A Question

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A Question

Postby David92506 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:30 pm

Lets say a person weighs 400 pounds and he decides to make changes. For the next two weeks he eats healthy, drinks water and exercises everyday. However, everyday he gets on the treadmill he is thinking about sleeping and hates being on the treadmill. Each time he eats a salad he dreams of eating at the buffet. In other words, he is going through the motions but his mind is elsewhere. Regardless, at the end of two weeks there will be significant improvement in his weight, mental and physical health.

Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?
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Re: A Question

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:05 am

hmm, if one is 'practising' mindfulness then one would align mind with presence, therefore the 'rambling' is part of the present that one is aligning oneself with.

Under the rambling and noticeable in the 'breaks' in the rambling, there is still the bed of silence from which all the thoughts arise.

Does it necessarily mean someone is 'going through the motions'?

Only they would know if it was of any 'benefit'.
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Re: A Question

Postby Phil2 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:03 am

David92506 wrote:Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?


Of course not, meditation by definition is the silence of thought ... stillness of mind ... a meditation where your mind would be rambling is just another daydream in which only little improvement can be found ...

However I don't say it cannot be a valuable practice for some very agitated people, for them just staying physically quiet for a while could be somewhat beneficial too, and probably not so easy for them ... (like the old punishment of sending agitated children to the 'corner' at school) ...

This reminds me a quote from the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (also quoted by Eckhart in one of his talks):

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: A Question

Postby karmarider » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:26 am

David92506 wrote:Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?


My guess is that this is in fact what does happen to everyone. When we first meditate or even when we just simply decide to be observant of what goes on inside, the first thing to notice is that the mind rambles. In my view, mindfulness is not the forceful stilling of the mind; it's simply the ability to allow and observe whatever is going on, even if what's going on is rambling.
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Re: A Question

Postby runstrails » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:58 pm

David wrote: Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?


You'll be creating new neural pathways with your practice which will allow meditation (or any other skill) to become easier and more fruitful as you go along. But it has to be done consistently and sincerely.
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Re: A Question

Postby rachMiel » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:08 pm

runstrails wrote:
David wrote: Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?

You'll be creating new neural pathways with your practice which will allow meditation (or any other skill) to become easier and more fruitful as you go along. But it has to be done consistently and sincerely.

What's that saying: Neurons that fire together conspire together? ;-)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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Re: A Question

Postby runstrails » Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:25 pm

rM wrote: What's that saying: Neurons that fire together conspire together? ;-)

Love it! It's fire together---wire together. But I like your take better :D.
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Re: A Question

Postby blissrunn14 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:25 am

Of course not, meditation by definition is the silence of thought ... stillness of mind ... a meditation where your mind would be rambling is just another daydream in which only little improvement can be found ...



We can't control what thoughts or how many thoughts pop up in our head. All we can do is watch them when we become aware of the thinking. If the mind is rambling then a meditation practice of watching them in those moments that you become aware of the rambling thoughts would be beneficial and I'm assuming would eventually get the mind to quiet down some with time and practice? I thought that was the whole purpose of mindful meditation...to become aware of all the rambling and junk going on in our heads.
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Re: A Question

Postby Phil2 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:38 pm

blissrunn14 wrote:
Of course not, meditation by definition is the silence of thought ... stillness of mind ... a meditation where your mind would be rambling is just another daydream in which only little improvement can be found ...



We can't control what thoughts or how many thoughts pop up in our head. All we can do is watch them when we become aware of the thinking. If the mind is rambling then a meditation practice of watching them in those moments that you become aware of the rambling thoughts would be beneficial and I'm assuming would eventually get the mind to quiet down some with time and practice? I thought that was the whole purpose of mindful meditation...to become aware of all the rambling and junk going on in our heads.


Well both are correct. You don't need to control your thoughts, just remain aware as best as you can ... there will be distractions, then gently come back to awareness when you realize being distracted, don't let your attention be easily 'carried away' by thoughts and mind will progressively quiet down ... no need to force anything, just awareness will 'do' the job for you, effortlessly ... meditation is more about 'being' than 'doing' ... no effort needed to 'be' ... meditation is a gentle process and is to be enjoyed as such ...

As someone put it, meditation is not a 'homework' but a 'work to home' ...
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: A Question

Postby beginnersmind » Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:36 pm

Phil2 wrote:
David92506 wrote:Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?


Of course not, meditation by definition is the silence of thought ... stillness of mind ... a meditation where your mind would be rambling is just another daydream in which only little improvement can be found ...

[/i]


Silence of thought is not the definition of meditation and it is an over generalization of what meditation is. There are many varieties and techniques of meditation. One can meditate on the idea of compassion, focusing on compassion. One can meditate on the idea of God as some in contemplative prayer do, which is a form of mediation. Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is a form of meditation that Nichiren Buddhists practice. Qigong movements (which I practice along with dan tien breathwork and meditation) is often referred to as meditation in motion, though the Zhan Zhuang style of Qigong (which I incorporate into my practice) has many standing meditations.

Many people give up on meditation because they have this idea that when meditating the mind is supposed to be silent and as they sit to meditate, their mind is anything but quiet. If that is one's goal, they are surely going to be disappointed when they sit on the cushion only to find the more they try to silence the mind, the more it seems to chatter.

One wouldn't expect to be able to play Chopin or Beethoven flawlessly after a couple of weeks of first practicing the piano, so why would one expect to sit with a completely still mind within the same time frame of practicing meditation. And meditation is called a practice for a reason. This is one of the reasons in Buddhism that focus of the breath is often recommended, because it is not a matter of IF the mind will wander, but when. The focus on the breath is to bring the "monkey mind" back into focus.

Instead of trying to quiet the mind, an easier practice for beginners is to simply look at the thoughts as they arise without attaching oneself to the thought and holding onto it with judgment. Just let the thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky. Often times we're not even consciously aware of all of the thoughts that come into our mind throughout the day and when we sit and meditate, we can really begin to see not only what we think, but how we seem to think. Most of our thoughts are merely deep seated grooves in a record player being played over and over, which is really not thinking at all.

As you practice this, you may begin to notice a spacious awareness surrounding all of these passing thoughts. Kind of like the sky in which the clouds can pass. As you continue to practice, you may also begin to notice gaps within these repeated record grooves where there is simply a still awareness. But if you are meditating and you notice that the mind is rambling, then in that moment the mind is no longer rambling, even if it is for a split second. You being aware of the mind's ramblings is progress. When you practice mindfulness and you become aware that the mind is rambling, then in that moment you are being mindful. That is progress.

The Yin Yang of meditation is that one should be completely engaged on the one hand and on the other, be completely passive about trying to achieve some goal in the practice. This is like the paradox in the Zen saying, "Nothing matters and everything matters."

I wouldn't be discouraged if in your short amount of time practicing, you are experiencing what you are experiencing. This is the beginning of getting in touch with your thoughts and yourself. Remember:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ~Lao Tzu
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Re: A Question

Postby anandm » Mon May 02, 2016 7:19 pm

rachMiel wrote:
runstrails wrote:
David wrote: Can this translate in spiritual work? Lets say a person meditates for two weeks and practices embracing the silence and living a mindful lifestyle. However, when he/she meditates his/her mind is rambling. When he/she practices mindfulness his/her mind rambles. In other words, he/she is going through the motions but the mind is elsewhere. Do you believe there will be improvement or is he/she just wasting his time?

You'll be creating new neural pathways with your practice which will allow meditation (or any other skill) to become easier and more fruitful as you go along. But it has to be done consistently and sincerely.

What's that saying: Neurons that fire together conspire together? ;-)



Neurons that fire together WIRE together
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