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Meditation Made Easy

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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31 December 2017 09:22
 

The latest Waking Up podcast addresses the scientific research currently underway concerning meditation.  Delightfully, these particular experts made no grand claims about the findings of these studies.  They simply stated that, although the data is very interesting, it will be some time before they understand what it means.  Very down to Earth stuff really. 

They also made mention of the Americanization of some of these Eastern practices and how they’ve been commercialized to appeal to the hasty consumer who wants significant results and immediate satisfaction.  Which strays quite a bit from the original traditions.

Alternatively, or additionally, there’s always Tai Chi.  Moving meditation.  As another way to go.

 
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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31 December 2017 10:04
 
LadyJane - 31 December 2017 09:22 AM

The latest Waking Up podcast addresses the scientific research currently underway concerning meditation.  Delightfully, these particular experts made no grand claims about the findings of these studies.  They simply stated that, although the data is very interesting, it will be some time before they understand what it means.  Very down to Earth stuff really.


Yeah, I give (at least some segments) of the mindfulness community a lot of credit for self-regulating pretty well on this one. I think it helps that it’s a field that attracts a lot of scientists. Here’s a recent article from the Center For Healthy Minds that speaks to efforts to address research quality, for example.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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31 December 2017 19:08
 
NL. - 30 December 2017 08:34 PM

(To be fair, I’m not 100% sure what the point of meditation is either, but then, I’m also not 100% sure what the point of exercise is. They’re both just good for you, for whatever reason. It improves my focus and gives me the occasional lucid dream about flying around in Barre. I’ll take it. The flying is fun and the focus is relatively useful.)

It is funny how the point of meditation doesn’t get widely mentioned by most meditation teachers. I was listening to an audio dharma podcast and they had Joseph Goldstein as the guest teacher. He started his talk by asking if most the people there knew what the ultimate purpose of meditation was? He then told a story about a woman he had met who had been wondering about that question for more than 20 years or so.

Goldstein said that meditation was supposed to enable one to see the three characteristics of existence clearly. The three characteristics are: Annica – impermanence; Dukkha – unsatisfactoriness; and Annatta – selflessness. This clarity of perception strengthens the “wisdom” factor and leads to enlightenment.

Then he quoted this saying from the Buddha:

In seeing impermanence, the mind does not cling.
When the mind does not cling, it is not agitated.
When it’s not agitated, it personally attains Nibbana.

For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on this “formula” when I meditate. On seeing impermanence in all things, both internally and externally, my mind eventually does relax. I then begin to see how most of the thinking I do causes agitation, (dukkha), in my mind. When the thinking calms down and the agitation goes away, all that’s left is annatta. I guess this is a way to slowly chip away at the ingrained habit of the mind to construct a self, or, I suppose it could bring on sudden enlightenment.

Anyway, this is the clearest explanation I’ve ever heard about why we should meditate.

 

 

 

 
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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31 December 2017 20:55
 
Cheshire Cat - 31 December 2017 07:08 PM
NL. - 30 December 2017 08:34 PM

(To be fair, I’m not 100% sure what the point of meditation is either, but then, I’m also not 100% sure what the point of exercise is. They’re both just good for you, for whatever reason. It improves my focus and gives me the occasional lucid dream about flying around in Barre. I’ll take it. The flying is fun and the focus is relatively useful.)

It is funny how the point of meditation doesn’t get widely mentioned by most meditation teachers. I was listening to an audio dharma podcast and they had Joseph Goldstein as the guest teacher. He started his talk by asking if most the people there knew what the ultimate purpose of meditation was? He then told a story about a woman he had met who had been wondering about that question for more than 20 years or so.

Goldstein said that meditation was supposed to enable one to see the three characteristics of existence clearly. The three characteristics are: Annica – impermanence; Dukkha – unsatisfactoriness; and Annatta – selflessness. This clarity of perception strengthens the “wisdom” factor and leads to enlightenment.

Then he quoted this saying from the Buddha:

In seeing impermanence, the mind does not cling.
When the mind does not cling, it is not agitated.
When it’s not agitated, it personally attains Nibbana.

