View Full Version : Mental overlap
06 June 2011, 08:45 PM
While meditating I sometimes find my mind simultaneously thinking on two levels. One is generally the mantra, and the other is some random train of thought that I am on.
Does this happen to anybody else, it is helping me to realize how non linear and multi-layered the mind actually is in relation to thought.
06 June 2011, 10:49 PM
I would generally distinguish between mantra-japam--litany, and dhyAnam--meditation.
• In mantra-japam, I would be mentally chanting a mantra over and over again, preferably knowing what it means and focus all my thoughts on that mantra.
• In dhyAnam using a mantra, I would be chanting the mantra over and over again, but with every chant, I would be contemplating on the how of what it means. Thus, it is essential to know the purport of a mantra to use it meditation.
• In japam, since I force my mind to go after the repetitions of chanting, there would be very little, if any, extraneous thoughts; and it would be easy for me to ignore any extraneous thoughts by the sheer force of repetition.
• In dhyAnam, however, since I invite my mind to contemplate on the facets of the mantra, my mind is prone to wander and the control of extraneous thoughts would be difficult. One solution is to learn to just witness the thoughts as they come and go, without participating in them.
Perhaps this article might help:
Witnessing Your Thoughts in Yoga Practice
In meditation, there are no two levels of thinking, IMHO. It is all ekAgra chintanam--one-pointed thinking.
07 June 2011, 04:55 AM
"Mind" is such a powerful entity that it creates an illusion for itself....
lets take a simple example
the processors that are used in our desktop computers actually execute only one instruction at a time...but the high speed of the processors, creates an illusion to us that its executing multiple instructions at a time,
thus giving us an impression that many applications are executed in parallel...
similarly the speed of mind is faster than that of lightening....in fact as Yudishtira mentions it in the Yaksha prashe[Vana Parva, Mahabharata],
"Mind is faster than wind"...the speed of mind is too fast...
the rudimentary feature of mind is to "concentrate" or "focus on information" ...
this focus can be on useful or useless information...our intellect, thru senses, collects and stores the information,
both useful and useless...
mind is like the needle of a mariners compass which always points towards "north".....now the "information collected by intellect" is like the "North pole"...the more variety of information the intellect gathers, the more unstable the mind becomes...its like putting the mariners compass in a region of multiple conflicting magnetic fields...the needle keeps on moving from one north to another north in a random manner....
That is the power of "mind"...hence when we try to meditate, we try really hard to focus on one particular entity...Paramathma...[ofcourse
as said earlier one can mediate on just about any information]....but meditation is possible only when the conflicting magnetic fields are eliminated and only when there is one single north pole, only then does the needle stay perfectly stable...similarly, when we meditate the mind should focus only on Paramathma...
or as Sri Krishna says it beautifully in Bhagavad Gita, the mind should be like that flame of a lamp, sheltered from the wind, which never flickers or wavers....
lets generalize and adapt the extremely meaningful analysis of Sadananda's Vedanta Sara[one of Bramha's first four manasa putras], to our discussion..we can say...any sort of mental concentration can have the following four obstacles
- Laya or very roughly translated as dissolution
- Vikshepa or distraction
- Kashaya or materialistic attachment
- Rasavada or very roughly translated as sense gratification
Dissolution (Laya) is the lapse of the mental state into sleep because of the failure to focus correctly. This is what many of us experience many times while studying or meditating or listening or doing anything that needs concentration, there could be a total collapse of concentration, leading to the state of mind called "sleep"
Distraction (Vikshepa) is the resting of the mental state on information gathered thru senses, other than the one we need to focus on, because of the failure to rest on the object of focus. One of the main sources of information is ofcourse the sense organs...they provide information which distracts the concentration during meditation....hence usually meditation done by beginners is performed in a secluded place...
Attachment (Kashaya) is the failure of the mental state to rest on the object of concentration, owing to the numbness brought on by impressions due to attachment ,even when there is no dissolution or distraction....thoughts involving the persons or objects we are attached to, act as an obstacle to concentrate...allowing the mind to wander rather than focus...
Enjoyment (Rasasvada) is the craving by the mental state to enjoy the materialistic pleasures, owing to the failure to rest on the object of concentration...when mind becomes restless, it needs some sort of pleasure...we see so many people use the term "boredom"..it is a state of restlessness, due to loss of control of mind, which craves for new pleasures to temporarily satisfy its hunger of restlessness...
so, even an iota of influence caused by the above four obstacles, shifts the focus of mind to something other than where it should be actually focusing on...and because the
speed of transition is so high[going from one thought to another], the mind itself falls in its own illusion and thinks that there are different layers or levels, where as in reality its simply lapse of concentration on a single object....
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