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Old 10-31-2004, 03:28 PM   #1
nmrmak
Dojo: Shin Ken (Aikikai)
Location: Belgrade
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 49
Yugoslavia
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Meditation trouble

Hi all!

I've had some trouble while meditating. I can sustain meditation for about a minute, and then i get to a point where i can get some intense sensations which are hard to describe, and that inevitably brings me back to "the real world". I would describe them as tingling up and down my spine. That's as far as words go. I don't have this kind of problem in a dojo, only when i sit in seiza and meditate at home. Might this be due to the fact that we don't meditate for a long time at the dojo? Our meditations are usually before and after the training, and they last for about 30 seconds.
Do you have any idea what i could do to get over this problem, and have you had a similar experience?
Any feedback would be appreciated.

Nebojsa Mrmak
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Old 10-31-2004, 03:36 PM   #2
Yokaze
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

The only answer I can think of is to practice and practice. Try to find a more comfortable position. Nobody says meditation HAS to be in seiza. Hell, I can't even hold seiza that long. Try lying on your back and incorporating some calm instrumental music. That may help. Find what works for you.

I might also suggest Tai Chi Gung. I've practiced the meditative aspect of Tai Chi for over 4 years, and it has been a big help.

Good luck!

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

Icon courtesy of Norbert Knoll http://www.aikido-verein-hannover.de
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Old 10-31-2004, 04:01 PM   #3
spin13
Location: Taito-ku, Toyko
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Japan
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Re: Meditation trouble

I'm going to assume you are practicing zazen since you practice it along with a Japanese art. Though I'll leave a more indepth answer to your own research into Zen philosophy, zazen is the expressed practice of mindfulness.

From a physical perspective, it is not relegated to any particular posture. Lotus, half-lotus, Burmese, and seiza positions are the most common because they are the most stable (as they allow the back to be straight and maintain contact through a tripod position). The exact hand 'mudras' are also of little consequence. What does matter is that whatever position, whatever mudra you decide to use, you use in a very deliberate manner. This means position yourself how you like, but do it exactly as you plan, and be aware of how you are arranging your body each time.

When meditating, you should be aiming only to become aware of what is happening within and without your body. The easiest way to begin is by becoming aware of your breath. You should also be aware of thoughts that arise as well as all the physical sensations that are either with you (breathing, heartbeat, etc) or arise as you sit. The important part is not to judge these feelings, or to dismiss them thinking that they are not a part of meditation. You should embrace each feeling, see how each feeling leads to other thoughts or feelings. Don't follow these thoughts, but accept them, understand where they come from, and release them. You can do the same with each physical sensation as well. It is through accepting each passing and permanent sensation that you can learn how to live mindfully and in the moment.

Become aware, understand the source, embrace and accept, and let go.

-spins
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Old 10-31-2004, 04:16 PM   #4
tedehara
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

Check your initial posture. Your weight should be slightly forward. Your spine should be straight, don't drop your head or curl your spine. Make sure you're not leaning to one side or the other.

If you're doing zazen type meditation and sitting cross-legged, you can put a pillow under yourself to lift the area under your spine to bring your weight forward. This should also occur if you're sitting in the seiza posture. You can support yourself by putting a pillow between your legs while sitting seiza.

A short meditation doesn't give you enough time to find errors in posture. Only when you attempt longer sessions will you feel the differences.

Good luck with your practice.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 10-31-2004, 04:17 PM   #5
Creature_of_the_id
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

I have found that meditation is not so much a time thing as a perspective thing.

I had been meditating for years and not getting anywhere, I was getting a nice calm and relaxing experience each time but that was pretty much it.

then I had an experience that changed my perspective. The experience itself is not important, the change of perspective was, to me.

I used to meditate for a reason, I used to sit down to meditate in order to feel 'something' to reach some destination, sometimes i would meditate in order to relax.
In each of these cases, if I did not feel that something, if i did not reach the destination, if I did not find relaxation then I would feel like I had failed, that my mediation was not good enough.
I had set criteria, conditions for my meditation against which I could judge it while I was meditating.

