2021-09-08 Citta (3 of 5) Contracted Mind, Scattered Mind
3:06PM Sep 8, 2021
So for this third, talk on the third foundation of mindfulness, mindfulness of the citta, wonderful term. And here we're taking it to be the mind state, the general quality of the mind, then here, the mind doesn't necessarily limited to what we think of is the mentality related to the brain, the control tower, but rather some kind of the general state of being a state of mood, that once we settled in and relax and really feel ourselves deeply, what's the general quality of our being that we have. And that's probably closer to what this mind state is, though sometimes it does feel very closely connected to the mind, in some identifiable way. And exactly where this is, doesn't matter too much. It matters more that we are meeting and being aware of, kind of the inner quality of our being or state, the state that we are at, we're in. And, but then when meditation gets deeper and quieter, the body becomes more and more subtle. And sometimes the sense of body kind of disappears, and are not really prominent very much at all. And so what that which is left seems much more belong to kind of a mental world, or that part of the beingness, which is not so body centered. And, and, and so maybe, then it's more clearly recognized as the mind state. Anyway, so as the this instruction in the others have eight sets of instructions, or eight pairs of things to notice, in this third foundation of mindfulness. And what's interesting is that, how the it's a particular aspects of the mind of mind states, which are emphasized. And I think the reason for that is these are the main parts of the mind, mind states that are most useful to notice, for the purposes of the path of liberation, if you're really interested in becoming free. Notice these aspects of the mind. And that's distinct from maybe other ways that people are interested in their mind, their preferences, their, their expectations there. You know, there there have all kinds of priorities about what you might want to pay attention to the content of the mind the stories we have in the mind, or what it all means. But the description here is very simple. So as I said yesterday, it begins with knowing the mind when it is with greed or without, with ill will or without, with delusion or without. Those are the first three. The fourth one of these eight pairs is to notice whether the mind is controlled, contracted, or scattered. Or exactly what these words mean in Pali is not really that clear. The commentaries associate contracted with sloth and torpor and that scattered with agitation and restlessness and remorse and things like that. So, you know, we each find ourselves in relationship to these words, but something very simple as sinking mind that gets dull and duller, or an over energized mind that's restless and scattered. Or a mind that gets really small. It's fascinating to be aware of ourselves kind of really consumed with some preoccupation or really caught in something. And in that quietness or preoccupation, the whole state of the mind seems to get very very narrow and small. And just like this becomes the be all and end all everything's kind of kind of wrapped up around contracted around some black hole in the mind that that just you know, the gravitational pull is so strong that light doesn't come out to scratch we're so wrapped up in something and and so so so you know, and then sometimes the mind just seems like it's scattered or someone's as their mind in the clouds or someone who's just really smooth really feel spacey not because we feel spacious but just spacey and like, hardly hear but the mind is kind of drifting and they again.
So these are all kind of words that kind of maybe touch into what the Buddha is talking about here and contracted or scattered. And, and of course, the mind, it can be other ways. But a mind that's has agreed in it, or mind that has without greed might be one of these. It might be scattered or it might be contracted and small, or it might be expensed, expanded, it might be energized, and agitated and distractible. Or it might be really kind of tight and small and focused on its desires. Same thing with ill will, a mind avail will might be contracted or scattered, might have delusion like this scattered, contracted or scattered. So this is, so these things can coexist. But to simply tap into touch into this, this quality of the mind that somehow feels dull, contracted, or scattered, or over energized. And, and to begin to notice the range of ways in which this works, it can be very big, the difference, or it can be very subtle The way this works. And then notice what happens, when you're clearly mindful on it. This is where the magic begins happening. What happens if you cannot before against your mind state, it's easy to be against something that feels uncomfortable or not so nice. But what is it like for you to, to not be for it against it, or before and against it, then leave that in the wood up on the shelf. But that aside for now, and just bring simple clear recognition to the quality of your mind state. And to meet the scattered mind a scattered mind. To meet contracted mind is contracted mind as if you are getting a PhD and quality states of mind. As if you're getting a PhD and you have to write a whole you know, chapter on what a scattered mind is like or contracted mind is like, so you have to be a naturalist. You have to really kind of stay present for it. And not disturb it too much just be there with it. But what we're really getting a PhD in, is not in the scattered mind or distracted mind. Or we're getting stuck or, or studying what happens when awareness meets that nonreactive awareness, non desirous awareness, non aversive awareness, simple awareness, very simple. It just meets it touches it, recognize it observes what happens to this quality of the inner of your inner life of the mind, when it's known when it's seen in this simple way. It's so easy to get pulled into the mind or be reactive to the mind, especially if it's uncomfortable or doesn't feel good. Or if it feels really great, that also get pulled into it and celebrate it. But what happens is magic of just meeting it and seeing it. That's what we're studying here. And so there's a shift of paradigm, from being so interested in what we're experience, because what we're experiencing is important, and we have to kind of adjust it or fix it to being more interested in the experience of awareness of experience. It shifts the paradigm shifts that direction. Like for example, it can make us more less selfish, because when we're looking at the experience itself, and and trying to get just the right experience or reacting to it. So much of the self comes along. But if we just sit back and just know the mind state of this is how it is. And then what happens in that meeting? Does this this contracted mind begin to open up? That's a scattered mind begins begins to settle. Does the doll mine get a little more light than it does the distracted mind can you know get less distracted? You know what happens in that meeting. That's what's interesting. And so as I said yesterday that we're talking about a third foundation. So it assumes that for the really to do this in a refined way. It assumes that the mind is fairly quiet and stable. We've developed some concentration some stillness.
And so We don't want you to want to be ahead of yourself, you want to just practice in what's appropriate for you. So sometimes it's appropriate just to do mindfulness of breathing, or mindfulness of the body and settle in and let go of your thoughts and come back. And if the mind is to energize maybe doesn't work too well to do mindfulness of the mind. But as it gets settled, that's where it gets more interesting to pay start becoming aware of the mind and that it tends to happen naturally by itself. So you don't have to be ahead of yourself. If you just follow it, keep doing the practice. With time, as I said, the body becomes more subtle or more settled, or calls for less attention to itself. At some point, meditation becomes not so much concerned with pleasant and unpleasant sensations anymore. And that concern kind of recedes a little bit. And then what's kind of left is to become aware of is the quality the state of the mind. And so that's what we're exploring this week. And so in the next two days, I'll talk about the final four pairs of mind states that we got that the Buddha taught, and there's a shift now from the first floor, to the second floor. And this second floor tends to be now more the states of meditation are the states of mind that begin opening up or are appearing, when the we really learned well, to have this nonreactive mindfulness awareness, meet our experience, including meeting all the different vagaries of how the mind states might be. But as we learned that meeting, then the mind begins to shift and change and to be able to recognize how the mind changes his little bit the task of these last four for the next two days. And so one thing I'm very fond of, as I've talked today, is talking about this meeting of awareness, and our experience, the awareness and the mind, and how it brings the hands together into this nama stand to this gesture of respect. And as you explore and consider your own mind, mind state. Maybe as you go through today, you'll come check it with and see how it is and maybe you think of it as this meeting as something like a bow I respect that we meet with respect to our experience. So thank you very much.