🔑 Key Takeaways
- By realizing that our thoughts are not who we are, and developing a different relationship with them through mindfulness, we can free ourselves from negative thinking and find peace, even in challenging circumstances.
- Mindfulness is not about stopping thoughts but rather understanding them. By shifting our attention away from thoughts, we can make conscious decisions and break free from the trap of our own minds.
- As life evolves, it's important to cultivate skillful thinking to unlock new opportunities. Directing our attention away from harmful thoughts and understanding the impermanence of our thoughts leads to a more realistic relationship with ourselves.
- Being aware of the current moment is crucial for making important decisions. Habitual thinking may not always be suitable for the situation at hand. We should be true to ourselves in the present moment, instead of relying on past experiences or societal expectations.
- Being open to change and understanding that life is always changing is necessary for growth and happiness. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help us see the possibilities and adapt to what is needed in the present moment.
- Practicing meditation can help one develop a better understanding of their thoughts, unlock their mind's capacity, and be more present in the moment.
- Labeling your thoughts during meditation helps you understand the quality of thinking and distinguish it from being present in the moment. This leads to greater clarity and peace of mind, and allows you to recognize and let go of automatic thought patterns that take you away from the present.
- By staying present during daily activities and using an anchor to bring ourselves back when the mind wanders, we can become more attuned to the world and experience a sense of satisfaction by prioritizing direct experience.
- Practice meditation by using your thoughts as an anchor. Observe the content of your thoughts without judgment and be consistent while learning. It helps activate a dormant part of your brain and enables awareness of thoughts and emotions.
- Build up concentration, distinguish thinking as an object and experience, label thoughts as pleasant, unpleasant or neither and be aware of the different aspects of the thinking process to become more mindful.
- Observing and acknowledging thoughts, feelings, and sensations in meditation helps you cultivate mindfulness, gain insight into your emotional patterns, and develop the ability to respond rather than react to them in your daily life.
- By recognizing our habitual thought patterns, we can unhook ourselves from obsolete programs and upgrade to new systems. Practicing with our thoughts helps us see what program is running in the background without carrying it into our lives.
- Meditation helps us to differentiate between direct experience and thoughts, allowing us to let go of negative or harmful thoughts and have less judgment of others.
- By labeling and investigating our thoughts, we can cultivate concentration and move towards a greater awareness of our mental states. This allows us to experience the ultimate realities of our minds and achieve tranquility, calmness, concentration, and liberation.
- By tuning into the felt sense experience in our body, we can recognize the state of our mind without getting caught up in thoughts or stories. Practicing mindfulness with Tuere Sala's eight states of mind can help us cultivate a unified and present state of mind.
- By being self-aware of qualities such as wanting and delusion, one can release mental habits and move towards true liberation. Practicing the eight qualities of mind can guide this process towards cultivating a liberated mind free from the constraints of thoughts.
- Mindfulness is understanding, not eliminating thoughts, and we can create our ways of dealing with them. Visit sala.org to learn more and practice living with thoughts, not being afraid of them.
📝 Podcast Summary
The True Purpose of Meditation: A Different Relationship with Thinking
Thoughts are not your enemy. The point of meditation is not to stop thinking, it's to have a different relationship with thinking. Understanding that our thoughts are not who we are, we can direct our attention away from negative thoughts. Practicing mindfulness helps us cut the strings of what can often be a malevolent puppeteer. Our thoughts are like tiny dictators when we are not mindful of them. Practicing with thoughts involves putting thinking in a proper relationship with other sense doors. True peace doesn't come from not thinking, it comes from having a proper relationship with thinking. Having a different relationship with thinking is massively helpful in high-stress situations or when dealing with past trauma.
Mindfulness - Understanding Our Thoughts
Mindfulness is about understanding and not getting caught up in our thoughts. We are so used to seeing and hearing things without obsessing over them, but we tend to fixate on our thoughts. Instead, we must focus on knowing our thoughts, which leads to better decision-making and a deeper understanding of ourselves. We don't have to stop thinking; we just have to learn to shift our attention away from our thoughts when necessary. By understanding thought and thinking for what it is and not identifying with it, we can break free from the trap of our own minds and make more conscious choices.
