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message 1: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Use this thread to give, as well as ask for, advice for meditation.


message 2: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments I have found this guided meditation by Sam Harris helpful to get me "in the zone" to meditate by myself: https://samharris.org/podcasts/mindfu...


message 3: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments I have found this "online meditation hall" helpful in the sense that the bell tone at the beginning and end seems to help at times to get into and out of meditation smoothly. I also like the that a visitor number is shown, making it feel like you are meditating with others when doing so alone with a computer: https://www.dailyzen.com/zendo


message 4: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments In order to produce a calm state of mind I sometimes make use of a mala (Buddist prayer beads), using the beads to count breaths before I start my meditation session. I have found this method to be helpful at times when I have a bad case of "monkey mind." I would recommend giving it a try to supplement your practice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhis...


message 5: by MJD (last edited Oct 07, 2018 06:14AM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments I found this advertisement for a meditation course interesting: https://samharris.org/podcasts/introd...

[note: I have not used it personally so my message should not be seen as a personal endorsement]


message 6: by MJD (last edited Oct 07, 2018 06:14AM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments Here is another app for meditation that seems interesting: https://www.10percenthappier.com/mind...

[note: I have not used it personally so my message should not be seen as a personal endorsement]


message 7: by John (new)

John MJD wrote: "Here is another app for meditation that seems interesting: https://www.10percenthappier.com/mind...

[note: I have not used it personally so my message should not be seen ..."


I put the 10% Happier app on my phone, went through a few lessons, and then tried on my own. The lessons, with the voice coming in every so often, seemed less noisy. Trying on my own was very difficult. There are lot of thoughts going on - sometimes even just nonsense words. It's amazing how cluttered our brains are.


message 8: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments John wrote: "MJD wrote: "Here is another app for meditation that seems interesting: https://www.10percenthappier.com/mind...

[note: I have not used it personally so my message should ..."


It is amazing how cluttered the mind can be.


message 9: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie I used to do breathing meditation few years back. I had a hard time in keeping my mind with my breathing. My mind wanders and all nonsensical thoughts come to my mind. I was frustrated and gave up. I want to get back to it but somehow it keeps getting postponed!


message 10: by MJD (last edited Oct 14, 2018 04:53AM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "I used to do breathing meditation few years back. I had a hard time in keeping my mind with my breathing. My mind wanders and all nonsensical thoughts come to my mind. I was frustrated and gave up...."

I used to have the same problem and gave up on it a few years ago, but then I got back into it due to what I read from Dan Harris in the group books 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book.

That is, Dan points out that just noticing the way that the mind is cluttered can be beneficial. As such, while I still try to focus on the breath and not cling to random thoughts, noticing the random thoughts has been incorporated as an assistance - not a hindrance - to my renewed practice.

Also, I've found through more reading on the subject that this experience by you (and me) is a common one, and it goes by many names such as "monkey mind." I would encourage you to google the term "monkey mind" and find some advice online that works for you.


message 11: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Thank you MJD for your information and advice. I listened to the link you have posted on the other thread. I will try again to do the breathing meditation in this new way.


message 12: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "Thank you MJD for your information and advice. I listened to the link you have posted on the other thread. I will try again to do the breathing meditation in this new way."

Hope it helps.

Also, I want to let you know that I still struggle with meditation; and to be honest, it can be unpleasant at times (though I have encountered pleasant states of immediate contentment during sessions as well). For me meditation is not ultimately about the "altered states" during meditation, but rather it is for the "altered traits" that a sustained meditation practice can produce.

If you are having trouble staying on a meditation regiment it may be good to look up and remind yourself of long term benefits that it may have (sort of like how thinking about the long term benefits of exercise can keep you working out even when you don't feel like it in the moment). You can read about this concept in the group book Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, and you can listen to the writers of the book discussing this concept in the following link (note: even though you can learn a lot of what's in the book from the podcast episode, I would still encourage you to get the book as well): https://samharris.org/podcasts/111-sc...


message 13: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie MJD wrote: "Hope it helps.

Also, I want to let you know that I still struggle with meditation; and to be honest, it can be unpleasant at times (though I have encountered pleasant states of immediate contentment during sessions as well). For me meditation is not ultimately about the "altered states" during meditation, but rather it is for the "altered traits" that a sustained meditation practice can produce...."



Fully agree with you. I too look for the my being improved as a person through meditation.

It is a struggle, yes. But I feel consistency is the only method to win over this struggle. This is where I really failed. I just couldn't continue and meditation sessions became intermittent. I'm determined to get back to it soon. I hope I'll have the will power to be consistent.


message 14: by Robert (new)

Robert K. | 4 comments Hi Piyangie, congrats and good luck with restarting meditation! I was introduced to meditation via the Headspace app. It starts you off gently with a 2 minute meditations (especially good for monkey-minders like me!) and you can work up to 20 minutes over a period of many weeks of daily practice. I found the 2 minute meditations at the beginning a perfect introduction. I couldn't have done any more.

Headspace is free to start the beginner's program and when I did last year I got nearly 30 sessions for free.

I endorse Headspace but I'm unpaid! Lol

Best, Rob


message 15: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Robert wrote: "Hi Piyangie, congrats and good luck with restarting meditation! I was introduced to meditation via the Headspace app. It starts you off gently with a 2 minute meditations (especially good for monke..."

Thank you Robert for your advice. Currently I'm trying to do 10 minutes sessions a day. I hope I can stick to this daily.


message 16: by John (new)

John Robert wrote: "Hi Piyangie, congrats and good luck with restarting meditation! I was introduced to meditation via the Headspace app. It starts you off gently with a 2 minute meditations (especially good for monke..."

I got the 10% Happier app on my phone, and the lessons are good, but I realized that you only get 8 free intro lessons. Of the remaining lessons/guided meditations, only about 20% are not locked. It costs $100 per year which isn't bad, but also isn't in my budget. I'll look at Headspace.


message 17: by Robert (last edited Oct 17, 2018 12:27PM) (new)

Robert K. | 4 comments Piyangie, it took me more than a month, almost two months, of nearly everyday day meditation to work up to meditate for 10 minutes. I'm definitely biased by my own experience, but have you considered 10 minutes might be too long a time to start? Best, Rob


message 18: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Robert wrote: "Piyangie, it took me more than a month, almost two months, of nearly everyday day meditation to work up to meditate for 10 minutes. I'm definitely biased by my own experience, but have you consider..."

Hi Rob! Well for a starter perhaps it is. But I used to practice it almost daily few years ago. And at that time I usually did 15-20 minute sessions. But these were not perfect ones. I cannot remember of any perfect session where my mind was not at all distracted. However, what happened was the amount of distraction kind of frustrated me and I fell out of touch. Now I'm trying back to get to my earlier pace, so I think 10 minutes is a good start up time for a session for me. It will be hard and my mind will probably be distracted but I'm determined to do it anyway.


message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert K. | 4 comments Oh I see, I thought you were starting from scratch! Sorry. Anyway, best of luck!


message 20: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Robert wrote: "Oh I see, I thought you were starting from scratch! Sorry. Anyway, best of luck!"

No worries, Robert. Although I used to practice, I still struggle as a beginner. Thank you for your wishes. :)


message 21: by John (new)

John I can say that I'm gaining the desire to meditate. I enjoy the time when I get to sit down and relax, although I'm only getting 4-6 minute sessions (which I realize is sufficient and sometimes recommended). But I think I'm still looking for the "reward" and at the end of a session, I'm not sure that I have accomplished anything.

Any suggestions?


message 22: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie John wrote: "I can say that I'm gaining the desire to meditate. I enjoy the time when I get to sit down and relax, although I'm only getting 4-6 minute sessions (which I realize is sufficient and sometimes reco..."

I'm no expert to advice, John. But to me, the reward is the change you feel in yourself. If you feel more relaxed, calm and happy (not only the time you are meditating) and generally if you feel you are a better person in mind and body that is the prize you win. This is a gradual process so to feel an actual change it might take time.

I'm a Buddhist of Theravada sect, so we have other notions about the "reward" as you call it. But what I said above is purely from a non religious point of view.


message 23: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments John wrote: "I can say that I'm gaining the desire to meditate. I enjoy the time when I get to sit down and relax, although I'm only getting 4-6 minute sessions (which I realize is sufficient and sometimes reco..."

While I do think that there are positive benefits that go along with mindfulness by itself (stress reduction, etc.), for me I think that the best benefits of mindfulness are those that are generated from combining meditation practice with Buddhist philosophy.

For example, I think that the practice of allowing thoughts to come and go while focusing on the breath is good practice for not clinging to thoughts of anger (i.e. by allow angry thoughts to come and go) as advocated by the first chapter of Wisdom of the Buddha: The Unabridged Dhammapada :

“‘He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me’
–for those who brood on this,
hostility isn’t stilled.

He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me’–
for those who don’t brood on this,
hostility is stilled.”


For me, I think that the meditation and philosophy working in tandem helps cultivate a sense of equanimity.


message 24: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "John wrote: "I can say that I'm gaining the desire to meditate. I enjoy the time when I get to sit down and relax, although I'm only getting 4-6 minute sessions (which I realize is sufficient and s..."

I agree Piyangie. Also, I think that the Theravada sect's conception of meditation and it's benefits can be useful in a secular context. For instance, I think that the group book Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah has plenty of interesting concepts that one can adopt without adopting the non-secular components such as reincarnation.

Here is a short video of Ajahn Chah speaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exb-9...

[note: I acknowledge that the concept of the illusory of the self seems to be purely wrapped up in non-secular components of Buddhism, but I think that the conception of "the self is an illusion" that is advocated for by [author:Sam Harris|16593] is easily transferable to a secular philosophy. While Harris writes about this in the group book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, I do think that he explained the concept and the benefits for understanding it well in the following two videos as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIXEb... and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfk...


message 25: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie MJD wrote: "John wrote: "I can say that I'm gaining the desire to meditate. I enjoy the time when I get to sit down and relax, although I'm only getting 4-6 minute sessions (which I realize is sufficient and s..."

Rightly said, MJD. The combination of meditation with certain important parts of Buddhist philosophy as is found in Dhammapada can be extremely beneficial for daily life. The knowledge we gain through reading the Buddhist concepts which are put to practice through meditation allow us to achieve a permanent sense of calmness and composure in ourselves.


message 26: by John (new)

John I've been noticing a certain amount of enjoyment prior to my moments of meditation. I'm looking forward to it.

I have not been able to include bits of Buddhist philosophy into my mediation yet (I'm just starting my first book in the topic today), but have tried, when my mind won't quit monkeying around to mentally remind myself of some Christian wisdom, for example, "do unto others..." etc.

I don't feel that I'm looking as much for a "reward" now as before. As with anything I'm sure I'll progress if I stick with it, and the "reward" will be noticeable when I'm able to look back on the journey.


message 27: by John (new)

John An interesting thing in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation, in the chapter on Right View...

"Because of mindfulness, when something is right, we know it is right, and when something is wrong, we know it's wrong.

We are practicing sitting meditation, and we see a bowl of tomato soup in our mind's eye, so we think that it is wrong practice, because we are supposed to be mindful of our breathing. But if we practice mindfulness, we will say 'I am breathing in and I am thinking and I am thinking about tomato soup.' That is right mindfulness already."

So the tomato soup is one of those "monkey mind" thoughts that enters are meditation, distracting us. You accept that and explore it, to determine if it is "right" or "wrong"?

That is the goal of meditation? To eliminate the seeds in our mind that cause, or lead us more towards, suffering?

Sorry if I'm asking elementary Buddhist things here. It's all still new to me (but very interesting).


message 28: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments John wrote: "An interesting thing in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation, in the chapter on Right View...

"Because of mindfulness, when some..."


I think that it certainly is "a goal", and I have encountered some people who claim that it is "the goal."


message 29: by John (new)

John Piyangie wrote: The knowledge we gain through reading the Buddhist concepts which are put to practice through meditation allow us to achieve a permanent sense of calmness and composure in ourselves. ..."

I am starting to see this in my meditation, especially with my concurrent reading of The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation. When I get distracted from my breathing and a thought enters, I try to explore it subtly and so far one of the practices of the Noble Eightfold Path usually enters as an "answer" to that intruding thought.

I also realize that it's been over 1 month that I started meditating. I am enjoying it.


message 30: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments John wrote: "Piyangie wrote: The knowledge we gain through reading the Buddhist concepts which are put to practice through meditation allow us to achieve a permanent sense of calmness and composure in ourselves..."

Glad to hear it.


message 31: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Question:

Does anyone practice loving-kindness/metta meditation, like the kind mentioned in such group books as Mindfulness in Plain English and 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works?

I'll be honest and say that I currently don't do it, and I wanted to see if anyone has any advice about starting such a practice.


message 32: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie My mom practices Metta meditation. She says that helps her to stay calm, composed and happy.

I however do breathing meditation which works better for me I feel. Since I'm a Buddhist, I also do Buddhanussathi meditation from time to time which focus on Buddha's extreme noble qualities.


message 33: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie John wrote: "I am starting to see this in my meditation, especially with my concurrent reading of The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation. When I get distracted from my breathing and a thought enters, I try to explore it subtly and so far one of the practices of the Noble Eightfold Path usually enters as an "answer" to that intruding thought.

I also realize that it's been over 1 month that I started meditating. I am enjoying it..."


Very happy to hear that, John.


message 34: by John (new)

John I have read before that meditation does not necessarily need to be done in extended (10+ minute) sessions. Has anyone attempted this and did you find it as beneficial as extended sessions?


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