Tatsumaru

Share your "Suppressing the thinking mind" techniques

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Some people like me have extremely active (not necessarily intelligent) thinking mind, which produces a lot of chatter, creates a lot of doubt and greatly reduces the quality of all kinds of transcendent practice.

 

Since ancient times, spiritual seekers have developed various techniques which aimed at suppressing the thinking mind.

I would like to hear your techniques and ideas on this matter.

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Tatsumaru
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'Suppressing' is going about it the wrong way. :)

 

The untrained mind tends to be like a crazy monkey, and when the average person tries to stop it the only way they know is suppression. But grabbing its neck and tying it down doesn't really help. It takes effort to hold it down, and the second you release it, it goes back to jumping around.

 

That's the most important thing to understand about suppressing thought - it doesn't change your mind's ordinary walking-around habits. You need to get it so the monkey is happy to calmly walk about, and calmly sit down. This is what shamatha, one of the main branches of Buddhist meditation, is all about (the other main branch is vipassana, which is about insight).

 

The basic principle is you take an object to focus on, and attend to it. And every time you get distracted, you just let go of the distraction, putting your attention back on the object. Over time the mind becomes increasingly used to settling on an object.

 

A great guide to mindfulness of breathing is here: http://www.wildmind.org/mindfulness

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Suppression will not lead to the inner peace that is the aim of meditation. There are some observations regarding a connection between rigidly conducted Zen meditation and the development of cancer (which is generally the physical expression of psychological content suppressed by the mind). Suppression can also lead to neurotic and psychotic states.

 

There are better ways to calm and relax your mind. Some of them are working with affirmations and visualizations. Among many similar methods, I recommend the one that I have personal experience with, a basic exercise from the Silva Mind Control course.

 

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Buddhism doesn't suppress the mind, it rests the mind with shamatha.

 

Buddhism also cares, cleans and trains the the mind with the lojong and loving kindness meditations along with practice of the six paramitas.

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Some people like me have extremely active (not necessarily intelligent) thinking mind, which produces a lot of chatter, creates a lot of doubt and greatly reduces the quality of all kinds of transcendent practice.

 

Since ancient times, spiritual seekers have developed various techniques which aimed at suppressing the thinking mind.

I would like to hear your techniques and ideas on this matter.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

At your current level of perception, I would suggest that you look into using a mantra. As things get more stable, move on to other techniques.

 

Best wishes.

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There are basically two ways to go about it:

1 - You train the mind to become quiet in order to recognise the truth

2 - Through recognition of the truth your mind automatically becomes quiet 

 

The vast majority of paths go about it using the method of number 1 of trying to train the mind. My experience is that number 2 is more effective, the reason being that in essence a lot of the methods of number 1 are subtly violent, even coming from the view that the mind should be different and more quiet is a form of rejection, ultimately it is one part of the mind rejecting another part, one part trying to dominate another, just internal war and conflict which feeds itself and is never ending.

 

Number two brings in an outside agent which is ultimately more powerful than the energy of the mind, eventually through recognition of the truth of its place in the grand scheme of things and when confronted by something more powerful than it which can't control or manipulate the mind surrenders and is eventually quieted through entrainment and by being starved of the energy of identification. 

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It's fascinating, the effects of breathing on the process of mind, particularly oxygen saturation and breath sublimation.  Or beyond mind, the realms of awareness, of which mind cannot touch.

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How to suppress the mind when the mind you want to suppress is the same part of you that wants to do the suppressing? ¬†Maybe allow the thoughts to be there and feel into that space in and around them where it¬īs calm and quiet. ¬†

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Obviously the choice of the word "suppress" was not a big hit :)

 

Take a look at the care and feeding of the mind:

 

Are you exercising it with lots of radio? Politics? YouTube? Take a very close look to see if you are exercising your mind in the chatter you resist. An alchoholic does not quit sitting in a bar.

 

Take a look to see if a fair margin of your self worth is your minds ability to parry and take on a variety of subjects - this may be your way of creating bigness in your self image - it would then be hard to give up "honing your mind / analytical skills". See if it is hard not to express yourself in front of others - if it is - it is a good sign you value highly your communication skills - and chatter is practice of sorts - future events practice.

 

We spend 95% of our lives in mind chatter - less than 1% takes place - the rest is in the futures or pasts.

Edited by Spotless
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When mind is full focus on the breath when breath is rough use the mind to make it smooth. Body and mind rest on each other.

 

Thoughts happen in words, drop words because we are basically telling ourselves what we already know.

