How to meditate?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2011 4:14 AM GMT
    I'm generally skeptical of "new age" (and the like) techniques, but I recently read a very thorough study (involving visible physiological changes to the brain) about how meditation can increase mental focus and improve mood/energy. In light of this evidence, meditation is something that I wanted to try but I don't know how to meditate. I'm very scientific (and non-spiritual) in my views and practices so I would need to practice a meditation technique that did not employ supernatural forces or beliefs. Can anybody suggest a good place to learn such techniques, or share what your knowledge in this area. I'm very interested to learn more!

    I have finals coming up for my first year in grad school, a few personal matters, and I work a lot so I could use a little tranquility in my life. icon_smile.gif

    Thanks for the thoughts guys!
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    Nov 29, 2011 6:45 AM GMT
    I've always had problems sleeping. A friend lent me thier iPad for a couple weeks and I downloaded this relaxation/meditation app by an Andrew something or other. The guy has a Scottish accent. So I would just listen to his voice and visualize the things he was saying, and pretty soon I was asleep. Closes I've come to meditation, and was surprised at how well it worked.
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    Nov 29, 2011 6:46 AM GMT
    I find Chakra meditation to be very effective, it takes a couple of sessions to actually let yourself feel and understand it, though.

    The thing I like about it, is that it focuses on these whirls of energy in your body called chakras - each governing certain aspects of your life and you can either meditate and focus on all of the chakras, or simply focus on the one you feel is "blocked".

    I know that you want to stay away from anything that relies heavily upon spirituality or a higher power, and in that sense maybe chakra meditation isn't for you - it isn't necessarily that you have to acknowledge the existence of a higher power to do it, but it is about acknowledging and confronting fear-based thoughts and letting them go, and some of the rhetoric of doing this is entwined with the concept of giving these thoughts "to the light"

    But, there are also a lot of different forms you could explore - I also really like rain meditation, I don't really know if this is a formal practice, but listening to the audio of rain falling with light thunder is always calming to me (seems ironic given thunder is a little chaotic) but I think this one is just more about focusing entirely on something that is not your stresses.

    I think the key to whatever method you decide to use is consistency, I'm not gonna lie, the first couple of times I tried meditation, I couldn't quiet my mind and all I could focus on was other things and it really just felt silly but you eventually train yourself to shut up, haha.
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    Nov 29, 2011 7:18 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidThere are numerous approaches to meditation.

    Didn't the study you read about meditation delineate on how to meditate in order to create the effects that you are after? Perhaps contact the author of the study and see if that person can provide you with more detail regarding what approach they used.

    I meditate at the very least one hour everyday and sometimes three times as much. I can't live without it!


    Lol, not everyone can fit in three hours to meditate.
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    Nov 29, 2011 2:51 PM GMT
    new2lp saidI'm generally skeptical of "new age" ... I'm very scientific (and non-spiritual) in my views and practices so I would need to practice a meditation technique that did not employ supernatural forces or beliefs

    +
    TriAthInCA saidI've always had problems sleeping. A friend lent me thier iPad for a couple weeks and I downloaded this relaxation/meditation app by an Andrew something or other. The guy has a Scottish accent. So I would just listen to his voice and visualize the things he was saying, and pretty soon I was asleep. Closes I've come to meditation, and was surprised at how well it worked.

    =
    Wiki is your friend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

    As touched upon by TriAth, you already meditate every day simply as you alter your consciousness to put your body to sleep. There is no more magic to it than that. So do the same thing you've always done, but don't sleep and you'll be meditating. Alternatively, as you state a penchant for science, though I wouldn't begin this while in school as it can distract you from studies, you could eventually learn to become conscious in your sleep to meditate there directly and without the constraints of having your body remain awakened.

    There are so many avenues to meditation. Study as many as you require to find one you are comfortable with--or DJ a remix--that comes fairly easy for you so that you are not stressing over your chosen method of meditation.

    As to all the mumbo-jumbo you will inevitably encounter, do not entirely discount a method just because of its madness. Instead, try to consider the dogma as metaphor, as poetry; not as being literal but as being a referent so that you are not so put off by the language that you become unable to hear the words and their meaning. Even things like prana, chakra et al, don't be distracted by the seemingly otherworldliness of it all. If you go that route, or any other, just use those proposed structures as conceptual modeling, nothing but a piece of graph paper you can crumble up and throw away once you have found your form.

    Take a hint here, a suggestion there, if you must, but do more on your own than you get from others so that you are using outside sources more as confirmation of your actual experiences with your own realizations discovered in your meditations instead of using those outside sources as guidance towards specific goals which can corrupt your experiences and your thinking about them with the imagination.of something you've read about or heard instead of what you might actually have uncovered on your own had you not been shown where to look and what to see.

