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The self and thoughts

Usually during meditation, meditators complain about the monkey mind, that random thoughts come and go, and it is very hard to concentrate. This is a legit. complaint, but the real culprit is the self. That's what I have understood in my meditations. Without the sense of self or "I", these random thoughts or feelings/sensations won't bother us all that much.

This is probably why the buddha spoke of the no-self doctrine (there may be a metaphysical truth behind it but it is likewise a practical guide). This is also why J Krishnamurti encouraged his followers to observe the self rather than control thoughts.


  • This is a legit. complaint, but the real culprit is the self.
    The real culprit is taking your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and that sense of knowing to be yours or you. One assumes that one is thinking those thoughts or feeling those sensations. But if one is really doing those things, there would be no difficulty putting an end to them at will.
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    I find it useful sometimes to treat my thoughts like hippopotamuses in that kids game where you have to hit them on the head as soon as posssible after they appear. I find that if I am alert and try to spot thoughts just as soon as they arise, then they cease to arise. Sort of like the old saying that a watched kettle never boils.

    Apropos of nothing, I read of one experiment in QM where it was found a particular fluid boiled less quickly when watched, something to do with the observer effect, so mabe the old saying was partly right.
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