2009.05.30 01:00 - Meditation 101

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Scathach Rhiadra. The comments are by Scathach Rhiadra.

    The discussion centred around meditation.  Wol raised the topic of how to start a meditation practice, a subject she had been discussing with Yakuzza the night before.  So, Wol, Pila, Sophia, Yakuzza, Fael and I had a lively discussion around this topic.

    Scathach Rhiadra: hello Pila
    Pila Mulligan: hi Scathach
    Pila Mulligan: how are you?
    Scathach Rhiadra: i am fine thak you, and you?
    Pila Mulligan: I'm fine also, thank you
    Pila Mulligan: hi Wol
    Wol Euler: hello scath, pila
    Scathach Rhiadra: hello Wol:)
    Scathach Rhiadra: how are you this morning?
    Wol Euler: chilly!
    Wol Euler: I didn't realize how cold it had got overnight
    Wol Euler: and you?
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, it is not summer yet!
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: fine thank you!
    Scathach Rhiadra: this is not you usual time in SL Pila, is it not the middle of the night for you?
    Pila Mulligan: it is about 10:30 pm Friday evening here -- I'm usually sound asleep at this time :) -- being awake tonite, though, it seemed opportune to visit
    Pila Mulligan: hi Sophia
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah, well we are glad you did:)
    sophia Placebo: hi pila
    Scathach Rhiadra: hello sophia
    Pila Mulligan: thanks, Scath - me too
    sophia Placebo: hi scath , hi wol :)
    Wol Euler: hello sophia
    Pila Mulligan: how are you sophia?
    sophia Placebo: im fine thanks pila , how are you ?
    Pila Mulligan: I'm fine also, thanks
    Wol Euler: morning yakuzza
    Pila Mulligan: hi Yakuzza
    Scathach Rhiadra: hello Yakuzza
    sophia Placebo: hi yak
    Scathach Rhiadra: so, has anyone a topic for us?
    Wol Euler: how to begin a meditation practice? (winks at Yakuzza)
    sophia Placebo: what a hair wol :) energatic
    Scathach Rhiadra: oh, nice topic
    Wol Euler smiles. Thank you!
    Pila Mulligan: 1st step: sit
    Wol Euler: I love your starry eyes too :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes nice hair too!
    sophia Placebo: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, before sit, how about intention?
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: that would be Buddhist, scath :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: ty Wol
    Pila Mulligan: Scath*
    Scathach Rhiadra: oh I suppose so
    Wol Euler: Y and I were talking late last night about PaB, he said that he doesn't meditate but is considering starting.
    Wol Euler: Given that we have a collection of experts here (excluding myself), I thought I'd ask on hs behalf for your advice :)
    Pila Mulligan: Wol, you meditate?
    Wol Euler: irregularly, I can't seem to keep a practice going
    Pila Mulligan: Sophia? do you meditate?
    sophia Placebo: me ? porposly no
    Yakuzza Lethecus: yeah, but it´s still a bit alienated for me, i already got some dreamtravels just because i was curious about that as well but i didn´t get into real meditation so far
    Yakuzza Lethecus: and the different forms of visualization
    Pila Mulligan: well, mine is purely technical, and Scath probably has more of a grasp of the underlying concpets
    Pila Mulligan: we've both mediatted for several decades
    sophia Placebo: just a moments of mind calmness each day in the garden by sunset , early morning or in the night under stars , revewing the day and thoughts , this have been like a habit to me
    Pila Mulligan: sounds lovely, Sophia
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes it does sound like a meditation to me Sophia:)
    Wol Euler: that probably counts as meditation, Sophia :)
    sophia Placebo: it is , thought everyone had the same moment to some extend
    Wol Euler: :)
    Pila Mulligan: technically i define meditation by three elements: posture, breathing and contemplation
    Pila Mulligan: each is complementary to all
    Pila Mulligan: but the real trick is what Sophia said about it being a habit
    Pila Mulligan: whatever you do, you have to do it :)
    Wol Euler: heh, yes.
