I later went on a silent meditation retreat and learned a lot more about meditation and got confident with techniques I could practice on my own. This may not be available to everyone due to the time commitment (and being completely disconnected during this time), but it really cemented my meditation practice.
These days I meditate on my own as well as attend meditation groups (in traditions that I feel connected to). I strive to meditate on my own daily but don't stick to it (ironically meditating has helped me be ok with that inconsistency). While meditating on my own is very helpful, the groups are what really help me stick to the practice. I get a lot from other people's questions and comments and the teachers' responses. I highly recommended finding a group (in a tradition you are open to) if you are just starting out or have an existing meditation practice and want to maintain and develop it.
In the grand scheme, I'm early on and not a "high level" meditator, but sharing one data point, meditation has been pretty life changing for me in terms of dealing with minor mood disorders (depression and anxiety), feeling happier (and recognizing it when I am), and treating others with compassion. It's all still a work in progress.
I'll end with a common phrase. May everyone reading this be happy and free.
Edit: All I am trying to do, from being a fellow complete newbie, is to add support from N=1 to N=2 of the path from Headspace-->Other videos and literature-->10-day retreat-->Local group. Hopefully this can help others who are intimidated about trying to pick up a mediation practice. :)
सुभ्मस्तु as I would say in Sanskrit.
Curious to learn more
The most common way that meditation changes me is to help me identify that I'm in a rumination cycle and to break out of it, and to be more present in certain moments. For me, it's not that I have noticed a baseline change, but rather that it's a skill that's super-helpful in key moments. Some examples:
- When my mind is racing while trying to sleep
- In moments of anger or frustration when I'm ruminating about some slight or when someone has reneged on a committment
- Noticing that I'm distracted or anxious when out with friends or at a concert
I'll add that as someone on the autism spectrum, this has been one of the most valuable benefits of meditation. I'm pretty sure that I'll always have an unusual tendency to get fixated on things, whether particular topics, or particular problems in my life (often social ones). If it's something unclear, my mind just picks at it incessantly at the expense of everything else.
In some cases this can be beneficial. Leaning into an 'obsessive' interest in a new programming language or topic can be wonderful. But in other cases (often social problems), it becomes pointless rumination.
When I meditate, it becomes easier to 1) decide whether the fixation is useful or not, and 2) snap out of it when I should, rather than days or weeks later.
I've discovered other benefits to meditation that might be particular for people with ASD, such as being able to notice physical needs and emotional states. But being able to snap out of 'thought loops' has been the most beneficial by far.
Of course, actually doing the meditating is incredibly difficult when I get myself tangled up in thoughts, and it's an ongoing struggle to remind myself of its value time and again, and to make a habit of it, but it's probably in my top three priorities to make sure it becomes part of my daily routine, because it makes everything else easier.
A good way to visualize is to think of thoughts as a bunch of waves. A thought wave can trigger another wave and usually, it ends up multiplying and the mind ends up with multiple thoughts. When you meditate and observe your thoughts, the waves start to die out. The state of a 'clear mind' where no thoughts appear in your mind is usually fleeting. The longer your meditate, the better you become at the ability to maintain a 'clear mind'. The longer you can maintain a clear mind, the better you are at focussing .
Talk therapy and meditation (suggested by my therapist) helped reset me to my pre-attack normal.
I do it occasionally now and like others have said it helps break the rut of rumination.
Headspace is a great app to get started because they walk you through and teach you the skills slowly but surely. You can also skip around to what you need most after you learn the basics.
Would a yoga class count as meditation?
The groups that I go to and the retreat that I did are in the Buddhist (Theravada/Thai Forest and Zen) tradition (with some other traditions mixed in). If I move to a new city or do another retreat, I plan to look for something in these traditions online and then try out a couple groups. Even within a single group you may be more drawn to certain teachers. I'd shop around a bit at the beginning until you find what you like. Usually the Buddhist groups are free with a suggested donation.
There are also secular groups and given my exposure to Jon Kabat Zinn, I'd recommend the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) / Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) groups. Secular groups will typically require payment but it's usually pretty reasonable.
I dabbled in meditation for years but it wasn't until this book that I was able to see the complete picture and why it's such an important area of study for all reflective minds, and start making real progress. There's so much snake oil out there regarding meditation. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways. It's also simply a great manual for how to approach learning just about anything in a happy and healthy way.
