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Author Topic: Entering Meditation  (Read 2323 times)

brad

Entering Meditation
« on: October 16, 2012, 02:37:53 pm »
Meditation has always fascinated me.  Partly because there are so many different ways, and partly because it's so hard for me to get to that state.

Some people clear their mind of all thoughts, others let the thoughts run wild, and still others create an entirely new place.

I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.
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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 03:12:36 pm »
Quote from: brad;76812



It's nearly impossible for me to prevent thoughts from arising. Indeed, my understanding of Buddhist teachings indicates that arising happens constantly. The trick is to let the thoughts arise, recognize them, and let them go rather than get caught up in exploring them. Thoughts come into my consciousness during meditation, I note that they're there, and I move on. Floaty thoughts, coming and going, for however long I'm sitting.
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Green Thumb

Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 04:26:42 pm »
Quote from: brad;76812
I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  

 
It is like sleeping. I learned how to meditate when in high school and wanted a way to get away from everything. So meditation for me is pretty much house cleaning for my head. Random things can happen or I will see myself just sitting there in my head for the entire time
~E

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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 06:20:38 pm »
Quote from: brad;76812
I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.

 
In summers I do mediative tasks more than sitting. With those I just get to work and be in the moment. It's much easier to wipe thoughts that way for me (wipe thoughts=have thought, recognize it, release it) and often leads to a deeper trance state.

During the current time of year, fewer hours are available for the tasks and most of them are outside so I do the sit most often. I turn off things that take attention and thought or go away from them. I sit and center myself. For me this means checking in with at least three versions of myself (recently found that this 3 thing is pretty common). I have me regular, me wild child and me who answers to police officers when I get puled over (serious, responsible, wiser self). I feel for a second or two all of them and at once and even ask myself if I am all here and ready. When I am, I will usually use a little mantra to help me wipe the come and go thoughts until I do not need the mantra anymore. Typically I am unaware of when I stop saying the mantra. "I am here" is one simple thing I say. Sometimes it is different.

I infrequently hit a deeper trance state with these sitting meditations as time is short and there is much work to do, but even a little time at this level each day works very well for me. It keeps me in practice, gives me a time without stress, and allows me to be open spiritually.

If I am under a great deal of stress and find it difficult to relax, I will do breathing exercises first and flex and relax my major muscle groups until I reach my brow, and then I focus there for as long as is necessary to relax the joint. Then I begin.

I am slowly learning tai chi to do inside in winter so that I have a physical movement associated that I can do first to work into the state. I am a slow learner though. I may have to put that one off until next summer.

I have noticed due to bumping into things that while meditating my upper body will sometimes sway. I don't do that intentionally though.

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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 07:04:13 pm »
Quote from: brad;76812

I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.

 
It's a rather strange experience for me in general, probably because I'm not good at it yet. I float in between states of slipping into utter quietness where there's only an "inner world", to easing back and forth between the two, to being hyper-aware of my body to the point where I'm almost unaware of anything going on around me.
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brad

Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 07:23:56 pm »
Quote from: Shine;76859
It's a rather strange experience for me in general, probably because I'm not good at it yet.


This is indeed deeply, deeply interesting!  I would seem that even here, most of you that have replied fall into one of the three categories of meditation styles I brought up at the beginning.

clearing mind
letting thoughts play out
focusing on theme

Maybe each of the three have their time and place along our path.  It would seem to me that clearing the mind would be good for allowing and/or preparing energy to flow within us.  Letting thoughts play out seems like it would be good for the mind cleaning and coming to terms with oneself type of scenario. Finally, the themed meditation seems ideal for allowing a study to sink it, information gathering, or reflections.

Does anybody see the same thing as I do on the notion of purpose-specific meditations?  Perhaps the reason it's so hard for some people to have fruitful meditation is because they aren't aware of the different styles, and thus using the wrong tool for the job!
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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 08:37:46 pm »
Quote from: brad;76862

Does anybody see the same thing as I do on the notion of purpose-specific meditations?  Perhaps the reason it's so hard for some people to have fruitful meditation is because they aren't aware of the different styles, and thus using the wrong tool for the job!

 
Yes. I think a perceived "right" method is very frequently an obstacle. A while ago I was already achieving trance states while in tasks not realizing that is what I was doing because I thought I had to be sitting and in nothingness. That nothingness idea was also frustrating.

I do have purpose specific meditations some times and go about things differently for different purposes. That being said, sometimes deeper states happen even when I am not aiming for that specific purpose. And sometimes reaching even a light state of meditativeness when I am apt for a deeper roll doesn't happen. I do think practice makes things easier though.

