View Full Version : easy how to meditate?


quickiB
09-16-13, 05:09 PM
I have a yoga mat and I just thought about taking up meditation. I know there's probably techniques and such a million other places, but it tends to overwhelm me and I get even more tense and unwilling to try.

So, if you please, tell me about a simple way to get started meditation, breathing, etc and how you got started, timeframe, etc. I think this could be helpful so I want an easy simple start.

As a side note, the only experience I have with mental stuff like this is sometimes when I'm in bed, instead of just naturally going to sleep, I'll be self-aware and feel my body becoming numb/stiff and I sort of will myself to feel "anaesthetized" and I'll see through my eyelids or blindfold (closed!!) and start to see the room around me and I always get scared and my heart beats super fast and I move and that's it.

This anecodte is perhaps strange, but its what has got me really interested in the capacities of the mind and awareness in this sense. I have started to realize that pretty much everything is socially constructed, and that maybe meditation and other techniques aren't useless after all.

Thanks everyone

dvdnvwls
09-16-13, 05:24 PM
The easy how-to is:

Join a meditation group, one whose approach feels like it suits you.

Without that, there are so many pitfalls, so many ways to give up.

sarek
09-16-13, 05:31 PM
You will find most of what you are looking for in mindfulness meditations. Personally, I am using a method where the idea is to try and attain awareness in ordinary daily life situations.

quickiB
09-16-13, 05:33 PM
I appreciate the thought, but I am not really committed to becoming committed at this point. There really aren't any local groups, and I don't want to overcomplicate this.

"Actual" techniques please, thanks. Like, sit this way, breathe this many times etc...

dvdnvwls
09-16-13, 05:53 PM
Search on mindfulness meditation and Daniel Siegel. His plans and ideas make sense to me.

Blanched Dubois
09-16-13, 05:58 PM
I appreciate the thought, but I am not really committed to becoming committed at this point. There really aren't any local groups, and I don't want to overcomplicate this.

"Actual" techniques please, thanks. Like, sit this way, breathe this many times etc...

google it or bing it and please thanks best of luck and welcome hope you can learn meditation it takes breathing and not not thinking or and not not feeling ahahahaha

check out tomkenyon.com

lol

shpongle is a good technique and pay it forward :thankyou::goodpost:

purpleToes
09-16-13, 07:05 PM
Here is a short instructional video that will walk you through the basics of mindfulness exercise in about 10 minutes. I've found it very helpful, even going back to it from time to time when I've slacked off for a while and need a little aid to get back into it. I don't think it gets any simpler than this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12LjNQHfR_g

Once you're ready to try it on your own, without the video, you might want to go for just 5 or 10 minutes, and increase the time as you are able. It takes some getting used to. If you use an iOS device, there's a free timer app called Timer+ by Minima that has a few timer sounds that aren't too jarring, including a tibetan bell and an airplane chime. Eventually, I bought some counting beads to use instead of a timer, but that's just a preference.

(I'm glad you posted this question because as it happens, I *have* been slacking off for a while, and procrastinating on getting started again. Even though I have seen first-hand how beneficial this exercise is, even practiced sporadically as I have done, I still find that it's a challenge to keep up the habit, just like physical exercise. This was a good reminder!)

purpleToes
09-19-13, 06:19 PM
Overheard just now...

Young woman riding by on a bike, talking on her cell: "Dude, I just meditated for like, 5 hours, yesterday...and now it's like it's all rrRIGHT out the window!"

Trooper Keith
09-25-13, 12:22 AM
A lot of people think meditation involves sitting and not thinking. This is a mistake.

Meditation involves sitting and experiencing what is happening. Thoughts happen. Let them come, let them go, without grasping. Notice that the come without your intention, they go without your intention. Realize that the thoughts are not "you" or "yours" because you cannot control when they come or go.

By so realizing, realize that they are just a thing that happens. Like waves rolling into shore from the sea, and then drawing back out, thoughts rise and fall but cannot be said to be yours. They cannot even be said to be real.

The actual benefit of meditation does not come from the time that you can sit there in single-pointed focus, but in the time that you realize that, while trying to sit in single-pointed focus, thoughts have arisen without your control. The realization that you've become distracted is far more important than not becoming distracted, because this is where mindfulness is achieved.

Trooper Keith
09-25-13, 12:24 AM
I appreciate the thought, but I am not really committed to becoming committed at this point. There really aren't any local groups, and I don't want to overcomplicate this.

"Actual" techniques please, thanks. Like, sit this way, breathe this many times etc...

Sit how you're comfortable. Breathe naturally. Focus on the sensation of breathing, not the process of breathing. Experience what it feels like to breathe in and to breathe out.

Don't force anything. Don't grasp.

In the words of Tilopa, a great Yogi of Tibet:

Don't recall.
Don't imagine.
Don't think.
Don't examine.
Don't control.
Rest.

In other words:

Let go of what's passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don't try to figure anything out.
Don't try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

ana futura
09-25-13, 12:34 AM
I find it "easiest" to start with guided meditations.

The body scan is one of my favorites.

There's a body scan here along with several other guided meditations-
http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/mindfulness/mbsr/Pages/audio.aspx

These are from John Kabat Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, which is often offered as an 8 week course, sometimes paid, sometimes for free. It was own my first lengthy intro to meditation, and I got a lot out of it. Google MBSR for more info or to find a course near you. Or just read Zinn's "Full Catastrophe Living" and do the meditations I linked to on your own.

Zen centers are also a great option for free instruction.

My favorite book on meditation for ADHD is Lydia Zylowska's "The Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD", which also comes with shorter guided audio meditations.

There is really no substitute for a good, real live, instructor though. Meditation is not always pleasant, sometimes it's nice to have another human to help you through the process. A therapist familiar with mindfulness (and there are many) could also help you interpret your experiences. At the very least, do some reading beforehand so you have a better idea of what to expect (and not expect)

I would say, since you don't want to "commit" right now, start with the body scan and do that for a few weeks. Then, if your interest has increased, seek out further instruction, from a human or book.

ana futura
09-25-13, 12:40 AM
Overheard just now...

Young woman riding by on a bike, talking on her cell: "Dude, I just meditated for like, 5 hours, yesterday...and now it's like it's all rrRIGHT out the window!"

That was probably me :o

ana futura
09-25-13, 12:44 AM
There really aren't any local groups, and I don't want to overcomplicate this.

I doubt that's true, unless you live in a very rural area. Google "sangha locator" or "sangha" plus where you live to see if you find anything.

Or scroll down to Canada on this page-
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/North_America

Reekwind
09-25-13, 12:45 AM
What is your goal? What is it you aspire to gain through meditation? I've personally come to conclude that there is no *right* way of meditating. But there certainly are ways that generally are more efficient but it all depends and it's very personal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7EHidYj9BQ&list=PLveg0IEcZWN6G4bDCNokunEg_-yCUi2fC

That one worked wonders for me the first time I meditated, just sit still and concentrate on listening to the music and you'll eventually realize what you are supposed to work for and how. :) It came quite naturally for me atleast after I got a taste for it, it's like that feeling of gaining an important insight regarding life.


/Good luck, kramisar! ^^ J.

SteveEk
09-25-13, 04:24 AM
Thanks to all who share their valuable thoughts on meditation. According to me the easiest way to meditate is to stay alone and focus on your goal, this I tell you from my personal experience.

Baal Moom
09-26-13, 11:21 AM
Meditation used to be a real torture; couldn't get my head around it. This is what allowed me to reap the first benefits and eventually get into a structured form of meditation: sitting still. Just sitting, back straight – on a chair, on the bed; legs folded, legs straight: doesn't matter. No trying to do anything, apart from striving not to move and keep your back straight (so as to not fall asleep of course). Yes, it occasionally feels like being beaten with a broomstick. Doesn't matter what happens, within or without. Don't move. Is all. It's difficult as murder and it seems to suck a** whilst I'm sitting, but afterwards I always feel much better. Do find professionals, though. I'm just some guy who can't pay the nonsense fees those enlightened ones charge for their lessons around where I live and can't be bothered to find those who don't charge two arms and a kidney. And if you become depressed over time, consult a mental health professional. I might have got myself into a sticky situation by misapplying (?) mindfulness. It was the worst depressive episode of my life.

ana futura
09-26-13, 12:30 PM
And if you become depressed over time, consult a mental health professional. I might have got myself into a sticky situation by misapplying (?) mindfulness. It was the worst depressive episode of my life.

That can definitely happen. Meditation can open up a lot of things in your psyche, some of them can be harmful if you aren't taught how to deal with them.

I think one of the scariest experiences I've ever had was after meditating- it seemed like the world (and me) just didn't exist. Everything was empty. I was completely dissociated from reality and from myself. There was just nothing. The feeling was fleeting, but I totally wasn't prepared for it and it was very upsetting.

Now I've had proper training and those experiences no longer happen, and if they do, I'm ready.

Also you should only begin the practice when you are emotionally stable and aren't under an unusual amount of stress. It will only make you more aware of how stressed out you are, and if you have no prior foundation, you won't know how to deal with that information.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:04 PM
I can go out for hours with doggy in the sun eg today and not think a single thought.

Is this meditation ?

There's nothing I want to know - and so there's nothing to think about.

I don't need to train or anything
- there just aren't any questions I've left which need answering

... ... and so I don't think.

ana futura
09-28-13, 03:09 PM
I can go out for hours with doggy in the sun eg today and not think a single thought.

Is this meditation ?

I can't answer that. I can only say- sometimes I have done something similar and I have been meditating, other times, no, definitely not.

There also many times when I thought I had no thoughts, but it was only that I was not paying attention to my thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation is far more about paying attention to your thoughts than it is about not having them.

What were you doing if not thinking?

ana futura
09-28-13, 03:11 PM
- there just aren't any questions I've left which need answering

Meditation is not about "answering".

For myself, I think it would be sad to arrive at a point where I felt my knowledge was complete.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:18 PM
An open question -

what do you want to know ?

You're born - the mind develops - you drive it to completion - ego dies - and you live for a little while before dissipating (the spirit) back into the aether from which we came.

Only with completion in mind - does our spirit achieve a form in phase with our maker.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:20 PM
What were you doing if not thinking?


Enjoying the view and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7lj-t-hx3o

on endless repeat for hours and hours on end.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:21 PM
For myself, I think it would be sad to arrive at a point where I felt my knowledge was complete.

ved -anta
The end of knowledge.

I know that I know nothing.

East meets West.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:24 PM
The mind is just a stage we're passing (have passed) through.

Gene passed the baton onto Mind ->- onto ->- Art [cerebellum]
... ... patterns of satisfying quality relayed on through the channels of sensory perception.

Quality.

SB_UK
09-28-13, 03:28 PM
Why's it so hard to explain that we've only just gained the capacity to 'think' (explain stuff)
- it's not some great absolute
- just a new 'thing' which we've not quite mastered

... ... until now.

Mind satisfied - we realise our own mortality - stop wasting time on nonsense (materialism) -
settle down to a fine collaborative world

-- and make art for all ... ... carried over a lightning fast wireless Internet backbone.

ana futura
09-28-13, 03:59 PM
The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" to the Vedic hymns". It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas. Vedanta can also be used as a noun to describe one who has mastered all four of the original Vedas.
By the 8th century, the word came to be used to describe a group of philosophical traditions concerned with the self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality

What I mean by "sad" is, I want to be on this path, rather than not on it. I don't have the hubris required to believe that I am already at the end of the path (I "know" that I am not), so therefore I would rather be on the path(s) than not.