Fwiw, Culadasa (John Yates PhD) taught physiology and neuroscience before retiring and that's very much reflected in his approach to writing the book, using modern understanding of the brain. People think kids should start learning programming from a young age? Meditation as I understand it now is even more important! For personal growth and understanding, general awareness, EQ, and more...
But, when I loaned my copy to a friend, he disliked it. He read it like a book and found the text to be too dense. So, while it is a good text I think anyone buying it needs some background into meditation and go stage by stage instead of reading it cover to cover.
Yes! I also highly recommend the book, but it is a technical manual for the mind. If you try to read it cover-to-cover, most of what you read is going to be meditation techniques that are months or years away from being useful to you, and models of the mind that are far removed from your current experiences.
Like, feel free to read the whole thing if you want to, but be aware that it's akin to reading the C++ spec as a beginning programmer. The mind isn't simple.
It's difficult enough to spend 1000's of hours on honing my craft. How can I possibly justify that sort of investment in meditation?
If you tell me it helps those with sleep issues, mental blocks, psychological issues, or addiction, your point is well taken and understood. But for those of us blessed to be in relatively sound mind, how will we benefit from meditation?
Put more simply; when you’re doing the dishes, do the dishes. Focus on the sensation of the water on your hands and the movement of your muscles as you scrub and dry them. When your mind wanders away from that as it tends to do, acknowledge that your mind has wandered and gently bring it back to what you’re doing. That’s meditation.
Likewise, when you’re working on honing your craft, notice when your mind wanders away from the task at hand and gently bring it back in focus when that happens without judgement.
You’ll find that doing this will help you hone your craft in ways you’ve never considered.
I believe that's you you achieve 7 years worth of meditation
It is true that some traditions (including the burgeoning recent trend of secular meditation) emphasise mindfulness in daily life, particularly for lay persons. But the studies showing huge differences in mental activity have done so in 'Olympic-level meditators'. These people have made deliberate meditation practice the focus of their lives.
I guess the answer to your question is, do you want to understand how your mind / consciousness works? It makes sense to understand how a computer works of you do any sort of programming. Wouldn't you want to understand how your mind works as well as you use it constantly?
I'd say meditation has a few distinct key benefits, and it's reasonable to decide none of these are worth it for you at this point in your life (or ever):
(1) It helps you tame your mind when it goes down an unproductive path. This alleviates the ailments you mentioned (sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, etc), and provides an overall sense of peace and joy. You may not suffer much from these.
(2) It helps provides a comfortable detachment from your emotions and attachments. This helps with restraining your desires, improving your relationships, and making calmer and more rational decisions even when emotions are high. In other words, this helps narrow the distance between who your values want you to be (e.g. humble, thoughtful, calm under pressure, selfless) and how you act day-to-day. You may be doing just fine with these.
(3) It can satisfy the need for fulfillment and meaning in a more stable way than anything else. Many people have something that guides them and provides long-term or lifelong fulfillment (a long-term goal, religious beliefs, etc), and IME meditation can provide the most stable source of satisfying this need (this is dark, but even if providing for your family provides this need for you, your family may die or you may become alienated from them). It does this by essentially uprooting that need on a fundamental level (at least, that's the Buddhist tradition's explanation of why it has that outcome). You may feel fine with the small anguish or small risk of anguish that occurs in moments of your life where your meaning and fulfillment come into question, or you may feel relatively positive they never will (e.g. if it primarily is sourced from strong religious conviction).
(4) It helps you know yourself better. This feeds into (1) and (2), but on a meta level, it also helps you self-evaluate the extent to which (1), (2), and (3) are an issue. It also adds an element of fun and curiosity to meditation once you start to experience it. You may not care about this.
Meditation is the highest form of hacking where you disassemble and modify the processes in your own consciousness.
It's just another craft really.
Even went so far as to launch a Kickstarter . We had quite a bit of interest, but we didn't feel we had enough sign ups or people interested to take a risk (all of us having been offered jobs and having student debt).
The trouble, is most of these studies have too low of an N number and/or the equipment has trouble at the higher frequencies. That's actually part of why we were launching the startup. We had a way to do error correction for those frequencies and by providing value via applications, we could open a secondary market to do experiments with a larger N number.
IMO until something like this exists, I take most studies worth a grain of salt.
Not sure why your kickstarter failed, but Muse headband is exactly what you are describing, it's a finished polished product and it actually works (speaking from experience).