    Yakuzza Lethecus: in those dream travels or relaxation cd´s there are also elements of breathing technics or to focusing on the relaxation of the tongue
    Scathach Rhiadra: even if it is only more a few seconds at a time:)
    Pila Mulligan: I hate to put it this way, it is not to demean the idea, but there are tricks, Yakuzza
    Pila Mulligan: techniques may sound better
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes Yakuzza, following the breath, or counting your breaths is a very basic and good begining
    Pila Mulligan: hi Fael
    sophia Placebo: hi fael
    Fael Illyar: Hi Everyone :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hey
    Scathach Rhiadra: it pulls back the mind when it is scattered
    Scathach Rhiadra: hello Fael
    Pila Mulligan: do you meditate Fael?
    Wol Euler: morning fael
    Fael Illyar: might perhaps be an idea to pay attention to my clothing before teleporting here :)
    Pila Mulligan: that is what we were chatting about, meditation
    Wol Euler: heheheh, you look fine.
    sophia Placebo: for me i feel that meditation is like writing your personal philosophy of thoughts , except no word no voice , only thoughts , no evidence no experiment no awaiting results
    Fael Illyar: I meditate only sometimes :)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Fael Illyar: although, I've been doing it a bit more the last few days.
    Scathach Rhiadra: whereas for the Buddhists, it is more to do with awareness
    Pila Mulligan: there are many varieties of contemplative expereince
    Fael Illyar: I haven't been sitting that much while meditating lately though. More of laying on my bed.
    Pila Mulligan: there are many postures associated with meditation, as well :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: was everyone at Stim's workshop when he went through his three exercises?
    Pila Mulligan: the exercises several weeks ago?
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes
    Wol Euler: would you recap for us?
    Scathach Rhiadra: ok, hold on...
    Pila Mulligan: breathing is the most important part of meditation, to me -- those exercises helped us see how contemplation interacts with breathing, among other things
    Scathach Rhiadra: the 1st was just to reign in the scattered mind, so to speak, sitting and counting the breath for 2/3 minutes, not really meditation
    Scathach Rhiadra: but a good preliminary
    Scathach Rhiadra: the idea was to focus on the count and not be distracted by any other thoughts, if you lose count you go back to the begining
    Wol Euler nods
    Scathach Rhiadra: or rather not be distracted by any other experience, not just thoughts
    Scathach Rhiadra: the 2nd practice, to acknowledge anything else you experience, just be aware of them, not try to stop them
    Pila Mulligan: (alos while counting the breaths)
    Scathach Rhiadra: so if you find thoughts arising, just let them be, and continue the counting of breath
    Scathach Rhiadra: the 3rd exercise was the most inclusive...
    sophia Placebo: finds counting a distracting practice , never get me to sleep to count to 100 :)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Wol Euler: hehehe
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Fael Illyar: well, if you're counting to sleep, there's no need to keep the count accurate :P
    Scathach Rhiadra: it is more like becoming the breathig, and include all that arises, don't have to count for that:)
    Scathach Rhiadra: braething*
    sophia Placebo: hehe fael , i thought keeping accurate is what would make me fell asleep
    Scathach Rhiadra: just being aware of the moment really, and all that you experience right now
    Pila Mulligan: "One final practice: count the breath as before, being disciplined and focused but also welcoming toward the messy bits of our mind functions and perceptions that would normally distract us... but attend in particular to the aliveness you can find within each part of the breath. Enter that aliveness and allow it to open up to more of itself."
