Talking to Oneself?

dont-believe-everything-you-thinkFirstly thank you SO MUCH to those of you who responded to my request to confirm receipt of notification emails. I have kept true to my promise and not published them (33 and counting) even though there were several with content I’d have wished to publish. PLEASE do leave comments when you are moved to do so, I’d like to say I’ll respond to those longer comments, however…I may not be able to do that. Apart from anything else I find comments, even short ones, both personally encouraging to ‘keep posting’ and the insights are often inspiring and stimulate my fingers to type! Here is a question that came in via a comment which I thought might be a common issue especially for those who find themselves home alone for days on end. Many thanks for asking this question, dear reader.

Recently I’ve been aware of ‘talking to myself’ and wanting to stop it! Is this the same as deliberate thought do you think? (Mostly we think in words, so I imagine it is.) I’ve got a few ideas as to how to drop it but wonder if you have too.

This is interesting. I’ve noticed that when I am writing here I’m ‘speaking’, sub-audibly, what I am writing. It’s possible to not do that but it takes a conscious and deliberate effort to refrain. And even with that, I have to keep on renewing the resolve to refrain but having spotted what I’m doing is three-quarters of the ‘battle’ done. This is of course deliberate thought, one step away from actual vocalizing. This renewal of one’s attention (and basic intention) and deciding for oneself is about par for Buddhist training I’d have thought. Our brains, and the rest of us, are so amazing are they not?

We instruct that while sitting in formal meditation we deliberately decide to refrain from deliberate thinking and allow the brain to do what brains do. That’s to ‘secrete thoughts’, the flow of thoughts which simply seem to just come along unbidden. The very same thoughts that most people feel are a problem and need to get rid of them, in order to meditate properly! It takes more time, over time, on the cushion than one might imagine realizing that 1) it’s not possible to get rid, 2) that we are wired emotionally and practically to circumstances that stimulate thinking, deliberate and nondeliberate. This will include going back into the far distant past, formal meditation gives us the space to reflect on the past, see it, love it and move on. And there will be more realizations along the way. Which brings one to ACCEPTANCE. Brains are wired to secrete thoughts. Perhaps the biggest and most long-lasting insight is ‘I am not my thoughts! and along with that ‘Don’t believe everything you think’is true I’d add.

So to answer the question. As in meditation so in daily life. There will be a flow of thoughts, often there meeting circumstances. When deliberate thought is needed, think deliberately and give yourself mental space to do a proper job rather than turn the need into worry. That happens quite frequently. And when you notice that deliberate thought, including deliberate visual imaging (dreams and fantasies we call that) take you over then…move on, let go, switch your attention. All fairly simple when moving about in daily life. Above all, drop ones self-critical thoughts, self-condemnation etc. etc. Then have a private smile to yourself ‘isn’t this just like humans’ and move on to the next most important thing. That could be actually giving yourself time to deliberately think about something or do something practical. For example, pay attention to what you are doing – walking, driving, washing up, sitting watching TV, working on the computer. Gradually, one’s brain will become less hungry for words/thoughts. This comes about as the unconscious habit of filling one’s mind with thoughts, lessens. I remember thinking one day when out walking in Wales, ‘Oh, so there is life without (constant) thoughts’! Thoughts come fewer and further apart but not a state to achieve.

Talking to oneself, you could say, is helpful since audio input gets one’s attention. I have intermittent Tinnitus in one ear. My friend the Cricket (that’s the sound I get) reminds me to allow sound to inter me. That then broadens to the ‘soundscape’ in the larger space I am in. Right now I hear my Cricket which then has me hear the tap-tap of the keyboard, a door closing. Uh! I am still vocalizing in my head as the words appear on the screen. Perhaps this is just how it is.

Brains are just remarkable.

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Unfold your Wings

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking, deliberate thinking/worrying, which has occupied my mind due to a technical difficulty regarding notification emails being sent to subscribers when there is a new post launched into the universe. If you DO receive an email notification for this post please would you leave a comment? I’ll not publish it but I just need to know if there is anybody receiving notifications, nobody or some.

