- "Active" Meditation

"Active" Meditation




Meditation - a powerful tool for recovery!

"Active" Meditation

Postby anniemac » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:45 am

The type of meditation that Garden Variety has been writing about is quite fulfilling. I also enjoy "active" meditation, where my body is moving but my mind is still. Sometimes that works better for someone like me who doesn't sit still well! :oops:

Yoga is one example of this. Also, there are walking meditations, such as walking a labrynth. I have some guided meditaitons on my iPod, and I listen to them while I'm on the treadmill at the gym. Of course, I don't want to listen to anything that's going to make me sleepy; nodding off on the treadmill is not a good thing! The one I listened to today was about Gratitude, breathing in Gratitude, feeling Gratitude expand my chest cavity, etc. I hold on to the rails of the treadmill (that's an important part!), close my eyes, and allow my mind to focus only on what's coming through my earphones. Even in a noisy gym I'm able to tune out what's going on around me and find stillness within.
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Postby Dallas » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:12 am

Thanks for sharing Anniemac.

I have done and still do some mental exercises very similar to what you are describing and they are very enjoyable and they produce some amazingly pleasant results.

I used to refer to them as meditations and I met a couple of people who were much more knowledgeable about meditation than myself, (that was easy to do) and they said that what I was doing was good, but that it wasn't meditation. And, that sure caused a mental conflict for me! :shock:

They suggested that I continue to pursue the art and practice of meditation and that I give a new name to my other exercises. I figured "Okay, that's easy enough, I'll call them something else." And, I started referring to them as Guided Visualizations and Mental Exercises.

A couple of times, when I was feeling real spiritual :oops: I referred to them as Spiritual Exercises ( "SE's" for short) and that gave me a mental conflict because I started thinking "meditation is probably a spiritual exercise... so, I'll go back to calling them Mental Exercises. ( I just noticed that... ME's for short! :lol: ).

I seem to have this knack for needing to put a label on something and then I do too much thinking about it... and then, someone comes along and informs me that I've put the wrong label on something! And, then I get confused.... and do more thinking. :lol: :lol: (The story of my life?) :lol:

So to try and solve my thinking conflict... I decided that anything that I did to try and quiet my mind and stop my thinking... (to experience a quiet time)... I would refer to as "meditation" ... and the exercises that I would do to try to "guide or control" my thinking... I would refer to those as Mental Training Exercises. (Kind of like Physical Training Exercise... the difference being, doing it with my head, and sometimes with my head and my body).

Of course... now that I think about it (think think think :oops: ) If I was using some kind of prayer to assist or guide my meditation, that would be "guiding or attempting to influence or control" the outcome of the meditation.

I've kind of concluded that for me, what works best to "quiet my mind" is to do breathing exercises where I try to keep my focus on my breathing and the breath until I can reach a quiet place. And, when I want to stimulate other mental, physical and emotional states ... I do the kind of exercises that you mentioned above.

Do you have any thoughts that you can share with me on this? Do I tend to make too big a deal out of it and make it complicated for myself? Is there any "official" type differences.... in meditation and other experiences?

Thanks for your help. I'm teachable and willing to learn! :lol:

Dallas
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Postby anniemac » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:36 am

To me, it's all meditation. Books I've read by Buddhists and Mindfullness teachers refer to "walking meditations" and "labrynth meditation walks" and such. Some folks may view the sitting-still-and-meditating style to be the true form of meditation and the other forms as not "real" or "pure".

dictionary.com defines Meditation as:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
med·i·tate –verb (used without object) 1. to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.

It doesn't say anything about needing to be physically still.

I used to think that meditation was all about 'emptying the mind'. That caused great frustration when I attempted to meditate, because I was far from able to empty my mind. Then I read (again, from 'meditation masters') that it's not about absence of thought. There are different beliefs, but one is that meditation is singular focus of thought (i.e., a guided meditation) and another is to step back (in our minds) and witness our thoughts without being wrapped up and attached to them. Another form of meditation is chanting -- repeating "Om" or a mantra...and doing that is also something active (although not physically - except for the vocal cords).

I'm certainly not an expert; I'm just remembering bits and pieces of things I've read over the past few years.

I believe that just as there are many ways to pray, there are many ways to meditate.
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Meditation

Postby Spiritman » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:57 am

Meditation, for me, is spiritual introspection. A spiritual experience.
When I define what meditation is and how to practice it I incarcerate--nay--chain my spirit to finite eperiences.

