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    Thread: Practicing Mindfulness wrong. Active vs passive awareness.

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      Practicing Mindfulness wrong. Active vs passive awareness.

      I have tried quite a few times to practice mindfulness/awareness but eventually a cloud of cog fog envelops my mind and I slowly stop practicing because of fatigue, and soon end up forgetting the whole thing. This is the longest that I've been with it and I want to keep it up, but it's mentally exhausting.

      You shouldn't force your mind to be aware, you should allow it to right? I read somewhere that people most mistake paying attention for being aware. Maybe that's what I'm doing.

      I look around myself, in a room, outside or wherever I may be, and get a sense of the space that I'm in. A feeling comes to me. I don't really think any thoughts. I don't ask myself if I'm dreaming, or a bunch of other questions, because that distracts me from the feeling. The same feeling I get when I realize I am dreaming. I feel...the emptiness in the room or the vastness of the field, wherever I may be. This is what awareness is, to me. Is that forcing it?

      Problem is, the more I do this, the less easier it gets and the more I have to focus and concentrate in order to summon this feeling.
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      I think it's an awareness problem. Tich Naht Tahn is the most clarifying teacher of mindfulness to me. An interview done by Ram Dass I found particularly enlightening.

      You aren't aware of what you need to be mindfull of. There is much much more going on in the present moment. It is inside you and also it is outside of you. This is like a gold-mine that you can find jewel after jewel if you attend in the right place. I would start with the Heart Energies and move from there. This is about where I am at.

      Also, being Mindfull of anger. This is so detrimental. Anger is an emotion that when you are truly mindful of is not anger at all! This I believe lays the groundwork for a larger introspection of feelings and their emotions.
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      I'd like to share some thoughts regarding the passive observation method of meditation, both in relation to the teachings from which it arises and in relation to my experience and the experience of those of respectable attainment.

      Today there appears to be a distortion of the Buddha's original teachings, which can be seen in a few of the various meditation methods that have developed over time. One particular method that appears to be guilty of this is the "dry Vipassana" method, in which the practitioner attempts to acquire insight into the nature of the mind without much emphasis on attaining adequate states of tranquility, but rather by simply observing the body and mind. There is essentially no requirement for the attainment of Jhana (a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration- a cornerstone of the Buddha's teachings) in insight meditation methods. There seems to be a fabricated divide between insight and tranquility cultivation, Vipassana vs Jhana practice, but the Buddha never taught this. In fact, not once in the suttas did the Buddha instruct a student to go do Vipassana. Rather, he always told his students to go do Jhana practice, which is essentially the development of both tranquility and insight together. This fact alone indicates that there may be inaccuracies with the dry Vipassana/passive observation method, particularly in the context of the goal of attaining liberation, which is the purpose of the teachings.

      Vipassana is often taught to mean seeing things "as they are." This implies that there is something already out there which we cannot see because it is hidden beneath the unskillful activity and false perceptions of the mind, so we just need to clear away these fabrications. However, this is not what was taught, and may actually impede the arousal of insight. The Buddha didn't teach to see things "as they are," but rather, taught to see things "as they've come to be," or "how they've come into being" In other words, he taught us to see the process of fabrication in the mind. Fabrications do not overlay a pure level of things "as they are," but rather fabrications comprise the totality of all mental activity and perception, regardless of whether these fabrications appear spontaneous or if they are purposefully arisen. Fabrication comprises the totality of our experience of the world and our experience of our self.

      Gaining deep insight into the fabrication process, which is the original purpose of the insight aspect of the Buddha's meditation instructions, requires skillful action, rather than just passive observation. It's the same with learning about anything else- simple observation yields limited results depending on the spontaneous arisings of whatever elements are being observed, but it's when you get involved and begin testing things for yourself that you really begin to understand the object at hand.

      A good analogy is an egg. You can just look at an egg and learn about it's shape and size, color, etc. But it's when you crack it open and begin to make it's contents into different things that you really learn about the egg. The more skill you develop at cooking the egg in different ways, the more you understand eggs. How they react to heat, how they mix with other ingredients, etc.

