MEDITATION - As A Spiritual Practice - No Dogma Allowed

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Patient_Leech
DISCLAIMER: if you are a Bible Thumper or Islamist or any other such Religious Extremist trying to spread your religion, don't do it here. This thread is to remain free of such discussions. You will be smitten by your respective GOD if you do it here. This is a place for real spiritual progress or at least the discussion of such a thing.

NO DOGMA ALLOWED
Also please try to stay on topic

Now that that is out of the way, this is about meditation practices and a place to discuss various methods and techniques. I have dabbled in meditation for a long time, but have not ever really gotten on a steady long-term regimen, unfortunately. But I really wish I would, heh. But the beauty of meditation is that it doesn't require any subscription to ridiculous dogma. So all the benefits of a religion, but without having to compromise your intellectual integrity with unsubstantiated beliefs.

So as far as techniques go I've done lots of counting breaths, counting length of breaths, just observing breaths, body scans, mindful awareness of sounds, experiences, sensations, thoughts, etc. Anyway, I finally got around to doing this technique from Sam Harris (see video below) and it seemed very practical and I can definitely see the benefits of it. I think essentially what I took away from it was just seeing yourself NOT as something encased in a body or peering out from behind your face that is separate from the world and others and is tossed around by thoughts, emotions, desires, etc., but you are simply consciousness itself, pure, unadulterated awareness and thoughts, feelings, emotions etc. don't have any real connection to your core being. You are actually separate from your thoughts and feelings. And this I have known intellectually for a very long time, but this is a practice to experience it. I think it's an attempt to get at a non-dual state of mind.

Anyway, please share your thoughts, insights or other good guided meditation audio here. There's a couple pretty good apps that I've tried, "Calm" and "Headspace," but I haven't actually paid for the full experience yet. If anyone has, please do share your experience...

B5oIEKjMdmA

Beniboybling
*thump* *thump*

Hi guys.

I don't know where to post this, but the Lord has been laying it on my heart for the past few days to tell people about Jesus. This burden is so strong that I have felt sick and very desperate to reach out to others and tell them about Jesus. I asked my Pastor if there were any ministries I could do through my church to serve God, but all he said to me was that if there was anything, he'd let me know. God has been driving me to serve Him so bad that I don't think I can wait much longer for an answer from my Pastor, I am desperate here and I don't think he understands just how urgent it is to witness to the lost. People are dying and going to Hell. That is no laughing matter.

So I am going to write a post and witness to the lost on here...

Dear person much loved by the Lord,

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners like you and me. Have you ever thought about what happens after you die? I have. It has brought me much anxiety thinking about it, because I know that this life does not last forever and one day, we all will die.

A lot of people today do not think about where they will spend eternity, and this thinking is a big mistake.

But what happens after death? The Bible is the only book that can tell us what happens to us after we die. God Himself wrote this great book; it is probably the most important book that was ever written.

Do you mind if I quote some Scriptures? Some people get offended when I quote the Bible, but I never do. Do you know why? Because I am a Christian and I believe that Jesus is my Saviour. The Bible says so. And with that being said, I will give you some Bible verses to help you and educate you.

So what happens after we die? The Bible teaches that man is a tripart being composed of spirit, soul, and a fleshly body. At death, our souls separate from our body and goes back to God to be judged by Him. God will judge everything we do in the body, whether good or bad.

But here is the bad news. You see, nobody is truly a good person. You see, only God is truly good.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever hated anyone? If you have, then you have sinned. Killing others is also a sin, and yet you hear every day on the news that someone has murdered somebody else. Why? Because mankind are sinners and on their way to a burning Hell.

Rom 3:23 :
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Now that you know that no one is good in God's eyes, how do we then become good? How do we become vindicated before God? The Bible teaches that we need to have Jesus' righteousness but the only way to do that is to come to Him by faith:

Rom 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

So you see that you need to believe in your heart that God raised up Jesus from the dead, and you also need to confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord.

If you die without Christ, you will spend eternity in Hell. In our modern world today, people think that Hell is a place of never-ending parties and good times. They think that all of their friends will be there. But that is far from the truth. You would think that these people have never read the Bible, or that they have never taken it seriously.

The Bible teaches that Hell is a place of never-ending fire and torment, and my dear friend, that is not very much fun (this truth has scared a lot of people). It is a place of tears and no hope. It is darkness and loneliness. You won't be able to see anyone at all. It is eternal separation from God Himself. Since God is the Source of Joy and Happiness, that means that everything apart from Him is tears, sorrow, and no happiness. And that does not sound like very much fun at all, doesn't it?

So my dear friend, for your own eternal safety, I pray that you will accept Jesus Christ into your heart today, and make Him Lord over your life.

If you have done this, you need to find a Bible-believing church where you can grow in God's Word. And you also need to find out what God wants you to do with your life, so that you may serve Him.

Blessings,
Jacqueline

Emperordmb
Though I'm not an atheist and am Christian, meditation has actually helped me through one of the most spiritually challenging times of my life when I was dealing with an existential crisis. For a couple of weeks I would experience these moments of anxiety where I was plagued by my greatest fear where I felt emotionally disconnected from everything around me to the extent to which I wasn't really emotionally present. I knew that the fear was irrational, but that knowledge didn't really get rid of the anxiety, and it basically flared up as an intrusive thought, so at first I would try to not think about it... which would lead to me thinking about it, or I would try to think about something else, which would either be a feeble attempt or only delay the problem of me experiencing anxiety whenever confronted with that thought.

So I used a sort of meditation and breathing techniques to get myself into a more calm and relaxed emotional state when confronting the intrusive thoughts so I could rationally dispel them and not be as disturbed by the thought whenever considering it, and that gradually lessened my anxiety, and now it's completely gone.

Beniboybling
Drugs do that to a person...

Now tell us more about God.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Beniboybling



Your God will smite you.

Emperordmb
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
Your God will smite you.
Nah Beni's God is unwilling to smite anyone even if they are threatening to smite him. smile

Emperordmb
Originally posted by Beniboybling
Drugs do that to a person...
https://files.shroomery.org/smileys/shroomer.gif

Patient_Leech
This is a really good one...

OboD7JrT0NE&t=511s

Adam_PoE
Originally posted by Beniboybling
*thump* *thump*

Hi guys.

