Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 62

Thread: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    3,253
    Thanks
    874
    Thanked 2,510 Times in 1,288 Posts
    Rep Power
    12

    Default The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Does anyone here include regular meditation practice as part of their daily activities?

    I am interested in hearing about practice methods, the context in which they are positioned for the individual, other possible reasons outside of religion that may lead a person to engage with meditational practices, and the experiences people may have had with their practices in both the short and long term.


    For my part I engage with several different practices that are either specifically meditational or embody a meditational aspect. As people here will know, I consider myself as a follower of the dharma (a Buddhist) in the traditions of ch'an (the origin of the later Japanese zen approach) and of the Pure Land. In seated meditation - which is how meditation in commonly viewed - my principal method is anapanasati or following the breath. To engage in single-pointed awareness of the movement of air into and out of the body can lead to a stable and tranquil state of mind known as samatha (in Pali) which may then lead on to vispassana or insight, where reality is observed rather than a focussing on a concept.

    Pure Land practice involves a mindfulness of the name of the Buddha of Infinite Light, Amitābha. Mindfully chanting of the name of Amitābha is viewed as allowing one to obtain birth in the Pure Land, Sukhāvatī, and help to remove negative karma that might hinder one's pursuit of buddhahood. Sukhāvatī is a place of refuge where one can become enlightened without being distracted by the sufferings of our existence, samsara.

    Both practices, and this applies to other contextually similar practices, point toward the attainment of Samadhi: "a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated thought or emotion. It is a state of joyful calm, or even of rapture and beatitude, in which one maintains one's full mental alertness and acuity."



    Aside from Buddhism I have been and remain a long-term practitioner of qigong and taijiquan, both of which are concerned with the energies of body, mind and spirit, with a view to maintaining health and acceptance of the holistic nature of our world. These practices progress from being choreographed movement to movement that has an internal focus, and finally to a state where awareness pushes inward and outward simultaneously. Grand claims I am sure you will agree, and certainly nothing that I have achieved as yet!

    One of the major effects of taijiquan is how the movements have become incorporated into my daily activities. The relaxed and alert state of the body (fang song), and the improved efficiency in movement are observable moment to moment. That was a strange realisation at first but now is simply accepted as my new physical normal.

    An interest of mine is the concept of flow state. For quite a long time, flow state has only really been associated with high performance athletes. However, I came to the understanding through my own practices and observations that flow state can be accessed by anyone, in any activity, and that in the animal kingdom this likely represents the norm rather than what we (once) thought of as a 'special' case, and which recent research now confirms.


    Anyway, this thread is not about ranking practices or religions, but rather extended as a pathway to sharing experiences... and will make a change from all the politics threads!

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Empty_of_Clouds For This Useful Post:

    Lloyd (October 11th, 2022), Robalone (October 3rd, 2022), Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    For me, mindfulness is hard work. For 3 years I had a 10 mile mountain loop I walked. It took some effort to pay attention and not allow my mind to wander.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    I’m coming from the work of Ellen Langer.
    “It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits.” “Mindfulness can encourage creativity when the focus is on the process and not the product.” “Social psychologists argue that who we are at any one time depends mostly on the context in which we find ourselves.”

  5. #4
    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3,630
    Thanks
    1,534
    Thanked 1,360 Times in 806 Posts
    Rep Power
    13

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    EoC, you might enjoy John Vervaeke’s work.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

  6. #5
    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3,630
    Thanks
    1,534
    Thanked 1,360 Times in 806 Posts
    Rep Power
    13

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    As in the thread starter, I am specifically interested in direct experiences with various practices and how those experiences can be described, how they relate to other aspects in life, and how they may have changed over time.
    Then you might enjoy John Vervaeke's work.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    For me, mindfulness is directly linked to living in the present. This has nothing to do with religion or meditation. Perhaps the OP has other interests, so maybe I shouldn't have participated. My bad.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 876 Times in 515 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Working outdoors, with long hikes to collect samples, I sort-of-ly practiced kinhin (chinese: 經行 jingxing), walking meditation. In a temple or monastery, during sesshin, for both practical and spiritual reasons, periods of sitting meditation (zazen) are alternated with walking meditation (kinhin).

    Rather than packing camp gear, several days food, fuel, etc. I chose to do ultralight solo hikes to the five wilderness sites, some around 30 miles in a day, mostly above 10,000 ft. For rests, I chose favorite viewpoints, took deep breaths, and tried to empty my mind of thoughts, dreads, and all. I noticed that I did get into a flow state or deep rhythm where movement seemed effortless. It was a rare sort of pleasure.

    The last year of that work, I calculated my field travel at 1600 miles on skis and over 4000 on foot.

    Not sure why I didn't find supreme, perfect enlightenment.

    Maybe it was the pizza and the beer afterwards.

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chip For This Useful Post:

    Empty_of_Clouds (October 1st, 2022), Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  10. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    If mindfulness and living in the present is the goal, doesn’t matter when or why!! If you don’t remember making supper, you’re not in the present.

  11. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    4000 miles on skis?

  12. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    3,253
    Thanks
    874
    Thanked 2,510 Times in 1,288 Posts
    Rep Power
    12

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    @chip, neat! I know quite a lot of people who practice various (for want of a term) sedentary meditational practices, but the only ones I know who engage with 經行 (walking meditation) are part of a more formal sangha. Not sure why that is, will have to ask around.

    Part of the problem I have in discussing aspects of these practices is the conflation of terms between traditional scripture and modern sciences. For example, mindfulness in psychology is considered an independent practice with a specific health goal, whereas in Buddhism it occurs within the context and practice of other living virtues.

