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Author Topic: Novice meditation tips?  (Read 9702 times)
Ama
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« Topic Start: June 17, 2011, 02:49:47 am »

Alright.
So I have a friend who has recently taken keen interest in certain elements of magick. It's not exactly a secret that I have been practicing in different ways for quite some time, so he has come to me for advice on how to get started.

Now, I'm horrible at teaching, but I told him I'd try to share what I could. After sort of talking to him about his intent behind the whole thing, and getting a good grip on what he already knew about it, I was trying to get him to practice meditating. I began by first telling him that meditation isn't a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. Everyone is unique, and therefore has their own needs and methods in everything, including this. But I tried my best to give him a good idea of the basics. I said to find time when he was alone and without distraction, shut his phone, computer, etc. and sit so that he was comfortable. Then I gave him a few different ideas to try. I told him to try the candle in front of a mirror approach, focusing on the reflection and nothing else. I told him to imagine a white piece of paper. An empty bowl. An empty room. Each time he went home and tried it, he said that it just wasn't working for him. He's been at this for about a month now, and I can tell he's getting a bit discouraged. I feel pretty helpless, myself.

So what is he doing wrong?
Have I misinformed him at all?
Is there anything I can do to try and help?
I'm not a very good mentor, I'm afraid. :/ I've shown him some of my favorite guides.
One on cantrap.net, and one out of an old book that I had tucked away.
Perhaps one of you guys has something else that might help?
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harzgeist
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« Reply #1: June 17, 2011, 05:42:50 am »

So what is he doing wrong?
Have I misinformed him at all?
Is there anything I can do to try and help?
I'm not a very good mentor, I'm afraid. :/ I've shown him some of my favorite guides.
One on cantrap.net, and one out of an old book that I had tucked away.
Perhaps one of you guys has something else that might help?

I don't think you've misinformed your friend. I've heard of the methods you described as well, though I've never tried them out.

I found meditating came more easily to me when I started doing yoga on a regular basis. We usually end our classes with a meditation, so we are told to lie down on our backs, with our arms and legs a little apart, palms turned towards the ceiling. Then we relax every muscle from toe to head. I find this really calming, cause you focus on nothing else apart from your own body, and for me it's easier to focus on something I can actually feel than something that exists solely in my mind.
We then progress to imagine that we are filled with a white light that spreads from our centre and completely surrounds us.
As I said, I find this meditation really relaxing, and it gets me in the right state of mind to connect with my Goddess.

Maybe your friend might profit from guided meditation, as well. It might help him in the beginning to be told what he is to imagine to keep his mind from wandering (I'm assuming that this is his problem at the moment?). I believe that there are some guided meditations that you can get recordings of, though I don't know any myself.
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« Reply #2: June 17, 2011, 08:20:26 am »

Maybe your friend might profit from guided meditation, as well. It might help him in the beginning to be told what he is to imagine to keep his mind from wandering (I'm assuming that this is his problem at the moment?). I believe that there are some guided meditations that you can get recordings of, though I don't know any myself.

I think this is good advice.

I'd also suggest trying Zen koan, or telling him to envision himself in a new environment (when I'm having a bad day, I like to envision myself in a forest stream, watching a log bob up and down).

What's the end goal of getting him to meditate successfully? Is it a necessary prerequisite to the way you practice magic, or could he work on something else first where he might progress a little more easily and not feel so frustrated?
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« Reply #3: June 17, 2011, 08:34:25 am »

So what is he doing wrong?
Have I misinformed him at all?
Is there anything I can do to try and help?
I'm not a very good mentor, I'm afraid. :/ I've shown him some of my favorite guides.
One on cantrap.net, and one out of an old book that I had tucked away.
Perhaps one of you guys has something else that might help?

What I suspect is that his learning style (and preferred mode(s) of learning about the world) and yours are not the same.

First, I'd start with "What's the purpose of this meditation?" Clearing the mind? Preparing for guided meditation work or visualisation of a goal? Something else?

What I do - and how I was taught - was using simple visualisation exercises (but with multiple senses) as a way to help clear the mind. We began with counted breathing, and then moved into creating something in our minds (symbol, sound, tactile sensation, whatever), and then got more complicated.

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/breathing/ has an intro to breathing in a way that builds towards meditation work.

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/visualisation/ has some examples, and then includes a relatively simple multi-sense guided meditation.

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/ways-you-learn/ is about learning styles - figuring out yours (to know where you are likely to start) and his (to figure out what might be easiest for him) might help you both.

And as both pages there say, I really like Diana Paxson's _Trance-Portation_ as an intro to meditation work. And unlike a lot of other authors, she uses multiple senses and shares exercises that work for people with different sense preferences as well.
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Ama
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« Reply #4: June 17, 2011, 11:15:53 am »


What's the end goal of getting him to meditate successfully? Is it a necessary prerequisite to the way you practice magic, or could he work on something else first where he might progress a little more easily and not feel so frustrated?


I believe he is just interested in practicing magick as a whole. He wants to explore it, really. And what do you suggest?
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« Reply #5: June 17, 2011, 11:57:47 am »

I believe he is just interested in practicing magick as a whole. He wants to explore it, really. And what do you suggest?

Suggest some books to him... I'm saying this because I'm going to the bookstore today.
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Tahpenes
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« Reply #6: June 17, 2011, 12:50:52 pm »

I believe he is just interested in practicing magick as a whole. He wants to explore it, really. And what do you suggest?

