Author Topic: Sinking Mind  (Read 3815 times)

Billymac629

  • Bill
  • Member
  • Everything rises and everything falls away
    • Breath and Satipatthana
    • mindfully observing
Sinking Mind
« on: February 20, 2012, 07:44:19 PM »
I've been experiencing a very relaxed wandering state of mind. Been having tremendous difficulty staying mindful for any amount of time. 
Feeling of day dreaming throughout the meditation.  Bhante Gunaratana recommends concentrative practices like counting the breath or noting"in" and "out" with breathing. Until mindfulness is regained and then to stop using the aids.
Anybody have any thoughts or any other remedies?
With metta
Billy
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

Cilla

  • Guest
Re: Sinking Mind
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 12:41:58 AM »
Are you trying? Or are you letting "anything go". This is not mindfulness. Its the opposite of being mindful. Mindfulness is a method of focussed attention, and is not letting your mind be free to wander. Its keeping your mind focussed on what you are doing and experiencing. Not on what you are thinking. You have to work at it.

It sounds like you should go back to working on your concentration some more. You could even begin each meditation session by concentrating on the breath for say 15 minutes before moving over to straight mindfulness. What you should be doing when your mind wanders is bring it back to the breath. Always bring it back to the breath, gently, but always do it.

I used to do the counting thing and it can help but when i was doing the goenka retreat someone asked about counting, the teacher said not to do it because what one ends up doing is just counting and not noticing the breath. This is very true. I think counting is useful for total beginners but people who've been trying however unsuccessfully to meditate for a while, should let this practice go.

So, if you do count the breaths, only do it for a short period. Up to about 30 breaths maximum. And even then when you mind wanders off the count, start again. But then you might never get to 30 so if that's the case, you need to stop counting after a while.

The problem is one of inadequate concentration. So actually suspect the best thing is not to count after all but to do fairly shorts stints and to try with determination to keep bringing the mind back to the breath.

What one would notice is that with determination, gradually one gets better at this. The more you do any task, the better you get at it. Its like weight lifting, you muscles grow and so you get stronger. Its exactly the same with meditation and any mental work.

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: Sinking Mind
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 04:50:36 AM »
I've been experiencing a very relaxed wandering state of mind. Been having tremendous difficulty staying mindful for any amount of time. 
Feeling of day dreaming throughout the meditation.
Anybody have any thoughts or any other remedies?


Hi Billy,

I can relate to this alot. I find that there is a strong determination to 'get it right' hence your judgement that it is difficult to stay 'mindful' for any amount of time.

What do I do? Just keep going, with as little of these judgements as possible. And there is good reason for this advice too; 1) there is a sublte trap in the thought 'I will stay mindful'. It goes to the heart of why we suffer and why we do this at all. 2) day dreaming can be your friend because when you do calmly remember 'oh yes, lets be interested in this present moment' you will already be quite calm. Your day dreaming will have done the job of calming you better than you could!

I lost count how many times I've been lost in thought on the cushion then found myself deeply relaxed and absorbed in the moment when I finally 'remembered'.

Let go of the judgements, keep relaxing into the experience of what you are attempting with as much wonder and interest as possible.

Get interested in all those thoughts, feelings, get interested in being interested, watch and be entertained as one judgement after the other flows.

A little smile on the face helps alot too. (check out all the buddha statues for how that is done!)

Oh, and try to sit with your eyes open. closed eyes are OK once your concentration is stronger. Hence my eyes are always open  ;)

« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 04:56:53 AM by Andrew »
getting it done

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: Sinking Mind
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 05:18:16 AM »
Perhaps I should elaborate on the subtle trap i alluded to. 

All thoughts are impermanent. They have an beginning and an end. they are inconsistent.

All ideas such as 'i will do this or that' are of the same nature. Impermanent, inconsistent, transient.

All moments not seeing/applying this wisdom are wasted as far as the goal of buddhist meditation is concerned.

So the thought 'I will stay mindful' should itself be noticed as simply another thought in a chain. This is actual mindfulness, vs the idea of mindfulness as being some consistent, permanent thing 'I will be'

It is subtle, fractal, happening anyway, if  and when you remember to notice, cool, if not, going back over it or planning to be otherwise is a waste of effort.

Notice now the nature of your mind, including all the ideas and thoughts that pass through it. If you get caught up, so what? keep going.

It is more of a deliberate conditioning, than a decision or resolution in my experience.

Maybe someone can say this in a more simple way. Actually I can think of one; did you come to meditation to add another judgement to the list?    :D
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 05:59:06 AM by Andrew »
getting it done

Billymac629

  • Bill
  • Member
  • Everything rises and everything falls away
    • Breath and Satipatthana
    • mindfully observing
Re: Sinking Mind
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 09:40:31 PM »
Thanks Andrew... It's definitely a judgmental thing..which I've had in the past...  Definitely good advice with the just noticing the "now".. Haven't had the daydreaming really in the past couple sits, but I'm not really worried about it... If I catch myself I just realize what happen and bring myself back t to the breath...  And if I catch myself judging then I just notice that, let it go, and come back to the breath.. 
Kinda forgot one of the rules I was taught: "don't go into meditation with expectations of what it should be like"  whatever happens, just notice and come back to the breath!
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

 

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