Mind Over Matter: The Meditation Club

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

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Thygarajan Sir,

    I am not equipped to find the reasons for such experiences. It is true some of those experiences are fearful and that is why my last sentence mentioned about disappearance of mysterious fear in those experiences. Most importantly, I feel high level of energy after meditation session as if I am a newly charged phone. I remain fully in thought mode 10 minutes into meditation but only after that I lose thoughts about breath and the sound of inhalation and exhalation. Earlier, I used to lose track of time but now I am able to get back with deep sense of intentional break into meditative sessions. Only once, I felt that I was gasping for breath as though I have forgotten to breath going inside. Only that fear stopped me from meditation. It confirmed fear of death is deep inside me. But inside journey is remarkable and similar to psychedelic and hallucinative experiences.

    Like you I also wonder what are those geometric patterns. My wishful mind tells me that those are my Vasanas (encryption) and if I could find a code to crack that, I will end the cycle of birth and death. I will never know what they mean. Macabre experience could be a valley on top of a peak where you are desireless, detached and full of equanimity. I call them neon signs on the highway diverting us towards the exit from the highway journey towards our destination.

    Sometimes, I feel those experiences are like suffering from lack of oxygen when we attempt to circumambulate Mount Kailash. Breathlessness gets priority over Lord Shiva in such situations.

    Note: 4+1+4 is a wrong calcuation as I consider the retention as 1 instead of 4. Frankly, inhalation, retention and exhalation all together is 15 seconds for each cycle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the elaborate elucidation & reply.
    Regards.
     
  3. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    Viswa, I did some reading up and turns out your experiences (and @Thyagarajan sir’s) are not uncommon. Many experienced meditators mention the emergence of patterns and other mental imagery during meditation. In Buddhist meditative traditions these are called ‘nimitta’ — signs or objects. They are said to arise when the meditator enters a deep state of concentration.

    “In the same way, certain signs are characteristic of entering deep states of right concentration and are intrinsic to the jhanic state. According to the definitions (taken from Commentarial sources) found in Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary, there are three types of nimitta. The first type is the parikamma-nimitta,which refers to the perception of the object at the very beginning of concentration -it is also known as the "preparatory image or sign." When the mind reaches a weak degree of concentration, a still unsteady and unclear image or sign called the "acquired sign" (uggaha-nimitta) arises. This percept precedes the appearance of an entirely clear and static image called the "counter-image" or "counter-sign" (the patibhaga-nimitta). The appearance of this third type of nimitta signals the appearance of neighbourhood (or access) concentration, the state that precedes full jhanic absorption. Both of these states share the same sign but differ only in the intensity of the component (state) factors. As mentioned in this definition, the counter-part sign is understood as a more refined and clarified version of the sign and is the natural result of heightened awareness and concentration.” — Source

    Buddhist texts recommend noticing but ignoring the nimitta and maintaining a mindful focus on the breath. As you progress further in your meditation practice these will disappear and be replaced a complete immersive concentration (dhyana). I think these patterns are a sign of how far you have advanced in your practice. I have never experienced anything like it yet.
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Gauri03

    Thank you for your summary as well as the source explaining nimitta. It solved a big mystery. The fear factor that drove me not to meditate is no longer there but this explanation reassured me that I can continue meditation without any hindrance. The benefits of meditation are much higher than such small hickups.

    Two other things I missed mentioning in my earlier response:

    1) Sometimes, the body temperature drops way below normal if I do meditation for 30 minutes or higher. It doesn't cause any disturbance during meditation but after the meditative session, I shiver a lot and I need to wear a sweater even in Florida weather. Therefore, this time I reduced meditation time to around 15 minutes.

    2) Getting out of meditation was more sudden as if someone waking me up from slumber than gradually getting back to normal state in a controled way. I am not sure what causes that but it doesn't bother me much.
     
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  5. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    Recently I experienced a milestone moment in my meditation practice. I have been meditating on and off for a couple of years though my inconsistency has prevented me from shedding the beginner tag. Thanks to the 75 Hard challenge I have meditated everyday for over a month. At the same time I have been attempting to move on from guided meditations and sit in silence with my thoughts. When I sat down to meditate last Friday, conditions were ideal. I was up early and the family was still asleep. It was a cool and foggy morning as is usual for our local microclimate. I set a timer for a 20 minute session, closed my eyes and started counting through my inhalations and exhalations. I began to gradually increase the count per breath until I reached around 4 breaths a minute. I had just settled into the 4 breaths a minute pattern when I heard the chime. I thought I had made a mistake with the timer but when I checked it showed 20 minutes had passed. I couldn’t believe it! I could have sworn that I’d barely begun and no more than 2 minutes could have passed since I started, but there it was on my phone — 20 irrefutable minutes. It was a surreal moment! I felt a calm focus that lingered for hours afterwards.

