Author Topic: am I wasting my Time Meditating?  (Read 2592 times)

Jerod

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am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« on: April 05, 2009, 02:45:15 AM »
every friggin morning i sit down to meditate and i CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME KEEP MY MIND STILL ANYWHERE FROM 70-90% OF THE TIME!

long story short, i have ADD (attention deficit disorder) and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) along with a lot of other issues and sitting down to meditate is like going to sleep. it takes me anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to fall asleep because going to sleep is like an excuse for my brain to escape into a fantasy world and day dream, fantasize and imagine all the things i have never experienced and never had. that is the same stage my brain goes into when it is time for me to meditate. and no matter how many times i spot myself drifting, i can only stay still on my breath for about 2 minutes MAX. even 2 minutes is probably an exaggeration.

i don't know what to do and maybe i'm just wasting my time because honestly i am not good at anything which is why i always give up. i have done martial arts but gave up because i suck at fighting and generally not a fighter. my sifu was close friends with Bruce Lee so don't even tell me that the style was weak. i have hung out with "PUA's" who go around practicing picking up chicks and gave up on that because i am not the type of guy who talks to women or knows women (im not a social person and generally to myself.) all i gotta say is i suck at a lot of things in life and it has always been part of me because i never understood life like "naturals" (the people who always got life without knowing why.) so am i wasting my time? i got an excellent book on vipisana meditation and still having a hard time. i dont wanna waste 20 years meditating only to realize it wasn't for me. that's why i quit kung fu. any tips on how i can improve? is living with your parents making meditation harder when they're in the other room and stuff?

Flipasso

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Re: am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 04:14:20 AM »
Hi there..
Have you heard of neurofeedback?! I heard it's a good therapy for ADHD/ADD. I also heard it has results with PTSD.
Sorry to hear you so pessimistic.
Meditation seems to be good for someone with ADD, in theory, but it should be a lot harder since it requires some concentration. The good part is that it develops concentration and insight.

My advice...
Talk to a teacher for "experient" advice, and also search the web for Neurofeedback, it's a harmless technique which is very efficient with ADD. It basically consists of brain gymnastics and is used to increase concentration. Once you have a bit more concentration you could further your achievements with meditation, and whatever else you hope from it.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 06:30:43 AM »
Jerod,

No, I don't think you are wasting your time. It seems you are giving yourself a very hard time though. From your description I wonder, if you reflect on yourself, if your PTSD and feelings of inadequacy are  behind this over-compensated need to "get everything right".

Are you in therapy for the PTSD? Meditation and therapy work very well together for some people. From the brief descriptions of the way your mind runs some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT may be very helpful to teach you better skills at recognisng the running circles of your mind and jump out of the loop.

Your mind is probably so racing as a result of the same events that lead to the PTSD - it becomes a defence mechanism to keep thinking and self-criticising.

Maybe you are giving yourself a hard time in meditation too and would benefit from dropping expectation and looking for success. Two minutes of the mind not wandering is two minutes of meditation. If you relax a little more, maybe do some stretches before sitting, but relax when you are sitting, place yourself in a state of mind where you are not seeking anything, just watching what is. Focus on the breath but be aware of mind, let thoughts arise and fall. If your mind is running too fast then meditate with eyes open and looking just below the horizontal (closed eyes = running mind for many PTSD sufferers).

I think you could benefit from dropping expectations, loosening up the meditation as I have described and not giving yourself a hard time about this one little thing because you can't do it wrong in one sense, just trying is what matters. Sit short and often  rather than long periods until you start to feel the benefits of arising calm. Short sessions will be less stressful for you probably, and as you start to establish a sense of balance ABOUT your practice (not expecting, just being there for yourself, just doing it, not overly criticising) you will find you get more and can experiment with extending sessions.

Try and take mindfulness off the cushion, that glimmer of awareness can be kept alive through the day with practice and will lead to greater stabilisation of mind.

