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Offlineexclusive58
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The Simplicity of Meditation
    #3942772 - 03/20/05 05:41 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Beginning meditation can be a bit of a struggle. You realize how little control you have over your own mind and thoughts. You may be able to stop them successfully for a second or two, only to realize that the silence in your mind ceased just because you said to yourself "hey i'm doing it". Indeed, meditation can be a bit frustrating at first.

But paradoxically, meditation is the simplest thing in life. If you insist and if you do not give up, if you don't let your frustrations stop you and if you practice every day, you too will realize that meditation is as easy as breathing. In fact, meditation is breathing, and nothing else.

I've been meditating for more than half a year now, with 20-30 minutes at least 5 days a week (altough i admit i hav been inconsistent during vacations  :stoned:), and i have reached a degree of concentration in meditation that leaves me undisturbed by my inner chattering for a maximum of about 5 minutes.

It's really an incredible feeling. I don't know how to describe it well, but you really feel free, free from thought, from useless analysis and judgement. It clears your mind up.

What i do is for the first 5-10 minutes, i do breath-counting meditation (count breaths up to 4, and start over), then for the next 5-10 minutes i put a label to the moments of each of my breaths, i say to myself "beginning..middle..end" for each corresponding moments of breath (credits to redgreenvines for this one, thanx man)..

..the last 5-10 minutes are the most interesting ones. What i do is i tell myself that breathing is the easiest thing in life, and i concentrate in doing ONLY that. The thought of simplicity triggers a perfect meditation for me. Its really an awesome feeling to have all your awareness and concetration directed towards the one most important action needed to live, which is by the way an action that we unconsciously do daily. So going from an unconscious act to a 100% conscious act is pretty damn cool.


I wish i could say more concerning the simplicity of meditation, but i lack the words to do so. Maybe if we brainstorm on this all together, we could define it better and therefore make it easier of access and comprehension to those who are interested in meditation...sooo, to your keyboards!  :wink:


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Offlineegghead1
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #3942777 - 03/20/05 05:48 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Nice  :heart:. Very Zen-like  :thumbup:


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: egghead1]
    #3942782 - 03/20/05 05:54 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

thank you!


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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #3942801 - 03/20/05 06:18 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

By Schoorel:

Balancing thought with silence
How to halt the inner dialogue? How to stop thinking? When our train of thought is moving at full speed, it can seem almost impossible. But this is just how it seems, in actual fact it can be achieved relatively easily. It's not a big deal. Like learning how to ride a bicycle, it is not all that difficult, although you do need to go through a process of learning, of trying and practicing. You can't just mount a bicycle for the first time in your life and expect to ride it without a learning period. Conscious silence is something you will need to learn by trial and error, you will need to 'get the hang of it'. It is a knack. Excessive thinking is a habit. To kick the habit requires a certain discipline, we have to remind ourselves not to automatically revert to thinking all the time. But like riding a bicycle, to stop thinking is not incredibly difficult.

The idea is not that you never think again, the idea is simply to balance thought with silence, to put thinking in perspective, and to make it a voluntary process. The dimension of conscious silence is inestimably valuable, and you can bring it back into your life.

Discovering silence
Your chances of discovering this inner silence serendipitously, are slim. You could get a taste of it when your hand unexpectedly gets caught in a lawn mower or something. You are jolted into silence, and your whole thought process gets interrupted for a few moments. Or you may have a glimpse of it when you jump out of a plane for the first time. Or when you jump out for the 31st time, but now your chute fails to open. In these extreme situations your mind might go into spontaneous silence, a silence in which you are acutely aware. Your inner dialogue can come to a halt because of radical circumstance. And in a way it's a thrill. This silence in your brain, this acute awareness, is so refreshing, replenishing.

There are other, maybe less spectacular situations in which we may experience this silence spontaneously. Imagine entering a room where, unbeknownst to you, someone you love dearly is sleeping. There is another person present who indicates, in the most friendly manner, for you to hush. You immediately understand the situation, and immediately you are quiet. Right then and there you stop talking, you don't utter a single word more, and even inside you become very quiet. For a few moments you stop thinking, and you become very attentive.

