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How to settle the active mind

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  • dwlemen
    Venerable Monks, I have a question for you. I feel like I just can t make any progress in my meditation. I try to focus on the breathe but the mind just
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 15, 2003
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      Venerable Monks,

      I have a question for you. I feel like I just can't make any
      progress in my meditation. I try to focus on the breathe but the
      mind just keeps slipping off in this or that thought, daydream, or
      whatever. I have tried counting, saying "Bud-dho" all to no avail.

      Is there any techniques to settle a mind that is extra "wiggly?"

      Peace,


      Dave
    • Bhikkhu Pesala
      ... Dave, you asked this same question before (How to meditate 352) and I answered it then in message 353. Have you done any research? Bhikkhu Pesala
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 16, 2003
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        > I have a question for you. I feel like I just can't make any
        > progress in my meditation. I try to focus on the breathe but the
        > mind just keeps slipping off in this or that thought, daydream, or
        > whatever. I have tried counting, saying "Bud-dho" all to no avail.

        Dave, you asked this same question before (How to meditate 352) and
        I answered it then in message 353. Have you done any research?

        Bhikkhu Pesala
      • dwlemen
        Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala, I appologize for asking essentially the same question twice. I did read that article (in fact I printed it at that time have have
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 16, 2003
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          Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala,

          I appologize for asking essentially the same question twice. I did
          read that article (in fact I printed it at that time have have
          referred to it several times). I have also read from several other
          sources, both online and in books or audio talks, and all of them
          basically state the same thing as the booklet you linked to.

          I think last night's message was more one of frustration than
          anything. I try to note things as they occur, but I can't keep up.
          I suppose the key is patience and perserverance, but I had hit one of
          those times where I mostly wanted to vent a bit.

          Again I do appologize for bothering you with the redundant message.

          Peace,

          Dave

          --- In SanghaOnline@yahoogroups.com, "Bhikkhu Pesala" <pesala@a...>
          wrote:
          > > I have a question for you. I feel like I just can't make any
          > > progress in my meditation. I try to focus on the breathe but the
          > > mind just keeps slipping off in this or that thought, daydream,
          or
          > > whatever. I have tried counting, saying "Bud-dho" all to no
          avail.
          >
          > Dave, you asked this same question before (How to meditate 352) and
          > I answered it then in message 353. Have you done any research?
          >
          > Bhikkhu Pesala
        • Bhikkhu Pesala
          For the beginner in meditation there are two major obstacles: wandering thoughts and painful sensations. It seems that if you don t have one, you inevitably
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 16, 2003
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            For the beginner in meditation there are two major obstacles:
            wandering thoughts and painful sensations. It seems that if you don't
            have one, you inevitably have the other.

            The only way to calm the wandering thoughts is to keep noting them
            systematically. Do not fight them. They arise because of a reason.
            Maybe you can do something about the reasons, maybe you cannot. It
            may require lifestyle changes. Basically it is a case of GIGO - garbage
            in, garbage out. If you live a stressful life - and most people do - there
            will inevitably be a lot of thoughts when you try to meditate.

            To make changes in our lifestyle or personality traits is difficult and
            takes time, but meditation will gradually do that, then the mind will
            naturally become a bit quieter. However, even monks sometimes have
            a lot of thoughts. The final solution is just to keep on noting.

            If painful sensations arise, you may rejoice: "At last I have a clear and
            distinct meditation object to concentrate on. I must not change my
            position yet. If I strive hard to note and penetrate the painful sensations,
            the wandering mind will be cured and my concentration will improve."

            Change your attitude - not your position. Bravely face the pain at least
            for five or ten minutes. Don't grit your teeth or try to burst a blood vessel,
            but try to investigate the sensations systematically. They are not nearly
            so bad as you imagine them to be.
          • Justin Tan
            Dear Venerable, I was taught to watch my breath but not control it. This seems to be quite difficult, as the more I watch my breath, I tend to control it till
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 18, 2003
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              Dear Venerable,

              I was taught to watch my breath but not control it. This seems to be quite difficult, as the more I watch my breath, I tend to control it till it becomes very unnatural. Is there a way for me to watch but at the same time not control ?

              Regards.

              -- Justin



              Bhikkhu Pesala <pesala@...> wrote:For the beginner in meditation there are two major obstacles:
              wandering thoughts and painful sensations. It seems that if you don't
              have one, you inevitably have the other.

              The only way to calm the wandering thoughts is to keep noting them
              systematically. Do not fight them. They arise because of a reason.
              Maybe you can do something about the reasons, maybe you cannot. It
              may require lifestyle changes. Basically it is a case of GIGO - garbage
              in, garbage out. If you live a stressful life - and most people do - there
              will inevitably be a lot of thoughts when you try to meditate.

              To make changes in our lifestyle or personality traits is difficult and
              takes time, but meditation will gradually do that, then the mind will
              naturally become a bit quieter. However, even monks sometimes have
              a lot of thoughts. The final solution is just to keep on noting.

              If painful sensations arise, you may rejoice: "At last I have a clear and
              distinct meditation object to concentrate on. I must not change my
              position yet. If I strive hard to note and penetrate the painful sensations,
              the wandering mind will be cured and my concentration will improve."

              Change your attitude - not your position. Bravely face the pain at least
              for five or ten minutes. Don't grit your teeth or try to burst a blood vessel,
              but try to investigate the sensations systematically. They are not nearly
              so bad as you imagine them to be.


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            • Bhikkhu Pesala
              ... quite difficult, as the more I watch my breath, I tend to control it till it becomes very unnatural. Is there a way for me to watch but at the same time
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 18, 2003
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                > Dear Venerable,
                >
                > I was taught to watch my breath but not control it. This seems to be
                quite difficult, as the more I watch my breath, I tend to control it till it
                becomes very unnatural. Is there a way for me to watch but at the same
                time not control ?

                > Regards. Justin

                As you breathe in and breath out, the breath touches some point inside
                the nostrils or on the upper lip. Focus on that point of contact, as the
                breath comes and goes. It is like when one is cutting wood with a saw,
                one is aware that the saw is going and coming, back and forth, but to
                cut a straight line one must concentrate just where the teeth cut the
                wood. Similarly, though you are aware that the breaths are coming and
                going, just focus your awareness on the point of contact inside the
                nostrils or on the upper lip.

                To get away from conceptual knowledge, which means thinking and
                theorising, one should make an effort to focus on realities. The touch of
                the breath can be known directly, you do not need to think about it.

                Take the same approach with unpleasant sensations in the body such
                as pain, itching, or pins and needles. Investigate the sensations to know
                the underlying realities of hardness, vibrating, pressing, tingling, or
                burning.

                Thoughts will remain unless concentration is very deep. With thoughts,
                pay attention to the process of thinking, planning, or worrying as a
                mental activity or internal chatter - do not pay attention to the content,
                which is irrelevant when it comes to knowing the realities.

                When you eat your lunch, then just know it as chewing, tasting, and
                swallowing. There is no need to pay attention to what kind of food it is,
                or how it was cooked, or where it was bought. All you really need to do
                is eat it with gratitude.
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