    Pila Mulligan: quoting Stim -- this is an important part
    Pila Mulligan: * attend in particular to the aliveness **
    sophia Placebo: yes scath , i found that just being aware of the air in and out is more helpfull than counting
    Scathach Rhiadra: thank you Pila:)
    Pila Mulligan: feeling the air, or chi
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes Sophia
    Wol Euler: If you want a little structured help in getting started, I can recommend a book & 2 CDs package by John Kabat-Zinn and Ulrike Kesper-Grossman, "Der heilende Kraft der Achtsamkeit"
    Scathach Rhiadra: and I would not be too concerned with moving on to visualations and such like too quickly either:)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: mindfulness for beginners
    Wol Euler: pretty much so, yes :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: it is a life-long practice
    Scathach Rhiadra: mindfulnes*
    Wol Euler: I have a friend who dances tango with great enthusiasm and skill, for twenty years now.
    Wol Euler: about every three to four years, she goes back and takes a beginners' course again, to see whether she has picked up any bad habits.
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Wol Euler: the same might apply here.
    Fael Illyar: Yes, it's easy to slip :)
    Pila Mulligan: in 2007, my first year in SL, I did a few introduction to meditation sessions for the Skeptical Buddhist Sangha and some others -- it is more difficult than doing it in SL than it is in real life, since part of it is nonverbal feeling -- I think Stim also refers to this problem sometimes in his workshops
    Pila Mulligan: more difficult in SL that is * :)
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Yakuzza Lethecus: i think a pc is also still alienated for many people
    Fael Illyar wonders about people talking doing meditation in SL or in RL ... isn't it done in mind?
    Pila Mulligan: not for me Fael, it is done in the body :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: so the use of this medium is also a constant interferenz ? would you agree pila ?
    Pila Mulligan: yes Yakuzza
    Fael Illyar: Pila, well, not sure if there's a difference :)
    Pila Mulligan: mental distractions
    Pila Mulligan: the difference would be in the focus, Fael
    Fael Illyar: is it not the mind that focuses?
    Pila Mulligan: not necessarily :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes Fael agree, but maybe not a class in meditation, most people who attend meditation here in SL are experienced and can appreciate the presence of others in their practice
    Wol Euler looks at the time. I'm sorry, I must go. Things to see, people to do ... :)
    Wol Euler: bye for now, enjoy the day.
    Yakuzza Lethecus: bye
    Pila Mulligan: bye Wol
    Fael Illyar: See you later Wol :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Wol, you have a good day too:)
    sophia Placebo: bye wol
    Fael Illyar: if it's not the mind ... then what?
    Pila Mulligan: the breath
    Pila Mulligan: feeling the breath
    Pila Mulligan: with the body
    Fael Illyar: is it not the mind that feels?
    Pila Mulligan: in my opinion, it is not
    Fael Illyar: perhaps we mean different things with the word 'mind' then...
    sophia Placebo: i got this idea from a japanese anime - now dont laugh - that the brain generates a waves -electromagnatic? - so if you synchronizd btw brain wave and environmet wave , or something like that , then you enter the awarness mode
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, for me it is the awareness, of all, both internal mind and physical sensations are included
    Pila Mulligan: maybe, but actually we may not
    Yakuzza Lethecus: oh, i have some relaxation cd and the lecturer is also talking about beta brainwaves and something like that
    Pila Mulligan: yes to sophia, yes to Scath
    Pila Mulligan: Fael, do the feelings of your heart involve the mind?
    sophia Placebo: it just pop to my mind regarding the benefit of brathing , re adjusting brain waves
    Fael Illyar: I have no idea but the mind is what perceives them.
    Scathach Rhiadra nods @ Sophia
    Pila Mulligan: have you ever had an inkiling that part of the feeling in the heart is independent of the mind?
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes Fael, I agree, all is perceived in the mind
    Fael Illyar: I'd first need to able to define mind :)
    Fael Illyar: and I don't know how to define it
    Fael Illyar: I can't say if heart is part of the mind or not.
    Pila Mulligan: shall we give it a try then, try to play with defining mind? -- to me this is quite an interesting area of distinction in perception contrasted with my more mental contemplative friends
    sophia Placebo: and so when fael said about meditation in sl , i find that difficult due to the waves from pc screen and the type of concentration it needed which diffrent than rl
    Pila Mulligan: yes, distractions sophia :)
    Pila Mulligan: where is the seat of mental perception
    Fael Illyar: different distractions, nothing more.