Meditation
You can learn this attentive silence. This state of attentive silence is the true meaning of the word 'meditation'. Meditation has become a confusing word, these days almost everything is called meditation. Meditation even means contemplation, standing on your head, repeating words over and over, breathing exercises, you name it. Meditation is none of that, meditation is simply conscious silence, the state of silence in your brain while you are wide awake. You are fully conscious, but not thinking. In order to have this silence in your brain, you do not need to sit in complicated postures, nor is it necessary to go to a monastery in Tibet.

Meditation is not some exercise. It is not a technique to be practiced. It is not a concentrated effort. Concentration would make meditation an achievement of the mind, when in fact it is the mind going into abeyance, shutting down.

Don't try to stop your thinking, but learn not to think in the first place. To try to stop your thinking is repressing thoughts, it is not authentic silence. To try to silence your mind is a reactive approach. The proactive approach is to not think your next thoughts. The result is that you've stopped thinking, not because you stopped your thinking, but because you didn't continue it. Meditation is much more innocent and much more straightforward than is generally believed.

Understanding meditation simply as conscious silence, there's no need to create a dichotomy between daily life and spirituality. You can prepare a meal or do the dishes with silence in your brain. You can have a silent mind listening to someone, or walking down the street, taking a shower, having a drink. You can be in inner silence in so many situations: during your golf game, in a loud discotheque, while making love, in a deep, and intimate embrace. Having silence in your brain does not mean that you go blind or stupid, you are perfectly able to do all sorts of things, and actually with more awareness, with more presence. You are present-minded, not absent-minded, not lost in thoughts.

How to literally not think
So how to not think? We need to consider the thought process. We need to have a better idea of how it works. The thought process is like a train, a steam-train of thought. In order for the train to move, we have to burn pieces of wood in the engine: we have to provide the brain with thoughts. One log feeds on the previous, and this is how we get the train moving. So we keep feeding these logs into the train's engine in order for the train to get moving and gather momentum. One thought feeds on the previous, the momentum builds, and our train of thought gets moving.

This is a train without brakes though, and if we want to stop it, the only way is to let it run out of steam. Of course, if we keep feeding new logs into the engine, the train will never run out of steam.

Some people - in an effort to quickly stop the train - will try to get logs out of the engine! They use new logs to try to get the ones burning out. Unfortunately, the results are always counterproductive. They never succeed in getting logs out of the engine. Instead, the logs they were trying to get them out with catch fire! In a more frantic effort to stop the train they use new logs to get the ones that just caught fire back out, but the same thing happens, and the train keeps moving at full speed. In fact, the more frantic the effort to stop the train by trying to get logs out of the engine, the more wood is burned, and the more momentum the train gathers.

In order to stop the train you don't want to meddle with logs already in the engine. Let them burn out, they burn themselves out in little time. Once you think a thought, let it burn itself out, because trying to undo this thought is a futile effort. In trying to undo it, you only think more thoughts. The single discipline needed to stop the train, is to not put new logs into the engine. You have been feeding logs into the engine so regularly, so automatically, that you may find yourself feeding logs into it again, just out of habit.

Remember, stop feeding new logs, and don't meddle with logs already in the fire. Don't bring in new thoughts, and don't meddle with thoughts that you are already thinking. If thoughts continue for a while, it is just the momentum of a train of thought moving at full speed that needs to come to a halt. You just take care not to fuel the train while you are waiting for it to run out of momentum and stop. You just take care not to put yet another log into the fire, and soon your train of thought will run out of steam. To meditate simply means to not think, to not continue throwing thoughts into the engine of your steamtrain of thought. Don't bother about thoughts that you are already thinking, just be alert to not think your next thought. This is the whole secret of meditation.






