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Thread: Meditation difficulty

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    Meditation difficulty

    Meditation to me seems to be incredibly difficult and "random". In my experience, one can sit for hours lost in thoughts and not meditate even for a second, whilst some other times, it just "happens". Paradoxically, if I try to meditate, it never happens. If I don't try, it may or nor may not happen. One gets so entrenched and identified with thoughts that even the thought of "just letting it go" becomes a thought form that spirals into itself endlessly.

    Any ideas?

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    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Everyone's thought patterns are different. Mine are like a highway with 4 lanes of traffic in each direction. There's never a crash or gridlock, but thoughts enter, gain speed, exit, etc. in orderly fashion. There are always simultaneous things going on. To shut all that down would be pretty much impossible, and not even desirable. Many people are wired in such a way that they can focus only on one car, so to speak, and they have an easier time with meditation the way it's described.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Constantinitus View Post
    Meditation to me seems to be incredibly difficult and "random". In my experience, one can sit for hours lost in thoughts and not meditate even for a second, whilst some other times, it just "happens". Paradoxically, if I try to meditate, it never happens. If I don't try, it may or nor may not happen. One gets so entrenched and identified with thoughts that even the thought of "just letting it go" becomes a thought form that spirals into itself endlessly.

    Any ideas?
    I actually have to ask a question first - what do you think should happen when you meditate?
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Depending on the type of meditation it sounds like you're doing it fine. There's a common misconception that meditation is some blank or empty mind state. Maybe there are types like this, but i can give you the perspective i've learnt from Buddhism.

    The brain is an organ that thinks - you wouldn't want to stop it anymore than your gut from digesting. The goal isn't to force your brain into stillness, but just to sit with it whatever it's doing. If its chugging away at a million mph, fine. If it's still, fine. Neither is better than the other. But if it is racing long, just be aware of it.

    Buddhist meditation usually has some point of focus - breathing or posture. If you're focusing on your breathing, when you find your mind has wandered, just bring it gently back to your breathing. When you notice it's wandered again, bring it back again. In an hour of meditation you might do this very many times. That very process is what meditation is, not some super transcendent empty mind experience.

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    Apprentice of Doom Shahaku's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    What prometheus said. Though I would like to add a few things.

    There are different forms of meditation. One is being very focused and aware of the present. That's the type prometheus defined. You are simply bringing your awareness to this current moment, and not letting it wonder. You can focus on your breathing, or you can do this while walking and stay very focused on the movement of walking slowly and steadily, or you can become hyperaware of your thought patterns (thinking about butterflies, I am thinking of butterflies, I am thinking of thinking of butterflies, I am conscious of thinking, etc)

    Another type of meditation is visualization. These are great to find on youtube and you basically take a mental journey. This is often used to transition into astral journeying, etc. I honestly feel like visualization meditation is a better place to start. It gives your mind something distracted to do while your body gets used to sitting still and letting your mind do its work. From here you can work on cleansing visualization and then move into more consciousness meditation like the kind described above.
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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Exactly what Prometheus and Shahkaku have said - that's what I was getting at with the question regarding what you thought should happen in meditation.

    If meditation is to "empty your mind," ask yourself "What do I gain by doing this?"

    If you empty your mind, what advantage do you get?

    You won't remember anything, no sensations - mental or physical (if those two things are separate, an assumption that is almost certainly false), no wisdom inserted into your subconscious to arrive at the moment of yer greatest need. Nothing. No thing.

    Nope... you'd have a blank spot in your memory - a total blackout. If that's what yer after, try a 5th and a half of good gin., although the stuff I had when my wisdom teeth were wrenched from my mouth doesn't cause a hang over, yet yields the same results).

    The value or benefit one gets from meditation revolves completely (IMHO) around what meditation allows you to do WITH your thoughts.
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    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    the be hear now by ram dass (sp) spell checker please
    Last edited by anunitu; 30 Nov 2018 at 19:03.
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Prometheus, Shahkaku and B. de Corbin are correct. I'm glad that anunitu mentioned "Be Here Now" by Ram Das although that is very definitely from the Hindu perspective.


