I’m on retreat until Tuesday afternoon, but I’ve queued up some emails to keep you inspired while I’m away.
Yesterday, we looked at the first three of the seven factors: mindfulness, investigation, and energy. Today, we’ll look at the next three: joy, tranquility, and concentration.
As our mindfulness deepens, we investigate, and then that rouses energy. When the energy is strong, joy arises. Bhante Gunaratana describes five types of feelings of joy:
- minor joy – makes our body hair stand on end
- momentary joy – like lightning flashing moment after moment
- showering joy – descends on the body and then disappears, like waves breaking on a seashore
- uplifting joy – lifts the body (perhaps even literally)
- all-pervading joy – suffuses every part of the body
He says this joy is not the same as pleasurable feelings of everyday life. You may have experienced moments like this type of joy – for example when listening to a special song or seeing art. Do you notice moments of joy in your mindfulness?
Bhante says, “Tranquility is a mental state in which the mind and body are calm, relaxed, and peaceful. … we enjoy profound peace and happiness.”
This might not be the best translation of the word, since I think many of us associate concentration with the attitude of, “shh, I’m trying to concentrate”… But this type of concentration comes from a place of tranquility developed from joy.
Can you think of a time when you had that type of joyful tranquility that allowed you to really focus? For some, it might be when creating art or woodworking. I sometimes get in that “flow” when I’m programming computer code!
When we have a deep meditative concentration, we can focus the mind and then have the possibility for deep insights.
Here are Gil and Adrianne’s talks on these three factors:
- Joy Factor of Awakening
- Instructions: Mindfulness of Thoughts
- Tranquility Factor of Awakening
- Instruction: Mindfulness of Mind
- Concentration Factor of Awakening
- Instruction: concentration
Again, I invite you to pick one recording for your contemplation today.
With best wishes,