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I find very hard to be always mindful of all activities (four frames of reference).

At the beginning of practice, my persistence are aroused and gradually it becomes indifference/lax. Basically I am starting feel stress trying to be mindful..?

Since it is necessary to have other factors like joy, calm (7 factors of enlightenment) to achieve wisdom, I assume I am doing something wrong.

What I have learnt from sutta is 'sati' dhamma is cause for arising of other good dhamma. So what are the conditions to have this 'sati' ? .

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When you start of you need some level of concentration to have awareness. The reason for this is we are constantly getting input from all 6 sense doors and we react to them. So the starting point would be to focus on narrower area in terms of input and be persistent.

When it comes to awareness what you really have to be aware is the sensations caused when any input comes through sense doors, and to be equanimous towards it. This is mutually reinforcing. Once you have concentration and equanimity (you need strong morality as a base) your awareness improves. Also one of the main constituents or our frame is sensations so it is always there. All Karma gives result as means to create some sensation (e.g. you break your leg then this is pain. When you initially plant the seed of Karma also you will feel similar pain but at a much lower intensity than when you reap the results. Many of us are not sensitive enough to see this.)

You will naturally get stressed if you practice the wrong type of awareness. E.g. and acrobat will have a strong sense of awareness and some level of stress to maintain this awareness. More longer you do your gig more stressful you become. The right type of awareness does not give stress. This is being alway sensing the sensation in your body and to be equanimous towards it.

E.g. when you are walking, you use your faculties look at the process of you walking. Through your faculties you can sense pressure on your feet and certain change happening with regard to moving giving certain sensation. Also the impulse in you mind to more of what sensations this triggers.

The process that creates stress is when you react to sensations with clinging. If you are not equanimous, you will cling causing stress. Also if you miss sensations you will miss seeing this process where you react and cling to sensations.

Once you start this way a point will come you can sense sensation in your whole body and see how this reacts to different inputs from your sense doors. Though this would will see that your body is also changing. You see the sensation of liquid nature, solid nature, gaseous nature, temperature in your body. All made of tiny Kalapas arising and passing away.

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  • +1 I liked these explanations my friend. Added more along these lines. – Andrei Volkov Sep 19 '14 at 23:20
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My personal, limited, understanding:

Right mindfulness is rooted in always feeling the body. This means continuous awareness of sensations in 1) lower abdomen and hips, 2) chest and diaphragm, 3) neck and shoulders, 4) feet.

Mindfulness of body is expressed in your posture and in how you move. Your posture and movements should be royal. This means, relaxed, smooth, precise, elegant, and doubtless. You must always be very comfortable, but not sloppy.

The next component of right mindfulness is simplicity. This means not worrying about too many things. Instead of running around the court chasing the balls, you let reality serve you the ball, and you handle them, while trusting your fundamental sanity.

To add some sophistication to the above, right mindfulness involves changing your frame of reference, from seeing this world as container of people competing for success, to seeing this world as energy, mind, karma. Energy fluctuates and animates, mind receives sensory stimuli, these interact with previous impressions, triggering recognition of objects, these trigger impulses, impulses are dukkha, acting on impulses we seed the seeds that keep the wheel rolling in the same track. So with right mindfulness we have to learn to measure everything with the yardstick of Dharma. We leave the regular world, and immigrate the world of Dharma, where everything looks different and people speak a different language.

As the above is established, the main part of right mindfulness is stalking your ego, stalking your attachments. This involves a very critical, very sincere attitude towards oneself, almost harsh. You watch your mind every second of every minute of every hour for any signs of idolizing anything, making anything all-important: money, success, relationship, respect, spiritual achievement, stability, comfort, fairness, honesty, intelligence, Buddhism -- anything at all. The other side of this is watching your ego for attempts to defend/promote itself. First, you can identify these situations by the negative emotions that arise, and by letting go of attachments watch the emotions subside. Then you will be able to detect the attachments earlier, before emotions arise.

Doing the above, over time you should develop mindfulness of energy in and around you. Is situation balanced or is it skewed. Whenever there is an energy problem, you know you will get in trouble sooner or later. So you learn to maintain your cloud in good shape.

Finally, right mindfulness involves developing the feeling of trust towards your judgement. This trust is based on the fundamental mistrust of your ego, with its tricks and its ability to turn the best Dharma into food for itself. It also is based on simplicity. It is also based on mindfulness of body. It is also based on the dharmic frame of reference. It is also based on awareness of energy. Once all of the above comes together, you know you can trust yourself, which means you can put things on autopilot. You let your fundamental sanity drive. Then right mindfulness becomes effortless, you can't loose it. This is when calm and joy come.

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