This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Oakland, CA Dharma Foundation, Oakland, CA Charles T. Tart University of California at Davis and Insitute of Noetic Sciences, Sausalito (1995, unpublished.) This paper has not been previously published. The contents of this document are Copyright © 1995 by Charles T. Tart and James Baraz (see detail) Abstract The cultivation of mindfulness, clear moment-to-moment awareness of what is actually happening, as opposed to the typical distortions of perception caused by desires, fears, attachments and other psychological defense mechanisms so characteristic of ordinary consciousness, is an essential element in personal and spiritual growth. Spiritual traditions such as Buddhism have developed sophisticated methodologies for developing mindfulness in specialized retreat situations, but the mindfulness and concentration often experienced therein does not generalize well to daily life situations. Some principles of generalizing mindfulness to daily life were used to design specific exercises that were tested in two otherwise traditional Buddhist vipassana ("mindfulness") meditation retreats. The exercises and their results are described. They proved useful in widening the scope of mindfulness, easing reentry into ordinary life and enhancing the transfer of mindfulness to daily life. Article One of us (C.T.T.) has argued elsewhere that the cultivation of mindfulness, a precise moment-to-moment observation of exactly what is happening internally and externally, is an essential element in personal and spiritual growth (Tart, 1986; in press). The great spiritual systems originated, expressed and refined this idea. The goal of mindfulness and related concepts and practices are now having an important impact on our culture in general and on the humanistic and transpersonal psychology areas in particular. The
emphasized spiritual system will be Buddhism in this paper, but the arguments may apply to other systems. Practically, frequent and clear mindfulness is rare in everyday life. The monastic tradition that has accompanied Buddhism to the West, in particular, has implicitly tended to emphasize mindfulness in the special situations of formal meditation and monastic life. Many contemporary Western practitioners of meditation have found that the deep mindfulness developed in formal meditation and monastic-like retreats does not readily transfer to enhancing moment-to-moment mindfulness in ordinary life situations. C.T.T. (in press) suggested that some practices designed to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life, drawn from his experimentation with the Gurdjieff tradition (Ouspensky, 1949; Tart, 1986), could be combined with more traditional Buddhist meditation training to facilitate the development of mindfulness in everyday life (Tart, in press). Working from a preliminary version of C.T.T.'s paper, which contained general principles for mindfulness training exercises but few specific exercises, the first author (J.B.), with significant assistance from Jack Kornfield, Carol Wilson, Howard Cohn and John Travis, devised a number of specific training exercises and applied them in two traditional Buddhist vipassana meditation retreats. J.B. is an experienced vipassana meditation teacher. This paper elaborates on the need for additional training to facilitate mindfulness training in everyday life, especially specific problems encountered in the transition from a meditation retreat to everyday life, describes some specific mindfulness extension exercises to use in a meditation retreat, and reports observations on their effects. We hope these observations will be helpful to others who want to experiment with extending mindfulness to all areas of life. The discussion of difficulty in practicing mindfulness in daily life presented elsewhere (Tart, in press) emphasized that everyday life was quite different in the stimulus configuration presented to people, such that it failed to remind them of the high degree of mindfulness they may have developed in the special situation of a meditation retreat. In addition, J.B. has often observed a distinctively sensitive and challenging transition period as a meditator leaves the retreat situation to return to ordinary life, especially with those who are relatively new to retreat experience. This difficult transition period may further increase the obstacles to taking the mindfulness developed in the retreat setting into life, so we will describe the typical vipassana meditation retreat procedure here and then discuss the transition problems before reporting on the application of mindfulness extension exercises. Meditation Retreat Procedure Vipassana meditation, popularly referred to as insight meditation, is one of the fundamental forms of Buddhist meditation. Different teachers and lineages emphasize different aspects, but basically it centers around the instruction to sit quietly and observe whatever manifests in the mind and body as precisely as possible. You focus on being present to what is, rather than, as is usually done in ordinary life, manipulating your experience in accordance with desire, clinging to the pleasant and the expected, suppressing the unpleasant and the unexpected. Excellent detailed descriptions