    I had read that meditation has the ability to alter our perception of time but experiencing it first hand was an indescribable thrill. Seasoned mindfulness practitioners report the speeding up of time when they become completely immersed in the task at hand. I had never before experienced mental absorption to the point of losing track of time. I felt a high all day long, as if a secret had been revealed to me. I’d peeked into a world heretofore unseen. Until now my meditation practice had felt like a directionless pursuit akin to fumbling around in a dark room. Now I feel like I have stumbled upon the first rung of a ladder that leads out of this room. As if all these years of playing around at mindfulness have finally brought me to the beginning of my actual meditation journey.
     
  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Excellent experience @Gauri03. Definitely, losing sense of time and space is the first indication of reaching milestone. Most importantly, it gives enormous energy as though one rested for a prolonged period of time in sound sleep. 4 breaths a minute appears to be ideal inhalation/exhalation + retention cycle. It is a perfect receipe for good health and longevity. When our mind is disturbed due to day to day pressure or any other major life-changing news, it is this cycle that gets affected first. It has a direct corelation to the health of the mind. I call it as a diet of air as opposed to diet we practice for food intake.

    Congratulations for reaching a good milestone.
     
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  7. kaluputti

    kaluputti Gold IL'ite

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    What is meditation? My understanding of this is that finding & identifying with the central character, locus in advaita vedanta, the invariable ' I' and practising it for the time one wants to. This is exactly the term by Ramana Maharishi and other saints 'சும்மாஇரு' .

    We are so totally identified and involved with the variables of this 'I' and its connections through the external world that we feel lost when we are cut off from them...We have been gifted with a human body and a beautiful life. We should remember that a coin has both sides to it....while we are happy about one side we want to avoid the other, which is next to impossible.

    Sleep is the natural gift when the same thing happens i.e. we are just the 'I' absolutely nothing else..and thats why after a good sound sleep we feel refreshed..and tell everyone that 'I slept soundly' but not able to say how long. It will be beneficial to understand the significance of this and then practise meditation, the purpose of which has been entirely twisted nowadays for commercial purposes.
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @kalluputti,

    According to Pippalada’s answer to his disciple in Kena Upanishad, only Consciousness exist during Shusupti (deep-sleep state) and all senses and mind merge with Consciousness like the birds flying to the nest in the night. Mind is fully present during waking and dreaming state. Isn’t a great practice to make the mind surrender to the Consciousness during waking state? When thoughts are absent, mind ceases to exist. That is what Ramana Maharishi meant by “Summa Iru” meaning “withdraw from the senses and mind”. Desirelessness, detachment and equanimity are the ways we can tame the mind. Raja Yoga came naturally for Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda because they conquered the mind through meditation. If we can achieve withdrawal of senses and mind during waking state, Self-realization becomes an achievable target.
     
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  9. kaluputti

    kaluputti Gold IL'ite

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    @Viswamitra

    Yes, you are absolutely right..comparison to deep sleep is only to understand the experience-less state, and become an observer and trying to bring it to the waking state..
     
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  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    If body is a cart, the two bullocks that run it regularly are the Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intellect). Manas can be tamed by concentration on a single thing and expand the attention on it for a longer duration whereas Buddhi needs to be one-pointed to the object that the mind is concentrating on. Therefore, two essential elements needed for successful meditation is concentration and one-pointedness. Generally, taming the mind is the most difficult job as its vagaries are tormenting like a waves in the sea with so many thoughts bombarding us. Once the concentration is practiced regularly, one-pointedness can be achieved as it involves Buddhi.

    The destruction of the agitation of the mind is the prerequisite for getting an audience with Self that is centered in us. However, the castle around this centeredness has 8 gates to it and they are a) control of the inner senses (yama), b)control of the outter senses (niyama), sitting posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), mind control (prathyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and super-consciousness (samadhi).

    One needs to cross all of these eight gates to reach the Samadhi stage which has infinite bliss. If blissful state is the goal of life, then one needs to cross all of these eight gates that need to be breached. Before we get to meditative state which is the closest to the super-consciousness, we need to cross six different gates and each of them need a lot of practice. In my personal experience, I believe that the first two can be conquered by auto-suggestions to our subconscious mind in order to have a deep commitment to these goals. Sitting straight and breath control can be practiced at anytime and and at any place. Mind control and concentration involve understanding of the mind and observation of our thoughts as a third party and choosing one thought that is worth pursuing. After crossing all of these huddles is when meditative state develops where one is knocking at the door of super-consciousness. At this stage, we get a glimse of the supreme and one can get in and out of blissful state. When we conquer the final gate, one becomes a self-realized yogi.
     
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