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January 7, 2008 at 6:06 am #138930inweParticipant
I’ve been meditating at work sometimes three times a day, on my 15 minute breaks, that’s what I do, sit down on the bench by the window and meditate. It was something I started not only to deepen my understandings of the Force, but to relieve stress from the all too common nasty customers (bookstore, retail, need I say more about how I get treated?). People have been noticing the changes in me, but recently I feel like I hit a rut in my practice. I can meditate to calm down, but I ccan’t help but wonder if I’m really moving forward in my practice.
I feel that all this meditation is gaining me nothing. I don’t want to ‘just’ meditate. I want to get in touch with the Force. I don’t really know how to describe it, it kind of feels like I’ve hit a wall with my meditation practice, sitting there and breathing just isn’t doing much for me like it used to. Yes, I become centered and focused, but it’s not the same, you know? does that make any sense?
I know there’s mindfulness meditation, but its practice eludes me as well.
Anyone else hit this wall or have any tips/suggestions?January 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm #147674IcarusParticipant
Actually, that is a very common stumbling block for people using meditation. Meditation has become a catchall word for “relaxing” when, in fact, meditation can be-and is, for some people- a much more transcendant experience.
One thing that I might suggest is to pick a focus for each meditation. If you wish to gain a better connection to the Force, you may wish to focus on finding a “current” within the Force and following that current to where it leads you. This is easily enough done by simply feeling during the meditation. At some point, you will feel a gentle tug in your mind, allow your consciousness to follow that tug. You will be led to experiences that deepen your connection to the Force.
Really, it needs to be more specific though. Try choosing a focus, and if you are still lost, feel free to elaborate more in your questions here, as I’m sure one of us can help you with this issue.January 7, 2008 at 3:18 pm #147677Silver TalonParticipant
I agree with Icarus. “Find a focus.”
Many people have seen meditation practices on TV or have martial arts instructors who teach meditation where the goal is to empty and clear the mind to be prepared to learn more in the upcoming instruction. Seeking emptiness or just following the flow of consciousness is just a small aspect of meditation. Remember that the definition of meditation is simply “contemplation” or “concentrated thought/awareness.” As such, there are so many different ways to meditate and find growth.
Find a book of philosophy and explore it line by line through meditation. Pick up the Tao-Te Ching, The Bible, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, or other work and pick a line and meditate deeply on it’s meaning and how it applies to you.
Learn a Tai Chi or Martial Arts Kata/Hyung/Poomse/Form or even a dance and practice a phyiscal mindful meditation. Focus on obtaining greater awareness of the body as it flows through the movements. The feeling of the muscle movements, air moving around and through the body, the energy direction – all to give you more of a physical/external awareness rather than the internal/spiritual awareness of many meditation practices. Or use the movement to go internal. Let go of all thoughts of the movements and allow your body to go through them with muscle memory instead of conscious thought (the goal of most martial arts, so might require a good deal of practice) and seek mental stillness while having an active body.
Sitting and just being still will help a person find peace and can produce great growth. But there is so much more to be learned/gained through focused meditation.
TalonJanuary 7, 2008 at 8:02 pm #147686Kol DrakeModerator
My two cents…
Icarus and Silver Talon both give good advice.
My thought was —
Whether it is lifting weights, running miles, creating art, writing stories, or meditation… we tend have improvement and then, hit leveling or plateaus where we feel ‘nothing is happening’. That is the time when we need to work harder to keep at the given practice — during the ‘level times’ – because these are natural ‘reset points’ — where the body, mind, and spirit are working to re-adjust to the ‘demands’ placed upon them through your activities. Hold strong to your practice and new insigths and improvements will follow……. until the next higher plateau.
Stick with it !
Even the fact of your meditating is great…. doing that alone does all kinds of good stuff for your health and well being!January 8, 2008 at 1:54 am #147694Anonymous
I do retail too… I do a light meditation during work – and sometimes during conversation where I am keeping myself centered and aware.
It helps with the “nasties” so that I don’t feel hurt of defensive…or angry…but “see” what is actually happening including stepping back mentally to observe the customer rather than become involved.
Play with your meditation with an eye towards finding the flow of the Force. It sounds corny – but there is a point where you can feel you are in the right and balanced place.
Good luck – explore it – have a bit of fun with it! You will learn as you go.
There are some very good books out there. One that I found incredibly helpful with Force sensory experience is “Trust Your Vibes”. The Cover of the book may turn you off – but it’s practical and can be really helpful.January 8, 2008 at 6:23 am #147699inweParticipant
Forgive what may seem like a silly question, as I’m still new to meditation in all its forms, and you suggested going through a book of philosphy line by line through meditation. I wonder, how would I go about that? I’m sorry if my questions are stupid sounding, but I want to expand my meditation practices and branch out as much as I can. I’ve begun to read some of Thich Nat Han’s books to help sooth my anger, as well as His Holiness the Dali Lama’s books, and ironically, ‘The Dharma of Star Wars’. The have given me much to contemplate and reflect on, though it’s been awhile since I’ve read them.