It appears you believe you are at the end, so, okay, there's nothing I can share with you I suppose.

ana futura
09-28-13, 04:22 PM
self realization- full knowledge of the "self"

I do not have, in any way, full knowledge of myself. (I think perhaps I used to think I did.)

Knowledge is a complicated term, it can mean a lot of things. I suppose familiarity with, comfort with, full inhabitation of, and complete connection to are all things I associate with knowledge.

When I was not interested in learning anything about myself, I was also very unfamiliar with myself. The more I learn about myself, the more comfortable with myself I become.

It sounds like you are telling me that you have complete knowledge of yourself, and I would never argue with that. I have no way of knowing what you know about yourself- it's not for me to know.

But for myself- I need to learn more. I am very far from finished.

MX2012
09-28-13, 06:07 PM
quickiB -- I share your difficulty with meditation. I can not meditate.

But, I love nature and in a way, when I am in the woods, I hyperfocus on my environment, taking in as many details as I can, or focusing on a single plant or animal track, or the flight and sound of birds. I think that my mind does enter a different state -- it has been said that if you hyperfocus and become deeply connected with your thoughts, you enter a "theta" state of mind which some say is the state of mind you reach when you meditate.


Take care.

Trooper Keith
09-28-13, 06:45 PM
What I mean by "sad" is, I want to be on this path, rather than not on it. I don't have the hubris required to believe that I am already at the end of the path (I "know" that I am not), so therefore I would rather be on the path(s) than not.

It appears you believe you are at the end, so, okay, there's nothing I can share with you I suppose.

Let go of wanting to be on the path. If you want to be on the path, why would you ever move to the destination?

quickiB -- I share your difficulty with meditation. I can not meditate.

Think about what you're doing, right now.

Okay, you meditated.

ana futura
09-28-13, 07:31 PM
Let go of wanting to be on the path. If you want to be on the path, why would you ever move to the destination?

AGH! It was more of a poorly worded response to SBUKs posts about knowledge and "Vedanta"- a reply to my statement that "I would be sad if I felt my knowledge is complete." The important word being felt, because I KNOW that I have more to learn, and if, at this point, I decided that my knowledge was complete, I wouldn't be being truthful to myself.

I don't really want to be on a path, I just want to know myself better, as I am in the process of doing, and will be doing, every day of my life. "Path"= life?

I interpreted SB's post to essentially come down to the statement "why meditate, what is worth knowing?; Vedanta= end of knowledge?"

and my point was that I am not at the end of knowledge of myself. So that is why I meditate.

SB_UK
09-29-13, 10:33 AM
I'm trying to suggest that vedanta describes the process of gaining wisdom.

The process of gaining wisdom is also called enlightenment.

I'm trying to explain that until attaining wisdom - that there is no mind.

At the state of wisdom - the individual bears a mind which is globally logically consistent.

And upon gaining that state and accordingly escaping the selfish reward system
- the individual is free.

The individual no longer needs to think / memory - because they're all about getting the mind to completion (wisdom) ie the path
- and once one has reached the destination

- what's the use of maintaining tools which're only essential for the journey.

Upon state wisdom - the meditative state of mind is easy to acquire - because the mind silences itself - no questions remaining for it to answer ... ...

However - we need to be left alone.

Just because we've the key to a meditative state of mind - doesn't mean that in a world which is viciously moral - we've arrived at the promise land.

To arrive at the promised land - we not only need to be enlightened, but live within an enlightened social infrastructure.

Now - all people don't need to be enlightened within it
- only acting consistently with enlightenment (morality).

And in time (because I don't think wisdom can come until the individual has had a little time - maybe 30 years to build mind)
- all people can actually attain enlightenment.

-*-

My point is that the state of meditative calm can be achieved through silencing the mind.

SB_UK
09-29-13, 10:35 AM
The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" to the Vedic hymns". It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas. Vedanta can also be used as a noun to describe one who has mastered all four of the original Vedas.
By the 8th century, the word came to be used to describe a group of philosophical traditions concerned with the self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality.Excellent quote - exactly so.

The purpose of a certain form of education to kill off the enquiring mind and to allow the individual to attain a state which may be described as resonant synchrony with God
- that's self-realisation.

Another of my favourite quotes 'your are God, I am God - the only difference between you and I is that I realise (self-realisation)- it' ... ...

ana futura
09-29-13, 11:28 AM
My point is that the state of meditative calm can be achieved through silencing the mind.

I think it depends on how the mind is silenced. When I meditate "well", I'm not sure "silenced" is how I would describe my mind- it is alive and fully engaged. I don't get there by actively trying to silence my thoughts- but by honing my attention.

Everyone is different, and words are a poor way of describing these experiences. I used to think thoughts were my enemy, and I tried to get rid of them. That wasn't what I needed though. There where many times I thought I was at peace, but I was extremely avoidant. I thought my mind was silent, but it was really asleep.

SB_UK
09-29-13, 03:18 PM
I don't get there by actively trying to silence my thoughts-

I'm not trying to describe actively silencing - but instead natural decaying thought.

Here's a little more from a link I posted yesterday:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-10/edit-page/33714219_1_thoughts-overactive-mind-reality

"Imprisoned by our own thoughts"

I'm trying to describe breaking out of prison - resulting in a natural not active silencing of mind chatter.

ana futura
09-29-13, 08:09 PM
I'm not trying to describe actively silencing - but instead natural decaying thought.

Here's a little more from a link I posted yesterday:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-10/edit-page/33714219_1_thoughts-overactive-mind-reality

"Imprisoned by our own thoughts"

I'm trying to describe breaking out of prison - resulting in a natural not active silencing of mind chatter.

We must have very different minds! Either that or I am simply failing over and over to describe meditation to you.

This article describes quite well what I have been working towards in the past year, but for me it has been a very active process- it has to be, it wouldn't have worked without my engagement. I used to think I was already "there", but I wasn't. In fact, I would frequently insist that I did not have negative thoughts- because I had not trained myself to see them.

For me- meditation has been a completely necessary part of this process. I couldn't hear the negative chatter until I worked very hard at picking up on it.

People used to tell me all the time that I was a negative person, I just didn't see it. Since I have been meditating and ACTIVELY engaging my thoughts, that doesn't happen so much.

There are 3 basic personality types in Buddhism - everyone has bits of each but most of us slant towards one. The Deluded personality describe me quite well- which is why I have to work so hard at hearing the content of my thoughts. If I don't, I will just stick my head in the sand and carry on as usual- becoming progressively sicker and more unhappy.

It doesn't matter how we get to this-
We tend to believe everything that our mind tells us via thoughts and we act and live our lives according to our belief in these thoughts, most of which are only random raves and rants of the mind. Byron Katie says: "I used to believe my thoughts and i suffered. The day i stopped believing my thoughts, my suffering ended." Her entire teaching, called 'the work' is based on deeply questioning each and every thought, till the falsity of the thought is established, so that we can throw them away, leading ourselves to break free of imprisonment. As long as we get there. For me personally, meditation was 100% necessary to get there.

sarek
09-30-13, 03:12 AM
Like you, Ana, self awareness has shown me that I was a far more negatively inclined person than I figured myself to be. I was full of judgements and prejudices and opinions on just about everything and everyone.

I have managed to track down a few of the most obvious failings but now begins the long and arduous process of completely mapping myself.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 04:32 AM
We must have very different minds! Either that or I am simply failing over and over to describe meditation to you.

This article describes quite well what I have been working towards in the past year, but for me it has been a very active process- it has to be, it wouldn't have worked without my engagement. I used to think I was already "there", but I wasn't. In fact, I would frequently insist that I did not have negative thoughts- because I had not trained myself to see them.

For me- meditation has been a completely necessary part of this process. I couldn't hear the negative chatter until I worked very hard at picking up on it.

People used to tell me all the time that I was a negative person, I just didn't see it. Since I have been meditating and ACTIVELY engaging my thoughts, that doesn't happen so much.

There are 3 basic personality types in Buddhism - everyone has bits of each but most of us slant towards one. The Deluded personality describe me quite well- which is why I have to work so hard at hearing the content of my thoughts. If I don't, I will just stick my head in the sand and carry on as usual- becoming progressively sicker and more unhappy.

It doesn't matter how we get to this-
As long as we get there. For me personally, meditation was 100% necessary to get there.


Thanks for persisting :o; I really need to try and work out why what I'm taking to be meditation is incorrect.

The day i stopped believing my thoughts, my suffering ended


I'm trying to describe the mind at wisdom as being able to shift over (in the absence of chronic stress levied by external forces which threaten survival) to a natural state in which thoughts silence naturally
==
meditative state.


OK - so I'm trying to explain that
eg
Siddhartha Gautama post-enlightenment (ie becoming Buddha) attained a 'fixed' meditative state of mind (conditional on absence from chronic physical/psychological stressors
- which weren't of course present in his day and age).

That's all.

I can't see a definition for meditation other than the post enlightened / post wisdom state.

But I need to work out how come I'm so wrong.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 04:35 AM
I'm trying to describe the mind at wisdom as being able to shift over (in the absence of chronic stress levied by external forces which threaten survival) to a natural state in which thoughts silence naturally
==
meditative state.


This is my definition in 1 sentence of what I think the meditative state of mind to be.

Now - I need to know if you understand what I mean.
And next, can you explain how what you mean by meditation is different from what I mean by meditation.

I'm basically looking at the state of mind of eg Buddha post-enlightenment.

That's all.

By my definition of meditative state of mind - it isn't possible prior to enlightenment/wisdom/completion of mind.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 07:50 AM
Just trying to work out this difference:
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_%28Buddhism%29
Buddhists generally achieve this using meditation (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation) (or deep thought), whilst deeply concentrating and "clearing" their minds.

OK - so it looks like attempting to meditate (see Ana Futura) gives way to the meditative state of mind (see Buddha)

- is that a fair representation of what you (Ana and all people who understand meditation) feel ?

I can't not attain the meditative state of mind or maybe it's not the post enlightenment state of mind
... ... however ... ... it's a place which I want to be in and is a very happy place

- and so I'd take it to represent the post-enlightenment state.

I don't know
- all of this stuff is fairly difficult to deconvolute - because the words are ever so hard to understand.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 07:55 AM
Note - "clearing" the mind -
is what I've been describing.

But but but - I'm trying to explain that 'clearing' the mind occurs naturally with a scientific approach to understanding reality ie through a natural sciences approach.

All anybody has to get - is that there's a force which guides evolution and can be understood as the process of achieving resonant synchrony in the phase of the boson.

-*-

Stabile calls this the social impulse.

But it's just a 'guiding' interactive force which ensures that the evolutionary fundamental substrate evolves - but in a specific direction - unidirectional towards complexity.


Yeah! It's easy - but you've got to restructure your mind so that it actually believes it.

If the mind has unresolved doubts - then you won't believe this idea
- and so won't reap the rewards.

And of course there's no point in stating you believe the idea, if you don't
- because your own mind's structure knows.

There's not even any point in wanting to believe the idea - because as long as your mind isn't so structured
- it can't reap the rewards.

Do you understand anything of what I've descibed ?

