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The Shogun

The Meditation Chamber

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I don't use one, but I imagine that having some support underneath probably makes the whole thing more comfortable. I sometimes lean against a wall, and it is nicer, but it's not necessarily the same thing.

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2 hours ago, Chen Wangting said:

Is anyone here using a meditation cushion? Is better to use one? What are the advantages?

 

The cushion is mainly used by Zen, which has a strict physical position for meditating.  (The seat portions involve having a specific tilt to the pelvis for back posture, and having your knees supported, so you become a very stable tripod on a wide base when you sit.  So they have a square cushion to support the tripod, and usually a secondary cushion to create that angled tilt to the pelvis.)  I know there are other widely used postures that look similar, but Zen is the only one I know that's super-rigorous about it.  I haven't used that position often, because even the half-lotus is too hard for me, but I did once experiment with the advice to add cushions under the knees to support them if you're sitting cross-legged, so you still get the tripod, and it's a very different sensation from just sitting cross-legged.  You might really like that position and find it great for meditation, but I'd say it's not strictly necessary, unless you're into Zen specifically in a big way.

 

So if you're not doing Zen, I'd say you only need a cushion if you're uncomfortable.  If your back isn't great when you're sitting, then I'd recommend the other Zen cushion, the one you can't see, that angles the hips up in the back and down in the front.

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20 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

 

The cushion is mainly used by Zen, which has a strict physical position for meditating.  (The seat portions involve having a specific tilt to the pelvis for back posture, and having your knees supported, so you become a very stable tripod on a wide base when you sit.  So they have a square cushion to support the tripod, and usually a secondary cushion to create that angled tilt to the pelvis.)  I know there are other widely used postures that look similar, but Zen is the only one I know that's super-rigorous about it.  I haven't used that position often, because even the half-lotus is too hard for me, but I did once experiment with the advice to add cushions under the knees to support them if you're sitting cross-legged, so you still get the tripod, and it's a very different sensation from just sitting cross-legged.  You might really like that position and find it great for meditation, but I'd say it's not strictly necessary, unless you're into Zen specifically in a big way.

 

So if you're not doing Zen, I'd say you only need a cushion if you're uncomfortable.  If your back isn't great when you're sitting, then I'd recommend the other Zen cushion, the one you can't see, that angles the hips up in the back and down in the front.

Thanks for the info. Sitting on the floor gets unconfortable after a while. At moment i meditate lying down at the floor.

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Any word of wisdom about walking meditation?

I converted the "count your breaths" of mindfulness practice into "count your steps" while I was recovering from surgery some months ago, and then I discovered that there was nothing new in it

Personally I find it much more powerful to recenter and calm myself than more static forms

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Is anyone here using a meditation cushion? Is better to use one? What are the advantages?

 

I'm doing Zen, and Sara has described the main points already. The idea is that you want your hips higher than your knees so that your spine can rest naturally. You don't have to sit on the floor on a cushion. Some people in our group sit on chairs. As I understand it, you want your spine extended tall without much curve in the back. Certainly it is easier to focus with good posture.

 

The type of cushion makes a difference for comfort. I sit on two couch pillows at home. That works great for me. In zen class I use a traditional buckwheat-stuffed cushion. It feels like it is full of sand. I find these much too firm. It puts too much pressure on my hips and my legs fall asleep faster and with a lot of pain. Probably you want to avoid that.

 

I also sit on top of a big square cushion so that my ankles have padding. The position I use is related to cross-legged or half-lotus, but with no crossing of the ankles. My shins are parallel each other and both flat on the floor. This may be a function of hip flexibility. I notice that a lot of the other people in zen class don't have their knees on the floor like I do. I find this sitting position comfortable at the start of a session. I can see that you would want knee support to take some of the stress off your ankles if your knees are not touching the ground.

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So, um... is this a valid meditation, and if not, who can we talk to about a special dispensation?

 

 

(Pretty darned NSFW.)

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Finally started meditating. Yes there is some good advice here, but I was building it up too much and making it more than it needs to be. I found this video which helped knock down all that pretense:

 

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@sarakingdom that video seriously made my day, thank you for posting that. I've been having a rough couple of weeks, and that just really helped lol.  I also enjoyed the meditation 101, I'm going to start meditating on my next challenge so that really helps. Thanks!

