Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

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rachmiel
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Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby rachmiel » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:46 pm

A few years ago, I started to notice what might be called non-conceptual thoughts arise in my mind. Could be I just didn't see them earlier, or it could be they're new for me.

It goes something like this: I become aware (during meditation) that a coherent thought has just occurred (or is occurring) but that there are no words or images associated with it. It presents as more of a diffuse feeling -- an inkling -- than a thought, but when I examine it, it reveals itself to "contain" a coherent thought.

These wordless/imageless thoughts come and go alongside word/image-ful thoughts. The two types of thoughts sometimes flow by in "single file" and sometimes overlap, like parallel layers of a stream of consciousness.

Anyone have an idea what these wordless/imageless inkling-thoughts might be?
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

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Buddha Vacana
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:17 pm

I wonder if they could not be what is called "vicara" :thinking: :toilet:

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aflatun
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby aflatun » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:39 pm

rachmiel wrote:A few years ago, I started to notice what might be called non-conceptual thoughts arise in my mind. Could be I just didn't see them earlier, or it could be they're new for me.

It goes something like this: I become aware (during meditation) that a coherent thought has just occurred (or is occurring) but that there are no words or images associated with it. It presents as more of a diffuse feeling -- an inkling -- than a thought, but when I examine it, it reveals itself to "contain" a coherent thought.

These wordless/imageless thoughts come and go alongside word/image-ful thoughts. The two types of thoughts sometimes flow by in "single file" and sometimes overlap, like parallel layers of a stream of consciousness.

Anyone have an idea what these wordless/imageless inkling-thoughts might be?


I have no idea what they might correspond to in Buddhist tradition, but 1) I experience the same 2) I personally think they're related to what Eugene Gendlin called "the felt sense," although this is described a bit more somatically 3) on a possibly related note Ajahn Thanissaro talks about being able to feel a thought bubbling up from one's sense of the body in some of his teachings, like a contraction/disturbance that is pre thought
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

chownah
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby chownah » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:50 am

It might be that these wordless/imageless thoughts arise from somthing which is not based in thought.....and that when you say:
It goes something like this: I become aware (during meditation) that a coherent thought has just occurred (or is occurring) but that there are no words or images associated with it. It presents as more of a diffuse feeling -- an inkling -- than a thought, but when I examine it, it reveals itself to "contain" a coherent thought.
what you are describing is the tendency which we all have to differentiate subject and object is taking over your experience....the mind is sort of co-opting the experience and turning your awareness toward fabrication. I suggest that maybe if you want to find the basis for this that you turn your discernment towards the moment that you first become aware that a coherent thought has arisen....and try to discern its happening. It is probably best to not think of how or why this is happening because once again this will be the mind taking over the experience and doing what the mind does which is to construct the world.

Of course, it is difficult to communicate things like this so perhaps what I say is off the mark entirely....I don't know.....
chownah

paul
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby paul » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:15 am

The commendable thing is that you're detached (citta-viveka) from these feelings and able to recognize them. The basis of mental formations (images, words) is feeling so it simply means you are penetrating deeper into the perceptual process, which is defined as feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. The thought found when you interrogate the feeling is what gave rise to it- a mental object; it would not be an external object because you are meditating.

"Yet, feeling by itself, in its primary state, is quite neutral when it registers the impact of an object as pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent. Only when emotional or volitional additions are admitted, will there arise desire and love, aversion and hate, anxiety, fear and distorting views. But that need not be so. These admixtures are not inseparable parts of the respective feelings. In fact, many of the weaker impressions we receive during the day stop at the mere registering of a very faint and brief feeling, without any further emotional reaction. This shows that the stopping at the bare feeling is psychologically possible, and that it could also be done intentionally with the help of mindfulness and self-restraint, even in cases when the stimulus to convert feelings into emotions is strong. Through actual experience it can thus be confirmed that the ever-revolving round of Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppada) can be stopped at the point of Feeling, and that there is no inherent necessity that Feeling is followed by Craving. Here we encounter Feeling as a key factor on the path of liberation, and therefore, the Contemplation of Feeling has, in Buddhist tradition, always been highly regarded as an effective aid on that path." ---Contemplation of Feeling, Nyanaponika Thera.

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rachmiel
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:56 pm

chownah wrote:the mind is sort of co-opting the experience and turning your awareness toward fabrication.

So you're saying that a thought is not somehow encoded in or represented as the feeling, i.e. thought gives birth to feeling ... rather that the feeling is all that's there and the thought is something I impute to it when examining it, i.e. feeling (examined) gives birth to thought. Yes?
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

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rachmiel
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:08 pm

paul wrote:The commendable thing is that you're detached (citta-viveka) from these feelings and able to recognize them. ... "Through actual experience it can thus be confirmed that the ever-revolving round of Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppada) can be stopped at the point of Feeling, and that there is no inherent necessity that Feeling is followed by Craving. Here we encounter Feeling as a key factor on the path of liberation, and therefore, the Contemplation of Feeling has, in Buddhist tradition, always been highly regarded as an effective aid on that path."

Good, useful quote ... and thank you for framing my experience in a way that can help my practice. :namaste:
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

chownah
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Re: Non-conceptual thoughts while meditating ... ?

Postby chownah » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:59 am

rachmiel wrote:
chownah wrote:the mind is sort of co-opting the experience and turning your awareness toward fabrication.

So you're saying that a thought is not somehow encoded in or represented as the feeling, i.e. thought gives birth to feeling ... rather that the feeling is all that's there and the thought is something I impute to it when examining it, i.e. feeling (examined) gives birth to thought. Yes?

I think that you are fabricating a self concept for a thing you call "a thought" and the thing you call "the feeling". I think this especially when you talk about a thought being encoded in a feeling or represented in a feeling. My view is that feelings arise and that there is no place inside a feeling to contain anything. I view thoughts the same way. When I read what paul presented it seems to me that it is more directed at the idea of feeling and thought rather than at "a feeling" or "a thought".....they are types of experience and have no self but which are related by process. Sort of like the rotation of a wheel. The rotation has no self....rather it is a result of processes on the wheel......I guess......don't know for sure.....

chownah


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