I don't know if I'm describing an idea with words which're so ambiguous that the idea can't be resolved.

--- Simply ---
[1] I'm defining the meditative state of mind to be the state post-enlightenment
[2] I'm suggesting that an understanding of reality (bottom up - top down - globally consistent) results in wisdom/enlightenment etc - and that state of mind described in [1]

SB_UK
09-30-13, 08:07 AM
Wanting to believe in God won't take you there.
Following people who believe in God won't take you there.

You've gotta' walk the walk - by systematically analysing all available data and concluding (or not) for yourself that there's a God.

God is simply a guiding creative impulse.

Which generates increasing complexity within constructs projected from itself.

-*-

It's ever so easy to grasp - if you think for yourself and forget anything that anybody tells you
- and follow the science.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 08:13 AM
I tell you - this state may well be bliss
- but you try living without thoughts and memories in this world where people are forever asking you questions which you can't answer.

There's this incredible resistance to storing memories and to thinking.

One desire to be in the meditative state ... ... bliss ... ... with God.

For the few years which pass between enlightenment and death.

-- permanent transcendental state - we transcend mind.

ana futura
09-30-13, 12:00 PM
I have a question- why do you keep mentioning God- and do you mean God as a creator entity? Buddha would not state his opinion on whether or not God (as a creator entity) exists, and a belief in God is not necessary to meditate or be Buddhist. So I don't see the relevance?

Also, the "goal" of meditation is not to clear the mind. Not at all. A clear mind is something that results naturally through the practice of meditation. It takes some people years to get to this point, some never arrive. But the clear mind is NEVER the goal.

If meditation has a "goal", beyond mere meditation itself, it is to know yourself better, to understand your mind better.

Of course, I have received training from very western sources. What meditation means to me may not be what it means to someone from a different tradition.

I only practice Vipassana and Zen meditation, and at the moment I prefer both practices to be filtered through a Western interpreter (for instance, Jack Kornfield and John Kabat Zinn) because when I was trying to learn about meditation through Eastern sources, I never "got" it. I had to read western sources rooted in psychology first to begin to comprehend the first thing about Buddhism.

ana futura
09-30-13, 12:10 PM
Also I prefer to think of enlightenment this way- All of us are already enlightened, and none of us are.

Enlightenment is that moment when you are fully alive and awake and one with your surroundings (it's a lot like the concept of "flow") It's like you snap your fingers and in that moment, you are enlightened, you are awake. You may have these moments when meditating, you may have these moments when walking your dog. Or, you may not.

A person "is enlightened" (in the Buddhist sense) when they are awakening over and over again, every fraction of every second of every day (the fingers are snapping a lot!)

This idea is something that I am paraphrasing from Seung Sahn. I try not to think of enlightenment, but when I do I try to think of it in this way.

Have I experienced periods of enlightenment? Yes, most definitely. Am I experiencing it right now? No definitely not. Am I "enlightened"? I very much doubt it. In the words of Seung Sahn- "wanting enlightenment is a big mistake"

SB_UK
09-30-13, 02:38 PM
-- comments

- 'the point/goal' of life is to be happy
Dalai LamaIf meditation has a "goal", beyond mere meditation itself, it is to know yourself better, to understand your mind better.
Are you describing self analytical or reflective thinking ? as meditation.
I don't understand what you've written - enlightenment isn't about knowing yourself better - unless you defined knowing yourself better as losing

--- out of time sorry - see end of post ---

Of course, I have received training from very western sources. What meditation means to me may not be what it means to someone from a different tradition.

I only practice Vipassana and Zen meditation, and at the moment I prefer both practices to be filtered through a Western interpreter (for instance, Jack Kornfield and John Kabat Zinn) because when I was trying to learn about meditation through Eastern sources, I never "got" it. I had to read western sources rooted in psychology first to begin to comprehend the first thing about Buddhism.
Also I prefer to think of enlightenment this way- All of us are already enlightened, and none of us are.

Enlightenment is that moment when you are fully alive and awake and one with your surroundings (it's a lot like the concept of "flow") It's like you snap your fingers and in that moment, you are enlightened, you are awake. You may have these moments when meditating, you may have these moments when walking your dog. Or, you may not.

A person "is enlightened" (in the Buddhist sense) when they are awakening over and over again, every fraction of every second of every day (the fingers are snapping a lot!)

This idea is something that I am paraphrasing from Seung Sahn. I try not to think of enlightenment, but when I do I try to think of it in this way.

Have I experienced periods of enlightenment? Yes, most definitely. Am I experiencing it right now? No definitely not. Am I "enlightened"? I very much doubt it. In the words of Seung Sahn- "wanting enlightenment is a big mistake"
[/QUOTE

--- [1] material world attachment = not enlightened
[2] loss of material world desire = enlightened
[3] you know you're there when you no longer need/despise material world primitive reward system activators like money,power.

That's all - you've shifted reward system from a bad one (love of money root of all evil) to a good one.

note - you've lost the desire we're not talking willpower
- upon enlightenment you no longer want/actively despise money/power
-- if you really still want money/power but suppress yourself through willpower then you're not helping yourself through to enlightenment
- have to transcend the desire.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 03:08 PM
--- [1] material world attachment = not enlightened
[2] loss of material world desire = enlightened
[3] you know you're there when you no longer need/despise material world primitive reward system activators like money,power.

That's all - you've shifted reward system from a bad one (love of money root of all evil) to a good one.

note - you've lost the desire we're not talking willpower
- upon enlightenment you no longer want/actively despise money/power
-- if you really still want money/power but suppress yourself through willpower then you're not helping yourself through to enlightenment
- have to transcend the desire.


Quickest route to losing material world attachment.

realise what eg jewels are - just a chemical element.
realise that you can't own anything - it'll own you
realise that you can't exert power over others - the desire for power is inversely correlated with intelligence - only the 'thick' desire power - for they don't know enough to know what they're getting into
realise that all property is theft

I can list out many, many other ideas which'll kill off material world attachment
- but ultimately you're just a mind, a body and a spirit.

So - build your mind (natural science), build your body (exercise), build your spirit (enquiry into/practice morality)
- but don't chase money and power
- for they're only addictive desire which aren't written into the spec of the properly human.

Q? Are 'human beings' human prior to attaining wisdom/enlightenment ?
No.

As long as the love/desire of money is in control - you're still an animal.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 03:11 PM
If meditation has a "goal", beyond mere meditation itself, it is to know yourself better, to understand your mind better.
-- Are you describing self analytical or reflective thinking ? as meditation.
I don't understand what you've written - enlightenment isn't about knowing yourself better - unless you defined knowing yourself better as losing your self ?
But losing your self isn't very easy to rationalise alongside knowing yourself better -
unless you're talking about knowing your *real* self (rather than your delusional self ie ego self).

--- out of time sorry - see end of post ---

This bit wasn't complete in the post above.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 03:26 PM
Still have no clue what meditation is other than the default state of mind post-enlightenment in a situation without chronic toxic physical/psychological stress.

Is it possible that some people use attempted meditation to reach the default state of meditative mind ?

Is that what you mean ?

Don't know if that'll work - the easiest way is just to shut down the mind by generating it, I think.

It's like an annoying alarm clock which sounds every 5 minutes whilst you're in bed; get up and it switches off.

SB_UK
09-30-13, 03:52 PM
Still trying

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters
Sutta Pitaka's list of ten fetters The Pali canon's Sutta Pitaka identifies ten "fetters of becoming":<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-6">[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-6)</sup>


belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-7">[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-7)</sup>
doubt or uncertainty, especially about the teachings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhamma) (vicikicchā (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicikicch%C4%81))<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-8">[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-8)</sup>
attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāso)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-9">[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-9)</sup>
sensual desire (kāmacchando)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-10">[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-10)</sup>
ill will (vyāpādo or byāpādo)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-11">[11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-11)</sup>
lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-12">[12] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-12)</sup>
lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-13">[13] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-13)</sup>
conceit (māna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%81na))<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-14">[14] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-14)</sup><sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-15">[15] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-15)</sup>
restlessness (uddhacca (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uddhacca))<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-16">[16] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-16)</sup>
ignorance (avijjā (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avidy%C4%81_%28Buddhism%29))<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-17">[17] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_fetters#cite_note-17)</sup>

I'm describing the process of reaching the enlightened state in the posts above.

Apparently meditation has been encouraged to attain enlightenment - but I don't fully understand why.

Enlightenment is achieved through overcoming the 10 fetters in Eastern religion.

How ?

1-loss of ego through realising you're no more special than any other person - how else could you be ?
This is a mind thing.
2-with global logical consistency you can unambiguously understand everything - even if much of it is greeted as nonsense eg law.
This is a mind thing.
3-doing things for no other reason than other people tell you to - how boring!
Reaching this understanding is a mind thing.

4-major role of primitive reward system is in pair bond commencement - pair bond completion knocks sensual desire out of the window.
Humility as a path to pair-bonding attained through mind.
5-ill will can't be held in this state of mind - you see the bad things people do are simply done because of their puppet master being the primitive reward system which enforces antisocial behaviour eg banker, lawyer, CEO and medic.
I've just described an understanding therefore a mind thing.

6-covered above under material world attachment loss eg money
7-covered above under material world attachment loss eg power

8-see 1
mind
9-with enlightenment and loss of selfish reward system - you're happy in resonant synchrony with God - there's no restlessness as long as you're left alone.

10-see completion of mind - global logical consistency - ignorance excised by virtue.

-*-

For the most part - the fetters are overcome by mind
- with meditation perhaps best characterized as reflective deeply analytical (scientific) thought ??

SB_UK
09-30-13, 03:59 PM
My basic point is that enlightenment (the point) can be attained by building a mind which is globally logically consistent.
Upon enlightenment you acheive the state we associate with Buddha - of attaining the meditative state of mind as one's default state.

ana futura
09-30-13, 06:12 PM
We could talk about how to ride a bicycle all day long, but you until you actually ride a bicycle it's only theory- only a mental exercise. You won't know what riding a bicycle really is until you get on a bike and ride it.

I'm not really qualified to answer all of these questions you have. I can't answer them in words.

Meditation is a physical activity as much as it is a mental exercise. Words only get in the way of your understanding sometimes.

All I can say, as I have been saying, is that meditation has been a very instrumental part of my learning how to live the life I want to live.

ana futura
09-30-13, 06:15 PM
For the most part - the fetters are overcome by mind
- with meditation perhaps best characterized as reflective deeply analytical (scientific) thought ??
No, not at all. Meditation is the act of merging the mind and body into one seamless whole. The "fetters" can not be "overcome" unless this union has happened. If you are trying to do this through thought alone, that is not meditation.

Is there a reason you are so hesitant to just give mediation a try? Would you be interested in some links to some guided meditations that provide more instruction?

Kunga Dorji
09-30-13, 07:03 PM
Both the terms "meditation and mindfulness are subtle and difficult to define accurately.

The application of these skills to Westerners has been dogged by mistranslations of the relevant texts.

I came across a very good definition by a Buddhist Nun participating on a psychotherapy thread yesterday:


Meditation means "Observing the movements of mind's attention in order to see clearly how everything actually works" which includes learning to understand the 4 noble Truths, Dependent Origination within the phenomenological level of observing how one event at a time occurs, and the Three Characteristics of Existence."...
and
Mindfulness means "remembering to keep that observation going all the time and to remember what to do when mind's attention is pulled away from a task in life or in meditation where it is pulled off an object of meditation.When you are pulled off then
you remember to perform the 4 steps of Right Effort and get back to the object of meditation or the task.but now doing it with loving kindness flowing into it!


