Author Topic: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan  (Read 2726 times)

Ja192827

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I have been trying 1-2 hrs/day for the past 4 months to either focus on my breath or body scan during meditation, and it is virtually impossible to stay focused while at the same time letting go of thoughts. I have found that if I simply just focus my attention on rising thoughts, and just enjoy the stillness when it is present, my mind wanders much, much less. Then again, I have read and heard it taught that we need to have an anchor. Maybe by doing it my way, I wont be able to go as deep as focusing on the breath or body scan. Hoping to get some thoughts regarding my technique. Is using an anchor critical for the most effective meditation? Thanks a lot.

Goofaholix

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 06:50:26 PM »
Noting the arising of thoughts could be used as an anchor, as long as you're not fighting against thought or creating aversion because of it.

Most techniques use the body or breathing as an anchor because it's coarser so easier to be aware of, it's the gateway to see the interaction between the mental and physical.  If you are working with thought make sure you don't lose awareness of the body and breathing.

Ja192827

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2016, 08:03:13 PM »
By fighting against thought or aversion, I imagine you are referring to tensing up or experiencing frustration when thoughts arise?

And by not losing awareness, do you recommend intermittently focusing awareness on the body and/ or breath, or keeping a constant, light focus? Thank you.

Goofaholix

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 10:35:34 PM »
By fighting against thought or aversion, I imagine you are referring to tensing up or experiencing frustration when thoughts arise?

Yes, thought is not the enemy so notice when you are averse to it or trying to get rid of it.  Thought is natural and is constantly happening, you just don't want to get lost in it.

And by not losing awareness, do you recommend intermittently focusing awareness on the body and/ or breath, or keeping a constant, light focus? Thank you.

I think iof you are going to work with thought it's best to have body or breath awareness as the anchor, whenever you notice you've lost awareness or have been lost in thought ground yourself with awareness of the body and/or the breath then continue.

TheJourney

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2016, 09:33:00 PM »
The goal is maintaining awareness 24/7.

If you can be conscious of thoughts, then do that.

Ja192827

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 12:23:45 AM »
By being conscious of thoughts, I take it you mean before and after they arise? Personally, I jave it impossible to be aware of a thought while I am thinking it.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 10:56:59 AM »
By being conscious of thoughts, I take it you mean before and after they arise? Personally, I jave it impossible to be aware of a thought while I am thinking it.
Looking at the thread, I think you are having problems with finding something to focus your attention on during the first part of your meditation. I had the same problem until I found out (by trial and error) that I could adapt traditional meditations to what I actually needed, which was time for the brain to settle down into the meditation. For me it was around ten to fifteen minutes. If I could use something like counting breathing, or wishing people well, or visualizing a nice place to be, or undertaking a body scan, or visualizing a chakra meditation with colored lights swirling around inside me as I breathed, then that was fine.

Once the mind had been 'tamed' for a while, I could get on with the meditation, such as noticing what sort of thoughts started to arise.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Ja192827

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2016, 11:20:45 AM »
You are right, many times I dont try an anchor until well into the meditation. I will try it from the start, then move to noticing thoughts as they arise. Thank you.

TheJourney

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2016, 04:49:24 AM »
One Sayadaw teaches "knowing".

When you realize that you are in a train of thought, just mentally note "wondering, wondering" or whatever words you like to use to denote the thinking event.

You have to keep doing this email every 10 to 20 seconds. I clocked myself before. 20 seconds is a long time, for another thought to arise. You have to do this repeatedly. TRUST ME, IT DOES WORK IF YOU ARE DILIGENT.

I simplified Mahasi technique because trying to find the right word to describe the particular type of thinking event was bogging me down, so I simply used one word.

One well known meditation teacher said that his teacher taught him to not be afraid to experiment to find the right way to meditate. Words mean different things to different person, so you have to experiment to understand what the instructions mean to you.

Ja192827

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 11:05:20 AM »
I have noticed that thought arise every 10 seconds or less. I was starting to wonder if I actually had A.D.D. and was considering seeking professional help. I was glad to see from your post that I was not the only one. I will persist and will think of the progress you made when I get frustrated. Thanks alot.

TheJourney

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2016, 02:48:40 AM »
In modern days just about everyone has this problem.

When you drive, you will realize a minute without thought is a very long time. Of ten, people who may think they are without thoughts for a long time don't realize how short it really is.

Ja192827

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2016, 11:29:35 AM »
Yes, and when I dont have any thoughts for an extended period of time, like 30 seconds,  :) an emotion of excitement wells up in me, which is a distraction, and the still mind ends. I need to work on this.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2016, 11:37:01 AM »
In modern days just about everyone has this problem.


Exactly. In modern society there are few times when we do nothing, hear nothing, and so on. Our brains are constantly distracted and see this as the norm, fighting against lack of input. We all have a struggle at this stage to tame our thinking.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

deeps

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2017, 04:19:13 AM »
Hi, when i focus on breath then i feel pain in my eyes and left part of brain.and at night i get a lot of dreams.but if i do this maditation at night then i am not able to sleep at night at all.pl guide me how to improve my practice.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Focusing on just thoughts vs using anchors such as breath and body scan
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2017, 06:08:05 AM »
This is often caused by tension, and the sensation itself can create added feelings of distress. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and try to relax.

Try following this guided meditation and see how you get on

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev6KK5M38r4&t=1275s

 

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