Obsolete: Free Association

See: Mindfulness Approach


Reference: Mindfulness Approach


Free Association is key to mindfulness. In psychoanalysis “free association” is defined as, “The mental process by which one word or image may spontaneously suggest another without any necessary logical connection.” However, where mindfulness is concerned, free association is defined as follows.

Free association is the natural activity of the mind, where associations occur freely when the person is not managing them consciously.

Free association assimilates the incoming perceptions in the mind. It breaks the perceptions down into fine discriminative elements and bring them into orderly “equilibrium” with the rest of mental matrix. Free association resolves chaos, disorder, misalignments etc., by assimilating perceptions naturally into the mental matrix.

The mind resolves chaos, disorder, and misalignments by associating them freely with rest of its content.

The idea of allowing free association is not to interfere with the activity of the mind. Interference occurs when the person avoids, resists, suppresses or denies mental activity. Therefore, for free association to take place, one does not avoid, resist, suppress, deny or otherwise interfere with the activity of the mind. This is the discipline of mindfulness.

Free association takes place when a person does not avoid, resist, suppress, deny or otherwise interfere with the activity of the mind.

To gain some familiarity with the process of free association do the following exercise. This exercise may appear similar to the exercise in Scientoloy (an updated version of Dianetics) called “self-analysis”. However, the purpose of this exercise is to become familiar with free association. It has nothing to do with self-analysis.




PURPOSE: To manage memory by free association.


  1. This exercise is about recalling memories naturally. Make sure you do not exert any effort in doing this exercise. It should be effortless.

  2. Make sure you do not deliberately make associations to recall a memory.

  3. Make sure you do not randomly dig into the mind to search for a memory.

  4. Focus your attention on the first item of the following list and see if the mind brings up a specific memory.

Recall a time when

    1. You were happy
    2. You climbed a tree
    3. You ate something good
    4. It was the first day at school
    5. You received a present
    6. You enjoyed a laugh
    7. You smelled a rose
    8. You got your first pet
    9. The weather was stormy
    10. You played a game
    11. You won a contest
    12. You rode a bicycle for the first time
    13. You met someone you liked
    14. You jumped into a pool
    15. You read a good book
    16. You fell from the bicycle the first time
    17. You went for a walk
    18. You heard a thunder
    19. You sat in a coffee shop
    20. You read your first book
    21. You danced with joy
    22. You raced with someone
    23. You completed something important
    24. You kissed your first date
    25. You were pleasantly surprised
    26. You met somebody after a long time
    27. You were caught in rain
    28. You were crawling as a baby
  1. If a memory comes up right away, then recognize that memory and move to the next item on the list. Do not worry if that memory is consistent with the item or not. Just recognize the memory for what it is and move on.

  2. If no memory comes up then gently concentrate on the item and allow free associations to determine the memory.


  4. Open your mind to your entire existence. Your eyes may be open, closed, or half-closed as you concentrate. The free association may bring up a memory, or it may not.

  5. The memory could be vivid or faint. When it comes up, recognize it for what it is and move to the next item.

  6. If no memory comes up after concentrating on the list item for a minute or so, recognize the experience of free association and move to the next item.

  7. Repeat these steps until you reach the end of the list.

  8. You may repeat this exercise as often as you wish to gain familiarity with free associations as it takes place in recalling of a memory.

In the next chapter we look at an application of free association under the discipline of mindfulness to improve assimilation of data in the mind.


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  • Chris Thompson  On February 6, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    This is good practice and exercise for the “mind.”

    Liked by 1 person

  • Martin Foster  On February 7, 2017 at 1:51 PM

    From list one of Self Analysis: The original was “mock up!” not “Recall”
    Can you recall a time when:
    1. You were happy.
    2. You had just finished constructing something.
    3. Life was cheerful.
    4. Somebody had given you something.
    5. You ate something good.
    6. You had a friend.
    7. You felt energetic.
    8. Somebody was waiting for you.
    9. You drove fast.
    10. You saw something you liked.
    11. You acquired something good.
    12. You threw away something bad.
    13. You kissed somebody you liked.
    14. You laughed at a joke.
    15. You received money.
    16. You felt young.
    17. You liked life.
    18. You played a game.
    19. You bested something dangerous.
    20. You acquired an animal.
    21. Somebody thought you were important.
    22. You enjoyed a good loaf.
    23. You chased something bad.


  • vinaire  On February 7, 2017 at 2:17 PM

    According to the “matrix” model of the mind, any recall (or memory) is a pattern of perceptual elements that are activated in the mind. This may be looked upon as “recalling” or the mind “mocking up”.



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