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Guided Meditations

yagryagr Veteran Veteran
edited October 12 in Meditation

I have recently attended a local venue which provides opportunities for meditation for the group. Nothing could be further from my comfort zone but I find myself here exploring. Right or wrong, I have always considered misguided guided meditation a type of meditation with training wheels and have shunned the practice and even the idea - but this is what is offered. The only way that I can even begin to find some benefit from such sessions is to treat the guide as white noise. Otherwise, I can follow my breathe OR listen to the person speaking...but not both. Any suggestions as to how to get the most out of these experiences?

Shoshin

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    mmm ... <3

    Listen, let go of the tight breath. Think of it as a type of light trance. You do not have to be comfortable or trusting to go into trance ... Trance is NOT meditation but then most meditation is not meditation πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ ... at best it is focus or concentration ... 😌

    So concentrate on the voice. You can practice listening to Micheal Sealy or download a voice app. May just record yourself saying 'relax the breath' and loop it ... something that suits you πŸ™

    Hope that is helpful. 😎

    yagrShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 13

    ...Right or wrong, I have always considered misguided guided meditation a type of meditation with training wheels...

    Why?

    ...and have shunned the practice and even the idea ...

    Why?

    yagr
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @yagr said:
    I have recently attended a local venue which provides opportunities for meditation for the group. Nothing could be further from my comfort zone but I find myself here exploring. Right or wrong, I have always considered misguided guided meditation a type of meditation with training wheels and have shunned the practice and even the idea - but this is what is offered. The only way that I can even begin to find some benefit from such sessions is to treat the guide as white noise. Otherwise, I can follow my breathe OR listen to the person speaking...but not both. Any suggestions as to how to get the most out of these experiences?

    The mind from what I gather @yagr is limitless... it's amazing what can be done when one puts one's 'mind' to it ...

    Just sit with the group and observe the thoughts that arise and pass as the instructor's words vibrate through you...Meditation is meditation....

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few."

    ~Shunryu Suzuki ~

    Whatever you decide to do @yagr may you be mindful and do it well :)

    adamcrossleyyagr
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve done some guided meditations in the past, I found it harder not to visualise when listening to a voice talking over things. So it’s a question, where does meditation begin and just simple dreaming away end? Either way it can be quite relaxing if you don’t make too many demands of the experience.

    yagr
  • yagryagr Veteran Veteran
    edited October 13

    Really good to 'see' you. :)

    @federica said:

    ...Right or wrong, I have always considered misguided guided meditation a type of meditation with training wheels...

    Why?

    Every suggestion to try guided meditation that I've ever heard or read of was directed at someone who couldn't seem to meditate. i.e. "If you're having trouble [meditating] try guided meditation." or after hearing about how they just can't meditate, "Have you ever tried 'guided meditation'?"

    ...and have shunned the practice and even the idea ...

    Why?

    Because I haven't had any similar difficulties meditating.

    Too, and probably more importantly, I get tunnel vision quite easily. If I decide to pay attention to the breath, then the breath very quickly, becomes the only thing in my universe. If I'm driving, I'd rather you not talk to me because I'm either paying attention to driving or I'm paying attention to you and our conversation. Trying to pay attention to both at the same time is extremely distracting and I end up doing both poorly.

    Okay, probably not poorly from an objective standpoint - I'm probably still a better driver than most and a better listener than most - but it is no longer my best and I notice the change. I can't do EMDR for the same reason. Anyway, I don't know where to focus my attention during a guided meditation...and god forbid they say something ambiguous. In that case, I am stuck until I can discern their most likely meaning and miss everything they say in the interim.

    I exert an awful lot of effort listening. Usually I find it exhausting because people rarely say what they mean, they use words incorrectly, use grammar that changes the meaning from what they meant...and it's left to the listener to decipher.

    federica
  • yagryagr Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    The mind from what I gather @yagr is limitless... it's amazing what can be done when one puts one's 'mind' to it ...

    Just sit with the group and observe the thoughts that arise and pass as the instructor's words vibrate through you...Meditation is meditation....

    Whatever you decide to do @yagr may you be mindful and do it well :)

    Okay, might be on to something here. I would like to be mindful and do whatever it is that I am doing well. I just need to understand what it is that I'm suppose to be doing well in this type of setting.

    Am I just letting the "instructor's words vibrate through me" or am I listening? One is effortless and the other (for me) takes a great deal of effort. The difference between 'hearing' and 'listening'. In the first case, I'll likely not have any idea what the guided meditation was about - and yet, in my listening, I've heard the person doing the guided meditation give instructions we are meant to follow. i.e. "Invite your self into your body."

    That is NOT intuitive for me. I need to think about that and figure it out before I can do it...or some approximation of 'it'. In the meantime, I haven't heard a damn thing they've said. I don't know if what they are saying to do now is predicated on that last bit I didn't listen to because I was busy trying to figure out what the hell inviting my self into the body meant.

    My language is a reflection of a very real frustration that is present when I'm trying to figure out how to do this. To add to this consternation, my neighbor gushes and declares, "Oh my god, that was so relaxing. I fell asleep!" The person leading the meditation then tells them how wonderful that is. I'm not prepared to wrap my head around the idea that a successful meditation includes falling asleep.

  • yagryagr Veteran Veteran

    @lobster said:
    mmm ... <3

    Listen, let go of the tight breath. Think of it as a type of light trance. You do not have to be comfortable or trusting to go into trance ... Trance is NOT meditation but then most meditation is not meditation πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ ... at best it is focus or concentration ... 😌

    So concentrate on the voice. You can practice listening to Micheal Sealy or download a voice app. May just record yourself saying 'relax the breath' and loop it ... something that suits you πŸ™

    Hope that is helpful. 😎

    Could you say more on 'tight breath', please? I looked it up and got links to various health conditions. I'm confident that isn't what you meant. :) I'm with you on 'most meditation is not meditation'.

    We do have someone leading the meditation and so I don't get to pick the message - and when meditating by myself, I'd prefer to stay away from any recordings BUT...your suggestion to record myself saying 'relax the breath' and looping it: Would you suggest that as background noise, kind of like a message to the subconscious rather than the conscious mind? That would make sense to me. Or, would that be a message to the conscious mind and I should pay conscious attention to it?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Could you say more on 'tight breath', please?

    Controlled relaxation. Sound familiar? The real breath, the soft breath, the loose breath, is natural. It is long and slow and very gentle ... and we can move towards it ...

    Would you suggest that as background noise, kind of like a message to the subconscious rather than the conscious mind? That would make sense to me.

    Yes.
    The reason I say record yourself, is because trust of self and feeling comfortable with the message would be easier.

    yagr
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @yagr said:

    Okay, might be on to something here. I would like to be mindful and do whatever it is that I am doing well. I just need to understand what it is that I'm suppose to be doing well in this type of setting.

    >

    Am I just letting the "instructor's words vibrate through me" or am I listening? One is effortless and the other (for me) takes a great deal of effort. The difference between 'hearing' and 'listening'. In the first case, I'll likely not have any idea what the guided meditation was about - and yet, in my listening, I've heard the person doing the guided meditation give instructions we are meant to follow. i.e. "Invite your self into your body."

    That is NOT intuitive for me. I need to think about that and figure it out before I can do it...or some approximation of 'it'. In the meantime, I haven't heard a damn thing they've said. I don't know if what they are saying to do now is predicated on that last bit I didn't listen to because I was busy trying to figure out what the hell inviting my self into the body meant.

    My language is a reflection of a very real frustration that is present when I'm trying to figure out how to do this. To add to this consternation, my neighbor gushes and declares, "Oh my god, that was so relaxing. I fell asleep!" The person leading the meditation then tells them how wonderful that is. I'm not prepared to wrap my head around the idea that a successful meditation includes falling asleep.

    I guess what you are suppose to do is be present...and not allow any aversion or desire to lead the mind astray...and the only way to overcome aversion or desire is to face them head on...

    @yagr it would seem that you have an aversion towards guided meditation...

    So a couple of questions ...

    What is the reason for you wanting to attend the guided meditation group?

    And what meditation (if any) have you found helpful in the past ?

    yagrlobster
  • yagryagr Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    I guess what you are suppose to do is be present...and not allow any aversion or desire to lead the mind astray...and the only way to overcome aversion or desire is to face them head on...

    @yagr it would seem that you have an aversion towards guided meditation...

