Meditation - What's the Point?

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posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:03 PM
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reply to post by dodol
 


One poster said thousands of approaches. Would you agree?

Is that your goal of meditation, or is that how it was originally presented to you, or is that what the point of meditation is?

I believe that could be the entire point of it. In which case, that about closes the main point of the thread. Thank God for the rest of my long-windedness.

My religion... Well, that's a tough one. I was raised Roman Catholic, but took issue with the pomp and circumstance, noticed the hypocrisy of the situation I was in, and took a step back. I believe there is a God, almighty creator, or whatever you would like to call him/her/it. I also noticed that pretty much every religion has the same standards and practices, even the same cast of characters, however, some names of people, and places, along with the timelines don't quite match up. Does that help? You can call me a Christian if that makes it easier, but I don't really label my religion as one of the big 3.

I will keep all mantras away from materials and worldly things. Those are not the reasons I meditate. I go to work for the stupid stuff like TVs and Cars and Clothes and stuff.

Have you found that reading the prayer is more or less necessary at the later end of your day? Better question, when do you meditate? Morning? Night? Is there a "proper" time? Or "suggested" time?

When it is music, I go for Baroque (bad joke) and hit up some Bach. Occasionally some Steven Halpern makes it in there, but that's a bit out of my taste range. Are these types of music okay? Would Guns n Roses be a less than optimal choice? I ask because when I was a teenager, I would put on some rock to get my homework, project, studying done. I found the louder it was, the better I studied. I guess I needed something to actively acknowledge as far as blocking it out went.

Zazen... How do you let thoughts by without becoming involved? Isn't acknowledgement part of involvement? Or is acknowledgement just recognizing a thought as a thought, without giving any thought to the thought's message? "Kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia" vs "Buy more Toilet Paper at the store?"

Thank you for your reply.




posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by LittleByLittle
 


The amygdala. Why would anyone want to overload it?



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:08 PM
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reply to post by RicketyCricket
 

The point is to see yourself for who you really are.

How you go about that is going to be custom to yourself. Other's experiences are capable of having relevance and may even help... but only because you are similar, not because those experiences are "the truth".

Some people need to visit other worlds and talk with other beings. Others simply need to hear their thoughts without other's thoughts clouding the senses.

Replace the word "meditation" with "unrestricted contemplation" and it might have more meaningful resonance.

Namaste.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:10 PM
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reply to post by RicketyCricket
 

The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind, ultimately to gather it into one single focus on a topic.
1) What do you say to yourself while meditating? Nothing, initially I would say nothing, and only focus on breathing, letting all other thoughts fade away.
2) Am I suppose to be actively envisioning something? Here again, as you are new to this, no, it is to calm the mind. Later on, you could find a new focus and ultimately use that point or contemplation to focus on.
3) Am I suppose to feel anything? Not really, if anything it is to relax, the mind and the body, at the same time, remain awake.
4) Am I suppose to fall asleep? No, cause you have let your mind wander off course and are not focused.
5) Should I be sitting or laying down? There are some schools of thought on that. Most would tell you that to meditate properly you should either be sitting or kneeling. I prefer to be kneeling. There is a technique for meditating while you are sleeping, but that is when you are wanting to find the answers within to a problem in life.
6) What about stand? Here again it is personal preference. Think of the whirling dervish, they do go into a meditative state, but their minds are calm and ultimately cease to think and just do, while the mind is focused solely on one thing.
7) Is the point of this just simple silence? No it is to calm the mind and focus it. Once you have the basics down, then you can use that meditative focus to figure out or contemplate other things. Take Buddhism for example, most do not start out meditating on emptiness, rather the go through a series of meditations to calm the mind and then rationalize out the point on emptiness one step at a time. Often using such to refute negative aspects of the mind.
8) What role do candles and crystals and incense play in all this? Sets the mood and helps the body to relax.
9) Are they necessary? No.
10) Can I play music in the background? I would not advise it at first. Maybe later, and then only instrumental, not vocal. Vocal would take and add thoughts to your mind that you are trying to calm down or cause you to lose focus.
11) Am I allowed to drink some water while meditating if my throat is dry? How long are you meditating for? Most meditations are only about 5 to 10 minutes long, then you should give your mind something to focus on and then go back into meditating. In time you should be able to go longer and longer, but just starting out, 5 minutes should be long enough 10 at the most.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:14 PM
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reply to post by HeldHostage14
 


