T Nation

Practitioners of Meditation


#1

Any practitioners of meditation on these boards?

I have always been interested in meditation but have never took the initiative to begin. I decided recently, after reading the Steve Jobs biography, that I wanted to start. I'm looking for some insight on some resources that people have found helpful and opinions on different types of meditation.

I'm going to sound like a total hippie here but want to say (and see if anyone can relate) to how when I hear the state of "enlightenment" described it sounds very similar to how I feel when I sometimes get high. I particularly like the idea of "non-positional attitude", "immediacy" and "fullness". In the sense of having less "filter" I feel like this aptly describes a good high for me. Everything is fresh and without preconceived notions attached. I have less of a "track" playing in my head and can instead watch ideas pass my mind by and "pull" down ones at will. Once focused, I can dig into an idea with a kind of depth that I can't do while straight. This is the type of thinking or state that I would like to develop through meditation and was wondering if anyone has had any luck doing so.

As a caveat to the above - I know that the feeling of enlightenment achieved while stoned could very well be just an illusion. I could feel I have more focus and less cloud when really I don't. I fully recognize this. This doesn't distract from my point though.


#2

Peace is a lie, There is only passion.
Through Passion I gain Strength.
Through Strength I gain Power.
Through Power I gain Victory.
Through victory my chains are broken.


#3

Yeah, meditation huh?...well look what good it did Steve Jobs.


#4

Meditation has helped me in more ways then I ever could have realized starting out.


#5

http://dananau.com/wabe/humor/monkgloats.pdf


#6

lol!


#7

first of all, meditation is a practice, i practice meditation almost every night as a way to fall asleep. it takes a long time to be able to achieve the certain things you want to achieve thru meditation. when i get overwhelmed in life, i meditate a lot more. breathing techniques are huge, look into it. meditating isn't going to make you the next ghandi, it might, but don't think that way about it. it's a way to relax your mind and body and connect the two into a harmonious mixture of internal calm and serenity. i can't live without it, try it out and stick with it if you don't think it's worth it, it definitely is.


#8

OK, seriously, here's a good book that's in its full form online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/rosa/index.htm

And you can use this chapter (Chapter 8) to learn how to meditate: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/rosa/rosa10.htm


#9

I'm curious what meditation had to do with Steve Jobs.


#10

The First Step in the Mental Training.--Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supreme Enlightenment after the practice of Meditation for one week, some for one day, some for a score of years, and some for a few months. The practice of Meditation, however, is not simply a means for Enlightenment, as is usually supposed, but also it is the enjoyment of Nirvana, or the beatitude of Zen. It is a matter, of course, that we have fully to understand the doctrine of Zen, and that we have to go through the mental training peculiar to Zen in order to be Enlightened.

The first step in the mental training is to become the master of external things. He who is addicted to worldly pleasures, however learned or ignorant he may be, however high or low his social position may be, is a servant to mere things. He cannot adapt the external world to his own end, but he adapts himself to it. He is constantly employed, ordered, driven by sensual objects. Instead of taking possession of wealth, he is possessed by wealth. Instead of drinking liquors, he is swallowed up by his liquors. Balls and music bid him to run mad. Games and shows order him not to stay at home. Houses, furniture, pictures, watches, chains, hats, bonnets, rings, bracelets, shoes--in short, everything has a word to command him. How can such a person be the master of things? To Ju (Na-kae) says: "There is a great jail, not a jail for criminals, that contains the world in it. Fame, gain, pride, and bigotry form its four walls. Those who are confined in it fall a prey to sorrow and sigh for ever."

To be the ruler of things we have first to shut up all our senses, and turn the currents of thoughts inward, and see ourselves as the centre of the world, and meditate that we are the beings of highest intelligence; that Buddha never puts us at the mercy of natural forces; that the earth is in our possession; that everything on earth is to be made use of for our noble ends; that fire, water, air, grass, trees, rivers, hills, thunder, cloud, stars, the moon, the sun, are at our command; that we are the law-givers of the natural phenomena; that we are the makers of the phenomenal world; that it is we that appoint a mission through life, and determine the fate of man.

