Author Topic: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging  (Read 5102 times)

J0rrit

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Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« on: September 12, 2014, 02:26:52 PM »
Hello there,

I want to learn more about the calming of the bodymind, especially more about the calming of the mind/letting tension in the mind go, which is directly correlated with clinging of the mind to sense-objects (any of the 6 senses). Whenever there is any clinging in the mind, there's this tension in the mind, that I can release consciously. If I do this, the mind lets go of the clinging to the object(s), and it enters a state of more letting go and less clinging. It's like there's always an overlay on awareness which forms the clinging to experiences of sense objects. And it's if I can release this state/overlay of awareness by releasing the tension in the mind, which releases the clinging. If I don't do this, and do nothing but just WATCH, my mind clings more and more and gets very tense, and this results in headache. 

This tension in the mind needs to be released constantly, or else the clinging will gradually build up in the mind. This will result in the opposite of a state of letting go. So the release of this mind-tension is the MAJOR aspect of letting go in my practice. It's if this letting go of tension results in a state of mind which watches things without clinging. But it has to be done constantly. A constant correction of releasing this mind-tension during meditation. 

BUT, this is not LETTING THINGS BE AS THEY ARE and not DOING NOTHING/WATCHING ONLY, but I feel like this is the only way for me at the moment. I would like to understand more about this. What is this release of tension exactly, is it indeed the release of clinging to sense objects? Can't it disturb the meditation because it's doing something (to get into deep meditation the DOING has to cease)? I would like to understand how this fits in the teachings of letting things be and being content which whatever is happening. How can it be that Major teachers like Ajahn Brahm, which talks about letting go all the time, don't emphasize this releasing of tension in the mind, if it's such a necessary thing to do in the art of letting go (of clinging)? 

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 08:07:40 PM »
Releasing of tension is a bi-product of letting go of thoughts through concentration on the breath. I don't think it's something you will away, directly.

BuddhistBoi

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 03:37:29 PM »
My experience has demonstrated that letting things be as they are is more of an attitude of acceptance than it is a state of inaction. 

An intentional release of tension, usually with the help of a verbal statement or feeling of intent, is more effective for me at removing tension than just returning to the breath.   

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 05:39:13 AM »
That sounds like the words of someone yet to truly let go.

BuddhistBoi, have you ever undertaken a sitting with little to no conscious instruction?

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 08:42:54 AM »
J0rrit,

I think you're not clear on two points that are important:

1.  The aim is not "letting things be as they are" - the aim is change, movement away from suffering

2.  Whatever anyone else teaches the Buddha teaches releasing the kinds of tension you describe. The Anapanasati Sutta is not just about breath and body:

Quote
Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing
"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.

"Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing" (MN 118), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html .


Emphasis mine

Does that make things clearer?

Best,

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

J0rrit

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 09:49:48 AM »
That sounds like the words of someone yet to truly let go.

BuddhistBoi, have you ever undertaken a sitting with little to no conscious instruction?

What do you mean by this?

J0rrit

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 09:56:03 AM »
J0rrit,

I think you're not clear on two points that are important:

1.  The aim is not "letting things be as they are" - the aim is change, movement away from suffering

2.  Whatever anyone else teaches the Buddha teaches releasing the kinds of tension you describe. The Anapanasati Sutta is not just about breath and body:

Quote
Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing
"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.

"Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing" (MN 118), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html .


Emphasis mine

Does that make things clearer?

Best,

Matthew

Yes. How can it be that it's the eight step 'calming mental fabrication' while I (have to) do this continiously from the first moment on of meditation?

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 10:03:33 AM »
It's not linear in that sense - we are all different. You have to learn "how to ride the bike" for yourself.
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J0rrit

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 10:18:04 AM »
Ok, thank you Matthew! Do you recognize the fact that there has to be a constant release of mind-tension due to grasping of the mind/clinging? So the constant release of clinging.

It a sort of modus, it's like when I do that my mind is in an more letting go/non-clinging/grasping modus, while if I don't do this (or let this happen?) my mind is in a clinging/grasping modus. I'm not really sure if I do this constantly, or that I just have to let it do this.

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 10:59:04 AM »
It seems you are on the edge of stepping onto another stepping stone on the path. There only has to be release of mind tension when there is mind tension present. The awareness and calming of bodily tensions has brought you, perhaps, to the point of being aware of the tensions in your mind. Don't stop the focus on body. What emerges is the ability to step out of the knowing/doing mind into a state of feeling/being which is profoundly different and marked by a general relaxation of the mind. At this point it will be easier to discern and calm specific mental tensions and fabrications.
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J0rrit

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 12:00:17 PM »
I now know how better to explain it: it was a constant correction of the minds tendency to grasp at anything, a constant correction from observing with grasping to observing with less grasping and more just observing. It was I had/have to correct my overgrasping mind constantly. At the moment, my awareness shift more to just watching/observing, and less and less grasping. Someone told me I had to just be aware of the grasping, not trying to change it, and this also confused/confuses me bigtime. Because it's an unskillful thing to do, and I just let it be and not change it. What could you say about this?

