Discussion Thread: The Mind Illuminated book

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5 years 2 days ago - 5 years 2 days ago #102721 by Noah

Tom Otvos wrote: I am looking for practical tips on how to manage this whole stage 4/5 thing. Part of me thinks it will just happen organically by simply "putting in the time", but I am also open to little tips or tricks to keep attention more tightly under check. The reality is that many times, I just don't find the breath *interesting enough* to keep me going. Using counting was good, but now it is too coarse.


Gladden the mind maybe? "Breathing in the energy of joy, breathing out with relaxation." I think of this because boredom is a hindrance and gladdening theoretically could eliminate any of them.
Last edit: 5 years 2 days ago by Noah.
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5 years 18 hours ago - 5 years 18 hours ago #102753 by Tom Otvos

neko wrote:

Tom Otvos wrote: I am looking for practical tips on how to manage this whole stage 4/5 thing. Part of me thinks it will just happen organically by simply "putting in the time", but I am also open to little tips or tricks to keep attention more tightly under check. The reality is that many times, I just don't find the breath *interesting enough* to keep me going. Using counting was good, but now it is too coarse.


What is your goal Tom? If it is learning to focus on something dull, so that you will later be able to focus on whatever you want, I think the only option is keeping at it. Otherwise, you can try "experiencing the whole body with the breath", which Culadasa introduces in Stage Six.

A third possibility, if you are already able to access soft jhanas, and you are interested in making them harder, I would suggest entering soft 1st/2nd jhana ASAP, and then tweaking Culadasa's tips on how to work with distractions while focusing on piti/sukha.


It is funny you mentioned stage 6 as I was just there in the book. I am trying to limit reading too far ahead so that I can concentrate (heh) on the stage at hand. However I have a very strong suspicion that the whole body breathing might be the ticket for me. Clearly I have "been there done that" anyhow over the years, and perhaps I am being too dogmatic requiring mastery of stages before progressing, but I am going to be excited to try this out.

-- tomo
Last edit: 5 years 18 hours ago by Tom Otvos.
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5 years 10 hours ago #102758 by Paul

Tom Otvos wrote:

neko wrote:

Tom Otvos wrote: I am looking for practical tips on how to manage this whole stage 4/5 thing. Part of me thinks it will just happen organically by simply "putting in the time", but I am also open to little tips or tricks to keep attention more tightly under check. The reality is that many times, I just don't find the breath *interesting enough* to keep me going. Using counting was good, but now it is too coarse.


What is your goal Tom? If it is learning to focus on something dull, so that you will later be able to focus on whatever you want, I think the only option is keeping at it. Otherwise, you can try "experiencing the whole body with the breath", which Culadasa introduces in Stage Six.

A third possibility, if you are already able to access soft jhanas, and you are interested in making them harder, I would suggest entering soft 1st/2nd jhana ASAP, and then tweaking Culadasa's tips on how to work with distractions while focusing on piti/sukha.


It is funny you mentioned stage 6 as I was just there in the book. I am trying to limit reading too far ahead so that I can concentrate (heh) on the stage at hand. However I have a very strong suspicion that the whole body breathing might be the ticket for me. Clearly I have "been there done that" anyhow over the years, and perhaps I am being too dogmatic requiring mastery of stages before progressing, but I am going to be excited to try this out.


I have also found full body breathing immensely useful in the past, but am really trying hard to stick to the stage specific guidelines in order to develop skills I've pushed aside before. I also do wonder if I'm being too 'dogmatic' about it as well though. As to the issues with boredom and such, other than specific hindrance advice I've got from here and in the book, I just try to treat anything like that as another distraction and apply the same techniques depending on if its subtle or gross. Easier to say than do :-)

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4 years 11 months ago #102989 by jackhat1
I am going to start offering a meditation course to my sangha based on this book. We have members with meditation experience ranging from many decades to a few months. Is anyone contemplating the same? We could share notes.
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3 years 10 months ago #106530 by Laurel Carrington
In case you haven't seen it, there's a wonderful interview with Culadasa on BATGAP. Take a listen!
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3 years 10 months ago #106539 by Tom Otvos

Laurel Carrington wrote: In case you haven't seen it, there's a wonderful interview with Culadasa on BATGAP. Take a listen!


I'll be honest...I found it terribly painful to listen to. Talk about two people on completely different wavelengths, with huge pauses as each tries to figure out what the other person just said or asked.

-- tomo
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3 years 10 months ago #106545 by every3rdthought
That pretty much sums up every BATGAP interview ever :lol:
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3 years 10 months ago #106549 by jackhat1
I thought the interview at BatGap with Kenneth Folk was far worse. The interviewer has a view of the world he has pasted over reality that gets in the way unless he is interviewing someone with similar views. At least in his interview with Culadasa (which I thought was pretty good), he let Culadasa talk.
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3 years 10 months ago - 3 years 10 months ago #106550 by Laurel Carrington
I've gotten used to Rick Archer, so he doesn't bother me. Yes, he tends to talk a lot, but his show and website are a great service to everyone; think of the many, many spiritual teachers he has interviewed. As for Culadasa: I recognize his speech pattern at least partly as a function of age. His task in that interview was complex, and he found himself groping for words (happens to me as well), and then there were times when his train of thought got derailed. I'm not saying all older people have similar problems communicating, but many do. Above all, though, he got his point across. So glitches and all, it's well worth a listen. My opinion.

ETA: I actually found that the interview was more interesting because of the difference in world views. There was an additional effort of translation involved.
Last edit: 3 years 10 months ago by Laurel Carrington.
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3 years 10 months ago #106551 by jackhat1
Culadasa has also been in ill health lately. That might contribute to his speech patterns even though I had no trouble with them.
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