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CMR -Thoughts And Letting Go At The Comfort Zone

by Julie, Therapist
(United Kingdom)

When I go to the comfort zone and let go and the second type of thought comes up, you say to "do nothing". Does that mean that I do keep awareness of the thought and favour the comfort zone, because to "do nothing" leaves me not really knowing what to do and needing some advice.

Julie, my responses are below in blue font. - Gavin Hoole

I'm not sure what you mean by the 'second type of thought', but I'll try to clarify. There are basically two kinds of thoughts (to keep it simple).

(1) There is usually some mental activity going on ... like background noise. We ignore that; don't bother about it. Sometimes (perhaps often) that mental activity has enough form to be able to be considered to be a 'thought'. It has some meaning. Again, we just ignore those thoughts; don't give them any attention; don't 'entertain' them. If we notice such thoughts, regard the noticing as a signal to come back to the comfort zone and let go again. You're not actually engaged in the thought at this stage; you're just aware that it is there. When you notice such thoughts, then easily come back to the comfort zone.

(2) Sometimes before you notice such thoughts and come back to the comfort zone, without realising it the thought has drawn you (your mind) into the thought's content, and away you go into being 'engaged in the thinking'. Your mind is no longer resting. It is being used by you to think stuff, perhaps with some feelings attached.

You're so engrossed in the thinking that you don't even realise it. Then, when whatever it was that triggered that thought situation has lessened enough, you will become aware that you were not resting the mind but were actually involved in the thinking. When you have that recognition, again you come back to the comfort zone and let go.

So it becomes a cycle, really, letting go at the comfort zone and then coming back to it each time you become aware of no longer resting the mind.

Your word 'favouring' the comfort zone is a good way of putting it. (They use that in TM. They say when you have thoughts along with the mantra, then favour the mantra.)

It is as if we are effortlessly ignoring thoughts. We don't bother about the mental activity, or the thoughts that come and go. We don't enliven them either by giving any attention to them. If we find that we are giving them attention, and realise it, then we favour the comfort zone. If we become engaged in the thinking, then when we realise that, we come back to the comfort zone again and let go.

Letting go is a way of saying: don't try to keep your attention there. Just bring it there and then rest. Effortless is the name of the game -- no focusing on the comfort zone, or concentrating or holding our attention there.


I am enjoying CMR but realise I am getting stuck at this point. I am OK with deciding to take my awareness back to the comfort zone when I realise I have been caught up in thinking, but get a bit lost then with the instruction to let go. This may seem to be an unnecessarily complicated question, but I feel it is holding me back.

This uncertainty is normal. It is good to have the procedure clarified. So thanks for asking.

Comments for CMR -Thoughts And Letting Go At The Comfort Zone

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Peripheral Vision
by: Julie, United Kingdom

Hi Gavin

Again thank you for your help - my CMR is revitalised - I was getting rather stuck.

You are welcome to use any of my questions in the Q&A if you set it up. Follow-ups would be terrific too.

A point, which you may not agree with. I use peripheral vision with my clients as a way of accessing a deep and aware state, and there are some Hawaiian meditations which use this. I find that if I go into peripheral vision before closing my eyes and going into CMR, that it helps keeping my awareness, rather than drifting off, when I favour this wide focus in my inner sight.

One more point. I find that as the CMR Enhancer moves me to more awareness of my inner hearing, that the "sound of silence" (nada yoga) is becoming more apparent. I used to try to do listening to the "inner sound" as a meditation, but was not successful. That was because I tried too hard to stay with it. Your way of dealing with the different types of thoughts is brilliant, and helps people who try too hard (like me) to relax into CMR.

Regards, Julie

Adding Other Techniques To CMR - Part 1
by: Gavin, Unlock-Your-Happiness.com

Thank you, Julie.

I appreciate your input and am pleased things have improved for you and your CMR.

I'm not familiar with the methods you refer too. The point with CMR is that we don't have any intentions for during the session, other than allowing the mind to rest. The only reason we come to the comfort zone when we begin a CMR session is to have a starting point for our awareness so that it is not at that moment left engaged in thoughts and thinking.

