mindful practice and thoughts

As a new practioner of mindfulness practice I am still very much learning the ropes and increasing my understanding of how to meditate and not to mention how that practice trains my mind in my everyday living.

One of the challenges for a novice, like myself, is the randomness of thoughts when attempting to dwell mindfully upon one’s breathing. That is why I found Gil Fronsdal’s book helpful (both with this topic, and with understanding mindfulness from many other perspectives). Fronsdal writes:

Sometimes people think the point of meditation is to stop thinking, to have a silent mind. This does happen occasionally but it is not necessarily the point of meditation. Thoughts are an important part of life, and mindfulness is not supposed to be a struggle against them. We can benefit more by being friends with our thoughts than be regarding them as unfortunate distractions. In mindfulness, we are not stopping thoughts as much as overcoming any preoccupation we have with them. However mindfulness is not thinking about things, either…In those moments when thinking predominates, mindfulness is the clear and silent awareness that we are thinking.

So now I can work to be aware but not discursive in the thoughts as they are happening. Fronsdal goes on to say “In Meditation, when thoughts are subtle and in the baground or when random thoughts pull us away from awareness of the presnet, all we have to do is resume mindfulness of breathing.
I found his suggestions helpful in my practice and it is helpful to have such a clear description of what mindfulness is like.  I can use all the help and advice available to me. If you want a helpful book for learning and practicing mindfulness, I would highly recommend this book!

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3 thoughts on “mindful practice and thoughts

  1. Years ago while I was in college I learned Transcendental Meditation. I decide that route was the best way to deal with my stress headaches, much better than the tranquilizers that the doctor prescribed. I’m wondering if you are familiar with TM and if so, how does it compare with mindfulness practice? It sounds like there are some similarities.

  2. I have heard of the term “transcendental meditation.” However, I don’t really know exactly what it is or how it would differ from the mindfulness meditation I am doing. So I can’t answer your question, Debbie. I am just appreciating the Buddhist perspective and the practice of meditation.

  3. Thanks. I look forward to more posts about your meditation. We can certainly learn things from other faiths.

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