2021-11-02-Thinking (2 of 5) Freedom in Recognition
3:11PM Nov 2, 2021
So, we come to the second talk on mindfulness of thinking, where the emphasis is the power of recognition. And the art of mindfulness of thinking is not to thereby think more. But it is to be able to recognize more clearly what's happening as we think. And there's lots to notice, as we're thinking. And before we talk about what we can notice, in thinking, it is how we note how we notice, the way in which recognition happens, which is, as I said earlier, is the art of mindfulness meditation, kind of one of the central features of it. And that is, recognition is the way in which we know what is happening as it's happening. And not know it in complicated ways, like Noah's story, why it's here, but just the simplest, knowledge recognition of what it is the thing what's happening, what's occurring. So, if I'm breathing, to recognizing just the breathing is happening, not to connect it to other briefings and just breathing is happening. If there's a sound, just a sound, just hearing is happening. And, and as we settle in meditation, that used to be as simple as possible. So we're not caught or reactive to or judging what's happening, just a recognition. It's not an easy skill to learn. But it's a powerful one, because it helps us be free in the midst of whatever's happening, to stand in the middle of a complicated life, and to be able to just take it in and recognize what's happening, but not be swayed by it or, or reacted reactive to it just there, just see it. And clearly, then we have access to our wisdom inside our clarity about what to do in a way that we don't if we're caught up in the A meshed in the drama of at all. So learning civility to how we recognize radical simplicity. And meditation is a wonderful laboratory to discover how simple it is, we could be in recognizing, and in that simplicity, find some peace, find some record some, some freedom from what it is we're recognizing. So it could be that word tremendously depressed. And it's difficult to be that it's, you know, very sticky to be depressed. But as we mindfulness gets stronger, it's possible to recognize, oh, this is depression. And somehow, for that moment, to maybe just the moment of recognizing this is depression, there's a little bit of like light bulb goes off, or they'll declare to the fog clears or something, just for that little moment. And, and sometimes you have to kind of say the note a few times, until we really are standing in the note not standing in the Depression, depression, depression, anger, anger, whatever it might be. And slowly, slowly, like this crack opens up. And we begin identifying more with a recognition than the state, emotional state, we might be in Oh, there is, you know, sadness, sadness. And then, and then the sadness is not diminished, the sadness has not disrespected it, but it's clearly known. So we're not influenced by it or caught in it to amazing capacity. As we do this, we also start seeing more clearly what's happening as we're thinking. And that also gives them freedom. And so one of the things that's useful in meditation is to distinguish different kinds of thinking. So that both to have more clarity over recognizing, but also to recognize what kind of thinking is useful for meditation and what is not. So for example, maybe somewhat little bit going from coarsest most least helpful to maybe going closer, closer to what's most helpful. There could just be a dream, like fantasies, just that have nothing to do with the present moment. There's maybe images that are involved and, and we're caught up in a fantasy world of the future, what's going to happen tomorrow. And and we're kind of entered into the realm through the imagination of tomorrow or the fantasy. And so those kind of kind of thinking is recognized as fantasy. And it's recognized that it's really a disconnection from reality. We're not really present for what's immediately here for ourselves.
Another kind of thinking is discursive thought. And that's when the mind is having a conversation, either we're talking to ourselves and or we're having conversation with someone else we're repeating a conversation with yesterday to try to come up with a better response or something, and reviewing and reviewing it. And it's kind of like having a discourse, discursive thoughts, discussion in the mind. And, and that also is not about the directness of mindfulness, it's kind of removed into kind of abstraction. And, and so to recognize what discursive thinking is happening, discursive thinking, then there's a simpler kind of thinking, which is getting closer now to thinking that recognizes what's happening. It could be still a sentence, it could be, I've sat down to meditate. It's true, we sit down to sat down to meditate, and it's kind of recognizing what's happening a certain way. I'm feeling hungry of wonder, you know, I'm wondering what I should have for lunch. And then as we begin thinking about what to have for lunch, there might be then it's it becomes a discursive thought, or a fantasy. But the simple, you know, thought I'm hungry, and, and I'm thinking about lunch. That's a kind of recognition of what's happening here. And now. And then a simpler, and then it might also be very simple. thoughts in the mind, in meditation, they're directing the meditation. I'm thinking about lunch, because I'm hungry. Maybe I'll bring my attention to my stomach, or I'm hungry, just feel that. And so that's kind of like very simple thought telling you, let's go pay attention there. Or let's go back to the breathing. It was nice to be with a breathing, I don't have to think about lunch. Let's go back to the breathing and feel the breath. So that kind of thinking, it might not necessary to have this clear recognition, that just kind of guiding you point you to the present moment. You might have the thought, I think I should practice a recognition now. And if you know, you could have an infinite regress, if you say, Well, let me recognize that I'm thinking about recognizing I'm thinking and it's kind of crazy, making very quickly. So it can be really simple. So some very simple instructional kind of thinking and meditation can be very supportive, provided the instructions is very relaxed at ease and not demanding, not not stern or something. And then we get even simpler thoughts, which is this thing that's closely related to mental notes. It's one word. It's rather than I'm hungry, what's for lunch, it's hunger, or there might be tightness a pang, the belly hearing. There might be warmth, not I'm sitting in a warm room, but just feeling a warmth because the feel of sitting and your eyes closed sitting in a warm room is quite an abstraction. But with the eyes closed, what directly direct experiences just warmth, coldness, coolness. As meditation gets quieter and quieter, the more relevant becomes to keep it that simple warmth or coolness, hearing, in breath, out breath, pressure, release of pressure, expansion, contraction, not it's not a job, it's not like work that you're supposed to kind of put is supposed to be this, it's getting closer and closer to having the mind be very clear, clearly aware of what's happening in the present moment as it's happening. So with thinking which is so easy to get pulled into, so easily get trapped by or caught by, this is where mental noting sometimes it's very effective. It's a way of kind of stepping out of them. You know, if you're, you're stuck in the mud in the quagmire and stuck in the mind, you can't get out like quicksand.
