It’s been almost 5 years since I was last here, but let’s see what we can do! I was reading this post again http://highexistence.com/how-to-practice-mindfulness/
And this part jumped out at me:
5 Tips For Learning How to Practice Mindfulness In Daily Life from Larry Rosenberg
- When possible, do just one thing at a time.
- Pay full attention to what you’re doing.
- When your mind wanders from what you are doing, bring it back.
- Repeat step three, several billion times.
- Investigate your distractions.
My problem is between step 3 and 4. “Traditional” meditation (at least in every place I’ve seen it) says that step 3 is the correct thing to do. Try to be mindful, focus on the present, and when you drift, guide yourself back to the present.
My approach was the opposite. When I drifted, I followed the drift to see where it would take me, and dealt with whatever was at the end. Eventually, everything was dealt with, and drifts never (well, hardly) happened ever again. And not just when I was meditating, but in my every day life.
Has anyone else done anything like that?
I pretty much made that shift as well. Struggled forever with the traditional approach and just became a depressed, lifeless cunt. When someone more or less made me embrace the accepting/following approach, my life started changing for the better.
I’ve done this during the day more than while sitting in meditation. If I get distracted during a project/activity by certain thoughts enough times I’ll stop to follow the train of thought to uproot/examine the problem. I don’t know if its quite the same as this approach, but I’ll keep this in mind for the next time I meditate.
It reminds me of the quote:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
It makes sense to know how to let go of things (which is what traditional meditation teaches), but it also makes sense to deal with things and not have them constantly bugging you.
The way I see it, the whole point of detaching from mental chatter and finding quiet inside is to identify and allocate more energy to the thoughts that have meaning or call for action. I think those people who see all thoughts as an issue have really misinterpreted the idea of meditation.
I should expand a bit more on how I developed this mindset, and whats it done for me. I started with basic meditation, and reading lots of books/articles (as we all do!) and I came up with the idea that the mind is like a toddler. A super smart, super fast toddler. The problem is, it screams at you, and its really hard to tell what it wants. But, if I could find out what it wants…. What would that lead to?
This is why I started following thoughts, instead of “letting them go”. I figured that there was a reason for my mind bringing them up. By following them, exploring them, and seeing where they led to, they were finally properly dealt with, so my mind stopped bringing them up. Even if they did come up again, it was basically my mind saying “Hey, what about this thing?” and since I had already thought it through, I had an answer on hand. That would quiet my mind down again. This made meditation super easy, and is the reason why I stopped meditating (in the traditional sense).
Once I spent some time (it took a few years) of following and organizing everything in my head, I was able to put new things in there. My next theory was that since I was spending so much processing power on all these thoughts that had been rattling around in my head, once they were done I had lots of extra space to use. So I started planting thoughts in my head. I can put in work problems, relationship issues, most creative processes… Anything that isn’t urgent. I can give myself a problem, and let my mind work away in the background, and it pops up again whenever it has a good idea.
If I do have an urgent thing to think about, this is when I meditate. I’m now used to my head being perfectly calm, and knowing what to do with all parts of my life. Whenever that balance is distrubed, I need to take time to think (or meditate) on whatevers bothering me, so I can quiet my mind again.
Since quieting my mind is so easy now, there are a few fun things I learned. I’m able to feel my heartbeat (after a few seconds of focus) anywhere in my body. If I take a few more seconds, I can feel the blood pulsing through me with each beat. Whenever I’m at the gym (or after a workout) and have sore muscles, I can do a nice body scan and focus in on exactly whats hurting, and then find the perfect stretch that targets that muscle exaclty. And lastly, I learend to stop hiccups at will :P That’s a fun party trick.
@manimal, is what you did similar to this?
Fairly similar, I think.
I do “normal” meditation until my mind slows down, then I wait for the thoughts that seem important and I follow the first one to appear. Then I watch its journey and wait for it to start tugging at me for confirmation or trying to hide behind other thoughts. Then I just watch it in silence or ask it another question, until the answer that’s buried comes forward.
We are so much wiser than we realize, and we block this wisdom with our reactive answers or seeking distractions from unresolved thoughts.
I even follow impulses that come with the thoughts sometimes. Including physical movement and weird verbal noises. And when a thought gets stuck, I like to write or type down the thought as a question and go back to meditating, looking at the question again if I lose track of the thought. Eventually, I feel the urge to write an answer, and it’s usually something profound that I didn’t realize I knew.
A lot of my old posts on here followed the same general principle. Letting a deeper self speak through me. My mind rarely gets quiet though. I’m a hyperactive person with a crazy mind.
I’m gonna try your method and see how it works. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, and for breathing some life into the forum.