Author Topic: Newbie lost in the sea of information.  (Read 4379 times)

Takezaki

Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« on: June 03, 2013, 11:14:15 AM »
Hi everyone!

Since I want to introduce myself while asking a few questions I thought I would make a topic in this section.

I am a 25 years old male from Qu├ębec, Canada. I joined this forum because I have a lot of questions regarding meditation.

For the past couple of years I have been battling a slight case of anxiety, racing mind and obsession. It all started after I had a slight panic attack after smoking weed. From that point I was semi-convinced that there was something wrong with my heart. The anxiety was present but I kept it under control, or so I thought. I'm an hypochondriac, I believe I am in excellent health. Don't take drugs at all, no caffeine, very little alcohol, don't smoke, etc. I am a fairly introvert person and my mind is pretty restless. I have become a master at doing something requiring high concentration while maintaining my racing thought process. I work as a poker dealer and I can basically do my job while constantly worrying.

I decided to look into meditation. What I want to achieve is tame my mind. I can't even read a few pages of a novel before my mind drifts off into oblivion and starts worrying about my health, my anxiety, my fears. I basically fear being afraid. Nothing ever happened to me in those years, only feelings of unease and fear. I have this bad habit of catastrophizing everything, it's like my mind became so accustomed to anxiety that it NEEDS to be anxious. My mind tries to make me believe that I am afraid of things that I have NEVER FEARED BEFORE.. Like ''Oh look at this, you could be scared of going to the dentist, after all, you're stuck to a chair for an hour or so and you can't really get out if you panic, here's how things could go down if you start panicking. You hate that already. And voila, I now fear going to the dentist and even if I try to shake it off my mind and tell myself that I never had a problem with that, it keeps popping up and makes me anxious.

I need to figure out the best way to meditate to tame my mind. I started doing a full body stretching routine followed by what I call meditation for about 20 minutes. I just try focusing on my breath but usually can only do so for a few seconds before drifting into my fears and insecurities. Is this a good way to proceed? Should I keep doing it and eventually will get better at it?

I am feeling pretty confident that allowing my mind and body to relax and approach thoughts and things in a more positive/detached manner will allow me to become less anxious.

I have alot of questions but it is really hard for me to focus all my thoughts into one topic in the first go. I will edit and reply as I see fit.

Thanks for taking the time.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 11:27:42 AM by Takezaki »

Renze

  • Member
    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 11:59:19 AM »
Hi Takezaki, welcome to the forum!

Are you following the anapana instructions from the front page? http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/page,10.html It's a good place to start.

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 01:05:19 PM »
Hi takezaki,

Thats an awesome profession you are in  ;D.

K i can kind of relate your problems to mine few years back. I used to get scared of anything i get trapped into like you. Like if there is class that i have to attend, in the middle of the class i get this thought that i want to get out, when i couldnt that thought consumed me and panic used to start for no reason. Only solution was to run away or stay panicked all class. And when the next class would be there this fear of 'panic starting in middle of the class' started to create more panic before the class starts. so it was a never ending panic.

Quote
I am feeling pretty confident that allowing my mind and body to relax and approach thoughts and things in a more positive/detached manner will allow me to become less anxious.

yes. that is correct.

I can see that you are getting aware of your condition and also trying to see it as a problem and working to solve it. This is all you need to get out of it. Experiment more and see why all that happens along with samatha meditation.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 01:08:37 PM by siddharthgode »

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 01:27:20 PM »
Yes being aware is part of the solution. But this last year I have been much more inactive. The night-shift lifestyle and the stresses of working in a bar and a bad relationship breakup have also increased my anxiety. Doing so I also started accomodating my anxiety, and that is a good way to make matters worse. Whenever you accomodate you anxiety you give it power and you lose the fight with your mind.


Samatha meditation or Anapana?

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 01:38:06 PM »
Anyways I guess I will keep doing what I am doing. Meditating while trying to focus on my breathing.

It's very very hard for me right now not to have my thoughts drift away in my fears but I will keep practising.

After a few minutes I feel relaxed and I feel something really nice which is warmth in my hands. I have naturally cold hands, not sure if it's because of anxiety (might be related) but when I meditate for a bit my hands warm up.

JamesT79

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 05:22:27 PM »
I find that focussing on breathing can sometimes be distracting.

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 05:41:26 PM »
Anyways I guess I will keep doing what I am doing. Meditating while trying to focus on my breathing.

It's very very hard for me right now not to have my thoughts drift away in my fears but I will keep practising.

After a few minutes I feel relaxed and I feel something really nice which is warmth in my hands. I have naturally cold hands, not sure if it's because of anxiety (might be related) but when I meditate for a bit my hands warm up.

