Observing thoughts but...

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AddyMr
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Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:49 am

Hi All,

I am new to this forum, so it is nice to meet you all! :)

I just have a question regarding observing thoughts and various other teachings. If, to use observing thoughts as an example, I were to observe my thoughts, it seems as though I can sort of stand from a position to observe them - to become somewhat conscious and in a state where Im more aware of the present moment. However, although I am doing this, it still doesnt seem as though there is much joy or happiness coming from this? Its like I am observing the thoughts/being aware of the thoughts, yet that is all it is. There is no real beneficial joy coming from this?

Im not sure if I am doing it correctly, or perhaps if I just need to give it more time?

Thank you in advance! :D

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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by karmarider » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:52 am

Observing thoughts is a good place to start. Don't hold any expections that it leads to everlasting joy or any particular thing. Observing thought, noticing what goes on inside--will give you insight into the nature of thought and attention and mind and will quiet the mind. Observing can help you process emotions more fluidly. It can help you notice your behavior and reactions.

You've thrown your canoe into the river and you're off to quite an adventure, exploring what goes on inside. Use your intuition and your next step will pop up.

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rideforever
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by rideforever » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:17 am

Why did you think there would be joy and happiness coming from that ?
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
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AddyMr
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:12 am

Ok thank you for the replies.

Yeah when something happens now I can kind of step back and observe the emotions/thoughts that arise and sort of just be more aware, and therefore less reactive to them. However I was just explaining that it seems that is all I'm doing - I wasnt sure if perhaps I was still subconsciously still wrapped up in a thought process, and was therefore not feeling that sense of "aha" or "this is awareness". As mentioned, yes being in a canoe - maybe I just need to give it more time? :)

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ashley72
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by ashley72 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:39 am

AddyMr,

Can you tell us more about what's happening when you're observing thoughts?

For example, are you becoming more comfortable in your skin or nervous when this observing is happening?

AddyMr
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:01 pm

It's more a case of becoming aware - truthfully I don't feel as if I'm fully detached from the thoughts, although I do become more present. I think it is a bit of nervousness, sort of like "what if I become present, but I'm still not experiencing the joy that I have read About?" (although as was previously mentioned, who's to say that joy is meant to follow?!)
I do know that my mind is constantly on the go, it seems to be racing with thoughts (being a worrier doesn't help!), which I think makes it "harder" to be aware and less "pulled along" by the thought stream

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ashley72
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by ashley72 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:56 pm

If you are someone who has an existing anxiety disorder or you feel nervousness when doing this observing of thoughts... It can lead to depersonalisation, because the sufferer starts to feel like they have no control over the situation. This can create a feeling of detachment from their surroundings. The sufferer starts to feel like they have changed and interactions start to feel vague, less real, and even lacking significance. The thoughts that I'm going crazy or insane can start to arise in response to this sudden shift in state. It's a terrifying experience. I've experienced it at times... a few years back.

It happens because it leads the sufferer into obsessive and compulsive self monitoring, this obsessive self monitoring coupled with anxiety disorder creates the perfect storm. You do snap out of it. However, it can cause the sufferer to start avoiding certain situations for fear this terrifying state may return.

Therefore, self monitoring isn't necessarily a good practice for everyone. Particular someone suffering with acute anxiety.

What's more helpful is utter acceptance of all physical sensations. This enables attention or interest to shift away from self monitoring and back to the tasks at hand. This brings joy and enthusiasm back to the things which matter most to the sufferer. It could be any activity which takes attention away from self, cooking or gardening, conversation with friends, etc.

Try it, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

AddyMr
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:25 pm

Thank you for the reply - yes I understand where you are coming from. I have noticed (over the last few months, perhaps now even years) that I feel I have somewhat "changed". Particularly in social situations, I now feel that I am sort of aware of maybe the ego that is around? I find it very hard to explain :lol:

As mentioned I do worry quite a bit, and from what teachings I have read/watched/listened to, when I come to try and put them into practice, it seems really hard. Say, for example, if there is something I am rationally worrying about - if I try and observe the worrying thought, it still drags me along with it and I continue worrying :lol:

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ashley72
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by ashley72 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:17 am

Observing thoughts, feelings or sensations only works beneficially if you're "utterly accepting" to what is. If you're judging anything as either good or bad it's an ego tendency.

If the self monitoring seems to increase nervousness or irritability, you're not accepting what is. The ego (sufferer) doesn't want to suffer, so it's always trying to eliminate all forms of suffering. It's only strategy is avoidance or aggressiveness towards the provoking stimulus. Which obviously won't increase a sufferers joy.

Just utterly accept what is, the self monitoring will stop naturally and interest and enthusiasm will return to your daily activities. It's really that simple... awakening isn't anything more mystical than just utterly accepting what is.

If you perceive yourself as a victim, this is an ego tendency. Victim-hood is the polar opposite of utter acceptance. With utter acceptance victim-hood naturally falls away and passion, enthusiasm & joy will return.

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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by Webwanderer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:50 pm

AddyMr wrote:Hi All,

I am new to this forum, so it is nice to meet you all! :)

I just have a question regarding observing thoughts and various other teachings. If, to use observing thoughts as an example, I were to observe my thoughts, it seems as though I can sort of stand from a position to observe them - to become somewhat conscious and in a state where Im more aware of the present moment. However, although I am doing this, it still doesnt seem as though there is much joy or happiness coming from this? Its like I am observing the thoughts/being aware of the thoughts, yet that is all it is. There is no real beneficial joy coming from this?

