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Old 11th November 2012, 07:31 PM   #1
quarky
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meditation

This thread is meant to be a side-bar of the consciousness thread, which I thought should have been in R&P, but it isn't, which is why I wanted this thread to be in Science as well.

If it must be moved, I may lose interest.
I would like to explain the point and the process of meditation, and what the experience can tell us about the nature of consciousness.

I expect derision and snideness, which is fine.
Meditation is the observation of the thought process.
Its goal, ultimately, is to free one's mind from the self...to experience reality without the cloud of constant thought process.

This sport is not as easy as it sounds. Initially, the practice simply allows an avenue for the mind (or brain, I guess) to play out its neurotic impulses, in the safety of one's home. One's home can be as small as the space it takes to sit comfortably.

Initially, one needs to find a comfortable way of sitting. Laying down, for instance, generally leads to sleep. Meditation is not sleep...it's a means of remaining aware, while being able to observe the workings of the mind (or brain) and the nature of thoughts.

I'll be back.
I need to do this in bite size pieces.
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Old 11th November 2012, 07:33 PM   #2
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Om: mani padmi, hum.

or

OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG

Last edited by AlBell; 11th November 2012 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 12th November 2012, 01:51 AM   #3
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If you want to discover your true self, or the nature of consciousness, there are two approaches, one is to experience as much as possible and what is common between all experiences is the self, the other which can be through meditation, to remove as much sensory experience as possible and what is left must be the self. Either approach can give you some appreciation of the immutable consciousness.

The good thing about science in determining reality, is that it uses both approaches, by building on previous experiments and knowledge common principles can be discovered and by focusing on a single variable, truth can be obtained with observation much like in meditation.

The problem with meditation is due to the complexity of consciousness a human can not reduce thought and sensory input to focus on a single variable, but in a more general sense insight can be achieved, but it can't lead to objective truth and cannot be passed on.
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Old 12th November 2012, 04:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Its goal, ultimately, is to free one's mind from the self...to experience reality without the cloud of constant thought process.

We experience reality all the time. Why should we have to sit down and stop thinking in order to get in touch with it?
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Old 12th November 2012, 05:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
This thread is meant to be a side-bar of the consciousness thread, which I thought should have been in R&P, but it isn't, which is why I wanted this thread to be in Science as well.

If it must be moved, I may lose interest.
I would like to explain the point and the process of meditation, and what the experience can tell us about the nature of consciousness.

I expect derision and snideness, which is fine.
Meditation is the observation of the thought process.
Its goal, ultimately, is to free one's mind from the self...to experience reality without the cloud of constant thought process.

This sport is not as easy as it sounds. Initially, the practice simply allows an avenue for the mind (or brain, I guess) to play out its neurotic impulses, in the safety of one's home. One's home can be as small as the space it takes to sit comfortably.

Initially, one needs to find a comfortable way of sitting. Laying down, for instance, generally leads to sleep. Meditation is not sleep...it's a means of remaining aware, while being able to observe the workings of the mind (or brain) and the nature of thoughts.

I'll be back.
I need to do this in bite size pieces.
Oh Woota Loon Iam

I like mindullness meditation.
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Old 12th November 2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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I'm skeptical of meditation as well; I recall one researcher saying that most all the putative benefits of meditation could be acheived equally well by taking a nap...

However, there have been some studies recently indicating that "mindfullness" meditation can work certain changes in the brain, and there may be benefits to be had. Of course, some of these studies have been carried out by organizations which seek to promote meditation....
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Old 12th November 2012, 07:47 AM   #7
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Whatever else, this has the potential to be a very interesting thread.
Looking forward to your next post, quarky.
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Old 12th November 2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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I didn't realize there was so much skepticism about the benefits of meditation. There are quite a few recent studies of meditation using fMRI that show electrical changes in the brain. Are those not relevant?

Last edited by Spockette; 12th November 2012 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 12th November 2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Mindfulness meditation seems to be helpful in preventing depression recurring. I've found it helpful in that respect.
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Old 12th November 2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Spockette View Post
I didn't realize there was so much skepticism about the benefits of meditation. There are quite a few recent studies of meditation using fMRI that show electrical changes in the brain. Are those not relevant?
Perhaps. But meditation does not put you in touch with ''reality''.
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Old 12th November 2012, 06:46 PM   #11
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Yeah, taking a nap is good. Also doing what you like to do so much that you have to force yourself to stop before you pee your pants. Same thing, "being in the now".
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Old 12th November 2012, 06:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
Mindfulness meditation seems to be helpful in preventing depression recurring. I've found it helpful in that respect.
So does primal screaming, drumming, dancing, 'speaking in tongues' (abble gobble?), jogging, and sex. It's probably that there 'being in the now' thing again. Not worrying about the rent, or the kids, or retirement savings.

