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August 30, 2019

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Hi Brian Ji
You wrote
"After a few minutes, he said something like, "If you've been captured by thought, bring your attention back to the breath."

"There's nothing wrong with thinking, of course. Obviously it's an essential part of being human. However, i agree with Harris that it's the automaticity of thought which is the problem. Or, if "problem" is too strong a word, perhaps "issue" is a better term."

When you being yourself back, do you notice feeling differently?

A good and a bad?

Thoughts are often conditioned to emotional reactions. So when you start thinking about all that needs to be done, along with it comes a little anxiety. But by pulling the mind away and placing it on something neutral or calming by association, this helps turn down, or off, anxiety - provoking thoughts. And that has substantially positive benefits to our health and our thinking.

Imagine that normal anxiety always there in the background. We are generally unconscious of it, and unaware of how our behavior is a reaction to such anxiety... To fight or flee, or just give up at the least stress. Thoughts and deadlines, insults from others, late bills that need to be paid, dishes that need cleaning, lawn that needs fertilizing, seeding, mowing, watering, trees need pruning, lawn mower gas needs buying, oil needs changing, and someone reminding me., report due today, presentation coming up this morning, .. Why am I even alive? How do I get through the day? And Auntie is ill, what shall I do? One thought leads to a chain, and often follows a tiny anxiety like a tree branch back to the tree trunk anxiety, and before it gets to the actual roots, we can no longer sit still.

So if you break that up, you can relax. You can build a sanctuary of peace by moving back to your breath.

But what if you could relax and watch those thoughts as they move? What if, instead of breaking up that chain, pulling anything anywhere, you let them take that natural journey to the trunk and then the roots, the very source of that line of thought? They very foundation of all that daily anxiety you were trying to pull away from?

What if you found a method that gave you the strength to see things as they are without interrupting them? And without being affected by the least?

Is it possible that all of their own that line of thought would naturally find itself revealing something deeper about you? A deeper peace? Something you weren't aware of? Some greater knowledge that, while not always pretty, leads to an even deeper thought of profound creative beauty? A deeper peace based in the gravitas of understanding the whole? A natural point of absolute stillness, in reaching the root, the full destination of the thought, like the period of a sentence, or the completion of a melody? A more substantial peace that did not require pulling away from, running away from, breaking up anything? That does not require breaking up the train of thought at all? Not avoiding its destination. The discovery that if you accept it, fully attentive, entirely as it is, and travel with that thought into darkness, to its destination, that it will move further out, will move to a place of peace entirely unaided? That the destination of every thought, allowed to progress without reaction but full attention, is always a higher peace and perfect stillness, naturally, on its own without your help? But in fact with only your quiet and complete attention?

That's a different kind of meditation. From a deeper place.


For example, when I write, like I am right now, an intuitive image of what I want to say comes before the words that I use to express that intention.
Thus it seems highly probable that each of us could go on a "thought diet" without losing any of the functionality of our mind/brain. While thoughts appear to be highly useful when, say, a difficult problem needs to be addressed, likely we could ditch many or most of our daily thoughts and still function just fine.

Fascinating topic. I experience the same sort of intuitive flow but
the mind almost always manages to interject a subtle "But, what if",
"Are you sure", "Think it through". All time-tested mental recipes for
entanglement. My challenge is to deepen the mindfulness to not
engage.

Hi Dungeness
You wrote
" I experience the same sort of intuitive flow but
the mind almost always manages to interject a subtle "But, what if",
"Are you sure", "Think it through". All time-tested mental recipes for
entanglement. "

Entanglement or intuition? Maybe these are suggestions from the unconscious because at one level something isn't quite connecting, and you need to consider it a little more deeply.

How does one distinguish between pure unfocused distraction and a solid intuitive hunch that we need a plan B?

Imagine how less annoying most meditators and mystic yoga practitioners would all be if they just said what you did. "It appealed to me."

What else is there to say? You like something, so you do it. It's an enjoyable or otherwise desirable activity to the person doing it. No need to change the world or seek ego obliterating union with the "ineffable absolute."

Theres a simple system you can google : you tube called:
YOGA NIDRA .try it...it WORKS too and is very centering
Lying down just dont fall asleep.
It gets one in touch with entire system and drops all of it including the mind nto a very deep centering place.
Can follow the guided meditation as often as you wish..
Chy

Perhaps a bit Buddhistic but this is my take on the process of meditation:-

Seeing that meditation arises as a natural consequence of awareness.
Seeing how the mind is composed of information.
Seeing how information continually creates and sustains a ‘self’.
Seeing how identifying with a ‘self’ creates a ‘me’ with a seemingly fixed identity.
Seeing how attachment to identity arises.
Seeing how attachment to identity creates suffering and conflict.
Seeing that whatever explanations proceed from the mind is partial and ever changing.
Seeing that life is constant change, everything is continuous movement.

If anything is pseudo bullshit mumbo jumbo Sam Harris is the epitome of it.

Congrats for chucking out the wheat and hanging on to the chaff.


Entanglement or intuition? Maybe these are suggestions from the unconscious because at one level something isn't quite connecting, and you need to consider it a little more deeply.

How does one distinguish between pure unfocused distraction and a solid intuitive hunch that we need a plan B?

I'm theorizing that, if your mindfulness is deep, you'll know the difference.

Hm, I'll change "My challenge is to deepen mindfulness to not engage"
to "...SENSE WHEN not to engage" though.

Of course, once the mind knows you're probing for the truth, it'll find
new tricks to make you confuse the two.

Which reminds me of the story about a sleeper who's awakened by
a voice telling him to "wake up, time to meditate". He's suspicious and
finally gets the the mind to admit that it was a " ruse. Why, you ask?
Because crappy meditation doesn't get you anywhere but if you were
to sleep all night and feel guilty, you might redouble effort to meditate
more seriously."


I'm a bit of a fan of Zen Buddhism, much of it reflects current research and thinking into the questions of self, and mind. It also also gives one something to work in enquiring into the infamous 'who am I' question.
To add to my previous comment on meditation is the axiom common in many forms of Zen (Soto Zen), Chan etc. is :-

To study Buddhism is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.

It makes sense to enquire into the self/mind structure in a world where reactionary thinking and action is the norm.

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