Tao Parrot

Does Thinking Stop?

Recommended Posts

Someone told me today that even with long practice in meditation, you don't really stop the constant mind chatter, you merely step back and observe it happening. I had always thought the object was to shut it down. Anyone want to give me their experiences in the matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So far, I've been able to reduce the constant chatter...to a slow single stream...to an intermittent stream.

 

The key for me has been to get out of my head and move my awareness down into the rest of my body. When your energy gets out of your head, you will stop thinking so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems to me it stops. Deep in meditation I'll call out 'Anybody there' and there's no answer. Its a nice state to be in.

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to make a habit of this but someone was kind enough to just give me "What's Wrong with Right Now" by 'Sailor' Bob Adamson. He has a really good way of explaining stuff.

 

I'll just quote one passage.

 

Question:Is there any way to stop this chatter?

 

Bob:No. Do you chatter? Understand and watch it. If you haven't got a vested interest in it, what is going to happen? It is going to die down. You see, when the chatter starts and I attribute it to 'me' and 'I want this' or 'I don't like that' or 'He said so and so' and 'blah,blah,blah,blah'-I have a vested interest in it. Now, in that vested interest what is happening? The energy of 'I and 'this'. The 'I' is a thought, and the 'this' is a thought. But that energy is opposed to itself. It is a dissipating energy. It is in conflict with itself. But if I understand that there is no centre here and that it is just chatter and I am aware of it, then there is no 'me' that wants anything out of it. There is nothing resisting it. It is just what is. Then there is no energy going into it.

 

Now, can a thing live without energy? No! So, in the watching of it, in the awareness of it without bothering about it, in seeing it for what it is, that it is false, it is going to die down of it's own accord. So, there is no need to try and stop it. In trying to stop it, the mind will be in conflict with the mind. That will get you into all sorts of trouble, which it has done until now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you combine what Vortex said and what Cam quoted, you have my position in a nutshell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone told me today that even with long practice in meditation, you don't really stop the constant mind chatter, you merely step back and observe it happening. I had always thought the object was to shut it down. Anyone want to give me their experiences in the matter?

 

I can detect the chattering. It is like scenes being played out in my imagination, following thoughts. Like waves after a "plop" of a stone in water.

When it is to much chatter it seems to drain energy. But I try to regard it as something positive. I see the thoughts as "dream-like" and creative potential. (for instance;When you make a sculpture, and you choose to keep, you also choose to disregard and throw away matter.) This is what happens around the thinking process. Of course on a bad day I can clearly see the resemblance to schizofrenia.. :rolleyes: .

 

For me being in deep meditation beyond concepts, in the quietness, relaxes and refreshes the nerves. And to be able to recall this state gives comfort when "I am being helplessly beaten by the waves of samsara".

Unfortunately now I am able to detect the difference between being reactive and being in balance... <_< and as a consequence the sadness and joy, and the need to forgive, accept and let go is growing stronger.

 

The state beyond concepts works for me a bit similar to chi/prana, like a subtler form of nutrition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a much more complex question than it seems at first... We're all into stopping this 'inner chatter', but few of us have paid any close attention...

 

The problem of saying 'just dont give it energy and it'll die off like an unused limb' lies in the fact that most of our minds are so 'clever' that they tend to subvert this process, and although it may seem that the mind is quieter, in fact you're just numbing yourself out even more...

 

The other point is: what is mental chatter? we're all familiar with the internal voice (most of us use this to actually read what's in front of us) but that's not the whole of it... Our mind also opperates through pictures, sounds and feelings as well as words...

 

We all have our own habitual patterns of thought (always involving sounds, feelings, visuals and words) - we often concentrate on one or two of those systems and also disregard one or two of them... Rain's post above shows this: "It is like scenes being played out in my imagination" - Rain tends to play movies and pictures through his mind...

 

My point is: before we try to make thoughts stop, we should understand (experientially) how they work... and in fact this is the easiest path to 'silencing'. It requires being able to meditate and hold your attention still - then you slow down and watch, hear, feel what happens.

 

The key is to slow down - we often dont see our pictures because they flash up so fast or seem vague... After noticing the distinction between pictures, sounds, feelings and words in meditation we can begin to be aware of them all the time... then we learn to go deeper and focus on the quality of each sensory modality - are the pictures still, moving, have a border, sharp or blurred, close or far, big or small, colour or b&w etc. With words it's interesting to notice the quality of the voice - who's voice is it? (many people discover that 80% of their mind chatter is not even their own voice!) is the voice relaxed, loud, irritated etc...

 

It's important to notice where your attention is with all this - when you concentrate on how the voice/picture/feeling/sound works you're not concentrating on what the voice is saying (or picture is showing etc.) - so you dont get involved with the 'story', and you're not trying to numb yourself out to the existence of this mind chatter... it's like turning your attention onto attention itself...

