Meditation - A Life Skill

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:01 pm

Step 11 has lead me to meditate regularly and I have found this to be another great gift I've found via the Programme, so I thought I'd share my experience on this subject, since anecdotally I have found this to be often a misunderstood or 'forgotten' area of the programme; but one that can provide immense benefits.

The first time someone suggested I meditate was Anne, a Trusted Servant of this forum, and I remember posting back that if that meant sitting still for longer than five minutes, that was out of the question. I just couldn't sit still for that long (I thought). But my sponsor at the time swore that his morning meditation kept him calm since he's firery by nature, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Firstly I purchased a book called Meditation for Dummies and on reflection the book was okay, but it was too indepth and I wasn't sure if I was meditating correctly. I started off with just five minute meditation periods and I did feel restless, and I just couldn't help having lots of random thoughts, when the point of breathing meditation is to try and 'still' the mind. So feeling like you're not doing it right, random thoughts, restlessness, and boredom is all perfectly normal when you start meditating (and even after you'v been doing it a while too :mrgreen: ), but it does get better; I promise you!

Anyway, to check I was doing it correctly, I enrolled on two short meditation courses. The first I only had to leave a donation and the second was free. The first course was linked to what can be described as a religion, and the second one wasn't. It doesn't really matter to be honest, meditation is meditation; and there's thousands of different ways to meditate. You can do it while you sit, walk, wait for a train, lying down, washing the dishes, and even... (I'll not say, its probably not appropriate and I've not got any experience at meditating while doing this :mrgreen: ).

So what's the benefits of meditation? I could google some clever answers to this one, but I wont. For me it helps clear my mind and relieve stress. It really does help me stay calm; I'm sure there's got to be plenty of physical benefits; but for me calmness is what I get. Once during meditation I felt almost blissful, but since having experienced that, it hasn't happened again (but that's probably because I'm trying to hard to re-create it). I must admit I have not felt any conscience contact with God, however, I suspect it makes me more receptive to my fellow humans; more sort of sensitive maybe? Or it could be that because I'm calmer, I'm better able to listen? I'm not good at articulating how I feel apart from 'good' and 'bad', and meditating makes me feel 'good' and it lasts outside of actually meditating.

What isn't meditation? Thinking isn't meditation. You may hear people say they're going to 'meditate on a problem', but this is thinking, not meditation. Neither is daydreaming, 'spacing out' while listening to music, self-hypnosis, praying, or sleeping (taken from my handbook Meditation for Dummies).

Now, I'm no meditation expert, I've only been regularly doing it for about 6 months now, and there's plenty of guides on Youtube to show you how to meditate, but I would suggest you just try and find a course and begin with simple breathing meditation; boring as that may sound. And funnily enough, if you 'get into it', meditation can become something quite different from a chore you have to do because its in Step 11.

Anyway, its almost 10.00 pm; that's when my daughter goes to bed and its quiet enough for me to meditate! Try it, its fun!
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by ann2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:32 am

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMerang, Ken!

Thanks for giving it back. Darn, I keep trying to give this thing away but I keep getting more and more while doing it . . .

awesome.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:12 am

From an enlightened master:

Coming back to meditation, simply put, meditation is allowing your mind to relax, that’s all. Meditation is not concentration as people make it out to be. When you concentrate, you actually try to exclude everything from your mind, which is an impossible task.

Just sit for two minutes and try to exclude everything from your mind; you will go mad! Every single thing that you try to exclude will come back and torture you. So concentration is not meditation. Meditation is simply including everything and relaxing. When you are not concentrating on excluding anything, you can relax.

Whenever you find time, just relax and be aware of everything around you. Listen with your heart to all the sounds happening around you. It may be the sounds of birds, the sound of the calendar in the breeze, the sound of the fan above you, the sound of people around you, or whatever.Just listen with an open heart. Mind you, they are all not distractions.
You are flowing with them and so they are not distractions. When you flow with them, they cease to be distractions.

As you do this, you will realize that there is a certain silence, a composite core inside that is actually witnessing all this and you will become more and more aware of that silence inside you. You will get glimpses of that silence in you. Meditation will help you realize that you are only a watcher in life. It will help you center yourself well inside your Being...

