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Thread: Is this really worth thinking about?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Is this really worth thinking about?

    I did not realize how much my mind races, getting caught up in inner dramas, until I started to sit zazen. Tonight, after sitting, the thought came into my head, is what I am thinking about really worth it? Is it worth the stress it causes on my body, is it worth the muscles tightening up in my face and neck? Or, could I choose to be a different thought in my head instead--much like our nurturing seeds practice.

    I eat very healthy, always very conscious about what I put in my body, and have had bad effects when I've made the wrong choices (drinking alcohol comes to mind!!). But why am I not more conscious about what I allow to be in my head? I now realize I need to be more selective, more mindful, of the thoughts I allow, and disregard the ones that are causing negative effects, just like the alcohol.

    We are what we eat, but we really are also what we think. So tonight, and in the days to come, as inner dramas and unnecessary thoughts start to unfold, I will ask myself, is this really worth it?

    Gassho,
    Treena

  2. #2
    Thank you for sharing this Treena,
    I give too much value and attention to my thoughts. As far as i understood our practice we surely allow thoughts to come, they just do no matter how we feel about thoughts. Sometimes they make me angry sometimes they make me happy, sometimes the cause me fear, sometimes they give me security. But they are all just thoughts, judgements about what is, hopes, believes, echoes of what I heard. I strongly believe that you are right, we are what we eat. We can eat food and we can eat books, tv shows, people talking to us. We eat it and digest it and it makes up who we are. I feel thoughts do not exactly fell into this category as we cannot choose which thoughts will come to mind - as opposed to what we eat or read. But if we notice them (and I'm good in not noticing my silly thinking) that this can takes us far from what is, so I agree, its good to see a though arising, and asking myself if its worth thinking about it a bit more.
    Gassho
    Myoku

  3. #3
    Thanks for sharing Treena & Myoku. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in this practice is that I can't control my thoughts. There have been times I have wanted to slap my brain!

    What makes it difficult,I think, is that relinquishing our mistakenly-perceived control is frightening at first; if we're not in control, we can feel helpless. But eventually it is liberating to realise that not only do we not control our thoughts, but they don't control us. Though they can at times feel absolutely solid & real, they are in reality just gossamer drifting through our minds.

    _/\_
    Ade

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Oh yes, it's very very easy to get caught up in thoughts. Sometimes we just surf the waves, sometimes we get so involved that stress is the only thing we get.

    In my deluded mind, there's nothing wrong on thinking about stuff. That's how we relate to the universe. We need to think to sort and understand data that we feed into the brain. We categorize, tag, archive and squeeze learning through criticizing and comparing.

    Now what we excel at is to adding crap to thinking. We add our personal comments, fears and past experiences to data, resulting in angst and stress. In our heads we create alternate realities, we try to better the past and never stop worrying about the future.

    What has helped me over the years to try and forget about thoughts, it's to just focus on the moment.

    As a matter of fact, this is what has helped me running, cooking or shaving as of late. What do these activities have in common? They are all potentially dangerous.

    If I don't pay attention to the present moment while running, I'd fall and injure myself. That has happened several times and the scars in my knees are witness to this. I also need to be mindful of the road, pace, breathing, other runners, cars...

    I shave with a double edge razor, the kind old people used to have. If I lose myself in thoughts, I cut myself and those cuts go deep. So I have learned to just pay attention to the moment, because I know what the price is for getting lost in thoughts.

    And as for cooking, if I get lost in thoughts, I'd get burned, cut or ruin the food.

    So after all this, yes, being mindful of when the mind starts developing dramas is very useful.

    But also letting go and just be with what is helps a lot.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  5. #5
    "As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
    Henry David Thoreau
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    I think you are going to start a new fad; Mental Calorie Counting. I will begin my diet now.
    Gassho
    C

  7. #7
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    You betcha! - Rilke says:


    Let everything happen to you.

    ​Beauty and terror

    ​Just keep going.

    No feeling is final.



    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajņa from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    Thank you for sharing this Treena,
    I give too much value and attention to my thoughts. As far as i understood our practice we surely allow thoughts to come, they just do no matter how we feel about thoughts. Sometimes they make me angry sometimes they make me happy, sometimes the cause me fear, sometimes they give me security. But they are all just thoughts, judgements about what is, hopes, believes, echoes of what I heard. ...
    Quote Originally Posted by adrianbkelly View Post
    Thanks for sharing Treena & Myoku. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in this practice is that I can't control my thoughts. There have been times I have wanted to slap my brain!

    What makes it difficult,I think, is that relinquishing our mistakenly-perceived control is frightening at first; if we're not in control, we can feel helpless. But eventually it is liberating to realise that not only do we not control our thoughts, but they don't control us. Though they can at times feel absolutely solid & real, they are in reality just gossamer drifting through our minds.

    _/\_
    Ade
    Well, yes, we may let thoughts be thoughts. At the same time, we see through our thoughts, let them go and don't grab on. We also let times of timeless no thought be timeless times of no thought. Thought and no thought also are experienced as not two.

