Meditation - Catch all

Also, with the insight app, if there's anyone who's active and wants a promotion to moderator (able to accept requests to the group), let me know who you are in-app and I'll promote you.

Anyone else in this thread have aphantasia ?

I've had a strong version of it my entire life so the guided visual mind's eye stuff never worked for me. Ones that were just breathing instructions were more helpful but ultimately I developed other methods for my personal practice. That said I'm curious if those of you without aphantasia tend to rely more on visual methods or non-visual ones.

krev82 wrote:

Anyone else in this thread have aphantasia ?

I've had a strong version of it my entire life so the guided visual mind's eye stuff never worked for me. Ones that were just breathing instructions were more helpful but ultimately I developed other methods for my personal practice. That said I'm curious if those of you without aphantasia tend to rely more on visual methods or non-visual ones.

I'm good with mental images, maybe from having started reading on my own since age 3 and was reading "adult" (i.e. no pictures) books when I was still a very young child and picture loads of things while I'm reading and thinking. Your post is the first I've heard of this condition, so not sure if it's something people are born with or was just never developed or changes in the brain at some point after birth. It's probably in the articles that are linked from he thread you linked, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

As for meditation, I don't think I use visual imagery much as I'm usually just focused on breathing or maybe a word or phrase, or relaxing muscles. I'm sure visual imagery creeps in anyway along with other thoughts, but I typically don't do it intentionally. Maybe because my mind tends to be cluttered with it to begin with and so meditation needs to do something different. I'll have to think about it more since I never realized that it wasn't the same for everyone and haven't given the thought much attention.

Maybe something with this might explain why I'm so horrible with audio books though. Could be I'm too busy visualizing to be able to pay attention to what the narrator is saying. I tend to do the same thing with lengthy audio meditation too, so tend to prefer meditative music or just silence.

marcelp wrote:

Got ya' Godzilla. Welcome!

Thanks! I'm in.

My first reaction to downloading the insight app was "Why do I need an app for this?" After having used it now for the past couple of days, it seems really helpful.

I'm curious, how long do people here meditate for in a session? I usually start at 10 minutes, then increase by a minute or so every few days until I get to 20 minutes. I did 12 minutes this morning.

I find the imaginary visual cues to be a bit frustrating. I start the visual but I can't get very far before my mind starts over again.
I scored 40/40 on one of the aphantasia tests which I guess means I am hyperphantasia.

I started off at 10 minutes, then after about 3 months decided it was right for me to move to 15 minutes. I've been there for about 6 months now because my regularity has been off a few times and I want to get back to solid daily meditation before I think again about how long I sit. I think 20 minutes would be the most my schedule would tolerate on a regular basis, but boy would I love to try an occasional 30-60 minute session at some point, though not yet. Or a meditation retreat for a day... sounds so nice!

The great thing for me is I feel very little self-pressure to hit a certain mark. I know meditation is a lifelong pursuit for me, so whether I stay at 15 minutes for the next year or move to 20 in a few months, it matters far less to me. This is so different than my experience with something like regular exercise, where I struggle to do it, struggle about how long is "right" and so on. Meditation has just become part of my existence in a way exercise hasn't yet. And once it was ingrained, I worried less about the details. Anyway, that's been my experience so far.

fangblackbone wrote:

I find the imaginary visual cues to be a bit frustrating. I start the visual but I can't get very far before my mind starts over again.

I lived in Japan for a few years and absorbed many of my mediation practices from Zen. I'd guess that puts me very much in the spartan category for meditation. I just sit and count breaths to ten. No music, no sounds, nothing else. If that gets easier, I shift to counting only exhales, then only inhales. Eventually I'd like to get to the point where I could just remove the numbers altogether.

I'm interested in trying other types of meditation, though.

I have two 30-day trial codes for Headspace. It's a guided meditation program with mobile apps. The usual free account gets you ten 10-minute guided sessions. The 30-day trail gets you access to the full catalog for a month. PM me if you'd like one. I got them from hitting milestones with my own account.

EDIT: Gone

Woot. 6 days in a row. I've increased to 14 minutes each session as well.

Haven't finished watching the video but there is a bit on CNN that might be interesting.

How every person can benefit from meditation

If anyone is looking for free unguided meditation timers that don't need to connect to the net, that sort of thing, I came across these. They're very spartan with just a bell or bowl to signal start and end, I find it useful during my work breaks so I don't overshoot.

After relocating my office to make a bedroom for the new baby and combining the office with my wife's office/craftroom/spare bed, I basically lost the space I was using for meditation. The past month has been a struggle to ensure I made time for sitting, and even harder to find a space not beyond-cluttered from the move, but today I found the best possible solution.

I'm turning the double-depth closet in the new shared office into my personal meditation and quiet space. I meditated in there today with the sliding doors closed and it was so much nicer than I've been able to manage for a long time. So far, I've just been emptying the closet of everything, then I will only put things inside that will be tucked away and well organized to not destroy the peacefulness and simplicity I want to have in there.

It's an odd move by many standards, but when the thought occurred to me, I knew it was the only chance I had and it just felt so right. On the plus side, no more computer in view to distract me when I'm trying to meditate. Also, I could conceivably feel confident meditating in peace with some white noise app even with my wife in the office on her computer or the kids playing in the family room adjacent.

Next, I just need to figure out a signal or sign to hang in the office to indicate where I am and that I'm not to be disturbed. That way I'm not "lost" or knocked-at just to see if I'm "in there."

And, if you've got suggestions, I'd love to get some soft smells or one or two relaxing images into the space.

Thanks for the Headspace recommendation. It's been a really nice guided meditation to mix things up with.

Antichulius wrote:

And, if you've got suggestions, I'd love to get some soft smells or one or two relaxing images into the space.

Would darkness work? Make it kind of like a psychomanteum?

Further to "H.P.'s Adventures in Technology," my therapist tried me on a Muse headband. It's kind of a biofeedback "assist" to meditation. Couldn't use it while doing CES, which is too bad, but it's a cinch to use.

Just hit my 100th consecutive day on Insight Timer!! woohoo!

Thanks all of you Goodjers who accepted my friend request. The interface is much less lonely with an active friend welcome screen!

Hope you all are enjoying your sitting!

That's awesome Kronen. That's a solid milestone.

My practice has been lacking lately. Too many times basically falling asleep while sitting because I'm so exhausted. I've been letting it go as "clearly I needed the sleep if I'm going to fall asleep sitting up" but too many days and it's really thrown off my practice. I'm still practicing, still coming back and sitting, but I've lost some of my skill in focus and returning to the breath.

Thanks for the recommendation for insight timer. Really nice app so far!

Antichulius wrote:

My practice has been lacking lately. Too many times basically falling asleep while sitting because I'm so exhausted... I've lost some of my skill in focus and returning to the breath.

Mediation does not require sitting, laying down, or a quite place. Use of a routine or method can generate a fragile state.

I recommend practicing meditation occasionally (don't immediately stunt all of your progress) with noise, distractions, and commotions. You can start with a pair of muffling headphones if that helps. I will meditate with the roomba vacuum running and the dog barking while sitting next to a loud clock. The goal there is to let it all go sans size or quantity.

Let go of the doubts that you won't achieve something new, the expectations that you will only get the same outcome as your last attempt, forget the future, the past, your schedule, to-do list, and time. Let your senses fall away and hush your intellect. Where you're going you don't need eyes, ears, or a brain, and if you overshoot your time allotted than you will just deal with that as it comes. No mind. You're an adventurer or consciousness explorer embarking on a journey.

When playing a video game most people find it easy enough to focus on just the experience from the screen for long periods and not think about everything else going on. It's the same tuning out, just remove the TV/monitor and let go of the voice inside your head that tries to keep some level of input going.

