meditation for a beginner: question

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meditation for a beginner: question

Postby nashvillebrook » Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:52 pm

anyone here have a daily practice? i'm just starting work in this area and would love suggestions on forming a practice. does anyone use visualization? if so, what? any good books? advice? etc? <p></p><i></i>
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i should add -- what i use

Postby nashvillebrook » Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:55 pm

is bascially heart chakra; spiral visualization grounding earth, drawing down from sky. your basic energy rousing exercise. <p></p><i></i>
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hmm

Postby Homeless Halo » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:18 pm

the book "meditation" by Osho involves a variety of practices, mostly Eastern, in simple language.<br><br>I suggest trying a multitude of them and then adapting a few to your personal taste and practicing them regularly. That's just me, though. <p></p><i></i>
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Aaaah

Postby Connut » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:44 pm

Meditation, a wonderful practice. Been doing it myself for the last thity-four years, hmmm. Makes me feel good just thinking about it. Heart chakra is a great place to start, seeing warmth and light, drawing in feelings of love and compassion. Filling up so fully with those feelings that they eventually explode out of the top of the head like a great fountain of light, spreading across the globe and covering it like honey. Then expanding out into the universe like a cloud of exploding, sparkling stars, breathing love in love, breathing out love. <br><br>A couple of pointers. The mind is like an untrained puppy, and will scamper off in all directions while you are working on your focus. Like any puppy training, treat the mind lovingly but firmly, pull on the leash and gently bring it back to what you are focusing on, then continue. Also, beginners may find all kinds of ugly thoughts popping up. Some thoughts may make you recoil in horror and think "This never happened before I started meditation. This must be a wicked practice". Be at peace, those thoughts were always there, they were just buried or ignored while the everyday mind chatter was masking the deeper levels. <br><br>Persistence is noble so keep at it, meditation gets better all the time. It really helps if you can practice in the same place at the same time every day. An area that isn't walked through, that is conducive to quiet and calm, with your favorite pictures, a candle and some incense will all increase the depth of your focus. Like Pavlov's dogs, once you sit in that place the mind recognizes what you are there for and will settle down more quickly each time. Eventually, all you have to do is visualize that meditation place and the feeling of love and compassion will enter your heart right then. Just like sending love to your plants, there is no time lapse, just instant joy. Congratulations on your decision! I hope this wasn't just repeating what you already know, but if it did repeat, take it as positive reinforcement. Cosmis Bliss to you! Connut. <p></p><i></i>
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Meditation

Postby heyjt » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:09 pm

Excellent advice from Connut. I especially like the mind-as-a-puppy analogy. So true.<br> I myself practice Tai Chi and the Taoist meditation that is related to it. Some things are better transmitted directly through an instructor rather than struggle with books or tapes.<br> Breathing is recognized as the key to meditation. Concentrating on your breathing gives the mind somthing to come back to. You can count breaths until 10 and start over, Which is the method taught at Tasahara Monestary in California. Or you can breathe out a simple mantra, like ohm...<br> I prefer moving meditation that is in Tai Chi. The movement is activating meridians, gives the mind something to focus on and is Martial practice.<br> A couple of weeks ago, CNN had on an expert on stress relief. He said the best meditation involved repetition and movement, and suggested Tai Chi and Chi-kung. Results were better with movement than just sitting.<br> The next thing I could suggest is visulization. When you are comfortable with your meditative method, try to feel where the energy is moving in your body. Bring it down from the crown of your head to your center, below the navel. Cycle it up your spine, down your front. gently press your tounge to the upper palate to complete the meridian circut. Breathe -- Experiment, enjoy... <p></p><i></i>
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Visualisation exercise

