Author Topic: Not identifying with a thought  (Read 1054 times)

Offline Arkena

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Not identifying with a thought
« on: December 02, 2018, 06:56:32 am »
So the not identifying with a thought is an interesting psychological tool. It allows us to see the transient nature of thoughts and lets us release our clinging to them which disturbs our mindfulness.

However i have found the not identifying psychological tool can be misapplied or misinterpreted and can becomes a rejection of ourselves which is not the point at all.

I was looking at my body and thinking dont identify with the body but really this becomes a rejection of a part of us. Result was i felt ungrounded and unable to connect to my body as i would in mindfulness. This was clearly a harmful thing i did psychologically.

I agree the do not identify with a thought is useful to realise its transient nature but perhaps i have made a mistake in my understanding and use of this ...do not identify with a thing tool...

And i need some clarification...?

Offline Chaz

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 06:28:04 pm »
So the not identifying with a thought is an interesting psychological tool. It allows us to see the transient nature of thoughts and lets us release our clinging to them which disturbs our mindfulness.

However i have found the not identifying psychological tool can be misapplied or misinterpreted and can becomes a rejection of ourselves which is not the point at all.

I was looking at my body and thinking dont identify with the body but really this becomes a rejection of a part of us. Result was i felt ungrounded and unable to connect to my body as i would in mindfulness. This was clearly a harmful thing i did psychologically.

I agree the do not identify with a thought is useful to realise its transient nature but perhaps i have made a mistake in my understanding and use of this ...do not identify with a thing tool...

And i need some clarification...?

Beginning meditation can be a challenge.  It can be difficult to understand the methods and just what can happen while trying to meditate.

I used to see an aura around all kinds of things.    I constantly misunderstood instructions and got myself into situations like you find yourself in.  I learned, over time to pay particular attention to the instruction of my meditation teacher and to make sure that any lack of clarity was resolved before leaving session.  I also learned to not over-think these lesssons, to keep things simple. Follow the breath and return to the breath.

At times like these I found the advice of my Meditation instuctor to be invaluable.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 03:01:59 am »
So the not identifying with a thought is an interesting psychological tool. It allows us to see the transient nature of thoughts and lets us release our clinging to them which disturbs our mindfulness.

However i have found the not identifying psychological tool can be misapplied or misinterpreted and can becomes a rejection of ourselves which is not the point at all.

I know what you mean.  I don't think you can choose not to identify with things, and I also think that "letting go" is a result of practice, and not a method.

The basic practice IMO is simply to pay attention, and notice what is happening. 
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 03:52:09 am »
It can take many years to get to the 'not identifying with a though' stage. The mind has to go through a lot of training to get to that stage, or at least mine did. My mind is a bit like a bulldog in that once I have a thought I like to keep hold of it as long as possible, to thoroughly examine and understand it, to shake it and see what falls out. Gradually I learned how to control these impulses and let thoughts go by with just a cheery mental wave, but it took a lot of time, effort and structured practice.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 09:11:56 am »
So the not identifying with a thought is an interesting psychological tool. It allows us to see the transient nature of thoughts and lets us release our clinging to them which disturbs our mindfulness.

However i have found the not identifying psychological tool can be misapplied or misinterpreted and can becomes a rejection of ourselves which is not the point at all.

I know what you mean.  I don't think you can choose not to identify with things, and I also think that "letting go" is a result of practice, and not a method.

The basic practice IMO is simply to pay attention, and notice what is happening.

Yes.

I was taught to notice a thought, a sensation, etc, recognize it as such, let go of it and return to your breathing or whatever the object of your meditation happens to be.

I agree that not identifying with something - this is my body, that is my chair, etc - is very difficult.  These are habitual patterns of thinking that are deeply embedded in our psyche.  I believe that there are levels of attainment where such patterns dissolve. I don't know about you, but I'm a long way from that.  Right now, it's enough to simply not let it occupy too much space

Offline Arkena

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 04:12:26 pm »
From what you guys are describing it sounds like i got things dangerously wrong. I mistook not identifying with something for saying this arm is not mine and removing it from the conception of who i was etc...soon enough i had nothing i could identify as being part of me...