can be found elsewhere (see, e.g., Goldstein, 1977; Goldstein & Kornfield, 1987; Goleman, 1988). Vipassana retreats, particularly those run by teachers affiliated with the Insight Meditation Society, generally have an equal mixture of relatively new and fairly experienced practitioners. Instructions are given throughout the first few days of the retreat. Participants sit in meditation for periods of 45 minutes to an hour, alternating sitting with periods of walking vipassana meditation for about 45 minutes. Sitting, walking, sitting, walking. There are two main meals a day, with tea and a snack rather than a full evening meal. Retreatants are asked to be mindful in the eating periods also. There is no talking or socializing during the retreat. Each participant can participate in an individual or small group interview with one of the teachers every other day. This is the only regularly scheduled opportunity for retreat participants to talk with anyone about what is going on with their practice. If a meditator runs into special difficulties between these times, however, a teacher is generally available. Each evening there is also a talk on some aspect of the meditation practice or the philosophy on which it is based. As part of the discipline and psychological atmosphere of a retreat, each participant agrees to abide by the traditional Five Precepts. First, refraining from intentionally killing any life form (vegetables are excepted, insects are included). This creates an attitude of non-harming as well as a reverence for the interconnectedness of life. Second, refraining from stealing. Third, refraining from any sexual relations during the retreat . Fourth, maintaining silence, unless there is some important reason to talk, such as in interviews or in group discussion with teachers, or in talking to the managers or cooks about practical tasks which need to be done. The fifth precept is refraining from intoxicants, drugs (excluding prescribed medications for illness) or alcohol . Besides the moral and technical importance of the precepts, there is a general agreement that this is a time to focus inward and to get in touch with one's own process of body and mind.
Retreats vary in length from a single day to three months. Weekend and ten day retreats are common. Very deep states of mindfulness and concentration, specifically including feeling clear, blissful, and particularly sensitivity to inner processes, can result from the longer retreats, where the distractions of ordinary life progressively fade. It is from the ten day and longer retreats that J.B. and other meditation teachers have observed important problems in the transition back to ordinary life. Beside being important in themselves, the fact that disturbances and unpleasant experiences can result during the transition away from the mindfulness and concentration acquired in a long retreat can be an important factor in inhibiting the generalization of mindfulness to everyday life.
Problems in the Transition Period In the first three-month course of this style in America, in Bucksport, Maine in 1975, there was no transition period between formal meditation practice and leaving the retreat. It was clear from later feedback that this sudden transition created significant problem. Besides J.B.'s personal experience of finding such transitions difficult, in his later practice as a meditation teacher many retreat participants coming from long retreats have
called on him for help. They would be in a shaky, disturbed state of mind, not quite knowing how to integrate what happened in their experience and how to make it meaningful in their daily life. There is sometimes a feeling of depression, for example, or feelings of confusion; of alienation and not knowing whether they really belong in the busy world; of inability to get themselves in gear and go out and take care of very basic ordinary functioning, like getting a job. When people have gone through a retreat, especially the longer ones, they have cut off their ordinary routines and the stability resulting from routines. They are coming out into a world that has many possibilities, but some find they cannot focus as needed on the necessary tasks of everyday life. If retreat participants do not expect difficulties at the end of a meditation retreat, such problems can be made worse. Participants may tend to think, "Well now, I've done the retreat, I've gotten myself together, I'm all fixed!" Then on leaving what they see, with much more clarity than they did when they first started, is all the old automatic habits and fears and ways that we "lose it." This can be very unsettling! For example, the first time J.B. left a three month retreat, when he started talking with people all the old psychological "garbage" was still there, such as self-judgment and paranoia. He went running to the teacher, saying that the meditation hadn't worked. Indeed, he thought of asking for his money back! He was reminded by the