February 2016 Topic - Meditaton

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Kizzie

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February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« on: February 08, 2016, 08:29:55 PM »
Note:   This thread was originally in the Discussion Topic of the month (Feb 2016). 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:19:13 PM by Kizzie »

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Jdog

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 12:15:47 AM »
I am beginning a practice of meditation ( it's been about 6 weeks now) and have seen great results so far.  The meditation is a variety of Vipassana or Insight Meditation.  This style of meditation is patterned after the original texts by the Buddha (rather than later versions, of which there are apparently many).  I have been attending weekly classes given by an instructor with whom I am well familiar (have known him for nearly 20 years) and whom has studied meditation with various masters for 40'years.  I am giving this variety - known as Lovingkindness meditation- a try to see whether it will stick longterm.

The essence of this practice is that one sends "metta", or kindness to oneself first.  Then, one sends the kindness out to a so-called "spiritual friend"- a person who is always on your side (but not a spouse, child, or best friend- more like a counselor or mentor).  As one's practice gets more advanced, metta is sent to ever-expanding circles and will include family, friends, neutral people, and eventually those whom one does not like.  The phrases that constitute metta are things like, "May I have peace", "May I feel joy", "May I be safe", etc.  Then the same wishes are sent to others.

I have found the practice to be very soothing and grounding, and even though getting in close touch with my inner child has brought up some difficult feelings it has also brought days of calm and grounded energy.

Just thought I would share.

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Jdog

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 05:24:59 PM »
I do settle in a bit at first.  The suggestion is to picture oneself in a pleasant setting, generate feelings of uplift and relaxation, etc.  it takes me about 3-5 minutes generally to do this, then I generate metta for myself for around 10 minutes or so followed by about twice as long for others.  Times are approximate as I do keep my eyes closed during meditation.

Hope that answers your question.

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Jdog

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 06:32:06 PM »
Excellent!  I look forward to your reflections.  I don't get to meditate until much later today...

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Jdog

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 12:00:52 AM »
Thank you for your reflections and for sharing your own practice.

In my practice, when thoughts wander we do,something called "6R."  It is this :
Recognize - see the distraction
Release  - set it free
Relax- soften
(Re)smile - smile!
Return - send metta
Repeat - just keep practicing!

Namiste-
JDog

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tesscaline

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 05:01:39 AM »
Didn't someone recently post something about mindfulness meditation having possible risks for those with CPTSD?  I can't seem to find the thread now... I'm probably looking in the wrong sub-forums.

I know that, for me, meditation has had very little benefit, if any, and can even make me feel worse if I'm already struggling with anxiety/EF states. Which sucks, because it's such a go-to for treatment programs that I keep having to re-explain that it doesn't work well for me at all, and repeatedly go through it being pressed on me by various people (counsellors, support groups, therapists, doctors, you name it).  People, even professionals in mental health, seem unwilling to entertain the notion that meditation can increase someone's stress/anxiety levels rather than decreasing them.  They take my reluctance as defeatism or "being difficult," rather than me trying to avoid re-traumatizing myself.  And that's frustrating :(

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2016, 06:58:02 AM »
Didn't someone recently post something about mindfulness meditation having possible risks for those with CPTSD?  I can't seem to find the thread now... I'm probably looking in the wrong sub-forums.
It was hard to find for me too.  ;)
http://outofthefog.net/C-PTSD/forum/index.php?topic=2743.msg20435#msg20435

I know that, for me, meditation has had very little benefit, if any, and can even make me feel worse if I'm already struggling with anxiety/EF states. Which sucks, because it's such a go-to for treatment programs that I keep having to re-explain that it doesn't work well for me at all, and repeatedly go through it being pressed on me by various people (counsellors, support groups, therapists, doctors, you name it).  People, even professionals in mental health, seem unwilling to entertain the notion that meditation can increase someone's stress/anxiety levels rather than decreasing them.  They take my reluctance as defeatism or "being difficult," rather than me trying to avoid re-traumatizing myself.  And that's frustrating :(
Perhaps this quote from Pete Walker may cheer you up:
Quote
"In my experience, until the fight response is substantially restored, the cPTSD client benefits little from CBT, psychodynamic or mindfulness techniques that encourage us to accept the [inner] Critic." In later recovery, when the survivor has removed the venomous stinger from the critic, these techniques can be quite valuable. Then, and only then, are we able to reconnect with the helpful side of healthy self-criticism"
© Pete Walker, Chapter 9 (Shrinking the Inner Critic), page 183
Meditation hasn't worked much for me either, but I have been angry a lot the last year(s), and vented it. I guess that falls under the "Fight" category as well. Reading this has been validating for me, as I have been a "Fawn" type for most of my life. I now know I'm on the right track by becoming an angry-(not so)young-man. I'll start meditating once I'm done raging  :pissed:  That may take while yet.   ;D
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 07:06:47 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2016, 08:50:02 AM »
You gotta want it to work.
If you don't believe it will work or if you don't want it to work, then it won't work.
Spot on, Waterman.
I don't want it to work, I want my "Fight" response to work properly first.

