Ben wrote:Hi Collective
If when you are practicing vipassana and your object is sensation, just be aware, just be equanimous. After awhile, with some sensations, you will begin to notice its changing nature. Some gross sensations like pressure or pain may dissolve into finer sensations which have a shimmering quality. Just be aware of it. Try not to relish the pleasure, indifferent to the neutral, or recoil from the unpleasant. Be aware that the old habit pattern of the mind is to react with craving for the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant - just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
In the beginning, other mental 'stuff', treat as muzak - background noise. Don't try to block it out nor engage with it.
With samatha, the thing is to maintain unbroken bare awareness of the object for longer and longer periods. Trying to maintain unbroken awareness is like trying to grab an eel so don't get despondent nor angry if you feel you're not making much headway. It takes, sometimes, a long time. But every effort is well spent.
All the best,
Ben wrote:just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
Collective wrote:I was wondering about the difference between 'indifference' and 'equanimity' as they both sound similar to me.
Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the sad and tragic pretense of equanimity. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life. It is a state of utter isolation. Its impulse is towards superiority. By nature it suffers a scornful, contemptuous reaction to the beauty of the human process. Indifference blocks the potential to engage the love and freedom life has to offer.
But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood. But equanimity would not deserve its name if it had to be produced by exertion again and again. In such a case it would surely be weakened and finally defeated by the vicissitudes of life. True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all these severe tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.
Equanimity (upekkha) is to be developed to deal with situations where one should admit that it is beyond one's powers to change them. It overcomes worry and useless distraction over affairs which either do not concern one or else cannot be changed by oneself. It is reflected in one's life by an ability to meet difficult situations with tranquillity and undisturbed peace of mind. The advantage to be seen in its development is that it makes one's life more simple by disengaging from useless activity. It is Lord Buddha's medicine for distraction and worry, and its enemies are mere indifference, which is the "near" one; while greed, and its partner resentment, which involve one unskillfully in so many affairs, are its "far" enemies.
Collective wrote:I think the best way to get a handle on this is to cut straight to the chase using a direct example/question:
You are practicing Vipassana and a sensation arises
What do you do?
Collective wrote:You are practicing Samatha and a sensation arises
Collective wrote:Still undecided about the eyes open or closed.
The two main books I've read; "Mindfullness, Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm, and "Insight Meditation" (Vipassanna) by Saltzberg/Goldstein both recommend eyes closed. Yet when I meditate with my eyes open, now and again tend to enter into a blissful state of being. My entire body tingles and it's basically a very nice sensation. With my eyes closed I feel nothing. I'm not trying to acquire states of being, it's just that I get 'something' with eyes open and nothing with eyes closed. One is not better than the other in the long run, and I understand we shouldn't grasp at things, and really I'm not. I was just curious why I get the blissful sensation with my eyes open, and not when closed. So basically I would like to ask out of curiosity:
Do you meditate with eyes closed, open, do you perhaps switch half way through?
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