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#388218 - 03/26/08 12:01 AM A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time meditation
Aegishjalmur Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 32
Loc: United States
I have really no training in eastern martial arts, and the whole concept of meditation is a little foreign to me, however I am the kind of person who never looks down on a practice due to its place of origin.

Show this is how it went.

I stretched a bit as I was about to to seated meditation and need to get comfortable. I sat alone in a quite room with the lights dimmed and did my best to clear my mind of distracting thoughts.

I falied miserably...I mean you could not imagine the storm that evidently is raging in my thick skull. it was as if someone took an mp3 player and played a song looping only a specific portion of an overplayed song, mixed with whinning people, and a constant buzzing hum. I even tried to focus on counting breaths and focusing on a single word....

NO LUCK.

So I ask is there a good way to clear one's mind. Heck, I realize it isn't easy and if all it takes is constant practice, heck, i'll put in the work, but if there are strategies for better wyas to do this...please fill me in.

Thanks,

Aegishjalmur
_________________________
Still we've sighted only sea till now As we sail I sometimes wonder how far to Asgaard.

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#388219 - 03/26/08 12:23 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: Aegishjalmur]
Novum Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/08
Posts: 58
Loc: New England
I'm far from an authority on the subject for sure, but maybe try actually playing soft music while you meditate. I know for me, it helps to have something to idly focus on and gradually wane into a relaxed and meditative state. *inputs two cents*
_________________________
Therefore we are not justified in saying that all reality is in perfect agreement and harmony.

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#388220 - 03/26/08 12:33 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: Novum]
Aegishjalmur Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 32
Loc: United States
Thanks for your $.02.....I'll give it a try.
_________________________
Still we've sighted only sea till now As we sail I sometimes wonder how far to Asgaard.

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#388221 - 03/26/08 05:21 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time meditation [Re: Aegishjalmur]
sopredictable Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 13
Loc: New Zealand
There is no such thing as 'failure' in meditation, especially the first time.

Your brain is always working and you can't just expect to be able to turn it off the first time you meditate. Focusing on your breath is a good start, but also see yourself as an observer. Don't fix your mind on stopping your thoughts. Have them, see them and let them pass.

Oh,and.......practice again and again and again and then some
_________________________
Nobody is perfect...except the captain

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#388222 - 03/26/08 03:21 PM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time meditation [Re: sopredictable]
Aegishjalmur Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 32
Loc: United States
Perhaps I was hindered because I'm stressed...I do have a busy college schedule and it's not easy to put out all these worries from my conscious mind. Damn, I need to relax before I can even relax...
_________________________
Still we've sighted only sea till now As we sail I sometimes wonder how far to Asgaard.

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#388223 - 03/26/08 06:17 PM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: Aegishjalmur]
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Try a guided meditation or visualisation. This can help you to achieve a relaxed state quickly. It is important though, to be able to achieve focus on your own.
Like sopredictable said, focusing on the breath is a good start. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another good way. You'll probably find places in your body that you are tensing unnessecarily. Just start at the top of your head and focus on all of your body parts down to your toes. Spend 5-10 seconds on each body part and aim to relax it completely.
Stress can make it difficult, especially in the beginning, but it is a difficult thing to do and it does get easier. But even if you have to remember to calm your mind a thousand times, you're making progress.
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#388224 - 04/13/08 04:33 PM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: jkdwarrior]
Tashigae Offline
Mister Bendy

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 690
Loc: Samarobriva, Gallia
I'm far from being very experienced at it, but since last year my training has been involving a huge share of so-called "internal exercises"; so here are the tips I've found to help when it comes to meditation:

1- After getting in the desired position, I'd say the first thing to do is to sort the breathing out. Keep the tip of you tongue connected to your palate (without really "pressing" it there either, since what you're trying to do is relax and any excessive tension goes against that), and breathe as peacefully as you can, trying to slow your breathing down gradually by making each breath (in and out) last longer. Don't slow it down to the point where you struggle to keep it so slow either, for that would mean unwanted tension in your chest (among other areas). When your breathing is both slow AND effortless, it's time to take care of step two.

2- Now to relax your body. As JKDWarrior pointed, the most simple way to do this is to run through your entire body like through a checklist. Concentrate on your feet (yeah, I personally run from toe to head, but JKDWarior's method of running from head to toe is just as good), and relax them as fully as you can. "Feet relaxed: check". Then proceed to focus on your ankles and relax them until you can say (mentally ) "ankles relaxed: check". And so on up to your chest, then shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, neck, face. Once your entire body feels relaxed, a good way to keep it that way is to try and make your body to feel "heavy". Imagine that you're sitting on the sand at the bottom of the sea, and that you're trying to get your body to sink itself into the soft sand out of mere weight. That way, your body should instinctively avoid any motion or tension that would come in opposition to just simple gravity - and pretty much any muscular tension belong to that category (that's why lifting a person who's lost consciousness is, paradoxically, often harder than lifting an unwilling person).

3- OK, now for the meditation itself. Apparently, like me, you have trouble shutting off the flow of your thoughts. Just don't bother yourself about it, otherwise it will only make things worse. Instead, try to be more like "yeah, that's right; I still have a lot of rubbish going through my mind. So what?" . If you're at least comfortable about the restlessness of your mind, it has more chances to go away. You should even experience, now and then, some short (or not so short) 'blanks' when it DOES go away, and hopefully those blessed moments should become more and more consistent with time and experience. Now one of the most common weapons against those parasite idle thoughts is to concentrate on one given thing. Your breathing is an eligible candidate. If you're relaxed enough, you should even be able to perceive your own heartbeat very clearly, and that's another potential place for your mind to be (you can even try to influence it, and eventually become able to slow it down a bit). Some sentences can do that job too (For instance, in the Middle-Ages, would-be knights would spend the night kneeling and repeating some pater noster's or other prayers till dawn before being knighted). Just find what works for you.

4- Troubleshoot!
Sometimes, if you can't 'find it', the reason might be that some unwanted tension has been building up again somewhere. That's why I would advise to run through your 'checklist' again now and then, just to make sure some muscle hasn't re-tensed itself while you were not watching. Muscles of the face are among the usual suspects: it's VERY easy to unconsciously get into a frown when meditating, especially if things don't run as we'd like them to. If you meditate in a standing position (a common exercise in several styles of gongfu), legs will naturally have that tendency as well.
Another obvious cause that may affect your ability to meditate is your environment. See if there's anything wrong there. If you have the opportunity, there's no beating meditation in a natural environment (a garden is fine, wilderness is even better). However it has its limits: you should be comfortable, which will obviously be difficult in case of freezing cold, for instance. Home is usually the choice that comes just next, since it's usually the place where you'll feel safest and most relaxed.

5- An extra piece of advice I received from my instructor Mr.Zhou Jingxuan when I was learning gongfu in Tianjin. I'm rather clueless about the reason for this, but I just pass it down. According to him, you should always be facing east when doing any kind of meditation/neigong exercise. South is acceptable too, but north and west should be avoided. Don't ask.

6- Last but not least: persevere .


OK, that's about all I can think of now. I'll keep you posted if I think of more meditation tips.

I hope it helps!
_________________________
文武雙全

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#388225 - 04/14/08 02:09 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: Tashigae]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

Apparently, like me, you have trouble shutting off the flow of your thoughts.




The idea is not to shut off the flow of thoughts; it's way too difficult for a beginner. The idea for beginners is "to center your mind on a single point of thought" One good method is "close your eyes and smile" Drop your prejudice (if any) and try it.


Quote:

An extra piece of advice I received from my instructor Mr.Zhou Jingxuan when I was learning gongfu in Tianjin. I'm rather clueless about the reason for this, but I just pass it down. According to him, you should always be facing east when doing any kind of meditation/neigong exercise. South is acceptable too, but north and west should be avoided. Don't ask




It is an ancient Chinese belief that evil or evil forces are found or originate from the north and that the west is the dwelling paradise of the gods and an old chinese euphemism for death is to ascend the 'western paradise'

I always face north or south to take advantage of the earth's north/south flow of magnetic forces.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#388226 - 04/14/08 06:24 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: ButterflyPalm]
Tashigae Offline
Mister Bendy

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 690
Loc: Samarobriva, Gallia
Quote:

It is an ancient Chinese belief that evil or evil forces are found or originate from the north



You bet they do! XIONG-NU!

Quote:

the west is the dwelling paradise of the gods and an old chinese euphemism for death is to ascend the 'western paradise'



Yes, I remember now... Xi-You-Ji.

Quote:

I always face north or south to take advantage of the earth's north/south flow of magnetic forces.



I was wondering... For different exoteric reasons (facing Jerusalem/the Mecca, etc.), the Chinese, the Christians and the Muslims all face east when praying/contemplating/meditating. Therefore I definitely think there must be an esoteric reason hidden behind the exoteric one(s). I had been thinking about a possible geo-magnetic explanation, but since you say that those forces are more favourably taken advantage of when facing north/south, I guess the secret must lie somewhere else... It's not about the sun either, because east is still the best direction to face even when doing neigong in the afternoon, according to my former shifu. Any idea?
Here in Europe (and everywhere in the World as far as I'm aware, including in locations situated north, south or east of Jerusalem), churches are systematically oriented so that the fidels are facing east when facing the altar. I may add that until recently, the priest would also face the altar. The current habit of having the priest facing the fidels (and turing his back on God! ) is quite a recent development of Christian liturgy.
_________________________
文武雙全

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#388227 - 04/14/08 07:55 AM Re: A newbie's pathetic attempt at 1st time medita [Re: Tashigae]
horizon Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/05
Posts: 143
Loc: London
2 weeks ago I had my first proper meditation class. Before then we had short 'meditation' periods after training every now and then, but this was a 'proper' class. Our teacher explained us what exactly meditation is, what you like to achieve and how you could get there.

What I really liked about the teacher, is how she explained everything. She told us that you should think of you consious mind as a 3-year old child, who is curious and wants to explore and run away. She said that your mind will drift off during meditation, especially for people who haven't done it before. The trick was not to get angry, or frustrated, but everytime it runs of 'just call the child back'. After a while your mind will stop wander and stay where it is.

I really liked her analogy, and it helped me to prevent getting frustrated with myself. I just corrected myself everytime is started drifting, and pulled myself back to the 'here and now'.

I don't know if this woudl work for you, but it did for me and the whoel meditation left me feeling extremely positive and uplifted.
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Ichi Nichi Issho - one day, one lifetime

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