Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
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08-10-2012, 06:22 AM
Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
(WARNING: Massive first post wall of text lol)

Meditation has helped me through different stages of my life. I have neglected to meditate as often as I used to but now I am restarting.

Id like this thread to be about everything meditative... do you use Binaural beats? Do you listen to music whilst doing it? Do you chant? Do you use mantras? Do you pray?

What experiences have you had... how does it make you feel... what part has meditation played in your life?

I have tried many different methods (and there are hundreds if not thousands of them) but I spent some of this morning writing down the accumalation of what I have learned and id like to share it with you now in the hope that maybe people may try it and take something positive from it.

Preparation.

Decide how long you wish to try this session. Eliminate as many potential distractions as you can, put your mobile phone on silent (without vibration), shut any windows to drown out any noise... if other people live in your house tell them you wish not to be disturbed.

Look at your clothing, is it tight or restrictive in any way??? Would you be comfortable wearing it for the duration of this??? If not put something on a bit more loose... or wear nothing at all.

Positioning.

It is recommended by many that you sit up, with legs crossed and hands laid comfortably in your lap, you can look at many different disciplines that have many different hand/leg positions... but the way I see it is choose the method that suits
you and is more comfortable. You can also lie down (I do many times) but be aware that if you lie down you increase your chances of falling to sleep as you become more relaxed.... this in itself I suppose is not a problem, unless you have an
appointment or something that you dont want to miss, that you could do by accidentally dozing off.

If you choose to sit up to aid you I would say put your back against a wall if it helps.

I allways find its better to do it outside in nature... obv because winter is coming and because people may feel self conscious of doing this at first ... there is nothing wrong with doing it indoors. Although I would say if you can do it outside then try to do so.

(my)Method

Ill keep this as simple as I can, so people can understand and follow it.

Choose your comfortable position and depending on this find an object/spot that is easy for you to focus on. Whilst focusing on this object become aware of your breathing, as you breathe in and out I want you to try and relax your body.
You can start at your neck... feeling it relax and move slowly downwards, becoming aware of each body part letting go of any tension. When you feel a bit relaxed I want you to shut your eyes.

When your eyes are shut focus more on your breathing... take a nice, slow, deep and full breath inwards. Dont force this breath inwards, just breathe in as fully and as comfortably as you feel. Hold this breath for a moment and then just like
when you breathed in, slowly and comfortable breath fully outwards. When you have your own breathing rythmn going.. when you breath outwards I want you to try and relax your body more if you can... on every out breath feel any tension
slipping away (you can visualise this if it helps any)

We all have thoughts... you may be thinking things like "What the fuck am I doing this for" or "Im sick of my neighbour constantly playing beastie boys" or "Should I have sheperds pie for dinner or pasta??" any type of thought that comes and go DONT try to force them away.... let them come, observe them as you would normally but try to re-focus your attention on your breathing.... that relaxing rythmn of In.... out.... In.... out.

(This next bit is where words are meaningless)

You may not fully achieve calming your thoughts fully on the first time you try, not many people do... but whatever sense of calm or relaxation you get from any session.... I want you to FEEL this, experience it, enjoy it and
(metaphorically) swim in it and explore it, immerse yourself within it.

When you have finished your session I want you to slowly open your eyes... bring your awareness back slowly and only when you feel fully coherent and with it do I want you to try and move.... and move slowly just to make sure you dont get up too quickly and potentially pass out from a rush of oxygen to the head. Id recommend any feelings you get from the experience to jot them down, how did you feel... what did it do to you. I want you to almost objectify the experience you have just had... so this place... this calmness or whatever you have experienced... you can take with you and bring it back whenever you need it.

If you have trouble calming your thoughts and need a little extra help... I see nothing wrong with using an aid.

Some people use music but for me I like to use this...





... as it is simplistic and very relaxing. This is just an aid though... if you use it I still want you to concentrate on your breathing, the video is just to "drown out" any thoughts that slip in and out (pun intended lol)

So yeah... thats about it, if anybody gives it a go id love to hear from you what you got from it... if you experience anything that could be considered "woo" and dont feel like publicly sharing it then you can PM me as I wont mock, as I believe it is allways a learning curve.

If anybody else wants to share any methods, videos, tips, experiences (good and bad) then please do so Bowing

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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08-10-2012, 09:07 AM
RE: Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
I'm not sure why I was surprised, but I was surprised to learn that the field of neuroscience supports the benefits of meditation. All of my past contemplative experiences involved religion, so I've never considered that there is a non-woo aspect to it.
Here's an interesting article on Meditation by Sam Harris.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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08-10-2012, 11:42 AM
RE: Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
I like this thread already.

WALL OF TEXT COMING:

I used to meditate since I was 9 years old. And no, that is not too young to start!
But when I left my faith I also stopped that, not completely sure why. I will probably start with it again at some point.
But for now I would like to share something with you.
When I had my own forum I actually posted this as a kind of guide or course to meditation. I used to tell people that EVERYONE can meditate, and this is true, I still say that.
There is no "I can't"
You have to keep in mind that a meditation session does not have to take an hour. When you are starting, you do small steps, you do some little excersices to teach yourself how to get into the meditative state of mind, and at that point you can start with specific techniques.
I wrote my little course in German so I will simply rewrite it for you guys now. And I will try and keep it short, but you know me, I write novels... Big Grin

Preperation:

Turn everything off that might distract you, TV, radio, phone, computerscreen. If you like you can close the curtains on the window/turn off the light. Just make sure that you make an athmosphere you feel good in. You can have some incencse burning if you like that for example or if you like you can use some meditative music or, as bemore showed in his post, there are tons of videos on youtube with certain types of sounds. Rainforest, rain, thunderstorm, birds, streetnoise, vacuum cleaning, and many more. And they range from 30 minutes to many hours, so whatever suits you best if you like to hear somehting. Just don't chose things you need to concentrate on like a theater or radio station. Because even if you don't want to focus on the words and the plot and whatever, you will do it.

Another important step is your posture. Bemore recommends sitting, I don't recommend any posture but I will tell you a little bit about them.
> laying down: If you have a weak system, like you tend to collapse or get dizzy, in that case I recommend laying down, so you can not fall. A meditative state can, in the beginning cause dizzyness because you are not used to actually completely let go. But if you tend to fall asleep within seconds don't lay down Wink
> sitting: so again, weak system but you fall asleep easily, probably chose to sit. What exact posture doesn't matter. In buddhism and whichy meditations you are supposed to sit in certain ways so the energy can flow. But we are no fools, right? So sit how you are comfortable but make sure that nothing pushes you, that your legs don't fall asleep, and so on. Probably just sit in the TV seat, lean back and all is good. Make sure that you are not wearing stuff that cuts or is tight in anyway, because it is not only uncomfortable, it will also catch your focus quickly once you relax completely.
> standing up: yes, some people like to stand up while meditating. There are certain postures that mean certain things. But who cares about them, again we are not fools. If you want to stand, make sure you are comfortable and don't slip. But again weak system, better sit or lay.

I personally prefer to lay down, because that way I can relax all my muscles completely.

First steps:

Relaxing your body:
This is probably the most important thing for meditation. Relax yourself and be aware of yourself. It is not really the meditation itself but it wants to be mastered Smile In the beginning this alone may take 5 Minutes, but hey, who cares? You are alone in a room, all by yourself, noone will judge you, noone will hurry you, and there is no right or wrong.
The easiest and most comfortable way is the one that I used to do with my daycare kids (going to shorten it a bit):
Imagine a soft, warm, small ball that is in your head and with your thoughts you can move this ball where ever you want it. You can move it and you can also change it's size. Imagine this ball will relax every place it goes with the warmth.
It starts in the head and there goes by every part, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, down the neck into one shoulder arm fingers back up, other shoulder arm fingers, down the cheststomach lungs, let it rest there a bit and feel how you breath, go down to the stomach navel, into one leg, thigh, knee, lower leg, feet, toes, back up, other leg and then the ball can leave your body.

Now at this point I will normally do the first breathing excercize with kids:
And this is just to feel your breath and how it affects your whole body.
Feel where your body touches the ground, through your skin and clothes, on the carpet/tiled floor/bed/leather on the seat (whatever you are sitting or laying on), if you have a blanket on top of you, feel how it is moving while you are breathing in and out, feel your belly and chest growing with breathing in and getting smaller when you breath out, feel how this movement affects the rest of your body, are your arms moving a little? or the legs? do you feel the air going in and out your nose, lungs? etc... Basically play around with what you feel and where exactly on your body you feel the breath.

This is how you focus on breath the easiest way.

The next step could be one of the millions of counting excersizes, that is more about you concentrating than about anything else.
Every breathing out is a number.
You count up to ten and start over. If you reach 12, you didn't concentrate.
Don't beat yourself up if you reach 20 a few times, it takes a bit.
So you count like this
1 breath in
2 breath out ONE
3 breath in
4 breath out TWO
....

