Thursday, June 28, 2012

HOW TO DEAL WITH UNINVITED THOUGHTS


There is something ‘wrong’ with the title of this post. You see, I have used the ‘how’ word, and the use of that word implies that there is some ‘method’ or ‘technique’ involved here. Krishnamurti (pictured above), that great spiritual philosopher, was right to point out the folly of seeking methods and techniques, especially as respects matters such as meditation, contemplation and relaxation. There’s an Eastern story of a master and a pupil. The latter says to the master, ‘Master, I have been here for three months now, and you still haven’t given me a method by which to meditate.’ The master replied, ‘Well, what would you do with a method?’ Good question.

True meditation has no ‘method’ or ‘technique’---it simply happens all by itself or not at all. It ‘happens’ when you simply---observe! There is no ‘path’ to meditation, and there is no ‘technique’ or ‘method’ that can be employed, so don't bother trying to find one---and reject all those so-called 'gurus' and 'teachers' who would try to teach (or sell) you one.

Now, having said all that, there are some things which happen all by themselves when you let them happen. The word ‘let’---as in ‘letting go’ and ‘letting be’---is of fundamental importance when it comes to matters spiritual and psychological. Of that there is no doubt. When, in the course of one’s practice of meditation, an uninvited thought manifests in one’s consciousness, the experience of ‘letting be,’ that is, simply being choicelessly aware of the thought without dwelling upon it, judging, analyzing or defending it, allows the thought to pass through the mind uninterrupted in 'soft focus.'

The ‘secret’ is not to try to force any such thought from the mind or circumvent or deny the thought. Just accept them in a choiceless fashion. You don’t have to approve of them. Don’t even go there. Don’t even start to judge the thought in any way. And if the thought be a 'negative' one, there is no need to override it with a 'positive' one. Just let them alone.

Sometimes, especially with beginners, thoughts may come almost as a continuous movement in the form of an internal mental dialogue (or ‘chatter’). Some people feel almost overwhelmed by all this, but they need not. It is possible to desensitize yourself against uninvited thoughts. Now, we all use words and what is known as subvocalisation to make sense of our moment-to-moment experience of both external and internal reality. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Indeed, it is a necessary thing. Otherwise, we would not know our ‘bearings’ at all. However, when engaged in one’s practice of meditation, an ongoing mental dialogue is definitely not the way to go. Once again, the ‘secret’ is not to try to force these ongoing thoughts and subvocalisation from the mind or circumvent them in any way, but to focus more on one’s out-breath.

Why focus more deeply on one’s out-breath? Well, it's really quite simple. When we engage in normal conversation we tend to speak on the outflow of our breath. Surprise, surprise, it is likewise with our inner dialogue---that is, we tend to engage in inner chatter when we are in the process of breathing out. So, you will find that if you focus more deeply on the outflow of your breath, your inner chatter will tend to dissipate. Indeed, your whole mind will quiet down---and that is a very good thing! No effort is required, other than the 'effortless effort' of paying more attention to your outbreath. The more you do that, the quieter your thoughts become---and the more peaceful and contented you will be.

Thoughts are only thoughts. They are a function of consciousness. In and of themselves they have no substantive 'reality'---and no power to hurt you---unless you chose to identify with them and thus give them a significance that they don't otherwise deserve. So, choose to be choicelessly aware at all times. As you do that, from one moment to the next, you may well find that when you are aware---choicelessly so---of the fact that you are thinking, all thinking tends to stop. Amazing!

Peace to you.


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