I have been trying to meditate for a while but find it pretty difficult…any useful tips or insight?
And excellent site by the way…
Thank you, SoMo :) Well firstly Google is going to be your best resource for this. There are sooooo many techniques out there, you’re going to have to try a bunch and find out which one works best for you.
All techniques aside, the amount you will get out of meditation will be dictated by your ability to sit still, focus on your breathing (or some other little thing) and keep your mind centered. It’s all about concentration. For starters I would:
— go somewhere outside away from other people
— get in the most comfortable sitting position you can
— close your eyes and focus on the sound of nature or your breathing
— continue for 30 minutes
If your mind strays from what you’re concentrating on, just accept it and refocus it. You will get exponentially better with practice :)
You heard it here first, i’m going to join Jordan in running HE and I just got back from a month meditation course in Nepal (based on tibetan buddhism meditation, shamatha and vipassana). Im also familiar with mindfulness and the psychological aspect of experience regarding meditation. Im planning on writing a big article on meditation (First gotta introduce myself ;)! ) But if you could write down some specifics on what exactly troubles you I will try to give some advice as best as I can. Im doing everyman polycyclic sleep pattern now so gotta take my 3 hour core nap, hope to hear from you when I get back!
# 1 rule on meditation, keep practicing!
I was inspired to meditate because i wanted to find out what the big deal about it was. It was one of the best decisions i have ever made period. I feel like you can’t truly know who you really are until you meditate. It gives you a chance to clear your mind from all the thoughts flashing through your brain at any given minute. It lets you develop a complete sense of self awareness and self control. You learn that you can and should be in control of nearly everything about yourself (eg Emotions, Negative Thoughts, even bodily pains, creating expectations, ect.) Its so hard to explain, and the hard part is that the first ten times or so u do it, esp if nobody is teaching you what to do, you may not feel like you are doing anything. One day it just clicks. It relaxes you, grounds you, but i hate to tell you all these things because if you go into it with expectations on what you will experience it will probably bring about frustration when you begin. Give it a go and you will find your inner peace
Martijn, very interested in your trip and honestly can’t wait for the article. One of the difficult parts for me seems to be knowing when im actually meditating. I know that im not supposed to go into the experience with any real expectations but when i experience something in meditation i end up wondering if it was true meditation or if my mind was just playing tricks on me.
To me, you don’t have to sit and be quiet to meditate. To me, meditation is always being aware of whats in and around you, and being able to consciously experience everything, whether it be an internal thought, or an outside view. I know that isn’t the normal “sit down down and breathe” meditation, but to me it accomplishes the same end. When I’m sitting, which i do occasionally, i only have my own thoughts to draw on. Sure, thats fun and interesting and calming and rejuvenating, but I also like going out and walking.
Meditating helps you better understand more about yourself, and more about everyone else. For me, I managed to trace some of my fears backwards, and it turns out they weren’t anything to be scared of at all, so thats cutting that off at the root.
It also helps you treat others better, because once you become aware of your own thoughts, you notice everything just a little bit sooner. You can almost hear what you are saying before you say it, and then you notice “hey, that would have been a mean thing to say”, or “hey, I just met this person and I’m judging them already. Why dont i try to get to know them first”.
I guess just like what everyone else says, meditation, in any shape or form, is enlightening. It helps you see the world in a whole new way.
So, if you are looking for advice on how to start/get into meditation, I’d say just go for it. It gets exponentially easier each time. (this is my experience on sitting meditation) When i first tried, i did what the internet said and tried to focus on my breathing, and that kinda worked, but thoughts kept jumping into my head, and they never left. So, i tried my best to calm my mind, and then just gave up. I tried again later, and this time i quieted my mind a bit. Then each time, it became easier and easier. After that, I moved to listening to my heartbeat, and trying to feel it everywhere in my body. At first, it took at least 3 “sessions” to even feel it without putting my hand to my chest, but after that it suddenly happens super easy. I can almost feel it at anytime if i just quiet down for a sec and listen for it. After that, i tried feeling it along my arms and in my head and neck and palms and fingertips, and just like last time, the first time was hard, then it got super easy.
So… I’ve been writing for a long time, I guess I’ll wrap it up.
-Just go for it, it gets easier with time
-dont try to force your thoughts out of your mind, just revel in them, give them your full attention, then they will dispearse on their own.
– BE AWARE!
Good post Bryan, you touched the all three most common types of meditation. And you are also right that they can overlap eachother, so its hard complete distinguish them.
You have the ‘quieting the mind’, which is not shutting thoughts out but making sure you don’t get caught up in it. So that every time you have a thought, you know you are having a thought and you won’t lose your object of focus. This is called concentration meditation, or Shamatha meditation.
Focusing on a specific changing factor in your body is insight meditation (vipassana), you find out that every inner sensation (feelings, emotions, thoughts) and external impulses (using your 5 (or 8 senses, depends how you view it) are ever changing and not one that stays the same for even a fraction of a period.
And the, just being aware whats going around and within you is called mindfullness, sometimes this is compared to space or the sky, everything goes through you but leaves no trace.
Best advice, just practice, sit with yourself and investigate.
