January 27 – Seven positive qualities (part 2)

By | January 27, 2018

Dear Friends,

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:

Again, I invite you to pick one recording for your contemplation today.

With best wishes,