Saturday, January 29, 2011

"I Shouldn't Think"

"You mean, I shouldn't think" is one common misconception about sitting meditation.

Actually, it is and it isn't.

When sitting perfectly still, and there is nothing else to be experienced but the breath and raw physical sensations, thoughts from the self-making mind are indeed irrelevant. That they do happen in the not yet purified mind is part of the process. Hence the answer to the novice's comment, no, and yes. 

Wanting empty mind right away precludes one from the chance of ever experiencing empty mind. 

Tonight, sitting by the fire, there was only the experience of subtle breath, and heat seeping through the body.  Moments of purity, and vanished hindrances. A temporary bliss, not to be clung to . . . 


  1. Ah, yes, I occasionally experience those quiet moments of purity. Also, there are times when I need to 'chew over' something that I need to deal with, as I meditate. It strikes me a less Buddhist way of meditating, but sometimes it delivers a needed insight. Recently this has not happened so often. On the other hand, I also have experience with what the experts call 'rumination', a less healthy alternative (like 'junk food!'), which in my case seemed to be related to depression (warning: self-diagnosis). It seems to be a spectrum. Emphasizing the Buddhist, religious, quiet end of the spectrum seems to bring a more stable and balanced condition.

  2. Yes, two different categories of thoughts. The first kind, to do with wise reflection. The latter, just garbage from untrained mind . . . and as you point out, a sign of much needed investigation. The mind always at risk for hindrances :)

    May you be well, may you be at peace, may you at ease.

  3. We are just watching ourselves think, something one rarely does in waking life.

  4. Yes, that was very liberating for me when I started meditating, this knowing that I did not have to be a prisoner of my thoughts. Such a gift, right there!

  5. Ah but the fire -- the raging fire !