Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

James, modified 11 Months ago.

Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/27/20 Recent Posts
 I've been very interested in trying to experience what Shargrol means by "meditating on the mainstream". 
Specifically, how do you even get to this place in practice to do this. Here are a few quotes if anyone can answer: 
Meditation is usually the first time an adult starts seeing the verbal mind as just another phenomenon of the body-mind. Like you said, you can actually "watch" the mind be tumbling around in thought. Sometimes people call this "glimpsing the mindstream". The interesting thing about this state is you can't really "think" about what you are seeing, because that would be more thoughts, but the witnessing/awareness aspect of the mind can start to see thoughts as thoughts.

This can be shocking, but thoughts have always been thoughts, sensations have always been sensations. Without meditation, there really isn't much nuance in peoples mind. But the more you observe and understand your own mind, you will see how experience is made of a lot of component experiences subtle sensations, sensations, urges, subtle emotions, emotions, proto-thoughts, one-word thoughts, and full sentence thoughts... It will be obvious that experience always was this way, but you just didn't see it before.
and 
When you can listen to thoughts and they becomes sounds that seem to hit the mind like little pulses... then you are stepping through the door. And when you are sitting in meditation, meditating on the mindstream, and you step through the door, you will fall into a hole, and then you land in the place you are already sitting.
and 
  The last thing that seemed to change was a willingness to just kind of dwell on the mindstream --- that flow of semi-verbal sounds in the head, that bubbling of proto-emotional urges, that vague sense of somatic being... the subtle flow of things became an object of meditation. 
thumbnail
Zachary, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 199 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
Hey James, welcome to DhO.

One of the first insights a meditator has is that they are not their thoughts, that thoughts just seem to be arising and passing away selflessly. As a monk whose name eludes me said, "The mind produces thoughts like the mouth produces saliva." This insight is described in the "Mind & Body" stage in the Progress of Insight. 

As a meditator's concentration abilities develop and they progress/cycle through the various stages of insight, the nature of what thoughts and thinking are starts to become more complex.

In my practice early on, I noticed that what I had previously held to be straightfoward as "me thinking a thought" was in fact a multi-layered, granular and elusive process. When sitting, and eventually throughout the day off the cushion, I noticed that the mind seemed to be assembling itself moment-to-moment very rapidly out of as Shagrol says, "subtle sensations, sensations, urges, subtle emotions, emotions, proto-thoughts, one-word thoughts, and full sentence thoughts". 

Eventually, the awareness of this process became such that I noticed that this mindstream had a somatic and energetic quality that was actually "beneath" any linguistic meaning. The mindstream would become so subtle and granular in the spatial area "inside the head" and eventually turn into little energetic streams, eddies and whirlpools. These experiences were most common during the "Arising & Passing Away" and "Equanimity" stages in the progress of insight. 

For me, it took a few months of practicing with Noting and "Choiceless Awareness" before taking the mindstream as an object of meditation became effortless. After that point, it was really a matter of subtly inclining awareness towards it. Insight into the mindstream will develop and deepen as one continues with consistent practice. 
James, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/27/20 Recent Posts
ok that helps me understand a bit more. 
James, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/27/20 Recent Posts
I've been seeing singular sense doors as lumped together recently. But nothing yet unified as all the sense doors together. 
thumbnail
Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 692 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
I just call it 8th jhana.
At least when it gets to the point where everything in this mind stream is just the noise that neurons make when they fire and I do not really focus on perceptions this activity is supposed to generate. Even when I actually do observe perceptions it is in my opinion more useful to view them as a result of brain activity thus "meditation on the mindstream" to me is best done from within 8th jhana and momentarily shift from it to view perceptions.

In any case this might not be too useful as an advice to say "just use 8th jhana" as it might be above meditation level of most people. This is however something to get up to doing this type of meditation, a reference if you will.
James, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/27/20 Recent Posts
That is actually really interesting. I actually started withe the jhanas before I started adding in noting. So I'm currently on the 4th jhana and really trying to get more comfortable in all of those before I move on but this gives me something to be interested in regards to it. 

I've actually been doing a sorta at home retreat the last 3 days with over 8 hours a day in meditation and i plan to keep thus up for a bit Mon-Fri for the next few weeks. So maybe during this time I'll start to play with the formless jhanas. I have a 12 day at home jhana retreat at the end of August with Leigh Brasington so that should help in all of this.

Also kinda interested in 6th jhana as Kenneth Folk talks about "Use 6th jhana to scaffold 2nd gear (self-enquiry) and dwell as the Witness." 

So thanks for this it has helped me at least peak my interest in the formless jhanas.

I'd actually been doing on exercise I'd read about with the 4th jhana that had really helped me settle into it because it had been very uncomfortable before. Here it is: 
Once you get up to 4th jhana, take advantage of the panoramic perspective, and from here, turn the focus of attention GENTLY back upon the sensations composing "self". These will probably be sensations around or in the eyes, in the head, in the face, in the throat, in the chest. Turn the attention out toward a sensation in the foot or a sound in the room, and watch how the mind continues to toss these "self" sensations in, giving the subtle impression that there's a center point to the experience. Don't try to DO anything about this. Just watch it in real-time
thumbnail
Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 692 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
4th jhana is also very good for all sort of investigations.
It might even be closer to what is intended in this topic.
It presents perceptions clearly but unlike other mind states do this giving them proper perspective (size, location, strength, etc.). Very useful mind state emoticon
James, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Queston on Shargrol's "meditating on the mindstream"

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/27/20 Recent Posts
I found this guided meditation by Michael Taft to be very helpful on meditating on the "hearing" mind stream. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfO0AKHtN9I&t=1827s

Breadcrumb