I was taught "blank mind" meditation, to tame and slow down the thoughts, the object was to stop thinking entirely and just perceive or listen. To start with this was much easier if one concentrated on the breathing, as a distraction from thinking, to give the mind some chance to slow down and or stop thinking, breathing in Put, breathing out Toe, I think. After you reach state of mental silence by concentrating on breath, you start to the next stage, let go of the breath and just stop thinking, after you can master going with out thinking for long periods, you move on to object meditation, using your now able to be silent mind to concentrate on an object, like compassion, love, etc etc
I would be very interested if someone knows if this is a Thervada practice, as I honestly don't remember where I learnt it. And have studied in several traditions.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John