Compulsive Ideation

I have a special fondness for the variety of ways that our “normal” monkey minds are described by meditation masters. Here’s a good one I’ve recently come across. Does it resonate?

Compulsive ideation is the mind frothing at the mouth. Stating out loud whatever comes to mind without any social filter could lead to a visit to a mental hospital. But if you can keep the same compulsive thoughts to yourself, this is considered normal. Introspection is the key for harnessing the mind so it can be useful, rather than compulsively spewing random imagery, memories, and ideas. When with introspection you note that the mind is rambling, just draw it back, again and again. If you attend to what is happening in your mind when it is happening, you won’t get carried away on the many express trains of imagery and conversation that pass through. The technique is to remain still while your mind is in action. This is very different from the mind burbling on and you burbling along with it.

From B. Alan Wallace’s fine book, Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind-Training.

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