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When do y'all schedule your meditation during the day?  I need to schedule some longer ones this week for sanity purposes, and I'm mostly used to just grabbing five or ten minutes when I can.  Maybe you can inspire me with interesting meditation schedules.

 

I mean, let's be real.  I'd love to get up at dawn, make a cup of green tea, watch the sunrise, and then sit for half an hour of meditation, but it's probably not happening.  I don't live in that sort of yoga video.

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43 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

When do y'all schedule your meditation during the day?  I need to schedule some longer ones this week for sanity purposes, and I'm mostly used to just grabbing five or ten minutes when I can.  Maybe you can inspire me with interesting meditation schedules.

 

I mean, let's be real.  I'd love to get up at dawn, make a cup of green tea, watch the sunrise, and then sit for half an hour of meditation, but it's probably not happening.  I don't live in that sort of yoga video.

When *cough* I have had a good practice going, I did it at night a bit before bed, sometimes just before crawling into bed.  I can tend to chew on the day's events or other things, and meditation helped to still that so I could sleep easier.  For day time, I'd say probably meditative walking after work.  Get some movement in while clearing the mind.

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9 hours ago, ChrisWithaStick said:

When *cough* I have had a good practice going, I did it at night a bit before bed, sometimes just before crawling into bed.  I can tend to chew on the day's events or other things, and meditation helped to still that so I could sleep easier.

 

1 hour ago, Luciana Valerosa Culming said:

For me doing it before going to bed, helped me to settle, too. But I often felt asleep during my meditations in the evening. 

 

Huh, I hadn't considered that for serious meditation.  I sometimes use meditation habits to help fall asleep, but I usually do it with the goal of falling asleep as I do it.  How well did/do you find that carries over into the rest of the day?

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12 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

Huh, I hadn't considered that for serious meditation.  I sometimes use meditation habits to help fall asleep, but I usually do it with the goal of falling asleep as I do it.  How well did/do you find that carries over into the rest of the day?

I was in university and grad school at the time, and it seemed to help, especially being part of a wind-down/bedtime habit that made it easier to sleep.  I didn't ever fall asleep doing it, but I also sat in seiza, as it's more comfortable on my back.  It worked for me, and seemed to be the best time.  I have a harder time staying awake right after I get up in the morning, so that end of the day I'm less able to focus. 

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On 6/24/2016 at 8:45 AM, sarakingdom said:

 

 

Huh, I hadn't considered that for serious meditation.  I sometimes use meditation habits to help fall asleep, but I usually do it with the goal of falling asleep as I do it.  How well did/do you find that carries over into the rest of the day?

 

I've found that meditation at night connotes about the same benefits as it does during the day. Even before bed, if you can believe it. The main object doesn't seem to be timing so much as it seems to be action.

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13 hours ago, Kishi said:

 

I've found that meditation at night connotes about the same benefits as it does during the day. Even before bed, if you can believe it. The main object doesn't seem to be timing so much as it seems to be action.

 

Getting nerdy here for a moment guys—I know, wrong place—but even though it's a mental exercise, meditation is very similar neurologically to physical drills and practice.  You can skip over this if you've heard it before.

 

Look at it this way: we train drills for our art to strengthen not only our bodies, but also to strengthen the synaptic pathways that make the motion possible. Noob gains are mostly from the beginner learning how to fire their muscles in the right sequence to make the lift with good form, not so much from the strength of their muscles. Novitiates spend a lot of time performing basic strikes to build their form so that they need not think much about the form when tying it into advanced sequences.

 

In our brains, what makes control of our bodies possible is the homunculus, the brain's model of our bodies that it uses for task planning and execution. Now, the brain has a model for itself in its homunculus, and that dear friends, is the focus. By meditating, you are directly strengthening the pathways to direct focus as you see fit.

 

Irony: this post is because I got distracted from my intended task.

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On ‎2‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 11:44 AM, theodinspire said:

I'm interested in meditation, but I don't know where to begin. Especially because, as a skeptic, as soon as mysticism, religion or alternative medicine get mentioned, I am turned off. 

 

Is meditation possible from a position of materialism (i.e. the philosophy that nothing exists beyond the physical)? Also, as one who gets bored easily, are there more active forms of meditation? ones that can occupy that disractable portion of the mind?

I'm confused. Do most people see meditation as a religious thing? I just see it as a form of focus, similar to exercise.

