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Meditation for Everyday Life

Lesson 6 of 28

Labeling Thoughts as Thinking

David Nichtern

Meditation for Everyday Life

David Nichtern

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Lesson Info

6. Labeling Thoughts as Thinking

Lesson Info

Labeling Thoughts as Thinking

We're adding now a third step to the to the practice which completes that you're understanding. This shaman taught meditation this mindfulness meditation, which is the third step, is called labeling thoughts as thinking labeling. So step one, take your seat step to bring your attention to the breath going in and out and step three is what is what happens when you notice you're mind is wandering off and this is very important that look at this because I want to say a few things one is you're not trying to shut that down, everybody makes that mistake. If only there was a valve, I could turn, crank it, you know, and achieve peace and quiet by suppressing the mind and in this particular type of practice that's not necessary, and you can't do it that it's literally almost physically impossible to shut up in that way, you know, like, you know, it's like a kid who, you know mother says, shut up and you go, you know, there's something still that's going to want to come out so we don't look at ...

that part of her mind is bad. This is very revolutionary here. In fact, we want to know more about it, we want to look at it as it arises and what the nature of it is. But we don't want to indulge it it's like a kid you don't want to indulge the kid say okay that's ok? And so we take a nonjudgmental attitude towards that very unbiased open attitude towards that kind of play of the mind that those thoughts that air coming going but we do notice them and label them thinking so uh and then we come back to breath so this is an extra final kind of step in the process this is all there is to it no for right now you don't need to know that counting or any of those kind of extra details are seeing colors whirling wheels of you know like that pin wheel in the sky or flashes of light just those things if they happen they just come and go that's not what we're doing here we're paying attention to our breath very grounded very present and then I'm thinking tio oh, I got a great idea here you know? I think what I'll do is this company's pretty good I'll start my own creative live company you know, uh I had an idea for a and it could be very meditative we'll talk about I think mine will just be all about meditation and wellbeing and stuff like that and I know some friends who are and then you go there's a little gap and I'm little clique of awareness you go oops and you label thinking say say the word quietly to yourself thinking come back to the breath then you're back with the okay good I get it you know this is really like this is good for a laugh or two you know? But I don't think I'm really seriously interested in this kind of thing you know, uh for one thing it's sort of sedentary and kind of like dull and even if I could say boring and probably pointless to some extent and I think what I really need ay me what I need is you know, toe really get in shape this year like I need to finally cut my addiction to sugar you know and get my body all tight and then you know when I show up people are going to go like who's that and then there's a little gap and you see that cloud at bubble cloud of thought and then you label it thinking you come back to the breath so when we see it we're not judging it we're not adding a second tier of investigation or evaluation we sometimes a touch and go there is nothing wrong with it you can actually kind of notice the texture and flavor of it you don't have to repress it but we also don't indulge it so we neither repress nor with it when we say we need a lead nor follow that's a very good way of looking at it so we're going to add that I want to make sure hold the questions for one minute cause I wanna make sure we have time to actually do this and then we'll have a period of questions. So for those of you here and those of you in the online gathering if you could again one take your seat and that's just give me just a sense of saddling yourself where you are and then to what's number two well somebody else placement of attention on the breath so you're breathing but you're also being aware of the breath mindful of the breath going in now and then third step is when you notice your attention is not on the breath and you're thinking about something else simply identified that by saying the word thinking quietly to yourself and bring your attention back to the breath back to the awareness of the breath so let's try that for five minutes again this will be a silent meditation but everybody now knows what we're doing so please if you don't try this with us, don't use this as a chance to go get it coffee break okay, this is the meat and potatoes of the of the workshop so you might want to just stretch your legs are, um body a little bit yeah, this is kind of where the idea being friendly to yourself comes into play really nicely and uh if you're at home and doing this you can actually get up and stretch for a moment sometimes the twist is good you know, this getting this angle going back then could be good just shake it out whatever you like you know so I want to read you something very brief that is a quote that a friend sent to me and the person being quotas tibetan st actually great meditation teacher from a thousand years ago so if you think you know we're doing something kind of unprecedented too it's not there's a long lineage and history of people just like us working with us but this is kind of a good quote from miller rape is a famous tibetan yogi that a lot of a lot of people would have uh quoted and he was considered to be you know uh fully enlightened person by the end of it and a mess when he started. By the way, which is good news for us I think you know so he said when you run after your thoughts you're like a dog chasing a stick every time a stick is thrown you run after it instead be like a lion who rather than chasing after the stick turns to face the thrower won on lee throws a stick at a lion once, so the idea of following every thought which is our habit we just follow every thought like the little puppy like you know, where is this one going taking and the idea of beginning to come back to the mind that is throwing the stick and resting, routing your awareness more? This is very powerful, so this is really kind of the practice that we're doing um and the shaman tha that's the full thing one take your seat to bring awareness to the breath and three when you notice the thinking label it thinking, bringing awareness back to the breath and again, this is some rise in the, uh in the handout that we have if you register for the course online, you can get that down loaded it's very carefully summarized in two pages so this practice you could do for the rest of your life if you're tuning out now and saying that's good enough for me, I'm happy because this practice is a profound practice we are going to go on from there as we continue on andi, we're also going to deepen our relationship to this practice, but I'm going to learn some other ones too um along the lines of what we talked about making friends with other people to compassion practice for so, uh we could just pause for a minute we have a few minutes left for questions about this you've now been given like it say the full monty you know that's it just one take you seat to place your attention on the breath and three when you notice your mind wandering don't judge it don't be harsh but labeled thinking and come back to the breath okay so let's see where we are with our money kelly did you have your hand up? You're just fixing your hearing what I like a little bit about oh I'm thinking acknowledged the thinking and then I come back and I'm narrating my breathing, narrating, narrating him, breathing in, breathing out and breathing in so I'm focusing on it but I'm married in it well, you think that's a good point that you're making elected to use that to clarify something we're actually talking about the experience of the breath rather than just the idea of it and so commenting on it so just it's an experience that you having, you know, if if if you're getting a massage right somebody's robbing your shoulder do you say he's robbing my shoulder now what? She's rubbing my shoulders? No, you go with the feeling of it, so I think the breath is more like that it's we're really talking about a sensory experience we're actually working with the sensory experience of the breath yeah noticing that I like the tightness in my back when I expand my lungs and then a little bit wandering on michael, you know sometimes I ask my body questions like what do you need you know are you need to stretch green position but feeling well know so wrath tozzi my seeing your name on it okay um but it is spelled t a s I s is a shoe it's with a lot okay, what we were is that from its lakota look okay, so um when that is coming up do you recognize that's the storyline of a sort and a little thinking yeah thinking some of the thoughts going about what we're doing right now okay, I'm meditating you know this is good you know my back I'm noticing this whatever thinking happens trunk grandma used to say it's very democratic situation all thoughts are treated equal customers you know and all notice label thinking come back so even if it's about the practice itself julie lots of thoughts lots of labeling but a little window into, um more compassion with myself, okay? And that was nice, huh? How did you experience that? Well, I didn't I guess I what didn't happen, which has happened before, what didn't happen was when I said thinking I didn't go until late shame or judgment I just went back and that was that even if that just happened once that's like a shift sliver of light yeah, yeah, good, yeah, yeah and don't don't take this the wrong way but I thought of being in a dentist chair because well it's you know dentists is needed right and if you need a dentist you're dennis yeah that's a good thing um but feeling supported um feeling also vulnerable you know, this thing flying overhead and you know vulnerable yeah so like one of your employees is gonna knock you out with your brother with you on camera I hope not you get a word from the so you have kind of like exposed in a way and not on guard, you know, so on and and in general we say by the way if you do practice is I'm going to sit for ten minutes and fifteen minutes stay with it unless they actually do hit you in the head or the house actually is on fire but I really have some discipline container like once we start we should remember to use to say this once you start it's better not to start it all but once you start you should finish properly. I so often think who I am is that narrator in my head my thoughts on and now there's this whole other part mindfulness on my breath and I'm like but who is that we're going to get into that a little bit later on so that's interesting it's like a little bit like who's who's meditating whose big my footbath and who is that person who's like got a mind like a squirrel that's just running all over the campus who that you know all good questions is there a difference between thoughts and questions because I feel like I wasn't really thinking things I was just let I had a question and like in my head and I really need to write that down you're saying I can't that's cold that's cold thought just to be clear about it yeah but I meant like how can you be sure that you're not going to forget what the look the question yeah that's good forget it for now forget it. Aye aye, captain that's what? I want to hear you saying okay, yeah, I was trying to weigh don't want let go you know, even for a minute we don't let go even for one minute try wait we only have a minute or so can we just get one question from the online it's interesting what people were saying somebody echoed exactly what carrie was saying here that they found five minutes initially intimidated but they said as they began to breathe and began to concentrate they really got into it on I apologize I didn't get you know I think this d c t designs so apologies for that we also got a really interesting comment about somebody who about their spine in rats twenty two says I noticed even though I thought my spine was elongated at the start of the five minutes the longer we meditated the teller my spine became beautiful people are growing yeah, people are growing this is this is a wayto as I said in the title the workshop this is a way to increase your height there's a workshop in getting taller lovely well, we actually are about to go to our lunch break okay, but this has been a fantastic segment what do we have to look forward to when we come back? You know? And um the next segment is going deeper into the practice how to meditate to it's the sequel and, uh, we're going to talk about, uh, the idea of we're actually leaving some space here like we're going now to leave some space to have lunch, you know, we have to leave some space somewhere so we're going to talk about that idea and also some of the common threads things that come up like a lot of the things that we're experiencing you know what? What do we all have in common? What are some of the things that come up most often for people when they're doing this kind of practice? So we're going to keep going deeper into the practice right after lunch but have a good lunch and enjoy and is there anything that we have the so well, we want to definitely keep, uh, keep you aware the feedback that's coming in, beka says. David is an amazing teacher. I've been working with him one on one for months, so I think you probably know becka, um, caretaker says hi from japan, it's one a m here. No way I'm going to make it through until eight a. M I have work tomorrow.

Class Description

In today’s hectic world, our busy lives often crowd out any chance to sit still. Who has time to focus on mindfulness when there are 40 emails to write? Join Buddhist teacher David Nichtern for an introduction to meditation. David will show you how meditating for just 15-30 minutes a day will clarify your mind and decrease your stress levels.

David will teach you the basics of meditation, unpacking the centuries-old spiritual tradition into a practical playbook for living a balanced life. You will learn simple posture, breathing, and directed contemplation techniques that will help you unclutter your mind and increase your energy.

Stillness is a powerful way to be kind to yourself. At the end of this workshop, you will be more present, aware, and connected to the world around you.


Sean Newton

I've tried to develop a meditation practice in the past and signed up for this course because of the title ..'everyday life' This course works!! I'd like to thank David and the Creative Live crew for providing a life enhancing course. At first I was a little impatient as I thought the sessions were long, drawn out and repetitive however, half way through it 'clicks' (it made sense) and what may seem as a long-winded preamble is in fact laying a firm foundation for understanding and progression. Hastily wanting to skip to some perceived 'good bit that helps hedge fund mangers etc ' is like sprinting to the end of the rainbow instead of appreciating the various colours. (Your own perceptual colours even ;-)) Anyway, a worthwhile course - so stay the course and feel better for fit

a Creativelive Student

David is an amazing teacher, he has a gift for relating the principles of mindfulness in an accessible, relatable way. Plus, he's really funny. I'm super psyched to participate in this workshop. Thanks CreativeLIVE!


Also found this through the DTFH podcast. What a wonderful, powerful, and approachable course in meditation. Highly recommended to anyone interested in starting on this path. It's chock full of practical information and ways to apply meditation to your life.