Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

How To Make Meditation Ten Times Easier

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Perhaps this will be of interest wrt new year’s resolutions. David posts at Raptitude:

Meditation has reached an interesting place in Western culture. It’s popular, well-reviewed by clinicians and scientists, and most people seem to have tried it.

Yet for all the acclaim meditation receives, it’s not very common to actually meditate regularly.

As hobbies go, meditation isn’t known for being beginner-friendly. Its learning curve can seem nearly wall-like at the beginning, mainly because its central task – focusing indefinitely on one thing – is essentially impossible if you haven’t already meditated for years.

You know this if you’ve tried it. Staying with a breath or two is no problem. But just beyond that, at some always-unseen moment, your intention to focus dissolves into dreamlike images, mental chatter, and bits of Taylor Swift songs.

The typical advice for losing focus is not very consoling: do your best, fail repeatedly, and progress will creep up on you.

I imagine this party line works well enough for the monks it was developed for. It might suffice for us too, if our lifestyles involved mandatory sittings in meditation halls, in an environment of maximal peer pressure and few diversions.

Way too many years into my meditation career, I learned that there’s a way to circumvent the wall. You can go around the side, to a somewhat gentler slope with abundant handholds.

It’s a simple adjustment in the way we learn to focus.

Instead of trying to focus on your object for as long as possible, as is usually taught, you focus on it for a very short periods – two to five seconds.

A few seconds of focusing is always doable, even for a beginner. It’s a small, but highly repeatable success.

When your assigned task is so small –- feeling a single breath through the nose, or listening mindfully for three seconds – you’ll most likely stay focused throughout it. In other words, you’ll actually complete your meditation task, for once.

And as soon as you complete this little task, you’re free to do it again, because it didn’t take very long, and didn’t end in distraction.

That’s the key. Rather than running yourself into dreamland every time, you’re keeping things doable.

Let’s say your meditation object is . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 December 2019 at 8:06 am

Posted in Daily life

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