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I notice I have practised meditation in a very biased way, in the sense that I contemplate my experience in a neither focused, neither supported way. Here, by support, I mean a contemplation supported by an object.

So, basically, I am aware of my consciousness and the interaction of thoughts and impressions within it, although without a specific support.

To me, a focused meditation would imply moments of consciousness unified by some specific centring focus.

Similarly, supported meditation implies sensory, perceptual focuses rather than experiences which are bound to alter and vary.

An actual object, whether material as a physical object or perceptual as the breath, would fulfill both these aspects.

QUESTION 1: What is the effect/consequence of meditating in such a vague way? Of simply attending to consciousness without an ongoing object of focus?

QUESTION 2: Would such a way of contemplating actually decrease focus and energy (virya) in some cases?

  • Objectless meditation is my preferred approach, which might qualify as 'cultivating the empty field'. You speak of 'focus', but objectless meditation is not about narrowing ones focus. I would suggest a meditation object is an aid to practice that eventually has to be abandoned. Just some thoughts. – PeterJ Jun 17 at 11:27
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QUESTION 1: What is the effect/consequence of meditating in such a vague way? Of simply attending to consciousness without an ongoing object of focus?

Consequences might be that unity of mind cannot happen since there is no object to focus attention on, meaning e.g. Vitakka and Vichara, cannot happen.

Insight-meditationally speaking, without an object to attend to, I don't see how insights could arise.

QUESTION 2: Would such a way of contemplating actually decrease focus and energy (virya) in some cases?

It might block the (seven) Enlighenment Factors from arising.

  • Mindfulness on mind, in that case on consciousness, "knowing mind" is actually part of good vipassana objects, one of the four frames of references. Only that object would be great, hight talented, uprooting quick everything. Of course the answer fits good to the asking/ers mind, but if just taking the text in account, like most would, properply good to discriminate in this regard, Nyom Lanka. – Samana Johann Oct 23 '17 at 18:31
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I have practiced Objectless Awareness for years, an expansion of traditional Mindfulness of perceiving the breath, sensations, thoughts and so on.

Its major advantage is that you are aware of the entire space around you and its objects. Over time my comparison is to have your mind in the center of a balloon with all its space occupying the rest, no room for casual thoughts to come in. It is completely effortless so you can abide in this state endlessly.

The opinion stated previously that insight could not occur is furthest from the truth. Instead the minds power is increased tremendously since it is not stained by passing thoughts and emotion. The passive focus builds equanimity and readiness to truly accept the reality around it. Compare it to the instant that you reach an Aha moment, everything is cleared, now you get it. This is the state continuously experienced in an objectless state.

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OP: QUESTION 1: What is the effect/consequence of meditating in such a vague way? Of simply attending to consciousness without an ongoing object of focus?

Meditation requires an object to focus on which is real (Paramattha) or conceptual (Paññatti).

Also, consciousness does not arise without form or faculty as these 3 constitutes contact which is one our senses register. Therefore there cannot be consciousness without and object.

Dependent on _____ and _____, ____-consciousness arises. When the three meet, there is contact.

Cha Chakka Sutta

  • the eye, form, eye-consciousness, eye-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self,
  • the ear, sounds, ear-consciousness, ear-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self,
  • the nose, smells, nose-consciousness, nose-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self,
  • the tongue, sounds, tongue-consciousness, tongue-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self,
  • the body, touches, body-consciousness, body-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self,
  • the mind, mind-objects, mind-consciousness, mind-contact, feeling, craving, are not-self.

Cha Chakka Sutta

The object of Vipassanā are real objects (Paramattha Dhammas) corresponding to the classification as nama (mentality) and rupa (materiality) or the classification as citta (a moment of consciousness or a moment of experience), cetasika (mental factors accompanying consciousness), rupa (material phenomena) and nibbana (the unconditioned reality) or the classification as rupakkhandha (all rupas), vedanākkhandha (feelings), saññākkhandha (remembrance or perception), saṅkhārakkandha (all cetasikas, except feeling and remembrance) and viññāṇakkhandha (all cittas).

The object of Samatha in most cases are conceptual like people in case of Metta, coloured discs in case of Kasina.

One can develop choiceless awareness, especially when doing daily activities, i.e., you are aware of the object which comes to your attention and any sensation resulting from it. There is a danger in this though that you keep jumping from the most intense object which catchers your attention to another. The drawback in this is that there are a lot of other subtler objects in the background which one might not develop sensitivity. Therefore, for a reasonable time, one should systematically change the objects so one is even sensitive to the feeling the subtlest object creates.

OP: QUESTION 2: Would such a way of contemplating actually decrease focus and energy (virya) in some cases?

Since there cannot be consciousness without and object of focus, let me assume this is choiceless awareness where one does not direct one's focus to a particular object.

Less effort may be needed as one is not redirecting one's focus.

This comes at a cost as one is not putting effort to see and experience more subtler objects. Ultimately one must try to see reality of all phenomena.

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If the wisdom faculty appears with sufficient intensity and the hindrances are resolved; at that time the path can arise and one then attains to absorbtion by which defilements are eradicated.

Othertimes one might abide far removed from hindrances, gladdened and percepient of pleasurable feelings; thinking thoughts connected to knowledge, development and the goal; or not thinking.

It may well happen that one will attain to various distinctions and become percepient of lights & forms. Eventually attaining all way up to cessation of perception & feeling by which defilements are destroyed; the attainments depend on the faculties, inclination and intentions.

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