I have heard a lot about vipassana just being mindful of what happens to come up, not looking for more things to notice. However, if we compare meditation with e.g. lifting weights, when you start, you lift (say) 50, so even though its harder, you add 20 more... Then when you normally just need to lift 50, its way easier because you've been working out with 70. My question is, why not do that with meditation? I'm curious why some people don't think it's the thing to do.

As in speed noting, if I can be aware of everything all at one time constantly isn't that being fully aware? If I can see even the most minute details of the current reality effortlessly through pushing my mental ability during meditation, looking further into things to note more things and staying aware of them all at one time moment by moment till they pass away. Until you lose track but then try to remember to be attentive to those that remain and notice the new.

What is said about mental "exercise" as a developmental practice?

  • Moved your comment into the question. Deleted my answer as no longer applicable.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Aug 25, 2014 at 10:55

3 Answers 3


The mental exercise the be able to note everything is developing Concentration and Wisdom. These are tenets covered in the Anapanasati Sutta and (Maha) Satipatthana Sutta according to the Theravada Tradition.

  • yes, ive been looking into the Visuddhimagga
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 28, 2014 at 4:53

Forcing awareness is a tricky concept. I would not be surprised if every practitioner of meditation has done it on occasion.

The best analysis I have found for the issue is that forcing awareness can, in theory, allow one to become more insightful and aware. However, the act of doing so admits the "desire for insight and awareness." By meditating in this fashion, it is not possible to simply let that desire pass through you. It is held on to. At the very least, this is a desire which will not pass. It can obscure that which you are looking for. At its worst, it can lead you down a false target leading you along a less ideal path.

I have found that forcing awareness in meditation can be effective for identifying illusions and assumptions, but it is less effective at actually encouraging awareness. Accordingly, in this complicated world with its many illusions and assumptions, I feel it has its place. However, the traditional approaches as advised by the other answers are more effective as these things they do best. A focus on them is wise.


Vipassana meditation isn't about being mindful of as much as possible, but about developing mindfulness to the point where we can clearly see the nature of reality in the three characteristics. It doesn't matter how many or how few things you see, as long as you discern it. If you are able to discern them and maintain it, you can attain enlightenment with even a single object.

  • yeah, but if i wanted to develop a very insightful and powerful mind for teaching and helping others... i do understand the different opinions reguarding the subject. I suppose im just looking for some direct opinions in a reliable environment.
    – A Nonimous
    Aug 28, 2014 at 4:54
  • Both Samatha and Vipassana meditation can help you with that, as both will lead to the abandoning of the five hindrances which go a long way towards deepening understanding of things. Beyond that, there aren't really any specific meditations I know of that develop conventional intelligence and insight. However, the Buddha did say that the Karmic cause for intelligence is the asking of questions, so I would recommend studying a lot and engaging in a very inquisitive kind of reflection on whatever you are studying to gain conventional insight.
    – Bakmoon
    Aug 28, 2014 at 18:41

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