Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:27 pm

Hi Acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:Freawaru sumed it up quite well.


Thank you :smile:

I only differ from her post slightly in so far that I would say it isn't a problem neither for samatha nor vipassana. When sati develops up to a certain level idle inner chatter stops naturally.


I can only say that it does not happen to me.

In case of samatha this supports calmness of the mind and in case of vipassana it supports development of insight because the distraction caused by inner chatter ceases (the mind stops running after verbal thoughts and settles down) and allows to "see more clearly" or to focus easier/concentrate more on a meditation object.

best wishes, acinteyyo


As I said this differs from my experience. Inner chatter is no distraction to mindfulness, I can observe it just as I can observe my mind doing math calculus or being emotional. It is actually interesting to observe the inner chatter, for example when one becomes tired and starts to doze off: while the inner chatter becomes complete nonsense in content the grammar is still correct - and, yes, even when I have been thinking and writing in English during the evening I usually think in German when I fall asleep. :zzz:
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:16 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Acinteyyo
Hi Freawaru ;)
Freawaru wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:Freawaru sumed it up quite well.
Thank you :smile:
You're welcome.
Freawaru wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:I only differ from her post slightly in so far that I would say it isn't a problem neither for samatha nor vipassana. When sati develops up to a certain level idle inner chatter stops naturally.
In case of samatha [...]

I can only say that it does not happen to me.
As I said this differs from my experience. Inner chatter is no distraction to mindfulness, I can observe it just as I can observe my mind doing math calculus or being emotional. It is actually interesting to observe the inner chatter, for example when one becomes tired and starts to doze off: while the inner chatter becomes complete nonsense in content the grammar is still correct - and, yes, even when I have been thinking and writing in English during the evening I usually think in German when I fall asleep. :zzz:
Different strokes for different folks... well certainly you can mindfully observe inner chatter but I don't attach much importance to it. As for me I'm totally pleased simply to know mindfully when the mind has become still.
So as far as I'm concerned I go with Ajahn Dune Atulo:
102. The safest way to dwell

I remember that in 1976 two meditation teachers from the northern part of the Northeast came to pay their respects to Luang Pu. The way they discussed the practice with him was very delightful and inspiring. They described the virtues and attainments of the different ajaans with whom they had lived and practiced for a long time, saying that that luang pu had concentration as his constant mental dwelling; this ajaan dwelled in the Brahma attitudes, which is why so many people respected him; that luang pu dwelled in the limitless Brahma attitudes, which is why there was no limit to the number of students he had, and why he was always safe from dangers.

Luang Pu said,

"Whatever level a monk has reached, as far as I'm concerned he's welcome to dwell there. As for me, I dwell with knowing."

103. Continued

When those two monks heard Luang Pu say that he dwelled with knowing, they were silent for a moment and then asked him to explain what dwelling with knowing was like.

Luang Pu explained,

"Knowing is the normality of mind that's empty, bright, pure, that has stopped fabricating, stopped searching, stopped all mental motions — having nothing, not attached to anything at all."

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 976
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:27 pm

Hi Acinteyyo,


Different strokes for different folks... well certainly you can mindfully observe inner chatter but I don't attach much importance to it. As for me I'm totally pleased simply to know mindfully when the mind has become still.


Nothing wrong with that :smile:
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:52 pm

Wait a minute. So I try to be mindful of the mental chatter (these are the kind of thoughts that I mentioned earlier dropping dead, not the graphic ones) and it is not a really important thing to do?

Btw: That tip I got from Freewaru about "don't think" worked quite well, thanks :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
User avatar
Ytrog
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: The Netherlands, near Arnhem

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Ytrog

If you want samatha - avoid the thoughts (or note the defilement behind them and remove the defilement)
if you want vipassana - watch their impermanence.

Just watching thoughts for the sake of watching is not particularly useful IMHO.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:57 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Ytrog

If you want samatha - avoid the thoughts (or note the defilement behind them and remove the defilement)
if you want vipassana - watch their impermanence.

Just watching thoughts for the sake of watching is not particularly useful IMHO.

with metta

Matheesha

I try to do vipassana.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
User avatar
Ytrog
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: The Netherlands, near Arnhem

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:21 pm

Ytrog wrote:I try to do vipassana.


Hi Ytrog

To do vipassana- for it to be of any benefit you need to have got the five hindrances under control. Part of this effort is to reduce disturbances by thoughts stealing your mindfulness away. Thoughts are often manifestations of the five hindrances. It would wise to sit with some mindfulness of breath and 'clean' your mind/workspace first. Vipassana ie noting the impermanence of currently arisen phenomena can then begin. Otherwise you will spend a long time struggling with it. This effort is helped by 1) reducing defilements right through the day, as and when they pop up (6th step-right effort- and developing the opposite wholesome quality) 2) being mindful of beginngs and endings of all phenomena/experiences that come into the notice of your mindfulness, thereby noting their fleeting, insubstantial nature. Since there is nothing other than these fleeting, insubstantial experiences (this is your whole 'world'), there cannot be a 'self' as such - merely causaly arisen phenomena arising and passing away, at great rapidity. Hope that makes sense. :namaste:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:10 am

Ytrog wrote:Wait a minute. So I try to be mindful of the mental chatter (these are the kind of thoughts that I mentioned earlier dropping dead, not the graphic ones) and it is not a really important thing to do?


