Zen Schmen: Don’t Mind If You Don’t No-Mind

Zen Schmen: How to Meditate

In Health & Wellness, Treatment by Tree House Recovery

Jon Kabat Zinn is a leading thinker and author on meditation. In a Big Think video, he talks about the true science of meditation: observing your thoughts. “We are virtually continually bombarded by thoughts,” he explains and “The challenge is how are we to be in relationship with all of this stuff that is driving our lives.” Overcoming that challenge, he emphasizes, has to do with awareness. “When you get in touch with what awareness really is, then the first thing you realize is those thoughts are not me and they’re not mine.” Taking a step back from thoughts helps us to take a more objective look at our thoughts, which immediately begins to dissolve them. “Then you can observe them like a scientist,” Kabat Zinn continues, “What is the nature of this thought? Where does it come from?”

Most people misunderstand what meditation is. Zen is a leading image of meditation, often depicted by sitting still, eyes closed, deeply breathing, and inside the mind working toward what is called “no mind”. No mind is interchangeably referred to as Nirvana or Enlightenment or some other supernatural state in which all thoughts and attachment to thought have become absent. Consequently, people spend their meditation trying to think no thoughts and sweep all of their thinking away. “What you’ll get by trying to sweep all your thoughts away is a headache at most, because there’s no way to sweep your thoughts away,” Kabat Zinn illustrates. “They’ll get you every time.”

Think of thoughts like soap bubbles, he suggests, and you’ll realize quickly the fragility thoughts really have. All you need is the arising or the embracing of awareness and the thought pops all on its own. It is somewhat oxymoronic. Try not to think and the thoughts will still come. Think about the thoughts from a state of awareness and the thoughts still come, but they mean less and less. They have less importance. Your attachment to them pops with every bubble.

For men in recovery from addiction, awareness is an important tool. Awareness helps men reduce stress, anxiety, and other challenging feelings, regulate their emotions, and create a foundation of equanimity from which they can operate. Instead of be pushed, startled, and controlled by every fleeting thought, men learn to observe and take power in their own mind, as well as their lives.

At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, men learn the practice of meditation. Our innovative programs use leading evidence based techniques and progressive therapeutic interventions to provide men with the transformations necessary to create sustainable change. By creating sustainable change, men create a sustainable recovery and find freedom from addiction. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474