      Its the same with the mind. To understand the mind is to understand the fabrications of the mind, as fabrications are its sole contents. So you purposefully fabricate skillful states, like strong concentration, comfortable breathing, and tranquility, in line with the teachings. Thus, you learn much more about the mind than if you were simply observing spontaneous arisings without knowledge of cause and effect. The manipulation of fabrications really allows cause and effect to be seen.

      In the effort to maintain concentration on the breath in the present moment, you begin to see what destroys that concentration. You find that it's not destroyed by things coming from the outside, but rather is destroyed by internal fabrications. This is where an all-around awareness comes in handy, in line with the third step of Anapanasati to develop a full body awareness. One-pointed awareness on one specific small area, such as the nostrils or the abdomen, causes one's awareness to become centered and focused-in on that one area to the exclusion of the rest of the body, almost like tunnel vision. This narrow focus limits the arising of insights coming from areas outside of the narrow focal point. The goal is not to gain deep awareness of just one tiny spot of the body, its to gain awareness of the entirety of one's experience. You need to be sensitive to the entire body like a spider is sensitive to it's entire web.

      To clearly see the stages of the arisings of the mind, the best thing to do is try to stop them immediately and dissolve the thought form. A part of the mind will resist this, thus bringing to light an aspect of the mind that was once hidden. It is in investigating the mind's compulsions to engage in thought-worlds that deeper insights arise into the intentional element of the mind's fabrications, as unconscious as they originally appeared to be. These previously hidden aspects of mind rise to the surface in response to one's efforts to thwart their unskillful activities, and once these underground volitional aspects of your mental fabrications come to light, they can be dismantled. This way you become more sensitive to these parts of the mind and insight can do its work.

      Look for areas of stress in the mind and you will find fabrication. In these fabrications you will find ignorance that has been causing your own suffering. As more and more ignorance is brought to light, it is replaced with knowledge and can be allowed to stop. It is this investigating factor, this active factor that is key. Simple observation of what arises alone does not do this work adequately.

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      When somebody says they are "trying" that normally means you put in effort to do something, effort is what is exhausting, effort makes you tired and stressed.

      I don't think there's such thing as "active" or "passive" awareness, awareness is a result of your current state, it's not something you "do" it's something you get from doing certain other things, or better yet from not-doing.

      So in other words you can't practice mindfulness, what you can practice is to relax and open your mind so that the mindfulness that is already there can spread, concentration and awareness comes from a calm mind, when you are thinking about it, when you are putting in the effort to do it, the mind fills up and awareness has no space to be aware.

      Like if you pack your room with too many things, imagine you pack it with so much stuff that when you look around the room you can't even see the room, how can you be aware that you are in a room if you can't even see the room?

      Attention, awareness, mindfulness, concentration, being "in the zone" etc.... all come from getting rid of unnecessary things, from letting go, trying isn't letting go, trying is filling up.


      Do the meditation practice at the beginning of this video (although the rest is worth watching too if you feel up to it)




      After that look around your room or outside, you'll see and feel the difference, no effort required! Awareness is just there.
      Last edited by Memm; 01-09-2015 at 04:58 PM.

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      It is important to understand the different between right and wrong effort. Skillful effort applied to meditation leads to more wholesome states of mind, deeper peace, tranquility, and joy, and the arising of insight into the nature of the mind. Wrong effort leads to further stress and suffering. Meditation is a practice that requires the development of skill, because you want to do it right. Even "letting go" requires effort. In fact, it is much more difficult for many people than it may sound, as it is something that most people have never done and goes against the dominant habitual tendencies of the mind. Once you get there you can let go of the effort, but until the practice becomes effortless, it is required, no different than the development of any other skill. Effort doesn't mean that stress and strain needs to be involved, it simply means that one applies their mind in a skillful way. In fact, skillful effort, by definition, necessitates the absent of stress and strain. Otherwise it is not skillful.
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      I prefer the term effortless action rather than skilful effort, I think we're talking about the same thing but "effort" has a fairly negative connotation in english in my opinion and by that definition includes stress and strain and all the other things that are unnecessary.

      Please explain what you mean by "letting go requires effort", I don't understand, to me letting go only requires the openness to let go, I don't see how effort is relevant.

      <edit> I thought of an analogy: if you're carrying a heavy bag with you does this require effort or no effort? If you were to let go of the bag and let it fall to the ground would this require effort or no effort?

