Losing yourself in thought

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rachMiel
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Losing yourself in thought

Post by rachMiel » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:22 pm

Losing yourself in thought is a BAD thing.

Most presence-based teachers would have us believe that this is true. (Though they'd be careful to avoid using the term "bad.")

But, what's bad about engaging in a flow-inducing activity in which one's self is lost?

If the thoughts swirling around do not foster the illusions of separation/security ... what harm is there in encouraging them to swirl?

I LOVE getting lost in thought.

I also love being aware.

'n you?
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Onceler
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Onceler » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:32 am

Yes! I agree. I see no problem with losing ones self in the flow of a thought stream, but you have to keep one wary eye out for seductive, negative thoughts that will lead you down a bad rabbit hole. I find that I am developing more choice and sensitivity to when I should shift my attention away from certain thoughts, but enjoy the flow of most thoughts immensely.

I can even enjoy the bad rabbit hole on occasion, especially knowing that you can pull the escape lever at any time, and all that's happening is not you, At least not the whole of you.
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by rachMiel » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:58 am

Onceler wrote:Yes! I agree. I see no problem with losing ones self in the flow of a thought stream, but you have to keep one wary eye out for seductive, negative thoughts that will lead you down a bad rabbit hole. I find that I am developing more choice and sensitivity to when I should shift my attention away from certain thoughts, but enjoy the flow of most thoughts immensely.
To borrow from Buddhism, getting lost in right thoughts is no problem. Wrong thoughts -- that strengthen the sense of a non-changing self that is ultimately separated from other non-changing selfs -- reinforce delusion. Sound about right?
I can even enjoy the bad rabbit hole on occasion, especially knowing that you can pull the escape lever at any time, and all that's happening is not you, At least not the whole of you.
Sounds like lucid dreaming. Or better: lucid living. :-)
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by karmarider » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:08 am

Yeah, I enjoy ruminating and day-dreaming! It's a beautiful thing, a wonderful manifestation of consciousness. It's only troublesome when there is identification with it.

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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by rachMiel » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:42 am

I also think letting one's mind wander and enjoying the ride is a wonderful thing ... a rich and unique feature of being human. And I agree that the problem comes in when you try to grasp at or avert from certain thoughts. Just let it all stream by, in one ear and out the other.
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:10 am

The way I see it is that you can't live your life always 'measured' in what you think, say or do. Meaning, it's a human experience. You're supposed to get caught up with it. If you're constantly worrying and stressing over whether or not you're getting too caught up in thoughts or not, then you're not living and only adding more stress to yourself.

On the other hand, if your thoughts are causing you suffering, then you're likely resisting life by believing/identifying solely with your thinking patterns.

You can easily get caught up with life and even 'lose yourself' in thought, while understanding at the same time that there is peace within that, underneath that, and all around that. I have that more and more these days. Doesn't have to be a feeling of bliss always in your life. Those feelings of bliss for me are very few and far between these days and I'm ok with that the more I delve into life. I appreciate those thought free moments where I gain greater clarity on my nature and am able to stand back more and observe. Yet, we're supposed to get caught up with life and lose our self at times in thought, perhaps not to the extent that many people have today, in believing so strongly in what their thoughts so, but it if does happen, it happens. Just embrace it.

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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by tomtom1 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:35 pm

Interesting topic..
What do you think about people who say they have stopped thought entirely? I am a bit dubious of this myself. Perhaps they mean self referencing thoughts.

As already said by others it must depend on the quality and type of thought. I often find myself planning my day thinking I will do this then do that etc etc.. I don't think there is anything harmful about this. The thought streams I find damaging are the ones which judge others against myself and the ones about myself being wronged somehow (if I identify with them).

Another thought stream is the one where I start to describe insights I have had into words. I think this can be useful as it can cement our understanding but it can also get out of hand. Often I have to remind myself that the mind can't actually put reality itself into words.. it can only try and best to describe it.

On a similar topic I read something from Francis Lucille which described certain 'good thoughts' which don't come from separation, which serve to point us back to ourselves. For example the thought I describe above about reminding myself that the mind can't conceptualise reality. This is still a thought but it comes and interrupts the separating thought stream that was in place and serves to refocus the attention on what is. Would be interested to know what others think of this?

