Mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing/breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, and the practice of conscious awareness (by directing the awareness to the present moment) in order to transcend a racing mind or anxious, over thinking, to a quiet mind.
A calm mind where thoughts can more easily be filtered to which thoughts are serving us and which might be intrusive. Meditation, therefore, regulates our thoughts which results in regulating our emotions (as these are usually the reactions and attachments we have to our thoughts) through our sensory awareness, which further results in our physical actions or reactions.
Meditation, therefore, leads us to a state of internal reckoning as we can easily make sense of our thoughts by practicing ‘non-attachment’ to them. This can often feel like a non-thinking brain or rather a deeply restful mind.
We view our thoughts from an outside perspective rather than ‘sitting in them’ and by this, we gain perspective in our lives.
This ultimately reduces moments of over thinking or over analyzing within the human mind and it makes space for productive, critical thinking rather than our thoughts jumping from one thought to another.
Meditation, therefore, shifts our seat of consciousness.
Toby explains, in the article below, how we can tap into our joy and wisdom through this state of ‘non-thinking’ by introducing meditation into our daily life. Touching on concepts of ‘non-thinking’ as well as ‘sensing’ and how they relate to each other…
‘Non-thinking’ might just be the meditator’s secret weapon…
The shift from over thinking to non-thinking
By Toby on November 15th, 2021
“Once you have non-thinking in the mix, you can then return to your senses and thinking refreshed, really enjoying participating in them, rather than feeling stuck on a continuous ‘hamster wheel’ of thinking and sensing. You can start to think better, and have more fun doing so”
Dear Integral Meditators,
This week’s article looks at the wisdom of non-thinking, one of my favorite subjects!
The meditators secret weapon (the wisdom of non-thinking)
What is it about being a meditator that makes you more resilient to stress, the unknown, uncertainty, misfortune, and the multitude of life’s other challenges? This is a question that can be answered in a number of different ways, but the one I want to explore here can be captured in one expression: Non-thinking.
The normal pattern of a person’s attention
For most people whilst they are awake, their attention toggles between:
- Their sensory awareness, navigating physical obstacles, looking at stuff, listening, and so on and
- Thinking. Thinking about what they experience with their senses, about their work, their problems, what to plan, their pleasures ect…
Sensing* and thinking, with the attendant emotions and feelings, is the basic pattern of a person’s consciousness. This is fine if life is all non-stress and enjoyment. But if it isn’t all that way like mine (and I suspect yours), then this pattern can become stressful and tiring, especially when your mind cannot stop thinking about stuff, over-analyzing, and generally going a bit too fast.
The pattern of a meditator’s daily attention
So of course, a meditator’s attention also includes sensing and thinking. But as well as these two, her or his awareness also regularly includes non-thinking, or periods of time where they ‘drop out’ of their mind, and let their sensory attention rest also. They practice doing no-thing, going no-where, and being no-one. They let their mind and attention rest in the regenerative state of thoughtlessness.
The joy and wisdom of non-thinking
Initially, non-thinking looks valueless in the sense of nothing seems to be getting done! However, in this state of non-doing:
- The self can recover its energy and sense of harmony
- Problem’s ‘change’ in the sense that when you put them down for a while and come back to them, they literally seem different(!)
- The joy of simple presence becomes manifest
- You discover that you can be in charge of the pace of your life, rather than your compulsive thinking
The joy of thinking and the senses
Once you have non-thinking in the mix, you can then return to your senses and thinking refreshed, really enjoying participating in them, rather than feeling stuck on a continuous ‘hamster wheel’ of thinking and sensing. You can start to think better, and have more fun doing so!
It’s easy to get discouraged with non-thinking, simply because if you are trying to do it for the first time it can seem difficult to do. However, if you watch your mind, you will start to notice that every now and again, naturally there will be a gap in your thoughts.
If you notice those spaces as you watch and stay with them, then you start to glimpse non-thinking, just for a second or two at a time. If you practice this for a few minutes each day, then you’ll go from one second to three, to five to ten, and so on. Five minutes of this, five days a week over a month will be enough to build your basic competency, which is not much, especially considering what you have to gain!
The sun between the clouds
Once you have your basic non-thinking space, you can brighten it in the following way: Imagine that the spaces between your thoughts are like watching the sky between the clouds. Imagine the sun is shining in that sky, so it is a bright, living space, rather than a blank, cold one. This simple imaginary practice can accelerate the speed at which you are able to experience the brighter, living dimensions of your consciousness that lie beyond your thinking mind. These levels are deeply regenerative and help give a glow to your whole interior space.
Enjoy your non-thinking!
*sensing meaning: How we perceive our thoughts as a result of our sensory awareness
For more info on Toby Ouvry and his meditation offerings please visit www.tobyouvry.com