teacher that insight meditation is more about making friends with those parts of ourselves that we reject than about getting high, but he believes that if he hadn't gone directly to the teacher in such a distressed state that he would not have understood that. Many retreat participants leave without getting that understanding. Some retreatants have difficulty adjusting to the faster pace of ordinary life, especially if they have been deeply immersed in the retreat. They may experience headaches, nausea and/or a sense of being overwhelmed by the barrage of stimulation. These disturbances may last only a few days or sometimes for weeks. Others find that their relationships to previous habits and desires has changed dramatically. It is not uncommon for someone who had a powerful retreat experience to lose sexual desire for a period of time, for example. Ambition and striving hard to become a success may likewise be curtailed. While these may be viewed by some (including the retreatant experiencing them) as positive changes, they can still be quite unsettling when someone's self image (habits identified with) is so radically altered. Another not uncommon difficulty stems from changes in the way retreat participants relate to people in their lives. When one goes through a profound and inward experience, it is sometimes hard to communicate with others, even people we consider close. The feeling that "They just don't understand!" can lead to a distancing or alienation that can be very saddening. Further, a retreatant sometimes finds himself or herself less drawn to people whose values seem at odds to those discovered or reinforced in the retreat experience, values such as sensitivity, integrity, kindness, etc. This can disrupt old friendships, with consequent feelings of loss and grieving. These and other major shifts in the way retreatants look at life after prolonged deep meditation practice are major challenges in the return process.
As a result of these observations, vipassana meditation teachers instituted an integration week at the end of three month retreats. This is a Western innovation: we do not know of a comparable procedure in Eastern culture, and it may not be needed much in many Eastern cultures, where meditation and associated values are much more accepted. This integration week has been helpful, but has not eliminated the problem of many retreatants finding the transition into life quite difficult. Integration week is a period when retreat participants, who have been sitting together in quiet for three months, start to interact, start to get used to talking and communicating while still having many periods of meditation together -- perhaps for 5 hours instead of the usual 7-10 or 12 hours a day. So there is a gradual coming back to conversing, with some sitting in between. The topics of conversation in the integration week have varied from year to year. Sometimes groups would meet to discuss topics like livelihood or relationship, or communication. Sometimes retreatants just go out and have fun, like going to the shopping mall in Worcester where they might feel intoxicated from the altered state of consciousness induced by the sharp contrast of the shopping mall environment. Vipassana meditation teachers have also modified the shorter retreats of 10 day to 2 weeks in a similar way the last few years. The silence is broken the afternoon before the end of the retreat so there is some talking. It is like taking off the lid of the pressure cooker of the retreat situation. In the evening quiet is imposed again and then the next morning there is more conversing. This includes a group go-around where retreat participants introduce themselves and start to relate to each other as ordinary people, although in a rather minimal way. These modifications are only partial solutions, however, as many retreat participants who do longer retreats still have significant problems readapting to ordinary life. To some extent these practices are mainly a "release of pressure" process, rather than specific practice in mindfully doing worldly kinds of tasks. Teachers would also give some verbal suggestions to be mindful in everyday life, such as taking a daily activity like shaving and doing that mindfully, or remembering to come into your body and feel your body posture when you are starting to get a little bit over-extended, or remembering about sensing breathing as a grounding exercise, or sitting in meditation every day. J.B. also found it particularly important to let retreat participants know that in the first few days of coming out of a retreat there is such a sensitivity and openness that it is very common for people to go though wide mood swings and energy swings. He advised them to give themselves the psychological space to know that such swings are OK, to take care of themselves, and to monitor themselves so that if their system was getting overloaded, they could process such material as the overload started. There can also be a defensive reaction to the disturbances resulting from reentering the ordinary world, what J.B. has called the "retreat junky syndrome." Something very profound in the meditator can be touched within the retreat. It seems so real and the outside world, in contrast, seems so crazy and repugnant, that people long to flee the ordinary world as soon as possible, and so live from retreat to retreat. That is most unfortunate. This "retreat junky" syndrome, however, should not be confused with being in the middle of a very deep, inward journey, which has its own cycle of completion. In the latter, the main motivation is a pull to depend the profound inner work that has been started, rather than avoidance. Such a
