Author Topic: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere  (Read 4659 times)

Mindfullness

  • Member
Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« on: June 27, 2013, 02:27:31 PM »
Hello forum members.

I have a problem whenever I meditate. I follow the technique provided by Matthew on the homepage. I know that when we have thoughts, we are supposed to just let them go without tormenting ourselves and return to the body sensations. However, my issue is that my mind keeps on going and going and going. It wants to multitask. Whenever I try to move my attention to focus on the sensations on the body, my mind keeps creating thoughts nonstop no matter how many times I move my attention to the body. For instance, I get a lot of random thoughts about friends (things that haven't even happened, like made up situations) or songs I listened to. The thing is, its like my mind wants to think these things at the same time as I feel the sensations. It's like it doesn't want me to just feel my body without thought. Do you guys have any suggestion?

Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 04:45:26 PM »
As long as you are aware of sensation its ok. As time passes you will learn to observe mind along with sensations. Dont be hard on yourself. Try to add small elements of observation of mind at a time. Starting with reaction sensations for the thoughts is a good start.

Mpgkona

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    • Some of this, some of that.
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Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 05:21:59 PM »
Try reading about sayadaw mahasi's technique. This technique "allows" for these thoughts, although you will be noting these thoughts incessantly and then return to abdominal breathing. The difference I see between this tecnique and Goenkas is that you will observe impermanence theough these thoughts instead of theough observing bodily sensations. This appeals to me more than the Goenka technique.
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Billymac629

  • Bill
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  • Everything rises and everything falls away
    • Breath and Satipatthana
    • mindfully observing
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 09:31:44 PM »
Your doing fine...  ardency is a key factor in practice... Just keep coming back to the breath... Show the mind who's boss lol.. Be patient and don't be so hard on yourself... Your brain thinks, that's what it's suppose to do... Just notice when it happens and come back to the breath...  ;D
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

Masauwu

  • Member
    • chipping away
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 09:42:10 PM »
A few things to try out...

When in doubt, always contemplate the original guide - specifically the first part of the "Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing" fragment, try to understand what the author wanted to transmit; usually every tutorial we find is an interpretation of this original source. For example my interpretation is that it's very important not just to try and stay with the sensations of the breath, but also to try and be continuously aware that you follow the sensations of the breath.

I found it helpful to set an intention to observe the continuity of the breath cycle: when the inbreath begins, when it ends, the brief gap, when the outbreath begins, when it ends and so on; it's like a self-renewing anchoring in the present moment that doesn't let the object of attention fade in the background and be replaced by thoughts. Also in my experience it was easier to start with following the breath sensations in a small spot (nose, abdomen, wherever you are comfortable) and then gradually allow more of the body sensations to join in the object of attention - when i tried to abruptly switch from nose to whole body i was overwhelmed by mind wandering; it may not be necessary, but keep it in mind if all else fails.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Billymac629

  • Bill
  • Member
  • Everything rises and everything falls away
    • Breath and Satipatthana
    • mindfully observing
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 10:25:55 PM »
A few things to try out...

When in doubt, always contemplate the original guide - specifically the first part of the "Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing" fragment, try to understand what the author wanted to transmit; usually every tutorial we find is an interpretation of this original source. For example my interpretation is that it's very important not just to try and stay with the sensations of the breath, but also to try and be continuously aware that you follow the sensations of the breath.

I found it helpful to set an intention to observe the continuity of the breath cycle: when the inbreath begins, when it ends, the brief gap, when the outbreath begins, when it ends and so on; it's like a self-renewing anchoring in the present moment that doesn't let the object of attention fade in the background and be replaced by thoughts. Also in my experience it was easier to start with following the breath sensations in a small spot (nose, abdomen, wherever you are comfortable) and then gradually allow more of the body sensations to join in the object of attention - when i tried to abruptly switch from nose to whole body i was overwhelmed by mind wandering; it may not be necessary, but keep it in mind if all else fails.

Agreed...  Nicely said. ;D
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

Mindfullness

  • Member
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 02:28:33 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I have gone back and read the original suttas. However, this book might be of interest to some of you out there. It explains the sutta in more detail--sure, it's his interpretation of the sutta but it seems to explain an essential line that is not really explained very often by many schools of Buddhism:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159477434X/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 09:29:33 AM »
...
It's like it doesn't want me to just feel my body without thought. Do you guys have any suggestion?

Keep returning to the breath. Your busy mind will bore itself and quieten down. You can only learn to ride a bike by learning how to fall off first and meditation is no different.

Secondly pay some attention to your state of mind during the day. Stop every now and again take a few breaths and notice what is going on. If the mind is always busy meditate for five minutes a few times during the day. However much time you put in on the cushion, progress towards a calm and stable mind will be slowed if your life/mind is non-stop hectic off the cushion.

Kindly,

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

Mindfullness

  • Member
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2013, 02:39:08 PM »
...
It's like it doesn't want me to just feel my body without thought. Do you guys have any suggestion?

Keep returning to the breath. Your busy mind will bore itself and quieten down. You can only learn to ride a bike by learning how to fall off first and meditation is no different.

Secondly pay some attention to your state of mind during the day. Stop every now and again take a few breaths and notice what is going on. If the mind is always busy meditate for five minutes a few times during the day. However much time you put in on the cushion, progress towards a calm and stable mind will be slowed if your life/mind is non-stop hectic off the cushion.

