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Gleb
16 Jul 2014, 07:31
We have a special section for meditation? Yay!!! Though, I am really not sure about the title of the thread to be honest.

Everyone feels a need to relax and meditate sometimes. Of course it's different for everyone. There is a different way for every individual to meditate and relax.

My way of meditating/relaxing (basically it's a bit combined for me), is listening to calming sounds and concentrating on them for some time, while being alone in one position whether it's sitting or lying on my back.
Until now I was using the www.calm.com (http://www.calm.com) site that Juni posted somewhere a long ago. Plus, I've downloaded some applications to my laptop that help me with meditation. It works as an application with Windows 8 and 8.1 OS. But such things can be found in the internet as well:


Waterfall sounds (this is the one I use the most)
Ocean waves
Relaxing rain
Forest meditation


Depending on my mood I choose one of the listed above.

So what about you? How do you meditate? What is your method​?

- - - Updated - - -

P.S.
If the mods/admins have thought about a better title for the thread - please change it and let me know. :)

Shahaku
16 Jul 2014, 09:11
I generally do a breathing technique in a quiet place and considering my schedule and exhaustion it's usually bedtime and I put myself to sleep. Deep breath in through the nose, out through the mouth and visualizing releasing all the negative energy and breathing in the positive. Sometimes, I breathe to a count, usually seven (I picked it up from a book when I was.. 12?) When I do that it's breath in (7) hold (7) out (7) hold (7) repeat.

I like the idea of the meditations where you're listening to a story basically and visualizing your in it, but I haven't found one in a long time that I like and I can't find the ones I used in high school so... ah well.

LeviImmortal
16 Jul 2014, 11:32
When I first began meditating I began with silent meditation. It's actually incredible how mystical of an experience you can have when it's just you and absolute silence. It can be a challenge for some, but when you get it down you'll feel like a little Buddha. :p You can start out meditating outside on a calm morning or evening when all you can hear are Earthly sounds. But if you want to meditate simply for relaxation purposes, I like a lot of the guided meditation videos on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1xwtA6C2DQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhtFG9VRtP0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Su2X7PgQuo The first and last are guided, the second is just incredibly relaxing. You can turn these into MP3 files to put on iPods, phones etc. Just go to Google and put in YouTube to MP3.

Gleb
16 Jul 2014, 12:15
I generally do a breathing technique in a quiet place and considering my schedule and exhaustion it's usually bedtime and I put myself to sleep. Deep breath in through the nose, out through the mouth and visualizing releasing all the negative energy and breathing in the positive. Sometimes, I breathe to a count, usually seven (I picked it up from a book when I was.. 12?) When I do that it's breath in (7) hold (7) out (7) hold (7) repeat.

I like the idea of the meditations where you're listening to a story basically and visualizing your in it, but I haven't found one in a long time that I like and I can't find the ones I used in high school so... ah well.
It's a great method. Also, try imagining yourself in a specific place - forest, seaside and enjoying the sounds of that place. Works greatly. :)


When I first began meditating I began with silent meditation. It's actually incredible how mystical of an experience you can have when it's just you and absolute silence. It can be a challenge for some, but when you get it down you'll feel like a little Buddha. :p You can start out meditating outside on a calm morning or evening when all you can hear are Earthly sounds. But if you want to meditate simply for relaxation purposes, I like a lot of the guided meditation videos on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1xwtA6C2DQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhtFG9VRtP0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Su2X7PgQuo The first and last are guided, the second is just incredibly relaxing. You can turn these into MP3 files to put on iPods, phones etc. Just go to Google and put in YouTube to MP3.

It's hard for me sometimes to just be in a totally silent place in one position, but sometimes I just like to lie with with my back on my bed and enjoy the atmosphere. Especially when I am alone.
The links are awesome! Thank you for sharing them! :) There is another thing I found a couple of months ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_klKJzo4LTY

LeviImmortal
16 Jul 2014, 12:36
It's hard for me sometimes to just be in a totally silent place in one position, but sometimes I just like to lie with with my back on my bed and enjoy the atmosphere. Especially when I am alone.
The links are awesome! Thank you for sharing them! :) There is another thing I found a couple of months ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_klKJzo4LTY

Yeah, silent meditation is NOT for everyone. Lol. And you're welcome! There are MANY other techniques, but I think the simplest ones are most effective.

