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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Meditation

    I'd written about these activities as things that have dropped out of organized religion's job basket, as things that the big churches have lost monopolies over.
    Secular celebrants - births, marriages, deaths, etc. - hatching, matching, and dispatching outside of organized religion
    Spirituality - "spiritual but not religious"? "atheist spirituality"?

    Another is meditation. It is often associated with prayer in Western religious contexts, and it is an important part of various Eastern religious traditions. But nowadays, it is often detached from such associations.

    Meditation is essentially sitting still, clearing one's mind, and contemplating something. I've found lots of how-to pages online.

    How to Meditate - Well Guides - The New York Times - presents several kinds.

    The simplest is mindfulness, paying attention to what one experiences, like one's breathing. The NYT also has exercises for dealing with wandering thoughts - acknowledge them and return. Also body-scan meditation - direct one's thoughts to each part of one's body and what it perceives. Also walking meditation (do in some place where one will be undisturbed) and mindful eating (paying attention to one's sensations of eating).

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    The NYT article contains some guided-meditation soundtracks, with someone giving instructions in them. Like focusing one's attention on one's breathing.

    How to Meditate - Mindful - "When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we're kinder to ourselves. Let us walk you through the basics in our new mindful guide on how to meditate."
    A Basic Meditation for Beginners
    ...
    • Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.
    • Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
    • Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.


    How to Meditate
    ...
    1. Take a seat - Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
    2. Set a time limit - If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.
    3. Notice your body - You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
    4. Feel your breath - Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.
    5. Notice when your mind has wandered - Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
    6. Be kind to your wandering mind - Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.
    7. Close with kindness - When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
    The article then got into body-scan and walking meditation, and then this one:
    Introduction to Loving-Kindness Meditation
    ...
    1. You can start by taking delight in your own goodness—calling to mind things you have done out of good-heartedness, and rejoicing in those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness we all share.
    2. Silently recite phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves in an enduring way. Traditional phrases are:
      • May I live in safety.
      • May I have mental happiness (peace, joy).
      • May I have physical happiness (health, freedom from pain).
      • May I live with ease.
    3. Repeat the phrases with enough space and silence between so they fall into a rhythm that is pleasing to you. Direct your attention to one phrase at a time.
    4. Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself and let go of the distraction. Come back to repeating the phrases without judging or disparaging yourself.
    5. After some time, visualize yourself in the center of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you, or have inspired you because of their love. Perhaps you’ve met them, or read about them; perhaps they live now, or have existed historically or even mythically. That is the circle. As you visualize yourself in the center of it, experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention. Keep gently repeating the phrases of loving-kindness for yourself.
    6. To close the session, let go of the visualization, and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so, you are transforming your old, hurtful relationship to yourself, and are moving forward, sustained by the force of kindness.
    Also mentions:
    • RAIN - Recognition, Acceptance, Interest, Nurture
    • Forgiveness meditation

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Meditation - Headspace
    Why meditate? What are the benefits, and how are they measured? How do you learn to meditate? Is there a difference between meditation and mindfulness? Will you need to sit on cushions and find perfect silence? All are valid questions, and we’re here to help you with this guide to meditation. We’ll explain the meditation basics and dig into the setup, the styles of practice, the science behind it, and the discoveries that may happen over time.
    Then going into a lot of detail.

    Meditation is endorsed by this medical facility:
    Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are - Mayo Clinic
    Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, bringing with it inner peace. See how you can easily learn to practice meditation whenever you need it most.

    If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.

    Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment.

    And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you're out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    I must mention here Transcendental Meditation, promoted by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi over the 1950's to 1970's.

    It consists of reciting a mantra, a short word, to oneself for several minutes as one sits quietly.

    The TM people assign each practitioner a mantra, one that is supposedly tailored for each individual practitioner. Furthermore, practitioners are supposed to keep their mantras secret, so that they don't cause trouble for others by them using an inappropriate mantra for them.

    But I once saw a list of TM mantras: it was by age and only by age.

    In 1975, Herbert Benson and Miriam Z. Klipper released their book, "The Relaxation Response". Its recommended technique was much like TM, but its mantra was the word "one".

    Source: Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response

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