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Ignoring the world

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran
edited December 2021 in Meditation

I came across this quote the other day, by Sri Ramana Maharshi…

“The mind is by nature restless. Begin liberating it from its restlessness; give it peace; make it free from distractions; train it to look inward; make this a habit. This is done by ignoring the external world and removing the obstacles to peace of mind.”

And it set me on an interesting path as far as meditation is concerned. I set out to see if by ignoring the input from one’s senses one could meditate more easily. My first attempt led me to rigidity, freezing in place and concentrating so as not to allow the senses to disrupt things. On examining this more closely I found the tension to be detrimental to reaching a meditative space.

But I notice that with most of my attempts at real meditation I still do something with my attention. It’s on my eyes, in a slightly blurred way, or it’s on my sense of touch, looking at disturbances. I find it quite hard to just ignore everything that comes in, my attention zooms immediately to the nearest bright or hypnotic bauble that impinges on my consciousness.

I suspect the answer is something to do with repose, with just being. Has anyone else tried this?

Bunks

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, but I can only keep it up for about 10 seconds.

    Which is an improvement on my first attempts which were lucky to cover the bat of an eyelid...

    Bunks
  • It is natural for the mind to be pulled towards what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think or feel. It takes effort to practise sense restraint.

    One way to do this is to use a mental anchor eg. the in-out breath. With practice, it gets easier until eventually, it becomes second nature.

    "Suppose a man catches six animals (as before), and he fastens the rope together to a stout post or pillar... Then, when those six animals grow weary, they would have to stand, crouch or lie down by the stout post or pillar. In the same way, monks, when a monk practices and develops mindfulness as to the body, the eye does not struggle to draw him towards attractive visual objects, nor are unattractive visual objects repellent to him... the mind does not struggle to draw him towards attractive objects of thought, nor are unattractive objects of thought repellent to him. This, monks, is restraint.

    "'Tethered to a stout post or pillar,' monks, denotes mindfulness as to body. Therefore, monks, this is how you must train yourselves: 'We shall practice mindfulness as to body, develop it, make it our vehicle, our dwelling-place, our resort, we will build it up and undertake it thoroughly.' This, monks, is how you must train yourselves."

    Jeroen
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited December 2021

    @Jeroen I suspect the answer is something to do with repose, with just being. Has anyone else tried this?>

    Ordinarily I don't try to ignore sensory inputs but just let them flow as they will, not attaching to any. Sometimes when the mind is disturbed and under an unusual amount of stress, I do cut off sensory and mental input, very briefly, to get into a workable meditative state. Eyes closed, hands firmly against the temples, I exhale and cease breathing for a few seconds, cutting off even that fundamental bodily sensation. I find this very useful in calming a troubled mind. It's not so much ignoring inputs, but cutting them off entirely. Requires enough effort and focus (not to mention having to hold the breath) that it can be done only for a few seconds - but that is often enough to soften or remove a major obstacle.

    JeroenShoshin1
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @pegembara said:
    It is natural for the mind to be pulled towards what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think or feel. It takes effort to practise sense restraint.

    One way to do this is to use a mental anchor eg. the in-out breath. With practice, it gets easier until eventually, it becomes second nature.

    I find it interesting that the Buddha points to ‘sense restraint’ and Ramana points to ‘ignoring the world’. They seem to be very similar approaches to weaning the mind away from its fascination with the senses and to find a greater measure of peace and an inward focus.

    The restlessness of the mind is something I also still struggle with. I usually fill my days with little things to keep it busy, forums, a little writing, chatting on WhatsApp. It’s only in sleep that I find complete quiet, and that lasts me some time into the morning. Then the difficulty is to keep rest and not fall into lethargy.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I think its also good to keep in mind here that there are different types of meditations with different types of goals. Maharishi's seems to be more in line with samatha or jhanic meditation.

  • Interesting. You may ignore the world but the world will not ignore you.

  • @Lionduck said:
    Interesting. You may ignore the world but the world will not ignore you.

    When you feel that the world is not ignoring you, you are not ignoring the world!
    There is no difference.

    I don't disturb the world. It's the world that disturbs me!

