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Meditation more than any other factor has been the secret to whatever success I've had.

-Ray Dalio

 

I've been meditating twice a day, every day, since the end of last year. Ray Dalio is one of the wealthier proponents of transcendental meditation . TM costs gobs of money to study these days, so instead I practice a similar (and significantly cheaper) technique. Just wondering if anyone else here does this too. It might be fun to share experiences.

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Been practicing daily for about four years. I've found it to be a slow burn positive for many part of life. For me, it's about developing inner skills and qualities over time (kind of like value investing--inner scorecard type perspective). I attend a local zen center and insight center to learn from teachers and practice with others. In terms of books, two that i've enjoyed are: zen mind, beginner's mind by suzuki roshi and wanting enlightenment is a big mistake by seung sahn.

 

 

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I have done it off and on for ~10 years.  I did an MBSR course.

 

Also, have spent a small amount of time at thich naht hahn's centers in France and New York.

 

Lapsed right now.  But I am running again.

 

So have I. But have done it much more consistently the past year and it really does make an impact in my everyday: foucs, mood, patience and general well being. Also, I write things I am grateful/appreciate about my life after I finish meditating for a few minutes (very grateful for this forum, for instance, although I barely post, I do really appreciate all you guys and your knowledge...  :) ), both practices together, I find, are very powerful.

 

Cheers!

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I completed a course in TM 7 yrs ago and have been practicing inconsistently since then. I strongly recommend the course since it is the easiest way to learn meditation. There are other ways , however they are harder to learn and may have religious connotation.

 

TM takes all those complications out and focuses on techniques. If you are in Southern California, I may be able to help you with the course. PM me

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You guys have piqued my curiosity. I'm definitely looking into this. I added the two books recommended by Carvel46 to my list and I've been looking around the net for info about this. Youtube has some stuff too, which I've added to the list and will watch later.

 

Thanks guys :)

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Two more book recommendations:

 

-Wherever you go, there you are -- its author created and was former Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Very light on the mysticism that you find in some books.

 

-Mindfulness in Plain English (available online here) -- good introduction to Buddhist style meditation. Writte by a Buddhist monk and heavier on the mysticism but good if you can overlook it.

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Ok I'm starting again. I've never been able to keep it going. I get to a week or two, miss one day, and I'm done. I obviously need the discipline meditation is reported to instill.

Tomorrow morning. Ten minutes. I set my phone reminder.

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I have not tried other techniques like Vipassana or kundalini but have friends who have tried a few and practicing Hindus/Buddhist who tries though spiritual approach.  Mindfulness and feedback are other approaches which may be suited for different people.

 

TM is easier, however more costly upfront with lifetime support.

 

Compliance is more important than technique.

 

Hope this helps.

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argonaut: Seattle has https://www.seattleinsight.org/ (i've heard the head teacher once). I learned mediation technique at an insight/Vipassana center. It looks like there are also some zen centers in Seattle. Zen, from my experience, doesn't talk much about technique, although koan interviews and zen practice have been great for me. Just try a few centers and see what style/center/teacher(s) you connect with. In the US, it seems like large metro areas with universities tend to have meditation centers.

 

Here's a video example of zen koan practice - Zen Master Seung Sahn (6 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CUdrd-FsG0

 

Video--What Meditation Really Is - Mingyur Rinpoche (5 min):

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For you practicing TM people, do you think getting the TM course in person is worth it, as they claim it is, or can this be done via books?

 

I got quite interested in this last January, and purchased a few books on my kindle. What I found is that it's difficult to find a "how to" guide that separates the actual techniques of meditation from all of the new-agey spiritual and religious (Buddhist) stuff. Not that Buddhist theology isn't interesting, but it's not what I am looking to learn about... I just want a practical guide on the techniques of meditation and how to setup a meditation program. (I guess I see it as analogous to learning how to set up a personal fitness program and how to perform the specific exercises therein.) My engineer brain just wants to understand what to do and how to do it (and a scientific explanation of how/why it works would be icing on the cake).

 

I did look look at www.getsomeheadspace.com, because it claims to offer just that ("we've secularized meditation") but was turned off by the aggressive marketing and shameless promotion of their subscription service. "We've monetized meditation" might be a better tag line.

 

Would definitely be interested and appreciative if anyone can recommend resources (books or courses) that focus on teaching meditation without the mysticism. I live in Vancouver and would be interested in either in-person classes or online courses.

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i dont think anyone knows exactly why it works, but they did measure significant positive effects on mental ability and health because of meditation.

 

I don't think there is one right technique. The whole idea is that you are completely in the moment for like 15-20 minutes a day. To get away from  the thought train in your head, and kinda center yourself by distancing yourself from everything for a moment. It is something you have to practice. At first you probably get lost in your thoughts a lot.

 

I think if you live a very busy life and exposed to a lot of opinions around you, this is especially usefull.

 

For example if you sit still you breath in and out with your  belly (not chest) and try not to focus on anything. Just take anything in and then let it go. You did not fail if you thought about anything, but the idea is when thoughts come in your head you just take a few more deep breaths, observe them and let them go. Only the best can think of nothing for like 15-20 minutes straight.

 

It is kinda difficult to explain really, especially to an engineer :) . You can also do it with exercise. Or listen to music, stand or sit. Whatever suits you best.

 

What I personally want to try is a sensory deprivation tank. You float in salt water in complete darkness without any sound. This is basicly a forced form of meditation and I heard great things about it. It is said that you actually start to hallucinate after 20 minutes. And because you don't get sensory information it is easier to completely empty your head after 15-20 minutes.

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For you practicing TM people, do you think getting the TM course in person is worth it, as they claim it is, or can this be done via books?

 

I got quite interested in this last January, and purchased a few books on my kindle. What I found is that it's difficult to find a "how to" guide that separates the actual techniques of meditation from all of the new-agey spiritual and religious (Buddhist) stuff. Not that Buddhist theology isn't interesting, but it's not what I am looking to learn about... I just want a practical guide on the techniques of meditation and how to setup a meditation program. (I guess I see it as analogous to learning how to set up a personal fitness program and how to perform the specific exercises therein.) My engineer brain just wants to understand what to do and how to do it (and a scientific explanation of how/why it works would be icing on the cake).

 

I did look look at www.getsomeheadspace.com, because it claims to offer just that ("we've secularized meditation") but was turned off by the aggressive marketing and shameless promotion of their subscription service. "We've monetized meditation" might be a better tag line.

 

Would definitely be interested and appreciative if anyone can recommend resources (books or courses) that focus on teaching meditation without the mysticism. I live in Vancouver and would be interested in either in-person classes or online courses.

 

This is exactly what I'm looking for. Please let us know if you find something. Thank you.

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Leftcoast/Liberty: Check out Mental Resilience: The Power of Clarity: How to Develop the Focus of a Warrior and the Peace of a Monk by Kamal Sarma http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1577316258/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's more secular, from a former business person and covers the basics.

 

That sounds like a good starting point. Thank you, I think I'll order it and see where it leads me.

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Leftcoast/others, IMO Reggie Ray's audio series Meditating with the Body is a good way to get started: http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Meditating-with-the-Body/284.pd

 

I think its a good starting point even if you later decide to explore different techniques/traditions.

 

(btw, just noticed there are meetings of his students in Vancouver http://dharmaoceancanada.org/sangha/)

 

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This is exactly what I'm looking for. Please let us know if you find something. Thank you.

 

Thanks for the suggestions above. I did some more research on meditation practices this weekend. Here's what I found.

 

Basically, it seems like there are 3 major types of meditation:

[*]Concentration - to focus exclusively on one thing, such as your breath or a rock in the grass (Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Samatha);

[*]Mindfulness - to experience and observe all your sensations and thoughts without attachment (Vipassana, MBSR);

[*]Transcending - to think or experience nothing at all (Transcendental Meditation, NSR, Hindu meditations).

From these buckets, I found 2 specific techniques that are both widely taught in the West and claim to be backed by scientific research:

 

Transcendental Meditation

  • A meditation in which one silently repeats a specific, meaningless phrase (mantra) while sitting quietly for 20 min twice daily.
  • Popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who turned the technique into a "movement" backed by programs and organizations starting in the 1960s.
  • Maharishi Foundation owns the registered trademark on "Transcendental Meditation" and charges $1500 to teach the basic technique.
  • Claims to be backed by hundreds of scientific studies, but the validity of this research is widely disputed. From my own cursory review, it does seem that much of the research on TM is seriously flawed at best.
  • Personal opinion: It smells a little cult-ish and reminds be of scientology in some ways. Charges big money for something no one else does. Touts a long list of celebrity practitioners, a few of whom evangelize for the "movement" (David Lynch, Ellen Degeneres, Jerry Seinfeld). Used to make crazy claims about levitation and "yogic flying" (not anymore). Claims to be completely secular, but requires the practice of some ancient Hindu ceremonies and incantations. Appears to have a well-funded marketing infrastructure and a very active PR strategy.

 

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

  • Combines mindfulness mediation with yoga for 45 min daily.
  • Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusets.
  • Now widely taught as a 8-week workshop course in medical centres, hospitals, clinics, and non-profit organizations. There are also numerous self-study books written by Kabat-Zinn and others.
  • Completely secularized, with no religious or mystical theory or practices.
  • Lots of peer-reviewed research available. Conclusion from one literature review done at Johns Hopkins in 2008: "MBSR is an effective treatment for reducing stress and anxiety that accompanies daily life and chronic illness. MBSR is also therapeutic for healthcare providers, enhancing their interactions with patients. No negative side effects from MBSR have been documented."

 

Liberty, I think you might enjoy these blog posts by Sam Harris, a neurologist, meditation fan, and outspoken critic of religion:

How to Meditate

Killing the Buddha

 

For me, I am now going to look further into MBSR and mindfulness meditation. In particular, I'm looking at these books and CDs:

Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

A Mindfulness-Ba​sed Stress Reduction Workbook

Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1

 

It looks like there are also MBSR classes offered in Vancouver by certified trainers (mostly clinical counselors and therapists):

http://www.mbsrbc.ca/pages/classes.htm

I may look into those further after reading some of the books.

 

Thanks to this thread for prompting me to pursue this area of interest again!

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