Author Topic: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.  (Read 4984 times)

Adrian

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Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« on: November 11, 2013, 08:28:28 PM »
I have been attempting to meditate since sometime around the fall of 2010 and ever since then I have been doing it on and off. At certain points I have taken the practice more serious and stuck to a schedule. Usually it would be once a day from 15 to 30 minutes. This may last a few months and I would usually just quit for weeks (if not months) later because my so called "meditation" sessions become nothing more then long periods of noticing my uncontrollable, random, erratic, asinine thoughts. Many times I begin to think and feel that I'm just inherently not fit enough to quiet the mind and reach a meditative state.

Less than an hour ago, for a total of 45 minutes, I attempted to meditate by concentrating on my breath and the darkness behind my closed eye lids. Maybe I just wasn't relaxed enough but instead of leaving me feeling peaceful it only left me feeling angry, frustrated and discouraged. It made me realize the very disturbing fact that I have no control over myself.

Here are just some random and unrelated things that go on through my mind when truly wanting and attempting to silence it: random heavy metal music, Newtonian laws of motion, random conversations (some that never even occurred), perhaps a job from years ago that I no longer work at, Tom Cruise (or any other celebrity or fictional character from a film), random circumstances or scenarios that took place some time back (or never even taken place at all!), typical worries of the day, questioning myself as to whether I'm truly meditating or not. Looking back at some of these thoughts I'm almost beginning to think I'm hopelessly insane.

Just a few moments ago I had a question to ask but due to all the frustration I forgot what it was. Maybe I just needed to rant but if it ever comes to mind I will ask later.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 08:30:37 PM by Adrian »

Johann (Hanzze)

Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 03:53:30 AM »
Watching movies and seek for entertainment does not make much sense if you like to have some results in your practice.

If you don't adjust you ways and virtue first, there will be no success. So try to get more modest, slower and renounce step by step.

Quote from: Virtue
[Ananda:] "What, O Venerable One, is the reward and blessing of wholesome morality?"

[The Buddha:] "Freedom from remorse, Ananda."

"And of freedom from remorse?"

"Joy, Ananda"

"And of joy?"

"Rapture, Ananda"

"And of rapture?"

"Tranquillity, Ananda."

"And of tranquillity?"

"Happiness, Ananda."

"And of happiness?"

"Concentration, Ananda."

"And of concentration?"

"Vision and knowledge according to reality."

"And of the vision and knowledge according to reality?"

"Turning away and detachment, Ananda."

"And of turning away and detachment?"

"The vision and knowledge with regard to Deliverance, Ananda."

— AN 10.1 (Nyanatiloka, trans.; from Path to Deliverance, pp. 65-66)

Trying to overstep the fact of gross defilement caused by daily deeds can easily lead to insane and other maya (illusion) views and acts.
If you are good and reject the virtue section you can  gain what I love to call "Gecko Samadhi", but that is all. For sure no wisdom and liberation at all.

Adrian

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Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 05:19:18 AM »
Thanks for your reply Johan. What would your recommendation be in terms of seeking to quiet ones mind? I have just picked up a book called Meditation For Beginners by Jack Kornfield. I'm hoping that through implementation of what I learn through this book I can find what I am seeking for. http://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Beginners-Jack-Kornfield/dp/1591799422

Has anyone else been through years of absolute hell in trying to quiet their own thoughts? If managed to succeed how did this come about?

Johann (Hanzze)

Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 05:40:50 AM »
The main tool to work against thoughts is to stay at the breath. So when ever you get aware of "I am thinking" go to the breath, just stay with it. So you are fighting the thoughts to make mind used to stay with the breath. As soon it had found some benefit from it, it will easier stay with it and no more seek pleasure in thinking. If that is difficult and people are used to take word buddho (it maintains some general concepts around this meditation object) as an object of recitation in mind.

You can nothing but have success if you stick with it with patient. And if you are not able to stick with it, there is actually not the time of raising any further question. Do it nothing else and if you are great with it, go and ask a good teacher for further advice.

Btw.: I don't recommend to buy Dhamma, you might get what you want, but not easy Dhamma.

Its actually all very simple, we are just not used to make it simple and seek for more complicate and special stuff.
And as told before, as long as you do not work on your livelihood and your general behavior, speaking, if you have much reaons to think (was it good, have I done that right) out of remorse, thoughts are not easy to handle. So this two parts need to go hand in hand for success.

Mindfullness

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Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 03:23:02 PM »
I have been meditating for years on and off and I still have issues with my thoughts, but maybe that's because I have found it hard to be consistent in meditation. I think running and weight lifting help a great deal, which I have been doing the past few months. Also, just maybe try and calm yourself before you sit down to meditate.

Matthew

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Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 08:58:03 AM »
Hi Adrian,

Less reading, more uncluttering the mind through practice: as Johann said: always returning to the breath is the way to naturally quiet the mind. I'd add the proviso to be sure you do not force quiet on the mind .. It's more about boring it into shutting up by not paying attention to it.

Kind regards,

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

dimeo

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Re: Severe inability to clear the mind of pointless thoughts.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2013, 06:06:24 PM »
my so called "meditation" sessions become nothing more then long periods of noticing my uncontrollable, random, erratic, asinine thoughts.
On a stormy day... does the sky only become stormy when you take a look at it?   When you sit and mediate for 30 minutes you begin to see this stream of thoughts inside as you sit, listen and look within.   It's been there going on the whole time.

Quote
Many times I begin to think and feel that I'm just inherently not fit enough to quiet the mind and reach a meditative state.

Like learning any new skill, you will get better with  time spent in  lessons and practice.

Quote
" instead of leaving me feeling peaceful it only left me feeling angry, frustrated and discouraged."
Students sometimes struggle to learn and improve .... especially the ones who are interested and really care to improve.
Don't try so hard that you want to give up.... let it be something that 'grows' naturally instead of forcing it to happen. 


Quote
It made me realize the very disturbing fact that I have no control over myself
.
That's excellent!  You are already seeing the fruit of your vipassana practice already!
Who knows... maybe next...  the inherent emptiness of this idea of 'self'...?!
 
Look at shamatha practice as well, for calming the mind.   It's like the other side of the coin, you can't really separate the two aspects of meditation.  It's typically done by returning your attention to the breath, to practicing single-pointed pure awareness. 

« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 06:08:35 PM by dimeo »

 

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