Stage 3 question

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Blake Barton 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #2624

    Henk de Wit
    Member

    Hi there,

    A few weeks ago I have started in Stage 3. In TMI various exercises/techniques are described to achieve the goals of this Stage.
    Most of the techniques are straightforward and rather easily applicable. With regards to developing introspective awareness the practice of ‘checking-in’ is described. The book states that this practice involves ‘intentionally turning the mind inward’.

    Although I understand the sentence I fail to understand how to implement this in my practice. I tried to hold the intention ‘to turn my mind inwards’ but then nothings seems to happen (ie. ‘my mind’ does not know where to turn attention to).

    What I would like to find out is:
    -How does one effectively cultivate introspective awareness in one’s practice ? (especially when one has not cultivated it yet)
    -How does one work with intentions/something else to cultivate and develop introspective awareness?

    It would be wonderful if some of you can help me out here. Thanks!

    #2625

    tjansen
    Member

    Henrik. I was stuck in a similar way with checking in. I then made a short list of what I was to look for when I checked in:

    1) Thoughts (my most common distraction, 2) Sensations (e.g. pain, itch, etc), 3) Perceptions (noises, maybe internal sights with eyes closed), 4) Dullness (Does my awareness or attention seem dull).

    There are other things he mentions as he progress through the stages, and we continue to develop Metacognitive Introspective Awareness through Stage 8, so there is time (for me) to add other things in after Stage 5 when the Total Power of Consciousness becomes stronger.

    This helped me a lot. If I find dullness, I apply the remedies he suggested. If I find distracting thoughts, I applied the remedy.

    Let me know if this helps. I am pretty much of a beginner, so I won’t address your other questions.

    #2626

    Judith Ring
    Member

    Henk, I was going to reply similarly to tjansen. At one point or another when meditating, most folks have the experience of focusing attention on the object of meditation, like the breath. Suddenly they find themselves wondering what’s for lunch or mentally making a list for the grocery store or thinking about details for a work project. At the moment the mind becomes conscious of being distracted away from the object of meditation, the mind has turned itself inward. Checking in simply refers to the act of intentionally moving your attention from sensations of the breath to the mind to the mind to see what’s coming up.

    I can’t tell from what you’ve written so far if this is a simple issue of misunderstanding or if you’re facing obstacles in moving your attention from focusing on sensations of the breath to conscious knowledge of thoughts arising in the mind.

    Directing attention to your specific questions:
    “-How does one effectively cultivate introspective awareness in one’s practice ? (especially when one has not cultivated it yet)” As you follow the practice goals for this stage, overcoming forgetting by following the breath and connecting, you will be you’ll be actively connecting with the meditation object. Introspective awareness is cultivated in this process as you label mental arisings like thoughts or distractions or emotions. Checking in is the conscious attempt to notice what is in the mind in the moment. There’s nothing extra that you need do beyond following the suggested steps. Introspective awareness strengthens as you meditate and employ the strategies of labeling and checking in.

    For myself at this stage there was quite a bit of grasping on to getting beyond this stage quickly. I had to relax quite a bit and give up expectations of how fast I might learn and move beyond this stage.

    “-How does one work with intentions/something else to cultivate and develop introspective awareness?” Questions about intention come up for folks in various stages. The term “intention” is defined in the TMI glossery as “A determination to acte in a certain way for the purpose of achieving a particulaar end or goal. Such action may be mental or physical. Intention underlies every movement of the mind, whether or not that movement results in overt speech or action….” An intention can be as simple as the thought during meditation preliminaries “I intend to consciously check in periodically to see what thoughts, emotions or distractions may be arising at the moment I check in.” Questions about intention are not simple perhaps because most of us don’t yet realize that “intention is present in every perceiving mind moment” – this is a phrase from the glossary definition of intention.

    Are you concerned, maybe even worried, that you’re not doing something correctly?

