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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm gonna start meditating regularly, on every day that I can.

I did this last Spring and it made a world of difference. Lo and behold, since quitting, my life has sucked major donkey poo. I can't be sure that the meditation was keeping me on the level but it can't hurt to try it out again.

I'm going to resume my old schedule. It's:

- Clean up (it helps when my room is clean, gets me in the right "space" so to speak) 5 minutes
- Yoga 20 minutes (wakes me up)
- Mindfulness meditation 10 minutes (any longer and I fall asleep)
- CBT practice of some kind 10 minutes (this graft nicely onto the other stuff)
- Reading OR more yoga OR more meditation, 15 minutes.

And that rounds off the hour.

I realized over Thanksgiving break just how un-peaceful I feel. Is unpeaceful a word? :b Well that pretty much sums me up. So, I want to take things slow and commit myself to an hour a day of this practice. I did it before so I think I can do it again. On days when I can't do the full hour, I'll try and at least do a short bit of meditation, like maybe 5 minutes or even 2 minutes helps.

So, if anybody wants to be a meditation buddy.... huh? huh? We can swap experiences or something. :) I dunno, it's a thought at least. Anyway, time for me to get started.
 

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I've had a book called Mindfulness in Plain English for a while, but haven't read it all. I'm interested in meditation but I have yet to do it any longer than five minutes until I fall asleep (because I seem to get in the mood at night when I'm tired). What I've read in the book so far is interesting it is based on Vipassana buddhism. I'll need to read the entire book sometime so I can begin meditating seriously.
 

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How on earth do you meditate? I've tried, but my brain is always going. I can't shut the damn thing up.

I've tried concentrating on my breath, but after about... oh, maybe five seconds, my mind starts to wander.

So if you have any tips, that'd be cool. Maybe I can try again over break.

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The tip that keeps me going is to just take it one breath at a time.

Sounds cheesy, but maybe I can explain. My brain gets going too. I find it's hard to concentrate. In fact it feels impossible. But I can focus on one breathe. Not all of them, but I can focus on just one.

So that's what I do. When I get off track I notice what's on my mind, I try to let it go, and then I think to myself, "Just feel this breath. Just this one."

If I feel it, then I repeat: "just feel this breath. Just this one." If the second time, I'm distracted, that's okay, I go back. It's sort of repetitive I know. But the way I see it, if you can focus on just one breath, the meditation is a success.

The Dhammapada, v. 110-113:

Better to live in virtue and wisdom for one day than to live a hundred years with an evil and undisciplined mind. Better to live in goodness and wisdom for one day than to lead an ignorant and undisciplined life for a hundred years. Better to live in strength and wisdom for one day than to lead a weak and idle life for a hundred years. Better to live in freedom and widsom for one day than to lead a conditioned life of bondage for a hundred years.

In other words, better to notice one breath than none at all!
 

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So basically what you do is use, "Just this one breath" as your mantra? I was thinking about buying some mantra beads and using those to repeat some phrase - any phrase - to try to get me to focus on each individual bead.

Of course, I always like the expensive beads. (I saw some really nice red onyx ones for $45.) I think that's very un-Buddhist of me to place such value in the material aspect of it! (I'm drawn to Buddhism, though I don't really like all aspects of it.)

What usually happens if I concentrate on my breathing is this: "Okay, that's one breath. Okay, I'm breathing... breathing... oh, those birds outside sound really pretty... I like birds. Birds are cute... My cats are cute.... blah blah blah.)

So I don't know, maybe I need something physical to hold in my hands... or that could be the ex-Catholic in me. I need a rosary! ;)

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I actually use a rosary. (A nice expensive one :hide) Not so much for focus but so I know when to stop. I do one set on the rosary, one breath for each bead, that usually takes me 10 minutes. My rosary is divided into four sections so I can do 2 1/2 minute meditations or 5 minute meditations if I want to. It works nicely.

I used to look at the clock but that got annoying ("Am I done yet? Huh? How long has it been?). Or I would set an alarm, but that just kind of ruins the ambience.

I don't really use that phrase specifically as a mantra, just as a reminder or as kind of like a "deal" for myself. And what you describe (the distractibility) is common. Common as in, I don't know of anyone who does not struggle with that. It just happens. Consider it a success if you can focus on just one breath, is what I'm saying, instead of worrying about doing it all the time or even most of the time. Or with any frequency at all. Just do it once.

I also find it helps if I keep my meditation sessions short (maybe 5, 10 minutes).

My favorite introduction to meditation is still just a CD by Jon-Kabat Zinn called "Mindfulness Meditation". He takes you step by step through everything in the type of meditation that I do. It's all very non-religious and the author is a psychotherapist by trade. His approach is an utilization of meditation in the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachussets, which he apparently helped set up.

I'm also drawn to Buddhism in the sense that I consider myself a sort of follower of Buddha... though a poor one at that. But, I don't go for the whole drama part of it, with legendary stories and karma, and rituals, I think that's just silly. Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, that's it for me. That's what I follow. Of course one doesn't have to be a Buddhist to meditate.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is the new hot trend in psychotherapy, and much of it is based on Kabat-Zinn and other authors whose names I only know because I am a total nerd. But that is a post for another day.

Phew, I hope I didn't blabber on too much. :b
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
btw today is day three of doing this. I have noticed an improvement in my mood, especially my depression. Just a general feeling of calm and peace. It feels good to be doing this again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've been doing this for about two and a half weeks.

It has been tremendously helpful, but it doesn't always last. I don't think that meditation alone is going to overcome my depression (and so far Prozac isn't doing it either, nor is therapy. Hmmm.)

But the way I see it, the more help the better. I am surprised at how well I've been able to stick to a schedule.

I have a little calendar on the door and I mark off each day that I do my meditation routine. This keeps me accountable and I know when I've done it and when I haven't. I find that's much better, and it also allows me to be flexible if, say, I can only meditate in the afternoon on a certain day instead of in the evening, or whatever.

I would say the biggest change is that I no longer feel quite as overwhelmed by all the things I have going on in my life. I am also more in tune with really cool things in life, and I'm more able to "feel" it. I dunno, hard to describe really, but it's a good thing.
 

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I've got a book that I've read the introduction to called Tibetan Wisdom for Western Life and it seems like it will be really helpful to me. I tried reading the first chapter before bed the other day, but I was sick and nothing was sinking in. I'm going to try again later. I want to read the whole thing over break. Maybe I could get this started.

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That looks like a nice book. I haven't done Tibetan-style meditation ever so I don't know how it would differ from the style that I do (Vipassana).
 

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The "Mindfulness" meditation that I have done wasn't complicated at all. You sit quietly in a straight backed chair and focus your attention on your hand or a finger. Just watch your brain go crazy and try to keep focused on your hand. Much harder than it sounds. I would usually last about 10 seconds maybe before I would find myself sucked back into my thoughts. When this happens, gently bring your attention back to your hand or finger. Meditate for about 20 minutes twice a day.

What this does for me is I'm now able to separate from my screaming thoughts and watch them go by. And, yes, I'm not able to do this well very often. Most of the time, I'm glued to the thoughts like "normal'.
 

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Yeah.. it's pretty hard to meditate.. I have a hard time staying focused. When I do succeed, it really helps, however. I guess I need to keep trying. :)

I'm very drawn to Buddhism lately. I'm far from being a really good Buddhist, but I'm trying. ;o
 
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