Author Topic: Quality of thought  (Read 2889 times)

db5

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Quality of thought
« on: February 19, 2015, 04:33:05 PM »
Hello,

I don’t have very much experience but I’ve noticed that for me mediation tends to stop – or slow down -- the mind from running away to sudden feelings, impulses, thoughts, etc. I’m wondering if any of you have had experience with the effect of meditation on something like problem solving. Before starting mediation it would bother me a lot if I didn’t understand something.  With meditation, it doesn’t bother me that much – at least not enough to keep popping in my head and taking me away from other things.  However, I wonder if this could be a detriment when working on complex problems or studying for exams. Would the otherwise obsessive behavior be a benefit for this narrow purpose?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 04:50:12 PM »
Personally I find not having my mind run all over the place as much aids me in tackling complex questions better because it allows for better focus and the abandonment of more fanciful lines of enquiry. In my work and home life Im more likely to walk away from contentious issues because I feel that in the scheme of things they don't matter and only detract from my main objectives (such as turning a profit, or having a happy family).

What we tend to view as conscious or deep thinking is often us getting lost. Many of the answers are very simple or obvious and we tend to think the more we dwell on something the better the answer we'll get. Rarely so, in my opinion.

Max

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 04:53:54 PM »
Hi db5
It's exactly the opposite for me (I work in a field where I have to work analytically):

The calmer my mind got, the more efficient I became in my job. It's not that meditation deprives you from cognitive abilities, but this not very useful reactivity gets reduced and this helps me to stay focused.

Marc

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 04:55:56 PM »
I think some things may require this obsessive attitude to be mastered. I've in mind the tortured genius that sacrificed everything for her goal.

Max

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 07:00:36 AM »
A mind described as "tortured genius" is exactly this: tortured. If one acts based on a defiled mind, the result will be more torture, more suffering.

This is not something that has to be believed, but can be experienced by everybody if mindfulness is brought to the situation.

I would always try to abandon the reactivity, this state if being driven instead of acting it out.

Alex

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 06:49:36 PM »
Hello,

I don’t have very much experience but I’ve noticed that for me mediation tends to stop – or slow down -- the mind from running away to sudden feelings, impulses, thoughts, etc. I’m wondering if any of you have had experience with the effect of meditation on something like problem solving. Before starting mediation it would bother me a lot if I didn’t understand something.  With meditation, it doesn’t bother me that much – at least not enough to keep popping in my head and taking me away from other things.  However, I wonder if this could be a detriment when working on complex problems or studying for exams. Would the otherwise obsessive behavior be a benefit for this narrow purpose?

Hi db5

I'm not sure if I understand the nuance of your question. You say that meditation has helped you to stabilize your attention. You also say that it has helped you to reduce frustration, for example when you have have a problem or issue that you don't understand. The result is that such a problem or issue would not keep popping into your head at unexpected moments anymore. Sounds great! ;)
But somehow it feels as if you interpret equanimity or "not giving attention to something that pops into your mind" as indifference or "not caring", which would then be detrimental. The other extreme, obsessiveness, which you mean in a sense of caring excessively, would in your opinion lead to more effort and be more beneficial.
Does this mean that you experience for yourself that you lack the discipline to balance the loss of drive that obsessing offered you?

I agree that obsessiveness has in some cases given people the drive to do great things. So in retrospect and for humanity as a whole, there has been benefit to obsessiveness. But is obsessing the wise thing to do? I mean, would you like to develop obsesiveness if you could develop discipline and determination instead? ;)

As for indifference, equanimity is nothing like it. It's quite the opposite actually, but there is a place and time for everything. Thinking about a complex problem is something I don't want to be doing in bed just before sleep, during a conversation with a friend, during sex, while watching a movie, etc. I prefer watching a movie while I'm watching a movie. And I prefer thinking about a complex problem when it's the appropriate time, which could also be during a walk, while in traffic, etc.

