A human can’t think nothing. It can think about nothing, but not nothing. The closest we get is to not focus on anything. I’m very good at that. At least, I like to think I’m very good at it.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

I digress, Nul. On both things. I am so getting my mic working just to show you all the sound of one hand clapping =p

You don’t need to show the me the sound of one hand clapping, I already know what it is. I would tell, but that would ruin my first post. Which would be sad. Very sad.

there are a buncha ways to go about meditating. for someone beginning the practice, try each of these for like, half an hour. any more, I think, would require too much effort, which would break your concentration, and expecting more than you can give of yourself is a form of unkindness. <i>ahimsa</i> - compassion, for all living things, including yourself, is an essential component of meditation and wisdom. and also, you WILL only feel that no-thought for a few seconds. that’s usually how much I get of it. it’s cool. Really.

1- focus on your breathing only - and breathe deeply, into your belly. this kind of meditation is easier to do if you’re lying down, and rest your fingers on your stomach, and feel the skin of your belly puff in and out slowly. after awhile, as you’re focusing, the thoughts in your head will gradually get quieter and quieter, until you reach that Nothing in the core of your being. it’ll feel like your conscious mind is slowly sinking into quicksand as you’re doing it, and it does take some practice not to freak out and break your trance by thinking some sudden thoughts.

2- memorize your surroundings completely - every last detail and quirk. it might also help to write down everything about your surroundings, but do whatever you need to in order to get the image in your mind. then sit down in the center of the room, legs crossed (or whatever), close your eyes, and see everything around you with your mind’s eye. focus your entire mind on it. then, gradually, with your mind, fade everything out - the crease in the wallpaper flattens out, the bed sinks into the floor, the walls are replaced by darkness. being gradual is the most important thing about this - you want to get the same sort of consciousness sinking feeling as with the first one. you want to maintain the single-pointed concentration on your surroundings, even as they all fade into nothingness. when there’s absolutely nothing around your mind’s eye, but it’s still completely and totally focused on it…that’s when you’ve achieved it. this is EXTREMELY hard if you have music floating around in your head, so try to do this when your mind is free from that sort of thing (for instance I’m able to think thoughts and have music stuck in my head at the same time, which has made doing this hard sometimes).

3- sit silently and do nothing, in a room without noise, by yourself. don’t try to get rid of your thoughts, but rather just let them enter your head, stay awhile, and then pass on. this might not feel like meditation, because it’s just so…relaxing, and free of focus, but the underlying principle behind this is that you have to be quick to perceive, and slow to judge. that is, if the thought/feeling pops into your head, “I wanna fuck my mom so hard” right after the thought “I really wish I could sing mariachi,” don’t do a mental double take - just let the thought take its time, no matter how “heinous.” Quick to perceive, slow to judge.

4- cause some extreme pressure to some part of your body, and focus your mind exclusively on that part - you might even want to use some tape or other binding material, and just focus on the pain that’ll result alone - I kinda came across this accidentally while I was meditating and I didn’t notice that I was pressing my foot really hard against the wall - my foot soon grew numb, and my focus was there when it happened, so I was jolted quite suddenly out of thoughts, and I stayed in the Void for a bunch of seconds (like ten, maybe). however, I think this is one of the underlying principles of yoga (which I’m taking classes in now), so you might even wanna look into that.

There are many other ways to attain that Void aside from meditation - meditation is just convenient, and essential if you want to be able to identify that feeling. Like Ren said, it’s not necessarily thinking about NOTHING, it’s just single-pointed awareness or action, with your entire mind (including your subconscious) focused toward a certain thing you’re doing. Explore! Have fun with this pursuit. Don’t take yourself too seriously. One of the best places to find the Void in is laughter, after all. And uh, I hope all this spew is helpful :stuck_out_tongue:

-Mazrim Taim

Edit: oh and there’s probably a billion more ways too :stuck_out_tongue: hit up your local library for mystical/meditative practices of all sorts of cultures.

