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Cory Muscara



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Mental Proliferation

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome back to

your Daily Mindfulness.

In today's session, we're going

to talk about the word papancha.

Now this is a word from the Pali language

and it means the countless generation of

pointless thoughts, mental proliferation.

When one thought leads to another, then

another, then another then another.

This is papancha.

I first learned about this word

while practicing meditation in Burma.

It's used to describe the mental

proliferation that can get activated

by a single sense experience such as a

sight, a sound, a smell, taste, sensation.

And we've all experienced it.

I'm sure you already had that

recognition when hearing the definition.

Just one thought triggers another

thought, which triggers another thought

and triggers another thought until

several minutes have gone by and you're

completely lost in some trail of thinking

that no longer has anything to do with

the original experience that arose.

That's papancha.

And I, I love the word, papancha,

because the way it sounds is, at

least for me, how the experience

of mental proliferation feels.

All that ping ponging of this thought,

this thought, this thought, this thought.

It just feels like how

the word papancha sounds.

So how can we use this?

Well, in your meditation practice,

when you notice this mental

proliferation arise, one, recognize

that there's a word for this, papancha.

And because there's a word

for it, it means every other

human has experienced it.

So you're in good company.

It's normal.

And you can use it to label the experience

so that it doesn't become so personal.

A lot of times when the thoughts are going

in all these different directions, we can

feel like, you know, what's wrong with me?

What's wrong with my mind?

Why is it doing this?

Why I won't to stop thinking?

But instead, if we just

go, Oh, that's papancha.


It kind of depersonalizes the experience

and puts a name on something in a way that

allows us to just recognize it for what

it is,ah mental proliferation, papancha.

So I invite you to, to start to bring

that into your meditation practice

and even throughout your day, when

you notice that mental proliferation

and setting, instead of getting caught

up in judgment or self-berating,

just say, Oh, there's papancha.

There's papancha.

And bring the attention

back to the present moment.

Mind goes off again, there's papancha.

And have some fun with it.

At the heart of it.

I think that's the biggest thing we

really want to cultivate in our practice,

little bit more playfulness, a little

bit more understanding and a little

bit more ease in relationship to our

mind, especially our papancha mind.

So enjoy adding this to your practice.

Thank you for your practice and let's

settle in for today's meditation.

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