      Our (bad) habits require effort to carry around in the form of stress and mental difficulties, so letting them go only requires the realising they're a burden and letting them drop like you would a heavy bag, the difficulty lies in our excuse-making, so letting go requires wisdom rather than effort (like the monkey trap, monkey can't get out because it doesn't want to let go of the food).
      Last edited by Memm; 01-09-2015 at 07:08 PM.

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      Maybe I should have specified. By mindfulness I meant lucid living/ADA. >.< This is all really great info though and will help regardless.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Brite View Post
      Maybe I should have specified. By mindfulness I meant lucid living/ADA. >.< This is all really great info though and will help regardless.
      Too late

      Memm, you show a solid understanding of the nature of mind, as explained by tibetan buddhism. I liked the examples you gave.
      Last edited by VagalTone; 01-10-2015 at 01:11 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Memm View Post
      I prefer the term effortless action rather than skilful effort, I think we're talking about the same thing but "effort" has a fairly negative connotation in english in my opinion and by that definition includes stress and strain and all the other things that are unnecessary.
      Interesting, not once have I ever associated any negative connotations with the word effort.

      The phrase "effortless action" is a bit contradictory in literal terms, as action necessitates effort to some degree.

      Let's check out the definition of effort for clarity:

      : work done by the mind or body : energy used to do something

      : a serious attempt to do something

      : something produced by work
      See, nothing inherently negative about it, and nothing necessitating a harmful degree stress or strain.

      Please explain what you mean by "letting go requires effort", I don't understand, to me letting go only requires the openness to let go, I don't see how effort is relevant.
      Letting go is the result of volitional mental action. It first requires the intention to let go, and then it requires the mental action of letting go, even if it is simply the thought "letting go." That is mental action, that is mental effort. Of course, we are speaking in terms of the actual definition of effort and not the connotations you have assigned it. Anytime we use the mind, we are exerting mental effort. When we use the mind in ways which lead to stress and suffering, that is unskillful effort. When we use the mind in ways which lead to wholesome and pure states of being, that is skillful effort.

      It also requires ardency and will if the meditator wants to make the most of his/her meditation time, which is likewise in the definition of effort, "a serious attempt to do something." I for one am certainly serious about my practice and make it a point to focus on the task at hand as completely as possible.

      <edit> I thought of an analogy: if you're carrying a heavy bag with you does this require effort or no effort? If you were to let go of the bag and let it fall to the ground would this require effort or no effort?
      Releasing the bag requires a degree of effort to use the muscles needed to drop the bag, not to mention the mental effort of deciding to do so. It's not much effort, but it exists nonetheless. In the case of "letting go" in meditation, it requires far greater effort because the mind is naturally giving rise to thoughts and distractions, and so the meditator is constantly having to refocus on the intention and mental activity of letting go every time a hinderance pops up in the mind. It's not as if one can just think "let go" one time and then expect to be completely free of their unruly defiled mind for the rest of the meditation. Letting go is a skill that must be developed, and over time one becomes better at releasing the arisings of the mind and remaining in a state of mental stillness, so the effort required reduces. But again, even setting one tiny intention or thinking one tiny thought requires a degree of mental effort. And again, we are using the real definition of effort and not your projection of what it entails. It's true that effort does come with a degree of stress, but when the effort is skillfully directed and it leads to wholesome states of mind and progression on the path, that is right effort.


      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post
      Memm, you show a solid understanding of the nature of mind, as explained by tibetan buddhism. I liked the examples you gave.
      The ideas I presented actually come directly from Theravada Buddhist teachings. I have never come across a Tibetan Buddhist teaching that effort is not used in practice, although I am a Theravada practitioner and my Tibetan practices are limited to dream yoga (I'm not much of a Mahayana man, a bit too esoteric for my taste). But to illustrate my point, here is a teaching by Tibetan Buddhist tulku Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo explaining the importance of effort in practice:

      You practice Right Effort by preventing unarisen unwholesome states from arising, abandoning unwholesome states that have already arisen, arousing wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and maintaining and perfecting wholesome states that have already arisen.
      This is a perfect description of the core of what "letting go" is.

      http://www.tibetanbuddhistaltar.org/right-effort/
      Last edited by VinceField; 01-10-2015 at 05:23 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post
      Memm, you show a solid understanding of the nature of mind, as explained by tibetan buddhism. I liked the examples you gave.
      I don't actually know that much about Tibetan Buddhism, I've read lots on Theravada and I sometimes go to a Mahayana temple, although to me while some practices might be a little different the teachings are all really the same, also after watching a lot of the teachings by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche I've come to really like the Bon approach to certain things. Everything is the same to me, just different traditions have their own added quirks.



