This helps: https://insighttimer.com/
I meditate alone, though the app above gives you a virtual community if you want one.
I find mediation helps me put things into perspective. It's nothing more than staring at a wall and being bored, but there's a sort of magic in being bored.
Every time I return to the present moment I'm seeing what's really there. Most of the rest of the time I'm off daydreaming and I think studies show that the less present you are, the more miserable you are.
A lot of stress is caused by my own thoughts. When I stop dwelling on things, even for a little time, my body looks after itself.
Edit: Sorry, I do not wish to troll. You may wish to read the other post I made in this thread, where I question more elaborately the practice of meditation. My inquiry is genuine, I wish to have a critical discussion on the margin of the meditative practice.
Think of it like this: say you're at work and have an important meeting in a few days. If you're anything like me, your mind will constantly return to it. You play out scenarios in your head about how it will go. If you're a natural pessimist, you can imagine all sorts of failure modes.
So let's say your normal response is to spend ten seconds of fantasy, in which time your heartbeat rises, stress hormones begin circulating in your blood, muscles clench. You may even mutter to yourself.
So then, you meditate. It's a bit like training yourself to spot when your mind wanders. Now you only drift into useless fantasies for five seconds before you catch it and bring yourself back to the present. Only half the hormones enter your blood. Your heart rate is lower. Your stress is less.
Anyway, that's one benefit I've found.
There are others, too. Many studies have found that the key to creativity lies in taking a break from work and letting the mind relax. Well, I often find I get my best ideas during a meditation session. Like all other ideas, I try to bring my mind back to the present and ignore them, but after the session, they're still there for me to use.
I could get into the spiritual side, too. You don't need to believe in a god to see that there's times when you feel more connected to other people and to nature. I don't know why, particularly, but meditation seems to make this happen more often. Speaking for myself only, it's a very pleasant feeling.
Meditation is being mindful.
It is actually possible to enter sleep states while being mindful. This is one of many methods for entering lucid dreaming, and I suppose, some folks might call it dream yoga.
>Being 'bored' is the best part - setting a time to do 'nothing' during the day. There's always something to do, something to see, someone to talk to, but there's rarely 'nothing' to do.
implying there is something inherently motivating in finally finding an opportunity to do nothing during the day. For me, that opportunity comes when I'm in bed, ready to go to sleep.
Regarding entering sleep states while being mindful, can I ask what you're using this ability for?
As for what I use lucid dreaming for, I don't use lucid dreaming for much of anything other than a benchmark for clarity of my mind. I don't make a whole lot of use for it. Sometimes I will put my body to sleep when it needs it, but my mind wants to stay active. Sometimes I will use non-meditative visualization techniques to work with dreams in order to pop open the shadow side, but that's not what we're talking about here either.
As for finding opportunity to do nothing, the thing is that in those states of consciousness, nothing is the base experience of reality. Everything else, the doing, the striving, the acting, are forms. It is similar to looking at this webpage and focusing on the spaces between the words than at the words themselves.
I take your inquiry at face value, that you are sincerely asking these questions, and they might come off as trolling but they are not. So I answer just as sincerely though you'll probably think I am coping out: There is nothing in the world that will convince you to meditate. If you are meditating for any "reason" at all, you're not really being mindful of the present moment. There is no "reason" inherent in any experience. That's not to say lots of people have various motivations and "reasons" to meditate, but when you are on that cushion, you let those go for the bullshit that it is.
Thank you for giving this conversation an honest chance. I am happy to say that I have a further reply to this, and let's see where it takes us.
The spaces between the letters that you mention, nevertheless consist of pixels. The spaces between the letters, far from being nothing, are full of pixels. Similarly, we do not drop from an empty vacuum into this world – we come from an uterus. I believe that, if this semantic fulness (instead of semantic emptiness) is postulated as fundamental, then we obtain a new system of thought that no longer renders meditation as valuable – at least not for the age-old arguments.
Perhaps I should reveal my stance fully. I do not believe your meditative practice and experiences are disconnected at all from semantic factors, such as assumptions about the nature of the world, reality and mind. In the mean time, metaphysics are notorious for having changed disruptively over time, and given a newer system of thought that postulates fulness as fundamental [note], I wish to explore the extent to which the age-old practice of meditation still makes that much sense.
[note] As far as I can tell, this originated in the newer physics, once the older luminiferous aether had been replaced by the newer plenum.
It's not "my" meditative practice, and my experience isn't a thing, either. Those are abstract constructs.
You're welcomed to explore "fulness". Lots of people are. Until you experience it for yourself, though, you won't really understand. This isn't something that you can pawn off onto an observational instrument. You ... hmm, what was that post-modern jargon? You disintermediate yourself as the observer and the observed.
The "fulness", by the way, is not new either. The "no self" teaching is the same as "true self" teaching -- your "fulness" that you treat semantically. That is, that there is a fundamental "Nothing" that is at the same time, all-inclusive Everything.
Anyways, I've discussed this as far as I want to. I encourage you to empirically observe this yourself. Not discuss it, not study it, not debate it, not reply to it: empiricism in its original sense of finding out for yourself, and experiencing it for yourself. If you sincerely want to explore the relevance of this age-old practice, you cannot do this second hand. (There are other methods besides meditation; you can check out Rick Strassman's book for other methods; the meditative states trigger the same kinds of neural chemical reactions, albiet for the rare ~2% of the population that get it spontaneously, or spent a lot of time with it).