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Some Skeptical Thoughts On Meditation

Discussion in 'Meditation, Mindfullness, Religion, Spirituality' started by barefooter, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Sheik

    Sheik Member

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    In my life there is no substitute for meditation. Though it may not be for everyone.

    Non-attachment is not dissociation.

    "If your thoughts suck, my leaning would be to examine the life circumstances that are leading to such crappy thinking and begin making changes, so you can associate with and love your mind. Thinking of the mind and thoughts as the enemy that needs to be ignored/banished seems like a bad way to frame things."

    The way I see it is that basically the latter is not meditation, the former is. The people trying to destroy parts of themselves are doing what they feel is best, and that may be the best way for them to learn that it's not actually what's best. It sounds like that's not for you. You don't have to do something you feel is wrong or stupid.
     
  2. OP
    barefooter

    barefooter Member

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    Thanks for the great thoughts everyone. Definitely learning a few new things, and giving me a lot more to think about. A few responses:

    Well, I didn't even want to get into the whole guru thing, but I completely agree with you. I think there is a very strong feedback loop between a guru and their followers. The guru may draw a minor following to start, based on actual or suspected traits/abilities/skills, and then as the following grows, the gurus power is reinforced by the followers view of the guru's supposed powers. This feedback loop eventually elevates the guru to a supposed higher spiritual plane, apart from those mere normal humans, but the truth is they're merely empowered by their ego being fed by a steady supply of followers that are hungry for the one true answer from above. I'd imagine most gurus are actually pretty lonely isolated people, as their ego has been inflated so much that they can no longer relate to the masses and must seek happiness through feeding their ego with a never ending supply of fresh disciples.

    Thanks for the reading suggestions, I'll put them on my list. Even if I am highly critical of this stuff, I am still very curious to learn more as it has such a long and interesting history.

    Sure, I pretty much agree with you, although what I was referring to I'd say is more capital M Mediation, rather than just the general idea of meditative activities. That is, the mediation that is commonly prescribed and talked about, which seems somewhat authoritarian to me. By your definition of meditation simply having the trait of honing focus and decreasing overstimulation, wouldn't even working on a math problem be a meditative activity (couldn't tell which way your were saying it was for this)? In fact I'd say just about any activity could be meditative by this definition. I tend to describe this as a flow state, which I think is pretty much the same idea. And also, I do agree that meditation can be helpful, I was never arguing that, just that it's touted as having these "magic" properties, and I doubt it's really any better than other flow states, and possibly much less useful.

    I'm curious how you'd describe non-attachment as different form dissociation if you don't mind sharing more. Also, would you think that while they may not be the same, a regular practice of non-attachment could potentially lead to dissociation if not done correctly?

    Also, I just get this feeling that there's this notion in mediation of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. That is, to not be attached to outcomes, losses, etc., while still experiencing the intense richness of life. I just feel like being very passionate about something and not being attached to it are somewhat in opposition. I mean isn't part of being human thinking about what we're passionate about and love deeply, and when those things are ripped from us the pain is going to be somewhat proportional to the intensity of the passion/love. Non-attachment may sound nice in theory, but I wonder if it's really a way to hedge your bets by not getting overly passionate about one thing as to prevent later pain and suffering.
     
  3. lvysaur

    lvysaur Member

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    Yes, possibly, but working on a math problem requires more energy, and multiple modes of thinking (focus and mental manipulation). The fact that it requires mental manipulation makes it harder to focus, because thinking makes more room for potential "runaway thoughts", as I saw someone mention. Practicing your focus on a very low-demand activity like meditation can be helpful for some.

    Environment can never be stressed enough. A meditative environment nixes excessive stimulation, and I think the internet is culprit number one, by an exponential margin, in overstimulation. Television is bad too, but even television at least has some level of "constraint", where you are constrained to choose from only a finite number of shows, and can only get viewing satisfaction from watching for a long duration of time. Contrast to the internet, where you can get lost in an endless maze of choice, and can get satisfied within seconds from viewing a new link.

    It's certainly a powerful tool if you consciously constrain it, but it ends up being harmful for many, I think.

    I also think that the occupation of space is overstimulating. Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism are probably good design aesthetics to trend towards.
     
  4. mirc12354

    mirc12354 Member

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    Could you please explain that?
    Do you find the HDS accurate in general? You wrote somewhere that astrology is inaccurate system which I sort of agree with but then again HDS is based on astrological data?
     