I don't know where to post this, but the Lord has been laying it on my heart for the past few days to tell people about Jesus. This burden is so strong that I have felt sick and very desperate to reach out to others and tell them about Jesus. I asked my Pastor if there were any ministries I could do through my church to serve God, but all he said to me was that if there was anything, he'd let me know. God has been driving me to serve Him so bad that I don't think I can wait much longer for an answer from my Pastor, I am desperate here and I don't think he understands just how urgent it is to witness to the lost. People are dying and going to Hell. That is no laughing matter.

So I am going to write a post and witness to the lost on here...

Dear person much loved by the Lord,

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners like you and me. Have you ever thought about what happens after you die? I have. It has brought me much anxiety thinking about it, because I know that this life does not last forever and one day, we all will die.

A lot of people today do not think about where they will spend eternity, and this thinking is a big mistake.

But what happens after death? The Bible is the only book that can tell us what happens to us after we die. God Himself wrote this great book; it is probably the most important book that was ever written.

Do you mind if I quote some Scriptures? Some people get offended when I quote the Bible, but I never do. Do you know why? Because I am a Christian and I believe that Jesus is my Saviour. The Bible says so. And with that being said, I will give you some Bible verses to help you and educate you.

So what happens after we die? The Bible teaches that man is a tripart being composed of spirit, soul, and a fleshly body. At death, our souls separate from our body and goes back to God to be judged by Him. God will judge everything we do in the body, whether good or bad.

But here is the bad news. You see, nobody is truly a good person. You see, only God is truly good.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever hated anyone? If you have, then you have sinned. Killing others is also a sin, and yet you hear every day on the news that someone has murdered somebody else. Why? Because mankind are sinners and on their way to a burning Hell.

Rom 3:23 :
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Now that you know that no one is good in God's eyes, how do we then become good? How do we become vindicated before God? The Bible teaches that we need to have Jesus' righteousness but the only way to do that is to come to Him by faith:

Rom 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

So you see that you need to believe in your heart that God raised up Jesus from the dead, and you also need to confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord.

If you die without Christ, you will spend eternity in Hell. In our modern world today, people think that Hell is a place of never-ending parties and good times. They think that all of their friends will be there. But that is far from the truth. You would think that these people have never read the Bible, or that they have never taken it seriously.

The Bible teaches that Hell is a place of never-ending fire and torment, and my dear friend, that is not very much fun (this truth has scared a lot of people). It is a place of tears and no hope. It is darkness and loneliness. You won't be able to see anyone at all. It is eternal separation from God Himself. Since God is the Source of Joy and Happiness, that means that everything apart from Him is tears, sorrow, and no happiness. And that does not sound like very much fun at all, doesn't it?

So my dear friend, for your own eternal safety, I pray that you will accept Jesus Christ into your heart today, and make Him Lord over your life.

If you have done this, you need to find a Bible-believing church where you can grow in God's Word. And you also need to find out what God wants you to do with your life, so that you may serve Him.

Blessings,
Jacqueline

Originally posted by Adam_PoE
http://i42.tinypic.com/cu9ah.jpg

Mindship
I've always preferred to meditate in as natural a fashion as possible: simply being conscious of being conscious, whether doing a formal, sit-down session, or going about daily life. To put it another way, I try to stay off autopilot as much as possible.

I also like meditating while dreaming, though this is rare.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
I've always preferred to meditate in as natural a fashion as possible: simply being conscious of being conscious, whether doing a formal, sit-down session, or going about daily life. To put it another way, I try to stay off autopilot as much as possible.

thumb up So what's your technique for staying in that "conscious of consciousness" state (sit down and daily life)?

Originally posted by Mindship
I also like meditating while dreaming, though this is rare.

You'll have to explain more about this. I am intrigued. I can only remember once or twice when I was a kid that I had sort of a lucid dreaming experience. I was just sort of flying up above my bed controlling my hovering. It was amazing, but I've never had a similar experience since.

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
thumb up So what's your technique for staying in that "conscious of consciousness" state (sit down and daily life)? For me, it is the recognition of a particular feeling, a very subtle tonal shift in the sense of one's presence. A trigger word/phrase (eg, "I'm still here"; "Reality check"wink helps, but ultimately, it is being attuned to a fine nuance of difference in consciousness, between being "On" and being "Off" (ie, on autopilot). Essentially, if you can ask yourself "Am I conscious right now?" you are, if only at a surface level. However, you're not even of mind to ask this when on autopilot. The difference is especially notable when first shifting from Off to On (often I'll ask myself, when I return to On is, "what brought me back?"wink.

My general inspiration for this approach is Zen/mindfulness.

Originally posted by Patient_Leech
You'll have to explain more about this. I am intrigued. I can only remember once or twice when I was a kid that I had sort of a lucid dreaming experience. I was just sort of flying up above my bed controlling my hovering. It was amazing, but I've never had a similar experience since. Lucid dreaming can be trained for. "As you are awake, so shall you dream." Closely related to "up and about meditation," one form of LD induction involves reminding yourself -- while awake -- what's happening (again as an eg, "Reality check"; or, "Awake or dreaming?"wink. But even with this, yeah, meditating while dreaming is a rare moment, though simply being aware that one is dreaming is not unlike up-and-about meditating.

The whole deal for both is not being on autopilot. The better you are At This while awake, the greater the chance this will carry over into dreaming.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
For me, it is the recognition of a particular feeling, a very subtle tonal shift in the sense of one's presence. A trigger word/phrase (eg, "I'm still here"; "Reality check"wink helps, but ultimately, it is being attuned to a fine nuance of difference in consciousness, between being "On" and being "Off" (ie, on autopilot). Essentially, if you can ask yourself "Am I conscious right now?" you are, if only at a surface level. However, you're not even of mind to ask this when on autopilot. The difference is especially notable when first shifting from Off to On (often I'll ask myself, when I return to On is, "what brought me back?"wink.

My general inspiration for this approach is Zen/mindfulness.

Makes sense. So you just try to be conscious of your consciousness frequently? I wonder how much your approach differs from this guy's approach, if any (keep in mind, this seems to be worded for beginners and as simply as possible for anyone)...



The "you" he is referring to I think is just the very ground of being, pure awareness. That's how I understand it.



Originally posted by Mindship
Lucid dreaming can be trained for. "As you are awake, so shall you dream." Closely related to "up and about meditation," one form of LD induction involves reminding yourself -- while awake -- what's happening (again as an eg, "Reality check"; or, "Awake or dreaming?"wink. But even with this, yeah, meditating while dreaming is a rare moment, though simply being aware that one is dreaming is not unlike up-and-about meditating.

