Counting to ONE the ‘thought-less’ way

No matter how hard I try, I can never count to 20 before an unbidden thought arises from inside of me. I get to three or four while meditating and images pop up on an internal screen capturing my attention. I dare not try this counting method until my body and mind are both well-settled and I can “let go.”

I “pre-set” my mind to simply let the thoughts drift away, to disappear before taking more than a glancing notice. The images, however, bombard my mind if I start the count too soon. A cascade of pictures and corresponding emotions beckon me to “grasp” a thought and shape it into an idea, such an enticing idea, that I simply cannot release it without adding to and building upon it. One thought leads to another and then another until the amount of time I planned for this practice has come and gone.

By then, however, my entire body is completely relaxed. All I need do is merge the stillness of my five senses with the tumultuous mind racing all over. I allow myself more time, as I sense a calm takeover. It’s a glow of sorts that flows through and in me.

It is time, Michael J, to leave thoughts behind and jump into the openness your body has formed. Oh, the thoughts will still come. But almost by magic, I can discover I am stronger and can start the count over. Thoughts will no longer have control over my mind. I can take in — but not get “hooked — the siren call like an Odysseus strapped to a ship’s mast by his fellow disciplined (and ear-clogged) warriors sailing home from some foreign war.

I nudge away the thought and return to my breath. (Four . . . five  . . . six) I see myself standing next to the opening of a giant tunnel shaft. I am inside my body and I watch and feel air ebb and flow through what I now recognize as my windpipe. I’m the guardian of this airflow, in charge of its uninterrupted passage.

Slightly shifting my focus, I return to other parts of my body and direct a soothing calm to those still knotted and coiled up. They loosen. They open and retract. (Seven . . . eight  . . . nine.)

Now I’m free to join the airwaves. To become like a feather, a snowflake, a paratrooper jettisoning from some airborne carrier. I float with nary a care for the past or the future. I’m smack-dab in the middle of the present time.

I’m totally aware of my surroundings, my world is made of sounds and sensory feelings. Like someone who just jumped from a plane in mid-air, I see my chute has opened, that I am free to simply be and enjoy the best life has always offered but I was too busy to slow down and see. Ten . . . eleven . . . twelve.

It is just me and the world around me now. There’s no one else, nothing other than the glorious air filling me breath after breath. (Thirteen . . . fourteen . . . fifteen)

I’m joined by everything within and everything outside of me. I am part of and in the universe, the cosmos, the God that was and is God before any Creation, before the first dependent cause or condition. (Sixteen . . . seventeen . . . eighteen)

I am together. I am united. I am approaching nineteen. I am now twenty.


8 comments on “Counting to ONE the ‘thought-less’ way

  1. Michael J,
    I was buoyed by your post. I find it easy to center myself, and then before I can even realize it, my mind has run away with me and held me hostage, as you say for almost the entire time I had allotted. I find it hard to press on with something I feel a failure at. But then I have to realize that it’s the nature of the beast. It just shows us to ourselves, in quite an obvious way, just how wound up we are, internally and externally. Every one in a while, I get to that relaxation point (after about an hour usually!), and when it happens, it is so relaxing. I like how you said it, like a feather, a snowflake, a paratrooper…


    • contoveros says:

      Once you get there, you realize a much greater state of mind, but a fleeting one that is so hard to recapture.

      I usually don’t hit the high point, but have learned to enjoy the path geting there because it is so relaxing, unwinding and full of loving-compassion.


  2. souldipper says:

    Hope this helps lots of people, Michael J. My teacher suggested we try putting each thought in a boat that floats down the stream. That has been my saving grace. Sometimes the whole session means putting endless thoughts into boats. Other times, a few – then only once in a long while.

    Here you are – passing on the good stuff. Fabulous.


  3. wolfshades says:

    Nice. My daughter has been wanting me to get more into meditation (plus, several friends and doctors have as well, as it’s supposed to help with ADHD). Like you, those fleeting thoughts come and grab me, and once they start, they want to multiply like the horniest of rabbits. So it takes a while to get into it.

    I appreciate the walk-through. Gives me hope that I can try again.


    • contoveros says:

      You can count on it, Wolf. As a meditation teacher once told me “Don’t try. Don’t judge.”

      Don’t try too hard, nor judge too harshly.


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