Saturday, April 19, 2008

Meditation Obstacles for Beginners: Limited Beliefs

I've had some experience talking to people beginning meditation and some of the limiting beliefs that are obstacles in their way of enjoying meditation. These are some of the limiting beliefs I have encountered, also in my own life, and some new catmas I suggest to replace those beliefs and thus removing the obstacles.

"I can't meet my expectations."
Which is fine because you're not supposed to have any in meditation, just being is the key. Letting go. Don't expect anything, just say to yourself that you will embrace this meditation whatever may happen, the more you let go before, the more you will be able to let go during. So the current limiting dogma can be changed to the current new catma (= a relative, flexbile, temporary meta-belief or opinion which can be changed or improved upon at any time - and/or can be stored along with contradicting other catmas): New suggested Catma: I don't need any expectations in meditation as they do not serve my best interests.

"I can't relax."
You don't have to do anything to relax! Breathing is automatic! Though it does help to slow your breathing. Before meditation, slow down for 5 or 10 minutes, watch your breathing and breathe in slow and deep from below, keep it in for a little while and then let it out smoothly and totally relaxed, so no forcing. Walk slower, breathe slower, think easy and gradually let go of your inner dialogue already. As you go into your meditative pose you will have already slowed down and are well in alpha brainwave range to start. New Catma: Relaxing is the easiest and natural state of being for a human.

"I can't silence my thoughts."
That's ok cause you're not supposed to, as you're watching your breath - no counting, as the left hemisphere is supposed to be used less - and breathing slowly, you just watch the thoughts drift by as clouds, not intervening. NC: I don't need to silence my thoughts, but I let go.

"I will never be able to silence the inner dialogue."
If you want to make that happen you sure can, though you'll have to be active for it. If you let go, sooner or later you will enter what's known as the samadhi state, the state of pure silence. The first times you come out of it, you may think you have just fallen asleep - though that may happen too, you will recognize the samadhi state as you exit it if you come out of meditation nice and gradually. The 'zen-vibe' that you have gotten yourself now will feel oh so sweet! NC: Silence is inevitable and I look forward to it.

"I don't know what to expect and am afraid of the unknown."
As I say, before, during and after meditation it's best to let go of expectations, but obviously it helps to be prepared as it can prevent a lot of unnecessary anxiety. I highly recommend the work of Ken Wilber who details stages and states of consciousness, or a more practical less detailed overview of Timothy Leary's 8 Circuits of Consciousness model (which is comparable to Gurdjieff's work).
I can share the following already for the starting meditator. As you keep focus on your breathing the inner dialogue will probably either gradually lessen, or interesting thoughts will pop up - from current issues, past or future anticipations, which you can just learn from and let go. It's like having psychic bubbles rise up and dissipating them and their energy. Beyond that, you may experience thoughts and see scenes of people you seemingly have no relation too, I consider this being the interconnectedness making its entrance into the meditation practice. Though as always, let go of any expectations, you know what's possible, now it is time to practice the real kind of faith and see what is on your meditation path. Just be. NC: I know somewhat to expect and am very interested in what the future may bring.

"I'm afraid of facing my demons."
There is nothing to fear but fear itself, especially in this case. It is by facing them that you will be able to let go, and your unconscious mind will be quite reasonable in the amount of material you will have to face along your path. In meditation you are able to get rid of a lot of unnecessary fear, hate and other negative associations, and you are able to reprogram your mind slowly but surely to a more positive way of perceiving the world around you. If you are able to remain calm and centered in total darkness, at any time, you are close to leaving fear behind you for good. You will become more and more in control of your own awareness and will be comforting yourself more and more instead of scaring yourself like you used to. I really like this picture, it's a kind of "bring it on" attitude - though enthusiastic, a composed one of course. Combining respect for the sea of consciousness with a healthy exploring spirit. NC: There is nothing to fear but fear itself. By meditating I am becoming more peaceful, calm and positive.

"It takes too long for the benefits, so I don't bother."
From early on every meditation helps to lessen programming, increases awareness (so you're able to override earlier programming you're not fond of), makes you feel more zen and relaxed than before (if you don't spoil it by not meeting any assumed expectations). NC: Meditation is an excellent practice holistically from the very beginning and only gets better!