The whole deal for both is not being on autopilot. The better you are At This while awake, the greater the chance this will carry over into dreaming.

Yeah, that makes sense about it carrying over into dreaming the more you do it.

Emperordmb
I do something close to meditation to keep myself properly oriented, except instead of emptying my mind of everything but awareness I'll focus it on my loved ones, my gratefulness for what I have, letting go of my resentment for other people and forgiving them, that kinda thing.

Patient_Leech
^ That's a legitimate meditation technique. Loving kindness. thumb up

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
Makes sense. So you just try to be conscious of your consciousness frequently? I wonder how much your approach differs from this guy's approach, if any (keep in mind, this seems to be worded for beginners and as simply as possible for anyone)... Seems he is essentially espousing a mindfulness/metaconscious approach. Being conscious of one's attention is just another way of wording it; and the idea is to do it as often as one remembers, and, no stressing out when one forgets. The key is to make it as natural as possible, imo. Like breathing. But it's tough, given the "significant mental inertia" of the inner dialogue.
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
The "you" he is referring to I think is just the very ground of being, pure awareness. That's how I understand it. I would say it is the moment when one's inner dialogue has been minimalized, such that we begin to become aware of the felt-ground of the thinker, rather than being our thoughts. If I may, one begins to experience the start of the next phase: the unification of will. We go from being grounded in our thoughts to being grounded in Will, with thoughts as figures in that ground.

Pure consciousness? If one adheres to the perennial philosophy, that sort of Consciousness is waayyy beyond where we are.

Originally posted by Emperordmb
I do something close to meditation to keep myself properly oriented, except instead of emptying my mind of everything but awareness I'll focus it on my loved ones, my gratefulness for what I have, letting go of my resentment for other people and forgiving them, that kinda thing. thumb up

YousufKhan1212
I don't even know how to meditate.

Patient_Leech
^ It's easy. A couple good apps with some free content that I mentioned in the OP are "Headspace" and "Calm." (That is if you have a smartphone). Sam Harris has said that he's working on a meditation app. I think I saw that he's beta testing it now, but I think it was just for Apple. I haven't really checked for it on Android yet (I have an Android).

Digi
I'm a fan of the Dan Harris (no relation to Sam Harris) book "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story" Long-ass title, but a worthwhile read. Basically, he was an over-stressed modern guy who wanted to explore the benefits of meditation without the psuedo-spiritual "woo" that often accompanies it. He didn't believe in aligning his chakras, or {insert New Age-y spiritual idea here}, he just wanted to calm his mind and be a little bit happier. And it worked.

I do some fairly basic breathing exercises on occasion, and I'm trying to get to the point where it's a daily routine for me. I also use the Sam Harris guided meditations. They can be found in audio format here:
https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/mindfulness-meditation

I've also invented my own variation where I take a piece of wisdom that is applicable to my life and I "meditate on it." It might be accompanied with breathing exercises, but instead of clearing my mind, my default state is the idea or quote, and it gives me a point to come back to when my mind wanders. The ideas become mantras that can then help in everyday life. Sounds similar to a couple practices mentioned above.

I haven't read through everything in this thread - I'm at work, and time is short - but it's a worthwhile topic imo.

Patient_Leech
^ Thanks for the contribution. Yeah, I wish I could make it a more daily routine, too, because I want to teach my son some techniques at the youngest age possible. Sam Harris' wife actually is involved in teaching children meditation.

Originally posted by Digi
I'm a fan of the Dan Harris (no relation to Sam Harris) book "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story" Long-ass title, but a worthwhile read. Basically, he was an over-stressed modern guy who wanted to explore the benefits of meditation without the psuedo-spiritual "woo" that often accompanies it. He didn't believe in aligning his chakras, or {insert New Age-y spiritual idea here}, he just wanted to calm his mind and be a little bit happier. And it worked.

Is there an accompanying app for that? 10% Happier? I think I've heard of it, but for some reason I can't find it in the android app store. Yeah...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/10-happier-mindfulness-guide/id992210239?mt=8

Originally posted by Digi
I've also invented my own variation where I take a piece of wisdom that is applicable to my life and I "meditate on it." It might be accompanied with breathing exercises, but instead of clearing my mind, my default state is the idea or quote, and it gives me a point to come back to when my mind wanders. The ideas become mantras that can then help in everyday life. Sounds similar to a couple practices mentioned above.

Cool. I like that. You have any examples you're willing to share?

Mindship
Originally posted by Digi
I've also invented my own variation where I take a piece of wisdom that is applicable to my life and I "meditate on it." It might be accompanied with breathing exercises, but instead of clearing my mind, my default state is the idea or quote, and it gives me a point to come back to when my mind wanders. The ideas become mantras that can then help in everyday life.Agreed. The right word/phrase/idea (I don't like the term 'afirmation') can help focus the mind and foster productive behavior. As an example, only recently I've put together a "tripolar system" (stick out tongue ) which enables me to keep my cool when driving.

Of course, it is utterly useless when I'm not mindful of this tact in the first place.

@YousufKhan1212: Answer this question w/o words or thoughts: How do you know you're conscious? (Hint: the answer does not begin with, "How am I supposed to answer that with no words or thoughts?"wink

Digi
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
^ Thanks for the contribution. Yeah, I wish I could make it a more daily routine, too, because I want to teach my son some techniques at the youngest age possible. Sam Harris' wife actually is involved in teaching children meditation.

Is there an accompanying app for that? 10% Happier? I think I've heard of it, but for some reason I can't find it in the android app store. Yeah...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/10-happier-mindfulness-guide/id992210239?mt=8

Cool. I like that. You have any examples you're willing to share?

I think making it routine is key. I'm currently eliminating a lot of things from my life to "make room" so that I can make things like meditating and working out into daily practices.

I don't know of an app, sorry. I'm honestly not big on apps.

I do have examples, but most are baked into documents and files I have at home (I'm usually at work during my sporadic visits to KMC). But I literally have a Word document with a couple hundred ideas or quotes that I've pulled mostly from books that have resonated with me, broken into about five different primary categories (habits, outlook/mindset, confidence/motivation, etc.). I'll usually just pick one, sit down, do some breathing techniques, and think about them.