I'm sorry I 'highjacked' the thread, on a very modest way, and I have also said my thing, so this will be my last entry. That's OK, no worries, I was not planning to post here in the first place.
It's wonderful for all of you who meditate that it works for you. I'm not advocating you or anybody else should stop.
But I felt I should response to tesscaline, as we have a shared (nil)-experience with the positive aspects of meditation. And I feel encouraged by Pete Walkers statement on why at this point in my recovery it might well NOT work, no matter how hard I'd try to "want to make it work".

Peace.
Dutch Uncle.

edit: this post here was a reply to a post that since has been removed. A relevant part of it is preserved in what I quoted. It was specifically addressed to tesscaline and I.
edit2: I see Waterman has left and removed all his posts. I'm sorry about that.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 04:17:18 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Pieces

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 10:52:19 AM »
What I have learned about meditation (apologies if this in any way rubs someone the wrong way):

I think here is a difference between meditation with a goal (trying something, trying to get somewhere, usually feeling a certain way) and meditating as in simply being present.

If you are visualizing certain things to feel a certain way (like for instance calm) and it works for you than that's a great way to learn stress management. It's obviously better than smoking, drinking, etc your feelings away. But the idea is kinda the same; I've built up an experience which I now want to go away. That is a practice you'll have to repeat indefinitely because you're treating symptom's. Some people call it a healthy addiction, while a addiction can and never will be really healthy; it's something you're stuck in. Simply being would be a way to start the stress from fully happening. Just notice the thoughts. feelings, emotions and let them be without identifying with them. It comes and it go and you the one who is aware of that. You're the space in which those experiences happen but the experiences are not who you are, no matter what the thoughts tell you. If I'm looking at a wall it means I'm not that wall; if I'm looking a my thought I'm not the thoughts.

Visualization is something you do in and with thoughts, when you give your attention to thoughts you're not present in yourself anymore, and I think that's the opposite way you should be going if you want to get back to yourself. If you meditate trying to control the experience you're having the experience has control over you, which is not what you want if what you want is freedom. Freedom would be to be able to do what you want despite having an experience (like stress/fear) that 'says' otherwise, especially if that experience is past trauma related.

Also a lot of meditation techniques involve counting breaths in a way to control to mind, which reinforces the idea that the mind has to be controlled somehow (which is an idea that comes from the same mind you're trying to control). That way meditating is mind/thought dominated. A thought will say ''my mind is very quiet, I'm doing it right!'' and when you believe that thought the mind had more control over you. Mind  = mind; it's produces thoughts. It's only of consequence when you believe in the thought that thoughts have control over you and thát thought also comes from thát mind. It's basically the mind telling itself how meditation should be going and the meditator confusing her of his self with those thoughts. Now of course the difficulty with this is that when you have been stuck in thought/trance your whole life from an early age, your whole system is wired that way and reversing that is difficult and takes a long, long time. But that shouldn't be a reason to not work on it.

I don't need control over my mind or feelings; I need to let go of believing in the thought (identifying) that my mind (or feelings/emotions) have control over me. I need to let go of the image of me being smaller than my experience. If you believe a thought you'll create that experience. If you repeatedly believe a thought and repeatedly create that experience you condition you mind/body to automatically created that experience to the point that you may forget that that experience is not who you are.

I don't want to sound too blunt but for me it really struck a cord when I realized that my problems with how I feel would only disappear when I stop making a problem with how I feel. If I just feel whatever there is to feel. That really got me thinking ''What is the problem with how I feel?'' and for a long time I gave myself a false answer ''It's because there is a thought that says I shouldn't feel this way'' But a thought itself is never a problem, it was me believing that thought and not seeing it was part of the inner critic; the voices of my parents who would tell me to be quiet whenever I would express emotion and then me feeling down about myself, believing that I was wrong/defective for having those feelings.

