View Full Version : Meditation: Getting Started


Vito, ADDer
04-21-12, 01:10 PM
I'm reposting this message here in case it's of any use to those who might want to include meditation in their ADD treatment regimen. The original post (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1288462&postcount=27) was part of the Dexedrine and face picking (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104555) thread.

The standard caveat applies: This is my experience, not a prescription for what will work for you. I encourage others to share their own experiences.

Hi Neetah:

I learned meditation years ago from a wandering monk in upstate New York. The technique he taught me was the classic technique—sit quietly and focus on a special mantra that was the "perfect" sound for me, which he figured out using some procedure that (as far as I can tell) involved magic. By which I mean that it seemed about as scientific or replicable as throwing darts at the alphabet. He told me that I must remember it; I must not write it down, and I must never speak it to anyone. Well, he's safe on two out of three. I didn't write it down, which pretty much ensured that I could never speak it to anyone...because I forgot it.

And it doesn't matter. That was almost 40 years ago, and in that time I have learned that meditation needs no mysticism, no "special secret mantras", and there is no magic formula...well except one: Do what works best for you.

That probably doesn't seem very helpful at this point, but in time you will see that it is the best long-term advice I can give you.

Anyhow, today is in the short term, so I'll try to give you something more concrete to get you started.

First, "what works best for you" is probably going to be a synthesis of different methods and techniques. For example, check out this Meditation Handbook (http://www.drbu.org/content/meditation-handbook) for a classical Buddhist approach. And there are lots of other resources online; just Google How to meditate (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=how+to+meditate).

Too confusing having so many inputs? Good! Then you won't become a victim of the myth that there's a "right" way to do it. Meditation is part of a long-term solution, and like any truly effective solution to a problem that you've had for a long time, it's not going to be a quick fix. If you're genuinely committed to changing yourself, you're in it for the long-term, and that means giving yourself some room to try different things, find out that some of them don't work for you, and keep the parts that do work.

Here's what I do. I usually meditate in a place where outside noises are minimized (distractions), sitting in a comfortable position (in a chair, not on the floor...but I can meditate in almost any position now), eyes closed, with some instrumental music playing at a comfortable level (so far this is definitely not a "classical" approach ;)). I focus on a mantra I made up. It's just some words (sounds, really) that would be easy to speak if I were to say them out loud, but I say them mentally. They wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but they mean something very specific to me.

I don't pay any special attention to my breathing. I just focus on the "sound" of the mantra (I'm an auditory learner, and I can "hear" the sound in my head, even though I'm not actually speaking it). My mind wanders. I come back to the mantra. Ahhh...it feels good to drop whatever else I was thinking about. More mantra. My mind remembers something I have to do...ZZZZZZAAANNNGGG!!! (shot of adrenalin)...screw it; it will keep. Back to the mantra. This is my time. It feels good to let go of that other junk. More mantra. Other stuff comes up...back to the mantra.

At some point (this is so cool when it happens), I start to become much more aware of things around me...the sound of an airplane, a car out on the street, the difference between the sound of the music radiating directly from the speakers, and the little tail of that sound reflecting from the walls. (When I meditate outdoors, moving into that heightened awareness of sounds is an incredible experience. We screen out so much in our "normal" state of consciousness, probably just to keep from going crazy. But the downside is that we never really listen to everything that's there. It's an incredibly rich tapestry of sounds.)

I keep going until the music stops, or until I'm done — usually 15 to 30 minutes. I know when I've had enough. You will too.

Oh, about the music: There's all kinds of meditation music. Google it (http://www.google.com/search?q=meditation+music). I prefer instrumental music because I find vocals too distracting, but that's strictly a personal preference. There's nothing absolute about it.

Anyhow, that's the process I use. Focus on the mantra (or anything else...even the little blobs and patterns of gray that you can "see" when you close your eyes), your mind wanders, then back to the mantra, then another distraction, then back to the mantra. Each time you come back, you'll feel something different. Keep focused on the mantra. Your awareness will change. Eventually you'll be able to meditate anywhere. (I've done it at Disneyland; wuh...now that's an intense trip! :D)

It's a skill, this business of being able to direct your mind to stay focused on one thing. Like any other skill, it takes time to learn how to do it well. But meditation is a great way to build that skill. It will spill over into every other aspect of your life.

Oh, and yes...I can meditate before or after I take my meds. I wouldn't venture a guess as to whether meds or no-meds is better for you. For me it doesn't matter any more, but it's easier to focus when I take my meds. Try it both ways...and remember that even if it works better for you unmedicated at first, you might find that it will be easier when you're medicated after you've developed some skill.

I hope that's of some help.

neetah
04-23-12, 12:48 PM
i always thought i was a visual learner, but through my first two attempts at meditating i realized that my thoughts really do take the form of an audible voice that wont shut the hell up. The only thing that really helped was focusing on a mantra. but i could still only maintain focused for about a minute at a time without monkey interrupting. Will keep at it though.

Vito, ADDer
04-23-12, 01:50 PM
Hi neetah:

Yup..."keep at it" is the key. The monkey mind is like having Facebook in your brain; it's an endless source of random chatter that's nothing more than a counterfeit...a mostly random facsimile of real life. That's the thing that meditation quiets.

Normally, the chatter is relentless. We don't hear it when we're engaged in other tasks that are interesting enough to hold our attention. But when we start to exercise enough self-discipline to sit quietly and do "nothing", it comes roaring out in a ceaseless din of noise. It's difficult to ignore.

But your experience with the mantra shows that you're right on track. You've already developed enough self-awareness to see the chatter for what it is. That's good. Now just build on that. You will find that as time progresses, you will get even more skilled at recognizing the distractions, and gently bringing yourself back into focus on the mantra.

That skill has consequences in the non-meditative state. One of them is a general heightening of your attentiveness. Another one is the muting of the manic monkey. The resulting tranquility is well worth the time it takes to grow it.

You're off to a great start! :yes:

neetah
05-01-12, 11:33 AM
I havent kept up with it this week!! mainly because ive had an exceptionally busy week at uni. And also when i take my adderall i feel guilty if i take any time out from being productive, its like i should be putting every moment of the medication into studying and stuff because once it wears off i become useless..Anyway I have found that the same techniques you have talked about for quietening the monkey ect are very useful for geting to sleep at night too.