Now this does not include noise OR sensor sensitivity, which for reference you'll see from things like electrical (ranging from 50 - 60 hz), which incidentally is the same as gamma waves. You'll also have movement, heart beats, static, equipment interference, electrical signals from looking at things, etc. Etc.
This is why you need more sampling the higher you go, because the sensors have errors due to sensitivity already, plus you add a bunch of interference, at a lower sample rate, than say beta waves (which are 12 - 30 hz).
Essentially, the more potential for errors the higher N number you need. I never used gamma waves in experiments due to the lack of statical relevance.
And if it's not technically complicated, why does nobody do this ?
1000 samples/sec, 4 bytes per sample, 32 nodes - that's 128Kb / second. Not crazy by any means. However, you then have to process that... That's doing an FFT + binning (in the case of brain waves). All doable at probably 60 FPS (where a frame is the prior 1 - 3 seconds).
Still not a problem, then try to do error correction! You have 32 sensors, what's real, what's an artifact? That's when things slow way down typically. This type of analysis can be done after the fact and you essentially guess at errors. Removing known issues or more likely from a research perspective they just mark those sections of the data and remove them.
Here's where what we built comes in:
The above is all about post processing, however, I managed to improve the method and write a proof-of-concept for a real-time application that removes artifacts in EEG signals, BUT leaves the underlying signal (AKA you don't need to throw away the whole sample). This can function to capture error corrected brain waves at 50 Hz with 512 samples per second + a 50hz video stream. Probably could do more.
This is extremely technically complicated and probably took a year or so to develop. This enables real-time stream (50Kb / second) to our hosted server and real-time applications:
Unfortunately, I couldn't find someone willing to support the work further, and even though we had maybe 30 people vouching $300 each. That wasn't enough to continue the work. Most of this work concluded in early 2017.
For reference, I may apply for an SBIR grant coming up to fund additional work on this (my wife started graduate school, utilizing EEGs, so it aligns pretty well).
Honestly, if anyone is interested in this please let me know. Its an area of interest, just couldn't justify the expense or time investment (now working on this: https://hnprofile.com/)
I wonder if the EEG signals can tell if your attention wanders. That may help improve meditation.
Have you looked at/played with the Muse or Muse2 EEG headband?
Gamma is problematic to measure because:
* Power of the EEG signal decreases with frequency. Skull and skin muffles gamma frequencies effectively.
* Gamma overlaps perfectly with muscle activity (~20–300 Hz). It's easy to measure muscle artifacts instead of gamma. Meditation relaxes muscles. Unless you are able to recognize and remove these artifacts, you are actually measuring how meditation relaxes muscles.
* Typical research in gamma EEG setting records thousands stimuli-response epochs to find the signal by averaging over these epochs. Biofeedback applications need to get the signal from single epoch. The latter is much harder problem and generally just not done.
If you could drill a hole into the skull and place electrodes inside, things would be much easier.
Not every day, but on some days we would share our experiences with the group after the meditation was over.
One of the women who had never meditated before, had the biggest smile on her face and goes, "Meditation is amazing! I managed to plan my next three vacations." -- this is a word for word quote.
Is it amusing? Yes, very! Is it meditation? Not at all.
Try to hold focus on an imaginary object during meditation. It's honestly not that simple.
>> Try to hold focus on an imaginary object during meditation.
Could you explain what kind of "action" it is (or non action, I don't known anything about meditation except for clichés) ?
I don't focus on an imaginary object; rather, I use my breath. But Just focusing on how my breath feels going through my nose is hard. I get distracted by all sorts of things; the next door neighbors fighting again, the assignments I didn't work on yesterday, the friend I just started talking to again.
So, I refocus on my breathing again.
The 'imaginary object' is something you imagine in front of your eyes whilst meditating. It can be anything, a candle or a colorful ball. The goal is to maintain full focus, which in return, develops a strong ability to concentrate.
It sounds easy on paper, but in practice is one of the hardest meditation techniques. The mind loves to wander and get lost in tiny little trains of thought. With practice, you can see how thoughts arise, but also how your eyes wander everywhere but on your chosen object.
>Just chuckle when your mind tells you something because you now know our mind operates from a place of fear and uncertainty.
That sounds like what Buddhists or psyconauts describe as the ego, rather than the mind.
