Proceed to Stage 4 or train introspective attention?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Henk de Wit 3 months ago.

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  • #2897

    Elea
    Member

    Hello,

    I am new to the forum and first I just want to thank you for being here! I am very glad for having found this community.
    I have been doing mindfulness meditation for some time now, and only recently came to know TMI. After having read it while keeping practicing and now reading it again, I think I can say that I have reached the goal for Stage 3: I don´t forget the meditation object and there is no more mind-wandering. Gross and subtle distractions are still there and my attention alternates between these and the breath, but the breath always stays in attention.

    So. That would mean the next stage to work on is Stage 4. But I have the following doubt and am not sure what would be the adequate next step for me.

    It seems I have somehow reached the goal for Stage 3 before learning about the checking in technique (introspective attention). I have tried it out some times by now, and do not feel comfortable with it. I feel it disturbs me more than that it helps.
    So now, how should I interprete this and which action should follow as a consequence?
    Option 1 or 2? (or something else I have not thought about).

    1. It´s only natural that I don´t feel comfortable with checking in, simply because of what Culadasa writes in the chapter about stage 4: „The first [drawback] I mentioned in Stage Three: when checking in, you have to disrupt your focus on the breath. That worked then, but it doesn´t now, since you´re trying to cultivate continuous attention.“
    -> Simply proceed to Stage 4.

    2. Although my introspective awareness has somehow grown strong enough to prevent forgetting and mind-wandering even without me knowing about and consciously using introspective attention, it would be good to get this tool into my toolbox. You never know when it could be useful.
    -> Take a step back and train my introspective attention until I feel more comfortable and competent using it.
    Do you have any advice for me? I would appreciate it very much.

    Greetings, Saludos, Grüβe,
    Elea

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Elea.
    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Elea.
    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Elea.
    #2903

    Darlene T
    Member

    Hello and Welcome Elea.

    Perhaps, given you are still experiencing gross distractions, this would still be a good time to make what was an unconscious process (introspective awareness that prevented forgetting and wandering) into a more conscious and intentional process. Be curious about your minds capacity to be aware of its activity, and its tending toward a subtle or gross distraction in real time! Its a great opportunity and the key word is “briefly”. It takes a momentary flash of awareness…”briefly” focusing awareness toward the process of the mind… and notice as attention transitions and slips away from the object…Catch those moments leading up to the gross or subtle distraction. That will take you quite nicely into Stage 4.

    Best Wishes,
    Darlene Tataryn (TMI Teacher in Training)

    #2905

    Elea
    Member

    Hello Darlene,

    thank you for your advice! I already started to follow it.

    I just have one further question about your answer: You wrote “It takes a momentary flash of awareness […] focusing awareness toward the process of the mind”. I am a little puzzled why you wrote awareness and not attention. Isn´t it rather a momentary flash of attention?

    Best regards,
    Elea

    #2910

    Magnolia
    Member

    Hi Elea,
    I am not sure if this is relevant, but I can answer about the checking in technique 🙂
    I think you have a correct understanding of the “checking in technique”, that it is your attention that does it. But that it will cultivate more introspective awareness which is a function of peripheral awareness.

    #2942

    Elea
    Member

    Hi Magnolia,

    thank you for your answer. Good to know that I got it right.

    Greetings,
    Elea

    (P.D. Sorry for answering so late…)

    #2983

    Henk de Wit
    Member

    Hi Alea,

    I’m not sure if this can help you but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

    My practice is currently at the end of Stage 3 and I have trained my introspective attention to become more continuous by doing the following for quite a number of sits: holding the intention to invoke introspective attention as frequently as possible (for me this was after 3 breaths checking in).
    The results have been as follows: my mind automatically labels (and checks in) images, emotions (connected to mental objects), etc. In other words: introspective attention turns slowly but surely into introspective awareness by simply holding the intention to invoke this kind of introspective attention as frequently as possible.

    I hope this helps in your practice.

    Greetings,

    Henk

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