A few technical definitions here:
the 4 noble truths
- the prevalence of suffering in human life
-the fact that that suffering has a cause
-the fact that it is possible to permanently step outside that state of suffering
-that fact that that path has causes as well.

Dependent Origination-- means that everything arises in dependence on something else and nothing exists in and of itself.
A simple example- you might be experiencing difficulty with an unpleasant person in your life.
An understanding of Dependent Origination reminds you that that person's unpleasant behaviour has causes- usually trauma he has been subjected to.

The three marks of existence:
Impermanence
Unsatisfactoriness (aka dukkha, or suffering, best understood as a feeling of "unease, of "ill fit withing the world".)

That is pretty simple really.
There are subtechniques_
Shamatha- single pointed awareness- aka 'calm abiding'.
That develops the ability to develop stable, vivid and high definition observation and attention skills.

Much Zen practice deals with this.

The next level is analytical meditation. Vipassana, or Vipashanya.

The basic level here is body scanning, learning the body states that co-arise with negative thoughts, and learning, when in a negative mind state to shift the attention to the body and observe until that tension resolves.
The higher level really works with the issue of "anatta"- or the non existence of a fixed, unchanging self.There are subtle differences of opinion as to whether this implies that there is no such thing as a "soul"- but really they are just philosophical arguments and not really important.

It involves close observation of all your senses- looking within to see if you can find an unchanging I. This approach actually regards Descartes statement "I think therefore I am" as the sort of error a kindergarten grade philosopher would make!

Then there are meditations that cultivate wholesome mind states- meditations exploring the "four immeasurables, compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy,and equanimity.

Now it is relatively easy to get a level of attentional stability-- and it is well known,even to me- that that moment when one's attention merges with the breath is relaxing and blissful.

The point of the exercise is not to stop there though-because as soon as you do and go back to the world, all of your bad habits arise again.

This stable, blissful state is desirable as it rewards you for ongoing practice and it provides the mental stability to delve deeper into reality.

This ultimately can take us beyond mundane awareness, beyond the subtle consciousness (also called the clear light of death) and right into what the Buddhists call Rigpa- pristine awareness.

It is rare to achieve this state, but when it happens, you will never again descend into depression or other negative mind states.

To me it is THE goal worth pursuing.

It is not a goal that is pursued selfishly- as one who has achieved this state is never hurtful to anyone else, and is always kind, helpful and effective in achieving those ends.

However- meditation is a graduated path- it takes time and you have to accept setbacks as learning experiences.

Kunga Dorji
09-30-13, 08:50 PM
Both the terms "meditation and mindfulness are subtle and difficult to define accurately.

The application of these skills to Westerners has been dogged by mistranslations of the relevant texts.

I came across a very good definition by a Buddhist Nun participating on a psychotherapy thread yesterday:



A few technical definitions here:
the 4 noble truths
- the prevalence of suffering in human life
-the fact that that suffering has a cause
-the fact that it is possible to permanently step outside that state of suffering
-that fact that that path has causes as well.

Dependent Origination-- means that everything arises in dependence on something else and nothing exists in and of itself.
A simple example- you might be experiencing difficulty with an unpleasant person in your life.
An understanding of Dependent Origination reminds you that that person's unpleasant behaviour has causes- usually trauma he has been subjected to.

The three marks of existence:
Impermanence
Unsatisfactoriness (aka dukkha, or suffering, best understood as a feeling of "unease, of "ill fit withing the world".)

That is pretty simple really.
There are subtechniques_
Shamatha- single pointed awareness- aka 'calm abiding'.
That develops the ability to develop stable, vivid and high definition observation and attention skills.

Much Zen practice deals with this.

The next level is analytical meditation. Vipassana, or Vipashanya.

The basic level here is body scanning, learning the body states that co-arise with negative thoughts, and learning, when in a negative mind state to shift the attention to the body and observe until that tension resolves.
The higher level really works with the issue of "anatta"- or the non existence of a fixed, unchanging self.There are subtle differences of opinion as to whether this implies that there is no such thing as a "soul"- but really they are just philosophical arguments and not really important.

It involves close observation of all your senses- looking within to see if you can find an unchanging I. This approach actually regards Descartes statement "I think therefore I am" as the sort of error a kindergarten grade philosopher would make!

Then there are meditations that cultivate wholesome mind states- meditations exploring the "four immeasurables, compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy,and equanimity.

Now it is relatively easy to get a level of attentional stability-- and it is well known,even to me- that that moment when one's attention merges with the breath is relaxing and blissful.

The point of the exercise is not to stop there though-because as soon as you do and go back to the world, all of your bad habits arise again.

This stable, blissful state is desirable as it rewards you for ongoing practice and it provides the mental stability to delve deeper into reality.

This ultimately can take us beyond mundane awareness, beyond the subtle consciousness (also called the clear light of death) and right into what the Buddhists call Rigpa- pristine awareness.

It is rare to achieve this state, but when it happens, you will never again descend into depression or other negative mind states.

To me it is THE goal worth pursuing.

It is not a goal that is pursued selfishly- as one who has achieved this state is never hurtful to anyone else, and is always kind, helpful and effective in achieving those ends.

However- meditation is a graduated path- it takes time and you have to accept setbacks as learning experiences.

The other thing you need to understand is that after the initial familiarisation period, meditation is pleasurable to do, (hazardously addictive) and quickly makes you, and the people you interact with, happier.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 08:21 AM
Struggling ... ... ...

It is rare to achieve this state, but when it happens, you will never again descend into depression or other negative mind states.

This is the state of mind I'm in outside of the need to make money.

However - given the need to make money (which I consider immoral) - I'm placed in an 'artificial' state of extreme fear/anxiety.

I'm struggling to work out how meditation can help - or even if it's possible in a stressed frame of mind.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 09:35 AM
Have no idea what meditation is.

If you're stressed doing something which you don't believe in, for money which you don't believe in - can you meditate and thereby do whatever you hate without discomfort ?
Is that what meditation is ?

I certainly can't do that.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 09:45 AM
Meditation means "Observing the movements of mind's attention in order to see clearly how everything actually works" which includes learning to understand the 4 noble Truths, Dependent Origination within the phenomenological level of observing how one event at a time occurs, and the Three Characteristics of Existence."..
But learning to understand is a mind thing isn't it ?

I was going to post on 'dependent origination' yesterday - on how it makes sense.
But for it to make sense - and for me to be able to explain it (I'm not bothering here) - means that it's an understanding which the mind has come to by thinking ?

ana futura
10-01-13, 10:39 AM
It is a mind thing, in that it involves the mind becoming self aware, but in my experience it can't really happen until the mind and body become more integrated.

Barliman's definitions of mindfulness and meditation are helpful. I do tend to use those words interchangeably, which is confusing, sorry. It's all sort of one big thing to me, because that's how it was taught to me, but I think the lack of a clear definition of what each is is getting in my way of describing it to you.

In my experience, when you meditate, you are laying the foundation to be able to practice mindfulness in your daily life. When you practice mindfulness the body and mind seem to act as one- the body is doing something, the mind is right there with it, fully engaged in the task. The internal narrator just kind of shuts up. But this is the interesting part- while your mind becomes much calmer and quieter, your ideas simultaneously manifest much easier. You just "know" things. There are no mental gymnastics required. You look at a friend who looks sad, and you just hug them, because you intuitively know that's what they need in that moment.

I can't advise you in your situation, only share mine with you. My partner became very ill (a life threatening illness). This had happened once before, before I learned meditation.

After learning meditation, I handled her illness much differently than I had before.
On the one hand- I was MORE emotionally upset than I had been before. The gravity of the situation really struck me, I was more aware of life and death than I had ever been.

On the other hand- I was better able to give her what she needed. While I was more upset, I was also kinder and more caring to her. I was aware, but not so afraid that I could not function. I did what needed to be done. She needed my care desperately, and this time I was able to give it.

I know it's not just my perception- in the worst period of her illness, while she was in the hospital, I was meditating and practicing mindfulness every moment. She would frequently tell me how amazing I was, how I was able to be there in a way I never had been before. It was hard for me, but hard in a way that I was unfamiliar with- I was simultaneously experiencing emotions much stronger than usual, but also much better at caring for her.

During this whole time I was actively listening to my body, noticing what my body was telling me. If I felt a certain feeling in my back or head, I knew what it meant, I was able to interpret the information and apply it. If I wanted to cry, I just bawled. I listened to my body at every moment, and by doing that I was able to care for myself enough to get through everything.

ana futura
10-01-13, 10:51 AM
Have no idea what meditation is.

If you're stressed doing something which you don't believe in, for money which you don't believe in - can you meditate and thereby do whatever you hate without discomfort ?
Is that what meditation is ?

I certainly can't do that.

No, but it will permit you to care for that discomfort. I've never been in a situation like yours, so I can't really advise. For me, meditation and mindfulness practice is about caring for myself and those around me.

I am in school for a thing that I sometimes think is worthless. Meditation permits me to see what parts of it are worthwhile. Crap is still crap. If someone gives me busy work, I still hate it. BUT, trying to do the busy work mindfully allows me to not hold onto that feeling. I won't wind up internalizing that feeling of hate, letting it live in me.

If it's a task that must be done, it must be done. If it's a task that I can find a way out of, meditation permits me to see how I can restructure my life so I don't have to do the thing I hate anymore. If I can't get out of it, it at least lets me learn how to make the task less damaging to me emotionally and physically.

ana futura
10-01-13, 10:54 AM
I'm struggling to work out how meditation can help - or even if it's possible in a stressed frame of mind.

If you are anything like me, you won't be able to see how it helps until you do it. And yes, it's possible in a stressed frame of mind, provided that during your practice your initial emphasis is on caring for yourself.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 11:15 AM
Thanks for helping.

Is there any chance you can help me to reach a rational understanding of what meditation does ?

A mechanism - some way of understanding how it makes a difference at the level of human physiology.

Meditation must be having a beneficial effect at the level of human physiology ?

I guess I believed that by switching one's mind away from churning worries/fears - that the stress response can be deactivated.

And that that's the basis to meditation working.

However - you can't switch one's mind off - if you need to use it to complete a task in the workplace ... ... and so the meditative state (clear relaxed mind) isn't attainable ?

Really struggling.
ps have tried meditation (badly?) - but I always find myself back in the same place of needing money which I consider immoral to survive
- at which point - the half-hearted meditative approach

SB_UK
10-01-13, 11:21 AM
Keep on trying ... ... I'm trying to work out what you mean.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation
Scholars have noted that "the term 'meditation' as it has entered contemporary usage" is parallel to the term "contemplation" in Christianity.

But contemplation is simply analytical thinking ?

Contemplation means "to admire something and think about it."

So I adore and think about only a world without suffering.
Nothing else.

I think only about (and admire) a societal infrastructure which'll alleviate suffering.

That's contemplation equals meditation ?

