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 Observing/witnessing thoughts meditation
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2016 :  6:32:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi,Cause of overload I have used breath meditation a lot.But recently switched to just passivly observing thoughts as they come and go as my main meditation.I find it strange that this meditation is so little talk or information about.Any reason for that? I feel it is a very effective and actually an very esay meditation.It works directly with the thoughts to calm them instead of quiet the mind inderectly with objects as breath,mantra,body sensation,visualizations etc.Anybody here use this meditation long time and have some info about the long term effects of this kind of meditation? To me this seems like the most natural meditation method.

parvati9

USA
587 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2016 :  7:55:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Well I think most people who meditate want relief from their thoughts, rather than passively observing them run amok, coming and going. After a lifetime of inability to meditate, I'm very grateful every day for breath meditation, since discovering how well it works for me. Passively observing thoughts is something that naturally happens here anyway, and for me, it isn't as effective. In fact, I'm often better off engaging in some activity that removes my attention from thinking entirely. Grounding activities for example.

It seems that my brain doesn't know how to stop spewing out thoughts. It isn't very possible to be calm when my mind isn't. The more thoughts are watched coming and going, the more my brain gets fired up to keep the spewing process going. Whereas with breath meditation, there is a calming effect and my restless thoughts wind down until they run out of steam. For me, it is far easier to be happy and peaceful when quiet mind is cultivated through breath meditation.

love
parvati
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2016 :  8:13:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the reply.I guess everybody is diffrent.
But usually the thoughts wont run amok if you just witness them,and dont interfere with the process and feeding them energy.Then they will slowly reduce and there will be more and more space between them.In my case this meditation gives more stillness and pleasurable feelings than breath meditation.And I also find watching thoughts moore interesting.I learn something from it

Edited by - boris on Jun 05 2016 8:14:12 PM
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parvati9

USA
587 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2016 :  9:08:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Focusing my attention on thoughts feeds them with energy. We probably aren't doing the same thing. You say passively witness thoughts in a way that doesn't interfere with the process. But when witnessing my thoughts, they get even more fired up. And so I don't know how your meditation gives more stillness. I wouldn't say breath meditation is pleasurable, but very close to it. It provides rest for my overactive mind. And with the peace that provides, there is space to be what I am, without constant distraction from the mind. It seems you are getting the same results with your meditation. Which is great.

I analyze everything, and get rather tired of this tendency. So anything that gets my thoughts to wind down is embraced as the means of achieving greater balance and stillness.

love
parvati
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  02:10:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
http://www.thespiritualindian.com/h...-meditation/
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1730 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  03:09:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Boris

This type of meditation is part of the AYP teaching. Yogani calls it passive awareness. There are details about in AYP Plus and some discussions in the Plus forum.

There is a reason why passive awareness meditation is not very visible in the AYP system: This form of meditation is not suitable for beginners. You have to have some inner silence already (so that you are able to witness your thoughts without getting caught in them), which you have, because you have practised mantra meditation for long enough. So you are in a position to draw benefits from passive awareness.

I use it quite a lot myself and I find it very effective, especially during times of energetic overload. I favour bodily sensations and emotions, as I can be without thoughts for long periods of time.

Enjoy your practice
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Ecdyonurus

Switzerland
479 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  05:08:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
My own experience is in line with Blue's and Parvati's posts: when my mind is busy, I cannot do that kind of meditation. But I can when my mind is quiet (I don't mean completely silent, just not scattered/stressed).
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  1:38:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I dont think it is the same meditation as passiwe awareness meditation here on ayp.see the link I posted.
Observing/watching/witnessing thougts meditation is actually recommanded by many as a beginner meditation.It doesent matter if you dont have any inner silence and that lots of thoughts are coming.Thats part of the meditation.just relax your mind and watch them as a detached observer.That is the meditation.Gradually they will slow down if you dont interfere with them.when you notice you are lost in thoughts then easily go back to being an observer/witness of the stream of thoughts again.same way as you go back to the mantra when you notice you are off it in DM.
But actually my question was if anybody here have done this meditation for a long time.And what the long term results are
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1730 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  4:12:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by boris
watch them as a detached observer.
Only the witness/inner silence can do that. If you pay attention to thoughts without having a good level of inner silence, you will simply get caught in mind stories. That is not meditation.

