Irina Wolf

Complete stillness of the mind

14 posts in this topic

Have you ever experienced complete stillness of the mind?  Let's say absence of thought and suffering.

 

If so, how would you describe the experience?

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Hope that I won’t be banned from forum but since I’m not as advanced as most here, I give a simpler answer. An orgasm.

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True stillness is recognizing the stillness within thoughts, the silence within sounds, the space within physical objects.. Recognizing THAT stillness is way more satisfying than a still mind. I would describing it as a formless womb that is in a perpetual state of creation, moment by moment big bangs birthing the arising and passing of all experiences, all sensations, all form. To tap into this stillness/silence/space is like going home. 

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@Consilience But the addiction to thinking comes from the ego/I-thought. So even though that state you describe seems great, why not go further and get rid of the addiction and the source of it? Of all the non-duality teachings, Ramana Maharshi's are still one of the best, I like that he understood our psychology well and the value of being able to be without thoughts. Many yogis and buddhists understand this too, the Samadhi-states are all free from thoughts, there is great power in it.

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@Irina Wolf

10 hours ago, Irina Wolf said:

Have you ever experienced complete stillness of the mind?  Let's say absence of thought and suffering.

 

If so, how would you describe the experience?

Are you defining "mind" as discursive thoughts, abstract ideas, feelings, etc?  If so, then yes, I have experienced it.  I would describe it like being engrossed in a movie, and then suddenly losing the audio track.  You are still aware of what is happening, but the dialogue and associated emotions vanish.  It's a temporary experience, but you can gain insights from it.

There is a broader definition of "mind" that also includes all sights, sounds, and other sensory perceptions.  In this view, everything you experience is mind.  This can also become still, but then everything disappears.  Both the outside and inside worlds collapse into the void, and there is no one there to notice.  However, it does leave an impression, and it can be recalled afterwards.

10 hours ago, At awe said:

Hope that I won’t be banned from forum but since I’m not as advanced as most here, I give a simpler answer. An orgasm.

@At awe  You are not wrong.

9 hours ago, Consilience said:

True stillness is recognizing the stillness within thoughts, the silence within sounds, the space within physical objects.. Recognizing THAT stillness is way more satisfying than a still mind. I would describing it as a formless womb that is in a perpetual state of creation, moment by moment big bangs birthing the arising and passing of all experiences, all sensations, all form. To tap into this stillness/silence/space is like going home. 

@Consilience  This is a truer stillness.

1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

@Consilience But the addiction to thinking comes from the ego/I-thought. So even though that state you describe seems great, why not go further and get rid of the addiction and the source of it? Of all the non-duality teachings, Ramana Maharshi's are still one of the best, I like that he understood our psychology well and the value of being able to be without thoughts. Many yogis and buddhists understand this too, the Samadhi-states are all free from thoughts, there is great power in it.

@Seraphim There are different states of samadhi, some with and without thoughts present.  Savikalpa samadhi has faint impression and is considered lower than nirvikalpa samadhi, which is without thoughts.  Sahaja samadhi is considered the highest. This is the state that Sri Ramana Maharshi often spoke about.  When a saint experiences this samadhi, they can still conduct all actions as required, including thinking, but they are never distracted from the Truth.  All states have value.

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11 hours ago, Irina Wolf said:

Have you ever experienced complete stillness of the mind?  Let's say absence of thought and suffering.

 

If so, how would you describe the experience?

I did the other night. Its nice feeling to it. But if you're not careful (in what I experienced) you'll can start hearing noised that aren't even there. 

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11 hours ago, Shambhu said:

 

@Seraphim There are different states of samadhi, some with and without thoughts present.  Savikalpa samadhi has faint impression and is considered lower than nirvikalpa samadhi, which is without thoughts.  Sahaja samadhi is considered the highest. This is the state that Sri Ramana Maharshi often spoke about.  When a saint experiences this samadhi, they can still conduct all actions as required, including thinking, but they are never distracted from the Truth.  All states have value.

If a person is addicted to thinking, they have not reached the highest state :) There are more than one definition of Samadhi but the essence of the yogic teachings is the same, refinement and inner purity. Only a neo-advaita-person would be silly enough to think that they are enlightened when they still have addictions and other problems.

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

If a person is addicted to thinking, they have not reached the highest state :) There are more than one definition of Samadhi but the essence of the yogic teachings is the same, refinement and inner purity. Only a neo-advaita-person would be silly enough to think that they are enlightened when they still have addictions and other problems.

Well I'm not claiming enlightenment nor do I ascribe to the Neo-Advaita perspective. What I'm pointing at is the stillness out of which thoughts arise. When this stillness is palpably experienced, it doesn't actually matter whether thoughts are active. This IS NOT the same as being addicted to thinking. Thoughts arise spontaneously due to karma. There's a saying from the book Wu Hsin along the lines of permanently attempting to still the mind would akin to trying to stop grass from growing by screaming at it. It's foolish. 

There's a vital difference between being addicted to thinking, and recognizing the origins of thinking as thoughts arise. There is no "I" to control whether the mind is active, but there can be a palpable awareness of the stillness within the literal substance of thought. And as @Shambhu pointed out, this is a truer stillness than the gross mental activity of mind. 