An excersize that I used a lot when I was very depressed and couldn't focus on the easiest tasks was the one that I actually made up myself.
I call it three doors.
You imagine three doors. Behind every door is an endless big room which can hold your thoughts, worries, experiences, everything that makes you you.
The first door is your past, the second door is your present, the third door is your future.
Now you can use this one in different ways.
If you can't fall asleep, and this is what I did, you start putting all your wild thoughts into the correct doors. So you start with all the stuff that concerns your past. Past is everything starting at your birth or before and ending to a split second ago. All these things go in the first door. The future door is all your plans and whishes for tomorrow's lunch, the coming week, your children in ten years, and so on. And last thing that comes is the present door, those are all the thoughts that are just arising right now in this very second. This is your brain spiralling on your worries that keep you up all the time. Your brain that says "but the money is low how can I feed my dog!" and your brain that says "but my boss only cares about my work and not me" and your brain that says "but how do I find a new job, I am too old!" and so on. And you are not crazy answering your thoughts: "And right now it doesn't matter, it is night and I can deal with this at daytime" and you push it behind the door. And if it comes back you tell it the same thing again and push it behind the door.
The other way I used the door thing was actually dealing with trauma and problems. So you go ahead and put everything in it's door, and those thoughts that you push behind the present door "but but but" you push all but one behind that door. Say you have a lot of worries, you will see how a certain thought will arise over and over and over again, and that is the one you will focus on. You simply think about every single possibilty there is concerning your problem and it's solution. Even the once that are not really possible. After all this is all in your mind, who but yourself cares, and you will not judge yourself for your thoughts right? So you go ahead in your head and try out solutions. First you will circle around the things you have been thinking about all the time and then you just widen your mind a bit. You know, the famous "what if" comes in very handy here.
In your calm, meditative state, where you do in fact have a clearer mind, are more focussed, you will, I almost promise this, you will find a solution for everything, every reason why you might be depressed, everything that you lost your sleep over, everything that worries you.
The sessions with the doors are by far those who took the longest for me because I had tons of problems, worries, trauma that needed to be thought through properly. It took me up to an hour and sometimes even more to get through one thing but it helped me a lot.


I have a few more "excersizes" and also techniques, but for now this is enough of a wall of text Big Grin

cheers

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11-10-2012, 01:07 PM
RE: Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
I meditate about weekly, in a group. It's better that way, the group gathering really helps motivation and concentration. For that I can do a few prescribed ritual things to get the mood going, even if in the beginning it felt a little embarrassing.
First we calm down and chant the OM mantra three times. (not necessary but helps to calm down and focus)
Then we together aloud pronounce the Great Invocation. (this is necessary)
Then for the next following two hours we concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, corresponding to the hypophysis gland. We just maintain our attention there and try not to think of anything.
Then at the end after two hours there's a few more OM and Shanti chants to mark the end.
After that we finish the biscuits and tea.

Yes, the invocation contains the G-word, it could be classified as a prayer or maybe sort of an invocating phone number, but I also take it as a manifesto, a statement of our collective intention. Anyone is welcome, no belief in anything is necessary, just say the damn words aloud and then hold the attention between your eyebrows.

Technically, I don't focus on my breathing at all. I focus on the ajna point, between eyebrows. Breathing is going to stabilize itself, that is, slow and shallow, almost unnoticeable, marked by an ocassional deep breath in. That's automatic and therefore I don't have to focus on it. Slow and shallow breathing helps to slow down the thoughts. No thoughts means no boredom, which is very useful in meditation.

The meditation itself is characteristic by feeling something that we normally don't, the subtle energies pouring through us. Some of us can feel it, some not. Some learn it sooner or later. Sometimes it's pleasant, sometimes not, mostly it's just normal.
I personally feel really invigorated and inspired after the meditation, which accounts for some of my late night posts. It also makes me feel better over the week. And some of us including me observed some weird happenings around the meditation, which certainly adds to the mystery.
Generally said, I don't regret making this practice a part of my life and I'm probably going to continue this as long as I'll have a group near and a free evening on that day.

Well, most of people would benefit from meditation, but not everyone. This meditation is somewhat special. Not everyone likes it, people like much more New Age circus around it, which we don't have. Also it should not be even tried by children below 12 years. And all meditation is like drugs, it's upsetting the status quo, letting whatever is deep in you get to the surface. Crazy people should not do it. I mean, someone irrational, paranoid or maybe on head pills. It may also uncover things in your mind or life you need to deal with, so you might eventually want to get a break from the meditation for half a year or so. We had some people like that, it's changing their lives.

As for meditating music, it's not really necessary. But I like the Ultimae Records label and the band Carbon Based Lifeforms and they recently put out two ambient drone albums, inspired by astronomy and radiotelescopes or something. So it's almost like meditation music but it's my style and nothing cheesy or new agey. Together they mark two hours nicely.






If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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11-10-2012, 01:45 PM
RE: Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
I can never seem to clear my mind enough to meditate like you all are describing. I found my way though. I sew, by hand. It's very relaxing for me and I often don't realize that hours have passed. I concentrate on what I am doing and that seems to push other things out of my thoughts. Since none of it is emotional, it relaxes me and lets me rest my mind.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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11-10-2012, 06:07 PM
RE: Meditation (methods, thoughts, experiences)
Meditation is something I've been interested in in the past; but unfortunatley, I simply don't have the patience to do it. I'm a very patient person, but when it comes to sitting down and intentionally trying to relax with the goal of achieving something; I just can't do it. I'm so focused on getting it to happen that it simply doesn't.

If one becomes really good at it; you can actually meditate yourself into sexual ecstasy (complete with climax). That one I REALLY couldn't get rolling, because the goal was too much of a payoff to allow me to relax. lol

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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