with bare
      > attention. The whole sequence takes place in a flash.
      > This presents us with a problem. By the time we become
      > consciously aware of a distraction we are already, in a
      > sense, stuck in it. Our three questions are a clever
      > remedy for this particular malady. In order to answer
      > these questions, we must ascertain the quality of the
      > distraction. To do that, we must divorce ourselves from
      > it, take a mental step back from it, disengage from it,
      > and view it objectively. We must stop thinking the thought
      > or feeling the feeling in order to view it as an object of inspection. This very process is an exercise in mindfulness: uninvolved, detached awareness. The hold of the distraction
      > is thus broken, and mindfulness is back in control. At this
      > point, mindfulness makes a smooth transition back to its
      > primary focus and we return to the breath.
      > When you first begin to practice this technique, you
      > will probably have to do it with words. You will ask your
      > questions in words, and get answers in words. It won't
      > be long, however, before you can dispense with the
      > formality of words altogether. Once the mental habits
      > are in place, you simply note the distraction, note the
      > qualities of the distraction, and return to the breath.
      > It's a totally nonconceptual process, and it's very quick.
      > The distraction itself can be anything: a sound, a
      > sensation, an emotion, a fantasy, anything at all.
      > Whatever it is, don't try to repress it. Don't try to
      > force it out of your mind. There's no need for that. Just
      > observe it mindfully with bare attention. Examine the
      > distraction wordlessly and it will pass away by itself.
      > You will find your attention drifting effortlessly back
      > to the breath. And do not condemn yourself for having
      > been distracted. Distractions are natural. They come and
      > they go.
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