Thrudr
16 Jul 2014, 13:07
When I first began meditating I began with silent meditation. It's actually incredible how mystical of an experience you can have when it's just you and absolute silence. It can be a challenge for some, but when you get it down you'll feel like a little Buddha.

I like meditating in silence as well. Most of the times I light a candle. It always works a little hypnotic when I stare into the flame. And then I just imagine that the flame is burning all my thoughts. I sometimes have trouble sleeping, because of several thoughts that just won't go away, so this technique works good for me.

I also have a few cd's with pagan/celtic music. That's where I let the music guide my thoughts and sometimes I can have complete visions or my deities show themselves.

Rae'ya
17 Jul 2014, 17:22
I am really terrible at the whole 'clear your mind' style meditations (as most of us are, if we get right down to it). It takes me weeks of daily practice to get to the point of being able to clear my mind properly, and then I just don't really get much spiritual benefit out of it, so I stopped bothering to do it a really long time ago.

Nowdays my meditations are about relaxation, checking my ground, centering, reinforcing my shields, and reinforcing my relationships with guides and allies. So in a sense I actually don't 'meditate' much anymore... but I do a lot of Innerworlds work. I rarely have any external stimuli as a part of this... I just close my eyes, do a bit of basic breathe work and enter my Innerworlds landscape. From there it depends on my purpose as to how much further I go.

Even when I was doing some classic meditation, I never used sound or candles etc. I find visuals distracting so candle meditations rarely work for me unless I'm in the bathtub. I'm also not an aural person, pretty much at all... so music doesn't really do much for me in terms of altering consciousness for meditative purposes (though repetitive rhythm helps induce trance for me) and I don't need it to drown out other noises. I do find physical position affects the quality of the meditation though. I tend to fall asleep if I lay down (which is fine for relaxation meditations prior to sleep), and I find pins and needles in my legs incredibly distracting. So I sit on a pillow with my legs bent but not crossed. I read a book many years ago called 'The Posture of Mediation' and found the information incredibly helpful. I sit on a pillow of a certain height to tilt my pelvis forward, which aids in the alignment of the spine and makes it easier to sit upright without having to strain. Just that simple little addition makes a big difference for me.

Chessa
22 Jul 2014, 18:58
My typical meditation is usually challenging myself to sit completely still for as long as possible. I'm up to 5 minutes now~

Azvanna
11 Aug 2014, 01:57
I find it really difficult to meditate now with a baby to take care of. It's probably something I should make a priority for the sake of mental health! Right now, my meditation is very short and sweet, right before I go to bed. It's just a simple act of being open to the presence of God and letting that presence fill me up before I go to sleep. One day last week, I had a friend taking care of my baby while I slept for the afternoon and could revisit a guided meditation. It is supposed to lead you into an astral projection, but I just enjoy it at face value. I fell asleep long before I could 'become the lake' though!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIq2FViJ0qQ

Gleb
11 Aug 2014, 11:00
I find it really difficult to meditate now with a baby to take care of. It's probably something I should make a priority for the sake of mental health! Right now, my meditation is very short and sweet, right before I go to bed. It's just a simple act of being open to the presence of God and letting that presence fill me up before I go to sleep. One day last week, I had a friend taking care of my baby while I slept for the afternoon and could revisit a guided meditation. It is supposed to lead you into an astral projection, but I just enjoy it at face value. I fell asleep long before I could 'become the lake' though!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIq2FViJ0qQ
Very nice! Thanks for sharing, Azvanna! I am not a person of astral projection, but it's a very good thing for meditation. Astral projection creeps me out a bit, because I am afraid of not being able to come back.

To be honest, it's a bit hard to get a fully quiet atmosphere here. I can get it only during afternoon, when nobody but me and my sister are home (I keep an eye on her). And usually, from 2 pm until 4+ pm she is asleep. I really prefer to move this atmosphere to later hours, but I can't.

Näre
04 Jan 2015, 09:06
So in a sense I actually don't 'meditate' much anymore... but I do a lot of Innerworlds work. I rarely have any external stimuli as a part of this... I just close my eyes, do a bit of basic breathe work and enter my Innerworlds landscape. From there it depends on my purpose as to how much further I go.
Sounds like an interesting way to meditate!