I came across this quote the other day and now I have space and time to post it. Thought is a bird of space! Well I take that to be the flow of natural thought akin to meditation, rather than deliberate ‘thinking about things’.

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart
you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space,
that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings
but cannot fly.

Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931)

Please don’t think overly about the above quote. Step into the outdoors, if you can, unfold your wings and fly!

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From Mother to Great Mother

The following piece was written by Naomi, a loyal reader. It speaks of growing up/going deeper. Originally left as a comment to the post Untying the Mother-Cord I felt their ponderings needed to be ‘elevated’ to a post. Published here slightly edited and reformatted, in gratitude.

Please Note: Just to make it clear, everything below is the writings from Naomi, All that is above is Mugo writing. Sorry if there has been confusion.

Really growing up,
beyond conditioning,
standing on one’s own feet.
Letting go of all worldly attachments.
The True Mother? Emptiness.

Only possible to contemplate in the ‘heart’.

We can go to all sorts of things
for safety, security, and comfort;
but what do we give ourselves to
in the sitting meditation?
When we leap beyond all fear.
To really go beyond,
untie the ‘mother cord’,
at moments this seems very scary.

Yet it must be the leap beyond all fear.

She is what is there when we leap –
vast emptiness,
Joy, peace, being.
Refuge beyond all refuges.
It’s a great challenge to grow up!

To change hands from mother to the Great Mother.

A few hours after writing the above and going back again to the text, I looked up the source blog page for that post.

The context of the text echoed a context my first reading fell into:
One of a few things that came to mind was The Osho Tarot card ‘The Dream’ where they points to the dreaming of/for a lover harps of the wanting (perhaps any wanting?) as in harping for the desire to return to the mother’s womb.

I’m turning 40 this year, so different stage mortality questions come up. At this point, culture says it’s the time when we’re coupled up. Sometimes I dream of this, sometimes not. The question, for me now, is about the return not to the small womb, but the Great Mother, the True Mother.

Mother-cord is the inherited karma and conditioning that we may cling to. Great Mother, the true holding and no holding, that goes well beyond.

May the question of what is the True Mother work on/in my heart, that’s where it touches and lands.

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Undoing – Untying the Mother-Cord

These Covid times can’t help but bring mortality to the fore and with that the realization that ‘somebody’ will have the task of dealing with that which remains, including ‘belongings’. I’ve done that for a number of people over the years and gladly too but I wanted items to go to places and people who could use, would like them. I knew from experience others might not have time to do that in the kind of detail I, while alive, could do. So that’s what I did, I started in on a Swedish Death Cleaning and it has brought me much happiness, and much satisfaction too.

This poem piece along with the writing it appeared with spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you. In future posts I will visit some of the discoveries I made in January, how I ‘resolved’ many items that had been with me for at least two decades which I’d not made decisions about. Left to languish.

learning to save myself, learning to live
alone through the long winter nights
means so much unknotting, unknitting
unraveling, untying the mother-cord
— so much undoing

From: Michèle Roberts’s poetry collection ‘All the selves I was

The following is from: a blog Rousette The title of the post is, Re-visiting poetry.
Over the intervening years, I’ve done a lot of metaphorical unknotting and unraveling, and plenty of literal unknitting and unpicking too. I’ve come to see those processes not as a failure but as an integral part of the making process. Making and unmaking are part of the same thing, and if you want to learn, to grow, to experiment, to be bold, you often have to unmake. Yes, it can be frustrating or even painful, but it’s a good thing. Unmaking and making anew almost always results in something better and stronger, and in the process, you learn. You just have to be brave, take a deep breath, and get out your seam ripper.

Finally, this has not been a process of ‘decluttering’, or preparation for death. Better described as an undoing a cutting of the mother-cord, a spiritual endeavor. Thanks to Julius for the link which inspired me to write about the process that started in January and continues on.

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New Monk Joins the Community

Yes, we have a new monk who was ordained on the February 20th. Such a total delight.

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Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives