I know that I've broached this subject before, but never in its own thread. I have some serious challenges with guided meditations and have solved that problem by avoiding it whenever possible. Oh sure, I've asked for guidance on occasion, I've just never understood the explanations. Circumstances have changed though, as they are wont to do, and I am finding myself having to pass through a guided meditation to get to where I'm going on a fairly regular basis - in other words, I'm getting really bad at avoiding it. So here is an excerpt from the transcript (the intervals were added by me) and then, following that, I'm going to try and formulate a question.
_Draw your attention away from the mind, and place your attention in your body, noticing the
body-- the sensations in your body-- <28-second pause> whether that means there’s some surface-level sensation in the body, which is like tension, tightness, or even pain. <16-second pause> Just let go of those labels and feel. Be one with what is. _
"Draw your attention away from the mind..."
Cool. Got it. On my way...
"...and place your attention in your body, noticing the body."
Okay, I was there - my attention was already away from my mind, but then you began talking again. I don't know if you're aware of this, but I can't follow your instructions without perceiving your words and their meaning which means I have to leave the place I'm at and run right back to the mind because that's where the sounds you make are interpreted and given meaning. Okay..it appears that she's stopped talking. Returning...almost there...and...
"the sensations in your body..."
I'm sorry, I was inside - did you want me to not be there? And 'just let go of labels'? Seriously? How do I let go of labels and know what it is you're talking about when you use labels like 'body', 'pain', 'tension'?
The experience (for me, of course) always seems like someone is asking you to run to the store and grab some missing ingredient for the dinner they're making. They tell you that it's very important that you make it back before what-ever-it-is comes out of the oven in twenty-five minutes. Then they give you instructions on how to get to the store, where to park, what aisle the item is in, which register you should go to in order to pay, whether you should choose paper or plastic, the route you should take on the way home, etc. The problem is, their instructions take twenty-five minutes to finish so you now can't actually be back in time.
Anyone? I've checked my copy of Meditation for Dummies but apparently it was too dumb of a question to be included - or, ~hopeful~ maybe it wasn't dumb enough.
This short clip on 'Attention Awareness & Mindfulness" may be of help @yagr
"Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual before thinking splits experience into subject and object. It is empty and so can contain everything, including thought. It is boundless...And amazingly, it is intrinsically KNOWING"
Also contemplate the above quote and after awhile snippets of experiential understanding will gradually filter through...often when you lease expect it....
Hope this all helps....
What you seem to be saying @yagr is you can not task switch sufficiently? If so hopefully the post from @Shoshin helps?
I am not sure of where you are going and how? One of the reasons I like hypnosis is because you can literally be unconscious (and still the script is followed) You can even create a script that goes in the direction you require.
You are in particular asking about guided meditation. There are many forms in vajrayana. Where are you trying to get to?
Hmm. I have been in a space that I have called 'awareness' but it was not a place of thoughts or feelings. In fact, it wasn't a 'place' at all. Apropos that I got the name of that non-place wrong - cause in that 'place' there are no names.
Thank you for sending the video. I'm going to put some distance between me and this for the night though and come back in the morning and check it out then.
By the way, I asked the Zen Master at the temple I'm frequenting, and she's researching for me. My own research hasn't resulted in much but was wondering if anyone might know of a Buddhist resource for those on the autism spectrum? Sometimes it can be helpful to read or hear something in your native tongue, you know?
Can you just not do the guided meditation? Like just not pay it any mind? Let the words come and go like passing clouds in the sky?
Just do your own style of meditation and whenever you find yourself sucked back into the guided meditation, let it go and return to your practice.
I sometimes do this. I don’t listen to guided meditations all that often, besides on the Waking Up app, but when I do I sometimes just lose myself in the breathing.
Yes, I can. As a matter of fact, that is how I have lived most of my life. When there is something I don't understand, I simply avoid it. Being on the spectrum, there are many things about the way neuro-typical people do things that I don't understand. As such, I have found that I've avoided a great deal of life. I was hoping to change that. Unfortunately, often the only explanation I am able to get when I get confused, is a neuro-typical explanation - that usually includes an expectation that I learn things in a neuro-typical order and that a neuro-typical explanation will clear things right up.
The really messed up part is that by the time I ask for help, I'm about to go over the frustration cliff...and then receiving an 'easy to understand' or 'so easy a child could understand it' explanation that I don't understand, I tumble over the edge. That said, I bring it on myself quite often - like you suggest, just don't participate. Sometimes I just get tired of feeling of separate from, you know?
This may sound kind of dumb but have you tried surrendering and just using the guides words in place of your own thought stream? Words are imperfect means so if we keep that in mind and just try to let the story take us as if we are listening deeply to an unfamiliar musical score... Just a thought.
Maybe it’s a gap in the market @yagr — guided meditations for autistic people by autistic people.
This makes a lot of sense. I have to imagine there are some out there already, at least I'd hope there are.
It's a specialist niche, but if you develop an app for it with some specifically researched content it could find a market. I would doubt that its been done, the meditation apps market is still expanding
I was thinking like some of the guided meditations that apps offer would be directed towards people on the spectrum, rather than an entire app.
If the specialised app takes off (and I'm willing to bet it would) then the others would likely add it in but I have never seen it.
Thanks everyone. As I re-read what I wrote, it appears to be pretty egoically indulgent. It didn't feel that way at the time but apparently whatever 'time' I was in wasn't Now O'Clock.
It certainly doesn't sound dumb, although that could be because I don't understand it properly. Regardless, and I mean this with all the sincerity that I can muster (and that's a lot), thank you for being willing to risk sounding dumb because you valued the possibility of being helpful more. How awesome is that?!
Anyway, in a word, yes. More or less, that is what I am trying to do. Surrendering however, doesn't manifest the same in all situations. Surrendering to life, for instance, manifests completely differently than surrendering to the police. What does surrendering look like in this context? Or, how does surrender manifest in this?
"Using the guides words in place of my own thought stream." I am unclear on how I do this because: My thought stream is not continuous during meditation however, when thoughts come - I do not believe I have the talent to find the words with sufficient precision here, but here goes nothing: When thought come, I recognize that my mind just made some noise but usually stop short of interpreting that noise. It is like...okay, I may have found a way to explain it... Have you ever experienced the sound of a bird singing while meditating without knowing that it was a bird...or singing? You experienced the sound but you brought yourself back to your breath before the mind labeled it?
So the question becomes, for me, is there value in listening to the message or narrative this guide is sharing - or do I really replace my own thought stream with it and in doing so, not know what the heck they're saying? Because if that's the case, what value is there in guided meditation except as a distraction to let go of? I figure it can't be this, despite it making complete sense to me, because people often use guided meditation as a stepping stone to silent meditation. Ultimately, I just assume that if someone is speaking to me, I'm supposed to be paying attention/listening...and focusing any thought stream runs counter to my experience of meditation.
I am SOOOO glad that you used the example of 'listening to an unfamiliar musical score'. I don't listen to music. I don't know if the radio worked in the last five vehicles I've owned. The only reason that I know about the one before that was because my daughter was still living at home at the time and would turn it on when she was in the car. One of the reasons that I don't listen to music is because it is an all encompassing experience for me. As a child I would put on the headphones, carefully drop the needle on the vinyl, close my eyes, clear my mind, and wait for the first note. Invariably, within ten seconds, I would have to start again. A thought interrupted, my attention wavered, an external sound made it past the headphones causing dissonance. It could, and often did, take me the entire morning (or afternoon or evening) to get through one song. I'm aware that listening deeply means something differently to me...lightbulb moment
This is what happens when someone gives me, and many person on the spectrum a job to do, and says 'do your best' or something similar. We kill ourselves. Not intentionally, of course. "Please move this seemingly unending pile of rocks, from here to there. I need you to get it done as quickly as possible." The rule is, "Do what your boss tells you." There are limits to that of course, but one is never told what those limits are because most people can figure that out without being told. If you happen to have a brain that isn't able to figure that out, you take them at their word. How can I do this as quickly as possible? I can run these rocks from one spot to another instead of walking. I can not take breaks. I can hold it instead of going to the bathroom. I can skip lunch. I can stay late if it is more than a one day job. I can show up early the next day to get a jump on it. I said all that to try and explain how I see the word 'deeply' or surrender or... Because perfect will be good enough. Anything less than perfect may or may not be and I can't tell - and I can't afford to get fired. That is pretty much how I approach everything in life. Perfect is typically impossible to achieve, and even if it is achieved, it is unsustainable...so aim for perfection and fear failure because you don't know if your failure will be met with a friendly, "No worries, you exceeded my expectation - by a lot! Well done!" or "I told you I needed this done quickly; you're fired."
Hmm. So easy to dismiss that fear...here's another one: "This is a secure building. Letting anyone in who doesn't live here and isn't a guest of yours is a violation of your lease and you will be evicted." Easy, right? Two months later a police officer drew his gun on me when, from the other side of the door I explained that I couldn't let him in when he demanded that I did. Sometimes I can anticipate the consequence - like getting fired if I fail to interpret my bosses intention accurately. Sometimes I never see it coming - like a cop pulling a gun on me because I did what I was told. Since all I know for sure is that in any given situation I'm going to unintentionally make mistakes and when I do, there shall be consequences and those consequences may be more severe than I can handle.
Anyway, I know I dragged everyone down the rabbit hole - sorry about that.
For what it's worth, I recently started a thread in a autism forum that I'm a member of, asking for input as to what they would be looking for in a meet-up group for folks on the spectrum who would like to have a safe place to explore spiritual concepts. Not exactly an app - but we're all Macs in a PC world trying to run PC software on our system - and our systems keep crashing when we do. My hope was to create a community that can support each other as we try to translate some of the existing software for PC's into Mac compatible code.
I think I understand you better now. Much of the Buddhist world is filled with poetic minded people, so most of the time meditations and teachings will be filled with metaphor rather than literal expressions.
The time I've spent in the Tibetan community and from what I've seen from other traditions there are aspects that are more directed at the scholarly, the literal and philosophical interpretations of the path. I'd also make a comparison between the Tibetan tradition and the emerging Western one.
The Tibetans seemed to make a lot more specific room and practices for people of differing temperaments and inclinations. Specifically, from a pretty poorly remembered teaching, they talk about several different types of intelligence, like those that can go deep on an idea, those that are quick, curious, penetrating, strong memory, etc. An individual can have several of those aspects stronger than other aspects. The point being you would teach and give different practices for one set of strengths vs another.
In my experience the western world hasn't developed its tradition to the point were such differing aspects are given. It seems temperamentally pretty homogenous to me. I think because its still so new that only certain types of people are generally attracted to it at this point.
Anyway, tangents aside, my point is not all practices and teachings are best suited to every individual. I think you're on a good path exploring adapting PC code into Mac, I'd maybe try looking into some of the more traditional aspects to see if you can't find some ideas and methods there. There is a rich tradition of parsing out specific meanings and intentions, unless I'm off the mark about where you're coming from.
Based on the rest of your post, I agree. That is a gift. It's a gift whether anything in your post was practically useful or not (and I don't know right now because I'm rather enjoying the feeling of being understood and kind of basking in it).
I just came back to this thread because I thought of something that was left unsaid. Initially, it was left unsaid because it was soooo obvious on my 'Mac' - how could anyone not see it? Then, the idea trickles in that just because it's obvious to me... Then I wonder if I return and spell it out explicitly, will I insult people because it was so obvious to them as well... Then, at least in this case, I post the 'unsaid' thing and wait to see if someone responds with a kinder version of, "Well, duh!"
You all are a very safe group to practice on. Please, believe that it is not always the case; so thanks for that. While I very much appreciate the idea about developing an app - guided mediation for autistics by autistics...it's kind of a 'Who's going to bell the cat?" kind of situation. I don't know what the point of guided meditation is. As a result, how could I create a guided meditation when I don't know what it is supposed to do? I feel like I would imagine a fellow from the Middle Ages being shown a picture of a car without explanation - and then being asked to build one. Without knowing the purpose, or being able to examine it thoroughly (think inquiry perhaps), the poor guy couldn't help but fail.
While I do appreciate the idea, I'm not equipped with the understanding that would be required to create it.
I too have a tendency to be literal.
You have explained your nature well. Perhaps for the first time to this group.
I am glad we are safe.
It seems the idea of writing your own guided meditation script might work. I have done this in presentation programs
For example Powerpoint in MS Windows.
~nods~ I often see that in your humor. It appears, to me, that you see both what is meant - along with what is said. Then you make a play on the literal meaning. I do the same thing although in my case, it is often a cover for an error. i.e. My primary care physician requires me to come in for testing one a month at this point, to insure that the auto-immune disease I have that can't possibly go into remission, is still in remission.
So when he asks me, "What brings you in today?" it never occurs to me that he's looking for me to say, "You told me to" because obviously he knows that - he's the one who told me. I have absolutely zero frame of reference to consider the possibility that he forgot - because my brain can't forget such things. In fact, a psychiatrist asked me once to remember three items at the beginning of a disability hearing. He said that he would be asking me to repeat them back to him at the end of the appointment. Next, he showed me a piece of paper with five lines with three items on each line for a period of ten seconds, handed me a blank piece of paper and asked me to reproduce it to the best of my ability.
The three items were Donut, Broom, Table.
The five lines were:
a - b - c
1 - 2 - 3
A - B - C
Square - Circle - Triangle (the shapes, not the words)
I - II - III
Simple enough, but it was eight years ago. He never told me to forget them, so I haven't.
