I had to google a bit because the only good quotes I had at hand were from the Tibetans. But I found this:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand what you mean by balancing concentration and insight.
I think this is a good introduction:http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/min ... ish_16.php
Bhante Gunaratana wrote:In a state of pure mindfulness your attention just flows along with whatever changes are taking place in the mind. "Shift, shift, shift. Now this, now this, and now this."
So when one is mindful of worry one just observes worry. One observes how this worried thought appears and ceases and then that. And then this image of what gruesome stuff might happen and then that. And so on. Mindfulness does not stop worry. But it distances ourselves from the worry.
Bhante Gunaratana wrote:There is no 'me' in a state of pure mindfulness.
I think this is the most important statement of them all. In a state of pure mindfulness one is no person, no personality, no character, no being. But not because everything belonging to the personality, memories, idea, thoughts, emotions, wishes, desires, intentions, fears, hates and so on are absent - but because they are not oneself, not one's own. Because they are all part of the "Shift, shift, shift. Now this, now this, and now this." and one is the eye that watches them, without reaction to them, without interfering with them. With increasing concentration this can go really deep.
When there is mindfulness but not much concentration there is no interference with whatever happens in the mind. Without concentration however the temporal resolution is low and we cannot see deeply into our mind - everything is just noted very shallowly, like the surface of an ocean, no depth. When there is more concentration than mindfulness the mindfulness is mainly used to suppress unwanted shifts such as to worry and to redirect the concentration to the object of focus - like to a calm mind, empty of worry:
Bhante Gunaratana wrote:If you have focused the mind on a stone, concentration will see only the stone. Mindfulness stands back from this process, aware of the stone, aware of the concentration focusing on the stone, aware of the intensity of that focus and instantly aware of the shift of attention when concentration is distracted. It is mindfulness which notices the distraction which has occurred, and it is mindfulness which redirects the attention to the stone.
You could be well be right that there can be unconscious manipulation, but this how I've been instructed and the results match my experience.
Yes. Looks like even the dry insight Method teaches concentration practice - especially at retreats
Bhante Gunaratana wrote:One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness. If you find your mind extremely active, then simply observe the nature and degree of that activity. It is just a part of the passing show within.
Also I found this - it is not directly about balancing concentration and mindfulness but it describes the effects of what happens when they become imbalanced:
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:
In short, whatever thought or reflection occurs should be noted. If you imagine, note as `imagining'. If you think, `thinking'. If you plan, `planning'. If you perceive, `perceiving'. If you reflect, `reflecting'. If you feel happy, `happy'. If you feel bored, `bored'. If you feel glad, `glad'. If you feel disheartened, `disheartened'. Noting all these acts of consciousness is called cittanupassana.
That is why we have to note these acts of consciousness and know them for what they are. That is why we have to note each and every act of consciousness as it arises. When so noted, it tends to disappear. We then go back to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. http://www.tathagata.org/DhammaTalks/In ... ction.html
Each act of consciousness (thought, image, memory) arises, stays and disappears again. Each thought of worry, each memory of worry, each imagination about possible future bad things arises, stays and disappears again. When they disappear completely due to an increase of concentration one has to go back to establish again the pure mindfulness that does not interfere with the observed.
This is also interesting:
In the same way, the noting in vipassana meditation should be continual and unremitting, without any resting interval between acts of noting whatever phenomena may arise. For instance, if a sensation of itchiness intervenes and the yogi desires to scratch because it is hard to bear, both the sensation and the desire to get rid of it should be noted, without immediately getting rid of the sensation by scratching.
If one goes on perseveringly noting thus, the itchiness generally disappears, in which case one reverts to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Here again one can see that the itchiness goes away due to an increase of concentration. In fact there are two concentrations used: one has to concentrate to suppress the habitual movement and one has to fix the concentration to one or a few objects (the itching and the desire to get rid of it) instead of it flowing with whatever comes up. It works the same with worry.
If you don't want to do that just let the impulse to scratch do it's thing and let the movement happen. It will reduce the concentration for a moment but it will keep mindfulness stable.
If the itchiness does not in fact disappear, one has of course to eliminate it by scratching. But first, the desire to do so should be noted. All the movements involved in the process of eliminating this sensation should be noted,
It is a delicate thing, this balance of mindfulness and concentration, but it is worth the time and effort