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Transforming The Wandering Mind

--by Ven. Master Miao Tsan (Apr 28, 2014)


Meditation is the reversal of the process that establishes our habitual tendencies. Consequently, the establishment of habitual tendencies is due to the repetition of similar thoughts. If we are able to refrain from following these thoughts, thus stopping the process of creating and building them up, the reversal of the formation process begins to free us from the habit. The mind will then return to its original, pure ground. Because delusion arises from the mind, the original purity of the mind can be recovered by removing the delusion. Apply the ways of the enemy against the enemy. Meditation is a very effective method of dissolving habitual tendencies. Through focused meditation, the practitioner continually disengages from wandering thought. These thoughts, when ignored, will gradually be deprived of their strength. 

Practitioners are occasionally surprised to notice wandering thoughts, and will ask, "Why do I have so many wandering thoughts during meditation?" The fact is that meditation does not create more wandering thoughts. However, due to the lack of gross phenomena for the mind to grasp, the outward-driven phenomena-seeking tendency, which is still active, will be manifested in the form of chaotic, wandering thoughts. [...]

During meditation, the mind cannot grasp external phenomena, so it becomes more aware of previously unknown activities in the deeper level of the I-consciousness. This is the reason that the sustained practice of meditation will cultivate and deepen awareness, and gradually reduce wandering thoughts. For example, when we want to distance ourselves from certain friends or relationships, we simply reduce the occasions and time we spend with them until eventually they disappear from our lives. We should handle wandering thoughts in much the same way. By gradually withdrawing the habit of following up on wandering thoughts, they will eventually disappear due to a lack of attention. [...]

To transform thoughts is to focus on the method while remaining undisturbed by wandering thoughts. The energy that is normally given to unconscious thinking is redirected to the conscious application of the method. The foundation of any spiritual practice is the application of a method in order to transform the scattered, wandering thoughts into a focused "single-pointed placement of the mind."


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22 Previous Reflections:

 
On Apr 29, 2014 Michael Nagler wrote:

Folks may want to check out www.easwaran[dot]org.  A great system for stopping those wandering thoughts from squandering our energy!



1 reply: Gyan | Post Your Reply
On Apr 29, 2014 Amit wrote:

 As human being brought up in this competitive world, we are confused and egoistic. By force of our habit we are stuck in wandering thoughts one after another in endless sequence. We can not control and we can't distance our self from these wandering thoughts. Learning to welcome them gracefully and observing it without any judgement is still within our scope. Let us not look for any method and let us not try to get to a single-pointed placement of mind. Let us remain at ease and in relaxed in these vast consciousness without exhausting and exerting.    



On Apr 29, 2014 JJ wrote:

 What I have started to do is to observe my thoughts with compassion to myself and to the people about whom I am thinking. That seems to be make me more mindful and peaceful. May you all be peaceful, loving, happy and in harmony. 



On Apr 29, 2014 zohara wrote:

the question arise there is any fix time of meditation 



3 replies: Rakesh, Conrad, Me | Post Your Reply
On Apr 29, 2014 Sanaya wrote:

Meditation calms my entire day. I find myself with more energy - perhaps because the energy that was utilised while following destructive thoughts is now channeled into my daily activities. Meditation also helps me to control my own actions - if I find myself at a fork in the road, and I am in the present moment, I am able to veer towards the peaceful side.



2 replies: Rakesh, Lfm | Post Your Reply
On Apr 27, 2014 david doane wrote:

 Distancing from wandering thoughts as in giving less time and attention to them makes sense to me.  What isn't reinforced by attention is likely to diminish.  The problem for me is that it is much easier said than done, especially at 3 am a couple times per week, when my wandering thoughts are most active and loud and most resistant to being ignored.  I've utilized various methods to distance and quiet, most of which bring some success sometimes.  I have only limited success even with meditation or meditation oriented efforts during those wee hours of the morning.  I find what works best for me is no or minimal eating or drinking for a couple hours before going to bed.  Wandering thoughts are sometimes also a problem when I read, and the wandering thoughts interfere with my comprehension.  What works best for me is taking care of whatever business before reading and/or finding a very quiet and even private reading place.  It occurs to me t  See full.

