View Full Version : Meditation


CaptainADD
01-30-13, 09:37 PM
Meditation has been practiced for centuries for many different reasons. Whatever our beliefs we are able to look at the scientific facts proving that meditation can be a positive influence in the human existence.

I've been encouraged to meditate for a wide variety of reasons. Martial arts, religion, or just to achieve "stillness of mind." I've tried many, many times to truly meditate. To this day I have never been able to successfully quiet my mind enough to make any impact in my life.

I've only recently been diagnosed with ADD and I haven't been given any meds as of yet.

Is meditation normally difficult for the typical ADDer? Does it usually help those with ADD?

Is meditation possible while taking stimulant based meds? Do they help or hurt?

Fortune
01-30-13, 09:46 PM
Apparently, mindfulness (a meditative form of cognitive behavioral therapy) has had some good results.

One semi-regular poster says it's done a world of good for him.

I almost got a chance to try for myself, but my therapist thought I wasn't interested.

ana futura
01-30-13, 09:56 PM
Yes, mindfulness meditation is awesome. I think John Kabbat Zinn's books, as well as Lydia Zylowska's "The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD" are really good places to start.

Have you sought out any instruction? Sitting meditation is not "turning off the mind". Having a good instructor really helps. Look around for a Zen center near you, most of them offer free training sessions.

Here is an interesting interview with Zylowska- http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201206/adhd-mindfulness-interview-lidia-zylowska-md


I actually find that stimulant meds make meditation more difficult, but that's just me, I seem to be in the minority. If you are medicated and meditating, be sure you don't try to meditate in the evening while the meditation is wearing off. That was my mistake, it made it very difficult for me. On the other hand, when my medication is active I lose all desire to meditate- because my brain is already in the desired place. I suppose meditation can help those on meds, but for me I can see the benefits much more dramatically off meds.

Meditation is really hard, for anyone. There are those who say that meditation is more difficult for an ADHD'er, but I disagree. It is difficult for everyone and you come to it from where you're at, like yoga. Someone else might be a "better" meditator than I am, but that doesn't mean that I'm not receiving any benefit.

CaptainADD
01-30-13, 10:04 PM
Yes, mindfulness meditation is awesome.

Can you be specific? In what way(s) do you benefit?

Thank you both. I had never heard of mindfulness meditation nor have I sought any real instruction. I'll have to look into both.

String
01-31-13, 12:17 AM
I went to a brief meditation class when I was a teen. I practiced what I learned my whole life. Living with undiagnosed ADHD for so long (diagnosed in 40s) would have been much more difficult without that class.

I took what I learned and used it for mindfulness, body scan type stuff to help put me in the moment when I could, and relaxation. I'm still working on keeping meditation in my life because it helps keep me from feeling like everything is spinning ou of control.

ana futura
01-31-13, 12:41 AM
If you are medicated and meditating, be sure you don't try to meditate in the evening while the meditation is wearing off.

Oops, I meant to say "If you are medicated and meditating, be sure you don't try to meditate in the evening while the medication is wearing off.

ana futura
01-31-13, 12:48 AM
Can you be specific? In what way(s) do you benefit?

Mindfulness practice is a specific way of interacting with the world. It helps you learn to manage frustration and stay attentive. I try to stay mindful always, whether I am medicated or not.

Sitting meditation is a bit different- it is the closest thing to ADHD meds I have ever experienced. It really does do something chemical to your brain. I've only had real success once, where I meditated for an hour and a half. I felt like I was medicated for 3 days after (with no meds). I was calmer and much more present. It was amazing. I also had a lasting revelation about my relationship with a coworker- somebody I really disliked. It helped me come to terms with my intense dislike for her, and I felt peace where I used to feel hate.

Unfortunately I discovered meds soon after that experience, and then I lost my desire to meditate. I have recently stopped meds and am about to embark on a serious meditation program, I will report back with my experiences.

dvdnvwls
01-31-13, 01:09 AM
Where did I just read that experienced Buddhist monks (who seem to be the frequently-cited model when meditation is under scientific scrutiny) have a hugely increased impulse control (i.e. the amount of time they are able to truly think before they act), compared to average people - and a truly vast increase over the average ADHDer?

