6

When we practice mindfulness we notice our mental habit and mental pattern. What makes us angry, jealous, greedy, etc.. My question is, when you notice them, do you change it to positive mental quality or just watch it?

Someone angry for 'no reason', but actually there is a reason if one keeps the mindfulness. With mindfulness, we realize that the trigger of the anger is for example a certain situation happened yesterday. By realizing this we are no longer angry. Is this also a practice of mindfulness or analyzing? Which one is the correct practice? Thanks all.

  • Even if there is a "reason" for being upset, we cannot always discern it, so following it back can be a waste of time. As Orion said in another answer: "There is always something greater than anxiety, and that is Mindfulness." I think that attempting to "change it to a positive mental quality" is also likely to be ineffective and/or wasted effort. All things arise and pass away – user2341 Aug 14 '15 at 12:04
4

In mindfulness, we try to stay in the present moment, being aware of what we are doing and experiencing right here and right now. For the most part, the things that upset us are things that happened in the past, even if the past was just 5 minutes ago. Dwelling on the past would be outside of mindfulness.

A great dhamma talk I've read on this subject is from Ajahn Sumedo called In the moment of mindfulness, there is no suffering.

In the moment of mindfulness, there is no suffering. I can’t find any suffering in mindfulness; it’s impossible; there’s absolutely none. But when there’s heedlessness, there is a lot of suffering in my mind. If I give in to grasping things, to wanting things, to following emotions or doubts and worries and being caught up in things like that—then there is suffering. It all begins from my grasping. But when there is mindfulness and right understanding, then I can’t find any suffering at all in this moment, now. This is about this moment here and now.

I encourage you to read the rest of the dhamma talk to be inspired to try to live in this present moment.

Regarding realizing you are upset about something that occurred in the past, the simple technique of noting and observing your feeling, such as noting "angry...angry" or "disappointed...disappointed" without replaying in your mind the incident which made you angry or disappointed can help you see that feelings such as these are fleeting and impermanent. They come and go and we can help ourselves see their impermanent nature by not "feeding" them with overthinking them or dwelling in the past but remaining in the present moment and impartially observing that feelings arise and cease.

  • 1
    Ajahn Sumedo is a great speaker! – Ryan Aug 10 '15 at 16:29
  • 1
    @Steve, I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer this particular point. But I'll pass along what I know. With anatta we don't have control over our mind states in the sense of willing ourselves to be positive when we feel negative. But our mind states are fleeting and impermanent. So the negative mind state of this moment can be gone shortly as are all conditioned things. By observing (and noting in some traditions) without judging, we can notice how quickly mind states change. By staying in this present moment (instead of analyzing prior mind state) we stay mindful. Hope this helps. :) – Robin111 Aug 11 '15 at 12:20
  • 2
    @Steve, I would say yes, definitely when you see that something is causing you to suffer; it's using your wisdom and discernment to let go of it. This video talks about "wise attention" and it may be helpful to answering your question. Learning from Mistakes. – Robin111 Aug 12 '15 at 19:35
  • 3
    @Steve, letting go of the things that cause us suffering seems wise. No need to repeatedly stick your hand in the fire so as to be able to observe it. So need to walk on broken glass; it's wise to avoid some things. Not avoiding easily avoidable suffering, could be considered self mortification. "and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable." accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.piya.html – Robin111 Aug 13 '15 at 3:14
  • 1
    There is an old joke where a man goes to his Doctor and says: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." And the Doctor says: "Well don't do that!" It is just that easy. – user2341 Aug 14 '15 at 12:08
0

... do you change it to positive mental quality ...

If any of the Nīvaraṇa arises you can apply the antidote to it. Also see: Nīvarana,pahana Vagga and Nīvaraṇa

... or just watch it?

You can do this also. There is always a sensation associated with the hindrances. If you are angry you get a burning sensation. If you have sloth or torpor you feel heavy.

Someone angry for 'no reason', but actually there is a reason if one keeps the mindfulness.

This is some stimuli at the scene door which give an unpleasant sensation.

... By realizing this we are no longer angry.

These mental states are impermanent. When the cause, initial stimuli or / and the subsequent mental proliferation disappears then result (anger) disappears. Also see: Dependent Arising

Is this also a practice of mindfulness or analyzing?

This is a form of analysing the impermanence of feelings arising from this mental state. It can be taken as Dhamma vicaya which is mindfulness. Basically you look at the arising and passing of sensations pertaining to the hindrance.

Which one is the correct practice?

All he following you mentioned are correct:

  • apply antidote
  • being mindful of the impermanence or arising and passing of sensations (or phenomena what is felt) pertaining to the hindrance
  • analyse the impermanence or arising and passing of sensations (or phenomena what is felt) pertaining to the hindrance (same as above)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.