journey might have a cycle of six months, two years, or a life-time given to the monastic life. Aim of the Present Study What we basically hoped to do with the experimental mindfulness extension procedures introduced during these retreats, then, was: (1) teach retreat participants to let go of any tranquil, altered states that had developed gracefully, without the tendency to hold on or be attached to the high, and (2) to create a more meaningful transition from retreat to ordinary life, so the ability to be mindful that retreatants had cultivated would serve them better when they returned home. Most of the retreat participants were quite willing to try the mindfulness extension exercises, although there were some who later admitted they were upset with the change of plans. As it turned out, by and large they changed their minds and felt really pleased with the outcome. Experimental Retreat Settings The first retreat at which we4 introduced mindfulness extension exercises was held in April l988 in the Yucca Valley in Southern California. This was two 10-day retreats backto-back, a 20 day retreat for those who attended both. Thirty people meditated for the full 20 days. An additional 35 people were there for the second 10 day retreat. Instead of simply breaking silence near the end, as described above, we began introducing various mindfulness extension exercises two days before the end. We began with some exercises that were fairly quiet, to keep retreat participants in the quiet space most had reached and not jar them too suddenly. The following day we introduced more interactive kinds of exercises. Mindfulness extension exercises were also used at the end of another 10-day retreat that was held in Santa Rosa, California in June of 1988.
Easing the Transition The retreat instructors had some concern that retreat participants would be upset by this change of routine. There is something very sweet about being in the quiet space that prolonged meditation can generate, and often retreat participants want to squeeze the last drop of quietness and mindfulness out of their experience, knowing full well that they would be going back soon to a very busy life. To express it the way the drug culture did in the sixties and seventies, at the end of a retreat people don't want to "come down." They want to keep enjoying the "high," because it is such a pleasurable altered state. Things are so clear and brilliant. In addition, as previously mentioned, people are very open and sensitive and are reluctant to jar their systems. In this state of enhanced sensitivity, it can be, for example, quite painful to be in a room with a lot of people talking at once. Most retreat participants realize that sooner or later they are going to have to come down, so often near the end of a retreat people psychologically wince and put on the brakes, since they know that there will be a crash soon. Experienced meditators know that as soon as you open up your mouth (to talk), the concentration flies out. This "knowledge" might set up an expectation that the crash will occur, and so may partially act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. From a Buddhist point of view, of course, holding onto a
high is just one more kind of grasping that will create suffering. Instructors try to convey the idea that practice is actually learning to let go of what is passing, to mindfully be with confusion and chaos as well as desirable experiences, but it is hard in practice to not grasp at the clear states meditation can bring about. These are the reasons we introduced the mindfulness extension exercises gradually. Mindfulness Extension Exercises Fetching and Walking As the first mindfulness extension exercise, we asked retreat participants to bring sweaters or coats to the next session, but leave them outside the hall itself. It was very hot in the day at that time of year, so there was a non-sensical quality about this that caught retreat participants' attention. The first exercise was to go put on their coats and shoes at normal speed (not the slow motion moving people at retreats deliberately adopt), then to walk over to the dining room (about 200 yards away) and put their coat or sweater down over a chair which they were going to be returning to later on during the day. Then they were to walk back to the meditation hall, at normal speed, and then sit quietly meditating for five minutes. What makes this and all the other exercises to be described a mindfulness exercise is the instruction (followed by appropriate attentiveness) to be