Question: “I’m new in meditation and this is what’s going on with me. When I follow my breathing and I am successful in not thinking, and am only observing the flow of breath – it’s that one moment when I seem to lose control. My thoughts, ideas (or something really stupid) is bursting into my head. It’s like a dream, but feels different (there is no picture). Like I’m watching it, but I just don’t care or judge it. Very fast the logical mind takes over and says ‘FAIL’. What am I doing wrong? It seems every time I am successful in watching my breath and meditating my mind starts up and just takes over, or am I just falling asleep? What do you think?”
I think this is an excellent meditation question, and I thank you for it. I want to congratulate you for getting such a good result being new to the practice of meditation. Believe me, this is a good result to come this far, for many it would take much longer to come up with such a question.
You are not doing anything wrong. It is a belief you are holding about what is successful meditation that you as ‘ego mind’ is using to judge your capability. Most likely you believe that success would be the ability to be able to shut the mind down indefinitely and completely. You believe that to awaken the mind will go completely blank, so failure in this case means you can’t awaken. This is a normal belief, because many well-meaning spiritual people in the past have spread the false-hood that when you awaken the mind goes completely quiet and then full awakening happens. They talk about it like it’s a one-time spontaneous happening, and you are either awake or not awake. It simply doesn’t happen like this.
Awakening is a slow and gradual biological process, where the biological change happens in the moments you are able to be quiet in mind and follow your breathing. Every second of quiet mind counts, because during that short interval your mind and body is being changed, it’s like a healing process.
You have your essential life force energy, and there are various ways to focus that energy. The old way (which you are moving away from, because you are meditating) is to use most of one’s attention to chatter away in the mind. This creates certain electrical circuit wiring and reactions paths formed in body, brain and muscles, which are due to repeated habitual use of mind. When you start to set your attention away from the old habit of chatter, by observing your breathing, then you are taking energy away from that old circuit. While you are successful at this, because you have ‘freed energy you were using to think’, your internal healer now uses this ‘energy’ as fuel to go to work to change the circuitry in your brain. That’s one way to say it. The other way to say it is: when ego mind goes to sleep (mind gets quiet), then higher self wakes up, and is present.
Now as you continue to practice meditation, these seconds will slowly start to add up, as your mind is being changed every time you are successful to be quiet. Believe me also, that one second of success and your energy inside can zoom at light speed to make changes, so every second is very valuable. As you get these seconds in, a kind of miracle is happening yet not detectable to you in your mind. YOU are growing stronger as aware presence and ego-self is getting weaker. As this process continues, you will slowly gain more control over being able to quiet down the mind, and emotional states too. Your overall vibration in body is speeding up, as awareness in body grows, and ego diminishes, dues to more robust nervous system circuitry. When certain vibration levels are reached, then it can trigger deeper insights, and spontaneous reactions like kriyas. As you progress, the amount of time you can spend in quiet mind will increase; to eventually your whole hour in meditation will be quiet mind. The hour will fly by in what seems a few minutes. Yet, this should not be a goal to try and reach. Just know that every second counts, and keep working persistently to do this simple thing:
1. Recognize you were thinking, don’t think about what you were thinking, just drop it.
2. Reset attention back to meditation focal point, yours is observing the breathing.
3. Repeat 1 & 2 over and over and over for the hour, that’s all you need to do.
It is common to notice that you can not sustain following of the breath very long, before the mind is triggered and the self-talk starts. This is because your mind simply has a lot left in it to be deprogrammed. What is positive here is YOU CAN NOTICE what is going on. That is a huge step! It means you are already changing, you are becoming stronger, by being able to observe the two different states of mind-chatter and quiet. This is essential to take further steps. Once you can see the two different states, you have clarity of sight of inside mechanism of thinking, and thus are able to switch out of thinking when you notice it. It can take a long time for many to really see the thinking so clear like you do, this is because thinking has a high frequency and one’s own bodily vibration must has risen sufficiently high enough to be able to detect the higher vibration thought. For most people this ‘story talk’ is invisible.
Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re not failing, you are doing great and don’t listen to that ‘failure’ voice, that is ego arising…. when you hear that ‘story’, know it is mind arisen, and just make decision to not listen and reset focus to following one’s breathing, getting in one’s time, and being patient.
When you lie down at night to go to bed, then there happens a shift when the mind shuts down and higher self takes over. This is exactly the moment when you fall asleep, and you have no memory of it, nor can you observe the exact time the shift happens. What happens is when you lie down, your system goes into rest phase, and your energy and vibration level in body starts to climb. When it gets high enough then higher self simply takes over and in a wink the mind is shut down. Ego aspect goes to rest and higher self goes to work, repairing your body and making adjustments in your system due to the day’s activities. In the morning, when you wake up, then it’s just the opposite, higher self aspect goes to background and ego comes to foreground, you will notice the chattering starts as soon as you awaken.
There are really not two of you, in regards to higher-self and lower-self (ego), there is just one of you. What there is are different ways to focus your intention and use your essential energy, that which is your true self (energy). The normal non-awakened human way (where all seekers start out) is to use one’s energy in the mind in reflection mode, with constant mind chatter, interpretation, story telling, like being a dream the whole day long. The mind never shuts up. Of course this is what is making one blind, because one can’t really see beyond what one is telling oneself is truth through the beliefs and interpretation of the fake talking self.
Now the other way we can use our energy is to withdraw it from mind-chatter, this is essentially the path of awakening through practice of meditation skills. When we withdraw our energy away from mind-chatter mode, we are suddenly aware and alert and can see clearly (unlike at night when we sleep), we are consciously observing what is happening. When energy is withdrawn from mind-chatter, then our energy rises, that rising energy is the same as the awareness aspect of self. Healing happens as well, just like when we go to sleep at night, to change us biologically to transform us slowly into new awakened body, with new abilities to use mind and body, every time we withdraw energy away from using our mind in constant chatter.
To summarize what is most important:
The mind can’t be changed if we are constantly using it!
The Mind changes when we don’t use it.
Lastly, I would like you to ask yourself something and that is: “Who do you think is observing what is happening in your meditation”?
April 27, 2011