Slowly, you will lose consciousness of your body also. You will only have awareness. You will feel yourself only through your awareness, not through your body or through your mind.
Your body will not be numb but you will not be able to feel it, that’s all; only your awareness will remain. This can take you beyond your mind if done intensely.

Meditation will help you realize that you are only a watcher in life. It will help you center yourself well inside your Being and carry on with your outer world tasks much more efficiently and blissfully because you will be carrying an inner silence in you that does not allow you to get distracted or perturbed by anything. If you continue doing this, you start leaving the ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Your ego dissolves. Your ego is nothing but the strong feeling and identity that you have, about your mind and body.

Why do you think we are trying to create a worldwide movement for meditation? Meditation is the only key to global peace. When you start looking inward, you are no more distracted by the outer world distractions like power, money, vengeance etc. All your base energies will get transformed into higher spiritual energies. The collective Consciousness will undergo a shift and automatically peace will prevail.

When a set of individuals get transformed with an experiential understanding, they will in turn inspire others from their own experience and this will continue to create a
positive new mental set-up in society.

Unless your understanding becomes an experience, transformation is not possible. Meditation can make your understanding an experience. Meditation is the only hope for
transformation of the individual and transformation of the society.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:37 am

Nari, is that from A New Earth? I like Tolle, but in my opinion he's a little bit too grandiose for me; but on the other hand I do like what he has to say.

What's your experience with doing the above?
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:34 pm

Nope, not ET, but another one from South India. He has come up with a technique that is a combination of breathing (chaotic), humming, focusing on the energy centers and un-clutching the thoughts. I have been doing this last 6 months pretty consistently and my tolerance level has greatly improved. I have experienced being the watcher my thoughts. But i do get lost during the day. Like ET says we swift from consciousness to un-consciousness but as we progress, the conscious state becomes predominant. And the awareness that we were un-conscious is a great beginning.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:56 pm

Nari,

Thank you, but it sounds a little abstract for me.

When you say you're the 'watcher of your thoughts', is this the same as 'mindfulness'? Is this sort of recognising you're thinking, but trying not to identify with your thoughts? For example, say I'm trying not to smoke, and my mind is telling me that I really REALLY want to smoke, yet I realise that's just thinking and not really me?

I sort of understand what you mean about being 'un-conscious'; recognising this was my spiritual awakening (I think). Can you give me an example of how 'watching your thoughts' works?
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:16 pm

Joe and Charlie explain this in a great way. Every action is preceded with a thought. Just that we are caught up with some other thought or you may identify with some other thought/action we think some of the actions are involuntary. The thoughts just keep popping up like a bubble. And we connect those thoughts and we either make a pain shaft or a joy shaft. Un-Clutching concept is just not to tie these thoughts to-gether and create pain or happiness. When I say I become un-conscious, I get lost in the thoughts (identified like you termed it).

Similar to this, ET points out we all are addicted to thinking. Addiction simply is you can't live without it and addiction starts running our life. Can we stop our mind from thinking? If the answer is no, then he says, the Mind is running us. Mind is an instrument, we need to be able to use it when we need it not otherwise. In the enlightened state from what i hear, the number of thoughts per second is relatively low there by they overflow with energy. They use the mind when they need it.

Your smoking example is a great one. When the thought arises, you could ignore it and then do something else. Take a cup of coffee instead. When the smoking thought arises once more, you again, do something else. you kill the previous thought and replace it with other. Of course, when the obsession of the mind hits, we can't practise this. One has to reach some state of consciousness before starting to try these techniques. Ever wonder why meditation is part of step 11??
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:47 am

This section is straight from power of now:

Freeing yourself from your mind

What exactly do you mean by "watching the thinker"?

When someone goes to the doctor and says, "I hear a voice in my head," he or she will most likely be sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way,
virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don't realize you have the power to stop. Continuous monologues or dialogues. You have probably come across "mad" people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, that's not much different from what you and all other "normal" people do, except that you don't do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn't necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reviving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations. Here it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry. Sometimes this soundtrack is accompanied by visual images or "mental movies." Even if the voice is relevant to the situation at hand, it will interpret it in terms of the past. This is because the voice belongs to your conditioned mind, which is the result of all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mind-set you inherited. So you see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of it. It is not uncommon for the voice to be a person's own worst enemy. Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease.

The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by "watching the thinker," which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence. When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.

So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence - your deeper self - behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking. When a thought subsides, you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream - a gap of "no-mind." At first, the gaps will be short, a few seconds perhaps, but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with Being, which is usually obscured by the mind. With practice, the sense of stillness and peace will deepen. In fact, there is no end to its depth. You will also feel a subtle emanation of joy arising from deep within: the joy of Being.

It is not a trancelike state. Not at all. There is no loss of consciousness here. The opposite is the case. If the price of peace were a lowering of your consciousness, and the price of stillness a lack of vitality and alertness, then they would not be worth having. In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state. You are fully present. It also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body.

As you go more deeply into this realm of no-mind, as it is sometimes called in the East, you realize the state of pure consciousness. In that state, you feel your own presence with such intensity and such joy that all thinking, all emotions, your physical body, as well as the whole external world become relatively insignificant in comparison to it. And yet this is not a selfish but a selfless state. It takes you beyond what you previously thought of as "your self." That presence is essentially you and at the same time inconceivably greater than you. What I am trying to convey here may sound paradoxical or even contradictory, but there is no other way that I can express it.

Instead of "watching the thinker," you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the Now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment. This is a deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation. In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within. So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by joey » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:19 am

great post Avaneesh
Joey

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Steven F » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:25 am

Great stuff - thank you all!

I am searching for a way to have a "workable" meditation life, and here are some fine tips, thanks! Ken, if you have some good links to something about "breathing meditation", I would love to get them from you (PM?).

Right now, evening meditation works sometimes, but morning meditation usually strands into sleeping in and a few minutes of thoughtfulness or contemplation at best. I know, I know, it is crucial I do this better...

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:43 am

Sent! With some reservations. There's that many different ways to meditate, I think its best that people investigate the different techniques for themselves, since my practise could be a 'turn off' for someone else. I think Joe and Charlie mention something about that's why the BB doesn't contain any instructions for meditation; because the subject is bottomless.

But, for a small payment of 5 to 20 minutes a day, the benefits outweigh the small investment of time. I really look forward to my daily meditation, which I do when my daughter has went to bed; and its quiet! :mrgreen:
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by jak » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:16 pm

I found some instructions in the book they sold me....


Page 69
In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem. In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.
Page 83
So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.
Page 87
...If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one's priest, minister, or rabbi....
Page 164
...Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order.

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:52 am

Thanks, Jak, can you share your experience with meditation?
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by Toad » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:39 am

Howdy,
What a fine topic.
There may be a bit of direction put in a simple yet direct way found in the book Alcoholics Anonymous page 86,87, and
88. Also there may be some more simple clues found in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in chapter Eleven.
Yes, I have discovered these suggestions to ease the GREAT I, and allow me to experience the "rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed". I found that in the Blue Book early in recovery and fell in love with the idea. It seems there is a spiritual breeze of sweet taste drifting through those books.

Nothing to be afraid of,
Wayne T. (Toad)

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Re: Meditation - A Life Skill

Post by jak » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:18 am

...Thanks, Jak, can you share your experience with meditation?
I believe I have shared many of my experiences with meditation in my time here at e-AA.
One thread that springs to mind is the one I started titled 'Nature Heals'.

Meditation in my world has much to do with thinking while listening and reading and also thinking while doing daily things. The closest I come to the Quiet Time descibed in the history books of AA is in reading AA and other 12 Step literature and other books eluded to in the above quotes from the Big Book and in the taking of naps during that process. And staring quietly into a camp fire with friends on the road to recovery is an experience I can highly recommend.

My brothers and sisters in recovery showed me early on how to seek focus on things spiritual in all parts of life. I listened to them tell me their stories and I began thinking about my story. They pointed to the books and I began thinking about my story and about my fellows (in and out of recovery). They invited me to their homes and their gardens and their events and meditations and prayers and their music and their weddings and their funerals and I was inspired to seek (through thinking) my own music, my own soul, and then to share it with them and with 'the spheres'.

That occured, not so often with eyes closed and legs crossed with hands folded while seeking nirvana, but while engaged in life and creation with a heart and mind as open as possible to new ways and new people and new insights. I was taught to bring my meditation with me.

My heart still needs further healing and opening and faith. I still need meditation throughout my day. This online group is a part of my daily meditation. Thank you for your ES&H.

jimk

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