Author Topic: Thinking Contemplating Reflection  (Read 1895 times)

Mungo

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Thinking Contemplating Reflection
« on: October 26, 2010, 06:07:20 AM »
Hi everybody,

  Im very new to all this - both the forum, meditation and the teaching - but have found both the sitting and the gradually increasing moments of mindfulness and awareness during the day have brought a renewed clarity which is all quite new to me. One of my problems? though has been my analytical mind. My question here is about my confusion of the difference between thinking, contemplating and reflection. Sometimes (when not meditating) an object, idea or concept enters my head and I find myself staring into the void and looking at it.

  For example - many years ago I used to surf a lot and when the waves were small I used to go to my favourite spot on the cliff and look out at the world below. I would start to wonder about the things I couldn't see underneath the waves and rockpools - the creatures the coral. I would often get mesmerized by the sparkle of the water and begin to think about what is between the ocean and the sky. Technically I knew it was nothing but would sit for ages with this in my head. Recently this "happy place" popped up whilst meditating one morning. I saw it and put it aside but later that day it came back with something attached (my version of an answer anyway) that the ocean is continually evaporating into the sky and the "sky" is mixing and dissolving as oxygen into the ocean so its always changing and not particularly separate.

  Is all this just another delusion to keep my mind distracted? Is thinking, contemplating or reflecting useful in any way?

Best wishes..
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking Contemplating Reflection
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 10:40:54 AM »
.....

  Is all this just another delusion to keep my mind distracted? Is thinking, contemplating or reflecting useful in any way?

Best wishes..

Mungo,

Some of this is delusion to keep your mind distracted however, it is important to realise that thinking, contemplation and reflection are essential to progress on the path. The point is to put the thinking process "back in it's box" and get it out when you want to use it - so it becomes a tool you use rather than something that drags you from here to there.

Thoughts arise in consciousness for many reasons. The first stages of meditation, whereby one is calming the body and mind are about gently and compassionately training your mind to concentrate on one thing at a time. First this is the body as you breathe and as that calms and your mind naturally quietens down you will experience yourself, your moment to moment being, more and more accurately. You will learn to perceive the arise and fall of thoughts, trace them back to their origin and watch them dissipate.  As greater levels of peace/bliss/ecstasy are mastered your insight (Vipassana) into these processes will grow - as the slower the mind is running and the better your concentration the easier it is to see the way your bodymind works.

From the post below this is the important bit in relation to your questions:

"Meditation (Shamatha, Samadi, Trying to achieve understanding - i.e. Vipassana/insight)"

"Trying to achieve understanding" is an essential part of meditative practice. Just don't put the cart before the horse, as we say in England: Shamatha (concentration and calm abiding) leads to Samadhi (one pointed mind/consciousness and object of meditation merging) leads to Vipassana/Insight. In other words, yes thinking is very important but only once you actually have some grip on the thinking process through calm abiding and insight which are fruits of meditation (Sati) practice.

The most important teaching of the Buddha also indicates that thinking is important:

"Believe nothing, no matter where you have read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." - Gautama Buddha. (emphasis mine)

The extract in the post below sums up the Dhamma in 32 words and was the culmination of some 100 hours of teaching from my root teacher.

Warm regards,

Matthew


My root teacher, Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, summed up ten days of intensive (up to 3 four hour talks per day) of Dhamma teachings such that the Dhamma can be distilled to a very simple recipe. She used 29 words. I have added three for a point of clarity:



  • Generosity

  • Avoiding Harm

  • Patience

  • Effort (Discipline / Shila)

  • Meditation (Shamatha, Samadi, Trying to achieve understanding - i.e. Vipassana/insight)



"Combine all five to become wisdom-mind"



“Do not allow arisings to become solid obstacles”.






Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche (some ten years ago - more recent pictures on her website linked above).
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Mungo

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    • Shamatha
    • Smiling Politely
Re: Thinking Contemplating Reflection
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 04:25:24 AM »
Thanks for the reply TIB

You have given me a lot to "think" about hehe. It seems I have always relied on and attached to what the mind does (think) rather than see it for what it is - a series of processes. The "tool" analogy also reminds me of a saying - when all you have is a hammer everything starts to look like a nail. Forcing, judging and chasing for answers is different than seeing and knowing.
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thinking Contemplating Reflection
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 08:40:48 PM »
Forcing, judging and chasing for answers is indeed very different than seeing and knowing. :)
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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