How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

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alfa
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by alfa » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:52 am
cappuccino wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:13 pm
nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
Constantly see inconstancy.
That is what works best for me, noticing perpetual change, noticing how thoughts come and go, noticing them passing by, like birds in the sky.
As long as the thoughts just come and go, we can watch. It's not a problem. The problem is, some of these thoughts go on to create the self. And we realize this only after the self is created. So we can't even stop it beforehand.

paul
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by paul » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:37 am

It's much easier to contemplate and develop the perception of impermanence in the external than it is internally, so that should be the starting point, then at a later stage transfer that strengthened perception to an internal focus. Note that the Buddha's original insight into impermanence, seeing old age , sickness and death in the street, was an externally focussed experience.

JohnK
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by JohnK » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:43 pm

Just read Ud 4:1 Meghiya, thought it was relevant, putting the task in a broader context of practice. I've first copied the exclamation to the top to highlight that it is on topic (and quoted here is just the last portion of the sutta).
Little thoughts, subtle thoughts,
when followed, stir up the heart.
Not comprehending the thoughts of the heart,
one runs here & there,
the mind out of control.
But comprehending the thoughts of the heart,
one who is ardent, mindful,
restrains them.
When, followed, they stir up the heart,
one awakened
lets them go without trace.
..."Meghiya, in one whose awareness-release is still immature, these are the five qualities that bring it to maturity.

"Meghiya, when a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, it is to be expected that he will be virtuous, will dwell restrained in accordance with the Pāṭimokkha, consummate in his behavior & range of activity, and will train himself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults.

"When a monk has admirable people as friends & colleagues, it is to be expected that he will get to hear at will, easily and without difficulty, talk that is truly sobering and conducive to the opening of awareness, i.e., talk on modesty, contentment, seclusion, non-entanglement, arousing persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and the knowledge & vision of release.

"When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, it is to be expected that he will keep his persistence aroused for abandoning unskillful qualities and for taking on skillful qualities — steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful qualities.

"When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, it is to be expected that he will be discerning, endowed with the discernment relating to arising & passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress.

"And furthermore, when the monk is established in these five qualities, there are four additional qualities he should develop: He should develop [contemplation of] the unattractive so as to abandon passion. He should develop good will so as to abandon ill will. He should develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off thinking. He should develop the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.' [1] For a monk perceiving inconstancy, the perception of not-self is made steady. One perceiving not-self attains the uprooting of the conceit, 'I am' — unbinding right in the here-&-now."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

Little thoughts, subtle thoughts,
when followed, stir up the heart.
Not comprehending the thoughts of the heart,
one runs here & there,
the mind out of control.
But comprehending the thoughts of the heart,
one who is ardent, mindful,
restrains them.
When, followed, they stir up the heart,
one awakened
lets them go without trace.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

mal4mac
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by mal4mac » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:07 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
So I've been thinking about whether my thoughts are 'me' and have realised that they are impersonal and that the same goes for my feelings. My thoughts and feelings are beyond my control so there's no logic to saying "I thought of this idea" or "this is my idea" because in reality I did not choose to think or feel that way.

So I know all this in theory but I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
Are your thoughts and feelings beyond your control? If this is the case why follow the path? Following the path, seems to me, to be a way to gain (indirect) control of your thoughts and feelings, mainly to dissolve them to reduce suffering. Do you want to root out the "me" that is deciding to follow the path? Maybe this "me" is part of the raft, to be thrown away after crossing the stream?
- Mal

nichiren-123
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by nichiren-123 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:04 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:07 am
nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
So I've been thinking about whether my thoughts are 'me' and have realised that they are impersonal and that the same goes for my feelings. My thoughts and feelings are beyond my control so there's no logic to saying "I thought of this idea" or "this is my idea" because in reality I did not choose to think or feel that way.

So I know all this in theory but I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
Are your thoughts and feelings beyond your control? If this is the case why follow the path? Following the path, seems to me, to be a way to gain (indirect) control of your thoughts and feelings, mainly to dissolve them to reduce suffering. Do you want to root out the "me" that is deciding to follow the path? Maybe this "me" is part of the raft, to be thrown away after crossing the stream?
Well, the way I see it is that thoughts pop into your head without you choosing them. If you consider them 'yours' then you will interact with them. if you interact with your thoughts then they become stronger. If you don't interact with them - let them come and let them go without judging - then they lose their hold on you and eventually fade.
The important thing is that you realise they are beyond your control and therefore not 'yours', therefore there is no point letting them influence you.

