Author Topic: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"  (Read 3345 times)

Ja192827

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When not meditating, when your mind gets caught up in unskillful chatter, do you find that your mind unconsciously lets it go? Or in order for your mind to become still again, do you need to consciously let the unskillful thought go? I ask because I am curious if I am headed in the right direction. (I realize we need to not have rigid goals associated with meditating) I have been meditating for 90-120 min/day for several months now and have not noticed an automatic, subconscious habit of my mind letting go of mind chatter.  But maybe this never happens, maybe it always needs to be done on a conscious basis, but just gets easier to do over time. Thanks in advance.

Laurent

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Hello,

I have noticed a subconscious habit of my mind to get mindful sometime, without making it consciously.
In buddhism, every skillful or unskillful mental traits are regarded as "mental factors", so there is actually a cumulative process. It is in accordance with the 4 efforts, the development of the 7 awakening factors, and others. Only nibbana is not conditioned, but whole the path uses conditioning to reach this ultimate state.

Ja192827

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Thanks, Laurent. Anyone else?

behappy123

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Whether I'm meditating or not, the process is the same.  i have to make a conscious effort to not let the useless thoughts run away  :'(.  The good thing is that since I've started meditating, the frequency and the duration before I realize it's useless have both decreased dramatically.  Meditation has given me something to "occupy" my mind with while that chatter is starting to run away  :)

Frightful

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For me it's still a very conscious effort, but follows the same pattern as during meditation.  Depending on the circumstance, my mind can still get into episodes of spinning out of control, but since meditating, I now have the ability to recognize what is happening, redirect my focus to my body and the present, and 'reset' the situation.  This may last for a while....or may not.  But just being able to have the meditation 'cycle' at hand to return my focus away from spinning mind has been a great help.  With deeper practice into the future, hopefully better still.

Dharmic Tui

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Unless you were able to get in a state of permanent awareness you always need to consciously let go of the chatter.

Ja192827

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That makes me feel better, as I thought that by this point, it should just be automatic.

TheJourney

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There are few practices that help thoughts to die on their own.

1. Mental noting your thought every time there is a thought arising or as soon as you have realized that you were in train of thoughts.

2. Do dynamic vipassana meditation (not body scan) that has led to enlightenment. Constant arm movements lead the mind to present moment.

3.  Practice awareness of awareness. Or conscious of consciousness.

I have done #1 for over a year and has calmed my mind to ceasing of past drama and imaginary future.

Recently, I did #3 which proves to be extremely effective and fast; however, this could be because I have already calmed my mind significantly from #1.

Ja192827

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Could you describe your technique of dynamiz vipassana?

stillpointdancer

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When not meditating, when your mind gets caught up in unskillful chatter, do you find that your mind unconsciously lets it go? Or in order for your mind to become still again, do you need to consciously let the unskillful thought go? I ask because I am curious if I am headed in the right direction. (I realize we need to not have rigid goals associated with meditating) I have been meditating for 90-120 min/day for several months now and have not noticed an automatic, subconscious habit of my mind letting go of mind chatter.  But maybe this never happens, maybe it always needs to be done on a conscious basis, but just gets easier to do over time. Thanks in advance.

Don't understand this bit. Your mind will always get caught up in unskillful chatter. The trick is to come up with some way of checking what you are thinking during the day. You could use a timer on a watch or smartphone to remind you to check this at regular or random intervals. Alternatively you could check at key times, such as when you interact with other people, or have to make some kind of decision, and so on. I was always taught that it's not the thoughts that arise that are the problem, but what you do with them.
“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: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2016, 11:25:23 AM »
As I understand it, the point of meditation to get ourselves to repeatedly let go of thoughts before we get caught up in them. Why not just use a timer throughout the day to remind ourselves to do this instead of meditating?

Laurent

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2016, 02:17:31 PM »
As I understand it, the point of meditation to get ourselves to repeatedly let go of thoughts before we get caught up in them. Why not just use a timer throughout the day to remind ourselves to do this instead of meditating?

The point of meditation is actually to get absorbed with awareness. Letting go thoughts is in the same time a condition and a result of this.

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2016, 06:39:43 PM »
Why isn 't it sufficient to not meditate, but to set a timer to go off periodically throughout the day, reminding us to be aware and to not get caught up in our thoughts? I would think if our smart phone or watch goes off enough, we will get in the habit of being aware most of our waking hours, which would essentially be meditation with our eyes open.

I know I am wrong, otherwise, if my method was so effective, everybody would just do what I am saying and not meditate. I just am trying to find out why I am wrong. (:

Goofaholix

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 12:01:04 AM »
As I understand it, the point of meditation to get ourselves to repeatedly let go of thoughts before we get caught up in them. Why not just use a timer throughout the day to remind ourselves to do this instead of meditating?

The point of vipassana meditation is to develop awareness, equanimity, and insight into and letting go of that which fuels dukkha.  It has nothing to do with getting rid of thoughts.