    Effective meditation might not come to you in time for your finals, so if you are in a rush, consider medication instead. In my early college days, we employed beer and contemplated our navels though I contemplated the other guy's which seemed to work for me.

    Come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know

    Enjoy the ride.
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    Mar 08, 2013 2:39 AM GMT
    Meditation is a hard thing to do correctly, you have to close your eyes and essentially not think while doing so. Sometimes I like to imagine that I am somewhere near the ocean relaxing near a pool of water. To not think I imagine myself closing my eyes in this imagination. That's seems really complicated haha.
  • Zinc

    Posts: 197

    Mar 08, 2013 2:52 AM GMT
    This is a good start.

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    Mar 08, 2013 3:01 AM GMT
    Vipassana is the meditation method popularised by many Buddhists, and I have never been able to do it.

    There is another technique whereby one visualises oneself as a non-physical infinitesimally-small point of light in the middle of the forehead, behind the eyes, and thus realises one's true eternal form! This is similar to the description given in the Bhagavad-Gita.

    Another method is to use a bija (seed) mantra or sound and repeat it over and over in one's mind. This method was popularised by the Transcendental Meditation movement.

    There are so many more methods.

    It is possible to train the mind to be peaceful, and you would probably want to look at a method which appeals to your scientific outlook.

  • Kalbi

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    Mar 17, 2013 5:08 PM GMT
    I just started getting into meditation maybe 2 weeks ago? I've always been a Yoga fanatic so this wasn't completely different for me.

    I started getting into Mindfulness and I highly recommend that. I would start by reading "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" by Bob Stahl. This will start your journey of Meditation.

    I also eased into it with Guided meditation YouTube videos. I'll post one that might seem ridiculous if you've never done something like this before. The way I feel after this 9 minute meditation is exactly how I feel during the final resting pose in Yoga:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh-klfBJlHc
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    Mar 17, 2013 5:15 PM GMT
    Kalbi saidI just started getting into meditation maybe 2 weeks ago? I've always been a Yoga fanatic so this wasn't completely different for me.

    I started getting into Mindfulness and I highly recommend that. I would start by reading "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" by Bob Stahl. This will start your journey of Meditation.

    I also eased into it with Guided meditation YouTube videos. I'll post one that might seem ridiculous if you've never done something like this before. The way I feel after this 9 minute meditation is exactly how I feel during the final resting pose in Yoga:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh-klfBJlHc


    I love their videos. So relaxing. Really helps you to de-stress
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 17, 2013 5:15 PM GMT
    Squats... best meditation ever.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 17, 2013 9:10 PM GMT
    aidenMaximus saidSquats... best meditation ever.


    or perhaps not...
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    Mar 17, 2013 9:21 PM GMT
    You do not have to keep your eyes closed during meditation. When you meditate, force from your brain decalcifies your pineal gland allowing melatonin and seratonin to be released from the gland. This is one of the main reasons for meditation is to have that gland work to give your body the natural stimulants it needs to maintain homeostasis. In order to do this, it is first best to be aware to avoid any FLOURIDE as it will further calcify your pineal gland. When meditating, always be sure you are sitting in good posture, and find something to focus on. When focusing, try to look between your eyes, sounds crazy but just focus on one thing and keep your mind free of any other thoughts, and it can happen. Be aware of your surroundings. It is also best to listen to certain sound frequencies such as 936Hz as the sound waves are known to decalcify your pineal gland. You can find such frequency videos on YouTube. Also, remember to always think positive, be social, eat healthy, don't stress, learn new things, and exercise. This will help you to accomodate a more healthy and active brain. Oh, and don't do drugs.
  • Medjai

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    Mar 17, 2013 9:23 PM GMT
    aidenMaximus saidSquats... best meditation ever.


    Apparently, necroing threads seems pretty successful.
  • heyom

    Posts: 389

    Mar 18, 2013 2:53 AM GMT
    just breathe.