 

This thinking part of mind is a great tool but when the tool is not needed put the tool away. What is  left is awareness and if the thinking mind wants to get involved like always be a really bad host, do not listen or feed this mind,

 

For the very busy minded give mind the job of observation without attachment and switch from internal awareness to environmental awareness then in and out at the same time not a great method but a trick to discipline the mind.

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I'm not at all involved with the world, I am very withdrawn from society, I don't care about news or radio or climate change. I don't care about job or family or health or success or children. All I care about is truth.

 

Most of my chatter is in the form of "Am I doing it right? I will probably fail again. I suck." etc.

 

I understand that the I that I think I am is not real, because nothing that changes can be a thing or be real.
However the ego is still very dominant and doesn't what to shut up with its useless crap.

It's like an alternative self that fights for survival. Whenever I am about to have an inner journey or a transcendent experience, the mind turns on and says "Wait, where are you going, come back here."

It's really active, like a watch dog. Doesn't allow the prisoner to escape.

Edited by Tatsumaru

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It is expressing negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself which you harbour in your subconscious mind, such as: "I never do things right", "I'm inadequate" etc.  A good way would be just listening to the chatter for awhile rather than trying to get rid of it, so you will know what you need to work on. Then start feeding yourself with positive thoughts: "It's alright that I learn at my pace", "I am allowed to relax", "the effort matters, not the perfect result", "everything I have inside me is worth looking at" etc.

 

Good luck.

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I have a younger relative who, as a little kid, loved to sing this song:

 

This is the song that gets on everybody's nerves,

This is the song that gets on everybody's nerves,

This is the song that gets on everybody's nerves,

And this is how it goes:

This is the song that gets on everybody's nerves,

This is the song that gets on everybody's nerves...

 

You get the idea.

 

Screaming "shut up!" just encouraged him. Making a big deal about how you were actively ignoring him just encouraged him. Leaving the room didn't work because he'd just follow you.

 

I learned that passively observing him for a minute or two took all the fun out of it and he would either stop or go try to get a reaction from someone else.

 

Before long, he grew out of it.

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I ask myself 'What will my next thought be?'  Usually that leads to silence, then I'll turn my senses to my body, see where its tense and try to relax it. 

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I love to see where my thoughts come from and most of my thoughts are not even me. It is funny how mind creates obstacles that get in our way. So I like the saying when you see buddha on your path kill him. 

 

The thinking mind and shining mind need to get married because they are in love with each other. the darker mind will follow the light mind. The real opponent is ourselves we need to choose the leader . There is something the mind depends on to be so, make that the leader and we see just how stupid mind really is.

Edited by Wu Ming Jen
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Some people like me have extremely active (not necessarily intelligent) thinking mind, which produces a lot of chatter, creates a lot of doubt and greatly reduces the quality of all kinds of transcendent practice.

 

Since ancient times, spiritual seekers have developed various techniques which aimed at suppressing the thinking mind.

I would like to hear your techniques and ideas on this matter.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

One excellent technique for gaining control of the mind ( I prefer that terminology to suppression) is zhiné.

Zhiné is the foundational shamatha practice used by the Bönpos after completing the preliminary practices (ngöndro).

It is used to settle the mind and also to give an introduction to the nature of mind. 

We must first gain some degree of control before we can let go of that control - that is the principle.

 

Here are two brief videos giving some introduction to the method and some discussion and explanation.

http://oceanofwisdom.org/watch-video.php?video=195

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Environment is producing thinking.

 

Interaction with environment.

 

We take in minerals, such as salts and metals.

 

Then we seek 7 times the volume in proteins.

 

And carbohydrates and fats.

 

Then we seek 7 times the volume in water.

 

Then 7 times the volume in air.

 

All of this determines expression.

 

Expression is making internal/external balance.

 

Thinking is expression.

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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One excellent technique for gaining control of the mind ( I prefer that terminology to suppression) is zhiné.

Zhiné is the foundational shamatha practice used by the Bönpos after completing the preliminary practices (ngöndro).

It is used to settle the mind and also to give an introduction to the nature of mind. 

We must first gain some degree of control before we can let go of that control - that is the principle.