Ultimately I would say if your not identified with a thought then really it doesn't matter what the content is.
Those feelings of bliss for me are very few and far between these days and I'm ok with that the more I delve into life
This is interesting. I think it depends on your perspective. These feelings of bliss are perhaps a byproduct of an understanding which has taken place which has created a great contrast between life before and after the understanding. As time passes by this way of living becomes the new 'normal' and the contrast is not there anymore. I guess a bit like a honeymoon period in a relationship where you move from this wonderful in your face type of love to a more deep affection and understanding of each other. I think at this point its too easy to start seeking the experience of bliss again which we have 'lost' and this of course then puts us back into that feeling of separation.
I find that I am developing more choice and sensitivity to when I should shift my attention away from certain thoughts, but enjoy the flow of most thoughts immensely.
I love this. And thats the key isn't it? The idea of shifting attention rather than resisting and trying to push these thoughts away. It's taken me a long time to realise that :D

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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Onceler » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:20 pm

I like the idea of shifting, too, Tomtom. It's a psychological term, an executive function, we look for an education and learning. I'm afraid I can't claim credit for this idea. It's from John Sherman, who says the only thing we have control over is where we put our attention. At first I was dubious… But now I'm coming to see the wisdom in it. Where we put our attention in the moment can increase or decrease suffering as enlightened2b points out, and it creates our unfolding future reality to a certain extent.
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by rachMiel » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:23 pm

Onceler wrote:It's from John Sherman, who says the only thing we have control over is where we put our attention.
Why would the act of shifting one's attention have any more or less free will to it than any other act?
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:27 pm

tomtom1 wrote:
Those feelings of bliss for me are very few and far between these days and I'm ok with that the more I delve into life
These feelings of bliss are perhaps a byproduct of an understanding which has taken place which has created a great contrast between life before and after the understanding. As time passes by this way of living becomes the new 'normal' and the contrast is not there anymore. I guess a bit like a honeymoon period in a relationship where you move from this wonderful in your face type of love to a more deep affection and understanding of each other. I think at this point its too easy to start seeking the experience of bliss again which we have 'lost' and this of course then puts us back into that feeling of separation.
hmm....I'll try to explain what I meant by 'bliss' and I realize that the term bliss can most certainly be taken in a number of ways. The feelings of bliss, I was referring to are not so much a contrast of sorts between 'before and after', but instead, the reference was to 'thought free moments', moments of intense clarity of understanding that there absolutely IS no separation. Kind of like samadhi as some eastern teachers describe it. In my awakening process, I had a number of those early on, some occurring in nature (on the beach) where there was no thought and it intensely blissful. I don't have many of those experiences any more which is what I was attempting to say and they are few and far between now because I am engaged in life more, but I find, that the more engaged in life I am these days, the more I allow the full range of human emotions to be there, there is also more and more peace around every experience even when I am experiencing a full range of human emotions because I've developed gratitude for my human experience.

Hard to explain, but I just had a break up with my girlfriend and I was pretty sad about it for the first day or two, but also intensely grateful for the experience itself and the emotions that it brought about including the opportunity to see many aspects of myself available while Re-lating to another. I felt gratitude towards her and also gratitude for this incredible human experience. So, it's absolutely normal for us to experience the entire wide range of human emotions. Being sad is perfectly ok. Being angry is perfectly ok. Being frustrated is perfectly ok. Being happy is perfectly ok. These are human emotions, we are meant to feel while experiencing as physical human beings. That's why we are Being human. Yet, at the same time, there is a huge difference between feeling those emotions and suffering. You don't have to suffer to feel sad. In the understanding, that even if I do make mistakes, or misinterpret something or someone from my own limited perspective, I'm only Being human. There is an imperfection within the perfection that I am at my core which allows every experience to be peaceful. Similar to the poem that Alex just wrote in another thread.

And even if suffering does result, then so be it too.

I agree tom about attempting to get a certain experience back, is only going to lead to suffering and is only going to keep one chasing something that is already there.

Just my take.

