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Thoughts "behind" the Mantra?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Figge, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Figge

    Figge Member

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    Hi,

    I have been meditating in spurts from time to time and have started up again after not meditating for a while. I also bought Lifeflow 1,5 weeks ago. I am using a mantra to focus my attention. As I searched the forum I came across a few threads on actively repeating the mantra vs listening for the mantra and I have not fully come to terms with that from my own point of view.

    No to my question, when repeating the mantra (or hearing it repeated, not really sure which) I somtimes still "hear" other thoughts "behind" the mantra. It feels a bit weird and I thought that wouldn't happen. It almost feels like I am listening to a recording of the mantra and somebody is talking in the background. Any thoughts from more experienced meditators, should I then repeat the mantra "harder" or just try to let the thoughts go? Anybody recofnize this?

    /Fredrik
     
  2. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Fredrik and welcome to the community :)

    Here's a piece from "The Principles of Meditation and Entrainment" that I think will answer your question:-

    "Generically speaking, there are three types of meditation techniques. There are techniques that take your awareness outwards, techniques that take your awareness inwards, and techniques that do a little of both. People with exceptionally busy minds tend to do better with techniques that take awareness outwards since their minds naturally head that direction anyway. People with more contemplative natures tend to do better with techniques that take you inwards. The combination techniques are a “maybe” for just about anyone, but are usually best used when a person has some experience with meditation under their belt.

    The mantra technique as taught by Michael at Project Meditation is an excellent example of an outward technique. Since the vast majority of people have somewhat active minds, this mantra technique is a good bet for most of us. Even mantra techniques have some differences. Some require rigid concentration while others are more relaxed, such as Michael’s technique.

    All techniques whether mantra, focus on the breath, contemplation of a koan, or any other, are simply the vehicles we use to take us into (hopefully) a meditative state. Put another way, the purpose of repeating a mantra is not to get proficient at repeating a mantra. The purpose is to take us to a meditative state where the mantra slips away and is no longer necessary.

    I was raised on a farm, and in my youth I dug enough fence post holes to last a dozen lifetimes. My father used to joke that he gave me that chore so that I’d have lots of practice and get good at digging fence post holes. From a pragmatic point of view, the purpose of digging all those post holes was really not so that I’d become a better post hole digger, but so that I could plant posts in them. Once you dig a post hole to the correct depth you don’t keep on digging, trying to make the hole fancier or more aesthetically pleasing. You stick a post in that sucker, tamp the earth back in around it so that the post is secure, and then move on to dig the next hole."

    To read more please click on the link below

    http://www.project-meditation.org/c...nciples-meditation-entrainment.html#post12298

    Hope this helps and wish you much peace and joy :) :) :)
     
  3. Figge

    Figge Member

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    Thank you for your feedback.

    Still not clear to me. Well, let me rephrase then. Am I correct in assuming that I need to "keep digging" if these thoughts occur when I repeat/hear my mantra?

    At least for my there is no sign lighting up saying "meditative state" but to me everyday thoughts, however faint, seems to be something different than a meditative state. I guess what I am looking for is guidence on when I need to try harder vs trying less/letting go.

    Love

    Fredrik
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  4. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Fredrik,

    A couple of observations...

    With practice and persistence, the mantra merges into a harmonic, or a tone or vibration. It merges from a "saying" or verbalisation into a tone. To try to illustrate with an analogy... striking a bell creates a tone that drifts into infinity. The mantra starts out as the "striking of the bell" but soon becomes the infinite tone, drifting into eternity. It transforms. It washes over distractions that come and tap you on the shoulder or bubble up from the depths of your consciousness. Be at one with the tone in complete awareness and just notice, but continue to be part of the very essence of the tone.

    The other issue is the word "try". Many teachers emphatically implore us to "stop trying and just do!"

    The act of becoming takes practice and persistence. It is a journey...

    Olmate
     
  5. Figge

    Figge Member

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    Olmate and pollyanna,

    thank you for your answers and support, I have continued to read here on the forum as well as your answers, I thinkt the explanation on the mantra repeating itself or merging into a harmonic/tone/vibration is going to take some time to absorb for me.

    Probably I am just being impatient and I do already notice small positive changes such as being calmer and not reacting as stressful to small things. I will keep practicing what I do .

    What sort of bothered my was that before, a mantra or similar was blocking out my thoughts but now it doesn't seem to do that (at least not as effectively, it feels like there are two processes going on at the same time which I thought wasn't possible). Perhaps it is just a result of an overactive mind that has not settled down quite yet. But what I previously recognised as a meditative state now does not seem like a meditative state anymore and then it is of course a bit of a problem that there is no surefire way to say that I acutally am in a meditative state (soory for the long sentence...).

    All the best!

    /Fredrik
     
  6. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Fredrik,

    here's something I hope will help you. When I first began meditation, I was aware of many thoughts. I just accepted they were there mostly. Sometimes I would follow them and build on them. For example "What am I going to make for dinner?" I followed this thought, which then became a train of thoughts until I became aware of what I was doing. At that point, I realised what I was doing and focused back on my mantra.

    I soon learned not to get involved with thoughts. Just accept that they will come and allow them to pass by like clouds floating by. Then brief moments of silence would come and letting my mantra go allowed me to slip into the stillness. When thoughts interrupted the silence, I began repeating my mantra a few times and then listening for it's echo. The brief moments of stillness gradually became longer and longer.

    With practise you will become more and more proficient. The time you spend in the stillness, even a few seconds is of great value. The small improvements you are noticing now will become more and more noticable in your daily life. Hope this helps and wish you an abundance of peace and joy :) :) :)
     
  7. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Fredrik,

    Perhaps another context to consider similar to the suggestion by Pollyanna, is to keep the idea/notion of "simplicity" in mind.

    The mantra is the focus of simplicity in contrast to following thoughts and the internal conversation.

    Use the mantra to bring a calming simplicity associated with the doorway to the stillness and silence. I think Edwin referred to this as "turning into" as if turning your mind towards the stillness and away from the noisy conversation.

    Olmate
     

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