Or not ?

ana futura
10-01-13, 11:51 AM
Meditation must be having a beneficial effect at the level of human physiology ? Yes, this is what it's doing. There is a lot of info out there on the neuroscience of meditation. I'm not sure where a good place would be to start though. Brain science is not my forte- but my lay understanding is that meditation strengthens the pre frontal cortex- thereby strengthening our ability to focus and direct our attention.

However - you can't switch one's mind off - if you need to use it to complete a task in the workplace ... ... and so the meditative state (clear relaxed mind) isn't attainable ? you aren't switching it off, you are gaining the ability to direct it, at will.

Really struggling.
ps have tried meditation (badly?) - but I always find myself back in the same place of needing money which I consider immoral to survive
- at which point - the half-hearted meditative approach I agree, our economic system is immoral. But to let the economic system destroy me physically, and destroy my capacity to care for those close to me, that's not right either.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 01:45 PM
Does this idea resaonate ?

Meditation eg a personal enquiry into morality (term stolen from Pirsig)

The mind is built through investigating morality - until it's complete.

At which point: mindfulness as the default mental state in the absence of (psychosocial) (di) stress ?

Mindfulness can be described as being in the present
- and it's described in this video:
http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/brain-scans-can-reveal-your-decisions-7-seconds-before-you-decide
by deactivating the 5 second lapse.

IE - you can't be in the present if you're operating on a 7 second delay.

-*-

That could summarise meditation (contemplation) and mindfulness (in the moment) ?

-*-

Any ideas ?

I try not to write anything on this site unless I can nail a mechanism and explain the idea to a child ... ... that way I'm sure that my point is being conveyed.

I don't think that anything in reality is hard to explain ... ... ... there's just a whole lot of
- you can't eg

How do we create a human being from organic chemicals ?
You can't

How do we leave the Universe
We can't

etc etc
- but I, of course, have to be able to explain why.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 01:49 PM
ANA FUTURA

watching your video now.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 01:54 PM
zencan be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_meditation)".<sup id="cite_ref-FOOTNOTEKasulis200324_5-0" class="reference">[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen#cite_note-FOOTNOTEKasulis200324-5)</sup> Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_in_Buddhism) and the personal expression of direct insight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_in_Buddhism) in the Buddhist teachings.

(wikip)

That's what I'm suggesting.

Confused ??

SB_UK
10-01-13, 01:56 PM
ie achieve zen (fixed meditative state) upon enlightenment/wisdom
- in the absence of chronic psychosocial stressor.

The enlightened mind is moral
- psychosocial stress relates to immorality.

eg materialism eg love/desire of money is root of all evil.

Incidentally can't handle money without that love/desire in place
- it's required to enjoy anything that money buys.

basal food/shelter not 'enjoyed'.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 02:17 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR8TjCncvIw

Who do you admire ?
Only 1 person ADDF:Stabile

Why ?
Because he houses an extensively populated *complete* mind.

He's a scientist who has nailed the path to enlightenment.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 02:57 PM
Zen [=god] to be a token of a universal nondualist essence of religions
==
resonant synchrony within frame of boson

'back to the garden'

All that we're striving towards is resonance with 'frame of boson' occurring upon enlightenment.
If we concentrate on building the best possible world for people - we'll get to enlightenment guaranteed.

The path needs to be rational.

Basic essentials to all people by contribution of personal effort <- the path to enlightenment - nothing else requried - it's as simple as reporting that single sentence without need for qualification.
My signature is the same basic idea in fewer words.

No more 'slackers' - no more slackers (rentier capitalists) calling 'slackers' slackers.

SB_UK
10-01-13, 03:02 PM
If you are anything like me, you won't be able to see how it helps until you do it. And yes, it's possible in a stressed frame of mind, provided that during your practice your initial emphasis is on caring for yourself.

By the definitions I've arrived at - concentrating on definition of a better world is meditation and mindfulness is the default state when I'm in out of the workplace (evading psychosocial stress).
Note mindfulness post-enlightenment as default state post- evasion of chronic psychosocial stress.

Do you disagree ?

Please try and physically manipulate my mind (words) so I understand what you're trying to suggest ?

As for concentrating on breath ? Stretching (yoga) ?
They're nice - but just relaxing as one stops thinking about really stressful stuff like impossible workplace assignments etc ... ...

ADDarkD@y
10-01-13, 09:44 PM
SB:

Hi, Ana suggested that I share my perspective on mindfulness with you since you inquired about the physiological bases for its therapeutic benefit. I briefly researched the subject and according to my findings mindfulness is empirically demonstrated to reduce emotional disturbance in Social Phobia by about 50%. It seems to be very effective with a wide range of psychiatric disorders. I would never recommend it as a sole treatment, but as a method in a program of treatment it is clearly highly important.

"Mindfulness" is a terrible term because it makes the treatment sound like a bunch of new-age or mystical mumbo-jumbo. It is nothing of the sort and there is a entirely reasonable scientific rational for why it is successful. The way "Mindfulness" works is by restructuring neural networks in the brain. You can see it as part of a spectrum of neurological-based thought/behavior therapies that exploit the principle of brain plasticity to change cognition patterns.

The brain is highly plastic meaning that neural networks which produce thoughts (and therefore feelings) can be re-wired with reinforcement of desired patterns. So for example, a neuro-plastic treatment for OCD (the only type that actually works btw) involves resisting the compulsion while simultaneously triggering the obsessive thoughts. The brain circuits producing the compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts will degrade as they fail to be reinforced. Likewise, meditating on a specific positive scene that is linked to a desired thought pattern will reinforce that pattern. Similarly, staring at a pleasing scene such as a picture while attempting to not engage any intrusive thought will strengthen neural networks that regulate intrusive thoughts and emotions. It has additionally been found that bi-lateral stimulation (on both sides of the body) assists in integration of thought patterns. If you add this stimulation to your mindfulness therapy you will see superior results.

To sum up, there is nothing supernatural about "meditation" and in the therapeutic context it really ought to be called "Neuro-Emotive Retraining Therapy" or something to that effect. Aimless meditation won't achieve much of anything but when employed tactfully it is a useful state for changing neural networks.

Kunga Dorji
10-02-13, 04:00 AM
Thanks for helping.

Is there any chance you can help me to reach a rational understanding of what meditation does ?

A mechanism - some way of understanding how it makes a difference at the level of human physiology.

Meditation must be having a beneficial effect at the level of human physiology ?

I guess I believed that by switching one's mind away from churning worries/fears - that the stress response can be deactivated.

And that that's the basis to meditation working.

However - you can't switch one's mind off - if you need to use it to complete a task in the workplace ... ... and so the meditative state (clear relaxed mind) isn't attainable ?

Really struggling.
ps have tried meditation (badly?) - but I always find myself back in the same place of needing money which I consider immoral to survive
- at which point - the half-hearted meditative approach
Hi SB,
you know- attempting to stop thoughts, or to switch one's mind off, is an exercise that is bound to fail.

I have been told of one case where a would be spiritual aspirant did do rather well at this- but he reduced himself to the state of a "vegetable",
quite unable to care for himself. He needed months of intravenous feeding before he could even commence his recovery.

I fully agree with you that there are limitations to the money system, but I also believe in not taking without giving. I believe in value given for value recieved.

I am well aware that if I just give and give, that makes the recipient of my largesse weak and dependent and hurts them.

The danger I see with the money system is simple- it is set up so that a small class of people 9the ones that own that private bank called the US Federal Reserve) are able to skim a profit off everything everyone does, even though they contribute nothing of real value to the rest of society.

However- we have t live in the world, and have food clothing and shelter. As parents we have to supply our dependents with those things.

At some point we have to abandon overvalued ideas and learn how to compromise.

This is how I do it-- I am working to live on less, to consume less, to need less money and to generate less tax and profit-- because I know that the recipients of that unearned money will misspend it.

I am investigating the setting up of community co-operatives and bartering schemes that minimise my money income while allowing me to live in the world as it is.

We all know that you are highly intelligent ad you have really decent motives.

However- we need you to step outside of this endless loop and translate your undoubted good intentions and abilities into something that will help the rest of us warriors change the world (peacefully, and with a smile).

I will post a little later on the meditation technique issue, as this post has rather taken it out of me :)

mattif
10-02-13, 04:03 AM
I'm posting this without having read through the entire thread, so if this has already been covered (repeatedly), I apologize for the redundancy.
-----

A significant number of people -- religious and avowedly non-religious -- have expressed reluctance to involve themselves in meditation because they believe there is an inherent religious aspect to it which they find objectionable. This belief is understandable given that meditation, in its various forms, has been and still is often taught as part of a larger religious belief system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation#History) (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism)

However, the practice of meditation can be wholly removed from its faith-based origins and still retain all of its positive qualities, thereby making it more accessible to substantially more people.

Although best known for his sharp criticisms of faith and religion, author Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/about) has also discussed the benefits and methods of meditation (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate) practice, describing his extensive personal experience.

In a recent post, The Mirror of Mindfulness (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/mindfulness-meditation), he includes two spoken-word guided meditations that gently guide you through a simple, step-by-step introduction to mindfulness practice.

Personally, I listened (and followed along) with the 9-minute version this afternoon. It felt like it was only about 3-4 minutes, and for the next 40-60 minutes I felt calm and relaxed, clear-headed, and I had the distinctly pleasurable feeling that my head had become physically lighter, as though it was gently, effortlessly floating atop my shoulders.

I've tried to meditate before... with mixed success. But never have I experienced anything quite like this. With such a quick, positive outcome, I figured it was worth sharing with everyone here.

As Sam Harris describes:

I generally recommend a method called vipassana in which one cultivates a form of attention widely known as “mindfulness.” There is nothing spooky or irrational about mindfulness, and the literature on its psychological benefits is now substantial. Mindfulness is simply a state of clear, nonjudgmental, and nondiscursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Developing this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. I will cover the relevant philosophy and science in my next book... but in the meantime, I have produced two guided meditations (9 minutes and 26 minutes) for those of you who would like to get started with the practice. Please feel free to share them. - See more at: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/mindfulness-meditation#sthash.n4ftokwS.dpuf


<iframe src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com/tracks%2F112643452" frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" width="100%"></iframe>

SB_UK
10-02-13, 06:45 AM
Need to spend quite some time understanding these posts.
Thanks.

Tried 2 minutes of the Sam Harris meditation (am at work) - and what I feel is happening - is that the constant stress of worrying about immorality fades when thinking about nothing (concentrating on the breath).

Is this a part (major??) of the advantages to meditation ?
IE switching off stress mediated 'corruption' of brain/mind.

I've just seen a video on Youtube by:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jn1ZkwOZ-g

and she suggests in it some place - that meditation deactivates psych stress responsivity at the level of the amygdala.

So - could that be it ?
IE meditation teaches us to cut ourselves away from negative thoughts -> deactivate stress -> eliminate decay in thought processes -> restore function.

I'm more or less characterizing the mind as a bad thing - and that whilst it's left to its own devices it will worry.
Meditation on something (?breath) results in us switching the anxiety off.
Switching off the stress response restores 'calm' functioning ?

SB_UK
10-02-13, 06:46 AM
Can't watch it at work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sidpwb-V_LM

Shrink your amygdala with meditation.

SB_UK
10-02-13, 06:47 AM
ps appreciate the help
- and apologies ... ... I can only work with mechanisms ... ... it just seems to be the way that my mind works.

dvdnvwls
10-02-13, 08:28 AM
Need to spend quite some time understanding these posts.
Thanks.

