Monday, October 11, 2010

How I No-Think

When I learn to think, I realise that a lot of time is spent not thinking.

It is very easy to think we think when I fact we are worrying. How do we tell the difference?

When you worry, the same thoughts go round and round in an endless circle of arguments and counter-arguments with no end in sight. (Can I say Malaysians are a worried lot?)

When you think, you identify the issue or problem and define it. You apply logic to it, and out comes the conclusion. You may or may not like the conclusion - but that is the conclusion or the solution to the problem. That's it. The next thing is to act.

There is no right or wrong. There are consequences which you may or may not like.

Now, I want to elaborate a bit on the no-think or no-mind thing that I wrote in my last post.

Thinking is simple - it is logic: deduction from general principles or maxims or premises, or inference from particular cases. The trick is not to cheat by jumping a step or being too nice to oneself and not being strict.

With no-think or no-mind, I have to understand that there is such a thing as thoughts and an entirely different thing called mind. Thoughts and mind are separate, and the idea is to try to tell the difference.

In everyday life, we are so caught up by activities that our minds are in a buzz, our thoughts are all over the place and the body and mind do not coordinate.

Sit Quiet

The first thing to do is to sit down and be quiet.

This is not an easy thing to do - to sit quiet. We are used to lots of activities and we will soon realise that those activities are an attempt by us to run away from ourselves.

The idea is to keep the body still, so that the only thing that is left active are the thoughts.

The next step is to remove the thoughts. This is by far the most difficult thing to do. Thoughts come, thoughts go. All kinds of thoughts arise. Before long, you will get to thoughts which make you angry - usually thoughts which give you the idea that other people have done things which are unkind or unfair to you. You can get very angry. I did. When that happens you must quickly realise that those are only thoughts and not you. You do not believe it, but slowly you will have to come to accept that for a fact.

There is this stream of thoughts that come rushing round and round your head happily on their own, like naughty little children having fun and causing a riot. There is nothing you can do much about them. Let them run, until they are tired. Sure, they the thoughts or stream of thoughts will get tired.

But only for a fleeting moment. Then off they go again. Round and round.

The key is to catch that momentary pause in the stream of thoughts. That momentary pause is gives one the window to "nothingness of no thoughts." That gives one a glimpse of the "cloudness mind." That clear and calm mind. Mind without thoughts is a clear and spotless as a mirror in the Hubble telescope.

The task from this point on is not to focus on the thoughts, but to look for that thoughtless gap with the stream of thoughts is tired and paused and keep prolonging that gap one time after another time.

When you have mastered widening the gap, you have found your real mind.

With body still, thoughts still, there is the mind - which is still. In that pristine stillness of mind, reality is reflected for you to observe.

This is all there is to meditation, in so far as I know it. Without any superfluous connotation whatsoever.

At that stage, one can live happily.

I invoked that state of mind when I wanted to quit smoking a long long time ago. I quit instantaneously, in a world of no smoke.

Technical Aspects of Meditation - By which simple things are made complicated


This is a Sanskrit term for focusing the mind.

As riotous thoughts rush about, one way to cut through those thoughts is to focus the mind. (My gap method is easy and faster.)

Some will tell you to focus on something - light, flame, symbol, image.

Once you are able to focus your mind and cut out thoughts, you have already found your basic mind.

There is all there is to it.

Some people wants to put in more layers of meaning, but I think that is not necessary.


This is a Sanskrit term for looking to wisdom.

The idea is that after you are able to clear your thoughts and focus your mind, what do you focus on?

The instruction here is to looking for wisdom. What is wisdom? Reality. Things as they are.

So, the exercise is to observe with one eyes and one's mind things as they are, and accept them as facts.

This sounds like simple, but it is not that simple.

Our minds are clouded by preconceptions and prejudices. Most of the time, we do not see with our minds, we filter things with our preconceived ideas. We often looks for proofs of our imaginings and gross generalisations and of course we find what we look for, usually, with things that are mental.

See with a clear mind, cloudless, colourless.

That's a lifetime of practice.

There is no need to sit and meditate in a darkened room with incense and low music.

Observe as we go about living our everyday lives, and become by the things we learn about ourselves, our friends, and our surroundings.

That's the truth.


Madness comes from greed. Do not practice samadhi or vipassana if you are greedy or vengeful. It can kill you. If you are obsessed, i.e., if you can't let go of things or let things be, then you obsession may kill you. For example, you hang on to a thought and won't let go. You follow that same thought every moment. That, to me, is the definition of madness.

Everything Will Pass

This is the ultimate wisdom - everything will pass. So, things do not really matter. Or rather, nothing really matters in the end.

This realisation comes heavily on us as we grow older and then old. When energy goes, and we accept things as they are, rather than try to change things to suit us.


I thought that I had better elaborate a bit on the no-mind stuff just in case there are a person or two who is curious about it.

As you can see, it is not complicated - maybe tedious and involved. The literature is all over the place, usually badly written by illiterates luminaries who speak in foreign languages through their toothless gaps in the middle of a jungle.

There are other books (Western) which makes things too simple - which learns one to pamper oneself unnecessarily.

I don't think these things as I have written above are a big deal. There are just a skill that can be learned, like typing on a computer or using the iphone. The trick is not a make a big deal out of things.

I shall next write on Why I Live, and How I Live. I am inexorably going into a situation which I am reluctant to enter.


Neil said...

That is an important post. Every word of it. Good to keep and refer.

One wonders why the above has not been so clearly written out before. For instance, world of no smoke for the young keeps health and wealth.

Looking forward to the next's...

Neil said...

I woke up this morning still thinking about this post.

And this is my thought. If ever i am given one gift for all of mankind, it would be to prove samsara.

The limits of all our secular knowledge from beginning of time until now are circumscribed by correlating observable effects from probable causes.

For instance if i type 'a' now, 'a' appears on the screen. The observed effect is 'a' on the screen and it is an event which takes place immediately when pressure is exerted on the button labeled 'a' on the keyboard. This is Hume. If i do this action frequently to statistical significance, i infer a causal chain.

However, someone may say it's not necessarily true; perhaps there is a tiny and invisible monkey behind the screen which pixellates 'a' onto the screen each time it sees me pressing 'a' on the keyboard. Voila, ends cause and effect. No. The causal chain then is between me as typist and the tiny monkey as magician assistant. But how do i prove it doesn't exist in order to conclude it's all physics? How does one prove something doesn't exist? There is no invisible banana for an invisible monkey. And, yes, i do vaguely remember the blogger mentioning madness.

Our great hope of life is determinacy. Our only secular tool is observable cause and effect. If allowed a latitude, two ways to observe; one by direct sensing using the brain, other by inference using an invisible faculty called mind.

What is wished for which hopefully will benefit all humanity is to assimilate the notion of causal chain of the physical/secular world into a similar if not exact replica notion of causal chain of the non-physical/ ethical world.

That would provide a quick and convenient explanation for why some people are lucky disproportionate to their moral turpitude while others who uphold conscience get short shrift from life. The menu and itinerary were already caused out in a previous life and unfolded in this one with a ricocheting effect waiting in the background to set a new course for the next life.

To be able to prove samsara is a first step to bringing its business model into just one, present, life. Then theoretically we should be able to see the invisible effects of what we do.

So that we can work on the next phase - how we make decisions or take choices - and twin physical action with moral/ethical preferences - to a higher plane.

Because when we know why from a causal perspective, there should be no quibbling anymore about anything.

Perhaps then we can live progressively with and despite nothing mattering.

Neil said...

and ..