You have to have a helpful to have one foot on dry land to be able to pull yourself out there. The classic example is, if two people are in the quicksand, and one person tries to pull the other one out, the one pulling sinks deeper. So the first one then the other one tries to pull the ones going deeper and pull it out. And that person sinks in deeper and they just kind of progressively make themselves go deeper. But if one of them's up on dry land, then that person can pull the other person out. So with with thinking, the simple recognition is meant to be standing on dry ground, being in the train, and ended on the train looking out the window, not involved with what you see But clearly recognizing it. So clearly recognizing the thinking, thinking, remembering, remembering, one of the nice things about these mental notes is that you can pay attention to the tone of the voice that's making the note. And if it's harsh, or for afraid or irritated or something, you can feel that in a tone. And the idea is a tone to be very relaxed, easy, untroubled by what we're noticing, that's where we've started feeling the freedom of recognition. And so, so, maybe not easy to discover, but once we get the hang of get the, how a simple moment of recognition is a kind of freedom, a kind of peace, it kind of cracks, the universe opened, and he starts feeling much more space, and start feeling more more peace. And, and also a kind of delight, I just find a delight sometimes, oh, I'm thinking about, I'm thinking about, I need to get my oil change in my car thinking and that just, oh, that's what I'm thinking about. I kind of like, oh, it's kind of like, I'm no longer in the thought. And I'm kind of delighted or kind of amazed, you know, wow, this mind thinks it's not quite something. And, and it's easier to be amazed or to be kind of just delighted or just free. If we step back up on dry client, and just really recognize thinking, thinking. Now, it's possible to get busy with all this recognition. And, and then hopefully, you recognize now I'm getting busy, I'm working too hard at it and doing too much, too much of it, the DSU, just enough to support you. And some people will not do that active recognition to noting when they're resting with the breath being with the breath in and out. But, as I've said, they definitely use it when they find themselves in thinking, because it's with some practice becomes a really clear way, easy way, even to step away from the thoughts not being meshed in it, we kind of turn the light of attention onto the fact we're thinking, thinking, thinking. Over time, as mindfulness gets stronger, it's interesting skill to learn, to be thinking about things. Allow yourself to think because you need to think about them. But also to be aware of what it's like to be thinking, and to adjust the how. So the thinking is not so fast, not so forceful, not so addicted, not so harsh. Whatever it might be, and find a supportive and pleasant, enjoyable way to think thinking can be a wonderful thing. And meditation is not supposed to be a critique of thinking, at all costs, you're not supposed to think or something, or thinking is bad. But we are trying to restore thinking to a way that is harmonious and peaceful and supportive for our lives. And the path to that meditation is to step away from thinking. And in any meditation, it's the one place where you barely need to think at all certainly don't need to discursive thoughts don't need to think about things are not present. Only thing to think about is what is present here and now. But without analysis and asking why and keeping it very simple, just simple thoughts about let me see if I can hold that in awareness. Let me meet that with kindness. Can I feel that in my body? And just and then with as we settle in, oh, just pressure, warmth, tightness simpler and simpler.
So I hope that that makes some sense. And if what I'm saying seems not quite right for you, or understandable at this point, just kind of file it away. And they'll come a time I think where you will recognize where it's valuable to do what I've been talking about today. And so they will continue tomorrow with mindfulness of thinking. Thank you