For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on this “formula” when I meditate. On seeing impermanence in all things, both internally and externally, my mind eventually does relax. I then begin to see how most of the thinking I do causes agitation, (dukkha), in my mind. When the thinking calms down and the agitation goes away, all that’s left is annatta. I guess this is a way to slowly chip away at the ingrained habit of the mind to construct a self, or, I suppose it could bring on sudden enlightenment.

Anyway, this is the clearest explanation I’ve ever heard about why we should meditate.


First of all, yes, I am replying to you at quarter to midnight on New Year’s Eve. I am that big of a nerd, and not even pretending I had plans other than going “Oh my God it’s the last day of the year I have to do literally 10 hours of CEUs TODAY!!!”. Hashtag AwesomePlanningAhead. It’s kinda my New Year’s tradition.


That said, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying but I’ve seen it too badly mangled by verbal interpretation to put a lot of stock in it. And I say that as someone who doesn’t know the truest interpretation well enough to discuss at all, but feel I know enough to recognize total misinterpretations. A sort of “I don’t care so I’ll just be whatevs about whatever happens” kind of thing. Whatever limited experience I have with non clinging is hard to explain, although I like the ‘ocean / waves’ metaphor that is often used. Back to the whole ‘two wings’ idea, I think an absence of clinging tells half the story. There is an absence of one thing because of the presence of another, and vice versa - two interconnected things. I feel like Buddhism in general gets interpreted as being more about the ‘wisdom’ wing and Abrahamic religions about the ‘compassion’ wing, and one risks either nihilism or eternalism in trying to navigate that extremely ethereal tightrope. At least I do, you’re probably a better meditator than me, ha ha!


Anyways. Happy New Years!

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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01 January 2018 07:01
 

From reading the various posts of this thread,
it sounds like meditation is just “thinking” by another name.

 
EN
 
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EN
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01 January 2018 07:15
 

I do find value in focused thinking or mindfulness or meditation, whatever name it goes by.  Just sitting quietly, removing distractions, focusing on my breathing, letting my mind relax and just be in the present.  For me, 10-15 minutes of that seems to bring some peace and clarity.

 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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01 January 2018 09:12
 

Growing up in the middle of Bone Valley (geologically, a part of the Hawthorne formation, rich in phosphate), all the physical places that might attach to my youthful memories have been dug up and reclaimed; they are literally gone forever.  My little hometown was surrounded by land owned by various mining companies, and its surroundings slowly transformed throughout my lifetime.

The expression, “you can never go home again”, is a fact of life for me.  There’s no “there” there.  Those places can only exist in my memories, and no other place.  For me, that makes them ethereal and detached, nothing upon which to dwell with any longing or desire.  The nature of my work continually takes me into places of pastoral loveliness that will eventually be similarly transformed.  That pretty much takes away any sense of “permanence” for me.

Also, the type of work I do is quite repetitious, and easily falls into rote, freeing my mind to wander where it will with little distraction.  That is my meditation.  It gets interrupted when I finish one prospect hole and move to the next, then I sort of flow right back into it.  That’s quite likely a major reason that I really enjoy my work.  I’m so often in a setting without distractions and requiring little concentration.  Time becomes somewhat irrelevant.  Lunch is when my stomach tells me, and the end of the day is when the drill crew moves to the next hole location and shuts down.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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01 January 2018 09:17
 
EN - 01 January 2018 07:15 AM

I do find value in focused thinking or mindfulness or meditation, whatever name it goes by.  Just sitting quietly, removing distractions, focusing on my breathing, letting my mind relax and just be in the present.  For me, 10-15 minutes of that seems to bring some peace and clarity.

breathing is good although its better if one breathes continuously rather than for only 15 minutes a day
thinking is good  
sitting is good (in moderation)
being in the present is good   although planning for the future doesn’t hurt

I have decided to call all the above, when done together “Flugprolation

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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01 January 2018 10:09
 
jdrnd - 01 January 2018 07:01 AM

From reading the various posts of this thread,
it sounds like meditation is just “thinking” by another name.


