In everyday life our mind is filled with endless thoughts, roughly 60,000 every day. Memories of pains and pleasures, regrets of things we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had, things we wish we had said or hadn’t, things we will say or do in the future, etc., fill our days. Most of our days are filled with struggle, uncertainty, doubt and confusion.
We believe that without these thoughts, nothing can be accomplished, that we will be unhappy and unsuccessful in “life” and even in danger for our very survival. We believe that we are our thoughts and so do this thinking, thinking, thinking from when we wake up until we fall asleep and even in our dreams.
Unfortunately, this approach, as we all know, is unsuccessful; the stream of thoughts just doesn’t deliver the happiness and peace we want. Pleasures are short-lived, and never measure up to expectations, requiring more thoughts and greater effort, and more disappointments in the pursuit of the elusive lasting happiness.
Isn’t there a better approach to happiness, one that would make it possible for you to live a sane and holistic life while fully engaged in the activities of today’s world?
What if you could dramatically slow and perhaps stop the constant stream of thoughts? What if you could live with only occasional thoughts in a heightened awareness that is fully alert, aware and functional, and yet calm, peaceful and happy?
Thoughts would still be available for certain tasks, but they are now an instrument in the band, not the stressed-out, confused solo singer and guitar. “Mental” tasks, when they occur, are done with greater insight, clarity and perception as they no longer have to fight their way through unending competing stream of thoughts.
If you look at when you have had a unique insight, inspiration or revelation, an “ah ha” moment of stillness and clarity, that is what we do in this work – make such occurrences more likely. In fact, that becomes your principal state of being.
How do you free yourself from thoughts?
There are many tools to work with, some contemporary, some intuitive, others ancient and classical. They use practices such as yoga postures, breathing exercises, chanting, meditative inquiry, affirmations, and negations. The linked pages are abstracted from Gary Weber’s book “Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening.” Many other approaches are covered in the book including simple thought exercises, surrender, chakras, diet, recent scientific studies validating the work, reasons for practice, sitting meditation, what awakening is like and what it isn’t, background texts including Ramana Maharshi’s Upadesa Saram, Shankara’s Nirvana Shatakam, and selections from the Bhagavad Gita, and many dialogues and discussions with students. A table of contents is in the book link.
Much of the work focuses on watching thoughts in different situations and investigating their structure. These approaches have been used for thousands of years and have been rediscovered by virtually every culture.
It is not necessary to change your name, clothing, or hairdo, adopt some strange customs, travel to a distant location, retire from the “world”, stop working, or give away one’s possessions to engage in this work. Gary continued his practice and “awoke” while having a family and working successfully in research institutions, industry and academia. He continued working successfully afterwards for many years.
View Gary Weber’s biography HERE
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What “no thoughts” means – 3 different kinds of thoughts
Published on Jul 14, 2013
Description of the three principal types of thoughts and the cognitive neuroscience networks in which they occur; problematic thoughts from the default mode network, tasking thoughts in the task positive network, and problem solving that is done “off line”.
Problematic thoughts can be largely eliminated by using nondual, self-inquiry, to reduce/eliminate the ego/I. This allows higher performance while doing tasks.
Most complex problem solving is done off-line by the “elephant” of billions of neurons and trillions of synapses that make up the high speed parallel processors and huge data storage of our brain. After the “elephant” solves the problem, it is sent to the on-line “rider”/press secretary, the “I”, for broadcast and claiming credit.
No Thoughts, No Time, Part I – Gary Weber
Loss of thought, functioning w/o thought, the default mode network, published current research on cognitive neuroscience on meditation for one month, different “me-ing/selfing” networks.
“No Thoughts, No Time: The Experience, The New Science” Science and NonDuality Conference, October 22, 2011 in San Rafael, CA. Dr. Gary Weber. The video “No Thoughts, No Time, Part II” is the segment of the talk following this video.
Recent cognitive neuroscience demonstrates that meditation can permanently reduce or eliminate the wandering mind. This wandering mind, called the default mode network, is the common situation in most folks’ minds when they are not doing a task, and is a self-concerned, “I, me, my” focused, narrative. Most of our unhappiness, worry, concerns, and fears are generated and aggravated by the operation of this default mode network. Meditation can change that. It is also possible to lose the negative aspects of a sense of time.
No Thoughts, No Time, Part II – Gary Weber