This was a simple exercise that we did today in my Buddhist meditation which I would like to share with you all. Like anything, I am sure that it can have multiple applications or meanings; and you should feel free to adapt this to your life as you see fit. I would be curious to know what any other person gets out of this simple exercise, but I will share with you mine.
This exercise normally works best with another person leading the meditation in a small-to-large group.
Step 1: Not Thinking
Relax and calm your mind as best as you can. Let it slow down, take some deep breaths, just make sure that no matter what… you do not think about a white bear.
Not thinking about the white bear, enjoy the emptiness of your mind; feel your consciousness expanding–not being held back by pesky little thoughts of the white bear.
Anyway, you get the point. Most people will think about the white bear. It is hard not to.
OK, so then lets take the opposite approach and make the white bear the focus of our meditation for the day. It will be like counting, or following our breath. That should work.
Step 2: Thinking
Close your eyes, and think about nothing but the white bear. Dwell upon nothing but this beautiful white bear. No others thoughts are allowed to exist apart from this wonderful white bear. You musn’t allow yourself to think about any other object, corncer, or matter other than this white bear.
In most cases we can continue to focus on only the white bear. Odd? It seemed like it was all we could think about before when we were trying not to, and now that we are trying to think about it… it escapes us.
Nice little exercise, but what does it all mean? I am sure that it “means” different things to different people, but I really enjoy the idea of how by trying to not focus on something you are inadvertently already focusing on it. There is also the notion that certain things are simply in our system and need to be dealt with. Letting these things naturally come to the surface during our meditations, then addressing them, and finally letting them go is a healthy part of the practice. We do not dwell on things longer than we should, but we do not suppress them either.
If you are having a hard time emptying yourself and thinking about “nothing”, then try instead to make yourself think about everything that comes to your mind. Sit there are think about your day, the dog, the car you want, the noises around you, that movie, your sore foot, the weather, a book… whatever. Try to force yourself to do nothing but think, and do not allow there the be any “gap” in thinking. Let there be no emptiness inside of you. You will come to find, after some time, that this is also impossible. Even if you allow yourself to follow every thread of every thought, that thread will eventually come to it’s end and disappear. You will notice that there are natural gaps in your thinking, and as you think through your matters these gaps will increase, last longer, come more frequently, and be more and more enjoyable moments of silence.
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