  13. #11
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 876 Times in 515 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    4000 miles on skis?
    Please try it again. 1600 miles on skis and over 4000 on foot.

    Do I need to explain further?

  14. #12
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 876 Times in 515 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    I got interested in Zen Buddhism through Gary Snyder, a poet who spent years in Japan studying languages and religion. I also made friends or corresponded with several translators of Buddhist texts. I didn't fit in with formal practice (sesshin) but my brother spent quite a lot of time at Zen monasteries and retreats in California and Washington State.

    Doctrinally speaking, I tend to follow the Soto school (small, brief insights that accrue over time) rather than Rinzai (one big ka-boom). Most westerners prefer Rinzai: more dynamic.
    Last edited by Chip; October 1st, 2022 at 05:31 PM.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chip For This Useful Post:

    Empty_of_Clouds (October 1st, 2022), Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  16. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    918
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 211 Times in 166 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Listening to my diesel truck to and from work (JDM radio doesn’t work)
    Yard work while smoking a cigar
    Fishing
    Weight training (at least the lighter sessions)
    Evening walks
    Disc golf/hiking

    Reading, copying, speaking, and praying scripture.
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bold2013 For This Useful Post:

    Empty_of_Clouds (October 1st, 2022), Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  18. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    3,253
    Thanks
    874
    Thanked 2,510 Times in 1,288 Posts
    Rep Power
    12

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    @bold2013

    Beyond the list of activities itself could you describe the experiences? Is it the same for every activity, or are there notable differences?

  19. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    918
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 211 Times in 166 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Sorry EOC.

    Some are removing self centered musings to focus on nature.

    Others on the body whether it be breathing, or coordinated movements, pushing beyond physical fatigue through mental focus. The ability to go beyond the body with the mind is spectacular (out of body experiences).

    Others allow room for thoughts to surface and be worked through (that otherwise would be lost due to distraction).
    Last edited by Bold2013; October 1st, 2022 at 10:07 PM.
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to Bold2013 For This Useful Post:

    Empty_of_Clouds (October 1st, 2022)

  21. #16
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 876 Times in 515 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    The lasting effects of walking meditation have been to reduce the need to hurry or be on time to everything. That doesn't mean I'm always late, but I don't fret as much. My power of observation has been enhanced by (paradoxically) learning to focus less on each thing, one-by-one, and broadening my visual range to take in entire places. That lets me notice (and focus) on things that I'd otherwise miss, especially wildlife. I've got a strong natural ability to recognize patterns, and an acute awareness of things that don't fit.

    It also gave me an ability to look ahead and note hazards and difficulties, and anticipate my response. So I seldom blunder into a mudhole or trip on a down limb, or that sort of thing. It's as if my brain rehearses moves in advance, unconsciously, without diverting my awareness.

    The spiritual benefits are not so easy to sort. First among them are confidence and freedom from irrational fear.
    Last edited by Chip; October 2nd, 2022 at 12:25 AM.

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chip For This Useful Post:

    Robalone (October 3rd, 2022), Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  23. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    4,409
    Thanks
    508
    Thanked 774 Times in 583 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    I've come across this skill for white water paddling, motorcycle riding, and bicycling. The idea is to look where you want to go and not where you don't want to go. Yes, animals get hurt and step in holes just like humans.

  24. The Following User Says Thank You to Chuck Naill For This Useful Post:

    Yazeh (October 2nd, 2022)

  25. #18
    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3,630
    Thanks
    1,534
    Thanked 1,360 Times in 806 Posts
    Rep Power
    13

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    As in the thread starter, I am specifically interested in direct experiences with various practices and how those experiences can be described, how they relate to other aspects in life, and how they may have changed over time.
    Then you might enjoy John Vervaeke's work.

    My apologies if I wasn't clear. It is your experiences with these practices that I would like to read about.
    Thanks for the clarification. You might enjoy John Vervaeke’s work.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

  26. #19
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 876 Times in 515 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    The terrain I was in doesn't really lend itself to running.



    The analogy that fits best is mapping: my unconscious mind built a map of the route ahead, giving cues to my body on what to do at any point. Imagine a continuous map rolled on two spindles. As it unrolls, you see it, and then it is stored on the second spindle.

    Since I followed the same routes many times, I could picture them, step by step, marker by marker, both consciously and in dreams. A fork in the path, a lightning-struck pine, a particular slanting boulder that glimmered with mica crystals. After a few years, I'd worked out shortcuts so I could reach my sampling sites by hiking mostly off-trail, updating those internal maps. The only times I had to think where to go were those when I explored a new route.

    Not long ago, thirty years on, I looked online for photos taken on the trails I'd hiked. I was surprised that I could recognize each place well enough to pinpoint it on a topo map.

    With experience, one learns what works in a tight spot, enabling quick reaction. Running whitewater, I look ahead, pick a few markers, and sort of let my mind go blank, doing the moves without really thinking about them. Time seems to slow down until I'm past the crux. Same with climbing rock and ice. If you think too hard, you'll choke.

  27. #20
    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3,630
    Thanks
    1,534
    Thanked 1,360 Times in 806 Posts
    Rep Power
    13

    Default Re: The lived experiences of people who engage in meditational practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I'm quite familiar with Vervaeke's work, thanks. However, as this topic was intended for the participants on this forum it is the experiences of those participants that is of interest to me.
    Cool. Others interested in this topic might enjoy John Vervaeke's work.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •