Author Topic: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)  (Read 3478 times)

RickW

Hello

My name is rick and I've recently started meditating, or at least trying to. In a nut shell, I was diagnosed with inattentive subtype adhd when I was younger, which is essentially just an inability to focus/stop daydreaming, it's also referred to as winnie the pooh syndrome haha, unfortunately I'm considerably more bitter and frustrated with life than winnie the pooh, hence my current attempt at meditation. Also, at the age of 15 (I'm now 28), in my infinite adolescent wisdom, I decided that it would be a good idea to start smoking copious amounts of cannabis, this continued until the age of about 21 culminating in me becoming a paranoid delusional mess, fortunately after I stopped smoking it I regained enough of my marbles to lead a normalish existence but I still have problems with concentration, depression, anxiety etc.

So after doing some research I've started trying to practice mindfulness meditation, I've only been doing it for a few weeks and I think I might be seeing some good effects from it but I'm still quite confused about the mind set I should be trying to achieve in the practice. I don't seem to be capable of focusing on my breath and ridding my mind of thought for more than a few seconds, quieting my mind seems like such an intangible and abstract thing to achieve, if anything I find my self thinking about thinking, if you know what I mean? I think the process of recognising my own thoughts and seeing them objectively has benefited me, I've kind of realised that I'm actually quite petty and angry and I'm only hurting my self with those types of thoughts.

So I suppose my question is - should I actually be able to clear my mind to some reasonable extent or is it the process of trying to clear you mind that is important? Is it ridding my mind of thoughts that I should be trying to achieve or is it recognising my thoughts and addressing them objectively so I can make them less prominent in my mind? 

I know this is a fairly vague wishy washy question but if anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated :)

Cheers

Rick



 

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 03:22:22 PM »
Hi Rick,

If I can nutshell it, the process is a large part of the result. Whilst there is often a large emphasis on a destination (be it enlightened or free from thought) a large part of the benefit comes from the insight gleamed over time to the mechanics of your mind.

Don't sit willing thoughts away or trying to concentrate on the breath so much as just observing them. You will switch between breath and thought and should learn over time that both are inevitable and less a part of your conscious will than you think. This hopefully leads to a de-prioritising of thoughts of the past, present and imaginary and more focus and enjoyment on the present.

It may take some time but the fruits are very sweet, just don't get hungry for them. You will find some very ripe ones but only sporadically at first, they are tasters.

Cheers

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: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 01:29:10 AM »
Welcome Rick,


Firstly give up trying and learn to relax into the practice. Trying and relaxing are polar opposites.

Secondly give up trying to achieve, especially thoughtlessness, the harder you try the further you move from the state of non-thought. In fact you risk suppressing thought and forcing a quiet mind consisting of dullness and self-hypnotic trance, pleasantly quiet yet useless in leaning anything about reality - you might as well take a sleep.

Thirdly learn to relax and become an observer of body and mind. The observer, or 'watcher' is a stage on the path. Eventually the observer and the observed become one, this takes time.

Base your mindfulness in observation of the physical sensations created by the process of breathing and start from there: to develop calm, concentration and acceptance that what is happening is 'non-self', i.e. non clinging, non attachment and equanimity towards all arising phenomena.
q
As Dharmic Tui says 'don't get hungry' - this is the land of the perpetually dissatisfied seeker known as the 'hungry ghost'.

You'll discover what Sati (mindfulness) is by repeatedly paying attention to the breath, gently returning to it when the mind wanders, without judgement and without guilt.

It's not hard, it just takes good technique, regular practice and staying as mindful as you can on and off the cushion.

Kindly,

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

RickW

Re: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 06:43:09 PM »
I think I can see where you are both coming from, like all things I expect this will require a fairly large amount of trial and error.

I seem to be able to achieve two basic states (for lack of a better word). One being fairly short bursts (perhaps 5 seconds) of thoughtlessness whilst focusing on my breathing, this isn't all that relaxing. the other being a state where I still have thoughts but they have been quietened, as if they're just in my subconscious or at the back of my mind, this seems more relaxing and more conducive to me being able to observe my own thoughts and breath but I become a bit hazy and lethargic. 

If that makes any sense then I'd appreciate hearing your views on it.

Still early days anyhow, going to get to the library next chance I get and pick up some books on it :)

Thanks for responding guys :)

Rick

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: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 12:36:24 AM »
Rick,

It's very simple. Do not seek thoughtlessness, in doing so you are numbing your mind/hypnotising yourself for brief periods.

Develop calm relaxed awareness and put up with the ramblings of your mind paying no heed to them and, eventually your thoughts will subside, bore themselves away.

Concentrate on the breath.

That's all there is to it.

Kindly,

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

redalert

Re: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 02:08:22 AM »

Still early days anyhow, going to get to the library next chance I get and pick up some books on it :)


If you have a temple near you it may be worth a visit, the Dhamma books in the libraries there are free to view and are superior to the ones I've found in my local library.

There will probably be guided meditation offered there, and this I believe would be very beneficial to you at this stage. Your realization that your thoughts are hurting you is exactly where you need to be to begin this journey.

much metta,
Red

dimeo

  • Member
  • “What we think, we become.“
    • Mahamudra / Dzogchen
Re: Rookie questions you've probably heard a million times (sorry)
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 12:37:55 AM »
Quote
I don't seem to be capable of focusing on my breath and ridding my mind of thought for more than a few seconds, quieting my mind seems like such an intangible and abstract thing to achieve, if anything I find my self thinking about thinking, if you know what I mean? I think the process of recognising my own thoughts and seeing them objectively has benefited me, I've kind of realised that I'm actually quite petty and angry and I'm only hurting my self with those types of thoughts.


Nice to meet you!  From what I've experienced and heard others say, meditation really helps with developing focus and concentration. 

You might find using mala beads helps. I've found they're really helping my practice in an amazing way.  Find an beaded necklace, roasary whatever at the goodwill/value village. You can make one in a few minutes.

Even if you find some quietness just a few seconds thats something! 

You've also made progress just in being able to see your thoughts and feelings and develop that awareness you describe.

I enjoy dialogue and questions, so keep asking!
 




 

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