The Next Step in the Mental Training.--In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our bodies. With most of the unenlightened, body holds absolute control over Self. Every order of the former has to be faithfully obeyed by the latter. Even if Self revolts against the tyranny of body, it is easily trampled down under the brutal hoofs of bodily passion. For example, Self wants to be temperate for the sake of health, and would fain pass by the resort for drinking, but body would force Self into it. Self at times lays down a strict dietetic rule for himself, but body would threaten Self to act against both the letter and spirit of the rule. Now Self aspires to get on a higher place among sages, but body pulls Self down to the pavement of masses. Now Self proposes to give some money to the poor, but body closes the purse tightly. Now Self admires divine beauty, but body compels him to prefer sensuality. Again, Self likes spiritual liberty, but body confines him in its dungeons.

Therefore, to got Enlightened, we must establish the authority of Self over the whole body. We must use our bodies as we use our clothes in order to accomplish our noble purposes. Let us command body not to shudder under a cold shower-bath in inclement weather, not to be nervous from sleepless nights, not to be sick with any sort of food, not to groan under a surgeon's knife, not to succumb even if we stand a whole day in the midsummer sun, not to break down under any form of disease, not to be excited in the thick of battlefield--in brief, we have to control our body as we will.

Sit in a quiet place and meditate in imagination that body is no more bondage to you, that it is your machine for your work of life, that you are not flesh, that you are the governor of it, that you can use it at pleasure, and that it always obeys your order faithfully. Imagine body as separated from you. When it cries out, stop it instantly, as a mother does her baby. When it disobeys you, correct it by discipline, as a master does his pupil. When it is wanton, tame it down, as a horse-breaker does his wild horse. When it is sick, prescribe to it, as a doctor does to his patient. Imagine that you are not a bit injured, even if it streams blood; that you are entirely safe, even if it is drowned in water or burned by fire.

E-Shun, a pupil and sister of Ryo-an,[1] a famous Japanese master, burned herself calmly sitting cross-legged on a pile of firewood which consumed her. She attained to the complete mastery of her body. Socrates' self was never poisoned, even if his person was destroyed by the venom he took. Abraham Lincoln himself stood unharmed, even if his body was laid low by the assassin. Masa-shige was quite safe, even if his body was hewed by the traitors' swords. Those martyrs that sang at the stake to the praise of God could never be burned, even if their bodies were reduced to ashes, nor those seekers after truth who were killed by ignorance and superstition. Is it not a great pity to see a man endowed with divine spirit and power easily upset by a bit of headache, or crying as a child under a surgeon's knife, or apt to give up the ghost at the coming of little danger, or trembling through a little cold, or easily laid low by a bit of indisposition, or yielding to trivial temptation?

It is no easy matter to be the dictator of body. It is not a matter of theory, but of practice. You must train your body that you may enable it to bear any sort of suffering, and to stand unflinched in the face of hardship. It is for this that So-rai1 laid himself on a sheet of straw-mat spread on the ground in the coldest nights of winter, or was used to go up and down the roof of his house, having himself clad in heavy armour. It is for this that ancient Japanese soldiers led extremely simple lives, and that they often held the meeting-of-perseverance,[2] in which they exposed themselves to the coldest weather in winter or to the hottest weather in summer. It is for this that Katsu Awa practised fencing in the middle of night in a deep forest.


#11

I've always wanted to try meditation, to render consciousness in its most primal state - the state of Nothingness. Since consciousness is always ABOUT something, and is always conscious OF something, and that the our "true self" is always blocked or filtered by some sort of mind/perception/cognition.