    (edit: I learned that from a doctor's writing about the health benefits of extended sessions of focused breathing)
  • reikiman

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    Mar 23, 2013 6:43 AM GMT
    Meditation can cover a number of activities and not just new age or spiritual in nature. Meditation is focusing the mind. Examples of meditation are" walking slowly with attention given to every step , candle flame staring, knitting for those who like to do this. This is just three examples. Meditation means different things to different people. What ever is centering and calming for you is in my opinion a form of meditation.
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    Apr 26, 2013 2:25 AM GMT
    I usually close my eyes. After I while, I see shining purple rounds growing and dissapearing.
    I usually say something good to calm my mind and keep repeating it to find peace.
    Else there are lot of meditation programs available for free. All you need is just to follow the voice that is instructing.
    The good sign of a meditation begin is when you will not realize your body and if you were in the sitting posture, your head will not be still but it will drool. You will feel lighter.
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    May 09, 2013 12:03 AM GMT
    You just need to find what works for you. Try going somewhere where you can be alone, and where you feel completely at ease, and just sit there.
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    May 09, 2013 12:21 AM GMT
    In some martial arts book ppl mention active meditation.

    An overly simplified way is to just relax and focus on the here and now. To me clearing the mind works best when you do it passively.
  • Born

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    Sep 24, 2013 7:53 AM GMT
    The basic of meditation is the environment.
    So now u go to the zoo and enter the grizzly bear or lion's cage...and do a medditation like a buddhist monk. In a min you'll see a spiritual world icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 05, 2013 9:06 AM GMT
    I think the Chakra one sounds interesting, but it is probably too New Agey for the OP.

    I also really like what tmac and juniorman8272 said.

    I've always considered jogging, hiking, or the stair-mill an "active mediation", instead of just focusing on the breath you are constantly putting one foot in front of the other.

    Since you are more science based I'd recommend bio-feedback, where you can actually keep track of things such as your heart rate and supposedly brain waves, depending on the product. They've even turned it into games where you relax your pulse rate in order to move an object on a computer screen etc. Just ask yourself, what you're really after? As JuniorMan said just focusing on the breath does sooooo much. Eckhart Tolle, who would probably be too religious/spiritual for you, says to ask yourself "Am I breathing?" -- This helps clear the mind.

    Good luck OP.
  • Drift

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    Oct 05, 2013 9:57 AM GMT
    Good posts. My suggestion would be to do something you love, that is fairly simple, and give yourself the space and time to experience the fullness of your body.

    What is my foot? What motion is my shoulder doing? Where does the breath touch my body? What is the rhythm of my heart? What can I feel in my belly? What is? And now? And now? . . .

    Don't worry if your mind wanders. Acknowledge it, and come back to the body. If you get frustrated, get frustrated. Feel it. Then come back. And come back. And come back. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 05, 2013 12:01 PM GMT
    Take your dog out for a walk, throw him a stick to fetch, run with him and play with him. It'll accomplish the same thing - stop you from over thinking and relax your mind and you get to play and exercise as well.

    And when you're tired, just after you are from doing something repetitive like swimming long laps in a swimming pool, your mind automatically reaches that high spot of attuned focus without thinking.

    Or just go to the beach and lie in the sun and tan without falling asleep (remember sun screen lotion), or watch the waves and listen to the sound of the sea.

    It all accomplishes the same thing, it's just that people have very obviously calcified ideas of what meditation is, what is meant to be, what it is meant to achieve and all sorts of other beliefs and expectations about it (and thereby create opposition because they focus on attaining what they believe they must when they meditate rather than just relaxing their thinking).

    At the end of the day, whatever works for you or works to relax you so you can be quiet within yourself without thinking. Just being. icon_smile.gif

    PS: I like listening to birds during the day and crickets at night!
  • Breeman

    Posts: 339

    Oct 05, 2013 12:10 PM GMT
    Sit down but don't lay down, in a quiet, preferably dark place with no distractions. Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and as you breath, start counting in your mind; visualize the number 1 as you inhale. and continue counting with each breath. At first, thoughts will distract you and break your count, but as you learn to relax, you'll be able to go further into the count without distraction. This is how you improve. Like everything else, it takes practice. If you can get 5 minutes of this each day - great!

    Compare your progress over a week and see how more relaxed you become. When you're going about your day and you feel stressed or upset, stop for a moment take a couple of breaths and do the count.

    Try to be more aware of what you feel than what you think. Your feelings or 'sixth sense' is a fantastic, and generally untapped resource.

    Here's a great mantra I learned years ago; 'I know what I think, but what do I feel'.

    Have fun with it!!
  • hanzo83

    Posts: 457

    Oct 30, 2013 1:17 AM GMT
    The only way I ever did it was to listen to soft music made especially for meditation or meditative states like hemisync music. If there isn't anyone talking on the track then I try to focus on one light thought that I don't feel strongly about. I tried listening to my heartbeat once and then I felt like these waves of energy around my body. I only did that once though. If you believe in law of attraction and channeling then Esther Hicks gives really good explanations as to why meditation is so good for you.