Productive Mind Activity?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  maryhill 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    I’m very happy to say that I was able to hear the message of Culadasa concerning ‘establishing a practice’. I received The Mind Illuminated at the beginning of the year and have missed only one day in sitting in meditation from then -something new for me. I’m still at Level 2, but I’d like to explain that for a good part of the past six months, I’ve been involved in a divorce. As anyone who has experienced such an event will appreciate, my mind tends to run continuously, and my daily meditation is a welcome reprieve. But, what I am finding, during the meditation period, my thoughts slow down and often get much better organized around things that need to be accomplished, helpful reminders, uplifting and encouraging feelings, etc. So, in a 30 minute sitting, my attention on the breath is perhaps 15 or so minutes, but I feel that the time when my attention leaves the breath, for the most part my thoughts are not aimless, but are productive. I don’t scold myself at all for straying from the breath, but have a feeling of gratitude for a positive helpful experience. Something else I have noticed, on occasion, when my attention has left the breath for a period of time, I seem to be drawn back involuntarily to a beautiful awareness of stillness which descends, so that I am focused once more on the breath, without first ‘noticing’ I had wandered away.
    I don’t know if there is a question in the above somewhere, but I am open and would appreciate any feedback on what I’ve discussed, particularly in that while I’m not struggling, I do wonder if Level 3 will come along at some point. Thanks for reading this and for any comments.


    Blake Barton

    Hi Louis,

    It is great that you have been able to establish such a regular daily practice, particularly during a difficult time in your life.

    It sounds like you are experiencing a milder form of discursive brilliance. This typically happens during stage 4, but it could occur earlier when your mind calms. I would suggest reading pages 132-133 in Mind Illuminated for more information.

    Hope this helps,



    Hello Blake,

    Thank you for pointing me toward the discussion of discursive brilliance. The explanation of the ‘trap’ of this mind activity is invaluable, answers my inquiry exactly.

    To avoid this problem , I believe what is needed for me is a second form of ‘practice’ not related to my meditation period, where I will I set aside a regular time to make a thorough review of necessary tasks and upcoming commitments, and act promptly, without procrastination. If I’m honest, much of the ‘valuable’ reminders I get during meditation are of things that would not come up if they had not been put off. I don’t expect perfection in this, but I know this will benefit my meditation practice.

    Thanks again for such a helpful reply.



    Blake Barton

    Hi Lou,

    I agree that having a second form of practice outside of your normal meditation would be a good idea. This is what Culadasa recommends for those that wish to practice analytical meditation.



    Sergey N

    Hi Louis,

    I totally agree with Blake’s responses (also please be aware that he is an approved teacher of Culadasa, and I am just a guy practicing the book)

    But what I can also suggest to try is this: try to let all these thoughts go for a day or two during your sessions, and then compare the results. Did you get more understanding of situation(s) in these two days compared to when you actively think?
    As Culadasa later explains in the book (again, refer the book first, cause my understanding is still not deep enough), our “active thinking” is basically just a focus of attention, and it happens automatically, so we are somewhat tricked that we participate in it. In my experience, once I let it go during meditation, It happens same way (behind the scenes, unconsciously) as if I was actively thinking. And by letting it go you are able to become calmer (cause you are not actively involved into these thoughts), thus making this behind-the-scenes thought process even more effective. In my experience, it was actually yielding more effective understanding of my life situation. It would just pop out of nowhere later on into your consciousness, or you would just go and do something completely different and effective for your situation. Or will gain a new understanding. So at least something to try.

    But yeah, basically pages on “discursive brilliance” topic in Mind Illuminated explain all the necessary steps to take. Hope you will be doing great!

    Best regards,



    I’m Mary, and in teacher training with Culadasa as of Sept. 2016. I’m in agreement with Sergey, and also really appreciate the suggestion of comparing sits.
    When I can be in Stage 4 or higher during the majority of my sit, then quieting the mind has led to an insight later.
    I also incorporate mindfulness in daily life (mindful walking meditation in the index of TMI), and one mindful activity each day (currently it’s brushing my teeth).
    There is a fine line, with progressing, involving diligence (daily practice) and intention. Sometimes I still have to re-set my intention with each breath 🙂
    Being a person who previously was quite into “stiving”, this finesse of effort and diligence is new.
    Anyway, occasionally a still, quiet voice gives me the solution to something I had been previously tring to understand with lots of thinking.
    Blessings, Mary

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