Tried 2 minutes of the Sam Harris meditation (am at work) - and what I feel is happening - is that the constant stress of worrying about immorality fades when thinking about nothing (concentrating on the breath).

Is this a part (major??) of the advantages to meditation ?
IE switching off stress mediated 'corruption' of brain/mind.

I've just seen a video on Youtube by:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jn1ZkwOZ-g

and she suggests in it some place - that meditation deactivates psych stress responsivity at the level of the amygdala.

So - could that be it ?
IE meditation teaches us to cut ourselves away from negative thoughts -> deactivate stress -> eliminate decay in thought processes -> restore function.

I'm more or less characterizing the mind as a bad thing - and that whilst it's left to its own devices it will worry.
Meditation on something (?breath) results in us switching the anxiety off.
Switching off the stress response restores 'calm' functioning ?I think you're one one of the right tracks.
I don't think there's any way "the mind" could be inherently bad. But it could be poorly modulated & poorly controlled. The mind is less like a good-or-evil entity, and more like a car whose driver is distracted.

In a mechanistic way, part of meditation could even be said to be analogous to virus scan on a computer, searching for "rogue code" that can harm the system, and removing it before it spreads.

Not turning thought off. But ceasing to be the helpless slave of one's own thoughts, and becoming a conscious and effective director and manager of those thoughts instead.

"Switching off stress-mediated 'corruption' of the mind" - yes indeed, excellent comment. (But not the brain, since the physical brain is not being manipulated. We make a linguistic distinction between brain and mind for a good reason, and trying to un-make that distinction is usually detrimental to real understanding. That mis-use of language is also highly misleading about the very topic it's meant to bring attention to. If we say brain/mind, that is woefully incomplete by its own standards, and we'd need to correct that to brain/mind/body/heart/arms/legs/lungs/air/heart/oxygen/environment/atmospheric pressure/humidity/TV news/food/onandonandonandonforever.)

someothertime
10-02-13, 08:40 AM
Without breath... I could not have got it ( started ) either...

Find somewhere calm
Breathe...
In nose, out mouth
Slowly
Pause for a sec before exhaling ( roughly 2/3rds longer than the inhale )
When you inhale, feel the energy of the universe flowing into your physical being
As you exhale let go of everything, breathe out and let go...
Your entire being is the breath... slow and constant.
If thoughts enter your mind, nod at them/smile cause you are aware that a thought came... "A thought came" - Then refocus on the breath

Do this for 30secs-1 minute each day of the week. Even 5 - 10 breaths is better than nothing.

When you have it, you can expand to other methods.


There are some mindfullness audio books which are good to start on ( probably mentioned somewhere above )... and also I recommend "The Happiness Trap" book, which is where I borrowed the above from.


Personally, I have found following a method similar to what Sarek described to be practical and effective. I do however plan on attending some guided sessions in the near future.

Kunga Dorji
10-02-13, 06:06 PM
I'm posting this without having read through the entire thread, so if this has already been covered (repeatedly), I apologize for the redundancy.
-----

A significant number of people -- religious and avowedly non-religious -- have expressed reluctance to involve themselves in meditation because they believe there is an inherent religious aspect to it which they find objectionable. This belief is understandable given that meditation, in its various forms, has been and still is often taught as part of a larger religious belief system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation#History) (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism)

However, the practice of meditation can be wholly removed from its faith-based origins and still retain all of its positive qualities, thereby making it more accessible to substantially more people.

Although best known for his sharp criticisms of faith and religion, author Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/about) has also discussed the benefits and methods of meditation (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate) practice, describing his extensive personal experience.

In a recent post, The Mirror of Mindfulness (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/mindfulness-meditation), he includes two spoken-word guided meditations that gently guide you through a simple, step-by-step introduction to mindfulness practice.

Personally, I listened (and followed along) with the 9-minute version this afternoon. It felt like it was only about 3-4 minutes, and for the next 40-60 minutes I felt calm and relaxed, clear-headed, and I had the distinctly pleasurable feeling that my head had become physically lighter, as though it was gently, effortlessly floating atop my shoulders.

I've tried to meditate before... with mixed success. But never have I experienced anything quite like this. With such a quick, positive outcome, I figured it was worth sharing with everyone here.

As Sam Harris describes:

I generally recommend a method called vipassana in which one cultivates a form of attention widely known as “mindfulness.” There is nothing spooky or irrational about mindfulness, and the literature on its psychological benefits is now substantial. Mindfulness is simply a state of clear, nonjudgmental, and nondiscursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Developing this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. I will cover the relevant philosophy and science in my next book... but in the meantime, I have produced two guided meditations (9 minutes and 26 minutes) for those of you who would like to get started with the practice. Please feel free to share them. - See more at: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/mindfulness-meditation#sthash.n4ftokwS.dpuf


<iframe src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com/tracks%2F112643452" frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" width="100%"></iframe>
How interesting to see Sam Harris recommend this path- given his very strong, and well argued anti-religious writings.

There s a real tension behind the psychological use of meditation and the use of meditation in Buddhist or Hindu practice.
The former is used as a treatment to help people who are suffering severe mental distress to become functional again. It is worth noting in this context that Freud thought that success in psychotherapy was to restore an individual to a state of "everyday neuroticism".

The religious uses are aimed at the permanent and complete cessation of mental suffering and the achievement of our highest human potential.

Buddhist (as an example) has three main elements- meditation, ethical, compassionate behaviour, and wisdom - especailly what they call "right" , or skilful view).

Psychologists teaching meditation often confuse meditation with mindfulness, and often underemphasise the wisdom and ethics aspects of the path.

I think this happens out of a fear of being seen to be preaching a religion or seeking converts.

However- the wisdom and ethics components are essentially the core building blocks of the ethical systems that have underpinned any society that has been able to survive- and they can be incorporated, slightly rephrased as part of the cognitive behavioural therapy that should always go with any mindfulness based psychological use of mindfulness.

Kunga Dorji
10-02-13, 07:05 PM
Thanks for helping.

Is there any chance you can help me to reach a rational understanding of what meditation does ?

A mechanism - some way of understanding how it makes a difference at the level of human physiology.

Meditation must be having a beneficial effect at the level of human physiology ?

I guess I believed that by switching one's mind away from churning worries/fears - that the stress response can be deactivated.

And that that's the basis to meditation working.

However - you can't switch one's mind off - if you need to use it to complete a task in the workplace ... ... and so the meditative state (clear relaxed mind) isn't attainable ?

Really struggling.
ps have tried meditation (badly?) - but I always find myself back in the same place of needing money which I consider immoral to survive
- at which point - the half-hearted meditative approach

Hi SB,

I hope I can shed a little light on this as I am a trained practitioner of a technique called "Mindfulness integrated Cognitive Behavioural Therapy" and meet monthly with other practitioners to review case histories and discuss papers relevant to the practice and the neuroscience of meditation.

The word "meditation" is sometimes also translated from Sanskrit and "familiarisation".

It involves becoming familiar with all of ourselves- not just our thoughts.

In the meditation model- thoughts are just regarded as one of a minimum of six senses.
ie
Sight
Sound
Smell
Taste
Touch
Mental activity

Re mental activity:
When you read a book- you are sensing an aspect of somebody elses thought.
If that somebody else is wise- you will sense something that is very close to the thought being expressed, without being confused by the veil of distortions caused by words.

When we dwell in the world of thought- we miss much more than 95% of what is actually happening at the time-- we ignore it- we behave in an ignorant way. Thoughts can be very compelling.

So to move to more specific definitions:
Meditation means "Observing the movements of mind's attention in order to see clearly how everything actually works".
and
Mindfulness means "remembering to keep that observation going all the time and to remember what to do when mind's attention is pulled away from a task in life or in meditation where it is pulled off an object of meditation

There are many different types of meditation:

Single pointed concentration (aka Shamatha or Calm Abiding).
(This is easiest to do on a focus like the sensation of the breath but there are other techniques).

Vipassana- which focusses on observing the way body sensations come and go as we get drawn into particular thoughts, and how that generates emotional states. It also involves fluid attention switching.

Analytical meditation (which is the higher end of Vipassana)- which enquires into the nature of reality, and asks "who or what is it that is asking this question?. Analytical meditation often is used to analyse the validity of some aspects of a religious teaching.

Visualisation meditations.
Some Christians will visualise an image of a venerated religious figure and consider the worthy personal characteristics of that figure.

Tantric Buddhist practice (Vajrayana) involves a similar technique- but goes further - actually visualising oneself as a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva. That involves very detailed knowledge of the qualities and characteristics of that figure, and if unsupervised carries real risks (of descending into grandiose delusion).

All of these techniques can be described as contemplative practice.

What contemplative practice does not involve is sitting down and thinking through a problem, following one's personal thoughts, or one's own preferences about how the world should be, or how other people should be.

So- in terms of what it achieves;
In experiential terms:
1) Awareness of where your attention is going (metacognitive awareness).

2) Increasing fluidity at switching your focus of attention.
The more you do it- the sooner you become aware that your attention has been derailed, and the stronger you get at deliberate placement of attention (this is associated with increases in the grey matter in the anterior cingulate gyrus and the insula).

3) Increasing body awareness, including awareness of the link between certain body states and the experience of being trapped in thought. One becomes able to note the worrying thought- shift attention to the sensations, then just sit and examine them (describing them in bare terms:hot/cold, heavy/light/still/moving, solid/empty are the only terms allowed- as they carry no emotional overtones).

4) Progressive increase in awareness of a relaxed and alert body state, and the desirability of maintaining this as one's first priority.
Breath mindfulness is inherently relaxing- especially if the mid observes the effect of the breath on the whole body. Focussing the attention on the nostrils is also relaxing- but is also good for stimulating alertness

5) Increasingly calm and compassionate behaviour.
Much better empathic skills.

Neurologically:
enhancements in the thickness of grey matter can be seen
-in the anterior cingulate gyrus-(which monitors where our attention is going, and downregulates the limbic system (emotional brain) as appropriate.

-in the insula (associated with body awareness, emotinal awareness, awareness of the emotions of people one is interacting with, and, interestingly with better sporting performance).

-in an area in the left prefrontal cortex that is known to be underactive in depressed people. (see the work of the Neuroscientist Richard Davidson).

Activity in the latter area has been found to be far higher in really senior Tibetan practitioners with years of experience-- off the scale as compared to us mere mortals.

Measurable changes in cortical thickness and in attentional stability have been found in some studies of drug addicts using individual periods of meditation as little as 5 minutes with a total dose as little as 10 hours of practice over 8 weeks.

I will post separately about technique- but have little time now- as I have to leave for a meditation teachers training retreat in an hour.

Kunga Dorji
10-02-13, 07:26 PM
Very briefly on technique:
1) Most ADDers do much better with an audio guided meditation (one with reasonable gaps of silence to keep us on track at first.) Otherwise set a timer. start short- ie 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
Build to 20-25 minutes- or longer if you wish.

2) Unless unacceptably painful sitting is much better for alertness.
The posture has to be stable, upright and relaxed. A chair is OK- if more traditional postures are too hard. Detailed posture instructions can be found below.
If you have a really bad back- then lie down- but it is harder to avoid going to sleep.
Meditation can be done standing or walking too- but that is another story.