I tried Buddhist meditation for about five years (well, I have to confess it wasn't always a daily practice) but I tend to get dull och dreamy. I know the aim of Buddhist meditation isn't some fancy experiences but certainly it's not about looking at nowhere, dozing off.
I once had a nice hour long meditation (one of my longest, to be honest) and it was just boring for the most of the time but I had windows open and it started raining and it was sort of calming. But sitting for an hour to get a hint of calm? Perhaps not.

I still do basic breathing meditations sometimes. I guess I have tried almost everything else by now... But at this moment my practice and religion is evolving rapidly, why not the meditative part of it as well?

SleepingCompass
04 Jan 2015, 17:43
My way of meditating/relaxing (basically it's a bit combined for me), is listening to calming sounds and concentrating on them for some time, while being alone in one position whether it's sitting or lying on my back.
Until now I was using the www.calm.com (http://www.calm.com) site that Juni posted somewhere a long ago. Plus, I've downloaded some applications to my laptop that help me with meditation. It works as an application with Windows 8 and 8.1 OS. But such things can be found in the internet as well:


Waterfall sounds (this is the one I use the most)
Ocean waves
Relaxing rain
Forest meditation


Depending on my mood I choose one of the listed above.

So what about you? How do you meditate? What is your method​?


I like using nature sounds as well :)

Most nights, before going to sleep, I'll use a Dream Tones Night Light and Sound Machine that makes color changing stars on your ceiling and plays various nature sounds, though I only use the ocean one. I usually meditate to this until I fall asleep.

I also like doing the occasional YouTube guided meditation, or sometimes just silence is good too :)

Rae'ya
04 Jan 2015, 20:23
Sounds like an interesting way to meditate!

I tried Buddhist meditation for about five years (well, I have to confess it wasn't always a daily practice) but I tend to get dull och dreamy. I know the aim of Buddhist meditation isn't some fancy experiences but certainly it's not about looking at nowhere, dozing off.
I once had a nice hour long meditation (one of my longest, to be honest) and it was just boring for the most of the time but I had windows open and it started raining and it was sort of calming. But sitting for an hour to get a hint of calm? Perhaps not.

I still do basic breathing meditations sometimes. I guess I have tried almost everything else by now... But at this moment my practice and religion is evolving rapidly, why not the meditative part of it as well?

Not specifically aimed at you, Näre, but some thoughts stimulated by your comments...

I honestly think that as neo-pagans we generally get our wires crossed when it comes to meditation. We are taught that we need to have a meditative practice, but that's about it. And so many pagans get caught up in this idea that they have to meditate, and have to have a 'good' meditative practice, and have to evolve their meditation as they grow. I think this is largely a misunderstanding of why we 'should' meditate.

Meditation is a set of practices that can be bent to a number of purposes. Meditating just for the sake of meditating is rarely enriching to one's practice. 'Clear your mind' type meditations are rarely useful for Western practitioners except to help reach a meditative state which you then DO something with. Trying to do a 'clear your mind' type meditation for an hour is invariably going to fail for most of us without years of background work, but using one as a tier of exercises to reach a meditative state from which you do introspective work or a guided meditation is helpful. Mindfullness meditations are good for the 'clear your mind' purpose, as they are specifically designed for modern non-spiritual people who have trouble switching off and being present in the moment - thus they provide an easy non-sectarian framework to follow rather than just 'sit and clear your mind'. The reason many people need music or a focus point for their meditation is because we have trouble switching our brains off, so we distract it instead.

My issue with using distraction techniques for meditation has always been the risk of it becoming a crutch. If we always meditate with music or incense or our relaxing bath first, we are limiting our own abilities. These are good techniques to get started with, but I think that we should aim to move beyond them and learn to reach a meditative state with no tools. An adept at meditation should be able to meditate anywhere and under any circumstances... on the bus, at lunch break at work, while out walking, at the park, sitting, standing or laying down, in a quiet room or a loud one, in seclusion or surrounded by people. I think that's where any 'evolution' of a meditative practice should be aiming for. Not how long can you sit quietly before your legs go numb, but under what circumstances can you do the work that you're trying to do.

Which brings me to some questions for everyone that leads on from Gleb's original one...