It's been many years since that appointment. First license plate I ever saw? 48718. etc. etc. So yeah, I can't imagine he forgot, so I answered the question he must have meant when he asked me what brought me in. "My car." I suspect that you would know that he meant the purpose of my visit - not the method, but you might have played with the method for laughter. Of course, once I see the confusion on his face I realize my mistake - that he actually was asking me to tell him that he told me that he wanted to see me today, so I plaster a sh*t-eating grin on my face, give him a wink, and play it off as if the entire exchange was simply me bringing some levity into it.
Me too! Gratified that I was successful in doing so - I value communication highly, perhaps because it is more rare for me than for others... or maybe, I recognize the failure to communicate more often than others - or both...or something else entirely.
I noticed that 'presentation programs' was highlighted such that I thought it was a link...but it turned out not to be. Did I miss something there?
No, you didn't. Links are in a peachy brown colour and always have been, as in Here
I am not sure what @lobster is up to. He likes to confuse. You may have noticed that.
Going to drive me to drink...I have a cup here somewhere...
I am probably not much help on guided meditation on this thread.
I just do Soto Zen meditation. I think of a deliberate following of the breath as a guided or concentration meditation exercise. In formal meditation I return to this type of concentration exercise whenever I notice that a deliberate momentum of thought has started hogging space away from the inputs of any of the other sense gates. I do this relentlessly but only until all of the sense gates, including my mind, settle back into a more equitable power sharing arrangement. Some might call this a harmonizing of body & mind. Unless I observe some more bullying going on I just try to stay out of interfering with any their interactions.
Sometimes my practice is little more than the parenting of 6 different kids in one sandbox.
Oh, on the contrary...
That is, as they say, when the rubber hits the road. Meditation is great when everything is 'Zen'. It's being able to meditate in the midst of chaos that really tells the character.
You communicate very well. However not always the pertinent points …
You are very self reliant but not the only person here. If you could, would or feel guided meditation might work for you and perhaps others … What might you write in a guided presentation?
As examples …
I am going to return to the bottom half of your post after more coffee. Frankly, I found myself taken aback by the question, "If you could, would or feel guided meditation might work for you and perhaps others … What might you write in a guided presentation?"
Don't know. No idea. In fact, I'm thinking that I completely failed to communicate.
Person 1: What's that?
Person 2: It's a tool.
Person 1: What does it do? Can you teach me how to use it?
Person 2: Do you feel that the tool might be useful to you?
Person 1: You mean the tool I don't know how to use? How would I know?
Not the first time I've heard this, and while without voice inflection, you can't possibly know that I ask this as a curiosity only - I just don't know how to wrap it up so its seen as the polite conversation that I mean it to be.
How can we so easily see and rail against the inequity inherent in both privilege 'isms' within our communities, countries and world - and completely miss that the neurotypical folks get to determine what the 'pertinent parts' are. It has been noted often, for instance, that women's leadership styles are different than men's - with more cooperation and collaboration amongst team members whereas men tend to foster competitiveness and hierarchal structures. Because women didn't do it like men, their way was clearly inferior, wrong, and all hell would break loose if we gave them an opportunity to lead.
I do understand, even if this example falls short, but color theory seems to point the way for me. Let's say you know that the three primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow. But then I go and say that the primary colors are Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, and Black. I do understand why you think cyan, magenta and black are not pertinent - but I am completely capable of getting to the same color as folks using the Red, Blue, Yellow system, I just take a completely different route. And, like these two color mixing systems, sometimes my route is extremely long and winding - and sometimes it's a short cut.
Fun case in point (fun because in this case, my route turned out to be a shortcut): The generally accepted world record in winning percentage for Klondike solitaire is a 42.7% win rate after 442 games by a fellow aligned with Jupiter Scientific. I just finished game number 442 last week and ended up with a winning percentage of 68.55%. At one point (post 400 games) I exceeded 69% win rate (69.16%). General theory is that approximately 70% is possible if one played perfectly and knew the location of every card. I know neither; I've simply approached the game in a manner that others don't see the value of. I have found literally (old person definition of literally - not the millennial definition) found hundreds of advantages that individually give me a 0.25 - 0.5% advantage each. The way my system approaches solitaire is of little importance to the world - but it does illustrate that what is commonly referred to as superfluous, not pertinent, or irrelevant - often isn't.
Well now, that took long enough that I've got enough coffee in me to watch the video now. Thanks!
What words have been helpful?
If we write them. We can attune/remember/focus with them.
So key words in Dharma may be:
[Well you know them already …]