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A Complete Guide To Actually Getting Somewhere With Meditation

https://www.raptitude.com/2020/03/a-complete-guide-to-actually-getting-somewhere-with-meditation/

raptitude.com

A Complete Guide To Actually Getting Somewhere With Meditation
It seems as though we've entered the "What do I do with myself?" phase of social distancing. Over the last week or two, several billion daily routines essentially evaporated, and now each of us has to make a new one. [...]

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Meditation for People Who Don't

Meditation for People Who Don't

One of the good things about social distancing and lockdown is that everyone is trying to come out of this healthier, more grounded, saner, more connected and more empathetic.

One of the key ways to do that is to meditate, and it is something most of us know the benefits, but it is practiced by few and mastered by only a handful.

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The Most Difficult, Easy Thing

Meditation requires no equipment, can be done indoors, and is extremely beneficial to cultivate calm, balance, focus, and emotional resilience in these times of uncertainty.
It helps us live, work and sleep better. It is an immediate remedy to lessen your anxiety and provide clarity of mind.

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Meditation Is an Internal Skill

Meditation Is an Internal Skill

The main stumbling block for most people is the mastery of the skill of meditation. Meditation cannot be compared to any form of exercise or hobby as it is an internal skill.

Most people get some benefits out of meditation, but it is not transformative. We have to learn it by ourselves, without having images or ideas in our minds, of what it is, how it is done by others and how it would feel.

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Basic Steps Of The Meditation Technique

Basic skills that make up a meditation technique:

  • Directing your attention/focus
  • Relaxing
  • Not getting upset with distractions
  • Noticing of subtle sensations in the body
  • Allowing things to unfold without any interference.

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The Window Of Uncertainty

The Window Of Uncertainty

It represents a time period filled with uncertainty as there is no immediate feedback to measure one’s progress, as in any other activity like basketball, for instance. Every novice practitioner of meditation goes through this.

For meditation to get a hold the only way to cross this window of uncertainty is to continue to meditate, even if one is not sure of doing it right.

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Failure is a Success

But even the initial success of increased awareness feels like failure to most novice meditators. It’s best to just do the practice to the best of your understanding, choosing a method that is okay with you and get any lingering questions answered, to decrease the ambiguity and feeling of being lost.

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Meditation: The Roadmap

Choose a method: There are hundreds of ways to meditate, starting with focusing on your breath. Choose one that works best for you.

Practice with the best of your current understanding: Most beginners leave as they get uncomfortable with this practice or try to get calm or focused by themselves, not realizing that their effort is only the act of meditation and nothing else.

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Get Your Meditation Questions Answered

Get Your  Meditation Questions Answered

Meditation becomes a far more relaxed and comfortable experience, an effortless effort when you ask the questions and be at ease.

The instructions of meditation are only to guide you towards what you have to discover. Like a finger pointing towards the moon, you have to stop looking at the finger and see where it is pointing. It is good to ask questions like how to stop thinking, or worrying about an itch, or not liking what we feel during meditation.

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Experiment With Various Meditation Methods

For the first few weeks, practice your chosen method every day. After a while, you can also branch out towards some other method, like a guided meditation or some guidance from a book or article you see.

This exploration expands your repertoire of methods, expanding your understanding and making you realize that all these techniques have a core which is the same.

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Mindfulness

... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.

Meditation sharpens your attention

Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.

Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.

Consistent meditation

Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.

  • Practicing meditation reduces the inflammatory response in people exposed to psychological stressors.
  • Mindfulness practices help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from stress when we experience it. 

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Mindfulness And Our Brains

Mindfulness And Our Brains

Meditation or mindfulness is not a uniform, unchanging process, but a highly subjective one, having unique effects on different individuals.

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Reading The Mind During Mindfulness Meditation

Extensive experimentation recording more than 2000 brain patterns per person led to certain insights which were not possible before.

  1. Meditators had the maximum amount of time paying attention to their breath.
  2. A feeling or even the warmth of the heart can be the center of focus during meditation, instead of repeating words or phrases, which are just instrumental for distracting us from our own thoughts.
  3. The moments of meditation are not static, but an ever-changing kaleidoscope of experiences, feelings and mind-states.

Dating In The Pandemic

Dating In The Pandemic

In these unprecedented and strange times, planning ahead seems impossible due to the uncertainty around and the doomsday scenarios in the news.
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Being in Lockdown or in a quarantine complicates dating in unexpected ways, raises some previously unheard questions (like who’s got a more ‘apocalypse’ friendly place) and makes partners feel as if they are already in the boring part of a relationship without any of the initial romance or spark.

Love During Quarantine

  • Constantly sharing updates about the pandemic with your new partner is not a good idea.
  • Social distancing etiquette (hello elbow bumps) may feel awkward, and FaceTime video chats can feel a bit too intimate and over-the-top after a while, as the other person is still a practical stranger.