 

This way it's possible to stop the inner voice, but you cant stop the pictures, sounds and feelings - instead you learn in every moment to be experiencing the world and yourself with a balanced sensory system...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other point is: what is mental chatter? we're all familiar with the internal voice (most of us use this to actually read what's in front of us) but that's not the whole of it... Our mind also opperates through pictures, sounds and feelings as well as words...

Funny you should mention this Freeform. This internal reading voice can reflect a wholey subjective attitude to the writer. When I read things and think they sound bollocks or are mind numbingly banal or over-stating the obvious there's usually a pejorative reading tone. Re-reading with a Richard Burton voice can make all the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think of your mind as a pinball machine.

And the ball as your energy/awareness.

 

As long as you got a ball in play, it will keep zinging around and lighting shyt up.

And any thinking about it could easily act as a "flipper" to keep the ball in play longer...

Only way it really stops is when you let the ball drop out of play.

 

Once you withdraw energy from there, you're taking the ball out of play and all the activity naturally stops.

Much like turning your computer off.

 

The goal here is to lose the pinball game.

Which requires reconditioning because the game is set up to play.

But you don't lose it by playing.

You lose it by not playing.

And you win by losing.

 

:)

Edited by vortex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glenn Morris had a vispasanna type exercise he called Dr. Death's Bad Ass Mind Quieter(something like that, from his old Pathnotes.. book). You count your breaths 1 through 10, repeat. If a thought occurs restart at 1. Very difficult, getting to 10 for a single cycle is a significant achievement. Its a nice practice showing the obvious and sneaky levels of thought.

 

At night I'll just count my breaths 1-10. As my thoughts quiet I'll just shift to awarness of breath, that gets my mind very quiet.

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Glenn Morris had a vispasanna type exercise he called Dr. Death's Bad Ass Mind Quieter(something like that, from his old Pathnotes.. book). You count your breaths 1 through 10, repeat. If a thought occurs restart at 1. Very difficult, getting to 10 for a single cycle is a significant achievement. Its a nice practice showing the obvious and sneaky levels of thought.

 

At night I'll just count my breaths 1-10. As my thoughts quiet I'll just shift to awarness of breath, that gets my mind very quiet.

I don't like that method because again, counting is still thinking in your head...when you're trying to shift from thinking to awareness. Which is in fact eventually what you end up doing here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As usual, Spectrum and fatherpaul have provided truth. Spectrum's being particularly instructive.

 

Thanks gents.

 

There is no chatter that is not your ego talking.

 

Love.

 

xeno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"does thinking stop?" no.

thought does not stop, it is useful,

but only when used correctly.

 

"Thought" is composed of pictures, sounds, feelings and words... you can stop the words... They tend to be the least useful aspects of thought... You cant force words to stop... they only stop after a long-term effort of analysing their nature (or being aware of how they function)...

 

and yes - you're right - you wouldn't even want to stop the rest of thought - the pictures, sounds and feelings - but it's important to have them in the right balance for your specific constitution...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is only thought , not my thought your thought.

it is useful to build a house,

but useless in discovering your true nature.

thought creates the "thinker"

who then sees himself as seperate and able to control thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, there is a state where there is just awareness and your thoughts / chatter stops. You can still function in this state and after obtaining it, your mind is generally less cluttered. It then becomes like maintaing a garden. If you don't tend to it, well, you get the picture.

 

What type of practice do you do?

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've held a state of identity and chatter-free awareness for a few minutes at a time. In this state, if the awareness is like a light bulb, just still, illuminating non specifically, the thoughts are like lenses, or even shapes(gobos for any of you lighting saavy folks) dancing in the light, using the light(awareness) to create shapes and forms that do and don't exist.

All I have to do is be the light bulb instead of the dancing forms. It is a sort of reversion back through the thoughts to identify only with awareness itself. When I am there thoughts do not arise. Course it only lasts a few moments at a time before thoughts stir and the shapes begin to dance again. I always emerge from that brief moment with strong feelings of love for, well, everything and nothing. It is also interesting that I can only get there after a sincere prayer session.

 

One time I held it longer and for a brief moment had no awareness that I even had an identity in the first place to detach from. There was nothing there but a sense of roundness.That was a little scary. And that is when I knew that I needed a teacher. This kinda stuff is like walking on tundra. You never know when you are gonna take a step, break through the ice and plummet into a miles deep ravine. Better to walk with someone who knows the landscape thoroughly.

Edited by darebak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still meditate with eyes closed. Sitting with spine erect, not to comfortably, either in a simple version of lotus position or on my heels with knees bent. lFocus on the breath. Inhale nose, exhale mouth. Registration of tension. Enter tension. Stay as relaxed as possibly in tension. Breathe. Tension is tension. Tension is not you. Breathe through it. Breathe and think "I am not my body". Feel the body. Breathe. Repeat.