It is not just AYP taking this stance. Experience meditators from other traditions say the same thing. Take a look at this website - developed by a Buddhist with decades of meditation under his belt.
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/dha...+vs.+Insight
He says he wasted time at the beginning of his practice by doing insight meditation i.e. watching the contents of the mind, when he should have started with concentration i.e. meditation on an object.
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  4:31:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I think you are confusing diffrent methods.Watching thoughts meditation was the first meditation I ever did.It worked great but I wanted to try other methods and see if they was better.And i ended up with AYP for many years.Cause of overload I went back to this first method which worked great for me when I first started meditating.Discussion with you if this method works or not is pointless.It is a well known method.I only wanted info from people with long time personal experience with this meditation.Not links to others opinions of another type of meditation.
Here is OSHO about wintnessing thoughts meditation:
http://meditation-zen7.blogspot.no/...ss-osho.html
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Holy

796 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2016 :  4:54:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Holy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi boris,

have shared my experiences here regarding that practice as part of Maitreya Ishwara's meditation many times. You can find the relating threads by searching for Maitreya Ishwara and awareness based meditation or awarenes based practices. The results here were constant witness after two weeks including the deep-sleep phase. Bliss to death after few months. The death part is serious, the body got very weak, nomind, no breath, no digestion, a corpse lying in atmost bliss. Also have a picture of that time LOL.

In the beginning it is a practice, but after some time you loose control and witnessing explodes to choiceless awareness, where it does not stop anymore. This is when you are really finished, but somehow by prayer this body-mind came back to functioning. Back then was obviously not ready for it.

For more details see the corresponding threads :)

Additionally, as far as I know, one of the advanced Jaggi Vasudev practices, either Shoonya or Samyama (he uses the word in a different context) or in both the watching the thoughts is also present. In other words, some thousand people are practicing it, but noone reporting about their experiences :P

Happy practice :)

Edit: From one of the many threads: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....12572#107604

Edited by - Holy on Jun 06 2016 5:15:16 PM
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1730 Posts

Posted - Jun 07 2016 :  05:43:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by boris
I think you are confusing diffrent methods.
That is possible. It is also possible that you are getting a little caught in detail and not seeing it's the same entity under different garbs

Enjoy your meditation
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Jun 07 2016 :  07:14:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Boris,

There is a similar technique to the passive awareness technique described in lesson 15, as a method that can be used if there are a lot of obstructions being released during meditation and it is not possible to stay with the mantra or the breath. In lesson 15 it is described as a temporary solution, a technique that can be used for a while during a meditation session whilst heavy obstructions are clearing.

In lesson addition 367.4 - Passive Awareness Technique for Very Sensitive Meditators, the full technique is described as a meditation practice that can be used by people who are over-sensitive to the mantra. So it can be used in a similar way as the breath can be used for over-sensitive meditators.

The passive awareness technique is simply being aware of whatever is arising, without interfering with it. It goes by other names in other traditions, such as "Taking the one seat", or Zazen, or "mindfullness" or occasionally "vipassana".

The passive awareness technique is not a proactive technique, so it works in a different way to using a mantra, where we are actively doing something (easily favouring the mantra with our attention whenever we notice we are off it). Breath meditation is also proactive in that way. So there is a difference there. Proactive methods can work faster than passive methods for many people, which is why they are recommended first in AYP. The key is finding a technique that works for you, with the level of purification that is going on in your body at the moment. I have used all three methods extensively for many years and they are all very beautiful and beneficial. I find it is not the case that one method is better than another, but a case of which is the most appropriate for a particular person at a particular time.

Christi
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boris

Norway
68 Posts

Posted - Jun 07 2016 :  10:43:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Holy
I have read your posts before.Always very intersting.Have learned a lot from your posts.But it wasnt clear to me if you was just watching thoughts or if you was also observing body feeelings more like vippassana.But bliss to "death" might be to much for me I have tried the Tolle method before,with just feeling the energy body.But that meditation felt wrong for me.I normaly can feel lots of energy movement in my spine or Micro cosmic orbit.But after some weeks with Tolle meditation.I felt like my energy circulation ha completley stagnated.No bliss or good feelings.I had lots of pain in my spine and was dead tired all the time.And I didnt even have long sessions.30-60 min a day.So I question myself if this could be healthy.When I just witness thoughts,I dont feel any bad side effects.
quote:
Originally posted by Holy

Hi boris,

have shared my experiences here regarding that practice as part of Maitreya Ishwara's meditation many times. You can find the relating threads by searching for Maitreya Ishwara and awareness based meditation or awarenes based practices. The results here were constant witness after two weeks including the deep-sleep phase. Bliss to death after few months. The death part is serious, the body got very weak, nomind, no breath, no digestion, a corpse lying in atmost bliss. Also have a picture of that time LOL.