I can relate to why you practice. I started it so that stress wouldn’t wind up killing me. I’m buddhist/pagan and many customers seem to think it’s fine to hassle me, and many times this has in the past, resulted in much stress and brought me to tears. I’ve also got nasty, rich I-can-treat-you-like-dirt customers that do out of their way to make me angry, and I decided that I needed to curb my tougne before it got me fired. Lo and behold, I started to meditate when I get angry or stressed, but it’s just become so routine. I’m glad to know it wasn’t a silly question.
You are all a wonderful help.January 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm #147701JaxKeymaster
Inwe, perhaps I could simply recommend that you take some of these recommendations and try them out this week. But then, see what you learn in the meditation 101 course. Even those with experience found new things in the course and corrected some of their misconceptions about meditation.January 8, 2008 at 3:07 pm #147702Silver TalonParticipant
Using a book like the Tao Te-Ching or a religious book such as the Bible or Koran are fairly easy to use for meditation purposes where you read a verse/passage and spend your time in meditation having an internal discussion on the wisdom that the verse/passage contains – asking such questions as:
1. What is the obvious message of this verse/passage?
2. Are there any deeper meanings to this passage?
3. What manner of change is the passage suggesting?
4. Do I need to apply this change to my own thought processes or daily life?
As I said, for some works this is pretty easy because the texts are broken up into sections where you can choose as many lines as you wish and meditate upon their meaning. However, with a standard book or work of fiction – it is sometimes a better idea to go through and collect noteable quotes first and then meditate on those quotes. I would suggest for every Jedi to create a notebook that contains meaningful quotes and advice that they pick up as they read and every once in a while, go through that notebook and meditate and explore the wisdom of those quotes. It’s always good to surround yourself with and have easy access to wisdom. Having the right quote on hand can serve as a source of comfort or strength in a difficult time or provide a bit of wisdom in dealing with a problematic situation.
Approach the meditation as you feel comfortable with it. Read the entire book and meditate on it’s personal meaning to you or break it down into the noteable quotes, chapters or paragraphs and allow the chosen section to speak its wisdom to you and how that wisdom should be applied within your personal life.
How I go about it:
First I enter a meditative state with the intent of clearing my mind and pushing away the stresses and concerns of the day away so that I am more receptive to what I am reading.
After a short time of this; generally around 5 minutes, I switch my focus to a short excerpt/quote. I read it over a couple times through, then close my eyes or just relax while staring into empty space and just go internal and have an inner discussion on what it means. If other thoughts creep in, just be aware that you’re getting off focus and re-direct your thoughts back to the exerpt that you are meditating upon.
When I began this process, I was surprised at the new depths that opened up to me. When you first read something, there is generally a meaning that is very obvious and it often gets in the way of seeig everything that it there. As you meditate on it, your perspective might shift and the exerpt will offer something totally new, unexpected and is awesomely profound.January 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm #147709AslynParticipant
Most of the people that are familiar with either me or my methods of training/teaching will be aware of my particular disdain for the practice of meditation. Although it does have some uses, as many of the others here have noted, it is primarily designed for one of two purposes: either, as Andrea notes, to aid in obtaining a ‘transcendent experience’ or as a training technique. In the latter regard, it is designed to teach three things: focus, emotional calm through the use of various techniques designed to aid focusing and concentration, and finally, awareness both of your own spiritual and psychological nature.
We can find this to be the case in pretty much every example of meditation technique. Some use it for spiritual awareness, which fulfills the third criteria. We use the calming breath technique in four-step meditation as our primary method for teaching students how to obtain equanimity when they lose it, and to teach what it feels like to be serene (something which is not as common as you might think!). Focus, invariably, follows on from part of our emotional methodology, focusing on Detachment (in this instance, from one’s ego-self) and on Mindfulness (living in the moment).
For myself, however, I’ve moved on from the classical forms of meditation, to use active meditation – the technique of meditating while yet going about your normal activities. Hence, there’s no need to partition your day to give you a moment to sit down and meditate. To some extent, that latter idea is what attracts people to classical meditations, but I digress. An active meditation requires you to actually engage in an action while yet nonetheless following the typical principles that constitute a meditation, as follows:
– Focus (in the form of concentrating on the activity – including an understanding of your reasons for acting, rather than having your attention elsewhere)
– Clarity of thought (hence, no psychological distraction or ‘drifting’)
– Awareness of external stimuli (hence, everything not inwardly based)
– Ability to engage with your surroundings without having to ‘tune-in’ or refocus
– Awareness of energy flow and spiritual considerations (intuition being the most obvious non-physical communicator of energetic stimuli)
This is essentially one of the next-step methodologies constituted by Jedi training. The idea is to progress from being able to engage in the various practices that constitute Meditation, and apply them to the world around you – hence, to be able to retain your emotional equanimity while acting, rather than only when you sit down to meditate. To be able to focus your full attention on what you are doing, while yet not excluding your attention of those things which exist around you. And, naturally, to leave you receptive to the currents of energy around you, and to react accordingly. It’s a varied approach, but one I far prefer to classical meditation.
You may find that particular approach useful for yourself. Just as a thought.
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