Pushing out thoughts

Pushing out thoughts

by Headspace » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:44 pm

Question

1. When Andy advises me to let my thoughts come and go they come but don't go easily,

2. Later he advises me almost to ignore these thoughts by bringing my focus back to the breaths

Should I focus more on letting thoughts in or pushing them out?

Isn't it strange that (as he mentions on another day) that once I stop counting breaths and let the mind do what it wants to do there is much less thinking going on!"


Andy's Answer

1) Yes, thoughts will generally appear to arise without effort, but because we are not used to letting them go, instead choosing to mull them over, engage with them, or even fight with them, it can often feel as though it requires more effort to let go. In time and with practice it becomes clear that it requires less effort rather than more and that thoughts disappear quite happily if left alone.

2) I would never recommend 'ignoring' thoughts. The idea of meditation is to become more aware, more awake, more conscious - the very antitheses of 'ignore'-ance. I certainly recommend you don't get too caught up in the thoughts that arise and gently bring awareness back to the breath, but this is very different to ignoring the thoughts. It is like seeing the thought, acknowledging it, letting it go and then returning the focus to the breath. This is the way to practise.

3) And yes, it is always a surprise when we give the mind freedom to behave as it wants to, only for it to sit still and do nothing! But this is why it is in there, to help remind us that we do not need to control more, but rather less. Peace of mind is not found in rigidly forcing the mind in one direction, but rather training the mind to rest in awareness, be that with or without an object of focus. In the meantime, enjoy that place of quiet and in time it will become a more frequent characteristic of the first part of the exercise too.
 
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