 Distancing from wandering thoughts as in giving less time and attention to them makes sense to me.  What isn't reinforced by attention is likely to diminish.  The problem for me is that it is much easier said than done, especially at 3 am a couple times per week, when my wandering thoughts are most active and loud and most resistant to being ignored.  I've utilized various methods to distance and quiet, most of which bring some success sometimes.  I have only limited success even with meditation or meditation oriented efforts during those wee hours of the morning.  I find what works best for me is no or minimal eating or drinking for a couple hours before going to bed.  Wandering thoughts are sometimes also a problem when I read, and the wandering thoughts interfere with my comprehension.  What works best for me is taking care of whatever business before reading and/or finding a very quiet and even private reading place.  It occurs to me that I don't often have difficulty with single-pointed placement of my mind; I have more problem with unpointed placement of my mind, that is, simply being without any single-pointed focus and without attention to wandering thoughts.  Those are my most satisfying moments.     

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2 replies: Syd, David | Post Your Reply
On Apr 26, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Mindful meditation has helped me to further accept whatever thoughts are there and not judge them. A favorite tip I read was to picture your wandering thoughts as clouds in the sky passing by so as not to become "stuck" on them, just observe them. 



On Apr 25, 2014 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I have been regularly practicing mindfulness mediation. I have found this way of meditating very helpful. Meditation has helped me to be more aware of the wandering mind and the mind that gets stuck with something that happened in the past filled with deep sadness and emotional pain. When such  deep sad feelings arise in me I allow them to come and go realizing that nothing is indeed permanent. When I am not sad, it is easy for me to think and say nothing is permanent. This  kind of thinking feels  superficial. But when I deeply feel the loss of my beloved wife, sadness arises in my heart. I do not deny it and I do not fight it. I accept that human part of myself and allow myself to feel it. Breathing deeply lets me be centered and helps me go through this experience without getting stuck with it. Slowly and gradually the realization that nothing is permanent unfolds and lets me be free from myself. This is indeed a liberating and healing process. I  See full.

 I have been regularly practicing mindfulness mediation. I have found this way of meditating very helpful. Meditation has helped me to be more aware of the wandering mind and the mind that gets stuck with something that happened in the past filled with deep sadness and emotional pain. When such  deep sad feelings arise in me I allow them to come and go realizing that nothing is indeed permanent. When I am not sad, it is easy for me to think and say nothing is permanent. This  kind of thinking feels  superficial. But when I deeply feel the loss of my beloved wife, sadness arises in my heart. I do not deny it and I do not fight it. I accept that human part of myself and allow myself to feel it. Breathing deeply lets me be centered and helps me go through this experience without getting stuck with it. Slowly and gradually the realization that nothing is permanent unfolds and lets me be free from myself. This is indeed a liberating and healing process. I always remind myself what I  learned from Carl Jung; You need to feel in order to heal. There is a grace in suffering. It offers me an opportunity to grow and be empathic and compassionate to others

When I want to focus my mind on something that is very interesting and important, and if my mind gets distracted, I gently bring it back to my breathing.In this way my breathing becomes my anchor. I feel centered and grounded.
I find such experiential learning profoundly helpful and healing. I need to practice it regularly. With practice, it becomes easy to live in the present fully. I experience peace and deep contentment. I feel connected with me and with others around me.

Wandering mind, the monkey mind, at times visits me. However, the visiting time  gets shorter. The conditioned and habitual mind at times makes me judge and criticize others. Before the mind gets caught up in the habitual and default reactive thought patterns, I mindfully become aware of them and attend to what is happening.

I appreciate reading this article for giving me opportunity to contemplate and express my ongoing learning. 

Gratefully,

Jagdish P Dave





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1 reply: Yash | Post Your Reply
On Apr 25, 2014 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

 I have been meditating for almost 24 years and I still have many wandering thoughts and habits. I find when I am noticing what is happening in the present moment, and I notice wandering thoughts and habits, they can more easily disappear. If they stay I think it would be good if I would notice that they are staying. noticing what is happening and accepting what is happening is more of a key to mindful living than any particular method for reaching something that is not yet present. Methods can be useful but if overly focused on methods they can become a future goal moving one away from the present.. I believe there is "no knowledge, no attainment and no realization for there is nothing to attain." Present mindfulness is both the method and the goal making the  journey and destination one. Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.