"Meditation is boring."
Then you're definitely doing something wrong, you're going in with expectations, limited beliefs and/or a less effective form of practice for your character. Meditation allows even in the beginning blissful feelings, one-ness, letting go of anxieties, samadhi states, highlights of current, past or future issues which can be let go of and resolved, visions of all worldly and other-worldly phenomenon and peak experiences, and the always blissful 'zen' relaxedness after meditating. NC: meditation is the real rabbit hole, and experiencing how far it goes is fascinating.

"It's not scientific."
Actually meditation is as scientific as you can get, it is the scientific method, it's informed experimenting, without expectations. NC: Meditation is a scientific method for not just finding, but experiencing truth.

"I'm not spiritual."
You don't have to be 'spiritual' to meditate, a lot can be understood under spiritual. Just trying to be a good person and not harming others can be considered a form of profound spirituality. NC: Meditation is suitable for any human being, no matter the religion or ideology.

"Enlightenment is too hard to obtain anyway."
Just watch the video of Jill Bolte Taylor called "How to have a stroke", in it you see that the right hemisphere basically operates in 'enlightenment'-mode. All you have to do is realize how natural it is, positive suggestions are very helpful, I found my meditation practice be even more relaxed and interesting after seeing this short fascinating lecture. NC: We are all naturally enlightened and just have to realize it.

"Like I'll be the next Buddha."
Having no expectations is wonderfully illustrated by the quote: "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him." Which may be shocking to some, but it means no disrespect. For me it means, not using the Buddha as a template but finding your own path. More practically it could mean if you are not attached to possible visions, you will be able to move beyond them and deeper into the rabbit hole. NC: The Buddha is a great role model, yet the greatest is yourself.

"I can't find the right meditation or pose."
You haven't been trying much is all I can say to that. You can just lie down on your back even. There are hundreds if not thousands or different meditations to practice. Mantras, visualisations, hatha yoga and tai chi routines, so if you don't wanna try and face the silence every day. Take a few days a week to try a different kind of meditation. The most fun I think for beginners is visualising whatever you love. NC: I will find many meditation poses and practices suitable for me.

"I will never be able to change anyway."
There is nothing permanent or compulsive in your system except that which you believe to be so. Every experience changes you. Every affirmation, meditation and positive means of change you pursue has an effect. If you do nothing, look back a week from now to do this day when you thought you could change nothing and see what happened in that week. A bit of work everyday works miracles. I can tell cause I used to be a depressing pessimist and am now an uplifting optimist! I'm having way more fun now I can tell ya. NC: I change everyday for the better!

"I don't have the time."
If you have time to watch tv when there's nothing on, surf away for hours or being bored during the day, you have time to meditate :). Twice a day is optimal, in the morning and early evening, though any time will do! NC: I can make time for meditation everyday.

Image: 'Headpone Meditation by Illusive Mind' http://www.illusive-mind.com/art/headphone-meditation/.

"There's too much noise where I live."

You can meditate with all kinds of music, there are loads of audiobooks, guided meditations and brainwave entrainment stuff online for free and available for purchase. Heck, you can even meditate on Ravel's Bolero, play it twice - it lasts fifteen minutes. And John Lilly recommends it to synch up with other folks before doing joined meditation practices. Though if you're up for it, try meditating without it a few times too and see how easy it might be to let go some of the neighbourly noise.
I mean I live with a couple molesting the entire right wall of my appartement every once or often, A rebuilding project of 4 freaking years now. Above me I hear the footsteps way too good. Below me they can't open or close the door without the entire street hearing it, and left from me there's a big barking dog that can't shut the hell up. Two years ago there was a building being constructed across the street too. I lose it sometimes too though when it gets too crazy, the two natural fears are after all loud sudden noises and falling. But frankly, it's very doable to meditate even under these circumstances. So don't tell me there's too much noise :p. NC: I am able to meditate under any circumstance, guaranteeing me peace whenever!