I had an interesting experience with psychedelics where my ego revealed itself as a kind of front or mask that I put on to impress other people. The personality that I reveal to the public. There was a whole other deeper part of my mind that was able to observe that. That was actually what got me started meditating.
(Psychedelics are definitely strange, the hallucinations come and go. At some points like that one I felt quite "with it", just inner talk. Often once you have "sorted out" things like that the pleasant stuff live visions begin, though I think they affect everyone differently).
How can they afford to spend their days sitting down doing essentially nothing ?
Could they do this high-level mediation in a busy office with people on phone meetings all around them ?
> Could they do this high-level mediation in a busy office with people on phone meetings all around them ?
There is no such claim. Probably not (or perhaps the experts can, but they couldn't have got to their current level of expertise that way)
And, everybody's getting high.
Life is about pleasure.
If you found out that you can feel really, really good by sitting and doing nothing... would you do it? Of course you would. :)
Now the stark reality however, is that to be able to sit and meditate properly requires to be already at home in the body. Any amount of trauma will make that particularly difficult. As soon as you sit, you have to work through restlessness, anxiety, and myriad of other unpleasant states of mind. And they all come up.. it's like a purge of the nervous system.
In fact I was just recently reading an article about the unexpected side effects of meditation. This is not talked about enough.
Meditation Is a Powerful Mental Tool—and For Some People It Goes Terribly Wrong
edit: forgot this beautiful quote: "First, you chase the truth. Then truth chases you".
However you might assess such disciplines (I'm not sure myself), it's pretty clear that pleasure and getting high is absolutely not their aim - indeed attachment to such would be considered a hindrance to 'progress'.
Nope, I'd go for walk. Meditation is passive and lazy. Being outside in nature with the sounds of the birds and the UV light, being actually connected with the universe, being alive.
It truly is neither. "Passive" meditation would be daydreaming, which all meditation techniques aim to minimise. Hardly 'lazy' either - retreat drop-out rates are high precisely because it can be really, really hard to muster the will to maintain the required discpline for hours (and days) at at time.
> Nope, I'd go for walk
Most meditation traditions include walking practises.
Meditation is about training the mind to be more aware, more purposefully attentive, and more equanimous. As you can imagine, there are many benefits to achieving this.
It's not simply sitting and daydreaming, even though it can sometimes feel like that as a beginner, which is totally normal :)
For beginners, the important part is to just practice noticing each instance of daydreaming or getting lost thinking about something, without judgment. Each time one notices it is actually a victory to enjoy, not a bad thing.
This assumes of course that they have any use of their brain during their work - ie, if they are creatives or mental workers, etc. If they stand at a factory pressing the same 3 buttons all day - then probably no, meditation will not help much.
Meditation as competition.
Meditation as vehicle to sell products.
Yup, meditation has come to America full-force.
Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Antoine Lutz, Lawrence L. Greischar, Nancy B. Rawlings, Matthieu Ricard, and Richard J. Davidson
 (from the book)
"Gamma, the very fastest brain wave, occurs when differing brain regions fire in harmony, like moments of insight when different elements of a mental puzzle “click” together… In the yogis, gamma oscillations are a far more prominent feature of their brain activity than in other people… on average the yogis had twenty-five times greater amplitude gamma oscillations during baseline compared to the control group.
"No brain lab had ever before seen gamma oscillations that persist for minutes rather than split seconds, are so strong, and are in synchrony across widespread regions of the brain.
The authors make a point of painstakingly explaining why these kind of studies are hard to conduct, what a good one looks like and why they had to discard ~99% of them to write the book because of statistical insufficiency, lack of proper methodology etc. At a time when many meditation apps claim to be "science based" I found this quite relevant.
They both are proficient in meditation and have been associated with the western scene very early on. It's mostly about mindfulness/vipasana meditation since that's the subject of the majority of the medical studies.
A highly recommended read!
These gamma waves have high frequencies, and point to a LOT of things happening in one's mind at once. I'm not sure if that's the goal of meditation? Also, a meta analysis of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) showed that "The most consistent result that could lead to a generalization is an increase in absolute gamma power in ASD compared to non-ASD subjects", and that conclusion was based on 4 different studies
Since many meditators say that meditation "cures you of mental illness", the idea that the best meditators have ASD is probably something that meditators would disagree with. Hence, I think meditators should be saying this article is incorrect, and be up-in-arms about its findings. At the very least, the basic fact that gamma waves are the ones with the most synapses (meaning your brain is not at ease, but instead is working on overtime) combined with this study (showing meditation to be linked to constant gamma waves) is at odds with what meditators say meditation will do to a person (instead of calming you down, it makes your brain work hard all the time). I'm not sure if the problem is that they aren't really reading/understanding the words, or if they're just ignoring their meanings in hopes of staying happy
When you meditate you are not disperse in a thoughtless slumber, that would be the first stage of non-rem sleep, but rather completely focused. That might explain the increase in gamma waves.