    One way to get thoughts under control during meditation is to meditate on a specific object and as mentioned, when thoughts arise gently bring them back to your object. One really good approach is to put a single large dot on a piece of paper. Colors can affect your meditation but for this the color won't make a difference (although if you are strongly affected by thoughts a blue or yellow dot might be best but you have to see this for yourself). Put it in front of you and gaze at it. After a couple of minutes you should be able to just visualize the dot in your mind (although some people take longer to do this- the time doesn't matter just don't get upset to beat yourself up mentally). Try to hold the dot visualization in your mind for five minutes, then gradually lengthen the time. Using dots you can increase this over time to two, three, four or more dots.


    This will lead to thoughts gradually disappearing when meditating (although they will still arise from time to time) and extraneous thoughts not disturbing your meditation while your mind focuses on your object.


    Another object to use is a single candle flame but this can actually be dangerous because you can become totally absorbed by the candle flame (it would be best to do this with the candle in a glass candle holder so there is no chance of the candle causing a fire). Perhaps a better approach with this would be to use small electric tea lights.


    Agrippa
    Last edited by Agrippa; 08 Dec 2018 at 20:53.

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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post

    Another object to use is a single candle flame but this can actually be dangerous because you can become totally absorbed by the candle flame (it would be best to do this with the candle in a glass candle holder so there is no chance of the candle causing a fire). Perhaps a better approach with this would be to use small electric tea lights.
    I've never had this issue using a flame. I also like to meditate on the smoke from a fire. And a friend of mine uses candles for divination. She asks the flame to show her yes, then to show her no, usually it leans one way and then the other, and then does simple yes or no questions from there. It's interesting.
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    Re: Meditation difficulty

    Something that I have found helpful (and I say this as a parent with children with ADHD and someone with a number of years experience working with people that expressed similar issues) is to not start with sitting meditation unless it has a heavy visualization component, and probably also a soundtrack (the soundtrack could just be music that goes with the visualization that you have planned, or could be an actual guided meditation). There are tons of these on youtube, some better than others--if you want to use them, prescreen them and make a playlist so you can pick out which ones you might want to use more easily. I recommend finding a ~5 minute meditation, a ~10 minute meditation, and a ~15 minute meditation to start out with. If you can't find one you like, its not that hard to write your own and record it (or if your own voice will be too distracting to you, to have someone you know do it) with a smartphone...all you need is some pretty scenery (point it up at the sky while they narrate, or at a fire in a firepit/fireplace, or at the beach or something. Its been my experience that it is most effective for persons with meditation difficulty to start small and build--go with 5 minutes, at least three times a week (every day is better) for a week or two, and then increase it to 10 minutes, then to 15, etc.

    In addition to this sort of meditation, practice doing things meditatively--running, swimming, dancing, yoga, drumming, even washing dishes and folding clothes--anything with rhythmic, repetitive movement can be done meditatively. This type of meditation is probably most effective with mindfulness-style meditation, but it also works pretty well with the mind-clearing and mind-focus types as well. I personally think that we need a combination of such exercises and that they have different physical and mental benefits that make them all worthwhile for different goals/skills.

    With that being said, Corbin's question is an essential one to start with... "What do you think should happen when you meditate?"

    Focus less on what you think other people are telling you to do (or not do) when you meditate and more on how YOU think you might be able to make what you think should happen actually happen. You know you better than we do. Sometimes these things take trial and error...if something isn't working, it could be a matter or practice...but it could also be that this isn't the right method for you, period, OR that this isn't the right method for you right now. Meditation is something that takes mental discipline and repetition--you are essentially manipulating the plasticity of your brain to create new thought patterns and pathways...and then to reinforce those pathways. Its a bit like running a marathon...you don't do it one sitting.
    Last edited by thalassa; 12 Dec 2018 at 04:52.
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