"I have a physical condition of discomfort or pain which makes it impossible to meditate."
This isn't gonna fly either, I too have a condition like this and though it's not as easy to relax as without it, it's quite possible to transcend it. As meditation is one form or other of directed attention (breathing, visualisation, etc), you enter a state where the bodily sensations are no longer as pronounced as before. There are so many kinds of meditation, wether active or passive, that meditation should be seen as a way to reduce suffering, instead as a means that is not doable for you because of your suffering. Now of course you can believe that my condition isn't as worse as yours, or you can try and transcend that too ;) NC: There is nothing in my way pursuing meditation and truth, only limited beliefs. These beliefs are limits to be transcended. In the province of the mind there are no limits. (Lilly borrowed)

"It's much easier to smoke a joint."
Really? Then you have fallen for the illusion of instant gratification. Marijuana may give you a quicker neurosomatic boost, but afterwards your brain will have to compensate to create its own serotonin, making for a very grudgy pothead the morning after who is not able to lighten up as he is during the short high.
Meditation is easier, cheaperas well as quicker and safer to 'obtain', doesn't screw up your lungs and throat which will affect your breathing (in or out meditation) sooner or later. Doesn't include nicotine and its poisons if you roll that kinda joint, doesn't blow up your appetite to unhealthy proportions and doesn't reduce taste, it will make you feel good during and after with no negative side effects if done in a paced, responsible manner. Also, when I meditate twice daily and add some yoga or other practice, a joint does nothing to me. Because I already am way in the fifth neurosomatic circuit with my consciousness endogenously and no outside means affect it very much.
I think meditation could become thé preferred way of relaxing. Could definitely be replacing marijuana, of which the prices are skyrocketing lately. I've seen potheads fighting and bitching a lot despite what Bill Hicks says, much more than I have seen people do that who meditate. Weed for everyone will not bring peace and love on earth, trust me, meditation however! That being said, I love mary jane sometimes too, though as you become attuned to your body after meditation practices and healthy living, a joint doesn't feel healthy at all and your body will give clear signals you were better off without it. NC: Meditation is the healthiest, easiest, cheapest, safest and most positive way of relaxing and consciously evolving.

If there are any other questions about issues you have concerning meditation, I would be very happy to answer them.

10 comments:

Spacetimecowboy said...

Awesome post, thank you

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Ringo. Keep up the good work.

Scarlet

Michael Skaggs said...

Yes, thanks for the thought provoking post! Yes, I know, its meant to actually silence them! LOL kidding!

Josh Gilpatrick said...

where can i find that jill bolte taylor lecture you referenced?

dedroidify said...

a video google search would have found it :)

here it is, I also linked it in the post
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5993344784355496325&q=jill+bolte+taylor&ei=s3UXSMnqN47eiQK6v8DUBg

Chups said...

thank for this
You help me ;)

Josh said...

Thank you this is a great page and will certainly clarify anyone's misconceptions about meditation.

I have gotten to a point where i am trying to meditation to the next level and use visualization. I was wondering if you could give some tips to really experience something like that because it is hard to really use your imagination and see/feel what i try to visualize.

Illusive Mind said...

Hello,

You may be unaware that the meditation logo on the page listed below is copyrighted.

http://dedroidify.blogspot.com/2008/04/meditation-obstacles-for-beginners.html
Direct link: http://www.dedroidify.com/blogimages/headphone_meditation_by_illusivemind.jpg

As the copyright holder I am happy to provide permission for use provided you credit 'Headpone Meditation by Illusive Mind' and link back to http://www.illusive-mind.com/art/headphone-meditation/.

Otherwise I kindly request that you remove it immediately.

Regards,
Illusive Mind

Dedroidify said...

Hello, I was unaware indeed! Apologies, information added to the image :)

Dedroidify said...

Josh! I'm so sorry I must have looked over your question, for years!

In case you might see this, I would advise you to play with how you are visualising it.

Where are you seeing it relative to yourself. Right in front or in a corner, up or down, left or right? How does zooming it in right in front of you help?

How vivid are the colors, brighten them up if needed.

Are you seeing the visualisation through your eyes or are you seeing yourself in your visualisation. What happens if you switch that up?

Are you using other senses, imagine sound, smells, or tactile responses to your visualisation. Etc!