    That made me laugh out loud - thanks for that. Truth is though, I don't know if your statement is completely accurate. I have prejudged guided meditation for sure - that pre-judgement has got to be almost forty years old near as I can tell. I showed up willing to put that aside though, and I believe that I have been able to do that. I do have some aversions that are being triggered through this process though...

    I do not like unclear directions. So when the person running the group uses flowery hyperbole to give instructions, I ask for clarification and am met with more flowery language and more extreme hyperbole, I get frustrated.

    I also find it extraordinarily frustrating when I am the only one in the room who understands that I don't understand. This is particularly frustrating (to me) when my incessant questions are obviously being resented by both teacher and other students. Imagine a classroom...a math class perhaps. I'm asking for clarification from the professor for the third time. The class let's out a collective groan because he's said a lot of words both other times I asked the question and they are bored. He doesn't answer the question I've asked the third time either (because he keeps answering the question he thinks I'm asking) so I let it go, stay up till 2am figuring it out on my own, and am the only only to pass tomorrow's mid-term. In fact, I get an 'A'.

    At least in that story, which as you've no doubt guessed was real, there was some type of vindication that I wasn't being difficult - there was an aspect of the material he wasn't explaining clearly as evidenced by the fact that everyone else failed. This situation feels like that. I can get past guided meditation as soon as I know how to do so (and I've gotten some good advice here).

    So a couple of questions ...

    What is the reason for you wanting to attend the guided meditation group?

    I am making some great progress against major depressive disorder recently. Getting out of bed was a pretty big first step but I'm trying to continue. I picked back up a daily meditation practice that had lapsed about a month ago. I'm leaving the house and want to, but I don't have a lot of places that I wanted to go. So, I though a brick and mortar sangha might be an idea - something I've never done before. The only meditation time they have is guided meditation and so if I'm going to participate, this is what's offered.
    I'm also in a very conservative area - like 91% Republican, area. So I'm not going to have a lot of choices.

    And what meditation (if any) have you found helpful in the past ?

    Anapanasati in particular. It is what I practice daily.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Anapanasati in particular. It is what I practice daily.

    Great....anapanasati recognising/becoming familiar with the breath helps to settle the monkey mind :)

    And as far as flowery terms...

    "Invite your self into your body."

    Hmm this sound like he is talking about becoming "aware" of the thoughts feelings and emotions that arise and depart...

    It may help to find out what type of guided meditation is being taught by this teacher and then do some research (google a good starting point) to familiarise your self with the terminology that's being used by the teacher...

    As a last resort....

    If the teacher's style of teaching does not fit your style of learning ... You have options... find another teacher/sangha or use one of the online sangha's ....@lobster is quite knowledgeable when it comes to online sangha communities where meditation is taught...guided and other...

    However in saying this....sometimes @yagr it can take time to settle into new routines....so be "patient" & do some terminology research, to help the settling in period...

    yagrlobster
  • yagryagr Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin - thank you. :) I've gotten some helpful info from both you and @lobster that I can use.

    Shoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Hi @yagr , lovely to see you too. πŸ™‚

    yagr
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran Veteran

    @yagr said:
    "Invite your self into your body."

    @Shoshin said:
    Hmm this sound like he is talking about becoming "aware" of the thoughts feelings and emotions that arise and depart...

    It has helped me recently to go back to the Buddha's actual words (as far as anyone can tell) to get a sense of what "inviting yourself into" or "sinking into" the body might actually mean. For example in the Anapanasati Sutta:

    I breathe in aware of the entire body; I breathe out aware of the entire body. I breathe in calming the body; I breathe out calming the body.

    Teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh interpret this text very literally when teaching meditation and recommend reciting these phrases in time with the breathing. Over time, perhaps, the phrases can be allowed to fall away as you relax into the awareness they've generated.

    I really sympathize with your frustration. I experience it too. Would it be fair to say that it's not guided meditation that you dislike, but when the guidance is unclear or vague? It always makes me anxious that I'm doing the wrong thing, or being too relaxed in my approach. I think probably the teacher you mention was trying to use intuitive language and didn't intend to provoke much discursive thought about his words. "Invite", for instance, was probably meant to convey that you should direct your attention to your body, but not too forcefully. Maybe try to loosen up about exact meanings and let the teacher's voice fade into the background. It can be there as and when you need it to bring you back to the present. But I appreciate this is easier said than done.

    yagr
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