I thank you folks for the post. It stimulated me...
Peace,
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Postby Dallas » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:15 pm

Of course... my comments below have nothing to do with what the world or the dictionary considers as "officially meditating".... (One dictionary defines sober as "not having drank too much alcohol"... whereas AA defines sober as "not drinking any alcohol -- zero -- zilch -- no alcohol at all.") :lol: So, I recognize, in regards to AA, or the practice of the AA program of recovery... we do have words that we use that have different meanings and different definitions than the definitions in popular culture, ancient culture, education, history and the dictionary.

I wanted to mention this -- just in case a newbie or an outsider were to read our discussion and think we are discussing A.A. and give them the wrong idea. (Which we are not).

However, I learned in our AA history, that Dr. Bob, and his wife Anne, and Bill W., and the Pioneers of AA in Akron... were following a practice that was taken from the Oxford Movement... which was referred to as "Quiet time."

They spent time trying to quiet their mind... waiting for a revelation from God. And, after they spent their "quiet time" ... and got what they believed was their "revelation" ... they would discuss the revelation with each other... to make a decision as to whether the "revelation" was from "God" or their "Self."

This was what I learned that Bill was referring to when he wrote down Step 11, in regards to Step Eleven's suggestion of prayer and meditation.

So, when I think of "meditation" in regards to my AA program of recovery, as in practicing Step Eleven -- my objective is to "quiet my mind" and to "make it empty."

That's what I do for my meditation in regards to Step Eleven.

After I've met the requirements of my "daily actions" for my "daily Steps" I do all sorts of stuff that is "not part of my practicing the 12 Steps."

But, I do try to always do the "quiet time" meditation before I do any of the other types of meditations or experiments or experiences... because my desire, is to work a program of recovery as close as possible as to what the Pioneer's of AA were doing from the beginning.

When I do it that way -- all sorts of opportunities for new things come into my life and it gives me bonus time to do the other things, too.

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Postby anniemac » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:21 pm

I understand what you're saying, Dallas ~~ and I also believe that it's fine that Bill and Bob were doing a particular form of meditation ~~ just as it's fine that they had their own conception of God. However, AA tells me that I don't have to have the same conception of God. Along those lines, I don't believe I have to follow the same meditation ritual as they did.

It's the willingness and desire to make conscious contact with God, to me that is more important than the execution of it. (was that a gramatical nightmare of a sentence?!)
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Postby anniemac » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:45 pm

...just want to add that I'm rushing around and posting on the fly, which I probably shouldn't do, as I don't take the time to think my words through -- and sometimes my New York directness comes through in my haste and is perceived as offensive or argumentative. Neither of those are intentional.

What I was trying to express is that I think AA is a very "roomy" Program and that each member can form their own methods of incorporating the Steps in to their lives. Another for-instance is that I do not pray on my knees. That may work for many, yet it's not a requirement within the Steps.

I know as a newcomer I heard "you have to toss your shoes under your bed at night so when you wake up you have to hit your knees anyway". That caused a lot of conflict for me because I don't pray on my knees. I thought I was "doing it wrong". Luckily, I discovered that I wasn't doing anything wrong, just different. And that was my point of my last post.

Okay, rushing off again!! :lol:
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Postby Dallas » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:57 pm

:lol: :lol: Rush careful! There's a lot of traffic in New York! (I've been told).

Thanks for all of your comments anniemac. :wink:

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Meditation

Postby tj » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:48 pm

Thanks so much for this post on meditation GV and Dallas. I just ordered a couple of books. One is A Book of Hours by Thomas Merton and A 12-Step Approach to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius byJim Harbaugh. Has anyone ever read them? What did you think? I also ordered one called The Soul of Sponsorship which is about the relationship between Bill W. and Fr. Dowling. I am by nature a religious person so the "God" part of this has not been hard for me at all. A big part of the reason that I got sober was to get closer to God. Again thanks for all the insight on meditation. Keep it coming.

Manette
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Postby Dallas » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:34 pm

Thanks for checking in and sharing Manette!!!

It's great. Finally..... got your membership activated, and now here you are sharing!!! That's awesome.

Welcome to the site, and I look forward to hearing more from you!

GV (Paul) will probably be familiar with those books. I think I remember him referring to Thomas Merton in some of his messages here.

They sound like great books! The titles alone make me want to go order a copy! Sounds very interesting.

Keep posting! I'll be looking forward to reading more from you.

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