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Author Topic: Trouble Meditating  (Read 5803 times)
adnama
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« Topic Start: February 13, 2011, 02:46:59 am »

How many people say this when they're staring out- I simply can't meditate!

But I mean it! I can't figure out how to make it work for me. They say that when you're mind wanders you should simply return to your breathing or the candle flame or whatever. I shit you not, my mind often manages to wander in the process of returning to my breathing. I go on a whole new wander loop before I even get back. There is no containing my mind to any one thing, let alone something as mundane as breathing or a candle flame. Or being still, simply being still seems an unobtainable goal.

I'm not officially diagnosed as ADD, but they've talked about it and I miserably failed the test they use. Can people with ADD meditate? 

My brain just doesn't work this way.

I dunno. Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?
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« Reply #1: February 13, 2011, 03:39:18 am »

How many people say this when they're staring out- I simply can't meditate!

But I mean it! I can't figure out how to make it work for me. They say that when you're mind wanders you should simply return to your breathing or the candle flame or whatever. I shit you not, my mind often manages to wander in the process of returning to my breathing. I go on a whole new wander loop before I even get back. There is no containing my mind to any one thing, let alone something as mundane as breathing or a candle flame. Or being still, simply being still seems an unobtainable goal.

I'm not officially diagnosed as ADD, but they've talked about it and I miserably failed the test they use. Can people with ADD meditate? 

My brain just doesn't work this way.

I dunno. Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?

If being still is an obstacle have you tried walking meditations--or even yoga? The way I practice both is to link my breath up to the movements, and if my mind seems particularly busy, then trying to focus my mind on how everything feels. My heel striking the ground, my arch rolling to my toes, my ribs opening as my arm stretches over my head.

For me, moving meditations helped me immensely with being able to sit and meditate--though I'm still not very good at that (yet!).

Hope that helps!
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« Reply #2: February 13, 2011, 06:30:03 am »

For me, moving meditations helped me immensely with being able to sit and meditate--though I'm still not very good at that (yet!).

These are great suggestions. I had the same problem and yoga was a big help. The other thing that I find useful is visualisation meditations. Rather than trying to clear my mind (which I still find almost impossible) I focus on a visualisation. One of my favourites is to see myself walking down a country lane. I focus on being there. Try to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, hear all the sounds, smell the grass etc, feel the ground under my feet and so on. This really helps me to keep focussed and not go off thinking about my to-do list and all the other things that like to intrude. It doesn't work every single day but more often than not it does.

Hope you find something that works for you. Good luck!
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« Reply #3: February 13, 2011, 08:17:48 am »

My brain just doesn't work this way.

I dunno. Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?

What worked for me was stopping to try. Simply sitting or lying there and relaxing and letting it happen without any pressure to "do it right". Yes, my mind wanders off, but I try to let it flow like water, I simply don't direct my thoughts, and that works pretty well. After a bit of practicing I even magaged to find that sort of focus that is so often called "meditating". So I think you simply shouldn't take things so seriously and stress yourself out about it Wink
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« Reply #4: February 13, 2011, 09:20:54 am »


I knit.

and I don't sit down *to meditate* when I knit - I sit down to knit.  and everything just goes away for a while.  focusing on it makes it impossible
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« Reply #5: February 13, 2011, 09:35:58 am »

How many people say this when they're staring out- I simply can't meditate!

I have trouble meditating, too. What has helped me so far is doing guided meditations. Listening to someone talking me through the meditation helps me stay in the moment because I can concentrate on something outside my head... when I just do the meditation exercise by myself, I get lost in my own thoughts much more quickly.
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« Reply #6: February 13, 2011, 12:49:08 pm »

I have trouble meditating, too. What has helped me so far is doing guided meditations. Listening to someone talking me through the meditation helps me stay in the moment because I can concentrate on something outside my head... when I just do the meditation exercise by myself, I get lost in my own thoughts much more quickly.

I find learning how to mediate comes with practice. It took me a long time to find a method to mediate. I just concentrate on my breathes and any thoughts I visualize them siphoning on into an abyss (if that makes any sense.) Just be patient and try different things like many the skill will come with practice.
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« Reply #7: February 13, 2011, 06:15:07 pm »

How many people say this when they're staring out- I simply can't meditate!

But I mean it! I can't figure out how to make it work for me. They say that when you're mind wanders you should simply return to your breathing or the candle flame or whatever. I shit you not, my mind often manages to wander in the process of returning to my breathing. I go on a whole new wander loop before I even get back. There is no containing my mind to any one thing, let alone something as mundane as breathing or a candle flame. Or being still, simply being still seems an unobtainable goal.

I'm not officially diagnosed as ADD, but they've talked about it and I miserably failed the test they use. Can people with ADD meditate? 

My brain just doesn't work this way.

I dunno. Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?

I have ADHD and I can meditate. The trick is to find what work for you to calm your mind and focus. I personally play Celtic music when I am going to meditate, because it's calming and helps me visualize either my Deities or that plain I'm trying to get to. Just try different things, also breathing techniques will help calm your mind and relax you.
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« Reply #8: February 14, 2011, 12:17:34 am »

What worked for me was stopping to try. Simply sitting or lying there and relaxing and letting it happen without any pressure to "do it right". Yes, my mind wanders off, but I try to let it flow like water, I simply don't direct my thoughts, and that works pretty well.