[Excerpt prior to the above:]

I am conscious, therefor I am
You are not conscious because you think. You can think, and learn to think, because you are conscious in the very first place. This is why Descartes' idea 'I think, therefor I am', is incorrect. The actual situation is 'I am conscious, therefor I am'. You are conscious, therefor you are.

Silent awareness
When we are born, we do not yet know how to think. A baby is born with silent awareness in its brain. A baby is conscious long before he or she learns to think. The first few months of our existence we do not think to ourselves, there is no inner dialogue. Thinking comes later. And while it is human to think, it is in the nature of consciousness to be silent. But we haven't known ourselves as consciousness. The paradigm of the human being has turned us into compulsive thinkers. We don't know how to stop anymore. Our thought process is out of control. We don't remember the joy and simplicity of silence in our brain: alive silence, conscious silence.

Confusion is not our natural state
The human being is a thinking animal. Thanks to our thinking, our use of concepts, we can do incredible things. Thinking is our number one strength. Thinking is humanity's main tool, and it's powerful. It is what a hammer is to a carpenter: he can do many wonderful things with it, and he uses it all the time. The hammer is extremely valuable and functional; it is essential to him. Yet it would be very strange if he would never to let go of his hammer again, if he would take it to bed and into the shower, not even letting go of it while making love... However, with our tool called thinking we do just that, we think all the time. Thinking has become a cult, it is out of proportion. Thinking has become an addiction.

Confusion is not our natural state. A baby is not confused. We are born with an untroubled mind, no conflicting ideas and beliefs in our minds, no ideas at all. We are naturally clear, not naturally confused. Confusion is manmade. Confusion is a state that we hype ourselves into, we are not born confused, we don't wake up confused. Confusion means that we are stuck in a world of concepts. Simply looking into life there is no confusion, but tangled up in concepts we become confused. Incessant thinking has confused us. We are restless, not at peace, always fidgeting. Thoughts are constantly running through our minds.

Paradigm Shifting:
From Thought to Conscious Silence
This paradigm-shift is a shift beyond paradigms, from thought to conscious silence. Moving beyond thought and paradigms. Leaving conceptual understanding behind and shifting into immediate understanding, without mediation of thoughts and concepts. Understanding through direct intelligence, direct perception.



A mist of thoughts
Thinking has become a habit to the point of addiction. We cannot stop it. We have turned into obsessive thinkers, incessantly thinking and worrying. But why think all the time like a chainsmoker who lights one cigarette after the other with no gaps in between? Thinking can be voluntary, it does not need to be compulsive. You can be a master of your mind, it need not be the other way around. We are slaves of our minds as long as thinking is compulsive. Compulsive thinking is not freedom, we are held prisoner. We are stuck within the confines of our minds. Thinking has become uninterrupted, like a chain, or a train of thought. We don't know how to stop our inner dialogue.

We can't look at a sunset without confirming the accepted paradigm of a sunset: "What a beautiful sunset." Maybe it is not beautiful! It will be hard for us to tell, because we are not seeing the sunset without coloring it with our thoughts. We experience projections of our minds, not reality. We are so engrossed in thinking that direct experience has become an exception. Whatever we do, walking down the street, taking a bath, watching a sunset, we are not simply there. While we are having an experience, whatever it happens to be, we are either commenting on the experience or thinking about something else. We are not directly experiencing life, we are looking at life through a mist of thoughts. We are lost in thought almost all the time. As parents, we do not understand our baby's world, we have completely forgotten what it is like to live with a silent mind, to live with silence in our brain.

Sanity Continuum
What is sanity? Sanity and madness are the extremes of a sanity continuum. The one extreme is madness, insanity, and the other is sanity. What we consider normal is not exactly sanity, it lies somewhere in the middle of these extremes. As individuals and as humanity we haven't blossomed into complete sanity yet, we still have to go sane. Sanity is a healthy state of mind, and madness is a mental illness. The more thinking is of a voluntary nature, the more sane we are. When thinking becomes a compulsive and autonomous process, we become insane. The more autonomously thoughts run through the mind, the more insane we are.

