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Author Topic: Meditation: Overcoming Barriers to Success  (Read 117 times)

Altair

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Meditation: Overcoming Barriers to Success
« on: January 14, 2021, 10:31:50 am »
We revisit exploring meditation techniques periodically, so I thought maybe now was a good time to do so again.

What do you find is a barrier to successful meditation for you, and how do you try to overcome it?

One problem spot for me is latching onto something, for lack of a better term for it. My standard meditation is to focus on my breathing without trying to control it, so as to be present to everything in the moment without dwelling on anything. A hard part of that for me is that something intrudes--a sound, most often--and I focus on that, rather than just letting it be along with everything else.

Words, normally my bosom buddy, become a problem then, because instead of just accepting this thing in the context of all these other things, I focus on it and name it: "Oh, I heard a car door close" or just "car door". Which isn't the point of the meditation; it's to be aware of the totality of things in the moment, rather than latching onto any one simply because it had momentary prominence.

I don't mind that my focus shifts around a bit; I think that's normal. But the need to put it into a box constructed out of language--the compulsion to name it, to hang a word on it--strikes me as counterproductive to the goal.

One thing I try to do to address this is to "release" language repeatedly during the meditation: When I find my mind using words, I mentally transform language itself into a white dove and release it (which is my usual way of letting go of something during meditation, like if I start thinking about the day's tasks ahead, or an argument I had with someone yesterday, or whatever). But it's super hard to do with language, because it's so fundamental to how we humans think.

Has anyone else encountered this problem? How do you address it? Or are your meditation challenges completely different?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Meditation: Overcoming Barriers to Success
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2021, 12:19:24 pm »
We revisit exploring meditation techniques periodically, so I thought maybe now was a good time to do so again.

What do you find is a barrier to successful meditation for you, and how do you try to overcome it?

One problem spot for me is latching onto something, for lack of a better term for it. My standard meditation is to focus on my breathing without trying to control it, so as to be present to everything in the moment without dwelling on anything. A hard part of that for me is that something intrudes--a sound, most often--and I focus on that, rather than just letting it be along with everything else.

Words, normally my bosom buddy, become a problem then, because instead of just accepting this thing in the context of all these other things, I focus on it and name it: "Oh, I heard a car door close" or just "car door". Which isn't the point of the meditation; it's to be aware of the totality of things in the moment, rather than latching onto any one simply because it had momentary prominence.

I don't mind that my focus shifts around a bit; I think that's normal. But the need to put it into a box constructed out of language--the compulsion to name it, to hang a word on it--strikes me as counterproductive to the goal.

One thing I try to do to address this is to "release" language repeatedly during the meditation: When I find my mind using words, I mentally transform language itself into a white dove and release it (which is my usual way of letting go of something during meditation, like if I start thinking about the day's tasks ahead, or an argument I had with someone yesterday, or whatever). But it's super hard to do with language, because it's so fundamental to how we humans think.

Has anyone else encountered this problem? How do you address it? Or are your meditation challenges completely different?

I'm okay if I'm narrating stuff when I meditate...as long as it's just naming/recognizing stuff.  If my brain is telling me, "I hear the neighbors, and there's a bird, and my cat is purring..." that is okay, that is just noticing stuff.  The thoughts I try to stop are the train ones, where it starts with "I hear my neighbors" but then turns into "I wonder if they have company, what is that show they were watching on tv the other night, have I ever seen it, I think my husband has..."  Because then I am no longer in the moment, I have wandered off to somewhere else.

My struggle is actually sitting down.  I have a lot of trouble slowing myself and doing one thing at a time.  I do small meditation in the morning (maybe five minutes) as part of my daily routine, and I always want to add more.  I want to sit for 15-30 minutes and make a regular practice of it.  Problem (right now) is that hubby is home, and if I disappear somewhere he often comes looking for me.  It makes me feel weird (I could absolutely tell him that I was going to meditate and he'd be fine with it, this is all just me overthinking stuff), so I avoid doing it.  Not really sure how to break through either of those blocks though.
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Altair

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Re: Meditation: Overcoming Barriers to Success
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2021, 01:46:59 pm »
I'm okay if I'm narrating stuff when I meditate...as long as it's just naming/recognizing stuff.  If my brain is telling me, "I hear the neighbors, and there's a bird, and my cat is purring..." that is okay, that is just noticing stuff.  The thoughts I try to stop are the train ones, where it starts with "I hear my neighbors" but then turns into "I wonder if they have company, what is that show they were watching on tv the other night, have I ever seen it, I think my husband has..."  Because then I am no longer in the moment, I have wandered off to somewhere else.