I doubted my oppinions, my beliefs, didnt feel like i was in my body for a brief bad moment. My confidence and self esteem were crushed...i was vomitting from upset. I think all this came from me not understanding what not identifying with meant and i went down to a very dark place which is more like madness than anything you guys are describing as "not identifying with" as.

I mistook accepting as part of me and just letting things be for rejecting as part of my being. I guess this shows the danger of improper instruction and trying out techniques with no real understanding of what i was doing. I was/am very naive in my understanding of not identifying with something it is clear.

I talked to my meditation teacher about it but i dont think he understands how some techniques badly done can have a very bad effect on mental health and only seems to think there is a positive side to self enquiry techniques. I was Doing research on this topic on why he didnt seem to understand that something had gone wrong. I found that there are psychiatrists who study meditation techniques who are concerned that meditation teachers are not sufficiently aware of the possible side effects of doing a technique wrong etc and one mentioned they lack the mental health training to recognise and help someone through a bad side effect of doing a technique wrong etc.

I will admit i tried a self enquiry technique, didnt learn how to do it properly, picked away at a fragile part of my mind...and paid the price. I think i was very naive thinking these techniques cant be dangerous if done improperly. Very naive. will be sticking to techniques i am properly trained in from now on lol.




Offline Chaz

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 07:24:44 am »
I talked to my meditation teacher about it but i dont think he understands how some techniques badly done can have a very bad effect on mental health and only seems to think there is a positive side to self enquiry techniques.

Please describe these "self enquiry" techniques you're describing, as you've been taught.

It's good that you're discussing these things with your teacher, but why do you think we, on this forum,  are qualified to discuss matters of mental health? 


Quote
I was Doing research on this topic on why he didnt seem to understand that something had gone wrong. I found that there are psychiatrists who study meditation techniques who are concerned that meditation teachers are not sufficiently aware of the possible side effects of doing a technique wrong etc and one mentioned they lack the mental health training to recognise and help someone through a bad side effect of doing a technique wrong etc.

That would mean that they'd have to be psychiatrists, too.

Speaking of which, did you speak with your doctor regarding the degree to which this matter has affected your mental health?

Quote
I will admit i tried a self enquiry technique, didnt learn how to do it properly, picked away at a fragile part of my mind...and paid the price. I think i was very naive thinking these techniques cant be dangerous if done improperly. Very naive. will be sticking to techniques i am properly trained in from now on lol.

Are you saying that your teacher didn't teach you this so-called self-enquiry technique?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 08:36:09 am by Chaz »

Offline Arkena

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 08:44:05 am »
I picked bits and pieces of a self enquiry technique up from you tube...eckhart tolle, mooji etc but clearly filled in the blanks with some bad assumptions or tendencies that are very destructive...im saying i messed up badly in retrospect...playing with things i am not qualified to handle.

I looked into my beliefs, thoughts, body and looked for what individual things make up my identity, instead of accepting it all as part of me i made the BIG MISTAKE of saying this isnt me because if it was taken away i would still remain. So instead of accepting myself as i am i rejected all of myself leading to an anxiety attack and being quite ill and still recovering 4 days later.

An awareness of the effects of a badly done technique doesnt necessitate a degree just some basic training in mental health.

No i quite naively and stupidly picked up the technique from you tube and from misunderstanding the sentence "dont identify with" insert part of us.

I know how stupid i have been in retrospect, just wish somewhere along the line my naivety and ignorance had been broken down with a warning about how powerful these techniques can be. How to respect them and handle with care.

I know i messed up...

Offline Chaz

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 08:51:03 am »
I picked bits and pieces of a self enquiry technique up from you tube...eckhart tolle, mooji etc but clearly filled in the blanks with some bad assumptions or tendencies that are very destructive...im saying i messed up badly in retrospect...playing with things i am not qualified to handle.

I looked into my beliefs, thoughts, body and looked for what individual things make up my identity, instead of accepting it all as part of me i made the BIG MISTAKE of saying this isnt me because if it was taken away i would still remain. So instead of accepting myself as i am i rejected all of myself leading to an anxiety attack and being quite ill and still recovering 4 days later.

An awareness of the effects of a badly done technique doesnt necessitate a degree just some basic training in mental health.