Then... after my experience I shifted my perspective and simply sat down, in order to experience sitting down.

no matter what happened during the meditation it was perfect! because I was experiencing exactly what I set out to experience. I was experiencing sitting down, quietly.
if my mind wandered, then that is how my meditation was that time, that is what I was experiencing that time. it was not wrong, it was not bad, I had not failed... its was just that that is what sitting felt like at that moment in time.
removing the conditions allowed me to stop judging my meditation, if I only sat for 30 seconds then I only sat for 30 seconds. I just told myself that that is how mediation is done today, that is the experience of meditation today.
In letting go of any conditions I found that my mind was free-er, I could let go of stray thoughts if I wanted to because I knew I didn't have to in order to fit in with someone Else's rules. I gave myself freedom within meditation, freedom to choose my experience. freedom by letting go of what I was told about meditation, and in those mediations I found perfection... if you have no criteria against which to judge something then it becomes perfect,

The beauty of it is, I found that that can be applied to everything.. aikido, relationships, life in general.
if i do things and experience things simply for the experience of doing them, or experiencing them then I have no criteria against which they can be judged and I have freedom to choose within the experience. Harmony can be found within the experience because there are no expectations or judgments. just me and my awareness of the moment and my ability to choose.
I found it to be really quite beautiful

However, over the years I have found maintaining it and not getting distracted very difficult

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Old 10-31-2004, 06:33 PM   #6
Qatana
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

Have you received systematic instruction from a qualified teacher? Just as in aikido, meditation is widely misunderstood and needs to be learned from a teacher, not from a book or video.
There are Always sensations in your body. Sometimes you just become more aware of them because your mind has quieted. Sometimes it is due to the way you are sitting, and is a simple matter of proper posture and skeletal support. Sometimes it is an indication of something from our past, coming up for resolution- the body remembers everything that has ever happened to you, including your dreams and things that you'd think were so insignificant now but were major traumas when they happened.When you "let go" of these traumas it is as though the body is remembering what it felt when the trauma happened.Or of letting go of something you thought you needed "to be you"- it hurts to lose what we think of as our identity.
In meditation instruction we are taught to be aware of sensation, of emotions, of thoughts, and to just Let them Be there. There is a time for DOing Something about things, meditation is a time for Observing Whatever is there with out reaction or judgement.

Q
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www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:06 AM   #7
nmrmak
Dojo: Shin Ken (Aikikai)
Location: Belgrade
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Re: Meditation trouble

Thank you for your responses. I'd like to refine my post. The tingling sensation is the best description i can make for it. But i feel that my body is just about to jerk. That never happens, but the feeling just remains, and it's really intense. That way i can't keep my focus on anything, even can't keep my focus on 'nothing'. I'm not sure, but i think it's not related to my posture. My knees don't hurt, and i cn sit in seiza for quite some time without that feeling. It's very hard to describe. Have you any had any strange sensations while meditating?
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Old 11-01-2004, 07:54 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

IMHO, due to your description of physical sensations after such a short period of time, I would suggest looking at your posture and spinal alignment and maybe even visiting a chiropractor just to be sure everything is okay.

Next, if you are doing Zazen, instead of being brought back to the real world, just sit an be aware of it without the need to do anything about it. If the mind strays, just gently bring it back.

It takes practice. In fact, IMHO, the practice itself is the goal.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-07-2004, 06:46 PM   #9
mgreen
 
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Re: Meditation trouble

Quote:
Nebojsa Mrmak wrote:
Have you any had any strange sensations while meditating?
You bet ya buddy! I remember when I first started, I would get a real jittery feeling. Kinda like what you say is happening. Just practice. After a while you will realize that its your mind that is moving, hurting, etc. Not your body. I listend to Zen teachers say that over and over and read it in a thousand books and thought it was a bunch of crap, but its the honest truth. Just give it some time. The most important thing is not to get frustrated. If you are interested in reading a book I would recomend highly "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" By Shunryu Suzuki. Its the best book I have ever read on the topic of Zazen. Best of luck to you, and dont get discouraged!

"Be ye lantern unto oneself"
Shakyamuni Buddha
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Old 11-08-2004, 08:25 AM   #10
Jonathan Lewis
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Re: Meditation trouble

Take heart. If it's the strange sensations that are troubling you, it seems from your description that they go away quickly. If it's troubling you that these sensations bring you back down to "the real world", that's pretty much what meditation is for, so your practice is going well.
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