 

On ‎2‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 1:06 PM, Mistr said:

I got a chance to read some of the essays from my zen teacher (no link, not open access). This lineage of zen has a long history of martial artists as teachers. It fits smoothly into the training I'm already doing. I like that he is very clear on what to do and what not to do.

  • Sit every day.
  • Throw yourself into sitting zazen. Don't just hold still and let your thoughts wander.
  • Maintain correct posture and breathing.
  • Keep going after you have a breakthrough - there is more to learn.

I certainly have not had any breakthroughs yet. He says that it is not that hard to get to "kensho". Apparently the hard part comes after that. More to look forward to. ;)

 

(crossposted from my thread)

... I didn't know breakthroughs were something to strive for. When I meditate regularly, I get them fairly often.

---------

Maybe it's because I've practiced since I was a kid, but anyone else able to:

  1. transcend fairly quickly and
  2. have various types of meditation?

I've never learned the names, but I can focus for strength, focus for calm, and focus for... well, focus or concentration. Each has it's own purpose for me. I also can mesh styles. I like to combine all three for an "ultra focus clear mind" technique for before high performance activities. Actually, thinking about it, there's sort of a fourth, but it's the same transcendence as the concentration one. I use a sort of meditation for vision; seeing what I'm going to do (technique) before I do it. I use it for bowling. Another type might be fighting, but that's more of a trance than a meditation technique.

 

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On ‎2‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:26 PM, sarakingdom said:

I don't do formal Zen meditation (zazen), which is pretty picky about physical posture.  (It's interesting, I just don't think it's practical for me.)  I'm not that picky.  If it'd pass for reasonably good mat etiquette under the circumstances, it's fine for me.  But what I do like about their theory of meditation that other schools don't do, is that it's done with your eyes open but lowered, so you're aware of what's going on around you, just holding it at a distance.  I like that from an MA perspective, and I like that for meditating in situations where privacy isn't totally possible.  (I once read some interesting study on how meditators from different traditions reacted to startling interruptions, and the outward reaction was similar, but the Zen meditators uniquely had no inner startle reaction, because they were very aware of their surroundings, not blocking out parts of it.)  So there are formal traditions, but I think things like posture and where you meditate are a little negotiable.

...

One of the other big ones is taking an inventory of physical status, which can probably be a good one for people who do high-injury-risk sports, but I don't really do it, just when it's in one of the fallback guided meditations. 

I'm fairly new to counting breath meditation, but I find it can get me deeper for shorter sessions. If I have time, I go back to my roots, which is awareness meditation. I think of it as a triangle around me. When there's a noise, my focus will immediately extend to include it. I identify it to see if I need to keep focus on it (such as an approaching person) or "discard" it (remove it from focus; such as a car horn in the distance). Mostly I focus on the "dot" in my mind's eye. After a while, the dot disappears and it is just a spot. Everything except specific sounds and the spot disappear. My brother says that it's weird when I do it because I remain so still for so long.

Part of this is just because I'm weird and like to train myself as if I were to lose a hand, foot, or sense. As such, learning to pay attention to objects when I cannot see it... totally within that realm.

Along with the monk's path, I can actually fight better (unarmed vs unarmed, or stick to stick [where unarmed strikes and grabs are allowed]) when I cannot see, so long as I'm not sucker punched to start. It seems to bolster my strength as I have to tense my body to protect from any blows. As soon as I'm hit or manage to locate them through sound, I trust my body and take them down. When I wrestle, this is particularly useful.

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9 hours ago, theodinspire said:

So last week's Steven Universe was about meditation

My friend was trying to get me into it, until she realized the reason I wasn't into it was because I lack a place to watch these videos, and she was too busy to use her place.

Perhaps, I shall jump back on that wagon, just to see this episode.

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Spoiler

 

 

I posted the song in the spoilers area if you want to hear it! The whole episode is pretty beautiful, though, and in the context of everything that's happened it leaves a pretty good impact. Also, you get the song stuck in your head. 

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7 hours ago, StarRuby said:
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I posted the song in the spoilers area if you want to hear it! The whole episode is pretty beautiful, though, and in the context of everything that's happened it leaves a pretty good impact. Also, you get the song stuck in your head. 

Well, that was cool. Super enhanced by the fact I just finished meditating.

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