Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

John, modified 8 Months ago.

Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/31/20 Recent Posts
I just finished reading “living with awareness” by Sangharkashita — whatever you make of triratna Buddhism and the apparent scandals they have, there are definitely some useful insights in this book.

One that really stood out to me was scheduling 'thinking time'

“We should think about things when we have time to do them justice. Just as mealtimes, meeting friends and making time for exercise and meditation involved making definite arrangements, mental activity can also be planned."

There were some good points made about truly giving thought the place it deserves - to come to a more coherent and logical answer.

Part of it may just be aversion from my ego, but this concerns me a little.

Sometimes random thoughts that pop up can be useful (amidst all the other pointless and suffering inducing thought - of course).

I’m going to experiment with practicing in some form for the majority of the day when I’m not doing any intellectual work, or conversing, and only think during allocated times.

I’m curious, has anyone explored this before? Any thoughts?
thumbnail
Bardo, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 260 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
Hi John

Scheduled thinking time!?

Thats a nice thought. The issue with this is that there is no entity that initiates thoughts. When you next find yourself lost in thought, try to think of that thought while you're in that thought. It's not possible. A thought cannot think about itself. When you try to think about a thought, this is another thought claiming that it initiated the previous thought.

Having discovered you were lost in thought, ask that thought, "who do you represent?"

Listen very intently like you're listening for the sound of a distant stream over the hill and beyond a meadow.

You'll get no reply.
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 733 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Hi,

Not sure that's what you mean, but there are practices which take thinking/meditating upon a certain subject their main topic. I'ce recently talked with a guy who does retreats where his daily schedule is made up of four 4h sessions divided into four parts of : reading a specific text ; questioning beliefs around text, truly engaging with it ; then once all uncertainty regarding meaning and adherence to it is cleared up, take the general meaning as object and practice shamatha/one pointedness ; into pure concentration practice.

That seems to be pretty standard lam-rim practice, gelug school. The point from what i understand is to infuse and structure yourself with the text/thoughts it provokes - not mindlessly but through honest engagement and questioning. 

When you think about it, it's not so far from Lectio divina, except the root text used in this context is Tsonghkapa's Gradual path. Lectio divina was the standard meditative practice of western christianity after augustine. Augustine listed 7 levels of spiritual development which start from the written word, thinking about it, and developed into silent contemplation.

In fact, thinking as a specific practice has been a very favored technique in many philosophical schools, in antiquity but also closer to us - think of Descartes' meditations ! They are analytical meditations, that is to say, taking a reasoning and using it as a way of looking to see what comes up.

Imo, that's actually the more classical approach in western culture, cultivating direct preverbal discernment/perception being the fistinctive trait of vipassana practice.

One might say it's the stuff of the first training.

However i think it's fruitful to think of this as a continuum, as in - observing the three c's also has a cinceptual component, in the se'se that you are chosing a certain lense/conception of the world and trying to see what comes up in a very micro way, what happens ti perception and what that implies. It's not so walled-off.

It seems to me that not reflecting on experiences on a more macro/conceptual level will not allow one to derive insight from experiences, which is basically integration, right ?

There're some experiences and events on a direct perceptual level which trigger existential transformations and also function as endless sources of further insight in and of themselves upon reflection...

Between purely perceptual investigation looking through the 3C's lense and Purely verbal discursive thought, here's a huge range...

You are free to play with this !

Hope this can inspire experimentation !
thumbnail
Bardo, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 260 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
Not sure that's what you mean, but there are practices which take thinking/meditating upon a certain subject their main topic. I'ce recently talked with a guy who does retreats where his daily schedule is made up of four 4h sessions divided into four parts of : reading a specific text ; questioning beliefs around text, truly engaging with it ; then once all uncertainty regarding meaning and adherence to it is cleared up, take the general meaning as object and practice shamatha/one pointedness ; into pure concentration practice.

This is standard practice in most traditions for example, Zen koans and sutta contemplations. There's nothing exclusive or propriety here. It is the tradition that seems to make it unique. 

In fact, thinking as a specific practice has been a very favored technique in many philosophical schools, in antiquity but also closer to us - think of Descartes' meditations ! They are analytical meditations, that is to say, taking a reasoning and using it as a way of looking to see what comes up.

Yes, excellent! I agree. Using the mechanical cognitive mind as a means to go beyond that which its very function obscures.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 4009 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Using the mechanical cognitive mind as a means to go beyond that which its very function obscures.

I think I understand what this means but it would help to get a definition. Can you elaborate? My best guess is that you're referring to the part of the mind that we experience as conscious, that analyzes data, that tries to make decisions, and that defines our perception of self. Am I close?
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Scheduling ‘thinking time’, and practicing all day

Posts: 822 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
John:
I just finished reading “living with awareness” by Sangharkashita — whatever you make of triratna Buddhism and the apparent scandals they have, there are definitely some useful insights in this book.

One that really stood out to me was scheduling 'thinking time'

“We should think about things when we have time to do them justice. Just as mealtimes, meeting friends and making time for exercise and meditation involved making definite arrangements, mental activity can also be planned."

There were some good points made about truly giving thought the place it deserves - to come to a more coherent and logical answer.

Part of it may just be aversion from my ego, but this concerns me a little.

Sometimes random thoughts that pop up can be useful (amidst all the other pointless and suffering inducing thought - of course).

I’m going to experiment with practicing in some form for the majority of the day when I’m not doing any intellectual work, or conversing, and only think during allocated times.

I’m curious, has anyone explored this before? Any thoughts?


What I want to know is how thoughts, when properly trained to recall past lives, of adult meditators are different from children lamas and such who are prompted to recognize items from past lives.

Breadcrumb