There are many different types. This is Harris’s description of Vipassana, which is what I started with six years and four months ago (I know that because in ‘wacky sitcom’ manner, there was literally an earthquake after I’d been meditating a few minutes, so while at the time, having never experienced an earthquake, I was like “OMG I meditated for five minutes and now I’m hallucinating! It seems like the whole room is swaying back and forth!!”, it’s now kinda useful in that I can Google the exact day and time I started meditating.)

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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01 January 2018 10:10
 

Left-click and hold > swipe > right-click > select “Copy”
Left-click on Notepad shortcut > right-click > select “Paste”
Read without distractions

I call the above “De-Jeffination

 
 
sojourner
 
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01 January 2018 10:18
 
bbearren - 01 January 2018 09:12 AM

Growing up in the middle of Bone Valley (geologically, a part of the Hawthorne formation, rich in phosphate), all the physical places that might attach to my youthful memories have been dug up and reclaimed; they are literally gone forever.  My little hometown was surrounded by land owned by various mining companies, and its surroundings slowly transformed throughout my lifetime.

The expression, “you can never go home again”, is a fact of life for me.  There’s no “there” there.  Those places can only exist in my memories, and no other place.  For me, that makes them ethereal and detached, nothing upon which to dwell with any longing or desire.  The nature of my work continually takes me into places of pastoral loveliness that will eventually be similarly transformed.  That pretty much takes away any sense of “permanence” for me.


First, apologies about your hometown. Also want to say that I think ‘impermanence’ in Buddhist philosophy has both a knowledge component (understanding it conceptually, as you describe,) and an experiential component. This is my understanding, anyways, take it with a grain of salt as I’m not a scholar of Buddhism or anything. An experiential understanding - again, as I understand it - might be something like experiencing pain and being able to see it as a series of fleeting, changing sensations, and to ‘let go’ of them as they changed to such a degree that one no longer suffered upon experiencing them (this is why mindfulness is often used in pain management, I think.)


I always think this sounds easy in theory until I challenge myself to do something mildly ‘painful’ in actuality - just something like getting into a cold shower, to see how much equanimity I have - and then I’m like “Yeah, this sounds way easier in theory than it is in practice. I still hate cold showers a lot.”

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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01 January 2018 12:18
 
NL. - 01 January 2018 10:18 AM
bbearren - 01 January 2018 09:12 AM

Growing up in the middle of Bone Valley (geologically, a part of the Hawthorne formation, rich in phosphate), all the physical places that might attach to my youthful memories have been dug up and reclaimed; they are literally gone forever.  My little hometown was surrounded by land owned by various mining companies, and its surroundings slowly transformed throughout my lifetime.

The expression, “you can never go home again”, is a fact of life for me.  There’s no “there” there.  Those places can only exist in my memories, and no other place.  For me, that makes them ethereal and detached, nothing upon which to dwell with any longing or desire.  The nature of my work continually takes me into places of pastoral loveliness that will eventually be similarly transformed.  That pretty much takes away any sense of “permanence” for me.


First, apologies about your hometown. Also want to say that I think ‘impermanence’ in Buddhist philosophy has both a knowledge component (understanding it conceptually, as you describe,) and an experiential component. This is my understanding, anyways, take it with a grain of salt as I’m not a scholar of Buddhism or anything. An experiential understanding - again, as I understand it - might be something like experiencing pain and being able to see it as a series of fleeting, changing sensations, and to ‘let go’ of them as they changed to such a degree that one no longer suffered upon experiencing them (this is why mindfulness is often used in pain management, I think.)


I always think this sounds easy in theory until I challenge myself to do something mildly ‘painful’ in actuality - just something like getting into a cold shower, to see how much equanimity I have - and then I’m like “Yeah, this sounds way easier in theory than it is in practice. I still hate cold showers a lot.”