Sanity is being able to determine whether you actually think or do not think at all, and exist with a silent mind. When you do think, you determine what you think of, you are able to choose the direction of your thoughts. Thinking is a voluntary process. And because it is voluntary, it is beautiful, useful, and not a burden at all. You think when you feel like it, thinking is not compulsive, it has not taken over your life. When you are sane, thinking is a tool that you use appropriately. You are not imprisoned by it. You are free from the mind.

Somewhere in the middle between sanity and insanity lies what we call normalcy, we can more or less determine the direction of our thoughts, but we cannot choose whether to actually think or not. Thinking has a certain autonomy, the process of thinking itself seems to be happening of its own accord. Thinking is compulsive in the sense that we seem not to be able to stop it anymore, though in general we are still able to determine what we think of. Thinking is still very useful, but it can also be a burden. It can be almost synonymous with worrying. And continuously thinking is tiring too. Thinking does not allow us to rest, to fall asleep naturally. To think our whole life long, every single minute of the day, is ludicrous and close to madness. Excessive thinking makes us borderline psychotics.

Insanity is taking it one step further, our thought process becomes so autonomous that it truly overtakes our life. That is madness, when thinking has become completely autonomous. Not only have we no control over whether we actually think or not, even what we think of is no longer our choice. Thoughts are happening as if by themselves, and we are unable to give direction to our thoughts. Thinking is a burden, and we think nightmarish thoughts. We are a prisoner of our mind, our whole thought process is out of control, and we have not a clue how to stop it. All voluntariness has disappeared out of thinking. It seems as if our thought process is living a life of its own.

What is the difference between talking to ourselves and thinking to ourselves? The first is considered a sign of a disturbed mind while the second is considered normal, but there's not all that much difference. In order to go sane, you will need to learn to be in charge of your mind, to be in charge of your thinking. When the inner dialogue stops, that's the end of all schizophrenia. Finally you experience your wholeness, your undivided being. In conscious silence, a human being becomes sane.




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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #3943679 - 03/20/05 12:58 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

exclusive58;

I take no responsibility for the work you have done all by your own power, but am supremely delighted that you have stayed simple and found the merit of the simplicity in the burmese method of vipassana.

and you have done it with honesty and directness.

bravo. :cool:

=============

SkorpivoMusterion ;

when you make a deep breath be aware thus: "a deep breath"

when you make a short breath be aware thus: "a short breath"

when you bring complexity to the already clear table of simplicity, be aware of that.


Edited by redgreenvines (03/20/05 12:59 PM)


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: redgreenvines]
    #3944422 - 03/20/05 04:24 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

thanx red, but whether you take responsibility or not doesn't change the fact that you directly helped me in my improvement and my progress at meditation. so thanx again!

and by the way, maybe you could give me a little more advanced meditation techniqe that you might know of? what form of meditation are you presently practicing?


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #3944633 - 03/20/05 05:02 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

just the same one.


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #3953662 - 03/22/05 03:09 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

So how to not think? We need to consider the thought process. We need to have a better idea of how it works. The thought process is like a train, a steam-train of thought. In order for the train to move, we have to burn pieces of wood in the engine: we have to provide the brain with thoughts. One log feeds on the previous, and this is how we get the train moving. So we keep feeding these logs into the train's engine in order for the train to get moving and gather momentum. One thought feeds on the previous, the momentum builds, and our train of thought gets moving.






that's a nice metaphore, i like it
it reminds me of something that happened a long time ago when i was in 2nd grade, as i was riding in a car from school to home, it sone of those memories that you somehow remember for no particular reason...

I was just thinking about stuff, which lead me to think about other stuff, and so on and so on, until i realized that what i was thinking about had nothing to do with the first thing i was thought about. So i kinda played out how that whole thought process that had been going down in my head, i tried to figure out in which way one thought had lead me to the next, and it was really great because i succeeded in observing a chain reaction of about 6 different thoughts and how each thought was linked to the other. I really had in mind the complete way my thoughts had been "burning off" on from the other.

