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Meditation -- How-to
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March 23, 2012
3:30 pm
SasQuatch9585
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This post is in response to Indi's question in another thread about how I got into meditation and how I go about it.

I first heard of meditation while growing up under a type of Christianity.  They spoke of the value of "prayer and meditation".

At the time I didn't know what they were talking about.

I didn't get any more information about the subject until I met a few Pagans.  One in particular tried to guide me through a meditation where I first imagined lying on my back and looking up into a clear blue sky.  The color blue is naturally very soothing to the human mind, and helps to calm and quiet the mind for meditation.

This experience was not really effective for me.  I found that listening to the man speak while trying to guide me through the meditation was quite distracting.  Also, this was the first time I had ever tried to meditate, so I wasn't any good at it.

The first time I successfully meditated was while preparing for a fight.  At the time I wasn't much of a fighter, and so I was worried about the outcome.  For this meditation I burned an orange candle (I was told by a few Pagans that the color is supposed to represent strength) and I knelt before the candle with my eyes closed, trying to focus on the energy of the candle.

Before I knew it, I felt somehow removed from my surroundings.  I was still aware of the candle's heat, and of it's light which filtered through my closed eyelids, but the rest of the world had seemed to fade away.

I'm not sure how much significance there was to the color.  I know that people believe burning candles of different colors will help in different types of meditation.  I also know Eastern Philosophy teaches that there are different types of qi (energy) and so burning different colors will help when focusing on different types of qi.

Here's a link to Wikipedia for more info on Qi.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi

Despite that first success, I no longer use candles to help meditate.  I have found that there are many paths into a good meditation.  All you really need is something to focus on.

That focus could be a candle, the ringing sound of a meditation bowl, the sound of your own breathing, the action of martial arts as in Tai Chi or Kung Fu, or a mental image such as a swastika.

Here's another link about the swastika.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika  Believe me, Hitler twisted and corrupted everything he touched, including the swastika and the Christian faith.

You can be sitting, standing, kneeling, lying down…you can be still or you can be moving.  My point is, there are many ways to meditate.  There are only two constants that I can see.  Mental focus, and deep breathing.

The only other thing you need is a place where you can feel a ease.  The exact environment is up to you.  What colors are in the room?  What, if any, music may be playing in the background?  What, if any, scent is in the air?  That's all up to you.

The objective of meditation is to bring your mind into a state of stillness, wherein one feels deeply connected to the energy of the universe.  I have reached such a state in several meditations, and I can tell you one thing for sure.  When I first reached that state, I believed in nothing.  I considered myself an Atheist.  I didn't believe that I had a soul, and I believed that death was the end of me.

Despite my lack of faith in ANYTHING, I was still able to reach this state of mind, and still felt the deep tranquility of the Tao.  To me, the fact that I didn't believe in it, but was still able to feel it was the best evidence that there truly is something real within meditation.  That energy which somehow binds us together and causes all things to exist.  After all, it's not as though I had so much faith in the idea that I was fooling myself.  I had NO faith in it, but there it was.

So, the best advise I could give anyone is to try several different ways of meditating.  You will find one that works well for you.

This is by no means a complete instructional on meditation, and I invite anyone and everyone to add their own advise and techniques to this thread.

Here's a few links to Taoism and Buddism.

Tao.org  Taoism.net About.com's page on Chinese Culture  Buddhanet.net

And, of course, you could just type Taoism or Buddhism into a search and come up with a hell of a lot more.  Most of these pages will offer you some advise on meditation, as well as allow you access to their sacred texts.

Not to be pushy, because that's against my philosophy, but I know the Tao is real.  I don't understand it, and I seek to learn more about it from Taoism and Buddhism, but I believe it now.  And for me, the best part is that body modification has it's place there.  I've seen many statues of Buddha where he's got stretched lobes.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
March 24, 2012
1:37 pm
Ignacious
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The first time I think I ever successively meditated, was completely and utterly on accident.

To get to sleep I have to think, without thinking, or I will spend hours upon hours staring into the night. But one night, a long time ago, I was in the process of losing my thoughts, but my body was to awake to sleep. I don't know how long I was there when I noticed that the world was not black like my eyelids. But it was a color that.. it didn't exist. I was in a place where I could wonder, ponder, wander, and think, but I wasn't actually doing it. Ideas and images would just phase through my mind, where I perceived but didn't see. All the while this color that is no color was there, it was my focal point of everything. It reminded me of an orange, but it wasn't any orange that I'd ever, or have ever since, seen. 

It could have been a dream, but all the while I could hear my dog softly breathing, the swish of her tale as she moved in her sleep.

I'v done this several times since then, but it is always by accident, no matter how I try, I can't reach that place with a purpose. It just.. happens.

March 24, 2012
4:00 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Reaching a state of meditation is not something that can be done through direct effort, but must be done through relaxation.  Any mental effort you put into it simply stirs up more activity in you mind.

Think of your hand.  There are muscles that open it wide, and muscles that close it tightly into a fist, but if you're making a fist, and you want to open your hand, you don't use one set of muscles to pull against the other, you simply relax all of them, and your hand opens.

Imagine a swimming pool, rippling with waves.  If you want the waves to stop, you don't go about trying to slap the waves down with your hand, trying to knock down the high spots.  Just let it rest.

Your mind ripples with waves of thought.  The path to meditation is not one of effort, but of relaxation and tranquility.  You said you have to think without thinking.  You said it's a process of losing your thoughts.  That's a pretty good way of describing it.

You said this non-color was your focal point of everything.  I'd say, let your mind settle.  Lose your thoughts and simply imagine this color surrounding you.  Also, don't allow yourself to be frustrated by unsuccessful attempts.  Patience and practice are the tools you need.

And for the record, I don't believe for a second that you were dreaming.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
March 25, 2012
12:48 pm
Ignacious
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I can't imagine this non-color, that's the thing. 

Its not something that I'v ever seen. Its.. hard to explain. If you've ever read Stephen King's "From a Buick 8", you'd get it. He put it into perfect words. But anyways, meditation is hard because, I can't relax. I'm naturally high strung, my brain is working into over load 24/7. I can never calm myself. Once you get me talking, I can't stop, I can't stay on topic. I just.. I'v never found a way to be relaxed. I used to do yoga, and that seemed to help me, but I would fall asleep in the middle of meditation, even when standing.

Being narcoleptic doesn't help much.

March 25, 2012
2:17 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Perhaps you need something external to focus on.  Something that doesn't change, even when your mind wanders, such as a candle flame or a meditation bowl.

As it happens, I'm a huge Stephen King fan.  I have read "From a Buick 8", but I don't recall the perfect words you mentioned.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
March 26, 2012
3:42 pm
Ignacious
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Maybe perfect is an over statement, but I'm referring to when the character's tried to describe the green color of the bat-like-creatures blood (or maybe its organs or skin color?).

 

Maybe, I will definitely give it a try, its not something I'm willing to give up on. Would you personally recommend something simple or complex to focus on?

September 20, 2013
4:33 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Ignacious,

It seems I owe you a sincere apology. I've been inactive on this forum for several months, but that didn't start until well into 2013. I don't know why I never answered your last question, and if the information on your profile is accurate, you haven't visited this forum in well over a year, so you may never get the answer I'm offering now. For that, I am very sorry.

However, the answer is, I would recommend something simple. In my experience, complex ideas lead me to complex thoughts.

Also, if you're looking for something to help you relax, I would recommend a small amount of marijuana. I realize it's illegal in most states, so you'll be taking a risk in purchasing, carrying, and smoking it, but I can tell you that marijuana enhances my ability to meditate ten-fold.

There are people who are allergic to marijuana. I've heard two different women tell me the same story. They tried it for the first time and their lungs immediately began to swell and close up. They were rushed to the hospital with symptoms similar to a severe asthma attack. While they were both still alive to tell the story, they both said it was a frightening experience, which is completely understandable.

There also those who claim that it doesn't work for them, or it gives them a headache.

All of this is to say, use it at your own risk. Be cautious if you've never tried it before. The odds that you'll have some kind of negative reaction are almost zero, but apparently it can happen.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
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