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one_awakening
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by one_awakening » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:36 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
.....I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
I don't think it's something that you want to "root out". It comes back to mindfulness. Simply observe the rising and passing away of thoughts. If you can maintain the continuity of mindfulness, then the true nature of thoughts will reveal themselves. Then you will come to the realization that they are simply impersonal processes that rise and pass away.
“You only lose what you cling to”

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archaic
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by archaic » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:05 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
So I've been thinking about whether my thoughts are 'me' and have realised that they are impersonal and that the same goes for my feelings. My thoughts and feelings are beyond my control so there's no logic to saying "I thought of this idea" or "this is my idea" because in reality I did not choose to think or feel that way.

So I know all this in theory but I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
This is a great question. It seems like once a person has intellectual understanding and acceptance, its a matter of helping to nurture oneself from an intellectual understanding into an intuitive understanding of the nature of non-self.

The goal of rooting out the "you" or the "self" likely needs to come from multiple different angles, which is probably a gradual process for most.

For myself, its important to see both the goal and the process towards reaching this understanding as the same thing: striving for awareness.

Contemplations of the body (mindfulness of breathing, postures, positions, the parts, the 4 elements) could add to your contemplations of feelings and mind-objects. They might help cultivate a detached and balanced view of the body as the self.

As one lets go of the attachment of seeing the body as self, it would then beg the question "whose body is this?"

This would tie-in to the questions you've already asked (similar to "whose feelings are these?" and "whose thoughts/mental events are these?")

The process of asking these questions and reflecting on the answers may hopefully aid the process of detachment from the self.

Also, deep concentration meditations help me greatly to slow down the pace of feelings and thoughts, which gives a closer look at pure consciousness as it is... This greatly helps to separate the idea that body, feelings, and mind are the self. Jhana is great if you have it, but its not necessarily needed to gain benefits from one-pointed concentration meditation IMHO.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:32 am

archaic wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:05 am
nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
So I've been thinking about whether my thoughts are 'me' and have realised that they are impersonal and that the same goes for my feelings. My thoughts and feelings are beyond my control so there's no logic to saying "I thought of this idea" or "this is my idea" because in reality I did not choose to think or feel that way.

So I know all this in theory but I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
This is a great question. It seems like once a person has intellectual understanding and acceptance, its a matter of helping to nurture oneself from an intellectual understanding into an intuitive understanding of the nature of non-self.

The goal of rooting out the "you" or the "self" likely needs to come from multiple different angles, which is probably a gradual process for most.
The importance of Right View can't be underestimated. If we just pursue various practices without foundation, we get a mixture of results. Nothing is ever truly clear. The Buddha's teaching is not about 'rooting out the idea of self'. He never posited a self to be rooted out. Seeing things the way they are is not rooting out a self. It is seeing that there is not a self, just a chain of ideas that 'seem' to be a self but when inspected, have no permanence. Why root out something that is not permanent? It's very nature is not established. It's a deception that gets repeated over and over. Seeing this, disenchantment begins to rise up. This is a wisdom factor that the teaching says leads to dispassion, and then release. Release from what? Deception, which is the idea of self, attachment/clinging, and becoming. To me, this all begins with Right View. Taking up practices without really understanding what you are doing turns into a practice of becoming, which is not what the Buddha taught. This is probably not easy to understand for most people, or maybe it took me longer than most. :lol:

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archaic
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by archaic » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:20 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:32 am
archaic wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:05 am
nichiren-123 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm
So I've been thinking about whether my thoughts are 'me' and have realised that they are impersonal and that the same goes for my feelings. My thoughts and feelings are beyond my control so there's no logic to saying "I thought of this idea" or "this is my idea" because in reality I did not choose to think or feel that way.

So I know all this in theory but I don't know how to go about rooting out the idea that it is 'me' in control and also, where I go from my current level of realisation?
This is a great question. It seems like once a person has intellectual understanding and acceptance, its a matter of helping to nurture oneself from an intellectual understanding into an intuitive understanding of the nature of non-self.