One other thing I like to do that fills a similar role for me is watch ASMR videos. I made a thread about it here on KMC a while back:
http://www.killermovies.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=592841

It's used as a sleep aid by many. And while I don't use it for that, I do use it for relaxation in ways that mirror my meditating.

Originally posted by Mindship
Agreed. The right word/phrase/idea (I don't like the term 'afirmation') can help focus the mind and foster productive behavior. As an example, only recently I've put together a "tripolar system" (stick out tongue ) which enables me to keep my cool when driving.

Of course, it is utterly useless when I'm not mindful of this tact in the first place.

@YousufKhan1212: Answer this question w/o words or thoughts: How do you know you're conscious? (Hint: the answer does not begin with, "How am I supposed to answer that with no words or thoughts?"wink

Heh. Never had the driving issue. Maybe I'm wired differently than some, but there are so many things that get to people that are just water off a duck's back for me, so to speak. My issues tend to be more systemic existential issues related to areas of my life like finances and romance. Moment to moment, I tend to do alright keeping perspective, which is something at least.

I remember going down the "how do I know I exist?" rabbit hole during, like, math class in high school one time. Heady stuff. I actually tend to shy away from those sorts of higher-end philosophical inquiries, though. I'm not looking for enlightenment or massive revelations; just, as Dan Harris puts it, 10% more happiness (or productivity, focus, etc.).

Emperordmb
You obviously exist. Your existence is the one thing you can be 100% certain of.

Mindship
The point of answering the question, "How do you know you're conscious?" w/o using words or thoughts, is to *force* the person to attend to whatever it is they're conscious of without automatically going into a verbal/subvocal mode, ie, to force attention to the senses, the here/now, relying entirely (ideally) on the self-evidence of the experience. To answer with (eg), "Well, I know I'm conscious because blah-blah-blah" is to miss the point of the exercise.

Digi
Originally posted by Emperordmb
You obviously exist. Your existence is the one thing you can be 100% certain of.

Like I said, it was high school. I tend to agree, though there are likely schools of thought that might disagree, especially depending on how "you" is defined. The idea that there isn't a singular point of consciousness that makes up a "you" is at the heart of a lot of meditative exercises. Which is less about proof of existence as it is about the nature of Self. But that's a bit beyond the purview of this thread, imo.

Originally posted by Mindship
The point of answering the question, "How do you know you're conscious?" w/o using words or thoughts, is to *force* the person to attend to whatever it is they're conscious of without automatically going into a verbal/subvocal mode, ie, to force attention to the senses, the here/now, relying entirely (ideally) on the self-evidence of the experience. To answer with (eg), "Well, I know I'm conscious because blah-blah-blah" is to miss the point of the exercise.

I've played a game - not with much success - of becoming aware of my awareness. Then becoming aware of my awareness of my awareness. And so on. It gets exponentially harder in a hurry. But again, the point is to slow the mind and focus on a single point or idea, then deliberately slide one level deeper when you're ready. It can take a ton of time just to go more than one level down into that.

Mindship
Originally posted by Digi
I've played a game - not with much success - of becoming aware of my awareness. Then becoming aware of my awareness of my awareness. And so on. It gets exponentially harder in a hurry. But again, the point is to slow the mind and focus on a single point or idea, then deliberately slide one level deeper when you're ready. It can take a ton of time just to go more than one level down into that. The inner dialogue is a wily rascal.

YousufKhan1212
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
^ It's easy. A couple good apps with some free content that I mentioned in the OP are "Headspace" and "Calm." (That is if you have a smartphone). Sam Harris has said that he's working on a meditation app. I think I saw that he's beta testing it now, but I think it was just for Apple. I haven't really checked for it on Android yet (I have an Android).

Will the meditation be harmless? I heard there are several dangers of meditation that can mess you up.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by YousufKhan1212
Will the meditation be harmless? I heard there are several dangers of meditation that can mess you up.

I suppose there might be some ways to do it wrong and potentially cause more harm than good, but I honestly think that's probably pretty hard to do if you just follow a few simple guided sessions. Guided meditations are extremely useful for beginners and experts alike. So yeah, it's pretty harmless, but if you're doing it for the first time get a good guide like one of the apps mentioned here. The meditations I posted by Sam Harris honestly might be a little advanced for a beginner. If I were you I would start with a simpler session just focusing on breathing and maybe counting breaths, etc. (Well, thinking back I think Harris does incorporate some focused breathing techniques, but he does get a little more technical as it goes.)

Even if I sit and meditate for 10-15 minutes and I really didn't feel like I did very well at it (my mind was just very hard to grab control of for whatever reason), I almost always feel a benefit of some sort, more calm and less mentally chaotic.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
The point of answering the question, "How do you know you're conscious?" w/o using words or thoughts, is to *force* the person to attend to whatever it is they're conscious of without automatically going into a verbal/subvocal mode, ie, to force attention to the senses, the here/now, relying entirely (ideally) on the self-evidence of the experience. To answer with (eg), "Well, I know I'm conscious because blah-blah-blah" is to miss the point of the exercise.

Yes, meditation is not about understanding things intellectually. It's about feeling them experientially.

Although perhaps you must first understand them intellectually?


Originally posted by Digi
I've played a game - not with much success - of becoming aware of my awareness. Then becoming aware of my awareness of my awareness. And so on. It gets exponentially harder in a hurry. But again, the point is to slow the mind and focus on a single point or idea, then deliberately slide one level deeper when you're ready. It can take a ton of time just to go more than one level down into that.

I think that would make my mind explode. blowup

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
Although perhaps you must first understand them intellectually?
I think it's helpful to have some conceptual context for meditation, so that one has a roadmap for interpreting meditative phenomena, even if it's as minimal as Benson's Relaxation Response (at the other end of the conceptual spectrum is what the ancient esoteric traditions espouse, that there is more to the world than meets the eye and mind).

Having some conceptual context could also help prevent negative experiences with meditation. Meditation begins as a cognitive deconstruction measure, which can impede egoic defense mechanisms. If one has, say, some repressed trauma or intense emotional experience they've never really dealt with, then one could experience anxiety during meditation, as the defenses protecting the ego from the negative experience are weakened. In those instances, it's generally best to stop meditating and seek some conventional counseling to deal with whatever's causing the meditator to feel anxious.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
Having some conceptual context could also help prevent negative experiences with meditation. Meditation begins as a cognitive deconstruction measure, which can impede egoic defense mechanisms. If one has, say, some repressed trauma or intense emotional experience they've never really dealt with, then one could experience anxiety during meditation, as the defenses protecting the ego from the negative experience are weakened. In those instances, it's generally best to stop meditating and seek some conventional counseling to deal with whatever's causing the meditator to feel anxious.

Yeah, as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression a lot, I can see that being an issue. But meditation is actually one of the best ways to overcome anxiety and depression. It will help you disassociate from your thoughts and ultimately decrease the mechanisms of anxiety and depression. Meditation experientially informs you that you are indeed not your thoughts.


The danger is probably minimal and meditation is more than worth a try.

But yeah, I guess only the meditator can really be the judge of whether it's helping or not.

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
Yeah, as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression a lot, I can see that being an issue. But meditation is actually one of the best ways to overcome anxiety and depression. It will help you disassociate from your thoughts and ultimately decrease the mechanisms of anxiety and depression. Meditation experientially informs you that you are indeed not your thoughts.

The danger is probably minimal and meditation is more than worth a try. I agree. The benefits of meditation have been documented by modern science for decades; and though, for some, there can be negative effects, this is very much the exception, hardly the rule.

Digi
Originally posted by Mindship
I agree. The benefits of meditation have been documented by modern science for decades.

Yes, though it's unfortunately been obfuscated by it often being packaged with decidedly unscientific New Age or spiritual concepts. Sam Harris did a lot to help legitimize the idea of meditation for me. I was like "wait, I actually trust what he says. Why is he talking about hippy crap?!" It was refreshing.

I can't imagine a negative outcome for someone practicing meditation as it's commonly understood and practiced. At worst, it might have no positive affect on a particular individual. So you lose a bit of time.

/shrug

Surtur
You guys that dabble in meditating, what are your thoughts on astral projection?

Digi
Originally posted by Surtur
You guys that dabble in meditating, what are your thoughts on astral projection?

Sounds like comic book nonsense to me, but I'll admit to not having read much about it. I'm also coming at meditation from a very secular viewpoint, so if you're asking about the existence of a spirit or soul, my opinion will differ from many.

Now, I've heard of out of body experiences, which may be what this refers to. That's a legitimate phenomenon, and can be linked to the electrical stimulation of specific regions of the brain, creating the sensation of being out of body. It's very interesting, but explainable through scientific means. You aren't literally outside yourself in any sensory way. Something like it could possibly be achieved through meditative practices, but I don't know that for sure. Drugs could probably get you there more quickly. For me meditation is more about focus and calmness than anything outside our normal sensory input.

Surtur
Originally posted by Digi
Sounds like comic book nonsense to me, but I'll admit to not having read much about it. I'm also coming at meditation from a very secular viewpoint, so if you're asking about the existence of a spirit or soul, my opinion will differ from many.

Now, I've heard of out of body experiences, which may be what this refers to. That's a legitimate phenomenon, and can be linked to the electrical stimulation of specific regions of the brain, creating the sensation of being out of body. It's very interesting, but explainable through scientific means. You aren't literally outside yourself in any sensory way. Something like it could possibly be achieved through meditative practices, but I don't know that for sure. Drugs could probably get you there more quickly. For me meditation is more about focus and calmness than anything outside our normal sensory input.

I'm an atheist. There can be things you can't explain or that some might perceive as "supernatural" without any kind of omnipotent deity that created everything actually being a thing that exists.

Digi
Originally posted by Surtur
I'm an atheist. There can be things you can't explain or that some might perceive as "supernatural" without any kind of omnipotent deity that created everything actually being a thing that exists.

Fair enough, and agreed. But my explanation for out-of-body experiences requires no such concession. It's physiologically explainable.

Are there other types of astral projection? Or, more to the point, is there evidence for these types of experiences that might cause an atheist to pause before chalking it up to stimulation of specific brain regions? This isn't really an area I've studied, and a Google search turns up an odd mix of comic books, D&D references, amusing "how to astral project" tutorials, and links to sites that are New Age hippy as all hell, so it's hard to find a source I'd consider reliable.

Mindship
Originally posted by Surtur
You guys that dabble in meditating, what are your thoughts on astral projection? In all my years of meditating/lucid dreaming, I have yet to experience a single incident where I could say, yep, no question, this was no ordinary LD. I've had some cool dreams -- and meditative moments -- of what true believers might argue as astral travel (or precursor to). But nothing's ever convinced me it actually happened, and there has certainly been nothing that would meet rigorous scientific standards.

Digi
My meditation this week has been "framing" bits of reality. For example: take any area of a desk with objects on it. It's arbitrary, without form or meaning. Now put a mental picture frame around a portion of it...any portion. Now consider the whole of what you framed. Notice how you can perceive relationships between objects, how the totality of what's in the frame can take on a holistic existence that didn't exist before your mental construct.

Rinse and repeat, first with objects. But you can do this as, say, a driving meditation as well. Put conceptual frames around events. It could be obviously connected events (traffic patterns) or unconnected (the weather that day + the surrounding landscape). Simply perceive the relationships, and the way framing (and un-framing) changes your perspective.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Surtur
I'm an atheist. There can be things you can't explain or that some might perceive as "supernatural" without any kind of omnipotent deity that created everything actually being a thing that exists.

Let's try not to derail the topic, please sir.


I wanted to return to this idea for a moment...

Originally posted by Mindship
I've always preferred to meditate in as natural a fashion as possible: simply being conscious of being conscious, whether doing a formal, sit-down session, or going about daily life. To put it another way, I try to stay off autopilot as much as possible.

If there is one thing that we could legitimately call "God" involved in our existence it is the fact of our very consciousness. Our ability to perceive and contemplate ourselves and the world and universe in which we exist is the most unique facet of this existence. So it seems fitting that meditation would lead us to focus on that very consciousness as a means of calming and purifying the mind.

So focus on that which is indescribable and intangible. Focus on "God."

Digi
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
If there is one thing that we could legitimately call "God" involved in our existence it is the fact of our very consciousness. Our ability to perceive and contemplate ourselves and the world and universe in which we exist is the most unique facet of this existence. So it seems fitting that meditation would lead us to focus on that very consciousness as a means of calming and purifying the mind.

So focus on that which is indescribable and intangible. Focus on "God."

