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Confusion About When To Come Back To The Comfort Zone

by Unknown

Hi Gavin

In your CMR instruction audio tracks you say something along the lines of 'only when you are engaged in thinking do you return to the comfort zone' paraphrasing. In response to the question about thoughts below, however, you say if we notice any thoughts with 'meaning', to come back to the comfort zone. I'm a bit confused on what to do now as these two instructions appear to be saying different things. For example, during a morning CMR session I might have a lot of thoughts about the day but I'm not 'engaged' with them. I'm aware that they are there but I'm not lost in the thoughts. At other times I get completely lost in them and I regard that as 'engaging', is that correct? Could you please clarify this for me?

Thanks




Gavin's response:

I'm not sure who I am responding to, but I will try to clarify the subtleties of the process. If this response doesn't quite clarify things, please feel free to let me know by means of a comment via the first link after this response.

Thoughts flow at different levels of subtlety. Sometimes they attract our attention and we get quite caught up in them, even going on a thinking spree and losing awareness of the fact that we are sitting for a session of Conscious Mental Rest, to allow the mind to rest. That is when we realise what has happened, and so we shift our attention back to the comfort zone to continue with CMR, and not with thinking about things.

Sometimes thoughts are more subtle and wispy, and they are there in the background; we just ignore them by not giving them any attention at all.

Somewhere between those two situations, we can be aware of the thoughts and what they are about. This sounds like the kind of thoughts you sometimes have in your morning session:

'For example, during a morning CMR session I might have a lot of thoughts about the day but I'm not 'engaged' with them. I'm aware that they are there but I'm not lost in the thoughts. At other times I get completely lost in them and I regard that as 'engaging', is that correct?'

The fact that you are aware that those thoughts are 'about the day', indicates that your attention is with the thoughts enough to know their content. It's a subtle situation, and only you will know to what extent your attention is with those kinds of thoughts or totally ignoring them without effort to do so. You may not at that stage be totally lost in the thoughts, but if you give them your attention in any way, you would in fact be enlivening them enough possibly to become more intrusive and distracting you from resting the mind.

This is when it is useful to 'prefer the comfort zone', and it was in this context that I wrote:
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.

The original instruction still applies, about coming back to the comfort zone when you become aware that you're engaged in the thought process. But if you notice the thoughts, and what they're about, you're on the verge of becoming really engaged. One could say it's like 'flirting with' those thoughts. So just effortlessly prefer - or 'favour' - the comfort zone to get back to mental resting, and let all thoughts flirt with themselves without your entertaining them.

You may not have seen this comments page, which might add some other nuances to this topic.

I hope this helps to clarify things. If not, please add a follow-up note via the Comments link below.

~ Gavin

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