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Meditation for dummies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sandandfoam, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Well-Known Member

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    11,158
    I'm bad at meditation.
    But I'd like to be better :D
    If anyone had any advice for a meditation dummy like me I'd like to hear it.
    I was thinking of buying one of those meditation cushions on eBay. Are they a good idea?
     
  2. MSizer

    MSizer MSizer

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    4,369
    Ooh, good thread stephenw, my wife and I have been wondering about meditation too. We think it may be useful as a supplement to our anti-crazy meds. I do mean it seriously, so I'm looking forward to read the contributions to this.
     
  3. Hevenly Heathen

    Hevenly Heathen Seeker

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    579
    What are the difficulties you have encountered?
     
  4. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Well-Known Member

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    11,158
    Discomfort is a big one. Hence I was thinking of the cushion?
    Another is how long to sit. I've been thinking 10 minutes twice a day and working up.
     
  5. katiafish

    katiafish consciousness incarnate

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    1,268
    It doesnt matter if you sit on a cushion, they are not going to make your meditation any deeper or easier.. Try sitting up on a chair, if that is easier..

    The best meditation is the conscious breathing, concentrate on your breaths in and out, if you cant keep your attention on the breath itself, try concentrating on the sensation of the air entering and exiting your nostrils...
    Dont give yourself impossible goals, try 5 mins to start with. If you "catch" yourself thinking about something, dont get frustrated or participate in the thought, observe it, as in observe the fact that you are thinking, and come back to the breath..

    And most importantly, persevere, dont get discouraged if you cant concentrate on anything and keep on thinking of your dinner. Have your dinner and try again!

    Good luck :rainbow1:
     
    Onkara likes this.
  6. Onkara

    Onkara New Member

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    3,369
    Hi
    The pradoxical question is, what do you want to gain from it? Normally mediation will only bring relaxation if there is something to gain, force that desire a little and one might even leave mediation feeling more frustrated than when they began after setting such expectations. :)

    So be goal-less, do it for it's own sake. Try to find a time and place without distractions. If you miss a session, then so be it. Do it until you find your mind brings you "back in to the room" and you are ready to rise and go about your tasks; it could be 20 minutes or longer, time is of no importance to the meditative mind.

    Some tricks include telling the mind that you will do that which it demands later, and this is time for you. Also watch thoughts come and go, if you find you get caught up then when that realisation occurs bring yourself back to being the witness. If you use breathing, chanting or other techniques continue to come back to those. Later they too can be dropped.

    Hope that helps, I am learning with you all ;)
     
    katiafish likes this.
  7. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    22,701
    If you find discomfort a problem, try lying down. What position you're in while meditating is irrelevant.
     
  8. Alceste

    Alceste Vagabond

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    26,030
    I asked my tai chi teacher about Taoist meditation once and he told me it was very advanced stuff - not for the dabbler. I pressed him on it, expecting to hear about a complicated procedure with tongues curved in a particular way, perinium clenched, back straight, all sorts of stuff I'd come across in books. But he only said "just think about your whole body and nothing else."

    Try that. It's harder than it sounds. You'll probably find yourself thinking about only your toes or your ribcage, having to remind yourself to expand your awareness. Maybe the laundry will pop into your head. But if you keep at it, it's pretty effective.

    It doesn't really matter if you sit up. If discomfort is a problem, do it lying on your back, or walking, or if you're more comfortable in a chair than on the floor, use a chair. If you feel like moving, move.

    Edit: I should mention that I never do it for a fixed number of minutes. I do it when I feel like doing it, and continue until I feel "done". Sometimes that's 10 minutes, sometimes it's much longer - especially if I'm in a beautiful spot outdoors with nothing else on that day and nobody else around.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  9. Hevenly Heathen

    Hevenly Heathen Seeker

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    579
    It's simple, yet difficult. As Alceste has mentioned: Just think about your body. When meditating, you are training your body and mind to work together. The position does not matter. As for time, I prefer the shortest length around 10min, but that's me. The trick is to still your mind. Mundane thoughts creep in all the time, so concentrating on your body helps kick them, and when you have control of that, try forgetting your body as well.
     
    Onkara likes this.
  10. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    12,249
    Friend stephenw,

    Am sure by now you have understood that meditation is not all about posture, i.e. sitting erect, spine straight, sitting for hours, etc.
    Be natural. Be comfortable first. If you are comfortable in a posture that you sleep in, use that. If you prefer to sit on a chair, use that. You could even stand as you when surfing?

    The idea is to see through our own mind [thoughts]. Then breathing.
    Finally it should be like one is able to be aware of his own breath come in and go out at all times. That will be nirvana. when *you* the *ego* is no more and things happen on its own accord.

    Love & rgds
     
  11. Herr Heinrich

    Herr Heinrich Student of Mythology

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    1,809
    Taoist meditation is so interesting. It is so "simple" yet so "advanced".

    To respond to the OP; I go to a Ch'an zendo and their meditation is pretty simple. Other than lying down find anyway that is comfortable to you. A pillow is fine if that is all you need. A chair works too. Or even a fancy smancy cushion. Anyway we learn to only focus on one thing and that is the dan tian. It is the "sea of energy" located about 3 fingers width below your navel. That is all we do. When your mind begins to wander gently but firmly bring it back to the dan tian. Also remember to go into meditation with no goals. Do it just to do it. At least that is what you should be doing eventually. I suppose whatever gets you motivated to begin with is fine as long as you let it go eventually.
     
  12. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    12,249
    Friend Xiao Shu,

    Yes, meditation means *DYANA* and it has no goals but just to be aware be conscious.

    Consciousness is universal and individual and by being conscious the individual just vanishes, is no more only CONSCIOUSNESS IS.

    Love & rgds
     
  13. Venatoris

    Venatoris Active Member

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    693
    I'll just throw in two little exercises that I use often.

    Exercise 1- Get comfortable(any position as long as you can relax your muscles).Close your eyes and picture a box. Any kind of box will do. Now you have to think hard(counter-intuitive for meditation, I know) about everything in your life. People, places, events, memories and anything else that you can possibly think of. I start with memories from my childhood and work my way forward but I suppose you can find your own way to organize your thoughts. Think about these things, one at a time, but for no longer than a few moments and then place them in the box. When you think you have everything in the box you close it and shove it away from you. Watch the box drift away into the distance until you can't see it anymore. Your mind should now have nothing left to think about and you can literally think about nothing. This is where I start to focus on my breathing, I find it helps me keep concentration on a clear mind. When I first started using this exercise I could only clear my mind for a few moments before getting distracted by an errant thought, but even then I felt very relaxed. I've been doing this one for years and the amount of time still varies from seconds to a personal best of twenty minutes.

    Exercise 2- This is a very easy meditation that I have found useful on more than one occasion. It is best to lay down the first few times until you get the hang of it. Close your eyes and focus on your toes. Try to imagine a tingling sensation(like your foot is falling asleep). When you can feel this sensation let it slowly creep across your feet and stop. Concentrate on this feeling before letting it slowly move up your legs. Continue until you can feel this sensation all over your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Concentrating on the sensation is the only important part of this exercise so you don't need to clear your mind and block out distractions. Listening to music might even help you with this(I find it does). With a little practice you should be able to attain this feeling with your eyes open or even while walking.
    I have used this in two ways.
    1:envision warmth spreading across your body
    2:envision cold spreading across your body.
    This can be useful when relaxing on warm summer days or walking outdoors in the winter.

    Try them yourself and let me know if they work for you. If you like them I'll post more
     
    zenzero likes this.
  14. TashaN

    TashaN Islamopolitan Staff Member Premium Member

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    13,289
    Try mediating in nature. I usually mediate when i'm at an empty or semi-empty spot on the beach or a place where there is water running. Try to find something to help you concentrate like birds sounds or water running "yes, inside your house, like the small fountains which you can buy". Close your eyes and try to let these natural sounds guide you. I wouldn't be able to stand it if there is nothing to hear and help me to relax. Regarding the position, to me, it doesn't matter as long as i feel comfortable. When you try to do something new, begin with something you can feel comfortable with, you don't have to follow a ready plan to do that thing. Just listen to your inner self through the outside.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  15. Phasmid

    Phasmid Mr Invisible

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    2,282
    I find my upper back aches when I meditate. So I tend to get a pillow, fold it in half and place it between my lower back and the wall behind me when I meditate. It props my back up straight and is suprisingly comfortable.
     
  16. Peace

    Peace Quran & Sunnah

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    4,018
    Nature is the best place for meditation. In nature you can see the beautiful creation of God so apparent.
    I personally love places where there is water, I love waterfalls and I love and enjoy watching ocean waves; I see in it the might of Allah and I start praising Him. In nature I see the amazing creation of the Creator, glory be to Him!
     
  17. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Messages:
    12,249
    Friend peace,

    Swami Vivekananda, sat on a rock in the ocean at Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu coast, India and meditated and gained enlightenment.

    Personally every morning practice walking meditation on the beach road listening to the waves too.
    Yes, anything to be your *self* is good enough. even watching the waves.

    Love & rgds
     
  18. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

    Messages:
    17,401
    Religion:
    Beyond the Light
    In all that has been said so far, I can't help but notice one tiny aspect that is missing. I call it the sound of transcending. This sound is a slightly metallic ringing in the ears that ebbs and returns while in meditation. At times, if focused on, it can become quite loud, so that it blots out the sounds of the physical world. In some ways it sounds like the fizzing sound made by a glass of soda pop. In other ways it sounds like the reverberations of a tuning fork... long after it has been struck.

    The point I am making is that if you concentrate on that sound and focus on an invisible point directly in front of your inner field of vision you will gain far more than you can presently realize.
    The thing to keep in mind, StephenW is to treat the sound like a wave you are surfing. If you concentrate on the natural flow of the sound, you will not have to try to turn off your internal dialogue. That will happen quite naturally. Use your surfing skill and just "tune in" and don't worry about if you are doing it "right".
     
  19. Phasmid

    Phasmid Mr Invisible

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    2,282
    I thought that sound was a mild form of tinitus or something.
     
  20. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

    Messages:
    17,401
    Religion:
    Beyond the Light
    Ok, I just read up on tinitus and it is most definitely NOT what I am talking about. Thanks for the opportunity to clear this up. The tinitus sufferer does not appear to have any control over the sound they are hearing whereas in the meditative sense, the individual has complete control and can silence the sound, at will, by coming out of the state associated with the sound. Obviously, if one is hearing a ringing in their ears when they are going about normal activities they should seriously consider seeing an ear specialist.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
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