2021-1105-Thinking (5 of 5) Released Thinking
3:00PM Nov 5, 2021
So we come now to the last talk on mindfulness of thinking. And as I've said, mindfulness of thinking, thinking is just as much of a valid subject for mindfulness as anything else, including the breathing. The art of it, however, is that to the thing to be mindful without thinking more, not be think fullness, because you're mindful of thinking. So usually, the breathing is often a very good focus meditation, because it's tends to be calming and settling. And it's not, it's a physical sensation. So it tends to kind of help us kind of step out of the world of thinking. So that can quiet down. So thinking may be isn't always a good object for beginners, because it pulls us into itself. And we start thinking more and more. But on principle, thinking is just as valid as subject of mindfulness as anything else. We turn our attention towards it. And sooner or later, it's really wise to do it, too, especially if you've been meditating for a long time. And you have some ability to just really look at thinking and see it and look it right in the eye and, and study what goes on in it. It's a whole system's a whole complex of things that are involved with thinking that come into play. And one of those things is our clinging, our grasping are holding on our stickiness, our compulsive compulsivity, we're thinking and in the end, we're not looking to stop having thoughts. Freedom is manifested in it not having that stickiness with thoughts, not clinging to thoughts, and having a state of mind a consciousness and awareness, which is has released itself from thinking even if thinking still goes on. And for this purpose, I distinguish between thinking and thought being thought thing is just what the mind does. The mind is a thought thing, machine, just the middle use produce thoughts, they float up and float away. Thinking is when we're involved in those thoughts. When there's little bit it's sometimes it's appropriate to be involved. But more often than not when we're involved, there is a some compulsivity, some clinging, some grasping to it. And so to study thinking, too, as a way of discovering where grasping and thing is we're clinging is and as a kind of a fascinating window into the clinging to thoughts. Whenever you're in a hurry. Chances are pretty high that your thinking is compulsive, your thinking has grabbed onto something holding on. That's the syndrome of hurry hurriedness usually comes along with hurry thoughts pushing the thoughts wanting thoughts, crowded thoughts, one after the other. And, and not only is the mind kind of crowded with a lot of thoughts when we hurry, but sometimes they're there. You can feel the push to compulsivity. If you allow yourself to feel it, there's a kind of command from hurry, like don't pay attention to itself. Just get the job done, do what has to be done. So to turn around 180 degrees and look at thinking itself is a real task. And so in terms of hurrying it's possible to do things quickly without hurrying. So hurry is this extra kind of compulsivity, this being caught in something that has to be done as quickly as possible to do things quickly without being caught. So what are the things we're looking for in the dharma is not to be without thinking or without thoughts, but to be with them without clinging to them. And this is a very profound thing, because that's all we ever cling to when there's clinging Unless you're, you know, at the edge of a cliff holding on to clinging to the railing,
you know, then it's you're clinging to the railing. But generally the clinging that we're addressing in Buddhism is the the predominant clinging that human beings are involved in all the time. And that is we're clinging to ideas and thoughts. That's really what we cling to. We don't see it that way. Because if I'm clinging to a person, I think I'm clinging to that person. But if you really quiet and study your mind, you see, you're not clinging to the person unless you're holding their hand tight. You're clinging to the idea that person is in your mind. The associations you have the meanings you have the value you have around that person to desires you have around that person. It's it's that clinging to ideas to thoughts, and to start seeing that as fascinating. So, you know, the recipe is not the same thing as a meal, to cling to the recipe. And never cook, you never have a meal to a map is not the territory. I had when I was a new, relatively young Zen student, I had some challenge with my one my father. And after I talked to my Zen teacher about it. And he made this comment to me, which really struck me he said, before your father was a father, there was a before he was a father. He was a person without any fatherhood, any being a father. And when he said that, I thought, Wow, I'm only seeing him through the lens of being my father. He has a whole other side of him of how he lives his life. Without being a