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Day 13
We can be moving and still develop samadhi

Spirit Rock Meditation Center Retreat, April 25-May 9, 2015

Translation from Burmese by Ma Thet and transcription and editing by Douglas McGill

Notice the thoughts. You can know the sort of qualities that accompany the thoughts, whether they are wholesome or unwholesome. And whether what the mind is thinking of memories, thoughts of the past or the future.

You just need to know that this is mind thinking is happening now.

While there is thinking going on, what else is going in the mind? What other feelings associated with the thinking, what other mental activities, ideas and so on, feed into the thinking?

When we talk more, we find we have more thoughts after the fact. These thoughts need to be seen as objects. The thinking process.

That there is thinking, that there are thoughts, is not an indication whether the mind has samadhi or not. Just because the mind is thinking does not mean you have lost samadhi.

Samadhi is in the observing mind. It is able to watch steadily. That is samadhi. If you are able to maintain awareness it means there is samadhi.

In this next day the level of activity is going to start increasing. Probably it has already done so. You will find yourself planning more, deciding what to do. There is a lot of cleaning and packing to do. But remember no matter how much there is to get done, you only do things one at a time.

How do we go through this day without losing awareness? The mind's habit is to put all its attention outwards when there is something it feels needs to get done. Thinking about what to do and how to get it done—if we put too much energy into that we lose mindfulness. We can do it without losing mindfulness.

Whatever we do, we can know how we feel as we do it, the state of our mind, and what is happening in the mind as we do it. When there is not much to do we can take our time and do things at a very leisurely pace. If mentally we don't have that sense of hurry, if mentally we can relax and take things one at a time, then we can maintain awareness.

We have a choice of so many things to be aware of, that might be suitable for ourselves. We can be aware of the mind as we do what we do. We can be aware of the state of mind as we do things. We can be aware of the calmness or the steadiness of the mind as we do things. Our choice. We have to do this at home too. This is how we need to practice at home.

To only be able to practice and meditate when there is nothing else to do, when we are still, that's for beginners. As we gain ground in practice, we should aim to bring the practice into all facets of our lives. To become skillful at maintaining awareness in every situation and context.

It is not only when the body is still and not moving that the mind can develop samadhi. We can be moving and still develop samadhi because samadhi is something that's developed through the activity of the mind, not the body.

A runner can have great samadhi. If the awareness is there, there will be samadhi.

When we have the right attitude and we are aware continuously, there will be samadhi no matter what work we do.

Let the mind and the body do what they do naturally. It just needs to be seen. That's all.

Take interest in the observing, how the mind is observing, how the mind is being aware.

The mind is able to know more objects when the awareness has gained momentum and the ability to know the mind has improved. There is no need to know a lot of objects, you just need to know the observing mind, the mind that is being aware.

When you go home, take home the skills of how to begin trying to be aware, and continuing to be aware, at home. To be steadily aware. Take that with you. If you lose all the mindfulness while still on retreat, that won't do.