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Sunday
Jul252010

Concentration & Mindfulness = Wisdom


But concentration practice, however strong and satisfying, is incomplete without mindfulness to complement and deepen it.  By itself, it resembles a state of withdrawal from the world.  Its characteristic energy is closed rather than open, absorbed rather than available, tracelike rather than fully awake.  What is missing is the energy of curisotiy, inquiry, investigation, openness, availability, engagement with full range of phenomena experienced by human beings.  This is the domain of mindfulness practice, in which onepointedness and the ability to bring calmness and stability of mind into and understanding the  interconnectedness of a wide range of life experiences.

Concentration can be of great value, but it can also be seriously limiting if you become seduced by the pleasant quality of this inner experience and come to see it as a refuge from life in an unpleasant and unsatisfactory world.  You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness.  This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it can lead to delusion.  It arrests the development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.

Page 74, "Wherever you go there you are - mindfulness meditation in everyday living", by  Jon Kabat-Zinn

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