View Full Version : Start Meditation


RichNJ
03-31-13, 08:13 PM
How does one start meditation? I have no clue :(

dvdnvwls
03-31-13, 08:47 PM
Meditation is something often easier to learn from a person than from a book. Joining a group is usually a good way. You don't have to keep on forever with a group if you don't want to, but learning there can be helpful. I would suggest not trying to learn the basics on your own - learning the basics is exactly when you need help from a real person.

There are religious groups that make use of meditation. There are non-religious groups as well. That is up to you. The important thing is that you learn from someone who's good at it and who is a good guide for you - the rest is secondary to the goal. If (for example) you are a non-religious person, you may end up choosing to go to a religious meditation group for instruction because they have a good teacher - with their permission and if they don't mind having you there, that is. Do what works.

There are meditation groups run by flakey people who think they're trendy for doing it. There are other meditation groups run by people who actually meditate. You know which group to stick with. :)

RichNJ
03-31-13, 09:15 PM
From friends of mine far away that practice the art of meditation, there seems to be a lot of pro's and no con's. Most likely the non religious meditation is what i'm interested in, almost like the meditation that is slightly embedded into yoga.

dvdnvwls
03-31-13, 09:36 PM
It can be argued that yoga is inherently a religious practice, and that yoga without the religious aspects has been taken away from its roots. As can easily be argued of meditation itself. But whatever, it doesn't really affect you.

There are different good ways to meditate (very still, lots of motion, what do you think about or not think about, etc etc). Your choice among those will not be affected by your religious attitudes or lack thereof. If you learn from a religious person, then in your own mind and in your own practice you simply find a way to leave out the religious words. That's really about it IMO.

RichNJ
03-31-13, 09:41 PM
I believe yoga is a religious practice. It's just something i haven't had the motivation to try yet.

dvdnvwls
03-31-13, 10:00 PM
Re. finding a group: Ask around - among friends who are not flakey or crazy. :) Or simply show up at a group that advertises.

someothertime
04-01-13, 12:42 AM
See if your local library has a book, "the chemistry of joy".........

There are many variantions on meditation techniques......... I'm just trying to start too and just "settling" to do it is what i'm working on now.

RichNJ
04-01-13, 10:40 AM
Ah, how do you feel if you dont mind me asking? A friend of mine meditates daily, and she has a pile of issues going on around her but shes so calm and focused. I envy her ability to just handle herself that way through it all.

ana futura
04-01-13, 10:59 AM
A good place to start is the book "The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD" by Lidia Zylowska.

The approach is very much geared towards the ADHD'er, and the book does a great job of explaining the why and how of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice is a type of meditation that comes from Zen, I personally find it the most useful as a person with ADHD as the whole focus is increasing your attention to everyday activities. It comes with a CD of short guided meditations to get you started.

I also really like anything by John Kabat Zinn. His book "Full Catastrophe Living" is a written version of his 8 week mindfulness based stress reduction program developed at the U Mass medical center. It does not come with guided meditations, but those are available seperately. You don't need the CD's to do the meditations, but I think they're very helpful for beginners. Zinn's books are often available at the library.

Or, you could just find a nearby Zen center- their training is always free and I find meditating in groups much easier than meditating alone. You will be expected to bow to the Buddha, which I don't mind at all. By bowing you are not "worshiping", it is only a sign of respect to the founder of the tradition. Buddha never claimed to be a God, and never asked his followers to treat him like one. The religious aspect of Buddhism is very different than you will find in western religions. There is no proselytizing, and no discussion of God. Without the Buddha statue, most people in a Zen temple would not realize that they were doing something "religious". So, don't get too caught up in that aspect. You are free to take what you want and leave the rest behind.

Many Buddhists do not believe in God, some do. I personally know a few Christian Buddhists, they don't feel that their faith conflicts with Buddhist meditation practice at all. I also know many atheist Buddhists. The religious aspect is probably not what you think it is.

RichNJ
04-01-13, 11:24 AM
Oh now thats new information! I had no idea that Buddhism was not aimed towards a god. Now i will look into it, i know Buddhists are the best at meditating, hence all the history of the Buddhist Monks who meditate to the point of where they seem in full control of their bodies, some even making themselves sweat in below freezing temperature kind of environment, just by sitting there and meditating.

ana futura
04-01-13, 11:43 AM
This is a useful explanation if you want to look into it more-
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/budgod.html

And this article about the intersection of Buddhism and Christianity is interesting as well-
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/us/10beliefs.html?_r=0

Usually the biggest conflict westerners have with Buddhism is feeling like they are betraying their native faith. Buddhism doesn't care if you are Christian or not, you are free to come and join in meditation either way. One of the meditation groups I go to is run by a Christian minister, who is also an ordained Zen monk.

But some Christian churches really frown upon their members engaging in Buddhist practice. I suspect this judgement comes mostly from a place of fear and ignorance, but it is still a very real hurdle for some Christians to get past.

My partner was raised Baptist and even though she does not currently attend church, it took her some time to feel comfortable bowing to the Buddha. She preferred to start with the John Kabat Zinn books.

So, I think if you are open to the idea a Zen center is a great place to start.

Here is a list of groups in New Jersey-
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/New_Jersey

You might not like the first group (sangha) you visit, and that's okay! There can be a lot of differences between groups. Find the place that you are most comfortable at. Some will be more formal and ask you to wear a robe, others will be very relaxed and let you come in street clothes.

dvdnvwls
04-01-13, 11:44 AM
I forgot Kabat Zinn. Yes, excellent.

The religious folks have a few thousand years head start in figuring out how to do this. That's why they can help. :)

dvdnvwls
04-01-13, 11:48 AM
There have been quite a few studies on the effect meditation has upon experienced monks in the Buddhist tradition.

One of the things important for us ADHDers in particular is the fact that many of them have a very highly developed ability to think before they act. I want me some of that. :)

pooka
04-01-13, 01:53 PM
Just a note that for someone with ADHD, meditation can be very difficult at first. I'm taking a class on Eastern religions, and my teacher has been having the class meditate in the morning. This is the first time I have attempted meditation and it is near impossible for me. I'm having a really hard time trying to get my brain to switch off and my body to be still. I think if you keep at it, it gets easier. It's something I'm still working on - good luck to you! I've heard it really helps some people become more focused and peaceful.

ana futura
04-01-13, 02:17 PM
Just a note that for someone with ADHD, meditation can be very difficult at first. I'm taking a class on Eastern religions, and my teacher has been having the class meditate in the morning. This is the first time I have attempted meditation and it is near impossible for me. I'm having a really hard time trying to get my brain to switch off and my body to be still. I think if you keep at it, it gets easier. It's something I'm still working on - good luck to you! I've heard it really helps some people become more focused and peaceful.

I think you would really like the Zylowska book. It really takes this into account.

Also- remember that while you may find the practice "difficult", you are still doing it. There is no such thing as "impossible" with meditation, no matter how frustrating the practice is, no matter how much your mind wanders, you are still meditating.

I see sentiments like yours a lot on these boards, and it is based in a "misunderstanding" of what meditation is about. The type of meditation I practice- mindfulness meditation (and Zen)- is not about clearing your mind of thought- not at all. It is about learning how to observe your thoughts passively. Anyone can do this- you just have more thoughts to observe than others do. The emphasis is not the period where your mind is "blank"- it is on the period where you notice your mind wandering, and you gently guide it back to a place of stillness (often the breath). The more thoughts you have, the more practice with this you'll receive!

Yes, meditation can be frustrating, for everyone, and even more so if you have ADHD. Sometimes I get so frustrated with how active my mind is that even with guided meditations I shut the tape off after 15 minutes. But I still benefit from it- even those times when my mind simply refuses to calm down. In those times I just get to do more "herding" than at other times.

RichNJ
04-01-13, 02:25 PM
I have that problem, it's just hard to stay still... either my eyes will wander or my feet will tap or something... But I know I can do this. I will look into it right away and hopefully get somewhere this week.

dvdnvwls
04-01-13, 03:59 PM
Keep in mind that not all forms of meditation are done while keeping still. That is a very important method, but by no means the only one.

RichNJ
04-02-13, 11:23 AM
Oh no, I know there are many different types of meditation. I hope to learn a bit from all of the ones available to me to see which one would be a better match for my lifestyle.

dvdnvwls
04-02-13, 01:00 PM
Oh no, I know there are many different types of meditation. I hope to learn a bit from all of the ones available to me to see which one would be a better match for my lifestyle.

Not just lifestyle - you should use the ones that give you the greatest benefits. I've never had a consistent practice, but there have been things I've sincerely tried that just didn't change anything for me. Like I was "immune" to that type of thing.

I know a few things about meditation mostly from having lived with a person who has extensive experience. My own experience is pretty limited.