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Old 02-08-2011, 01:24 AM
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Default Meditation

I've been sporadically practicing meditation for some years. In recent weeks and months I'm committing to more regular sitting. Today I had a kind of breakthrough. I was taking my meditation as medicine, a slightly unpaletable medicine. (Please forgive typos or misspellings; I'm too lazy to google www.dictionary.com right now). And now I'm really starting to enjoy just sitting there attending to breath and sensation while letting go of chasing after thoughts. It's starting to get restful, peaceful -- even fun, exciting -- an adventure.

And you?
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:12 PM
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Breathing ...

Yesterday morning: The new zafu and zabuton (Japanese words for stacked sitting cushions) certainly make sitting upright, spine aligned with gravity, more comfortable and easeful. Anyone who's ever practiced mindfulness on the breath, with the instruction just to watch or attend to the breath, will have noticed at some time that that's not so easy at first. It's an attitude and practice of just allowing and attending, not of affecting, forcing, causing. It's a fascinating fact that breathing is both voluntary and involuntary. One needn't choose to breath for breath to happen, yet it can be difficult to attend carefully to the breath without influencing it. (Try, find out for yourself.)

So I chose to play -- as often I do when sitting. To mix things up a little. To find my own way. And so I attended in a non-interfering sort of way for a while. And then I started choosing deeper, carefully attended to breaths. Fuller, deeper. Where does it go, what muscles are involved? How does that feel? How is gravity involved here? What emotions, however subtle, arise? And so on. Already I had come to a sort of calm, an ease, a quietness. Why not explore it? Gently.

I could feel the front of my body behaving as armor, as a shield. It was saying a kind of silent "no". It's "no" was felt as a dullness, a moving away from vitality, vulnerability, feeling, tenderness..., all those things I want. Or so I tell myself. So I decided to play like this: Can I say "yes"? "Yes" with my body where it said "no"? Can I breathe to say "yes"? Breathe directly into those places in my body which are saying "no"? I could! I did.

I felt the whole front of my body, the face of my facing of life, saying "yes!" I felt the knot behind my heart, in my back, also loosten its grip. I felt a calm joy, physical pleasure. And I knew I need not ever be bored with sitting still like this. This may be medicine, but it needn't be imagined as bitter, a chore in need of doing. It needn't be a strain, an effort against the river or the wind.

Last edited by River; 02-08-2011 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:52 AM
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I have no idea what you're talking about in your second post.

I do like the idea of meditation though. I've tried it a few times. I would like to try it more often. I have no idea why I don't. It feels great. I think maybe if I had someone to do it with, it would be a lot easier to push myself to do it often.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:12 AM
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I like to do yoga for meditation. Well, it's not exactly the same thing, but I think it has a lot of the same effects. We always start in constructive rest position, which involves tuning in to your body and becoming aware of it.

The reason I prefer yoga over sitting meditation is that my mind gets restless and bored when I meditate. I know, I know, that's the whole point of meditating, but right now I just have too much trouble getting there on my own. I find that with yoga, I still stop thinking about life and thinking in general, and start to focus on alignment and the present moment.

I do Iyengar yoga, which uses props and is slower paced with held poses more than flowing from one pose to another. I've done faster yoga and I find that I never get the proper alignment in one pose before we're moving on to something else.

We often sit either on foam blocks or bolsters, allowing our pelvis to roll so that we're sitting on the front of the sitting bones. This helps keep the spine long and straight.

It's truly amazing how much of a change I've experience since I started doing yoga. The whole rest of my life has seen benefit, I'm calmer and more relaxed, I don't get anxious or worried as often, I do homework with a good attitude rather than as a chore. Even my test marks went up. My whole mind is just more focused.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I like to do yoga for meditation. Well, it's not exactly the same thing, but I think it has a lot of the same effects.
Well, I'd say LOTS of things can be done meditatively, though not all meditation is sitting meditation (stillness meditation in a sitting position). Lots of movement arts are practiced meditatively, and are very helpful and have much the same kind of affects.

I think hatha yoga is a great compliment to sitting practice, and vice versa. (Regular sitting will re-align the spine in lots of folks, and strenghening certain muscles in the torso will certainly make sitting go easier!) Tai chi, chi gung, massage/bodywork, psychotherapy..., and other practices are also complimentary, I feel.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:54 PM
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I understood the breathing thing. I've always done that. Focusing on your pulse is another good way. I just didn't understand a lot of the words. Maybe I was not reading carefully enough, but it just didn't make sense to me. Meditation is certainly very helpful though. I try to do it more and more.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somegeezer View Post
I have no idea what you're talking about in your second post.
It's about the practice of mindfulness on the body (as breath), which is the foundation and heart of Buddhist meditation. It may be that you have no idea what I'm talking about because you've not sat still and payed careful, extended, attention to your own breathing. It may sound like a silly thing to do, an absurd waste of time, but the practice has had powerful healing and transformational affect on lots of people. Check out Jack Kornfield's little book, Meditation for Beginners. (I think I have that title right.)
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