"Peace and Love", what dwells within thee?
This would be a good time before we jump in to discuss the door you are about to open. This door cannot be closed once it is opened. The techniques (mostly combinations of many techniques) are real and can and will not only change your life but literally begin to change your actual physiology (and more than just new neural pathways in the brain). You can see like an eagle and smell like a bear and feel like a jellyfish and much more. This is in essence the evolutionary progression of mankind as a species.
We will progress rapidly from, "shutting off", the internal dialogue to being a receptor to, "incoming". I will write a technique that will force an, "astral projection", through a natural process for those brave enough. You can tap into unknown/undiscovered energies here all around you. This stuff is real and once you enter....there is no turning back. You can't undue self-awareness. You will however be accountable for what you receive (too whom much is given....much is expected).
There even is actual real danger for those who delve deep enough. There are more than a few cases for example in Yoga when what is called, "Kundalini", raises too quickly through the crown chakra causing madness, blindness, or even death. The same can (and has) occurred within, "Practical Kabbalah".
We won't get quite that heavy into ancient formulas and techniques because much of what you will be able do with what I relay to you is make your own techniques as believe it or not we getting down to the basics baby!
Now, one of the most important aspects of this entire thread.
But first did you know that the 1st step towards change starts with an, "idea", or "concept". And that a simple idea/concept when, "new", to you will build, "new", neural pathways to begin, "new", activity in that part of the brain. For example above when mentioned about visualizing inhaling healing light (the important part...exhale negligible) this doesn't have to be continuous remembrance as the, "new", idea has been planted. Just as important as the, "healing light", is the focus on, "breath" (breathing).
We are, "breath", and "water"!
Now, one of the most important aspects of this entire thread.
Where's the door man?!?!?
No wait don't leave...I mean the, "doorway". But where is it? Where does all this, "stuff", like a river flow through? Visions, and knowing, pre and retrocognition (distant past and future knowings, visions, etc.), connection to oneness of the universe, communication with undiscovered life forms, communication with plants and animals, etc. and on and on.
Here is your doorway. First, shout at yourself real loud, "too yourself in your head". Hear that? You did!
You heard yourself raise your own voice, "in your head" (just like you hear yourself talking in your head all the time). How did you think you heard that?
I call that our, "inner ear" as very much like an ear, "as we use it to listen to ourselves talk to ourselves inside our head". This, "inner ear", is actually much much more than just a backstop to rebound our thoughts but most don't know it as anything different than how it is presently used.
When one embarks on the journey of, "inner silence", then this, "inner ear" becomes a, "doorway". It is as simple as that!
Which is why I love Zen so much. Simplicity!
I first sat Zazen in 1981. I was fortunate as weren't enough students at graduate level to make a class (Philosophy dept. University of New Mexico) so opened it up (490 level). An ancient esteemed professor that spent most entire life at Ashram in Himalaya and had written books taught.
Funny aside; I took the class with a friend of mine and we had to answer a question for final exam (don't even remember the question) but when they handed back the final exam my friend got her's first and was a B- and was a 20 page paper (which is what most turned in..with title page, syllabus, etc.).
Then the student helper handing out the exams handed my," torn out of notebook paper", with couple of sentences on it (and an A+). My friend was actually mad. Then the professor asked for the notebook paper answer (guess mine was the only one) and helper got from me and professor wrote it on the board and announced, "there is no right or wrong answer but this one put's it best".
I had written, "Recognize the duality to see the one" "Transcend the one".
Any of these positions will work fine for sitting Zazen.
I used several large thick books and then cross legs. Having done Hatha Yoga for many years (many years ago..great for limber for technical rock climbing..love "Shield") it is definitely more comfortable and easier than sitting, "Lotus", (if muscular) because the butt is raised. One should sit how one is most comfortable.
This takes some discipline with respect to for example, "not itching"! Also, you will need a quiet area for a period of time (nature noises fine and maybe better). I used to just place one hand inside the other...no specific way to do hands just be comfortable.
Basically, when in position begin counting your breaths.
Some do this indefinitely and some for years. We gonna try and speed things up a bit here though but first let's look at some real benefits of, "counting your breaths".
Of first and foremost importance here again is the focus on the, "breathing" (the, "breathing in healing light", is Yoga). Focus upon breathing/breath and breathing itself is an easy system within our body to control. We can hold our breath and we can stretch out our breath.
An aside: When a metaphysical happening is about to happen...awareness of changes in breathing often are an early warning.
Most stress directly effects our breathing and even over time can cause one to breath less and not take many, "full breaths". Take a good full breath right now. Feels good doesn't it!