      @VinceField

      I think both our definitions of effort are equally valid because they seem to be used interchangeably. For example from your definition of effort:

      Effort - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

      1
      : conscious exertion of power : hard work <a job requiring time and effort>
      2
      : a serious attempt : try <making an effort to reduce costs>
      3
      : something produced by exertion or trying <the novel was her most ambitious effort>
      4
      : effective force as distinguished from the possible resistance called into action by such a force
      5
      : the total work done to achieve a particular end <the war effort>


      Examples of EFFORT

      He put a lot of effort into finishing the project on time.
      It wasn't easy, but it was worth the effort.
      We need to expend more effort.
      The job will require a great deal of time and effort.
      Our success is due to the combined efforts of many people.
      Her efforts were rewarded with a new contract.
      He lost the campaign despite the best efforts of his supporters.
      Even though they didn't win, the team made a good effort.
      Her early efforts at writing a novel were awkward.
      Despite my best efforts, I never found out who she was.
      Some of these are obviously more negative and others are more neutral or positive.


      Here is my understanding of Right Effort:

      This is a famous story about effort

      Sona Sutta: About Sona

      From this you can see that simply meditating until you bleed doesn't produce results, even though a lot of effort might be put in.


      Also

      Right Effort: samma vayamo

      "And what, monks, is right effort?

      [i] "There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

      [ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

      [iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

      [iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."
      You can see from this that the first step is to generate desire and endeavour to do something, activating persistence for something you already want to do is easy and afterwards you may exert this intent and energy, you might sweat physically or bleed but you do it happily and without forcing any sort of self control, rather you do it because you want to.

      Like even playing games requires effort, but if you ask someone if their game requires effort and work they'll tell you no because they just enjoy doing it, this is what I mean by effortless action.

      Maybe we can combine the two and say that there is effort physically but no effort mentally; mental effort is replaced by intent, desire and energy.

      So there is effort but there also isn't effort.
      Last edited by Memm; 01-10-2015 at 07:56 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Brite View Post
      Maybe I should have specified. By mindfulness I meant lucid living/ADA. >.< This is all really great info though and will help regardless.
      Sooo, you were asking about mindfulness in the context of LDing?!

      I guess that makes sense, doesn't it? Well, it is your thread, so howsabout a stab at derailing the hijacking and getting back on topic? Advance apologies if I happen to repeat anything said already:

      Quote Originally Posted by Brite View Post
      You shouldn't force your mind to be aware, you should allow it to right? I read somewhere that people most mistake paying attention for being aware. Maybe that's what I'm doing.
      Ideally, force would be a strong term for anything you do with your mind, or your thoughts, but a gentle coaxing or relaxed invitation to self-awareness is definitely required, because mindfulness is not the default setting for how we navigate our world. You really must take a moment, or more, and take a considerate look at your interaction with your local reality.

      Paying attention is a component of awareness, but self-awareness requires more than just attention... mice, for instance, are masters at paying attention, but I don't think anyone other than Walt Disney has ever accused them of having self-awareness, of being mindful. In other words, paying attention is the first step. Yes, you can look at an object, or react to a person's presence (aka, pay attention), but to determine your relationship with that object/person, or the impact of your presence upon it, and it upon you, takes a bit more than just basic attention.

      Also, as an aside, I would say that passive awareness is what you practice during a NLD, if that helps you see the difference better (yes, you are aware during NLD's; just not self-aware).

      I look around myself, in a room, outside or wherever I may be, and get a sense of the space that I'm in. A feeling comes to me. I don't really think any thoughts. I don't ask myself if I'm dreaming, or a bunch of other questions, because that distracts me from the feeling. The same feeling I get when I realize I am dreaming. I feel...the emptiness in the room or the vastness of the field, wherever I may be. This is what awareness is, to me. Is that forcing it?
      I don't think that is forcing it at all; indeed, you might not be pushing quite enough. There is no need to ask yourself if this is a dream (save that for the RC's you should also be doing), but there is a need, I think, to really wonder about that, say, emptiness, and about your presence in it, your impact on it (and its on yours). Natural awareness is just an extension of attention, and that is what you were doing. Mindfulness/self-awareness, though, is much different, in that it includes you in that attention you are paying. This is an important difference that I probably didn't explain well, but I'll bet one of the experts will clarify.

