Here is how they describe the study in the article:
> The study was conducted at a resort in Southern California... The mindfulness intervention was an established meditation and yoga retreat consisting of 12 hours of meditation, nine hours of yoga, and self-reflective exercises over a week. The participants were divided into three groups of about 30 each: experienced meditators, women who had never meditated, and a group who simply “went on vacation.” The 30 “vacation participants” listened to health lectures and then did fun outdoor things for a week.
> At the end, all three groups (vacation, novice, and regular meditators) showed statistically significant improvements in scores of stress and depression, which were measured using well-established and commonly used questionnaires. If we stop there, it seems that vacation is just as good as mindfulness exercises for stress reduction and mood lifting.
> But what’s really striking are the result from 10 months later: the regular meditators still showed significant improvements on these scores, the novice meditators even more so. However, the vacationers were back to baseline. The researchers had ensured that all three groups were equal in average age, education level, employment status, and body mass index. This finding is in keeping with prior research showing that vacation has beneficial but very temporary effects, and that mindfulness therapies have sustained beneficial effects.
To really investigate, I'd recommed to stay off the self-help books, tapes and apps, and seek out a well-established group doing regular practice. There is more to it and the support can be much more helpful, than just following words and sounds. An experienced meditator could easily slip into meditation anytime just by closing her eyes. Though there is nowhere to go and nothing to attain, practice can be used throughout life. Letting go of expectations is key. A robust group can help through many misconceptions, provide clear path and reassurances, beyond that of meditation alone. If everything is not applicable forever, at least it broadens perspective of life immensely, and provides reference points along more dimensions of possibilities.
I've tried meditation off and on for around a decade and still don't quite "get it." I know my experience is entirely anecdotal but articles like this always feel very pseudo-sciency full of quotes like "Regular meditators showed both the same types of improvements’ at the molecular level" which really turns me off to their conclusions.
With that said, I would love to take another look at meditation with an open mind so if anyone has any resources or websites to recommend that helped them, I am all ears!
The temple that I belong to was founded in Japan. The honorifics we use to describe our High Priest and other priests are never used by then to describe themselves. That posture is consistent in Japanese society in general, not just the sect of Buddhism I belong to. So this does seem very strange to me.
I took a 10 day meditation retreat (Vipassana) to get the hang of it. They make you meditate 6 to 8 hours a day for 10 days. This is one way to "get it."
It's not at all a hyperbole to say that Calm has saved my life, my marriage, and my relationships. Come Christmas I will be purchasing a lifetime subscription.
There are probably dozens if not hundreds of different ways of meditating, and many mistakes one can make in implementing those techniques.
If the one particular way you tried did not work for you, I would not necessarily jump to the conclusion that no kind of meditation would work for you, or that there was no room for improvement in your technique.
Sometimes going to a teacher or experienced meditator with the particular difficulties you're running in to can help. Also, sometimes meditating in a group can work, as you're then all in it together rather than having to motivate yourself all on your own.
Something else to keep in mind is that meditation can take some time to yield results, especially if your practice is brief or sporadic. The more regular and extended your practice is, the more likely you are to notice some results.
The last time I tried meditating though was on the headspace app though I'm not sure what technique you would call that.
The vibe I'm getting is that the best way to get started with meditating is probably to go to a teacher or a retreat neither of which I have tried so maybe there is hope yet!
Also, I can recommend a couple of books: The Heart of Buddhist Meditation and Mindfulness in Plain English.
Like others have said you can take help of teachers or try meditating in a group. Although I do feel because there so many choices available discovering what works for you may require a little bit luck too.
Cardiac Coherence apps basically hook you up to a sensor capable of detecting this and then allow you to pace your breathing at your resonance frequency to enter a state of cardiac coherence. Apparently it works wonders.
I'm going to take it up very soon.
My understanding is that regular and sustained practice can make this state your day-to-day baseline.
A few friends told me that they have a similar problem, but after Vipassana they were able to get the idea and started meditating regularly.
Sadly the pandemic made all the Vipassana places to close.
I hope that in 6 months they will start to reopen.
More on topic: I did some mindful meditation a few years ago when I had some issues to work through. It really seemed to help. I should probably get in the habit of doing it again.
That said, I won’t be giving up vacations anytime soon. I don’t even go anywhere. I just take a week off from work and get my mind off of that stress.
Maybe this is article is only comparing daily meditation to the US version of a vacation? A week shouldn't even be called vacation.
I find it hard to believe that something as ineffective as meditation could be more beneficial than the 4 weeks to a month of vacation that you have in civilized countries.