Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
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28-06-2013, 10:15 AM
Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
I am not a fan of any amount of woo.. but I figured of course I'd ask my skeptic friends... what actual research is behind things such as Sensory Deprivation Tanks? I've read that it can be nice and relaxing for those who are somewhat in control of their thoughts and don't freak out when you're placed in dark places. I've read on the other hand that some people have some wild hallucinations and freak out pretty badly. So it "depends" on the person. But they've been around for a good bit of time.

I've been reading up on sensory deprivation tanks for a few weeks now because I'm somewhat interested in trying them. I've so far heard nothing but good things about them (again, for those who are "sane" lol). The sensory deprivation doesn't seem to hold any significant amount of woo near as I can tell, and neuroscientists have found them interesting to watch brain waves of those who go into them from time to time. Mr. Feynman himself was even a big fan of them when he needed to "get away and think" - however, that guy was a bit out there haha.

Thoughts? Critiques? Anyone have experience with them?

On the second matter of discussion... meditation. Specifically, mindful meditation. I'm not talking sitting on a mat and singing weird little hymns. There's various forms of meditation from what I've read, one specifically called "mindful" where a person simply sits in a quiet area and concentrates on very specific thoughts for as long as they can, nothing more nothing less. People claim to have seen a lot of improvements in concentration and relaxation from it, and even that those who do it on a regular basis are far more calm and concentrated long term and have even consumed less substances (alcohol, cigarettes, etc).

Now, I don't buy into the "spirituality" bullshit, but mindful meditation sounds like "mindful contemplation" to me - I suppose I don't inherently like the word "meditation" since it tends to carry a lot of woo with it.

Anyone have experience with this one?

Reason I'm asking these things is I'm looking to find a way to wind down at the end of the day and get rid of stress and figured I'd try something new since my regular routine isn't really helping me much. I don't want to buy into woo or bullshit and am more legitimately interested in things that are proven to work, and not be a bullshit placebo.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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01-07-2013, 11:52 AM
RE: Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
Hm...I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "mindful meditation" - it occurs to me that you may have a couple of things mixed up just a wee bit, but maybe not. I practice mindfulness, which may or may not involve sitting meditation. Mine does not, 'cause I just don't have the patience for it right now.

In mindfulness, one does not concentrate on anything exactly, but rather simply focuses on the here and now. of course, our minds are always all over the place, so it takes some meditation techniques to do that. the most common is to focus on the in-and-out breath. since we're breathing all the time, we can do that wherever we are and whatever we're doing, so we don't have to be sitting to do it. as we focus on breathing in and breathing out, when thoughts interfere (like, "why the hell am i thinking about my breathing?" or "did i feed the dog?" or "shit, i do not want to go to dinner with my mother-in-law tonight"), instead of fighting with them or engaging them, in mindfulness practice, we *acknowledge* them, then let them go.

It takes a lot of practice. A lot. But learning to live in the present reduces a great deal of stress. And in fact, it's not bullshit. It's about as real as you can get. The present is really all we have. People waste too much of their lives living in a past that doesn't exist except in memories, and worrying too much about a future that is not even here yet. Living *presently* can make a change in your whole life.
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01-07-2013, 12:14 PM
RE: Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
I meditate. It's taken me years to get to the point where I could just let go of my thoughts. I would contantly let them overwhelm me to the point where I had to stop and check something.

That said, I see no harm at all in meditation and it probably does have some health benefits.

I don't believe anymore in doing 20 things at once Smile That's what I took away from mindfulness.

Sensory deprivation is fascinating to me. I know someone who does it their home. But they're a bit on the kinky side. Smile


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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01-07-2013, 12:44 PM
RE: Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
John C. Lilly. Nuff Said.

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01-07-2013, 09:08 PM
RE: Sensory deprivation, meditation, etc.
Interesting responses. I was wondering if anyone was going to respond at all there for a while! LOL!
WhiteRaven thanks as well for the clarification. I don't well know enough about it, so it's definitely possible I have a lot mixed up about it. Any good resources on research, benefits, etc... I'd be interested in.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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