      Problem is, the more I do this, the less easier it gets and the more I have to focus and concentrate in order to summon this feeling.
      This is probably a good thing, because it implies that you are attaching real meaning to your efforts with each exercise. I would keep at it, and eventually I would bet that the effort required to summon the feeling will diminish as you become more accustomed to the feeling itself.

      tl;dr: Yes, mindfulness requires an active sort of awareness/attention that raises the presence of your Self in your local reality to one of active participant, rather than just observer... which matters a lot in a LD, where your local reality is you, so active participation of your waking-life presence is most helpful.

      I hope that helped, or at least maybe I said enough academically incorrect things that folks will fix what I said, but hopefully this time in the context of mindfulness as a tool for LD'ing -- since that is what you were asking in the first place.
      Last edited by Sageous; 01-10-2015 at 09:09 AM.
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      Memm, your view in that post is actually in agreement with tibetan budhism.

      Effort definitely has a place in tibetan budhism, but it is to be dropped gradually.Effort is nothing more than a step in the path where one builds a momentum for duality to explode in the recognition of the nature of mind. There are many stories of practictioners and laypeople in which awakening was so sudden, they didn't do any effort. Effort was not necessary for them. Indeed for many people it can be harder to drop the effort, and the conditioning later down the road.Even the intention to recognize the nature of mind becomes natural. There is no separation between life and meditation sessions. One of the signs of this stage is lucidity in sleep and dreams.
      Last edited by VagalTone; 01-10-2015 at 11:49 AM.
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      That's interesting. There are other examples of practitioners who firmly decide that they would sit down and not get up until they reach enlightenment, ignoring any physical pain and suffering they suffer in the mean time. Basically enlightenment or die trying mentality and at least in some places I've read it states this sort of determination is necessary. Also Buddha basically said enlightenment doesn't "just" happen, it takes working through the path and the right conditions.

      So there's definitely effort involved, at least the pure expending of energy kind of effort that VinceField is talking about. That I think that effort has a negative connotation is perhaps something I should be working on haha.

      You'll also find the idea of effortless action in Taoism, which I think overlaps with Buddhist thought in quite a few places but with different terminology.
      Last edited by Memm; 01-10-2015 at 02:52 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Memm View Post
      @VinceField

      I think both our definitions of effort are equally valid because they seem to be used interchangeably. For example from your definition of effort:

      Effort - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

      Some of these are obviously more negative and others are more neutral or positive.
      While the sentences as a whole may have a particular tone leaning towards positive or negative depending on the situation they are describing, the word effort itself remains neutral in all of them.

      From this you can see that simply meditating until you bleed doesn't produce results, even though a lot of effort might be put in.
      That it is why it is important to distinguish between right and wrong effort. Meditating until you bleed is probably wrong effort. Right effort can appear effortless because there is no mental resistance involved.

      You can see from this that the first step is to generate desire and endeavour to do something, activating persistence for something you already want to do is easy and afterwards you may exert this intent and energy, you might sweat physically or bleed but you do it happily and without forcing any sort of self control, rather you do it because you want to.

      Like even playing games requires effort, but if you ask someone if their game requires effort and work they'll tell you no because they just enjoy doing it, this is what I mean by effortless action.
      Right effort is generally joyful and stressless because by definition it requires the generation of the desire and intention to rid the mind of unwholesome states and cultivate wholesome states, and the actions lead to further purification of the mind. Thus there is joy in the activity because desire and intention are aligned with what one is doing, and the activity itself results in the development further joy and other wholesome qualities of mind.

      I understand what you mean by effortless action and I see no real problem using that phrase metaphorically. But I believe it is important to understand the role of effort in the path so that one does not become complacent or passive in their approach.

      Maybe we can combine the two and say that there is effort physically but no effort mentally; mental effort is replaced by intent, desire and energy.

