So lately the topic on a few peoples mind has been meditation.
I haven't ever been trained on meditation and I guess for many people they view meditation differently. I'm a beginner, but I do know how to meditate (in my own way I guess since there's more than one way to my surprise) so what I was thinking is how many other ways are there to meditate?
I know prayer is basically a meditation, then there is being silent and slow breathing. But I'm sure there are many other forms.. I also saw some "Guided Meditations" on YouTube, has anybody experimented with those? What about chanting or humming, producing sound/vibrations and things like that? Have any of these helped in meditation or do they get you in a meditative state?
One thing I did wonder frequently is.. Is meditation a type of self hypnosis?
I view meditation as a free form art within itself. There are all sorts of way, and even walking meditation from Tai Chi and/or zazen. Meditation has different purposes, but I am finding out it takes a lot of discipline and practice. It is definitely not something you are going to master over night, or in a month...but you will at least be able to see changes over small periods of time. Now, I am just starting out and learning out about a 'deep breathing technique' where you take your thumb and your middle finger and it can help you breathe from the diaphram (whereas you are able to not think of your thoughts barely), and it has been helping me to relax. In my own life project I am just planning on trying every possible way there is to medidate because I just plan on mastering it within myself. Also, there is mindfulness too which i think can be used as a form of meditation, also. I am not sure of meditation being a type of self hypnosis or anything like that though, because beforeyou meditate you are supposed to write out not only your worries, but also things that you are trying to fix in your life. So, if it were like self-hypnosis you are trying to accomplish something, and that in itself would kind of be like a self judgement. I hope this is somewhat helpful, as I have literally just been starting this project of mine that I have got going for like 5 days now lol. :-)
If one is Christian (meditation is an evil word in some groups) one could try The Jesus Prayer
Another is the meditations of St. Ignatius Loyola
The Quakers have a wonderful approach to the Sunday services. One sits and meditates (mostly Zen-like) for the whole service. That's it. I have heard people call this Zen-Christian. I like Quaker Churches.
For a more general and non-religion based meditation - you may want to check out Full Catastrophe Living. This is more Zen-like, but there is no related religion you must adhere to.
Eastern meditations are easier to find.
I despise guided meditations. That is clearly just a personal opinion. I do not like people telling me what to imagine. like I'm walking through gardens, pastures or other dream-like happy-stuff, shrouding myself with light and whatever else someone likes to think about that relaxes them; or performs/creates some other metaphysical experience. Many people have good experiences with this type of meditation. I really shouldn't be too hard on this type.
I am just throwing some ideas out there. There is a lot of approaches.
i think that this is a great question, it is something i have struggled with for 20 years. i mean specifically, how to choose what method to use? what is safe? are they all safe? do you really need a teacher to make the preliminary steps?
if one likes, say tibetan buddhist methods, do you need to become a tibetan buddhist? do they only really work if you take refuge and dedicate the merit?
i personally ended up leaving tibetan buddhist meditations, after a very beginners start, because i did not want to become a tibetan buddhist. as i am a 'blavatsky theosophist' (more or less), one comes across many warnings against certain types of practices. i ended up avoiding those too. short of the virtues, i find it hard to proceed with specific techniques.
I've come to the conclusion, that before one can really select a technique, you need to live in a world where that technique and its outcomes make sense. Building that initial contextualising world is the hard part. once you live in a certain 'world' the techniques will be unavoidably obvious to you.
Many people, I think, and i guess i include myself as i sit here and type, are in a more 'liminal state', so no world is occupied and one is uncertain as to how to proceed.
Paige, in the Zazen meditations that you are practicing, are you taking from that teaching just the meditation aspects or everything as a whole? I've haven't written down anything. You said you write things down to tackle a subject or issue that's on your mind. See that's a totally different aspect of meditation that I've never thought of, I'll give a super basic explanation of what I try in the next paragraph or 2.
Yup, you're right John, meditation is an "evil" word in some christian groups. When I was growing up a remember a thing or two of some people talking about meditation not being safe stating that it opens doors to evil and to never do it. They described it as going into a trance and summoning powers that weren't given to you originally... scared me for a bit, (about an hour) but I remember going home to try it out that same day in my room lol (7 years old copying a guy meditating that I saw in a movie).
Dewald I agree with you, Especially in methods.. there's a lot out there, and I haven't picked up one book or read one whole thing about meditation to completion, as if I'm looking for just one thing to fit the grade. I thought the same (where if you need to become a tibetan buddhist etc) that there's quite a few meditations (methods) where you do chanting or mantras. I wonder how effective it would be if people don't know what they're chanting or mantra'ing at all?
From my lay understanding I think of meditation as a way of stopping all thoughts and actions, becoming clear headed (in other words a form of nothingness), I imagine my body not existing. From what I understand it to be in my definition, doing this helps immensely in peace and clarity. Plus the added enlightening feeling after meditation (don't know how to explain that, but I'm assuming if people meditate they might know what I mean? I hope lol ). To add to that I practice what I've named (for the past few months) the Stop Method. Like I said I'm a beginner so this might just seem silly to other people but it works for me. All I do is when I sit to meditate the second something a thought or sound comes in I think 'Stop' (imagining a stopping force in my mind to ward off thought or sounds)
The guided meditations that I've seen always seem to distract me, I mean really, I don't want to have anybody over me pointing the direction of where I should go (that could be not so safe) and that's where I think the safe boundaries are pushed, you really don't know what your listening to and some of those can be subliminal inputs depending on the source.
I do understand where Dewald comes from with 'liminal state' and I think you can get a lot from that state, you don't have to conform to just one way... Plus, who's to make the rules to say you have to? After all we are the beings in the act of being :)
I don't know who said it but I heard a saying that goes like this "The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving."
So anyway check this out... this is super cool and will 'check' you right on the nose ;) [CLICK IMAGE]
Try it out, let us know what you thought about your 2 minutes if anyone wants try it...