Im not sure if I am doing it correctly, or perhaps if I just need to give it more time?

Thank you in advance! :D
Joy and happiness come from what the present moment 'feels' like, not so much in its observed appearance. The same could also be said for pain and suffering. The perspective of observer however, brings the opportunity for freedom from thought identification. It is more easily recognized as observer that one is not one's thoughts, but something - conscious awareness - that is beyond thought and beyond feelings as well. That being said it is through feeling that real understanding in all its forms is gained.

I agree that pure observation can feel empty. Bring feeling into the mix and perspective and experience are richly enhanced. Consider for a moment, the value of alignment with one's true nature, with Source. That alignment, when active, is not just mentally observed but is more clearly, experientially, felt. All life's experiences are this way. Observation may be interesting, but feeling what is observed adds a dimension and interaction that isolated observation cannot offer. We've all heard the spiritual pointer that 'Love is all there is". This is the core feeling in all experience if we can find the clarity to recognize it.

All feelings, all emotions, are valuable as indicators and guides in how we view life. The quality in how we perceive life and events are reflected in our feelings and emotions. That's fairly obvious to anyone willing to take the exploratory observer perspective when emotions are evident. If we feel anger, it's evident that our thinking and perspective on events at hand are not as in alignment with our true nature as they could be if we thought differently - more inclusively - about what confronts us. On the other hand, when we feel joy and appreciation for our experience at the moment, it is clear, if we choose to look at that moment, that we are much more in alignment with our loving nature, which is a fundamental quality of Source and our true nature.

Most of us go through life without giving fair consideration to what our emotions are telling us beyond what we are feeling at any given moment. Finding that ability to perceive as observer is a critical first step. Learning how to interact consciously and purposefully with what is observed, from a perspective born of alignment, is life changing. It gives one power to choose happiness over suffering, joy over depression.

We all have a history of experiences that have conditioned our arising thoughts. In any given moment any spontaneous thought may arise out of that conditioning. Having a well developed skill as observer, over the habitual identifier (I am... angry, sad, stupid, blah, blah, blah), reclaims the power of choice, and thereby influences our experience in a way that we prefer.

WW

AddyMr
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:00 pm

Wow thank you for the great replies! :D Today I have been trying to be more accepting to what is - i.e. not resisting as much, just accepting what is happening (whatever that may be), and it felt great/peaceful at time, conjuring up feelings that are quite hard to describe. However, at times it did seem to involve some thinking, sort of like "I will be accepting/stay accepting, etc etc" - however, these thoughts are still thoughts, and therefore still identified with the ego, I thought x-D

It seems to be quite challenging however to stay in a constant state of acceptence - this morning, once I made the decision to be accepting, as mentioned it felt great/peaceful. However, once I got to work and began the working day, as time went on it seemed to become harder to stay in that state.

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ashley72
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by ashley72 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:34 am

AddyMr wrote:It seems to be quite challenging however to stay in a constant state of acceptence - this morning, once I made the decision to be accepting, as mentioned it felt great/peaceful. However, once I got to work and began the working day, as time went on it seemed to become harder to stay in that state.
Acceptance is merely recognizing a situation without trying to change it, protest it or exit from it. If you accept something for what it is....you stop resisting it. In this way, you allow yourself to move on from this difficulty, and eventually interest & enthusiasm will arise, as a space, for new situations and things to enter naturally.

AddyMr
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by AddyMr » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:23 pm

Thank you for the reply. Would acceptance help with worrying thoughts then? I have read (although this is not particularly a spiritual reccomendation, more a practical one), that one way to deal with worry is to think "what is the worst that can happen", and then accept that mind-made scenario. What can be reccomened to deal with the rational and consistent worrying thoughts? (ones that are very unlikely to come true!)

Thank you again.

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rideforever
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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by rideforever » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:12 pm

The opposite of negative thoughts is not positive thoughts.

It is NO thoughts.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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Re: Observing thoughts but...

Post by smiileyjen101 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:17 pm

For the ones that are unlikely to come true - recognise this.
...that is, that they are unlikely to come true, so why waste your attention on it?
They can arise, you can notice if they are true or not and let them go, kind of 'thanks for coming :D
Bit like receiving advice or opinions that are unwarranted or unhelpful - 'thanks for sharing :D
Love energy flows in honesty with gratitude/generosity.

You don't have to embrace... (see the difference) your thoughts or associated emotions.

For me love and fear have two distinctly different resonances, and honesty is the highest form of love.
You can tell the difference because the truth you can respond to, deal with, the falsities you can't, they leave you feeling helpless - because they're not real you cannot respond to them. Fear would spiral with all the false possibilities, love in honesty, gratitude and generosity would say 'Thanks for coming :D' and let them go.

This is different to being aware of the natural (likely) consequences of your choices and moving forward awarely, even if your choices create real consequences that may require a bit of courage to push through.

Sometimes these fearful thoughts / emotions do have something to teach us - either an expectation has arisen, or we are not being true to ourselves. In that case, Elisabeth Kubler Ross suggests - when they knock at your door, open the door, say 'oh, it's you...' you do 'know' these thoughts / emotions, they are not strangers. Then say 'come in, what is it you'd like to share with me?' She says (and I love it) ... don't quite set a place at your table for them, but treat them courteously, pay them attention, then show them the door.

Yes they will (likely) return and knock on your door again, do the same - let them in, listen to what it is they are telling you, and let them go.

But if they are like kids pranking at your door ... say 'thanks for coming! :D - no need to entertain them.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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