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Recognizing the Meditation Expernence

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  • WestWindWood
    When first starting meditation, the problem is not knowing what is going on with your mind. If you have access to an EEG, that can tell you; however, there are
    Message 1 of 15 , May 26, 2010

      When first starting meditation, the problem is not knowing what is going on with your mind. If you have access to an EEG, that can tell you; however, there are other simpler ways to know what your mind is doing. Of course the mind is incredibly complex, but for the purpose of learning meditation, lets put enlightenment aside for the moment and first divide the mind into an intellectual part and emotional part. The first step is finding something to concentrate on that the intellectual mind cannot do anything with so that the intellectual mind becomes quiescent. The first time this happened to me was at a Native American sun dance listening to the chanting and drumming. It was a very powerful experience, but I did not know what was happening so I lost a chance to explore further. I thought it was somewhat like a hypnosis experience I had previously, but without the direct experience of another’s direct input of suggestion. Using an EEG, it would be interesting to check on the differences. I suppose you could try hypnosis with a post hypnotic suggestion that you can attain self-hypnosis by some signal of your own. The second time experiencing quiescence was a few years later listening to the wind in the oak trees at my grandmother’s home. This time I knew what I was looking for. I recognized the experience of my intellectual mind not being there. This can be checked by trying to add numbers in your head (no need for an EEG machine), and if you cannot, then the intellectual mind is not there. Quiescence of the intellect can be obtained by a number of methods like watching the breath, a mantra, chanting in a group, watching a clock pendulum, a candle… take your choice of anything that takes your fancy and experiment. Without the intellect jumping around with various analyses, you will be left with your feelings. For instance, if you have noticed that you are uneasy, anxious, but cannot discern the cause; now offer that feeling up and you will be surprised at the cause, what ever it is, but will recognize the response back from your emotional part of the mind as the true source. It will just feel right. However, you can do the exercise again a month later and find you still have exactly the same issue, you just forgot about it. This will be frustrating, like how can I resolve the issue? It’s beyond you. The next step is enlightenment. There are two approaches. The first is to offer up the problem in a devotional way, the will of the Universe be done, let go of your cravings and accept what comes. The second is making the mind blank of the emotional stuff that is welling up, a willingness to accept whatever is and to work towards your betterment. A point to remember is that if the intellect is not involved, the answer will always be consistent and also that the answer will not harm others. Enlightenment can be elusive, but keep trying. Once you discover enlightenment you can work out your problems. This takes maybe two decades, but you will be calmer and happier; and it will be all you can do for each day, and not too much unless you choose a forceful yoga like Kundalini.

      --- On Tue, 5/25/10, Katrina <blondewithaphd@...> wrote:

      From: Katrina <blondewithaphd@...>
      Subject: [Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To Meditate?
      To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 5:14 AM

       


      All,

      Thank you for your thoughts, guidance, and opinions. I believe it all makes sense. I suppose the trouble I am dealing with is starting. Since I am a researcher and my research involves meditation directly I am exposed to hundreds of studies, books, journal articles, etc., everyday. I know why meditation works, I know how meditation works, and I know what areas of the brain are stimulated through meditation. I've read several Dalai Lama books, Thich Nhat Hanh, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and other respected teachers. I've written a 150 page dissertation on the subject…

      Yet I sit down to try it myself and find that I don't even know where to begin. How can I advocate something I can't even do?! Hence I went to the Kadampa Center for guidance and was given a variety of opinions; "You should start with a teacher." "You don't need a teacher." "You're over complicating things."

      I understand what Chris is saying about simply looking for a way to de-stress and how a teacher may not be necessary based on what one is looking for. I also understand Bryan's feelings on trial and error because what works for one person may not for another.

      Am I trying too hard? Have I complicated something that should not be so complicated?

      Katrina

      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Boozell <cjb@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Katrina,
      >  
      > "My question is if there is a proper way to begin? Can someone with no experience truly grasp the concepts by themselves? Does the kind of technique matter here?"  This can be a provocative question and I'm sure you'll hear many thoughts.   The answer to this question is: it depends on your goals.  
      >  
      > Learning the mechanics of locus, or centering, meditation is the work of about 5 minutes and involves 2 primary skills: 1) placing your attention on some object of your choice, and 2) paying attention to what your mind is doing so you can bring your back to that object when thoughts wander.  In the beginning, the emphasis is on the second skill, but as you develop the habit of attending to one particular object that need will fade a bit. 
      >  
      > If you are simply looking for a sure-fire way to destress, those two skills will do you just fine, and it won't usually be necessary to connect with a teacher.  This approach is the basis for the popular 'The Relaxation Response', and is very approachable by just about anyone. 
      >  
      > But if you are interested in using those meditative skills for something more involved, as in spiritual development, a teacher would be very valuable.  There are a number of reasons for this: there are several modes of meditation, and having an experienced spiritual advisor can help you understand how, when and why you might employ each mode.  Also, without an advisor/teacher, our spiritual efforts tend to focus on things we already grok, and avoid the stuff we aren't comfortable with (or haven't even thought to look into), which usually dampens our progress.  A good teacher can make sure you look in all the metaphorical 'dusty corners' that we could otherwise miss.
      >  
      > Hope this helps!
      >  
      > Vigilate,
      >  
      > Chris Boozell
      >


    • Katrina
      All, I want to thank you for all your words of guidance. It has taken me a while to sort through them all and I will most likely read them over several times.
      Message 2 of 15 , May 28, 2010
        All,

        I want to thank you for all your words of guidance. It has taken me a while to sort through them all and I will most likely read them over several times.

        Aideen,

        I liked your response in the sense that I agree there is a certain level of anxiety when you know perhaps "too much"? and focus purely on the technique and not the journey.

        I wonder if the best route is to seek a teacher with an open mind and see if that works. If not, perhaps at a later time. Or perhaps the real answer is the truncated form of that...just keep an open mind!


        Thanks to all,

        Katrina

        --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Aideen Mckenna" <aideenmck@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Katrina,
        >
        >
        >
        > In short, yes. That's MHO. Listen to Nike & Just Do It. I meditated for
        > some time & then discovered all the books & articles etc. I may well have
        > read hundreds. I don't really regret having done that, but I noticed that
        > the more I read about meditation, the less I meditated. I became anxious.
        > Should I be doing this rather than that? Did I leave this until too late
        > in life? It was like quitting smoking to stop the compulsive reading, which
        > had become a way to avoid the cushion & the concomitant anxiety & doubt.
        > Ridiculous, because I like to meditate; I'm happier & more peaceful when I
        > practice regularly.
        >
        > As for the teacher question, I think you don't need a teacher at first, but
        > later in your practice, you may find that you do. When/if you need one,
        > you'll meet one.
        >
        >
        >
        > Aideen
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Katrina
        > Sent: May-25-10 5:14 AM
        > To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To
        > Meditate?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > All,
        >
        > Thank you for your thoughts, guidance, and opinions. I believe it all makes
        > sense. I suppose the trouble I am dealing with is starting. Since I am a
        > researcher and my research involves meditation directly I am exposed to
        > hundreds of studies, books, journal articles, etc., everyday. I know why
        > meditation works, I know how meditation works, and I know what areas of the
        > brain are stimulated through meditation. I've read several Dalai Lama books,
        > Thich Nhat Hanh, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and other respected teachers. I've
        > written a 150 page dissertation on the subject.
        >
        > Yet I sit down to try it myself and find that I don't even know where to
        > begin. How can I advocate something I can't even do?! Hence I went to the
        > Kadampa Center for guidance and was given a variety of opinions; "You should
        > start with a teacher." "You don't need a teacher." "You're over complicating
        > things."
        >
        > I understand what Chris is saying about simply looking for a way to
        > de-stress and how a teacher may not be necessary based on what one is
        > looking for. I also understand Bryan's feelings on trial and error because
        > what works for one person may not for another.
        >
        > Am I trying too hard? Have I complicated something that should not be so
        > complicated?
        >
        > Katrina
        >
        > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
        > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com> , Christopher Boozell
        > <cjb@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi Katrina,
        > >
        > > "My question is if there is a proper way to begin? Can someone with no
        > experience truly grasp the concepts by themselves? Does the kind of
        > technique matter here?" This can be a provocative question and I'm sure
        > you'll hear many thoughts. The answer to this question is: it depends on
        > your goals.
        > >
        > > Learning the mechanics of locus, or centering, meditation is the work of
        > about 5 minutes and involves 2 primary skills: 1) placing your attention on
        > some object of your choice, and 2) paying attention to what your mind is
        > doing so you can bring your back to that object when thoughts wander. In
        > the beginning, the emphasis is on the second skill, but as you develop the
        > habit of attending to one particular object that need will fade a bit.
        > >
        > > If you are simply looking for a sure-fire way to destress, those two
        > skills will do you just fine, and it won't usually be necessary to connect
        > with a teacher. This approach is the basis for the popular 'The Relaxation
        > Response', and is very approachable by just about anyone.
        > >
        > > But if you are interested in using those meditative skills for something
        > more involved, as in spiritual development, a teacher would be very
        > valuable. There are a number of reasons for this: there are several modes
        > of meditation, and having an experienced spiritual advisor can help you
        > understand how, when and why you might employ each mode. Also, without an
        > advisor/teacher, our spiritual efforts tend to focus on things we already
        > grok, and avoid the stuff we aren't comfortable with (or haven't even
        > thought to look into), which usually dampens our progress. A good teacher
        > can make sure you look in all the metaphorical 'dusty corners' that we could
        > otherwise miss.
        > >
        > > Hope this helps!
        > >
        > > Vigilate,
        > >
        > > Chris Boozell
        > >
        >
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