Internal Dialogue

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Internal Dialogue

Postby Collective » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:39 am

I've been noticing lately I 'talk' my thoughts. It's very much like an internal dialogue I'm having with myself. It feels such an unecessary burden now I'm aware of it.

For example, this morning whilst putting on my running shoes before my run, I caught my mind thinking 'I need new training shoes - these are wrecked'. My mind/thinking said this word for word. Rather than it being merely an impression, or a feeling of needing new shoes it was a formed sentence of conversation.

Is this what some speak of when they mention internal dialogue?
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:46 am

Yes. And we all do it I suspect. Sometimes after practice it may fall away for a while. Which is nice. Then a voice pops up and says " this is nice "... :lol:
Just note and return, note and return.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby shjohnk » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:03 am

PeterB wrote:Yes. And we all do it I suspect. Sometimes after practice it may fall away for a while. Which is nice. Then a voice pops up and says " this is nice "... :lol:
Just note and return, note and return.

:goodpost:
And I've noticed myself after achieving a good meditative state for about 30 seconds telling myself 'Well, gosh i'm doing well aren't i?' So I've been labelling that one 'conceit' and it's starting to obey when I tell it to leave :tongue:
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:08 am

The danger in telling it to leave shjonk is that it may come back bringing its brothers. Just note and return.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:58 am

It happens to anybody.

When we get to much talk in the mind, it is good to do some samatha.

It is good to be aware of this mental talk, we can control it, by controlling it we don't get lost in thoughts, in analysation, etc.

I have a bad expirience in the beginning when I become aware of it. I tried to stop it with the mind, it was very foolish thing. What can we do is let the talk go, see it as not-self and shift the awareness to the breath or to body or to arising and cessation of things in the emptiness of the mind.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Freawaru » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:01 pm

Collective wrote:For example, this morning whilst putting on my running shoes before my run, I caught my mind thinking 'I need new training shoes - these are wrecked'. My mind/thinking said this word for word. Rather than it being merely an impression, or a feeling of needing new shoes it was a formed sentence of conversation.


Have you checked whether your original assumption isn't right after all? I mean, when you observe the beginning of these kind of thoughts, the thoughts in a language, do you already know what you are going to think in a language or comes it as a surprise when the sentence develops?

For example, when you start to think " I need ..." do you already know what you need before the word "training" is formed in your mind?
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Freawaru » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:03 pm

Goedert wrote:It happens to anybody.

When we get to much talk in the mind, it is good to do some samatha.

It is good to be aware of this mental talk, we can control it, by controlling it we don't get lost in thoughts, in analysation, etc.

I have a bad expirience in the beginning when I become aware of it. I tried to stop it with the mind, it was very foolish thing. What can we do is let the talk go, see it as not-self and shift the awareness to the breath or to body or to arising and cessation of things in the emptiness of the mind.


Hi Goedert,

why was it a foolish thing to do ?
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Sobeh » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:13 pm

My guess is, there's reigning the mind in and fostering wholesomeness, and there's playing whack-a-mole with the mind. The latter is what I thought of when I read "control". The former is what I thought of when I read "let it go".
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:34 pm

Collective wrote:I've been noticing lately I 'talk' my thoughts. It's very much like an internal dialogue I'm having with myself. It feels such an unecessary burden now I'm aware of it.

For example, this morning whilst putting on my running shoes before my run, I caught my mind thinking 'I need new training shoes - these are wrecked'. My mind/thinking said this word for word. Rather than it being merely an impression, or a feeling of needing new shoes it was a formed sentence of conversation.

Is this what some speak of when they mention internal dialogue?




Hey, I'm doing this in 2 languages, and sometimes I have to seriously think about which one it is..... I don't feel uncomfortable about it. :D
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:26 pm

Freawaru wrote:
Goedert wrote:It happens to anybody.

When we get to much talk in the mind, it is good to do some samatha.

It is good to be aware of this mental talk, we can control it, by controlling it we don't get lost in thoughts, in analysation, etc.

I have a bad expirience in the beginning when I become aware of it. I tried to stop it with the mind, it was very foolish thing. What can we do is let the talk go, see it as not-self and shift the awareness to the breath or to body or to arising and cessation of things in the emptiness of the mind.


Hi Goedert,

why was it a foolish thing to do ?


Using mental talk to stop the mental talk. This is something foolish.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby bodom » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:41 pm

Goedert wrote:Using mental talk to stop the mental talk. This is something foolish.