Postby Telexx » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:11 pm

Here are good exercises to try whilst meditating to improve your visualisation abilities:<br><br>Stage 1-<br>Choose a specific colour and try to fill your internal visual field with it. Once you can do this at will, begin experimenting with visualising different geometric shapes (circles, triangles etc) also using different colours.<br><br>Stage 2-<br>Make said shapes move around, rotate, spin at will. Make many shapes appear, and dissapear - colour & movement are important, as is keeping the 'integrity' of the shapes, not allowing them to morph, making them move as you will, and not on their own accord etc.<br><br>Stage 3-<br>In the same manner, visualise your favorite objects, things which come naturally to your internal mind and which you find pleasing. The point here is to hold the object(s) in your mind for as long as you can (it will float in and out of conciousness but this is the challenge). Move it around, focus on details and the whole etc.<br><br>By this point you should be simply able to visualise "better" (more colour, more definition, less ghostly etc).<br><br>Stage 4-<br>From specific objects, try to visualise what concepts such as how freedom or beauty look like in your mind's eye; with your visualisation abilities 'beefed up' from the previous stages, the ideas which come to you when you consider these concepts will be communicated visually from within (it is at this stage things get interesting - you may be surprised at some of the images & symbols which come to mind, kind of dreaming; you could even wonder in fact where some of the ideas "you" will visualise actually come from -collective conciousness and all that).<br><br>Stage 5-<br>From here techniques such as manifestation or astral projection are more viable, as you have the required skills from the previous exercises.<br><br>As many people are visually minded (primary mode of expression), some of the elementary stuff isn't really needed for them. Most people are not however, being auditory or kinesthetically minded - here these exercises are v.useful as "visualised" images can be actually very ghostly and not colourful.<br><br>(To determine, imagine you're lying on a beach - what's the v.first thing that came to mind- sight, sound or touch).<br><br>Anyway back to lurking - interesting blog ;-)<br><br>Telexx <p></p><i></i>
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btw

Postby Telexx » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:17 pm

To clarify - I got the exercises from a book "Head Strong" by Tony Buzan - (only one page in the book covers this topic and it's not worth buying for that reason alone, however it is a good book nonetheless which deals with many interesting ideas).<br><br>Thanks,<br><br>Telexx<br><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Kriya Yoga Meditation

Postby sw » Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:35 pm

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A Worthwhile Experience:

Postby thurnandtaxis » Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:24 pm

Though I have difficulty incorporating this discipline into my chaotic<br>lifestyle, I have to say that my introduction and immersion into<br>meditation through a Vipassana Center retreat ( <!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.dhamma.org/">www.dhamma.org/</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> ) was an incredible and life-changing experience. The centers offer a 10-day silent retreat where techniques are taught through practical and theoretic activities.<br>The course is free, with no charge for housing or meals. After the <br>10 days you are asked to give a donation, but there is absolutely<br>no pressure. While there you are asked to observe some ascetic<br>strictures: no talking, smoking, reading, writing, taking of life (all meals are vegan), or sexual behavior. Basically you arise at about 5 am, meditate in your room for an hour, there is a breakfast, then a series of talks, and practice in a group setting for the remainder of the day with some brief recesses for exercise.<br><br>You are taught to still your mind and concentrate on only the physical sensations that you notice in your body by doing head-to- toe mental scans. The practice states that all is illusion: your thoughts will come and go as your mind tries to trick you, however<br>soon you will notice that thoughts, like physical sensations are only<br>examples of impermanence. By concentrating only on verifiable physical sensations and then moving beyond them the Vipassana<br>technique avoids some occult illusions that may create further attatchments to arcane mythologies. Hence there is no talk of chakras or chanting of harmonious frequencies (aum), this approach of radical ascetism seems to be geared towards<br>freeing souls from such systems which, apparently, are also<br>illusions that chain us all to cycles of birth and rebirth<br>upon this particular cosmic sphere.<br><br>I am not implying that other methods are invalid and do not provide many of the benefits of meditation, however it does <br>seem that as such process awakens psychic potentials within us<br>it is also keen to note that these awarenesses are not an end within themselves.<br><br>Anyway, when I left the course I felt incredible! Even a 5 hr traffic<br>jam on the NJ Turnpike was as nothing. However, I soon resumed<br>my hedonistic lifestyle. I must say however, that for many of<br>my acquaintances the attempts at intigrating their indulgences<br>with this type of powerfull transcendant technique proved rather disasterous. The ego does not bid an easy or fond adieu.<br><br>That being said, I did feel as though I were given a great gift<br>which ultimately showed me a way to see beyond the tragic cycles<br>of attatchment and loss. ( A few months later I watched with an<br>amazing dispassion as my house and 20-year book collection went<br>up in flames as the result of an unsolved fire-bombing) The<br>Buddah teaches that "all is sorrow", for even that which gives us happiness will give way to longing and remorse once it is gone.<br>One must observe and treat happiness and sorrow as the same<br>tricks that impermanence plays upon or minds. We must learn to feel, then observe, and finally act. The goal is to eliminate <br>automatic and destructive reactions.<br><br>However I often wonder if transcendental buddism is itself<br>merely a bypass mechanism. I am reminded of something <br>from Barbera Walker's "Women's Book of Myths and Secrets",<br>where in she describes monastic ascetic movements as a patriarchal conciet which denies the reproductive cycles of the earth as a way to assert power over the feminine. Can it be<br>that creating a detatched, dispassionate population is the goal<br>of yet another cryptocratic ideology?<br><br>Hmmm...something to meditate on anyway...<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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beyond that

