My main practise edge just now seems to be purifying my thoughts. Bloody difficult. But not impossible. The Buddha assures me that it can be done, it just takes time, determination and effort. Very difficult, but the rewards for doing it are well worth it.
The Buddha sometimes talks to me, yeah it sounds crazy, I don't know if it really is him or some aspect of the mind that takes on the persona of the Buddha. I have read a lot of suttas and listened to many dhamma talks, so it could be that my mind has created that voice within to help me. But it also feels real, like it really is the Buddha talking to me. If it is a delusion it is not unhelpful, as the advice is golden.
I connected with him the first time I actually succeeded at breath meditation and my consciousness suddenly became very different, it went from mundane to an expansive bliss that I can't put into words. All the stress and sorrow, was completely gone. The Buddha appeared to me and said: 'Well done.'
Ever since then he occasionally appears to give me advice when I am struggling. Not just the Buddha but his famous disciples too. I have had the honour of speaking to Mogallana and Sariputta among others. I seem to be part of a spiritual sangha of enlightened beings now, human and non-human who have become my friends and offer support when I need it. But they are always clear I have to do the work myself. It is up to me, noone else can do the work for me.
The impurities of the mind have become relentless on their assualt on the heart, my inner life has become a battlefield. Mindfulness, right effort and samhadi is my protection from them.
If mindfulness slips though, they can get into the heart and wreak all sorts of damage. But once I see that they have poisoned the heart I then have to remove them. And return to keeping the seven factors of enlightenment going.
The making effort part is not all that pleasant, but I know from experience that eventually what we practice grows stronger and becomes second nature. At that point it gets easier and then becomes effortless. I am just learning skills. There's nothing magical going on, any one of us if we put in the effort can free our minds from greed, hate and delusion, and it is worth it. Samsara is short changing us, nibanna is much better.
If I notice my thoughts are about greed, ill will, conceit, delusion, or are total nonsense (rubbish that comes in from the world). I interrupt the thoughts and label them as such. At first this was tiring to do, it didn't feel like liberation, it felt unpleasant. But something has changed now, when I interrupt the thoughts after they've gone astray and label them. The mind quickly abandons them, just like that, it drops them and willingly returns to centering with the breath and body. No arguments or resistance.
At the moment the solar plexus and heart area of the body feels really good to anchor attention with as I go about the day. Feels really nice being centred there.
It is like the mind is now understanding at a deep level that greed, hate, conceit and delusion are no good and lead to suffering, and when I interrupt these kind of thoughts the mind willingly drops them.
The thoughts come back, and I get absorbed in them again. Then I remember, become aware, mindfulness returns, I interrupt and label the thoughts, and the mind happily lets go of them and centres with the breath and body. I will also generate thoughts of goodwill and peace to all beings or reflect on the dhamma if thinking is not too tiring. Wholesome thoughts I encourage, it's just the unwholesome thoughts I abandon.
But at times it is nice to not think even good thoughts. To stop thinking and enjoy silence, a wordless peace that doesn't depend on language.