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Subject: Zen Wolves rss

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Goo
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Let's talk about Zen and meditation and learning how to get all mind like water and such.

Full disclosure, I'm a total hack at this stuff. I've hardly read anything about it. I knew a dude who knew a lot about it and talked with him about it some. That's kind of the entirety of my background in this.

But I've always been fascinated with some of the ideas of Zen and have meditated in the past. I want to reconnect with that more this year and I hope there are others here who can give some input.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
twomillionbucks wrote:
Gelatinous Goo wrote:
A regular practice of meditation is one of the most beneficial things I've ever done. It's also one of the easiest. Why on earth I ever let it slip out of my daily routine is baffling.


What, precisely, do you personally do when you meditate?


For me, mostly, it is basically sitting. Zazen.

There is a quote (that I always thought as a zen Buddhist quote, but is actually Blaise Pascal): All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

The idea is to focus one something. I use the breath. I sit (I prefer to sit in the Burmese position--cross-legged but a bit more open with the heels lined up--but you can sit in almost any position on the floor, in a chair, whatever) and focus on by breath. Deep slow breath in, slow breath out. It's that Darth Vadar breath from yoga (Googling...): Ujjayi--through the nose but deep and kinda loud.

When my mind strays to other things, any other thing, I acknowledge it, then go back to the breath. I sometimes count the breaths, starting at 1 but when my mind strays, when I come back I start back at 1 again.

The idea is to calm the chaos. The signal to noise ratio in my head at any given time is off the charts. I'm thinking about everything all the time--3 kids, wife, career, games, friends, house, car, health, Seer claim battle, TV shows, books, etc. I'm thinking about all of those things and more pretty much all the time. Sitting and stopping the chatter is shockingly calming.

Over time, you learn to maintain focus on whatever is right in front of you and give things, projects, and especially people the complete presence and attention they deserve.

Usually, my mind is like rushing rapids, but the idea is to get "mind like water" in the way where it is still and when a pebble hits it, it reacts accordingly. That's some zen idea I'm totally butchering, but the idea is then to react to everything with appropriate measure which when you have a mind like the rapids is often either not at all or overreaction.

Let's take this to Zen Wolves (Certified Real Link)
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I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.
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Some links:

I'm a fan of Leo Babauta's blog zenhabits.net. My meditation practice is very much like his.
http://zenhabits.net/meditate/

I read this recently on the science of meditation:
http://lifehacker.com/what-happens-to-the-brain-when-you-med...

I have used 2 meditation apps that I liked:

buddhify (paid)
It is a guided meditation app, meaning each meditation has the voice of someone guiding you through the meditation. It has a cool tree of decisions to get you to the right meditation for what you want:

You pick:
Traveling, Walking, Gym, Home

Then:
Solo or With Someone

Then:
Clarity, Connection, Stability, Embodiment

Then it guide you through. It's great if you like being talked through it, which I do like... sometimes.

Insight Timer (free, paid Pro version)
I haven't tried the full paid app, but basically it is Runkeeper for meditation. It times your meditation, then logs your activity. You can have meditation buddies and compare progress. I haven't really used it for anything other than a 10 minute timer, but as in Runkeeper, the progress stats are kinda cool
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zd00 wrote:
I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.


Yeah, stretching is not something you do because you are already good at it. Being bad at it is the reason itself.

That washcloth thing is pretty hardcore. The mindfulness of it reminds me of the idea of "one cup" or "one bowl" or something (not 2 girls, 1 cup, I know it's not that). You use one bowl for everything, morning cereal, lunch salad, chicken dinner, whatever. But after ever meal, you wash the bowl mindfully (for whatever you take that to mean). But it's an intentional simplicity and a focus on the minimalism of it.

Same goes for tea as a sort of personal ritual of meditation. Brewing the tea, drinking, then washing the pot and cup. This can all be a mindful meditation.
 
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One topic I want to hear about is the idea of Go as meditation or mindfulness. Is this a thing or did I make it up?