Postby Homeless Halo » Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:31 pm

Beyond merely experimenting with a variety of techniques, I'd suggest some form of combined internal/external work.<br><br>It should be done completely or not at all.<br><br>The eight limbs of yoga are neccessary to balance the Sphinx. <br><br>Tai chi can be extremely energizing and beneficial on both a physical and mental level.<br><br>Thisarb is useful as an occult practice. Sometimes called "magical memory", usually it is used as an exercise in recalling past life experiences, not for the beginner, but a beginner shouldn't worry, as they wouldn't be able to do it properly for years. <p></p><i></i>
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telexx: visualization and stuff...

Postby nashvillebrook » Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:59 pm

even tho i haven't had a regular practice, i'm a naturally visual person. i love the half hour or so before you fall asleep and "play" with mind movies. i'll definitely use these suggestions. <br><br>i was one of the kids that got sent to dance, baton, the skating rink, etc, and later was in a music scene that was very dancer friendly. i'm probably missing a lot of bliss with very little movement ('cept for the treadmill and stationary bike). i'm recovering from losing the discs around L4-5 after an infection. i have a wonderful yoga dvd -- shakti. the dogs like it too. i can do very little and stick to restorative stuff. it's less peaceful b/c it's difficult for me. i guess you could say it's my "sport" right now. so, the idea of Tai Chi is suddenly very appealing. it would be great to work with less physically challenging movement and have more attention to focus on what's going on in my head. <!--EZCODE EMOTICON START :) --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/smile.gif ALT=":)"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> <br><br>so much great response -- that's ya'll! <p></p><i></i>
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any process

Postby Homeless Halo » Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:52 pm

I would also strongly suggest any practice that can aid in the recall and control of the dream state.<br><br>the "solar sleep" of the hebrews.<br><br>Lucidity is a prerequisite to liberation. <p></p><i></i>
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stuff

