Thread: Habitual Thinking

  1. #1

    Habitual Thinking

    I saw this quote from Ajahn Sumedho on an online Tricycle page today and was definately able to relate it to my activities this morning!

    "Most of our suffering comes from habitual thinking. If we try to stop it out of aversion to thinking, we can't; we just go on and on and on.

    So the important thing is not to get rid of thought, but to understand it."





    Any comments?

  2. #2
    Forums Member PhillyG's Avatar
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    Hmmm....in my opinion the quote is a little bit narrow.

    So the important thing is not to get rid of thought, but to understand it
    If Ajahn Sumedho means by "understand" to understand the concrete thought that emerges in the mind, it's just the first step to reduce suffering. Next one would be to accept the emersion of the thought ansd it's content.


    If he means by "understand" to understand the process of thinking, then it's closer to the goal of reducing suffering.

    Just my humble opinion

  3. #3
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    Habitual thinking is that which we were born into and grew up with, the result of socialising pressures which result in shared understanding of things. It is so embedded within us that it can take a lifetime of work to undo it. We can't work on thought if we try to 'stop it out of aversion to thinking'. Which, I think, is a warning against trying to empty the mind of all thought. Luckily, in Buddhism we have strategies to deal with our thoughts as they arise, both on the mat and off it.

  4. #4
    Forums Member mjaviem's Avatar
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    I think what we need to understand about thought is that it is impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. Not sure if this is what the venerable meant, though.

  5. #5
    Hi guys,

    The quote seems to originate in this article: "Noticing Space".

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/noticing-space/



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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Hi guys,

    The quote seems to originate in this article: "Noticing Space".

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/noticing-space/
    Yes, this article is about meditation practice where we develop our attitude towards our thoughts. The idea here is neither to dwell on thoughts nor to expect them to go away, leaving an empty mind. For many years my own visualisation practice has been the 'swinging gate' practice where we acknowledge thoughts as they arise but visualise them leaving along a path via a swinging gate, gently letting them go. Eventually the mind settles down and allows us to carry on with whatever meditation practice we are following at the time. It's usually a third stage for me after a body scan and mindfulness of breathing.

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    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Hello Aloka,

    I think I understand what Ajahn Sumedho is saying. The idea is to cease understanding or to cease the treadmill of being stuck in an ongoing loop of living in an illusion filled with concepts. For me, I think he may be hinting that becoming aware of this creates spaciousness which leads to understanding, which in turn reduces the suffering of being stuck in the thinking treadmill.

    Thank you Aloka.

    Kind Regards,

    Gene
    Last edited by Genecanuck; 07 Dec 21 at 12:38.

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