Monday, 16 November 2009

John Frusciante talks to 'Mind' Part 3: Meditation

I asked John to elaborate on his meditation practice:

'In your daily life, if you have a thought that's motivated through insecurity or fear, (or in a lot of cases garbage that your brain is manufacturing, that you find yourself caught up in) - it's the nature of our minds that once a thought arises, for that thought to become another and another, with our days going by with these trains of thought. These trains end up being interrupted by something circumstantial: You run into a person and start a new conversation and the thoughts go away for a second, or you sit in-front of a TV screen and that blocks the thoughts out. In your daily life you're usually consumed by these thoughts when there's no distractions. A lot of the time you're worried about whether this or that is gonna happen, or is this person mad at me, or am I not handsome enough, or am I not sexy enough or whatever it is. These kind of thoughts end up producing these really vast trains our brains are inescapable from, because the whole thing is being led by the emotions. The thoughts and emotions are tied to one another.

With meditation a lot of people have this misconception that the purpose is not to think anything, but to me the most valuable part of it is to establish a type of detachment from your thoughts, in which your emotions and thoughts are cut off from one another. The purpose when you're sitting down with a technique like Vipassana is to observe your thoughts and to not get involved in them. Let them move by like they're a cloud.

And so for me the most valuable part that I've noticed the effects of are: Before I meditate there may be some things I'm worried about, that I'm thinking about all the time. I'm pointlessly going from one possibility to another of what is going to happen if this doesn't happen, worrying about things. You sit down to meditate and let's say you're doing some sort of mantra based meditation for example, the thought comes into your mind of this thing you've been thinking about, but you bring your attention back to the mantra. Or with some form of Vipassana you bring your attention back to a body part or just observe the thought but don't jump to the next thought. And what happens is, in that one moment of where you made that decision, though the thought exists I'm bringing my attention back to the mantra. It's like you've untied the rope that you're connecting to. One second you were tied to building and the next you untied the rope and you were walking away.

And so in a situation like that where something has been bothering me, I sit down with meditation and the same thoughts come up; I continually apply the technique of centring my brain, doing the technique of the meditation. Coming out of it the same thoughts come into my brain and yet they don't produce the second or third thought. I've established a disconnection between them and it's almost as if the thoughts are afraid of me instead of me being afraid of the thought. You end up finding that the thought doesn't have the same power over you because in that one moment you disconnect with that thought the thought from your emotion. The thought occurred in your head but it didn't occur in an emotional state. It occurred when you were just applying the technique and the next thing you know the thought doesn't have as much power over you.

To me it wouldn't matter if you were thinking the whole time when you were meditating. As long as you were making that effort to do what the technique consists of, you're doing something very powerful by not letting your whole inner mental rhythm be determined by your emotions and finding another focal point for yourself that has nothing to with anything emotional. It might be boring to some people, but that's the point of it. To have a half hour of sever boredom is actually really valuable as you're not bored when you're worrying and being insecure; you're consumed by it.

People with problems, their lives are really exciting. People that create drama around themselves, their lives are really full of excitement all the time. That's not what I'm looking for in life. You develop that relationship to what initially appears to be boredom, and then you see it was more like my emotions were addicted to fear, insecurity and worry, and you can gradually through that process learn to disconnect yourself (the parts of you that felt they needed to be scared or insecure or to find some sort of excitement). By disconnecting your emotions from those thoughts you end up opening up room in yourself to find excitement in other areas, and more excitement from the places that can really do you some good like music or friends or books.'

Click HERE for part 1, and HERE for part 2

Courtesy of Hillingdon Mind


Unknown said...

John really hits the nail on the head here, fantastic piece, thanks for posting.

Yael Bechor said...

Thank you for posting. This interview is full of wisdom and sensitivity. Wonderful read.