Author Topic: Should I Get Access Concentation First?  (Read 1723 times)

Vosbo

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Should I Get Access Concentation First?
« on: August 19, 2010, 11:43:30 PM »
I recently started a 6-week mindfulness meditation course, which I downloaded for free online (link here).  The course starts with mindfulness of the breath then moves onto mindfulness of the body, emotions, thinking and mind.

I have also been reading Mindfulness In plain English and came across a couple of passages that said "The initial stages of mental cultivation are especially delicate. Too much emphasis on mindfulness at this point will actually retard the development of concentration" and "Just about the only rule you need to remember at this point is to put your effort into concentration until the monkey mind has cooled down a bit, after that emphasise mindfulness".

So I am wondering if it is worthwhile to continue the mindfulness meditation course? Should I just develop my concentration for a couple of months until I can hold it steady for say a 20 min session, then switch back to mindfulness?

James the Giant

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Re: Should I Get Access Concentation First?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2010, 10:20:38 PM »
A teacher I know said "If you can focus on the breath for 3 x 10 breaths, (30 breaths, or about two minutes) then you are good and ready to practise mindfulness / vipassana."
So that's what I do.

Other people and traditions have different levels of concentration before they move on to mindfulness.  For example, one fairly famous Burmese meditator did TEN YEARS of concentration meditation before he really started on vipassana, and mastered a good number of the jhanas!

During a ten-day vipassana course, concentration meditation is generally done for the first 3 to 5 days, and then they switch to vipassana.

If you do become interested, I highly recommend you consider going to an actual retreat course. They give you a good grounding in both concentration and mindfulness, and are often a life-changing experience.

Good practising!

Vosbo

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Re: Should I Get Access Concentation First?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2010, 03:50:07 PM »
In that case I'm not ready for mindfulness yet! I have started counting breaths in my mediation but my mind tends to wander before the first round of 10. I'll focus on getting the level of concentration you suggested then switch to mindfulness,

Thanks a lot,

Vosbo

Inner Peace

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Re: Should I Get Access Concentation First?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 03:44:41 PM »
Slowly and gently developing the concentration is a good thing to do.  It really pays off.  When I started,  years ago, I was very impatient with myself.  Of course this was counter productive.  Now I just take it as it comes.  Be patient.  If you find yourself getting frustrated with a lack of progress, simply label that as "frustration" or "anger", feel how it effects your body, then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: Should I Get Access Concentation First?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 05:32:51 AM »
A teacher I know said "If you can focus on the breath for 3 x 10 breaths, (30 breaths, or about two minutes) then you are good and ready to practise mindfulness / vipassana."
So that's what I do......

One can not practice Vipassana. Vipassana is a fruit of meditation, not a meditation.

Mindfulness of breathing whilst calming the body leads to calm and insight developing naturally. The process builds and induces changes in lifestyle and more.

For most westerners living busy lives it may never get beyond a stage of being more mindful and aware and able to concentrate than your average joe.

Develop calm first. Concentration and insight will grow like the fruits of a tree.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
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