Well, you know him better than we do. You could start him off with energy work, like making energy balls. You could help him practice grounding. You could start him off with something a bit more ritualized but still simple, like some sort of candle magic (I'm sure he could come up with some relatively safe and unproblematic focus for the working). You could have him do chanting with repetitive movement. You could have him go out and try to communicate with a nearby stream or tree. You could have him do focused/ritualized dance or yoga. Something might spark.

Meditation is a useful skill, but I don't know that one has to do it to practice magic.
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Ama
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« Reply #7: June 17, 2011, 05:19:35 pm »

Meditation is a useful skill, but I don't know that one has to do it to practice magic.

I suppose you're right. That's how I started off, though.
Just to control my own energies and start focusing them.
I'm trying to get him to research some of this on his own. x.x

I hate teaching.
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But she can't understand why anyone would try
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« Reply #8: June 17, 2011, 06:00:58 pm »

I suppose you're right. That's how I started off, though.
Just to control my own energies and start focusing them.
I'm trying to get him to research some of this on his own. x.x

I hate teaching.

Yeah, I've just started on this stuff myself, and I went the energy route first too because it seemed logical, but not everyone thinks the same way right... maybe he'd be more into it learning about herbs or numbers or something, play to his interests.
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Ama
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« Reply #9: June 18, 2011, 02:57:41 am »

Yeah, I've just started on this stuff myself, and I went the energy route first too because it seemed logical, but not everyone thinks the same way right... maybe he'd be more into it learning about herbs or numbers or something, play to his interests.

I agree with that.
I tried my best to stress that technique is personal to the individual. I guess I never really thought outside the box? haha.

Thanks for the links, and the advice everyone. :]
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But she can't understand why anyone would try
to walk a line when they could fly.
yarnwitch
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« Reply #10: June 19, 2011, 12:50:01 am »

I agree with that.
I tried my best to stress that technique is personal to the individual. I guess I never really thought outside the box? haha.

Thanks for the links, and the advice everyone. :]

What I like to do is put myself in a forest... That is... close myself in a closet and turn off the lights, then use a sound machine. Right now I'm using a phone application, so it has things like crickets, rain, wind, loons, barking dogs, whatever. I like that my vision is the same eyes closed or open in that instance, so I can focus on seeing without seeing. Not everyone is visual though! (And, I'm definitely no expert. I just really enjoy meditating.)
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« Reply #11: June 22, 2011, 10:39:21 am »


You could ask him what specifically is not working for him, and try to get him to recognize and honor his own limitations. If it's simply that nothing he's trying is resonating then he might need to just keep at different methods until he finds one that clicks. Or maybe he's trying to rush along the process of becoming acclimated to meditation? I find that few people can just sit right down and go into trance for an hour or more. I started off practicing every day (in a class in fact, doing breathwork) and for the longest time it seemed like I wasn't doing anything that had anything to do with meditation, all I was doing was sitting on my rear trying to keep from thinking. All that time spent at mental cleanup, though, did eventually result in trances that I now am able to enter fairly quickly when I sit down to meditate.

As far as recognizing limitations, for me for example, I can rarely hold a meditative state for long periods of time and trying gets me frustrated, so I keep my meditations short, 10-15 minutes. That might help him too, especially as he's starting off.
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« Reply #12: July 03, 2011, 03:39:30 pm »


I have been practicing for a few days now (Two) I have been keeping record in my BOS. I have to say I did a guided meditation through youtube. (Don't know if that is the best Idea...but still not bad) It took me into a meadow surrounded by thick protective trees and a giant oak in the center. I wrote a blog about the experience on my profile so please feel free to check that out...if I find the video again I'll post it back and put it in the blog post as well. Smiley
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« Reply #13: July 03, 2011, 05:50:31 pm »

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/breathing/ has an intro to breathing in a way that builds towards meditation work.

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/visualisation/ has some examples, and then includes a relatively simple multi-sense guided meditation.

http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/ways-you-learn/ is about learning styles - figuring out yours (to know where you are likely to start) and his (to figure out what might be easiest for him) might help you both.

A bit OT, I apologize. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing those thinks. That is probably the very best site I have ever seen. It is hugely detailed, while still being simple & non overwhelming to follow. Its not often that I come across a site that I love that much! So again thanks a ton!

Anyways I had a hard time meditating when I first began. Not just meditating but focusing at all. My mind is fluttery & easily distracted! I read so much on it and nothing was clicking for me. Then I read a book, which I sadly can't remember which one now. But it had a very simple method of counting backwards. Starting off that simply helped me get into the right frame of mind that I had been searching for so that I could go on. After counting for a bit I had moved on to picturing each number a color. 7 red, 6 orange, 5 yellow, 4 green, 3 blue, 2 indigo, 1 white. At first I had to think of objects those colors before I could make the number it. Like a red apple.

It really helped me a ton in the beginning.

Also maybe have him journal after each attempt. So he can begin to see what is working, what isn't and why. Sometimes it isn't so clear to us but then you write it all down and begin to notice patterns.

And have confidence in yourself I am sure you are much better then you think you are Smiley And just being willing to help him is worth alot.
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« Reply #14: July 04, 2011, 09:36:09 am »

A bit OT, I apologize. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing those thinks. That is probably the very best site I have ever seen. It is hugely detailed, while still being simple & non overwhelming to follow. Its not often that I come across a site that I love that much! So again thanks a ton!

You're very welcome, and I'm glad it's helpful! (And yeah, it was partly born out of my own frustration with not being able to point at some kind of explanations I think are very helpful, like the bit about learning styles and how they interact with learning things like meditation or ritual skills.)
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