  5. tyw

    tyw Member

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    It is the most accurate description of reality in existence. And no, I will not explain more ;)

    .....
     
  6. lisaferraro

    lisaferraro Member

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    Oh...now I see more clearly what you mean. Thank you for clarifying :) Now this discussion is interesting to me because I have some uncanny capacity to separate fairly well at will, maybe from my long history of yoga and meditation. I did/do not require psychedelics to achieve. And frankly, some of my experiences make the exogenous substances child's play in comparison (from the few I experienced).

    That said, and bringing it back down to the benefit you use it for: self diagnosis, great use and extremely helpful for navigating the human experience.
     
  7. Regina

    Regina Member

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    "...some of my experiences make the exogenous substances child's play in comparison ..."
    Yea, for me too. For me, that is why I continue.
     
  8. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    @barefooter this is a high quality post!
    Of course, this means I mostly agree... :)
    I quote what I would like to discuss more....

    Yes, flee response.... But I do not believe anymore that this is the real purpose of meditation.

    Or there are 2 purposes, like 2 schools. When you use the pain of a long sitting, then you use dissociation... Which is the opposite of the other way of meditating! You do not want to blow your mind away, but you want to be present, and increase your capacity to be present, whatever happens. You want to stand more without dissociating. So you want to increase your container, including of the good, the happiness etc. If I dare compare, you want to be present to more and more pleasure before the non coming back ? How can you enjoy if you come with very very Little pleasure?

    So, either you hold more, you embrace more, or you dissociate...
    Dissociation is the milk going away from a too small casserole!
    Increase your container, and the milk will go up and up and up....

    This is the main point where I go further. Let's say I do not totally agree with you.... ;) just because of one difference, FELT SENSE. Whatever happens to you, you have to hold it in your BODY. This has nothing to do with skill, discipline, and power.

    Benefits of meditation are in the capacity for the felt sense and holding the powerful sensations without dissociating!

    Then you can put this capacity in whatever you do, which is the diffuse meditation, practised aside from formal meditation. Its means that you have to go on meditating even when you are not sitting eyes shut.

    Your 1st sentence is so perfect, I love it!
    Your 2nd is right but it does not help that it is, because you cannot do this with your mind, it is beyond its scope. This has to be done at autonomic level, and not at mind level, though with the help of the mind for sure.... because that is what your 3rd sentence says, and that I :clapping::thumbsup:
    They are not enemies, and it really bugs me too, and make me sad that people go to dissociation instead to being present. As we say in somatic experiencing "cuando la olla es chiquitita"! Imagine a bowl, may be tibetan hehe, and the pendulum going from one side to the other, making the round form of the bowl. Give power to the pendulum movement, and you fall off the bowl, when the container is too small for holding the emotion and the feeling, etc, all that is meant in the formula "felt sense"

    Dissociation can be between many things, not only with the mind. It has its danger, but do not forget that it can also be life saving. It is a natural protection, and would never pray for it to dissapear from life!
    The only important thing is to know how to come back....
     
  9. sprinter

    sprinter Member

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    Meditation is discovering who we are beyond body, mind and emotions.
     
  10. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    There is the paradox.... the mecanics of it tells me that you need something to shunt the mind! I really understood it when I studied somatic experiencing, which is very practical. You need something that is part of the realm of imagination to be able to change something in the nervous system. And you cannot do it with the mind only. What you call spiritual stuff, I do not need it either, or better said, I understand what it is, and so I use it but I am not fooled by it. I do not reject nor accept it, I use it!
    The same paradox... That is why I have decided to be a believer! If one day they prove that god exists, then it will be useless! The power to use something without knowing if it exists is a very strong tool...
     
  11. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    Beautifully said! Beyond the "Trinity", we are all this at the same time. It made tilt in me when I read the expression triune brain, because all this Works together. He would coined the term felt sense, I think he also included the consciousness of all this at the same time.
     
  12. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    ...focus to what is around + noticing how you FEEL it in your BODY!
    This is what meditation is about.
    The chattering inside has to do with the mind and the emotions that forget about the body sensations!
    When you say about imagining a scenario, that I do as much as anyone.... what we do not notice is that it puts an image on an inward feeling, in the body, that we were not aware of. It is what makes you go to the inner chatter. I know this sounds weird, but it is so because we are not enough in contact with our body sensations. We talk of the mind and the emotions, but they have body sensations linked to them. If you are angry, where in your body do you feel it?

