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My Meditative Moments

Working with the Discursive Mind

by meditative - February 29th, 2016.
Filed under: Insights for Mindful Intelligence.

BodhicittaMonkeyMind‘Mind Chatter’ or ‘Monkey Mind’ as it is often referred is the constant droning of thoughts that appear to run continuously & subconsciously in the back of our minds, all day, every day, without respite. Some refer to this discursive process as sub-vocalization. For some it is relatively unnoticeable, but for others it can be a constant source of disruption and distraction. At times, these thoughts, judgments, and perceptions- our running narrative or storyline– can torment us and cause a great deal of suffering as we become consumed by their overriding presence. When out of control, our mind chatter has the potential to leave us in a state of bewilderment. More often than not, these streams of thought are emotionally charged and highly conditioned from a long pattern of reinforcement and affirmation. They may also serve as protection to our ‘ego’ and self-identity as we stay tethered to what is comfortable and walled from what is feared… real or perceived.

If we think long and hard enough whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s amazing what we may inevitably become, and how our environment and relationships are shaped by the power of this mind chatter. Whether we are aware of it or not, this evolving process carries and projects energy which ultimately manifests both internally and externally… self-perpetuating and contagious respectively.

Our practice in meditation and mindfulness helps to guide us in working with… and regulating our mind chatter through open, receptive awareness and relaxed, stable concentration. What most people have trouble understanding about mind chatter is the inability we have to exercise control over its presence through an intellectual process. It knows us better than we consciously know ourselves. However, what mind chatter does not like is to be objectively watched or witnessed. As an abiding witness to this rambling of mind, we can diffuse its persistence and its virulence when we stop feeding and identifying with it- and when we skillfully continue watching or observing it intentionally and non-judgmentally as nothing more than another event of mind rising and passing in the realm of our self-awareness.

Attitude, perspective, and discipline are key to regulating mind chatter. To simply sit and observe as we have frequently discussed is not as easy as it sounds. However, once the spaces of silence between our thoughts are recognized, the intellect tends to fumble, an influx occurs, and inspiration and intuition begins to flow more freely as we disconnect our automaticity and the reactionary cycle that generally follows. Observing mind chatter with the open & receptive awareness of mindfulness can be the beginning of a transformative process that has real potential to not only quiet the mind and relax the body, but to change the way we are able to work, play, and live free from being drawn into the recurring performances of mind.


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