I guess it depends on what you want. One of my own goals is to be mindful of ALL that arises in the mind and this includes mental chatter. One useful aspect of continuous monitoring of the mental activities is that one can "order" sati to alert one if something unusual or something specific arises. Say, one has specific fears such as fear of heights. Once such a fear has arisen and taken hold of the mind it is usually too late to do something about it. But if one is alerted by sati that this fear arises before it has invaded the mind it is possible to stop the process. Fears arise when they want, meaning also during mental chatter. So it is useful to monitor it and be alerted if it changes from the usual. Or if one has a question or wants something solved, seeks an idea. Solutions often arise when one is NOT seeking them but while one is daydreaming or thinking about something else. The mind has solved the problem on a deeper level than consciously accessible and uses the absence of concentration on something specific during mental chatter to let these solutions or ideas arise. Sati can alert one to such a short thought within all the chatter and one does not forget it immediately again.

Btw: That tip I got from Freewaru about "don't think" worked quite well, thanks :anjali:



Thanks for the feedback. I often wonder if what helps me also can help others. Glad I could be of help. :smile:
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Observing a wandering mind stops the thought immediately

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:43 pm

Ytrog wrote:Wait a minute. So I try to be mindful of the mental chatter (these are the kind of thoughts that I mentioned earlier dropping dead, not the graphic ones) and it is not a really important thing to do?

You said you want to develop insight, well then observe the nature of mental chatter. Don't care for the content, because that's not important. If mental chatter drops dead when you are observing it mindfully then this actually is insight of its nature you can gain.
I totally agree with RYB
rowyourboat wrote:Just watching thoughts for the sake of watching is not particularly useful IMHO.


In the moment when the mind becomes aware of itself it stops unnecessary fabrications. This is why I said usually inner chatter stops naturally at this point. To be able to observe the content of inner chatter so that it won't stop it would be necessary to leave at least some "room" for the mind to "move on", namely to follow further fabrication of the inner voice conversation chain. The mind needs to follow the mental conversation or otherwise inner chatter just drops dead if the mind doesn't follow anymore. The higher the level of mindfulness develops the more the mind becomes aware of its occupations and the more the mind becomes aware of its occupations the less it wanders until the point where it drops every unnecessary occupation and settles down on knowing itself fully, calm and mindful. Being aware of everything that arises and ceases the mind remains unattached. It knows, without movement, it doesn't get drawn away.

Ajahn Brahm wrote:Basic Method of Meditation - Part 2 "Silence is so much more productive of wisdom and clarity than thinking"

It is helpful, here, to clarify the difference between silent awareness of the present moment and thinking about it. [...] You should realize that you are much closer to Truth when you observe without commentary, when you experience just the silent awareness of the present moment.

Sometimes it is through the inner commentary that we think we know the world. Actually, that inner speech does not know the world at all! It is the inner speech that weaves the delusions that cause suffering. It is the inner speech that causes us to be angry at those we make our enemies, and to have dangerous attachments to those we make our loved ones. Inner speech causes all of life's problems. It constructs fear and guilt. It creates anxiety and depression. It builds these illusions as surely as the skilful commentator on T.V. can manipulate an audience to create anger or tears. So if you seek for Truth, you should value silent awareness, considering it more important, when meditating, than any thought whatsoever.

It is the high value that one gives to one's thoughts that is the major obstacle to silent awareness. Carefully removing the importance one gives to one's thinking and realizing the value and truthfulness of silent awareness is the insight that makes this second stage -- silent awareness of the present moment -- possible.

One of the beautiful ways of overcoming the inner commentary is to develop such refined present moment awareness, that you are watching every moment so closely that you simply do not have the time to comment about what has just happened. A thought is often an opinion on what has just happened, e.g. "That was good", "That was gross", "What was that?" All of these comments are about an experience which has just passed by. When you are noting, making a comment about an experience which has just passed, then you are not paying attention to the experience which has just arrived. You are dealing with old visitors and neglecting the new visitors coming now!

You may imagine your mind to be a host at a party, meeting the guests as they come in the door. If one guest comes in and you meet them and start talking to them about this that or the other, then you are not doing your duty of paying attention to the new guest that comes in the door. Because a guest comes in the door every moment, all you can do is to greet one and then immediately go on to greet the next one. You cannot afford to engage in even the shortest conversation with any guest, since this would mean you will miss the one coming in next. In meditation, all experiences come through the door of our senses into the mind one by one in succession. If you greet one experience with mindfulness and then get into conversation with your guest, then you will miss the next experience following right behind.

When you are perfectly in the moment with every experience, with every guest which comes in your mind, then you just do not have the space for inner speech. You can not chatter to yourself because you are completely taken up with mindfully greeting everything just as it arrives in your mind. This is refined present moment awareness to the level that it becomes silent awareness of the present in every moment.


best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 976
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Previous

Return to Insight Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests