Mind Noise

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christopher steven bayes, modified 11 Years ago.

Mind Noise

Posts: 13 Join Date: 6/4/10 Recent Posts
This is my first ever post and I would like to offer a warm hello to everyone who contributes and views this excellent site!

I wonder if anyone has any advice for me regarding my concentration practice?

I am a bit of a novice meditator and was hoping to develop my concentration skills first some what before moving in to more insight based practices at a later date. At times my concentration is very good, other times I find it difficult to stop my self being distracted by a lot of 'mind noise' which can grow in intensity through out the sitting. I hear random odd words, the starts of conversations or just sometimes the rhythm of a sentence with out any words. This is not always a problem but sometimes I feel like I am clinging on to the meditation object for dear life while in the middle of a tornado.
Could this be due to a lack of concentration skills or could this be a bigger problem?

Thanks for listening.
Keep up the great work.
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise (Answer)

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
One of the cases for bad concentration is mental noise. Most people get this. I have actually found that insight practice helped tremendously --- you will find that the way that the mind generates the various sensations associated with a sense of self includes a lot of mental noise, very upsetting, very distracting.

As your mind starts to get cleaned up (vipassana does this, some forms of concentration such as mantra meditation also do this), you will be able to trace the "root source" of various kinds of mental noise, and eliminate it altogether. Then noise will no longer happen.

Welcome to DhO!
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise (Answer)

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Hi and welcome here.

Your experience is so completely normal that I doubt a single person here has never dealt with the same thing. There is a variety of techniques for dealing with distracting thoughts. One of the most common ones, useful for many people, is breath counting.

The techniques for breath counting do have some differences, but usually you simply try to attend to the sensations of the breath and either during the outbreath or in the pause right after the outbreath, you count that breath. You count breaths up to a number between 5 and 10, which you pick before the meditation and stick to, and start over once you reach the number or notice that you've gone over the number as a result of being distracted, or when you lose your place from being distracted.
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christopher steven bayes, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise

Posts: 13 Join Date: 6/4/10 Recent Posts
Thanks guys,some good advice there.
To be honest I am just glad to hear that it is normal. I have noticed that I feel a little more rested today and the mind noise was not a problem at all so there is probably a lot to said for a good nights sleep!
The counting technique seems a good way of getting 'in the zone' quite quickly and smoothly. I think I will also look at perhaps starting some insight practice soon as it sounds as if it will also help my concentration practice a lot to.

Cheers!
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Heh, well, insight practice is known to be more bumpy than smooth and more destabilizing than stabilizing. If your primary goal for now is getting good at concentration (which helps a lot during the dark night), then you may want to stick with the concentration practices for a while before you start the insight practices. On the other hand, concentration alone won't give you any enlightenment, so if you want enlightenment sooner rather than later, practicing both concentration and insight is the way to go.

If you want to look more at using breath counting to get to the first stages of concentration practice, it might be cool to check out Kenneth Folk's advice on getting to access concentration: Link here.

Kenneth's writing style is a bit different from Daniel's, and it's often helpful to hear two different perspectives on meditation or anything dealing with the "inner world" of the mind. If you familiarize yourself with both Kenneth's instructions for getting to access concentration and jhana, along with the relevant sections on concentration from MCTB, you'll be in a great position to make good progress in concentration.
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christopher steven bayes, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise

Posts: 13 Join Date: 6/4/10 Recent Posts
Thats great. I'll check it out!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mind Noise

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
christopher steven bayes:
Could this be due to a lack of concentration skills or could this be a bigger problem?

This will tend to be less of an issue over time but will come and go probably as long as you are carrying around a brain :-) There are a number of techniques for working with it. Breath counting or silently repeating 'Bhud' [in breath] -'doh' [out] or something similar works well. Trying to anchor awareness in the whole body will help. One thing I want to point out is that you are already in insight territory here. You are seeing how the mind works instead of riding along with it (at least sometimes otherwise you wouldn't be aware of this). What you are describing is the normal state of our minds. You are now getting some concentration and are able to start seeing what is going on here. This is the mind you have been living with! Is it enjoyable? See how one moment it's one thing and the next it's something else? See how these fleeting mental bits can't possibly be who you are? Concentration and insight dance together.