There are some irresponsible new-age-y people who want to meditate because they think they are super-cool for doing so, and who never really learn how or why to do it. Don't spend your time with that kind of thing. Work with something endorsed by either credentialled mainstream researchers, or intelligent and serious members of mainstream world religious groups.

(The following is not starting a religious discussion, only presenting a matter of fact regarding meditation; please don't continue this topic in any way shape or form in public: Many of the Christian churches associated with the US "Bible belt" are not interested in meditation and some may even discourage it. If you live in that area [or anywhere for that matter] and would prefer not to get involved with other religions or with secular meditation, be assured that legitimate and faithful Christian meditation is a viable option for those who want to pursue it.)

Phoenix Ash
01-31-13, 02:04 AM
Here is an interesting interview with Zylowska- http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201206/adhd-mindfulness-interview-lidia-zylowska-md



Thanks for sharing that, Ana. This paragraph from the interview is particularly relevant, I think:
What recommendations would you give to an adult with ADHD who has tried mindfulness training, and feels like he can never empty his mind of thoughts?

I would say ‘you don’t have to empty your mind to practice mindfulness’. Mindfulness practice is about observing your mind, however it is in that moment. Typically when we first practice mindfulness, we find how really busy our mind is (and that may be even more obvious for someone with ADHD). With more practice, or with more intense relaxation, we may experience some quieting of the mind—but that (or the feeling of emptying your mind) is not necessary to have a successful mindfulness experience. Successful practice is being fully aware what is and then using such awareness to choose where you place most attention.

Unmanagable
01-31-13, 03:30 AM
Here's an older thread that may help:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103524

ana futura
01-31-13, 03:39 AM
Also I should add that I have experience with yoga and martial arts, and I think that really helps with feeling comfortable with sitting meditation. If I had tried to meditate without that experience, I think I would find it much more frustrating. I would recommend trying Tai Chi if you wind up being frustrated with sitting meditation.

The thing that holds most people back is a lack of instruction, so start there. I remember trying to meditate in Karate class when I was young, I hated it. But they also didn't provide me with proper instruction. Or maybe they did, but whatever they told me to do wasn't Zen, and I didn't really understand how do it. Proper instruction from a Zen center made it much easier for me.

mrs. dobbs
01-31-13, 04:49 AM
I would agree that both zazen and kinhin were much easier after going to a zen center for proper instruction. The formalities are there for structure and gravitas (this fools you into really being present), so don't be intimidated! Go as you are, be where you are, it's really more of a physical exercise imo. :)

I have had successes doing whole day sessions but I think the longest I've sat regularly (I rode my winter depression to be able to do it) was 90 minutes at a time-- three 30 minute chunks.

Some things that helped me:

1. Avoiding concepts & just doing it. No end goal but just the exercise itself.
2. Not trying to empty my mind but instead trusting it to empty out with enough time sitting. It WILL happen if you sit long enough, but like it's written up there, it's not necessary. What a relief! There's the "letting the mud settle" analogy. You don't use your mind to empty your mind, like you wouldn't stir a glass to get muddy water to settle.
3. I named stages that my body & brain go through... to allow them to go through it.
- Wild horse stage (my body wants to buck & run)
- Sleepy monkey stage (mind wants to mess around & resist sleep like a baby)
- Mini gateless gate (you won't realize when mind has calmed until your mind stirs again a realizes it's been quiet for a while)
4. Those stage names are merely mind chew toys to answer the "what's going on!? when will I calm down!?" type questions
5. Green tea helps me b/c of l-theanine, or you can take l-theanine itself
6. If you do walking meditation at a zen center be careful not to wear overly large flip flops that will make you trip, lose your shoe & otherwise lose your place in line. Unless that's the experience you're looking for, lol.
7. More mind chew toys:
Mind is minding
Feelings are feeling
Body is bodying
Now is nowing
Being is being
(so just let 'em -- with gentle, nonjudgmental steering of attention back to presence)
8. Allow yourself to become extroceptive, all thoughts are not important or even useful.

