“…although the the techniques, the focus strategies, that are used around the world are quite different, they all build a combination of fundamental attention skills.” ~ Shinzen Young
In this short video clip, Finding Deeper Happiness, Shinzen Young looks at this core question: Are there similar techniques and approaches across spiritual traditions that lead to the same destination? This post previews his answer. Italicized text is quoted directly from the video.
From the wide variety of available spiritual techniques, Shinzen reduces mindfulness attention processes to three basic dimensions or skills…
“You can think of concentration as the ability to focus on what’s relevant for you at a given time.…sensory clarity as the ability to untangle the strands, what’s inner or outer, visual or auditory…somatic and so forth.”
“Equanimity is a deeper version…. a more widespread version of relaxation. When you relax muscles at a physical level you are lessening the interference of self with self…your body isn’t interfering with itself.”
“You can think of that (equanimity) as the ability to allow sensation to come and go with out the push pull.”
Although there are many underlying philosophies, religions, ambient cultures and belief systems, we can see how well a given tradition “is able to or fails to develop the three skills” (concentration, clarity, equanimity). The success or failure of cultivating these mindfulness skills determines how effectively a tradition addresses issues of human happiness, both normal conditioned happiness as well as deeper unconditioned happiness.
“I see a fundamental strand that runs through the contemplative traditions of the world, east – west, ancient or modern; they are all in one way or another going to develop those three skills: concentration power, sensory clarity and equanimity.”
For a full BIO and many more resources to Shinzen’s work (books, videos, and articles) see this prolific mindfulness master’s Teacher’s Page.
This clip and the upcoming film is a Stillness Speaks production. It is produced by Chris Hebard. Filmographer (including video editing) is Jonathan Mugford (who can be contacted @ email@example.com).