I'd favor not calling it "God" personally, and I do consider that to be more than semantics. I think a big issue with many philosophies and practices that are otherwise secular is that they robe themselves in language that has more explicit religious connotation. They do this - deliberately or by accident - because it draws more people in. It's branding and marketing. But in doing so, they risk inviting less credible beliefs along with it, or at the very least confusing the practice or idea.

In this case, using a term like God that has myriad meanings, with the most widely accepted of them being incredibly different from consciousness, imo is a potentially dangerous inclusion in an otherwise non-religious concept.

That said, the idea that "everything is God" - or substitute God for various adjacent phrases - is something that is an end goal of some schools of meditation. In Hinduism, for example, the idea of Brahman is all-encompassing; it's often depicted as a deity, but that's simply a symbol for the underlying reality that is All. So you're not wrong, necessarily. It's just that specificity is important, especially when we're all (I'm assuming) in largely Christian cultures.

Patient_Leech
I know, I'm just drawing the parallel. Was just interested in making the connection. I'd rather a different term, too. "Ground Consciousness" or something, I dunno.

Emperordmb
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
If there is one thing that we could legitimately call "God" involved in our existence it is the fact of our very consciousness. Our ability to perceive and contemplate ourselves and the world and universe in which we exist is the most unique facet of this existence. So it seems fitting that meditation would lead us to focus on that very consciousness as a means of calming and purifying the mind.

So focus on that which is indescribable and intangible. Focus on "God."
Ding ding ding ding ding. Self-awareness is the ultimate truth. It is perhaps the most difficult concept to explain, the thing that gives everything else meaning, and the one thing we can be 100% certain of.

Digi
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
I know, I'm just drawing the parallel. Was just interested in making the connection. I'd rather a different term, too. "Ground Consciousness" or something, I dunno.

Cool cool.

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
If there is one thing that we could legitimately call "God" involved in our existence it is the fact of our very consciousness. Our ability to perceive and contemplate ourselves and the world and universe in which we exist is the most unique facet of this existence. So it seems fitting that meditation would lead us to focus on that very consciousness as a means of calming and purifying the mind.

So focus on that which is indescribable and intangible. Focus on "God." In the meditation traditions, our personal, egoic consciousness is regarded as a "watered down" version of Ultimate / Absolute / God / Ground / Whatever Consciousness. Meditation is the means by which we submerge into the depths of our personal awareness, through various "layers" (the delineation of which varies a bit, depending on the meditation system, but they generally describe the same things), until the Beginning/Totality/End of it All is perceived. In a sense, you can think of the inner dialogue as a Thought Barrier separating our ordinary nature from our higher nature.

This Omega Point can be discussed intellectually until the cows come home, which is why I like the Zen approach. Ask a Zen master if 'God' exists, and he (or she) will say, "Meditate. Experience. Then we'll talk."

I also liked this little story:
A Zen student once asked his teacher for a word of inspiration, something to meditate on. The teacher replied, "Attention." Unhappy with this, the student inquired, "That's it? Nothing more?" The teacher replied, "Attention. Attention." Still unsatisfied, the student expressed his lack of understanding, to which the teacher responded, "Attention. Attention. Attention."

That's about as dogma-free as you can get.

Bentley
Originally posted by Emperordmb
Self-awareness is the ultimate truth.


Let me go all Digi on you and say that calling it the Ultimate Truth gives you a wrong notion of self-awareness, kind of a marketing concept that waters down the conceptual depth of self-awareness.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
This Omega Point can be discussed intellectually until the cows come home, which is why I like the Zen approach. Ask a Zen master if 'God' exists, and he (or she) will say, "Meditate. Experience. Then we'll talk."

Love it. thumb up

Originally posted by Mindship
I also liked this little story:
A Zen student once asked his teacher for a word of inspiration, something to meditate on. The teacher replied, "Attention." Unhappy with this, the student inquired, "That's it? Nothing more?" The teacher replied, "Attention. Attention." Still unsatisfied, the student expressed his lack of understanding, to which the teacher responded, "Attention. Attention. Attention."

That's about as dogma-free as you can get.

Love it. thumb up

Originally posted by Bentley
Let me go all Digi on you and say that calling it the Ultimate Truth gives you a wrong notion of self-awareness, kind of a marketing concept that waters down the conceptual depth of self-awareness.

I tend to agree that calling it the "ultimate truth" is bordering on dogmatism.

Emperordmb
Originally posted by Bentley
Let me go all Digi on you and say that calling it the Ultimate Truth gives you a wrong notion of self-awareness, kind of a marketing concept that waters down the conceptual depth of self-awareness.
Philosophically it's like what Descartes and the solipsists say, awareness of your existence is the one thing you can be absolutely 100% certain of. It's also what allows you to actually experience the world, which is what allows your experiences to actually exist which is how you experience meaning, and obviously this is a large part of meditative practices and from my own experience I believe embracing self-awareness is a very key part of love (which I believe is the core motivation for moral behavior, and the proper orientation for how best to motivate and live your life), and it's ultimately what saved me from the most twisted experience of my life where I was forced to confront my greatest fear and piece myself back together.

So really I personally don't think calling it anything else does it justice given how integral it is to my life philosophy, and other people are free to disagree with the conceptions I hold about it or the semantics of how I refer to it, but I'm not gonna dial back my articulation of my philosophical standpoints because other people feel like I'm thrusting some dogma upon them.

Bentley
Certainty doesn't mean Truth, you can cast doubt in True things with no problem.

My observation was about the term employed (which as far as I can tell might be a metaphor), obviously the personal meaning it holds for you is non of my business and I don't intend to contest it in the basis of it being dogmatic or whatever else. Language is ultimately conventional.

Digi
Originally posted by Bentley
Let me go all Digi on you...

Music to my ears. My work here is done.

fdog

Digi
I'm generally not interested in "God" or ultimate truths when it comes to this stuff. I just like the practical benefits. Here's a good, short article about reminding yourself to let go of the chaos of life periodically to recenter yourself:
http://www.theminimalists.com/tangled/

Patient_Leech
^ Nice metaphor with the earbud headphones.

