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How to meditate?

Over the years people have always told me how meditation has helped them when it comes to managing stress or relaxing or just helping to clear their mind.

I've used a couple of relaxation techniques before but am not sure that it's a) a form of meditation and b) helping all that much.

 

Does anyone here meditate? How does it work? What do I do? I'm looking for practical advice.

 

Lastly, why do you meditate?

Re: How to meditate?

I'd love to get into meditation, and I've tried a few times, but it only ever seems to last a couple of days before I forget/get sidetracked...

 

Back in school I visited a buddhist temple, and we all tried meditation there. The monk told us to close our eyes and sit cross-legged and still, while focusing on nothing but our breathing. If our minds drifted he said we should acknowledge the thought, but then put it aside and start over. Oh, and to help, he said we can count and every time our mind drifted we should start again from 1. I didn't get far...Smiley Tongue

 

But that's just one of many ways to meditate. I think if I kept going with it it'd be pretty relaxing Smiley Happy

Re: How to meditate?

I don't meditate per se, but I practise mindfulness, which is a form of meditation that basically helps you to pay attention to the present moment and stop your mind wandering off to thinking (or worrying!) about the past or the future. What I do is try and find a time when I won't be interrupted (when no one is home, before bed, early in the morning when I wake up etc.) and sit on a chair or lie on my bed and do it. I find my mind wanders really easily if I try and do it by myself so I use guided mindfulness podcasts from Bite Back which generally reduce the likelihood of me getting distracted. You can find them at this link: http://www.biteback.org.au/things-to-do/power-up/. There is wide variety there from simple relaxation ones to focused ones on getting through bad times or improving relationships. The Level Head and Relax ones are my favourites.

 

I meditate because it is a good way to relax (it's fantastic before bed). I also think it helps me to focus better, control my anxiety throughout the day (because I can practise it without the guided podcasts if I want - i.e. if I'm feeling really nervous but am in a situation where I can't use the podcasts), stay in the present moment and control the speed of my breathing.

 

There is also factsheet about it on Bite Back with some more info: http://www.biteback.org.au/bookshelf/amplify-the-good-stuff-in-life/mindfulness

 

Hope that helps!

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Re: How to meditate?

@delicatedreamer - those podcasts sound great! I'll have to check them out Smiley Happy

I find meditation really tricky, but I think it's one of those things you just need to keep practicing.

In the past when I have meditated though, (I've tried a couple of different types), I find that afterwards I feel really relaxed and grounded I guess.

I think focusing on breathing is probably a simple way to start with meditation, and recognising your thoughts as the occur, but just letting them pass by.

There are also some guided meditation apps you can get for smart phones too, which could be helpful, or maybe seeing if there's a meditation class nearby.

While we're on the topic though, when I was in India, I spent a week at a yogic health centre. One of the activities we had to do one night was tratak, which is a type of meditation where you basically stare at a candle. It was an absolutely incredible experience! At the end I was overcome by this emotion that was so out of the blue. Totally bizarre! It's really amazing what I minds can do sometimes Smiley Happy

Re: How to meditate?

Thanks delicatedreamer and Georgie. This has been really helpful and insightful.

delicatedreamer: On a more holistic level, how do you think this mindfulness has changed things for you and about you since you started? Do you feel there's been a broader change in how you live?

Georgie: that candle experience sounds pretty incredible.

It seems that having some sort of guidance really helps everyone. Do you think meditation is a process – a series of steps one goes through – or simply a singular act – you are either meditating or you are not?

Re: How to meditate?

I've been meditating and practising mindfulness for about two months now.  It's been soooo beneficial to me it's ridiculous.  I basically hit a point where I really wanted to change the way I live my life and this really allows you to do it.

When I practice mindfulness, it can be absolutely anywhere.  Brushing your teeth, putting on your shoes, showering, eating.  It's about living wholly and completely in the present moment.  So if you do have those whirling through your mind or you're feeling seriously anxious (which is often my case), it's about not fueling it.  Just observing, observing that you feel the way you do and observing your thoughts.  It's also really good to put into practice when you're talking to someone, or like me, when I stop listening in lectures!!