"You enter Stage Ten with all the qualities of śamatha: effortlessly stable attention, mindfulness, joy, tranquility, and equanimity. At first these qualities immediately fade after the meditation has ended. But as you continue to practice, they persist longer and longer between meditation sessions. Eventually they become the normal condition of the mind."
As for the gamma wave correlation, my guess is that the adept meditator is actually taking in everything that goes on around them (due to powerful mindfulness). While the layman is probably just thinking about what they'll have for dinner as they navigate the world.
I have hardcore practiced meditation for 20 years and some of my colleagues who were doing the same were in a pretty bad state - unmarried, with a low level job and not owning their house. They weren't on average happier than normal people.
I attribute their failure to the philosophy of detachment and switching from normal life goals to 'spiritual goals'. It was all a bust. They were exploited by the school under which we practiced. I had the good sense to keep my life separate from the practice so I wasn't affected as much.
Maybe it's a problem of the school I followed, but the same idea of detachment is part of all schools. In the end what matters is survival, and in today society, it means building your career and family, not just sitting still.
To the down-voters: can you contradict me after 7000+ hours of meditation, where you actually achieve the experiences mentioned in the ancient texts? Meditation worked very well for me, it was the general direction that was bad. We're supposed to maximise our rewards, including having children, not replacing this with an artificial abstract goal. Our rewards are selected and chiseled by evolution, they are what made us survive and thrive.
Evolution is a thing which occurs at the group level. If you tell an individual to be faithful to evolution, you're telling them "do what your biology would cause for you to do!" Well, that's impossible to not follow. Every human ever born has acted in a manner which was faithful to evolution.
I’m not sure if I understood that right, but if you are trying to justify the way you live because of evolution, then the point is this: it’s difficult to claim that evolution shaped the way you lived your life while simultaneously claiming that it’s not responsible for directing your peers to live the way they have.
In this tradition, the meditation comes after the asana practice (yoga exercises) in order to prepare the body and the mind for the meditation. I have found this to be very effective.
“Can these four Yoga Aṅga – Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma
– be practiced by everyone at every stage of life?
How often and how long should one practice?
How can we adapt our practice to changing circumstances?
These questions and others like them must be answered by a competent teacher,
according to each student’s individual circumstances.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30
Zen Monk Alain M. Lafon, headmonk of Lambda Zen Temple of Glarus, Switzerland
That's a great explanation.
tl;dr: multiple sensory streams completely merged. I "lost" the t-region of my face. All breathing relocated into my auditory track (can't be a coincidence I was in a -22db environment, right?)
I'm still curious to try to get a veteran meditator or neuroscientist to explain what might have happened. Closest I got was being third in line at a Sam Harris event.
Post-event description follows.
Most peaceful event of my life, x1000.
Wave 1: uneventful. Wasn't trying to force anything, nor did I have any expectations. But the experience was an ordinary meditation experience. Getting settled.
Wave 2: after a few rounds of body scans, imagined sphere of light expanding outward from the heart, and breath focusing, I had a rather spontaneous, surprising, and effusive wave of gratitude -- visualizing the faces of loved ones (family, friends), one at a time, smiling and happy. Flowing gratitude for them and their happiness. Accompanying this was a deep somatic attunement.
Wave 3: At first I thought the silence had pronounced some mild tinnitus. But after a while the silence took on a pulsating dominance of its own -- as a dominant object of consciousness. Later doubted the tinnitus, as the chair on which I was sitting would occasionally make a tiny crinkle, and those crinkles I heard loudly and completely. My fixation on breath became impossible as the rhythm of my breath slowed enough, and remained steady enough, to merge perfectly with the slightly pulsating dominance of the "loud silence" (oxymoronic, I know). This was the deepest level of somatic attunement I reached in the two hours. At one point, sensory awareness of the middle rectangle of my face (eyes, nose, cheeks) seemed to vanish. This wasn't numbness, nor disassociation, but ... something else. A crowding out of consciousness (?) due to the dominance and deep observation of the pulsating silence. Incredibly peaceful and self-possessing.