    Judith
    Dharma Treasure Teacher in Training

    #2627

    marcinmarin
    Member

    Hello Hendrik,

    How does one effectively cultivate introspective awareness in one’s practice ? (especially when one has not cultivated it yet)
    The way I thought of this, and it worked for me, was that what I want awareness to do, I “teach” it by using attention. So as I am on the breath, Using attention, I stop following the breath and check the state of my body (any sensations present that may become distractions) and my mind (I say to myself any pressing thoughts right now or anything that may become a distraction) the I go back to the breath. This is what I want my subconscious (awareness) to do continually as I follow the breath.

    -How does one work with intentions/something else to cultivate and develop introspective awareness? Before I start on the breath I think set my intentions. In stage 3 my intentions were to stay on the breath, to to cultivate introspective awareness, to congratulate myself when I “came back” from a gross distraction, and to “check in” from time to time to help cultivate introspective awareness.

    Intention is VERY powerful. By setting intention my subconscious “gets the message” that I am serious about what I am intending and that it should work hard to try and help me.

    I hope this helps, Marc

    #2628

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    Hi Henk,

    You might find my post from Feb. 27th, in the following thread, helpful. I give an exercise for learning to notice thoughts.

    http://dharmatreasurecommunity.org/forums/topic/stage-3-question-please-help

    Blake – Dharma Treasure Teacher

    #2643

    Henk de Wit
    Member

    Thanks to all of you for your responses. They will definitely be of help to me.

    In reply to Judith:
    ”I can’t tell from what you’ve written so far if this is a simple issue of misunderstanding or if you’re facing obstacles in moving your attention from focusing on sensations of the breath to conscious knowledge of thoughts arising in the mind.”
    -I think I’m facing obstacles in moving my attention from e.g. sensations of the breath to conscious knowledge of thoughts.
    When meditating I can quite easily switch to sounds/bodily sensations when focusing on the breath but ‘turning my mind inward’ causes my ‘attention’/mind not to know where to actually turn.

    ”For myself at this stage there was quite a bit of grasping on to getting beyond this stage quickly. I had to relax quite a bit and give up expectations of how fast I might learn and move beyond this stage.”
    -I think the same goes for me as my mind is very active (also I have been diagnosed with ADD. Generally I tell myself that it will take as long as it takes and not to rush but rather stick to and follow the clear instructions for this Stage. Although I would like to progress faster I am aware that forcing myself will backfire on me.

    ”Are you concerned, maybe even worried, that you’re not doing something correctly?”
    -Sometimes I’m worried as to how I handle dullness. About a month ago I was struggling with strong dullness and a lot sinking.
    Thanks to some help here and re-reading the book I am now better able to keep strong dullness/sinking at bay. However subtle dullness seems to be present for the better part of all my sits. Working with strong intentions is helpful because it seldom occurs that subtle dullness progresses into strong dullness. But at the same time I know that even subtle dullness is not beneficial to one’s practice/progress. What would you make of this situation? It seems to me that I can either be happy that strong dullness rarely arises and just continue with following/connecting/checking-in. Or I can beat myself up endlessly about the fact that I am still struggling with dullness and also that I have a hard time checking-in.

    I would like to know how other people on this forum perceive my situation.

    Thanks!

    #2647

    Eric
    Member

    Hey Henk,

    ” I tried to hold the intention ‘to turn my mind inwards’ but then nothings seems to happen (ie. ‘my mind’ does not know where to turn attention to).”

    Before working with TMI I spent a few years with Shinzen’s 5 Ways. He has a clear and simple way to differentiate introspective vs. extrospective awareness. See/Hear/Feel Out (Chapter 2 link below) are extrospective and See/Hear/Feel In (Chapter 1 link below) are introspective. If you spend some time noting with those 2 nomenclatures you should easily discern “where” you are looking when checking in. If you need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask. Below is the link to his free book.

    https://www.shinzen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FiveWaystoKnowYourself_ver1.6.pdf

    mucho metta,

    eric

    #2654

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    Hi Henk,

    Please remember that in stage 3 we are not working to overcome subtle dullness. That is done in stage 5. In fact, subtle dullness can help stabilize attention in stage 3.

    Blake – Dharma Treasure teacher

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