And that to be able to be completely receptive, or have the kind of freedom and spontaneity - which ARE what consciousness IS... to me freedom is not an element of consciousness, but consciousness ITSELF when it is Nothing. This might be our most creative state, because then we can pretty much reinvent and recreate ourselves as an authentic project and be the true author of our lives.

This is how David Lynch makes his films (he is obsessed with Transcendental Meditation). And when Andy Warhol said that he "only has one button on his mind - erase", and now he wants to be a total Blank that has no memory...he is talking about this.

However. I never got to try meditation because it's so damn expensive to learn it correctly ( at least TM, which is the one meditation that i am most interested in)...


#12

I've been practising meditation only this past year. I don't apply strict rules to it but I try to do it in as quiet an environment as possible (like early morning), I focus on my breathing till its measured and deep. I am always seated with a straight spine. I usually have chanting music playing and I "think" about what I want. I also use meditation to forget negative aspects of my past and let go of grudges.

I'm still a newbie but I find this is an activity worth the time and effort.

Try to switch off all electrical devices while doing it. It interferes heavily. I usually don't wear my watch either.

I did a whole week of mediation during a course in December and for lack of a better phrase my mind felt/feels like a still pond.


#13

So is your music magic or does the nether land of your mind forgive that device for blocking the power of the universe?

How advanced must one be to gain discernment? Is it possible to know which part of the universe is contributing to your flow of energy?

Like, does Mars give stronger creative power or Jupiter?

Do you find peace on Pluto or is it just too cold?

What benefits does a still pond for a mind bestow? Is it possible to meditate the mind in to a rushing river? A love river of serene creativity?


#14

After I meditate my mind feels like a Porsche made out of biceps.


#15

It gave him cancer.

On a serious note I hear batman meditates so I must follow in my lord and saviors footsteps.


#16

Steve practiced Zen meditation his whole life ( although I would question how "zen" he really was given his personality). He made a spiritual trip to India when he was in his young twenties and it apparently changed him. He would usually have a certain area of his home set aside as the "meditation room ".

He also did a fair bit of acid.

Interesting man to say the least.

Edit - another interesting point was that Jobs was always adamant that his LSD experiences where some of the most important in his life and had a major impact on who he was as a person.


#17

Yeah, one should try to keep their meditation away from drugs as that would be completely counter to everything Zen stands for.

Same even goes for burning incense and so on when you meditate. Also don't even tell people you meditate or else you'll look like one of those people that talks about yoga and meditating and all that.


#18

I disagree. I think some drugs, especially ones such as LSD are great in providing the kind of experiential catalyst for self-realization that Zen advocates.

I think it's important to look at the root of the Zen practice and not get caught up in the dogma that eventually grows out of the movement, just like it (dogma) does with any religious movement as it ages.


#19

I've been a practitioner of transcendental meditation (TM) since 1975. I meditate twice a day, for about 20 minutes each time, in a quiet, darkened room while sitting in a big, comfy chair. With my eyes closed, I silently repeat a one-word mantra, one that was given to me by my teacher, and find that I tend to drift into a very calm but aware state in a couple of minutes. I come out of the meditative state feeling very relaxed, and then just get on with my day or evening.

I'm not religious and do not associate TM with religious feelings or beliefs. Rather, it's a highly effective method to quiet the brain, quell the usual freight train of disturbing thoughts and to gain some mental clarity. It's no miracle cure, but I've had positive results in terms of relaxation and focus.

To address your question, for me the biggest effect is the quieting of that never-ending, and distracting, thought process, that "track". Initially, in each session, it gets replaced by the repetitive drone of the mantra. However, after a few minutes that too subsides and new thoughts come unbidden. These are usually thoughts about deep issues in my life. I can't say that I solve the issues, but they are often illuminated in new ways.

I've been doing a bit of online research. It appears that the TM organization now charges a steep fee to teach the technique. That's unfortunate.


#20

I disagree with the disagreer. I have no problems with drug use, especially for the purposes you describe, but it is a shortcut and different path from meditative practices.

I don't think the two should be confused.