Yes, I have corrected my prejudice, that meditation equals woo-woo. The experience itself obviously is not woo-woo, only people thus predisposed interpret it as woo-woo.
Personally, my favorite technique is Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation. It has a special appeal for rational people, because it is an active sequence of tensing and relaxing, where every step is a conscious decision.
Spiritual Atheism ? We emanate from the earth and to the earth we return. Here's an explanation I like from a recognisable young woman.
My woo-woo meter is glowing red and the alarm bells are r-i-n-g-i-n-g.
W-a-a-a-a-y too complicated.
You feel happy. That's good. But that's all it is; a momentary feeling of happiness. Now ... move on.
I’ve just discovered this discussion about meditation, and have found it very interesting.
This past weekend I had lunch with a few people at a Thai restaurant. When the salads came I asked if anybody wanted my cucumbers. A couple did, so I used my clean fork to give each of two people a slice of cucumber. A third person asked if I had another; I found another hiding under a piece of lettuce. I have another friend with whom I have gone to lunch or dinner many times over about 8-9 years. It has become so known that we no longer have to ask. I give him my cucumbers and he gives me his tomatoes. I have no idea why he likes cucumbers, but not tomatoes. I also have no idea why I like tomatoes, but not cucumbers.
I meditate, and others do not. I don’t know why. People are different, as with having a taste for either tomatoes and cucumbers. I don’t know why people are different. My friend who likes cucumbers does not understand why I do not, and I do not understand why he does not like tomatoes. I enjoy the stillness, silence, and mental/emotional tranquility that comes from meditation, and do not understand why others do not. But, we each have our predispositions, whether or not we understand why. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing of natural selection, and somebody in the future will observe which has survived.
One time I was walking across a field beside a large forest and encountered a family of deer. We all stopped and stared at each other. They were on alert, ready to run at any moment. After a minute they went back to eating grass, their bodies appearing to be very relaxed; apparently they concluded that I was not a threat. We humans have more sophisticated brains and memories and often keep our experiences with us mentally, creating what is commonly called “stress”, which has other consequences, leading to the need for lots of pills and surgeries to cure us. The deer let go, and we humans (often/usually) cling to our experiences. Some people notice this habit and wish to regulate it, to have some positive control over what some call the “monkey mind” which is always racing here and there. This is one small way of describing an early stage of meditation, to train our minds to be more like the deer than the monkeys. Again, not everybody comes to that conclusion.
I live in a popular tourist area along the ocean (Gulf of Mexico). Summer is peak tourist season, and there are thousands of people crowding the hotels/condos, restaurants and bars, and the beaches. Off season is late fall and winter. The hotels/condos, restaurants and bars, and beaches are almost empty. You can literally walk for miles on the beach and not encounter another person. The ocean is usually very calm. It is a very quiet time. Some people find it relaxing to come when there are big crowds and lots of activities, and other people find it relaxing when there are few people and it is very quiet. Why the difference? I don’t know.
Once again, I don’t know why some people enjoy the stillness, silence, and tranquility of meditation and others do not. However, maybe we can live together in peace. Whenever, if ever, somebody wants the quiet of meditation, it can be learned and there are people around to offer guidance, including guidance in how to let go of the disturbing quality of thoughts, which is very different from merely “stopping thinking”, which is not actually meditation.
I don’t see meditation as necessarily having anything to do with theism or spirituality, but that is an entirely different issue.
But, we each have our predispositions, whether or not we understand why. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing of natural selection, and somebody in the future will observe which has survived.
I see projection as one of the big problems, why people have problems with each other. I do not mean projection in the limited sense of seeing the own faults only in others. I mean projection as the tendency to always think, that others are like oneself. The more people are average, the more they fall into this trap of norm-centrism.
Being different helps to avoid projecting. I accept to be different.
This discussion has corrected my previous prejudice of connecting meditation with woo-woo. But it is like with your tomatoes and cucumbers. Meditation is beneficial only for some people, they discover it and they do it. There is no need in my brain for it, I am fine without it. Attempts to explain something to me based upon the projection, that I should be wired to experience what they experience leads nowhere except to me being suspected to be a troll.
note that I made no suggestion whatsoever for what YOU should do.
That is, what I appreciated. I liked your metaphor of the tomatoes and cucumbers.
I can't keep up with the order of this tread....
Focusing on the breath coming out of the nose onto the top lip
Holding your hand with a finger on each eye and calming the eyes by stroking forwards
Curling the tongue back to touch the back of the throat
I usually only meditate if I'm feeling lonely at night or can't sleep - and I use it to get to sleep, calm myself from anxiety or feel more light and happy - I use the top one - I find the others hard work.
But it cannot work for people like me, who get bored by such exercises.
But that is part of the whole point of it, it takes years, not 10 minutes. Personally, a part of me I hates sitting meditation; the boredom, the tediousness of it, sometimes the physical pain, seeing the chaos and entertainment that my mind thrives on instead of clarity of thought. What I can not deny is the physical and mental benefits that have and do happen to me by practicing. it's like a heavy-set person who has been sedentary for years begins to exercise, the first session, the second, the third and so on are going to be painful, but if they keep with it, then they will get in better shape
What kind of scientist will do an experiment and at the first sign of a negative (in this case, boredom) and give up the experiment? I once heard a meditation teacher describe proper meditation as one of the easiest techniques to follow, but one of the hardest things our minds will do. So instead of repeating yourself, that it didn't work for you, just admit that you don't want to really try.
Because 10 minutes, a half-hour, or even a hour will not be a fair trial. It took me hours of sitting there, practicing the technique before any result happened, and the funny thing was, I didn't think it had done a thing, it was my family and friends that noticed changes in my thinking and my attitude and every now and then, I would get a reminder, why don't you go do another meditation weekend, when they thought I was getting chaotic again.