3) Start by closing your eyes and progressively withdrawing your attention into the field of tactile sensations. Note as much of your body as you can.

4) Then take several slow deep breaths- pus out the abdomen first, then the lower chest, then the upper chest.
Use the effort of really filling your lungs to help straighten you up.
Hold the breath in for a sort while- as long as is comfortable- then release it slowly through pursed lips- letting the out breath be about twice as long as the inbreath.
This sets up a relaxation response as a starting point ad makes it easier to get started.

5) Drop all attempt to control the breath. Focus the attention on the flow of the breath (at the nostrils if you can, or note the breath flowing through the whole body if your mind is too busy).

6) Simply observe the sensations. If you become distracted- simply note it with amusement and return to task. It is guaranteed to happen a lot- and beating up on yourself will not work. You have to be humorous, and kind to yourself.

That is really all there is to basic breath mindfulness.
It rapidly becomes very enjoyable and definitely makes your mind clearer and sharper.
It is also worth knowing that the more distractions you have, note and return from, the more firing and wiring of functional pathways there is.
So- once we get the hang of it-- us ADDers should progress fast!

Posture:
A stable base ensures no distracting wobbling.

Lotus/half lotus/ kneeling etc create an angle at the hips of greater than 90 degrees is more relaxing.

This is a primitive animal reflex.
When in danger an animal will hunch into a ball to protect it from having it abdomen ripped open by a predator.

When the hips are flexed, there is often position and tension information being fed into our brains telling us that we are in danger.

Back posture-
the hip joints, the shoulder joints and the ear canals need to be in a vertical plane and one should sit up as straight and tall as possible (as though one's head is being drawn upwards by a string placed at the crown (chakra- to be ultra picky!)

This posture minimises forwards tilt of the pelvis.
Forwards tilt of the pelvis turns on a sympathetic drive. - ie makes us more stressed.(I can reference this if you wish)

Any hunching of the upper back also turns on a stress drive to the heart.
(I can also reference this if you wish).

The neck should be upright but the head nodded slightly down- taking tension off the sympathetic nerve trunk on the neck.

The tongue rests on the upper palate- behind the teeth (this seems associated with a parasympathetic/relaxation response- probably as it is associated with suckling as an infant.

The slight smile also sends a positive feedback response- like a laughter club.

someothertime
10-02-13, 11:25 PM
Hmmm... I see no conflict between basic meditation and mindfullness in theory and common religious belief.

I can see how many face to face proponents may "introduce" particular religious aspects... Which for them serve a good purpose but may deter some of alternate faiths.

It's a great post Barli, and poinient/prudent to highlight in such a discussion.

Might I be so bold to suggest various faiths could adopt "presence" activities in today's fast pages world. Villainy have done this to popular effect.

Anyway, back to topic... Just sayin on their own, I see no conflict in principle.

SB_UK
10-04-13, 03:40 PM
I just can't seem the kick the idea that

absence of di(stress) + enlightenment -> bliss

Follow the recipe above - and you don't need to try.

No protocols, procedures or systems to follow.

You're simply gifted with the state which we all desire.

-*-

Meditation and Mindfulness feel as though they're an attempt to deactivate the pain of living, when the pain of living is all of our own doing
- and just as we are collectively responsible for our own pain
so can we be the agents of its elimination.

SB_UK
10-04-13, 03:49 PM
I still have a problem

absence of di(stress)* + enlightenment** -> bliss***

- follow that simple protocol and you're there.

* - fair societal infrastructure
** - completion of mind / pair-bond (requires a little connected education)
*** - reward system activation through plain existence (no requirement to achieve anything)

People should realise that people can't really accomplish anything.
The goal needs to be to reach the point at which people no longer care.

However ... ... if music/art are capable of activating the properly human reward system
- then it's possible to dedicate oneself to one's art as a noble pursuit before and after enlightenment.

Perhaps better pursued prior to.

Happy slackers lack the drive.

Buddha was no sprint champion.

Kunga Dorji
10-06-13, 07:23 AM
ie achieve zen (fixed meditative state) upon enlightenment/wisdom
- in the absence of chronic psychosocial stressor.

The enlightened mind is moral
- psychosocial stress relates to immorality.

eg materialism eg love/desire of money is root of all evil.

Incidentally can't handle money without that love/desire in place
- it's required to enjoy anything that money buys.

basal food/shelter not 'enjoyed'.

Very few people, just find that meditative state without effort.
The state of no effort requires effort.
Most of that effort involves mindfully going down the wrong path- backtracking then checking out the next most promising route.

The art is really in using logic to refute hypotheses, rather than to generate endless streams of thought.(Ref Nagarjuna).

Kunga Dorji
10-06-13, 07:30 AM
I still have a problem

absence of di(stress)* + enlightenment** -> bliss***

- follow that simple protocol and you're there.

* - fair societal infrastructure
** - completion of mind / pair-bond (requires a little connected education)
*** - reward system activation through plain existence (no requirement to achieve anything)

People should realise that people can't really accomplish anything.
The goal needs to be to reach the point at which people no longer care.

However ... ... if music/art are capable of activating the properly human reward system
- then it's possible to dedicate oneself to one's art as a noble pursuit before and after enlightenment.

Perhaps better pursued prior to.

Happy slackers lack the drive.

Buddha was no sprint champion.

SB- you cannot force people to adopt your ideas. it only excites opositionality and resistance.

Each of us wishes to have our own talents appreciated- and central dicataton of the "right way to live" never, ever works.

The Buddha and Jesus both set off enormous movements simply because the quality of the example they held up to the world had a profound effect of changing people's hearts- NOT their minds.

It is a testament to the power of these individuals and the timeliness of their interventions that they both set off such enormous movements- both of which are still flourishing, and co-operating today.

If you want to change the world- get together 20-30 like minded individuals, create a commune.
When it is working well, and all its members look well, happy and fulfilled, and are living environmentally mindful lives-- you will probably have difficulty dealing with the number of enthusiastic inquiries.

Be the change you want to see.

I know you can do it. Do you?

someothertime
10-06-13, 07:30 AM
It is merely the state of deep calm combined with repeated acknowledgement of thoughts and not acting on them.

Over time, you become better focussed ( on relaxing :) ) and less predisposed to generate adhoc thought nor meld with it.

So while I love the description above... instead of logic refuting hypothesis


i'd say;

awareness and calming / non-mindracing practice

Kunga Dorji
10-06-13, 07:54 AM
ps appreciate the help
- and apologies ... ... I can only work with mechanisms ... ... it just seems to be the way that my mind works.

Work with your mind- not against it.

Maybe a good idea would be to see your thoughts as an object of meditation- simply observe them as they come and go, but do not allow yourself to expand on or follow them.

Look for the spaces in between them and see what is there.

This is a variant of a technique called- settling the mind in its natural state- it might well work for you. I can expand if needed.

Kunga Dorji
10-06-13, 09:17 AM
Hmmm... I see no conflict between basic meditation and mindfullness in theory and common religious belief.

I can see how many face to face proponents may "introduce" particular religious aspects... Which for them serve a good purpose but may deter some of alternate faiths.

It's a great post Barli, and poinient/prudent to highlight in such a discussion.

Might I be so bold to suggest various faiths could adopt "presence" activities in today's fast pages world. Villainy have done this to popular effect.

Anyway, back to topic... Just sayin on their own, I see no conflict in principle.

Thankyou,
I'm glad you found it useful.

Mindfulness and meditation are techniques, techniques used to investigate reality and reduce suffering/increase happiness.
Now while the proximate aim might be to increase our own happiness, it will become apparent after a while, that we cannot maximise our own happiness without caring for those within our reach.

If these techniques are used for selfish ends they will always blow up in our faces, and ultimately harm everyone, including the practitioner.

Hence they are compatible with any wisdom tradition.

BTW- I achieved formal qualification as a Buddhist Meditation teacher today
(pretty pleased with that one!)- and we aim to make the techniques universally accessible to anyone who promises to never use them to inflict harm on another>

SB_UK
10-06-13, 03:12 PM
SB- you cannot force people to adopt your ideas. it only excites opositionality and resistance.

:-)

Just trying to find the quickest route to the candy store ... ... not get anybody else to go :o ... ...

Kunga Dorji
10-06-13, 03:51 PM
:-)

Just trying to find the quickest route to the candy store ... ... not get anybody else to go :o ... ...
however- broadly speaking you are right- we just need you to be the "light on the hill for us, rather than the "backroom general".

SB_UK
10-07-13, 08:38 AM
The problem I'm having with mindfulness/meditation - is that they seem to be excellent methods of mitigating central dysfunction to stress ie incapacity to attend, concentrate ... ... but I can't get the idea out of my head - that the best solution to this problem - 'd be to eliminate di(stressor). So ... ... I'm suggesting that in the absence of di(stress) - that we won't need to mitigate/repair di(stress) based destruction of cognitive function ... ... and so ... ... meditation/mindfulness won't be necessary ? -- No -- And so - we'll be able to conduct the formula above of: di(stress) alleviation + mind completion -> bliss (default meditative/mindful state) ie meditative/mindful states become the default - and not the struggled towards states in life. Am I sure of any of this ? Just blurting out whatever my mind appears to see. Life shouldn't need to be filled with protocols, procedures and rules - I think that if people were simply nice to one another - that all else 'd just fall into place. There needs to be a little 'natural langauage' expressed 'natural science' in there also - to weave that mind which understands its own context into being. But it's not so hard - just requires an understanding of the yin-yang symbol. And of the 'Middle way' (the wave) which separates yin and yang. "Put aside the everyday world and come with us Into the realm of imagination The middle ground between light and shadow" From whence phenomenological (dual) reality is projected, from whence we came - where God :-) lives - forever tucked outta' reach.

SB_UK
10-07-13, 08:43 AM
Sorry! All of my many line-breaks no longer work ... ... ???

Kunga Dorji
10-08-13, 09:23 AM
The problem I'm having with mindfulness/meditation - is that they seem to be excellent methods of mitigating central dysfunction to stress ie incapacity to attend, concentrate ... ... but I can't get the idea out of my head - that the best solution to this problem - 'd be to eliminate di(stressor). So ... ... I'm suggesting that in the absence of di(stress) - that we won't need to mitigate/repair di(stress) based destruction of cognitive function ... ... and so ... ... meditation/mindfulness won't be necessary ? -- No -- And so - we'll be able to conduct the formula above of: di(stress) alleviation + mind completion -> bliss (default meditative/mindful state) ie meditative/mindful states become the default - and not the struggled towards states in life. Am I sure of any of this ? Just blurting out whatever my mind appears to see. Life shouldn't need to be filled with protocols, procedures and rules - I think that if people were simply nice to one another - that all else 'd just fall into place. There needs to be a little 'natural langauage' expressed 'natural science' in there also - to weave that mind which understands its own context into being. But it's not so hard - just requires an understanding of the yin-yang symbol. And of the 'Middle way' (the wave) which separates yin and yang. "Put aside the everyday world and come with us Into the realm of imagination The middle ground between light and shadow" From whence phenomenological (dual) reality is projected, from whence we came - where God :-) lives - forever tucked outta' reach.

I dont mean to sound awful, but in terms of meditation practice you could not be more wrong.

The point is to cultivate an unshakeable mental equanimity and positivity- NO MATTER what the outer circumstances are.
That way- the practitioner becomes more stable and more able to operate effectively and positively whatever the circumstances.