I have no misgivings about my hometown, I came back here after my military service, and have lived here since.  The upside of being surrounded by mining property is no “urban sprawl” was possible.  It’s still the same, small hometown.  Some old houses have been replaced with newer houses, but that’s about it.  Before mining, a lot of the land was unfenced, there were two-rut roads in all directions out of town, lots of places to wander, and a lot of my free time was spent doing just that.  That those places no longer exist is just a reality, and that pretty well dispels any sense of permanence for me.  The town gives me a sense of locality, but the reality that old houses have gone and new houses have been built reinforces that lack of permanence.

As for the pain thing, my wife and I went through Lamaze training for both our kids.  One of the practice procedures was for me to squeeze her leg just above the knee while she did her breathing and focus techniques.  In both pregnancies, by the ninth month I could not squeeze her leg hard enough to break her concentration to the extent that she could feel any pain.  Both births were equally successful.

During her pregnancies (our kids are 8 years apart), when I would tell my coworkers about Lamaze, most were unfamiliar with it, and so I would explain and give them a demonstration of the knee squeeze.  The most frequent response was, “Damn!  You’re telling me she can ignore that!!”

 
 
sojourner
 
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01 January 2018 12:37
 
bbearren - 01 January 2018 12:18 PM

I have no misgivings about my hometown, I came back here after my military service, and have lived here since.  The upside of being surrounded by mining property is no “urban sprawl” was possible.  It’s still the same, small hometown.  Some old houses have been replaced with newer houses, but that’s about it.  Before mining, a lot of the land was unfenced, there were two-rut roads in all directions out of town, lots of places to wander, and a lot of my free time was spent doing just that.  That those places no longer exist is just a reality, and that pretty well dispels any sense of permanence for me.  The town gives me a sense of locality, but the reality that old houses have gone and new houses have been built reinforces that lack of permanence.

As for the pain thing, my wife and I went through Lamaze training for both our kids.  One of the practice procedures was for me to squeeze her leg just above the knee while she did her breathing and focus techniques.  In both pregnancies, by the ninth month I could not squeeze her leg hard enough to break her concentration to the extent that she could feel any pain.  Both births were equally successful.

During her pregnancies (our kids are 8 years apart), when I would tell my coworkers about Lamaze, most were unfamiliar with it, and so I would explain and give them a demonstration of the knee squeeze.  The most frequent response was, “Damn!  You’re telling me she can ignore that!!”


That’s interesting, it sounds like that would be an example of using ‘one pointed’ meditation for pain management, which I’m not particularly familiar with (the mindfulness technique would be more to focus on the sensation of your knee being squeezed and attempt to see it as nothing more than interesting, fleeting, pixelated sensations, vs. a suffering-inducing experience.) One-pointed meditation is more about finding one particular object of concentration and focusing fully and completely on it without interruption. They’re both a part of traditional Buddhist mind training, as I understand it.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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01 January 2018 16:53
 
jdrnd - 01 January 2018 09:17 AM
EN - 01 January 2018 07:15 AM

I do find value in focused thinking or mindfulness or meditation, whatever name it goes by.  Just sitting quietly, removing distractions, focusing on my breathing, letting my mind relax and just be in the present.  For me, 10-15 minutes of that seems to bring some peace and clarity.

breathing is good although its better if one breathes continuously rather than for only 15 minutes a day
thinking is good  
sitting is good (in moderation)
being in the present is good   although planning for the future doesn’t hurt

I have decided to call all the above, when done together “Flugprolation

I thought everyone called it that.

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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01 January 2018 17:14
 
EN - 01 January 2018 04:53 PM
jdrnd - 01 January 2018 09:17 AM
EN - 01 January 2018 07:15 AM

I do find value in focused thinking or mindfulness or meditation, whatever name it goes by.  Just sitting quietly, removing distractions, focusing on my breathing, letting my mind relax and just be in the present.  For me, 10-15 minutes of that seems to bring some peace and clarity.

breathing is good although its better if one breathes continuously rather than for only 15 minutes a day
thinking is good  
sitting is good (in moderation)
being in the present is good   although planning for the future doesn’t hurt

I have decided to call all the above, when done together “Flugprolation

I thought everyone called it that.

oh.

I’m disappointed.  hmmm

I thought I had invented a new word.

 
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