Does the attempt to bring awareness into all aspects of life as a beginner have a greater potential of producing negative affects when starting.

I'm wondering if too much practice can come as a shock to the mind if awareness fades. Or is it the case that mindfulness always produces positive results as long as it doesn't battle the mind and ones practice continues with a calm nonjudgmental refocusing of the mind when it wanders?

  • Being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it never seems like a bad idea in my opinion. I do not think that throughout the day you should deliberately lose awarness (such as daydreaming about the beach while making dinner) as an attempt to ward off negative affects.
    – Thien
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 19:58
  • 1
    @ChristopherLee This is where I get slightly confused though. Some of my greatest insights have come around when I have fallen from a period of awareness and allowed my mind to wander. This is typically pretty important to me since I'm a programming. I suppose the mind has a gravity to it so there should be no reason to fear too much awareness since it's not like I won't be able to eventually allow my mind to wander when I need to. At least I hope that's the case.
    – Ein Doofus
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 20:16
  • Not to get to off topic, but what would you consider a "great insight"? Perhaps it is merely your perspective of insight and mindfulness that is causing this confusion.
    – Thien
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 20:22
  • @ChristopherLee I guess that a'ha! moment when you ruminate over a problem and the solution suddenly comes when you least expect it. I might be confused about when the solution arises but the rumination is still necessary to begin the process, and part of that seems to be the mind wandering.
    – Ein Doofus
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 20:26
  • Yeah but what is a specific example of one of these insights? For instance, I cultivate insight into what an apple is, only when I am mindful of the apple and eat it while practicing mindful eating. I have never been able to cultivate insight about an apple while I am eating it and watching a movie.
    – Thien
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 20:28

3 Answers 3


Mindfulness, mindfulness -- what is this mindfulness? There seems to be a big and unfortunate misunderstanding about this.

For some reason many people think mindfulness means to intensely stare at whatever we are doing until our eyes pop out. "I must be aware! What am I doing now? I'm driving, I'm driving... I'm coding, I'm coding... I'm pooping, I'm pooping..." -- but this is not mindfulness, this is generation of anxiety.

The right mindfulness is mindfulness of the subconscious. Mindfulness of our "guts", mindfulness of our feelings, mindfulness of our mind "weather", mindfulness of our non-verbal intellect. When we always maintain such deeper connection with ourselves we can learn to heal our mental and emotional neuroses and recover our Buddha-nature -- our inborn power and sanity.

And in 21st century this means first and foremost recovering awareness of our body, because body is not just the window on the subconscious -- body is the subconscious. I recommend you to read the book "Touching Enlightenment. Finding Realization in the body" by Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D. a favorite student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.


When you are mindful you should be be mindful of the 4 Frame of Mindfulness. These are all tied with sensation. If you are looking at bodily posture or movement you sense this through your sense faculties. In once if comes in contact with the sense faculties you get a sensation as per dependent origination. Similarly for other frames of Mindfulness. You have to be mindful of the arising and passing away of sensations being equanimous. This has a very soothing effect.

Even a circus girl has to be mindful in order not to hurt or kill your self. This type of mindfulness does not reduce stress but creates more stress. So you should practice the right type of mindfulness which takes you out of misery than create more misery.


If you use mindfulness to become aware, it is a likely occurrence that eventually things or events that have been buried will emerge. Some of these may be unpleasant but they must be faced or they remain as unfinished business. If mindfulness is practiced to the point where you can't do your job, relate to your friends and family, take care of your body, and lose the joy of living, then this is overdoing whatever you are practicing.

  • I would venture to say, that if mindfulness of the present moment causes you to lose the joy of living, then perhaps you are not being mindful. Happiness is born in the present moment. Only in the present moment can we be free, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
    – Thien
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 0:39

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