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Source: (consider it) Thread: 8D - Quiet Zone: Quiet meditation
Ariel
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# 58

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Does this work for you, or is this something you can't get into, and maybe find irritating?

If you do meditation, do you follow a particular method or set practice, or do you just make time to be quiet and see what comes up?

Have you had any difficulties with meditation or did you find it fairly easy?

[ 19. March 2017, 14:51: Message edited by: RuthW ]

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Raptor Eye
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I think that it is silent contemplative prayer rather than meditation that I practice, although I'm not fussed about what it is called. I stop everything, thoughts and distractions, sit and be still in the presence of God.

If thoughts arise I allow them. If I must return to them I write them down, then dismiss them until I'm ready. We do whatever is the most important thing to us. Of course, if something in life becomes urgent so that it cannot wait, time with God will be postponed.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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kingsfold

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quote:
Posted by Raptor Eye:
I think that it is silent contemplative prayer rather than meditation that I practice, although I'm not fussed about what it is called.

I understand where you're coming from with this. But I do wonder if meditation can also mean different things depending on which (for want of a better phrase) spiritual path you're following.

I do a yoga class pretty regularly, and it usually involves a period of relaxation/mediation. The emphasis tends to be on letting go, emptying yourself and so on. By contrast, it seems to me that in the Christian tradition, meditation is more of an inward journey, down to the centre or the soul or whatever you call it.

Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge/experience of Buddhist/Hindu meditation will come by and correct me if I've got the wrong end of the stick! But I find the differences in emphasis of direction - outward emptying vs inward focusing - an interesting contrast.

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I came to Jesus and I found in him my star, my sun.
And in that light of life I'll walk 'til travelling days are done


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Raptor Eye
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There is such a thing as centering prayer, and various meditative techniques which I have heard of in Christianity including a focus on a word or an icon.

The contemplative silent prayer I practice is not about me, it is not trying to see inside myself. It is about becoming conscious of God's closeness. The words 'thank you' arise like bubbles frequently.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Ariel
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# 58

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Recently two friends commented independently that they'd tried meditation and couldn't get on with it at all. They found sitting quietly and making their minds go deliberately blank quite frustrating - and I have to agree that this approach doesn't work for everyone.

It takes practice to put yourself into a preparatory frame of mind. I recently attended a meditation class which I left thinking was a lot of rubbish - I wasn't going back and certainly wasn't prepared to actually pay money to sit and stare at the floor for the best part of an hour. I could do that at home for free.

Like much in life, you get out of it what you put in. The meditation class had been an exercise in gently winding down. It was a setting I wasn't comfortable with but clearly worked for most of the others who were there, as they've almost all opted to continue the classes. The session was punctuated by the leader tapping a large fruit bowl with a metal spoon, which could either have been seen as ridiculous or else, oddly, through its quality of sound gave the impression of a bell in a Buddhist temple.

What came across was that ingredients don't have to be anything fancy to help you achieve that state of inner calm. But like any recipe, you have to find the right combination that works for you.

quote:
(From Raptor Eye)
There is such a thing as centering prayer, and various meditative techniques which I have heard of in Christianity including a focus on a word or an icon.

Just going into a church and sitting quietly there and noticing something in your immediate surroundings can often be very useful. There is also the approach mentioned in "The Cloud of Unknowing" where you learn to push away all external distractions as you focus on this one word. The idea is essentially to shut off the conscious, analytical mind and inner chatter and just be, and open up to God that way.

(Assuming you can manage to shut off the inner chatter...!)

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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I haven't really wanted to know what God might be thinking or otherwise get into mystical connection by being receptive. Because if offends me that we're supposed to make such efforts to get into communication. Like going to the app store and getting the right prayer app.

--------------------
Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Paul.
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I started meditating a few months ago. I didn't take a class or anything, though I have done some sessions with others. It mostly just involved sitting quietly on my own and allowing my mind to relax. Thoughts still come up but I try to "watch" them rather than be dragged along by them.

I usually start by praying but I wouldn't say it's prayer as such - though sometimes it is. I was reading Cloud of Unknowing at this time and found some of it helpful. The book I've got comes together with The Book of Privy Counsel which I haven't finished yet. I do like the word contemplation which is used a lot in those works.

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I haven't really wanted to know what God might be thinking or otherwise get into mystical connection by being receptive. Because if offends me that we're supposed to make such efforts to get into communication. Like going to the app store and getting the right prayer app.