Many of us talk about 'meditating'... but what do we actually mean? What are YOU actually doing while you 'meditate'? Relaxing? Introspecting? Thinking about your day? Objectively allowing your thoughts to flow past? Doing a guided visualisation? Doing a non-guided visualisation? Working on your energetic balance and hygiene? Worrying about how you haven't done the dishes yet? Planning the day trip you're doing tomorrow? Listening to some pretty music as you naturally fall asleep?

Is what you are personally doing actually enriching your practice, or are you just going through some motions that you assume you have to do because you read that pagans should meditate?

These are questions that I've asked myself over the years... and continue to ask myself, because my answers change sometimes. I'm interested to see other people's answers, if anyone's willing to delve into the why and not just the how.

SleepingCompass
05 Jan 2015, 09:35
Many of us talk about 'meditating'... but what do we actually mean? What are YOU actually doing while you 'meditate'? Relaxing? Introspecting? Thinking about your day? Objectively allowing your thoughts to flow past? Doing a guided visualisation? Doing a non-guided visualisation? Working on your energetic balance and hygiene? Worrying about how you haven't done the dishes yet? Planning the day trip you're doing tomorrow? Listening to some pretty music as you naturally fall asleep?

Is what you are personally doing actually enriching your practice, or are you just going through some motions that you assume you have to do because you read that pagans should meditate?

These are questions that I've asked myself over the years... and continue to ask myself, because my answers change sometimes. I'm interested to see other people's answers, if anyone's willing to delve into the why and not just the how.

At night, I'm usually getting myself into a meditative state so that I can talk with my personal Deities, or on more rare of occasions, sometimes I want to work on some aspect of myself, so I'll pretty much be repeating a positive phrase or affirmation to myself over and over, kind of trying to reprogram myself. And Sometimes I like doing the guided meditations on you tube or sometimes I'll go on my own little adventure. And sometimes I am just listening to the pretty sounds as I drift off to sleep :)

I've been doing some reading on chakras and energy work, so I'm planning to start trying to get more serious about these kinds of meditations, though I have dabbled a tiny bit in the past.


Is what you are personally doing actually enriching your practice, or are you just going through some motions that you assume you have to do because you read that pagans should meditate?

The reason why I first started meditating was definitely because I thought I was supposed too, but I think it has evolved to the point where it's actually enriching my practice now (fake it until you make it *grin*), but I think I sometimes do still fall into this trap; I'd just never had been able to articulate what was happening before reading this.

thalassa
05 Jan 2015, 11:26
Many of us talk about 'meditating'... but what do we actually mean? What are YOU actually doing while you 'meditate'? Relaxing? Introspecting? Thinking about your day? Objectively allowing your thoughts to flow past? Doing a guided visualisation? Doing a non-guided visualisation? Working on your energetic balance and hygiene? Worrying about how you haven't done the dishes yet? Planning the day trip you're doing tomorrow? Listening to some pretty music as you naturally fall asleep?

Is what you are personally doing actually enriching your practice, or are you just going through some motions that you assume you have to do because you read that pagans should meditate?


<3


So, for me, what I do depends on why I'm doing it (but either way, if it didn't enrich my practice, I wouldn't do it anymore). Mindfulness meditations, IMO, is more of a maintenance sort of thing--sort of like going to the gym, rather than training for an event or competing. I don't do mindfulness meditation for any specific goal, other than keeping up the practice of awareness and connection from without, or checking in with the within. I'm not a big fan of the empty mind sort of meditation (mostly for the reasons you brought up). Guided meditation is more for inner energy work or balancing, only because I can do it faster than without (essential with minions running amok). Non-guided visualization is more for ritual workings that are meditative in nature (which is not all rituals). I also like chants (and sometimes I'll use a chant from youtube and "chant along") for some work.

Näre
05 Jan 2015, 12:51
My issue with using distraction techniques for meditation has always been the risk of it becoming a crutch. If we always meditate with music or incense or our relaxing bath first, we are limiting our own abilities. These are good techniques to get started with, but I think that we should aim to move beyond them and learn to reach a meditative state with no tools. An adept at meditation should be able to meditate anywhere and under any circumstances... on the bus, at lunch break at work, while out walking, at the park, sitting, standing or laying down, in a quiet room or a loud one, in seclusion or surrounded by people. I think that's where any 'evolution' of a meditative practice should be aiming for. Not how long can you sit quietly before your legs go numb, but under what circumstances can you do the work that you're trying to do.This is what the Buddhists have been saying as well. (And what I keep forgetting, it would be so much easier to just sit bored one hour and that would be done, instead of actually meditating, whatever that means.)