Oh I had a teacher that said to see your attention in every moment as bills of cash you're laying or counting out from a stack in your hand, onto a table. Paying out, bill by bill, your attention. Money gets ppls attention apparently!

I hope that helps somebody! It helps me...

dvdnvwls
01-31-13, 12:44 PM
Different techniques, different groups, all have their habits and recommendations. Some styles and types of meditation may be better or worse for different individuals. The most important thing is (as ana futura already said) that whatever meditation you do, you have proper coherent instruction from someone who really knows what they're doing.

Unmanagable
01-31-13, 01:02 PM
I had my "aha" moment through trying out a free 21 day meditation offer online through Deepak Chopra's website.

I finally felt a connection I hadn't been able to make with prior attempts.

I then tried rhythmic meditation through a "Rhythm Renewal" workshop with Jim Donovan and THAT is the most effective for me. Jim has you tube videos posted if you'd like to check him out. There's some other threads in this section about that topic also.

I found that understanding and using breathing techniques has been the most helpful in any given moment. It's something you can do anytime, anywhere, even with people around.

You'll find your groove if you keep exploring and trying different things.

I'd suggest checking out community options of different meditation groups. Several places around here offer a variety of meditative and mindfulness experiences, led by trained and experienced individuals, that accept donations to the food bank, towards space rental, etc. vs. going out and spending a lot of money in pursuit.

mrs. dobbs
01-31-13, 01:17 PM
Because of this thread, I did some extroceptive attention exercises today-- with my baby on my lap... and boy did it really help alot.

I haven't read Kabat Zinn (because I can't read any book very well!) but I was interested in the Full Catastrophe Living book. The Zylowska I'm looking at tonight, too. This is great.

And dvd brings up a good point about different schools & methods... I think it's important to know which one someone is coming from so like to add that... I personally prefer Rinzai Zen teachers for instruction... that's my personal preference (for now.)

For example, in Los Angeles you can go to the Rinzai-ji Zen Center http://www.rinzaiji.org/ on a Sunday (beginner session) and leave a few bucks and eat good food with them afterwards.

Btw, I didn't leave any information up there to mislead you! Sometimes 'helpful hints' don't help, they just give you all these concepts (irony!) and I thought that after I posted earlier today. Oh well.

If I find something that clicks better in the future, i'll take it. Looking @ Jim Donovan now, thanks Unmanageable.

ana futura
01-31-13, 04:31 PM
Also another cool thing about Zen is that they often break up the session- 30 min sitting, 5 minute walking, 30 minute sitting, 5 minute walking. The walking breaks really help me. If I'm in a bad place and not really able to get my mind in the right place, I know that the walking will come soon and I'll have a chance to start fresh.

I find group meditation much easier than doing it at home on my own.

Don't be intimidated by the length of group sessions, both groups I've attended let people leave at any time, and people do often leave early.

ana futura
01-31-13, 04:34 PM
8. Allow yourself to become extroceptive, all thoughts are not important or even useful.


This is really important. I can't say that have that mindset often, but just being aware of it is really important. I still frequently let my mind wander where it shouldn't, but just being aware that this wandering is not useful is very helpful to me.

mrs. dobbs
01-31-13, 04:36 PM
I find group meditation much easier than doing it at home on my own.


I was just thinking this... it's the presence of others in the hall for me that keeps my attention in the here and now, exteroceptive. It's as if it creates some momentum or something.

Also, my biggest problem with sitting is circulation in my legs. Even with benches. Good thing they let you people sit there for a moment before getting up so you don't fall down straight away.

nHAVOKz
01-31-13, 10:50 PM
I found kuji in yamajitsu an easy way to learn to meditate. For me, it has even replaced medication.

mrs. dobbs
02-01-13, 03:54 AM
ana, when you say you let your mind wander, I'm guessing you meant 'let my attention wander'? I just assume that wander is what the mind does? That's the mind minding?

Just the word exteroception (extroception) is a really fast and easy way for me to bring attention back where I want it to be. It feels good, too, because I feel clear as a bell, and grounded.

