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Meditation isn't just sitting still and thinking for a long time. Posture and form are crucial, otherwise you won't be able to sit still long at all. There is also a physiological connection between the brain and the body. If you're serious about learning, find a zendo in your area. Some people combine chanting. The purpose of mediation is to explore the mind and to reach a higher level of awareness (the idea, in Buddhism, is reaching enlightenment when combined with other things). Be warned, while meditation is very healthy, it can also be exhausting and a mental confrontation.
The first time I meditated was during a free instructional session at a zen center one Sunday morning. I didn't go in expecting anything, but ended up having a great experience. I'm generally pretty cynical, and I don't really buy in to the whole 'channeling energy' thing (I'm probably misinterpreting the philosophy), but it was pretty amazing.
I've only done it a few times since then, but should probably make it a regular habit.
That first day, it helped me sleep naturally, or more importantly, helped me get some things done that I hadn't been able to finish.
I've experimented with hypnosis many times in the past, to the point that one time I even felt pure bliss (it was different from a normal trance and undescribable, like floating in a golden haze in a world created just for me, with absolutely no worries or thought.) I recently took up meditation as a solution to my delayed sleep problems, and although I can slip into a trance easily enough, the few attempts I've made so far didn't contribute very much. I believe results will come if I keep at it though.
i just realized that i didn't post my experiences. i used to meditate if i got really mad at school but i was never able to do a full meditation just a quick slow down. but i have been trying to do it before bed and it has worked. i use youtube songs
When I was single I used to meditate. I usually would put on Beethoven's Archduke Trio Sonata. It worked quite well. I could even hallucinate, and go into a different state. You should practice slowing your breathing and lowering your heart rate.
Someone walked me through it once. I found it really uncomfortable - I felt like I could feel my blood flowing and I hated it. I probably came out more stressed then before I had done it. My muscles were relaxed, but my mind was not. I just felt like I had to move to make the feelings I was getting go away. Towards the end it was almost as if my skin was crawling.
So I've tried it once, and I really didn't like it.
Daily. I started two years ago to cope with stress. It's helped me a lot, and these days I'm almost completely stress free.
Meditation takes a while to get the hang of. I remember when I first started I couldn't sit still for any longer than a few minutes, and my mind would always wander. I still don't have the techniques down pat. It's tough, but worth it. It helps if you do it directly after doing a lot of excercise.
That's exactly why I was doing it, Butterfly Mage. I had opened the spirit world a number of other ways, and so I wanted a way that was a lot safer. I really should go back to it. It takes time and discipline.
I've tried off and on, with mixed results. I find the toughest part is trying to control my breathing. I either get so intensely focused on "meditating right" that I forget to breathe (and then become tense), or I try too hard and make my breathing too forced. But I have had moments of success where I can let all distracting thoughts bounce out of my mind. It's pretty rewarding and relaxing when that happens, but it's not easy. I'd like to do it more regularly, but it can be frustrating.
Guys, don't try to control your breathing. Understand it. When you're in the right posture (cross-legged, back straight, head down, hands in lap) you'll naturally start to breathe with your stomach instead of your chest. Don't worry about controlling your breath. Just observe it, count it, feel the air coming in and out. As Archimedes said in Sword In The Stone, "don't fight the air currents, use them."
I went to a Buddhist temple a while ago and they showed us how do it. Since then I've tried it a few more times... but I don't think I'm doing it properly - nothing really happens, I just get incredibly bored.