    But I disagree a little about our just sitting and letting all thoughts come and go. Not all thoughts are created equal.

    Some thoughts are harmful, negative. They are thoughts of greed, anger and ignorance, jealousy, revenge, fear for the future and the like. Or, worthless self drama, mental soap operas, baseless rehashing the past. I would not say that we just let such thoughts "be". We see through those too, let them go and don't grab on as with all thoughts, yes. But perhaps we also recognize them as harmful and negative, and do intentionally turn away from them and not allow ourselves to wallow in them.

    I don't mean that we sit there intentionally trying to categorize harmful vs. nice thoughts (we may do so a bit more off the cushion). But during Zazen, when suddenly realizing that we are wallowing, self-soap opering, filled with anger or "what if worry" or the like, we might just give the "let them go, don't grab on" a tiny extra push. We don't just sit there, stewing and wallowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmy View Post
    We are what we eat, but we really are also what we think. So tonight, and in the days to come, as inner dramas and unnecessary thoughts start to unfold, I will ask myself, is this really worth it?
    Yes, I feel this is good. We are what we think ... quite literally, "we are" because and what we think. Garbage in, garbage out too. When catching yourself particularly wallowing in personal garbage, then "let them go, don't grab on" and send it on its way.

    And "off the cushion", try to replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts and seeds.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Seeds-PRACTICE

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-01-2013 at 04:30 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I don't mean that we sit there intentionally trying to categorize harmful vs. nice thoughts (we may do so a bit more off the cushion). But during Zazen, when realizing that we are wallowing, self-soap opering, filled with anger or "what if worry" or the like, we might just give the "let them go, don't grab on" a tiny extra push.
    Gassho, funny you mentioned this. I was completely wallowing in anger during this morning's zazen, caught myself, then consciously decided to let those go. It was very hard, my anger was "justifiable"..... and then I started wondering if I should take effort to let them go. hahhahhaah

    Gassho (again),

    Risho

  10. #10
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Even AFTER a good dosage of Zazenkai this morning, I am finding myself wallowing in anger, frustration, self doubt, sadness. It can be challenging when you feel "justified" on top of it all too Risho. Letting it go, being present, being compassionate for self and other's can be a challenge. And yet, even as I sit feeling this way now, I am also grateful for what it is teaching me about myself and this process. Ahhh relationships.

    Gassho C

  11. #11
    Thanks for sharing Treena, great post everyone, thanks!
    In my humble experience, the more practice I have sitting and being fully present here and now, just being, I can "see" when a thought is arising before it gets to the "screen in my mind" it is in that moment when I can say "this or that thought is coming from a seed I donīt want to grow (anger, delusion, hate, ignorance)" so I donīt let it grow or pass to the screen of my mind where I can see it and feel it complete. And it applies the the other way around for the thoughts that come from a seed Iīd like to grow (compassion, non-attachment, loving kindness,etc) I "let them grow"...without fixating my whole attention on them.

    Hope this words are useful.

    Gassho

    kb
    Meditate and Defy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    I agree that we are what we think. The thing is we ARE what we think. Our thoughts are a reflection of who we are as individuals. Pushing out the negative thoughts, to me, is like denying who we are. Accept them , while striving to improve. Don't fight, but nurture different seeds and watch those blossom. Weeds are weeds. But we are the weeds too. Like others have said, don't cling. What do these thoughts teach us about ourselves?
    We are also a product of our environment. Being exposed to more positive people, places, and things will help transmute our mindset to be more positive. Over time we cultivate ourselves into someone more positive and our thoughts become "purer".
    I'm not sure if I'm phrasing this right to get my point across. But hopefully folks will understand what I'm getting at.

    _/\_ Dave

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Shonin View Post
    I agree that we are what we think. The thing is we ARE what we think.
    Buddhism is actually very radical about this ... you ARE what you think, and "you" are BECAUSE you think.

    Another way to put this is that there is the world ... but then there is all our processing of the incoming sense data, naming, categorizing, judging, thinking about, future/past time imposing, "longing for", regretting, "worrying about" that is imposed on the world that happens in our heads, including the sensation that "I" exist somehow separate and standing apart from "the world" (the "I" vs. "the not-I" division, and all the love/hate relationship with the "not me" that thus results).

    So, we have more ability than most of us know to "reprogram" the data and software running between our ears to change the way it runs. and how we perceive and interpret all life's stuff. We transcend our "love/hate" relationship with the so-called "not me". That's Buddhism 101.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-04-2013 at 05:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    _/\_

  15. #15
    If only I could do easier what Jundo said (about the I that exists separate from the world as an illusion), fear will drop.

    Inspiring thread Treena

    Gassho for all those answers

    Myoshin
    Myoshin 妙 心
    "A person who receives the Buddhist Precepts enters the state of Buddha at once. They stand at the same level as Gautama Buddha. We can say they are a child of the Buddha." Jundo

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