The goal of rooting out the "you" or the "self" likely needs to come from multiple different angles, which is probably a gradual process for most.
The importance of Right View can't be underestimated. If we just pursue various practices without foundation, we get a mixture of results. Nothing is ever truly clear. The Buddha's teaching is not about 'rooting out the idea of self'. He never posited a self to be rooted out. Seeing things the way they are is not rooting out a self. It is seeing that there is not a self, just a chain of ideas that 'seem' to be a self but when inspected, have no permanence. Why root out something that is not permanent? It's very nature is not established. It's a deception that gets repeated over and over. Seeing this, disenchantment begins to rise up. This is a wisdom factor that the teaching says leads to dispassion, and then release. Release from what? Deception, which is the idea of self, attachment/clinging, and becoming. To me, this all begins with Right View. Taking up practices without really understanding what you are doing turns into a practice of becoming, which is not what the Buddha taught. This is probably not easy to understand for most people, or maybe it took me longer than most. :lol:
Sorry, I don't mean to be contentious, but I am just unclear if you were quoting me to agree or disagree with what I said? Did you think I was saying "root out the self"? Because I don't think I said that.

I was however referring to guiding oneself gradually through insight towards the realization of no self... Anatta.

Anatta, being one of the three marks of existence of all beings.

As we guide ourselves to comprehend non-self, impermanence, and the reality of suffering, we begin to free ourselves.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:15 am

archaic wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:20 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:32 am
archaic wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:05 am


This is a great question. It seems like once a person has intellectual understanding and acceptance, its a matter of helping to nurture oneself from an intellectual understanding into an intuitive understanding of the nature of non-self.

The goal of rooting out the "you" or the "self" likely needs to come from multiple different angles, which is probably a gradual process for most.
The importance of Right View can't be underestimated. If we just pursue various practices without foundation, we get a mixture of results. Nothing is ever truly clear. The Buddha's teaching is not about 'rooting out the idea of self'. He never posited a self to be rooted out. Seeing things the way they are is not rooting out a self. It is seeing that there is not a self, just a chain of ideas that 'seem' to be a self but when inspected, have no permanence. Why root out something that is not permanent? It's very nature is not established. It's a deception that gets repeated over and over. Seeing this, disenchantment begins to rise up. This is a wisdom factor that the teaching says leads to dispassion, and then release. Release from what? Deception, which is the idea of self, attachment/clinging, and becoming. To me, this all begins with Right View. Taking up practices without really understanding what you are doing turns into a practice of becoming, which is not what the Buddha taught. This is probably not easy to understand for most people, or maybe it took me longer than most. :lol:
Sorry, I don't mean to be contentious, but I am just unclear if you were quoting me to agree or disagree with what I said? Did you think I was saying "root out the self"? Because I don't think I said that.

I was however referring to guiding oneself gradually through insight towards the realization of no self... Anatta.

Anatta, being one of the three marks of existence of all beings.

As we guide ourselves to comprehend non-self, impermanence, and the reality of suffering, we begin to free ourselves.
You did say 'the goal of rooting out the 'you' or the 'self', likely needs to come from multiple angles...........'
I was referring this goal back to what the Buddha actually taught about seeing things the way they are which is not the same as 'rooting out' anything or establishing a 'self'.

When you practice satipatthana (mindfulness practice), you are not instructed to root out anything. You are instructed to be mindful of 4 areas, body, feeling, mind, and mind objects, the 4 foundations. You are not instructed to do anything about or to them in the satipatthana sutta. Insight rises because of the right conditions. You don't have to force or control your experience towards anything. I think it's important to get the foundation of this solidly in place, then insight(wisdom) can lead to its natural conclusion.