attentive to and clearly mindful of what you are doing in every action. Being mindful in this specific exercise would usually include keeping a sense of body awareness as you shift into and move in that "new" speed of a normal pace. It may include doing some mental noting, a tool sometimes used in vipassana meditation, a matter of bare labeling of ongoing action. Perhaps you will be noting "tying shoes" or "putting on coat," for example. Saying Hello The next exercise that we did was learning to mindfully say hello to someone and seeing what experiences arose as a result of this. We specified that this was not to be a lot of conversing, but just greeting each other, as at a party, for example, where you know peoples' names. You didn't go through the formality of introducing yourself, you just said hello and shook the other person's hand. You could say a couple of words if that seemed right, but there was no real urging to do that. After each hello, a bell was rung. Retreat participants had five such interactions, saying hello to others near them this way. After doing this, everyone sat in silent meditation for 15 minutes. Waiting in Line Participants lined up at the drinking fountain. After they received their drink, they were asked to go to the back of the line again so that the experience of waiting was emphasized, rather than that of getting some result. While on line, the instructions were either to be mindful of thoughts and movements as the line inched forward or to do metta, loving-kindness meditation . The metta was done silently, without making eye contact with others. This exercise was meant to give some tools for common waiting situations
like traffic jams, movie lines, etc. After about 15 minutes of waiting in line participants were asked to silently come together. They then received instructions for the next exercise, hurrying. Hurrying Paired with the Waiting in Line exercise was one to train mindfulness in a typical everyday situation, hurrying. What is it like to hurry? The retreat participants had left their coats in the dining hall, which was 200 yards away. They were to imagine that a talk was about to begin in another minute or so and they needed to get their coats and come to the talk. They were to observe the things that came up while they were hurrying and how much it threw them off balance. Is there a way to move quickly while being centered, rather than toppling forward? Is there a way to experientially stay in your body, yet hurry? Can you observe the pain that comes from hurrying? After these two exercises participants sat in silent meditation for 15 minutes before some reporting of their experiences with the group. Serving Another Tthen we had the last exercise for that day. Later on we went into silence for rest of the evening. It was tea time at that point. At tea time, in the late afternoon, retreat participants were asked to pair up with another person as they came to the door of the dining room, sit down across from each other and then one person, Person A, would ask Person B what he or she wanted for tea. This was a practice in giving and receiving mindfully. The only words spoken were "What can I get you?" Person A would go and mindfully get the order, bring it back and give it to Person B. Then they switched roles. The rest of the tea time was done in silence. After tea there was formal sitting meditation, an instructional talk and then more sitting. Preparing for Everyday Life The next day we had a few more exercises. First, people were asked to write down a list of activities that they needed to do the first day or two after the retreat. They then shared their list with their partner, discussing ways that mindfulness practice might be incorporated into these practical activities. This exercise was to address the question of mindfulness during planning and writing, as well as reflecting on practical ways to maintain mindfulness in typical daily activities. Participants then spent some time sharing their experiences and ideas with the group in general, and then ended with 15 minutes of silent meditation. The Go-Around Next the participants went through an exercise that has been regularly used at the end of retreats for the past 10 years, namely a go-around of introductions. Each person got up and said their name, where they lived, and a few words about themselves, while trying to
be mindful throughout this activity. This kind of practice is important as many people report that it is very difficult to be mindful while speaking. Driving Exercise We then left the meditation hall for the facility's parking lot. Drivers stood by their cars. Passengers selected cars and silently got in. In silence, they were to drive slowly around the front part of the facility. Each retreatant was to mindfully observe what it was like to be a driver or a passenger, both physically and mentally, while taking this 5-10 minute drive. Driving and riding in cars is, of course, a major everyday life activity for many Westerners. After the ride the participants gathered again as a group and, following a 15 minute mediation, shared their experiences.