In the beginning it is a practice, but after some time you loose control and witnessing explodes to choiceless awareness, where it does not stop anymore. This is when you are really finished, but somehow by prayer this body-mind came back to functioning. Back then was obviously not ready for it.

For more details see the corresponding threads :)

Additionally, as far as I know, one of the advanced Jaggi Vasudev practices, either Shoonya or Samyama (he uses the word in a different context) or in both the watching the thoughts is also present. In other words, some thousand people are practicing it, but noone reporting about their experiences :P

Happy practice :)

Edit: From one of the many threads: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....12572#107604


Edited by - boris on Jun 07 2016 11:50:01 AM
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Cato

Germany
225 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  05:39:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi



The passive awareness technique is simply being aware of whatever is arising, without interfering with it. It goes by other names in other traditions, such as "Taking the one seat", or Zazen, or "mindfullness" or occasionally "vipassana".

The passive awareness technique is not a proactive technique, so it works in a different way to using a mantra, where we are actively doing something (easily favouring the mantra with our attention whenever we notice we are off it). Breath meditation is also proactive in that way. So there is a difference there. Proactive methods can work faster than passive methods for many people, which is why they are recommended first in AYP. The key is finding a technique that works for you, with the level of purification that is going on in your body at the moment. I have used all three methods extensively for many years and they are all very beautiful and beneficial. I find it is not the case that one method is better than another, but a case of which is the most appropriate for a particular person at a particular time.

Christi



Hi Christi,

When you did use these different techniques over the years - do you so by sticking to one technique at least for the recommended 6 months or do you change techniques with more flexibility?

And doesn't switching techniques in this way mean digging different wells where one should keep digging in one place?

Edited by - Cato on Mar 09 2023 10:45:27 AM
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  11:10:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

I have used different techniques at different times for different reasons. For example, breathing meditation was the first meditation practice I was taught. That was around 32 years ago. That became my main meditation practice for around 10 years, or so. Then I was taught mantra meditation and I began to combine mantra meditation with breath meditation, doing both practices, back-to-back in every sitting. Combining practices is something that advanced practitioners can do in AYP, under certain circumstances.

I use the passive awareness technique when samadhi is so deep that it is not possible to easily favour the mantra during DM. So, this is not a switching of a baseline technique, but more of an adjustment within individual practice sessions, according to what is happening.

And yes, if I switched meditation techniques due to oversensitivity to the mantra, then I would stick to the new technique for at least 6-months.

Digging your well in one place, refers to having a basic set of practices that you use consistently over many years. It does not mean that the individual practices within that routine will always be the same. There is the necessity of self-pacing, which can mean temporarily cutting out some practices, or changing those practices, and reducing the timings of other practices. And self-pacing can go the other way as well, adding on more practices, as we progress. In other words, we are using one tool box, even if we are not always using the same tools from the box.

If we are digging a well with a shovel, and then we hit a layer of rock, we have to put the shovel down and get the jack-hammer out. But, it is still the same well.


Christi



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Cato

Germany
225 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  11:49:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for clarification, Chisti.

The toolbox you are referring to is set by AYP or Yogani, respectively. As the passive awareness technique equals Vipassana meditation (meaning the mindfulness version), one could say Vipassana/mindfulness mediation is a part in the AYP toolbox.

You say digging your well in one place refers to having a basic set of practices that you use consistently over many years. One could come along and say: I have been switching between TM, kriya yoga, AYP, microcosmic orbit and (choose what you like) consistently for many years, always using one for 6 months at least. I guess this is not what you have in mind since the tools in the toolbox should be coordinated/concerted, as AYP, right?
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  12:20:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

The passive awareness technique is one of the AYP meditation methods. It is described in this lesson addition:

Addition 367.4 - Passive Awareness Technique for Very Sensitive Meditators

And yes, every school of yoga has a set of practices, that are used in particular ways. So, if you were to join a Mahayana Buddhist monastery for example, there would be practices you would be introduced to, and then more that you would learn, after a few years and so on. And some of the early practices may be dropped, by the time you are working with the more advanced techniques. But the practices are not selected randomly. They are designed to work together as a part of a whole.