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archaic
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by archaic » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:00 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:15 am
archaic wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:20 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:32 am


The importance of Right View can't be underestimated. If we just pursue various practices without foundation, we get a mixture of results. Nothing is ever truly clear. The Buddha's teaching is not about 'rooting out the idea of self'. He never posited a self to be rooted out. Seeing things the way they are is not rooting out a self. It is seeing that there is not a self, just a chain of ideas that 'seem' to be a self but when inspected, have no permanence. Why root out something that is not permanent? It's very nature is not established. It's a deception that gets repeated over and over. Seeing this, disenchantment begins to rise up. This is a wisdom factor that the teaching says leads to dispassion, and then release. Release from what? Deception, which is the idea of self, attachment/clinging, and becoming. To me, this all begins with Right View. Taking up practices without really understanding what you are doing turns into a practice of becoming, which is not what the Buddha taught. This is probably not easy to understand for most people, or maybe it took me longer than most. :lol:
Sorry, I don't mean to be contentious, but I am just unclear if you were quoting me to agree or disagree with what I said? Did you think I was saying "root out the self"? Because I don't think I said that.

I was however referring to guiding oneself gradually through insight towards the realization of no self... Anatta.

Anatta, being one of the three marks of existence of all beings.

As we guide ourselves to comprehend non-self, impermanence, and the reality of suffering, we begin to free ourselves.
You did say 'the goal of rooting out the 'you' or the 'self', likely needs to come from multiple angles...........'
I was referring this goal back to what the Buddha actually taught about seeing things the way they are which is not the same as 'rooting out' anything or establishing a 'self'.

When you practice satipatthana (mindfulness practice), you are not instructed to root out anything. You are instructed to be mindful of 4 areas, body, feeling, mind, and mind objects, the 4 foundations. You are not instructed to do anything about or to them in the satipatthana sutta. Insight rises because of the right conditions. You don't have to force or control your experience towards anything. I think it's important to get the foundation of this solidly in place, then insight(wisdom) can lead to its natural conclusion.
If both the path and the practice are awareness of reality, and the reality is one of non self, then I don't see how anything I said violates this. I think what you are pointing out is a case of semantics because you feel that I was advocating an active process of discovering non-self, whereas you feel it should be a passive process?

If this is an important distinction for you, I'm not sure what you think of:
"teaching on anatta aims to completely remove all these identifications and the corresponding attachments to a sense of self"
-Satipatthana The Direct Path to Realization, Analayo, pg. 210.

In my mind, a sense of self is a defilement of the mind, and efforts to destroy defilements of the mind are part of the path. If one can eliminate desire/craving for existence of self, one eliminates suffering.

"Give up the aggregates, for none of the is truly your own" is a quote by Buddha which I believe also pertains to the active process of giving up the illusion of self.

Anyways I don't think this is going anywhere, I was trying to provide what insight I could to the OP but getting pulled into an intellectual debate on semantics has no attraction to me, I'd rather meditate. I mean no ill will when I say that this kind of stuff is why I don't post very often.

Much Metta to you
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:25 am

Also, in the Alagaddūpama Sutta MN 22:

“Buddha is stating that he teaches that a living being is not a self but a mere conglomeration of factors, material and mental events, linked together in a process that is inherently dukkha, and that Nibbāna, the cessation of suffering, is not the annihilation of a being but the termination of that same unsatisfactory process. This statement should be read in conjunction with SN 12:15/ii.17, where the Buddha says that one with right view, who has discarded all doctrines of a self, sees that whatever arises is only dukkha arising, and whatever ceases is only dukkha ceasing.”

Excerpt From: Nanamoli, Bhikkhu. “The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.”

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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:07 pm

one_awakening wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:36 am
I don't think it's something that you want to "root out". It comes back to mindfulness. Simply observe the rising and passing away of thoughts. If you can maintain the continuity of mindfulness, then the true nature of thoughts will reveal themselves. Then you will come to the realization that they are simply impersonal processes that rise and pass away.
I can observe the transience and conditionality of thoughts, but I'd be interested to know how you go about realising the "impersonal" aspect of thoughts, practically speaking.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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cappuccino
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:10 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:07 pm
but I'd be interested to know how you go about realising the "impersonal" aspect of thoughts, practically speaking.
The intention
to see thoughts as impersonal
is enough

alfa
Posts: 131
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by alfa » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:19 am

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:10 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:07 pm
but I'd be interested to know how you go about realising the "impersonal" aspect of thoughts, practically speaking.
The intention
to see thoughts as impersonal
is enough
How are thoughts impersonal? :?

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