      So there is effort but there also isn't effort.
      In the case of meditation, there is generally more mental effort than physical effort, as one is simply sitting and not moving. The work of meditation is done in the mind, not the body. Intent, desire, and energy are the result of mental effort, and the maintenance of these likewise require effort, although when it is right effort then it may appear effortless. A case of physical effort with little or no mental effort is doing physical labor requiring little thought.
      Last edited by VinceField; 01-10-2015 at 03:54 PM.

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      Wow.

      Not even a quiet nod toward the fact that you've turned a thread whose OP asked a clear question about how to effectively practice mindfulness for LD'ing into an academic discussion about the nature of effort in meditation. At least Vagaltone had the good grace to stick a sentence that included the word "lucidity" at the end of his last post, which also had nothing to do with the OP... and no, guys, the OP was not a request to debate the meaning of effort in high-end-Tibetan Buddhist-level meditation. Wandering off topic is one thing, but your complete dismissal of the Brite's OP seems at a minimum to be a bit disrespectful.

      And it seems that you're fulfilling the predictions of the naysayers who thought it would not be a good idea to start a meditation forum, because lucid dreaming would quickly be left behind. Nice work.

      Brite: well, though my post to you was quickly buried without acknowledgment, so you likely missed it, at least I tried. Yours was a good topic. Maybe you can try again sometime, and will reach an audience more curious about dreaming and less interested in impressing each other with their encyclopedic knowledge of religious meditation.

      OpheliaBlue: I guess the naysayers may have had a point about this forum after all... 3 out of the four threads so far have either forgotten LD'ing altogether, or never mentioned it in the first place. Sort of makes me not want to start that thread about the nature of mindfulness as it relates to LD'ing -- not much point if I can apparently be assured that only the OP will be on topic. Kind of sucks, but at least we tried. Sorry about the rant, BTW...
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    16. #16
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      Chogyam Trungpa on awareness and effort:

      Awareness is not something that needs to be manufactured: when there is a gap, awareness enters into us. So awareness does not require a certain particular effort. Such an effort is unnecessary. Awareness is like a wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in.
      To the OP, awareness is already present in you, and like Trungpa Rinpoche says, it does not need to be a thing that you do. If you are walking down the street, just be mindful, in a relaxed, observational way. You do not need to be mindful of every pebble that you step on, or the sensation of wind on every single hair on your right and left arms as you walk. Just allow space to be aware, which in general means to unify mind and body together. If the mind and body are both focused on the same activity (and the mind is not lost in conceptualization, planning, etc.), you are, in general, aware.
      VagalTone, Memm, Brite and 1 others like this.

    17. #17
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      Lol well, if it continues this way then we can talk about shoving it back to ED.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Wow.

      Not even a quiet nod toward the fact that you've turned a thread whose OP asked a clear question about how to effectively practice mindfulness for LD'ing into an academic discussion about the nature of effort in meditation. At least Vagaltone had the good grace to stick a sentence that included the word "lucidity" at the end of his last post, which also had nothing to do with the OP... and no, guys, the OP was not a request to debate the meaning of effort in high-end-Tibetan Buddhist-level meditation. Wandering off topic is one thing, but your complete dismissal of the Brite's OP seems at a minimum to be a bit disrespectful.

      And it seems that you're fulfilling the predictions of the naysayers who thought it would not be a good idea to start a meditation forum, because lucid dreaming would quickly be left behind. Nice work.
      ....
      Sorry about the rant, BTW...
      Let's take a look at the OP and see how valid your argument is:

      Quote Originally Posted by Brite View Post
      Practicing Mindfulness wrong. Active vs passive awareness.

      I have tried quite a few times to practice mindfulness/awareness but eventually a cloud of cog fog envelops my mind and I slowly stop practicing because of fatigue, and soon end up forgetting the whole thing. This is the longest that I've been with it and I want to keep it up, but it's mentally exhausting.

      You shouldn't force your mind to be aware, you should allow it to right? I read somewhere that people most mistake paying attention for being aware. Maybe that's what I'm doing.

      I look around myself, in a room, outside or wherever I may be, and get a sense of the space that I'm in. A feeling comes to me. I don't really think any thoughts. I don't ask myself if I'm dreaming, or a bunch of other questions, because that distracts me from the feeling. The same feeling I get when I realize I am dreaming. I feel...the emptiness in the room or the vastness of the field, wherever I may be. This is what awareness is, to me. Is that forcing it?

