Walking down the road today from the train station to a cafe down the road. I counted about 40-50 thoughts roughly. That was a 10 minute journey.
The majority of people have the same problem. To focus on one thing is almost impossible, because their processing power is all over the place, they are trying to download 50 files at once on 4G.
In fact most people think even more than this! It’s a scientific fact that humans can only think consciously about one thing at a time. Try it: Think about an image of empire state building and the shape of England at the same time….
A quick google search shows that: “…When we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute per person.”
Well NO WONDER we can’t get anything done!
When’s the last time you just sat in silence for 10 minutes and watched your thoughts?
My Martial Arts teacher likened the flow of thoughts to a train station. The station is the mind, the train is the thought, and the little person standing on the platform is the awareness. Most people’s stations are flipping Waterloo at rush-hour.
Meditation is the practice of observing the trains come and go as they will, completely out of your control. They they come and go, come and go, come and go, until eventually the flow of trains begins to slow down. Instead of a constant flow of trains rushing by urgently, there seems to be silence in between the passings by, and there is simply emptiness until another slowly potters through. Able to fully feel the breeze on your face and the smell of fresh leaves on the wind, this train comes past, and you watch it… then it passes, and again all is quiet.
Most people know that meditation is good for them. However thoughts are terrified at the idea of not being in control. Thoughts will come and say “To sit in silence?! A waste of time! Stupid!” And so we are enslaved by our thoughts, the master becomes mastered by his tools.
The big barrier that stops people from actually practicing is the trust in the silence…
In order for more people to cultivate trust in the consistent practice meditation, it would be helpful to understand the place from which all of our thoughts come. Because you don’t chose your thoughts… your thought come to you. Where from?
The stillness. This stillness is a gift to you. From stillness one can see clearly, and from from emptiness one can discern.
Meditation is about cultivating your stillness. It is about nourishing your awareness through the practice of prolonged attention to your stillness. By cultivating your awareness in the stillness, you are more able to see clearly that which is not still, increasing your presence, and fundamentally increasing your sensitivity and thus your vitality.
When one meditates, it is not that nothing is going on, it is that SO much is going on, in the doing of nothing. Doing in no-doing, by no-doing; Doing the no-doing.
One must give the silence it’s due, listen to it’s voice, if one is to reap the gifts of discernment. To listen to both yin and yang, the whole world becomes larger.
Turn the blur into a piece of artwork, and see and touch every little piece of it as you runs your awareness over it.
Good place to start in regards to meditation:
- Sit quietly, ideally somewhere quite (it doesn’t matter, but does allow for further unguardedness) and where you will not be disturbed.
2. As you allow the breath to pass through you – no pulling in of air but simply allowing it to fill and empty itself through you – pay attention to your nose. Simply place your awareness on it and watch it.
3. Your attention will likely stray to thoughts, and that is fine, no matter, just again place your attention on your nose. That was a repetition.
4. Continue to bring your attention into focus from the straying into thoughts and distractions. When you feel proficient at focusing on your nose, now you may bring your awareness to rest on your entire face. Not trying to control anything, simply resting your awareness on it, relaxing, and allowing whatever comes to come and go. Watch thoughts and feelings as they come and go. If a particularly potent one comes along that feels urgent, simply take a mental note for later and continue the practice, watch it pass.
5. Again, when you feel proficient, bring your awareness to rest on a larger entity, your entire body. Again, noticing thoughts and feelings as they come and go, bringing your awareness back when it strays, being relaxed and impartial… simply watching.
Now those are the principles.
These principles can be applied as you will. You can do this while walking, or washing dishes, anything, just remember it is about relaxation, impartial watching, and cultivating awareness through guiding your focus back to stillness.
When you feel confident at meditating in this way, try bringing your awareness back into itself. Who is watching the thoughts and feelings? Watch the watcher. See what you find.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” -Chuang Tzu
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