    Even if you come to understand something of yourself with meditation etc, it is not the main purpose, which is to feel, in the meaning of "felt sense". We are not enough in contact with our body sensations.
     
  13. James_001

    James_001 Member

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    For a distinct introvert what is happening in the mind is more interesting than externally oriented activities. I would rather mediate than do something like repair a bike any day. Perhaps you don't benefit from mediation or see the value in it because you're externally focused? Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

    For example ask yourself these questions, do you find more pleasure in reading a great novel or going to a bar? Does the location you live in important to your well being?
     
  14. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    I am glad to share with people who are very aware of the problema, as I so often meet people who are into the "fighting the mind", and dissociate (out in the sky) or freeze (in the bubble), both being the last ressource when fight and flight do not work, or when you are not able to stay here and now, due to the intensity of the danger or pain.

    I was happy to discover that it is posible to meditate with another goal!
    And by the way I know someone who is enlightened, and what I could see in his eyes was really different, and also what I could feel. I learned his meditation for this reason. I just feel great in 5 mns when I manage to do it well.
     
  15. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    Just to say I am SORRY for writing so many posts in a row, but I was not there at the beginning of the sharing, and I read and ...I cannot help it, I keep answering! And with joy, great discussion.
     
  16. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    In India they also have this like the christians! haha
    The enlightened master I know just tell things so simply, that I could understand what his state was. Above, I was talking about the container, the bowl... His bowl is so big that he can stand a lot, and more, without getting angry or mad at it, or afraid and so on. I also know his wife, and she saw the difference betweenn before and after his "change"...
    The funny thing is that when it happened to him, he said he just laughted and laughted and laughted... as you, about this freedom!
     
  17. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    I just feel compassion to those people who had a freeze response to a trauma, and could not come out of it. They re-play this forever.... They dissociate and experience a beautiful state of oneness. They do not know that they have to go out of it, to go out of the trauma trap. If you never had a strong dissociation one day in your life, this is hard to understand what it is. An example I think is a coming back from the strongest dissociation, is the NDE experience. And Anita Moorjani for example does not seem to be masochistic, but on the contrary she looks very much alive. She just could COME OUT of dissociation!
    I can tell you that many people are alive but still in some strong dissociation. And we all have parts of our lifes with some Little dissociation! What I gained with SE practise was to be aware when I dissociate, and be able to come back.
     
  18. Regina

    Regina Member

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    I don't have any experience with a "wiping the mind" dissociation type of meditation. I think Soto Zen has this kind of "purification" notions. But Rinzai Zen never wipes the mirror. We look directly in though without judgement. There is a kind of rejoicement in truth. And seeing things clearly and unrestricted by dogma or preconceived notions.

    It is not non-attachment. It's not being attached to things that aren't there.
    There is no emptying or stopping of the mind. Zazen is one part of the curriculum that helps cultivate the free-flowing mind that doesn't stop and grasp. We tend to do it around martial arts training (aikido, swords, weapons) in forms that knit each other together -- these also cultivate a free-flowing mind (in a safe way). So, there's not much pain in the long sits because our bodies are warm and flexible and there is a fast walking break (kinhin) between two sits.

    I feel so good afterwards.
     
  19. Xisca

    Xisca Member

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    Yes @Regina , that's good when it feels good! If it goes with PRESENCE of course.
    I rejected meditation when I perceived it like looking at the candle and try to not think.... Then I started someatic experiencing, and then I met a master that presented me a way to meditate that fit into what I had learned. And I started to meditate imediately. There is rejoycement alsoo it this one I do. It is mainly cultivating the joy...

    I agree with your view of non attachment. It is also misunderstood, about what to not be attached! You can still have goals and do things, but without being attached to the result. In a scientific way to say it, it is to finish things in your nervous system, not the history necessarily, but your inner reaction. Is it posible that you also meant, about not being attached to what is not there, to not go on reacting to something that is not there any more?
     
  20. Regina

    Regina Member

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    I think pretty much to your last phrase/question.
    I never had exposure to someone saying try not think. Sometimes I like the imagery of a cat on a leash being released to wander around the room as it wishes.

    There is too much to the idea of 'not being attached to things that are not there' to address here. But for me, I never thought it had anything to do with goals, but more about keeping a free-flowing mind (unwrapped vision).
     
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