Kindly,

Matthew

Matthew, by return to the breath, you mean return to the sensations of the body, right?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2013, 03:06:34 PM »
Yes, physical sensation in the body created by the breathing process <--- it's a bit much to write every time :D
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Mindfullness

  • Member
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2013, 09:50:44 PM »
Thank you! And I admit, yes, it's a bit tedious to type it out everytime lol.

redalert

Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2013, 10:43:23 PM »
Hey minfulness,

Are you observing the precepts? Observing the precepts is in my opinion the first ingredient in cultivating a calm concentrated mind.

jonathan

Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2013, 09:56:48 AM »
...
It's like it doesn't want me to just feel my body without thought. Do you guys have any suggestion?

Keep returning to the breath. Your busy mind will bore itself and quieten down. You can only learn to ride a bike by learning how to fall off first and meditation is no different.

Secondly pay some attention to your state of mind during the day. Stop every now and again take a few breaths and notice what is going on. If the mind is always busy meditate for five minutes a few times during the day. However much time you put in on the cushion, progress towards a calm and stable mind will be slowed if your life/mind is non-stop hectic off the cushion.

Kindly,

Matthew

Hi all,

I shared the same questions as Mindfulness, thank you for your feedback.
However, suffering from bouts of anxiety, I was wondering how to quiet the mind and deal with the tensions/monkey mind/negative thoughts. During the sitting sessions, we need to gently go back to the breath. But during a "social" situation (talking to friends, commuting, giving a presentation), how can we deal with unwanted thoughts? How do you return to the present moment?
Welcome your views.
Jonathan
 

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2013, 12:44:28 PM »
Jonathan,

Meditation practice is named that for a reason .. it's practice for employing the fruits off the cushion.

In practice we touch our inner calm and peace (though we may have to wade through much inner disquiet to get there). In practice we develop concentration (though we may at first become more aware of our lack of concentration to get there). In practice we develop insight (though we may have to go through much confusion to get there). In practice we develop equanimity (though we may go through periods that seem unbalanced to get there).

In developing these fruits of calm, concentration, insight and equanimity we touch these states repeatedly. We undo many old habits and, slowly over time, as we touch upon these states we develop peace and even bliss and rapture - we become aware of the possibility of these states of mind which may have eluded us before.

As our practice bears fruit on the cushion, off the cushion we can reach back to these experiential states of mind and place ourselves in them.

If you are in a social situation and start to feel anxious you can remember (be mindful) of the states of calm, peace, bliss or rapture you have experienced and know your mind can inhabit - and induce these in yourself through anchoring your momentary experience through a few breaths.

If you are experiencing unwanted thoughts you can bring your mind to peace through anchoring experience of now in the breath, you can bring your mind to calmly concentrate on the thought and develop equanimity towards them through anchoring experience of the moment in the breath.

The breath is the anchor that allows you to embody yourself and move away from the head-centric over-thinking conditioned state that is the norm in today's world. The breath is a present moment experience. Just stopping for a few moments in the ways I described above (second para of my post you quoted) you can bring your mind back under control when it goes off track.

It doesn't happen overnight (but it can happen relatively quickly with dedication and great self-honesty).

No one can do it but you (but you are the one who can do it).

Remembering (synonymous with the Pali word Sati, translated as mindfulness - "being mindful of") these experiential fruits developed in practice and employing them in your day to day life is key. Step back from situations of discomfort for just a brief moment, breathe and remember you know how peace/calm feels, how concentration feels, how insight works and how equanimity feels. Don't remember with words, remember with your experience developed through practice.

Balance on and off the cushion is achieved this way. And as redalert pointed out sagely:

Are you observing the precepts? Observing the precepts is in my opinion the first ingredient in cultivating a calm concentrated mind.

If one is not observing the precepts the practice won't work to it's fullest extent, on and off the cushion balance won't be found.

Kindly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 12:53:34 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

jonathan

Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2013, 07:08:29 PM »
Thank you very much, Matthew, it's great to get some guidance from more experienced practicioners.

One small question on the practical side: how do you actually manage to focus on your breath when "active" in a social setting? For instance, when giving a presentation or even when talking to someone, obviously the people are looking at you and expecting you to go on with your presentation/discussion? they don't know that you are dealing with anxious thoughts. So if you feel anxiety coming up and you were to then focus on your breath, how would that be possible since you're actually busy talking etc?
There are some situations in which it's possible to pause, (close one's eyes) and take a few mindful breaths to calm down. But I find that in situations in which I am active (sort of the center of attention), it's more difficult to achieve. Do you have any tips?


Many thanks.
Jonathan

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thoughts, Thoughts everywhere
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2013, 10:36:02 PM »
Jonathan,

Presentations are best delivered at a measured pace. Prattling on non-stop doesn't work!

Practice measuring your pace in such a way that, when you take a brief pause, you use it to touch the breath, the calm, the equanimity etc.

Even when active and the centre of attention, you will grab that attention more if you are more centred in yourself ..... stopping and "going inward" to "come out back out" centred in yourself will improve and not detract from your ability to communicate as it will be more authentic, merely for the act of looking inside before speaking.

Kindly,

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

 

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