There was a time when my environment didn't feel so good, so my eyes turned inward to mind doing it's thing. And stayed there, and got hooked into everything.

Now I'm having a helluva time turning my eyes outward... to the flowing sensations of everything around me-- the sound of the refrigerator, the chair squeaking on the floor upstairs, sound of the water pipes, baby breathing....

ana futura
02-01-13, 04:04 AM
ana, when you say you let your mind wander, I'm guessing you meant 'let my attention wander'? I just assume that wander is what the mind does? That's the mind minding?


:) Yes, right.

I should have said "let my mind get stuck". Because you're right, you can't stop the mind from wandering.

I have a hard time even owning up to the fact that I ruminate. Trying to be mindful has at the very least allowed me to recognize when I am ruminating.

One can't stop the mind from wandering, but one can prevent it from getting stuck in a negative loop, by bringing it back to the present. Or by observing the negative thought and letting it pass.

meadd823
02-01-13, 04:44 AM
Geez I am not guru on meditation but it can be done any where really - I decided to try it when I was hyperventilating due to some smoke inhalation after containing a fire my hubby lost control of -

It is centering what ever they want to call it However you want to do it - Look at all the offerings pick and choose heck try them all.

- Hear every sound? I do that to some times so then I will set in my mind to hear them all. Take in every thing you hear don't interpenetrate because if you listen to it all you won't have the ability to do any thing else BUT listen - If I dislike the surrounding sounds I listen to music with a lot of instruments on head phones.


They have breathing, sitting, moving and dancing meditations -

The notion that it can work and be done wrong is flat out silly. If an activity it brings your back to center a place of being every where and no where at all that is beyond words you are meditating correctly.

Meditation is not some un-natural state is it is the very nature of being which has been removed and replaced by artificial social expectations and misplaced worries of not being "good enough"


Medication does help my ability to meditate while sitting in one place and it also helps me focus better when I am working in a group setting.

mrs. dobbs
02-01-13, 05:18 AM
Meditation is not some un-natural state is it is the very nature of being which has been removed and replaced by artificial social expectations and misplaced worries of not being "good enough"

I totally agree. The natural state, the nature of being. No organized religion or group or method or expert or person or guru has the monopoly on a right way to get you to be aware of how you already are.

ana futura
02-01-13, 05:43 AM
Meadd-

For me the importance of having "proper instruction" is so I don't get frustrated. I get your point about their being no "correct" way to do it, but some methods are easier for me than others. I HATED meditation prior to receiving instruction- because I kept trying to "turn off" my brain. I really just didn't get it- and the whole experience would leave me upset. Zen really clicked for me.

At the zen center I learned some very helpful tips, which made the whole experience much more fulfilling for me. I'm sure I could have gotten the same tips from reading about it, but being in a structured environment like that really helped me.

I know there's not supposed to be a right or wrong way to do it, but the way I felt after my first real sit, it was unreal. It was like my ADHD was just gone. For days. At first I wondered if I had attained enlightenment because my brain was just so different :o . My road rage was gone, my anger was gone, I was just blissed out and peaceful, and nothing could pull me out of it. Then, I slowly felt the feeling leave, 2 days later. By the fourth day it was gone completely. Just the weirdest thing. Then, a few months later I tried ADHD meds for the first time. Once I acclimated to the meds I recognized that the feeling was similar to the state I had been in post-meditation. The post-meditation state was better though I think.

I haven't had that experience since, but I've only sat for that length of time once since then - I was rebounding from my meds, and it did not go well. The experience was positive, but I couldn't access where I was before.

Short periods of meditation are helpful no doubt, but the really long periods, if you manage to really get into it, seem like they actually change your brain chemically.