What definitely helped me are the first two stages of Ajahn Brahms meditation technique: present moment awareness and silent present moment awareness. Because of being more in the present before i start observing the breath, the mind has less tendency to grasp, it's less concerned with results and more in the present, and in the present there is no need to grasp.

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 12:14:09 PM »
Quote
Someone told me I had to just be aware of the grasping, not trying to change it, and this also confused/confuses me bigtime. Because it's an unskillful thing to do, and I just let it be and not change it. What could you say about this?

It's all about balance. In part you sit with it, in part you calm it. A fine line to tread (practice makes perfect): if you are grasping at not grasping you're still grasping. If you allow it into consciousness, sit with it and gently calm over time the grasping itself will stop having such a strong power over you. Just be careful not to force to the point of suppression. At some point equanimity will arise naturally as long as you balance calming and acceptance, then you can step straight into that state of mind both relaxed and awake and non-grasping.
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J0rrit

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2014, 01:46:27 PM »
Quote
Someone told me I had to just be aware of the grasping, not trying to change it, and this also confused/confuses me bigtime. Because it's an unskillful thing to do, and I just let it be and not change it. What could you say about this?

It's all about balance. In part you sit with it, in part you calm it. A fine line to tread (practice makes perfect): if you are grasping at not grasping you're still grasping. If you allow it into consciousness, sit with it and gently calm over time the grasping itself will stop having such a strong power over you. Just be careful not to force to the point of suppression. At some point equanimity will arise naturally as long as you balance calming and acceptance, then you can step straight into that state of mind both relaxed and awake and non-grasping.

Thank you Matthew. What still stays in my mind is the confusion about letting the grasping be, so not trying to change it, it's allright, but on the other hand, you want to make sure this grasping disappears, by for instance being aware differently, like i've done now partly. So it's something that you want to change, but still you accept it and let it be. It seems a contradiction.

And when I notice my mind wants to grasp, should I correct it or should I go on with it? Correcting is not letting things be, going on with it is onskillful. These are the problems that I have in my mind about the practice. I guess the goal is not letting things be as they are, but in some conditions this is the best thing to go, in other conditions is better to change something/do something different. It differs for all type of problems/situations? I have the tendency to be really black and white about something, like lettings things be is letting things be always and everytime and completely!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 02:16:07 PM by J0rrit »

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 09:42:51 PM »
Create the right conditions and the mind will change. When grasping arises watch it, see where it comes from and see how to let it go without pushing it away (another form of grasping). Your understanding is deepening as you practice. Sometimes things seem contradictory until you experience it for yourself. Arising of equanimity and dropping grasping are intimately linked in my experience.
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2014, 07:58:16 AM »
That sounds like the words of someone yet to truly let go.

BuddhistBoi, have you ever undertaken a sitting with little to no conscious instruction?

What do you mean by this?
The approach listed by Buddhistboi is in my mind only a temporary solution, and akin to a Donkey pulling a cart, chasing a carrot. Ultimately what is desired is getting to a state where if there is tension, one is not concerned by that tension to the point where they need to try and generate an intent or statement to combat it. Doing so is just placating the issue, only to have it arise again in the future, which it inevitably will if one views it as a problem to be combated.

Instead, I posit if one can divorce one's self from clinging to the mind, from clinging to thinking, to be free from the mind, then tension, anxiety, fear, depression, a need to be happy, and all manner of mental tug of wars will no longer be of concern. They are trivial.

PimonratC

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2014, 05:58:23 PM »
 :)

Spiny Norman

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2014, 12:08:48 PM »
My experience has demonstrated that letting things be as they are is more of an attitude of acceptance than it is a state of inaction. 

One of my teachers used to talk about "resting in the present", which I think gives a good feel for this attitude of acceptance.  It's one way of talking about samatha actually.

Matthew

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 07:36:28 AM »
My experience has demonstrated that letting things be as they are is more of an attitude of acceptance than it is a state of inaction. 

One of my teachers used to talk about "resting in the present", which I think gives a good feel for this attitude of acceptance.  It's one way of talking about samatha actually.

Well said, and by extension samadhi and jhanna.
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Vivek

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2014, 03:42:37 PM »
Quote from: J0rrit
So it's something that you want to change, but still you accept it and let it be. It seems a contradiction.
Yes it is a contradiction, and it is a big hindrance to progress. When you let the grasping be, allow even that wanting to change it to dissolve. Try to be aware of the wanting to change it and let it be. Let go of all wanting to change anything and allow things to take their natural course. That way, the contradiction resolves itself and progress can be made.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Spiny Norman

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Re: Calming body and mind/letting go of clinging
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2014, 03:40:40 PM »
Here's a good talk by Ajahn Brahm on letting go in meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk3jZskZU6c

 

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