Emperordmb
At risk of being ridiculed or coming across as a pushy dick about my beliefs or whatever, recently as a Christian I've been practicing a combination of prayer and meditation. The more meditative aspect helps me to calm myself and find a point of inner peace within myself so I can call upon a proper emotional state. The prayer on the other hand helps me properly orient my thoughts and intentions, such as focusing on an honest admission of my own flaws, focusing on gratefulness and love for what I have in life, focusing on forgiveness and letting go of any resentment I may have for other people, and focusing on externalizing a commitment to self-improvement and putting more effort into my life endeavors. And between the two things I can approach who I am as a person and focus on properly orienting myself and attitudes towards others from a proper emotional state.

So to any religious people reading this, try combining prayer and meditation, because in my own experience I've found them quite complimentary to each other.

To any atheist person reading this, even if you don't believe in God I still think it's worth trying some form of seriously contemplative thought or focus on actualizing specific qualities and natures you want to actualize within yourself, maybe think out loud or something to externalize it idk. This isn't me trying to push prayer or a faith in God on you or whatever, but the calming centering effect of meditation is a pretty good one to utilize for self-reflection and making decisions and commitments and shit.

I hope this didn't violate the rules of the thread, but I just kinda had to share my experience with this kinda thing in case anyone else, religious or atheist, finds it useful.

Beniboybling
Originally posted by Emperordmb
The more meditative aspect helps me to calm myself and find a point of inner peace within myself so I can call upon a proper emotional state. Pray harder. roll eyes (sarcastic) no

Mindship
Originally posted by Emperordmb
... recently as a Christian I've been practicing a combination of prayer and meditation ... A distinction I heard once was that prayer was directing one's thoughts toward God, while meditation was opening one's ears to God. There's no reason why the two can't be combined. Davening, eg, embraces this idea. "Talk, then listen."

Meditation is important in the mystical backstories of all the major faiths, certainly including Christianity (Gnosis).

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Emperordmb
At risk of being ridiculed or coming across as a pushy dick about my beliefs or whatever, recently as a Christian I've been practicing a combination of prayer and meditation. The more meditative aspect helps me to calm myself and find a point of inner peace within myself so I can call upon a proper emotional state. The prayer on the other hand helps me properly orient my thoughts and intentions, such as focusing on an honest admission of my own flaws, focusing on gratefulness and love for what I have in life, focusing on forgiveness and letting go of any resentment I may have for other people, and focusing on externalizing a commitment to self-improvement and putting more effort into my life endeavors. And between the two things I can approach who I am as a person and focus on properly orienting myself and attitudes towards others from a proper emotional state.

So to any religious people reading this, try combining prayer and meditation, because in my own experience I've found them quite complimentary to each other.

To any atheist person reading this, even if you don't believe in God I still think it's worth trying some form of seriously contemplative thought or focus on actualizing specific qualities and natures you want to actualize within yourself, maybe think out loud or something to externalize it idk. This isn't me trying to push prayer or a faith in God on you or whatever, but the calming centering effect of meditation is a pretty good one to utilize for self-reflection and making decisions and commitments and shit.

I hope this didn't violate the rules of the thread, but I just kinda had to share my experience with this kinda thing in case anyone else, religious or atheist, finds it useful.

Yeah, that's fine, man. You're just meditating in more of a Christian context, but that's fine.

Just ignore Beniboy who appears to only enjoy being an obnoxious troll.

Originally posted by Mindship
A distinction I heard once was that prayer was directing one's thoughts toward God, while meditation was opening one's ears to God. There's no reason why the two can't be combined. Davening, eg, embraces this idea. "Talk, then listen."

Meditation is important in the mystical backstories of all the major faiths, certainly including Christianity (Gnosis).

Yeah, I agree. Any idea of prayer as a means of getting God to give you things that you want in your life I reject as futile (e.g. please heal this person, they are sick -- well, the person is either going to get well or not in their own time, saying words to God has nothing to do with it). But there are even loving-kindness mantras/phrases that can help foster warmth and kindness toward yourself and others, so they may seem like prayers, but they're actually targeted more to the self.

Mindship
Originally posted by Patient_Leech
Any idea of prayer as a means of getting God to give you things that you want in your life I reject as futile I always liked Doug Heffernan's take (:59-1:13) ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kZYNdd6HbE

Digi
Originally posted by Emperordmb
At risk of being ridiculed or coming across as a pushy dick about my beliefs or whatever, recently as a Christian I've been practicing a combination of prayer and meditation. The more meditative aspect helps me to calm myself and find a point of inner peace within myself so I can call upon a proper emotional state. The prayer on the other hand helps me properly orient my thoughts and intentions, such as focusing on an honest admission of my own flaws, focusing on gratefulness and love for what I have in life, focusing on forgiveness and letting go of any resentment I may have for other people, and focusing on externalizing a commitment to self-improvement and putting more effort into my life endeavors. And between the two things I can approach who I am as a person and focus on properly orienting myself and attitudes towards others from a proper emotional state.

So to any religious people reading this, try combining prayer and meditation, because in my own experience I've found them quite complimentary to each other.

To any atheist person reading this, even if you don't believe in God I still think it's worth trying some form of seriously contemplative thought or focus on actualizing specific qualities and natures you want to actualize within yourself, maybe think out loud or something to externalize it idk. This isn't me trying to push prayer or a faith in God on you or whatever, but the calming centering effect of meditation is a pretty good one to utilize for self-reflection and making decisions and commitments and shit.

I hope this didn't violate the rules of the thread, but I just kinda had to share my experience with this kinda thing in case anyone else, religious or atheist, finds it useful.

thumb up

I have a good friend who's a Jesuit priest. I'm an atheist. He meditates, and we've compared notes. So yeah, this is cool. A lot of secular meditation isn't too far removed from Christian meditation (some of which I'm passingly familiar with). You're inciting particular brain states through repeated practice. The only thing that's different is the focal point: in theism, it might be God or your place in His plan or gratitude for His grace, or something similar. Whereas in secular meditation, you can have the same concepts (gratitude, focus, or actualizing particular qualities) just without the deistic overtones.

And the list could go on. Self-reflection, self-improvement, increasing love or thankfulness. These are fairly universal aims of meditative practices, and in indeed of many human pursuits, period, secular or religious. We just get tripped up about the guy in the sky, so to speak.

I think those who pray daily, and intensely focus on their prayer, who truly learn to lose themselves in the process, probably experience something similar to many meditative states. The "pray for my sister to get well" style of prayer - which, let's be honest, is most prayer in secular society - is well-meaning but seems like it's too surface-level to have any true benefit other than maybe a temporary chemical placebo.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Mindship
I always liked Doug Heffernan's take (:59-1:13) ...

