by @julianeon

Meditation

I've been meditating for about 10 years now.

I don't claim to be an expert, but I think I've been doing it long enough now to have some insights about it.

First, for me anyway, it never really gets easy; it's always hard.

By this I mean, some people worry they're not doing it right, that it's too hard for them.

They're thinking that if it's hard, meditation may not be for them.

But meditation is always 'hard' in the sense that it's never something my mind really wants to do, naturally.

Going down the gradient of fun, there's always something more fun: Twitter, FaceBook, even a plain book.

In fact, when it's hard, that's usually an indication that you're doing it right.

If it's hard, you're usually making some inroads against habitual thought patterns of fun-seeking, which is good.

But you do have to use common sense.

If you've gone this long - years and years - without meditating, you can surely go a little more, meditating a moderate amount.

So start slow.

I do 15 minute sessions, usually.

When I want to do more, I do a 15 minute session, take a break for a minute, and then do another.

Stack as many as you need to, to reach your required time.

While I didn't follow this article to the letter, I agree with this sentiment:

Don't fool yourself. Your most important issues constantly get buried under a mountain of noise, emotions, and inner chatter. Meditation cleans out those things like a snow plow to make room for finding these issues and dealing with them. It's a way of filtering your life and processing it at the same time.

I do find that meditation clears my mind, generally.

I also find it helps me to keep my emotions on a more even keel, which is helpful, during the work week.

In a way, it's helped to reconfigure my approach to emotions.

I think of emotions, now, as the fuel I use to do my work - to complete my objectives.

That suggests a certain scale for them: enough to sustain that - not ten times as much, not directed at nothing.

They have a purpose, and I try to orient my emotions towards purposes, now: a change I credit partly to meditation.

The more you meditate, the more you can discover, about yourself.

I'm a busy guy, with a demanding job and a family.

I haven't been able to devote as much time to meditation as I would like.

I try to do 15 minutes a day, now. I don't achieve that goal daily - but I try.

In the past, I've meditated more.

I've noticed that the psychedelic effects kick in about the 2 hour mark.

Your awareness becomes very sharp and clear, at the time.

It feels a little weird, a little magical, but also natural, if that makes sense.

You're not doing anything wrong: that's just what your mind is like.

Beyond that point, I think the psychedelic effects increase.

I also think that people who meditate much more than I do, outside a religious tradition, are seeking those effects. And they are interesting.

But whatever form of meditation you pursue, keep at it, and good things will result.

If you want do it like I do:

  • Find a comfortable, quiet spot (no music)
  • Sit cross-legged, or as close to that as you can
  • Hands on knees
  • Keep your eyes half-open. Stare at a point approximately halfway down your nose
  • Focus on your breath, on its inflow and outflow

I focus on a point about two finger lengths in from the belly button, and about three finger lengths down.

Doing this - just this - for 15 minutes at a time - has helped me greatly, over the years.

Balance, greater stability, increased ability to focus: these are all benefits of meditation that I've experienced personally.

I recommend it to anyone, who's looking to make a difference for the better in their mental life.