Double Edit: Oh, there’s also a really easy, but wicked cool little part-exercise you can do, if you want to have a bodily metaphor for number 2, have you ever noticed how when your legs are straight, you can take your kneecap and wiggle it a little bit? But then when you bend your knee, it’s locked into place? Well…if you bend your knee and sort of…roll your leg outwards, and slowly straighten it…then you can have a straight leg but your kneecap is still tightly locked into place. think of the action of straightening your leg as the action of getting rid of the stuff in your mind’s eye, and think of your kneecap as your awareness. Just an extra connection I just made I guess :stuck_out_tongue:

My understanding of the answer to the one hand clapping is a personal thing that involves your development as a person. Once you become the person your “designed” to become you will know the TRUE sound of one hand clapping.

I suppose on the other hand its just one of those things like “If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?” that’s supposed to space you out. Think the Simpsons episode were Bart had to play the Flander’s kid in a put-put golf game.

Wow, your #2 is awesome, Maz. I stumbled across that technique by accident while riding the bus a few months ago. I don’t really get the effect that you describe, though. It’s more like… I concentrate so hard on my sensory input that there’s simply no more processing power in my brain left for conscious thought. It’s like 100% observational, nothing else. The best thing about it is that you can do it almost anywhere, busy places, quiet places, your room, class, etc. And you don’t have to feel self-conscious either, cause no one will even know that you’re meditating.

Almost all of my negative emotions are a direct result of me thinking too much, so being able to turn off my thoughts like this is a major accomplishment for me.

Meditation is just a fancy word for ‘relaxing’.

Thinking too much might cause anxiety, but its the only thing that gives you an edge over other people.

yeah, Curtis…and in that sense, a person can have differing degrees of “meditation” just like relaxation. And when you’ve relaxed ultimately, that’s when the feeling people term the Void or what have you, is there. But that’s all meditation is, essentially, just like all magic is is being able to focus your will to cause change. So it’s not really anything to get TOO excited about. But all the same, it’s cool stuff. Cool stuff.

-Mazrim Taim

That’s another take on the whole meditation thing. That does work, strangely enough.

I’d like to add a #5:

Lie down, totally flat, and put your hands on your stomach, or by your side, or whatever. Then, concentrate on your feet. Normally you don’t really think about your feet unless they hurt or something, right? Well, concentrate on them and you’ll find that they’re actually sorta tired and you may get a prickly kind of sensation. When you <b>feel</b> your feet completely move up through your legs, chest, and lastly the face. By the end you should be aware of every part of your body, and think of places you haven’t probed with this awareness (i.e. ears, individual fingers and toes, back of the neck, etc) and try to incorporate them into this awareness. If you can’t be aware of every part of your body at the same time then develop a sort of cycle, moving your awareness in a loop through your body.

Heh, looks like I’ve been meditating for years without knowing about it. These are just things I do to relax when going to bed, and the relaxation has some fun effects. Most notably I sometimes start composing simple melodies in my head, something I can not to by will during the day. It’s just the different state of mind that brings it on.

To Cless’s #5 - This is similar to being under a dentist’s…let’s call it “happy gas” still, 'cause I like to…, at least for me. Another technique similar to this is to lay down flat on your back, arms at your sides, turned whichever way is comfortable. Starting down at your toes, twitch every muscle in your body in succesion every so slightly to release any tension and immediately relax them. By the time you relax everything up through and including your face, you might hit the state of mind you’re looking for.

#6. Look at the lights immediately before turning them off and going to bed. When you lay down, close your eyes and concentrate on the color patters on the insides of your eyelids. Don’t move your eyeballs to try to track the colors; just watch as they morph everywhich way as they fade down the spectrum, until you’re left with just a few vestiges of the deeplest violets and blues. Even when they vanish, just keep focused on the now-empty space.

And the breathing exercises are always good. Long, deep breaths always worked for me.

nirvana is acheived through extinquishing of desires and attachments, not for “no apparent reason”.