More we give importance to anxiety more stronger it gets and easy it over powers us. The trick is to not giving it the importance it seeks. Then is runs out of batteries. it takes some time though, wont happen over night.

Better try both anapana and samatha and decide yourself

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 08:41:06 AM »
Anapana is the name of the meditation "Mindfulness of breathing".

Shamatha or calm/tranquility and Vipassana or insight are fruits or results (Phala in Sankskrit) of the meditation. The instructions Renze pointed you to are an Anapana instruction that will lead to both fruits.

It is not the full instruction - but a good baseline place to start for us modern, over-stimulated folk!

Welcome to the forums Takezaki,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 07:52:46 AM »
Alright I will continue my practise.

I read somewhere that they recommend setting an alarm when you first start to get rid of the ''How long have I been meditating'' type of thoughts but I find that everytime the alarm goes off after 15 minutes It startles me and I lose that relaxed meditative state I eased into.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 01:46:12 PM »
Takezaki,

That can be annoying! There are some meditation timers I made that have a nice gong sound. They are MP3's so can go on a phone, PC, tablet etc. You might find the sound less intrusive, and they are different lengths to suit how long you wish to sit for. Sitting without a timer can be very positive though also can lead to stress and constant clock watching. Find what works for you :)

http://www.vipassanaforum.net/meditation/20minutemeditation.zip
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/meditation/30minutemeditation.zip
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/meditation/40minutemeditation.zip
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/meditation/60minutemeditation.zip

Kindly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 01:48:30 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Mikeler

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Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 11:23:06 PM »
Alright I will continue my practise.

I read somewhere that they recommend setting an alarm when you first start to get rid of the ''How long have I been meditating'' type of thoughts but I find that everytime the alarm goes off after 15 minutes It startles me and I lose that relaxed meditative state I eased into.

Hello and welcome.

In regards to the alarm bell, I experience the opposite of what you describe, actually.

I can't stop obsessively checking my clock/watch to see if I'm close to completing my session.

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
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    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 02:40:02 AM »
For anyone with an Android phone, I highly recommend the Insight Meditation Timer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotlightsix.zentimer&hl=en

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 11:03:40 AM »
Had a really tough time meditating yesterday.

During my shift at work I was more anxious than usual. I'm guessing just bringing my anxiety up like that and discussing it/keeping it in my mind all the time is making me more anxious as a result.

When I sat down to meditate my heart started racing a bit, sweat started to drip from my armpits but I kept focus as best as I could.

My mind was racing alot more, I was focusing on my breathing and doing the one..one, two..two thing but I couldn't even make it to 10. Most of the time my mind would wander before I hit 5 or 6 and when I would snap back and realise I was thinking too much I wouldn't even know how I lost track of my breathing...Talk about a monkey mind.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 12:48:24 PM »
monkey mind just needs loving kindness, give it time, the practice works but it isn't magic and doesn't show instant results. speed is also dependent on time spent on the cushion and other factors in life. don't worry too much eh? all will come good.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 08:45:27 AM »
I am patient. I have nothing to lose at this point and it only takes 30 minutes of my time. I have a question though.

Can you actually over-meditate? Like if I just meditate without an alarm and stop when I feel compelled to stop? Even if I meditate for 1hour? Is it too little too soon?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 10:22:17 AM »
14 hours a day in formal practice for 28 days is the most intense retreat I've personally sat, sitting with no timer is fine, examine what makes you feel compelled to stop if you do!
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Takezaki

Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 08:42:40 AM »
I've been keeping up the past few days, at least 30 minutes of meditation everyday.

I feel like I am not doing much, but you guys will probably tell me to keep going. I certainly feel relaxed after I meditate but my mind is really off the hook. I'm so used to being alone, in front of a computer, thinking to myself and basically living life inside my head.

If I meditate for 30 minutes, I probably think that I spend 3-4 minutes actually focusing on my breathing and the rest is me getting lost in my thoughts. The funny thing is, it's not really so much me thinking thoughts and linking them together like ''What am I going to eat? Oh I think I have steak''. Most of the time it's kinda just like day-dreaming. My mind is so creative, I should put it to good use and start writing or something.

One thing I noticed, my hands are always cold, I think it's a symptom of anxiety. Whenever I finish a meditation session my hands are really warm and it feels nice. Maybe it's the good breathing.

Anyways,  hope I get better at it.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Newbie lost in the sea of information.
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2013, 09:20:13 PM »
Takezaki,

3-4 minutes is a good start. Practice makes perfect, just as with anything. You'll notice big and small changes as you continue.

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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