In popular terminology one could say it is to 'centre oneself' or to 'come back on the Self'. Then, when we realise we are off on a thought-journey, in order to disengage from thoughts and thinking, and instead of trying to push the thoughts away (which involves giving them more attention anyway), we bring our attention to somewhere else -- the comfort zone -- and then let go.

As soon as we try or desire to keep the awareness anywhere, we're hindering the spontaneous movement of the mind to follow its natural tendency, which is to move towards the peace that knows no understanding -- bliss, absolute stillness. The mind 'knows' where that 'place' is, just as it knows where the state of sleep is. By sitting up, we are signalling that we're not intending to sleep, but to allow the mind full freedom to rest from its incessant jabbering.

Now, during this process, as soon as the mind settles down a bit, it starts clearing any obstacles in its path towards that absolute rest. Such obstacles are usually referred to as stored stresses or impurities in the mind-body system. This is where the term 'stress release' comes from, which is mentioned in several meditation techniques and research studies.

We sometimes experience this also when we're drifting off to sleep, and a leg 'jumps' as if we've just mis-stepped while going up or down some stairs. Sometimes an arm might twitch. So, although we are drifting off to sleep, that relaxation that is taking place dislodges some stored stress in the muscles, and we experience that as a jerk of some sorts. That movement in the body catches our attention for a moment or two, and then we continue to drift off to sleep again.

During Conscious Mental Rest a similar thing happens, but we are drifting towards mental rest or stillness, to whatever degree our nervous system is able to allow that. In that spontaneous process, our entire system starts to settle down -- mind, body, breathing -- and that settling down allows stored stresses to 'dissolve' or dislodge and be released from their sticking-points in the system. As this happens, the movement of the mind towards more and more subtle states of functioning gets disrupted, and that shift inside us is reflected in the mind as thoughts or mental activity.

Adding Other Techniques To CMR - Part 2
by: Gavin, Unlock-Your-Happiness.com

So, as we start CMR the mind settles down a little, and then the settling-down is disrupted by thoughts as a result of 'healing' activities going on in our mind-body system. This can happen after a few seconds, and we can get confused and think we're not 'doing it properly'. The truth is, we are doing it correctly, and that is why thoughts keep coming.

Instead of fighting the thoughts and energising them more by giving them attention in trying to get rid of them, we just allow them. If we're aware of them, we just come back to the comfort zone and let go again. :-)

It can sound like a very frustrating answer, but that is what we do. If you were to try to 'keep your awareness' during CMR by using peripheral awareness or any other method, you would not be allowing the mind to work for you in its most efficient way. You would be manipulating the process.

It is so ingrained in us that to achieve anything in life, we have to do something, or try, or apply some effort. In truth, this is not how to go about this when allowing the mind to rest. Those laws may apply in the physical world of achievement, and the mental world of memory training, learning, and so on. But in the field of consciousness itself, those approaches fall short.

What we need to 'do', is learn how to 'not do'. We're already familiar with this at bed time. It is only when we do not try to fall asleep, when we let go, that sleep finds us and takes us to that different state of consciousness -- deep sleep or dream sleep.

That's how we approach CMR. It is fine to use tools to get ready for CMR, like the deep inward and outward breath after closing our eyes, or pranayama yoga breathing to calm oneself down and get settled for the session. But once we come to the comfort zone for the first time, we're now into CMR itself, and there is only one method for the duration of the session. That is one of allowing, of innocence, not expecting or hoping for anything, not trying or applying any tools other than coming back to the comfort zone and letting go. This may seem to happen over and over again during one session; and it may occur only every now and again as we get further into the session. We don't mind. It all depends on the state of our nervous system during that particular session.

I hope this further clarifies things the CMR way. I appreciate that most other systems do involve 'techniques'; but CMR involves the natural tendency of the mind, and we trust that the inner intelligence knows what it is doing, just as it does during digestion, breathing, sleeping, causing us to stretch some mornings, get some exercise, eat some food, drink some water, and go to the loo. :-)

THANK YOU for saying I can use your questions for any Q & A in the future. And this is what I am doing now, by putting these earlier e-mail exchanges on the forum/blog so that others may benefit too.

Best wishes, Gavin

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