No i quite naively and stupidly picked up the technique from you tube and from misunderstanding the sentence "dont identify with" insert part of us.

I know how stupid i have been in retrospect, just wish somewhere along the line my naivety and ignorance had been broken down with a warning about how powerful these techniques can be. How to respect them and handle with care.

I know i messed up...

That is very wise.

Might I suggest that in the near term you stick with your teacher's instruction?

Nothing wrong with exploring other techniques, but in the beginning as you are, it would be best to get firmly grounded in one or two techniques before venturing out.  Give it time.  A year or two.  Maybe longer.  Be patient.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 03:39:54 pm »
Hi Arkena,
 
Yes, you should follow the teacher’s instructions for the duration of the course, not someone else (like yours truly) on the internet.

2 hours of zazen a day seems like a lot for starters. But it will give you a taste of strong practice.

Once you’re through with the course I’d dial it back to two half-hour sessions a day until you stabilize. I'd suggest breath counting (anapanasati) -- counting 1 to 10 (odd in even out) emphasizing a long relaxing outbreath. Do that over and over, until your discursive mind is totally quiet. Make that your goal. Forget about conceptualizations like “not identifying with thoughts.”

Don’t try to force anything. Anapansati might look too simple and rudimentary, but it’s the essence of meditation practice. It’ll calm your mind and develop one-pointed concentration. Insights will come when they will. Don't try to force anything. Look at it as medicine, just take the recommended dose everyday. No need to think about it.

Anapansati will result in a joyful “peace that passeth all understanding.” You can’t go wrong with it.

http://www.frogzen.com/meditation-basics/

My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Arkena

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 09:05:12 am »
I appreciate your input, the need to use my own wisdom and common sense.I also appreciate my own ignorance when it shows itself and am learning to recognise it as such.

Thank you

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 02:46:30 am »
I know i messed up...

I think most of us have done that, and there is nothing wrong with exploring different methods and ideas.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Dhammadragon

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 02:35:18 am »
Do people tend to overthink meditation too much?

I am new to the forum, so please forgive me if I express myself in the wrong way.
I am finding my sea-legs here.

To me, meditation is as simple as breathe in, breathe out, repeat.

Anapanasati and Satthipathana are still my Suttas reference of choice when I need to elaborate on that simple basic premise.

I have been doing half an hour in the mornings and half an hour in the evenings for the past thirty years.
And grown organically into the routine.
My feeling is things get messed up when overanalysis seeps into the practice...




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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 03:48:24 am »
Do people tend to overthink meditation too much?
To me, meditation is as simple as breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
Anapanasati and Satthipathana are still my Suttas reference of choice when I need to elaborate on that simple basic premise
I have been doing half an hour in the mornings and half an hour in the evenings for the past thirty years.
And grown organically into the routine.
My feeling is things get messed up when overanalysis seeps into the practice...
I've found there are as many reasons for meditating as there are people. It's a great thing to do as you have been doing, and nothing at all wrong with that. Personally I have combined a simple practice such as you have described with periods of structured meditation exploring different aspects of development along the path, always returning to a couple of basic meditations.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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Re: Not identifying with a thought
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2019, 07:06:32 am »
Do people tend to overthink meditation too much?

I am new to the forum, so please forgive me if I express myself in the wrong way.
I am finding my sea-legs here.

To me, meditation is as simple as breathe in, breathe out, repeat.

Anapanasati and Satthipathana are still my Suttas reference of choice when I need to elaborate on that simple basic premise.

I have been doing half an hour in the mornings and half an hour in the evenings for the past thirty years.
And grown organically into the routine.
My feeling is things get messed up when overanalysis seeps into the practice...




Sent from my SHT-W09 using Tapatalk

I think you're right.  I think everyone had a tendency to "overthink" their practice, especially when just starting out.  I think it's a natural response to what people encounter in practice

I used to ponder things like "observers dilemma" where in observing a phenomena tou are in fact changing it.  The practice instruction was to rest naturally in anythin g that arose.  I was thinking how could I do that, if in being mindfull of a phenomenas, I was actually altering it.  So in watching my beathing in meditation I was changing it and not breathing naturally.

I brought this quandry to my meditation instructor.  He shrugged, smiled and said "it's just a thought".

I knew what to do with that....

 


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