At that moment arised the Silence that is so nice and precious. :thumbup:


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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #3953987 - 03/22/05 04:05 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

the morphology of flame is essentially turbulence
the way turbulence conditions turbulence is interesting at this scope.

the turning of the mind from turbulence to task is most interesting.

as we chose which turbulence to engender.


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OfflineGomp
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: redgreenvines]
    #4253325 - 06/03/05 08:22 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

"going from an unconscious act to a 100% conscious act is pretty damn cool."

:laugh: :thumbup:


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: Gomp]
    #4254050 - 06/03/05 11:34 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

great post. i'd like to add that ive found smoking marijuana can be initially helpful in this process. for me it facilitates a meditative state of conciousness from which i am able to direct my attention to all my perceptions that i am feeling in the present moment rather than following my inner dialogue. with lots of practise i taught myself how to continue doing this even affer the effects of the marijuana wear off and it actually became easier to do it without marijuana.


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OfflineGomp
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #5492058 - 04/08/06 08:36 AM (10 years, 7 months ago)

:bump:

""In fact, meditation is breathing, and nothing else.""

what about your heart beat!? :tongue:


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Offlinekotik
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: Gomp]
    #5492076 - 04/08/06 08:54 AM (10 years, 7 months ago)

i always have success when closing my eyes and trying to see the "color" which is not black, but non existant.

that usually brings me there, but as i understand the point of meditation is not always to turn thoughts away, but to concentrate on a single idea, which i still find somewhat challenging at times.


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No statements made in any post or message by myself should be construed to mean that I am now, or have ever been, participating in or considering participation in any activities in violation of any local, state, or federal laws. All posts are works of fiction.


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: kotik]
    #5492156 - 04/08/06 10:20 AM (10 years, 7 months ago)

You concentrate on an idea when you meditate? Can you give us an example?

BTW, thanx for bumping this thread. I actually still think about what I wrote here when I meditate, it still helps me. My meditaiton technique has kind of evolved though since last year...now during the first half of my meditating time I do the first two techniques I described above at the same time (i count my breaths while pin-pointing the moments of my breath). It makes the transition to the transcendental meditation alot easier. I've been having some very unique and enlightening experiences recently during that second part.


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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: exclusive58]
    #5492735 - 04/08/06 02:14 PM (10 years, 7 months ago)

no, im saying when i meditate, a method i learned when i was about 8 years old, was to close my eyes, and try to understand the color i saw, which was lack of color. once i managed to wrap my brain around that, (or rather, unwrap it...) i would be in a meditative state, which could last for up to 15 minutes, but usually less than 5.

I havea been reading lots lately on meditation, and especially in old texts, it seems as though the main reason for meditation, aside from clearing the mind, was to focus on a single thought, mantra, symbol, whatever with such intensity, that answers will simply be revealed to you.

Cant say ive gotten to that point, or at least not conciously (even though thats somewhat of a contradiction of meditation). I feel like I should get back on the meditation thing, I havent put much time aside to meditate for quite a while.


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No statements made in any post or message by myself should be construed to mean that I am now, or have ever been, participating in or considering participation in any activities in violation of any local, state, or federal laws. All posts are works of fiction.


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Re: The Simplicity of Meditation [Re: kotik]
    #5492835 - 04/08/06 02:42 PM (10 years, 7 months ago)

I find this thread very helpful!

One time I was sitting in HS band just listening to some people talk. I began breathing and following my breath. After an indeterminate period of time passed I felt immeasurably peaceful like I never really had before.... and someone eventually looked over and asked me if I was dead (as a joke.)

i don't know why I didn't pursue doing that more, it was just natural breathing and it freed me temporarily..... and what I really don't know is why I didn't remember that I even did this until a few days ago.


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I am the MacDaddy of Heimlich County, I play it Straight Up Yo!

....I embrace my desire to feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep like a widow, to feel inspired, to fathom the power, to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain, to swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human......
Om Namah Shivaya, I tell you What!


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