is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Postby Dhammanucara » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:36 pm

This question just randomly popped up in my mind when I was doing my meditation today. I can say that I am more or less quite restless, given that my mind was jumping from one thought to another. However, each time it strays away from my object of meditation, which is the noting of rising and falling of my abdomen, I managed to note it, and came back to the present moment or the object of meditation.
One thing I noted today was that I in the midst of my experience of numbness on my foot (which covered a huge area of foot, instead of a point), I took note of it, but then at the same time, I could focus on my rising and falling of my abdomen. The same thing happened when I heard a sound, which I took note of it at the same time as the falling of my abdomen. In other words, I could focus (maybe not very intense; be mindful or aware of) on more than a single object. This seems intriguing to me because I previously read before an article that said a person's mind could only focus on one object at the same time, and even if one claims he is multi-tasking, his mind is actually jumping from one object to another, rather than being able to focus simultaneously on those several objects. So, am I actually experiencing something that is illusory? Could anyone please enlighten me ?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:42 pm

Dhammanucara wrote:This question just randomly popped up in my mind when I was doing my meditation today. I can say that I am more or less quite restless, given that my mind was jumping from one thought to another. However, each time it strays away from my object of meditation, which is the noting of rising and falling of my abdomen, I managed to note it, and came back to the present moment or the object of meditation.
One thing I noted today was that I in the midst of my experience of numbness on my foot (which covered a huge area of foot, instead of a point), I took note of it, but then at the same time, I could focus on my rising and falling of my abdomen. The same thing happened when I heard a sound, which I took note of it at the same time as the falling of my abdomen. In other words, I could focus (maybe not very intense; be mindful or aware of) on more than a single object. This seems intriguing to me because I previously read before an article that said a person's mind could only focus on one object at the same time, and even if one claims he is multi-tasking, his mind is actually jumping from one object to another, rather than being able to focus simultaneously on those several objects. So, am I actually experiencing something that is illusory? Could anyone please enlighten me ?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
One thing does happen is that awareness move very, very rapidly, giving the impression of awareness of a bunch of things all at once. With stronger concentration and more "solid" mindfulness, these things be seen as arising very rapidly, one after the other.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:47 pm

Greetings Dhammanucara

What is probably going on is that you are being aware of two different physical phenomena, one after the other but the interval between the two is so brief that it appears simultaneous.

Single-mindedness? citta ekaggatā "one-- pointedness of mind,". Its an important factor for the development of sammasamadhi.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Postby Dhammanucara » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:02 pm

Thanks very much for your replies. I know that this meditation has to be experienced and should not be rationalized or reasoned too much as this may hinder the meditation progress, but reading the replies leads me to another question: how is mindfulness or awareness going to lead to concentration? To me, it sounds as if that if one could develop such good awareness, wouldn't he be easily distracted by whatever that is going on internally and externally? And, by distracted, I mean, unable to stick to one object with persistence?

Anyway, thanks :smile:

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: is there such thing called single-mindedness?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 pm

When you develop concentration by maintaining awareness of a single object (to the exclusion of all else) you are re-training your mind to remain focused and not to jump from one sensory impression to the other.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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