I don't really know Go, but it's something that I am excited to explore if I am correct in this meditative approach. Again, I pretty much know nothing about the connection between the game (which I partially understand--I know it's simple, but I'm kinda vague on the rules) and I don't even know if meditation is the right word, but I feel like I can almost see the connection because it's such a focused and mind opening experience at the same time.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:

Insight Timer (free, paid Pro version)
I haven't tried the full paid app, but basically it is Runkeeper for meditation. It times your meditation, then logs your activity. You can have meditation buddies and compare progress. I haven't really used it for anything other than a 10 minute timer, but as in Runkeeper, the progress stats are kinda cool


COmpetitive meditation?
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Colleen's company made an app (I think it's free) for meditation that is connected to her EEG headset. So you meditate and it records your EEG readings, and the music modulates based on how your alpha/beta waves are behaving.

That's how I understand it, anyways. She could explain the science better, I'm sure. You need an EEG headset to use it, however.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
zd00 wrote:
I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.


Yeah, stretching is not something you do because you are already good at it. Being bad at it is the reason itself.

That washcloth thing is pretty hardcore. The mindfulness of it reminds me of the idea of "one cup" or "one bowl" or something (not 2 girls, 1 cup, I know it's not that). You use one bowl for everything, morning cereal, lunch salad, chicken dinner, whatever. But after ever meal, you wash the bowl mindfully (for whatever you take that to mean). But it's an intentional simplicity and a focus on the minimalism of it.

Same goes for tea as a sort of personal ritual of meditation. Brewing the tea, drinking, then washing the pot and cup. This can all be a mindful meditation.
Regarding stretching, it's unfortunate to never feel like you're making progress. That's probably an excuse and it more likely boils down to time management.
 
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zd00 wrote:
I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.


Stretching is one of those things that people believe they lose over time, but in reality, most people can regain a good amount of lost flexibility - but they have to stretch daily to attain it.

Yoga is certainly a step in the right direction, but I found this book and felt it was almost more valuable to me in the end:

http://www.amazon.com/Stretching-Anniversary-Edition-Bob-And...

Seriously, I highly recommend it.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
zd00 wrote:
I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.


Yeah, stretching is not something you do because you are already good at it. Being bad at it is the reason itself.

That washcloth thing is pretty hardcore. The mindfulness of it reminds me of the idea of "one cup" or "one bowl" or something (not 2 girls, 1 cup, I know it's not that). You use one bowl for everything, morning cereal, lunch salad, chicken dinner, whatever. But after ever meal, you wash the bowl mindfully (for whatever you take that to mean). But it's an intentional simplicity and a focus on the minimalism of it.

Same goes for tea as a sort of personal ritual of meditation. Brewing the tea, drinking, then washing the pot and cup. This can all be a mindful meditation.


On the bolded section:

Actually, I would disagree. If you're good at stretching, the best thing to do is to continue working at it. If one were to stop stretching for 3-5 days, the body starts to tighten and in some cases it can take weeks to regain what you might lose in a few days... so the better you are at stretching, the more you should be doing it.

Being bad is a great reason to start stretching daily, but those who are good at it should be taking even more advantage of it!
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zd00 wrote:
Gelatinous Goo wrote:
zd00 wrote:
I can't recall the title, but I had a book that suggested using a washcloth to wash your body in a process that took about 90 minutes. It also suggested if you lived a certain way and worked at it you could start to see different colors of aura energy emanating off of people.

It was interesting.

I want to like stretching, but I'm TERRIBLE at it. I think the sun salutation is a great start though.


Yeah, stretching is not something you do because you are already good at it. Being bad at it is the reason itself.

That washcloth thing is pretty hardcore. The mindfulness of it reminds me of the idea of "one cup" or "one bowl" or something (not 2 girls, 1 cup, I know it's not that). You use one bowl for everything, morning cereal, lunch salad, chicken dinner, whatever. But after ever meal, you wash the bowl mindfully (for whatever you take that to mean). But it's an intentional simplicity and a focus on the minimalism of it.

Same goes for tea as a sort of personal ritual of meditation. Brewing the tea, drinking, then washing the pot and cup. This can all be a mindful meditation.
Regarding stretching, it's unfortunate to never feel like you're making progress. That's probably an excuse and it more likely boils down to time management.


Progress in stretching is slow - bottom line. Just make sure you're doing it right.

Ever hear the expression "No pain, no gain"? That's bullshit when it comes to stretching. General rule of thumb is to stretch until it's slightly uncomfortable and hold the stretch for up to 45 seconds. As you breath in and out, see if you can push the stretch further (as you breathe out, for example if you're doing a runners stretch, see if you can bring chest lower) - if you can stretch further, awesome. If not, don't worry about it... it will happen. It's just slow...
 
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I'm big into meditation, mainly because of the anxiety/depression. I used to be on meds, since I was about 11 (thanks to my parents) and I got off meds about 7 years ago. Meditation and yoga have been instrumental in bringing about some amount of peace and harmony, so I do it daily and it works.

However, I have some difficulty focusing and it's because my mind tends to race like crazy when I get too relaxed. I have no idea WHY this happens, but it's absolutely annoying. However, I tend to let my mind run where it wants until I can regain my focus, which I typically do.
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Laladien wrote:
I'm big into meditation, mainly because of the anxiety/depression. I used to be on meds, since I was about 11 (thanks to my parents) and I got off meds about 7 years ago. Meditation and yoga have been instrumental in bringing about some amount of peace and harmony, so I do it daily and it works.

However, I have some difficulty focusing and it's because my mind tends to race like crazy when I get too relaxed. I have no idea WHY this happens, but it's absolutely annoying. However, I tend to let my mind run where it wants until I can regain my focus, which I typically do.


So what is your meditation like? How do you do it?
 
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When I was a freshman in high school (St. Paul HS in Norwalk, Ohio - so a catholic school) Sister JanMarie started religion class with guided meditation. I remember that we created these mind spaces and connective paths and we progressively visited them - tho we never talked about them, so I only know what mine looked like. Usually we did this in our chairs, but sometimes we would go to this other carpeted library room where we could all lay on the floor and do .. Isometric stretches(? - the ones where you tighten and relax your muscles but aren't making big motions) starting at your toes, clenching and releasing, and there was music in the background and I usually fell asleep for those sessions, even tho it was a morning class.
I tried to do it on my own, too. Got a tape (because this was before there were CD's) of hammer dulcimer music (still have it in my sewing room) and would try to go thru my day backwards or make imaginary sculptures or visit my mind spaces. Fell out of it. This seems tangential to the meditation you are talking about because it doesn't seem very zen except for the end part where you let you thoughts be balloons or bubbles that you release and they float away on the wind, or foam on a river that wends out of you so you can be empty. Empty seems vey zen.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
Laladien wrote:
I'm big into meditation, mainly because of the anxiety/depression. I used to be on meds, since I was about 11 (thanks to my parents) and I got off meds about 7 years ago. Meditation and yoga have been instrumental in bringing about some amount of peace and harmony, so I do it daily and it works.

However, I have some difficulty focusing and it's because my mind tends to race like crazy when I get too relaxed. I have no idea WHY this happens, but it's absolutely annoying. However, I tend to let my mind run where it wants until I can regain my focus, which I typically do.


So what is your meditation like? How do you do it?


Honestly, I practice different types of meditation depending on how I'm feeling or hope to achieve.

Typically, I practice Mindfulness meditation, as it encourages being in the moment and being more an observer of all the things both around you physically (sounds, smells, etc.) as well as observing all of the things within you (breathing, heart rate, racing thoughts).

To get into it, first I eat something small, like maybe a mini peanut butter bagel, or some string cheese and some nuts... just something that will keep me from feeling hungry during my practice. Also, a drink of water is good, too.

After than, I do about 15 minutes of Yoga or stretching, which helps to encourage relaxation in the muscles. Once I'm done with that, I typically sit on my Yoga mat in a lotus position, close my eyes, with my hands resting open on my knees and I begin by observing my abdominal breathing - rising and falling, rising and falling... and then I start to observe my surroundings. Typically, I'll latch onto a sound, feeling or thought, but I'll simply let it flow, letting go of that feeling or sensation and allowing it to move to the next. I usually do this for about 30-45 minutes, sometimes longer if I'm very successful at it. On most occasions, due to my schedule, I will set an alarm on my phone - there is an app on the iPhone that plays chimes or has singing bowls and that's a great way to be slowly brought back into the world.

The nice part about Mindfulness mediation is that it's wonderful if you have an active lifestyle or very little time to practice, but it can allow for a very deep meditative state. I generally feel very refreshed and generally feel mentally clear, as I've allowed all my thoughts, especially my anxious thoughts, to run their course. Honestly, I used to have panic attacks all the time, EVEN on my medication, but I haven't had one since I've started all of this, so for me, this is wonderful.

Sometimes I adapt this practice to a more focused meditation, so instead of allowing these varying thoughts and sensations to simply become fluid and flow, I will instead examine the nature of the sound/feeling/sensation I'm feeling - examining it, focusing on it... experiencing it. However, if I start to analyze it (for example, if I have a thought and I start to project a future implication of that thought), I simply let it pass and move on to something else. Often, I tend to observe sounds and physical responses when I do this, as they have no real implication above and beyond the feeling, but it's often refreshing to take a racing thought and simply observe it as a casual observer, rather than focusing on what needs to be done at a later time... that's the Zen part of it all. Remain in the moment.

Combined, this is mainly a form of Vipassana, in which we examine our thoughts and attempt to discover ourselves - gaining insight into how we think/feel. Some call it a purification, but I see it more as a self-examination.

Regardless, those are the most common forms of mediation I do.
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Fantastic.

I have never really done any long sessions like that. I mean if you need to eat and stretch before going in that's pretty intense. I certainly could not do something like this daily, but I could see finding a spot at a park or at the beach on the weekend occasionally for one of these power epic sessions. How often do you do these hour long sessions?

There is an old Zen saying: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour
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ChickenSedan wrote:
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This whole thread is just my cultist hint to him. whistle
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
Fantastic.

I have never really done any long sessions like that. I mean if you need to eat and stretch before going in that's pretty intense. I certainly could not do something like this daily, but I could see finding a spot at a park or at the beach on the weekend occasionally for one of these power epic sessions. How often do you do these hour long sessions?

There is an old Zen saying: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour


Well, the only reason I grab a quick bite to eat (and drink) is because I don't want to go into it with the possibility of getting hungry during it and focusing on that!

As for how many times per week... normally, I do it 3-4 times. 3 for certain, since I have about an hour and a half break between classes on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I aim for Fridays, as well, since I typically have a demo team practice and can do it before hand.

I do short sessions at home, but with a four year old around, it's damn near impossible. Once he goes to Kindergarten, I can go back to doing it almost daily.

If you can do it for 20 minutes, with a 5 minute stretch and a quick snack before hand, I say go for it... ANY time is worth it...
 
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Laladien wrote:
Sometimes I adapt this practice to a more focused meditation, so instead of allowing these varying thoughts and sensations to simply become fluid and flow, I will instead examine the nature of the sound/feeling/sensation I'm feeling - examining it, focusing on it... experiencing it. However, if I start to analyze it (for example, if I have a thought and I start to project a future implication of that thought), I simply let it pass and move on to something else.

This is the kind of meditation that comes naturally to me. I tend to practice it in lieu of scratching an itch or taking something for a headache.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
One topic I want to hear about is the idea of Go as meditation or mindfulness. Is this a thing or did I make it up?

I don't really know Go, but it's something that I am excited to explore if I am correct in this meditative approach. Again, I pretty much know nothing about the connection between the game (which I partially understand--I know it's simple, but I'm kinda vague on the rules) and I don't even know if meditation is the right word, but I feel like I can almost see the connection because it's such a focused and mind opening experience at the same time.

Go could certainly fit the bill. It's a placement game where each move is permanent and all analysis is done visually. Once you become a proficient player your thoughts can be completely consumed by iterating pictures of black and white stones.
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The closest I get to a meditative state is while playing Bridge. It's actually pretty good for that. The playing area is kept free of distractions (if your cell phone rings, you get penalized!), talking is discouraged, and I'm free to focus all of my mental energy on bidding/playing the hand in front of me.

When I sit down at the Bridge table for a session of duplicate, my mind quickly sharpens to a razor-sharp edge. If for some reason it doesn't, we're probably getting a poor score.
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Netrunner I enter an anti-zen state of anxiety and hopelessness that makes time speed by.
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jageroxorz wrote:
Netrunner I enter an anti-zen state of anxiety and hopelessness that makes time speed by.

That pretty much describes my Hearthstone games. "OMG, OMG, I really really need to draw XYZ..."
 
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