 

Here are two brief videos giving some introduction to the method and some discussion and explanation.

http://oceanofwisdom.org/watch-video.php?video=195

Woah, dat youtube video!  I had it on during lunch break and suddenly its like 'Oh I guess I'm supposed to stare at this symbol for a while'.  I don't know the first thing about Dzogchen or Bon, but that was a particularly 'interesting' symbol to concentrate on.  Without asking for anything more than a basic answer, is it useful/acceptable for a non-Dzogchen practitioner to use the 'Ah' syllable (what he called it) as a means of practicing concentration?  Meaning, if I were to print this out and stare at it, following the instructions given in the video for longer periods of time, would this be unsafe or an unproductive use of concentration practice?  (If it is I can continue to use candles, which are great, but not always accessible )

 

The other video... I couldn't figure out how it relates to the Zhine practice but that's probably just my inexperience/ignorance

Edited by Wilhelm

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Woah, dat youtube video!  I had it on during lunch break and suddenly its like 'Oh I guess I'm supposed to stare at this symbol for a while'.  I don't know the first thing about Dzogchen or Bon, but that was a particularly 'interesting' symbol to concentrate on.  

 

Without asking for anything more than a basic answer, is it useful/acceptable for a non-Dzogchen practitioner to use the 'Ah' syllable (what he called it) as a means of practicing concentration?

Yes

 

 Meaning, if I were to print this out and stare at it, following the instructions given in the video for longer periods of time, would this be unsafe or an unproductive use of concentration practice?  (If it is I can continue to use candles, which are great, but not always accessible )

Not unsafe or unproductive. Mastering concentration is absolutely indispensable for more advanced practices, takes a very long time, and occurs on multiple levels. It can't hurt you.

Of course, it will unmask things that you may struggle with - always use your common sense and if things get scary or dicey get support from a guide or teacher. 

 

 

The other video... I couldn't figure out how it relates to the Zhine practice but that's probably just my inexperience/ignorance

He first describes the practice, then gets into experiences and signs, then on to integration where the connections can get subtle. Once you have some personal experience and start applying that to the context of your life, you will develop understanding and what he talks about will make more sense. 

 

It's easy to get affordable guidance in Bön practices lately from multiple, qualified lamas. 

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Some people like me have extremely active (not necessarily intelligent) thinking mind, which produces a lot of chatter, creates a lot of doubt and greatly reduces the quality of all kinds of transcendent practice.

 

Since ancient times, spiritual seekers have developed various techniques which aimed at suppressing the thinking mind.

I would like to hear your techniques and ideas on this matter.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

There are lots of great meditation techniques. Lately I've found two things have caused a clarity of mind to come on suddenly:

 

1) Keeping a simple and very easily digestible diet...a Chinese Medicine spleen deficiency, blood producing, anti-dampness diet. Why does this work? Any dampness from the diet sinks to the lower jiao, interfering with the mingmen fire, which then flares up and makes the heart/pericardium and the shen overactive...what Li Dong Yuan called yin fire. For me, it was kind of shocking once clarity came, after eating strictly like this for a couple of days.

2) Slowly walking for long periods of time, like at least 30 minutes at a stretch. Walk so that you're not trying to get somewhere on time, but you're living in the moment, taking in what's around you, with no where to be later on...and basically doing nothing other than that. Just walking. We tend to live fast these days, needing to do this and that, be this or that, go here or there - so, to be forced to stop all of that allows the mind to settle a bit.

 

In addition to those two things, I like Tibetan Buddhist methods, which kind of obliterate the mind or let it release into spaciousness, rather than methods which suppress the mind. Although it is good to do a little bit of calm abiding, which is more suppressive.

Edited by Aetherous

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Great answers, my advice

 

Chew on them a little - read them again

 

Basically learn to "listen"

 

Listening goes very deep, from listening to yourself, your body, energy, the outer (natural world) and listening to good advice all the way to deep meditative states.

 

I feel when a human starts to understand what it means to really listen and pay attention - what happens is something remarkable:

 

suddenly there is infinite potential to learn and grow

 

Boredom dies, ceaseless internal chatter gets less, the dancing colours of the outer world get brighter and more alive - the whole of manifestation is suddenly so alive that mind sometimes just stops in awe

 

Oh and relationships become healthy too

 

Just from learning the art of listening

 

You can meditate to escape, suppress, bypass - you can play with your thanatos drive like that , refine it till you stop breathing and fall over - no thoughts, no breath, no life... sure thing. Very male (intellectual) approach if I may say so

 

Mind is a two sided sword - can cut many thing all thing but itself

 

Its useful - but in our culture many times mind is overactive and not under the control of ethics and a genuine life pat

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Recognize mind has never once had a thought that wasn't your own choice already. 

 

Mindfully choose compassionate thoughts that are a pleasure to experience and the urge to silence thought passes.  

 

With no urges, the need to cling to some thought passes with it. 

 

Unlimited Love,

-Bud

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