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How To Meditate - Share your tips!!
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Celes Offline
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Post: #1

If you don't know anything about meditation, please read the simple tutorial I have written in PE a while back: How To Meditate in 5 Simple Steps. It provides a very good background on meditation, different broad forms of meditation, how to meditate, and what to expect.

For those who have experience with meditation (even if just a few times), what advice can you give to the others here? What have you learned for yourself? Share them with the other members here!

"If you want to get something you have never gotten before, you have to do something you have never done before."
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10-07-2011 05:28 AM
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Luis_magalhaes Offline
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Post: #2

Hey,

First, I'd like to emphasize a point that you more or less made on your recommendations: there is no failing meditation. Just the act of trying to meditate means success. The success level may vary, but simply committing that time and following the technique means you have meditated, regardless of itching, fidgeting, or lose thoughts.

Second, be patient and commit to the 21 days.

I was pretty impatient when I tried it and after a couple of weeks without noticing tangible benefits I stopped. Then I realized I kinda missed it - the benefits are first were so subtle that I only noticed them when I stopped. The key to meditation is that your mileage WILL vary - maybe you will float up to the ceiling on your first try, maybe you'll feel slightly less irritable after the 21 days. But stick with it and you'll notice something.

Third - and this is just something that works for me, no clue how it is for others - I find it easier to focus after exercise and a shower, and on an "empty" stomach, IE. not having had a meal for at least one hour.

Anyway, these are my 2 cents, good luck every one. :)

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to... suffering." - Master Yoda
10-07-2011 06:02 AM
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360Minutes Offline
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Post: #3

I actually wrote a blog post about creating a mental sanctuary, which is the method I use most frequently. It's longer than I think a post ought to be, so I've pasted only the how-to content below, rather than the full post:

Creating a Mental Sanctuary


Building a mental sanctuary is not difficult, but it takes practice. Creating the basic visual imagery is easy enough to do, but adding additional sensory “imagery” takes some effort to maintain. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work quite right the first few times. It will “stick” with practice.

Your sanctuary can be anyplace you like, but I will suggest one for practice that will be easy for most people. There’s also no reason you can’t have more than one. I have three.

Find a quiet place to practice. You can create the imagery in an environment full of distractions, but it’s much more difficult. Eliminate the likelihood of phones ringing, chat apps notifying you of new messages, and people knocking on your door. Turn off the tv and music.

Get comfortable. Dim the lights. Make the temperature pleasant. Use a sound machine or a fan if there are distracting sounds you can’t control. Sit comfortably or lie down. Sitting comfortably often works better because you’re less likely to fall asleep.

Think of a forest clearing on top of a mountain. Don’t become bogged down in worrying about where, or what kinds of trees or plants, or much else. Just think “natural forest clearing” and allow your mind to create an image. Normally, it will. If you need to jump-start it, that’s fine. Simply think of a small clearing in a forested setting, with large trees and brush at the periphery of your vision. The area where you’re standing is grassy, with occasional patches of wildflowers.

Breathe. For now, hold the image of the clearing in your head and breathe deeply several times. Don’t worry about rhythm. Simply fill your lungs with air and exhale in a natural rhythm. “Listen” for your heartbeat. It will have begun to slow down after several breaths. Continue breathing slowly, in a natural comfortable rhythm, until your mind begins to wander.

Listen. What do you hear in the clearing? Are birds chirping? Are insects buzzing from plant to plant? Can you hear a breeze in the trees? It doesn’t matter if you know what kinds of birds and insects belong in a mountaintop clearing. The benefit is obtained from the sensory engagement, not from accuracy. If you do know what belongs, by all means use it. But don’t worry about it if you don’t. Add visual details from the sound environment. Can you see the birds? Are bees or butterflies on the flowers near you? Integrate the details into the overall environment.

Feel. Did you hear a breeze earlier? Can you now? Remember what a warm breeze feels like. Feel the ebb and flow of the air, and hear the sound it makes in the trees. Reach out and touch the grass and flowers. Feel the solidity of the ground beneath your feet. Lean against a tree and feel it supporting your weight. Integrate these details with the other sight and sound details as you continue to breathe slowly. As you walk, feel the ground under your feet.

Smell. What’s there? Wildflowers? Pine or spruce needles? A metallic smell from sunlight on the rock outcroppings? Rain in the distance? Add these to your overall impression of the environment. Smell is often challenging to sustain at first. But smell is the greatest sensory trigger for memory, so developing the ability to populate this space with smell will yield great results.

Taste. Look around. There’s probably already something here. Is there a stream? Drink from it. Imagine the coolness of the water as you dip your hand. Imagine the crisp, cool taste of the water. Are there berries nearby? Try them. Are they sweet or tart? Or both?

Enrich. Add details to the environment. If you don’t like something, change it at will. Let’s start off by making a place to rest. Imagine you have a view of the valley far below just beyond the edge of the clearing. A path leads to a simple stone bench where you can sit. Walk down the path and sit on the bench. Do any of the environmental sounds or smells change? There should be a slightly stronger breeze here. But, outside the clearing, the Sun is bright. So, let’s imagine an arbor around the bench. It’s covered with flowering vines, blocking out much of the heat and shading the bench.

See? That was relatively easy. And the more you do it with an environment that’s relaxing for you, the easier and more effective it becomes. Practice is key, as it is with becoming skilled at anything. If you aren’t able to engage all of your senses simultaneously, don’t worry. The more of them you engage, the more powerful the imagery becomes; concentrate on senses you’re best able to maintain and practice the more difficult ones over time.

Andrew Twitter
My blog: 360 Minutes ... Work less, Get more done, Enjoy life!
(This post was last modified: 10-07-2011 08:48 AM by 360Minutes.)
10-07-2011 08:04 AM
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Luis_magalhaes Offline
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Post: #4

Hey Andrew, thanks for the tip. I've been trying variations of that technique every now and then and it's cool to read your take on it, thanks! :)

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to... suffering." - Master Yoda
10-07-2011 01:30 PM
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Apu Offline
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Post: #5

@Celes: The tips you gave on your blog for meditating are very helpful and helped me a lot! :)

@Luis_magalhaes and @360Minutes:

Thanks guys so much!! Such helpful information you guys gave :D
10-07-2011 04:45 PM
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Celes Offline
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Post: #6

Yes, thanks Luis and Andrew for sharing your tips! Very helpful. :D For other members who may have some experience meditating before, feel free to share your take too.

"If you want to get something you have never gotten before, you have to do something you have never done before."
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10-07-2011 07:20 PM
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annanabananamc Offline
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Post: #7

I am horrible at visualization - so that doesn't work for me as a meditation tool. I remember trying a meditation course and the first meditation we were simply to visualize a hole in the ground. I couldn't even get that far.

For others who's mind may not make mental images for meditation, you may find helpful a more zen/mindfulness approach. You simply direct your attention to what is happening in the present moment during your meditation. When your mind wanders, you note 'thinking' and come back to the breath. The breath is the pathway to the present moment. I find Tara Brach to be a wonderful introduction to this technique, and her website includes many free guided meditations: http://tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guide...tions.html
10-08-2011 08:43 PM
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