 

The meditation I do lying down each morning before I get up and in the evenings if I have time.  I use guided tracks 10-45mins long.  This website has a lot that you can try:  http://audiodharma.org/teacher/1/  Gil Fronsdal was recommended to me, I've done a few of them.  But I am still learning myself!!

In my last session my psychologist also spoke to me about this new thing called ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  It's all about utilising mindfulness.  I've read a couple of the journal articles and it really makes sense!!  It's fascinating and I know if I can try to implement it into my own life, it will only have long term benefits http://www.actmindfully.com.au/

 

Even though I have only been doing this for a short time, my view on life has changed dramatically, I feel a lot more excited and alive.  It's not just through the meditation and mindfulness though, I've just realised a lot of things about myself and gotten a lot of answers.


delicatedreamer and georgie summed it up nicely too!!  I've heard about this tantric candle thing before.  It's incredible what you can do, when you just let go.

 

For me mindfulness it taking back control of my mind.  As it has dictated everything I say and do.  Now I've been trying to act more with my intuition and it seems to be leading me down the right path.

 

Re: How to meditate?

Thanks _sagira_! That is so very helpful!
What an incredible first post! Smiley Very Happy

Re: How to meditate?

haha Lex...size wise it's fairly epic. I didn't realise I would have so much to say.

So would you consider meditation seriously? I think a lot of people think it's something you need to force yourself to do. But it's not about that at all!! And everyday it's totally different! Some days it's restless, someday's reach that place of total calm.

I've moved out of home to a new city for the first time this year. And have found myself feeling lonely at times. When I'm like that it's the perfect time to meditate, because then it's all about what's going on right then and there. I think it will make me learn to be okay with my own company a lot more.

Re: How to meditate?


@_sagira_ wrote:
haha Lex...size wise it's fairly epic. I didn't realise I would have so much to say.

So would you consider meditation seriously? I think a lot of people think it's something you need to force yourself to do. But it's not about that at all!! And everyday it's totally different! Some days it's restless, someday's reach that place of total calm.

I've moved out of home to a new city for the first time this year. And have found myself feeling lonely at times. When I'm like that it's the perfect time to meditate, because then it's all about what's going on right then and there. I think it will make me learn to be okay with my own company a lot more.

That's really interesting! I would consider it seriously. I'm alone a lot because of my work and because of my travelling lifestyle. I don't get particularly stressed but I'm finding it harder and harder to focus. I wasn't always like this so and I'm hoping meditation can help me "re-ground" myself so I can better approach each day. Think it might help? Any tips on where to start?

Re: How to meditate?


Lex wrote:

That's really interesting! I would consider it seriously. I'm alone a lot because of my work and because of my travelling lifestyle. I don't get particularly stressed but I'm finding it harder and harder to focus. I wasn't always like this so and I'm hoping meditation can help me "re-ground" myself so I can better approach each day. Think it might help? Any tips on where to start?


Yeah I get where you're coming from.  It can be a bit much sometimes when we realise how much we've changed!!

I've been lucky in my pursuit.  A lot of people have been good in giving me tracks etc.  The link I posted earlier is good for the guided tracks.  Find some short ones to start off with.

I'm also doing a spirituality challenge via a tumblr I follow http://lazyyogi.org/SpiritualityChallenge

It's great!  The weekly challenges and then daily ones have a load of wonderful lessons to teach you your habits. 

 

And just for a bit more information on what meditation actually is give this one a go.

http://whatmeditationreallyis.com/index.php/lang-en/dare-to-meditate.html

 

I’ve also been doing this 21Day meditation challenge.  It’s almost to the end and you can’t do the previous days ones (unless you pay for it), but it might be good for you to just have a listen and maybe work with one or two.

http://www.chopracentermeditation.com/bestsellers/landingpage.aspx?bookid=169

 

Let us know how you go with it!!

 

p.s  I'm having a few problems with these new RO forums.  It's not behaving itself...going to take me a litlle while to get my head around the new platform.