Author Topic: Thinking during meditation  (Read 6117 times)

Hazmatac

  • Member
Thinking during meditation
« on: December 21, 2010, 11:36:42 AM »
When you meditate are you supposed to try to not think, or suppress thought? (I mean talking to yourself in words)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 12:19:45 PM »
Initially just pay attention to the bodily sensations as you breathe. Do not suppress thought. This has been repeated many times throughout the forum:

...

Thinking is to be noticed like you might notice a cloud on a summer day. Just watch it pass. It is not you. We usually get caught up but you can not fabricate a silent mind without force that dulls awareness. So you have to learn to just let thoughts be. Don't even label them, be aware of them arising without following the train of thoughts and without judgement.

Fabricate nothing. Do not fabricate silence or thoughtlessness or thought. Just sense the breathing in your body ... and let your mind relax and wind down like a clock. It will need .. time.

Then, one day, the thinking will stop. But it won't happen tomorrow, unless you are suppressing your mind with force.
...
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Lokuttara

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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 04:07:25 PM »
Indeed, just noticing the thoughts is usually a powerful enough thing in itself. If you notice thoughts your awareness is already strong, because you are not involved with the thoughts. If you are involved with the thoughts, you become the thoughts, you live them. You have lost all awareness that you are actually thinking. And that's ok, it happens. But noticing, or even noting "thinking", is an amazingly powerful tool that magically allows the mind to relax more, and often brings in a little more silent space between the thoughts :) They might keep coming, but it's ok - relax, breathe. Notice the thoughts.

So in otherwords, don't try to do anything. If you try to force the mind to concentrate too much you will end up pushing your emotions and thoughts down into the consciousness instead of bringing a loving, kind and compassionate awareness to them. They need love, and the light of your conscious awareness, then they pass...
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 04:10:36 PM by Lokuttara »
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 05:24:01 PM »
difference between noticing and being your thoughts:

~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

atalero

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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 05:41:12 PM »
Love the illustration, very helpful.  And made me smile :)

Thank you!

Semantic

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 04:16:59 PM »
I have a big problem with this too. A lot of material I've read talks about "noticing" your thoughts, or "being aware" of thoughts as they happen.

I find this absolutely impossible though. If I'm aware, then thoughts are not there. If I'm really thinking about something, then awareness isn't there. Sure, I notice that my mind has trailed off on a train of thought after a while and I then bring the attention back to the breath, but it is as if awareness and thinking can't coexist at the same time. It's either/or.

Is this simply a matter of practice?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 06:36:34 PM »
I have a big problem with this too. A lot of material I've read talks about "noticing" your thoughts, or "being aware" of thoughts as they happen.

I find this absolutely impossible though. If I'm aware, then thoughts are not there. If I'm really thinking about something, then awareness isn't there. Sure, I notice that my mind has trailed off on a train of thought after a while and I then bring the attention back to the breath, but it is as if awareness and thinking can't coexist at the same time. It's either/or.

Is this simply a matter of practice?

Yes. Keep doing Shamatha meditation until your mind calms down enough that you can do both at once .... i.e. have a thought ... and be aware of it ... without becoming it.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Semantic

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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 06:52:46 PM »
Yes. Keep doing Shamatha meditation until your mind calms down enough that you can do both at once .... i.e. have a thought ... and be aware of it ... without becoming it.

It sounds so easy when you say it. I just don't know how.

The only thinking that can go on while I'm maintaining awareness is the sort of dulled "running commentary" that tends to happen. "I'm now focusing on the breath, I am hearing cars outside" etc. As soon as a standard thought arises, it automatically switches off the awareness. This is why I have never been able to notice the moment of a thought arising.

Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2011, 07:38:10 PM »
Quote
This is why I have never been able to notice the moment of a thought arising.

well my experience is when u practice more u observe the thought faster. so now as soon as a thought comes i realize it as a thought and cut it out...

but even i am not able to see the moment of a thought arising clearly.  :(

jeepneyko

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2011, 07:57:20 PM »
just focus on the breath for a while.. then when the mind wanders.. go back to the breath.. then you will be able to notice that the mind will calm down.. but then again go back to the breath...

i guess if you do this for about 20 or more hours, then you will be able to go to the next phase.. the awareness of the body.. then after about 30 or more hours ... to the awareness of the thinking processes.. then the more you practice, the more your sitting will become deeper and deeper..

for me, i read about these things about 10 or 20 percent and then practice about 80 percent, well just a matter of computation i guess, nothing serious. important is to do it!  ;D

Semantic

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 09:39:41 PM »
i guess if you do this for about 20 or more hours, then you will be able to go to the next phase.. the awareness of the body.. then after about 30 or more hours ... to the awareness of the thinking processes.. then the more you practice, the more your sitting will become deeper and deeper..

I've been doing this for 6 months now, a quick estimate of hours spent would probably be around 75. I have been practicing awareness of the breath, awareness of the body, and awareness of sounds.

The main reason for seeking out this forum though, is that I'm feeling I'm not really getting anywhere. I'm certainly not seeing any of the four effects mentioned in the Meditation Basics post, i.e. greater compassion and higher tolerance for other people etc.

I know this is a tricky subject in itself, and was planning to write a new post on the question of "progress", but that is where I'm at right now.

Morning Dew

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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 09:58:19 PM »
Quote
I have been practicing awareness of the breath, awareness of the body, and awareness of sounds

There is no way you can practice awareness my friend no matter what people say  :) We are aware of the sounds and the body and breath already what we do need to practice is Remembering To Come Back to the Body and calming it with each in and outbreath.
Awareness can not be forced. If forced then you feel exactly the way you feel now  ;D " I'm feeling I'm not really getting anywhere". Here you exhibit awareness  ;) you are aware that you are not getting anywhere, you see. Very easy! But not that easy to remember to bring the awareness to calming the body with each in and outbreath.

Quote
I'm certainly not seeing any of the four effects mentioned in the Meditation Basics post, i.e. greater compassion and higher tolerance for other people etc

Goal orientated practice might give you hard time because it is the ego self who is the creator of goals. Notice this ego self desiering to become compassionate and kind. See it for what it is by not clinging to it ... remember to return to the body ... calm it and with the edge of your inner eye observe the self wanting (desire, craving) to become compassionate and kind.  ;D

Let the Insight happen on its own accord and when it does you will naturaly become a little more compassionate and kind. Little by little the ego self will subside and give space to more insight.

Remember to Remember to Keep it simple .. if you Remember  ;)

You will be just fine my friend!
Friendly Che

Semantic

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 10:12:44 PM »
Hehe thanks dude. What you write is good advice, it's just that my analytical mind, used to 35 years of heavily left-brain-dominated intellectual thinking, is struggling with even understanding concepts like "letting go and letting it happen of its own accord".

And I know that goal-oriented thinking like this can be damaging, but on the other hand, why would anyone start meditating if they didn't expect it to have any effect whatsoever?

Semantic

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2011, 10:24:42 PM »
Actually, let me reply to that in a little bit more depth.

Quote
I'm certainly not seeing any of the four effects mentioned in the Meditation Basics post, i.e. greater compassion and higher tolerance for other people etc

Goal orientated practice might give you hard time because it is the ego self who is the creator of goals. Notice this ego self desiering to become compassionate and kind.

This was actually not a conscious goal or desire when starting out. My main desire was to gain insight into why this person I call me behaves the way he does, and through this insight, maybe one day bring about some change.

The reason I brought up the compassion/tolerance thing is because it so often features in people's reports of external changes that they notice as tangible effects of doing meditation. Just like it does in Matthew's introduction post on this site.

So I'm not sure that "this ego self desiring to become compassionate and kind" explains everything here.