_kZYNdd6HbE

laughing out loud That was actually pretty amusing.

MythLord
Originally posted by Digi
I have a good friend who's a Jesuit priest.

If that isn't one of the most French sounding things I've ever seen, IDK what is.

Do you pronounce it Je-sooie? Genuinely curious, how is that pronounced?

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by MythLord
If that isn't one of the most French sounding things I've ever seen, IDK what is.

Do you pronounce it Je-sooie? Genuinely curious, how is that pronounced?

Jez-you-it

Digi
Originally posted by MythLord
If that isn't one of the most French sounding things I've ever seen, IDK what is.

Do you pronounce it Je-sooie? Genuinely curious, how is that pronounced?

What PL said. But you've never heard of the Jesuits? No judgement; I'm just a little surprised. I guess being brought up Catholic, we knew a bunch about the different orders. In a nutshell, it's a Catholic order that requires a bit more schooling - their priests are generally very well educated - and you might be assigned to a parish like a diocesan priest, but you're not geographically bound like they are and could be assigned by the larger Jesuit order to anywhere in the world. Many split time as teachers and missionaries rather than being in more traditional priestly roles. Its founder, Saint Francis Xavier, was actually born in Spain.

socool8520
I can't sit still or block things out of my mind long enough to actually meditate I guess. The idea intrigues me, but I have an extremely hard time focusing on anything really.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by socool8520
I can't sit still or block things out of my mind long enough to actually meditate I guess. The idea intrigues me, but I have an extremely hard time focusing on anything really.

Most people find it difficult at first. But there's not really any "goal" to meditation...

Thoughts are difficult to block out, that's the nature of our consciousness. But observe the thoughts as thoughts and their power is diminished and then you will feel more at ease and closer to 'pure awareness.' Focus on something like your breath or a simple mantra or say "one" very slowly for a while to help focus the mind, and when you find yourself lost in thought again just gently keep coming back to what you're focusing on: breath, mantra, etc. That's the gist of meditation.

It gets easier the more you do it.

socool8520
I have tried some of those techniques. Focus on breathing and such. Then I think about breathing. Then it's how cool it would be to not have to breath or to live forever. Then it's what are the limits of Wolverine's healing factor. After about 20 minutes I'll remember I was supposed to be concentrating on breathing.

Patient_Leech
^ laughing out loud

That's okay! You meditated!

socool8520
Is that all it is? Internal thought? Well, I meditate constantly then. lol Why have I not reached Nirvana yet?

Patient_Leech
Well, the idea is to observe the thoughts as thoughts as much as possible or use some other technique to focus the mind and actually prevent the mind from wandering and taking you wherever it wants you to go. But yeah, that's meditation. Constantly returning to focusing on your breath or mantra whenever you notice you're lost in thought. It gets easier the more you do it.

Try some guided meditations. They are a great place to start. They can guide you through body scans and various other techniques. That may help you stay on track getting started.

Mindship
@socool8520

Something else you could try are mini-meditations. See if you can, eg, observe your thoughts for just 15 seconds. Too hard? Try 5 seconds. Too easy? Try 30 or 60 seconds. If that feels comfortable, go for 2 minutes or 5 or ...

You get the idea: start with whatever it is you know you can do. As Patient Leech said, everyone gets lost in the mental sauce. Just remember to (as Rose from Titanic said) come back ... come back.

socool8520
I'll have to give it a shot. Thanks guys. I don't want to say ADHD as that's a bit cliche, but I have always had a very difficult focusing on any one thing for a long time. Especially if I'm forcing myself.

Digi
Originally posted by socool8520
I'll have to give it a shot. Thanks guys. I don't want to say ADHD as that's a bit cliche, but I have always had a very difficult focusing on any one thing for a long time. Especially if I'm forcing myself.

Nothing to worry about; LOTS of people have this same problem. Including me. Don't think of it as forcing, though. If your thoughts drift, they drift. Let them. This is natural. But as soon as you notice them drifting, gently guide yourself back to focusing on the breathing, or whatever particular exercise you're in. In time, you'll get better at focusing.

And the results may only be incremental. Don't expect revelatory insights at first, or even after a long time. I referenced the book "10% Happier" earlier in this thread, and I really think a lot of this type of progress is small and gradual. But it's still meaningful. 10% better focus is still a lot over the course of a day, week, year, etc. And that may be the upper limit of what meditation does for some. But there aren't many other things that can approach even 1-2%, so I consider it worthwhile.

socool8520
Anything that could fix this focus issue, even slightly, is worth while. I have completed less than 10 percent of any artwork I have ever started. I find it difficult to complete work obligations (reports, evaluations, etc.) and my motivation to do anything is pretty low. I am not depressed by any means, I just haven't found that spark yet I guess.

Mindship
Originally posted by Digi
And the results may only be incremental. Don't expect revelatory insights at first, or even after a long time. I referenced the book "10% Happier" earlier in this thread, and I really think a lot of this type of progress is small and gradual. But it's still meaningful. 10% better focus is still a lot over the course of a day, week, year, etc. And that may be the upper limit of what meditation does for some. But there aren't many other things that can approach even 1-2%, so I consider it worthwhile. Excellent point. The journey matters at least as much as the destination, and really, the whole point of meditation is not necessarily to get better at meditating but to get better at living.

Digi
Originally posted by Mindship
Excellent point. The journey matters at least as much as the destination, and really, the whole point of meditation is not necessarily to get better at meditating but to get better at living.

thumb up

I really love how that book frames meditation, because for a lot of people, myself included, there's an expectation going in that doesn't necessarily align with reality. We forget that any worthwhile skill we know was likely learned over years and years, and we might actually still kinda suck at it. Learning to enjoy the process, as you mention, really is the only sane way to avoid disappointment in much of life. And not coincidentally, it's also usually the best way to improve at something.

Patient_Leech
I wanted to mention that this conversation on Sam Harris' Waking Up Podcast actually has some great discussion on meditation...

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/reality-and-the-imagination

^ That one seemed to have some good practical discussion on the subject.

There are some other episodes with Joseph Goldstein that focus on meditation specifically and they are good too, but they sometimes get a little bogged down in esoteric stuff. But here are those too, just for reference...

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/why-meditate

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/questions-along-the-way-further-reflections-on-the-practice-of-meditation-w

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/the-path-and-the-goal

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