Week 15: Mindfulness of Refrian

Joseph discusses how the repetition of this refrain shows us how to practice.   He first points out the practices of mindfulness internally, externally and both internally and externally.  This means we are mindful of mind-states, feelings, etc. in our own experience; in the experience of others; and as objective phenomena that is simply occurring and not specifically attached to one or the other.

Another part of the refrain focuses, again, on being mindful of the arising, passing away, and arising and passing away of phenomena.  It is said that doing this for one day is extremely valuable.  Noticing that all things that begin must also end provides insight into the nature of reality, and can change our relationship to inner and external realities by seeing how impersonal the entire process is.

Finally, Joseph talks about how much mindfulness do we actually need?  The Buddha said we need enough for bare knowing; and then enough to have mindfulness be continuous.  Bare knowing means simple and direct knowing of what is present, without making up stories about our experience. 

Questions:

The Buddha says we should “contemplate” internally, externally and both.  What does “contemplating” look like in your practice?

Have you had any glimpses of what the liberated mind looks like or feels like, either internally or externally?

How does mindfulness of the processes of the mindstates, feeling, etc. help you not be reactive?   Share a real example.  What did you learn or are you learning when you reflect on this example?

What do you think about Joseph’s four steps?

1.     Mindful of our own reactive state – maybe a wake up call?

2.     Apply mindfulness externally and practice noticing mindfully what is arising

3.     Whether in face are we reactive, judgmental of these states in ourselves?  Are we accepting or not accepting?

4.     Pay attention to what happens when we settle into mindfulness.

In the middle part of the talk Joseph talks about contemplating the impermanence of mindstates.  It seems that all roads lead back to this kind of understanding.  Why?

What is your relationship to your thoughts and emotions?  Joseph talks about thoughts triggering emotions, but isn’t the opposite true as well?

Joseph seems to particularly focus on the passing away of desire.  How is that working for you?

Finally:  Just how much mindfulness do we need?  How much do YOU need?  Or want?  [“Bare knowledge:  knowing what is arising objectively without getting lost in judging, analysis, etc. or when we do get lost to be aware of those states themselves.  Simple and direct knowing of what is present without making up stories about our experience.”]

Practices:

1.  Take a mind state or feeling, and see the beginning of it and the end of it.

2.  Try to use your reactions to others to prompt mindfulness, and see what settling into mindfulness about that reaction brings.

3.  Contemplate the impermanence of mind states, particularly the end of desire or craving.