ADD is generally treated with Ritalin or some other form of what is basically speed or amphetamines - yes they treat hyperactive kids with an upper!

I don't know if you are on drugs but in any case with a good regime of healthy diet, a balanced amount of aerobic exercise, the right talking therapy to deal with the PTSD and meditation you can take charge of your mind and life and make things a whole lot better for yourself. IF you are on drugs you can almost certainly stabilise your mind to a point where reduction will be an option.

I also think Flipasso's idea of Neurofeedback is one worth looking into - again it can help teach you to calm and concentrate your mind.

Don't give up my friend. Life is a wonderful thing when you can slow down enough to enjoy it. You seem to have hopped a little from this to that where I think sometimes a little fine tuning can keep you going and learning new things about yourself (example: you are not a failure unless you define yourself as one).

Don't let the benefits of meditation escape you out of your habitual patterns of setting high goals then dropping things when you can not reach those goals. Drop the goals altogether and meditation is never a failure: then, it merely has different qualities at different times, but you will always be learning something about yourself whatever qualities are manifesting in the meditation.

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

alex

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Re: am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 08:24:03 AM »
Hi Jerod,

all beginners in meditation can't keep their mind still for 90% (or more) of the time. That's absolutely normal. The mind is dreaming, planning, talking, remembering, etc. on it's own all the time, that's why it's called "monkey mind". The first insight when starting meditation is how little control we have of our mind.

Meditation is training the mind. But just like sports: If you never did sports, and want to go jogging, you can't expect to run more than two minutes before being exhausted. It takes weeks and months of daily training to extend that period. No one is born as a marathon runner! Likewise meditation needs practice. And two minutes of concentration is good.

Actually meditation and ADD go good together: The concentration training helps with the ADD, and people with ADD sometimes have the ability to hyper-focus on very interesting things, which can be a big aid in meditation. If meditation is perceived as very interesting, that is ;).

So my tips are:
• Just as Matthew said: Try not to expect much. I know this is hard, but just try to.
• Be aware that everyone - with or without ADD - has the same problems when beginning meditation.
• When meditating, make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. When living with your parents talk to them so they won't enter when you're meditating.
• Develop interest in meditation. Every breath, thought, image, step is a new experience and different from the one before. Trying to perceive this difference helps to become interested.
• Keep going, at least for a month or so. Only with practice you can improve.
• If you don't have the discipline to regularly meditate at home, consider looking for a meditation group, or a retreat.


Greetings,
Alex
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 09:44:05 AM by alex »

greenhorn

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Re: am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 06:12:57 AM »
Hi, Jerod.

I found this video very inspiring. I think it might help you with your attention deficit, as it involves movement as well, which you might find easier than just sitting and watching your breath. It might be a good start for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWerJwf3-3I

From my experience, I can tell you a lot of times when I could focus on my yoga practice, I felt it did more for me than a regular meditation sitting.

Renze

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    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: am I wasting my Time Meditating?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2009, 09:30:29 AM »
Hi, I'm new here.

I was diagnosed with ADD about 2 years ago, and I started vipassana meditation soon after that. It's not impossible to learn, it just takes time, practice and a lot of discipline!

About neurofeedback: I've spoken with a psychologist about this, and she told me that it only works temporarily, so you have to keep coming back for more treatment, and it's very expensive. It isn't covered by insurance, either.

I'm getting good results now from meditation. I feel a lot calmer, also during the day. I still can't concentrate on my work and it's hard for me to sit still, but at least I feel happier and more relaxed now. The hardest challenge for me is the discipline it takes to sit down and meditate every day. If you have the tendency to get up out of your chair every 5 minutes, then sitting down for 30 minutes to meditate is a big challenge, lol. That's why I like walking meditation. At the meditation centre where I learned vipassana, we had a schedule of 30 minutes sitting, 30 minutes walking, 30 minutes sitting.