Of course now I have hyped it up to myself so much I'll probably never get to that place again :rolleyes:

mrs. dobbs
02-01-13, 05:51 AM
Hey ana, I think there are a bunch of talks/lectures on getting to 'that place' once and then trying to get 'there' again... but to no avail. Something to do with these incredible meditation experiences causing the mind to grasp more and more... taking you further away? Because you already are there? It's not realizing you are already there/accessing it and always have been... that's making you be 'someplace else' or something like that. I dunno.

ana futura
02-01-13, 05:57 AM
Hey ana, I think there are a bunch of talks/lectures on getting to 'that place' once and then trying to get 'there' again... but to no avail. Something to do with these incredible meditation experiences causing the mind to grasp more and more... taking you further away? Because you already are there? It's not realizing you are already there and always have been... that's making you be 'someplace else' or something like that.

Yep. John Kabat Zinn talks about that- and he also says the first rule of meditation for beginners is not to talk about meditation, because then you'll never meditate. :lol:

I'm really curious as to how things go for me when I start this new program, because I'm off meds for the most part. I really do like it better off meds.

Unlearning the expectation is hard. I don't try or intend to "access" anything, but knowing that something you desire is there makes it hard. Honestly I was afraid to meditate again for a long time after that first experience.

meadd823
02-01-13, 06:19 AM
I am not disrespecting instructions - I do not want to cast a negative shadow upon any ones path or way -I was merely opening up the experiences so other did not feel they had to do it the zen way or the Dovan way.

I never have read a book on meditation - it is a natural state of being.

The feeling produced by your first meditation experience was because of the lack of expectations not because of them. . . . . Accept what is and what will be! This is what MsDobbs said just using different words.

ana futura
02-01-13, 06:49 AM
I think the ADHD issue throws a whole new slant on it. I try to have no expectations, but I so desperately want to live my life without meds. And most of the time I do. But I still reach for the meds when I am desperate (like trying to read something). Knowing that meditation can be a substitute for meds trips me up.

As far as any other expectations, I have none, or at least think I have none. But the ADHD thing is hard to deal with. I feel like I am meditating for 2 different reasons- the reason I meditate, and the reason psychologists are running brain scans on kids with ADHD who are meditating. Reconciling the scientific with the spiritual is an odd thing. I try not to let the scientific motivation take charge, but it does.

Mindfulness practice, I just do that. I really like it, I find myself doing it often, on or off meds, and it's great.

Gadfly
02-01-13, 10:39 AM
I converted to Buddhism about two years ago and also practice mediation (Vipassana) every morning for an hour. And all I can say is it has transformed my life. I feel so much more relaxed and a bit more focused and more importantly, for me, more balanced in my mind and body and not as easily 'thrown' by outside circumstances and people.

I know my meditation and Buddhist practices will continue for the rest of my life.

dvdnvwls
02-01-13, 01:46 PM
The notion that it can work and be done wrong is flat out silly. If an activity it brings your back to center a place of being every where and no where at all that is beyond words you are meditating correctly.

That is a very nuanced concept. Many people, on hearing that, would think you were spouting silly mumbo-jumbo (I know you are not). A person who has developed the habit of learning things in a literal and linear way cannot get where they need to go, simply from hearing what you just said. If you then tell them "Stop being so literal and linear!", they will ask for literal and linear instructions on how to stop being literal and linear, :) and if you are a good modern teacher of meditation you will find a way to educate them. Meditation is not an automatic understanding that everyone has; otherwise we would not bother discussing it.

alan1
02-02-13, 03:22 AM
- Mindful meditation has been very helpful for me.
- It is particularly hard to do because of ADHD but it is very doable if done as part of a mindful meditation program and is guided.
- Mindful meditation teaches your brain how to stay focused and be "present." It is very hard at first as the mind wanders a lot in everyone but in those with ADHD in particular. It gets easier with practice.
- It teaches you how to be compassionate, not just with others but with yourself too. So when you screw up - and we all do - you are more gentle with yourself which means your emotions are kept in check.
- I find that most things don't get me as crazy anymore. Getting angry and having emotions rapidly escalate is now a rare thing. That is due to a combination of the medications and meditation
- When you are emotionally "present" you find yourself observing your own behavior. That awareness in itself has a very calming, self-controlling effect.
- Meditation is easier for most people when done in a group. We have several groups that meet weekly for mindful meditation in our town. I have made it a priority to go.