      Problem is, the more I do this, the less easier it gets and the more I have to focus and concentrate in order to summon this feeling.
      My first post was in direct response to the OP. There is no mention of lucid dreaming in the OP, only "the practice of mindfulness and awareness." Thus I went on to give what I believe was solid advice about the distinction between passive and active awareness (this issue was stated in the title) in meditation practice (arguably one of the deepest practices of mindfulness/awareness). Being that there was no specification as to the particular practice in question, I felt it was appropriate.

      The OP mentioned using force with mindfulness vs simply allowing it, and in my posts I clarified the role of right effort in practice. Right effort does not only apply to meditation, it applies to all endeavors, including daily mindfulness, as the OP appears to be speaking about.

      Brite stated quite clearly that the information that came from the meditation/effort discussion was great and helpful. If anyone has a right to complain it is him, and he seemed thankful for the information.

      If anything, I would think this thread demonstrates the need for a meditation sub forum rather than being an argument against it, as giving it it's own place may reduce the likelihood of the topic being brought up in other areas of the forum. And I'll just quickly mention the irony that the "rant" you felt the need to apologize for offers essentially nothing of value to the topic at hand, whereas the posts on meditation and effort received more support from the community than any other "on-topic" post in this thread (according to the "likes" anyway). My aim is to provide helpful and useful information from my experience and knowledge and to help clarify perceptions and understandings, especially when doing so could benefit those reading. It's not just about the original poster, it's about the entire community, and if I believe that something mentioned along the way could use a little deeper penetration and clarification for the sake of proper understanding and application of the concepts, even if it doesn't directly relate to the OP, it is best to do so. I owe no apologies.

      I can't count how many threads I've read that end on a completely different note than they began. This is the nature of forum discussions. Accept, let go, be content.
      Last edited by VinceField; 01-11-2015 at 12:55 AM.

    19. #19
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      ^^ I wasn't making an argument, VinceField, just a statement. But if you must:

      First, if you read the sticky for this forum, it clearly states that the discussions here should be related to LD'ing, or at least to dreaming in general.

      Next, the OP asked a simple Yes/No question about forcing awareness or just letting it happen -- which 3Cat later addressed quite nicely in one short paragraph, BTW (I didn't agree, but it was well said). In her OP Brite never requested the extremely involved posts about the nature of effort that followed, replete with all those religious and philosophical references and links. I think you would have done fine just to state your own opinions; academic proofs are not required here, and we will all accept your authority on the subject. I hope you can see that at this point.

      Next, In her second post (which went completely ignored, aside from a fairly rude "too late" from Vagaltone, with a smiley that was laughing at her thrown in for good measure), Brite clarified what she was looking for, so if the theme of the OP was missed, it was obvious then. Brite did politely thank you for the great deal of unnecessary information you posted, but also said that the info provided was not what she was wanted. How you interpreted that as her confirming that you were helpful is beyond me.

      Finally, when I posted directly to the OP (not that it matters, because Brite seems to have already given up) in an attempt to get the thread back on track, that post too was summarily ignored, I assume so that you three could continue making your finer points about a subject that, like it or not, was not the focus of the OP...yes, Brite's problem involved the fact that her work seemed to get "less easier" as she did it, but in no way did I see her requesting a long philosophical discussion about the meaning and application of effort in advanced meditational practice among Tibetan Buddhists.

      I don't remember if you were involved in the conversation about adding a meditation forum to the "Attaining Lucidity" section rather than some obscure subforum -- if anywhere at all, but the discussion wrapped around the notion that threads would quickly become specifically about meditation, regardless of OP, and lucidity would be left behind as conversation drifted towards the stuff a few people highly interested in meditation wanted to discuss, rather than dreaming. I for one argued that we should at least try to do the forum, because meditation is an important aspect to attaining lucidity, and that we might be able to stay on topic. So far, with the exception of one thread here, I have been proven wrong.

      The saddest part of all of this is that you believe you are spot on topic, and strangely saw Brite's polite acknowledgement of all you wrote as approval while ignoring her very clear request to bring the conversation back to dreaming.

