HiJohnny Dangerous wrote: ↑Wed Jul 20, 2022 7:58 am (...)
I can say with at least a little confidence that teachers I’ve known and other students also would guess that part of the issue is dullness/blankness. Simply not thinking - especially if you are actively suppressing thoughts - is not meditation, and if you are approaching it that way (again not sure, limited data here) that might be the issue.
In my experience such practice leads to at best a somewhat relaxed body, but a dull(rather than wakeful, clear, relaxed) mind, with an undercurrent of tension - maybe related to an underlying view that thoughts in meditation must be eliminated or suppressed. If that is anything like the problem, I am not surprised that you are disappointed.
Excellent observation. This holds very true. Difficult to directly stop thinking until one can directly stop thinking. Takes time and practice for sure. Here are some strategies that folks have found success with.
Crush mind with mind: Use a mantra. Crush thinking with an overwhelming thought. Mantras work really well for this. Good choices for mantras are mantras that we will not attach too. Simple mantras like repeating Buddho, wake up, let go, just this, all can work. The benefit of a two syllable mantra is that it can be timed with the in and out breath. As an example. Say in the mind.. "just" on the in breath and say in the mind, "this" on the out breath. Rinse and repeat. With practice, mantras can be maintained just about all the time, even while not sitting.
Choose to think less: One of the things we are trying to realize is that most thinking is useless. We spend a massive amount of our time thinking thoughts that just don't need to be thought. To correct this, we want to examine the actual value of our thoughts. What thoughts are actually worth the time that it will take to think them. Up the quality of what we think about. Raise the bar and simply stop giving brain time to thoughts and ideas that simply do not deserve our brain time. Become a connoisseur of fine thought. Don't settle for low brow thinking. Only let the mind think about and investigate the Dharma/dharma of this very moment. Get into the habit of not bringing in any thinking that simply does not belong in the moment.
Go where thinking is not: Go look for that spot in the mind before thinking begins. What is before thought? Go look in the mind and see what one will find when one flies past thinking. If thought was a mountain and we could fly... what is on the other side of thinking? Go look. Spend time here.
Investigate the nature of thought and thinking: What is thinking? Where does it come from? What does the thinking? What benefits from all this useless thinking? What is the harm of heedless thinking? What are the benefits of wise directed thought? Which is preferred? If the mind will not quiet down... investigate why. Why are we attached to our thinking in the first place? Why are we so in love with our thinking? Simply put, we cannot put down our thinking because we are in love with our thinking. We want to put our thinking down, but we like it too much. Investigate this.
While this may seem obvious... it is not. We really have got to want to quiet our minds. We have really got to want this. We need to be willing to put in great effort over time. We do need to cultivate vigor and zeal for the practice. We cannot just want this a little. We have really got to have a burning desire to end suffering, find the way out of samsara, and then help point the way for all beings. Without having this level of commitment we (sadly) do not get the promised results and we give up. (Just remember to never attach to outcomes.)
Wisdom first in all things.