Furthermore, as one deepens their practice, it will be seen that there are layers of mind activity that are going on even as the surface manifestation of mind is "still." It's crucial to begin recognizing the nature of mind rather than getting lost in its content. Typically this is easier to do when the mind is still, as Ramana points out. But ultimately, the insight can occur without such stilling with enough metacognitive awareness, as defined in the book "The Mind Illuminated". 

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

If a person is addicted to thinking, they have not reached the highest state :) There are more than one definition of Samadhi but the essence of the yogic teachings is the same, refinement and inner purity. Only a neo-advaita-person would be silly enough to think that they are enlightened when they still have addictions and other problems.

@Seraphim You'll be "addicted" to thinking as long as you are "addicted" to breathing. ;-)

11 minutes ago, Consilience said:

Thoughts arise spontaneously due to karma.

@Consilience Nailed it :-)

13 minutes ago, Consilience said:

What I'm pointing at is the stillness out of which thoughts arise.

This is the highest teaching.  All spiritual practices are for the purpose of realizing this alone.

14 minutes ago, Consilience said:

Typically this is easier to do when the mind is still, as Ramana points out. 

Well said.  A calm mind is an opportunity, but not a guarantee. 

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Posted (edited)

How can you be certain that it is unnecessary to reach the thoughtless state? Maybe it would benefit you a lot. Are you afraid that it would be too difficult and uncomfortable to succeed? When spiritual teachers say that it is impossible to stop the thoughts, they mean that you can't force the mind to be quiet, but you can get to the inner silence in other ways, Ramana said that self-inquiry will get you there eventually. Of course it's possible to have inner silence, there are even some unenlightened people who never have thoughts, it is a problem for them because they are dead inside and have no creativity, I don't want anyone to become like that, I want people to be the masters of their own minds, to not be addicted to it, and to understand the value of being able to turn off their thoughts while meditating to reach the deep state of absorption/samadhi that some yogis go into every day and which gives them amazing blessings.

Edited by Seraphim

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

How can you be certain that it is unnecessary to reach the thoughtless state?

@Seraphim How can you be certain it is necessary?

1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

Maybe it would benefit you a lot. 

I think both @Consilience and myself have agreed that it can be very useful.  

1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

Of course it's possible to have inner silence...

No one has denied that.  I even described my own experience of it above.

1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

...there are even some unenlightened people who never have thoughts

Never?  I haven't heard or read of such, and I don't see that as a possibility, unless they are in a coma.

1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

I want people to be the masters of their own minds, to not be addicted to it

Do you mean addicted to particular thought patterns, like negative thinking?  I could certainly see the value of transforming your thinking to better suit your goals, but the complete absence of all thoughts is only a temporary state.  Most people cannot go 20 seconds without thinking.  Advanced meditators can go many hours, but thoughts always return.  It is as much a part of the human experience as breathing, circulating blood, and evacuating, but hey, prove me wrong.  Respond to my post without thinking a single thought ;-)

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2 hours ago, Shambhu said:

I could certainly see the value of transforming your thinking to better suit your goals, but the complete absence of all thoughts is only a temporary state.  Most people cannot go 20 seconds without thinking.  Advanced meditators can go many hours, but thoughts always return.  It is as much a part of the human experience as breathing, circulating blood, and evacuating, but hey, prove me wrong.  Respond to my post without thinking a single thought ;-)

This ^^ 

4 hours ago, Seraphim said:

How can you be certain that it is unnecessary to reach the thoughtless state? Maybe it would benefit you a lot. Are you afraid that it would be too difficult and uncomfortable to succeed? When spiritual teachers say that it is impossible to stop the thoughts, they mean that you can't force the mind to be quiet, but you can get to the inner silence in other ways, Ramana said that self-inquiry will get you there eventually.

A couple of points

- Whether reaching the thoughtless state is necessary or unnecessary I cannot say. Im simply pointing towards an insight into the nature of thoughts that can be described as a stillness that is more absolute than the transient movements of mind.

- I am not afraid of attempting to still the mind, Ive done it many times in meditation and have failed many times in meditation. Thoughts always return. A still mind can be very powerful for purification and insight, but is not always necessary.

- Yes self inquiry will silence the mind eventually. Ive had experiences with such deep self inquiry the entire self structure has collapsed into a void of infinity where there is no longer the psychological ground for thought to exist. Yet thoughts return. The goal of self inquiry is not to silence the mind, though that can happen. The goal of self inquiry is to become conscious of the nature of self - this nature is true even in states of mental stillness or activity. 

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21 hours ago, Seraphim said:

@Consilience But the addiction to thinking comes from the ego/I-thought. So even though that state you describe seems great, why not go further and get rid of the addiction and the source of it? Of all the non-duality teachings, Ramana Maharshi's are still one of the best, I like that he understood our psychology well and the value of being able to be without thoughts. Many yogis and buddhists understand this too, the Samadhi-states are all free from thoughts, there is great power in it.

Having no mind doesnt mean you need to whipe clean your mind all the time. Its realisation that you dont _have_ mind as something you posess. Its rather that you are mind and its movement. Another way some people get it is that you dont have mind or anything because they are gifts. But dont focus complitelly on the gift and forget the giver. 

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On 09/01/2022 at 4:37 AM, JayT79 said:

I did the other night. Its nice feeling to it. But if you're not careful (in what I experienced) you'll can start hearing noised that aren't even there. 

Yesterday I heard music that definitely wasn't there!

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