Perhaps I should jot down on some thoughts even though I'm still a bit confused what meditation means to me as a Pagan.
The Buddhist meditations I talked about in my last message were mostly the basic "follow your breath" stuff ('shamatha', in Buddhist terms, or the somewhat clumsy English translation: 'calm-abiding'. I have to admit I still don't know whether there is a difference between this type of meditation and mindfulness meditation, most likely not or at least that is not so huge.
Then, *sigh*, I have done all various things Youtube has to offer. I've spent hours looking for new shiny meditations. Did find some favourites every now on then but lately I've become quite wary of what YT has to offer, when it comes to things like religions and meditation.

Now I mostly do kind of short mindfulness meditations focusing on strong emotions. I have those quite often and I live alone so rather than throwing things around and doing something I'd regret, I try to do something more constructive. However, meditation as a Pagan practice does interest me. I've been quite drawn to visualisations but that might just be a way of daydreaming. :D


Many of us talk about 'meditating'... but what do we actually mean? What are YOU actually doing while you 'meditate'? Relaxing? Introspecting? Thinking about your day? Objectively allowing your thoughts to flow past? Doing a guided visualisation? Doing a non-guided visualisation? Working on your energetic balance and hygiene? Worrying about how you haven't done the dishes yet? Planning the day trip you're doing tomorrow? Listening to some pretty music as you naturally fall asleep?

Is what you are personally doing actually enriching your practice, or are you just going through some motions that you assume you have to do because you read that pagans should meditate?Good point. Personally, I don't know how to answer those questions. As I don't know what really is the function of Pagan meditation, I suppose it varies depending on the person. A question worth thinking about...

I guess I'll leave it here before the site is taken down.. :D

Rae'ya
05 Jan 2015, 19:42
Personally I have a regular pre-sleep routine that is technically 'meditation' but which I don't really count as meditating. I do a relaxation (usually release-tension-on-the-breathe but occasionally a full tense-and-release if I'm particularly tense) and a mindfulness (setting-my-thoughts-aside and recently a leaves-on-a-stream one) to help shut my brain down at night. I don't really count it as meditation because it's not a spiritual thing, but a daily maintenance routine to help stop my brain churning around when I'm trying to sleep.

Then I have my 'proper' meditation, which is mostly energy hygiene and Innerworlds work... energy balances, shield maintenance, removing astral scum, and working with my internal 'chakra totems' (I hate that term but I don't have another term for them). Most of my deity work is done via trance rather than meditation. Plus I use a meditative state during ritual and magickal workings, but I don't count that as 'meditating'.

Otherwise I don't do 'classic' meditation. I don't do clear-the-mind type meditations, I don't meditate every day just because I 'should', I don't sit quietly and introspect... I do quite enough 'introspecting' throughout my day (my brain is pretty much in a constant state of thinking, checking, triple checking, rehashing, planning and introspecting... which is why it needs help shutting down at night). So that classic meditation that most people think of is not enriching or useful to me at all.

I can meditate sitting in a chair anywhere, including on the bus and at work. But if I sit on the floor I have to sit on a cushion (to raise my tailbone and tilt my pelvis) or my legs go to sleep and distract me. If I lay down to meditation during the day I will occasionally drop off to sleep... perhaps because I've actually trained myself that laying down + relaxation exercise + setting thoughts aside = time to go to sleep now brain. And I'm not particularly good at walking meditations... I get distracted by the need to watch out for traffic before crossing the road, or to keep an eye out for snakes. You could say I've got a ways to go with being able to meditate anywhere, anytime... but then I don't really bother to work on those other things because I don't feel that it's necessary to my practice. I can do most of my daily checks and quick maintenance without a full meditative state, and that's good enough for me.


Good point. Personally, I don't know how to answer those questions. As I don't know what really is the function of Pagan meditation, I suppose it varies depending on the person. A question worth thinking about...