I guess I could cancel all that drumming, and all that jogging and dancing while speaking gobbledy gook, If I could just get laid. :^) The neighbors would sure appreciate it.
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:54 AM   #13
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I have experienced the "being in the moment" situation many times... While doing art. When I'm painting or drawing, or even some times while reading, I'll become totally absorbed in "doing" and be quite unaware of the passage of time or other inputs like my wife calling from upstairs....
Same mental state?
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Old 13th November 2012, 07:11 AM   #14
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1112150339.htm

This article seems to indicate that meditation changes the way we experience emotion. I can't tell how reliable this research is though, or if there is a benefit in this change.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:00 AM   #15
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I couldn't get here yesterday. Allow me to explain further:

I'm not talking about the benefits or lack thereof in meditation. I'm trying to make the argument that it is a way to examine the nature of thought, and how the brain works in that regard, and the influence it may have on reality.

If the goal is to make that examination, and ultimately, to experience awareness minus the thought process, which I think it is, some paradoxical situations need to be overcome. We can't think about not thinking. Hence, in the beginning of the quest, various tricks are employed, such as a mantra, which is nothing more than a repetitive thought, either spoken out loud, or in thought. This serves to keep the usual barrage of mental chatter from arising.

Eventually, merely focusing on the breathing pattern can serve the same purpose.
While immersed in that 'non-effort', one notices the relentless impulse towards voicing stray thoughts. One allows them, but is also very aware of them. Eventually, they subside out of exhaustion or boredom or disciplined focus.

This is when the examination of the thought process gets interesting.

I'll be back, hopefully, with the interesting part.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Spockette View Post
I didn't realize there was so much skepticism about the benefits of meditation. There are quite a few recent studies of meditation using fMRI that show electrical changes in the brain. Are those not relevant?
That would depend on whether those changes have any effect or not and whether the effects (if any) are positive or negative. The brain shows electrical changes most of the time.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Yeah, taking a nap is good. Also doing what you like to do so much that you have to force yourself to stop before you pee your pants. Same thing, "being in the now".
As opposed to "peeing in the now"................
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
Mindfulness meditation seems to be helpful in preventing depression recurring. I've found it helpful in that respect.
Yes; I've found it useful in reducing anxiety, aiding relaxation, and generally improving mood and affect.

ISTR reading somewhere that daydreaming had similar benefits, so perhaps just 'switching off' or letting the mind wander can be mildly beneficial.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
I couldn't get here yesterday. Allow me to explain further:

I'm not talking about the benefits or lack thereof in meditation. I'm trying to make the argument that it is a way to examine the nature of thought, and how the brain works in that regard, and the influence it may have on reality.

If the goal is to make that examination, and ultimately, to experience awareness minus the thought process, which I think it is, some paradoxical situations need to be overcome. We can't think about not thinking. Hence, in the beginning of the quest, various tricks are employed, such as a mantra, which is nothing more than a repetitive thought, either spoken out loud, or in thought. This serves to keep the usual barrage of mental chatter from arising.

Eventually, merely focusing on the breathing pattern can serve the same purpose.
While immersed in that 'non-effort', one notices the relentless impulse towards voicing stray thoughts. One allows them, but is also very aware of them. Eventually, they subside out of exhaustion or boredom or disciplined focus.

This is when the examination of the thought process gets interesting.

I'll be back, hopefully, with the interesting part.
Avoid airports, especially while wearing yellow robes. If you pass Krsna on the road, kill him. Likewise, the Enlightened One. You are a Child of the Universe - and whether you believe it or not the Universe is Laughing behind your Behind!
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Old 13th November 2012, 12:09 PM   #20
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Meditation has not only benefits but also drawbacks. For example, after meditation for some time person is inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others. Many cult leaders are using this fact to brainwash members.
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Old 13th November 2012, 12:21 PM   #21
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I hope this works out better than when I tried to find my true self hiking in Tibet.

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Old 13th November 2012, 12:25 PM   #22
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Found out the other day I've in a way meditated most of my life as when I go to sleep before I do it I am able to clear my mind and just have no thoughts at all, loose all conception of my bodily functions or feelings, etc. I said to my friend "Just stop thinking" and he found the idea you could just turn off your brain and think of nothing bizarre, but it turned out that most people are like this and I was the weird one. Not really done much long focused meditation past that though.
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Old 13th November 2012, 12:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Alex333 View Post
... after meditation for some time person is inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others.
Sounds interesting; link? reference?
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Old 13th November 2012, 12:57 PM   #24
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Observing the gradual dissolution of thoughts, on purpose, while in a vigilant state of awareness, is interesting on any levels.
First, one becomes almost painfully aware of the incessant mental chatter.
Second, one becomes aware of the generally crappy tone of the chatter, and its basic pointlessness.
Third, one becomes aware of impulses that don't even quite register as a thought...like an impulse to have a thought.
As these impulses are allowed to exhaust themselves, a radically different mental state can be experienced. Bliss.

