Mind Over Matter: The Meditation Club

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Gauri03, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    "Nothing will bring you peace; you must bring yourself to it."

    A space for those trying to incorporate meditation into their daily routine for developing emotional resilience and better mental health. Meditation here need not refer to any specific school of thought. Dhyana, vipassana, samatha, nishkama karma, mindfulness (vipassana lite), transcendental, sitting in prayer, reciting mantras, turning the rosary, breathing exercises (pranayama) or a walk in the woods are all valid practices -- any activity that turns the mind inwards counts as meditation. Use this space to track your daily practice, and share research, resources, and experiences. This is place to ask questions and offer and receive advice. There are no teachers, we all learn from each other.

    This is also an open forum for discussions on meditative practices, their association with cognitive therapies and impact on mental health in general. Occasional branching off into the domains of cognitive science, neuroscience, and neuro-philosophy is A-okay as long as the overarching objective remains better cognitive health.

    PS: My one request to all participants is that we keep the discussion secular and evidence-based.
    If you would like to follow this thread and stay updated with the activity here, please click on this link - http://indusladies.com/community/threads/mind-over-matter-the-meditation-club.305689/watch-confirm
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  2. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I practice mindfulness meditation and use the Headspace app to guide my practice. I started with the foundational levels and have built up to 20 minutes a day, 15 minutes first thing in the morning and 5 minutes right before bed. I would call my practice fairly regular though I want to work my way up to 40 minutes a day of unguided meditation.

    For those interested in the benefits of a regular practice, this WaPo article does a good job of presenting the results of two Harvard studies on mindfulness. FTA -

    "We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:

    1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.

    2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.

    3. The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.

    4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.

    The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels."
     
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Gauri03

    Can we include Nishkama Karma under meditation in action? Those who are not familiar with this term "Nishkama Karma", it is doing actions with complete indulgence, focus and the best of our ability, doing with deep love for the work carried out and do it with no expectation of the fruits of such actions.

    Viswa
     
  4. Jey

    Jey Administrator Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    Gauri03 likes this.
  5. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely Viswa! It would also help if you explained how to incorporate it in daily life for those interested.
     
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  6. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Nice thread Gauri. Will watch this space.
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Sometimes, it is hard to focus our attention to one thought or one light or one chant until the mind gets used to it for a prolonged period of time. Initially, it is okay to have flooding thoughts overpowering the targeted thought or light or chant but slowly those chatters must disappear.

    Those who are trying to build a sharp mind, focus their attention into silent observation of mind. Those who are finding it hard to focus their attention to observation of mind or don't have enough time to meditate can also build that skill by training their mind to focus while working.

    For example, I decide to communicate with an infant. First, I need to draw the infant's attention and stop paying attention to what I see in my peripheral vision. I have to look into the eyes of the infant and start making noises. When the infant communicates back, I need to acknowledge that communication. My mind needs to pay attention to the sounds the infant makes in response to what I converse and study that pattern. My smile, body language and intensity of my emotional mind should create a positive energy to the child to reciprocate the love I shower on that infant. My action should be restricted only to spend time with the infant and communicate and not to build a rapport or make the child choose me over someone else. I should expect no praise for being a child charmer. I have to renounce all selfish interest while communicating with the child.

    Viswa
     
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  8. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    I recall you had mentioned this earlier. I went over to the website again, and re-read their definition of meditation:

    Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

    I will admit I thought meditation is taking deep breaths, focusing on the inside of mind and body, turning off thoughts (a blissful idea). "Learn to observe them without judgment" - what a simple and beautiful, relieving concept. I drifted into this of my own accord over the past few months. Early morning, about 45 minutes before I need to wake up, I am wide awake. The worries and thoughts that induced fatigue taken over by blessed slumber now come up in the mind in a sharper focus. I examine them with a detachment and some checking for ulterior motives on my part. I look at them as concerns, that need to be mitigated (not resolved), and not worries that should take over my mind and the upcoming day. This sounds cryptic maybe, but can't explain it better without sharing the issues. Got through some stages of life's second or third biggest challenge ever this way. Humans do have an instinct for survival and for thriving!


    Those are Latin to me, but I am going to give Headspace another look and try. If not anything, to avoid the splitting headache I get now and then from thinking or despairing too much.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  9. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Good idea for beginners or busy days and times.

    Such an easy to understand example. Well-described even if slightly creepy to think of anyone working so hard to charm an infant (thanks to the times we live in!). I am going to start applying the above to teens.

    Good thread, Gauri. Looking forward to reading more, and to ideas, explanations and experiences such as the above one by Viswa.
     
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  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for your comments on Nishkama Karma post. We should not have the Manobhava to charm the infant as we will assign a value to our Karma. We should do it with zero expectations. I know it is hard in a materialistic world we all live in but we can practice everyday and eventually we will get it.

    Viswa
     
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