Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Mindfulness
Inquiry & Mindfulness
Inquiry is also intelligent in its application of mindfulness and concentration. Inquiry requires the global awareness of mindfulness without identification so you can see the entire situation you are working with in inquiry. As you take on the whole situation, you start recognizing patterns. As you see the patterns, the inquiry starts focusing and concentrating on where all the patterns lead. For a while, the direction in which the patterns are leading becomes an object of inquiry, which you address with intense concentration. But the inquiry is intelligent enough that even when it is concentrating, it is still mindful so that there will be feedback. As you focus on feeling love, for instance, and are investigating it, you might have all kinds of reactions and responses to that feeling arising. Without mindfulness, you will miss those things and won't take them into consideration as you investigate the state of love.
Inquiry is Mindfulness with a Dynamism
We can say that inquiry is mindfulness with a dynamism that is open to see what it does not know, plus concentration with an energy that loves to find out the truth that it does not know. Concentration is necessary for staying on track and not getting distracted by stimuli that aren't relevant to the particular inquiry. Mindfulness provides the capacity to be aware of anything that emerges in experience, regardless of how minute or subtle. The global awareness of mindfulness reveals the patterns of unknowing in experience. And questioning directs consciousness to investigate the not knowing.
Mindfulness & Concentration
Many teachings recognize the orientations of nondoing and no-goal because these reflect the condition of realization. The realized condition doesn’t have goals and doesn’t do anything to itself. Doing anything to change what is happening will interfere with being in the realized condition. It is paradoxical that nondoing is the heart of many practices, when practices are usually seen as something done by somebody. Some teachings practice nondoing as a sitting meditation. Other traditions consider every moment a nondoing practice. For instance, the highest yoga in Kashmiri Shaivism, called Anupaya Yoga, is a nondoing practice—when you walk, you walk; when you sit, you sit; when you eat, you eat; when you meditate, you meditate. You are not trying to change anything; you are not trying to reach anyplace.
Mindfulness & True Ground of Experience
...if we have the global awareness that comes through the development of mindfulness, it is possible to recognize that the true ground of our experience is actually a medium of awareness, rather than a collection of perceived objects. This medium of awareness that we call the soul has things bubbling in it. The bubbles are not separate from the medium, and the medium itself is self-aware. The bubbles are different colors and shapes: This bubble feels like sadness and that bubble feels like pain, this bubble feels like the idea of a bird, and that bubble feels like the thought of a person, and this bubble is an image of our home. All these bubbles are arising in the same medium.