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#409814 - 10/18/08 09:09 PM The REAL purpose of meditation!
jkdwarrior Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
I read somewhere that 5% of adults in the developed world meditate. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but you can guarantee that most of these people began meditating to achieve a calmer mind.

What most people aren't aware of is that while a calmer mind is one of the benefits of meditation, it is not what the practice is actually for.

First you work on the body, relaxing muscular tensions. You will find eventually that everytime you have a thought, it creates an actual physical tension, usually somewhere in and around the spine and brain (CNS). As your mind gradually becomes clearer, your body will move more fluidly, and you will be able to let go of unhealthy emotions and feelings.

Then one day your mind relaxes completely and you are suddenly hit by how the mind and body are supposed to work. In psychology this is called a peak experience. It feels like your body vibrates from your feet to your head, and you'll feel absolutely fantastic. You may have had such experiences spontaneously even if you don't meditate.

This vibration which you will actually sense physically will feel like an army of ants are marching up your spine and flowing out of the top of your head. Yogis call it the kundalini, the proper use of prana. It is your chi/ki and when you feel this sensation it is flowing at a very high level (I'm aware that some many know this already so please forgive me if you find it at all condescending).

The true purpose of meditation is to open this vibration and have it flowing 24/7. As ridiculous as it sounds to a non practitioner, it's the truth. We are dealing with a vibration that you will feel physically. Without it, there is no chance of awakening to find peace.
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#409815 - 10/18/08 09:36 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: jkdwarrior]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Well, that is your opinion. LOL!

Don't you think the 'real purpose' of meditation might be different for each individual? That, like MA, it depends on the person? Don't know what 5% of the 'developed world' is, but it seems that the general makeup of the MAist found on internet forums might be more concerned with 'pragmatic' or tangibly useful aspects of meditation. Like, developing focus, or equinimity (sp?)...for fighting.

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#409816 - 10/18/08 10:10 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: harlan]
jkdwarrior Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Right on. My opinion guys (and the opinion of quite a few who are seen as "masters"). I forgot the disclaimer this time.

Developing focus will cause the kundalini to open or vice versa. The thing is that most people see focus as something you do. If you're trying to focus, then you will only be able to do so for a short period of time (this is what usually happens when people meditate, they never seem to get past the concentration part). Your mind focuses naturally when you have no thoughts, therefore you will have no unnecessary bodily tensions, and therefore your body will be vibrating like it naturally does, with quite an intensity. The skills that are desired for fighting such as awareness or balance will improve vastly when ki is flowing properly and you are vibrating, and breathing properly.

But what do I know, just a random leprechaun. I could be spinning quite a yarn. I swear that I feel this vibration, but I may also be insane (or maybe someone has fitted me with a love egg during my sleep!). Maybe there's a further reason for meditation I am yet to discover. So many unknowns.

I don't encourage anyone to believe what you read on a forum, as a matter of fact never believe anything unless you have had direct experience of it. Just be open to the fact that it's possible. When it comes to the truth, I don't know either.
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#409817 - 10/18/08 11:53 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: jkdwarrior]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
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Quote:

I swear that I feel this vibration, but I may also be insane (or maybe someone has fitted me with a love egg during my sleep!). Maybe there's a further reason for meditation I am yet to discover. So many unknowns.




When I was in my early 20s I remember noticing that, with concentration, I could produce a "tingly", "goosebumps", "ants up the spine and in the back of the neck/head" type feeling.

I started to cultivate this sensation, in the belief (or desire to believe) that I had cottoned onto something special - qi or some such thing. I might be wrong, but I strongly suspect that this is the same as what you feel.

To this day I can create that sensation at whim (sustaining it for longer than one minute is difficult however).

I don't think this equates to the kundalini experience (judging by what my good mate James - a sahaja yoga practitioner of 20 years - tells me).

In the end I'm fairly sure that this sensation of "qi" was nothing more than a self-inflicted bout of goosebumps; a manufactured "fight or flight" response perhaps? I'm not sure. But it has not helped me one iota in any meaningful sense (where other types of meditation have for very different reasons).

Might I suggest the possibility that you are walking that same path?
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#409818 - 10/19/08 01:01 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Having said the above, I'm not going to discount anyone's experience. Obviously I can't put myself into another's mind.

What do the rest of you say is the "real purpose" of meditating - for you anyway? I'm interested to learn more about meditating in terms of how and why...
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#409819 - 10/19/08 08:45 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
jkdwarrior Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
I'm quite certain that you are talking about something different. You say you never got any real benefits from your vibrations and that it is hard to sustain for longer than a minute. In my case, this experience isn't something I induce but one that happens for more than 3/4 of the day. It stops if I feel a strong emotion, and may I have remember to remember to get it going again but just feeling the emotion reminds me. The best part is that when it flows, it completely rids me of that emotion and I feel great.

When I was spending my meditations opening the kundalini, I could have reported the same sensations as you. I found however, that with time the vibrations became much faster than I had anticipated. One night while watching television, I realised that I was vibrating more powerfully than before at my heart level, this caused quite a bit of internal pressure which I conciously released. The vibration then shot up to the top of my scalp where it was again released and the instant I did so, my awareness expanded in a enormous way through a full 360 degrees, and for the first time in my life, I woke up. I was having an experience of conciousness, which I now know your yoga friend would call samadhi. It felt as if a light bulb had been lit up in the centre of my head and that I had a halo. I actually had what felt like a halo! I realised that the vibration was always there, I had just been taught to block it out, but now I vibrated the same way in which a guitar string will vibrate when the same note is hit on a nearby instrument. My body became like an antenna and conciousness no longer had to be forced, but was gratefully received.

After such experiences, the ego does come back but has a weaker grip and most begin to systematically hack away at the unnecessary thinking and stressing because they now have a very definite goal. Ever since then I have no choice in the matter, my body vibrates as does the world around me, and life is infinitely more satisfying.

Maybe I had some form of neurological damage or something, but I later learned that my experience was quite a common one, especially amongst those who do yoga. Even if this whole enlightenment idea is a load of crap, it sure as hell makes life more interesting.

The yogis and enlightened masters of the past intimate that not every person who has opened the kundalini is awakened, but every person who has ever been awakened has opened it, or it has opened because they woke up. Remember if you THINK you're in the moment, you're actually a fraction of a second in the past.
_________________________
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#409820 - 10/19/08 09:04 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: jkdwarrior]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
The first purpose of meditation (as it relates to MA), is self-awareness. That awareness leads to increased physiological self-control. The application of mediatation is sub-consciously being aware and increaced control of irregular breathing, tension and stress effects caused from fear or high stress/emotional situations.

Too much intentional meditation, runs the risk of isolationism tendency and other subtle (or not so subtle) social weirdness effects. I believe one side-effect of hours upon hours of solo intential mediation becomes a self-fullfilling act. that is, what the person believes they will get out of it, they convince themselves they are on their way to obtaining. They are subconsciously fullfilling their preconceptions, as oppossed to being open to accept what the experience has to offer (if anything).


'meditation' doesn't have to be sitting on a pillow for hours. people can and do meditate when they train. over time, they become self-aware of the same things I mentioned and learn to temper the disadvantage effects of fear and anxiety. They may not consciously try to do so, it may be inherent in their training. Boxing is a good example. staying loose and breathing smooth without letting yorself be overwhemlmed by the fear of getting hit. long distance runners have similar inherent meditation. staying loose, in control of breathing, pacing without allowing anxiety of the race disrupt efficiency.

One school of thought, is to engage in meditation as a separate activity. another thought is to meditate during the activity.


If the quest in your meditation is spiritual, I don't know much about that aspect of it....but I suspect any activity, observation or awareness can be 'spiritual', since the use of the word and it's meaning is undefined and wide open to interpretation....which is why it's a perfect vehicle for many to use meditation to fullfill their preconceptions - with full conviction that it works for them. About pursuing the spiritual route, I'd only warn of self-deception.

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#409821 - 10/19/08 09:22 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
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Loc: Australia
Interesting viewpoint.

I agree with meditating during activity. I've found this to be the case with taiji practise. The form requires intense mental discipline which equates to maintaining an alpha wave brain state - similar if not the same as meditation.

On the other hand I can't say I've experienced any amazing feeling/sensation along the lines described by jkdwarrior.
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#409822 - 10/19/08 09:39 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
ever try to 'meditate' while on a rollercoaster?

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#409823 - 10/19/08 09:41 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I'll have to remember to try next time.

Meditation in motion!

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#409824 - 10/20/08 12:17 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: jkdwarrior]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Brain chemistry alters how we percieve things. All cultures have found ways of reaching 'spirituality' or a connection, or awareness on a higher level. Fasting, peyote, sweat-tents, meditation- all can alter ones perceptions of the world around us. Your 'kundalini' (snigger, sorry, its a funny word- sounds like a ladies furry front-bottom), is very similar to what one experiences on MDMA, or with Ketamin 'high'. I remember one particular evening when me and some friends were smoking some really strong pot whilst listening to an album by 'The Orb'. There was this one frequency on one of the tracks that made all of us have back spasms at the exact same time! It was a real physical reaction to the sound, made possible by the change in our perception due to the drug.

It seems reasonable to me to accept that a meditative state could produce similar changes in brain chemistry to an ingested drug.

Outside of that, I am never going to by the whole chakra/chi/ki/qui/force thing, but then, I am a barbarian who loves the reality of the real.
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#409825 - 10/20/08 01:25 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: Cord]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
As I've said, I have a mate who is heavily into Sahaja yoga (the kundalini thing). He also happens to be a medical practitioner (works in the hospital system). His take on it is that he has acquired an ability (a kind of discipline) by which he can switch on "feel good" parts of the brain. In this way he can avoid "negative" or counterproductive thought patterns and just "be happy".

My mate tells me that Buddhist monks who meditate a great deal have subjected themselves to brain scans which show that the "feel good" areas are almost constantly "lit up" where most of us spend significant time in the "feel bad" area.

If this is true, a disbelief in chakras/qi etc. (which I have - I too am a barabarian in this sense) would not necessitate disbelief that meditation might confer benefits of a potentially significant kind. After all, an ability to have such a high level of mental discipline that one can control what are usually thought to be autonomic processes seems very useful if not life-altering (think of dealing with chronic pain, depression, grief, loneliness etc.).

However, the question remains - is any of this really true? I can only go by second hand accounts and I have not personally seen/read any studies into brain scans etc.
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#409826 - 10/20/08 07:56 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
One does not need to believe in something for it to work. As such, there is no need to navigate Hindu paradigms of 'chakras' or explore Chinese systems of energy to find benefit, or insights, et. in meditation. As the Zen tradition (one example) of meditation knows full well.

Just sit. Or not.

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#409827 - 10/20/08 08:29 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: harlan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
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I think this is the gist of what I was saying.

Belief or non-belief in chakras/qi seems irrelevant to the issue of whether meditation can produce the state of mind to which my mate (or jkd warrior) refers.


Edited by dandjurdjevic (10/20/08 08:35 AM)
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#409828 - 10/20/08 08:41 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Ditto. Sorry...it didn't come across...but my post was in accordance/agreement with yours.

I'll shut up now.

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#409829 - 10/20/08 03:15 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Kyudo Offline
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Registered: 10/19/08
Posts: 2
Kyudo is also known as moving meditation. It is a Japanese martial art akin to archery, in that we shoot with the Japanese long bow, but the intent is related to this intense state of focus and mental aspects... I guess you get out of it what you put in it. Some people just shoot and also enjoy only that.

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#409830 - 10/21/08 02:35 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: jkdwarrior]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
We meditate for a few moments before a class. Just trying to clear our minds of outside thoughts so we can focus on our training.

My purpose for meditation.
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#409831 - 10/22/08 05:01 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: BrianS]
matxtx Offline
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Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 700
Loc: england
The purpose of Buddhist meditation is to get to a state of truth and see everything as it actualy is (Nirvana)then do it as you are dying so that you are reincarnated as something good.Doing it in life is just practice to be able to do it at that one moment you die instead of freaking out or whatever.
That is my understanding anyway.
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#409832 - 10/22/08 11:09 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: matxtx]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
extended meditation: turning inwards via self-induced solitary confinement won't get you any closer to truth or awareness ...it gets you sensory depravation.

as far as 'reincarnation' and 'Nirvana' - I wouldn't know, I haven't died yet. but I do know that all cultures have a different story to comfort themselves about death. It's not the literal story that is important, it's the fact they seek comfort in believing any story/path.


pray to get to heaven, meditate to reach nirvana, kneel to be with 1000 virgins...all variations of wishful thinking. Has nothing to do with truth but everything to do with the pursuit of self-comfort.

not to turn this towards a religious beliefs thread, but I do acknowledge a predetermined spiritual pursuit is some people's purpose of meditation....so it's worth sharing views on that aspect.

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#409833 - 10/23/08 03:17 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: Ed_Morris]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Faith has nothing to do with wishful thinking.
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#409834 - 10/23/08 04:56 AM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: BrianS]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Meditation has many forms and each one has different benefits.
I meditate to improve the connection between mind and body - to seek out phsyical/emotional tensions and blockages which interfere with smooth, efficient movement and healthy body function. For those seeking MA functionality imo this increases speed and decreases reaction time.
Regular meditation also helps keep the problems of life in perspective and helps prevent them getting on top of you so you can see the woods for the trees and usually solutions present themselves more easily. Often trying to overanalyse things mean we don't listen to our deeper wisdom that often knows best. This isn't some new age hippy cr@p but the simple truth that our subconscoius mind takes in far more than we are consciously aware of. Every second we are bombarded with sounds, images, smells etc and we can't consciously be aware of all this information but subconsiously it is stored and processed. Meditation helps us become more aware of this vast storehouse of memories and resources by quietening down our conscious thoughts, fears and insecurities and gradually opening us up to what is possible when we can truly relax and let go.

Hope that made some sense to somebody.

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#409835 - 11/12/08 10:35 PM Re: The REAL purpose of meditation! [Re: Cord]
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Quote:


Outside of that, I am never going to by the whole chakra/chi/ki/qui/force thing, but then, I am a barbarian who loves the reality of the real.




I believe that the whole idea of chi is a great way to teach people how to use their bodies and this is my only reason for saying it. Chi by it's very nature is nothingness (for myself) and therefore doesn't exist. Once understood, it should be forgotten because anything you do to increase it thereafter will only take you further away from it.

The idea of kundalini and chakras is that once you stop your nervous system from firing unnecessarily, it begins to vibrate with a nice steady hum. AUM! Since the central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord, this is where the vibrating chakras (again I don't think they are real) seem to be located. The most powerful chakra is the third eye, and this is because preventing the brain from overfiring (which is obvoiusly where the majority of the neurons are located) will give the greatest results in terms of relaxation. I therefore believe that kundalini is simply a very relaxed CNS, and not the spirit of a God. In fact I don't agree with many of the notions that most meditators speak about such as spirituality (an awful word), clairvoyance (the seeing ghosts kind) etc. It's words like these that make intelligent people run a mile and prevent them from meditating and regulating their CNS, although maybe I just haven't realised yet. It's just such a good way to learn and to explain the idea of relaxation, but once learned it should be forgotten about becase in my opinion, its BS.
Regulate your CNS and you eradicate the vast majority of stress from your life and become much more aware of your surroundings, this is what I really mean by opening the kundalini. It is possible to have many transpersonal experiences in the process of doing so. These experiences are recognised by psychologists and this is what I mean when I say samadhi.
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