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During meditation, how do you let go? I focus on my meditation object but thoughts come in and with them is an attachment to any particular thought. Is this okay, should i just keep my focus on the object and eventually it will float away?

Thank you again my friends.

  • Bring it back, again and again is the practice anyone can follow. It develops the capability of concentration to present reality. – Shrawaka Feb 26 '17 at 5:31
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The way you deal with it depends on the type of meditation. But for beginners, whether you cultivate Samata or Vipassana does not make so much difference in that respect.

It is usually advised to beginners to emphasize the application of alertness. Alertness is like a spy: it is a mind that check where you find yourself, how you are doing, whether you still focus on your object and in what way. The more alert you are, the less inattentive you are. When you are not alert at all, you wander without noticing that you are wandering. In other words, it is advised not to try to hold onto the object very tight, but to often check how you are doing. In the beginning, you will lose your object of concentration a great deal, so you will have to realize that you lost your object as often. This is bound to happen. You can not simply set out to stay with your object without loosing it in the beginning, for that would not be realistic. So, your goal as a beginner ought to be something like "I will notice every time I lost my object", "I will not wander for too long", "I will not be inattentive and dive into objects mindlessly" rather than "I will hold onto my object so tight I will never ever loose it." It is a way of saying that on the outset, the cultivation of alertness is more important that that of mindfulness.

There are exercises you can engage in, that will show you how "funny" your mind is. Hopefully they will help you find a way to cultivate concentration. For instance, sit for half an hour in a meditation posture, and tell yourself "Whatever happens, wherever my mind goes, it's fine by me. I will not interfere, I will not judge, I will not try to change its course. I will simply step back and observe." When you do that, your mind behaves surprisingly well. But as soon as you stop observing it, it goes wild. There is an idiom that goes "When the cat's away, the mice will play".

On the opposite side, you can try to not think of an elephant for a couple of minutes. Set out to purposely not think of an elephant, for two minutes. Try very hard. The more you purposely try not to think of an elephant, the more you think of it. In fact, once, I received this instruction "not to think of pizza for two minutes", and I managed quiet well when, instead of setting out to not think of a pizza, I told myself "It's okay if you do. Just observe your mind." Why? It is because when you do that, you take a step back, you disengage from the external object, you do not dive into it. Whereas when you plan to not think of this or that, you will tend to dive into whatever you are not supposed to think of. It shows you that, if you lost your object of concentration because you were thinking of something else, it will not get better if you are forceful and beat yourself up, and regret loosing your object, etc.

Of course, you mind wanders because it lacks habituation. Actually, it's used to jump from one thing to the next. It's good news: there is nothing that doesn't get easier through training. Another thing is that your mind wanders because you do not see things the way they are. That is why, even if you want to cultivate Samata, it is good to sometimes engage in analytical meditation on death, impermanence, suffering, and so forth. Because this will support your non-attachment, non-anger, etc. Not attached, your mind will wander less. Not angry or frustrated, when you will loose your object, you will not want to be separated from your "failure" so badly that it will hinder your concentration.

  • One trick i am learning to use is to see it as i am a soul who entered this person body. I can hear, see, feel, taste everything he does but i can not act or give orders as its not my body and it wont repond. Then i just meep focusing on my object. No matter what mt mind say i cant act on it even if i wanted as its not mt body. So i am forced to be the watcher. When thoughts enter my mind its okay as long as i have the object in mind. This takea the control awau from my mind. No more doing what ever my thoughts tell me. Thank you for your reply. – DeusIIXII Feb 24 '17 at 11:28
  • @DeusIIXII It is not your mind either ;-) – user2341 Mar 2 '17 at 1:07
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For me, letting go is practised by directly being vigilant of the mind itself (and thus having no intention of observing any other meditation object such as the breath).

The path to letting go is practised by being vigilant of the mind itself to ensure it is not grasping at anything, not desiring anything or not judging anything in terms of 'positive' & 'negative'.

When the mind is well-established in such letting go, stillness & quiet - the breathing by itself may automatically come into that quiet awareness.

If the breathing automatically comes into awareness, the mind should not grasp at the breathing but continue to maintain itself in the state of non-desiring & letting go.

The mind should always keep itself detached towards the continued awareness of breathing.

This is an advanced practise.

Once can start with soft open eyes & be vigilant of the quiet watchful clear mind at the eyes.

  • I try to be vigilant. Maybe that the problem. Just let it flow. Just let it happen – DeusIIXII Feb 24 '17 at 11:59
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    If the clear spacious mind itself is watched, it may be easier to be vigilant. But deliberately trying to watch the breathing may result in a loss of vigilance towards the mind. – Dhammadhatu Feb 24 '17 at 12:02
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DeusIIXII, I believe that as long as your intentions are honorable, based on serious desire and morality, you will be guided from within as to what to do next. There is no rush, you have all eternity to work this out. Time is not measured by revolutions by the earth around the sun, but time is a concept and doesn't really exist. We have all eternity to realize we are more than a human, experiencing this dream-state-reality. Our limited mind cannot grasp that this experience is both a dream and reality. But we can intuit it by using: trust.

Your internal response to the answers posted here, or anywhere are from your own internal guide. You will discriminate and decide, only limited by your sincerity as to what is right and wrong for you at your stage of development. Trust and love your internal guide. It's the only way to "let go" as you are seeking. Concepts and thoughts remain as only finer objects. A brick in your hand or a thought in your mind are of the same substance; both objects. You are much greater than all of this. Just let go into meditation with the trust that this is the true reality. Anything else is an object and has no permanence, or importance, as it will all end in nothingness in the end. You will intuit through your heart the realization of the endurance of your true self. Eventually, you will see this dream-life, that is real, and is only the passing show. Have no fear is so important. Learn the meaning of Dharma. Trust.

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For a simple answer to your question:

What I do in order to let go of a thought is to recognize it as a thought and then simply think, "Let it go," with all of my conscious effort.

I think this in an actual way, feel it, and then notice whatever my thoughts are going on about fall away as the result.

Then I think something like, "Become one with the breath," or, "Become the breath," with all of my conscious effort.

I am no expert, but this seems to help.

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The question itself, "how do I let go?" is a sort of koan: if someone could tell you how, it would be a contradiction! The issue is the "I" that must let go, its perspective has to change. It is like me asking, "how can I move your arm?"

When you see that the me is not yours (or you just forget it) then it happens. Of course then the seeing won't be by you. Soon or late, it will.

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