"Starting to dig a new well", means switching between different systems of practices.

Switching between different systems of practices, is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can be necessary, for example, if one system of practices is just not working for someone. But, there is generally a clunky stage with starting out with a new system, and if people switch often, then they have to keep dealing with that clunky stage.

Generally, to experience the higher stages of the path, we need to be very well settled in with one particular set of practices.


Christi
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Cato

Germany
225 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  1:19:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi


Switching between different systems of practices, is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can be necessary, for example, if one system of practices is just not working for someone.



Thanks Christi, that is exactly what I am struggeling with since a prolonged time now. Kind of stuck, I don't know how to proceed. For some reason, AYP does not seem to work out for me the way I would imagine it. After a long overload phase, I'm now going with stable practices, but not feeling any different or peaceful in daily life. However, being a householder does not leave me too much time to dive into new traditions or practice systems to experiment with. It took me some time to learn the basics of AYP - and it is really simple and open source.
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  2:23:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

What is the longest period of time that you have had a daily AYP practice for? By that I mean an AYP practice where you have followed the practice guidelines, as set out in the lessons with regards to self-pacing and grounding, not switched, or mixed-in, other non-AYP techniques, and not indulged in automatic yogas?


Christi
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Cato

Germany
225 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  4:30:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,

I will not take into account the time it has taken me to figure out that I had overload issues and subsequently dealing with it. This surely was several years.

Christi, I am glad you asked this question. Since my "kundalini-like" experience and my start of AYP in summer 2018, I kept track of the changes in my practices in a little journal. However, I did not really take a deeper look. I just did and realized, the longest period of stable practice was half a year of breathing meditation. Before that, I took 6-7 months off AYP (overload), started with SBP and DM (first 5 min/10 min then 10 min/20 min) which soon showed to be too much, so I self-paced. So, given your conditions (self-pacing and grounding, not switched, or mixed-in, other non-AYP techniques, and not indulged in automatic yogas) half a year of breathing meditation it is with an additional half a year of trying to find a stable self-paced routine with SBP and DM.

Edited by - Cato on Mar 09 2023 5:49:23 PM
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2023 :  10:04:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

So, looking at the bigger picture, I would say that you have not been on the path for that long. It has been almost 5 years since the Summer of 2018, and 5 years is not a long time in terms of the spiritual path. During that time you have experienced the awakening of kundalini, a lot of powerful purifications strong enough to result in physical kriyas, and periods of stabilisation. Then you have spent the last year building back up from breath meditation only, to a fuller practice routine.

Personally I would say that is a lot for someone to go through in quite a short space of time. Your dissatisfaction probably has more to do with expectations. Expecting to be experiencing peace, or bliss, or ecstasy, or joy, after everything you have been through? Quite often though, after an intense period of purification, there has to be a settling down period, where everything that was cleared out is being integrated. This is especially true, if that purification period involved energetic overload.

When things like peace, joy, bliss, and ecstasy do come, they can often come when they are least expected. When things have really settled in the subtle nervous system.

So, my advice would be to give it time. Allow things to settle down. Allow the mind to become calm and peaceful.


Christi
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Cato

Germany
225 Posts

Posted - Mar 10 2023 :  06:18:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Christi, I very much appreciate your support and your guidance. Thank you very much. You are perfectly right with what you're saying. My expectations after five years of AYP are those of calmness and inner peace. It is easy not to see what already has happened and that it might have been a lot. And it is also easy to get distracted in this stage where things like peace, joy, bliss are still missing as the maze of spirituality offers many possibilities and as many promises. Thanks for sharing your perspective, it really helps a lot!

(btw. I don't think you are around Koh Tao right now . I recently thought about it since I do a three months trip with my family right now (before the kids go to school) and we are currently staying in Koh Phangan. Never been to Thailand before, this is such a beautiful place).
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Christi

United Kingdom
4363 Posts

Posted - Mar 10 2023 :  1:06:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

I am not in Thailand at the moment. I will be there in September this year for the annual AYP yoga teacher training course. If you do go over to Koh Tao, do look up Devrim. He is one of our AYP teachers and he teaches with me on the teacher training courses.

This is his website:

http://www.baantalaykohtao.com/acti...oga-koh-tao/


Christi
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