Results In general, the results of introducing these mindfulness extension exercises were extremely valuable. Retreat participants found that they did have to let go of the altered state of blissful clarity they often developed during the prolonged sitting meditation in order to do these mindfulness extension exercises. When you change from just sitting to walking, to doing anything different, the feelings of clarity start to get shaken up a bit, but that was a useful experience to see as well. Retreat participants felt a lot more grounded and less confused than at the end of a more traditional retreat, and many remarked that this was something that should be done regularly. We will now describe results of specific exercises. Waiting in Line The Waiting in Line exercise, and the Fetching and Walking (putting on coats and shoes at normal speed) were early exercises, and retreat participants felt comfortable doing them. We feel that "easy" mindfulness extension exercises like these should start the series before moving on to more complex tasks. The Waiting in Line exercise was an especially useful one. Retreat participants reported a wide variety of reactions, typically seeing how frustrated they get when they are waiting. Often this was just a restlessness of just needing to go somewhere, a motor tendency to just "topple forward!" Sharing these reactions allowed retreat participants to laugh about themselves. The Hurrying Exercise The Hurrying exercise had varying responses that seemed to be influenced by how deep the participants' retreat experiences had been. Many of those who were still very sensitive as a result of intense practice found this exercise to be quite painful and jarring to their systems. Through seeing this, they could appreciate in a new way the turbulent effects hurrying has in their ordinary lives. Others, who were ready to let loose from the confines of the slow pace of the retreat, found this exercise to be exhilarating. Perhaps the imagined pressure of the situation (with most people obviously having fun in the exercise) did not adequately simulate the pressure of hurrying in everyday life. Most
participants seemed to experience being less mindful than they had been, in addition to feeling off center. A few found that they could use the gross movements of the body in hurrying as an effective focal point for staying grounded and present. There was general agreement that hurrying in one's life detracts from centeredness and should be avoided when possible. Interacting with Others Retreat participants had a variety of reactions to the mindfulness extension exercises that involved interacting with each other. The most striking was the one where retreat participants serially looked at each other and said hello. Retreat participants had been so inward that many felt very vulnerable to others. Most retreat participants felt that they needed more time to process their inner reactions between each interaction. They wanted to let them register more deeply: what does that mean to let someone in, let yourself out? In the future we will allow at least a few minutes between each interaction. Some retreat participants found the Saying Hello exercise and the wide spectrum of people's reactions very stimulating. They got very high and loving, they wanted to take people in. On the other hand, some retreat participants reported they were really fearful, or they saw themselves close down. Some found they were defensive with some people while not with others. Some retreatants had a feeling that they wanted to send something in these interactions, they had to communicate something. Some were just dying to send their love, beam their love out. Others had difficulties and noticed their bodies contracting, some were mindful of their bodies being open. Some had an experience of really being touched by the commonality of life, others felt other people as really separate. As instructors we tried not to put any kind of value judgments on people's reactions to these mindfulness extension exercises. It was not a pass/fail test. It was practice in just observing. The more we observed with clarity, the more we could start to understand. Driving Exercise The Driving exercise brought up many useful self observations. For example, some of the retreat participants cast in the role of drivers, for example, wanted to be creative in their exploration. Rather than just circling around the islands and coming back, they wanted to take an interesting drive. Others just followed the instructions to drive around the islands. Some drivers saw how they liked controlling situations, controlling their passengers, others saw that they became very anxious and felt on the spot, that they were responsible for this whole journey. Were they doing it well enough? What did other people think about them? The people in the role of passengers were very aware of what their drivers did, and many saw very clearly how they were terrible "back seat drivers," nudging and pointing, wanting to control the situation.