    Fael Illyar: distractions you're less used to
    sophia Placebo: maybe , not saying that some pab sessions and kira sessions and other discussions put me on thinking mode that is more like meditation one , but personally prefer rl
    Fael Illyar: but... I lack an idea of how to start defining mind
    sophia Placebo: it wasnt meant to be a negative sentence , pardon my grammer
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: Pila, you could say awareness does not reside anywhere, but it is an awareness fo all we perceive thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical sensations
    Scathach Rhiadra: of*
    Pila Mulligan: Fael said earlier the mind is what perceives, and Scath agreed, "all is perceived in the mind"
    Pila Mulligan: can we bring this idea of perception to the brain for example?
    Scathach Rhiadra: as long as we think we are our minds, or our 'self' is the mind we feel everything perceived there
    Fael Illyar: brain... Even having been told I have one in my head, doesn't make it concrete enough that it'd work as a basis for defining things.
    Pila Mulligan: well, SCath, for me thoughts are mental and of the mind, feelings, emotions and physical sensations are distinguishable from thoughts
    Pila Mulligan: and the brain may not be involved in some of those latter perceptions
    Pila Mulligan: they may be more spontaneous, like a meter readng
    Pila Mulligan: localized
    Fael Illyar: to me thoughts and emotions are what we create and feelings and sensations are what we perceive.
    Pila Mulligan: such as in the heart
    Pila Mulligan: so I guess my point is that thoughts and words are mental
    Pila Mulligan: yet perception is more than thoughts and words
    Pila Mulligan: and this distinction between the mind and perception to me isa vlaid element of appreciating meditation
    Scathach Rhiadra: maybe consciousness is a more appropriate word than mind?
    Pila Mulligan: it is more inclusive, yes :)
    sophia Placebo: have to leave , would read the chat log for sure :) love the mind discussions
    Pila Mulligan: by Sophia
    sophia Placebo: see you all later
    Fael Illyar: See you later sophia :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Sophia, see you later:)
    Fael Illyar is getting even more the feeling she's using the word 'mind' very differently.
    Fael Illyar: since I see mind to include consciousness.
    Fael Illyar: not the other way around
    Scathach Rhiadra: :) too many terms I think sometimes!
    Pila Mulligan: ok, let's see whare we started: Fael Illyar wonders about people talking doing meditation in SL or in RL ... isn't it done in mind?
    Pila Mulligan: can you elaborate on what you meant please Fael?
    Fael Illyar: sorry, got phonecall
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: ok, have a good day everyone!
    Yakuzza Lethecus: bye
    Pila Mulligan: bye Yakuzza
    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Yakuzza
    Pila Mulligan: to me, the contemplation part of meditation is of the mind, yet what Stim called "attend in particular to the aliveness you can find within each part of the breath" is more a physical perception
    Pila Mulligan: a bodily sensation
    Pila Mulligan: an internal feeling
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, for me that is awareness, not of just one thing like physical, but of all
    Scathach Rhiadra: can't separate them
    Pila Mulligan: in an ultimate sense, I agree Scath, but in the effort o appreciate meditation in this venue, separating them may be of use
    Pila Mulligan: finding vitality "in each part of the breath" has a meaning to me that is distinct from, say, understanding intention or appreciating emptiness
    Pila Mulligan: again, not ulitmately, but distinct in the sense of SL chats
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Pila Mulligan: well, the midnite hour is apporaching here, so I'll be off to dreamland soon
    Scathach Rhiadra: thank you for being here Pila, have a good sleep:)
    Pila Mulligan: nice to visit with you Scath and Fael
    Pila Mulligan: thank you
    Scathach Rhiadra: I must go too, bye Fael, see you later
    Pila Mulligan: aloha
    Scathach Rhiadra: aloha
    Scathach Rhiadra: Namasté
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