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In TIER 2 of Mindfulness of Breathing your focus is towards building the structure of your attention by monitoring and adjusting the Enlightenment Factors while developing stable attention on your object. Before beginning TIER 2 of Mindfulness of Breathing it is helpful to read these instructions so that you become familiar the structure and goals of your meditative training.
Back to TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing
In TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing your focus is towards building the structure of your attention by monitoring and adjusting the Enlightenment Factors while developing stable attention on your meditation object as in TIER 1.
During TIER 2 the structure, quality and balance of your attention is more important than your meditation object. This means that while the centre of your attention rests on your meditation object, your peripheral awareness observes and adjusts the structure of attention itself.
When you begin training in TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing the structure for your daily meditation remains the same as in TIER 1. You still follow Experiential Markers 1-9 as before, the difference being that your emphasis is on developing the Enlightenment Factors of joy, tranquility and unification (EF 4-6).
Five New Additions
To progress form TIER 1 to TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing, you will gradually add 5 new meditative skills called an 'Additions'. These Additions are adjustments to the way that you practice daily mindfulness of breathing in order to introduce the first six Factors of Enlightenment and establish skill in access concentration.
Experiential Markers 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 are no longer needed in TIER 2.
TIER 1 Mindfulness of Breathing
TIER 2 Additions List
What TIER 2 mindfulness of breathing will look like:
TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing
Notice how Addition 1 replaces Experiential Markers 1-3 and Addition 2-3 replaces Experiential Markers 5-6.
It is helpful before beginning the meditations in TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing to understand how to construct your posture of attention.
A basic posture of attention in TIER 1 Mindfulness of Breathing contains:
A basic posture of attention in TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing contains:
The active qualities (what you initially do) are:
The passive qualities (what are cultivated) are:
In TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing, you will be cultivating the first six Enlightenment Factors. It is therefore important to have a basic understanding of these factors and how they are experienced and applied during meditation.
Back to TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing
These Seven Enlightenment Factors are the qualities of a completely balanced posture of meditative attention:
*NOTE: Since TIER 2 is concerned with the first Six Enlightenment Factors this section will only discuss these.
(Sati): literally means: ‘memory’ or ‘to remember’.
Mindfulness is a particular type of remembering. Not remembering the past but remembering the present; remembering your experience of ‘now’.
Mindfulness is experienced during meditation as:
The purpose of each of the above applications of mindfulness is:
(Dhamma Vicaya): literally means: ‘investigating reality’, 'a held sense of curiosity'.
Curiosity is the silent questioning of your present experience to develop understanding. Where curiosity is focused is dependent on what you are cultivating at this time.
Curiosity is experienced during meditation as:
Development of Insight:
*Anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), anatta (not-self).
(Virya): literally means: ‘effort or energy’.
Effort is the balanced application of attention towards cultivating what is skillful and wholesome and letting go of what is unskillful and unwholesome.
Effort is experienced during meditation as:
(Piti): literally means meditative 'joy' or 'happiness'.
Meditative joy naturally arises as the subtle pleasure associated with letting go. In this way if the pleasure of letting go is accessed by softening, it will not only calm restlessness, but also dissolve dullness and unify attention.
Meditative Joy is experienced as:
NOTE: Piti is experienced as subtle pleasurable sensations when balanced with tranquility, piti however can be experienced as gross pleasurable sensations if tranquility is weak.
(Passaddhi): literally means 'tranquility' or 'calm'.
Tranquility arises as the calming of intellectual functions of mind, of habitual going out of attention and biological functions of body.
Tranquility is experienced during meditation as:
With the joy of letting go infused with tranquility, an ever-increasing calm fills the body and mind. This can be developed by first softening to calm the functions of your body, then softening to calm the habitual going out of your attention and desire 'to do'.
As this matures the ever-pervading calm will transform into an ever-pervading tranquility.
At this stage your task is to balance tranquility and the joy of seclusion, and through abandoning all effort allow them to fuse as one as an establishment of tranquility in the posture of your attention.