Quote
Remember to Remember to Keep it simple .. if you Remember  ;)

Yeah, sometimes I feel that the more I read, the more confused I get. Have been spending most of today reading posts on this forum and my head is spinning...

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 07:21:00 AM »
Hehe thanks dude. What you write is good advice, it's just that my analytical mind, used to 35 years of heavily left-brain-dominated intellectual thinking, is struggling with even understanding concepts like "letting go and letting it happen of its own accord".

Stop trying to understand. It won't help. You must experience this with bodymind.

And I know that goal-oriented thinking like this can be damaging, but on the other hand, why would anyone start meditating if they didn't expect it to have any effect whatsoever?

The ego makes the decision to meditate. It does it because somewhere in the back of your mind you have seen through the charade of your day to day life, self identifications or some other aspect of your life/being that is unwholesome. Don't expect the ego to enjoy this process once you get going - once you start it will realise what is going on (it's death) and resist. Ego is not the same as in western psychology, it includes Freud's other aspects of self such as the Id, the superego and the rest of the subconscious mind.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 07:25:21 AM »
.....
The reason I brought up the compassion/tolerance thing is because it so often features in people's reports of external changes that they notice as tangible effects of doing meditation. Just like it does in Matthew's introduction post on this site.

So I'm not sure that "this ego self desiring to become compassionate and kind" explains everything here.

Quote
Remember to Remember to Keep it simple .. if you Remember  ;)

Yeah, sometimes I feel that the more I read, the more confused I get. Have been spending most of today reading posts on this forum and my head is spinning...

Remember to keep it simple to start - it is a physiological process, sitting, breathing, calming: and letting awareness, concentration and insight to emerge in the space thus created (eventually compassion will come when you realise the small painful world your mind has been confined too - and recognise everyone you know is still stuck in that crappy place).

Don't read too much. More sitting less reading.

:)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 07:27:43 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jeeprs

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 07:37:26 AM »
someone once said that the brain can no longer stop thinking than the stomach digesting. It is an autonomic process. To try and force it to be quiet is to miss the point. To notice it is the main point. 'Oh, thinking. Now let's get back to the breath.' Very simple and natural. After a while, thoughts begin to loose their sense of being all-consuming. You are not taken away or lead along by them so much any more. They come and go, and you notice them coming and going. And that is when you naturally start to quiet down.

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2011, 07:49:51 AM »
Jeesper,Yes to be a master of mind it is hard work. Thoughts come and come again. I recognize my last thoughts is "I thought again observe it". After I observe and it is about meditation.
 

Semantic

  • Guest
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2011, 08:57:13 AM »
The ego makes the decision to meditate. It does it because somewhere in the back of your mind you have seen through the charade of your day to day life, self identifications or some other aspect of your life/being that is unwholesome. Don't expect the ego to enjoy this process once you get going - once you start it will realise what is going on (it's death) and resist.

Very well put. And quite motivational. Viewing it in terms of the ego resisting could be quite helpful. I'm sick of this ego, and it can resist however much it wants as far as I'm concerned. :)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2011, 09:09:17 AM »
Very well put. And quite motivational. Viewing it in terms of the ego resisting could be quite helpful. I'm sick of this ego, and it can resist however much it wants as far as I'm concerned. :)

Oh don't worry about ego - it will!
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

jeepneyko

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Re: Thinking during meditation
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2011, 06:35:23 PM »
i was wondering.. why not pursue the thought-creating-ego to the very end?  ;)

i did this time-consuming process once when i was in a seminar in thailand. and the last time i did this was when i was in a monastery.

in thailand, after the ''process'', i heard a sound in the forest as if i just heard it for the first time.
in the monastery, after the ''process'', i left for good, no coming back. hehehe  :D

sometimes i do it while on a bus. but when its time to go down, i go down and forget all about it.

it can be the same in sitting right? or am i doing it wrong?  ???

 

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