concentration vs. mindfulness

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meditation is very important to me. most of the time when i meditate i simply sit still for 15 or 20 minutes and practice noticing and accepting whatever sensations i feel. this is mindfulness meditation, or at least as close as i get to it. mindfulness is the type of meditation that has been the most helpful to me. at times, i can be so unaware of what i feel and how it affects me that i don’t even realize that i’m physically sore or sick or extremely anxious about something in the future. mindfulness is the antidote to that lack of awareness and refusal to accept the facts of what i feel. but mindfulness isn’t everything when it comes to meditation.

this article talks about concentration meditation. after reading it, i can see why i’ve been stuck in my practice for a long time. i have steadily improved at mindfulness, but my ability to avoid getting distracted has stayed at a complete standstill. a year ago, i could meditate for around 20 minutes before i realized i was squirming and thinking so much that i was no longer really meditating. and today, i still can only sit for 20 minutes before the same thing happens.

concentration meditation, as taught by this helpful video, seems like the answer. the narrator describes this type of meditation as going to the gym for the brain, to make it stronger. the article i mentioned a minute ago even talks about concentration as a tool, which could be used for good or evil, but is powerful either way. this practice includes some approaches that i normally would avoid, because they don’t fit into mindfulness. for instance, in this concentration practice the narrator directs you to count your breaths and say the number in your head, while mindfulness rarely encourages naming, even at the beginning stages. both types of meditation seem to converge as they improve, so that, in the end, you might be able to sit still and accept sensation and avoid distraction and not name anything at all.

i’ve also found a lot of help in metta meditation, which is a whole different type of practice that involves a lot more naming and thinking. i like the idea of having a whole arsenal of practices, developed by people thousands of years ago who had no televisions or computers but just as much of an ability to sit still and notice, deeply, what it is really like to be human. i recommend the article and video for a practice akin to lifting weights, tough, intentional, driven by willpower, which¬†will leave you calm and all the more able to find a deeper peace and acceptance with your mindfulness practice.

Vipassana meditation is something of a mental balancing act. You are going to be cultivating two separate qualities of the mind – mindfulness and concentration. Ideally these two work together as a team. They pull in tandem, so to speak. Therefore it is important to cultivate them side-by-side and in a balanced manner. If one of the factors is strengthened at the expense of the other, the balance of the mind is lost and meditation impossible.

 

Sum Greater – Get Managed on the Cheap

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Sum Greater Entertainment had another beneficial meeting last week. Everyone involved has been busy making songs and websites, logos and business cards, legal work and paperwork, and generally coming up with ideas. It was good to come together to compare notes and see where we can take the organization.

Since we are just starting up, Sum Greater is still hashing out everything from our sale’s pitches to what basic services we offer. We all have some ideas of where we want to go, and how we want to get there, and so now we’ve been making strides in getting all of that down on paper so that people can actually use us as a service in the Hillsboro area. Here is some of what we talked about in last two meetings:

Minutes!:

I wrote a song for future use by the charity. We listened to that, and inspected and edit new business cards, a mock up tour guide and drink coupons, and the new website that OC is finishing up. Lots of new stuff and things, which feels very professional. A graphic designer made us a few versions of a logo. And, with of this fun stuff there was, of course, a bunch of paperwork to go along with it.

UPCOMING SHOW AT INFLUENCE IN DOWNTOWN HISTORIC HILLSBORO?

Can’t say for sure, yet, but the rumor around town is that Influence might have just won a grant that will allow the Hall to put on a new series of concerts. Stay tuned for more on that; I’ll post about it when we know for sure. Evan, who founded the Hall and has been working with musical acts in Hillsboro for years, has agreed to give Sum Greater some pointers (a Supervisory External Coach, if such a thing exists).

Mock Tour!

Most of our meeting was taken up with discussing new ideas, and the idea that excited me the most is that of doing a tour around Hillsboro, Portland, and coast. We will get our name out there, and start to work out the nitty-gritties of how to make a tour happen for an act represented by Sum Greater. Some of our events will provide both music and live art – paintings inspired by the music by Al from ABPositive.

(P.S. If you also are excited about the idea of manageable beginner musician’s tour, organized for you by Sum Greater, then let me know. Personally, I’ve never tried it, and I expect it to be a real boost in exposure and experience.)

SHOUTouts

Thanks to Clark’s Bistro for hosting our meetings – they have great Moscow Mules, if you are in the market. Thanks to Cedar House Media, who has been doing some great work for us with the cards and flyers. And, as always, thanks to the Influence Music Hall for just being awesome.

Final Thoughts: What is Sum Greater, Exactly?

I’m not sure! We want to be what the music community in Hillsboro needs us to be. Here are our initial ideas:

Talent Management (We coordinate and book and manage tours)

Event Promotion (Posters and posts to increase your turnouts)

Openers (Providing talent to fill out the show, or even dancers and painters to back you up)

And, it is for a good cause: Social Impact, a public benefit workforce funded by Sum Greater.

 

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Make sense? Ideas? Thoughts? Let us know on our facebook page or comment on this post.

 

 

 

 

 

links:

new song:

https://mybrokenid.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/new-song-mostly-finished-see-the-process/

sum greater:

https://www.facebook.com/QuintonAOConnor/?fref=ts

cedar house:

http://www.cedarhousemedia.com/index.html

clarks:

http://www.clarksbistroandpub.com/

influence:

http://influencemusichall.org/

abpostive:

https://www.facebook.com/ABPositiveco/?fref=ts