I don't think it unreasonable for us to have to make some effort toward finding the best way for us to become conscious of God. After all, you wouldn't expect to communicate with and be close to a family member if you never made the effort to visit him, however difficult that journey might be.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I haven't really wanted to know what God might be thinking or otherwise get into mystical connection by being receptive. Because if offends me that we're supposed to make such efforts to get into communication. Like going to the app store and getting the right prayer app.

Try this analogy instead. What if all you have to do is listen? No apps, no special fooferaw, just sit down, shut up, and listen. That's basically what I do.

What I do/have done in the past is to go somewhere private (mainly because I don't want to be distracted by worrying what someone might see in my face). I glumph down on the floor with my back to a wall, which is fairly comfortable for me and lessens the risk of anybody coming in and saying "Oh, what are you doing?" Grrrrr.

Then once I'm settled and comfortable, I say to God, "Well, I'm here." And that's it. If something comes to mind and won't stop bugging me, I assume I ought to pray about it and do. It generally goes away after that unless it's a major crisis. Otherwise I just sit and listen and relax.

Most of the time I just feel better, more rested, after about 15 minutes of this. Nothing earthshaking. But I feel better, and that's good. And I think it is useful in drawing me closer to God.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Ariel
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# 58

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The problem I find with quiet meditation is that if it works for me, the next day it’s followed by what I can only describe as a kind of spiritual hangover. This drove me to giving up meditation, because I became really sick of the way achieving a state of calm was followed the next day by a plunge into wrestling with a downer. The further I got into meditation the worse the next-day hangover seemed to be. Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?
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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I haven't really wanted to know what God might be thinking or otherwise get into mystical connection by being receptive. Because if offends me that we're supposed to make such efforts to get into communication. Like going to the app store and getting the right prayer app.

Try this analogy instead. What if all you have to do is listen? No apps, no special fooferaw, just sit down, shut up, and listen. That's basically what I do.

What I do/have done in the past is to go somewhere private (mainly because I don't want to be distracted by worrying what someone might see in my face). I glumph down on the floor with my back to a wall, which is fairly comfortable for me and lessens the risk of anybody coming in and saying "Oh, what are you doing?" Grrrrr.

Then once I'm settled and comfortable, I say to God, "Well, I'm here." And that's it. If something comes to mind and won't stop bugging me, I assume I ought to pray about it and do. It generally goes away after that unless it's a major crisis. Otherwise I just sit and listen and relax.

Most of the time I just feel better, more rested, after about 15 minutes of this. Nothing earthshaking. But I feel better, and that's good. And I think it is useful in drawing me closer to God.

I do that all the time, first thing in the morning, but it isn't a conversation. Nor really anything other than trying not be too much of my annoying self, and trying to orient myself toward being the non-annoying version of myself (The Ship sees a good measure of the annoying me.) A bit of liturgy, some said, some sung, while the dog looks for rabbits and deer, and I look for a semblance of a sane start to the day, at 5:30 a.m. Don't think I can play any kindness forward otherwise.

--------------------
Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I do that all the time, first thing in the morning, but it isn't a conversation. Nor really anything other than trying not be too much of my annoying self, and trying to orient myself toward being the non-annoying version of myself (The Ship sees a good measure of the annoying me.) A bit of liturgy, some said, some sung, while the dog looks for rabbits and deer, and I look for a semblance of a sane start to the day, at 5:30 a.m. Don't think I can play any kindness forward otherwise. [/QB]

That sounds like a decent form of meditation to me. The "conversation" thing is IMHO fairly rare--I mean occasions where you could almost put into words the back and forth of felt engagement with God. For me that tends to come more in times of crisis, when it comes at all. My usual experience of meditation is more like being together with someone, not necessarily talking--spending time together just being there. Except the times when I feel zip zero nothing, which is a pain but okay too, because I don't think my perceptions are always accurate.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Nenya
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# 16427

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It works for me when I do it, but I find it very hard actually to do it. I can have every intention, and have lots of quiet time reading and colouring and being reflective. Silent meditation, which by my definition is sitting still and calming the mind (not emptying it, which I consider well-nigh impossible) with the use of a prayer word, and being open without expecting anything is difficult and easy to put off by doing other things. As Richard Rohr says, it is such hard work most people would rather just go to church.

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They told me I was delusional. I nearly fell off my unicorn.

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kingsfold

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quote:
posted by Nenya:
calming the mind (not emptying it, which I consider well-nigh impossible) with the use of a prayer word, and being open without expecting anything is difficult and easy to put off by doing other things. As Richard Rohr says, it is such hard work most people would rather just go to church.