(Samadhi): literally means: ‘to unify, 'to bring together’.
Samadhi is the unification, increased steadiness and clarity of awareness as a result of the continuous mindfulness of the application of attention towards the meditation object.
Samadhi is experienced during meditation as:
With the fusing of tranquility and joy there is harmony brought to the balance of effort, and with attention inclined towards letting go, unification occurs.
Unification (samadhi) brings the attention qualities of curiosity, balanced effort, mindfulness, joy, tranquility, unification and awareness together as one balanced posture of attention preparing your attention for a change of posture on entry into access concentration.
In TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing the main two Enlightenment Factors that you will focus on cultivating is Meditative Joy and Tranquility. Both of these are accessible by cultivating your perception of the subtle pleasure of letting go.
It is important to define the word joy in regard to worldly joy verses meditative joy.
Worldly joy contains an excitement that arises from the desire for the pleasure of sensoury stimulation. Because the pleasure of the senses is both desired and impermanent in its nature, consumption of sensoury pleasure always leaves a feeling of never quite enough: "
Just one more time!".
Sensoury pleasure therefore has an inherent tendency towards developing patterns of addiction and dukkha.
The pleasure of meditative joy arises by accessing the subtle pleasure of abandoning that very desire. Since it is founded on abandoning, it is neither stimulated or addictive, and any grasping onto it will change the conditions for its presence.
So, addiction in regard to pleasure of meditative joy is not possible because the condition for its arising is abandoning of that very craving.
However, addiction to sensoury pleasure is possible because the condition for its arising is cultivation of the desire itself.
For awareness to stick there must be glue, and the glue for the mind is sukha vedana (pleasant feeling). For awareness to ground and 'stick', the act of meditating must be pleasurable, and the pleasure that the Buddha recommended that we access is the subtle pleasure of abandoning effort, of releasing all concerns, all 'doing'.
The foundation for this is development of sensitivity to the subtle pleasure of abandoning as the factor of joy by training in the MIDL meditative skill of softening.
To access this pleasure requires initial development of your perception of it, if you don't your mind may not be able to perceive it.
While your mind understands the pleasure of desire for sensoury stimulation it may not yet recognise the subtle pleasure of abandoning that very desire.
While the pleasure of sensoury stimulation is impermanent by its nature, and therefore has the inherent tendency towards addiction because it encourages repeated behaviour to access it.
The subtle pleasure of abandoning is permanent, always available, always accessible, always present with that very release, that abandoning.
It is satisfying, joyous yet tranquil, it is available with any abandoning of effort within the body, within the mind, within the heart.
It is the path.
In the beginning the perception of the subtle pleasure of abandoning has to be cultivated as the mind already knows the pleasure of desiring sensoury stimulation, but it does not yet recognise the subtle pleasure of abandoning of that very desire.
Softening is a doorway into this; but when we soften, we need to tune into not just the release, but also the pleasure of it, how nice it feels.
By being present to the subtle pleasure of release every time we let go in the body, or let go within the mind, perception of this pleasure gradually clarifies.
The easiest way to access this is to bring your awareness to the relaxation of any part of your body, let it slowly relax and tune into how nice it feels to relax.
This is why in the development of softening I talk of 'borrowing' the pleasure and relaxation of the deflation of each out-breath.
Once you have developed perception of the subtle pleasure of abandoning go effort in your body, you can allow it to enter the mind by smiling with your eyes into that pleasure. Once it has entered the mind you can find this pleasure in anything, including the flow of breath within your body for mindfulness of breathing.
Developing this perception is part of TIER 2 Mindfulness of Breathing in MIDL.
There is an inherent subtle pleasure accessed within our body as it relaxes. By being aware of this pleasure in our body, and smiling into that pleasure with your eyes, the subtle pleasure of abandoning effort transforms into the happiness and contentment of the joy of letting go.
It is the joy of the happiness and contentment of letting go that brings harmony to the balance of attention and allows tranquility of mind to develop.
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