As said above, a mind that is focussed is more able to tackle complex problems. Open and relaxed awaress is more conducive of creativity.
Preparing for an exam is in my experience much more efficient if you're relaxed and focused instead of hearing this inner voice obsessionally urging you to work because oherwise bad things will happen to you. Not to mention the effect obsessing might have on the quality of sleep, efficiency of memory storage and retrieval, etc.












Just A Simple Guy

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2015, 08:28:26 PM »
I'm a systems analyst/software engineer and my experience is having a calm and focused mind that neither gets easily distracted nor attaches to a line of thought without letting go is very beneficial.

I am less easily distracted by stimuli outside of my focus and I also find the flexibility to let go of non-productive avenues relating to a particular problem and examine other possibilities. It feels like a nice place between a wandering and obsessive mind.

In particular I think being able to focus without being narrowly obsessed cultivates the possibility for insight.
“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.” ~ Bruce Lee

db5

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2015, 01:35:15 PM »
Hi db5

I'm not sure if I understand the nuance of your question. You say that meditation has helped you to stabilize your attention. You also say that it has helped you to reduce frustration, for example when you have have a problem or issue that you don't understand. The result is that such a problem or issue would not keep popping into your head at unexpected moments anymore. Sounds great! ;)
But somehow it feels as if you interpret equanimity or "not giving attention to something that pops into your mind" as indifference or "not caring", which would then be detrimental. The other extreme, obsessiveness, which you mean in a sense of caring excessively, would in your opinion lead to more effort and be more beneficial.
Does this mean that you experience for yourself that you lack the discipline to balance the loss of drive that obsessing offered you?

I agree that obsessiveness has in some cases given people the drive to do great things. So in retrospect and for humanity as a whole, there has been benefit to obsessiveness. But is obsessing the wise thing to do? I mean, would you like to develop obsesiveness if you could develop discipline and determination instead? ;)

As for indifference, equanimity is nothing like it. It's quite the opposite actually, but there is a place and time for everything. Thinking about a complex problem is something I don't want to be doing in bed just before sleep, during a conversation with a friend, during sex, while watching a movie, etc. I prefer watching a movie while I'm watching a movie. And I prefer thinking about a complex problem when it's the appropriate time, which could also be during a walk, while in traffic, etc.

As said above, a mind that is focussed is more able to tackle complex problems. Open and relaxed awaress is more conducive of creativity.
Preparing for an exam is in my experience much more efficient if you're relaxed and focused instead of hearing this inner voice obsessionally urging you to work because oherwise bad things will happen to you. Not to mention the effect obsessing might have on the quality of sleep, efficiency of memory storage and retrieval, etc.

Thanks for everybody's thoughts. I think there’s truth to the statement that without this natural drive I’m not quite sure what it is I should be doing. If it’s not the natural thing to do then why am I doing anything? In general I agree that doing "things" is easier with a quieter mind, however, the motivation for doing those things seems not as strong.

Alex

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2015, 08:33:48 PM »
Thanks for everybody's thoughts. I think there’s truth to the statement that without this natural drive I’m not quite sure what it is I should be doing. If it’s not the natural thing to do then why am I doing anything? In general I agree that doing "things" is easier with a quieter mind, however, the motivation for doing those things seems not as strong.

If by 'natural drive' you are referring to automatic reactions and obsessing etc. it is obvious that not having these automatic responses gives you freedom... freedom to choose what is wholesome and base your actions in what the situation requires (which could also be labeled 'natural') or in compassion or other values that are important to you.

You give the impression of being a bit lost, not knowing what's really important or not knowing what to do with the freedom/flexibility that meditation offers you. I think it's important to keep I mind that - when going through the process of meditation - you go through different phases.
Keep bringing attention to what you're doing, inside and outside...

Alex

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Re: Quality of thought
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2015, 10:33:41 PM »
Your words make me think of a quote written here a few weeks ago. Different story, but similar... letting go of old habits without clear sense of direction, causing suffering, giving rise to longing.

Quote
sometimes I wish I could be re-inserted into the Matrix - or that I'd never come across Buddhism and could just go back to my old ignorant hedonistic ways, as I remember being much happier then, though with occasional big lows.

 

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