Many retreat participants saw that they act in these ways in ordinary life, but are not mindful of it then. What became obvious through all these mindfulness extension exercises was that it is not a different mind that you have in the retreat: it is the same mind, with its habits and patterns of thoughts, you are just seeing it a more clearly. When retreats are held in Yucca Valley, there is a custom of driving up to the Joshua Tree
National Monument at the end. Driving there proved to be a much more grounded and integrated experience, rather than the typical chaotic kind of "Whoa, its amazing and here we are!" There was more of a sense of a community and a carrying over of mindfulness in ordinary actions from these mindfulness extension exercises. Another positive aspect of doing these exercises was that when silence was formally broken at lunch time, before the driving exercise, there was not an explosion of energy as often happens in the traditional retreat. Perhaps the exercises made the process of relating more gradual and so more grounded and integrated. Rather than wild talking and intense energy, as if the lid of a pressure cooker had popped off, people were calmer, talked in small groups or dyads, and felt more at ease with the process of talking. The usual frenzy of energy itself leads to burnout and an unbalanced mind. Conclusions A primary point of the original article (Tart, in press) and the primary purpose of the mindfulness extension exercises introduced into these two retreats is that mindfulness is not just a "luxury" item to produce a high in special retreat situations. Mindfulness is essential in all activities of life if we want to understand ourselves and our lives better and to reduce unnecessary suffering. Our informal observations of reactions to mindfulness extension exercises are just a beginning at answering questions as to whether and to what extent such exercises can assist in generalizing the mindfulness experienced in retreat situations to everyday life, but it is a very encouraging beginning. J.B. has spoken to a number of retreat participants since the end of these two retreats, and many found the modified procedures resulted in a noticeable increase in their everyday mindfulness and groundedness compared to previous retreat experiences, at least during the first period of reentry. One should not expect too much of mindfulness extension exercises as such, of course. They are tools, not solutions, and their effects will depend on a person's general ability to be mindful, the power of the retreat experience, the effort he or she puts into being mindful in everyday life, the mindlessness provoking qualities of the situations he or she returns to in life, the strength of habits of automated, mindless functioning, unconscious emotional factors, and of other factors which we do not yet understand. All of the retreat teachers were pleased with the initial results of the mindfulness extension exercises and plan to continue experimenting. End Notes 1. 1) Outside of the retreat situation, the precept is to not create suffering through sexual conduct. 2. 2) Imposing only five precepts is a small liberalization of the tradition for the West. A more orthodox retreat includes three more precepts, namely not wearing jewelry or ornaments, not sleeping on high or luxurious beds and not eating past the noon meal. 3. 3) The retreat conditions of minimal external disturbance and an environment in which the meditator is continually encouraged to bring the wandering mind back to the present results not only in strong mindfulness but also, at times, in deep
concentration. Some distinction should be made between mindfulness and concentration, two separate qualities both developed by the meditation process. Mindfulness is the ability to notice clearly what is happening in the moment without clinging to the pleasant, condemning the unpleasant or identifying with the experience (taking it to be "my" or "mine"). Concentration is the ability of the mind to stay fixed on an object. Although the two often appear together, it is possible to have some degree of mindfulness without particularly strong onepointed concentration, or strong concentration (being absorbed in an object) without particularly strong mindfulness. Moment-to-moment mindfulness can also develop a kind of concentration as well that keeps the mind fixed in the present through constantly changing experience. As important as the difference in mindfulness is between daily life and retreat, the contrast between concentration levels is equally significant in discussing the difficulties in leaving the retreat. When practitioners try to hold on to the calm and concentration once the retreat ends, they are often very discouraged and frustrated. Also, the heightened sensitivity of a concentrated mind leaves a meditator especially vulnerable to the barrage of stimulation most of us deal insensitively with in daily life: this can be quite jarring. 4) J. B., Jack Kornfield, Carol Wilson and Howard Cohn. 5) Metta is a complement to vipassana practice that comes from the Buddha's teaching. It is usually done on retreats, as well as at the end of ordinary sitting practice. It involves a repetition of phrases such as "May you be happy," "May you be free from harm," etc., directed in a systematic way from oneself as a starting point out to all beings. 6) Many participants had flown to the retreat facility and so did not have their own cars there. 7) Wanting to make things "interesting" is a frequent obstacle to the meditative aim of trying to be mindful of things as the are, rather than manipulating them.
References 1. Goldstein, J. (1977). The Experience of Insight. Boulder: Shambhala. 2. Goldstein, J. & Kornfield, J. (1987). Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. Boston: Shambhala. 3. Goleman, D. (1988). The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher. 4. Ouspensky, P. D. (1949). In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. 5. Tart, C. T. (1986). Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential. Boston: New Science Library. 6. Tart, C. T. (in press), Extending mindfulness to everyday life. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.