The questions were not about pagan meditation, but about YOUR personal meditation practices. The fact that you are constantly on the look out for new meditations suggests to me that your personal practice lacks direction and purpose. Which means that these questions are probably very important for you to answer. Without a clear direction and purpose, you're just going through the motions.

Medusa
05 Jan 2015, 20:07
I cannot mediate to save my life. If I try to be still, I'll just either have an on going list of things in my head or fall asleep. I have bi polar and I always wondered if meditating might be harder because of how my mind is wired. I actually use my multi tasking brain to aid me in my daily life. So I don't know how to shut it off. I think the closest I get to clearing my mind of my things is when I listen to audiobooks. I love riding my bike or walking and listening to audiobooks. I completely lose track of where I am or time or reality. I can walk and 'see' the sidewalk ahead of me, but I'm not really there.

Any tips on how to get a bi polar mind to meditate?

Rae'ya
05 Jan 2015, 20:27
I cannot mediate to save my life. If I try to be still, I'll just either have an on going list of things in my head or fall asleep. I have bi polar and I always wondered if meditating might be harder because of how my mind is wired. I actually use my multi tasking brain to aid me in my daily life. So I don't know how to shut it off. I think the closest I get to clearing my mind of my things is when I listen to audiobooks. I love riding my bike or walking and listening to audiobooks. I completely lose track of where I am or time or reality. I can walk and 'see' the sidewalk ahead of me, but I'm not really there.

Any tips on how to get a bi polar mind to meditate?

My brain isn't bi-polar, just over active... but it sounds like we have the same issue. I 'tune out' very easily with daydream... where I'm operating on autopilot but my brain is off on some imaginary adventure. Sometimes I'll stare into space and it looks like I'm not doing anything, but my brain is churning away. Then Torey asks me what I'm thinking about and I can't tell him because it's actually more like five things jumping back and forth and I can't remember what they all were. I find it really difficult to shut my brain off without a trained routine.

So my advice is mindfulness. Which is annoying because it seems so fluffy and silly, but it really does work. It takes practice though. Lots of practice. I visualise my thoughts as a lights scattered on a black background, and gather them up and put them off to the side where they can do their thing while I do mine. I can't stop them completely, so I set them aside into their own little swirly thought-mess where they aren't bothering me. I'm currently trying an actual 'real' mindfulness meditation that I was given, 'Leaves on a Stream', where you visualise a stream with lots of leaves on it, and you put the thoughts on the leaves and let them drift off downstream.

The key is that you aren't stopping your brain from thinking, you're just redirecting it. You're stepping back from the thinking process and bringing your awareness into the present moment. So you let your brain think... but as a background process that you aren't paying any attention to. You can notice the thoughts, but let them pass by or put them aside where they can do their thing away from you. At first you spend a lot of time not actually getting anywhere, but constantly plucking thoughts and setting them aside... and as quick as you set one aside two more take it's place and you feel like you haven't even made a dent. But you just keep doing it every day and then one day it starts to work and the thoughts drift by and you can focus on whatever else it is that you're trying to do.

The next key is the 'whatever else you're trying to do' thing. I think active brains need a purpose or they're going to keep trying to think and plan, or they're going to decide to just give up and go to sleep.

Medusa
05 Jan 2015, 20:35
Ok. So when I'm being 'mindful' what exactly am I thinking? I mean you don't know what I'm thinking. But what would it look like? Am I just spending some time moving my thoughts off the board? Then I feel as if I'm just thinking organizationally. I mean am I just supposed to be empty? I'm literally getting anxious just thinking about this to be honest. The only time I feel like I'm empty of thoughts is right before I stop fighting the 3 sleeping pills I take at night. In fact I actually cannot be alone in a quiet space. I go to sleep with my mp3 earbuds in listening to my audibook. I ride to work with it. I fiddle on the computer with artisan type videos playing in the background. I cannot be silent in my head. Because I know the thoughts that are there. And they don't really....they don't help.

Yeah. Suddenly I feel I'm in a pysch session.:=L:

SleepingCompass
05 Jan 2015, 22:22
Ok. So when I'm being 'mindful' what exactly am I thinking? I mean you don't know what I'm thinking. But what would it look like? Am I just spending some time moving my thoughts off the board? Then I feel as if I'm just thinking organizationally. I mean am I just supposed to be empty?