Martijn, I enjoyed your posts. I am going to Nepal in September for an, as yet, uncertain amount of time (at least 3 to 4 months). I am very interested in meditation and have tried to lean as much as I can and am trying to find information on meditation courses that have a good balance between being traditional, insightful and meaningful and yet are not too westernized. I want to feel like I am really in nepal, and a part of the culture without having to learn nepalese to understand the lessons being taught. Could you provide me with the details of the course you did if you dont mind… would be much appreciated! Did you feel like a month was enough time? I have been unsuccessful in finding the right course for me online. how did you find out about it?
Thank you very much.
Hey cal, thank you!
Great decision to go there! I had an amazing time in Nepal. Make sure you go trekking in the himalaya too! I went to kopan Monastery (http://www.kopan-monastery.com/) for the 1 month lam rim course, it a traditional november course and I would definately recommend it. My course was completely in english but with traditional tibetan buddhist monks walking around. (It was more a tibetan buddhist retreat than just meditation, but I thought I learned alot by just being there with mind liked people). I can probably answer any question regarding kopan if you’re interested, but check out the site first. If you rather want something else I will ask my friends who are still travelling in asia if they know something you like!
A month was definately the right time (for me), I think the rest would have been too short and too easy. After 2.5 weeks it was very hard to have no contact with the outer world and following the program 7 days in the week, but I learned so much from it. I found out about it by googling it! Was looking for the longest retreat I could find that I could enter, and found one in Nepal!
SoMo; hello, i am robert
i have been at this for 40 years…i have tried all types of meditations…i have found only one which works best for me…i clear my mind…i breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth…every time a thought begins i say “silence”…this keeps my mind clear :D
the concept is simple…the practice is very difficult … good luck :D
I have meditated on and off for about a year now. I am always learning new ways to relax more. I’ve gone from listening to guided meditations to just music tones, from outside to inside. In my room, I just have a little corner set up for after when I do some stretching I sit down cross legged and just begin to focus on my breath. Now Im not saying thats the only way to meditate. You could just be in the middle of class or anywhere and just focus on your thoughts and breath. When I started I never put regulations on how I must do it. If I wanted to meditate for 5 mins I would, if I wanted to do it for 30mins then I would. Just so I didn’t feel like I forced myself to do it. It was my time to do whatever I wanted. No one was there to critize me. Just myself alone. After I did it and felt good about myself I tried some different ways to humming or counting my breaths. Youtube was a huge help with everything. Lucid dreaming and Meditating. Lately I’ve heard of sensory deprivation. I blew out my candle and pluged my ears with ear plugs so it was just me. I could hear my inner heart beat and thats what my rhythm is. I reach a kind of euphoric feeling like my head/mind is expanding and my body is shrinking. Look at youtube vidoes it surprised me how much is out there.
Excellent discussion on meditation! I would pay particular attention to Robert Taylor here as he has 40 years of experience. I can tell you that the method he mentions, while very simple, is very effective (and difficult).
It may help everyone to take a step back and ask “why meditate?” In other words, what is your purpose in engaging in the practice? It helps immensely to have a clear understanding of one’s motivation.
Good article on meditation: http://tergar.org/resources/2011-3-letter-from-rinpoche.shtml
@mike cool! Glad you liked it! If you ever find yourself with an hour of free time and want to know more about meditation I highly recommend this video on google campus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XCWP4pODbs&feature=related
I have been meditating (shamatha method) for about 2 weeks now took me about 8 sessions to reach a certain level in which I can focus on just my breathing for like 15 minutes without getting distracted by thoughts. (so far as I do understand this is the goal of meditating right?)
@martijn I’m truly amazed by the Kopan Monastery, have had a good look at their websites. I will continue my meditating and perhaps I will go on the November 1-month one in 2012.
Since last week i have an infection at the back of the head. Which stings constantly. I try to live in the moment, to not get myself distracted by methods of pain relievement.
It is a constant pain whenever i move my head in any direction, that stings like a needle and i can’t let it not influence my currentbeing.
Do you think meditation can still help in such cases? and how?
If the pain is physical and not psychological?
*edit* Picture isn’t related, but indeed.. It hurts right where my hand is.
@niels…it could be a pinched nerve…to know the difference between physical pain and energy pain…meditation will clear up mental and spiritual pain…just connect to the energy inside of you and let it flow out of you…when you connect to the energy you will be able to feel it move up and out…your mind has to be clear for the pain to be released :D
I live every day, interrupted.
I have a long-distance girlfriend, so my days are punctuated by the constant vibration of my phone with a text or call.
I work as a web designer and also serve as the central web support for 70 staff people scattered across North America. While working on projects, I get interrupted between 2 and 25 times an hour with phone calls, IMs, ooVoo video calls or a coworker hollering over my cube to help with X, Y or Z. No system has alleviated the constant stress of multitasking.
I suppose I should also mention that I generally thrive and feel motivated by the energy and excitement of my job, and I also appreciate and feel energized by communicating with my partner.
However, it is having major, negative ramifications for my everyday functioning. When I leave work, I can’t focus. I flip between channels, read a book during commercials, surf the web while I work on my personal web design projects, walk and talk on the phone, and on and on.
I am having particular difficulty unwinding from this multi-focus perspective when talking to my girlfriend at the end of my day. I am so used to flipping thought processes at a moment’s notice that I don’t feel able to focus entirely on her, which has a domino effect of leaving me feeling unconnected, disinterested and unable to feel empathy or compassion.
How do you give yourself permission to value meditation? How do you re-focus yourself using meditation?