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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2012, 09:00:23 pm »
Quote from: brad;76862
This is indeed deeply, deeply interesting!  I would seem that even here, most of you that have replied fall into one of the three categories of meditation styles I brought up at the beginning.

clearing mind
letting thoughts play out
focusing on theme

Maybe each of the three have their time and place along our path.  It would seem to me that clearing the mind would be good for allowing and/or preparing energy to flow within us.  Letting thoughts play out seems like it would be good for the mind cleaning and coming to terms with oneself type of scenario. Finally, the themed meditation seems ideal for allowing a study to sink it, information gathering, or reflections.

Does anybody see the same thing as I do on the notion of purpose-specific meditations?  Perhaps the reason it's so hard for some people to have fruitful meditation is because they aren't aware of the different styles, and thus using the wrong tool for the job!

 
It really does seem to depend on the individual. For example, if you have a "loud" interior--one full of chatter and frenetic energy--, then just trying to clear your mind probably won't help. You need somewhere to direct that loudness until it settles. Even letting the thoughts ping around your head may not help (as a person with a loud interior, I can attest to this). You have to have something to focus on, whether it's an image or your left foot. Lol.

I haven't tried a themed meditation, unless you call placing myself in an ancient Egyptian temple and trying to reconstruct it "themed". But it sounds interesting. Have you ever tried it?

I think people get this image of meditation where you have to be perfectly still and quiet right away the first couple times you try to meditate. And the only way to get to that place is by forcing all your thoughts, discomforts, worries, etc. to just go away in a finger snap. But that's a good way to immediately get turned off to the practice. :p
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

brad

Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 10:38:27 pm »
Quote from: Shine;76876

I haven't tried a themed meditation, unless you call placing myself in an ancient Egyptian temple and trying to reconstruct it "themed". But it sounds interesting. Have you ever tried it?


I have tried the themed meditation before.  And to define themed, I'm referring to a single topic to contemplate.  Currently, I'm not disciplined enough to do this for more than a couple minutes.  I too have a lot of chatter.  As a tool to help train me to do this type of meditation, I'm thinking of a way to record major points of my thought as they happen.  I'm not sure if that would be to scribble it down on a large paper with my eyes closed, or use a voice recorder, or what.

However, i think the whole idea of how to do that specifically should be a different thread altogether, and the details of it probably escapes the broader scope of this particular thread.
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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2012, 09:58:56 am »
Quote from: brad;76891
I have tried the themed meditation before.  And to define themed, I'm referring to a single topic to contemplate.  Currently, I'm not disciplined enough to do this for more than a couple minutes.  I too have a lot of chatter.  As a tool to help train me to do this type of meditation, I'm thinking of a way to record major points of my thought as they happen.  I'm not sure if that would be to scribble it down on a large paper with my eyes closed, or use a voice recorder, or what.

 
One technique that works for this is a river meditation. The version I learned is to imagine yourself sitting on the bank of a river. (Water moving toward you, then past you and away from you.)

If you have a distracting thought, create a symbol of it in your mind. (So, if you're worried about paying a bill, you might see an envelope for that bill with money sticking out). Imagine it floating away down the river.

The other technique is a set of counting beads - big wooden ones from a craft store are cheap and work fine for this. (You want something big enough you can move them in your hand easily - 20 or so is fine.) Start your meditation work holding the string in at least one hand. Each time you have a distracting thought, acknowledge it, let it go, move your hand one bead down, and go back to your meditation.

This doesn't help in the moment, but over time, you should see steady improvement, which can be really reassuring.

I'll also say that my experience working with Craft students (and my own training) suggests that lots and lots of people have a fairly consistent point - somewhere between 8 and 12 minutes (mine is reliably at about 9:30) where meditation suddenly gets a whole lot easier, and those distracting thoughts drop away.

Learning to get to that point takes some practice, but once you do, you may find that extended meditation is a lot easier. And there have been times when just knowing it'll get easier makes it possible to get through the brain-chatter bit of the equation.
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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2012, 10:13:08 am »
Quote from: brad;76812

I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.

 
I have a rather loud head, so just trying to turn that all off at the snap of fingers isn't a valid method for me. I've never managed to 'clear my mind' into a quiet space, things just keep popping up.

Guided meditations are useful, and recently I've been experimenting with focusing on drumming tracks. Something rhythmic in order to help me focus and get into the 'zone' so to speak.

