Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Gauri03, Feb 14, 2018.
Thank you very much for your response here as well as your private message.
Date: 7 Aug
Time: 5 am
Woke up and tried to find comfortable place to sit. Started a YouTube mental peace music video and slept while listening. H called me at 9 when I woke up again.
Was not successful that's why writing it here. Will try again tomorrow.
Don't give up. We all have experienced failure again and again trying to meditate. We need to remember those failures are impressions that our mind gives to us so that it can remain the leader within our internal organization. Meditation is a tool to control, alter and refine our mind and the mind is not going to accept it easily. Initially, if we overcome that battle, then, slowly we will find the way to control our thoughts. Ramana Maharishi said, "Doubt the doubter" meaning we need to doubt the mind.
Thanks for boosting. Will definitely try again.
The short exchange about Vipassana meditation and 10 day course got me curious. I went browsing for more info and found this-
Silence and Spiders at a 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Course
Her experience seemed genuine and interesting. I continued reading. She gives a lot of info including the schedule etc which was very useful but then I see this link-
[Report] Lost in Thought, By David Kortava | Harper's Magazine
Is this true? I was quite surprised to read this info. Also it seems to jive with another person posting here in IL about discontinuing meditation after experiencing blurriness? I forget their name. Now I just don’t know what to make of it all.
I’m sharing these links here in the hopes that someone here will help make sense of this and offer some perspective.
This is precisely my issue with these 10-day retreats being offered as a panacea for all ills. While these retreats may be beneficial for a majority of participants, I have heard enough first hand accounts of negative experiences to make me cautious. My personal understanding is that these retreats are beneficial to people with emotionally stable minds or long term meditation practices. They are not ideal for beginners and are seriously detrimental for people going through emotional/psychological stress. Most people turn to meditation to find relief from emotional upheavals or everyday stress. Some of these folks are likely to suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, depression or worse. For these individuals being isolated with their thoughts, with limited human contact, for 10 whole days is an invitation to a breakdown. For a fragile mind, being alone with obsessive negative thoughts for hours on end without reprieve can be traumatic. Even though severe breakdowns are rare, a much more common outcome is people being turned off of meditation for good. I know two people who have sworn off meditation after attending one of these retreats. I understand myself well enough to know that I am not a good candidate for this type of retreat, at least not right now. For me a regular breath-focused mindfulness practice is the first step towards cultivating the mental stability and resilience required for attempting more rigorous forms of meditation.
Thank you @1Sandhya and @Gauri03 for sharing a link and for sharing what you had heard respectively. I had heard direct experience so far from at least 1 person I know who had gone through 10 days meditation retreat. He said everything postive about the meditation retreat. But he also had mentioned about his subsequent hospitalization due to illness without specifying the cause which made me suspicious. Personally, I also feel that 10 days meditation retreat is not for me due to my past intense meditation experiences.
@Gauri03 and @Viswamitra thank you for your replies.
To be honest, though I don’t practice meditation and yoga regularly, I only have positive impressions of both and keep meaning to take them up seriously, as in regular daily practice, ‘one of these days’. So this article came as quite a shock. It was the first time I ever encountered a negative report about meditation.
Setting aside the issue of 10 day retreats and the undeniably tragic story of Megan for a minute, the second link also contains interesting info about the practice of meditation itself.
For example, the research of Britton who actually pulled meditators into a lab monitored their vitals overnight and compared it to their claims.
1. Meditators claimed they sleep better and feel calmer but the physical measures disproved it. Their sleep was shallower, blood contained higher conc. of stress indicators, more anxiety
2. Meditation < or upto 30 min showed positive results whereas daily dose of >30 mins showed negative effects.
This info is significant and runs contrary to most public perception of daily meditation, isn’t it?
Also noteworthy the various Buddhist sutra literature accounts that meditation was originally prescribed for monks to turn them away from worldly life. It was never meant to help people live a fuller or happier life as is the perception nowadays.
I wish all people taking up meditation read the second link or be given this info so they realize that it’s not a cure-all, that moderation is best, that if they encounter resistance maybe they should heed it and go slow instead of ignoring it.
I certainly found this info useful not just in the context of 10 day retreats but in the context of daily meditation in general.
I approach meditation from well-being of my mind. I definitely experience shorter sleep but deep sleep the days I meditate. I feel well-rested even if I sleep less. Watching thoughts and disconnecting with them reduces stress for me. I don’t try to use it as transformational tool. I tried longer meditation time and my experiences were scary to say the least. Unfortunately, some of them I can’t share here in public domain. I am now settled with limited time meditation for quality of life than achieving meditative state.
Thank you @Viswamitra garu for your frank and candid account of what you do and why it works for you. As a beginner (who is unable to meditate for even 5 minutes!) I find such accounts from regular meditators about what they do that works for them, how they have modified the practice to suit their personality, schedule or other imperatives and the benefits they have experienced much more useful than any amount of book theory. I have been following along in the meditation thread and noticed you generally pick a theme to meditate about. I have incorporated this and found it helpful. But as you know, its 1 step forward one day and then 3 steps back the next - such is the nature of the beast.