I found the following on a person's blog (https://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/mindfulness-for-bipolar-disorder-simpler-than-you-think/) who is also bipolar and practices mindfulness meditations, so maybe their description will be helpful:


It’s easy to get so caught up in our own thoughts and worries that we don’t give much attention to anything else. For example, I often used to find that I had walked to work with very little memory of completing the half hour journey. Locked into anxieties about the day ahead, I’d missed noticing the patterns of the clouds in the sky, the flowers in people’s gardens, the smell of cut grass, the way my body felt just to be walking outside. By the time I arrived at the office I couldn’t even tell you what I’d been thinking, because I had just been running through the same old thought patterns without even noticing what I was doing.


Mindfulness techniques help us to become more switched on to what we are actually thinking/feeling/experiencing by really tuning in or “listening” to:


- the content of our thoughts
- what we are really feeling
- things that are happening around us (sounds, temperature, smells)
- how our body feels, and how our thoughts and feelings influence that.


And that’s really all we are doing. Noticing. And that’s something quite radical in our task-oriented society. There is no goal. We have no aims. We’re not setting out to be or feel a certain way. Whatever we notice, that’s it. That’s how you practice mindfulness. This means you can’t be a “bad meditator” or do somehow do mindfulness “wrong”. There is no scope for self-blame.


We might find that we notice something uncomfortable or even painful going on inside our bodies or minds. Maybe we observe that we’re having the same scary thoughts about money over and over, or that sitting still makes our shoulders hurt. When we feel pain or discomfort, we’re conditioned to try and get rid of it as soon as possible – to wriggle our shoulders to take the pain away, or think about something soothing the moment we feel scared. But in mindfulness, we’re in the business of just listening, just observing, and accepting what we find. So there’s no need to immediately act to get rid of discomfort, unless it’s really unbearable (on which more below) – we can just notice what it’s like and how we react to it.


Some people like to tune in by engaging in a formal mindfulness meditation practice. This usually involves sitting on the floor, or on a chair or stool, with eyes closed. Many people use their breathing as a kind of anchor for their mind, starting off by watching – not changing, not labelling as good/bad or right/wrong, just watching – the way their breath comes in and goes out again, wherever they feel it most strongly, whether that’s the nose, throat, chest or abdomen. Not everyone is comfortable with formal meditation – it can make some people feel too vulnerable to sit with their eyes closed. But there are infinite ways to be mindful. You can be mindful eating your lunch, paying close attention to how it smells, looks, tastes, how it feels against the tongue, thinking as you eat about who produced it and transported it and packaged it. That’s a very different experience to shovelling lunch down so fast you barely taste, it in order to get back to your desk. You can be mindful as you knit or sew, trying to pay attention to how it feels to use the needles in rhythm and have the wool or thread move through your fingers. You can be mindful as you swim, noticing how your muscles feel as they pull you through the water, how it feels to have the cold air on your wet skin, the noises in the pool as children have their swimming lessons. Whatever you are doing, just the act of noticing what’s going on, noticing how you really feel, can make it a mindful experience.


However you choose to try and practice mindfulness, you are bound to find that even with the best of intentions, your mind wanders. Minds are very busy things, reluctant to keep still and always jumping about from place to place (hence often referred to in meditation circles as “monkey mind”). That’s just the way they are, even among people who are mentally well. So when you try to be mindful and your mind slides off elsewhere, that’s inevitable. It’s not bad, it’s not wrong, it’s not proof that you are terrible at mindfulness or an awful person. No self-blame. A wandering mind is normal. And when it happens, you just start again, back with your first intention to take a bit of time out from being caught up in your thoughts. Then you carry on walking mindfully through the autumn leaves, or listening to a guided meditation, or sitting in silence on the floor watching your breathing. And the next time your mind wanders, you just tell it again, “No, we’re doing this right now; we’re just watching the breath.” Be kind to your mind when you pull it back; it’s just a reminder. It’s not a telling off.


The great thing about mindfulness is that no matter what mistakes we have made, no matter how many times we recognise our mind has wandered, of that we have made bad choices for our mental health, it gives us infinite chances to wipe the slate clean and begin again. Every single time we gently remind ourselves that no, we’re not going to caught up in our own internal dialogue and we are going to just pay attention, we come back to this “beginner’s mind”.