Practicing Skillful Thinking and Understanding the Nature of Thoughts
As life changes, our thoughts change, and it's essential to come into a more realistic relationship with who we are now by directing our attention towards skillful thinking that leads to more capacity and opportunities. Practicing with thinking and thoughts helps us see that we are not the same, as we were in the past, and our thoughts tend to get very permanent. We can direct our attention towards our sense doors and direct our thoughts away from harmful, unskillful things. The concept of no-self is not stating that we don't exist but that there is no core nugget of us. It takes time to get used to seeing thoughts as just thoughts and understanding its nature.
Being Present in the Moment for Better Decision-Making
Our habitual way of thinking and behaving is helpful in certain situations, but when it comes to making important decisions, we need to be present and aware of what's happening in the current moment. Our lives change and new information comes in, so we need to learn the difference between habit thinking and thinking in relation to what's appropriate right now. The self is not an illusion but rather the habitual way of being without paying attention to what's happening right now. We should be ourselves in the current moment and not the version of ourselves we think we ought to be based on past experiences or societal expectations.
The Importance of Embracing Change and Openness in Life
On the ultimate level, everything is not as it appears. It's important to know this when thinking about oneself. Being stuck in self-evaluating stories causes suffering. Living in permanency causes difficulty. Learning to change, grow, and flow is necessary. Practicing meditation and being in the present moment allows one to see the whole gamut of possibilities. Open up to the ultimate level that allows for seeing the old and possibility of what could happen. Understanding that life is always changing helps in reacting to what is needed. Do not be stuck in the idea of being only one thing. It is important to learn to change and adapt with the changing times.
The power of meditation in living the present moment.
The more one practices meditation, the more comfortable they get with the present moment reality. Living in a habit can trap one in a box and limit their capacity. By being open to the present moment and practicing with an anchor, like breathing, sound or posture, one can recognize and label their thoughts better. Practicing with thoughts through noting, labeling and releasing helps one develop the capacity of the mind and get comfortable with their thoughts. It's important to be present and acknowledge whatever comes up, even if it's fear or anxiety. Meditation can provide access to more qualities and capacities of the mind than living in a habit.
Labeling Thoughts During Meditation
The key takeaway from this discussion is that labeling your thoughts during meditation helps you understand the quality of thinking and distinguish it from being present in the moment. By using an anchor to focus on, and labeling your thoughts as they arise, you become more aware of the difference between thinking and being awake. This is especially useful when trying to recognize when you are judging, comparing, or complaining, as these are often automatic thought patterns that take us away from the present moment. By becoming familiar with the quality of your thinking, you can become more present and grounded in the present moment, leading to greater clarity and peace of mind.
How Being Present Can Lead to a More Fulfilling Life
Learning to be present in the moment while still allowing for judgment can lead to a more fulfilling life. By staying present during mundane activities, like waiting in line at the grocery store or driving, we can experience direct experiences that we often miss when lost in thought. The key is to recognize when the mind has wandered, and use an anchor like the present moment to bring ourselves back. The Buddha's system acknowledges the pleasure centers of the brain and rewards waking up from thought with a sense of satisfaction. By prioritizing direct experience, we can become more attuned to the world around us and lead a more fulfilling life.
Advanced Meditation Technique - Using Thoughts as an Anchor
In the second level of meditation, the objective is to use thoughts themselves as an anchor. It's important to let go of any other anchor and focus on the complexity of thoughts and emotions. While practicing this form of meditation, it's essential to be aware of the content of thoughts and whether they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. You're not judging yourself for your thoughts, but you're learning to know them as they are. This is a form of practice in itself, and it's crucial to be consistent while learning. By doing this meditation, you're using a part of your brain that is usually dormant. You're learning to be aware of your thoughts and emotions and not get lost in them.
How to use thinking as an anchor for meditation
In order to use thinking itself as an anchor for meditation, it is necessary to first build up a layer of concentration by sitting down and cultivating a level of present attention. Once you have gained a felt sense of knowing the difference between thinking as an object and as an experience, you can let go of the anchor and just notice the thoughts. You can also label the thoughts as pleasant, unpleasant or neither and notice when doubt or grasping arises. It is important to notice the words that the thinking is saying and experience it as an experience. By doing so, you become more aware of the various aspects of the thinking process, and in turn become more mindful as a whole.
The Importance of Mindfulness in Meditation
The foundations of meditation focus on being mindful of the body, feeling tones, and the mind. Being mindful of your thoughts is not cheating as it is enshrined in the founding documents of the contemplative tradition. The Buddha did not make a difference between seeing a thought before, during, or after it occurred. Noticing the feeling tone, quality, tone, mood, and words associated with the thought before returning to the anchor can help identify emotions and prevent you from being yanked around by your thoughts, urges, and emotions. Learning to notice thought, and not immediately run away from it, is essential as we can never stop thinking.
Understanding and Unhooking Ourselves from Habitual Thought Patterns.
To direct our thoughts towards the suitable way of moving through the world, we need to learn how to understand our thinking and recognize what's skillful and true in our lives. Practicing with our thoughts can help us identify the habitual programs that our minds keep repeating. These programs aren't necessarily real or true, and we need to unhook ourselves from these obsolete programs and upgrade to new systems. It's vital to learn the difference between thinking and direct experience and frame the practice as a skill-building exercise. Letting the negative or self-defeating thoughts stay into mind during practice helps us see what program is running in the background without carrying it into our lives.
Letting go of old thoughts through Meditation.
Meditation is not about fixing ourselves or our problems, but rather about seeing what's running in the background of our minds and letting go of old and no longer applicable thoughts. Once we learn to see how negative and harmful our inner thoughts can be, we don't have to be defined by them and can have less judgment of others. However, it's important not to reify or concretize what we see or hear in our meditation practice as proof of who we are. We can see old thoughts as just that and let them go. Meditating helps us learn the difference between direct experience and thinking, so we can see what's really running in the background of our minds.
Practicing with Thoughts for Greater Awareness
Eliminating old thinking patterns leads to less random, constant verbiage and more awareness of what's happening. Practicing with thoughts involves labeling and investigating them to cultivate concentration and eventually investigate their nature. Noticing mind states is the ultimate level of practicing with thoughts, where one can feel the pull of wanting, the push against anger, the scatteredness of distraction, and the confusion of delusion. It is important to be aware of these mind states to move out of the narrative and into awareness. By doing so, anyone can see and experience the ultimate reality of the mind, which includes tranquility, calmness, concentration, and liberation.
The Art of Recognizing Your State of Mind
By practicing the combination of the first and second states of mind, we can have a felt sense experience in the body, which helps us know where we are in the mind. We can recognize when the mind is spacious, wanting, distracted, or deluded without having to get into the story or words. It's crucial to realize that the mind is a bodily experience more than just anxiety. You can learn to let go of grasping and recognize the presence or absence of wanting. Tuere Sala's eight states of mind are useful in this regard, and surpassing is a state of mind where you are open to the possibility of something else. Concentrated is a unified and gathered mind.
The Liberated Mind: Letting Go of Distractions and Delusions
The liberated mind is released from the constrictions of wanting, distraction, delusion, and confusion, and feels a sense of spaciousness. By noticing the presence or absence of qualities like wanting and delusion, one can move towards true liberation and freedom from thoughts. Habits like obsessing over time or constantly running down a mental checklist can be recognized and released through this self-awareness. The eight qualities of mind can be helpful to guide this process. Ultimately, thinking doesn't matter at this level; one can simply observe and let go of mental patterns and experiences to cultivate a liberated mind.
Embracing Thoughts: Mindfulness Practice Simplified
Practicing mindfulness involves identifying the attitude in our minds at a given moment, rather than being afraid of or trying to get rid of our thoughts. It is normal to have distracting thoughts; the goal is not to eliminate them but to observe them. People can create their own ways of being with their thoughts in a way that supports them. It's suggested to practice being with thoughts and not be afraid of them. Sala suggests visiting the website sala.org to learn more about her practices and teachings. To summarize, mindfulness is a significant practice, where we need to understand the attitude or mindset in our thoughts and not eliminate them but learn to live with them.