When the lights came on, first words out of my mouth were, "no way!" (was that two hours). I swore not even an hour had passed.
The cool thing about using fMRI is that they can see which networks and physical systems deep inside the brain become active, not just surface level activity of eeg. From there they see decreased activity in the default mode network from meditators when they are meditating, which is the same activity seen when people take sufficient doses of pychideics such as psilocybin.
I went on a caribean island for 3 weeks. The climate, vegetation and loose rhythm of their lifestyle did more than meditation ever did (now I'm not trained so ..). But there's a deep deep thing that happen when you live in a highly green place. We sat down near a tiny river, just watching animals around and watching the flow of water.. it was blissful.
Some children can do that and then loose this ability as they grow up. Some people can do that because that's their job - try mathematician focused on solving complex problem. And some get into that state doing gardening for example.
The practice of meditation is simply put learning how to get into that state of mind at will not at random.
 This is my personal view based on experience so I cannot provide any source to prove it.
I believe, personally, this is likely how meditation was “discovered” in the first place.
However, nothing calms and refocuses my mind more than remembering a very respected collegue's voice telling me to focus when I was frustrated and making mistakes. That affirmation that he believed I could do it by focusing and that intent in his voice always helps a great deal.
available via Google Play, Amazon and F-Droid.
Less glib edit :) I should probably give you a tip. Say to yourself, “I am a meditator.” Now, imagine someone asking you “oh, when did you last meditate?” What kind of meditator are you? Are you one that can answer “I meditated today” or “I meditated yesterday and I’ll do it again today”? Or, will you answer, “I meditated last week” or “it’s been a slow month for meditation”?
If you can’t say “I’m a meditator” and mean it, then you should just stop thinking of yourself as one who meditates. You don’t practice meditation in any real sense. That’s the rules of discipline. You are what you do and you aren’t what you don’t
The 30 days, 100 days, 1000 days mastery I got from my yogi who taught me kundalini yoga. She said it's basically a habit after 1000 days in a row. Good luck!
Insight Timer is a much better app IMO. In terms of better guided instructions, I would recommend Peter Russell, Michael Taft, Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.
Also, my approach is to use the app sometimes, but not all the time. I don't think it's necessary to be guided every time, even as a novice. Learn something, then practice on your own.
While in reality meditation is an exercise you need to practice in order to build that muscle. I don't like people productizing what's already has been available for millenias.
Basically the core of meditation is not escaping as some people have mistakenly believe but simply allow yourself to become aware of the fact that you are aware and awake. You are continually observing yourself observing and gradually you remove those superficial noise that cause so much suffering in our daily life.
1) Visualize the Tibetan letter "A" with your eyes closed and in a relaxed state.
2) Open your mouth slightly to make an "ahhh" sound barely audible.
3) No other effort than continually visualizing the symbol.
Another technique I found was when you are sitting in your bed in a dark room with your eyes slightly open and focusing on a point in space. You will see everything fade to white and it's very easy to slip into the meditative state. I don't know what this is called as I discovered by accident during my teenage years.
One final technique which may help those that still have trouble keeping their mind focused, I know I did, smoke an indica joint, sit in the sauna or steam room.
Okay one last final technique which I don't recommend to those who are virgins to psychedelics with safe alternatives like Psilocybin mushrooms. I don't recommend LSD because those are purchased of the streets and are usually not LSD but some other shit. Not the case with Psilocybin mushrooms, it's legal in Canada. I say I don't recommend this technique to newcomers or especially those who have never experimented but it's the closest I ever got to be on a plane of existence that I cannot identify as of this 3rd dimension. But overall the after effects are long lasting calm and freedom from anxiety. Ironic because intense anxiety can be felt depending on your surrounding and state of mind. It's definitely opened my third eye but after going on a heroic dose, the trip has scared me from ever attempting large doses. Instead, micro dosing with small caps not only ended up being the best fucking nootropic ever, but my life felt improved in many ways.
TLDR: there are several ways of achieving meditative state and you don't need an app. Some drugs may enhance your spiritual journey but I wouldn't rely on it as it fails to be useful after a natural tolerance builds. Instead, it should be used as a guide to put you in a state that would otherwise take many hours of meditation sessions, and allow your mind to make that "leap" into the serene state of mind, free of ephemeral desires and judgement that society has programmed into us from the moment we are born, which we forget in our next life.