If that was at all helpful, there was more to the article/blog post (https://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/mindfulness-for-bipolar-disorder-simpler-than-you-think/), so you should check it out.
And if it wasn't helpful, try googling meditation and bipolar, there's a lot of advertisements that pop up, but there's also some helpful looking things mixed in.

I hope this helps even a little!

Medusa
05 Jan 2015, 22:27
Yes, thank you very much. That clears things up a bit for me. I might try this!

Rae'ya
05 Jan 2015, 22:40
It's about objectively observing the thoughts instead of experiencing them. You are absolutely just spending time moving your thoughts off the board. That's exactly what it should 'look like'. They are there, but you've organised them off into the sidelines so that they aren't messing up your mojo. You see them and let them pass by without engaging them... like people passing in the street.

It sounds really silly and pointless, but what you're doing is training your brain to be able to step back from the thoughts and not get caught up in them. You'll never stop them... I absolutely believe that some brains aren't wired to be empty. But you can disengage from them. And when you're disengaged from them, they aren't effecting you. Psychologiss teach it as a way to break harmful and unhelpful thought cycles, and to help with insomnia caused by a brain that wont shut down. But it's basic meditative theory... setting mundane thoughts aside so you can focus on other stuff.

I mostly do this until I fall asleep... so I just keep imagining and visualising then I fall asleep. Otherwise I visualise the lights and pull them all into a little swirling galaxy image that sits at the corner of my internal 'field of view' while I do my actual visualisations. My mind is rarely still... it's just redirected. New thoughts will pop up at first and I have to push them over into the swirly thing. When I've reached that point of 'meditative state' it feels like being zoned out, just like you described before.

Recorded guided meditations might help you, if you already zone out with audio books. Then when you get the hang of it, try it without the recording. It'll take time though.

There are lots of other mindfulness exercises, which are basically various meditations designed to disengage you from your thoughts and be present in the now. Which is just a fancy way of saying that you're not thinking about yesterday or earlier today or tomorrow. It's really a whole other subject though.

- - - Updated - - -

Oops missed Sleepingcompass' post while I was typing... that's a much better explanation of the day to day mindfulness side of it.

Just remember the objectively observing bit. Observe, but don't engage. So when that blogger talks about noticing a thought and how it makes you feel, you have to careful to do thàt as an observer, not a feeler. Does that make sense? It's not "I'm so angry grr grr stomp stomp" but 'hmm, this causes anger in me, and the anger has made my jaw clench, why does this make me angry, where does anger come from, is there something underlying this experience'. Which can be really challenging. But the point is to observe and accept, not feel and experience.

Dukali
15 Jan 2015, 03:30
For me, meditation is great for my bipolar. I have been taking medication for a few years now. But I have only been practicing meditation for half a year, but I can tell it definitely helps along side of the medicine. Now, I do get bad days, but they are not so bad as long as I can clear my mind and just breath. I usually go to a "happy place" in my mind where I can just lose myself in the place, instead of my thoughts. Through meditation, I have also been able to learn more about myself and come to love myself even more. I never loved myself or my appearance. I always thought myself a failure and not good at anything. But I have come to learn my strong points and weak points through meditation, and because of that, I can now work on my weak points whilst battling my bipolar.

I do have other issues, such as social issues and I cannot go anywhere by myself. I am dreadfully scared to. But I hope that through meditation, I can over come this and be able to practice baby steps, such as just leave my apartment. Then the apartment building. But I believe that meditation will help me with this along with my therapist and practicing.

thalassa
15 Jan 2015, 04:50
So, in the line of self-guided meditation, I do this (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/tending-the-garden-within/)pretty regularly.

Luna
15 Jan 2015, 08:40
I tend to do different meditations. For relaxation I just focus on my breath or sounds. When med and my kid does it together we relax and listen to stories I have made up om CD plater with relaxing sounds or music added to it.

But I also do it complete alone, when doing it for spiritual guidance or reason. Sometimes silent, with music, sounds or guidede meditation it all depends om The reason and mood for me.

Thanks for sharing so many lovely tips and techniques.

Northman
22 Jan 2015, 10:11
My personal favourite meditation is a guided one from the order of bards, ovates and druids website under druidry and meditation, it's called meditation with the 4 elements if you want to check it out :)