Meditation – Take 1

Yesterday I decided meditation was required and refocused my attention on spirituality.

For a long time I’ve been fascinated by Hinduism and Buddhism and admittedly, I know very little about them – not even enough to write a blog post about.

With my current limited knowledge, my own personal beliefs and philosophies lay somewhere between the two and since Buddhism isn’t so much of a religion as it is a school of thought or a way of being, I decided to start there for meditation guidance.

What I learned yesterday from the ZenCast Podcast was probably not even a real basic understanding but it’s my basic understanding – the idea behind Buddhism is to find peace and enlightenment through not dwelling on the feelings and thoughts we have.  You are to accept the feeling or thought as existing but then release it.

Meditation is practicing releasing those thoughts and feelings and letting your mind quiet.

This is probably not absolutely correct but it’s what I know right now and I’m going with that – as I learn, I’ll talk about it.

Anyway, so I listened to an introduction to meditation and then a podcast that focused more on Buddhism and then last night I found a guided meditation podcast and set out to complete my first meditation.  Meditation Take 1.

I have ‘tried’ to meditate before but was driven to distraction by the distractions.  I did get that this was part of the process, to overcome the distractions, to notice them and re-focus but I did not have the level of commitment required to complete a full practice.

One of the things I heard yesterday was that it is important to set the amount of time you are going to practice meditation and commit to it.  Ideally I suppose you would use a guided meditation or some sort of timing device to alert you to the end of the set time so that you aren’t feeling a need to check the clock.

While no one actually said it – I think it’s safe to assume that clock watching is counterproductive to meditation.

So, I got myself into a comfortable seated position, put on my headset and started the guided meditation.  I have a few notes for next time;

  • I need a new head set.  One with the noise cancelling feature because during my meditation  I could hear my boys playing Xbox and they were very distracting.  I get that I’m supposed  to be learning to overcome distractions, to notice them and let them go and refocus my attention on my breathing but honestly, my mind and body provide plenty of distractions to practice with – I don’t need any help on that front.   Some day I plan to rock this meditation practice to the point that I could meditate on a roller-coaster but for now, lets make it a little easier.
  • Speaking of making things easier – I know you are supposed to sit with a certain posture and balance.  I did not.  My creaky weak unfit body complains a lot about some things so in the same spirit as the point above, I am making a few modifications in the name of minimizing distractions.  I did “sit” and I did “sit cross-legged” and I did sit straight up but I used back support.  Again… when I’m rocking this I will be able to do it sitting on a rock.
  • I need to ensure I wont be disturbed – I wasn’t.  No one came in but I didn’t specify the need for solitude before I went to practice my meditation so I kept wondering if I would be interrupted.
  • Put my phone on “do not disturb”.  That’s a big one.  I listen to the podcasts and guided meditation on my iPhone and when one of my friends sent me a text message 3/4 of the way in I just about leaped out of my skin.  Not exactly the peace and tranquility I was going for.

That said, over all I am pleased with how it went.  I did do the entire 30 minutes without moving except for the text message interruption after which  I did set the phone to silent to ensure no further skin-leaving episodes.  However, that required me to open my eyes and then I was unable to control the urge to look at the clock and read the message.

I felt very relaxed during the meditation practice.  So much so that a few times I was not sure if I was experiencing absolute relaxation and peace – or if I was falling asleep. I’ll have to look into that… or maybe set my meditation time for when I’m not so totally exhausted.

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