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What is Meditation? And Tips on How to Meditate

 

 

A Self-Improvement, Self-Awareness, and Applied Game Theory Newsletter.

Helping you become more self-aware, intuitive, effective, efficient, precise, productive, honest, and successful through decision-science, applied game theory, and meditation

 

What is the meaning of life, and how can you use daily meditation to not only survive but prosper

Q. Lewis, I am a high-stress person and do not sleep well. Someone said meditation would help. I have an idea what meditation is but don’t know how to do it. What is meditation?

 

A. Meditation is a process that exists on many levels.  Essentially one focuses the mind while sitting or lying still. The best way to start is to sit quietly and say a word like “One” or “Om” over and over for 5- 10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening while observing one’s breath. It can be very relaxing.

 

There are many types of meditation. One can sit in quite or use transcendental meditation music.  Guided meditation and mindfulness meditation can calm your stress, and for insomnia, there is sleep meditation. Many young people automatically seek the best meditation apps but that is not really necessary. After beginning basic meditation techniques some move on to a Buddhist based Vipassana meditation.  For those exploring metaphysics and Eastern Philosophy, there is Chakra meditation. Many people know of meditation through the  Beatles and the Maharishi. The same technique is practiced by the film Director and producer David Lynch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Shunryu Suzuki, the author of Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind, “The best way and the highest stage of meditation is just to do it without having any joy in it, not even spiritual joy.” Just sit on a pad or stool with your back straight and focus on the breath and mindfulness. If sitting is not your thing, stand or walk slowly while observing your breath or contemplating on kōans.  The greatest level of awareness is to forget physical feelings, mental opinions, or even yourself and meditate without goals, expectations, or intentions – Just sit!

 

In the level that lies just below this, you are likely to seek physical pleasure and emotional fulfillment from your meditation. The mind is often motivated by the avoidance of discomfort or the experience of pleasure so if the meditation experience is pleasurable than you are more likely to meditate. If emotional stress and inner conflict are reduced by meditation, then you will again be more likely to meditate.

 

The next level down is to focus on meditation as a source of physical pleasure. In this space, the mind is exclusively motivated by the avoidance of discomfort and the experience of pleasure. Even if one does not experience mental calmness or emotional peace, if the experience one has from meditation is physically pleasurable, then one will be more likely to meditate.

 

The least desirable form of meditation is motivated by fear, regret, guilt, shame, expectation, or envy.  Here, you will want to be a better meditator than another person or meditate better this time than last time.  There is an expectation here that meditating will make you more spiritual. Of course, any meditation, even selfish meditation is desirable because in time you will gain wisdom of the Path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meditation is an inch by inch step by step process that can be started with just one second of practice a day. Whatever form your meditation may take you will soon be dealing with what we call Monkey Mind.

 

Monkey Mind is the term used to describe the seemingly endless, obsessive process of thinking about one thing after another for a short time without any specific intention or desire to have these thoughts.  The term Monkey Mind is based on the common observation in Asia of monkeys jumping quickly, and without any seeming purpose, from one place to another. With Monkey Mind, there is a chaotic process of concept formation, where thoughts come and go constantly chattering within an unfocused internal conversation. With Monkey Mind, there is a momentum where one endlessly jumps from thought to thought, constantly daydreaming, analyzing, and worrying.

 

Once you begin a consistent meditation practice, you will become aware of Monkey Mind. Don’t judge your mediation as good or bad based on how much you are able to focus or how much you fall into Monkey Mind.  If the mind is trained improperly to deal with this pattern, it can lead to a never-ending cycle of grief and emotional pain for the individual in this state. If Monkey Mind becomes a dominant pattern in your life, you are likely to be seen by others as mentally scattered and emotionally unstable.  Children with this pattern are often improperly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or as dysfunctionally hyperactive.

 

Monkey Mind is more common than one might think.  It is likely that master multitaskers – those who believe they can talk on a cell phone, text, tweet, watch a music video on YouTube and Google all at the same time – have created a minimally functional pattern of behaviors that reflect the normalization of Monkey Mind in everyday life.  As Western culture has become ever more technologically driven in the last half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, Monkey Mind has become more common, so common that many educators complain that their students had shorter attention spans than ever before. So, what are we to do about Monkey Mind? Just begin meditating daily.

 

 

 

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