Kunga Dorji
10-08-13, 04:38 PM
It is merely the state of deep calm combined with repeated acknowledgement of thoughts and not acting on them.

Over time, you become better focussed ( on relaxing :) ) and less predisposed to generate adhoc thought nor meld with it.

So while I love the description above... instead of logic refuting hypothesis


i'd say;

awareness and calming / non-mindracing practice

Awareness and calming is the basic level.
Beyond this it is usual to move into insight meditation.
That involves direct analysis of reality, and posing questions as to one's experience.
The traps of discursive thought become much greater, so the approach of using an analytical method to test, cross reference and refute where appropriate some of the ideas that comes up becomes important.
ideas that emerge

SB_UK
10-09-13, 04:12 AM
I dont mean to sound awful, but in terms of meditation practice you could not be more wrong.

The point is to cultivate an unshakeable mental equanimity and positivity- NO MATTER what the outer circumstances are.
That way- the practitioner becomes more stable and more able to operate effectively and positively whatever the circumstances.


eep! That's what I'm suggesting - with the sole additional point being that results will be better minus di(stressor).

So - exactly as Barliman suggests - benefits regardless of external circumtances.
I'm simply adding benefits even more pronounced in (di)stress -free external environment.

I hate being completely wrong :)

SB_UK
10-09-13, 04:13 AM
ps You don't get line breaks without Javascript on people ??

someothertime
10-09-13, 08:40 AM
The point is to cultivate an unshakeable mental equanimity and positivity- NO MATTER what the outer circumstances are.
That way- the practitioner becomes more stable and more able to operate effectively and positively whatever the circumstances.

Barli, would it not be more accurate to replace positivity with detachment in the phrase above? Particularly the first sentence?

Kunga Dorji
10-09-13, 09:47 AM
eep! That's what I'm suggesting - with the sole additional point being that results will be better minus di(stressor).

So - exactly as Barliman suggests - benefits regardless of external circumtances.
I'm simply adding benefits even more pronounced in (di)stress -free external environment.

I hate being completely wrong :)


We probably need the trauma to "break on through to the other side" to quote Jim Morrison.

Don't worry about the completely wrong thing--- it has happened to me enough times that i am desensitised to it.

Crash through, or crash- way to go.

Kunga Dorji
10-09-13, 09:55 AM
Barli, would it not be more accurate to replace positivity with detachment in the phrase above? Particularly the first sentence?

I would have said so in the past-- but the emphasis on the four "Brahma Viharas"-- the Four Immeasurables (compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity) is now coming through loud and clear from all the most experienced teachers.

Detachment really means not being devastated by a bad outcome, but the tradition that these techniques arise from is actually an extremely socially radical one, committed to radical compassionate action in the real world.

The detachment, and the non-judgmental aspects really relate to the mental state that can observe the whole picture, even the bits we don't like (ie where we stuffed up) so that we have a complete data set that allows us to act positively but effectively next time.

The later stages of the meditation path involve very deliberate cultivation of positive, socially aware mind states- while not getting so attached to the outcome tht we cannot review it fully.

ana futura
10-09-13, 04:42 PM
The thing that is hard for a lot of people to grasp, until they develop a regular practice and see it for themselves, is that being "unattached" lets you experience things more fully. Being free of "suffering" is not about not having crappy experiences.

If a loved one dies, you are still going to be really flipping sad. It's still going to suck. You will still grieve. But you will grieve more fully. There will be no fear or anxiety holding you back, clouding your emotions. You will feel grief purely. And by feeling the "unpleasant" emotions more fully, they don't linger.

I've noticed a big relationship between mediation and my ability to process trauma. I process it differently now. It doesn't stick around and nag me forever, but I also can't avoid unpleasant things like I used to.

"Attachment", in my experience, is about being attached to a particular outcome. That is what you are trying to get rid of, not your ability to be emotionally present and engaged. And since you still care about the present (because with meditation that's where you spend most of your time), you are going to do everything in your power to make the present awesome- which includes cultivating positive and loving relationships with those around you.

So, that's why the emphasis on "positivity"

When I talk about meditation or mindfulness practice with others, I don't like to use words like attachment and suffering (and enlightenment), because the western usage of those words really hindered my understanding of Buddhism for a long time. We just don't use those words in a compatible way.

This is why I think so many meditation teachers in the West put the emphasis on "being in the present moment". It's an easier to concept grasp and understand fully, and an easier entry point into Buddhist thought. And who wouldn't want to be positive in the present moment?

Kunga Dorji
10-10-13, 09:35 AM
The thing that is hard for a lot of people to grasp, until they develop a regular practice and see it for themselves, is that being "unattached" lets you experience things more fully. Being free of "suffering" is not about not having crappy experiences.

If a loved one dies, you are still going to be really flipping sad. It's still going to suck. You will still grieve. But you will grieve more fully. There will be no fear or anxiety holding you back, clouding your emotions. You will feel grief purely. And by feeling the "unpleasant" emotions more fully, they don't linger.

I've noticed a big relationship between mediation and my ability to process trauma. I process it differently now. It doesn't stick around and nag me forever, but I also can't avoid unpleasant things like I used to.

"Attachment", in my experience, is about being attached to a particular outcome. That is what you are trying to get rid of, not your ability to be emotionally present and engaged. And since you still care about the present (because with meditation that's where you spend most of your time), you are going to do everything in your power to make the present awesome- which includes cultivating positive and loving relationships with those around you.

So, that's why the emphasis on "positivity"

When I talk about meditation or mindfulness practice with others, I don't like to use words like attachment and suffering (and enlightenment), because the western usage of those words really hindered my understanding of Buddhism for a long time. We just don't use those words in a compatible way.

This is why I think so many meditation teachers in the West put the emphasis on "being in the present moment". It's an easier to concept grasp and understand fully, and an easier entry point into Buddhist thought. And who wouldn't want to be positive in the present moment?

Yeah, there has been a lot of confusion about translation of words from other cultures. Still- being in the moment allows us to act wisely and effectively--- which sure beats ADD stuff ups.

If you are not properly grieving at the death of a loved one, or loss of relationship, you are not experiencing it, or the awareness of the loved one.

Mindfulness and meditation enhance our participation in life, not shut it down.

SB_UK
10-11-13, 04:56 AM
How about taking this from a different angle - because I'm still struggling to understand the words being used here.

Here's a different take which actually incorporates ADHD.

Please correct the following using simple language so I can understand what you mean ?

1. Famous chap - Thich nhat hanh - states (say his comments yesterday online) that meditation on breath and concentrating on eg number of breath ie counting from 1 to 10 in one's head) is simply the act of training the mind to concentrate on 1 thing.

2. He likens training muscles to make them stronger, to training concentration to make it stronger.

3. Loosely speaking if you can concentrate better - you can focus better - you can pay better attention.

4. ADHD is supposed to be 'something' about poor attention; it's a little sad that I can't make a better statement after 10 years on-site.

5. If meditation makes us better at concentrating/attending/focussing (wasn't focussin the name of the ADHD medication given to Bart Simpson? :-)) - then it should be beneficial for ADDers.

NOW THE IMPORTANT BIT

Why ? Are we more in need of this technique.
I am now NOT doubting that meditation works.

I am asking why it is that we're more in need of this technique.

Two answers:
[1] Increased predisposition to stress 'scatters' our thought processes degrading cognitive function. [<- see Barliman - extremely sensitive person]
[2] Global mind (unable to partition problems into nice neat boxes) can't pay attention to a problem - because it can see problems (through looking outside the problem domain) with whatever the individual happens to be doing. The ADD mind is a little like trying to concentrate on mowing the lawn whilst ADDer and non nonADDer can see that there's a swarm of killer bees approaching.

So - think about something and because of global mind we're inundated with thoughts on eg How to get from A to B ? with -eg- but why bother ?

Now - [2] would drive [1].

The point I'm trying to make is that our type of mind identifies problems with our own behaviours/lives -> triggers stress -> leads to cognitive degradation -<- which is partially recovered with meditation
-- but if we could align our lives with our minds (tendency to global logical) consistency) - then we'd be 'hitting' at root - the problem we have
- ie stress which'd mean that any meditation we did 'd work to improve concentration/focus/attention without constant attack from di(stressor).

What do you think ?

I am not stating no point to meditation.
I'm trying to work out how to maximise its potential in helping us.

-*-

The important point I'm trying to raise is why ADDers need it more than nonADDers?
And how to make ADDers benefit maximally from it.

Simply - fair society formation and then classical meditation/mindfulness application.

Is there anything wrong with this post ?

SB_UK
10-11-13, 05:10 AM
So - and simply - the ADDer mind is a mind with predisposition for global logical consistency (also described as tendency to enforced moral consistency)
- and occurs by a simple modification at the level of mind - from an 'OR' to an 'AND' connected structure.

We think connected.

And that single idea can make all other aspects of our experience make sense.

Tendency to global consistency -> Stress from existence in the current world -> Disease including classical ADHD (-H and -I are just stress responses) -> disease from chronic stress exposure.

-*-


That's all - so meditation/mindfulness - all well and good - but

- here's a simply worded example.

Imagine if you eat lots of sweets and become fat.
Meditation/Mindfulness are like beginning exercise <- A good thing.
But you won't become healthy until you stop eating sweets and exercise ie remove di(stressors).

Just reading the lines in red above - do you understand what I'm trying to explain ?

SB_UK
10-11-13, 05:12 AM
Imagine if you eat lots of sweets and become fat.
Meditation/Mindfulness are like beginning exercise <- A good thing.
But you won't become healthy until you stop eating sweets and exercise ie remove di(stressors).


Above is a paraphrase of post 96.

Does any of it resonate ?

SB_UK
10-11-13, 05:18 AM
All that I'm trying to do is connect the utility of meditation to the basis of ADD - and therefore to maximise the utility of meditation to the ADDer.

You see - if I see a swarm of killer bees coming at me - I certainly do need to react appropriately (ie not collapse in fright) - but for the most part - I have to do something about it.
Accepting one's fate and dying in time just doesn't seem appropriate ?

-*-

So - I'm simply suggesting that meditation is to attention as weight-training is to muscles
- all well and good ... ...

but we're not answering the more fundamental question of why ADDer attention is all over the place.

I've answered that question above and strongly advocated the use of meditation.

However ... ... ... meditation could be so so much better for us in a di(stress) free environment.

So - Athos monks pray/meditate constantly in a di(stress) -free environment - and are healthy.

It all makes sense ???

No ??

someothertime
10-11-13, 07:25 AM
We think

^This

Uncontained thought is a city with no roads. Some liberation....much chaos.

The only connection is that of smoothing and directing thoughts, which in turn has an effect on emotion. Which feeds the cyclical continuum. Done well, that which is distracting or tangential can be felt and let go, eventually even triggered less often, due to the more symbiotic and ultimately synchronised link between emotion and thought.

SB_UK
10-11-13, 10:10 AM
It is true that unless a global mind is put in place ie the mind which occurs at wisdom / post-enlightenment
- what occurs before cannot be said to be thought.

Because it lacks the structural struts which make it make sense.

So - and as stated prviously with Ginniebean

- there actually is no mind until wisdom/enlightenment is attained.

That's going to be a very unpopular idea - but is right.