Feel the body, feel the tension, Tension may be feelings...enter them, breathe through feelings. Don`t judge. Let i t go. I am not my feelings. Breathe.

Mindchatter. I hear it, then I see it. I resist sharpening my lense. I dont listen to closely. I breathe. And let it pass. I am not my thoughts....breathe (thats a hard one)..

I am thinking. I am not thinking. Thoughts are not me. Breathe and repeat.

(Who, what am I??)

I dont remember. I dont care. I breathe. I forget and let go. Know nothing. Breathe.

 

 

It took me several months of daily practise before I was "rewarded" with the quiet, space that seems surrounded by a soft light that feels almost like a field of "knowing. When my consciousness moves towards it, it responds immediately and adequatly to any question. But I am beyond concepts.

It is comforting and I can also feel a great sense of humour.

I dont know how long it lasts. I always remove my wristwatch. Energy gained is life gained. So I dont bother much with time-measure.

it may be a alfa-beta-theta-mind-trick

but I am sure it does good.

Edited by rain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What type of practice do you do?

 

Nothing, actually. Well, when I drive I sometimes try to not think. Stop the word flow and so on. Of course, it just gets me thinking about stopping thinking. :) Every once in a while I manage to maintain no-chatter for a couple of seconds. Seems like something I should put more time into, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allowing the garments to hang down was later taken to mean that the Yellow Emperor, Yao, and Shun

sat quietly without stirring, and as a result of their inaction things automatically righted themselves.

Wilhelm's I Ching - BK 2 - The Great Treatise - Part 2

 

CHAPTER V - Explanations of Certain Lines:-

 

1. In the Changes it is said: "If a man is agitated in mind, and his thoughts go hither and thither, only those

friends on whom he fixes his conscious thoughts will follow."

 

The Master said: What need has nature of thoughts and care? In nature all things return to their common

source and are distributed along different paths; through one action, the fruits of a hundred thoughts are

realized. What need nature of thought, of care?

 

2. When the sun goes, the moon comes; when the moon goes, the sun comes. Sun and moon alternate; thus

light comes into existence. When cold goes, heat comes; when heat goes, cold comes. Cold and heat alternate,

and thus the year completes itself. The past contracts. The future expands. Contraction and expansion act

upon each other; hereby arises that which furthers.

 

3. The measuring worm draws itself together when it wants to stretch out. Dragons and snakes hibernate in

order to preserve life. Thus the penetration of a germinal thought into the mind promotes the working

of the mind. When this working furthers and brings peace to life, it elevates a man's nature.

 

4. Whatever goes beyond this indeed transcends all knowledge. When a man comprehends the divine and

understands the transformations, he lifts his nature to the level of the miraculous.

 

In this explanation of the nine in the fourth place in Hexagram 31, Hsien, INFLUENCE (Bk. III), a theory of

the power of the unconscious is given. Conscious influences are always merely limited ones, because they

are brought about by intention. Nature knows no intentions; this is why everything in nature is so great.

It is owing to the underlying unity of nature that all it's thousand ways lead to a goal so perfect that is

seems to have been planned beforehand down to the last detail.

 

Then, in connection with the course of the day and the year, we are shown how past and future flow into

each other, how contraction and expansion are the two movements through which the past prepares the

future and the future unfolds the past.

 

In the two succeeding sections the same thought is applied to man who, through supreme concentration,

so intensifies and strengthens his inner being that mysterious autonomous currents of power emanate

from him: thus the effects he creates proceed from his unconscious and mysteriously affect the unconscious

in others, attaining such breadth and depth of influence that they transcend the individual sphere and enter

the realm of cosmic phenomena.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you Yen Hui

for your enlightening instructive description. I follow every word and its beauty fills me with awe and strong emotions.

I chose some 15 years ago, due to natural circumstances, to start a slow descent from my intellect down into the body.

I love to play. My mind likes to play. But I seemed to be "giljotined", shut off from the neck and down.... Thinking span 360 degrees at lightening speed, but my body ached. I took a look at our society by studying my internalized preconceptions.

Today I support not knowing, working gradually and disciplined, being irrational, not competing, having nothing to show for, being honest, allowing rage, thinking assosiatvely, going by intuition, letting the hard mad laughter out after the unbearable sorrow, keeping in contact with my child within. For the sake of balance. I have chosen to do bodywork without the "translate this physical sensation into something mental". I work intensively with understanding and cultivating balance when I move in qigong and take my 180 and 360 degree turns in tkd. I watch my fear, and try not to let it stop me from moving. I try to stay in the centre withan empty mind in "combat"/play and rely on experience to kick in literally.

 

I choose to be child-like, more like an idiot, because I belive that is what I am..

I want to share my litterature-list with you some day, and tell you about education.

but right now I try to keep it simple.

Edited by rain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites