Message Boards Message Boards

Insight and Wisdom

Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?

Toggle
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/19/15 5:57 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches." 

It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.

You bring up a good point, Eva. One which is brought up in the discourses, for those who bother to read and to contemplate them.

The very first entry of verses (Yamakavagga: The Twin Verses) in the Dhammapada makes the very point you are emphasizing:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an
impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of
the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure
mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow
3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such
thoughts do not still their hatred
.
4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor
such thoughts still their hatred
.
5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This
is a law eternal.
6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this
settle their quarrels.

And though the tendency of our individual minds is to take things personally, to identify with the word, thought, or deed being put forth and to react, sometimes violently, our mind is often not mindful enough to recognized – "to recall," which is one of the more compelling definitions of the Pali word sati, and one which we often forget when we think of meaning in the instruction to be "mindful" – that what is being described that we are reacting to is empty of substance (even though it may have some bearing on our coexisting circumstance, providing us with some food for serious consideration with regard to the way we act in the world).

The way of reacting with dispassion with regard to that speech, thought, or deed which burns one britches is a learned skill, an acquired ability. A skill that takes the development of mindfulness and the establishment of presence of mind in order to perfect. Perhaps this is why the Dhamma is often called a "gradual path" or the "middle way." Because its success depends upon one's taking the time to learn how to change the way in which they process information.

The practice of the Dhamma includes both proficiency in the practice of meditation (for strengthening concentration and reorienting the mind) and the study of the principal teachings in a way which brings them to life within one's own personal experience. To do this takes mental discipline, which is something that each practitioner needs to work on within the framework of their practice of meditation. Yes, meditation is meant to be pleasurable and peaceful, but those are not ends in themselves. Meditation is also hard work for the mind in reorienting the position it takes in response to external stimuli. While this process of reorientaton may not occur overnight, the good news is: that it can and does occur for those with patience who take the time to work on it. 

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/20/15 2:40 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 
Thannissaro seems to be pointing to two skills or methods, one is Tranquility and and the other is Insight.  One needs both to progress.  Emphasizing one over the other is like trying to use only one leg, it is much better to use both legs.

This is what I was trying to point to earlier on the other post when I wrote:

Well, I experience consciousness without labels.  But currently I oscillate back and forth between conventional consciousness and consciousness without labels.  But, both are perfectly functional.  Thinking is a tool, as I see it.  Use thinking like a tool when needed, then, when done, place the tool back in the Yogi toolbox until needed again. 
For my personal practice I try to stay as balanced as possible and put emphasis on both stilling the mind to silence, and to also use the thinking process of the mind to develop wisdom and insight.  The two skills go hand in hand, Tranquility and Insight.  I do not think it is wise to just take up a practice and drop all thought, i.e. to not think or contemplate.  There is wholesome thought and unwholesome thought.  One should drop one kind and cultivate the other.  

I do think that eventually, the mind, if one has been persistent, naturally just quiets down and comes to a state of natural stillness.  I think this arises due to past efforts, basically one has worked through all the problems that can or have arisen, and there is just not much for the mind to deal with that has not been dealt with before, learned and understood for what it really is.  Of course, life can throw some curve balls.  emoticon

There is a third art to this, that seems to be often overlooked, that is Right Effort, from what I can tell this is also another valuable skill to learn, it is a training in the more emotional, biochemical side of the mind, or heart.  Citta in Buddhism considers the Mind and Heart as one and the same, I believe.  Probably based in the Brain, Nerves and Glands.

Here is a couple of excerpts from Ayya Khema, that may or may not be pertinent to this discussion, Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Mindfulness knows when there is concentration and when there isn't when the mind wanders off and when the mind becomes peaceful. Perfect mindfulness knows every moment that is occurring.

When we pay attention to our feelings and do not react to them but only observe, then we're using the second foundation of mindfulness,vedananupassana (mindfulness of feeling). When we know we're thinking, it's cittanupassana (mindfulness of thought) and when we know what the content of the thought is, it's dhammanupassana (mindfulness of mind objects). If we're not paying attention, we're not really awake. We need to practice clear attention to any one of these at all times.

It is possible that in meditation the mind becomes concentrated. If there is a feeling of peacefulness, one has to know that quite clearly. Without realizing what is happening, one cannot go further, because one doesn't know where one is at.
This is an important detail of meditation, knowing exactly what's happening and being able to verbalize it after the occurrence. The verbalization is the understood experience, and occurs naturally after the experience. This holds true for any mind-state and for any feeling. The Dhamma is the Buddha's verbalized experience. Unless we can do that with our own experiences, we are left with a belief system, which can dull the mind. But meditation is to sharpen the mind. 

I think this is an important method quoted by Ayya Khema below, this is one key to bringing the skills learned in meditation in to our daily activities, this is where the rubber hits the road, and practice gains real traction.  As, you have already noted in previous discussions, the real progress occurs when practice is brought into day to day living.
Then we can become aware of the content of our thoughts, which means knowing whether it is wholesome or not. We can learn to drop any negative thinking and replace it. This is where our meditation training comes in, which is not divorced from outer activities. When we pay attention to the breath in meditation and a thought intervenes, we learn to let go of the thought and come back to the breath. The same procedure is used in daily life to let go of unwholesome thoughts. We substitute at that time with a wholesome thought, just as we substitute with the breath in meditation.


So, I am also pasting this from Ayya Khema, seen below, as it seems applicable.  Then I will paste the link at the end, the whole articel is full of wisdom, and practice points, just FYI, if you or anyone is interested.  I , personally find it fascinating, fascinating as in interesting, and fascinated that it actually works!

Mindfulness of the thinking process is what the Buddha Named the "four supreme efforts."[1] They constitute the heart of the purification process.
The hope that one might sit down on a pillow, watch the breath and become concentrated, is a myth. One has to have the mind in proper shape for it. Therefore, we must practice these four supreme efforts not only while we are meditating, but in every-day life. We will gain inner peace which everybody is looking for and very few people ever find.

The first effort is not to let an unwholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen. The requires sharp mindfulness. A thought which has not yet arisen creates waves ahead of it. To realize that these waves are boding no good, needs much attention and practice. The second effort, not to continue an unwholesome thought which has already arisen, can be done by anyone of good will, if it is understood that there is nobody else to blame. Unwholesome thinking is not due to outer triggers, but results strictly from our own defilements.

The third step is to make a wholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen. This means that we continually watch over our mind and encourage positive, wholesome thoughts where none are present even under the most trying circumstances.

Finally, to make a wholesome thought, which has already arisen, continue. In the meditation practice, this concerns our meditation subject. But in daily life it means our mind's reaction. If we have some sensitivity towards ourselves, we can feel that there is a disturbance within when unwholesome thinking arises, a feeling of resistance. Unwholesome thoughts have been thought of so often for so many years, that they have become part and parcel of our thinking process. It takes mindfulness and determination to let go.

In meditation we become aware that our unwholesome thoughts are not caused by someone or something external. Then we gain the power of mind to drop what we don't want, to keep and substitute with what is useful for us. These four supreme efforts are the fourth foundation of mindfulness concerned with the contents of our thoughts. If everybody in the world were practicing this, it would be a better world to live in.
So, Eva, from what I garner you are , and have been already practicing a form of this stuff, but I just thought it kinda cool to have this all explained in such an outline, and wish to just share with everyone.  Kind of puts a more practical spin on the fourth foundation of mindfulness, and what to do with what is observed as it arises, instead of just assuming it is all a purely passive process.  Cuz,  even the act of letting go is an action. Releasing is an action, Abandoning is an action, same as Arousing and Maintaining are actions.

Text Wall !!!  Ahhhh.....

Psi

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/20/15 12:52 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 

I emphasized stopping the thoughts first but slowly had to let them back in. Welcoming non-preferences is what really let me deal with negative thoughts turning into a rumination.

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/20/15 11:39 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 
Thannissaro seems to be pointing to two skills or methods, one is Tranquility and and the other is Insight.  One needs both to progress.  Emphasizing one over the other is like trying to use only one leg, it is much better to use both legs.

This is what I was trying to point to earlier on the other post when I wrote:

Well, I experience consciousness without labels.  But currently I oscillate back and forth between conventional consciousness and consciousness without labels.  But, both are perfectly functional.  Thinking is a tool, as I see it.  Use thinking like a tool when needed, then, when done, place the tool back in the Yogi toolbox until needed again. 

---I think your lack of labels may be a bit less extreme than I was talking about.  When I experienced it in an OBE, I had lost contact with all Earth knowledge, names of items, uses for items, all that would not come to mind, it was like being a newborn baby, that's why I said I could not function like that as an adult human, I could not use the phone or computer or even know what a chair was for if I was like that on a regular basis.  That's what I meant by without labels.  I am suspecting you mean you operate without some of the 'labels' only, but not ALL of the labels.  If someone tells you take out the garbage, you would be able to understand and comply for instance..  ;-P   







When we pay attention to the breath in meditation and a thought intervenes, we learn to let go of the thought and come back to the breath. The same procedure is used in daily life to let go of unwholesome thoughts. We substitute at that time with a wholesome thought, just as we substitute with the breath in meditation.
---Yes, I think it's something like that, pay attention, see how you are operating, make adjustments as needed.  ;-P


The first effort is not to let an unwholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen. The requires sharp mindfulness. A thought which has not yet arisen creates waves ahead of it. To realize that these waves are boding no good, needs much attention and practice. The second effort, not to continue an unwholesome thought which has already arisen, can be done by anyone of good will, if it is understood that there is nobody else to blame. Unwholesome thinking is not due to outer triggers, but results strictly from our own defilements.

The third step is to make a wholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen. This means that we continually watch over our mind and encourage positive, wholesome thoughts where none are present even under the most trying circumstances.

Finally, to make a wholesome thought, which has already arisen, continue. In the meditation practice, this concerns our meditation subject. But in daily life it means our mind's reaction. If we have some sensitivity towards ourselves, we can feel that there is a disturbance within when unwholesome thinking arises, a feeling of resistance. Unwholesome thoughts have been thought of so often for so many years, that they have become part and parcel of our thinking process. It takes mindfulness and determination to let go.

In meditation we become aware that our unwholesome thoughts are not caused by someone or something external. Then we gain the power of mind to drop what we don't want, to keep and substitute with what is useful for us. These four supreme efforts are the fourth foundation of mindfulness concerned with the contents of our thoughts. If everybody in the world were practicing this, it would be a better world to live in.
So, Eva, from what I garner you are , and have been already practicing a form of this stuff, but I just thought it kinda cool to have this all explained in such an outline, and wish to just share with everyone.  

---Yes, thank you!  I didn't really have it that well organized in my mind plus it's nice to see other peoples' version of it. 

Kind of puts a more practical spin on the fourth foundation of mindfulness, and what to do with what is observed as it arises, instead of just assuming it is all a purely passive process.  Cuz,  even the act of letting go is an action. Releasing is an action, Abandoning is an action, same as Arousing and Maintaining are actions.

---I think 'letting go' of some things has taken some of the most effort for me, I can be quite the clinger.  ;-P
-Eva


RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/20/15 11:42 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 

I emphasized stopping the thoughts first but slowly had to let them back in. Welcoming non-preferences is what really let me deal with negative thoughts turning into a rumination.
I am trying to think if there is any negative or unwholesome though that does not involve preferences..
-Eva

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/21/15 2:54 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
I am trying to think if there is any negative or unwholesome though that does not involve preferences..
-Eva

Indifference

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/21/15 11:51 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Eva M Nie:
I am trying to think if there is any negative or unwholesome though that does not involve preferences..
-Eva

Indifference
Oh  yeah, good point, I assume you mean the 'callous disregard' kind and not the 'equanimity' kind, they can look rather similar on the surface.  For the callous disregard kind, I do think there tends to be a tad of 'me not you' or 'I only care about me' type of emotion in there though.  For the case of indifference towards helping self, I suspect there is an element of feelings of lack of personal worth in there, so maybe not completely free of measuring or preferences.   
-Eva

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/21/15 6:48 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Richard Zen:
Eva M Nie:
I've been listening to some Than Geoff youtube lately, specificallly this one right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77M6dPr84 .  At about the 2 minute mark, he discusses 2 ways to deal with problems, one by silencing the mental chatter, the other is to learn to think in different and more helpful ways.  And he says, "As a meditator you've got to learn how to use BOTH approaches."  It occurs to me that while recognizing the importance of the first, I tend to favor the second perhaps a bit overly much.  Whereas I wonder if some here might tend to emphasize the first but neglect the second?  Anyway, just thought I'd bring it up as potentially of interest.
-Eva 

I emphasized stopping the thoughts first but slowly had to let them back in. Welcoming non-preferences is what really let me deal with negative thoughts turning into a rumination.
I am trying to think if there is any negative or unwholesome though that does not involve preferences..
-Eva

Welcoming is not indifference. Welcome negative sensations (including ones related to thoughts) because welcoming is the opposite of aversion. This way when something stressful occurs that's out of your control you have less fight or flight responses to it. Welcome small irritations first and then gradually welcome more as you see fit.

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/21/15 9:11 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
[quote=---I think your lack of labels may be a bit less extreme than I was talking about.  When I experienced it in an OBE, I had lost contact with all Earth knowledge, names of items, uses for items, all that would not come to mind, it was like being a newborn baby, that's why I said I could not function like that as an adult human, I could not use the phone or computer or even know what a chair was for if I was like that on a regular basis.  That's what I meant by without labels.  I am suspecting you mean you operate without some of the 'labels' only, but not ALL of the labels.  If someone tells you take out the garbage, you would be able to understand and comply for instance..  ;-P    
]
Yes, you are correct, I was talking about a more mundane functional level with the lack of labels.  

And interestingly, I too, have had a similar experience of which you are describing. Hard to explain, there was no body or self to be found, just as if I was shot out into space, but I do not recall having a body, nor were there any words or thinking going on at the time, just a super fast travelling outward sensation.  If there was hyper space, that would be it.  It was this experience that initiated my wonder about the mind, OBE's and all kinds of stuff, never could really expain what happened, hard to reproduce, I am currently not able to at will.  I had thought at one time it was 5th jhana, but as it is not very reproducible, and does not match many descriptions of 5th jhana, or really OBE's , I just do not know.  But yes, all of the mind stuff was indeed absent.

But, back to the mundane level, if someone asked me to take out the garbage, I could take out the garbage, but could hear that request and take out the garbage, all without any internal verbalization.  Not that that is always the way I prefer to do that, but, yes it could be done with or without verbalization, it could be a choice.  If the mind and body is under stress, fatique , exahaustion, surprise, etc. the mind does revert back to the older instinctual ways of reaction, kind of like slipping up, then it takes a moment or two to stabalize the mind again, usually...

Anyway, interesting.  I might see if I can reproduce the state of Supermundane Whatchcallit, emoticon, if I remember correctly, I used to send the signal to activate each muscle, but with out moving the muscle, and did this through each muscle I could find starting from the toes and working up to the fontenelle spot of the head, if any tension or muscle contraction was found in area , this was released.  When I got to the head I would imagine about space and the idea of infinity, and just let my mind send out, then , every once in a while, the higher pitched rushing sound of silence would start up, then the consciousness would, if I was lucky rush out and upward, felt like leaving the body, and like one has left as if soap had slipped from the hand.  Usually I would get scared, and pop back quickly, it can be very frightening.  But, due to the practice of Equanimity, over the last few I have been able to just remain Equanimous with the sensation.  The last time it happened, I went out, really , really far, then the thought popped in ,, wow, I must be a million miles away, then I saw the tiniest pinprick of light, and then I willed to get back, I did not know if I could or not at the time, that was the inkling anyway, then whoosh I was back, and opened my eyes.  Due to constant equanimity practice, even under such wild circumstances, the flight of flight response system had not been allowed to activate, a nice skill to have in these circumstances, and due to this, I was immediately able to reproduce the phenomenon for a second time right then, I did this to test if it was just a dream or not.  Guess not, but who really knows?

But actually during the experience, I had indeed lost contact with all Earth Knowledge, as you described.  There would definitely be no doing of any Earthly anything during this experience, whether it be breathing , thinking, knowledge of a body, nuthin'

Anyway...  It is what it is, and what it is, I am kind of left with a big,  Hunh???

The only things I found that are close and similar to the experience are OOBE's , 5th jhana, and the Bindu Point.  Maybe here it would be called an A and P, ? Nibbana?

Bindu is beyond the senses and thoughts: It is very important to understand that the actual Bindu is far beyond the senses and thoughts in the conventional sense of thinking processes involving strings of words, images, or other such impressions. This means transcending not only the senses as operating through the physical organs, but also the inner or  mental experience of sensation. For example, one not only closes the eyes, but also goes beyond all manner of inner visualization. When attention on all of the Gross and Subtle objects and processes collapses, so to speak, and thus, moves inward towards the Bindu , there is a convergence on a point, which is the finer meaning of one-pointedness of mind. There may be an extremely intense awareness of the nature of pure sound and light, but this is very different from what we experience by mental visualization or imagination. The journey to the Bindu starts to become the experience of the source of light (Jyotir Bindu / Tejo Bindu) and the sourceof sound (Nada Bindu), as well as being the source out of which other sensation, mental processes, and the instruments of mentation emerge.

http://www.swamij.com/bindu.htm

Psi

P.S,  Oh yeah, Ayya Khema speaks of a Stillpoint, her way of describing something, and it is from there that one can make the next step to Nibbana.  Which may also be what you are describing.  And, to add, there is probably a Mundane Nibbana, and a Supermundane Nibbana, just like there are levels and fractals of many phenomenon.  But, I am kind of getting out of my range and depth of knowledge, considering I am still a gumshoe...  

Edited for typos and clarifications

RE: Is it ONLY about silencing the mental chatter?
Answer
12/21/15 10:46 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Eva M Nie:
[quote=---I think your lack of labels may be a bit less extreme than I was talking about.  When I experienced it in an OBE, I had lost contact with all Earth knowledge, names of items, uses for items, all that would not come to mind, it was like being a newborn baby, that's why I said I could not function like that as an adult human, I could not use the phone or computer or even know what a chair was for if I was like that on a regular basis.  That's what I meant by without labels.  I am suspecting you mean you operate without some of the 'labels' only, but not ALL of the labels.  If someone tells you take out the garbage, you would be able to understand and comply for instance..  ;-P    
]
Yes, you are correct, I was talking about a more mundane functional level with the lack of labels.  

And interestingly, I too, have had a similar experience of which you are describing. Hard to explain, there was no body or self to be found, just as if I was shot out into space, but I do not recall having a body,
OBEs were the thing that lead me down the spiritual path, I used to be involved with the online OBE community to a considerable extent and have fair knowledge of common OBE phenomenon.  What you describe, having no body, more of a pinpoint of awareness and vision, is not uncommon.  Have the feeling of a body with you is not required. 

nor were there any words or thinking going on at the time, just a super fast travelling outward sensation.  
The OBE experience of thinking is typically (I am tempted to say always) different than the waking world way of thinking.  It's typical more of a right brained type experience, intellectual thought tends to be low or not there, childlike enthusiasm along with emotional swings is common.  Sensation of movement/traveling is very common. 

If there was hyper space, that would be it.  It was this experience that initiated my wonder about the mind, OBE's and all kinds of stuff, never could really expain what happened, hard to reproduce, I am currently not able to at will.
I never could do it on command, but if I thought about it along and tried to program my mind, I could have one every few nights, maybe more.  There are also a number of tricks one can use to have them more but some of the more effective ones are a hassle, like setting your alarm to wake you every hour..  I think a lot depends on how much you think about it during the day too so that is active in yoru mind when you go to sleep.

 I had thought at one time it was 5th jhana, but as it is not very reproducible, and does not match many descriptions of 5th jhana, or really OBE's , I just do not know.  But yes, all of the mind stuff was indeed absent.
Seems like most put astral travel into othe A and P category, but I don't think you can only have them in A and P unless perhaps you spin thorugh lots of the jhanas at night anyway.

But, back to the mundane level, if someone asked me to take out the garbage, I could take out the garbage, but could hear that request and take out the garbage, all without any internal verbalization.  
That one time I am thinking of, I knew I had lost connection with Earth knowledge becasue I was out of body but standing in my kitchen and could not recollect what all that stuff was  on my table and in my room.  I did like all the colors and shapes though and had some idea that it was my room and that usually I knew what that stuff was.  Now if I was out in some unknown land, the lack of earth knowledge might not have been so obvious. 

Not that that is always the way I prefer to do that, but, yes it could be done with or without verbalization, it could be a choice.  If the mind and body is under stress, fatique , exahaustion, surprise, etc. the mind does revert back to the older instinctual ways of reaction, kind of like slipping up, then it takes a moment or two to stabalize the mind again, usually...
When you are not using verbalization, are you using visualization?

Anyway, interesting.  I might see if I can reproduce the state of Supermundane Whatchcallit, emoticon, if I remember correctly, I used to send the signal to activate each muscle, but with out moving the muscle, and did this through each muscle I could find starting from the toes and working up to the fontenelle spot of the head, if any tension or muscle contraction was found in area , this was released.  
Common method of preOBE relaxatoin is to go through each muscle and relax it, also common method for beginnings of guided meditation. 

When I got to the head I would imagine about space and the idea of infinity, and just let my mind send out, then , every once in a while, the higher pitched rushing sound of silence would start up,
 Vibrational sounds and feelings are very common pre OBE. 

then the consciousness would, if I was lucky rush out and upward, felt like leaving the body, and like one has left as if soap had slipped from the hand.  Usually I would get scared, and pop back quickly, it can be very frightening.  But, due to the practice of Equanimity, over the last few I have been able to just remain Equanimous with the sensation.  
Yes, this is a classic prob, too much excitement will end the experience, excitement typcially needs to be kept down to proceed. 

The last time it happened, I went out, really , really far, then the thought popped in ,, wow, I must be a million miles away, then I saw the tiniest pinprick of light, and then I willed to get back, I did not know if I could or not at the time, that was the inkling anyway, then whoosh I was back, and opened my eyes.  Due to constant equanimity practice, even under such wild circumstances, the flight of flight response system had not been allowed to activate, a nice skill to have in these circumstances, and due to this, I was immediately able to reproduce the phenomenon for a second time right then, I did this to test if it was just a dream or not.  Guess not, but who really knows?
In order ot answer if it was a dream, we'd at least have to know what dreams were but we don't!  ;-P 
But actually during the experience, I had indeed lost contact with all Earth Knowledge, as you described.  There would definitely be no doing of any Earthly anything during this experience, whether it be breathing , thinking, knowledge of a body, nuthin'
OBEs can run the gammut, the one I had where i could not ID stuff on my own table was probably a bit less the norm though, usually the mind processing is altered from normal but usually you still know common Earth knowledge.  Regular thinking tends to be sludgy or slow though, the intellectual style of thought seems less dominant.  As for having a body, breathing, etc, all that is optional, you can just decide to have it or not.  Choose to feel breathing and you will, choose to stop and you can stop.  Any sensation can be replicated or stopped at will. I have experienced with a body, with top part a body and bottom part a tendril (ghost?), and with no apparent body.  You can also dissolve body into a snake shape or whatever and feel it like that (which is a total trip!).  You can also move yoru consciousness into an animal and feel life from their perspective, talk to other consciousnesses, etc.  You can visit your past lives, aliens, or whatever.  Basically anything your imagination can come up with and your consciousness will tolerate without freaking out can be done it seems.  Seems like it's about confidence and deciding to do something and then letting it happen.  Also a common prob. sooner or later, most people doing this will encounter and need to learn to deal with their 'dark side' typically some kind of fearful thing that manifests and is basically a projection of your own insecurity.  At first, it may scare the kudzu out of you but on investigation you may realize the manifestation is hollow and shallow, just a paper tiger.  Once you regain yoru confidence, you will see its true nature as just a thought form.  A thought form typically feels, on investigation, to be a very simple, shallow creation of yoru own mind, it has no outside force behind it.  To me, the seem kind of plastic and fake and boring like blow up dolls.  Whereas other things seem to be a creation of not just myself but also other influences and those things have more depth and solidity.     

Anyway...  It is what it is, and what it is, I am kind of left with a big,  Hunh???
Yeah  it's weird stuff, occasionally  you can get some useful info if you try calling a guide but most of it is either kind of cryptic and hard to make sense of or is just interesting as an experience but not much use otherwise.  However, i figure it may be like that when I did so might be a good idea for the conscious mind to have a bit of experience dealing with that mode of operation.  But like anything, use common sense, if something does not feel good and pure, then do not give it any attention.  Seems like out there works on telepathy so things can lie to you verbally and try to trick you that way and make you feel fearful, but if you remember to sense and look at hteir nature, they cannot hide their nature from you, just turn your attention away from anything that feels unwholesome and then it will have no power. Unwholesome things will feel unwholesome right away.  Most things i meet are not bad though. 

The only things I found that are close and similar to the experience are OOBE's ,
Oh you are definitely describing OBEs.  There is quite a wide gamut of experiences under that umbrella.  Basically your conscious mind goes someplace else other than its typical Earth waking experience but there is a huge array of places and expeirences other than the Earth one.  And then your mind only understands Earth concepts so it will be trying to interpret all the rest using the Earth symbols and ideas. Of course if you try to talk about it with many of your friends, the majority will probably assume you've been ingesting the wrong kind of chemicals or worse.  ;-P  Anyway if it's imagination, I have to tip my hat to the amazing skill of my imagination, the feel of my hand as it passes through each layer of a wall, the feel of being a snake and writhing in coils or a dog sleeping with its alien heartbeat, to hear music more beautiful than anything on Earth, to live a whole lifetime as someone else before waking up, to visit alien worlds and races, to view things at 360 degrees without the sides of your head getting in the way, etc.  None of those are unusual stories in the OBE world and there are a number of boards and groups for such things.