Postby Telexx » Fri Oct 14, 2005 11:35 pm

Hiya,<br><br>Firstly: Tai Chi (or Chi Gung if mobility is severely impaired) is an excellent practice and well worth picking up - it makes you calm, it teaches you control over your flailing limbs (well they flail clumsily if they're anything like mine heheh) and it does actually put you into a kind of meditative state - certainly a state where you can relax and kind of be at one without yourself (without, hopefully, sounding too new-agey).<br><br>I think Tai Chi is kinda like Yoga in the way that Chinese medicine relates to Ayurveda (sp?) - they have similar concepts and benefits. Either Tai Chi or Yoga will instill peace to body, mind and well being - this pretty much seems obvious (unless you're the webmaster of skepdic.com).<br><br>Secondly: I wish I was a highly visual person; I can call the voice of a friend or relative (or enemy, for that matter) at will into my mind's 'ear' with some clarity, I suppose in the same way that many people can visualise the face of a friend/relative/enemy. I am auditory-minded though, and as such I have had to work at improving my visualising abilities. I suspect that playing out a scene visually in the minds-eye is more useful, psychically, than playing it out in the minds-ear, kinda like the power of film vs radio. That's just my experience however, having practiced with this stuff before and after learning some visualisation improving exercises. <br><br>(I do find the auditory ability useful though, for example I am writing a novel and the character's voices flow into my mind with some clarity thanks to said ability).<br><br>NashvilleBrook - I hope the visualisation exercises I outlined before are useful, if not in a learning 'how to meditate' way but certainly in a 'what to do when you can meditate' sorta thing.<br><br>If psychic development is an aim of your meditation practices then you should consider the apparent prevailance of alpha waves in the brain when psychic techniques are being used. There is a lot of (obviously contradictory, given the topic) research in existence regarding alpha waves but in my experience this sort of training has been v.useful.<br><br>Basically, for psychic development, meditate to some kind of pre-recorded alpha wave track (essentially this is a form of self-hypnosis or "autogenic" meditation), whilst positioning your eyes 20 degree higher than the horizon:<br><br>1- Look up at a 45 degree angle, say at a wall opposite to you, and start the alpha-wave track.<br>2- Close your eyes (your eyes will lower with your lids to roughly a 20 degree angle hence looking higher than required when the eyes are open - this has been found to improve 'something' relating to visualisation (or auditilisation for that matter, not that such a word exists!)).<br>3- With the alpha-track playing, count yourself into a hypnotic state using typical methods (walking down ten steps through a beautiful garden etc - many such methods can be found on the web).<br>4- Because your ears are full of the alpha-wave 'clicks' your brain will synchronise to these due to that wonderful phenomenon of resonance.<br><br>(At this stage, you are kind of like in that 30 mins before you fall asleep, and as such in a great position to manipulate the things you call to mind at will, but however alpha waves are actually faster than the waves found when you're almost asleep - faster than a typical hypnosis level even which is commonly described as being at a 'theta' level - some 5 hertz faster in fact; nevertheless meditating at an alpha level still gives an experience of that pre-dream like quality but you can control it more easily than deeper self-hypnosis).<br><br>Beyond that some people are adamant that alpha waves are related to ESP matters and so vice versa.<br><br>Eventually, you can slow your brain to that alpha-wave meditative state at will simply because you know what it feels like, you know how to relax to that level, and your brain is trained to generate alpha waves when you relax in that manner through the work you've done - this I've found useful for practical things like instant recall - finding lost items or remembering where I've hear ed a particular name/seen a particular face, remembering a quote from a book etc, etc - I have also found this useful for creative brain-storming (free association, mind-map diagrams etc) and it's perhaps been useful for things more difficult to prove like visualisation/manifestation etc.<br><br>Erm rambled on more than I'd intended but it is all kind of interesting to me and practically useful so hope you find that useful -- as stated, any practice that can aid the recall and control of the dream state is useful for lots of reasons.<br><br>Take care,<br><br>Telexx<br><br>PS: SW I would just like to say: Don't know you but your positivity is inspirational (hope that doesn't sound patronising it isn't meant that way) & I hope you manage to kick that "dark" butt you're looking for! <p></p><i></i>
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Thanks Telexx!

Postby sw » Sat Oct 15, 2005 12:10 am

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Shikantaza.

Postby banned » Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:46 am

I just sit. Zazen, Soto Zen. <br><br>A good definition:<br><br>"SHIKANTAZA, or "just sitting," is alert nonselective attention which neither pursues nor suppresses thoughts, sensations, etc., but, rather, gives alert detached attention to whatever arises in and vanishes from consciousness."<br><br>Absolutely the most profound thing I have ever done. <br><br>Don't know many people who do it. Many people find it too unstructured, or get bored, or fall asleep.<br><br>Some Zen meditators do Rinzai Zen which involves meditating on a koan...the most famous is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Check out Korean Zen Master Soen Sa Nim.<br><br>Haven't done it, but have heard good things about Vipassana. Good books by Jack Kornfeld.<br><br>Thomas Merton thought dzogchen teachings (Tibetan Buddhism) were the most powerful spiritual tools he had ever encountered. Check out Sogyal Rinpoche among others.<br><br>Rinzai, Vipassana and especially dzogchen should be taught by a master.<br><br>Soto--"Shikantaza"--well, just sit.<br><br>I used to have a zafu (meditation cushion) but it left me one day--literally disappeared from my truck--which told me you don't really need it. All you need is your arse. Just sit.<br><br>Don't worry about the lotus position, either. I used to be able to sit in it and even stand up from it. I was young then. Now if I tried that I'd be in a Stryker frame.<br><br>Just sit.<br><br>When I need structure, if my monkey mind won't calm down, I repeat a phrase, mantras I suppose but not in the TM sense. My favorites are "gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha" (from the Prajnaparamita sutra), "om nameh shivaya", and the one that got me through cancer, "I'm all right, right now." <p></p><i></i>
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