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October 23, 2012


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Mindfulness is more difficult to cultivate than concentration because it is a deeper-reaching function. Concentration is merely focusing the mind, rather like a laser beam. It has the power to burn its way deep into the mind and illuminate what is there. But it does not understand what it sees... Mindfulness can make you free.

Mindfulness and concentration are
certainly woven together but I don't believe mindfulness will free you. To be mindful there must be some level of concentration as he says. But, if a zombie wakes enough to open his eyes, he may not bump into so many walls but there's no real freedom. He remains a rote actor in a nightmarish play. And even if a genie makes the zombie a big more mindful, he'll always be waiting for concentration to open the next door before he can fully awaken. Call it spirit or god or whatever ...but something or someone behind the curtain has to gift him before he can ultimately be free.

Posted by: Dungeness |

But she is said to be more beautiful, more desirable, more ravishing than any other woman. One touch from her, one embrace, and you will never be satisfied with anyone else. One night with her... ecstacy beyond imagining.

So she's worth the search. A lifetime of searching.

Sounds like Hell to me. Mindfulness of the body can lead to freedom from eroticism; it is not the best approach to replace spiritual yearning with this one. And by "best approach" I mean, an approach that will free you from being led around by your dick. As well as other biological drives.

Mindfulness doesn't wipe away biology, but it can reveal our bodily yearnings to be nothing more than that. There's yearning, and then there's cultivation of yearning. If you want to be truly trapped by sexuality, make this story your focus. Otherwise, just look at those bodily functions and try to see them for what they are. Which, in my opinion, is not nearly worth a lifetime of searching.

Scott, did you notice the word "metaphorical" before "image comes to mind"?

I think this is an accurate metaphor. Anyone, including you, who is searching or yearning for... something... who isn't satisfied with life as it actually exactly is at this moment, who finds comfort in the thought "there is something more" -- that's who my metaphor is talking about.

Which, in my opinion, includes every person on earth.

No, I actually am satisfied with life as it actually is at this moment. And one reason is that I don't chase unattainable erotic nymphs through the woods of my psyche, metaphorical or otherwise. If you think you can chase them metaphorically and not find yourself searching for them in reality, you are kidding yourself.

There may be comfort in the thought that "there is something more." But that doesn't change the fact that there is nothing more; what is, is sufficient.

Mindfulness was taught originally as a way to this understanding. It works.

Scott, I agree with you, up to this point:

One of the most respected writers on mindfulness, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, who I quoted in this post, says "Mindfulness can make you free."

Similar statements are found in the whole mindfulness literature. After all, if we already had everything, and didn't need to search for anything, what purpose is there in practicing something called "mindfulness"?

The fact that Buddhists and others advocate mindfulness shows that ordinarily, minds aren't mindful. So we lack mindfulness.

Like you said, mindfulness is a way to understand we don't lack anything. But until we get over a lack of mindfulness, apparently we can't know that we don't lack anything.

I agree with your last comment completely. But we do not have to stay stuck in that unsatisfactory state of lacking in mindfulness. There is, in fact, a path that leads to freedom, and it includes a practice of mindfulness.

Buddha taught that there are four ways to undertake something, based on the character of the beginning and the end. Things can be undertaken in a way that is painful at the beginning, and results in pain; or in a way that is painful in the beginning and results in happiness; or in a way that is happy in the beginning but results in pain; or in a way that is happy in the beginning and ends in happiness.

Relating the spiritual search to eroticism, and enjoying that pleasurable association mentally, is undertaking the search in a way that is happy at the beginning, and leads to pain.

I have found it true, for myself, that renunciation can help immensely in reaching mindfulness and the happiness that comes with it. This is not because the attachments we have to pleasures are evil, but simply because they do not result in happiness over the long term.

By cutting through those attachments -- a process of more than one step -- we see through the illusion that, for example, ecstasy of the body/mind can substitute for mindful happiness.

There is a yearning for spiritual happiness, but that yearning is very different in character from the yearning for the ecstasy of the senses; it is a yearning to be free of delusion and painful attachments. It is, rather than libidinous, a kind of grief. That kind of longing for freedom can lead to the freedom of renunciation, and mindfulness practice is key to that whole process.

I can, of course, only speak for my own experience here. Everyone has to take their own road, where ever it leads them.

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