The first hurdle of Meditation is the practice of just being. All you have to do is let go of the physical input (or data) so you can be open to different input (or data). It's hard to listen to someone talking if you don't stop talking yourself. The busier the environment, the stronger your ability to tune out and just listen (or focus) will grow. I will sometimes picture an umbrella over my head and let all of the thoughts and distractions just roll off to the sides like rain. This is my tool though. You are welcome to use it or come up with your own method.

The second step when I say listen: what you're looking for is intent (or symbolism), not sound. Consciousness doesn't speak English. It's the input you receive when you are not providing any. It's that gut feeling of a notion, not a thought. Don't judge it or analyze it and turn it away. It can teach you how to connect with your true self and be a genuine person. Living from your sub-conscious without regret or battle between intellect and self. But before you can receive that you need to learn (or remember) how to listen. It's what you did as a baby before intellect was formed and influenced by culture. You're not doing anything you haven't known how to do your whole life. You're un-training influence and filters that have gotten in the way.

Once you are capable of being in touch and experiencing through your consciousness you are now 'out of body'. Because consciousness doesn't have physical limitations. You realize that you can talk to other consciousness and experience directly through it. Some fun stuff starts happening and that path you walked to get there starts to open up to numerous roads.

Falling asleep will happen. It can mean you're just too tired. Don't let it frustrate you or impact your next journey. You still got some Zzzzs out of it that your body needed so it wasn't a waste. Even if all your get is some quite time that's a rare resource in a society where everyone is always on.

The path, the trials, and distance (practice and time requirement) is different for everyone. This is your experience and your consciousness. You built it and there are many like it, but this one is uniquely yours. It's the culmination of your experiences and your shoes to fill that nobody else can walk in. Reading someone else's journey and expecting to have the same experience is putting a limitation on what yours could be. That's like reading how to fly a plane and expecting it to make you able to ride a motorcycle. Knowing that vehicles move forward and are affected by gravity is useful in both situations. But the experience is going to be full of discovery and unique because it's your vehicle you're driving, not theirs and it wasn't built from the same experiences (parts).

Well crap, I wrote too much. Now no-one will want to read it . Oh well, hope some random person on the internet gets at least something from it.

For those of you who are interested in/practice mindfulness meditation, there's a free course on Coursera called Demystifying Mindfulness. It's offered by the University of Leiden. We're in week 2, and so far it is excellent. I was in a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class 12 years ago, and it was transformative in very positive ways. This class uses similar meditation exercises.

GoldenDog wrote:

Well crap, I wrote too much. Now no-one will want to read it . Oh well, hope some random person on the internet gets at least something from it.

Not too much. I read it. Thanks. Good thoughts. I like the umbrella sentiment. I've been picturing a mass effect style biotic bubble shield but it always seemed so forceful. I'll try an umbrella in my mind later today when I get a chance to sit.

Antichulius wrote:

Not too much. I read it. Thanks.

I'll share a bit more then on my personal journey and how it's flowing. Although as stated before, everyone's will vary.

I began by meditating twice a day for 20 minute sessions each. It was really difficult to focus and I couldn't keep my mind silent. I also had a difficult time just sitting still without wanting to scratch or keep my eyes closed. The eyes just wanted to open by themselves and I could only hold a completely silent mind for seconds before having to refocus. I used mantra techniques to give the brain busy work and constantly bounced around in the seat.

For weeks I didn't get much out of it and grew frustrated because I was in a hurry to have a result to log. I kept at it though, but really wanted to quit and find myself a shortcut.

After 2 months I noticed I could hold my thoughts completely empty for much longer. There were still 'rubber-banding' sessions where I couldn't at all, but on average I could sit there for the full 20+ minutes and rarely have a single interruption. I was just sitting there in pure darkness (internally) and doing nothing at all.
Sometimes I would get random images and I tuned those out as well (Mistake 1).

Then the vibrations began. During sessions I began to get wild chills down my spine and through my head. At first I was scared of these and a bit excited because they were what I had read other people experiencing before reaching the next step. I was pushing to the boundary and ready for something amazing... so I thought. Turns out much later I found out these were just signals from the nerves saying body was going to sleep and not necessarily indications of anything. They kept forcing me back awake though because my heart rate would jump at the expectation of achievement (Mistake 2).

After 5 months (since start) I couldn't get past this vibration stage and I went back to studying resources. Then I had an "aha" moment.

So here we have two major mistakes I made and learned from. The first one being that I was ignoring the input my own consciousness was giving me because I thought any notion needed to be ignored. I didn't learn till much later that I had reached the breakthrough and just kept ignoring it because I was expecting it to come in a different form. Like some mythical being was just going to show up and speak english to me.
The very thing I was trying to get at was broken from my understanding someone else's experience and thinking it needed to be the same.

My expectations defined my limitations.

Month 6 I went back and instead of ignoring this nudge once my mind was empty (real easy to do at this point for 40 minutes+), I started to play with it. When it moved, I followed and when it became a monster, I invited it to tea. Fearing what you get will stop you in your tracks. Just enjoy it, it can't hurt you anymore than a dream. But then I realized I could think about something else while still having this non-originating experience (I could turn intellect back on and analyze it without waking, but it's best not to). At this point my intellect can be flipped like a switch.

Basically it was like I suddenly had two processes of information running at the same time. Like standing outside and thinking. I was someplace and able to think on my own accord and still be in this place. Like a lucid dream although I wasn't asleep. I could still hear the dog bark, but it never broke the state. Distractions were like a passing breeze. Easy not to even notice them, and they sounded so distant. I was so chill and into this experience that I felt like I never wanted to wake.

Nothing spoke words or really even made any sounds/scents. I could feel textures though. In fact, one of my key practices to quickly jump to a place was sweeping the ground with my hand and focusing on the feel of the surface. Then I tried engaging my other senses. I tried to hear a noise and I could hear one. I tried tasting something and I could taste it. But it took a lot of effort, so I have to gradually learn how to initialize or draw more data from the experience. It started as a slideshow of random seeming stuff and grew over-time to interact-able adventures. I also get some crazy time-dilation. I'll feel like I've been meditating for an hour and come back 20 minutes later. I'll also feel like I've been out for 20 minutes and an hour has passed.

Now I am at the point where I am trying to direct specific results that can be measured physically. Remote viewing and remote healing. In order to grow you need to have a direction. Giving no direction is fun to just drift around, but it won't make you better at anything. You need to know why you are meditating. What do you want to achieve? What's the long-term and short-term results you're looking for?

I want to be helpful. I want to help people get through difficult times (myself included) and understand how existence and consciousness works. I want to enrich other's lives by not having fear, hatred, and judgemental thoughts. I want to be a calm, cool, loving person. I am not there yet. But I am trying and I see progress in my day-to-day.

I see people less as people and more as their consciousness driving them. I notice people reacting to me differently and myself more interested in what makes them tick. My speech patterns have changed from fast to slow and chill. I have far less judgmental thoughts because I identify less as myself more as a wondering soul. I also have my intellect under ok control and with it shut off there are no negative responses to give. I get cut-off and there's no response. No reaction or thought to come from it. It just is.

It was a lot of impatience, years of attempted understanding (right and wrong), lots of trial and error with different religions and several months of rock resolve (I will do this or die trying) to get this far and I feel like I am just a noob. But who decides when it's time to know the answers? You do. The results were literally hitting me in the face at times and I proved I wasn't ready for them. All I had to do was slow down and keep an open mind.

Anyone recall the name of the guy Certis talked about as someone to lookup? Also any other recommendations on people to look up on this as I scratch the surface?

Hobear wrote:

Also any other recommendations on people to look up on this as I scratch the surface?

I recommend Tom Campbell

Former NASA contractor, retired physicist, and consciousness researcher. He helped found the Monroe Institute studies for Binural Beats. His lectures are free on youtube; his book is free on Google Books.

Recently published in the June 2017 International Journal of Quantum Foundations for his proposed experiments on testing the Simulation Theory. Experiments devised from 30+ years of meditation and how the experience altered his perception of reality.

In my opinion all roads lead to Rome. Whether it's a scientist, spiritual guide, life-event, or curiosity that leads you to meditate, it's all good. Whatever you can connect with to lower the fear in your heart to make more room for love. Know thyself.

I am going to double post because I don't want you guys to give up and I want to keep the thread active. When I first started seriously meditating I was told to give up because I got frustrated with a lack of results and told it must not be for me. Worst advice ever. My only goal is to be helpful. If my posts are seen as helpful to no-one, I will stop.

I wanted to share a message I wrote to someone else in an attempt to lower confusion on techniques and promote results...

I appreciate the offer from (Person1) of more books.  I am in a bit of a phase though where too much reading is actually bad for progress.  I will still take a look at them though.  The analogy is like this: If you know how to play a guitar, reading more books on how to play guitar isn't as helpful as actually practicing.  And trying to practice too many styles at one time will make you more sloppy than just aiming to master one and then moving to the next.  Finally and most importantly, consciousness communicates using each persons own personal metaphors.  Having an expectation generated from someone else's experience will define your own limitations.  This is more difficult to write an analogy for, but I will try.

So consciousness doesn't speak English.  It talks with symbolism (pictures/places/colors/items) and appeals to emotion.  If I read about someone else's journey and I try to re-create that journey, it will fail.  That's because the location they visit does not hold the same meaning to me as it did to them and the message was customized for them.  Think of the blot test (Rorschach).  Where someone will see an ink splatter that looks like a butterfly, the next person could see a house.  It's like that but on a way bigger scale.  If someone tells me it's a butterfly and I look through the ink spots looking for butterflies but only see houses I will get frustrated and quit.  My intellect is telling me I am supposed to see a butterfly in order to get the test right.  But I only see houses so I must be doing it wrong and am a failure.  

The truth is there is no right answer.  It's your interpretation that matters, not theirs because it's your consciousness you are filtering through.  And creating an expectation for yourself that you are looking for butterflies will cause a hang-up (limitation) on your potential.  It will stop your progress as you look for a butterfly that you cannot see.  They way forward is with an open mind; no intellect, no expectations, no influence.  Just a solid beam of intent of what you want to accomplish.

Knowing what you are capable of accomplishing is useful at expanding your own intent.  So the books have validity to that point.

I began my phase a couple days ago of reaching out to talk to other units of consciousness. I have some wild stories, but hesitate to share because I don't want them to influence. If anyone is interested for entertainment value let me know.

Are We Really Meditating?

This is a good piece and some nice perspective.

I meditated today for the first time in quite a while. Go me.

I've been meditating on and off (in vivo practice ) for about 20 years, mostly from a Buddhist and Daoist background.

Thanks for turning me into the headspace app, my wife has just started using it and is finding it very helpful!

So I always figured meditation was like riding a bike or playing an instrument. You could drop it and pick it back up.

Recently I had a headache that lasted 2 weeks and couldn't focus. Once the headache went away I went back into meditation. I found that missing two weeks made me have to start over from scratch. The wondering mind symptoms had returned.

The progress to get "back into shape" has been moving much faster than the 7 months it took to begin with because I know what to do this time (improvement after 1 week), but I came to the realization that it seems more to be like exercise or diet. If you fall off the bandwagon you got to begin all over again. Once you're in shape it's easier to maintain it, but if you let yourself fall out of shape the process starts over.

This is my experience anyhow. Everyone's results may vary.

I need to get back on the trolley here. I have gone for weeks without time. Work has been too demanding, life has been too busy. You know those things that make you think you have no time for yourself when you need it the most. Hoping to try and get a quick segment in it here today otherwise I hope I have the will to wake up early tomorrow.

I wanted to link this since it was a really productive read for me:

How we get hooked shenpa and how we get unhooked.

It really clarified the idea of "attachment" for me and is helping me focus on some things during meditation.