father, I wonder who he is, I wonder how he is there in those situations. The, you know, we hold on to these ideas of how it is. So there's a kind of a cliche, kind of a little saying that came from I think, Munindraji, this Indian Vipassana teacher who was a teacher for many of us, I just knew him briefly. And he said, the thoughts of your mother are not your mother. So we have these thoughts, these ideas, and they're we to be lease our thoughts from our grasping and clinging. And here's a very interesting idea. That, you know, in Buddhism, the goal is consensus, liberation is freedom. And often the idea we're holding on to is that I will be free when I'm liberated by but maybe it doesn't work that way. Maybe you will never be free. Those are just ideas and thoughts. If anything, what's happening is you're giving freedom to the world. You give freedom to your thoughts, not to think wildly and recklessly and unwholesome Lee. They're the reckless that thoughts, the unwholesome thoughts, the harmful thoughts that we think are a form of clinging or holding onto idea to something with without clinging to anything, the thoughts will gravitate home flow towards what is wholesome? What's immediate, because it's not driven by desires by hatreds and all this stuff. So rather than you becoming free, you're giving freedom to your thoughts. And to have thoughts be free is one of the great delights to have thoughts just kind of relax it'll just appear it's kind of like a miracle that's a thoughts appear. Where do they come from? They just kind of, you know, to be quiet and still and watch a new thought be born. Where did that come from? It just arises it floats by and goes away and and it's not any different. Then a flower blooming and fading is not any different than the clouds forming in the skies and passing by. It's not any different than a leaf floating in the wind. Hovering and find the landing someplace. The we don't identify with a thought so identify with a thought is to be attached to a little kind of identification thoughts. This is me this is mine. to not make thoughts me myself and mine is so wonderful. Do not have to take them personally.
To not have to do anything with them to not have to measure oneself by it. When I was about 14 or so 13 or 14, my father took me aside to have a little a father son talk. And he said to me off, Was that intentional, but he said to me, as you grow up, from time to time, you'll have bizarre thoughts. And I kind of, okay, I thought, okay, I mean, I didn't know what to do with that information. And, and, lo and behold, some point or other, I had bizarre thoughts. And I said, Oh, my father told me about this, that this might happen. And because of that, I had no indeed, no inclination to do anything about them, or to judge them or to be horrified by them, or whatever I didn't, you know, whatever they were, I don't even remember. But they were just, oh, it just bizarre thoughts. Just, they come and they go, thoughts are kinda like a dime a dozen. They come and they go. And the ability to step back from them. And not automatically latch on to them, is a kind of a power. Because it allows us to choose which thoughts we getting involved in and which we don't. And that is where maybe a certain kind of freedom resides, the freedom to choose what we think. And the primary choice that I think that we learned in this practice is mostly what not to do, what not to think, oh, no, I don't need to do that. I don't need to do that. Sometimes it's very, very appropriate to actually choose what we think about, like, at the end of the meditation, spend all the time choosing to think about Goodwill and kindness. It's a, it has a double purpose. It has purpose of helping us stay free to open the heart and not cling and just open ourselves and be available to the world in a kind way, kind of, you know, hopefully clears the decks of our hearts, so that we can kind of just be available for the world. And we're not clinging and holding on to me, myself and mine. And it nourishes something very important in us. And it supports and helps other people. All those could happen, that dedication and are thinking that way. But the thinking needs to be done in a free way, in a relaxed way, easy way, calm laced. And to learn how to think some of us need to relearn our thinking. But first to learn how to be free of thoughts to release them. So may you explore, study, ride the edge of where you can find ways to not cling to your thinking. And you don't necessarily have to let go of your thoughts. Just let go of the clinging and see what happens. So releasing bots. So then, next week, I'll continue this series on kind of the basic mindfulness practice. And I'm going to talk about now something that provisionally will called mindfulness of mind. And, and so that's, we'll continue with with this momentum that we have over the last four weeks. So thank you very, very much and I look forward to Monday.