Perhaps more significantly, we are afforded the opportunity to see the relationship between our self and our thought. More than that, it becomes apparent that there is something of a butterfly effect in thought. Big things can be traced back to minute impulses in the brain, and 'we', whatever that is, can have conscious control over the initial impulse, and its endless permutations.

Experiencing self without thought is like stumbling into a background state of awareness that is probably shared by all organisms.
We generate the concept of self, through constant effort and reiteration.
Upon thorough examination, there's nothing there, and yet it feels blissful.
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:49 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Sounds interesting; link? reference?
link

Last edited by Alex333; 13th November 2012 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 13th November 2012, 02:59 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
So does primal screaming, drumming, dancing, 'speaking in tongues' (abble gobble?), jogging, and sex. It's probably that there 'being in the now' thing again. Not worrying about the rent, or the kids, or retirement savings.

I guess I could cancel all that drumming, and all that jogging and dancing while speaking gobbledy gook, If I could just get laid. :^) The neighbors would sure appreciate it.
It depends, mindfullness of the cognitive situation is one of the steps in CBT, be aware of the thought, divert or replace thought.
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Old 13th November 2012, 03:01 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
As opposed to "peeing in the now"................
'that's pee in the corner, that's pee in the spotlight, losing my religion'.
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Old 13th November 2012, 03:50 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
Found out the other day I've in a way meditated most of my life as when I go to sleep before I do it I am able to clear my mind and just have no thoughts at all, loose all conception of my bodily functions or feelings, etc. I said to my friend "Just stop thinking" and he found the idea you could just turn off your brain and think of nothing bizarre, but it turned out that most people are like this and I was the weird one. Not really done much long focused meditation past that though.
I fall asleep like that too.
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Old 13th November 2012, 03:59 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
I couldn't get here yesterday.

.....

I'll be back, hopefully, with the interesting part.
Why am I expecting a second verse to:

"Yesterday upon the stair
I saw a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
gee I wish he'd go away"
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:48 PM   #30
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As mentioned, I expected snideness and derision.
I would hope that it wouldn't dominate the thread, and I'd be good to go, as per describing something interesting in regard to the study of consciousness and awareness.

I'm not picking on you. You be cool.

Yet, one would hope there would be some curiosity concerning adventures from a member that still has the wherewithal to write a coherent sentence, and has a solid background in hard-ass science.

Its a wonder I even have a willingness to engage here.
(Masochist?)

Anyway, I have notes to share.
Take it as you may.

Shall i continue?
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:50 PM   #31
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Yes.
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:54 PM   #32
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May I add a long dead thread into the mix Human hibernation cases, and general plausibility

Revive at your will, or continue here.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:18 PM   #33
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I feel naked now.

Before I continue, I must request that you all take off your clothes.

I'm sure you understand why.
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:25 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
Yes.
Yes, please.

(Not, I hasten to add, a correction of Zeuzzz's post, but rather, a seconding of it.)

Last edited by xterra; 13th November 2012 at 08:28 PM. Reason: to add the last sentence
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Old 14th November 2012, 05:26 AM   #35
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OK. I've taken off all my clothes.
I'm sat in front of the computer.
Now what?




Hurry up. It's chilly in here.
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Old 14th November 2012, 06:52 AM   #36
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Read this years ago:
"What's the difference between a Taoist and a Buddhist?"
"If invited, a Taoist might sit down to meditate with a Buddhist. But he'd get up when his legs started to hurt."
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Old 14th November 2012, 07:04 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Alex333 View Post
Other sources:

1. Margaret Singer. "Cults in our midst"

p 139,142

2. Is Meditation for Everyone?
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Old 14th November 2012, 07:38 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Alex333 View Post
Other sources:

1. Margaret Singer. "Cults in our midst"

p 139,142

2. Is Meditation for Everyone?

What nonsense.

Meditation might not be for everyone but it's not a cult.

All those papers are very dated too.
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Old 14th November 2012, 07:46 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
What nonsense.

Meditation might not be for everyone but it's not a cult.

All those papers are very dated too.
Why nonsense? Any arguments?

Agree meditation is not cult. I said that it might be used in cults.

Have you read these sources before marking them outdated?

BTW, Margaret Singer is an expert (read Skepdic link)

Last edited by Alex333; 14th November 2012 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 14th November 2012, 08:03 AM   #40
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The type I was doing had no religious affiliation. For me, it was more of a science experiment. Certainly its true that various religions and cults engage in versions of it, but for me it was all about exploring my brain without having to cut into it. There was a goal; to experience mental quiet without losing awareness. It took a few years to actually manage it. I sat still from 9pm until 6am, engaged in a very subtle process. The culmination of that experiment was profound, much, much more than any psychedelics I'd ever done, and I've done a lot.

I'll attempt to describe that event when I get back.

(Sam, you can put a blanket over your body for now.)
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