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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by snowheight » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:32 pm

Yeah, losing yourself in thought is gonna' happen. :D

In literature about meditation there's this idea called "samadhi", and it's generally recognized to have two forms based on whether attention is directed inwardly or outwardly.

Of course, in terms of the overall dialog here on the forum, this distinction between inner and outer is only contextual, and the question of what directs the attention is one of self-inquiry.

So that said, in everyday experience lots of people who've never explored the landscape of identity lose their reflective sense of self in the doing many times a day, they're just not conscious of it. These are people mowing the lawn or swimming or ice skating or drawing a picture or doing the laundry. Sometimes the task can be retrospectively characterized as pleasant, in other cases, not so much, but the defining quality of the experience is losing track of clock time.

In this, really, with having no idea of what is meant by the notion of identification with form, people find themselves in this state of positive samadhi temporarily free of that identification. The difference here is a consciousness, or an awareness -- which ever word works best for you -- of what is happening while it's happening.

What I've found is that this state applies to the act of writing computer code ... so yeah, you can lose your sense of identification in thought and in terms of a positive samadhi, it's really no different from losing it absent thought.
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Onceler » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:57 am

rachMiel wrote:
Onceler wrote:It's from John Sherman, who says the only thing we have control over is where we put our attention.
Why would the act of shifting one's attention have any more or less free will to it than any other act?
Good question. Try it.

Thoughts have been thought, actions have been performed thru the nervous system, or outside the nervous system. Everything is in past tense. Our attentional shift initiates a new pattern. It's the first step to new thoughts and actions, which may then roll on thru unbidden, until we shift again.

If your asking if the attentional shift is free will, I don't know. But it seems closer to it, especially if one has seen thru some of the conditioned thinking, fear, and suffering. It may be just a shift to another predetermined pattern, who knows?
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by rachMiel » Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:20 am

Onceler wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
Onceler wrote:It's from John Sherman, who says the only thing we have control over is where we put our attention.
Why would the act of shifting one's attention have any more or less free will to it than any other act?
If your asking if the attentional shift is free will, I don't know. But it seems closer to it, especially if one has seen thru some of the conditioned thinking, fear, and suffering. It may be just a shift to another predetermined pattern, who knows?
My take is that we are DEEPLY conditioned beings. Even if something "unconditioned" occurs ... an insight that transcends the known, a genuine seeing of something utterly new ... it usually becomes part of our conditioning lickety-split.

So when someone says that we have control over where we put our attention ... the red flag pops up and I think: Isn't that just another conditioned behavior?

Seeing (knowing) that I am deeply conditioned, and that this is "in the cards" for me and my fellow human beings, I feel -- ironically, perhaps -- free. Free to be me, the totality of my conditioned habits and reflexes. We often look to animals as examples of consciousnesses not steeped in delusion. Yet animals are almost utterly ruled by their conditioning. Thing is they don't fight it like we Seekers do ... they rest in it, they ARE it.
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by Onceler » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:36 pm

Hmm, good points. So freedom is not to fight what is already happening......maybe I'll modify to attention is the only thing we can take control over, occasionally. Or we can create a new conditioned pattern that is less about suffering and fear. Not in the moment perhaps, but in the long run.

We shape our conditioning by where we put our attention?
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Re: Losing yourself in thought

Post by karmarider » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:34 pm

I just read this from JK which seems kinda relevant:

So long as the 'me' is the observer, the one who gathers experience, strengthens himself through experience, there can be no radical change, no creative release. That creative release comes only when the thinker is the thought, but the gap cannot be bridged by any effort. When the mind realizes that any speculation, any verbalization, any form of thought only gives strength to the 'me', when it sees that as long as the thinker exists apart from thought there must be limitation, the conflict of duality, when the mind realizes that, then it is watchful, everlastingly aware of how it is separating itself from experience, asserting itself, seeking power. In that awareness, if the mind pursues it ever more deeply and extensively without seeking an end, a goal, there comes a state in which the thinker and the thought are one. In that state there is no effort, there is no becoming, there is no desire to change; in that state the 'me' is not, for there is a transformation which is not of the mind. - Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom,140,Choiceless Awareness

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