I agree about not "hopping on the train" of thoughts 100%.

I guess my objections to naming things during a "be-present-in-the-moment" meditation are:

1) I feel like I'm limiting them by naming them--I'm slapping a human construct onto them, rather than just letting them be and experiencing them; and

2) I like to treat the "be present" as a listening experience, opening myself up to more and more levels of awareness--almost like hearing a symphony--and if I'm "talking" during it by naming things, I'm undercutting it

But maybe I should try your approach of just letting the naming happen. My hang-up about identifying things may be more of an impediment to successful meditation than the identifying itself.
Quote
My struggle is actually sitting down.  I have a lot of trouble slowing myself and doing one thing at a time.  I do small meditation in the morning (maybe five minutes) as part of my daily routine, and I always want to add more.  I want to sit for 15-30 minutes and make a regular practice of it.  Problem (right now) is that hubby is home, and if I disappear somewhere he often comes looking for me.  It makes me feel weird (I could absolutely tell him that I was going to meditate and he'd be fine with it, this is all just me overthinking stuff), so I avoid doing it.  Not really sure how to break through either of those blocks though.

This may be totally unhelpful, since I may be misunderstanding the obstacle here...but what if you set an alert on your phone for a designated time each day when you have to stop what you're doing and meditate, no matter what?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Ashmire

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Re: Meditation: Overcoming Barriers to Success
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 02:14:21 pm »
We revisit exploring meditation techniques periodically, so I thought maybe now was a good time to do so again.

What do you find is a barrier to successful meditation for you, and how do you try to overcome it?

One problem spot for me is latching onto something, for lack of a better term for it. My standard meditation is to focus on my breathing without trying to control it, so as to be present to everything in the moment without dwelling on anything. A hard part of that for me is that something intrudes--a sound, most often--and I focus on that, rather than just letting it be along with everything else.

Words, normally my bosom buddy, become a problem then, because instead of just accepting this thing in the context of all these other things, I focus on it and name it: "Oh, I heard a car door close" or just "car door". Which isn't the point of the meditation; it's to be aware of the totality of things in the moment, rather than latching onto any one simply because it had momentary prominence.

I don't mind that my focus shifts around a bit; I think that's normal. But the need to put it into a box constructed out of language--the compulsion to name it, to hang a word on it--strikes me as counterproductive to the goal.

One thing I try to do to address this is to "release" language repeatedly during the meditation: When I find my mind using words, I mentally transform language itself into a white dove and release it (which is my usual way of letting go of something during meditation, like if I start thinking about the day's tasks ahead, or an argument I had with someone yesterday, or whatever). But it's super hard to do with language, because it's so fundamental to how we humans think.

Has anyone else encountered this problem? How do you address it? Or are your meditation challenges completely different?

Definitely very different from me!  I didn't know until my mid-late 20s when someone quoted Temple Grandin on the subject, that other people actually *ever* think in words instead of having to painstakingly translate images into them.  (Around the same time I got into blogging and developed a kind of partial word-thought, because I was constantly thinking of how to turn things into an LJ post.  But it's never been fully natural to me).

In my case, a big problem that's been coming up recently (and periodically does) for me in meditation is intrusive faces.  I get stuck trying to figure out whether they're just brain garbage floating up (as stressors often take visual form and have to be passed through in early phases of meditation, just as they do in hypnogogic imagery), or actual spirits, and if so, are they ones I should/would want to talk to?  I have moderate-to-severe prosopagnosia so although I can somewhat tell they don't really look like anyone I know, they're pretty useless as identification.  Some divinations have suggested that at least some of them are purely artifacts of my proso-related anxiety, but I don't really have a solution as yet.

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