^This. When doing meditations, especially visual, I would try so hard that I just couldn't for the life of me see anything but the darkness behind my lids. I was terrible frustrated until I just sat in quietness and let things happen. Sometimes I'd see flashes of colors or patterns that would form into visionary things, and sometimes I'd just listen to my breathing. Either way, I ended up feeling quite refreshed and relaxed. I really don't think there's a WRONG way to do it. Smiley
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« Reply #9: February 15, 2011, 03:45:41 pm »

...
I dunno. Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?

I don't know if it is new, but it is the only technique that works for me: I sit comfortably, close my eyes and breathe slowly.  With every inhale I think, "I am here" and with every exhale, "I am calm."  It is amazing. 
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« Reply #10: February 15, 2011, 04:21:15 pm »

I don't know if it is new, but it is the only technique that works for me: I sit comfortably, close my eyes and breathe slowly.  With every inhale I think, "I am here" and with every exhale, "I am calm."  It is amazing. 

That's a neat idea, I'm gonna try that later.

I usually focus on visualizations, because I have to give my brain *something* to do.  Most commonly I'll visualize either being enveloped in white light, growing tree roots from my spine down into the earth, or watching a dark river.  It doesn't always work for me though... I have such a hard time concentrating. Sad
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adnama
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« Reply #11: February 15, 2011, 08:56:26 pm »

Thank you to everyone who has replied. There's some great ideas here.

The other thing that I find useful is visualisation meditations. Rather than trying to clear my mind (which I still find almost impossible) I focus on a visualisation. 

So far I'm finding visualization to have the most promise. Not quiet there yet with being able to do it very long, or every time, but I finally think I've found something that I can learn to use. Thanks.

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« Reply #12: February 22, 2011, 05:03:10 pm »


I usually have a lot of trouble meditating. My mind wanders too easily. I found an article here on TC that helped me, though. I would give it a shot.

http://www.ecauldron.net/articles/archives/2006/04/entry_25.php
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« Reply #13: February 23, 2011, 01:28:53 am »

Anybody have any tips, or maybe a new technique that I haven't tried?

Hello!

My biggest difficulty with meditation was learning to "train the brain," in a manner of speaking, to get it into a 'meditative state' and stay there.  I got around this by forcing myself to focus on something minute or mundane.
Here are a couple of examples. 
 
Controlled breathing: 
Start by exhaling as much air from your lungs as possible.  Inhale to a count of ten, hold for a count of ten, then exhale for a count of ten.  The end of the exhalation should be at, or near to, the point where you began to inhale.  When holding your breath, focus on keeping your breathing passages open; that is, do not close off your throat to hold your breath, but instead focus on holding breath 'with the belly'.  Keep your diaphragm low and your chest cavity extended.  Push your navel straight outward when inhaling, pull it back towards your spine when exhaling.  This should be a very slow, deliberate breath. With practice you can spread it out over thirty seconds or more.  Do this for 3 full deep breaths. 
Follow that up with a shorter measured breath cycle.  Instead of ten-ten-ten, shoot for six-eight-six or a similar timing, according to your comfort and ability.  Do this for 7 full breaths.  I count off on my knuckles as I go.
What the above does for me: the first 3 breaths are a signal to the body to slow waaaaaay down, help you get grounded and centered.  The 7 breaths afterward tie the mind up with the measuring and counting of your breaths, which can be more difficult than you'd expect.  But by occupying your brain with this task you should find that a lot of the 'background chatter' is gone, plus you're training your brain to focus inwardly.  Also, with your brain distracted, you give your body permission to relax.  Try it, it might work for you.

Here's another technique:
Candle 'meditation.'  Light a candle in a dim or dark room.  Perform the above breathing steps.  Place the candle in front of you and take intervals of time simply looking at it.  Then close your eyes and try to recall the image of the candle in your mind.  After a few seconds, open your eyes and gaze at the candle again.  Lather, rinse, and repeat.  Keep this exercise short and slowly work up to longer intervals.  With practice you can 'zoom in' on the mental image and contemplate its minute details.  This should help you with your visualisation skills as well as with training your brain go in the direction you want it to go.

Doing the above exercises are by no means a 'magic pill' to make you into an instant meditative guru, but I have found them to be the most effective when first learning, and still use them if I'm too wound up, having a rough day, or having a rough time getting my brain to shut up.  As always, YMMV.

Other things that might help:  Making meditation a regular practice; preferably daily, and around the same time.  This is not only about 'training the brain' but the rest of you as well, so go ahead and make it a routine and a ritual.  It may take a few weeks but eventually it will be as ingrained as brushing your teeth. 
One other thing I do is light a favorite incense before getting started.  For me this acts as a signal and makes the whole process much easier.

Well, time to wrap up an already-long post before it goes on any longer.  I hope some of this is info is beneficial to you.

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