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TOPIC: Concentration practices

Concentration practices 09 Feb 2015 01:25 #97599

So i'm beginning to take concentration much more seriously. I would love to hear about some good pointers or resources for guiding this pursuit.

It seems to be the thing that can bring my practice to the next level, as well as other intellectual endeavors in my life - combat any adhd i may have, which I think was pronounced for me growing up since it was just so uncomfortable doing school work and in general being, what with my bone condition and everything. There was more negative self looping going on and a general unrest.

So now I feel ready to address that with meditation being en entry point
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, shargrol, Gareth

Concentration practices 09 Feb 2015 17:19 #97622

Hi Fem to Second,

The biggest change in how I approached and experienced concentration practice came about when I changed the way I viewed practices generally said to heighten concentration. I had thought of it for a while as a labored sort of practice, perhaps owing to my association of the word concentration with other strenuous mental activities. When I began to approach it more as a practice of appreciation, or enjoyment, my concentration deepened immensely. As a point of comparison when you're really enjoying a book or movie you are completely there, immersed without effort. So most useful for me was to look for the pleasant feelings arising in the body while doing shahamatha/concentration practices, and give myself permission to let go of thought and soak in those sensations.
In this spirit it may be useful to play around with a few different shamatha practices and see which one seems easiest to sink into. I have always found the breath at the nostrils technique to be a sort of cold, disembodied practice, but that is personal opinion rather than objective value, and many find it to be the easiest way to deepen concentration. I have found breathing into the whole body to be easier, and practicing metta while keeping attention grounded in the body to be the easiest. Shaila Catherine has a couple books about concentration that may be useful. If you're interested in using metta to deepen shamatha there is a monk named Bhante Sujato has some retreats online that explain that.

Bill
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Concentration practices 09 Feb 2015 19:43 #97623

This might be kinda obvious, but I'll say it: one of the fastest ways to gain concentration is through the development of momentary concentration, which is developed though basic noting practice.

My best advice is to try the "feeling the sensations of breath at the nose" approach. If you are naturally attracted to that practice, congratulations you are a concentration natural! If not, that's when momentary concentration is the best approach.

I was a dismal failure at breath at the nose and concentration, but momentary concentration was the answer for me to staying interested and making progress in mediation.

Hope that helps!
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Shaun Elstob, matthew sexton

Concentration practices 10 Feb 2015 14:54 #97636

Yes, different people are wired so darn differently! The only way I was going to learn concentration was by becoming obsessed with the insight process: it was a natural 'object' for me to become absorbed in. Then again I know some yogis who are excellent at cultivating concentration and who immediately start experiencing spacious alert states of wholeness but who really struggle to understand investigation, impermanence and emptiness.

Femto, didn't you mention on another thread that you were listening to Reggie Ray's Mahamudra for the Modern World? He has some wonderful very embodied shamatha practices in that series, I think, which might be up your ally. Personally I would say try a few different approaches out for a couple days each to get familiar with them and then when you find something that seems to 'click' for you put your energy into that. For whatever reason my intuition is that more holistic and body-based approaches to shamatha might be to your liking, but lord knows my intuition is not infallible ;)
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