    Jeroen
  • @pegembara
    The World does not ignore you. But when you ignore the World, your mind is not accepting the reality of the World. Even the act of Centering or eliminating thought or perceived desire is allowing the World to be and being in harmony with it but is not ignoring it. The World perceives you and adjusts for you but is not affected beyond your immediate interactions with it. Thus, if you ignore the World, you become as a pebble in a stream which passes over the pebble, rippling around it but not altered by it. The pebble is acknowledged by the stream but does not effect the stream. When you ignore the World, you are as a ship with furled sails upon the sea, tossed about by the winds and waves. When you acknowledge the World, you can be as a ship sailing across the vast ocean to reach the tranquil harbor.

    Jeffrey
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    Well then, is the world real? Should we accept it on face value? Often we hear that things are not what they seem to be.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited December 2021

    @Lionduck said:
    @pegembara
    The World does not ignore you. But when you ignore the World, your mind is not accepting the reality of the World. Even the act of Centering or eliminating thought or perceived desire is allowing the World to be and being in harmony with it but is not ignoring it. The World perceives you and adjusts for you but is not affected beyond your immediate interactions with it. Thus, if you ignore the World, you become as a pebble in a stream which passes over the pebble, rippling around it but not altered by it. The pebble is acknowledged by the stream but does not effect the stream. When you ignore the World, you are as a ship with furled sails upon the sea, tossed about by the winds and waves. When you acknowledge the World, you can be as a ship sailing across the vast ocean to reach the tranquil harbor.

    If you are unable or unwilling to let go or ignore the "world", you will not escape from samsara. Of course, this isn't everyone's cup of tea.

    “There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore you do know an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned.”

    https://suttacentral.net/ud8.3/en/anandajoti

    Perhaps ignoring is too strong a word. How about seeing it as "empty"?

    [The Buddha:]
    Always mindful, Mogharaja,
    regard the world as
    empty,
    having removed any view
    in terms of self.
    This way
    one is above and beyond death.
    One who regards the world
    in this way
    isn't seen by Death's King.

    howJeffrey
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited December 2021

    @Jeroen said:
    Well then, is the world real? Should we accept it on face value? Often we hear that things are not what they seem to be.

    Like a dream, a bubble.

    Form is like a glob of foam;
    feeling, a bubble;
    perception, a mirage;
    fabrications, a banana tree;
    consciousness, a magic trick —
    this has been taught
    by the Kinsman of the Sun.
    However you observe them,
    appropriately examine them,
    they're empty, void
    to whoever sees them
    appropriately.

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.095.than.html

    You cannot ignore or "unsee" the world because it seems real enough. The work is to see through the illusion and wake up.

    "By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

    "'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html

    how
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2021

    I was actually thinking of how small things go wrong each day and I thought over the phrase "don't cry over spilled milk" which means don't cry over small things that have already happened I guess. Regarding ignoring the senses etc I think it's a technique practiced to reach "deep meditation" but when we come out of meditation we still have to do our daily lives.

  • @Jeffrey said:
    I was actually thinking of how small things go wrong each day and I thought over the phrase "don't cry over spilled milk" which means don't cry over small things that have already happened I guess. Regarding ignoring the senses etc I think it's a technique practiced to reach "deep meditation" but when we come out of meditation we still have to do our daily lives.

    Not just a technique but more than that, much more. It is a breaking through of the illusion.

    Our life is ordinary and just as it is, but we look at it differently. We realize that everything expresses the truth of life and awareness, and is talking to us. We are not locked in on ourselves anymore but fully open to the world. We are not frightened but on the contrary exhilarated. The world is us and we are the world. All this practice—just to realize what was on our very doorsteps!

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/ten-oxherding-pictures/

    JeffreyJeroen
  • We are each a part of the world - inseparable from it. Each of our lives permeates the world and the world permeates each of our lives. We may ignore the world's goings on in our immediate conciesness, shifting our awareness internally is the act perceptive ignoring. however, changing preception does not change reality. It is ok to explore within. it is in fact good. When we turn our conciesness back outward to take our lives into the world at large, we meld our internal awareness with our world awareness. that can be called unity of self and he enviromnment.
    Got to return to my bit of the world.
    Stay safe
    Peace to all

    Shoshin1
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    “This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:

    Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
    Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
    Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.

    So is all conditioned existence to be seen.”

    ― The Buddha, The Diamond Sutra

    Walker
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