      I'm rambling at this point, and probably getting a bit rude myself (sorry about that, no malice was intended or felt by me). I really did not want to get into a debate about whether or not you hijacked a thread to discuss on your own terms a subject that had little to no interest to the OP, and little to no relevance to lucid dreaming. I guess I'm doing all this now because I am slightly annoyed: I had been planning a thread on mindfulness for this forum, a subject which I feel is crucial to successful LD'ing, but now I know I shouldn't bother, because any mention of the word will likely bring on another of these long academic dialogues that will say lots of high-end things about mindfulness, but nothing about why it matters to dreamers.
      Last edited by Sageous; 01-11-2015 at 02:46 AM.
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    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Brite did politely thank you for the great deal of unnecessary information you posted, but also said that the info provided was not what she was wanted. How you interpreted that as her confirming that you were helpful is beyond me.
      It wasn't an interpretation, it was simply reading what she wrote:
      This is all really great info though and will help regardless.
      but in no way did I see her requesting a long philosophical discussion about the meaning and application of effort in advanced meditational practice among Tibetan Buddhists.
      I was under the impression that I could post my thoughts without having to be directly instructed what to write. As I said, the OP wasn't specific and I believed the information I shared could be useful.

      The saddest part of all of this is that you believe you are spot on topic, and strangely saw Brite's polite acknowledgement of all you wrote as approval while ignoring her very clear request to bring the conversation back to dreaming.
      No, I realize that none of my posts have been spot on topic, although I believe they were related enough to remain in the thread without being moved by a moderator, or even questioned by a member. It's true that I didn't have lucid dreaming in mind with any of my posts, but I didn't think the OP was about lucid dreaming so I didn't see a problem. As I said, I wasn't posting just for Brite, I was engaged with Memm at that point, although the points I raised about right effort certainly apply to some of Brite's questions.

      I'm rambling at this point, and probably getting a bit rude myself (sorry about that, no malice was intended or felt by me). I really did not want to get into a debate about whether or not you hijacked a thread to discuss on your own terms a subject that had little to no interest to the OP, and little to no relevance to lucid dreaming. I guess I'm doing all this now because I am slightly annoyed: I had been planning a thread on mindfulness for this forum, a subject which I feel is crucial to successful LD'ing, but now I know I shouldn't bother, because any mention of the word will likely bring on another of these long academic dialogues that will say lots of high-end things about mindfulness, but nothing about why it matters to dreamers.
      No worries. It's very easy to get sidetracked. But being that you are actively engaging in derailing the thread even further, perhaps take that into consideration next time you call someone out for doing the same. I witness topics get sidetracked all the time and don't bat an eye. That's what moderators are for. When you think about it, it's a pretty silly thing to get upset about, and I want you to be happy.

      I am now bowing out.

      Take care buddy

    21. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by VinceField View Post
      It's very easy to get sidetracked. But being that you are actively engaging in derailing the thread even further, perhaps take that into consideration next time you call someone out for doing the same. I witness topics get sidetracked all the time and don't bat an eye. That's what moderators are for. When you think about it, it's a pretty silly thing to get upset about, and I want you to be happy.
      I am now bowing out.
      Take care buddy
      The conversation did not get sidetracked. The subject was changed by you; there is a difference. Also, the thread was already derailed by the time I came in; that was sort of my point.

      Take care yourself, and I hope you are happy too.

      All apologies to Brite, should he ever return to this thread.
      Last edited by Sageous; 01-11-2015 at 05:53 AM.

    22. #22
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      If the issue so far is just this one thread, could just toss it into ED and salvage the subforum.

    23. #23
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      ^^ Might as well. The OP's done, but maybe Vince et al will be able to continue their conversation there without nitpicky rummies like me bothering them....
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      So I didn't want to say anything to derail this further but since the train seems to be heading for the cliff either way I think that if you just delete all posts starting at #15 up, except #16 which is on topic, we can air lift this sucker a few kilometres back onto the tracks.

      We only ended up with a couple of posts that are arguably tangent to the discussion, so I don't see the need to swarm the place with quadruple that number just to argue about how the thread is going.


    25. #25
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      ^^ That actually seems like a decent idea...maybe if the thread is scrubbed clean of all this recent crap (much of it mine), it'll find on-topic life again sometime.
      Last edited by Sageous; 01-11-2015 at 09:05 AM.

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