So there is a goal set forth, prior to the undertaking. Regardless of the goal, the mind is focused on said goal. (We'll call it relaxation of the shoulders for now).

So I focus on what it means to relax my shoulders. I define the word relaxation in my own words, then look at that definition from different view points, to see the whole picture of muscles loosening, posture improving, breathing becoming less strained, and feeling a "normalcy" set in about 2.5 feet above my waist. I clear out the "whys" (stress, poor positioning during the day, etc) until I feel the "release" and I'm done.

Is that right?

The "quiet" one is where I just do my "4 counts" and only focus on that. Correct? What purpose does the "No thinking" method serve, and when do you personally use it?



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:15 PM
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reply to post by greencmp
 


Now I'm going to be trying to pick your brain on what you took from the book and how it affects you. Maybe even how you've utilized the take aways in your own life.

You've created a new monster!



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by RicketyCricket
 


www.creativelive.com



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by NthOther
 




Just be a passive observer of "your" thoughts, withholding analysis or judgment, and (at least for me--remember this is all completely subjective) they'll just... fade away.

This...

is the answer to this...


My intentions are clear with each session. I set out to bring relaxation and calmness to my (fill in the blank). I focus on bringing about whatever I am calling for (relaxation, let's say). It's after about 5 minutes of focusing on the breathing that my mind starts to wander.

Remember. Meditation is not doing. Intention is doing. Stop doing, and just be. It will take time and sticktuitiveness, but you WILL get there if you stick with it.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


At what point does one BECOME meditation?

The point of meditation is to think, do and be nothing. Is this correct? It is a state of being, and it is not being as well?

If so, that speaks volumes to be about the duality we face (left/right, yes/no, something/nothing). The main thought being nothing is still something, because a handful of nothing is still something. Right? So... What?

How do I get things in sync with myself, so as to attain "nothingness?" How do I teach my mind and body to focus on the thing that is both there and not there at the same time? Is this a philosophy question? Do I focus on nothingness, or do I focus on the thought of nothingness?

Sorry for the questions, I mean them sincerely, and am not making light of this.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:30 PM
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reply to post by RicketyCricket
 

Read my first post again. You don't become meditation. Meditation is the process used for becoming quiet and still.

The point of pure meditation is quietness, stillness, oneness, balance. Once you become those things during meditation, you'll wonder how you ever lived daily without them. They are like a balm that soothes and heals.

"In sync" will come all by itself. All you have to be is quiet and still. The rest will come naturally. Accomplish that first, and then you can DO things. But the initial importance should be on internal silence.

Ask away. I, and others, will help all we can.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by NthOther
 


Okay, so just understand that I may not find the "answer" (for lack of a better word) and be okay with that before I put myself into a state of being whereby my subconscious(?) mind will accept cues from my conscious(?) mind to clear itself of thoughts and the like? The trick being to only take the action of pushing thoughts out while passively observing all things (senses included) and allowing the by products of these thoughts to fade away?

I understand that I will have different answers, and that's what I want. I want the why's, the how's, the what's, and the when's from you all.

When it comes to Faith, I'm all about it. I have faith that my car will start, the sun will come up, my heart will beat, and my eyes will blink every day. I won't beat you up for your beliefs. It's not my place to judge your thoughts and their processes. People who think it is their place to judge are just wasting their time. One man's opinion of another man doesn't matter. It is just a thought formed from a given set of circumstances and evidence. It holds no weight in my heart.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by RicketyCricket
 


Meditation is like anything else, the more you do it, the more skill-sets (methods) you pick up. It's hard to give definitive answers to many of your questions because meditation is a fluid practice, and there are different techniques based on who you are learning from. I learned Vipassana meditation from Theravada forest monks in Sri Lanka under the lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw. It's a bit more technical and expansive than other (more western) versions, but is still very approachable to even the most novice of practitioner's.



What do you say to yourself while you meditate?
Do you say anything?

Try mental noting of whatever you become aware of. If focused on the breath, note "in" and "out" or "rising" and "falling". If bodily sensations arise, note "feeling", "itching", "discomfort", and so on. If thoughts appear, note "thinking". And so on. Do this until the awareness of whatever it is ceases. You can also use a mantra like "Buddho" to help with concentration. Something like "Buuu" on the in breath and "dhooo" on the out breath.



Am I supposed to be actively envisioning something?
Am I supposed to feel anything?
Am I supposed to fall asleep?

Short answer, no. You aren't supposed to DO anything, rather just recognize whatever is happening and note it mentally. If visions arise, note them as "seeing, seeing, seeing..." and so on. Falling asleep signals a lack of concentration, unless you're just really tired in which case you should just sleep. Over time, as your concentration strengthens, the tendency to become tired will lessen.



Should I be sitting or laying down?

You can do whatever you like. I don't like to lay down because I get too tired, too quickly.



What about standing?

Yes, you can do walking meditation too. Especially when you get bored or tired, it's a good cure for that. If you look up Yuttadhammo on youtube, he has a whole series on meditation including a video on walking meditation. Very important for any serious meditator, imo.



Is the point of this just simple silence?

No. At least not the style that I learned (which is considered the traditional method handed down from the Buddha himself). Silence, tranquility, peace of mind... all of these can be symptoms of sincere meditation practice, but so can discontentment, anxiety and frustration. They are not goals, but reactions. The ultimate goal of meditation is insight and understanding into the nature of reality and mind. That is why I feel it is important to compliment meditation practice with the study of wise teachers such as Thich Naht Hanh, Ajahn Chah, and/or others. As insight and understanding is strengthened, naturally a sense of contentment and well-being becomes more frequent. But it is not the goal.



What role do candles and crystals and incense play in all this?
Are they necessary?

I don't know. I guess they could be used to supplement a sense of importance or seriousness in the practice, but they are not needed. Whatever you decide, it is important to practice in many different settings under many different circumstances. Try not to become reliant on a particular setting or mood to meditate in.



Can I play music in the background?

Sure, although it seems like it would be distracting to a certain extent. Probably warrants the same advice as to the previous question.



Am I allowed to drink some water while meditating if my throat is dry?

Sure, just try to note everything your doing though. (ex. "Thirsty... standing up... walking... pouring water... drinking... and so on.)

As far as guides, again, I have found Thich Naht Hanh, Ajahn Chah and Yuttadhammo as great sources of guidance. The differences between their teachings is minor at best, yet it's mostly concerning the style of explanation and not really the content of what is being taught.

Good luck my friend!



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:32 PM
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achieving and maintaining meditative awareness can be described as dissolving any separation between your personal sphere of energy and the energy of the cosmos all around you.

what serves to create this barrier is the thinking mind when it is focused on the past or future probabilities. it takes you out of the present and cuts you off from the flow.

IMO there is a passive and an active form of meditation. the passive form can be maintained through different states regardless of what you are doing or thinking. it's like a foundation of awareness that never goes away. your mind becomes inseparable from meditation.

then there is the active form which would be the common idea held by most people, sitting in lotus or chair or laying down, in stillness and silence and focusing solely on the breath. you want your breathing to flow in a circular fashion, making a complete and connected inhale and exhale.

the idea of the active form is to bring yourself into unison with the universe around you. to really, literally feel it. feel your life force pulsating as one with the vibration of the cosmos, becoming a singular process. the longer you hold this feeling the deeper it becomes, which is when you start to get into truly regenerative territory.

i should add that once you get deep into the regenerative phase you enter a trance mode where you no longer need to focus on the breath. focusing on the breath is merely an effective and direct means to get yourself into the trance state.
edit on 16-9-2013 by Qi Maker because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:33 PM
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RicketyCricket
reply to post by Klassified
 


How do I get things in sync with myself, so as to attain "nothingness?"

You're not getting things in sync with you. You are becoming in sync with everything else. You are not controlling the process. If anything, you are relinquishing your control.

"...it's not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself."



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:46 PM
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You got some awesome posts in this thread from some knowledgeable practitioners. Don't let it all confuse you. We're not as far off from one another as you might think we are. Approaches are different.

My own approach to helping others has always been to start with one thing, Stillness. Once someone has learned to be still in mind and body, from there, all the approaches in this thread are valid.

But no matter which approach one takes. You'll still have to come back to the basics, if you don't learn them in the beginning.

You'll do great. Just make a start.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:55 PM
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reply to post by BardingTheBard
 


Unrestricted contemplation... Wow. That's something to wrap my head around. No limits on thought? I like this.

I use unrestricted contemplation to see myself for who I really am. Okay.

I ask others for their experience to draw connections for myself. I know that there is no one way to meditate. To each his own, as it were. I ask why they meditate. I ask how they meditate. I ask what they do while meditating.

I ask these things to see where I am in my meditation, and to see if I can improve my meditations, so less time will be wasted on doing nothing (the actual nothing of not meditating and reading things about it) rather than spending precious time trying to understand the goal or purpose.

It was not presented to me as an end result, rather as a vehicle to get my head where I want it.



I may not necessarily need to visit other worlds and visit other beings, but I definitely not opposed to it. That is somewhere I would like to take this conversation, maybe in a few posts, but I would really like to call this out now. HOW DO I DO THIS?



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by sdcigarpig
 


That answered a great majority of my questions very succinctly.

Thank you!



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:58 PM
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Meditation is a way of getting high by systematically depriving the brain of oxygen and sensory stimuli.

Long-term abusers start believing that their hallucinations are reality. They start to believe that life is a dream, that there is no such thing as the self, and other dangerous illusions of a similar kind.

Over time, meditation completely rewires the brain until it can no longer function properly. The abuser is then unfit for any form of meaningful human activity and ends up living a solitary, unproductive life, meditating all day long and dependent upon others for food, clothing and general welfare. He has become a parasite upon society and must subsist upon 'charity' — that is, the fruit of others' labour.

The most hopeless cases are so deluded they actually try to tell others how to live their lives. Since they know nothing of life, their advice is hopelessly wrong, and quite likely to endanger or impoverish those who take it. This is actually what the desperate abuser hopes for; like all addicts, he wants to recruit others to his vice. Misery, as they say, loves company.

That is the point of meditation.


edit on 16/9/13 by Astyanax because: of the point.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 10:00 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Good advice. It is very important to want to meditate and progress your insight and understanding. In fact, for meditation to be truly beneficial, it should be one of the biggest things you desire in life. The framework of meditation which I laid out is, simply that, a framework to help guide you on this path towards the stillness that allows for greater insight to arise.

Don't over think it all. Just do it and keep learning. It really isn't that complicated. You will fail miserably at times, where the mind and body are going crazy with all kinds of thoughts and sensations. These experiences are your best teachers, don't allow them to push you away, learn from them and continue forward.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 10:12 PM
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Here are some links for you to peruse and look over when you have time. Some really good advice from very authentic teachers:

www.shambhalasun.com...
www.ajahnchah.org...
www.youtube.com...
www.tathagata.org...
www.plumvillageasia.org...





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