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5 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2008 - 12:27PM #1
LozangK
Posts: 34
Hi all,

It's been quiet here lately--I attribute this more to the new layout of the Beliefnet Forums than anything else; this forum isn't easy to find. 

Anyway, I'd like to see if we can have a discussion about meditation.  I'm curious what your conception of it is, how central to your practice it is, when and how often do you do it, and DO you do it? 

There are some things that the youthful have a natural advantage in--anything physical or dynamic, I'd say.  But to be honest, as far as meditation is concerned, the older you are the easier.  I confirmed this for myself when I was at a nyung nae (purification) retreat last year, when I was nineteen and the average age was probably fifty.  The other retreatants were so much more ready and practiced than I was, it really put me to shame (in a very samsaric way).  I had come hoping to escape my problems, thinking I would find silence and clarity--but that's not the way the mind works.  Your problems follow you like your shadow.  That's when I learned that retreat is not some kind of booster to launch you into daily practice when you don't have one, but rather a long, intensive session for those who do have one.  Daily practice is the only way to go.  One of the many lessons I had learned up until then but hadn't really learned. 

LozangK
Beliefnet Host, Buddhist Teens
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2009 - 12:17AM #2
cerisenightshade
Posts: 1
I've just recently started experimenting with meditation. I try to meditate daily for about 15- 20 minutes.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2009 - 4:19PM #3
LozangK
Posts: 34
15-20 minutes a day is absolutely excellent, I would say.  Keep it up!
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2009 - 9:45PM #4
LadyGuin
Posts: 4
Hi! I'm a new Buddhist. I've been doing my meditation 20 minutes a day as well.
Is there anything I should be doing while meditating? I usually clear my mind and concentrate on breathing slowly in and out. Is that okay?
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 07, 2009 - 5:12PM #5
LozangK
Posts: 34
Hello and welcome to the board, Lady. 

Yes, that's one very common and effective approach.  As to how you should focus on your breath, if that is what you are asking, is a matter of technique.

I always begin with three very deep, slow breaths to relax.  Then, I let go and try to regulate my breathing as little as possible, allowing it to settle into its natural rhythm, like a sleeping infant.  At that point various techniques can be adopted.

The easiest way is to begin by actually counting breaths.  You can count each inhalation and exhalation as one.  See how high you can get before you lose focus.  When you do, gently redirect your attention to what you are doing and simply start over.  Your goal should be to able to reach 100 breaths. 

When you are proficient at this, you can dispense with counting and simply focus on the sensation of the breath, wherever it occurs most naturally to you.  You could focus on the sensation as the air enters and exits your nostrils, or the expansion and retraction of your abdomen.  You will gradually be able to concentrate for longer and longer periods, and eventually be able to let go of any particular object of focus.

One of the best books available is The Attention Revolution by B. Allan Wallace.  There are many others as well.  Happy meditating!

LozangK
Beliefnet Host, Buddhist Teens
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