Not so. If one is struggling in meditation with wandering thoughts and proliferation one can use a discursive meditation such as metta, recollection of death or recollecting the qualities of the Buddha to counter the hindrance. By using a discursive meditation subject you can actually tire out the thinking mind. The discursive thinking will become too coarse and heavy and one will naturally want to drop the thinking and focus on a subtle object like the breath.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:00 pm

bodom wrote:
Goedert wrote:Using mental talk to stop the mental talk. This is something foolish.


Not so. If one is struggling in meditation with wandering thoughts and proliferation one can use a discursive meditation such as metta, recollection of death or recollecting the qualities of the Buddha to counter the hindrance. By using a discursive meditation subject you can actually tire out the thinking mind. The discursive thinking will become too coarse and heavy and one will naturally want to drop the thinking and focus on a subtle object like the breath.

:anjali:


Well said.
:anjali:
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby octathlon » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:49 pm

What about music running through the mind? Thoughts are short--they rise and pass away quickly. But tunes in the mind can just go on and on continuously. I often have a real problem with this. :cry:
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby bodom » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:55 pm

octathlon wrote:What about music running through the mind? Thoughts are short--they rise and pass away quickly. But tunes in the mind can just go on and on continuously. I often have a real problem with this. :cry:


I have this problem as well. I just let it play out all the while watching it. Of course if the next song on the playlist comes up its time to hit the stop button. :tongue:

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:57 pm

It shall pass.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby octathlon » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:08 pm

bodom wrote:
octathlon wrote:What about music running through the mind? Thoughts are short--they rise and pass away quickly. But tunes in the mind can just go on and on continuously. I often have a real problem with this. :cry:


I have this problem as well. I just let it play out all the while watching it. Of course if the next song on the playlist comes up its time to hit the stop button. :tongue:

:anjali:

What if you can't find the stop button? :tongue:
In meditation it usually goes away once a certain level of concentration is reached but the rest of the time seems like it's always playing. Well, at least I truly appreciate it when I have blessed silence in there once in a while...
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Kenshou » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:33 pm

Ugh, song stuck in the head, yes. Happens to me very very easily. I hardly listen to any music willingly, but there's still plenty of unavoidable music to be subjected to.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby AdvaitaJ » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:08 am

I all too often have music playing in my "mental background". In my youth, I trained myself to "play music", i.e. play back songs in the mind from memory, when I was feeling bored. If I were to take this too seriously, things could get very bad. :cookoo:

However, on the topic of mental conversations, I'm thinking that would be papanca. Lots of good talks on papanca. :tongue:

Regards: Jim
The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:38 am

bodom wrote:
octathlon wrote:What about music running through the mind? Thoughts are short--they rise and pass away quickly. But tunes in the mind can just go on and on continuously. I often have a real problem with this. :cry:


I have this problem as well. I just let it play out all the while watching it. Of course if the next song on the playlist comes up its time to hit the stop button. :tongue:

My experience with all kinds of proliferation so on is that if the object is seen clearly then it tends to prevent proliferation. That's the basic instruction of Mahasi-style teachers (and most others as far as I can tell, but for "note" substitute "see it clearly", or whatever term your teacher uses).
    Student: X happened.
    Teacher: Did you note it?
    Student: ummm...
So suppose something comes up. For example a memory. The instruction would be to see/feel the memory clearly. If you do that successfully you see it arise, stay, and pass away. On the other hand, if you don't see it clearly for what it is, you start proliferating related memories and dialogue.

For example, you have memory of your childhood pet. If you recognise clearly that it is a memory, it can be seen to rise, stay a while, and pass away. If you don't see it clearly enough you'll get sucked into the content and start thinking about running on the beach with your pet, swimming, where you spent that summer of 74, and on and on...

Or you feel some sadness. The instruction is to focus on the sadness. If you do that, you'll see it rise, stay a while, and pass away. Again, if you don't focus clearly on the sadness you'll get sucked into following the content: "I'm sad about what happened. Why did he/she do that? I'm going to tell him/her ..."

Mike
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Re: Internal Dialogue

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:23 am

Hey - sometimes, (just sometimes, mind you), I have been able to 'shut up' the internal quacking - but then there's a strange sensation of a 'quiet yet apprehensive mind' - there's no discursive thinking - no 'talking' - but it's like there's something 'in the background' waiting 'behind a door' as it were. My mind is watching it - but it's apprehensive - like it knows there's 'quacky-quacky' ready to burst forth.

It's difficult for me to describe, apologies. Like I'm just waiting for something to happen (imagine a brain with it's toe tapping - "I'm watching you dammit!" tap tap tap)

It's humid tonight on Mt. Meru ...

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