The mind is constantly thinking, even when you aren't aware of it or are asleep.  One of the first things we notice when we start to practice is how out of control the mind is and how easily we get lost in our thought world.  The more we notice we've gotten lost and come back from it the more we reduce that habit, then instead of fighting thoughts throughout our meditation we can start observing the stream of mental activity objectively and enjoy the moments when the noise calms down somewhat.

TheJourney

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2016, 06:27:11 AM »
It depends on your practice. Meditation on cushion only will take a very very long time. Took one person 25 years to attain a still mind.

Other practice like mental noting your thoughts 24/7 minus sleeping time or being aware of awareness itself can wane thoughts within just few years. The actual number of years will depend on your diligence and few other factors.

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2016, 11:41:22 AM »
Thank you both. It sounds like both methods might lead to the same goal, but the goal will be more quickly reached if both are practiced concurrently. I know I said the "G" word, but at the end of the day, everything we do is to achieve something. If one just meditates and is not mindful off the cushion, more than likely it would take longer to attain a still mind vs if that same person were to not meditate but to practice mindfulness 24:7, right?

Laurent

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2016, 12:56:03 PM »
Meditation is the highest point of being attentive. In several suttas, it chronologically appears in last. I think you can practice dhamma without strictly meditating on a cushion, but at the end, you will need to train hard to reach liberation, which is the goal of the dhamma. In meditation, the practice is to be continuously attentive.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 12:58:01 PM by Laurent »

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2016, 04:00:34 PM »
So it seems what makes meditation is that it is "concentrated" concentration. Thank you.

Goofaholix

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2016, 10:33:16 PM »
If one just meditates and is not mindful off the cushion, more than likely it would take longer to attain a still mind vs if that same person were to not meditate but to practice mindfulness 24:7, right?

Why do you want to attain a still mind?  Sure even a relatively still mind is pleasant but it's not an end in itself, even a moderately still mind can develop awareness, equanimity, and insight into and letting go of that which fuels dukkha.

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2016, 10:37:22 PM »
Right after I meditate, I really like the feeling of a still mind. To be honest, that is a big reason why I meditate, as I am a chronic worrier.

Goofaholix

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2016, 11:10:55 PM »
Right after I meditate, I really like the feeling of a still mind. To be honest, that is a big reason why I meditate, as I am a chronic worrier.

So basically you are reinforcing craving.  Instead of that reflect on the changes in the mind states and how craving unsettles rather than stills the mind, better to learn how worry works and let go of it rather than just blank the mind out and forget about it for a while.

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2016, 11:15:18 PM »
Right after I meditate, I really like the feeling of a still mind. To be honest, that is a big reason why I meditate, as I am a chronic worrier.

So basically you are reinforcing craving.  Instead of that reflect on the changes in the mind states and how craving unsettles rather than stills the mind, better to learn how worry works and let go of it rather than just blank the mind out and forget about it for a while.

Good point; thank you.

Laurent

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2016, 01:10:31 AM »
So it seems what makes meditation is that it is "concentrated" concentration. Thank you.

I guess so.

TheJourney

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2016, 04:37:59 AM »
I beg to differ previous opinions.

You would like to have at least a calm mind.  Still mind is the effect. The cause is enlightenment.

To work towards a calm mind, you have to work on it. Calm mind ceases drama of the past and imaginary future. It still has mental commentary, because ego is still in you. Language is the tool of ego. Without language, there cannot be thought. Your thought is often expressed in words are they not?


You cannot suppress thoughts, but you can practice to remove some conditions that create the effect of thoughts. You can practice to not react to thoughts, and this will cause thoughts to die down.

I am not one who believes in the gospel of one meditation technique. I practice not based on what a teacher says, because they all want you to stick to one practice.

In just 2 years, I have had tremendous progress in growing strong awareness of my presence that thoughts have proportionally die down.

After 2 months of body scan, I stopped when I sense that it was exacerbating my practice. I have done mental noting in conjunction with anapanasati on cushion. I never listen to sound in my car. I don't turn on TV. I still watch some movies to appease my wife. I quit as much entertainment as I can.

Late this year, I started dynamic vipassana and awareness of awareness meditation on cushion and off cushion. I have found it to be very powerful. However, I think it is because I have already spent almost 2 years of calming the mind, letting go of craving (Ajahn Chah's dhamma is powerful), and mental noting is powerful.

Read Satipatthana and learn the ultimate objectives, so that you know what practice adheres to the objective. All roads lead to Rome, but some roads are more direct.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 04:40:07 AM by TheJourney »

Ja192827

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Re: Does your mind automatically let go of mind chatter when "off the cushion?"
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2016, 11:00:41 AM »
I seldom think in words, but nevertheless, still think way too much.

Can I ask you why the Goenka style of body scanning was not for you? I did a 10 day course and have been frustrated with myself for my inability to spend more than a minute on a scan before repeating, then I get tired of it and just focus on breathing, etc.

Lastly, can I ask you why you seldom watch TV or listen to the radio? I am curious how these could affect me and am willing to stop as well. Thanks a lot.

 

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