Excerpt From: Catherine, Shaila. “Focused and Fearless.”

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“CONCENTRATION is a central feature of a contemplative life, cultivated through formal meditation practice and also through any of a variety of other daily activities.
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Concentration brings with it a natural joy that arises as the mind settles and is absent of distraction.
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A surgeon may love surgery, not because the operating room is a pleasant place to be, but because the task demands such complete attention that the mind is filled with the delight associated with concentration.
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Kayakers are often enveloped in rapture even though their bodies are cramped in little boats and splashed by frigid water.
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A concentrated mind is focused, unified, and stable, regardless of whether the conditions are uncomfortable or luxurious.”
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The Ordinary

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“If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary,
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you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.”
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– Linji Yixuan
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Only this moment, this breath, this mundane experience exists.
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Where you already are

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“Meditation is the only intentional,
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systematic human activity
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which at bottom
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is about not trying to improve yourself
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or get anywhere else,
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but simply to realize
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where you already are.”
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.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
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No sense of self

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“As I noticed feelings and thoughts appear and disappear,

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it became increasingly clear

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that they were just coming and going on their own. . . .

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There was no sense of a self owning them.”

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– Tara Brach

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Being Mindful

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“Being mindful means that we suspend judgment for a time,
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set aside our immediate goals for the future,
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and take in the present moment as it is
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rather than as we would like it to be.”
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Mark Williams
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ABSORPTION INTO JHANA STATES”: part three

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Even if there is sensory impact from sounds and sensations, the mind remains completely unmoved.
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Sensory contact—even strong pain or loud noise—does not disturb the tranquillity or affect the unification of the mind with its object of concentration.
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It is as though you don’t hear anything, yet the capacity of hearing is not impaired.
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It is as if you don’t feel pain, and yet the bodily processes are functioning.
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There may or may not be subtle awareness of the impact of a sound or physical contact, but the mind lets go so automatically that there can be no sensory residue to disturb the concentration.
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Because the mind is so still that even pain will not disrupt the attention, jhana can be sustained for very long periods of time.”
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ABSORPTION INTO JHANA STATES”: part two

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“When the mind abandons its contact with the senses, including discursive thinking, the concentrated absorption of jhana begins.
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The mind is utterly still and focused on its object.
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The specific object of focus becomes progressively refined in the development of concentration, from the physical sensations of breathing, to a perception of light.
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Rapture, pleasure, and equanimity may accompany the bright radiant mind, while attention is continually directed toward the place where the breath is known.
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As these perceptions grow increasingly subtle, attention remains connected and the subtle perception of breath is recognized as a perception of stable brightness in mind.”
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In jhana, attention is virtually merged into its object, creating an impression of complete unification.

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