Monday, June 05, 2006

Seven Factors of Awakening

There's a wonderful appendix in the back of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy edited by Germer, Siegel and Fulton. What I want to share with you today is a list called "The Seven Factors of Awakening". This is how we develop wisdom and maturity:

1. Mindfulness. This is the practice of being fully aware in the present moment, without self-judgment or other forms of linguistic and conceptual overlay, of the the arising and passing away of phenomena in the field of direct experience.

2. Investigation. This is willingness and ability to bring interest, enthusiasm, and an attitude of detailed exploration to experience. The states investigated are the arising and passing of the awareness of sensory objects, mental objects, and whatever else may be unfolding in the moment.

3. Energy. When mental effort is brought to a situation, there is the application of energy. It is not the counterproductive striving or straining to attain a goal, but involves the diligent and consistent application of awareness to the present moment.

4. Joy. Often the mind and body can become exuberant and appear to bubble over with happiness, contentment, or thrill. Though many people are more familiar with this experience when it is induced in unwholesome ways, the positive and transformative value of wholesome joy is an important quality of mind... and is to be cultivated.

5. Tranquility. Of equal value is the deep serenity that can emerge in the mind and body when there is an absence of conflict, distress, or suffering. This tranquility is not the opposite of joy, for the two can easily coexist. Rather than a tranquility that reduces energy, it is described more as a quality of mental luminescence that emerges as the mind becomes unified, stable, and focused.

6. Concentration. ... [C]oncentration involves a one-pointed attentiveness over time to a particular sensation or object to the exclusion of others.

7. Equanimity. ...[E]quanimity is the quality of mental equipoise in which the mind is neither attracted to a pleasant object nor averse to an unpleasant object.

If we keep these seven factors in mind and intentionally cultivate them, we will certain reduce our suffering and support our personal growth.

1 comment:

  1. swami3:36 AM

    I want to add one more factor patience in this catagory.


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