Coming to this point took a long time and looking back I had a lot to work through before I could even remotely feel present. That's why I understand very well anyone who says meditation doesn't work for them and I genuinely feel sad hearing those practices getting pushed on anyone. It shows a lack of understanding, which is anything but helpful. In fact, if something doesn't work for someone who is in need then it should fall on the one who is suppose to help to find something that does.

Long story short; be careful with not being tricked into trying to feel a certain way to unconsciously please the inner critic. Don't get caught up in believing thoughts about how you should be feeling. Also, do whatever works for you.

True Meditation Has No Goal - Jeff Foster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZQshhxqQSs

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no_more_fear

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 04:42:46 PM »
I started meditating over a year ago and when I'd been at it for about four months my memories from childhood started returning. At first I thought the memories came back due to an altered state of consciousness brought on by the meditation, but now I think it was simply the act of sitting still for an extended period a day. Has anyone else found that it alters their conciousness? I was meditating a few nights ago and after about ten minutes I felt a shift from the emotional to rational/critical side of my brain. It was as if the left side of my brain took over for the remainder of the night. It had shifted back when I woke up the next morning.

I can understand the reservations that some have about it. I know that personaly I have a deep fear of the present moment, so when I meditate and am completely grounded I can sometimes feel a wave of anxiety. It depends on the time of day, though. I think it's to do with dissociation.

I too do meta meditation. I begin my practise with five minutes of mindfulness meditation, then switch to metta for five minutes, then back to mindfulness. I count to ten and then repeat so as not to begin dissociating. My metta meditation is completely on myself at the moment as I feel I'm th one who needs it most right now!  ;D Has anyone else had problems generating positive feelings toward themselves? I have to imagine my husband, feel the fondness I have for him, and then try to direct it towards myself.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 04:46:11 PM by no_more_fear »

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tesscaline

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2016, 08:11:07 PM »
Waterman --

While I'm glad that meditation works so well for you:

Berating people who have expressed having adverse reactions to a treatment modality, making indirect accusations that they "don't want it to work", and basically blaming them for the treatment's failure, is extremely invalidating and re-traumatizing to those people.  It is reactions like yours to my valid issues with meditation that actually increase my difficulty with it. 

I won't be posting in this thread again either, as it's been made abundantly clear that me and my experiences aren't welcome.

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mourningdove

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2016, 10:20:12 PM »
Check out what Bessel van der Kolk says about mindfulness meditation and traumatized people at 58:45.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2NTADxDuhA

Posting this just to say that there are valid reasons that many of us might have trouble with it.

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tired

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2016, 01:07:55 AM »
I made a meditation area with a great bench I bought online but I wasn't using it and I didn't know why.  I realized  that I need to start my day with something that makes my life feel worthwhile. Otherwise I seem to "procrastinate" by cleaning up the house in the morning; but I found that it cheers me up because I feel useful.  So I allow myself to get up and first clean up the house then I get myself cleaned up and then I allow myself to go to my clean meditation area and sit. What to do there is something I've had to think about. Meditation is a way of avoiding doing things sometimes. So I do something: I sit and work on my posture. I light a candle and if the area is dirty I let myself clean it. I'm not picky about it.

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Jdog

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 04:08:27 AM »
Hi, everyone-

It seems that what began as a place to voice our experiences about meditation - a neutral ground in which we can discuss experiences, or ask questions, or learn - has taken a sort of left turn into shaming and blaming and so forth.  I want to say that nothing works for everyone, nor should it.  What works for one now may not work at a later point or may not have been a good fit at an earlier point.

I encourage us to be as self and other-accepting as possible.  I heard this quote from singer Lucinda Williams in an interview yesterday (taken from one of her songs, and quoting her own father):

"Extend compassion to everyone.....whether they want it or not."  For us, as we repair our various hurts, I think it also means to extend compassion to all parts of our inner selves, whether we can sense a response or not.  We are where we are.  We matter.  Nobody can take that away.

Just saying..

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snailspace

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Re: February 2016 Topic - Meditaton
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 08:16:52 AM »
http://www.whycantimeditate.com/  This book by Nigel Wellings is helping me understand why I find it so hard especially to befriend myself and do the Loving Kindness.  He explains why it can sometimes feel unnerving to show compassion towards yourself when it was never shown to you.  But I'm sticking with it!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 10:37:31 AM by snailspace »