So, we have, "awareness of breaths/breathing while sitting Zazen" let's take a look at counting those breaths. This may well in fact be a perfect precursor for some as allows one to focus only upon counting and breathing which is a close step to not thinking.
Problem is that it's still counting. So we hear, "one", "two", "three", and so on in our head. I was fortunate as I begin very young researching meditation etc. so by the time I reached college I was already proficient at it. So counting was kinda going backwards for me because I spent most of my time in, "no thoughts" already.
But what I did notice was one can, "listen to their breathing through the nose", and if even for just a second it will work. If you devote all your concentration and focus to, firstly, "listening" and secondly, "breathing", it will shut off your internal dialogue.
An aside: I noticed how Tai Chi was like a moving mediation and how focus and concentration upon, "firstly", form, and "secondly", movement also made the internal dialogue shut off.
How can you listen to your breathing? In Yoga there is a vehicle to transport oneself called, "Pranayama". There is much info about, "Pranayama" out there and but basically cover one nostril with knuckle so finger turned away from head (never aim hands/fingers directly at head) and breath in a controlled fashion (sometimes rapid) through other nostril and likewise other nostril after a set of 10 or 20 etc.
Be careful with this as one can hyperventilate and also one can get dizzy etc. if done to fast. Many like myself can hear slight breathing noise just breathing through nose only. So instead of (or also in addition to counting) listen to your breathing.
What is interesting is once one realizes that if one, "splits", their focus/concentration upon two things and fully focused upon just those two things (if one involves the human body in some way)...."the internal dialogue will shut off"!
So it appears that the question isn't what does shut off the internal dialogue but what doesn't.
Try walking will totally focused on walking and at the same time curling your fingertips. Try sitting, "in posture", while looking askance at sunlight reflecting off the pond/creek/river/lake.
Almost anything in a posture that exerts force/resistance from posture is, "one", focus so only need any number of things for a number, "two", focus. An Om sound can be used as the, "two".
So almost any two systems (especially involving human body/activity like breathing, walking, sitting in posture) splitting total focus/concentration between one of those and something outside the body like reflecting light on water, movement of tree tops in the wind, birds flying, some sound like music or other sound can and will shut off your internal dialogue.
The possibilities are endless in your own discovery of finding that balance and split between total concentration/focus on a posture/activity and breathing (or some other focus). The split between this focus will cause your internal dialogue to shut off. If one could hear the heartbeat that could easily be used.
When you find success take note and you will notice it coming easier to you over time. At the same time you will begin to notice an increase in your awareness and perceptual senses. Things you may not have noticed before but were right in front of you.
Be careful in your experimentation as that, "inner ear", that is actually a, "doorway", is also like a, "receiver" and can absorb as of yet undiscovered energies rapidly in some situations. Remember, this "doorway", only appears like an ear for internal thought because mankind knows it as nothing different. This, "inner ear/doorway" is the muscle (sixth sense) not yet exercised/developed.
One example of an undiscovered energy that one can see and feel can be experienced while doing a gazing technique in posture at sunset. I have showed (and scared friends) out here in New Mexico desert (middle of no where). Can see nice vibrating bands along the horizon. This is the place of the, "rushing waterfall", through the body.
An aside: This same friend and I were hiking out in the desert over kinda by Santa Rosa NM (my great great great grandfather buried there...probably knew Billy the Kid). And I saw these luminous bands (like lines) going across the desert floor and up a cliff (have seen em since I was a kid). And pointed it out to him and he turned and couldn't see em.
So I told him to look at me (that would make the line perpendicular to him and at the far edge of his vision). He looked at me and I told him to now focus on the area at the edge of his eye but keep looking at me. He did and then saw it and I said turn now and you should still see it and he did. The edges of the eyes are more sensitive to picking up these things...at the far end of your peripheral vision.
He asked what it was and I said they are lines all around the earth and long ago in ancient times everyone could see em and they are called Ley lines. They built cities across Europe on Ley lines. Ancient peoples didn't have iphones and so many bills and stuff to do and keep up with so all the mind racing clutter hadn't bogged down their perceptual senses.
Much that what is perceived through, "normal", perceptions is but a small part of all that is.
Even Plato in, "Book of the Republic" writes, "this world is a description we take for granted as being it and only it whereas there is much more beyond all this".
So, try listening to breathing, counting breaths while sitting Zazen, gazing askance at sunset while in posture or gazing at light reflecting off ripples in water while in posture, walking while focusing on curling fingertips or a technique of your own creation utilizing breathing or/and posture with another focus.
Next, lucid dreaming techniques and the geography (and associated dangers) of the spiritual realm!