View Full Version : Your thoughts on meditation?

May 24, 2002, 04:52 PM
For the longest time, I've had the notion that there just could be something to the practice of meditation. I can recall, not too long ago, there being a program on TV where a group of scientists measured physiological changes in monks as they meditated, including the intentional increasing of one's own body temperature. These monks were able to sleep outside, on a cliff in the Himalayan mountains, without freezing to death, because they could control their body temperature.

Then I read in a shooting book, author temporarily forgotten, where the author, a noted competition shooter, used a form of meditation to better his abilities.

Well, as I said, there just might be something to it and I'm interested, genuinely, in doing more research on it. The problem I find is that most books and classes on the subject seem to be wholly based in hippie-drivel which I cannot stand! Did the samurai warriors meditate on peace, love and pretty flowers before going into battle? I doubt it.

Anyone familiar with different schools of thought? Any experiences that proved the benefits to you? Know of any books on the subject that look at it either scientifically or something more manly than the average flower-child?

May 25, 2002, 01:37 AM
Meditation has absolutely nothing to do with hippie-drivel, or peace, or love, or pretty flowers.

Yes, it works.

In addition go do some research on competition sailing as regards sleep habit modification.

May 25, 2002, 02:46 AM
Meditation has absolutely nothing to do with hippie-drivel, or peace, or love, or pretty flowers.

Yes, it works.

I agree, wish I could remember to do it more often.

Ever see the episode of Simpsons where Lisa and Homer ttry the Sensory Deprivation Chambers? :D

May 25, 2002, 06:57 AM
Perhaps it will work. If you believe it, then it will work for you.

Long time ago, I practice meditation and believe in magic words that were given to me by an old man. It may be called charms or protector that is unseen and these can't be explained very well, but I believed that it works for me. I feed them with many prayers that I do every night, for I was adviced that if I will not feed my charms with the prayers given to me also then it will not work. Aside of that I meditate also. Perhaps it did work to me perhaps not. Its up to the user if he/she believes it or not.

May 25, 2002, 04:01 PM
How do you go about learing more? What internet resources are recommended? I haven't found any books on the subject that deal with it in a more scientific manner. I did buy one on the internet, but all it talked about was "opening your heart and soul to Love...." Yuck.

If the results of meditation are simply psychosymatic (you think it works therefore you experience results) does it really matter? So long as you get results...

How long is the average meditation session? I've heard about being able to "find your center", which I take to mean entering a relaxed state, in a few seconds once you've gotten some experience in it.

How has meditation affected your life? Does it make you faster? Stronger? Did it remove that bad temper you used to have? Did it help you quit smoking? Have your scores improved? Basically, what tangible results have you seen that you can directly attribute to meditation?

Postscript: Loved those sensory deprivation scenes in the movie, "Altered States". I think that was the genesis for my interest in the science.

May 27, 2002, 02:26 AM
depends on what kind of mediation you want to do.

Many religions have forms of meditation. Even Christianity, believe it or not, although it comes more from the mystical and esoteric stuff ( ex. St. Teresa of Avila. look up info on her if you are interested. )

Most people's experience with meditation comes from Zen Buddhism. Other forms of Buddhism have different forms of meditation, like chanting repeatedly.

I'm not an expert on Zen Buddhism and most of my knowledge comes from books on it and conversations with practioners, and from a little bit of mediation I have done, so take what I say with a huge grain of salt, but there are multiple levels of meditation. The basic level is nonreligious, basically it is a method to improve life by allowing you to clear your mind. In general, it's arguable whether Zen is a religion at all ( no gods in Zen, Buddha and the other Boddhisthavas are not considered Gods, one of the Zen koans involves a Zen monk warming himself in winter by burning a Buddha statue in fact,) some would classify it more as a early practical psychological method cloaked in a little mysticism.

There are multiple forms of Zen mediation. The first that is most commonly seen is "sitting", basically you in the lotus position, spine and head straight, directing your gaze on one point, breathing in and out deeply and noting your breath, and just meditating- not chasing thoughts out of your mind, but not encouraging them, and letting them pass, while trying to concentrate, but while not concentrating. Other forms of mediation involve walking and other situations, but tend to be for more advanced practioners. If the mediation stuff sounds like doubletalk, I honestly don't understand it all, so go to someone qualified if you can.

I don't know of people who have any problems just meditating and not getting into the "religious" side of Zen. However, if you choose to start reading koans and really trying to learn the whole body of Zen from a qualified teacher, you may get "Zen sickness", where meditation produces a violent reaction on the brain and body. I don't think this causes any other problem other than that you can't do Zen anymore. However, I don't know a lot about it. This doesn't happen often, as far as I can tell.

May 27, 2002, 05:41 PM
In my not-so humble opinion, the key to any form of physiological control through meditation is correct breathing.

Breathing is the nexus between voluntary and involuntary functions (ex. heart rate). With proper breathing and muscle tension-relaxation techniques, I can ramp my heart rate up and down as well as load muscles up with hyper-tension and down with hyper-relaxation.

It's pretty fun to play with what is normally considered "involuntary" bodily functions.

BTW these "tricks" have existed in various cultures - India, China, Greece, you name it.


May 27, 2002, 07:03 PM
It's pretty fun to play with what is normally considered "involuntary" bodily functions.

Check out your pupils when you do that "hypertension" thing. I used to equate that with the extension of ki in my Aikido days.

Meditation in any form is great. Lots of different ways to describe the same phenomenon. Even on a superficial level it's great to clear your head. Simple and free - can be done anywhere at anytime. Closing the eyes helps cut out the disctractions at first but isn't necessary, nor is sitting in a perfect position or having soothing sounds or pleasing smells.


I went to a zen temple once for a class on Buddhism and the teacher claimed he was enlightened by this master in Japan. He had a nice school he built himself and had significant number of followers. He kept referring to this chime that he received from his master and how it was very special it was, which confused me to say the least.

Eric Larsen
May 28, 2002, 07:42 PM
I am probably the least qualified to post on this thread..but here goes. In my youth, I practice martial arts and loved it...I loved the "place" in my mind...that I attained at times.

I later found another way to get to that place in my mind...just reading and practicing metaphysics of sorts...nothing major.

Over the past 5-10 years Ive lost that place in my mind....kids, marriage, divorce...life! I greatly miss my place and believe it was a form of meditation that got me there...this thread makes my want to pursue it again.
Peace and prosperity
Shoot well

May 29, 2002, 03:42 PM
Meditiation requires absolutely no belief or beliefs at all.

I haven't read up on meditation since before ordinary folks were allowed to use the Internet... ;)

I would definately recommend avoiding all that Mararishi Transcendental Weiner-ology.

I would bet that if you looked at so-called Stress Management techniques you'd find stuff on meditation, but they just might not call it that.

When I meditate its usually 30 to 45 minutes. The "finding your center" thing is really about getting into that ultra-relaxed mode, mentally and physically, without falling asleep. Its not mystical. When you clear your conscious mind of now-thoughts you get into a stream-of-consciousness type deal, which is really the sub-conscious mind coming through without being filterd by the conscious mind. When you get past that, with practice and focus, you get into a deep relaxation, usually focused on one thing, and time passes really fast. You come out of it extremely relaxed and extremely at ease. Its like a 6-hour nap (or sleep) in 30 minutes. All supported by hard science, no silly religion needed.

Nope, still have the bad temper... ;)

I feel very relaxed and calmed after and for a good long while. I have absolutely NO idea what actual physiological effects it has on me. Science says its doing great things for my body.

(If you want to quit smoking try hypnotherapy. It works for about 3 months, which is usually long enough to eliminate most of the residue from your body IF you don't cheat a sneek a smoke.)

The reference to sailing. The last Volvo 'Round The World sailing race, or maybe it was the Whitbread, they used some real fancy sleep techniques which are very similar to meditation, to improve alertness on 12-hours on-deck shifts. The crew(s) say it was awesome and worked well beyond everyone's expectations.

If you think this is all horseshiat here's a cool trick you can do to "open your mind" to cool new stuff that won't hurt (I promise). You have an alarm clock, right? Analog or digital doesn't matter. Let's say you set it to begin annoying you at 5:30am. An hour or two before you go to bed, and then as you're lying there getting to sleep, do this. Picture your clock at that time minus say 15 minutes, 5:15am. Picture in your mind your clock at that time, hold the picture, stare at it in your mind for awhile and tell yourself that's when you'll wake up. Almost everybody I know who has tried this trick has been amazed. I might take a couple of nights but in just a day or two this actually works. No one knows why.

May 29, 2002, 05:22 PM
Can anyone recommend a book that might help a beginner learn more?

Mr. Larsen, I'm glad my thread has sparked an interest in returning to that place. I hope you get there.

May 29, 2002, 08:31 PM
I don't know if I'm oversimplifying meditation, but to me it begins with sitting comfortably, focusing on breathing deeply and calmly then clearing your mind of thoughts. Your body kind of naturally falls into alignment when you realize what skeletal support is necessary to facilitate breathing from your center of balance.

Might sound like you tune out after this, but you really tune in.

I have frequently found that books complicate this process and introduce more ideas, etc. Some may have exercises, but I'm not sure which ones. I learned from a cool Aikido sensei.

May 30, 2002, 05:27 PM
one of the first books i read about ten years ago (still in print) is a book by an old dead zen master named "taisen deshimaru"
his book is called "the zen way to the martial arts".

you can find it at amazon, or any good book stores martial arts section.
gives some decent details of meditation.
incorporates good posture and breathing technique.
if you have a busy, fluctuating mind, then meditation could work for you.
if you don't, then don't bother. that is what zen buddhist meditation was for...to calm people down and help center their mental focus to what matters.

just a tool...like the weapons we train with on a daily basis.

hope you find this book
good luck

June 1, 2002, 11:23 PM
Oooohhmmmmmm ?

June 2, 2002, 12:46 AM

this guy I used to know had a big tat of the sanskrit symbol for ohm on his back. he told me it meant "the sound the universe makes."

June 2, 2002, 08:56 AM
I thought long and hard about meditation, and decided that it was a waste of time.

June 4, 2002, 05:37 PM
Deep relaxation induced by breathing technique and mental imagary is also called Sylvan Mind control, LaMaze childbirth and hypnotism. If you call it meditation and it works for you, Great!

I have successfully used self-induction or auto-hypnotism for pain control, to quit smoking and lose weight. I had a separated muscle on my right bottom rib that a sports medicine doctor could not cure. He sent me to a clinical psychologist who used hypno-therapy. After a couple of sessions, he taught me the breathing techniques and mental imagry to control the pain. I was skeptical at first, but it worked. I know a retired dentist that used hypnotism for pain control in his dental practice. When he was practicing, he could drill and fill 7 out of ten patients without injections.

To get started, buy a cassette in a book store for relaxation, stress control or to quit smoking. Listen to the tape a couple of times and follow direction. Once you get the hang of it you can then begin writing and taping your own induction messages.

June 5, 2002, 12:57 AM
Are the effects psychosymatic? Well, as unimpressive as this is I have learned to meditate away hiccups. When writing computer programs, I've found that if I'm having trouble tracking down a bug and getting frustrated with it, meditation can help clear my mind enough to find the problem. Believe it or not, there are practical applications.

June 6, 2002, 11:35 AM
The effects can be physical. The shrink that introduced me to auto-induction had a video showing how skin temperature could be controlled by induction. The subject had a thermometer taped to each forearm. After a lengthy induction session, the right are was 96 but the left arm was over 99

June 6, 2002, 12:39 PM
Meditation is very good for the body.

I am a naturally high strung, tense person, like a rabid squirrel on too much caffeine. It leads to lots of hiccups, stomach cramps, and affects my shooting ability because I want to suck in my stomach muscles and breath heavily through the upper chest. That makes my arms and hands go up and down just enough that it affects my aim.

I meditate by kicking back on the sofa and staring at my aquarium for about half and hour a day. It's very relaxing and has helped alot.

June 6, 2002, 12:49 PM
Not if you keep piranhas, runt. :D

Back when it was legal to own these toothy little pets, a friend of mine kept a pair of tanks: one for his lone piranha, and one...well...packed full of teary-eyed goldfish, if you get my drift.

'Course, that WAS relaxation to him. ;)