This is Troxler's fading. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troxler%27s_fading
> I don't like people productizing what's already has been available for millenias.
As long as people are only being introduced to meditation in a user-friendly manner, I don't see the harm in productizing. Maybe some users will get interested enough to go look up original sources or carry on meditating without a product/crutch.
The only organisations that are doing some harm IMO are cults and/or those that profess to have a secret formula that they only disclose for money. Transcendental Meditation is one such organisation.
It involves the people mentioned in the article and is quite illuminating as to what they've done over the previous few decades regarding this research topic.
All that cosplay, which almost screams at you - "I am yogin, look at me, I am meditator, look at me! I have this spiritual hairstyle and all the mystic tattoos", is so distant from the original meaning of the ancient practices, it is just ridiculous.
Study must be bad, because they obviously does not have any proper setting, like everything-else-being-equal, proper control groups, etc.
I could challenge any naive yoga-meditation zealot with assertion, that breath-holding divers, Nepalese porters (high altitude goods carriers) and marathon runners will exhibit similar but much better physiological reading, because the most important part is any yoga/meditation practices is regularity and restoring the original balance of the body/mind complex which is just proper homeostasis.
Rally, try these divers, porters and paraphon runners - they will put all the narcissistic yogins/meditators into shame.
Well one could start by reading what some of those meditators have written. The behavioral correlate of the half second of gamma seems consistent with the notion of “rigpa”, where one practices direct experience without trying to get carried away in the thought process.
A more appropriate correlate would be 'sati' : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(Buddhism)
I've been meditating since I was 14. My father used to forcibly take me to a vihar(a Buddhist temple) every weekend for meditation sessions back then. Meditation is great for when you want to calm your mind. Just the act of observing your thoughts for a small period of time gives you a lot of insight on how your mind is working.
EDIT: This is probably not for meditation beginners based on comments but for people who want to explore advanced meditation techniques. They accept pretty much everyone though.
I was also concerned about the environment. I was thousands of miles away from anyone I knew in a strange place and different country. We were asked to hand over our phones, reading material, journals. We were asked not to speak to anyone and to avoid any form of communication. But this was all to benefit our meditation. We were given a space for several days to really focus on ourselves without external distractions. The day our silence was lifted, you really got to experience just how much talking to another person can disturb/distract your mind.
Vipassana meditation is a powerful technique though. They clearly mention on their website asking people to stay away in case they have any latent mental illnesses. Though the number of positive experiences does outnumber the negative ones ( https://www.google.com/search?q=vipassana+positive ). I've seen people cry after a meditation session because it helped them release energy inside them which they didn't know was stored.
I get triggered for being short-changed a penny just as much as being robbed of of hundreds. I boil to illogic, stammering incoherence when I see injustice against my fellow helpless. I foam at the mouth with silent trembling rage when after borrowing money to put food on the table I see the corrupt fat cats get away without paying for crimes of fraud, of tax evasion and unfair commerce. I spin in dizzying bitterness when my honest work, my products, my services are overlooked for incompetent, more expensive and even non-existent alternative deals done with buddies and the small-time mafia-wannabe (rigged tenders). I am maddened with incipient indignation when I find out that my seemingly legitimate medical insurance claim was denied on a technicality in the small print. I jump at the chance to chastise anyone over zealously, anyone who's nursing the erroneous thought we live in a meritocracy.
I am resentful. That's my pent up energy, right there.
I have tried meditation. Believe me. I've read over the years through a calm eye and an at-ease mind the Buddhist teachings of compassion. And I think it is all a lie. You cannot sell compassion to the poor. To the strugglers. To the down-trodden. To the have-nots. That would be Jesus and his religion all over again.
Another thing to note is you might need to account for integration time after the retreat.
Could you elaborate?
For what it’s worth, despite their implication, they don’t really have a monopoly on the technique.
I mean you're basically advising a beginner hiker to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It's grossly irresponsible advice.
it was a series of audio, 5 to 10 mins each. mediation did a great deal for me back in college. and no one was supposed to go anywhere for 10 days.
curious how vipassana has turned out today so that people are comparing them to a sect... the audio i listened to was by a guy called Jack Kornfield. pretty sure youtube would have them.