Sunday, March 08, 2009

I Don't Think, So...

Have you ever wondered what it's like to stop thinking? Ever since a toe reader told me last summer that I should meditate more, I've been slowly, but surely working on it. The bath would be a nice place to do so, but it's just not comfortable enough. The recommendation is that it be done in a sitting position, but I'm so lazy that I'll typically lay down on my back or side.

It really is incredible how many thoughts can intrude when one just wants to shut them off. And they're thoughts I've had many times before, not anything new. What good is it to have that going through one's head all the time? And one's thoughts are so rarely on the here-and-now. The mind looks into the future and ruminates on the past.

After a few minutes of listening to my thoughts, I'll tell myself to shush and concentrate on my breath. After about 10 seconds, a thought may come in and if I'm not disciplined enough, I'll let that thought turn into another and then another. Eventually, I'll come back to the breath, though. And it is so quiet, then. There's no need to think about what I need because in that moment, I have everything I could ever want.

It's not an easy thing to shut off the mind, but very worthwhile. It leads to acceptance of whatever is showing up in life. I feel as if I am floating down a river, just going with the flow.

On most evenings, instead of watching TV, I'll simply lay in bed, turn the fan on, and relax. It's pretty funny because other than my favorite shows, I don't like to watch TV because it's too passive, but chilling in bed is even more so.

Many faiths have too much an emphasis on prayer and not enough on listening (meditating). When one prays, they're just spouting what they already know. To quiet the mind, to hear the silence, that's where the magic is. My favorite author has a saying that speaks to this:

In order to truly know God, you have to be out of your mind.


Rocketstar said...

But it is impossible to fully turn off youor thoughts right? Wouldn't that be death? The brain will always have some activity, so is it just reducing the thoughts down to one tranquil thought?

Thomas said...

When I'm able to quiet my thoughts, I suppose there are a few in the background, but I can barely hear them.

You're right that there always needs to be some activity in the brain, but we don't need to think to keep our hearts beating. I'm talking about reducing the trivial thoughts that go through our minds constantly.

To get further, however, I'll need to start doing it seated as laying down usually leads to me falling asleep.

Timothy Smith said...

I got involved in martial arts for a variety of reasons, self defense and staying in shape being the two big ones.

In the end the relaxing nature of it, the discipline and meditating is what kept me involved.

Its amazing what you can get your body to do when you harness the power of your mind!