Oh yes. And yet, and yet... Despite the difficulties and the oh-too-frequent times when I seem to have wound up in a day-dream, this seems to be the prayer to which I am drawn and when/where I seem to touch or be touched by God most often.
And one of the things I find hardest is I can settle myself to wait in quiet, but anything and everything beyond that is beyond my control. It is God's gift to me.

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Jengie jon

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How addictive is silence in such a retreat?

Sounds an odd question so some background. I will when over stressed often stop speaking for several hours. It always takes a determined act of will to speak when I am in the state (and so come out of it). My worry is that I would struggle to start talking again once I was so immersed in silence. Therefore I have tended to steer clear of fully silent retreats.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Not sure how the above post came to be here, it was intended for the silent retreat thread.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Welease Woderwick

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I've reposted it there for you Jengie.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
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What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Jengie jon

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Thank you.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
The problem I find with quiet meditation is that if it works for me, the next day it’s followed by what I can only describe as a kind of spiritual hangover. This drove me to giving up meditation, because I became really sick of the way achieving a state of calm was followed the next day by a plunge into wrestling with a downer. The further I got into meditation the worse the next-day hangover seemed to be. Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?

Up until this week I would have said I had not heard of this, nor experienced it. But Mr Nen and I have been on a three day course working with the Enneagram and as part of it the teacher/facilitator led us in several meditations based round the head, heart and gut energy areas. The "heart" meditation we did involved the group sitting in a circle with the lights dimmed and just singing, wordlessly and without attempting to harmonise, for about five minutes. I was moved to tears, but utterly exhausted afterwards. In fact, I continue to be pretty exhausted, probably as a result of the intensity of the whole course.

I know I've used the phrase myself upthread, but I wonder what we mean by the meditation "working"? I wouldn't necessarily say that meditation made me feel closer to the Divine. The course leader suggested that tears come when the heart is opened. Was I glad to have experienced it? Yes. Would I do another heart-based meditation? Yes... after a recovery period.

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They told me I was delusional. I nearly fell off my unicorn.

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Welease Woderwick

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The thing about meditation "working" is something I was trying to explain to a local young friend by SMS the other night - he was on a train to a big temple 12 hour train journey east of here.

Even practice meditation is still meditation, even if you find it tough and you have to keep starting again, it is still working. As with everything else in life, the more you practice the more chance you have of getting it right.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Nenya
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And how would you say we know when we're getting it right, WW? I am pretty new to all this really and am not really sure what, if anything, I'm looking for.

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They told me I was delusional. I nearly fell off my unicorn.

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Welease Woderwick

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I think it is possibly one of those things that is never absolutely right but that we can get more happy with our own performance - we are after practice, not perfection.

--------------------
I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Miffy

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# 1438

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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
The problem I find with quiet meditation is that if it works for me, the next day it’s followed by what I can only describe as a kind of spiritual hangover. This drove me to giving up meditation, because I became really sick of the way achieving a state of calm was followed the next day by a plunge into wrestling with a downer. The further I got into meditation the worse the next-day hangover seemed to be. Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?

Yes, been there, in fact it's happened so often that I've come to expect it. For me it's almost as if a shutter comes down in my mind. The question then is whether I just go with it or push against it. It will pass, as I keep reminding myself.

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"I don't feel like smiling." "You're English dear; fake it!" (Colin Firth "Easy Virtue")
Growing Greenpatches

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BabyWombat
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My! I realize I am joining this conversation rather late into it, and am annoyed with self for not noticing it earlier! I have tried various Christian forms of meditation for much of my life, and found most frustrating. Maybe that was because I was expecting “something to happen” -- a sense of holiness or insight or whatever. I tried forms that suggesting letting go of that expectation – especially centering prayer. But I kept getting snagged by the “sacred word” that was to bring me back to center. Impulsive thoughts dancing around it -- “why this word?, how else do I use it?, what if I'd picked another – would it be better?” and so on. The word itself prompted thought.

More recently I have come upon mindfulness meditation, as taught at medical stress reduction clinics. It was suggested to me as a medical aid for a visual issue that put me at serious risk of blindness. It was effective for that issue which is now resolved. However, I also found it deepened my prayer in new ways.

I know it is not specifically religious in anyway, and that, I think, is what benefits me. I focus on the experience of the breath entering and leaving my body. When thoughts arise there is no “word” to intrigue my overactive brain -- just returning to the breath.

I have found it calming, and that it brings me an increased awareness of my surroundings, nature, self and others. And with that comes a new awareness of God in the small stuff of life. I am so grateful to have found it, and a quiet joy enters me even to write that.

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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