Ajahn Brahm said if you hold up a glass of water it won’t stay still. So if you tense harder it’ll end up shaking even more. If you let it be on the table without effort the water will be still.
Thoughts arise on their own. I don’t fight them off; I think without words “be gone” and they usually go away on their own. If they don’t, I change to become an observer by allowing the thought to create themselves as I know no thought is permanent. When you see the thought arise then fade away without having put any effort into it it’s a pretty amazing realisation of the nature of the mind.
If it’s a pleasant thought, don’t become involved. If it’s a negative thought, don’t become involved. They’ll come and go, and with experience the better you’ll be at recognising the nature of thought and not letting them arise. Remain unattached and they won’t become a problem; the longer you stay still the calmer your body’s going to feel and the less thoughts are going to arise. A teacher told me not to focus on my breathing or anything to do with my body, as that’s a form of attachment and concentrating your mind on an external object.
If you try to inhibit thought or fight the mind in any way, it only strengthens the mind.
Instead, just inhabit the body…feel what can be felt…letting go of past and future.
I would suggest reading ‘Effortless Meditation’ in the Other Work section of http://www.awaken2life.org
Also, there is a 15-minute podcast called ‘The Art of Meditation’ (ep. 6) on the site.
A technique that I’ve found works for reducing the constant din of conscious thoughts is to focus on subtle body sensations. Begin with basic anapanasatti “breathing” meditation, focusing on the breath. Move on to include your heart beat, trying to feel it throughout your body as you breath. As you get deeper and deeper into meditation, your heart rate slows and its contractility falls; you have to focus your attention more and more to feel it. You can include other sensations as well, such as the phosphene “flashes of light” when your eyes are closed. With several subtle sensations to keep track of simultaneously there is little room for conscious thought; the many voices and images in your mind can briefly cease, and you will be fully in your body in the present moment.
There is, of course, nothing new about this approach. Meditators from several schools of thought use it. I simply arrived at it through my own experience.
An alternative, of course, is to *not* try to inhibit thought, but rather observe it (e.g. sitting in Zen).
Do you ever close your eyes and sort of see different shades of color/shapes? What I do is concentrate as hard as possible on making what I see as pure black as possible.
don’t try to rid your mind of thoughts. just be conscious of yourself breathing or listen to music and let it repeat itself in your mind. this makes your thoughts not go one-to-another in the way they usually do, but instead go in a more “circular” way that eventually gets you in a meditative state.
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