Concentration (dhyana)

The meditation practice of focusing the mind uninterruptedly upon an object
  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    Focusing Paid Member

    For most of us, don’t-know is a place of get-me-out-of-here-quick. As a writer, sitting down to a blank page makes me instantly want to wash dishes, dust under beds, or finally sew those buttons on a coat I haven’t worn in years. But Eugene Gendlin doesn’t see don’t-know as the Bermuda Triangle of the psyche; to him it is just unexplored frontier, seas as yet uncharted—but friendly—that we can learn to navigate. For years, Gendlin offered a class at the University of Chicago in which he taught exactly that. The purpose of the class was to get students to tap into their implicit knowing—Gendlin’s term for what someone knows but is not yet able to express. “It took weeks to explain that the usual criteria were reversed in my course,” Gendlin says. Everywhere else in the university only what was clear counted at all, he explains. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    When It Happens to Us Paid Member

    This is a fact of life; we don't like pain. We suffer because we marry our instinctive aversion to pain to the deep-seated belief that life should be free from pain. In resisting our pain by holding this belief, we strengthen just what we're trying to avoid. When we make pain the enemy, we solidify it. This resistance is where our suffering begins. More »
  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    Meditation, Mental Habits, and Creative Imagination Paid Member

    We have to be careful not to think that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts. On the contrary, I would say that meditation helps us to creatively engage with our thoughts and not fixate on them. When people say they cannot concentrate, I say, “No, no, no! You are concentrating—too much on any one thought!” More »
  • Tricycle Community 3 comments

    Brown Rice Is Just Right Paid Member

    How do you like zazen? I think it may be better to ask, how do you like brown rice? Zazen is too big a topic. Brown rice is just right. Actually, there is not much difference. When you eat brown rice, you have to chew it, and unless you chew it, it is difficult to swallow. When you chew it very well, your mouth becomes part of the kitchen, and actually the brown rice becomes more and more tasty. When we eat white rice, we don’t chew so much, but that little bit of chewing feels so good that naturally the rice goes right down our throats. More »
  • Tricycle Community 22 comments

    Emptiness: All or Nothing Paid Member

    The idea of sunyata (Pali sunnata) or emptiness has been variously understood—and misunderstood—for centuries. Joan Konner's recent book, "You Don't Have to Be Buddhist to Know Nothing," gathers together the thoughts of philosophers, poets, and pundits, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, on nothing, emptiness, sunyata. Some examples: "The nothing is the force whereby the something can be manifested." - Alan Watts "Poetry makes nothing happen." - W.H. Auden "Nothing is exciting, nothing is sexy, nothing is not embarrassing." - Andy Warhol More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    Absorbed in the Breath Paid Member

    The first jhana has five factors: (a) Directed thought: Think of the breath until you can recognize it clearly without getting distracted. (b) Singleness of object: Keep the mind with the breath. Don't let it stray after other objects. Watch over your thoughts so that they deal only with the breath until the breath becomes comfortable. (The mind becomes one, at rest with the breath.) (c) Evaluation: Let this comfortable breath sensation spread and coordinate with the other breath sensations in the body. Let these breath sensations spread until they all flow together. Once the body has been soothed by the breath, feelings of pain will grow calm. The body will be filled with good breath energy. These three qualities must be brought to bear on the same stream of breathing for the first jhana to arise. This stream of breathing can then take you all the way to the fourth jhana. Directed thought, singleness of object, and evaluation act as the causes. More »