Applied sampajañña during our daily activities coupled with increased formal meditation infuses yogis with the opportunity to explore, test and then develop a routine that will de-condition our latent tendencies away from habit and instead move us towards a focused and an awakened mind. The skill of applying sampajañña to many activities throughout our day sets a default habit to pause before engaging in speech or action thus creating a field for continuous attention to become second nature.
The more a yogi practices sampajañña by applying sense restraint combined with increased formal sitting periods – not only in time and frequency but also making it a priority throughout the day – the less frequently the mind will turn towards thinking and planning and mindless wandering while sitting or during activities of daily living.
The yogi continues with the necessities of life, e.g., jobs, childcare, shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, exercising, going to appointments, and even participating in appropriate socializing, while bringing the reflective qualities of sampajañña and sense restraint into as many activities as possible. This includes the spaces between activities.
How often between activities does the mind flow to planning/wandering, for instance, and neglect the walking, touching, hearing, seeing, etc. that is occurring during those in-between moments? The Home Retreat is an opportunity to find out how and when the mind tends in this direction and to do something about de-conditioning one’s habits towards a field of continuous wholesomeness.
Samatha: 1. Concentration meditation: Attending to a single object of meditation without interruption. 2. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Chapter Seven, ‘Sammā-Samādhi’, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Three Characteristics: (ti-lakkhana) 1. The ‘Three Characteristics of existence, or signata, are Impermanence (anicca), suffering/dissatisfaction or misery (dukkha) and Not-Self (anattā). Buddhist Dictionary, Nyanatiloka. 2. In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā). These three characteristics are mentioned in verses 277, 278 and 279 of the Dhammapada. That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering/dissatisfaction, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering/dissatisfaction, are central themes in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path. Wikipedia.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya