View Full Version : Do you meditate?

02-14-2003, 10:53 PM
I was wondering if any of you ladies here meditate? If so how long have you been doing so? I have tried it, but I can't seem to get the hang of it. I was wondering if anyone had any pointers that they could give to someone that is a beginner. I have heard that meditation is a good way to relax. Is it true that is yoga they teach you how to meditate?

02-15-2003, 05:47 AM
I have been trying to work meditation into my everyday routine for the longest time. It's hard for me to be consistent, but I've found that the best time for me to meditate is either first thing in the morning, or (my preference) last thing in the evening. A few books that I've found to be quite helpful are "Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World," by Lama Surya Das, and "Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I find ABW particularly inspiring b/c even though it's a bit long, it extends the ideas behind meditation to everyday life, so you realize that meditation isn't just about sitting still for twenty minutes a day, but that it can be part of a larger process of cultivating wisdom and virtue in other aspects of your life. The Kabat-Zinn book is good b/c there are short, concise chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of meditation. Sometimes I read a chapter, first thing in the morning, and then focus on practicing or applying the message of that chapter for the rest of the day.

Apart from these books, I have a few yoga CDs that include guided meditation practices. Two good ones are "Yoga Sanctuary" and "Yoga Chant," both by Shiva Rea. Yoga Zone also makes a meditation video with a morning and evening session (the instructor on these tapes is a little creepy, though)

Yoga doesn't teach you how to meditate per se, although I have heard some people say that yoga itself is meditation b/c of the emphasis on breathing. I guess the shavasana (corpse pose) at the end of yoga practices could be considered meditative as well. The Kabat-Zinn book also has a CD version (waving to LBell), but I've never listened to it.

My only suggestions for getting "better" at meditation would be to be patient and practice. If meditation were either easy or intuitive, no one would be angry, stressed out, or taking high blood pressure meds b/c we'd all just be meditating. Also, like many other things, I think meditation is more about the process, rather than just trying to get somewhere.

02-15-2003, 10:29 AM
I try to mediate, but I have not been consistent. :roll:

02-15-2003, 10:36 AM
Every day for 30 minutes. I took time and lot of patience to build up to this 30 minutes. I try to do it in the evening as a wind down. I learned my meditation techniques in my yoga class.

A good book that has helped with meditation and yoga is~ Kundalini: Yoga for the West by Swami Sivananda Radha

02-16-2003, 01:46 AM
[b]At one time, I made it a point to meditate and my life was much calmer. Its takes a lot of patience and consistency to be able to do so. But the benefits are wonderful.


02-16-2003, 05:22 AM
I've benefitted greatly from sitting meditations in the past, but I haven't worked them into my daily schedule yet. What I have done is tried to be more conscious of every moment of my life. Its like non-stop meditation in my opinion. I've read (skimmed) many of Thich Nhat Hanh's books, and I've learned to become more mindful of my everyday experience. This, I believe, is the part of the goal of meditation.

Our minds skip around from thought to thought so fast and so frequently that it never learns to rest (resting=concentrating). Sitting and focusing on breath is a good way to improve our concentration, but being fully present in your life is the ultimate method of slowing and focusing your mind. It is the reason why we meditate. There is nothing especially useful about meditating if you can only focus and be mentally still when you're sitting on your floor. The point is to use newly acquired concentration skills in every part of your waking experience.

Here's an example of what I mean: I think that I have fully mastered the skill of multi-tasking. I can wash dishes, talk on the phone, and mentally plan my grocery list. While this is a great skill to have at work, it causes me to feel mentally exhausted and like I'm always doing something. When I started to become more "mindful" (consciously working on my concentration), I decided to limit my multi-tasking. Now when I wash my dishes, I just wash them. No making lists or talking to others. If I talk on the phone, I don't watch TV or type on the computer or clean my apartment. I focus completely on the person with whom I'm conversing.

If you can't set aside time to meditate or its to hard to just be still, try just being fully aware and attentive to what you're doing in your life.

If you want to try sitting, then focus on your breath. Inhale on "one", exhale on "two" , inhale on "three" exhale on "four"....etc. Try this for ten breaths when you first start. If you're mind starts to wander, that's ok. Mentally note to yourself that you just had a thought. Some people reccommend labeling your thoughts this way, "thought #1" when another comes up label it "thought #2"...etc. Don't hold on to the thought or engage it just let it go. Label it and go back to counting your breaths. Your breath should be your object of concentration. Thoughts, feelings, and sensations will be non-stop in your body and mind, the objective is to notice them and let them pass. They will pass without any effort from you if you don't get caught up in them. Do not try to supress or ignore thoughts, feelings, and sensations because that will only make them stronger. Just stay with your breath.

I've been able to sit for an hour at a time using these tricks. Eventually, your mind will stop bouncing around and all bodily sensations will seem less interesting.

I've also varied my object of concentration. A couple of months ago, I did a meditation on my face. I didn't stare in the mirror; I used my hands to try and completely taken in all parts of my face. Thoughts came and went, but I stayed focused on my face. You can focus on anything when meditating. Try looking at the fire on a lit candle. Notice the colors, the changes in the flame, the shape of the flame, the smoke rising from the flame, notice how it moves...There are an infinite number of things about a flame to notice that do not require you to actually THINK about the flame. If you start to wonder about the effect of oxygen on fire or how wicks are made then disengage from the thoughts by labeling them "thought #whatever", breathe, and return to the flame.

It takes time to build up concentration so try to be patient with yourself. You don't have to necessarily go to a special place or have a special time to meditate. Heck, meditate on a paperclip if you have some spare moments at work. Notice its color, the coolness of the metal, the shape of the wire...really attend to that clip. You can meditate every second that you're awake; you just have to pay attention to life.

A couple of books I really like are:

Beginner's Mind by D.T. Suzuki
Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema
Emotional Alchemy (can't remeber the author)
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Good luck! :D

02-16-2003, 06:39 PM
I have been doing group meditations for the past three months during the different full moon cycles. Meditation became easier when I received instruction from an actual person and not a book.

02-16-2003, 06:55 PM
I have been wanting to get into this for some time now and now that I see you ladies have listed some books that will help me I will certainly look into it as soon as possible.

02-16-2003, 09:45 PM
Yes. I meditate...I usually meditate for an hour a day.

02-18-2003, 11:22 PM
I meditate occasionally, the benefits are great. I find it hard to fit it into my day consistantly. :roll:

02-19-2003, 12:02 AM
I have really just recently started meditating. I have done yoga for a while a decided that it was much needed since I am extremely high strung.I have been doing it maybe once or twice a week but i plan to do it more often.