Green Thumb

Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012, 08:55:02 pm »
Quote from: brad;76862
Maybe each of the three have their time and place along our path.  It would seem to me that clearing the mind would be good for allowing and/or preparing energy to flow within us.  Letting thoughts play out seems like it would be good for the mind cleaning and coming to terms with oneself type of scenario. Finally, the themed meditation seems ideal for allowing a study to sink it, information gathering, or reflections.

Does anybody see the same thing as I do on the notion of purpose-specific meditations?

 
It actually followed, and still does follow, this theme. Nothing was accomplished cause I couldn't stop thinking. But once I stopped thinking I started focusing cause I got bored sitting there doing nothing. Then I started thinking again and letting my mind wonder and answer itself without my input.
~E

Faemon

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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 06:48:40 am »
Quote from: brad;76812
I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state.  For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.


When I started out, I let the thoughts run wild until they cleared by themselves. Just the act of sitting down to meditate, with the aim of clearing the mind, in the mood of "letting", would apparently spook the thoughts... eventually, it's just that the way they "spook" can be very slow. It took me about a month and a half of daily hour-long meditation sits to reach the clear-mind state. It was difficult because I believed what I read, that manipulating your experience so that you are no longer thinking? Is still a thought. However, stillness and silence of the mind is kind of the mind's Platonic state-- like water will usually flow into the state that takes the least energy, like planets generally prefer to be round. With practice, I could get into that empty of mind within seconds, without sitting down, any time I wanted to. I believe that this would have been different from going straight to clearing the mind.

The thing is, I have a chemical issue with seratonin in my brain-- and that numbing and emptying myself, did come naturally to me was... not a good thing to practice, actually. Once that was diagnosed, and I started on medication, all those months and years of disciplining my mind just went down the toilet. My head became noisy, and I could sit for two hours and the thoughts wouldn't clear. I couldn't just notice them arising and release them-- even though I knew that I knew how to do that, and that I used to be very very good at it.

So, now my meditation involves visualizations-- my brain is a big fan of activity, now, so it's just a much better fit. I did used to manipulate my experience before, but that would be the step after clearing the mind-- because the true will found there in the quietness, would know how the experience should be manipulated. Now, instead, it's step one: the theme as a way of finding harmony with the chatter without losing myself in it. I feared that this new meditation style would be less "real"-- but I still had energetic flow without a clear mind. I had to come to terms with myself without letting the thoughts play out. The themed meditations were allowed to surprise me, so it wasn't all about reflection or studying things that I already knew.

Unfortunately, I can't keep this up for more than ten minutes a week-- my brain starts to not cooperate anymore, and then builds this resistance to it.

At least it still brings a quality to my consciousness that isn't there the rest of the time. Although-- that quality can be there all the time, and probably should be. I've heard of "moving meditations" like yoga or Tai Chi... or just walking around, as slowly as you need to to be able to pay full attention to your body. I cannot keep that up for more than a few seconds, personally. :p
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Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 09:39:33 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;77030
The thing is, I have a chemical issue with seratonin in my brain-- and that numbing and emptying myself, did come naturally to me was... not a good thing to practice, actually. Once that was diagnosed, and I started on medication, all those months and years of disciplining my mind just went down the toilet. My head became noisy, and I could sit for two hours and the thoughts wouldn't clear. I couldn't just notice them arising and release them-- even though I knew that I knew how to do that, and that I used to be very very good at it.


:eek: Oh my. This explains so much of what happened to me. I never thought my problems with meditation could have something to do with the medications I'm having, but actually it makes so much sense!

Quote from: triple_entendre;77030
I've heard of "moving meditations" like yoga or Tai Chi... or just walking around, as slowly as you need to to be able to pay full attention to your body. I cannot keep that up for more than a few seconds, personally. :p

 
These days I'm meditating while playing zen mode on bejeweled 3 LOL!

brad

Re: Entering Meditation
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2012, 08:59:16 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;77030
The thing is, I have a chemical issue with seratonin in my brain-- and that numbing and emptying myself, did come naturally to me was... not a good thing to practice, actually. Once that was diagnosed, and I started on medication, all those months and years of disciplining my mind just went down the toilet. My head became noisy, and I could sit for two hours and the thoughts wouldn't clear. I couldn't just notice them arising and release them-- even though I knew that I knew how to do that, and that I used to be very very good at it.

 
somehow, it has always escaped me that perhaps my own meditation troubles has something to do with issues other than a lack of effort/dedication.  Thanks for bringing this up!
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